Hullo I’m Back! What Have You Been Up To?

Why hello friends! Look who’s still alive over here! Due to the craziness of school, the last few months I’ve definitely slacked on this blog. So now I return for the summer (and hopefully the rest of the year, too)! I thought I’d update you guys on a few happenings and what to expect soon.

First, I have a stash of short stories from a class I took this semester, so I should be posting those soon. Some of them are outside of my normal genre (superhero), like historical fiction and aliens, but I hope you’ll still enjoy them!

Second, I’ve been making some (slow) progress on IDIA #3, but I’m not sure when that will be released. I have another big novella-novel writing project that I’m super excited about, and that will probably be taking precedence since it’s for school. I’m definitely still working on book 3, though!

Finally, voting for the TCK Reader’s Choice Awards is still open, and Twinepathy is on the list! If you haven’t voted yet, you can read more about how to do so here.

Most importantly: I want to know what you’ve been up to! I’ve been out of the loop for a while, so let me know in the comments below about any awesome books you’ve been reading. I love talking with you guys!

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Short Story: Meeting Ryan

Hello, friends! I come to you today with another short story that I wrote for class. This one was a lot of fun to write, and I really like how it ended. I hope you enjoy it! Don’t forget to vote for Twinepathy in the TCK Reader’s Choice Awards! If you have questions, you can read my post about it here. Now, on to the story! (Make sure to comment your thoughts below, too! I’m eager to hear what you guys think.)

I see things clearer—or at least more logically—than most people. That may not sound like a big deal, but it’s frustrating. Very, very frustrating. Mostly because I’m not as blinded by emotion as other people, and I can look at things objectively. I have an outside opinion on a lot of situations, but people… they just don’t listen to me.

“Are you listening to me, Natalie?” my best friend Destiny asks, her voice pitched higher than usual in annoyance.

I shake my head, clearing away my intrusive thoughts. “I’m sorry, I got distracted,” I admit. “It’s so loud in here.”

That’s not a lie. People’s conversations and shouts echo in the school cafeteria, a messy blend of voices screaming, yelling, and hollering. Dishes clank against each other, and every once in a while, there’s a screech as someone scoots their chair back from a table. The noise is overwhelming, and I can’t help but feel a little claustrophobic.

“So I think you should meet Ryan.” Destiny’s raised voice brings me back to our table.

I sigh. “Your new boyfriend.” Of course that’s what she was talking about. “I mean, are you sure? You don’t think it’s too soon? You guys just started dating, what, four weeks ago?”

“Of course!” She grabs my hand. “You’re my best friend, and your opinion really matters to me.” She hesitates. “Plus, you always have a good sense about people, and you always look at situations objectively.”

I smile, a warm feeling rising in my chest. “And besides, talking about boys is what best friends are for, right?”

She laughs, high and clear, and I can tell it’s a genuine laugh. “So, do you want to meet him tomorrow? We could meet up at the park after school, at our usual table.”

As much as I don’t really want to meet Destiny’s boyfriend, I do want what’s best for her. “Okay, sounds like a plan.”

“Awesome!”

The bell rings, making me jump. Destiny’s chair scratches backwards as she leaps up and gathers up our dishes. “Come on, let’s go to class.” She grabs my hand and drags me through the crowd of people that are stampeding to the exit. I hate being among the crush of bodies, with all the yelling and the smells, all in close quarters. Lucky, Destiny is an expert at maneuvering us through the crowd, and before long, we’ve escaped from the masses and are on our way to class.

The rest of the day goes by as usual, same old boring routine, except that I can’t get my mind off of meeting Ryan. I honestly don’t know what Destiny has told him about me, and I just feel like no matter what, it’s going to be awkward.

Who am I kidding? It’s always awkward for me when I meet new people.

