Thursday, August 16, 2018

LGBTQIA+ Books

Since I was feeling a little beat up about season 7 of Voltron, I decided to compile a list of books that have characters that are LGBTQIA+. Enjoy!

Representation is a big deal in the modern age. While some of these books might not necessarily be considered "modern" and a few others might not be conventionally LGBTQIA+, they all DO have representation of one form or another. In an age where people are becoming more accepting, it is imperative to introduce diverse characters to our younger generations and even older generations to show them that there is absolutely nothing wrong with accepting who you are and how to accept the people around you. In recent years, I have seen this improve tremendously and can't wait to see how this improves even more in the future of print media, TV, and movies.

If there's a book you love that isn't listed below, or if you're an author with LGBTQIA+ rep in your book, feel free to drop the title/link to your book down in the comments. I tried to keep this list to ones that I had read, but I slipped in a few that I haven't gotten around to.


11250317
1. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

2. Captive Prince by P.S. Pacat

3. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

3.5 The Iliad by Homer

4. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

5. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

6. The Raven Cycle (series) by Maggie Stiefvater

120000207. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

8. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard (series) by Rick Riordan

9. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

10. The Mortal Instruments (series) by Cassandra Clare

11. Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann

12. Contagion by Erin Bowman

13. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

14. Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

15. Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall

16. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

17. At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson

18. Fence (graphic novel series) by P.S. Pacat


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Books For Trade and Bookish Wish

For those of you that don't know, Books for Trade is a hashtag on Twitter that allows people to post pictures of books they no longer want to have, but want to trade away. It's a great way to get your hands on some books you've been looking for that you otherwise might not have been able to obtain (International Editions, signed editions, special editions, etc) and, in the process, you get rid of a book you no longer wanted! There are also some groups on Goodreads and Facebook that I know use Books for Trade methods. 

I've been doing Books for Trade for over a year now and it (for the most part) has been a great experience! Through books for trade, I have obtained ARCs and finished copies that I had been looking for for a long time! I've done dozens of trades and I've only had one instance where I didn't get my side of the trade. The tag on twitter is full of great people that are really committed to keeping things moving smoothly. 

Recently, a new hashtag started on twitter called Bookish Wish. Essentially, people post their wishlists (similar to Books for Trade) and hope that someone will contact them. This is a great way to help people that otherwise wouldn't be able to get books due to money issues. 

Since I had some books that I couldn't trade (they were put up on the tag for months with no luck), I decided to offer up a bunch of mine to just send out...for free. Despite being about $15 poorer, I'm actually super glad I did this, because it made me feel so good to send out books to those people and I would 100% do it again. And I plan to! 

The Bookish Wish tag is full of great, generous people. I'm so glad to be a part of such an amazing community that helps others.

If you want to give these tags a look, just search up #booksfortrade or #bookishwish and make someone else's day. Or even post your own books/wishlists! You might be surprised!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Book Writing #2 - Character Names

Characters are a big component of your story. People can relate to your characters, because of their experiences, morals, and even name and appearance. When it comes to names, a few things need to be kept in mind.

Reminder: Names can be whatever you want. Don't let anyone tell you your names aren't good enough.

1: Gender can make a difference

There are plenty of names that can be considered unisex and, in some cases, the character in question might not have a specific gender (agender, gender fluid, etc.). Keeping this in mind, naming your main female character "Robert" is extremely unconventional and, while it isn't necessarily wrong, some readers might find it odd. Likewise, there aren't many male Kaitlyns floating around. 

Not to say that your male hero/villain/side character can't be named "Ashley", it's just unconventional.

2: Ethnicity and Heritage

This is mainly in play for nonfiction or realistic fiction books, but it can also come into play with fantasy as well. If you want to keep specific regional names, you might want to research a bit to get names as close as possible to the portrayed culture. 

3: Tips and Tricks

To people that I've discussed names with, I almost always get the question "How do you come up with your names?" Let me tell you, it is a layered process. More often than not, I have the specific character already built in my mind. Name is the last thing I come up with. This means I have their purpose, ranking (in a fantasy setting), appearance, age, and everything plotted out. 

