Monday, September 24, 2018

#COVERLOVE TAG // time to show some coverly love


I have returned, and with a fun little tag about book covers: the #CoverLove tag! As a book-lover, pretty book covers attract my gaze like a moth drawn to dazzling lights. On the other hand, ugly covers appall me - like when I spot a moth (or any bug) hiding in my room.

I'm waxing poetic, so let's move on to the tag before it gets out of control. :P


Rules:

- Thank the blogger who tagged you and link back to their blog (Ivie Brooks tagged me - thanks, girl!! <3)
- Answer the seven questions your nominator gave you
- Create seven new #CoverLove Tag questions
- Nominate seven other bloggers and let them know they've been tagged

~~~

1. A cover you loved the moment you saw it.

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Although Discerned by Sarah Addison-Fox isn't my favorite book in the Allegiance series, its cover is most definitely my favorite of the Allegiance series' covers (which is saying something, because ALL the Allegiance covers are gorgeous). I loved it from the moment I saw it. Not only is the sparkly, purplish-bluish color scheme a feast for the eyes, but the meaningful image of the girl - I'm assuming it's Celeste - sitting on the Words of Etra is SO COOL, and it's just... it's just so pretty. :')


2. Your least favorite book cover on a book you love

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I like the steampunk-y designs on the bottom half of the cover, but I don't like those... those people. First of all, that's not how I picture Alek and Deryn. Secondly, I just don't like faces on book covers. (Wow, I sound like such a drama queen. :P)

By the way, the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld is a REALLY good series that I 10/10 recommend! By this third installment, Goliath, I was feeling all the feels and rooting for the characters sooooo hard.


3. A cover you love on a book you hate

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This Peter Pan retelling centered on the iconic Tiger Lily character was a disappointment to me when I read it... a year or two ago? I love love LOVE Jodi Lynn Anderson's enchanting writing style, and I love love LOVE so many of her other books - My Diary from the Edge of the World is probably my actual favorite book of all time - but this one was a very "meh" read for me for several reasons.

The cover, on the other hand, is super lovely?? It's aesthetically pleasing and happens to fit the mood of the novel really well. *nods*


4. A cover that makes you think of your childhood

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The cover of The Forgetting Spell by Lauren Myracle only reminded me of my childhood after I started actively looking through My Books on Goodreads for a cover that might remind me of my childhood.

Anyway, when I was a young child (and didn't have any electronic devices, unlike little kids today haha) I would play in the backyard with my siblings from the moment we finished school until the sun started to go down. The setting sun and the wild-haired girl on this cover remind me of those times. *is nostalgic*

Even the story beyond the cover has a nostalgic feel to it. I distinctly remember enjoying it. <3


5. Aesthetic goals book cover

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Need I say more?? The cover of this (really cool) novella is the definition of aesthetic. I get a little jolt in my heart just trying to absorb all its epicness.

I mean, you try taking in all the amazing elements of this cover and see if it doesn't make you suck in your breath! #challenge


6. A book cover with a food item you love to eat

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Okay, so I admit... I've only had gelato once. (I think.) But I really liked it. It was Nutella-flavored, and I got to eat it while standing near the Caribbean Sea after dark, so that was super nice. <3

Although this is an adorable cover, with the gelato cones and little pink heart and all, Love and Gelato wasn't my favorite book? It was interesting and cute at parts, but some aspects of it were pretty darn annoying. :/


7. A book cover you love on a book you love

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I love the simplicity of this cover, and I also love the darkness of it because that fits the mood of the story SO well. Heartless by Marissa Meyer is an Alice in Wonderland reimagining, and it. Is. INCREDIBLE. We're talking the "rip-your-heart-out-and-laugh-maniacally-while-you-fall-against-the-wall-and-slowly-slide-to-the-floor" sort of incredible.

I definitely recommend it. *finger guns*

~~~

My Seven "Questions":


1. A book cover you hate that is your favorite color
2. A book cover that doesn't fit with the story
3. A book cover you wish could be your WIP's cover
4. A book cover with a design that's too simple
5. A book cover that immediately made you want to read the book
6. A book cover that is a pretty accurate depiction of your life right now
7. A book cover with a clever incorporation of the title and/or author name


I tag...

Melissa @ Quill Pen Writer
Danielle @ Snapper
Nicole @ Wild Pennings

Well, that's almost seven other bloggers, so we're gonna roll with it. No obligation to do this if you don't want to do it or have already been nominated! :D

I hope you all enjoyed this post! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to read it - it means a lot to me. <3

The Lord's Truly,

Monday, September 10, 2018

THE BALANCING ACT CALLED LIFE // sept. 2018 general update


Won't you stay alive?
I'll take you for a ride
I will make you believe you are lovely
~ "Lovely" by Twenty One Pilots


Why did you go on an unplanned blogging hiatus? Why has editing of your novel-in-progress slowed to a crawl? Why have your comments on other blogs become so short? 

