Update from Camp

Just wanted to pop in and give y’all an update from Camp Nanowrimo. This is the first year I’ve ever participated in Camp Nano, and it’s been a lot of fun! I’ve been in a “cabin” with a bunch of authors from the Clean Indie Reads group, so it’s been fun to see how everyone else is doing on their goals and encourage each other a bit.

I realized that I always go a bit too ambitious with my goals. I started with a goal of 40,000 words, but then when I realized I was going to be out of town for the last week of July I lowered it to 20,000.

Ha.

Ha. Ha.

The best I’m going to be able to hope for is that I will hit 10,000 words tonight before we head out on vacation. I’m not bothered by this, though, because Turrim Archive Vol. 2 now has 9,000-10,000 words more than it did at the beginning of July! And that is cause for celebration.

So, while I won’t be “winning” Nanowrimo (again), I am content. Because the Turrim Archive wins with every word I type in it. I’ve got lots of ideas and I intend to keep working on this story through August. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get another 10,000 words written… and another, and another, and maybe by the end of the year I’ll have completed a first draft.

And then I can move on to book #3 (with breaks for polishing Minstrel’s Call, of course, once all my beta readers and line editor get back to me with their notes!)

Hope you are all having a fantastic summer! Don’t forget to check out the winning posts each day to see who is being presented with this year’s Silmarils! (We’ll break for the weekend and be back strong on Monday!)

And there’s also the LOTR 62nd Birthday Online Celebration next Friday! I believe I have the link up situated so that it will work splendidly, so swing by and share your posts so we can all celebrate together! I’ll be on the road most of the day on the 29th, but I am looking forward to reading everyone’s blogs and fb posts and tweets and instagram pictures and youtube videos – make sure you use #SilmAwards2016 so we can all find each other’s posts easily!

~ jenelle

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

I have not disappeared, never fear, dear Reader! Like you, I am enjoying summer. But lots of fun things are coming up soon, which I’ll enumerate upon later in this post.

Many thanks to the marvelous Deborah @ The Page Dreamer for tagging me for this fun-looking game. And for reminding me that, “AHHHHH We’re halfway through 2016 already!?!?!?!? How did that happen!??!?!!?”

Ahem.

But on to the tag, because that’s fun. First of all, the books I’ve read this year so far. Goodreads says I’ve read 19 books so far… and my challenge to myself for the year being a modest 25. Of course, this doesn’t count the 148 times I’ve read “Dear Zoo,” the 75 times I’ve read “The Grouchy Ladybug” or the 297 times I’ve read “Peek-a-who” this year alone…. or all the other various children’s books I’ve read to my kids this year! (Those numbers are, of course, guess-timates, but I’m fairly certain they are at least close to accurate!

 

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1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2016?

Um… did you LOOK at the book covers? They have all been really good. How can I pick just one? Well, um… hm. The book I’ve recommended to the most people this year and have given away and bought copies of for others has been “Loving the Little Years” by Rachel Jankovic. But seriously, with the exception of Little Pear, I’ve really enjoyed all of these reads.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2016?

That’s a little easier. I can’t pick just one, but I’d have to go with My Kingdom for a Quest by Kendra Ardnek, Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde (a re-read, but still awesome), and Conrad’s Fate by Diana Wynne Jones

3. New release you haven’t read yet but want to?

   

Thankfully, I have A Branch of Silver A Branch of Gold, Brothers-in-Arms, and Darkened Hope on my shelf and they are all next on my list to read. Unless Five Magic Spindles arrives when amazon said it would, because then I might have to read it right away so I can participate more in the discussion with the facebook party next Saturday! That would be fun. We shall see. Preordering paperbacks rocks… because sometimes you get them a few days before the actual release date!!!

I am dying to read all of these (but sometimes when I am super excited about a book, I kind of put off reading it, because I just know I’m going to speed through it, and then will be sad because it’s over… I’m weird that way)

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

Probably going to have to go with Five Magic Spindles. Because I’m not sure I know of any other books releasing in the second half of the year…

5. Biggest Disappointment

 

Princess of Thorns or Storm Siren… (ducks, because I’m sure that people are going to throw things at me over that latter one). Princess of Thorns was one I’d never heard of and picked it up randomly off the library shelf. The description sounded fun, but I wasn’t expecting anything radically life-altering. So it wasn’t AS huge of a disappointment to discover that despite a brilliant premise and very unique twists on some old fairy tales (one of which isn’t used very much, so that was cool, too) it was way too much of a romance, and I felt that several lines got crossed in terms of appropriateness. Kind of annoyed it’s considered “YA.”

Storm Siren, on the other hand, was a severe disappointment, because I had higher hopes and expectations. I’ve seen the covers floating around on blogs, heard good reviews, and let’s just be honest, the covers are gorgeous.

But I was disappointed by a couple of things: 1st person present tense. Not my favorite. I see it as the “first person shooter” reading experience. I understand why it’s used, it generally makes for an automatically faster-paced, easier read (and it’s “in vogue” right now). I’ve never loved first-person POV to begin with, but coupled with present tense and I feel like the author decided to use it because they were afraid their story wouldn’t be as exciting without it… or something. Just a personal preference on my part.

I also didn’t like that I had to be stuck inside the head of an angsty teenage girl who has self esteem issues, emotional baggage, and a personality like the teeth of a crocodile… and yet for some reason that is completely indiscernible every man in the world thinks she’s the most desirable thing on the planet… AGAIN. Why? What is it with this character? She shows up far too often these days.