Being completely honest, I open a lot of baby naming websites. Sometimes I specify a region and sometimes I know what I want the name to start with and I just go from there. If I find a name I really like, I might try to spice it up a little or keep it as is depending how "ordinary" it is. 

Other times I open a name generator and hit refresh over and over. 

I might take the name Katherine and turn it into Katera or the name Francis and turn it into Farius. (I really don't know, guys, I write fantasy. What can I say? Weird names come with the territory.)

The times I get really stuck I just hit random spots on the keyboard and it can actually work.

Names can be whatever you want them to be, but using baby naming websites/generators can be a huge help.

Happy naming! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Book Writing #1 - Building Your Plot

The plot is one of the most important things to consider when you're writing your book. It is the driving force for all of your characters and gives the reader something to follow along with. For many authors, the plot is the first thing they come up with when they are considering a new story.

Step 1: The first idea

The first idea can be something super small. For some, the first idea can be that they want the story to be centered around a single character or multiple. The first idea can be as simple as "I want this person to save the world" or "I want character 1 to be against character 2 from the start and they are forced into a situation that makes them work together".

The first idea can also be a case where the author wants to write a book similar to one they love/loved as a child, but make it their own.

Step 2: Picking your genre/audience

This seems a little obvious, but the genre is very important. With genre, there are certain aspects of the plot that would work in one genre but would be completely out of place in another. Usually, advanced technology would not be in a High Fantasy book and elves and magic don't go in a Sci-Fi book. Of course, there isn't a rule against making your story different or even changing your ideas away from the norm, so don't let this discourage you!

As for the audience, you wouldn't be writing a book with adult characters with large amounts of cursing and sexual tones as a Young Adult novel and you wouldn't be writing a whimsical fairy tale for college students. Finding a balance is important!

Step 3: Solidifying your beginning, middle, and end

Making sure your characters have a point A to leave and a point B to get to is super important, but the middle is what makes or breaks a book. The hobbits didn't just leave the Shire and end up in Mordor! They had to go through Rivendell, Gondor, and endless forests and adventures in order to finish their quest.

Step 4: Side plots/quests

Meeting a new character, facing a monster, having a computer glitch, joining the rebellion are all great side plots for your characters. It's how they overcome obstacles and interact with others that really makes a great book. The main plot is what the story is about, but no plot is complete without some bumps in the road.

Additional Notes:

Don't be afraid to change your plot! In fact, it most likely will change. The plot you start with probably won't be the plot you end up with. As you get to know your world and your characters, things are going to evolve and change. The person you intended as the villain might not be the villain at the end!

Writing out, mapping, and all forms of diagrams could be EXTREMELY beneficial as you go! It keeps your ideas organized and everything running smoothly.



Disclaimer: I am not a professional, this is just based on my experiences.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Can You Smell Change in the Air?

So, here's the thing.
I don't know if it's obvious (which it 100% is), but I have been less than vigilant about posting lately, but there is a reason behind it.

Basically, I just graduated from high school (yay!) in May and have been juggling 3 jobs this summer in order to help get a little extra money for college. I have done very little reading, but I feel good about reading a lot more when school starts up.

My major is publishing! Because of this, and since I have recently been working on writing my own book, I plan on writing more blog posts about the publishing process and some about writing, world building, and whatever else people want to hear about! I would be more than happy to listen to suggestions about what y'all want to read about. Whether it be more about publishing, book writing, excerpts, quotes, reviews, or even my daily life, I'll post whatever.

Thank you all for being so understanding. I think great things are coming and I can't wait to share it with all of you!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Books to Read After Watching "Infinity War"

I don't know about you guys, but Avengers: Infinity War definitely took a toll on me this weekend. So here are a few books that might help you get through the year until the next one! I'm sure there's a ton that I left out, but these were the ones that just really stuck out to me.  Some of them are symbolic/similar to each subcategory's storyline (might seem a little obscure, but it's there!)

I know I left a few out (Black Panther, Spiderman, etc.), but this is what I could do!

Hope these help keep the tears at bay!