Why are you too brain-tired by the late afternoon to do anything except listen to music, watch YouTube videos, or read? Why are you always rushing out of the house to yet another out-and-about acitivity? Why are you so busy?

Yeah, well, life happened.

Because liiiiiiiiife. *headdesk*

LIFE IS CRAZY AND RUDE SOMETIMES, OKAY???

~~~

It may seem like it, but I'm not illustrating the questions I think you may be asking me (blue), then providing the answer I want to give to your questions (red). What I'm illustrating are the questions we can sometimes ask ourselves (blue) and then the answer we always give. To ourselves. (And yeah, to our blog readers too. XD)

But lately, I've been wondering about this common answer. "Life is crazy. Life is rude. LIFE HAPPENED, UGH." I know it's a joke, one I use all the time, but it still makes me wonder sometimes.

Why do we complain when life keeps us busy?

Life is an adventure. I would even argue that it's most adventure-like when it's busy and crazy. We have to make a choice: Are we going to let the craziness stress us out, or are we going to trust God that He's taking us on a ride, that He holds us in the palm of His hand and only the circumstances He allows to come in can come in? Are we going to let the busyness annoy us, or are we going to accept that God has certain priorities for us? Are we going to humbly ask Him if there's anything He wants us to let go of to make room for those priorities, or are we going to try to stubbornly hold on to everything and let ourselves crumble under the weight?

Believe me, I get stressed out. I get anxious. I get nervous when the activities of life thrust me out of my comfort zone. But God is helping me to see that amidst all its challenges, even amidst all the jump-scares and mistakes and regrets, life is an adventure. An adventure with Jesus. And every morning of this adventure, His mercies are new. His forgiveness, love, and peace are never-ending.

So, if you're feeling stressed out or annoyed by the craziness of life right now, remember that life is an adventure and Jesus is taking you on a ride.

Stay alive, my friends.

cross stand under purple and blue sky

~~~

Life is an adventure, but it is also a balancing act. And we writers sometimes struggle to balance our writing with everything else, don't we?

The struggle is REAL for me right now.

Last time you heard about my progress on Dusted Red, I told you I was about to plunge into EDITS. Well, now I'm about fifty/sixty pages into said edits and it's a tedious process, especially here in the beginning where I have whole scenes and chunks of scenes I want to rewrite or write in. Or, I'll look at a scene I want to keep and think, I can execute this so much better. Hence, further rewriting. XP And I distinctly remember from my note-taking in July that I have loooooots of rewriting to do in the latter quarter of the book too. LOTS.

I have to say, it's kinda annoying. But at this point in time, what would be even more annoying is to get behind in school. So yes, I'm willing to sacrifice some of my writing time for the sake of my academic responsibilities. *nods*

Still, though... writing is my passion and I itch to devote more time to it. I hope I can get back into the swing of things soon. Editing is a lot of fun, it's just that it feels like more work to do, and after a day of school "more work" often doesn't appeal to my tired brain...? :P (And that's not counting the several evenings out of my week when I'm out running or socializing.)

In summary, progress is slow but not at a complete stand-still. ;)

~~~
Movies: Well, I watched Black Panther a few weeks ago. SO GOOD. I can't think of any others, but there are a lot of movies I have yet to watch and can't wait to! Infinity War, Incredibles 2, and Christopher Robin, to name a few. :D (Oh my gosh, that rhymesssss.)

Music: DUDE, I CAN'T WAIT FOR OCTOBER 5!!!! I was salivating over Trench's tracklist the other day, and I listen to "My Blood" ALL THE TIME, pretty much. Because it's THAT amazing. :')

I could say so much more about the Trench singles they've released, and the EPIC music videos and stuff, but not to worry - I shall restrain myself. It's hard, but... *deep breath*



Books: I'm reading several books for school, including Oliver Twist and To Kill A Mockingbird. They're both REALLY good so far! Oliver is my precious darling, and Jem is my wonderful boy. <333

I finished A Tale of Two Cities a few weeks ago. Five. Star. Read. I loved it to pieces. <3 I also just started reading Les Miserables because it turns out that I have to read it for school. Thankfully, I don't have to write anything for it - I just have to read it. And I can take the whole year to do it if that's what it takes. I'm barely into it, but it's already very interesting!

Another reading highlight is that I went to a library book sale and got Cinder, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and the entire Hunger Games trilogy for LESS THAN FIVE DOLLARS. My cheapskate heart is happy. XD

~~~

It's challenging to balance everything. School, writing, reading, and whatever else. The balancing act is all part of the adventure, though. I hope you guys are having fun on the ride Jesus is taking you on. He's got the wheel; He's in control. (I need this reminder all the time, haha...)

