Novel Update – We’ve Got a Cover!

Now that we’ve finalized the design for the cover, I’m also excited to announce that there will be ARC’s available very soon.

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has followed my updates and shown support during each stage of this book. Your encouragement helped me push through and I’m incredibly grateful for all of it.

Over the next week I will be releasing more information about the ARC’s, for those interested in reviewing, but for now I will be sharing that little teaser image and letting you know that the ARC’s provided will be in ebook format.

Here is a little more information:

Target Audience: YA.

Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Romance…

Hmm…First or Third Person P.O.V?

When writing there are times when I consider changing from a 1st to 3rd person narration. I like reading both and I like writing both, but I find depending on the story one works better than the other. My debut was written in 3rd person but I’d say around least 85% of my other work is in 1st person P.O.V.

Right now, I’m having this debate with myself while editing one of my projects. This book however is a stand alone project, which I miraculously churned out nineteen chapters for in a week. I still have no idea how I did that. I just couldn’t stop writing. At one point my Dad asked me about my progress and when I looked at my plot chart I went “Oh no…I’m almost at the end.”

Personally I think it was because I’d been on a writing break for so long while editing and prepping my debut for publication.

I felt like my character’s in this book were just so mad at me for dropping them two words into chapter twenty (sorry!).

I really want to capture this story properly, so I’ve decided to take notes and potentially rewrite it in 3rd person. I’m not 100% sure about the perspective change yet…but it can’t hurt to try right? What I am sure of is that the opening scene is currently lacking. The setting isn’t clear until around the 5th chapter and the first few lines are…the best way I can describe it is awkward and clumsy like me at thirteen hiding behind a book from my long-time crush during lunch like Violet from The Incredibles and then when he says hi I blush, slam my face into the book and scream internally like, “HE NOTICED ME!”

Anyway, I’d say this has been enough procrastination.

Just a heads up, the video below has swearing in it!

Absolutely Delightful…

Have you ever been so immersed in a book it’s almost as if you were in a dream? I love when that happens, that moment you escape. I’ve read a lot of different books lately and with each one I’m praying for that experience of being drawn into the pages and disappearing inside them for hours.

I’m not sure why books induce this almost dream-like state but I feel well rested after as well. Writing about this now, I’m a bit embarrassed because I can’t help but think “this sounds insane” and yet I know there are people who’ve experienced this same thing.

Reading to me is no different than when I used to play dolls. Letting your imagination take charge and creating and exploring (sometimes the impossible!) in your head. It’s like the perfect balance between fiction and reality because you know in fact that it’s all a play but you engage with it because it’s absolutely delightful…or disturbing if you’re reading a horror novel…but then again some books (and films) can be disturbingly delightful.

In my last post I felt almost betrayed by what I’d read. Books for me have always been my favourite place…not just thing…but a place, because every book has a new setting, a new set of character’s to meet and new things to discover along the way. I love that about them. I like to venture into spooky old mansions, or travel across space…just from the comfort of my bedroom.

Each time I read a good book, it’s like being in a long dream. A good dream. A dream that keeps you guessing. A dream that gives you a warm feeling. A dream that lingers with you after you wake up. Books are beautiful in that sense.

Absolutely beautiful.

For Every Like I’ll Answer: Questions 5 & 6

Sorry for being a bit quiet lately. I had some stuff going on.

Thankfully things seem to be getting better!

Now onto answering questions 5 and 6 from my post.

Over writer, under writer, or just right?

I do a mixture. Sometimes I write too much and cut out the unnecessary details and other times…mainly when I’m trying not to reveal too much to the reader I’ll under write. I’d love to say that I always get a scene “just right” but even when I’m mostly satisfied with what I’ve written, I still edit them just as I would with any other.

Which is your favourite part of the writing process: planning, drafting or revising?

I absolutely love, love, love the planning process. I probably spend most of my time planning (aside from writing and editing). It’s when I can let my imagination free and build upon the layers of my story!

