Writing Tips from Jese

Recently, I’ve been writing a lot more than I used to so I thought I might share a few writing tips, some that I keep telling myself, some things that come very easy to me, but I know that other people struggle with. Take what you will from this list ūüôā

a) write whenever you can. If you’ve got an idea, keep going with it. Even if you don’t have a pad of paper or a computer, just keep writing in your head, planning out your stories.

b) write whatever you can. Write down all the ideas, write in all the genres. I don’t like stagnation in my writing, so I try to write in as many genres as I possibly can: fantasy, scifi, contemporary, historical fiction.

c) write first, edit later. Editing/perfectionism (something I struggle with) is like a heavy fog and you can lose sight of what you’re aiming for as you try to perfect as you go.

d) finish what you start. It’s so tempting to give up on your current project in order to chase another one, or to be discouraged by perfectionism, but there is nothing more satisfying than finishing what you started.

e) if you’re a pantser, try planning. If you’re a planner, try pantsing. Be comfortable with both approaches, and you never know. You might like another style better than the one you use currently. Don’t be afraid to change.

f) have fun! ūüėÄ

See ya later!

Jese

Fear Itself

Hail and well met! ‘Tis I, Nikken. How have you all been this summer?

Today I am here to talk about something that affects all of our lives. You may have forgotten it ever existed, or maybe you still remember it with a faint shudder. But I assure you, it was once a tangible, inescapable menace that clutched your mind and heart with a fierce grip. Perhaps in the deepest, darkest corners of your mind, it still has a foothold, ready to rise with vengeance at the least provocation.

I am talking about—

Childhood Fears.

Admit it. We all had them.

These are the fears that plagued you at night as you lay in bed, trying to sleep. Every sound would morph into footsteps of varying magnitude, every shadow turned into a dreadful harbinger of your fear’s arrival.

Some of them are on the improbable side, such as flaming monsters. Others are more reasonable (though not any less frightful) such the house burning up. Some were even ridiculous, now that you look back on them.

For interest, my biggest fear when I was little was… rabbits.

Don’t laugh.

I had horrible recurring nightmare of evil rabid bunnies breaking into my Uncle’s manor and swarming me, an unstoppable wave of rabbity evil.

Something rather like this, in fact, except in hordes.

killer rabbit

I would weak up screaming and crying every night.

(Stop laughing, Your Highness. It doesn’t befit your dignity.)

My author had two childhood fears–burglars and snakes. Or to be more precise, venemous or constricting snakes coming into her bedroom. She wasn’t afraid of snakes normally, though she doesn’t like the ones that can kill you. She used to spend hours catching and handling snakes.

But she was terrified that a dangerous snake would somehow come into her room, wind itself up into her loft bed and either bite her (if they were venemous) or squeeze her to death (if they were constrictors). She would lie awake at night, peering at the suspicious lump at the end of her bed and hope it was a fold of her blanket and not a snake head. But she was too afraid to sit up and look in case it was actually a snake and she attracted its attention, causing her imminent death. In the morning, she would tell herself it was silly (she lived in a town), but knowing it was silly never did much when the lights went out and the lump at the end of the bed appeared.

She blames the Jungle Book and Rikki Tikki Tavi.

But she grew out of the fear (as we all do, in time) as she got older, and not long ago, she moved to the country. And it just so happens that her new bedroom has a small hole in the corner directly across from her loft bed, and beneath this hole is a small piece of drop ceiling. About a month ago, she woke up and saw a snake draped on that small piece of drop ceiling directly across the room, looking at her.

There are very few things more terrifying, my friends, is to wake up one morning to find your childhood nightmare is a reality.

She tamped down her first response (screaming) and went to find her dad. She managed to keep her cool until the family entered her room and the snake appeared to be missing, which was when she screamed and indulged in a brief moment of panic, convinced the snake was hiding in her room. She managed to calm herself down quickly, though, and it was discovered that the snake was still on the ceiling piece but was retreating into the attic. Her father and two younger brothers then proceeded to catch the snake, take it outside, and release it.

My author is not afraid of snakes. She even volunteered to help hold the snake (and big fat black ratsnake that was more than four feet long) while her family took pictures. But finding one in her room (especially one that looked brown in the current lighting, therefore making her fear it a rattlesnake or some other venomous kind) was… difficult, shall we say.

