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Saturday, April 25, 2015

2015 PAD *Poem a Day* Update Week 3


I had to post for my tour stop Wednesday...so I guess Saturday is the new update day :D!

On day 24, Brewer asked what word we'd use to describe our April. Unsurprisingly, I chose hectic. 

Maybe it wasn't the most reasonable decision to do that PAD challenge while trying to get Whispers and Murmurs done (I know. It's tragic, really) and also taking on the 90 day Bible challenge (which is going...meh...but I'm learning a lot!), but even though it's been CRAZY DIFFICULT at times, it has been well worth it.

I haven't had much time to peruse the Poetic Asides posts each day, but I did find a few new poets :), so I'm going to share those.

In other news...keeping with the theme has continued to be a challenge :/. Also, I made a discovery: I have a lot of trouble beginning a poem with a title!

It's really weird. Sometimes when I start writing lyrics to a song I'll immediately have a title for it, but with poetry it's like I need to see the finished product, even if it's only a rough draft, before I can title it. Of course there are exceptions, but generally, it doesn't work out. 

So...I followed the rules and did the title thing, but when I wrote the poems, they didn't match their titles at all and I ended up changing them!!


*sigh* Oh well.

Anyway, onto those poets!
  • Michelle Hed
  • leatherdykeuk
  • L.A. Brass (anindeliblemark)
  • Anvanya

You can see their work on the Poetic Asides blog or use the search tool. :)

For more poets I enjoyed (and you might enjoy, too), check out my last update: Week 2If you're interested in some writing tips and/or would like to see my first week of the PAD challenge, go here.

POEM TIME!

Day 15
Prompt: Adjective poem

bright

i was a stargazer, once
chasing innumerable
far-flown fantasies:
the goodness of humanity, the goodness of me
time passed, and
i remembered the stars;
yet i looked up
only to see a fathomless black sky.
not everyone
wanted to be 'better' or 'pure' or 'good',

but i, i longed for those stars

i am broken.

still,
i refuse to accept
the same fate
of perpetual darkness others have so
readily embraced

i will be brighter than anyone
believed possible,
brighter even than those stars

Day 16
Prompt: Science poem

How a Heart Breaks

There is no science to
how a heart breaks—
whether it implodes or explodes,
shatters or fractures before crumbling
piece by piece
how, or in what order, the pieces that
can be found
should be gathered,
and in what places and with what materials
they should be stitched, glued, or cauterized
back together
into a working vessel
there is no specific increment of time
that can determine whether the heart will ever fully beat
again

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ignite the Shadows Ingrid Seymour *Review & Giveaway with Xpresso Book Tours*

Click on the banner to check out the other stops!

Ignite The Shadows by Ingrid Seymour
(Ignite The Shadows #1)
Published by: HarperVoyager
Publication date: April 23rd 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

*I received an e-copy in exchange for an honest and fair review*

Review
After devouring the first installment of the Morphid Chronicles, I had high expectations for Ignite the Shadows—because Wow. The MORPHID CHRONICLES (jaw-dropping, seriously. I loved it. You can check out my review of Keeper here)....which is probably why I was in such a state of upheaval for the first eighth of the story.

I'll be frank: I was so excited to get started I forgot to re-read the synopsis before I dove in ^_^', and because of this, I had little to no idea what was going on with Marci for the first five or so chapters. It was frustrating. So...read that synopsis, and keep in mind that Marci is infected, and the shadows are real! 

You're going to love this book.

World
Ingrid Seymour has a knack for creating believable, uber-cool and uber-creative 'species'. I was really impressed by the level of scientific explanation given for the Shadows' existence, especially because she integrated it with somewhat fantastical elements. Get excited. It's stellar :).

Characters
In the beginning of the story, Marci wasn't very likeable. Sure, she could hack—cool. Karate skills? Way cool. But her attitude problem, combined with her occasional bouts of irrationality (emotionally contradictory), got under my skin. As I got to know her, though, she really grew on me, and by the end, I loved her. She was unreasonable at times, but she had a lot of spirit.

As for the other characters, well...sometimes they left me scratching my head. I had trouble understanding most of their personalities and motives, never really sure if they were acting. This was especially true of Luke (sure that was intentional, so ok), James (ridiculously tight-lipped level: secret agent), and Aydan (bi-polar?). While a brilliant way to showcase Marci's lack of trust in others—and create suspense/sustain tension—it was grating at times.