Destiny comes and finds me after school the next day, and by that point, my anxiety is jumping through the roof. I slip on my sunglasses and try to play it cool as we walk over to the park. She squeezes my hand way too tight as we walk, but I know she’s just excited. I can practically feel the energy radiating off of her as she blabbers on and on. Finally, I manage to get a word in edgewise.

“What does he look like?” I ask her.

She lets out an excited squeak that sounds like a mouse. “Well, he’s about the same height as you, and he has longish brown hair. He has these beautiful green eyes…” She squeezes my hand tighter, making me question whether or not my hand will still be attached to my arm when we get to the park.

We walk a little farther and turn into the park. The path changes from hard concrete sidewalk to gravelly dirt that crunches underfoot. Birds tweet overhead in the trees, and I can even hear squirrels chittering at each other and scampering around. I inhale, enjoying the scent of the recently-cut grass and cool afternoon breeze.

I inhale again. “It’s going to rain.”

Destiny sighs. “Of course.” She stops. “Okay, you stay here at our picnic table and I’ll go see if I can find him. That way we have it covered, whether he comes here or I run into him. Maybe we can go to the ice cream shop or something so we don’t get rained on. Sound good?”

“Sounds good,” I reply and slide onto the bench of the picnic table. I freeze. “But how will I know it’s him if he comes by?”

“Oh, I’ve shown him pictures of the two of us together, so he should be able to recognize you.” Her footsteps crunch on the gravel as she walks away. “Oh yeah, and you can ask him what my middle name is, he knows,” she calls, her voice fading as she leaves.

“Wow,” I murmur, picking off pokey wood splinters off the table. “She must really like him if she already told him her middle name.” It took her forever to tell me what her middle name was. It’s not like it’s super embarrassing… just weird.

It’s kind of nice to listen to the sounds of the park without Destiny talking so much. Children laugh nearby, and I can pick out different bird songs, separating them from each other in my mind. A dog barks somewhere in the distance. The most prominent sound is probably the wind rustling the trees—either that or footsteps crunching on gravel as people walk by.

I start to hum as I pick at the splintering wood on the picnic table. The crack as I break off the bigger splinters is really satisfying. The wind brushes against me, pushing my hair in my face, and I can’t help but smile.

“Hey, you’re Natalie, right?”

The deep voice next to me makes me jump, and I turn towards him. “I am. Are you Ryan?”

“Yep, that’s me!” The bench creaks as he sits down. “It’s nice to meet you, Natalie. Where’s Destiny?”

“Looking for you,” I answer, fiddling self-consciously with my sunglasses before going back to picking at the table. A sharper splinter stabs me, and I wince. I tilt my head. “Destiny said I could ask you what her middle name is, to prove it’s actually you, and not some random weirdo.”

Ryan laughs, and it’s a deep, full laugh. “It’s Allegra. Her parents chose it because of its Italian meaning, without thinking about the medicine.”

I nod and grin. “Poor girl.”

The bench creaks again as Ryan leans forward. “So why is Destiny looking for me? I thought we were going to just meet here and hang out.”

“It’s going to rain,” I explain. “We were talking about moving to the ice cream place, just in case.”

He hesitates. “But the forecast didn’t say anything about rain.”

“Smell,” I tell him, and I hear him inhale and exhale. “Do you smell that dampness on the air? It’s definitely going to rain.”

Ryan sniffs again. “I can smell it, barely. That’s so cool.”

“Ryan!” Destiny’s voice carries across the park, as does the sound of her running feet. She stops next to the table, out of breath. She spoke between huffs. “I’ve been… looking for… you!” She puts a hand on my arm as her breathing grows closer to normal. “I’m glad you guys are doing good. Let’s head over to that ice cream shop.”

The table creaks as Ryan gets up and I slide off my side of the bench. “Lead the way, Destiny.” Now I get to judge Ryan and see if he’s right for my best friend.

Destiny hooks her arm in mine. “Rock on your right,” she tells me, and I sidestep neatly out of the way. “I’ll get your cane out of your backpack in a second,” she added.

