ABC Book Tag F

The Fire Sermon

“A history written in ashes, in bones. Before the blast, they say there’d been sermons about fire, about the end of the world. The fire itself gave the last sermon; after that there were no more.”

Francesca Haig’s, The Fire Sermon starts off slow but builds into a very enjoyable series. The plot is based around the idea that 400 years from now everyone is born with a twin. One twin will be the Alpha, born strong and healthy, and the other is born with a disfigurement or disability, an Omega. They are immediately separated and the Omega is sent to work fields, mines, etc. The catch is that the twins are connected, entwined in life and death. If one dies so does the other!

This is a fascinating concept and I love how Haig engineers the series! When you hit half-way point, the story really picks up and Haig hits her stride! Book two is also fantastic!

Fire

“While I was looking the other way your fire went out
Left me with cinders to kick into dust
What a waste of the wonder you were
In my living fire I will keep your scorn and mine
In my living fire I will keep your heartache and mine
At the disgrace of a waste of a life”

I am a big fan of Kristin Cashore’s books! Fire is one of my favourites as it is connected to Graceling, but can also stand on its own. The story follows Fire, a woman named for her bright red hair. She is considered a monster due to her ability to read minds. This is a fun adventure with a touch of Young Adult romance.

The Falconers Knot

“Study your prey, learn her habits, accustom her to your presence by seeming harmless and kind. And then, when she is tame and off-guard, you pounce!”

Set in Renaissance Venice, this story follows Silvano da Montacuto who is a marked man. He is accused of murder and is sent to a Franciscan House, to poise as a young monk. Soon after he meets Chiara who also living with a secret. Both are unable to say how they feel about one another. As the story continues more bodies are found through out Venice and Silvano must solve the murders to clear his name.

This story kept me on my toes. As someone with an Italian background. I was fascinated by the social constructs and really enjoyed reading it.

Feed 

“The difference between the truth and a lie is that both of them can hurt, but only one will take the time to heal you afterward.”

This one is currently in my top ten! Love this series to death! (See what I did there?) The Newsflesh trilogy is set in the near future, following the zombie rising. It centers around three bloggers as they follow the Republican candidate in the upcoming election. It is a political thriller with zombies, calling it a horror novel actually does this series a disservice as it is phenomenal but I would argue not a horror series. The zombies are part of the environment but not the central conflict. That is part of what makes this book so gripping, it is unique and I love all the characters perspectives. If you’re looking for banter and suspense look no further.

This one was very enjoyable to make! Love all four of these books and hope you do too! Do you have any other books to add to the list? Leave them in the comments along with what you thought of these books!

Mira~

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Maji Mood Boards

I’ve been editing Maji Born in a lot of my free time and spent some of today creating mood boards for my main cast. I find that having a visual element when plotting, problem-solving, and creating can be extremely helpful. Mood boards and playlists are a big part of my planning process.

I use BeFunky to create my boards with the help of Pinterest.

All photos were sourced from Pinterest and the rights remain with their creators, who have all made some truly gorgeous pieces!

These boards are used purely as a writing resource, and help me to visualize my characters more fully.

Maji Types

Jedart – Born blind with heightened sense of hearing and smell.
Kayasdart – Born with a heightened sense of sight (night vision), they have no sense of smell or taste, and very little to no body hair.
Urdart – Born with blue energy marks along the chakras, draw energy from around them. The spots glow when energy is being channeled through their bodies, they also have bright blue eyes.

Characters

Lavinia
Eirian
Devarak
Zehara
Elidain
Radek
Carsire

And a few extras… I won’t give you the details to them as they’re for later in the series…

Mira~

My 2018 Year in Review

A lot has changed for me in 2018. At the beginning of the year, Mira Sinclair came into existence. Creating Mira was a big decision for me. I’ve always loved my given name but between pronouncing it and spelling it there has always been loads of miscommunication. Mira Sinclair was both a business and personal decision creating a separation between my personal and professional personas.


I also moved across Canada, relocating from Vancouver Island to Ontario. This was a plan that I had ruminate on for a few years. I grew up in BC so it was a big decision!