Now to the point of the story.

Everyone has childhood fears. We outgrow them eventually, but they still lurk in your minds, forgotten but not gone. And while many of us will never wake up to find their fear an actual reality under the light of day, for many of us, in those dark hours between lights out and the land of dreams, those fears are tangible. Inescapable. Real. And they will remain so unless we take steps to defeat them.

My author volunteered to hold the snake for two reasons.

Number One: She wasn’t afraid of snakes. Rather likes them, in fact.

Number Two: She didn’t want that to change.

Above many things, my author hates debilitating fear. She understood if she didn’t reach out and hold the thing that brought her nightmare to life, the nightmare might grow. The fear that poisoned her nights may end up poisoning her days, making her flee in fear from something she once enjoyed. Paralyzing her in moments when action is needed. So she held the snake.

As I said before, I was afraid of rabbits. When my¬†Mammami¬†discovered what my nightmares were about, she devised a plan. My¬†Mammami is a wise lady, so she knew that the best way to defeat your fears are to confront them, hold them in your hands, and throw them away. Far, far away where their ability to hurt you is small and faint. So my¬†Mammami had me do two things–she gave us all rabbit stew to eat for an entire week, and she gave me a baby bunny, as a pet. The rabbit stew taught me that despite the overwhelming evil of the rabbits, they could be defeated.

The baby bunny was a tiny thing, so small I could nearly hold it one hand. It taught me that the rabbits didn’t have an overwhelming evil, after all.

I named that bunny “Nyacaon”.¬†In the tongue of my cousin’s people, that means “No Fear”.

My author tells me that someone once said “The only thing we have to fear is Fear Itself”. It’s not whatever you are facing that paralyzes you, it’s your fear. Defeat your fear, and half the battle is already over.

So, when you are all grown up and your children come to you (or even now, with your younger siblings, if you have them), frightened and sniffling, don’t tell them there’s nothing to be afraid of. Have them hold their fear in their hands and¬†show them there’s nothing to be afraid of. Hearing someone tell you something is knowing, having someone show it to you is believing.

And in the rare case this might not work, there’s one last, best thing to do. Remind them that even when they lie awake at night, all alone, staring at the lump at the end of the bed, they aren’t truly alone. There will always be Someone there with them, ready to face and fend off their fears and, when they fall asleep, to fill their dreams with light.

Farewell for now! May we all never wake up to find our childhood fears have come true. Especially me. Because being swarmed by a colony of evil rabbits is something no one should have to experience.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go put some mulberries in a laughing High Prince’s bed.

~Nikken

 

 

~Favorite~

“What is your favorite animal? What is your favorite color? What is your favorite season?”

All of these are traditional ice breaker questions you’re asked when someone’s trying to get to know you. I never know what to answer. I don’t have a favorite animal. I love several of them. I don’t have a favorite color. There’s at least three I can’t decide between. How can I decide between all the seasons when they all have such wonderful contributions to the year?

I can’t decide. I don’t want to decide.

Then, as I was eating lunch at my friend’s house today, her younger sister asked her “can you have more than one favorite?”, looking for a resolution to an argument she was having with a brother about their favorite fast food restaurants.

“Sure” my friend replied, mainly saying it to keep the sister away from her as she was trying to read her book, not realising she said something rather remarkable, something that made me redesign the way I’m going to think from now on.

Where does it say that you can have only one favorite?

So, now I am resolved that whenever someone asks me those questions, I will respond with all my favorites. I’ll tell them I love cats, dogs, echidnas, and tasmanian devils. I’ll delve into how I love pink just as much as red, orange, or blue. I’ll list the pros and cons of all the seasons, settling on the answer that I love all of them.

Feel free to say that you have many favorites, whether it be between flavors or children (since we know you’re not supposed to have just one favorite with the latter). However, if you do truly only have one favorite, that’s ok too (though don’t tell your kids that).

Have a great day everyone!

You’re all my favorite people ūüôā

Jese

Rose of the Oath: A Beauty and the Beast Novella by Hope Ann

Well met, everyone! It is I, Nikken, and today I am introducing a special guest. She has come here to present unto you the wonderful news of a book release, and a review as well.