“Wait, what?” Ryan asks, his confusion evident in his voice.

I laugh, hitting Destiny’s arm. “You didn’t tell him!”

“You must have done a good job being subtle,” Destiny says, and I can hear the grin in her voice.

“Tell me what?” Ryan asks impatiently.

I pull down my sunglasses and turn towards his voice. “Tell you that I’m blind.”

The Mermaid and The Shell – A Fairy Tale Fable

Hullo, friends! So I’ve been trying to figure out some things to post recently, and I realized that I have stories saved up from my creative writing and fiction classes that I can post! So today I’m sharing the first story I wrote this year for my fiction class. It’s a cross between a fairytale and a fable, and I had a lot of fun writing it. Hope you enjoy!

The Mermaid and the Shell

In a far-off land, or sea, I should say, there lived a young mermaid named Nahla. She loved living with her family and playing among the coral reef. Her people were a joyful group, and she couldn’t imagine life without them. The king of the merfolk was a good merman at that time, and under his rule, the merpeople lived in harmony.

For every mermaid’s sixteenth birthday, they were required to decorate a shell to bring before the king. This symbolized their loyalty to the throne and made them a part of the tribe forever. The only requirement was that they make the shells themselves.

“I can’t wait, Mom!” Nahla exclaimed, spinning in a circle next to her mother. “Tomorrow I get to decorate my shell! It’s going to be the most beautiful shell anyone’s ever made.”

Her mother smiled at her. “I know it will, darling. I think you should paint it the colors of the ocean. That’s what I did for my shell, and everyone loved it.”

Nahla tilted her head sideways. “I hadn’t thought of that.” Secretly, she had imagined a swirl of colors, yellow, orange, pink, and purple, the colors of the coral.

Her mother nodded. “I think it would be beautiful. And it would match your eyes.”

Nahla smiled, shifting the picture in her mind. She could put some ocean colors on the shell, she was sure.

Her mother sent her off to find her younger brother, and she found him at the edge of the reef, watching the sharks swimming through the cool blue waters. His eyes lit up as she approached. “Nahla! You need to put a shark on your shell! That would the coolest thing ever.”

Nahla frowned. “Why would I do that?”

Her brother’s face melted into sadness. “For me. I won’t get to make a shell since I’m a merman. If I could make one, I would want a shark on it.”

Nahla put an arm around her brother’s shoulders. “Don’t worry. I’ll definitely find room for a shark on there.”

A little while later, Nahla ran into her best friend, Ara. “I can’t believe you get to decorate your shell tomorrow!” Ara exclaimed, twirling around. “You’re going to put a starfish on there for me, aren’t you?”

Nahla looked sideways at her friend. “A starfish?”

Ara nodded. “It’s our favorite animal, that’s why I put one on mine. It’ll be like a piece of me with you.”

“Of course!” Nahla hugged her friend. “I wouldn’t forget to do that.”

The next day, Nahla was released to find a shell and decorate it. She looked for hours, seeking the perfect shell, and finally, she found it. She struggled as she made it, trying to tie in all of the ideas she had been given. Before long, she finished, a sinking feeling in her stomach. It was nothing like she had imagined, and she couldn’t help but think about how ugly the shell was.

Eventually, the water grew darker, and she knew the day was nearly over. It was time to present her shell to the king, beautiful or not. She entered his throne room, knowing her family and friends would be there watching. Head hanging, she placed the shell before the king.

“What is this, Nahla?” The king asked, his voice stern.

Her mother approached and peered at the shell. “Those aren’t ocean colors, darling. Why are they smeared with yellow?”

“Where’s the shark?” Nahla’s brother asked. “I thought you were going to put a shark on it.”

“That doesn’t look like a starfish,” Ara added, tilting her head.

Nahla felt disappointment welling up inside of her. The king gazed at her. “What do you have to say, Nahla?”