Plot
There were moments I flipped pages madly and moments where I meandered, but overall, I really enjoyed the story and I think you will, too. Two things I want to highlight: choices and secret-keeping.

You always have a choice. Yet Marci frequently employs “what choice do I have” thinking to justify her next step(s).

Used once or twice, I guess I could see it, but Marci used it so many times it became an excuse rather than a legitimate plot device. I'm not saying the circumstances weren't tense or serious or undemanding of attention and/or action; it was that her justification of her own involvement, when prefaced with this statement, became questionable. Almost as if it undermined the events themselves, if that makes sense.

For curious people who NEED to know why *raises hand*, Ignite the Shadows is somewhat unkind. As the story progresses and more information is laid out it gets better, but I had some serious struggles with the answer withholding. If I was in Marci's shoes, I don't know that I could've trusted James. Kudos to her for braving the open sea during a storm...and kudos to you if you can make it through without berating Marci in your mind (or aloud).

Overall
Ingrid Seymour is incredibly  talented. I'll be snatching up her work in the future; she's secured a spot on my list of favorite YA Urban Fantasy authors :)!

Final Verdict: 


Synopsis
Sixteen-year-old Marci Guerrero is one of the best teen hackers in Seattle. However, she’d give up all her talents to know she isn’t crazy.

Marci feels possessed by what she perceives as shadowy spectres that take control of her body and make her do crazy things. While spying on the clandestine group known as IgNiTe, she’s confronted by the leader, James McCray. His presence stirs the spectres inside her brain into a maddening frenzy. Her symptoms and ability to control them don’t go unnoticed by James, who soon recruits her and shows her the awful truth.

Half of the world’s population is infected by sentient parasites. They bind themselves to the human brain and replace the pathways for all thoughts and actions. The creatures then morph their hosts into grotesque monsters with extraordinary strengths. Winged, clawed, fanged half-humans become living nightmares. Now Marci wishes she was crazy, because the truth is worse.

She’s infected.


About the Author
Ingrid Seymour is the author of IGNITE THE SHADOWS (Harper Voyager, April 23rd, 2015). When she’s not writing books, she spends her time working as a software engineer, cooking exotic recipes, hanging out with her family and working out. She writes young adult and new adult fiction in a variety of genres, including Sci-Fi, urban fantasy, romance, paranormal and horror.

Her favorite outings involve a trip to the library or bookstore where she immediately gravitates toward the YA section. She’s an avid reader and fangirl of many amazing books. She is a dreamer and a fighter who believes perseverance and hard work can make dreams come true.

She lives in Birmingham, AL with her husband, two kids and a cat named Mimi.

**Interested in learning more about Ingrid? Check out today's tour stops: a guest post on A Book Addict's Book Shelves and an interview on Got Nikki?

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter |
Website |

Giveaway Time (:
IGNITE THE SHADOWS ebook + $25 Amazon Gift Card

INTL. Must be 13+ to enter.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

2015 PAD *Poem a Day* Update: Week 2



Hi all :)!

Week 2's update is a little late ^_^', but I'm happy to say that, for the most part, I've kept up with the challenge—and days that I missed were made up promptly. The thing I struggled with this week—somewhat ironically—was the theme! :headdesk:

Each poem, in its own way, resonates with the loose theme of letting go/being loosed...but I found that some of the poems might only have that kind of meaning for me (and, in some cases, even I'd have to dig deep. Lol)

Last week I shared some writing tips (you can get to those here).

This week I'm going to share a few of my favorite poets (thus far) in the challenge. If you'd like, you can attempt to scope them out by taking a look over at the Poetic Asides blog, OR you can use the search tool ;). Sometimes the tool is a little uncooperative, but it's still pretty nifty.

Poets:
  • Lady-Yume
  • Ashley Marie Egan
  • Aylat (she has a poetry blog—how cool is that?!—and she's posted some of her PAD challenge poems on her blog. Check it out!)
  • Tatsuro Nakajima
  • Marilyn Cavicchia

Have you encountered a favorite poet or two? Let me know—I'd love to take a look at their work!