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Since moving I have settled into my new life without much trouble. I feel much healthier now as I have spent 2018 focusing on both my physical and mental health. I have lost 23lbs since last year (something I am very proud of) and now run, walk, and dance twice as much as I used to. I also eat a lot better and have begun meditating, singing more frequently, and listening to my body.


As for writing it has been a pretty big year! I’ve been focused on Maji Born which is well on its way to publication, though it still needs several editing passes and betas (if you’re interested please pm me). I have started writing book two and am working on a collection of other projects as well. Though the Maji Chronicles is still my main focus going into 2019. I have also been placing a stronger emphasis on my blog and Wattpad and plan to keep posting relatively frequently. I continue to grow and learn as a writer via a selection of online courses and hopefully, that will show as I continue to edit Maji Born.

Going into 2019 my professional goal is to finish editing Maji Born and publish it at long last. Keep in mind that I will likely finish writing book two before pressing publish on book one. That way the wait won’t be insane for book two!

My personal goal is to get stronger. I want to learn to break dance and start a lightsaber dueling club (technically I have one already, but we haven’t built blades yet). I also want to be able to run for thirty minutes instead of twenty.


What are your goals for 2019?

A Guide To Writing With Cats

Picture this, you are sitting in a comfy armchair with a steaming cup of tea, you have just sat down to write your novel.  You open up your laptop, wrap your favourite blanket around your shoulders and open up your document.  That’s when your feline friend appear with the desire to gain your attention.  Suddenly your lap is consumed by your cat and a paw is lounging absentmindedly over your keyboard blocking your ability to type. 

You have two choices, kick the cat off your lap, or stop writing.  Neither seems appealing, since on a normal day your cat would prefer to ignore your existence completely (barring the daily food inquisition).

You opt to stop writing. A terrible decision really. Instead you close your laptop and give your kitty cat a proper scratch behind the ears. This is of course the moment that your cat decides they’re done with you and leaps away to go lie on the adjacent couch. Feeling both betrayed and abandoned you now sit alone and laptop-less trying to decipher what has just happened.

So here’s my solution. I sit somewhere where the cat can curl up beside me. I lure her with a rather fluffy blanket or my house coat and when she jumps up to lie on my laptop I offer her the enticing cuddle spot beside my workplace. My cat is now comfy and warm and has partial attention. This seems to work well for me. I chose to situate myself on the couch by our gas fireplace, this way we’re are both cozy and set up to write. Now you might be thinking, yeah okay how nice for the cat but how does this help me write?

A) You now have full mobility and the freedom to make all the extreme arm motions needed for plot and character development, don’t lie we all do it.

B) You can now get up when you need to, just slide the blanket over slightly and sneak off, you should be able to run to the bathroom and back without disturbing kitty, I would not suggest making food however as cats tend to be well aware of this process and will be on you faster than a moth to light.

C) You have a guaranteed distraction. If you need a moment away from you screen just give your kitty cat a pet. Are you trying to problem solve a scene, meditate on it for a few minutes by scratching kitty behind the ears.

Personally this works great for me. If you write at a desktop computer consider buying a comfy bench or putting a cardboard box on your desk for your furry companion.

Good Luck with your writing and cat cuddling,

Mira~

5 Reason To Use Dabble Writer

Cloud Based Syncing 

My favourite part of Dabble Writer is its worry-free backups. A few weeks ago my laptop battery reached the end of my life and for the first time, I did not panic about losing my writing. I felt 100% confidence in that fact that Dabble Writer had my back.

Prior to starting to use Dabble Writer back in 2016, I had bounced through a selection of other software, none of which automatically backed up to the cloud. I lose several projects to my computers crashing or the software crashing. I have never had that issue with Dabble Writer. I even went as far as to accidentally delete my novel a few months ago. This made me panic as I figured it was an irreversible mistake.

Jacob, the creator of Dabble Writer, immediately informed me on how to access the archive of my deleted projects and I was able to restore the whole thing with one click. That was the moment that I became a complete convert to Dabble Writer before I bounced between Scrivener and Google Drive.


