History of the World

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Today I created the ancient history of my world!  I had not even planned on doing it today, but I suddenly started thinking about it and now here it is!  I already had a basic idea but now it is fleshed out and I am pretty pleased with how it all fits together.

And Chapter 2!

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Definitely feeling very productive today! The first draft of chapter two is also complete!  Again, it’ll need edits and additions, but I am still pretty pleased with what I have achieved today!

Chapter 1 completed!

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Well, by completed I mean the first draft is completed and later I’ll have to go back through it and add or edit a whole bunch of stuff.. but the idea is out!

I also rewrote everything I had already done in chapter 1. I guess old habits die hard and I decided to go back to writing in third person.  I’m also deciding to look at it as sticking to my strengths, rather than chickening out!  It is my first book after all.  I have been writing in third person for years, I should probably just keep going… right?

Review: A Dance of Dragons, Series Starter Bundle

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A Dance of Dragons: Series Starter Bundle
Dance of Dragons 0.5 & 1
Kaitlyn Davis
Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads (The Golden Cage, A Dance of Dragons #0.5)
In the land of Ourthuro, cruelty is a way of life. The king rules with an iron fist and no one dare defy him–no one except his daughter. Princess Leena is keeping a dangerous secret, she has fallen in love with a soldier and it would mean both of their lives if her father ever discovered their affair.

But Leena will risk it all to be with the man she loves–her heart, her life, her freedom. And when her brother’s birthday celebration takes a dangerous turn, Leena is forced to make a decision that will change the fate of her nation and eventually the world.

Review
I want to start by saying I only read the synopsis for the first book, which is why I have only provided the first one for this review.  However, if you are not interested by that synopsis, try the one from Book 1 as well because they are quite different.

The Golden Cage is a prequel novella and I enjoyed the detail of the culture and city.  The concept of the tattoos to display social status was very interesting and the description of the area allowed me to visualise a wealthy and beautiful place.  I found the main character’s situation to be believable and I connected with her enough to want her wishes to come true.

While I enjoyed The Golden Cage, I am not sure the novella alone would have been enough for me to want to continue the series.  I would probably only rate it three out of five because it was just not enough to get me deeply involved and interested in what was going to happen next.  Combining Book 0.5 and Book 1 in a starter bundle was a very good decision.

The Shadow Soul is almost totally different, starting in a land away from the Ourthuro, and there is no mention of the characters from the first book until several chapters into this one.  I admit that I started off confused by this, but I am glad that I continued to read.

The two main characters in The Shadow Soul made me even more involved.  I felt their emotions and had great empathy for their situations.  They were also very interesting.  They were from very different cultures, but the way they joined together to help each other was beautiful.  Each had something to hide, something they were afraid to share, and their reasons behind this, as well as their disguises, were realistic to the setting.

It did take me a while to get into this series, but I was hooked by about half way through The Shadow Soul.  I wanted to learn more about what the characters could do and how they were going to help their situation.  In the end, I am very impressed and I look forward to reading the next book.

Chapter 1: it’s a start..

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So it has been a month since I wrote my prologue, and since then I have not found the time to write much at all, but today I started chapter one! Ok, so I am only 560 words in, and I am not quite sure if I like any of those words, but it’s still a start and I can go back and edit it later!

Book Review: The Winner’s Curse

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The Winner’s Curse
The Winner’s Trilogy #1
Marie Rutkoski
Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love…

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Review
I found it interesting that this book did not seem to have an immediate end game.  Most of the books I have been reading lately have made it clear what the final challenge or goal was for the story right from the start, but this book goes straight into the storyline and lets the reader figure it out for themselves a bit later on.

I quite enjoyed the setting and how the history of the land formed the characters.  It had been ten years since the war that enslaved the Herrani and it was clear they were still bitter about what had happened, but most of them got on with their life because they had no other choice.  I also found it easy to picture the imagery in my mind so I could see what was happening while I was reading.

