Friday, August 28, 2020

Join Me In Writing!

If you want to be a writer, write.

To my dearest friends and followers,

I wrote you a few weeks ago that I had been working on "tidying up" my possessions. While I have slowed down the process drastically, I did work on it a little bit this week, and in doing so I decided I wanted to move my "creative space".

As I mentioned last week, I am preparing for NaNoWriMo. To better set myself up for "success", I think it would be extremely beneficial for both me and my husband if I could have a work space away from the main room of the house. So that's what I did. I don't have pictures to show because the space isn't quite what I want, but I'm really happy with how it turned out so far!! It feels like my space in my own little quiet corner of the house. I feel less distracted and more ready to focus on my project.

I have moved a few times and each time, I've joined different "regions" on NaNoWriMo to find other writers/participants in my area. This year is different though. While I have joined my region "San Diego", there are no other members (which blows my mind!)!! If anyone reading this is in the area (those of you who may be doing NaNoWriMo), please join the region!! Or add me as a writing buddy (you'll find me as Vanessa Paige Israel).

Beginning on September 9th, I will be participating in the NaNo Prep 101 Workshop. It is a 6 week course that helps you to plan out your novel, organize your life for writing, and manage your time. I have a lot already planned for my novel, but I am going to do the course anyway and learn/plan everything that I can. It's free to join and pretty self-paced with a convenient easy-to-use handbook that can be downloaded as a PDF.

I have also purchased the book On Writing: a memoir of the craft by Stephen King. It is not a required read by any means, but I have heard on several different accounts that it is an excellent book not only for writers, but also for those preparing to do NaNoWriMo.
Honestly, if anyone reading has ever wanted to be a writer, NaNoWriMo is a great way to get started and it will instantly provide you with a writing community to join and be a part of.

I feel like I'm going have a busy schedule, with planning my novel, taking the NaNo Prep course, reading Rick Riordan's new novels, posting to my blog every week, and doing a weekly book reading of my book with a few ladies I know. The next few months are going to be exciting indeed. Please leave a comment or let me know if you are thinking of doing NaNoWriMo this year. I would love to get to know you as another writer!!

Yours truly,


Friday, August 21, 2020

Preparing For NaNo.

To my dearest friends and followers,

At the beginning of this year, I set myself a reading challenge on Goodreads to read 20 books. On July 13th, I reached that goal, and have since read 10 more books!! I've read a wide variety of books out there, from classics like Sherlock Holmes, to modern Japanese Manga, to the Rick Riordan novels!!
A couple months ago I was scrolling on Facebook and saw an add promoting Rick Riordan's new novel. It isn't available until October 6th, but I immediately pre-ordered myself a copy. I couldn't help but think, I hope someone is this excited about my books some day. XD
I have been so careful when planning what to read next. I want to make sure I have read Riordan's previous 4 books (The Trials of Apollo series), so that I am ready when I receive the 5th book. I estimate it would take me 10 days (at most) to read each book. Therefore, I don't want to begin reading them too soon, finish them, and be waiting in suspense until I have the final book. Basically, I plan to begin reading book 1 on September 1st.

In the meantime, I decided to take these extra days to focus some time on my own book, the sequel I'm working on to The Story of Hollyhocks. Click here if you'd like to check out last week's post, where I talked about starting this project. I have been writing so many notes, asking myself questions about the direction the story will take and about the characters. How old is Jack? What does he like to do? Who are his friends? How is he different, as he states in the prologue? What is the purpose of the prologue?

It's even important for me to know the other characters, not just the protagonist. What will their names be? How do I match the names from the first book? What part does that character play in the story and is his or her role necessary?

I need to know what this world is like too, and how does it differ from the world I already built for Hollyhocks, since it is supposed to have taken place BEFORE Hollyhock's story.

I've also had to ask myself, do I want this story told in the same narrative (the old fairy tale-esque style, like someone is sitting down, telling the reader the story, as opposed to the reader simply reading the story on their own)? How do I accomplish that?

