I’m Writing A BOOK!

This past year I vowed to become a more dedicated reader, establishing a routine to pick up my kindle every night before bed. After reaching ‘my reading goal of 35 books’ I read 39 novels in 2018! Woohoo!

Whilst reading each book I would observe how they were successful and why. In books I loved, I realized:

  • There was never a dull moment: the plot progressed on every page.
  • I could personally connect to one, if not all of the characters on some level.
  • Each chapter left me wanting to turn the page and find out what happens next, thus reading later and later into the night.

Since I was little I have always wanted to be a writer. I have been fortunate to have several of my plays produced professionally, written a couple short stories, but in my adult life- I have never attempted to write a novel.

I had tried writing ‘books’ when I was growing up but always threw in the towel after trying endlessly to write the first chapter. “This is too hard. I don’t know what’s going to happen.” After writing several plays, I learned that planning out my story helps my writing immensely. I don’t have to think about what should happen next, I already know- I just have to focus on fleshing out the current moment.

After reading so many books this year, I have decided: I’m going to write my own novel. This is what I want to do next, be an author of my favorite genre of book: a young adult fantasy novel.

Since September I have been creating my own world: Midon, crafting characters like Morgan, Leon, Tabitha, and developing an epic story full of villains, magical quests, and fantastical powers. I have successfully outlined the first two books in the series and am currently working on the third (out of my expected four).

“The fantasy world of Midon is divided into four parts: Nexton, Corton, Susston, and Eracton. Each realm’s citizens possess supernatural abilities of sight: Nexus seers can touch an object and see that item’s past or future, Sussurus seers can communicate with spirits, Eractus can speak to one another silently in their thoughts, while Cortus seers can project their visions to people all over the continent. All four types of seers protect their own sacred relic that keeps the universe in balance.

On the millennium anniversary of the relics’ creation, Morgan discovers that she is part of an epic prophecy to protect the relics from falling into the hands of The Elice: a resurrected Darke cult. Join Morgan as she sharpens her sight, joins forces to protect the relics, and discovers more about her family history than she could’ve ever imagined.”

I know that writing a novel is going to be ten times harder than I already imagine it to be, and I know that I have not received a formal education in writing fiction, but this is something that I really want to do, and I’m going to do it! My goal for completing my first draft: approx 60,000 words, will be due on December 23rd, 2019.

Wish me luck!

2018: A Year In Review

This year could not have gone by faster. What the even heck! I swear that we just rang in the new year a month ago! I had so many wonderful moments in 2018, getting to continue stretching myself as an artist and a person.

I am so grateful for all of my friends and family for their continuous love and support. Below I have compiled my top 18 moments of 2018! ūüôā

Top 18 Events in 2018

  1. Celebrated my 23rd birthday in rehearsal for Frog & Toad, Spring Awakening, and then going out to dinner with Travis & the amazing MMT Apprentice Company
  2. Raised $280 on my birthday for The Trevor Project
  3. Boyfriend Travis & I celebrated one year together in June.
  4. Traveled to Europe for the first time: family vacation in Portugal- see the video blog here
  5. Saw 22 movies #RequiemMoviePass (Mary Poppins Returns, Crimes of Grindlewald, First Man, Mister Rogers, Ant-Man, Jurassic World, Incredibles II, Solo, Isle of Dogs, Tully, Avengers, Quiet Place, Ready Player One, Jumanji, Wrinkle In Time, Love Simon, Lady Bird, Winchester, Black Panther, Call Me By Your Name, Insidious, and The Post)
  6. Read 39 novels- see the list here
  7. Saw 17 theatrical productions, the majority at Mill Mountain Theatre and two on Broadway (Waitress & Once on This Island)! AND HAMILTON!
  8. Taught 256 students in the spring & fall semester, and in summer camps.
  9. Travis & I traveled Emerald Isle, North Carolina to our friend Sammy’s beach house
  10. Performed on stage in Spring Awakening (Otto) and A Simple Gift (Sam Cameron) at Mill Mountain Theatre
  11. Traveled to Los Angeles to see Travis’s production of Spring Awakening
  12. I was Pikachu along with my boyfriend Travis (Ash) and friend Michelle (Jessie- Team Rocket) for Halloween
  13. I voted in the midterm elections
  14. I directed ‘Shakespeare’s The Tempest’, ‘Auditions’ (Write Stuff!), and ‘A Year With Frog and Toad TYA’.
  15. I wrote Mother Goose Tales, a short play for young audiences, that also had its premiere in May at Mill Mountain Theatre in May of this year.
  16. I wrote 18 articles for BroadwayWorld, my blog, and The Ensemblist
  17. I went back to Shenandoah to speak on an Alumni Panel
  18. I continued meditating every day currently, my streak is on day 595

Thank you if you were involved in my 2018– I am so appreciative of you making this year wonderful!

Book Review: The Line

On to the next book! I discovered recently that if you have an Amazon Prime account, there is a¬†Prime Reading catalog, that has hundreds of Kindle books you can download and read for free. My last book: Treasure of Saint-Lazare: A Novel of Paris, was from that catalog and didn’t exactly do it for me. But J.D. Horn’s¬†The Line was an awesome read- full of magic, witches, and fast-paced drama. When I finished this, I immediately¬†bought the second book of the series (The Source) which I am currently reading.