Your redemption won't grow stale
We are now just setting sail
"Lovely" by Twenty One Pilots


The Lord's Truly,
How's school going (for my fellow student readers)? How do you fit writing in amongst all the other crazy life things? Who else is pumped for the new Twenty One Pilots album???

Monday, September 3, 2018

BRIEF ANNOUNCEMENT // modified posting schedule

Hey, friends! No official post today, just a little announcement that I'm changing my posting schedule.

*sigh* I wish I had the time and motivation to write a decent post every week, but I think it would be good for me to change to every other week. Blogging would feel more fun and feasible if I had more time to put the post together, and you would probably have a leetle more coherent of a post to read. XD I have some ideas for future posts that I'm excited about, and I don't want to hastily slap together these writings simply so I'll "stay on schedule."

So... YEAH. That's all I wanted to say. Have a blessed Labor Day and rest of the week. <3 I'll see you next Monday with a real post! :D

~ Lila Kims

Monday, August 27, 2018

REST-OF-THE-YEAR TBR // specific bookish plans (but no promises)


Hola, mis amigos! I feel like I keep missing posts, so apologies for that. :P Life... gets in the way of blogging sometimes. Especially when it's late August and school has just started. (More on that in my upcoming "life update" post!)

Today, I'm sharing with you my rest-of-the-year TBR. Which I'm very excited for, because planning out the books I want to read - or should read - in the near future is one of my favorite things to do! Even though I often fail to stick to those plans, haha. I don't consider myself a mood reader, but if a self-imposed list of upcoming reads is too long/complicated or becomes boring, I will turn my back on it. :P

So, I suppose I should make this clear from the get-go: I make plans, yes, but no promises. As I'm sure every one of my lovely readers understands, life sometimes tries to crush me under the weight of its demands and responsibilites. Still, I'm going to try! I'm going to try to read all of these books before the end of 2018.

Let's not talk about the end of the year, though...

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE TBR.

~~~

(One more note: These fun plans of mine disregard the several series I'm in the midst of reading. I intend to continue with those series alongside these other books, of course, but fitting them into this post felt like a bit much. So these are pretty much only the stand-alones on my TBR.)


September: The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill

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Historical fiction isn't my favorite genre - it doesn't appeal to me anywhere near as much as fantasy does. But I REALLY want to read this one! Stephanie Morrill is one of the authors behind the Go Teen Writers blog, which I love, and though I've wanted to for a long time, I haven't yet read any of the books by any of the GTW authors. (Shame on me.) Also, the book Stephanie Morrill co-authored with Jill Williamson, Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft Into a Published Book, is my favorite writing craft book.

I've heard many a good thing about The Lost Girl of Astor Street, and I'm dying to finally read a book by this author. Hopefully I can find time to read this next month!





 October: Entwined by Heather Dixon


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I feel like it's been too long since I read a YA fairy tale retelling. Better yet, I've NEVER read a YA retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. (I'll have to crack open the ol' Brothers Grimm collection later, because I'm not even all that familiar with the original story...) I chose October for Entwined because I seem to remember hearing that it's sort of creepy-ish?? Or at least has some eerie elements?? I don't support Halloween, but this book sounds like it'll make a perfect autumn read!

Besides, I've been meaning to get my hands on a Heather Dixon novel. Both this one and Illusionarium are on my TBR, so I had to make a choice. XD






November: Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter

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The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter is amazing, and I enjoyed Embassy Row too - though that one wasn't as good. Since I've yet to read anything but series by this author (does she even have any stand-alones other than this one?? I think not) I'm intrigued as to what she's capable of in a stand-alone setting. ;)

The cover and synopsis scream COLD NOVEMBER WEEKEND, WRAPPED IN A BLANKET. *nods* I shall oblige. Plus the story sounds like a blend of fast-paced, fun, cute, and intense. #HereForThis XD








December: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott


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This particular cover is very spring-y, but I'm determined to finally read this classic at Christmastime. :D

I'm familiar with the basic story, thanks to abridged versions from my childhood. I know a lot of the characters' names and personalities. I KNOW ABOUT THE TRAGIC LAURIE THING. AND THE BETH THING. *cough*

But I must read the original! No matter how intimidated I am by the length of classics like this, I can pretty much guarantee that I'll be cracking Little Women open come December. Mark my words...





And then there are school breaks. Fall break. Thanksgiving break. Christmas break. I don't know how much reading time I'll have during my breaks - life will be happening, and I'll also want to write a lot - but here are some stand-alones (one or two have sequels, I think) I'm adding to the list in hopes that I'll get around to them. They've been calling to me from my monstrous TBR pile for QUITE A WHILE - meaning that I badly want to read them! We'll see. :P


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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness ~ Lots of my friends like this one, and it just sounds... exceptional.

The Archived by Victoria Schwab ~ I'M DYING TO READ A VICTORIA SCHWAB BOOK. I feel like I, as a fantasy fan, am missing out... XD

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys ~ Lots of rave reviews alllll over the place. There are so many WWII novels on my TBR, and - as you well know - historical fiction isn't even a genre that usually appeals to me!


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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson ~ Sounds like a fun fantasy with a REALLY cool concept! O_O

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo ~ Idk, it sounds very dark?? But also soooo cool! I've gotta try it.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern ~ If "circus fantasy" isn't an official sub-genre, IT SHOULD BE. Everyone seems to be falling under the circus story spell, and I'm no exception. ;)

