Books Worth Rereading

I’d like to give a shoutout to Brianna from Brianna’s Books and Randomness for creating this tag, and Genevieve from Gifted and Chilling, where I discovered this tag.

So here’s some more information about my book tastes.

1. A childhood favourite that you could read 100 times and still love.

Oh, there are numerous books that fit well into this category, but I’m going to have to go with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, because I recently finished rereading The Hobbit, and am currently working my way through The Fellowship of the Ring. It has been a few years since reading these books, and while I knew that I loved the story, I had forgotten how much I also appreciate Tolkien’s writing style. I love the rich description that fleshes out his worldbuilding, and the level of humour that I rarely hear anyone talk about. Honestly, the “Good morning” conversation in The Hobbit is one of my absolute favourite passages.

2. A book you DNF’d but would be willing to give a second chance to.

This one would be RoseBlood by A.G. Howard, a Phantom of the Opera inspired retelling. I was really intrigued when I picked this book up in Chapters, and made an impulse buy to get it. Although I was excited when I started reading it, the way that the book switched between the two protagonists was jarring, especially since one was in first person, and the other in third person. I suppose the intension was to keep it less confusing for the reader, but I got pretty annoyed. I’m still interested in seeing where the story goes though, so I can see myself giving this book another try.

3. A newer favorite you would reread.

I’m going to cheat and mention two series: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. I have actually reread the first book from each of these series. I reread Cinder because I bought it before I had any of the sequels, and when I finally got them, felt that it would be best to have the story clear in my head before continuing with the others. And I reread The Raven Boys after first listening to the audiobook while commuting to and from school. I had gotten the CDs from my local library, and I had just started the second book when the CD player in my car stopped working, and thankfully with its dying breath spat out the CD for The Dream Thieves.

4. A book you hated and never want to read again.

I was forced to read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad in high school, and I did not enjoy it at all. The plot was confusing, and I didn’t particularly like the writing style.

5. A classic you read in school but want to try again.

I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle in university for a children’s literature course, and didn’t totally love it at the time. Since the movie has come out, I wouldn’t mind seeing that, then rereading the book and seeing if I like it better.

A classic that I didn’t get the chance to read in high school but plan to read is Animal Farm by George Orwell.

6. An author you would reread anything from.

I have been impressed with Carrie Hope Fletcher‘s writing. My best friend is currently borrowing my copy of On the Other Side. I really like the way that she does magical realism.

7. A series you want to reread for the fun of it.

I am going to cheat and do two three four for this one. (I enjoy too many books to be able to choose between them easily.) The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, Septimus Heap by Angie Sage, The Green Rider series by Kristen Britian, and the good old classic Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I deeply enjoyed each of these when I read them before, and they have all greatly inspired me to write my own novels.

8. A book you’ve read but want to listen to the audiobook.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. This audiobook sounds super interesting since it’s performed by a full cast, and I adored reading my physical book of the book.

Current Projects

Being a creative person means constantly thinking up ideas, regardless of the amount of time or mental energy that you have to dedicate to them. I adore the thrill of a new idea when it takes root in your mind, and the creative flow when it’s fresh and exciting. I have so many ideas that I want to turn into professionally published pieces, but I’ve learned that I need to narrow my focus to only a couple projects at a time if I want to steadily progress with any of them.

Faeblood (working title) is a fantasy novel that will be the first book of a duology. I will possibly market it as YA, depending on whether that continues to make sense for the story or not.

I’ve been working on this story for many years, and I have been learning so much about the process of writing a novel, and developing my skills, as I’ve worked on it. I have restarted the story from scratch several times until figuring out what really worked for how it needed to be told. The idea for this story came from a recurring day dream that I had about waking up in a different world, and meeting an elf who became my guide and showed the world to me. When I decided that my day dream was cool enough to be novel, I separated myself from the protagonist, and developed her into her own character. Nallasha is still similar to me in many ways, but she definitely differs in many other ways, including in some surprising ways that she herself discovers throughout the course of the novel.

Nallasha is an artist who struggles with imposter syndrome and confidence issues. At the start of the novel, she has just finished her official schooling at university, and has a final practical exam in the form of doing a commissioned piece of art for a client outside of the university, which has to be approved by a professor, who will then sign off on her application to the Artist’s Guild, at which point she will be a professional artist. Nallasha has been bullied by her classmates, put down by several professors, stopped creating art for fun, and feels trapped in her dream career. She dreads the transition from student to professional artist. While visiting with her first client for her commission exam, her curiosity leads her into a magical portal, where she travels to a different part of the world. During her adventures there, she learns more about herself, her skills and strengths, and gains confidence in herself.

Faeblood takes place on opposite sides of a large continent, with vastly different cultures on either side. Nallasha begins the novel on the western side of the continent, in the Wexlan Empire, where humans are the only known race, magic is not believed to exist, and there have been technological discoveries such as steam power. Nallasha is from Kantaboor, an island that has been recently annexed by the empire. The Kantaboorians have traditional stories about faeries, elves, other mythical creatures, and magic, which Nallasha fell in love with as a child. Any belief in these stories as real is ridiculed by the rest of the empire, and increasingly in Kantaboor as well.

After travelling through the portal, Nallasha arrives in the Rythsal Forest on the eastern side of the continent, which is elven territory. There, Nallasha discovers the existence of faerie tale creatures that she was taught did not exist, along with further discoveries that she hadn’t heard about in stories as a child.

I am currently over 50,000 words into this novel, and about three fifths – two thirds of the way through the plot for my rough draft. I have plotted out where I want the novel to go, but I am not sure exactly what will happen during the climax yet. Nallasha has a big decision to make, and I’m not totally sure what decision she will make, or what her motivations for that decision will be.