Simplicity

Dabble Writer is simplistic on so many levels. When you open the program you can easily locate all main functions. When you first create a project it auto-generates a document containing a manuscript, chapter one, and scene one. It also will contain a plot section and a story notes section.

You have the choice between a light and a dark mode, as well as the option to auto-fade out the side panels while writing, enabling you to write without distractions.

At the present time, Dabble Writer focuses on the actual craft of writing, it chooses to do without extra fonts and formatting options, as many of these features are purely extra details. Dabble Writer has stated that it is planning on adding a few of those options in the future but are working on a way to keep the software uncluttered and accessible.


Organization

As mentioned about Dabble Writer is split into sections, Manuscript, Plot, and Story Notes. Each section is set up as a section with the option to add new folders with notes, chapters, or plot boards.  

 I find this set up very useful for my personal writing style. It allows me to flip between my notes, plot information, and story with ease. As you can see above I’ve sectioned my manuscript into four manuscripts and a short story.

Dabble Writer is very flexible and really allows you to customize your document to your personal process. You’ll note below that my plotting document is actually under Story Notes.

That is because when I plot I tend to prefer grand strokes and larger descriptive summaries rather than a point by point approach. After my first draft, I go back and fill out the plot section with a three-act structure and more intricate plot information.


Goal Oriented Word Counter

My favourite feature at this point is Dabble Writers goal tracker.  I don’t know about you but I am highly motivated by graphs and statistics.  Watching my word count get higher and inch closer to goal is a very motivating experience for me and Dabble Writer makes it simple. 

On the right side of each project is your daily word count.  You can set a project goal, daily goal, days off, and more.  During November you can even auto-submit your word count to the National Novel Writing Month website if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo. 

I particularly like checking my daily writing against previous dates to see how frequently I write and how much I have been writing. When looking at your weekly word count you can also toggle between your current project and all your projects. 

This gives you an idea of how much you write in general instead of just on the one project.  I for instance am a multitasker so in one session I might write seven hundred words on one project and then another fourteen hundred on another.   


User Contribution and Growth

Dabble Writer is always evolving and growing. Your voice is heard and that shows with every update. Dabble Writer has an upvote page for suggestions for new features and updates. The current focus is on a mobile and tablet application, which is one of the larger features, search and replace, and spell check are also high on the list.

If you are looking for a writing program that cares and wants to work for you Dabble Writer is for you. It has a month by month or yearly option for subscribers, a discount can be earned through participation in National Novel Writing Month, and customer support is quick to respond, and extremely helpful.


The views and opinions are mine alone, I have no affiliation with Dabble Writer aside from my love for the software.  

ABC Book Tag E

As the new year is quickly approaching I figured I should publish another book tag! This one was quite difficult.  Turns out there aren’t a lot of books that start with the letter “E”!

An Enchantment of Ravens –  Lisa Mantchev

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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson is a delightful and playful, YA Fantasy.  The story follows Isobel a gift painter who works for the fae.  Though a series of wonderful scenes she meets the Autumn Prince and together they head into the fae realms.

This was actually my latest read (I have now begun Ready Player One), and I whole heartedly enjoyed it.  It is light and fun which was exactly what I was looking for! Also that cover! Isn’t it stunning?!? It was done by Charlie Bowater, who has officially become one of my favourite cover designers, it’s a fantastic cover!

“Why do we desire, above all other things, that which has the greatest power to destroy us?”

“No. You surpass us all.” Beside me she looked colorless and frail. “You are like a living rose among wax flowers. We may last forever, but you bloom brighter and smell sweeter, and draw blood with your thorns.”

 

Eyes Like Stars –  Margaret Rogerson

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This is a fascinating book.  It is written like a shakespearian play and takes place on the stage.  I’m not sure what it is about the letter “E” but most of two out of four of my picks have something to do with fae!  Maybe it has something to do with how much I enjoy reading about them…

This story follows Bertie Shakespeare Smith, a girl who lives on stage but never acts.  She is forced from the wings at the start of the story.  This is also YA Fantasy.  It is light, whimsical, fun, and throughly enjoyable.