For anyone who has read and enjoyed the first book, I am happy to say that several of the characters will appear in Jack's story. It makes me so happy to revisit this world and see familiar people!! I have written the prologue, the 1st chapter, and part of the 2nd chapter. I am still taking it slow, but I want to write enough (probably no more than the first 3 or 4 chapters) for when NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) comes around in November!!
At that point, I hope to have found my groove and stick with it, maybe not completing my novel, but getting a lot written!! Last time I participated in NaNo (in 2016), I finished the month with a total of just over 26,000 words. That was ok with me. The plan was not to write 50k words (which NaNo pushes for), but to write something everyday. I plan to do the same this year. I'm really looking forward to it!!

Yours truly,


Friday, August 14, 2020

Jack's Story.

To my dearest friends and followers,

If you happened to buy my novel, and if you happened to actually read it (I know I can't be the only one who buys books with every intention to read it, but happens...), and if you just so happened to enjoy the story and the characters, then I have some news for you that will excite you!!
I have begun writing book two!!

So, I completed writing the first draft of The Story of Hollyhocks in January of 2017. I immediately began planning for another book set in the same universe. I got a journal and wrote so many notes and ideas for what this next book could be, but I never really got started with writing it.

In just the last few months I began thinking about the story again and writing more notes, trying to make sense of what I had written previously, and figuring out the direction this next book would take. It was then that I made up my mind: The Story of Hollyhocks would be the first book in a 4 book series.

I'm not quite ready to announce the working titles, but I am so excited!! I have a rough idea of what each book will be about, but I'll work on them more when I get to them. The reason I am writing the second book at all is because one of the characters from the first book demanded to have his story told. I knew the only way to properly do that was to give him his own book.

He really is one of my favorite characters in the book, though he does appear in only a few chapters. I'll try not to give too much away for those of you who have not read the story, but his name is Jack. His entire being is a mystery. Little is known about his past life, how he came to be what he is now, and how that affected the current state of things in his homeland.

The second book will take the reader back in time (even farther back than the first book) to learn the history of the land and the creatures there, along with where Jack came from. I'm so excited to begin another journey and to get to see familiar characters again!! I'm probably going to take the writing pretty slowly for the time being. I'll tell you more in the upcoming weeks, but I am seriously considering doing NaNoWriMo again this year (I participated in 2016) to work on this project.

Also, I'm thinking that I would like to begin blogging about the folklore throughout The Story of Hollyhocks, so keep a lookout for that if that's something you're interested in reading. XD

Yours truly,


Friday, August 7, 2020


To my dearest friends and followers,

Have you ever wanted something so bad, that you maybe didn't stop to even consider if it was right? Have you ever loved someone with all that you are, that you thought surely this is what we were meant for? Or have you ever missed someone so much, that it physically hurt? I ask you, have you ever looked back on your past, on all of the good, the bad, the times that made you happy, the times that you felt like your world was falling apart, the times you were numb from all of the hurt and pain you'd endured, the times you remember most, the times you cherish, and thought, I am grateful for all of these times?

Remember the time when you were a child. It was a good time. You were happy. Mom and Dad were happy. The world was good and everything in it, beautiful. You didn't always get your way, but you could live with that. You knew everything was fine, and when it wasn't, Mom would make it fine.

Remember that time you were out with your friends. You did something you probably shouldn't have. You knew it wasn't the best idea, but you did it anyway. You even thought, this isn't bad, is it? Of course, if you were questioning it, it probably was bad. You were old enough to know right from wrong. But you didn't always make good choices. You weren't a bad person though, you were just learning by making your own mistakes.

Remember that time when you left home without saying goodbye. You hadn't meant to be gone for more than a few nights at the most, but you were away for a long time. You didn't intend any harm, but you wanted to get out and see the world. You were excited and you knew you wanted to experience it all on your own.

Remember the time when you met him. He was beautiful - not in the way that a woman is beautiful, but in his own way. He was beautiful for the way he thought. He was the son of someone important, but that's not why he was important to you. He believed in you and knew he was better for having met you.

Remember the time when all of that ended. Maybe you even knew it was coming, but it didn't make it hurt any less. It was real, and the pain was real too.

Remember the time when you blamed them. You said the world was evil and you truly believed it. You didn't want to hurt anymore, but how did you make the pain go away? You knew they wanted to be there for you, but how did you let them in?

Remember the time you overcame your darkness. You didn't do it alone, because you weren't meant to, but you were in a better place all the same. And maybe the pain didn't completely go away. And maybe that's a good thing. Maybe it's all of your feelings, not just your good ones, that makes you you.

Yours truly,