I like deciding on the settings, the characters, the rules of the world…and then building upon that. Usually I’ll do a mixture of research and imagination at this stage. Sometimes I do even more research during the drafting and revisions!

I just have so much fun with this part.

Novel & Editing Update

Howdy Peeps!

I’ve been working away at my last few edits before I go into my full read through of my manuscript. It’s been so much fun. I can’t wait to share this book with you all.

I’ve also been reminding myself to record these last few edits. I nearly forgot! I really want to document this portion of the process because well…this is my novel debut! It’s exciting and honestly it still feels like a dream. I’ve written so many stories over the years it’s incredible that one of them is going to be published. My characters won’t just be mine to laugh and cry with anymore. It’s crazy the more I think about it.

I’ve adored stories my entire life…they have this ability to connect you to people fictional or not through so many mediums. There are so many wondrous places to travel, things to experience…and stories provide all of that adventure. I hope the stories I tell whether it be someone elses through my career as an actress or ones that I tell myself as an author bring some warmth, fun and adventure into someones life.

Stay safe,

Ardin.

Book Talk Episode 17: Illustrated Covers

The other day at work, a co-worker of mine was admiring this beautifully illustrated book cover. I wish I could recall the name of the book so I could show an example, but her comment really made me think. She said, “I’m so glad that they’re going back to the illustrated version of this cover. I hate how boring a lot of covers have been these past few years.”

The two of us then went on to discuss how, since the first Twilight book came out a lot of book covers began to mimic the style and then ultimately readers were bombarded with stock images and lifeless photographs. Now, not to bash the creators of those types of covers…I believe that the covers for Twilight and their simplicity was actually well thought out. The issue that we discussed was that it seemed as though the plan was to get readers to buy a book because it had a similar cover to that of the Twilight series, versus coming up with something significant to the actual story.

I can clearly remember being a 13-15 year old wandering around my favourite bookstores and sighing at the cover art. I know that they say not to judge a book but it’s cover, but it’s the first thing a reader sees, not the review. Not the synopsis. Not the first page. The cover is what’s put on display for us.

Illustrated covers have always captured my attention. For example, the cover of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s absolutely beautiful. When I saw it, I immediately was drawn to the book! That is what a cover is supposed to do. It’s supposed to capture your attention.

The design itself isn’t too complicated, and yet it captures the eye. It stirs curiosity. It makes you wonder what’s inside.

Illustrated covers, in my personal opinion, do a better job of conveying certain types of stories. Especially within much of fiction. It makes them stand out more.

If you compare the classic horror book covers to current ones, you’ll find yourself greatly disappointed. A few of my friends who are avid horror readers lament over the lack of character given to horror books today in comparison to the ones printed in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Look at this cover of Misery by Stephen King.

The illustrated version of this cover is eye catching, whereas the version with the snow covered cabin doesn’t peak my curiosity as much. It doesn’t pull me in as much. This however, is my personal opinion. I have however, seen some horror book reviewers (along with friends of mine who adore the genre) discuss this in more detail.

I recommend checking out the video, Horror Books Have Lost Their Identity. I’ve linked it below because I think it really summarizes what I’m discussing in this post.

As YouTuber In Praise of Shadows states in the video, book covers are supposed to give the reader some indication of the genre as well as what the story is about. However in recent years they have had to scan the covers for small clues…such as a single word in a review in fine print on the cover like, “haunting,” “shocking” or “disturbing.”

The older covers made it very clear what the books were about. Right now all of the covers, across these vast genres are blending together in a mess of bright colours and large font.

This video really grasps what my co-worker and I were discussing the other day. At some point all the books blend together.

I know many people who believe that The Hunger Games and the Divergent series are the same, simply because of how the covers were designed. People who know nothing about the plots for either series. This assumption came with how the books were marketed. I know that when I first saw the Divergent cover, I thought it was a Hunger Games spin off series. That was until I read the synopsis. I remember being almost…frustrated by how so many of the covers that came out that year, resembled The Hunger Games (and Twilight). I was so frustrated by it I missed out on reading a lot of potentially good books, and lost interest in much of what was published that year.

