The 2017 Blogoversary, Part 1: Ten Unique Reads I Highly Recommend + Giveaway

This Sunday, July 9th marks my eighth blogoversary! And based on the results of this recent poll, this year’s celebration is going to be… giveaways! (Many thanks to everyone who voted, btw!) This is perfect, because blogoversaries aren’t just a time of virtual cake, confetti, and fireworks. They’re also a great opportunity to thank readers for their friendship and support, no matter how long they’ve been following you. So, consider this week’s and next week’s posts my gift to you guys. (*bows in gratitude*)

For this first giveaway, I wanted to do something bookish, but something different from the usual “favorite reads or authors of all time” theme. Then I read these recent Top 10 Tuesday posts by Sarah J. Higbee and The Bibliosanctum, and a lightbulb turned on. So, here are Ten Unique Reads I Highly Recommend, along with links to my reviews¬†at Goodreads. At the end you’ll find a Rafflecopter link and instructions for how the giveaway will work. Sounds like a plan, yes? ūüėÄ
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The Creativity Corner: Spring 2017

Can you believe that summer is here? ūüėģ It still feels like I was in Iceland last week. How on Earth has time zipped by so quickly??

Since a new season has begun, it’s time for an update on the past season’s creative happenings. And after a winter where I struggled with anxiety for a few weeks and my confidence in my writing hit rock-bottom,¬†I’m happy to say that spring was a more productive, inspiring, and emotionally healthy season. It wasn’t free of bumps, but I’m moving forward and focused on new projects.

New projects?? What about¬†The Keeper’s Curse? Or the novella? Yeah… I’ll explain what’s happening with them, too. But first…
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The Mystery Blogger Award

Goodness, this has been sitting in my Drafts box for a while…. (*blushes*)

So Jessica @¬†Elldimensional graciously nominated me for the Mystery Blogger Award back in January. It’s taken me a while, and for various reasons, but I’ve finally made time to accept and answer her questions. Thank you, Jessica! ūüôā And since I haven’t done an award or blog tag in some time, this should be a fun change of pace.

Some quick details about the Mystery Blogger Award, as described by¬†its creator Okoto Enigma: “The Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is¬†also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.”

I’ll save the guidelines for the end of the post.¬†Let’s get to the good stuff first. ūüėČ

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The Creativity Corner: Winter 2017

It feels weird to post¬†a wrap-up of a¬†winter’s worth writing, reading, and other creative happenings on the second day of spring. (This is the new “writing monthly update” series I had mentioned last month, btw.)¬†But the truth is, I’ve procrastinated on this post for a couple weeks now, and not due to lack of time. Instead, I’ve been feeling anything but enthusiastic or confident about writing lately.

(Btw, my latest DIY MFA post went live last week. Something funky happened with the blog post announcement, so click here to read the article at DIY MFA.)

The good news is, I’m now taking steps that can hopefully help me regain that confidence and lead to a better, more productive spring. I’ll touch on¬†that, as well as the progress I’ve made so far¬†with The Novella (my new writing project) and the books I’ve read so far this year. Also, since this is the first Creative Corner, any feedback on the content and/or setup will be greatly appreciated. ūüôā
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New Post @ Writers Helping Writers on Editing with Text-to-Speech Software

Writers Helping Writers

I’m back at Writers Helping Writers this week with a new Resident Writing Coach post. This time, I talk about text-to-speech software, one of the newest tools in my editing “toolbox”. This standard function in most¬†word processing programs and computer operating systems can read¬†aloud pre-selected portions of text, including (ta-DA!) your manuscript.¬†ūüėȬ†(Read more after the jump.) Continue reading

Another Change in My Blogging Schedule, and the New Path Forward

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(*disappointed sigh*)

This wasn’t the post I was hoping to share with you today.

Some of you might recall¬†from this post 2¬†weeks ago¬†that I’ve had to cut back on my blogging recently. This has been on all fronts: visiting and commenting on other people’s blogs, replying to comments here, and (most importantly) writing my own posts. Typically I had time to prepare posts about 1 or 2 weeks in advance¬†of their intended date.¬†This explains why I’ve still been able to post new articles despite not having much blog-writing time. But today, the trickle-down effect¬†has finally won out.