Here are my poems for the 2nd week:

Day 8
Prompt: Dare poem

Flight

It's a free fall,
letting go—

whether you teeter on the edge with your eyes closed tightly,
waiting for the tug of gravity
or
leap with arms outstretched,
you're braving a sky of unknowns.

It's ok to be afraid.

But steel yourself in the rushing wind,
believe
as you wait in anticipation
for the promised moment;
when you relinquish yourself and
cut the cords,

you'll fly

Day 9
Prompt: Work poem

Atlantia Ally Condie *Review*



As soon as I heard about this book, I wanted it. Desperately.

If a book is about the sea—mermaids, selkies, etc.--I'm already sold. But if there are :twins: in the same setting?


That's why, when I started reading this book, I was ridiculously excited—and, for the most part, I stayed that way throughout the story.

Let's talk details...

The Setting
Oh, the setting :)

When I heard about Atlantia, I thought it was going to be an oceanic novel—mermaids, undersea adventure, the works—and then I started reading. Didn't take long to realize my vision of Atlantia couldn't have been farther from Condie's, but Condie had a wonderful vision, something unique and riveting in its own right. I found that element of surprise to be part of what made Atlantia itself so enchanting.

So yes, the setting was a huge shock, but it grew on me immediately. It's dazzlingly brilliant and unlike anything I've ever seen in this genre (dystopian)/sub-genre (sea tales). An additional plus: the world is vivid and believable.

The Story
In short, I loved it.

The finely-crafted mystery behind the origin, purpose, and history of Atlantia kept me turning pages, and I loved the characters; learning about the world alongside Rio was a lot of fun, and the other characters kept me on my toes.

Some reviewers remarked that the plot is obvious...but really, when you think about it, every  plot is obvious—it's simply a matter of to what degree. I  enjoyed the plot and found it entertaining until the end, despite the predictability of some parts. The thrill isn't as much about guessing who's behind what or the secret(s) behind Atlantia (though engaging); it's about experiencing the truth through Rio's eyes, getting to see how she responds, and rooting for her.

Also, the ending wasn't as predictable as people let on.

The Voice of Rio
...I may have virtual tomatoes thrown at me for this one....

Many reviewers found the voice of Rio to be very similar to, if not exactly the same as, Cassia's. Even though I've only read the first book in the Matched trilogy, I got this vibe of similarity, too. But I don't think the characters and their voices are exactly alike, and I don't think Atlantia is a waste of time just because both characters happen to be pale beauties in dystopian settings.

Let me address that word (dystopian) in regard to voice: Rather than being entirely the author's—or the characters'—fault that Cassia and Rio sound similar, it's also the fault of conventions behind the genre.

Personally, I think it's a no-go to 'create' a voice based off the genre rather than the character because readers will encounter the same genre over and over again...but they will never encounter quite the same character. Loads of reviewers are booing Condie/Atlantia because of the phenomenon...but she's not the only author who writes (in the genre) like this.

Nearly every dystopian I've ever read sounds almost exactly like Matched—somewhat dry, straight to the point/less flowery, quiet/thoughtful. They share a somewhat monotonous and sobering tone (my guess is because it carries a sense of weight). Sadly, it doesn't suit every character or story, and I'd love to see a few more dystopians stretch past this convention.

Anyway, my point is, Atlantia is still a good read, and Rio is still a fascinating character in a fascinating world!

Overall
My favorite part about Atlantia as a whole is its simplicity and freshness. Condie took fairly basic, classical ideas—Atlantica (little mermaid), sirens, land vs. sea—melted them down, and re-molded them. What an achievement to have created something so extraordinary from things so overdone!

I heartily commend her for this masterpiece, and highly recommend it to lovers of sea-themed and/or fantasy novels and dystopian works.

Final Verdict: 


About the Author
Ally Condie is the author of the MATCHED Trilogy, a #1 New York Times and international bestseller. MATCHED was chosen as one of YALSA’s 2011 Teens’ Top Ten and named as one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of 2010. The sequels, CROSSED and REACHED, were also critically acclaimed and received starred reviews, and all three books are available in 30+ languages. Disney has optioned the film rights for the series.