~~~

I know this is EXTREMELY ambitious of me, but I'm afraid that if I don't read these books - books that have screamed at me from the depths of my TBR for what feels like forever - sooner rather than later, I'll never get around to them...? *shrug* Maybe I'm just tired of waiting.

No promises whatsoever, but I'm going to make the effort. If I don't succeed, I'm not going to beat myself up or anything drastic like that. *snorts* But, I know I'm going to get to at least some of them, and that excites me!

We'll have to wait and see what sorts of craziness the rest of 2018 brings, I suppose.



The Lord's Truly,
What do you think of my rest-of-the-year TBR? Have you read any of these books? What's on your TBR for the near future?? Talk to me! :D

Saturday, August 25, 2018

COVER REVEAL // a certain sort of madness by nicki chapelway


Hello, friends! I have another book cover to reveal to you today! And lemme just say... THIS IS ONE EPIC BOOK COVER.

As you can see by the post title and graphic, this cover reveal is for Nicki Chapelway's book A Certain Sort of Madness, the first installment in a series called Return to Amar. If you haven't read the first book in Chapelway's My Time in Amar series, A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses, check it out on Goodreads HERE and then go read it! It's quite wonderful. :D

All right, you know the drill. Get ready for some scrolling!

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Insanity is catching…

Alicia Hareton is crazy. But that’s nothing new. Her insanity is inherited from her mother, just like her magical abilities and her blood ties to the strange and alluring world of Amar. She’s spent her life on Earth and yet Amar has always called to her, an intoxicating melody that she cannot ignore. Returning to Amar would put her life in danger, but Alicia has never let such technicalities stop her before.

However, when her mother is captured due to her reckless actions, Alicia will do anything to rescue her. That includes trusting her grumpy, sarcastic imaginary friend, who claims he doesn’t know her and doesn’t seem that imaginary anymore. Or that trustworthy. Together, with the help of her cousin and a band of misfits, they partake in an extremely ill-advised heist on the faerie court in order to find a way to defeat the most powerful mage in all Amar, who also happens to be Alicia’s grandfather. But not everything in the faerie court is as it seems, and soon this unlikely group find themselves fighting for their lives as well as the lives of those they love.

In a world of madness and magic, the lines between lies and loyalty are blurred and sometimes the only option you have left is to let the insanity loose.