She bowed her head, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment. “I wanted to make my shell coral colors, but everyone kept asking me to add something else. I didn’t want to disappoint my mom by not doing what she wanted, and since my brother doesn’t get to make a shell I wanted to put a shark on it for him. And since Ara put a starfish on hers for me, I wanted to put one on mine for her, too. I tried to include everything, but it turned into a big mess.”

The king nodded. “I will give you a chance to redo your shell, Nahla. Don’t try to please anyone, just yourself. Remember, the one who tries to please everyone pleases no one.”

And there you go! What did you think? I hope you enjoyed the story! Comment below if you have any thoughts or any ideas for future short stories you think I should write. And don’t forget to vote for Twinepathy in the TCK Reader’s Choice Awards!

Twinepathy and the TCK Reader’s Choice Awards

Hullo, friends! How is your February going so far? A lot of us are back at school now and struggling through the craziness. Don’t worry, you can make it!

I have a quick update to share with you guys. Twinepathy is up for an award in the YA/Middle Grade category in the TCK Reader’s Choice awards! A couple of you have already voted on there, and thank you so much for your support. If you’ve got a minute, would you mind heading over there and voting? The young adult section is section 12 out of the 16, and I would really appreciate your vote!

How’s your 2019 going so far? Did you get a chance to vote? I’d love to talk to you! 

Book Review: Blank Mastermind by Rosey Mucklestone

Guys, I’m so excited to be bringing you this book review today! I absolutely loved reading this book, and I couldn’t wait to share about it with all of you. So let’s get right into the review!

Blurb

Amnesia is annoying. The poor hero has to find out everything about his wonderful life again and re-meet all the lovely people he knew before, then go to stop the villain. But what if the life that starts showing itself isn’t wonderful, the people aren’t lovely and the villain is… yourself?

My Review

WOOOOWWWW!!!!! I was so excited to finally get to read this book in its full and final form! I got to read a lot of the parts on the author’s blog (you can check it out here, and I highly recommend it), but I got behind due to the craziness of school, so when I heard she was publishing it, I decided to wait and read the final product. And man, did it blow me away!!!

First of all, the idea of a villain getting amnesia is great, and the author executed it so well! Amnesia is hard to write, especially in first person, and she pulled it off! And with our amnesiac being a villain… well, that made the whole thing crazier. Not to mention that the name Wolfgang Dankworth is hilariously evil (apologies to anyone named Wolfgang Dankworth…).

And speaking of Wolfy, the characters in this book are amazing!!! I was so blown away by the character development. Not just Wolfy and his gang, but the superheroes too. Everyone seemed so real and normal and human. Like you could actually run into these people on the street. The little kids were also amazingly accurate and adorable, too.

The plot! I couldn’t put this book down! The twists and turns of the plot and the suspense were amazing, and aaaaahhhh it was so good!!! I hesitate to say much due to spoilers, so you just need to read it for yourself! I only had one minor issue in that I got a little frustrated that Charles didn’t tell Wolfgang why Wolfgang hated him when he was at their house. Communication is key…. But that was really minor and it was handled all right later on.

Favorite moments:
-Wolfgang finding out he was a villain. So. Much. Emotion.
-Ice cream and cake for breakfast. That’s one thing I haven’t done yet as a college student…
-Everything with Lucius.
-Cardboard. ❤ Like… everything she does.
-Schoolhouse Rock
-Old Tom
-Bad News’ “internal mother hen radar”

Favorite quotes:
-“What happened to your face?” “Dashing good looks happened to my face.”
-“Something held me back from asking who my sworn enemy was. I guess I was nervous it would turn out to be Mother Theresa or something.”

So, basically, read it! This book is soooo good, and now I want to get a paperback copy of it, too! I’m looking forward to reading more books by Rosey Mucklestone, and you should, too! This was a perfect first read for the year.

Here’s where you can find Blank Mastermind!

