Plus, the Final Five-Song Reveal from the WIP’s Playlist
Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing tips. Today’s post marks the end of Draft #3 with a final progress report and more songs from TKC’s novel playlist.
Well, the title gives it away… but this happened 2 weeks ago!!
After 7 months and cutting almost 13,000 words, Draft 3 of #TheKeepersCurse is finally DONE at under 98K. 😀
So, yes, TKC is done for the third time, and 2 weeks before my “soft” deadline of November 20th. Since then, I’ve been feeling… well, a weird mix of emotions. Relief. Accomplishment. Excitement-anxiety-nausea over the upcoming beta-reader phase. Also, a sense of “What do I do with myself now?”. You get used to weeks and months to doing something on most weeknights and weekends, and when it’s done you’re almost at a loss. But I won’t let myself flounder for long, and I’ll explain why shortly.
You know what else this means? It’s DANCING PIKACHU TIME!!
Now, here’s the final progress for Draft #3, as well as the final five-song reveal from TKC’s novel playlist. 🙂 Continue reading →
Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies!It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.
Ah, January. In some ways, I can’t stand this month. It means winter – which also means cold, snow, ice, and other seasonal yuck. Can you blame me for counting down the days to spring? (49!!) But in other ways, January was a sigh of relief. After one of the most hectic Decembers I can remember, relaxing and returning to a slower, somewhat normal routine has never been more welcome.
I couldn’t resist an Olaf gif here. XD
Before I go much further – a quick word to anyone waiting for the next edition of the Character Evolution Files. It’s coming, I promise. Between three big blogging commitments last month (Chronicling The Craft, a guest post for WriteOnSisters, and my next DIY MFA article), I didn’t have time to start drafting File No. 6 until this past week. And when writing lengthy articles (which often have minds of their own) and juggling deadlines, sometimes you have to reshuffle your priorities.
So, yes. Character Evolution File No. 6 should post in mid-to-late February. Stay tuned for that as well as a call for character interview questions (Tuesday, February 2nd) and the blog’s first guest post (Tuesday, February 9th)! Oh, and the guest post I’m working on for WriteOnSisters? Ohhhhhh I can’t tell you how THRILLED I am about it. 😀
This Blog Hop stop has been in the works long enough that not one, but two fellow writers invited me to take part: Angela B. Chrysler, and E. Rawls. I “met” Angela on Twitter (I think?) late last year, and we immediately bonded over our love of fantasy literature and our dreams of becoming published authors. She’s now preparing to self-publish her debut novel, Dolor and Shadow, which is due out in late May. As for E. (full first name is Elizabeth), she was also nominated by Angela for the same blog hop; and like me and Angela, she’s a fantasy writer and Tolkien fan. Thank you, ladies – and sorry it’s taken me so long to respond!
Here’s some information and rules about the One Lovely Blog Hop:
This blog hop is designed to show our readers a more personal side to ourselves. We’ve been challenged by another author/ blogger (somewhat like the ‘ice bucket’ challenge) to list seven interesting facts to help cast light onto that tough writer’s/ blogger’s persona we all like to project. But we want to show that behind every story is a story, our story, my story; and like everyone else, I have dreams, hobbies, problems, and goals. This blog hop is a way to share some of them with you, my readers.
The rules are that I share 7 Lovely Facts about myself, and links to a maximum of 15 blogs that I enjoy reading. If I’ve nominated your blog (see names below) please don’t feel any obligation to join in but, if you do, please link back to the blog of the person who nominated you (that would be me, Sara Letourneau), share facts about yourself, and nominate 15 blogs (or as many as you can).
My brain tends to freeze when I have to think of random things to share about myself… But I’ve come up with seven that fit the billing. 😉
If I could use one word to describe the music of 2014 for me, it would be “weird.” Firstly, it was a year of transition and rediscovery music-wise. In May, I left my music-reviewing post at Sonic Cathedral after 5½ years so I could concentrate on novel-writing and other creative pursuits. Suddenly I had more freedom – and time! – to listen to genres besides female-fronted rock and metal. That explains why this year’s Top 10 list features the most variety I’ve ever had in my end-of-year countdowns. Yay! 🙂
Secondly, the quality of 2014’s music took me on a bumpy rollercoaster ride. There were awesome surprises, huge disappointments, and an unusually high number of “in-betweens” that I needed to replay several times before knowing how I felt about them. And in some ways, my #1 pick summarizes my year of music: It tips its hat to my “head-banging” past while shocking the hell out of me – in the best way possible. In fact, I don’t think my SC colleagues would have seen this one coming (except for one – she knows who she is, because it’s all her fault *winks*).
