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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

SPHERES #2: Yellow **NaNoWriMo Excerpt(s)**

So this past month I participated in NaNoWriMo, which was STELLAR. Seriously. I had so much fun taking a much-needed break from the ultra-structured Whispers and Murmurs and moving into the more spontaneous territory of the second book of the series, Yellow. Working with Yellow's protagonist, Kara, was nothing short of thrilling. 

Kara is one of those characters whose charisma grips you and refuses to let go...and you are totally ok with it. Also, not going to even try to deny this, she's so easy to work with. She lets me know exactly what she wants, where she intends to go, and doesn't waste time deliberating *long hard stare at Nikaiya* which is almost the complete opposite of Nikaiya, who, while reckless at points, is a strategist at heart and “wastes time” thinking about, well, pretty much everything. I'm making Nikaiya sound annoying. She's really not; just difficult to prod into cooperating... 

Yellow also proved easier to navigate despite—ironically—being much more convoluted. We're talking timey-wimeyness here, peeps. But unlike in Whispers and Murmurs, where literally everything is structured down to the word count per chapter, Yellow offers an abundance of wiggle room provided all the key scenes are put into the novel. Obviously I have an order to it; just a much more lenient one. 

(Short glimpse into the somewhat stifling structure of W&M: each of the 32 chapters is exactly 3,125 words total exactly 100,000 words.)

I put forth that I wanted to share a few bits of my efforts—efforts which resulted in about 20k! Woot considering circumstances, which I'll again hopefully be announcing soon. Next week? :D—and now I'm finally getting to do so. Yay!

What you're about to see is the unadulterated rough draft of rough drafts—meaning none of this has been edited at all. Not for grammar or spelling, syntax, or logical please keep that in mind while reading! Don't be too worried, though; my grammar isn't impeccable but it isn't atrocious, either (same goes for spelling). And brackets? My lifeline for brain farts. I love brackets. 

To avoid some spoilers and such, I had to blot out a character's name (sorry!). I'm really excited—and a bit nervous—to share this because 1) as expressed above, it's NaNo-style rough; and 2) I'm afraid to be giving away too much at once before I've even finished the draft! Nevertheless, this is something I wanted to do to give a peek into my first NaNo experience. 

Hopefully you find it encouraging—maybe enough to tackle NaNo yourself next year?! 

Here's my (also) rough synopsis. It desperately needs help, but will suffice for the moment:

For Kara, a girl who’s cursed with the rare and volatile affliction known as Ipsen's Syndrome and who’s haunted by the tragic event that triggered its manifestation, existence is a nightmare she longs to wake up from. Despite numerous treatments, counseling sessions, and continuous outpouring of love from her family and few remaining friends, she has yet to recover. In one last attempt to at least lessen the effects of the curse, Kara’s parents allow her to travel to Mydoria with a family friend.

Upon arrival, the pair is shocked; Miaka, the eldest princess, insists Kara accompany her if she desires to receive healing—and miraculously, once the process is complete, Kara’s migraines are gone. Thus when Miaka requests the pair’s aid in helping Nikaiya accomplish her quest, both willingly oblige; Mikael, because he believes this journey could be the answer they’ve been searching for; Kara, because she has been given a sliver of hope, and wishes to thank Miaka.

Shortly after departing Mydoria, Kara encounters a priestess from Hikari, and is challenged to confront her precarious past—to come to terms with what happened, and with what could be: to embrace the redemption she's really been searching for all along—if it exists.

She could refuse.

But if she does, she'll lose herself and those she holds most dear—for good this time.

Onto the Story...
*Mikael's name will probably change :)

Tidbit #1:

When I listen carefully, I hear the flow of water. The water underneath us…it’s moving. And much faster than it should be. My legs threaten to give way beneath me as Mikael’s shouts pierce the air. It hurts to breathe. His voice echoes along the river, carrying an eerie note of foreboding. Run, he’s saying. RUN!
I spin, forcing my legs to move back to *****. He must have seen the river breaking from atop the slope. If we don’t get off the ice, we’re all going to die. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Lemorian Crest Hannah L. Clark **Review**

Another gorgeous cover! :3

**I received an e-copy in exchange for an honest and fair review. Thank you!**

As with the first installment, Uncovering Cobbogoth, there's a mountain range of potential in The Lemorian Crest. The world of New Cobbogoth is every bit as creative and enthralling as I'd hoped—and more—and combined with its unique history, mythos, and bits of legislation, it's nothing short of phenomenal. Clark's world-building is easily her strongest suit. Although I didn't feel the book lived up to its full potential, I loved that the backstory and history of the Cobbogothians went much deeper than a single book could allow. (Hence the series. Epicness :-) 

By utilizing letters and scrolls in ruins to relay the history of the Gihara, Clark further brought New Cobbogoth to life. In combination with the flashbacks and the visions, it was admittedly a little overwhelming, but I favored the texture it brought to the story. Speaking of was a bit tropey. One moment I would be enamored and impressed with the approach and execution of the prophecy bits and the next I'd feel like the whole thing was slightly overdone and hard to believe. 

