The State of the Writer: 11/29/20

<–The State of the Writer: 11/15/20         The State of the Writer: 12/13/20–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Status: Preparation
Progress:
Setting up notes in Scrivener

Besides finding the perfect artwork of my protagonist I’ve been very productive.  It’s all worldbuilding shit right now, but I purchased the full version of Scrivener, and I’ve been working on it bit by bit every day.  I tend to come up with ideas as I’m working, which is a bit of a catch 22 since I’m a plotter, so I need to know what I’m writing before I write it.  This doesn’t mean I can’t change, but I have to have some kind of vague idea of where I’m going.  Granted, I completely changed the end of my first novel and had no clue how I was going to end Northern Lights when I wrote it, but I had all of the necessary elements to start.  With this one I have a similar issue where I’m not sure how the titular character’s major issue resolves, but as I mentioned I come up with my best ideas while writing, so yeah…

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Title: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Author: Leslye Walton
Date Added: August 2, 2016
Date Started: August 6, 2018
Date Finished: September 3, 2018
Reading Duration: 28 days
Genre: Fantasy/Magical Realism, Paranormal, Young Adult (YA)

Cover of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye WaltonPages: 301
Publication Date: March 27, 2014
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Media: Paperback


Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.

First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.


Note: I’m going to split this into two sections: Review and Analysis.  The Analysis section will have spoilers whereas the Review will be just that.


Review

Foreseeing the future…means nothing if there is nothing to be done to prevent it.

Ava Lavender is a girl born with brown speckled bird wings in a world where magic might blend with the mundane but does nothing to mitigate grief.    Ava’s life is seeped with sorrow, and she came by it honestly.  The first part of the novel lays out the past to feature her French forebears with the apt surname of “Roux.”

Picture of Common Rue from Wikipedia

Pronunciation the same as the plant

All of them saddled with unlucky love and dying too young to reap the full sorrows.  Only her grandmother Emilienne survived to birth her mother Viviane who herself suffered love unreturned.

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The State of the Writer: 11/15/20

<–The State of the Writer: 11/1/20         The State of the Writer: 11/29/20–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Status: Preparation
Progress:
Setting up notes in Scrivener

Holy shit…there’s a new story in the status lol.  I’ve talked about this one before I shelved it for a while, but I’m back at it now that The Broken Rose is finished.  This is the story I wanted to use TBR as a test run for.  I attempted to do it for NaNoWriMo a few years ago, but I wound up scrapping the whole thing and starting over.  The first chapter was boring, and I needed to do something else.

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The State of the Writer: 11/1/20

<–The State of the Writer: 10/18/20         The State of the Writer: 11/15/20–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1


Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Length: Novel
Final Word Count: 249,902
Prior Word Count: 250,147
Word Difference: -245
Status: Finished

I wrote this in the authors note, but my god…this was an experience.  I learn something new with every story I write.  Among other things I realized something that’s supposed to just be an idea trial for something else could turn into the longest thing I’ve ever written and stand on its own merits.  I also expanded on my own person Aeriseph head canon universe in ways I never dreamed of, but even more so I realized things about myself I never considered.  Granted as I grow older I conclude more aspects of my identity, but with what I write and what I want to write it comes even clearer.

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The Last Thing You See by Marie Batiste (Rachel Dixon #1)

Title: The Last Thing You See
Series: Rachel Dixon
Author: Marie Batiste
Date Added: March 26, 2020
Date Started: June 23, 2020
Date Finished: July 9, 2020
Reading Duration: 16 days
Genre: Fantasy, Supernatural/Paranormal, Horror, Mystery/Murder Mystery

Cover of The Last Thing You See by Marie BatistePages: 185
Publication Date: February 5, 2020
Publisher: Self
Media: eBook/Kindle


Riley Green’s parents came home one morning to find their daughter missing and human organs in their dining room.

Following a ten-month suspension, forced rehab and a tumultuous divorce, New Orleans Detective Rachel Dixon is finally stitching her life back together when she is called to a strange crime scene. Joined by her new partner, Elias Crowe an intuitive elf dealing with discrimination in the department, Rachel starts the search for Riley’s killer.