“Savannah is considered a Southern treasure, a city of beauty with a rich, colorful past. Some might even call it magical‚Ķ”

“To the uninitiated, Savannah shows only her bright face and genteel manner. Those who know her well, though, can see beyond her colonial trappings and small-city charm to a world where witchcraft is respected, Hoodoo is feared, and spirits linger. Mercy Taylor is all too familiar with the supernatural side of Savannah, being a member of the most powerful family of witches in the South.”

I was torn between starting two books, and thankfully¬†The Line is what my boyfriend convinced me to read first. (He hasn’t read either book, but thought this one sounded cool…He was right!)

Many¬†GoodReads reviews were in agreement that this book was entertaining but mediocre, and I can see both sides of the argument. At the beginning¬†of the story, there are many metaphors that are repeatedly used;¬†as if the author’s editor wasn’t focused for the first twenty pages. This book is no means Pulitzer Prize-winning, but the narrative and flow of the novel¬†rapidly increases in quality and speed as the book goes on. There are so many layers of this plot that I continued gasping and was excited/appalled when things did not go as I expected them to.

The Line is told in first-person, my favorite perspective in literature, I feel much more immersed when the character communicates to the reader as if we were them like ‘I could feel my heartbeat quicken’ (not a line from the book, I made it up, trust me his words are far more compelling.)¬†

Recently I have been reading a lot of realistic fiction, and I missed the fantasy genre. Fantasy fiction is what made me fall in love with reading when I was a child, and I believe that’s why I like this book so much; it’s revisiting¬†my favorite kind of story.¬†The Line discusses magic in the realm of energy: witches are able to use their energy and shape it into magic, where other characters (non-witches) can perform magic- but only if they take energy from others, often¬†stealing it from witches.¬†

I greatly recommend this book! Super quick read- couldn’t put it down!¬†Buy it now on Amazon.com

DETAILS

Title: The Line (Witching Savannah Book 1)
Author: J.D. Horn
Series(?): Witching Savannah Series

Publisher: 47North
Publication Date: February 1, 2014

Source & Format: Kindle, borrowed from Amazon
Page Count: 298
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Rating:¬†‚ėÖ‚ėÖ‚ėÖ‚ėÖ

Comment below if you’ve read¬†The Line, let me know what you thought! ūüôā

Book Review: Treasure of Saint-Lazare: A Novel of Paris

Most recently I finished reading Treasure of Saint-Lazare: A Novel of Paris.¬†I borrowed this book for free on my Kindle as part of the¬†Prime Reading membership on Amazon, and it was exactly the kind of book I needed after reading¬†Little Women. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved¬†Little Women,¬†but this kind of gripping and fast moving story was perfect after such a lovely tale of four sisters, where not much happened other than some tragic deaths in the family and lovely romances…

The story of Treasure of Saint-Lazare¬†follows protagonist¬†Eddie Grant when his former lover (Jen) shows up in Paris with a letter addressed to his deceased father. Jen & Eddie’s fathers were special operatives in World War II and were in charge of tracking down and retrieving all the famous art the Nazi party stole. Combining MYSTERY and ART HISTORY, this book was bound to be my cup-of-tea. There were many fun and exciting surprises throughout the book, where I’d audibly gasp while reading.

Jen’s appearance in Paris is the catalyst for Eddie and his friends to embark on a dangerous adventure through the romantic city and even Sarasota to discover the most valuable Nazi loot that still has not been found; a famous ‘Raphael self-portrait’ with crates of gold- worth billions today. Those treasures are intended to finance the Fourth Reich.

Plot locations were straddled between Sarasota, Florida and Paris, France. When reading the author’s bio I learned that he indeed was from both spots as well. It was really interesting reading his descriptions of all things Parisian, how elegant and smooth the culture was compared to America. It was quite apparent that he definitely thought higher of France than he did of the States.

Action. Adventure. A manhunt with twists, turns, and surprises that make your heart race…”

One thing that I did not care for in the author’s narrative was how many American’s depicted in the story were overweight or obese. Granted I get it- ‘the greatest country in the world also has the greatest problem with obesity’. But it would just rub me the wrong way how the author was almost fat-shaming several of the characters. Yes, all individuals within a novel should be all shapes and sizes, it was just rude to paint¬†the overweight people in such a negative light.¬†

Other than the occasional fat-shame and fleeting clich√© crime-novel dialogue, I really did enjoy¬†Treasure of Saint-Lazare. It inspired me to keep reading and discover what was going to happen- if this painting even still existed…

If I purchased this in the bookstore I would’ve been a bit disappointed, due to some thoughts stated above, but I actually enjoyed it as it had been a free novel through the Kindle Prime-Reading membership. If you want fast paced adventure then I think¬†this is definitely a library borrow. It was a quick and interesting read.

Details

Title: Treasure of Saint-Lazare: A Novel of Paris (The Eddie Grant Series Book 1)
Author: John Pearce
Series(?): The Eddie Grant Series

Publisher: Alesia Press LLC
Publication Date: January 13, 2017

Source & Format: Kindle, borrowed from Amazon
Page Count: 252
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Rating:¬†‚ėÖ‚ėÖ‚ėÖ