Add it on Goodreads HERE.

~~~

I don't know about you, but that cover plus that fantastic synopsis have me EXTREMELY intrigued! I mean... "imaginary friend"? "Band of misfits"?? "Heist"??? "Faerie court"???? This is sure to be one fun, stabby book. What do you lovelies think? Comment below! ;D


The Lord's Truly,

Saturday, August 11, 2018

HOW I PANTSED MY NOVEL'S FIRST DRAFT // a collab about pantsers



Hey, friends! Today I bring to you a collaboration! And not just any collaboration - a collaboration with my friend Nicole from the epic blog Wild Pennings. In this collab, we are going to talk to you about PANTSING. For part 1 this morning, I’m going to let you inside the head of a pantser - in other words, I’m going to share my pantsing process with you! Then later today, Nicole will be sharing a different post in regards to pantsing. Rather than about pantsing, she is going to be writing something for pantsers. So definitely be on the look-out for that this afternoon!


What's fascinating about pantsing is that there's no pattern to follow, no set of patterns to choose from. When you're writing by the seat of your pants, you don't fully know what you're doing or what’s happening. Some scenes and plot points and what-not come to mind as you get to them in the drafting process, and some come to mind as you’re brainstorming outside of writing. Either way, it’s a journey of discovery. Where will the journey take you? You don’t really know until you're on the road; you don't really know until you get there.


Let’s make one thing clear: When I pantsed the very first draft of my current novel-in-progress, I didn’t know much of anything about story structure. These days, a lots of writers will have studied different story-structuring methods and so will naturally keep that in mind as they write. As for me, when I considered myself a full-on pantser, I was undereducated on that sort of thing. I didn’t keep story structure in mind (except for beginning, middle, climax, and end) as I wrote that first draft.

Did I survive said draft? Barely...


But discovery writing (as some call pantsing) is a cool experience nonetheless. Lately I've been dipping my toes in outlining, which has been fun, but when I was a pantser through and through my story surprised me many times. Sometimes when I didn't even know how a scene was going to end, I just kept typing and the end just… HAPPENED. Which then opened up several opportunities for how the next scene would go.

Overhead shot of a turquoise typewriter next to a beige notebook and a plant


I blindly poured out scene after scene. And I didn't know what the climax and ending would be either, until I got to them.


When you’re a hardcore pantser, sometimes it seems like you're not even the one writing.


Another funny aspect of pantsing - that I've experienced - is how not much is set in stone, and that can result in some serious nonsensical messes. XD Something I may have incorporated early on in the story could disappear all of a sudden, without my realizing it. Without an outline, without knowing the ins and outs of my story beforehand, it's way too easy to introduce a character or object or some other piece of foreshadowing out of the blue and then forget about it.


And what is the result of that? Plot holes galore.


OH. MY. GOODNESS. You have nooooo idea how many ginormous plot holes riddled my novel's horribly messy first draft. For example, towards the beginning of the story I mentioned something about the Book of White Magic. Whatever that was. :P One little mention of an ancient book that was probably supposed to turn into something significant over the course of the story. I think I planned to find out later on how exactly it would be significant. (Aaaaah, the beauty of pantsing. XD)


But did I ever mention the Book of White Magic again? Haha, NOPE.


By the time I finally got to “The End” of my fairy tale retelling, I knew full well I had a problematic draft on my hands. In fact, I felt it necessary to completely rewrite it. (Now I’m on the fourth draft and it’s looking much better, but that’s beside the point…) The point is, I had SO MUCH FUN discovery-writing that story. Yes, it had a lot of problems. Yes, I barely survived it. Yes, I got stuck sometimes and had to brainstorm my way forward. But not knowing what happened next made the drafting process all the more exciting and enjoyable. Of course, that’s not to say plotting is not exciting or enjoyable - like I mentioned previously, I’m currently trying my hand at it and it’s been fun!


But, there’s a certain thrill to not knowing what’ll happen next…

~~~

Before I wrap this post up, I have one piece of advice for you, whether you're a plotter or a pantser. To my fellow pantsers: If you've never tried plotting, give it a shot! And to my fellow plotters: If you've never tried pantsing, give that a shot! For the longest time, plotting did NOT appeal to me. I could hardly stand the thought of planning out my story beforehand.


Then, after learning more about the beauty of story structure, I finally told myself, "You're going to do it. You're going to try plotting your next book." And now I'm in the thick of sequel-planning and having SO much fun with it!

All I had to do was try it out, and suddenly I realized that maybe the idea of being a plotter wasn't so far-fetched after all... XD

So let me advise you: Try plotting. Try pantsing. Expand your horizons. You never know if something will work for you or not! :))


All right, friends, I hope you enjoyed learning about my pantsing process and how I pantsed the first draft of my novel! Writing by the seat of your pants is hectic all around, but it's nonetheless an exciting experience.

Now talk to me! Are you a pantser or a plotter? Let’s chat about discovery-writing. And be sure not to miss Nicole’s post (<< link) this afternoon! A big thank you to her for reaching out to me about this collaboration! <3

The Lord's Truly,

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Classic Book Vote Results // Hiatus Announcement

Hey, friends! I apologize if this seems hastily written (it is), but I'm popping in really fast to announce something I should've announced a long time ago - the answers to that classic book vote I hosted a while back, in which I gave you the opportunity to vote on the classic book you thought I should read first.

Well, here I am, finally getting back to you with the results. :P

And the winner was...

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

I plan to read it this month, and I'm super excited! :D

My second announcement is that I'm going somwhere where no WiFi is available, so I have to take an Internet hiatus from today until the 4th. I won't be able to see any emails, messages, comments, posts, or otherwise until I return. 

God bless you guys! <3

~ Lila Kims

Monday, July 30, 2018

GET TO KNOW ME TAG // writer's edition!