Amazon | Goodreads

About the Author

Rosey Mucklestone is the oldest of nine crazy kids and the daughter of two awesome parents. She lives with her family and two dogs in Missouri, spending her time writing, reading, baking and waitressing. Topics she’s passionate about include: the ocean, the Bible, mountains, fandoms, stories and characters in general. She’s never gotten amnesia and doesn’t plan on it, but life is full of surprises, so who knows? You can stalk her blog at: www.writefury.com.

So what do you think? If you’ve read the book, what are your favorite parts? If you haven’t… maybe you should! Feel free to comment below, I love talking to you guys!

 

A New Year: Bookish Goals for 2019!

Wow, I can hardly believe that 2018 is over already. It seems like it just started! So for 2019, I came up with a few writing and reading related goals. I thought I’d share them with all of you, and, hopefully, you can help keep me accountable!

  1. Finish Forcefield. I’m super excited to be working on IDIA #3, and this is my biggest writing goal. I’ve been working on plot ideas, and while I started the book during NaNoWriMo… I didn’t make much progress (and I definitely didn’t win NaNo). I’m hoping to work a lot more on it this year!
  2. Create a regular writing habit. Right now my goal is around 250 words a day, but in general, I just want to try and write more. Even if that means 100 or 10 words, I want to work on sitting down to write something every day, even with a crazy college schedule.
  3. Post at least once a month. I’ve been really bad about posting during the school semester, which is understandable due to the amount of work college entails. But it doesn’t take much to whip up a quick blog post at least once a month! This is one I really plan on working on this year.
  4. Read more! Reading also slips through the cracks when it comes to college. My goal is to read 24 books this year, which is about 2 a month. Even if I can’t read during the semester, I should be able to make that up this summer. We’ll see…

And that’s it! Here’s to a year of (hopefully) more regular blog posts. What are your goals or resolutions for 2019, reading or otherwise? I’d love to hear what they are! 

The Villain Who Saved Christmas Release Day (Eeek!!)

GUYS! The Villain Who Saved Christmas is now up on Amazon!!! I’m so excited for you guys to read this short story. If you have a chance, you should definitely check it out. I’m also looking for more reviewers, so if you’d be interested in that, let me know!

The Villain Who Saved Christmas is only $0.99, and Twinepathy is now free, for only a few days. So be sure to check that out, and let your friends know, too! If you’ve already read Twinepathy, I would love for you to review it on Amazon. It only takes a few minutes, and it really helps out a lot!

And speaking of reviews, here are a few for The Villain Who Saved Christmas! These guys are awesome, so make sure to go ahead and check out their blogs, and you can see more reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, too.

The Page Dreamer – Deborah O’Carroll

Lit Aflame – Julia

Pause for Tales – Jes Drew

More to be added soon!

Are you excited about the release? What’s your favorite Christmas book or movie? Comment below! I’d love to talk to you!

A Christmas Short Story and Release Tour Sign-Ups!

Hello, everyone! I apologize once again for disappearing for so long. It seems like just yesterday that the school semester started, and now it’s pretty much over. Where did the time go???

But in spite of the craziness of this semester, I’ve still been able to get some things done… like getting my Christmas short story, The Villain Who Saved Christmas, ready for publishing! There’s still a lot left to do, but I’ve set an official release date: December 24th. That’s only 10 days away, but I can’t wait for it to be out!

I posted about this story when I did the 777 Challenge, and I’m very excited to finally be sharing this with all of you. So here are the cover and the blurb!

This may be Becca’s last Christmas, and all she wants is a white Christmas. But with no snow in the forecast, her brother and sister know that might not happen… until they get the idea to track down supervillain Hypothermia for help. With his ice powers, he could create a white Christmas for their sister. There’s only one problem—they have to find him first. Can they discover where Hypothermia is hiding and convince him to make it snow?