Overall, the plot was decent, the world-building was (again) phenomenal, and the background, in general, was pretty entertaining...but the not-so-stellar pacing and the Mary-Sue/flat characterization distracted me, detracting from and dragging down what would otherwise be a fantastic novel. 

In the first novel, the pacing issue was in large part due to the numerous flashbacks. The second installment vastly improved in this area; however, the flashbacks were replaced with visions. Granted, they were interesting, but there comes a point when enough is enough. Shoehorning, also an issue in Uncovering Cobbogoth, again happened a fair amount...but honestly, I didn't really mind when it came to the world because the world is incredible. What I minded was when it came down to people.

The real  pacing issue, though, was aimless dialogue. Too much time was spent dilly-dallying in literally pointless conversation. As a writer, this irked me; if it has no point, if it does not further the novel, it goes. Or at least it should. But as a reader, it was beyond aggravating. No one wants to waste their time flipping through pages of dialogue that accomplish nothing! If I wanted to subject myself to that, I'd read my cereal box. (I actually do  like reading my cereal box, but that's because I'm weird.) 

When I read a novel, I expect there to be a reason why people are talking. They have something important to share with me, something to help the protagonist along. SOMETHING. And when they don't? -_____-  <-----This is the face I make, and then I proceed to skim...and skim...and skim until something significant presents itself and I can, once again, immerse myself in the story. 

Sure, the characters were interesting—well, most of them—but no character is THAT interesting, not even Harry Potter. It was too bad, really.

And Noria (aka Nor aka Norah aka Nilla aka Lune-kyndie aka The Haven). Oh, Noria. To be blunt, she was tragically annoying as ever. I've come to conclude that we just don't mix well; sometimes a protagonist has a lot to offer but you still don't resonate with them. 

She's stubborn, foolish, and reckless...yet is supposed to be incredibly smart...? Sounds like my first WIP's protagonist. But unlike with my character, I never truly saw or felt said supposed intelligence. Nor's judgment and decisions also seemed inconsistent, almost as if she was trying to be two or three different people. It was difficult for me to get a grip on her character.

In her defense, she came a long way since the first novel. It was a vast improvement and I enjoyed this Norah more than the previous Norah...just not enough to actually resonate with and/or like her. Again, cue bitter disappointment because POTENTIAL.

Overall, The Lemorian Crest is captivating enough to at least try. The world is like nothing I've ever come across: whimsical, believable, and utterly fantastical. And who knows—maybe you'll love Noria! Definitely worth a chance, especially for MG readers.

Final Verdict: 

About the Author 
Hannah L. Clark lives with her husband and two children in the Rocky Mountains. She has always known she would be a storyteller. In 2006 she graduated from Utah Valley University with a bachelor's degree in English and immediately began writing her first novel.

Uncovering Cobbogoth was Clark's first book in the seven book Cobbogoth series based on her mythological brain-child, The Legend of the Cobbogothians. It was released in May 2014 through Cedar Fort Publishing. Book 2 in the series, The Lemorian Crest will be released in Summer 2015.

Clark loves running, mythology, singing while playing the guitar, herbal tea, escaping into imaginary worlds, and being with her peeps. Like her heroine Norah, she also kind of believes that trees might have souls, but must clarify that she has never actually hugged a tree. The closest she has ever come to that kind of bizarre behavior was the time she hugged the pillars outside Harry Potter Land. Which, all things considered, is not bizarre at all if you take into account how exquisitely happy she was to finally be there. ;-)

| Website |

NaNoWriMo and Life Madness *Update*

November passed by and I didn't put up a single post! *sigh*

Well, that's only to be expected, I suppose. Hopefully in a few days--or weeks--I'll be able to share some fantastic news pertaining to the "life" bit of the equation on the post header...but for now, I can say things have been difficult in the sickness arena. 

NaNo went ok. Not as stellar as I'd hoped, but I knocked out about 20k of Yellow, Spheres Book 2, and managed to get a working scene list that bumped my novel up from a mere 30k (it was bigger in my mind, ok??! Haha) to about 90. During this past month I gained a tremendous amount of insight to Kara's story and am ready to dive in to knock out a large portion of the novel this month. I initially wanted to shoot for diving back into Whispers and Murmurs, but Kara's story has gripped me and well, it's the one demanding attention. 

In the meantime, I'll try to focus on some of the plot holes in the first book. *cries* 

My next post is a review (it's going up today, no worries :-) of The Lemorian Crest, Book 2 of the Uncovering Cobbogoth series by Hannah Clark. After that, I'm going to share a bit of my progress on Yellow during NaNo. Sure, it's RFDR stuff...but honestly, I find it encouraging when other writers are willing to share their work in its unrefined state, so I hope you're able to as well.