Now, as someone who also reads comic books and manga, I know how much work has to go into the covers for those. I’ve seen examples of some of the covers done for the more recent releases of the Jughead comics. There were several options done for the front cover, before one was selected by the team as the perfect cover. Guess what? I bought that comic solely based on the cover art.

Based on the cover you already know that Jughead and Sabrina are going to get themselves into some kind of mess (or fun!). Your eyes are draw to the different parts of it. The colours are eye catching. It makes you interested in the story.

When I look at some of the books being printed over the last few years, my curiosity isn’t peaked. A catchy title may draw me in but it’s the cover that makes me flip to the synopsis to learn more. It’s the cover that captivates me visually and draws me into this world created by the author. It’s the cover fills me with excitement.

I’m not saying that today’s covers are boring or lacking creativity. I know that design takes a long time. I just think that the genres are all blending together…to the point where each cover is more or less the same.

Even earlier this morning while I was looking at books. I was trying to guess where they went in the store, solely based on the covers. The adult romance books and the teen romance books were all clearly romance however the contrast between them was almost non-existent. I wasn’t able to tell which was YA and which wasn’t. Normally the shirtless cowboys are a dead giveaway. Not anymore. The majority of the books that I assumed were adult romances were actually YA. Some weren’t even romance books at all. They were coming of age novels. I must’ve blinked the confusion from my face at least 30 times while going through these books.

The fact that myself and many other readers are excited to see these unique, illustrated book covers just shows how much is lacking on the shelves. We want books that upon first glance make us excited, curious and capture our attention. We want to run our hands along the covers as we examine every detail, before continuing our individual book choosing rituals. Reading is an experience and for those like myself who read a lot and collect books it is extremely sad when books lack character in their design.

Sure, we shouldn’t judge books by their cover but covers convey so much. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Love, Hate, Loss and Regret: Exploring My MC’s Love, Apology and Anger Languages

Today on Twitter @RosalynBriar asked “What’s your MC’s love language?”

It wasn’t something I had ever considered, so I decided to take the quiz on behalf on my characters.

I decided to start with R. After taking the quiz (on his behalf), I learned that his Love Language is Acts of Service, which surprised me. I thought it would have been something like Words of Affirmation or Quality Time, but he got Acts of Service.

For each of the questions, I answered them based off events either in the novel or that were apart of his backstory.

The reason why Acts of Service is so important to him is because he feels overwhelmed with how busy he gets. When he was younger he was a little more spontaneous and even as an adult makes decisions without thinking of the consequences of his actions. He often thinks first about how something might effect himself, and is still realizing that what he does also has an effect on the people he loves.

His childhood was full of routine. His father was very strict when it came to keeping things orderly, and his parents and older brother often had busy schedules. When he was a teenager, R found this extremely frustrating and also longed for attention from his loved ones. This longing for acceptance and acknowledgement is why I thought for sure his would be Words of Affirmation or Quality Time.

Despite his past, R throughout the novel and also throughout his life, appreciates the things that others go out of their way to do for him. Like his best friend sitting out on a game of tag because R isn’t allowed to play, or when his nanny would make him his favourite dessert after finding out he’s had a rough day. As an adult it is his friends helping him with his work, despite knowing the consequences of it, and also looking out for him in little ways, that although he may not say or show it often, he appreciates more than anything.

After R I decided to take the quiz again, on behalf of his ex-fiancée D.

I assumed her Love Language would be Receiving Gifts but was surprised to learn that it was Quality Time. She often gives gifts to others so I suppose receiving them isn’t as important to her as giving them.

After taking the quiz for D, I realized that she highly values the time she spends with those she loves. She loves to meet new people, and is a genuinely caring person, so much in fact that she often tries to guard herself physically by avoiding or isolating herself from those she doesn’t want to hurt or disappoint.