Soon the investigation leads them to a series of strange murders not just in the city but across the nation. Desperate to find the killer the detectives seek help from an undead blood analyst, a standoffish necromancer, a tree spirit, and a living sculpture. But when the killer seems to have set their eyes on Rachel all the help and magic in the world may not be enough to catch the elusive serial killer.

Join the detectives as they maneuver through a familiar world stitched together with magic, blood, and animosity.


Rachel Dixon is a flawed but intensely likable detective who is being overly punished for the mistakes she’s made in the past.  The world merged with a magical one around twenty years ago, and the oddness and curiosity around this event is maintained throughout the novel as even the inhabitants of it remain clueless to the entirety of the effects.  The characters treat the world like their world (as you do).  There’s no info dumping; you’re given enough to understand how things work, and that’s all it is.  It’s like if you lived in a reality where magic existed, you wouldn’t bat an eye at it when it manifests, because it would be as commonplace as a smartphone.

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Preacher, Volume 1: Gone to Texas by Garth Ennis (Preacher #1) (DNF)

Title: Preacher, Volume 1:  Gone to Texas
Series: Preacher
Author: Garth Ennis
Artist: Joe R. Lansdale
Date Added: September 13, 2017
Date Started: August 23, 2018
Date DNF: August 23, 2018
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic, Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural/Paranormal

Cover of Preacher: Volume 1, Gone to Texas by Garth Ennis and Joe R. LansdalePages: 336
Publication Date: 1995
Publisher: Vertigo
Media: Paperback – Library


One of the most celebrated comics titles of the late 1990s, PREACHER is a modern American epic of life, death, love and redemption also packed with sex, booze, blood and bullets – not to mention angels, demons, God, vampires and deviants of all stripes.

At first glance, the Reverend Jesse Custer doesn’t look like anyone special-just another small-town minister slowly losing his flock and his faith. But he’s about to come face-to-face with proof that God does indeed exist. Merging with a bizarre spiritual force called Genesis, Jesse now possesses the power of “the Word,” an ability to make people do whatever he utters. He begins a violent and riotous journey across the country in search of answers from the elusive deity.


I love when I’m reading something and BAM, racial slur.  I was already on the fence about this and that sealed it for me.  This isn’t to say I’ve never read or never will read anything with slurs.  There are definitely valid reasons to use them in a work, so please don’t get it twisted and assume that’s the reason I shelved this.  It was more the final straw in a story I wasn’t that into in the first place.

This one of those narratives you’d think I’d be in love with: a small town preacher forcefully merges with a half-angel, half-demon being named Genesis and parts of the story takes place literally in Heaven with angels (Seraphi and Adephi), but it’s not really my style or aesthetic.  The story also jumps around so much, it comes off as frenetic.  I know it’s a big fan favorite (it has over four stars on Goodreads), but it’s not for me.

The State of the Writer: 7/26/20

<–The State of the Writer: 7/12/20         The State of the Writer: 8/9/20–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1


Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 251,552
Prior Word Count: 251,855
Word Difference: -303
Status: Editing
Progress: Prepping to post

I’m going back and forth on whether or not I need to do a third edit.  I did make some changes in the second, but I can’t decide if they were major enough for at least another read through.  Idk.  I have started looking for potential chapter covers, so it seems like my brain is telling me that’s what I should be doing lol.  I do still need to write the summary, but whether I do a final edit or not,  I should have the chapter posted before the end of the week.

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Supernice: Smile. Or Else. by Petra Jacob

Title: Supernice: Smile. Or Else.
Author: Petra Jacob
Date Added: June 11, 2020
Date Started: May 20, 2020
Date Finished: June 22, 2020
Reading Duration: 33 Days
Genre: Science Fiction (Sci-Fi)/Speculative Fiction, Young Adult (YA)

Cover of Supernice by Petra JacobPages: 284
Publication Date: May 30, 2020
Publisher: Self
Media: eBook/Kindle


A funny and gripping story about a tyrannical alien invasion in a sleepy seaside town.

Chirpy YouTuber Nick and his cynical teenage daughter Natasha have their lives thrown into turmoil one afternoon when the walls start swallowing people. Over the next week, more and more are snatched away, until the announcement is made: Earth is under new management. Aliens have taken control and they’re not happy with how humans have been behaving.