The internal conflict within the two main characters was realistic as they tried to decide what was right.  This often led to them having to choose between love and their country. I would rather not give away any spoilers about this though.

The ending had a slight twist that I was not expecting, and it definitely makes me want to read the next book in the series. I am sure that was exactly the result Rutkoski was after.

I would also like to add that I only knew this book existed because someone I follow on WordPress posted their own review about it, which made me want to look it up. This made me appreciate just how important reviews can be and I hope someone else decides to read this book after reading my review.

Picture it & Write Response

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Picture it & Write
Ermilia

easter-eggs-hanging-from-tree

Hidden in the park lived a girl who felt lost and alone.  She had no family and she had no friends.  She had nothing except the clothes on her back and the fading memories of who she used to be.  Now, she felt like she was nothing but a shade, nothing but a shadow that people sometimes saw but she was always gone before they took a second look.  No one cared for her, and she cared for no one.

The holidays came and went as they always did, and the girl remained the same.  She hid behind the trees and avoided those who visited the park.  Sometimes, when it was dark and no one was around, she would venture out and try to appreciate the land, but she always came back to the same feeling.  She was lost in life, and she was alone.

The Easter celebrations began and the girl was hiding once more.  She could see other children playing together and laughing with their family.  She could see the joy in their eyes, but they could not see her.  She was invisible to them, and that was the way she would stay, no matter how much she wished she could play as well.

On Easter Sunday, the girl woke in her usual hiding place, but something was different.  The natural chill to the air was somehow inviting, instead of filling her with sorrow.  Upon further inspection, she noticed something else, something that had not been there the night before.  There were decorated eggs hanging from the trees and they were beautiful.  They made the girl smile.

Then, the girl noticed more of them, hanging from different trees as if they were lining a path.  She followed them, wondering where they could possibly lead, and that was when she saw them.  The family she had seen playing the other day, and they were waiting for her.  She was not invisible and she was not alone.  She had someone to care for her.

Writing Prompt Response: Adopted

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Adopted
PROMPTUARIUM

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I took a few steps back, trying to remain silent but I was struggling to believe what I had just heard.  Adoption?!  Surely this could not be true. I was eleven years old now, and I had long since learned that no one wanted an eleven year old girl.  They all wanted perfect little babies that giggled and drooled in their sleep.

The hallway was dark and all the other children were asleep, but I had heard the car pull up to the orphanage and had quietly crept out of my room to find out what was going on.  I was the oldest child in the orphanage, and had been there for several years now.  It was always up to me to find out what was happening.

All the other children looked up to me.  I was the strong one, the one that did not care if I was adopted.  I helped them work through their fears and, one by one, they had started to sleep better at night.  My work here was important, even if the adults did not see it that way.  Sure, I could be nosy and I often found myself in places considered out of bounds, but that was what the oldest was meant to do.  The others were too young to risk it.

Now though, they were talking about adoption.  I could not leave the others! They needed me!  Who else was going to look out for them and keep them out of trouble?  Who else was going to convince them that everything was going to get better one day and they just had to live life the best way they could for now?

It was decided.  I would not go.  I could not go!  I silently stepped back up to the crack in the door to peer through at the family talking with the headmistress.  I needed to learn everything I could about them in order to make sure they no longer wanted me.

Inspiration Call Response

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Inspiration Call: Create a Story Around a Key
Creative Talents Unleashed
(For some reason it is not letting me link this properly but I will try again later to see if it is working)

Inspiration Call: Keys are a sad part of life. They remind us that the world is untrustworthy and unsafe, and that locks are needed to protect our loved ones and possessions from humanity’s less appealing inclinations. But keys are also filled with memories: a first apartment, a new car, access to a home no longer occupied by a friend. Choose a key from your keychain, or perhaps one abandoned in the back of a kitchen drawer, and write about it. Begin with a detailed description of the key and segue into broader, more meaningful thoughts.

I have a key; it appears to be an ordinary looking key. It’s not that old, though it definitely isn’t new. It has clearly been well used on many occasions and will continue to be used for many more.

