Poem: Sitting In My Tree

Hello, friends! It’s Monday, which means a post! This semester, I’m taking a class on American Poetry, and that made me think about my poetry class from last year. So this week, I thought I’d share a fun poem that I wrote for that class. I hope you enjoy it!

Sitting In My Tree

C.B. Cook

 

No one notices me

sitting in my tree.

 

I look down as

people walk past,

eyes down,

not looking around,

and no one bothers

to turn their eyes UP.

 

If they did, they might

see me in the morning light,

admiring how the sun

sets that one

green leaf ablaze

with golden fire.

 

But instead, I look out,

a secret spying scout,

safe in my cave of leaves

because no one really sees

beyond my shield

and I’m smiling because

 

no one notices me

sitting in my tree.

I hope you enjoyed that poem! I did, in fact, write it while sitting in a tree. 😀 I know most people either love poetry or hate it, so what’s your opinion on poetry? Do you like writing it or reading it better?

Stay safe, have a good week, and don’t forget to wear your mask! ❤

Life + Writing Update + Happy New Year!!

Why, hullo, friends! How is it already 2021?? It feels like just yesterday it was August. I took yet another unintentional hiatus, and I feel like I owe you guys an update on where I’m at right now with writing and such! I’m pretty sure 2020 was a crazy year for all of us.

Life

  • I started grad school in August! I’m currently getting my Master’s degree in English. Grad school wasn’t a journey that I was planning on taking, but God very clearly pointed me in that direction. It’s been a huge adjustment, especially since my undergraduate degree isn’t in English and I’m at a different university, but it’s been an exciting new challenge.
  • I haven’t really considered myself an athletic person, but about two years ago, I started rock climbing, and now… well, I’m a little obsessed. I love both the physical and mental challenge of it, and it’s just a ton of fun. Don’t be surprised if some random post or short story comes up that has something to do with rock climbing. 😀
  • As for reading, most of the reading I’ve done this year has been for school, with two major exceptions: Agatha Christie mysteries and Brandon Sanderson’s books. I read my first Agatha Christie book as part of a summer book club, and I absolutely loved it. Since then, I’ve read two more, and I have several others saved on my Kindle. I’ve read pretty much every Brandon Sanderson book I could get my hands on this year, and if you’re a fantasy fan, you should definitely check his books out! If you’ve already read his books, tell me which is your favorite in the comments!

Writing

  • Over the past several months, I’ve made quite a bit of progress on Forcefield (IDIA #3). At this point, I’m about halfway done! My goal is to finish the book and publish it sometime in 2021, hopefully in the summer. So far, it’s shaping up well, and I’m really excited about how it’s going!
  • I started a new project for Nanowrimo, which unfortunately I did not complete, but so far it’s been a lot of fun to write. Basically, I’m taking one of my short stories, The Villain and the Hero, and turning it into a full-length novel. I love the characters in it, and it’s turning into more of a mystery-slash-heist-slash-superhero book, with a little romance thrown in. Currently, it’s on the back burner until I finish Forcefield, but I’m excited to get back to work on it soon.
  • Due to grad school, I’ve been writing a lot more academic papers, but last spring, I wrote a thesis about writing blind characters in fiction. I loved working on that project, and it’s something I’ve been looking into publishing academically. At the moment, that process is certainly slow, but I also wrote two short stories featuring blind characters as a part of that thesis. I’m looking into publishing those in creative journals–which, again, is slow going–but depending on how that search goes, I may share those here on my blog. They were so much fun to write, and I absolutely want to share them with you at some point… it just might be a while!
  • Overall, I’ve been a little burned out on writing due to the huge increase in writing from grad school (and becoming an English major), which is part of the reason my blogging dropped off during the semester… but that was also due to poor planning on my part. My plan for this year/semester is to put out a blog post every Monday, but at least once a month.

Overall, this has been a crazy year, and not nearly as productive as I wish it had been, but we’ve made it through! I hope you are all doing well, and that we can all look back and find some good in 2020. Don’t forget to drop down in the comments and say hi! Happy New Year, friends!

Have you read any Agatha Christie or Brandon Sanderson books? What are your favorite books you’ve read this year? What’s something good that happened for you in 2020?

Book Review: Come Marching Home by Hazel West

Hullo, friends! A few weeks ago, I brought you the cover reveal for Come Marching Home by Hazel West, and today I have the pleasure of reviewing that book! 

Photo description: Book cover of Come Marching Home – silhouette of a man and a dog in front of a snowy background

Synopsis

After being away for over a year, Alfonse Keller has returned from the trenches on Teuton’s western front, fighting in the war that’s broken out against the Steppes. He should feel relieved now that’s he’s back in his own village in the care of his brother Ernst, but he’s not. It seems like nothing has changed except for him, like he’s a traveler from a different world.