Now, without further ado, I present to you–My very own Author! *clasp wildly*

Author: *laughs* Thank you, Nikken. Today I am here to talk about Rose of the Oath, a new novella by author Hope Ann.

~*~

War clouds the horizon and rebels gather under a mysterious leader. Alone, with her two younger sisters, Elissa watches the mountain road desperately for her brother’s return. Instead, she receives news of his capture by a strange figure covered in scars and cloaked in wolf skins.

With rebels drawing nearer, she sets off to find her brother. To save him. There is no one else who can.

Yet she soon finds the rose that granted her warning now holds her captive in safety. Outside the valley, war threatens those she loves most. Though her strange host claims the ancient promises of the Prince’s return and victory over the rebels, Elissa knows the blood-drenched truth. She is on her own. Elissa will do anything to keep her family safe, but more than one kind of wolf stalks the Blackwood and danger lurks closer than she could ever imagine.

Download it for FREE at:

Amazon

Smashwords

iTunes

Add it to your shelf on Goodreads

Also, a bonus! For those of you who may not have seen it, I’m also giving away the prequel to this Beauty and the Beast retelling, Rose of the Night – an account of how the ‚ÄėBeast‚Äô became the Beast.

Click here to claim your free copy!

Add to your shelf on Goodreads

Finally, in honor of the official release of Rose of the Oath, my other novellas are $0.99 for this week only!

Buy Song of the Sword: A Rapunzel Novella

Buy Shadows of the Hersweald: A Hansel and Gretel Novella

About Hope Ann

Hope Ann is a speculative fiction writer who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She has self-published three Legends of Light novellas and writes regular articles for Kingdom Pen as the Writing Team Captain. Reading since the age of five, and introducing herself to writing at age eight, she never had a question that the author‚Äôs life was the life for her. Her goal is to write thrilling Christian fantasy and futuristic fiction ‚ÄĒ stories she longed for while growing up. After graduating from homeschool, Hope now teaches writing to several of her eight younger siblings. She loves climbing trees, archery, photography, Lord of the Rings, chocolate, and collecting shiny things she claims are useful for story inspiration.

You can visit Hope’s blog at authorhopeann.com, or follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.

~*~

This novella is actually a rewritten version of Hope Ann’s original published work,¬†Rose of Prophecy. My close friend, Jese’s author, recommended it to me a few months ago. I got it on the Kindle, read it, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Just a few days later, I discovered the author, Hope Ann, was about to publish a rewrite of¬†Rose of Prophecy,¬†called¬†Rose of the Oath. This intrigued me, and I became very excited to see what this new version would be like. So when Hope Ann announced she was looking for people to participate in her blog explosion, I signed up and read¬†Rose of the Oath¬†immediately. I wasn’t disappointed. The smooth-flowing descriptions, the carefully thought-out symbolism, the quality of the characters–all of these show that Hope Ann has continued to grow and improve in the writing world. The book was exciting, entertaining, and at several notable points had me close to panic about what would happen to Elissa and the Beast.

There are, of course, a few things that I liked better the way they occurred in the original version. Yet over all, Rose of the Oath is far superior to its predecessor, in the same way that a rose in full bloom overshadows a bud that is about to open. One of the things I love most about this new book is the character of Elissa. In Rose of Prophecy, Beauty is sweet and gentle, brave and loving, faithful and trusting in the promise of the Prince and the King. Beauty is a character that, while she still needs to grow, is on the threshold of adulthood in the faith.

Elissa, on the other hand, is broken. She has seen no provision of the King, she disbelieves the prophecy that His so-called son, the Prince, will ever appear. The King has never cared for her–why would He start to do so now? She’s struggling and afraid, clinging to her disbelief, scared of hoping only to see the hope burn to ash.

While both Beauty and Elissa struggle, Elissa’s struggles are more poignant. Both are realistically human, but Elissa’s humanity is one that everyone can relate to.

This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and anyone who has ever heard of the story knows one simple fact: Beauty and the Beast is about love. Not merely romantic love between two people, but deep, deep love that saves from death, doom, and destruction.