Do not let appearances fool you though. This key is no ordinary key; it is the key to the final stage of opening a whole new world. This world is filled with laughter and it is filled with tears. It is a place where people are free to explore, imagine and grow. It is a place where one can truly feel like they belong, even if they do not belong anywhere else.

When I open the door to this world I feel a sense of hope and purpose. This is a world where I can make a difference and a place where I have the ability to change lives. Changing lives can be powerful and dangerous, but this is what I was born to do, and I believe I do it well. This world brings out the best in me and I can make sure it brings out the best in you.

This key is not just a key to a childcare centre; it is a key that opens a door to endless possibilities.

Daily Fantasy Writing Prompt Response

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Daily Fantasy Writing Prompt – Mar. 16, 2016
Geekritique

Yes, I know it’s no longer March 16th but I haven’t had time to write until now and I really wanted to try some of these. This is one of my first attempts at writing in first person, so hopefully it is ok!

The dog just won’t leave you alone. “Go home, won’t you!” you yell. It doesn’t listen. Its tail wags about and its tongue flops about happily. Where you’re going just isn’t a place for dogs.

I was late for work. I could feel my heart racing as my anxiety began to build. I was never late for work! In fact, I was always at least ten minutes early, just to be sure. Today was different though. Today was just not my day. My alarm decided not to go off this morning, and I have still not worked out why. I did not have time to work out why.

I dressed quickly and raced out the front door, slamming it locked behind me. I ran to my car, put my keys in the ignition and waited for the familiar roaring sound that my old tank always seemed to make. Not today though. Today it decided to make a whining sound, refusing to get the engine going. I tried several times, each with no success.

I grumbled to myself, getting out of the car and starting to hastily walk down the driveway. My thoughts became so lost in a heated argument occurring in my own head that I almost tripped over a small dog. Cursing to myself, I looked around but there was no owner in sight. The dog did not even have a collar. Normally, I would not like to leave a dog by itself, but I was in such a hurry that I had no other choice.

I continued up the path, walking as quickly as I could as I tried to convince myself not to feel guilty. That was when I noticed that I was now being followed by that dog. It seemed so happy with its wagging tail and playful barks. It clearly wanted some attention, but I did not have time for this.

“Go home, won’t you!” I yelled at the dog, instantly regretting my tone. It was not the dog’s fault that the world was against me today. I continued to walk but so did the dog, staying so close to my feet that I was sure I was going to trip over it again if I was not careful.

This continued until I reached an intersection where I had to turn a corner. I could see my work all the way down the end of the next street. The dog had been so happy and playful up until then, but as soon as I turned it was a different story. I heard growls and angry barks. The dog latched its teeth onto the bottom of my pants and tried to drag me away from the change in direction.

“What are you doing?! Let go of me!” I yelled, hardly believing how this day was turning out. It did not matter what I did though, the dog just would not let me go. We continued to struggle in the street for quite some time.

Suddenly, the ground began to shake and I fell down with a crash. My head hit the pavement and the world went black.

When I finally woke, my eyes opened in a daze. I could feel something warm against me and realised it was the dog, cuddling up to me as if to protect me. I slowly began to sit up and tried to fight off the sharp pain rushing to my head. I needed to know what was going on.

The ground had settled by then, and the emergency services were beginning to arrive. A man approached me to see how I was but I ignored his efforts to keep me on the ground. Instead, I used him to help me stand so I could look down the street, fear seeping through every part of my body at the devastation before me, but I looked for one building in particular. That building was not there. My work had completely crumbled to the ground.

“I was meant to be in there.” I said, pointing to the ruins. The whole street leading up to my work was covered in shattered glass and rubble. I was lucky that I was standing exactly where I had been.

“The dog..” I said, letting my voice trail off as I looked around me but it was nowhere to be seen. The man did not appear to know what I was talking about either. It was like it had just disappeared, but I was never going to forget the dog that saved my life.