When Alfonse left to join the army, he was a natural magician making a name for himself, but after a tragic incident resulting in the death of his friend, and his own crippling injury, he no longer has the ability to use magic.

Suffering from constant nightmares and revisited trauma, Alfonse can’t get the trenches out of his head. Ernst tries to help, but he doesn’t really understand either. How can he, when Alfonse doesn’t really understand himself? He feels like a phantom, standing on the outskirts of a life he’ll never live again.

As Ernst tries to do everything he can for his brother, he can’t help but feel like Alfonse is slipping away, that maybe part of him never left the trenches at all. But how can he save his brother when Alf refuses to let anyone in?

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My Review

Man, this book was so good. Usually I’m not a huge fan of books based in war-time, but this book was absolutely beautiful. There were definitely a lot of tear-jerking moments, so when you read this… keep the tissues handy!

To start off with, Hazel does an amazing job developing these characters. I loved that the book focused on the relationship between Alfonse and Ernst. I love reading sibling relationships, and I feel like relationships between brothers aren’t highlighted as much as they could be. Hazel does a great job of developing Alf and Ernst individually while also portraying their relationship realistically. I was rooting for them the whole way!

Since the plot was focused more on the relationships between the characters, the pace was a little slow until the end. While I tend to prefer books with a faster pace, I think the steady pace of this book actually worked better with the message and the tone. 

And maaaan, the feels! My favorite part of this book is all of the awesome relationship-building, gonna-make-you-cry moments that hit you out of nowhere. There were definitely a few times I had to blink away tears. No spoilers, but that continues alllll the way to the end of the book. ❤

There is some minor cursing in this book, along with some references to multiple gods, although the details of their religion aren’t really touched on. This is also set during war-time, so there is a lot of violence and pain, so I would say this book is targeted more towards teenagers and older. 

Overall, I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes reading touching stories!

Have you read Come Marching Home? What did you think? If not, you should definitely go read it! 

Cover Reveal: Come Marching Home by Hazel West

Hullo, friends! I have posted absolutely nothing since school started back up, but I’m back today with a cover reveal post. What’s even more exciting: this is a cover that I designed! Working with Hazel on this cover was really fun, and I’m excited about this cover reveal and book release.

Also, make sure to check the end of this post for information about getting pre-order goodies!

Let’s get on with the cover reveal!

Here it is!

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Amazon

Come Marching Home is releasing October 13th! (EEK!) And here’s the blurb:

 

Pre-Order Info:

If you pre-order Come Marching Home or just order a copy of it by the end of October
(extending because the paperback won’t be available for preorder) You can email the receipt of
your purchase to sirwilliamssquire@gmail.com with your address and Hazel will send you a
goodie pack!

 

I am so excited to get to read this story! Isn’t that sticker adorable?? Are you as excited about this book as I am? Comment down below with your thoughts!

Tattered Slippers: The Midnight Show by Sarah Pennington

Hello, everyone! Today I’m back with another book review as part of the Tattered Slippers release tour! Today I have the opportunity to review The Midnight Show by Sarah Pennington. Over the summer, I was able to read Sarah’s other two published books, Mechanical Heart and Blood in the Snow, and let me tell you, they are AMAZING! I certainly had high expectations for this book, and it did not disappoint.

But I’m getting ahead of myself! To the review!

Description

This mystery is the case of his dreams — and her nightmares.

By day, Dayo Temitrope is a swinging singer, an up-and-coming star with a shining career ahead of her. By night, she’s . . . well, she’s not sure, but whatever she does leaves her every morning with sore feet and worn-out shoes. And after six months, she’s had enough.

Enter Bastian Dennell, a private investigator just trying to get by. When Dayo hires him to find out where she goes at night, he’s sure it’s his big break: his chance to establish himself and get the funds to pay off his family’s debt. Plus, he gets to work with his favorite singer, even if she isn’t exactly what he expected. What could be better?

But first he has to solve the case — which means navigating a tangled web of strange dreams, fair folk schemes, and show business. It will take all Bastian’s wits, along with the shining talents of Dayo herself, to figure out the truth before the curtains close for good on Dayo’s career.

A jazz-age-inspired twist on the Twelve Dancing Princesses from the author of Blood in the Snow.

Amazon | Goodreads

 

Author Bio

Sarah Pennington has been writing stories since before she actually knew how to write, and she has no intention of stopping anytime soon. She is perpetually in the middle of writing at least one or two novels, most of which are in the fantasy and fairy tale retelling genres. Sarah’s first published work, Blood in the Snow, received a perfect score and Special Unicorn status in Rooglewood Press’s Five Poisoned Apples contest. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys knitting, photography, and trying to conquer her massive to-be-read list.