I have read multiple retellings of Beauty and the Beast, all of them good and beautiful. Yet in the end, I have to say that Rose of the Oath is the one that most accurately, movingly, and meaningfully depicts this love, in more ways than one and in surprising fashions.

To sum up, this is a story about someone beautiful and someone beastly, about a faithful prince and a failing people, and an Oath made in love that will be fulfilled, despite all the powers of hate and darkness.

~*~

Author: And now, I’m afraid I have to be going. Thank you for your time, and thank you, Nikken, for letting me borrow your blog for a bit. Goodbye, everyone! *waves and leaves*

There, wasn’t that great? Give my author a big round of applause, if you will! (After all, she’s the one who made me! ūüėČ )

Thank you for coming, everyone. Come back soon! Until then, fare you well wherever you fare!

A Sentence That Creates a Paradox

As someone who spends way too much time on the internet, I am here to tell you a sentence that, no matter what decision you come to concerning it, will leave you in a paradox.

You might have either figured this out before or seen it somewhere else (if so, you’ve done more internet surfing than I ever have), but that doesn’t matter. You can just skip this post and read something else, but if this is a new concept for you, I urge you to sit down and ponder.

Keep reading. I know you’re curious.

It’ll come. I promise you

Here we go:

Don’t believe anything on the internet!

A very very very simple sentence that can and will create a paradox.

If you disagree with this statement, you’re saying you believe anything on the internet, but by disagreeing with what I’m saying, you’re disbelieving something on the internet, which goes against the conclusion you just came to.

If you agree with this statement, you have yet another paradox. You’re agreeing that you shouldn’t believe anything on the internet, but because you read this post¬†on the internet, you have gone against your conviction and believed what I said.

see you later ūüôā

Jese

 

On Modern Ideas of Female Battle-Wear

Well met, my friends! Wednesday has come around again, and so here I am with my thoughts on life and the universe (not on apple pie though–that’ll be Jese’s thing sometime soon).

A little while ago, I was watching my author play¬†World of Warcraft. And as I’m watching, I notice the armor some of the women are wearing, and I have one question: Who on earth thought the metal bikini was a good idea?

I mean, really. Are all women warriors supposed to be some kind of suicide squad?

Where I come from, armor is¬†very important. It protects you. It saves your life. It’s expensive. Way more metal and time goes into armor than into swords or spears. The High King does his best to ensure every member of his army gets high-quality equipment, but for travelers or normal people defending their homes, that isn’t always possible. I’m lucky, because I come from a wealthy family. When I have adventures or go to war, I’m always well-equipped. Many people don’t have that chance–they have to make do with boiled leather armor, usually with inset metal rings for extra protection. It’s better than nothing, but not as good as a well-made breastplate and chain-mail hauberk. If you have armor, you want to make sure it protects you. You take good care of it. When you go into battle, you know the armor you wear will do it’s part in protecting you.

I cannot imagine feeling confident marching into battle wearing¬†something that exposes even a little of my stomach. Ships, you’re exposing one your most vulnerable spots to the enemy! Stomach wounds are a particularly painful and lingering way to die. I’ve been in battle, I’ve seen what it’s like. The only way I can see armor like that ever being helpful is if every enemy you face dies from laughter when they see what you’re wearing.

Yes, sometimes you are forced to fight without wearing any armor at all. I have relatives who are very skilled in the way of the sword who almost never use plate armor because it. But they usually at least use mail-studded boiled leather vests, and they don’t fight without shirts on unless they’re attacked in the middle of the night. Sometimes not even then–the more paranoid ones often wear leather vests to bed (I have some odd relatives).

I have female relatives that fight. They wear the exact same things that we do–sometimes they wear even more armor than we men (Yes, your Highness, I’m counting myself among the men. You can stop laughing now, I’m trying to concentrate).

The same thing goes for superhero costumes. Wearing little more than a bikini is¬†asking for the villains to kill you (and don’t get me started on fighting in high heels. The very thought makes my mother and my cousin Enna go off into peals of high-pitched laughter). Personally, I think the defeat of injustice would be more effective if you’re not dead.