A former English teacher, she lives with her husband and four children outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves reading, writing, running, and listening to her husband play guitar.

Follow Ally on Twitter @allycondie and Facebook.

| Website |







Wednesday, April 8, 2015

2015 PAD *Poem a Day* Update and Share



Deciding to take on the PAD (Poem-a-Day) challenge was a decision I thought I might come to regret with being so busy, but I have absolutely LOVED it!!

My loose theme for the month is letting go/being loosed. 

I'll be posting the poems I've written for the week here on DaybreakInAutumn every Wednesday for the month of April :), but before I get on to posting them, I want to share some thoughts about the challenge (and writing in general):

On writer's block
Even in the short span of a week, there were a couple days when I stared down the prompt and...nothing. So I brainstormed (again). Let go of the notion I had to go with the one idea I had before I started really brainstorming (despite the fact that it was just not working)...and, miraculously, there it was: a poem!

I struggle with slow writing at times (aka blocks; mine tend to be boulders spread out rather than a single looming mountain) because of this tendency to demand near-perfection the first go-round even though I know that's not my process for novels/fiction. My process is more like this: I get an idea, I run with it, delete half of what I have, run again, rearrange the whole thing, and then polish at least once. In other words, it's a MESS.

But when I refuse to let myself run with an idea/several different ideas, I get stuck in a rut. It's as if there's only one solution to the problem I'm faced with, and it halts creativity before it's had a chance to even evaluate!

My advice to writers (whether of poetry or fiction or even nonfiction) in regards to writer's block is this: strive for sincerity, and give your process breathing room. Once you have an idea, ok, run with it, but if it isn't working, go back to the drawing board and ask WHY. Maybe the first idea you had is alright, but the fourth is the gem you're looking for. Or, as it tends to be in my case, the first idea combined with bits of the second and shaped by the fourth...

On persistence
Sometimes that winning idea is shy (or very stubborn). Sometimes the writing behind that winning idea just isn't coming. In cases like this, I suggest leaving with the promise of persisting.

For example, there was one prompt that I looked at in the morning and jotted down a few thoughts for and tried to write, but it wasn't coming together as I wanted it to. So I took a break. After letting it simmer for the day (subconsciously) and coming back, I didn't have a problem exploring my thoughts and getting them on the page.

Likewise, when I'm stuck in novel-land, I let some things simmer while I focus on another task/portion that can be done.

It's not impossible (though it sometimes feels that way). Don't give up!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

YASH Spring 2015 *Young Adult Scavenger Hunt*

GUYS! 

The Young Adult Scavenger Hunt is here again!

As I tweeted earlier, when YASH shows up, this is me:

*coughs*

Ok, so deets. You need details to participate...

First off, if you don't know what (the) YASH is, I'll sum it up for you: It's a book lover's dream. Authors post exclusive content like excerpts and deleted scenes in addition to offering one of their books to the hunt winner (one per team, so 8 people are going to win big). Some authors post additional giveaways--swag, books, etc. 

This year's hunt begins at 12 noon PST, which is 3pm EST and 2pm CST...and ends April 5th at the same time(s).   

The winners will be announced April 10th. 

JOIN THE HUNT! Catch all the books...! (Yes, I did just make that Pokemon reference.)

Also, spread the word! Love on these authors! Have FUN!

You can find out more about the Hunt on the official YASH blog.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2015 Unashamed Impact *90 Day Bible Challenge*

(c) Unashamed Impact
Woot woot! Told you April was going to be busy. 

I've one more challenge to share with you all today, and that is the 90 Day Bible (Reading) Challenge!

Yes, you read that right--this is a challenge to read through the entire Bible in just 90 days. Whether you aren't a Christian, have just become a Christian, or have been following Christ Jesus for years, this is a wonderful opportunity to get to know God. 

Yeah, so maybe it's weird that I'm saying if you aren't a Christian you should sign up...but hey, I've read the Qur'an, the Bhagavad Gita, the Analects, and many other works of religion and/or philosophy, and I was able to learn a lot about other peoples' cultures and ideas and how they perceive the world. Essentially the point I'm trying to make here is that Truth is Truth, no matter where it exists. 