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My Review

Holy COW I loved this book!!! Where to start…

First off, the characters in this book were awesome! Dayo and Bastian were so well-developed, and I loved the interactions between them. They both have their own motivations, flaws, and strengths, and they really came to life. I also absolutely loved how their relationship shifted through the book, especially from working-relationship to friendship, and I absolutely ship them. 😀

And then there was the worldbuilding. Maybe I haven’t read enough books set in the Jazz Age, but this one was so fun! Everything, from the dialect used to the clothing descriptions to just the general liveliness, really came alive and was so easy to picture. One of my favorite aspects of Sarah’s books is the amount of detail she adds to her settings, and this one was wonderfully done.

And as a retelling, I absolutely loved the subtlety in this book! It’s very clearly a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, but it also develops its own storyline that differentiates from the original (even just by changing the setting!). An issue I’ve had when reading other Twelve Dancing Princesses retellings is that they try to focus on all twelve princesses. That’s a lot of main characters to keep track of, especially for me and my short attention span! So I absolutely loved that this book really only focus on Dayo and a few of the other girls, and it was extremely well done.

Overall, this is definitely one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year, and I HIGHLY recommend it! Go read it! 😀

 

Tour Info

Check out this link to see the full schedule AND enter the Tattered Slippers giveaway! Make sure you check out all the other posts for this book (including the author’s post here) and check out the other retellings that were in this release.

 

Have you read The Midnight Show? If not, you totally should! I plan to be back on my normal schedule next week (hopefully), so I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Tattered Slippers: The Dancing Princess by Kendra E. Ardnek

Hullo, friends! It seems that every time I post something exciting (like the cover reveal a few weeks ago), I can’t quite figure out what to post afterward! Luckily, this week, the Tattered Slippers release tour is going on! I’m so excited to have the chance to review not one, but two of these Twelve Dancing Princess retellings. Today I’m reviewing The Dancing Princess (A Twist of Adventure #5) by Kendra E. Ardnek. So let’s get on to the review!

Description

Plagued by nightmares for the last few years, Katrine only wanted answers. Instead, she finds herself trapped in a tangled web of melody as she tries to free a cursed king and his brothers. No one deserves existence such as theirs, but dare she risk her very life?

Amazon | Goodreads

 

My Review

This book was so much fun to read! It was fast-paced, the characters were intriguing, and the plot was intense. I’ve read a few of the other Twist of Adventure books (which you don’t have to do to read this one!), and I always enjoy the spin Kendra puts on the original fairytales. I especially enjoyed the magic system in this one.

I’d say my one complaint was that it was too short! I wish it had been longer so there could be more time to flesh out the characters and their storylines and to expand the plot. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this little book, and I highly recommend it to any fantasy fans out there!

 

Tour Info

There are so many awesome books to go for this tour! I’ll be posting again later this week, but check out this link to see the full schedule AND enter the Tattered Slippers giveaway! Make sure you check out all the other posts and keep a lookout this week for the other books.

 

Are you participating in the tour, and have you read this book? Comment down below to let me know your thoughts!

Forcefield (IDIA #3) Cover Reveal (Eek!)

Hello, friends!! Today’s post has been a long time coming, but I present to you… the cover reveal for IDIA book 3!

I am so excited to finally be sharing this with you guys! Plus, I also have the blurb to reveal! Without further ado, let’s show that cover!!

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Blurb

Albany and Brooklyn York are taking a much-deserved break from IDIA work and
visiting their grandfather’s farm. But even far from the city, they find that they can’t quite escape
their lives with IDIA—or FOE. When the twins find out that someone from FOE has set up shop
in their neighborhood, they decide they need to find out what’s going on with FOE, once and for
all. But when they learn of secrets that rock their world, will they still know who to trust?

Guys, I’m so excited about this! Are you excited about the release of book 3? Do you like the cover? Comment down below to let me know your thoughts, and what you’re most excited to see in Forcefield!

Writing About Writing: Worldbuilding (AKA Discussing Brandon Sanderson Books)

Hullo, my friends! As you may have noticed, it is not Tuesday, but since I’ve missed a few weeks of posting, I thought I owed you guys an extra post. That, plus I had some post inspiration this week, and I wanted to share some thoughts with you guys! I want to thank everyone who signed up for the cover reveal for Forcefield. If you haven’t gotten an e-mail from me with the post information, let me know, since I’ve been having some internet issues. If you didn’t sign up, and you’d still like to participate, the form is still open here, as long as you sign up before the reveal happens on August 4th. Now, on to the post!