Anyway, all I’m saying is that the whole metal bikini thing isn’t a smart way to go. I’m also not knocking World of Warcraft or the superhero industry–just saying that their idea of female fighting gear doesn’t really make any sense.¬†So a heads up to all you people out there–if you ever fall into ¬†portal or something and end up in an epic fantasy world, be careful. If they offer you metal bikinis, refuse politely and ask for a standard mail shirt, maybe a breastplate. Trust me, it’ll go a long way towards keeping you alive.

Farewell! May your paths be straight!

Until next time,

~Nikken

 

Books that I would like to see as Movies

Hello everyone! Today I shall unleash my geeky nerdy self and talk about two of my favorite things: Books and Movies.

More specifically, books I would love to see as movies.

I read a whole lot so every so often I come across a book that reads quickly, lacks nothing in pacing or characters, and leaves such brilliant imprints upon my imagination that I would love to see those visuals taken to the screen, sometimes even thinking of perfect actors to depict the characters and the various camera shots that could be used to make the scene exactly how I imagined it.

Half of me doesn’t want to put this list out there because I know there are so many books that have absolutely terrible and inaccurate movie representation (usually the book is so long that there is no way the movie could give it justice) and I would like to protect these books from that fate as much as possible, but I shall do it anyway!

#1Heartless (Tales of Goldstone Wood, #1)

The Tales of Goldstone Wood series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

Whoops. I’ve already deviated from the criteria for this list by mentioning a series instead of a book. Oh well.

So the books I would love to see in movie format from this series would be Veiled Rose and Dragonwitch, but seeing as how they are not the first book in the series, it would be pointless to start from there and Heartless (the first book) is wonderful too. All of the books are vivid with wonderful descriptions that take you straight into the wood between and the realms of faerie, strong plots and characters, and would probably make a very good movie if it was done right.

#2

The rest of the Narnia books.

I’ve read the Narnia books several times and, while not necessarily thinking they’d make great movie material at the time of reading (I was only just beginning to immerse myself into the world of fandom), I absolutely loved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as the movie. So I know that it is possible to make a very good, very accurate portrayal of Narnia on screen. Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader weren’t as great and I am dreading The Silver Chair because I heard they’re recasting everything (if it ever even happens. I’ve been hearing rumors about it for five years), but I have hope that someday the all the books can be made into movies that match up with the excellence of the first one.

#3Isle of Swords (Isle of Swords, #1)

Isle of Swords by Wayne Thomas Batson.

I love anything involving pirates.

I love any movie involving pirates. *starts humming Pirates of the Caribbean theme song*

And I need a movie of at least one of Wayne Thomas Batson’s books. They’re all amazing!

#4

The Percy Jackson series!!

(shh….we’re pretending the movies don’t exist….)

I would love to see all the wonderful elements of the greek mythological world blended with our own while watching Percy and his friends go on quests without the butchering of the plot and character descriptions that happened in the movies…

Oh right. We’re pretending the movies don’t exist.

#5Reckless (Mirrorworld, #1)

Reckless by Cornelia Funke.

I haven’t finished reading the series yet, so this is a recent read, but I loved how detailed the world was and I longed to have visual representation more than what my limited imagination could produce, and the story was so well paced with wonderful characters (and a shapeshifter :)) that I couldn’t help but long to see it as a movie.

Or if they¬†can’t do this book as a movie, at least¬†make¬†Inkspell and¬†Inkdeath into movies.

#6

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

So I’m not as obsessed with this one as my author is, but I did enjoy reading it and together we were both disappointed by the movie that they made.

Yes. I’m breaking the rules again. I’m good at that.

The movie that they made to represent this book fell short on so many levels. It did have the good visuals and wonderful actors, but it destroyed what I loved the most about the story. It removed Max’s stories, which I think were central to the plot. I want a movie that can condense some of the longer parts (like the movie did) but doesn’t remove anything important to the story.


 

 

After compiling this, I am getting a strong urge to join the film industry.

Time to brush up on my scriptwriting skills and save up for a camera…

Sorry this isn’t a very long list, but if I were to put all my recommendations for movies we would be here for several days, and I’ve barely read all the books in the world. And honestly I could write an entire list on books that deserve a better movie adaptation and that would keep us here even longer, but I don’t want to keep you for longer than I have to.

Have a wonderful day! Summer vacation is just around the corner!!

Let me know in the comments if there are any other books you would like to see turned into movies!

Sincerely,

Jese