The Get To Know Me Tag Writer's Edtion [post title image]

This tag is ALL OVER the blogosphere right now. Usually I don't get around to tags until the "hype" over them has died, so I'm happy to actually be on top of one for once. XD

I was tagged first by Gray @ Writing is Life, then more recently by Julian @ Saver of Memories and Melissa @ Quill Pen Writer. Thank you so much, frens! <3

~RULES~

- link back to the person who created the tag (Savannah @ Inspiring Writes) - 
   - thank the person who tagged you - 
   - share the tag graphic (optional) - 
   - tag eleven bloggers - 


Let the tag begin!

~VITAL STATS AND APPEARANCES~

(pen)Name: Lila Kims

Nicknames: My real name has a few common nicknames, but I don't go by any of them. My dad used to say my first name and middle name, except instead of my actual middle name he used "Fred." And then my soccer friends used to have a nickname for me too, but let's not talk about that one. *cough*

Birthday: In the fall.

Hair color and length: I have wavy, dirty-blond hair that reaches about a third of the way down my back. Getting long...

Eye color: Blue

Braces/piercings/tattoos: I've never had braces and I'll never get a tattoo, but my ears are pierced.

Righty or lefty: Lefty!

Ethnicity: Caucasion. I have English and Scottish in me and probably a few others way down the road. But yeah, I'm your typical white American gal. XD



~FIRSTS~

First novel written: I was really young, and the story was around 70 pages, but I considered it a novel at the time. It was called "The Ruby Chronicles: Book 1." I never finished it, though as you can see, I fully intended on writing a whole series. It was about a girl and her best friend who found a ruby half-buried by the side of a walking trail. (Their constant chatter about MP3 players and American Girl Dolls clearly expresses my interests at the time. XD)

First novel completed: Probably the very first draft of Dusted Red, which I finished in April 2017 at a little over 100,000 words.

Award for writing: I won Finalist two times in a row in an annual essay contest I ended up submitting to a total of... three times, I think?

First publication: An article published in a local homeschool paper... thing. XD

Conference: Never been to one, though I would love to one day!

Query/Pitch: Not yet, my friends. Not yet.


~FAVORITES~

Novel (that you wrote): The complete rewrite of Dusted Red, which I finished not long after April Camp NaNo 2018. :D 

Genre: Fantasy! And also fairy tale retellings. <3

Author: Marissa Meyer and Jennifer A. Nielsen are at the top!

Writing music: It varies with each project, but I really like movie soundtracks such as the The Lion, the Witch, and the WardrobeFinding Nemo, and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Also Audiomachine (<3 <3), Lindsey Stirling, and occasionally Two Steps from Hell.

Time to write: Almost always the evening - except on lazy weekends when I have time to do it in the afternoons too.

Writing snack/drink: Just water, usually. It's hard to write while snacking because I hate the idea of getting my laptop's keyboard covered in crumbs or grease.

Movie: Rise of the Guardians, The Return of the King, and The Greatest Showman are big favorites! <3 

Writing memory: I absolutely LOVED writing the very last scene of my rewrited WIP - it got me sooooo excited that I literally jumped around my room giggling maniacally behind my hands.

Childhood book: Did anyone else grow up reading the Digby and Kate books by Barbara Baker???


~CURRENTLY~

Reading: A Middle Grade fantasy called Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier. The MC lives in a town where the authorities have - get this - GATHERED A HUGE PILE OF BOOKS THAT THEY PLAN TO BURN ON A "CELEBRATORY" DAY CALLED PYRE DAY.

But yeah, I like it so far.

Also listening to the audiobook for Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - a reread.

Writing: Well, I'm not currently first-drafting anything, but I'm trying to find the time to outline DR's sequel, gradually world-building for a novella I want to expand, and am about to dive into DR edits!

Listening to: At this very moment? Ride by Twenty One Pilots. XD

Watching: I'm not really watching any TV shows at the moment, since the next season of NCIS isn't airing yet. Sometimes I catch snatches of Charlie's Angels and Home Improvement, though. Oldies but goodies.

Learning: With God's help, I can have a peace that passes all understanding even when life is making my head spin and/or making me nervous.

~FUTURE~

Want to be published: You bet I do!

Indie or traditional: Traditional. I'm willing to fight for this.