(Note that I'm not saying the Qur'an, BG, A, etc. are all truth and don't require filtering. The only Book that doesn't require filtering is God's Word, because it is God-breathed. I know, I know...if you don't believe in God, I get that you'd disagree with me...so don't take my word for it. Read the Bible yourself, and be open to the possibility. What harm can come of that?)

And while we as humans may judge a person based on what other people say about them, don't we all know that unless we actually get to know that person ourselves, we don't *really* know them? Rumors are, after all, just rumors; how do we know if they have any basis if we don't properly investigate?

Same thing with God. 

Christians are supposed to be representatives, or ambassadors of Christ...but some 'Christians' call themselves Christian without actually following Christ. (Aka: hypocrites.) And despite what's been said of us, we aren't perfect and never will be on this earth--so yeah, we mess up (a lot). But those who follow Christ know that we are forgiven, and we get back up from our faceplant and press on. 

Point is, instead of judging Jesus based on the actions of those who claim to know Him, why not just ask Him and find out Who He *really* is yourself? 

So go on, take on the Bible reading challenge, even if you can only manage a few days. Try to keep an open mind; just listen, hold your peace...and then, when you're through, make your conclusions and act accordingly. 

If you're a new Christian and are hopping on board the challenge, great!! I remember reading the entire book of Genesis right after I accepted Jesus as my Savior and delighted in how wonderful it was to get to know the God Who said He loved me. One of the best parts: hundreds of Believers are participating around the globe! 

And to the seasoned: the Word of God is alive and powerful! We are always learning and growing and being renewed in the Word. Read on! :)

I just looked on the site and it says that sign-ups are closed (I thought they'd remain open...I thought they did last year. I haven't been keeping up to date, obviously. Oops.), BUT that doesn't mean you can't participate! 

Here's a schedule:

Don't worry if you jump on a little late, or miss a day. Try to keep up with the pace, but if you fall behind, no worries! Make up the days at the end of the challenge ^_^.

If you're participating (or have just decided to participate), comment below! We'll be reading buddies (with hundreds of other people around the world) :D.

2015 April PAD Challenge *Poem a Day*

April is going to be a busy month on the blog, which is somewhat fantastic, because it's been on the back burner and it's totally shown...lol. 

Today marks the 8th anniversary of the (April) Poem-A-Day Challenge! 

I've decided--perhaps unwisely--to participate this year and see what happens. After spending so much time on SPHERES, I've really missed out on writing poetry. Well...it didn't help that I lost a good bit of work when Fred II got stolen. That was just depressing. But even if he hadn't gotten stolen, I don't know if I would've written a whole lot.

One good thing about being semi-obsessed with SPHERES is that I've had time to decide whether or not I want to pursue publication as a poet. It saddens me to admit I'm no longer interested in going that route. 

Once, I had kind of envisioned submitting poems to magazines and being published that way, maybe even work my way up to a chapbook, but I just don't think it's ever going to happen. Maybe that's defeatist...but I figured the reason why I wanted to write poems and publish them in the first place was simply to reach an audience--not to make money, not to become famous (*snort* I mean, like my poems are really THAT great)--just to reach people. 

And frankly, I can reach people just fine with my blog, or on youtube, or DeviantArt...the internet is full of opportunity. I can even self-pub, put it up for free...and when/if I launch my website, it'll be available for people to read. Being rejected a few times led me to conclude a few things: 1) my querying ability might suck wayyy more than I thought it did, 2) my poems weren't as universal as I'd hoped, and 3) my poems needed some tuning. I could likely garner a few more, but I digress...

So being rejected wasn't/isn't all bad; I have a chance to improve and refine. At the same time, not having to face the pressure of never being able to do the one thing I really wanted to do with my poetry--get it out there--is a wonderful relief. 

Anyway, I figured I'd try to get back into the groove of just writing to write--no expectations to meet other than writing one poem a day. It could be the lamest poem in the history of ever (my hope lies within the range of mediocre to the beginning of a real spark), but I still want to go for it. 

Who's with me? 

There's a prompt given every day as a starting place for you to dive in. Don't dive in without reading these TIPS for getting through the month from Robert Lee Brewer! Great advice.  

The first prompt is up on Poetic Asides, and there are already 200 comments! :) I'm excited. 

Please comment if you're planning to participate--I'd love to be on the lookout for your poems!