Even when she was younger, her happiest memories are the ones where she is spending time with her family and friends. It didn’t matter what they were doing, she just loved being with them. The more time she spent with someone the more she enjoyed their company.

Since she tends to avoid people and run from difficult/uncomfortable situations, it never once occurred to me that she might actually be someone who values Quality Time above everything else. It’s actually quite sad that she would rather stay away from someone she loves versus hurt them. It shows that she’s willing to hurt herself in order to protect the feelings of someone else even if that person doesn’t deserve it.

Anger Language

I wanted to continue finding out more about these two and how their personalities contribute to the decisions they make, so I decided to also do the Anger Quiz on their behalf.

I didn’t know there was an Anger Quiz until today, so this will definitely be interesting. Before I do the quiz, I thought I’d look up what the Anger Language’s were.

At first glance I’m not sure where R would be placed, however D I feel is probably a mixture Passive and Assertive. A bit of a weird mix…but there are instances that off the top of my head, would make me place her in one of these categories. I find R is a little more difficult to pin down when it comes to how he expresses his anger, so I’ll see what happens when I take the quiz.

So the quiz showed that R was yellow? I don’t know what that means so I think I might have to try a different quiz. It said he handles his anger well, but there are times when his anger handles him. So I suppose he falls in the middle somewhere.

Alright so in the other quiz he got 57%. So I suppose his anger levels are moderate. There are times when he handles it well, and times when he doesn’t. I suppose that makes sense given that I had no idea of where to place him.

Now for D. I’ll see what score she gets. I feel like neither of these quizzes are helpful but thinking of how my characters would answer is interesting.

D got 43% on the quiz. I’ll see which colour she calls under on the other. I’m going to assume this means that either she handles her anger well or that she avoids conflict.

She also got yellow.

I really don’t know what any of this means?

Regardless I’d still like to try and do the other quiz, which is the Apology Language one. I’m curious to see the results.

Apology Language

You ever notice how often Joe apologizes?

Sorry, off topic.

Unlike the Anger Language, I am somewhat familiar with Apology Languages.

Everyone handles apologies differently, and as we learn from the time we start school, sometimes saying “I’m sorry” isn’t as strong as showing the person we’ve hurt that we’ve changed.

Now based off of R and D’s Love Languages, I’m going to automatically speculate that R prefers to see action versus just hearing “I’m sorry” from someone and D I believe might want the person who hurt her to take responsibility for their actions.

I’m going to do R first, as I did with the other two quizzes.

R’s Apology Language was Make Restitution.

This quiz was a little harder than the Love Languages one, however this answer does make sense in regards to his character. R has been wronged in the past and a simple, “I’m sorry” doesn’t cut it for him. He’s still anger about a lot of the things that happened, and his best friend knows that when he does him wrong, the best thing he can do is make it up to him versus give a quick little apology.

R wants others to admit when they’ve done him wrong, and there are instances in this first book, where he both apologies and makes an effort to do right on behalf of those he’s wronged.

He was wronged so much as a child that he struggles to accept words as an apology versus action. It is more meaningful to him when a friend or family member shows him that they are sorry, versus just telling him they are.

Now it’s D’s turn. I really believe she’s going to be Accepting Responsibility, but we’ll see.

D’s Apology Language is actually…Request Forgiveness!

I didn’t expect that at all but it does make sense. She doesn’t like being in conflict with people and I think because of that she is more likely to try to resolve an issue with someone who asks for forgiveness, versus holding a grudge.

Thinking about it now, there are moments throughout her life and in the novel where she requests forgiveness from her friends and family.

She also wishes R would forgive her for what happened in the past, but is fully aware that he isn’t obligated to do so. She often doesn’t think she deserves forgiveness and this is something he has in common with her.

Neither of them believe they deserve to be forgiven by the other.