Wildest goal: To one day be as popular (and widely beloved) of an author as V.E. Schwab or Leigh Bardugo or Marissa Meyer. It's a EXTREMELY wild dream, I know. :)

~~~

And that, my friends, is the tag! I had soooo much fun doing it - I hope you enjoyed! I don't think I'll be tagging anyone, seeing as most of my blogger buddies have either done it already or been tagged. Feel free to steal it. ;D

The Lord's Truly,

What is one of your wildest goals as a writer? Talk to me in the comments!

Monday, July 23, 2018

TAKING NOTES ON A FIRST DRAFT // lessons learned + camp nano update


In the complete rewrite of my fairy tale retelling, Dusted Red, what I was doing was turning a ginormous mess into... uh, a lesser mess. Way less of a mess, come to think of it, but still a chaotic jumble of words and emotions.

Aaahhh, the beauty of first drafts.

But anyway, during that complete rewrite - and for a length of time after I finished it - I had a niggling worry that wouldn't go away: How was I going to fix this?

Messes need fixing. Rewrites need editing. You can't coat a story in one layer of polish - you have to slather on layer after layer after layer until the manuscript positively SHINES (and even then the story isn't going to be perfect, buuuut that's a topic for another post). Yes, I understood this. Yes, I'd read articles on "how to edit the first draft of your novel." But even though I knew the advise of various writing experts, I was still worried because I was seriously doubting that following their advice would work!

Here is their step one: Take a break from the story for a while, then come back, read through it, and - as you read through it - take notes.

My problem was that I didn't understand how simply READING my book was going to help me edit. I couldn't see myself catching all the problems stuffed into the dark, dusty corners of my plot and character development, or taking the notes I needed to begin the editing process. Just read through it and suddenly everything will make sense and I'll know what to do?? That didn't sound realistic.

But get this. I didn't have to understand it. It wasn't something I could understand. All I had to do was take the first step.

Camp NaNo gave me the motivation I needed to START READING the story. I opened the document and read the first sentence, then the first paragraph. And as soon as I started, problems both big and small seemed to highlight themselves. The first page was soon sprinkled with notes, then the second page, the third page, the fourth page, the hundredth page, the two-hundredth page. Over half of my novel is now full of notes.

I haven't started the editing yet. I haven't finished reading through. But I'm not clueless anymore. I have a game plan. And although I couldn't explain how exactly that game plan is forming, I'm ridiculously excited that it is. XD

My point to all this? Sometimes you need to stop worrying that it (whatever "it" is) might not work for your story and simply TRY IT OUT. Because sometimes you aren't going to understand. Sometimes you aren't going to know until you take the first step.

~~~ 

That's the big, all-consuming lesson I've learned so far from reading my story and taking notes on it. But I've learned/experienced some other things too!


1. Reading observantly and objectively came more naturally than I think I previously expected. This is why the importance of stepping away from your novel is so emphasized: After a break, you come back with fresh eyes. You just do. I mean, obviously I'm still biased and can't really be completely objective - this is my own story, for goodness' sake! - but taking a break from your story for a few weeks (or even months) gives you time to float down from the emotional high that came with pouring your heart and soul into the first draft. You're now ready to try looking at the book logically and with improvement in mind - through the eyes of a reader rather than through the eyes of a crazed writer.

I haven't had to make a huge effort to "stay objective, Lila, stay objective." <<< I haven't had to constantly whisper that to myself. Taking a break is so important because it helps SO MUCH with being objective as you read. It gives you a fresh outlook that feels natural.

2. Being flexible with the nature of my notes is really fun and I 10/10 recommend. You've heard the advice: Don't worry about the small things! Focus on the big things like plot and character! *pounds gavel* I agree, it's important to keep plot and character in the fore-front as you take notes. You shouldn't be obsessing over the teensy things like grammar and sentence structure yet. But I highly recommend taking notes on whatever you see that you want to take note of, even the smaller things - like dialogue that needs work or a description that isn't detailed enough. Just WRITE THE NOTE. It isn't going to hurt anything. On the contrary, it may just prove helpful later on. XD

For example, here are some notes I've taken on small-ish things in the reading of my WIP:

- Duuuuuuude, she should have asked about water while they were devouring bread. SHE'S THIRSTY.

- HAHAHA, okay, so HOW could Delmy see her hands if they're behind her back??? I am just too funny.

- WHERE IS THE EMOTION???

- How did she walk away?? Give me details!

As you can see, these notes are on smaller things. A character's insignificant decision or action that doesn't make sense. A phrase that needs to be more descriptive. A reminder about weaving emotion into tales of tragic backstory. Things I didn't have to acknowledge until a later draft, but... I didn't want to hold myself back. I wanted to stay FLEXIBLE. I have sooooo many comments on "show-don't-tell" and setting description alongside my plethora of comments on character and plot development. It really only made sense to include them, seeing as everything must tie together in a structured novel. :)

Besides, flexibility is more fun than restriction.