So here’s where I need your help…

I’m not planning on doing official dates for a release tour, because I know how crazy this time of year is for everyone, and how last minute this is! Instead, if you want to help out, you can post whenever you want. The book will be releasing on December 24th, and I’m looking to have as many reviews then as I can, so feel free to share this post or the form below with anyone who may be interested!

Also, for the release, Twinepathy will be free on Kindle from December 24th-28th! If you haven’t gotten a copy of Twinepathy yet, that’s the perfect time to get a copy on Kindle.

I’m so excited to be sharing this book with all of you! Are you excited? Share any thoughts, comments, and questions you have below!

Fan Art And Fanfiction Contest Winners!

Guys, it’s finally time to announce the winners of the IDIA Fan Art And Fanfiction Contest! I didn’t get as many submissions as the first year, but I’m still super excited about the ones I got. It was a really hard decision to make, but I got both fan art and fanfiction. Because only four people submitted, I decided that all of them will receive the bookmarks (yay!!!), but we still have to decide the winners. So let’s see the submissions!

Art

Photo by Deborah O’Carroll

This lovely picture was submitted by Deborah O’Carroll when she received her copy of Lightporter! Isn’t it amazing? It looks so nice with the sky in the background!

Doesn’t this look so cool? This looks like something straight off of the pages of a graphic novel, and I love the touch with the bird mask. It definitely looks like Finch!

Ezra by Elizabeth Michalski

This one is so great! You can tell that it’s Ezra immediately by the purple hair, and the outfit is definitely something she would wear. And on top of that, it’s so well done!

Fiction (You should definitely go read both of these!)

Steel and Shocks: An IDIA-TSS Crossover Fanfic by Sarah Taleweaver

Sarah did an amazing job on this fanfic! The plot is riveting, and all of the characters were in character, too, especially Blaze! It was fun to see the different supers working together.

This is such a sweet fanfic! Marlene does a great job dealing with Finch’s memory loss and his relationship with his girlfriend, not to mention how well she works the songs into the story. It’s such an emotional read!


Let me tell you, these were both really hard decisions to make, and I loved all of the submissions! But it’s time to finally announce the winners…

The Art winner is…

Ezra by Elizabeth Michalski

Elizabeth did such a good job bringing Ezra to life, and she looks ready to go fight some crime! Awesome job!

The Fiction winner is…

Steel and Shocks by Sarah Taleweaver

Sarah did an excellent job bringing all of the characters to life in a fun story, and she managed to get Blaze exactly right! Well done, Sarah!

As I said before, it was sooo hard to make these decisions, which is one of the reasons why this post was so late. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the submissions, and definitely go read both of those fanfics. They’re amazing! If you submitted, I’ll be emailing you shortly about your bookmarks! Thank you so much to everyone who participated!

Finding Christmas Joy Review (And Release!)

Hullo, everyone! So today is the last day to submit your work for the fan art contest! I plan to announce the winners next Monday, so stay tuned for that! In the meantime, here’s a review of a fun short story that was released today!

My Review

This story was such a sweet short story!! The story didn’t drag like a lot of Christmas-themed stories seem to do, and it had such a great message. It felt just like a Hallmark movie (which is actually something the author herself mentioned in an Author’s Note and her review), except with a better theme to it: God provides true change, not the “spirit of Christmas.”

The descriptions were so vivid and I felt like I could picture everything so well in my head. I also loved the change of heart, although most of the characters other than Melonie weren’t very developed. I do think that a chance was missed to make give Patricia a little more development when she was talking to Melonie (view spoiler), but it was a short story, so I didn’t mind too much.

Overall, a fun, encouraging read, and a nice bit of Christmas in the middle of the summer!

I received a free copy for review from the author. However, I wasn’t required to provide positive feedback.

If you want to find out more about the release, check out Amanda Tero’s post on her blog, and if you’re interested in picking up the book for only $0.99 (e-book edition), check it out on Amazon!