Despite R recognizing what he did wrong in their relationship, he feels that what D did outweighs that, and therefore he won’t ask for her forgiveness. He’s still angry.

D on the other hand, feels that he has every right to be angry with her and knows he won’t simply accept an apology. However, she chooses not to tiptoe around him because she knows that his stubbornness and unwillingness to forgive others often clouds his judgement. She’s very quick to tell him when he is in the wrong and has never been shy about doing so in the past. It is something that he used to appreciate, but now finds slightly irritating.

This was definitely a fun way to take a break from editing.

To finish off this post, I thought I’d share songs related to each of these characters Languages, from their Character Playlists.

R’s Love & LOSS Songs

  1. My Smile is Extinct by Kane Strang

2. Bloodshot by Dove Cameron

3. Durch Den Monsun/Monsoon by Tokio Hotel

4. Break My Heart Again by Finneas

5. Asshole Father by Sick Puppies (Explicit Lyrics)

D’s Love & REGRET Songs

  1. Man on The Mountaintop by Skylar Grey/Holly Brook

2. Papercut by Oohyo

3. The Chain by Fleetwood Mac

4. I Dare You by The Regrettes

5. Break My Broken Heart

A song that I think would describe the two of them after their break up is on D’s character playlist

“I’m on the outside looking through
You’re throwing rocks around your room
And while you’re bleeding on your back in the glass
I’ll be glad that I made it out
And sorry that it all went down like it did”

Phoebe Bridgers, Motion Sickness

Book Talk Episode 16: Still Editing!

Editing is a lot of work. I actually think it might be more work than it was to write the novel, however I’m looking at all the positives that come out of receiving feedback on my work. It is helping me grow as a writer.

The scenes that I’m reworking with my editor, are stronger because of her insight and suggestions. She noticed things that I completely looked over (or forgot about).

I’ve been recording videos of the process, because I want to have something to look back on after this process is over. I’ve never made a vlog before, but I figure it’s not much different than a diary. Those also require editing, but it forces me to take a break when I get stuck editing my novel.

I’m getting more excited about having others read my book, especially my family and friends. It’s been seven years since I started writing this novel. I’ve never spent so long writing something, but life happened and there were periods that I had to set it aside for a few months at a time, especially while I was in university. I finished drafting it near the end of my third year and by the 4th I typed everything up and started tweaking things.

I like to take my time editing, and I’m also planning on getting some things to keep myself organized. That way, when I’m editing the other books in the series, I have something to refer to. I’ll try and show that on my vlog (and here on the blog). I’m hoping it works, but even if it isn’t as helpful as I’d like, at least I tried.

Well, I’d better get back to work! I also have recordings to edit today, so I’m trying to manage my time the best I can.

Book Talk Episode 15: Editing Update and Character Playlists

In today’s blog post, I’m going to be sharing a song from one of my main character’s playlists. I Go Hungry, by Mother Mother is his “morning routine” song. This song really captures his teenage years.

In a strange way, my characters introduced me to this band and many others that I am now in love with. I love making playlists for my characters, some of them even have more than one.

I was reading through my editors comments and squealing because her suggestions are fantastic. I loved this one thing that she added in, where she had one of my characters do the simplest action…it was a three word difference and it made the entire scene perfect! Exactly as I’d imagined.

Actually rereading the scene had me blushing, because it was adorable. It was one of those rare moments where my characters are seen together, just enjoying each others company. They weren’t worried about all the things going on in their lives…they were just having fun.

So far, I’m liking this deep dive editing process. It’s a lot of work. I’ve made colour coded notes for myself so I can keep track of everything. Even so, I like seeing my editors thoughts on each scene, and getting her insight on different aspects of the story. She picks up on things I missed in my earlier edits and I am very grateful for it.

Well, I’d better get back to editing. I think I’ll share another song off one of my character’s playlists.

On her playlist, Poison by Sick Puppies is her “outlook on life” song.