If You Love Guardians of the Galaxy

Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener
Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Alienated by Melissa Landers
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Starflight by Melissa Landers

If You Love Doctor Strange

Traveler by L.E. DeLano
Magyk by Angie Sage
The Novice by Taran Matharu

If You Love Captain America

With Malice by Eileen Cook
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

If You Love Iron Man

The Body Electric by Beth Revis
The Eye of Minds by James Dashner
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

If You Love Thor

Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke 
The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Meeting Madeline Miller!

I make it no secret that The Song of Achilles is my all time favourite book. After all, I have 6 different copies and am constantly purchasing more (I might have a problem)! So when I heard that Madeline Miller was going to be at Parnassus Books in Nashville, I knew there was nothing on Olympus or in the Underworld that could keep me from going.

For those of you poor souls that haven’t heard of The Song of Achilles, I have a gushing review. If you’re a classics fan, if you’ve read the Iliad, or even if you had that Percy Jackson phase, I 1000% recommend.

Her next book, Circe, is about the goddess with the same name. It’s a sort of retelling of The Odyssey from Circe’s perspective and gives insight into her life in a way that ancient mythology didn’t delve into. Now, I haven’t read The Odyssey in years and I barely remember Circe at all. In fact, the only reason I know her name is the role she played in Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan. I look forward to hearing more about her character. From the excerpts I’ve read and from the answers that Madeline Miller gave during the event, I can’t wait to read about a badass goddess that uses witchcraft and turns men into pigs.

It came as a shock, but apparently, in Greek mythology, divine power and witchcraft are considered different. Whereas divine power is simple and straightforward, witchcraft is hands on and gritty.

I must have looked like the nerdiest person there. Not only did I sit in the first row (right next to V.E. Schwab who I could not for the life of me bring myself to talk to), I wore a sweatshirt that said ‘Patroclus’ right across the front and hugged my stack of assorted SoA copies. I’m positive that I had the most books out of everyone (5 as opposed to the 1-2 that most people had). By the time I reached the front of the signing line I stammered out how amazing The Song of Achilles was and that it changed my life. Madeline Miller is the nicest person ever, guys, because she commented on how she noticed my shirt and the crowd and instantly thought “I need to meet that girl!” My inner fangirl was screaming. How I wasn’t a sobbing mess is beyond me.

As if my swooning over her book wasn’t enough, I just had to hold up the line to ask questions. The #1 question that was swirling around my brain was “Why did you make Patroclus pacifistic when, in The Iliad, he’s seen as second to Achilles?” Patroclus is freaking badass and a crazy fighter, so seeing him so tame was different. In case you were wondering, my boy Pat made the second most kills in Homer’s story just behind Diomedes and ahead of Achilles. It takes Hector, some random dude, and freaking god Apollo to take him down! Her response was simply that she pulled the idea from Troilus and Cressida instead of Homer.

My #2 question was nitpicking and, in hindsight, not necessarily worth questioning, but I had to know. When Patroclus is scaling the walls of Troy, Apollo is depicted as being cold and aloof, which I totally understand as a god, but he was mentioned as having dark hair. In every painting I’ve see and every mention of him, he is almost always a blond. My thinking is; He’s the god of light and all, so why dark hair? Not surprisingly the answer was that Apollo has been vastly westernized and, therefore, given the Nordic features that we so commonly see. “I wanted to get away from that kind of ideology” is essentially what she said. She also mentioned that Achilles is mentioned as “fair haired”, but that the Greeks used colours differently. This can mean Achilles was blond, light brown, or even red (which might give insight as to his name ‘Pyrrha’ on Scyros). The ancient Greeks called blood purple, so interpretation is pretty open!

When I asked to take a picture she said “Of course! You’re wearing a Patroclus shirt!” and I don’t think any other phrase has made me smile that much. I felt a little weird about it, because no one else was talking so long and no one was really asking for pictures, but it was an amazing experience. To those of you that were stuck in line behind me, I am so sorry I talked for like 10 minutes. Madeline Miller is an awesome, unique individual. She really helped re-spark my love of Greek and Roman mythology (and my love of Patrochilles) and everyone needs to read her beautiful, lyrical books!

I love talking about signings, because no two are the same. Each author has their own way of explaining things and interacting with the audience. Some of them might be disappointing and some of them are fantastic. Meeting Madeline Miller was definitely the highlight of my year!