I can’t wait until I complete writing and revising this novel so that I can publish it and share it with all of you! I’d love to tell you more about it, but that would be giving away spoilers.

From Seed to Tree: The growth of a poet (working title) is a collection of metapoetry, organized in chronological order of when I wrote them. Metapoetry is poetry about poetry. I first thought of the idea to do this project when I was taking a poetry workshop course in university, and realized just how much metapoetry I had written since I had started writing poetry. Most of my earliest metapoems were about having writer’s block, and how frustrating it was. My later poems about writer’s block were far more poetically interesting, and when I compared my earliest metapoems to the ones that I was writing at that time, I could see a clear example of how I had grown in my poetry writing skills. I had become interested in publishing a collection of poetry at some point, and a collection of metapoetry seemed like a unique idea. Since then, I have consciously continued to write more metapoems to add to the collection, including even a poem that reflected on the fact that I was deliberately writing a collection of metapoetry (I felt like I was inside the movie ‘Inception’ when writing that one).

At some point, I need to decide that the collection is complete, or full enough to be published. It’s hard to know when I’ve reached that point since my potential to write more metapoetry is infinite, and I always want to keep on developing my skills further. I think that it’ll be a very interesting book of poetry to read, and I’m curious to see how people respond to it.

Introduction

Hello friend, and welcome to my website. I’m Nicole, captain of this here ship… site… thing. I’d like to think of you as a fellow adventurer through the world of fantasy writing, exploring new worlds and universes through each new story that we discover.

I love storytelling. I’ve been an avid reader since I was a child, fueled by a sense of wonder and excitement which each new book that I consumed. I was especially inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings. Other influential books were the Inheritance Cycle (Eragon), Septimus Heap, Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Inkheart, The Neverending Story, and Redwall, (although I really could go on, and on…). I also loved movies and TV shows, a.k.a. books on screen. Some favourites over the years have been Pirates of the Caribbean, Once Upon a Time, The Princess Bride, Beauty and the Beast, The Dark Crystal, and more recently Carnival Row, (just to name a few). As I grew older, I discovered video games, and the narrative potential that they hold. One of the series that I absolutely adore is Dragon Age.

I started writing in Grade 7. My teacher had us write an alternative ending to The Hobbit for a language arts project, and I earned 100% on mine, which awoke in me the awareness that I could contribute something to the world of literature for other people to enjoy. The summer between grade 7 and grade 8 I began writing my very first attempt of a novel that involved pirates, elves, and a portal between worlds. My story didn’t go particularly far, but my family and the cousin who I had sleepovers with knew all about my characters and the world that I was creating. In Grade 8, my teacher highly encouraged our class in the art of creative writing, and gave us plenty of class time each week to work on our projects. I worked on a new novel throughout that year about amateur alchemists who were trying to protect their king from getting assassinated. Throughout high school I began writing several different novels, and took the Creative Writing class offered in grade 12. I enrolled in English Literature for university, which exposed me to many different styles and types of stories, and pushed me to broaden my reading tastes and see the value in the narratives of authors who were significantly different from me.

During the start of my time in university, I discovered the website Jottify, which was designed for writers to share their writing with fellow writers and readers. I adored the site, and spent a lot of time on it. It was during this time that I really began to develop an appreciation for short stories and poetry. I read short stories and poetry from other writers, and began to write my own, expanding my writing mindset out from only writing the beginnings of novels. I even took a poetry writing course in university. Unfortunately, after a few years Jottify was no longer maintained by its creator, and much of the community began to switch to blogs on different sites. I also stepped out onto blogging on WordPress. Eventually, what remained of Jottify was taken down and the website no longer exists. I owe so much of my growth as a writer to my Jottify era though, and dearly miss the old site.

After I finished university and began to reflect on my goals for the future, I decided that I was serious about my desire to become a published author, and that I wanted it to become a reality sooner than later. However, I was held back by my inability to continue writing a novel beyond the beginning part of the story. I had lots of ideas, but little focus when it came to figuring out plot, and I had never once known how I had planned to end any of my many novel ideas over the years. Well, during a volunteer trip in my university years, I had met the lovely Janeen Ippolito, fellow author, editor, and owner of her own small publishing company. I reached out to Janeen and made use of her author coaching services to help me figure out how to break past the barriers that had been holding me back, and I began to finally see progress toward my goal.

I am currently writing Faeblood (WIP title likely to change), a YA fantasy novel, and nearly have the rough draft completed. I am a fairly sporadic writer, so progress happens in random bursts, but I am continuing to bound ahead bit by bit. This novel is the first of a duology, and I have already begun figuring some key plot points for the second book. The story is about Nallasha, an artist who has recently graduated and is about to begin her career. Things take an unexpected turn when she discovers a portal while working for her first client, and she finds herself in a place she never believed could be real. Nallasha discovers surprising truths about herself and the world, and learns several important lessons that cause her to grow as a person.

I also have a blog where I’ve been posting short stories and poetry: elderberrytea.wordpress.com. Feel free to have a visit and check out some of my writing on there.

Another notable fact about me is my love for the tabletop role playing game Dungeons and Dragons. I have played as both an adventurer and dungeon master. As dungeon master, I like to write my own campaign for the adventurers, filled with maps, challenges, enemies, and allies that I have designed myself. The game is utterly fantastic, especially since it is mainly a cooperative free-style storytelling game, and anything can happen while playing. Some of our shenanigans may get recorded and adapted into stories…