So, the new Chronicling The Craft I’d been planning to post today to celebrate 10,000 words on The Novella? It’s not done. And a return to the Character Evolution Files with File No. 15? That won’t happen soon, either. In fact, apart from my commitments to DIY MFA and Writers Helping Writers, I don’t know when I’ll be able to return to a “routine” blogging schedule.

But I’m not quitting this site. Nor am I going on a hiatus. So, let me briefly explain¬†why this change came about and how life at this site will change in response.

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New DIY MFA Article on Man and the Natural World, Plus Other Updates

DiyMFA

(NOTE:¬†Due to this week’s DIY MFA post, the weekly blog post will go live on Thursday, January 26th.)

Nature can play a pivotal role in a story, from thrusting obstacles into the protagonist’s path to¬†dazzling with its majesty beauty. This complicated relationship between the natural world and mankind can lead to incredible stories in real life as well as in literature.¬†So, in today’s edition of¬†Theme: A Story’s Soul¬†at¬†DIY MFA, I explore how this idea is conveyed as a theme in¬†Rae Carson’s¬†Walk On Earth a Stranger¬†and Yann Martel’s¬†Life of Pi. It turns out that wagon train journeys and survival on the high seas have more in common than we might think.

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New DIY MFA Articles, Plus Facebook and GoFundMe Updates

DiyMFA

(NOTE:¬†Due to this week’s DIY MFA post, the weekly blog post will go live on Thursday, December 15th.)

Do you believe in destiny, or a higher power conspiring to help make things happen? Or are you convinced that our lives are what they are because of our choices? Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether fate or free will plays¬†the greater role. This mystery, however, hasn’t prevented writers from exploring it through story.

Today I’m tackling “fate versus free will” for my¬†Theme: A Story’s Soul¬†column at DIY MFA.¬†Using Paulo Coelho’s¬†The Alchemist¬†and Erin Morgenstern’s¬†The Night Circus¬†as examples, we’ll discover the common elements that both books use to examine this enigmatic theme¬†and brainstorm ideas of how¬†we can write our own stories on an age-old debate. (See the link after the jump.) Continue reading

Wanted: Guest Posts for Tolkien Reading Event (March 2017)

Calling all Tolkienites! Pages Unbound is looking for bloggers, readers, and writers who are interested in participating in next year’s Tolkien Reading Event. The 2016 edition in March featured a fantastic mix of Tolkien-related book reviews, discussion posts, and fun quizzes. (Example: I discovered my Hobbit name was Ferdinand Smallburrow of Buckleberry.¬†*lol*) I was also on one several bloggers who was interviewed for their Tolkien Talks series, and I really enjoyed answering Briana and Krysta’s questions and chatting about Tolkien and his stories with their readers.

If you’d like to take part in the 2017 Tolkien Reading Event, follow this reblog to Pages Unbound’s original post and fill out their online form. ūüôā

Pages Unbound

During March 2017, Pages Unbound will be running our fourth Tolkien Reading Event.  Every year on March 25, the Tolkien Society celebrates Tolkien Reading Day, and we like to expand on the event by hosting several days’ worth of Tolkien-related content.  We have had some wonderful guest posts in the past and would like to invite you to submit a guest post this year.

Post Options

The Tolkien Reading Event is open to a wide variety of posts.  In previous events, we have featured everything from book reviews to quizzes to serious literary criticism.   Pitch us an idea for any type of post you would like!  You can also review books and movies that have been featured before; we love new perspectives!See a full list of past posts here.

If you need ideas, we are particularly open to posts about:

  • any aspect of The Silmarillion
  • the‚Ķ

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My 10 Favorite Reads of Fall 2016 (+ Win Your Choice in a Giveaway!)

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When I announced in September that I was reducing my blogging schedule, I knew that change would mean ending the monthly Recent Reads series. But I didn’t want to walk away from the idea of discussing books we’ve recently read. Then I read Leanne Sowul’s summer reading round-up here, and inspiration sparked. Why not do a seasonal reading recap – and also make it fun for my readers?

So, today I’ll share my 10 favorite reads from Fall 2016 (September through November). What you’ll find after the jump¬†aren’t reviews, but rather blurbs that mention why I enjoyed each book with¬†links to my full¬†reviews at Goodreads and Amazon. As for the fun part: The title says it all, so¬†stay tuned for the Rafflecopter link and instructions at the end of this post! ūüėČ
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