The new leaders introduce a series of increasingly oppressive rules. Make a single mistake and you’ll be taken away – to be transformed into an upstanding member of the community.
An upstanding, smiling member of the community with a brain like mashed potato.

As their town, and the world, are thrown into chaos and the streets are filled with grinning automatons, Nick and Natasha each find their own way to deal with the horror. Nick becomes a YouTube celebrity, convincing the public to behave. Natasha joins a makeshift rebellion working out how to dodge the alien demands. Each wants the best for the other, but they end up on opposing sides in humanity’s most vital and bizarre battle.

Will they ever be united against the real enemy? Will the human race become the docile drones that the aliens want? Or is universal niceness an impossible and undesirable dream?


Supernice reveals the disparity between how the younger and older generations view and deal with an alien invasion, and the author showcases this early in Nick and Natasha, the father and daughter MCs whose perspectives the narrative bounces between.  This isn’t to say neither of their viewpoints change/evolve, but it is fascinating to witness how easily some people are taken in for the benefits, while others, while afforded and seemingly offered some of the same, understand the deeper implications sooner and reject them despite the cost.

This is one of those stories where the bad happening seems almost good, similar to the sentiment of “we’re the virus” in response to the current global pandemic.

Remember kids, be fashionable not fashy

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The Crow Box by Nikki Rae (Shadow and Ink #1)

Title: The Crow Box
Series: Shadow and Ink
Author: Nikki Rae
Date Added: July 8, 2016
Date Started: August 9, 2018
Date Finished: August 22, 2018
Reading Duration: 13 day
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror

Cover of The Crow Box by Nikki Rae (Shadow and Ink #1)Pages: 164
Publication Date: January 14, 2016
Publisher: Self
Media: eBook/Kindle


The small wooden box is dirty, the size of a human fist, and sealed with wax. When Corbin takes it upon herself to clean it and break the seal, a voice she has tried to ignore gathers strength. Shadows play on the walls at night, and with a family history of mental illness, Corbin fears the worst. But the voice tells her it is real. That its name is Six and it will prove it in time.

Drawn to this mysterious entity, Corbin isn’t sure what to believe and the line between reality and her imagination blurs more every day.

Some doors should not be opened; can this one be closed?


This novel did many good things.  It established its characters really well from the start.  We know Corbin’s mother is a hoarder without the MC needing to blatantly say it, and it makes it all the more real because we’re shown.  She (the mom in this case) has some kind of mental health condition that allows her to collect disability (which in and of itself is a privilege), and she has her “good” days where she can put on a bathrobe, fix her hair and makeup, and cook burnt toast and runny eggs.

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Monstress by Marjorie Liu (DNF)

Title: Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening & Vol. 2, The Blood
Series: Monstress
Author: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Sana Takeda
Date Added: August 9, 2018
Date Started: August 13, 2017
Date DNF: August 16, 2018
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic, Dark Fantasy, Horror, Dystopian, Steampunk

Pages: 72 & 152
Publication Dates: November 4, 2015 & July 11, 2017
Publisher: Image Comics
Media: Paperback


Set in an alternate world of art deco beauty and steampunk horror, Montress tells the epic story of Maika Halfwolf, a teenage survivor of a cataclysmic war between humans and their hated enemies, the Arcanics. In the face of oppression and terrible danger, Maika is both hunter and hunted, searching for answers about her mysterious past as those who seek to use her remain just one step behind…and all the while, the monster within begins to awaken.


This series is as beautifully brutal as it is convoluted.  It combines Lovecraft mythos with Egyptian mythology and Irish folklore (The Fair Folk) among other things to weave a world of magic and savagery.  Where “there’s more hunger in this world than love” is exemplified by starving slaves eating the contents of a dead boy’s stomach.

Maika Halfwolf has a monster living inside her, and her quest for the truth leads to her enigmatic mother and beyond, while she hides from those who would use her in a land full of political intrigue and betrayal.

Sana Takeda’s artwork is absolutely gorgeous,

Image panel from the first volume Continue reading