After leaving Napalm Records last year due to creative differences, Dutch prog-symphonic metallers Stream Of Passion have opted to go unsigned and forge their own destiny. The band chose to involve their fans in this leap of faith, and financed their next album through an immensely successful Indiegogo campaign (nearly doubling their goal of €25,000). Donors and other fans alike can now savor the fruits of SoP’s labor of love: A War Of Our Own is without a doubt the band’s most consistent and – no pun intended – impassioned album of the band’s career.
A War Of Our Own shows Stream Of Passion continuing down the “symphonic metal” road less travelled. The band focuses on the metal elements first, then molds the string quartet around that foundation. Thus, the thick guitars, intricate piano-playing, challenging arrangements, and Marcela Bovio’s entrancing voice remain front and center. Marcela’s Mexican heritage appears once again through Latin music influences (which first surfaced in 2011’s Darker Days) and her multi-lingual lyrics (which have always been a part of SoP’s sound).
What sets A War Of Our Own apart from other Stream of Passion albums are its progressiveness, contrasts, and musical and lyrical heaviness. “Monster,” “Exile,” “Earthquake,” and “The Curse,” for starters, balance corrosive riffs and atypical time signatures with haunting melodies, quieter passages, and a wide variety of hooks. Other songs like “Don’t Let Go,” “Autophobia,” and the title track feature more traditional structures with those distinctive SoP elements. Lyrically, Marcela explores conflicts of all kinds: relationships, internal, and cultural, particularly current events in her native country. Her emotionally engaging writing style makes her a true storyteller and is accentuated by her moving vocals.
I really have no complaints about A War Of Our Own. A few tracks (“Secrets” and the bonus “The Distance Between Us”) don’t shine for me as brightly as others do, but this is the first Stream Of Passion album where I don’t skip any songs. I can listen to it all the way through because I either like or love each track. It took a while for me to decide on my favorite tracks, which only speaks more to the album’s overall strength.
A War Of Our Own is much more than Stream Of Passion’s “emancipation proclamation.” It’s a gorgeously bold statement of worldliness, identity, and defiance. The band has unleashed their creativity like never before and proved that their fans – the people who matter most to the band – care about their vision for their music. If you’re looking for the truest representation of Stream Of Passion’s sound or for female-fronted metal bands that focus more on emotion and songwriting with only a hint of symphonic bombast, you’d be muy loco to overlook this stunning War.
Finally getting around to the next part of my retrospective! We’re halfway through the countdown of my 20 favorite artists that I’ve covered at Sonic Cathedral over the past 5 years. If you’ve missed the first two installments, now’s a great time to catch up:
As I had promised, I’ve finally made a number of updates to my site. These changes reflect the work I’ve done over the past several months as well as the new websites I’ve become involved with this year. Here is a list of what’s new: Continue reading →
I know it’s been a while. But, 2011 has been a very busy year for me – mostly in good ways. Now that things have calmed down, updating this site and keeping you more up to date with my work is one of my priorities. Soon I’ll post about my articles I’ve written for Sonic Cathedral since the spring. But right now, I have exciting news: In addition to Sonic Cathedral, I’m now a writer for the website Suite101.com! And my first review there was published today! 🙂
So today, it’s time to learn more about the Dutch/Mexican band Stream of Passion and their new album, “Darker Days.”
Stream of Passion’s third album, Darker Days, sees the return of some old elements and an introduction to change for this Dutch sextet. Both areas have one thing in common: la musica latina. Yes, Marcela Bovio’s Spanish lyrics are back! Meanwhile, the band has incorporated some Latino music styles into SoP’s sensual, dynamic brand of symphonic metal. But, is the album truly bellisima – or does it fall short of this high standard?
My CD review for the month of July has been posted on Sonic Cathedral!
I was itching to hear Stream of Passion’s new material – mainly because of some major lineup changes that the band underwent in 2007. Three members – including prog metal mastermind and main composter Arjen Lucassen – left to pursue other musical projects. Needless to say, I was worried this would have a detrimental effect on SoP. But “The Flame Within” is proof that this band is still going strong. Continue reading →