3. There are some things I absolutely love about this messy draft that have me flailing. The main purpose of my reading through and taking notes is not to fangirl over but to critique my work. Therefore, the VAST, VAST majority of my notes are negative. (fyi: Negative comments are way easier to take when you're self-critiquing, so feel free to go all out with all-caps and question marks and stuff. It's actually a lot of fun, at least for me. XD) And yet I can't help but leave a little comment here and there on the few things that especially jump out to me as awesome/epic/well-done. It's refreshing and exciting to type out a flail-y positive comment every now and then. It's my book - I'M MY OWN FANGIRL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

~~~

These are just a few of the things that I've learned/discovered in the experience of reading through and taking notes on my novel. Everybody's different, so I would LOVE to hear in the comments below how you go about preparing to edit your first drafts! And also, how's NaNo going for my fellow campers? It's hard to believe July is almost over!

The Lord's Truly,

Monday, July 16, 2018

THE BLOOD RACE BOOK REVIEW // Worlds Beneath by K.A. Emmons Blog Tour


(I was going to make a header, but then I saw someone else on the tour just use the Worlds Beneath cover and I decided that was a great idea. I mean... IT'S BEAUTIFUL.)

Welcome, O readers, to the blog tour for Worlds Beneath by K.A. Emmons, the highly anticipated sequel to The Blood Race! Though I have yet to read Worlds Beneath, I read the first book to review for this wonderful tour, and I'll give you a hint: I CAN'T WAIT TO READ THE SECOND ONE.

So without further ado, let's get into my review for the epic masterpiece that is The Blood Race. xD

~~~

This book was like no other I have ever read. Something about it felt so unique, so different from your average YA fantasy. (Or sci-fi fantasy. Whatever specific genre it falls into.)

I’ve seen several reviewers compare The Blood Race to Narnia, which I initially found unusual and almost impossible. After all, the vibe of the novel is nowhere NEAR a Narnia vibe - that much was clear from the get-go. As the story progressed, however, I picked up on the similarity. Now I would probably comp-title it “Narnia meets Karate Kid,” while at the same time insisting it’s incomparable. xD

It's deep. It's full of powerful themes, breathtakingly complex characters, and intense twists and turns that had me on the edge of my seat. If you want something emotional, gritty, fantastical, fast-paced, and theme-focused, I highly recommend The Blood Race!

It's the kind of book that really gets you THINKING. For example, at one point I was sitting on my patio whilst reading it on my Tablet screen, and I got caught up in a certain scene that I remember prompted me to gaze up the sky and imagine what it would be like to fly. (It was a really cool moment! No matter how lame it may sound. xD)

What would it be like to be one half of a soul searching for your other half?

What would it be like to have a teacher whose every remark oozed great wisdom (sometimes confusing great wisdom, but great wisdom nonetheless)?

What would it be like to face the incredibly hard choice of leaving one everything behind… or another everything?

Guys. THIS BOOK. It was just so meaningful, heart-rending, and beautiful all tied up in the gorgeous package of Emmons' superb writing style. <3 And as for the characters...

- Hawk is suuuuper cool, and I positively devoured her depth.

- Ion has enormous depth too, and his character arc… I CAN'T WITH HIM. <3

- Fin is a smol precious bean somehow capable of crushing my heart.

- Sensei is just the epitome of wisdom; I loved his character!

The story has allegorical elements, though I don't think it's a complete allegory...? Which is totally fine! Though it was very subtle, I took notice of it and ATE IT RIGHT UP. Readers from both Christian and secular audiences will enjoy! (Take note it has some mature content like language [briefly strong, mostly mild] and an undetailed, fade-to-black dream/flashback of a rape.)

- MY HEART. IT FELT THINGS. SO MUCH EMOTION.

- That ending, tho. Like I hinted at before, I need Worlds Beneath ASAP!


~ 5/5 stars ~





When she’s not hermiting away in her colorfully-painted home office writing her next science fiction, passionate story-teller and adventurer Kate Emmons is probably on the road for a surf or hiking trip, listening to vinyls, or going for a power run. Emmons’ debut novel The Blood Race is the first book in her YA science fiction/fantasy thriller series. Get connected with Kate on your favorite social platform, and be sure to check out http://kaemmons.com/!




~CONNECT WITH KATE~

 




For more on Livy's blog tours, click HERE!


The blog tour for Worlds Beneath is in full swing! Check out yesterday's tour stop at the blog Totally Graced, and be on the look-out for the tomorrow's stop at the blog Christ is Write. :D


The Lord's Truly,
Have you read The Blood Race? Have you read Worlds Beneath? Do you want to?? ;D Talk to me in the comments!