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

“He pulled her close. “Someday, I will win your trust, and you will be the one to set me free. I know it.”
“I won’t.” Bertie recoiled from both him and the assertion she would do such a thing. “Not ever.”
Ariel made no move to touch her again, though his words were a caress. “Don’t make promises you won’t be able to keep.”

 

 

The Legend of Eli Monpress – Rachel Aaron

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Ah Eli Monpress.  You may have previously noticed my affinity for Rachel Aaron’s work! This is no exception! This was my first venture into her mind and I loved every minute of it.  The first line hooked me immediately and didn’t let me go… Eli Monpress is imprisoned and trying to wake up the door to his cell.  Yes you heard me right! Wake up a door.  This is due to the fact that he can speak to spirits, and everything has a spirit including the door to his cell.  It is a cheeky and enjoyable series with plenty of drama, a little romance, and lots of sarcasm!

“Lady,” the Master of Security said, shaking his head, “if you’re here to warn the king about Eli, then you’re a little late.”
Miranda scowled. “You mean he’s already stolen the artifact?”
“No.” The Master of Security sighed. “He’s stolen the king.”

“First rule of thievery,’ Eli said, grinning, ‘only run if you’re not coming back.’ (…) ‘First rule of thievery, never use the same entrance twice.’ Miranda rolled her eyes. ‘How many ‘first rules’ of thievery do you have?’ ‘When one mistake can mean your head on a pike, every rule’s a first rule,’ Eli said cheerfully.”

 

 

 

Eragon – Christopher Paolini

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This one was a given.  I feel that excluding Eragon may have ended any chance of getting through this list in one piece! Eragon is a fantastic read as well, for me that is due almost entirely to the world building.  I still remember my brother walking around our farm trying to call birds to him in the Ancient Language.  It was also part of the reason I wanted to have a dragon. (Want to have a dragon…)

“Books are my friends, my companions. They make me laugh and cry and find meaning in life.”

“People have an annoying habit of remembering things they shouldn’t.”

 

 

 

Sorry for the wait! I’m off to edit Chapters 16 and 17 of Maji Born!

Mira~

December Again

November has drawn to a close, and with it another year of NaNoWriMo.  This year was less of a success story and more of an evolution.  As I struggled to convince myself to buckle down and focus on writing my single story I came to the realization that I do not enjoy writing one book at a time.  I have always known myself to be a multitasker, when I write I listen to music and bounce between projects, blog posts, and running my social media channels.  I like to write multiple things at once.  When I need to let a project simmer I  simply flip to the other project and spend a bit of time editing, plotting, world building, or simply refreshing within another genre.  This keeps me motivated and inspired.

This year during NaNoWriMo I was also focused on helping set up a new store at work, we moved down the street to a bigger location, this made my world a little more chaotic.  I also was an ML (Municipal liaison) this year which was another layer in the story of November.

I didn’t win this year.  It’s not because I couldn’t, or cause I wasn’t into the story, it was more that I was unmotivated and unhappy focusing on just the one project.  I have won NaNoWriMo twice in the past, and loved every minute of it, but this year I couldn’t convince myself to write. I just didn’t want to and that’s okay. Instead I made some covers and plotted, I edited Maji Born and did a bit of writing for Book Two, and yes I did complete 30k in my Sci-fi project.  I still wrote and got stuff done I just didn’t feel a need to prove myself this year.

I am happy to say that in 2018 I built a solid writing habit, with the help of #DabbleWriter and #MagicSpreadsheet, I now write almost everyday, or if I don’t write I record inspiration, leave notes for myself, or edit. I feel that I am slowly but surely pursuing my dream of becoming a published author.  With each typed word and every learning curve conquered I reach the next step in my journey.

With that I’m off to follow my own advise and write/edit/multitask.  Tonight I will be focusing on Maji Born and my fan fiction – From the Ashes, I may write a bit of Book Two of the Maji Chronicles too!

Mira Out ~