I’ve been fortunate enough over the past year or so to read a LOT of Brandon Sanderson books. If you’re not familiar with his books, he writes fantasy books that are well-known for having a ton of foreshadowing and plot twists–and also for the in-depth worldbuilding in each book or series. I’ve gotten to read Elantris, the Mistborn series, and I’m currently making my way through his Stormlight Archives.

One other book of Sanderson’s that’s important to mention for this post is Sanderson’s Arcanum Unbounded, which is a collection of short stories and novellas, some of which are related to other books and series he’s written. It’s a little complicated, but the one I’ll be mentioning the most in this post is The Emperor’s Soul, which is a (mostly) standalone novella.

And, in fact, I was mostly inspired by Brandon Sanderson’s comments after the novella, where he discussed his inspiration for the story. The quote that really caught my attention was this: “You can’t always write what you know–not exactly what you know. You can, however, write what you see.” 

This quote came after Sanderson explained that he got the idea for the magic system in The Emperor’s Soul from a trip to Taiwan and the National Palace Museum. To simplify things a lot, he was inspired to make the magic system in this novella based on historical stamps he saw at the museum. Basically, he asked himself the question, “What if stamps could be used to rewrite the history of an object?” This led to the development of the magic system in this novella.

Recently, I’ve been working on an idea for a fantasy story (which I won’t be starting any time soon), and I’ve found myself looking closer at Sanderson’s worldbuilding techniques since I keep being blown away by them. A lot of worldbuilding in his stories seem to be answers to “What if?” questions. One of the most memorable bits of worldbuilding for me is a group of people in The Stormlight Archives whose eyebrows never stop growing. This tiny aspect of the larger worldbuilding just asks: “What if people had eyebrows that never stopped growing, just like hair?” That question adds a distinctive feature to a people group and helps the world feel more developed and diverse. Asking these questions develops a vibrant story world that feels deep and realistic–as realistic as a fantasy story can feel, that is!

So ask those crazy what-if questions! Maybe you’ll find a story there.


This turned out to be more of a ramble than a cohesive post, but I hope you found something helpful here! Have you read any of Brandon Sanderson’s books? What books have impressed you with their worldbuilding? Let me know in the comments below!

Poem: The Sun

Hullo, friends! My schedule has been a little off the past couple of weeks, but I’m back again today with your regularly scheduled Tuesday post! If you missed it, around a week ago I posted about Twinepathy‘s birthday and the cover reveal sign-ups for IDIA #3, so if you’re interested in participating in that, definitely check out that post (or just fill out the form here). Today’s poem is more of a sad one–another one that I wrote for class. Hope you enjoy! (Also, there’s an important question at the end of this post, so make sure and comment your thoughts!)

 

The Sun 

C.B. Cook

 

The sun rose that morning,

a day like any other,

but it didn’t rise for her.

 

She poured her coffee in the kitchen.

Warm golden light enveloped her,

but she moved to the bedroom,

shunning the warmth.

 

The bedroom was dark,

lonely.

She embraced it because

it matched the heavy,

shadowy grief

weighing on her soul.

 

She flipped a switch

and the light buzzed overhead.

There was his bed,

his desk,

the stack of video games

his father had given him

instead of visiting.

She traced the squares of the quilt on the bed,

finally letting the tears fall.

 

The sun rose that morning,

but her son didn’t rise with it.

 

What did you think of that poem? And for the important question I mentioned earlier: if I put out a poetry collection, would you be interested in reading it? Comment below with your thoughts!

Twinepathy’s Birthday + Forcefield Cover Reveal Signups (!!!)

Hullo, friends! I am so excited about today’s post, but first I must say… It isn’t Tuesday! I have deviated from my new blogging schedule (both accidentally and on purpose) since today is the 4 year anniversary of Twinepathy‘s release. It’s hard to believe it’s been so long! And I’m very excited to announce that IDIA #3 is on it’s way! While I don’t have a release date set quite yet, I am planning a cover reveal for August 4th, and I need your help! There’s a sign-up at the bottom of this post, so if you’re interested in helping out with the cover reveal, please fill out the form.

As for Twinepathy‘s birthday, I give you all virtual cake! 😀

IDIA #3 Current Status:

Name: Forcefield

Pages: 59

Words: 16,599

Cheesy puns: at least 2 (so far…)

Sign-up link: https://forms.gle/XWxZZ6eG85gKpsge7

 

Are you excited about the cover reveal? I know I am! Can you believe it’s been four years since Twinepathy was released? Comment below with any questions, comments, or concerns, and make sure to share this form with anyone who may want to participate! I hope you’re all as excited about book 3 as I am! 😀