Also, I’m not a huge fan of romance in general, and especially not the Twilight “He consumed the very fiber of my every waking thought and drove me completely mad” sort of way, which can often feel just as dangerous to put in front of teenagers as the more explicit kind of romance stories… so, didn’t like that super much. I enjoyed the story enough to probably pick up the rest of the series at some point… but it’s not going high on my recommend-this-book list.

Also, wasn’t a huge fan of the Robin Hood retelling. I’ve read far better versions of that.

6. Biggest surprise?

Probably the School Story by Andrew Clements. That little book absolutely stole my heart. And it’s not even fantasy, so that’s saying something.

7. Favorite new author?

New author as in new-to-writing, or new-to-me? I’m going with new-to-me…

H.L. Burke – because this book is really fun. And it’s different. It’s very fantasy, and DRAGONS, but also something unique and all her own. Also, it’s a bit on the shorter side. And while I love a good, thick, long book… I also enjoy being able to sit down and finish a book in a week (a book that would, in another life, when I could just sit and read uninterrupted for hours, have only taken me an hour or two).

And Savannah Jezowski… even though I’m not sure she counts as “new” since I learned of her writing last year during the Five Enchanted Roses saga… but her When Ravens Fall was simply beautiful to read.

8. Newest fictional crush/ship?

I love the relationship between Madeleine and Samson. Also huge fan of Robin and Eric – the d’awww is strong with them. The Bookania characters are just so much fun!

Also, Shannon and Gnaw – can’t wait to read more of the Dragon and Scholar books to spend time with them again.

9. Newest favorite character?

Probably Gnaw. He’s a dragon… so he kind of has an unfair advantage… but I love him to pieces.

10. Book that made you cry.

This one surprised me, but… yes, it made me cry. Such a sweet story.

11. Book that made you happy.

 

Because being back with Diana Wynne Jones is always a nice treat, and I love reading books of hers that I’ve never read before. I also loved reading the “Afterword” by Ursula Jones in Islands of Chaldea. Made me tear up.

12. Favorite Book to Film Adaptation you saw this year:

Ooh, well, we spent all of April/May/and-into-June watching all the special features in the extended edition of the Hobbit Trilogy and then watching the extended editions of all three Hobbit movies. I had only seen the extended edition for Unexpected Journey, so that was fun to watch all of that all together. And even though I enjoyed the movies before, watching all the special features just made me love them so much more!

13. Favorite blog post you have written this year so far:

It’s been a fun year for blogging already. My favorites definitely have to include the two posts I’ve done for Writing Wrongs:

Writing Wrongs: Fellowship Caper part 1

Writing Wrongs: Fellowship Caper part 2

All of my Fantasy February posts, really, but specifically

Fantasy is Applicable and Magic By Any Other Name

And I’ve also had a blast with my InterFiction Gazette Character Interviews

Prince Vian and Jimmy Rogers and Jayce

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year.

That’s easy – even if it hasn’t arrived yet!

15. What books do you need to read by the end of this year?

Well, I’m not sure I NEED to read any particular books by the end of this year. I already mentioned Five Magic Spindles, Brothers in Arms, A Branch of Silver a Branch of Gold, and Darkened Hope. I also want to read Draven’s Light by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, and The Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight, as well as Water Princess, Fire Prince by Kendra Ardnek, and The Martian by Andy Weir, and re-read books 3 and 4 of the Thursday Next series. Also need to finish Strawberry Girl with Leiana and read the next Little House book with Leiana and Nathalie. And probably another 400 readings of “Fastest Cars,” 127 readings of “Goodnight, I Love You,” and 368 readings of “Dear Zoo” with Brantland. And I’d like to read the next book in the Dresden Files… but I can’t remember which one I’m on… which is frustrating.

And then there’s all the books that people keep recommending and gushing over on their blogs… and those all look good, too! So many books. So little time.

I have no idea whom to tag, so if you liked the look of this and nobody’s tagged you… consider yourself “it!”

How about you, dear Reader? How many books have you read this year so far? Which was your favorite? Least favorite? Most surprising? What books are on your “read before 2017″ list? I’d love to hear from you!

Make sure you check the schedule and see which characters are being presented with awards each day through July 28th! I’ll be updating the schedule as posts go live HERE so you don’t have to hunt for them! I will be out of town next week, but still plan on presenting the Most Heart-Wrenching Death Scene Silmaril on the 28th and am hoping to have something fun up for the blog-celebration of LOTR’s 62nd birthday on the 29th!

Also, Kendra E. Ardnek is having her Bookania Party starting on July 24th and running through the first week of August. I’m going to be interviewing one of her characters here for InterFiction, so that will be fun.

And, Henry Fairchild will be returning to the blog with another fiction-changing caper in August as well, which I’m excited about sharing with you!

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer!

 

~ jenelle

Silmarillion Awards Schedule

Today is the day! The nominees have been presented, the votes have been tallied, and today begins the final stage of the Inaugural Silmarillion Awards! Each of the marvelous bloggers who have been participating in this epic fantasy oscars-like event will be presenting one of the Silmarils to a worthy winner, chosen by YOU, dear Reader!

Even we do not know who has won in every category (and as I type this, I do not yet know who won in my own category) as we decided at the last minute that would add to the fun, so I am as excited as you to find out who the winners are. Each one of the bloggers will be having a “guest” from Middle Earth on his or her blog to help present the awards, which will hopefully be a lot of fun.

Don’t forget that on July 29th we’re having a huge online-party-celebration for the Lord of the Rings’ 62nd Birthday! I will try to have a link-up here so you can share your blog posts if you decide to join in the party that way, but you can also post to facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube, or wherever! I’d love to see those posts, as well, and will try to catch as many as I can (though I plan to be doing a lot of driving on the 29th, so I may have to play catch-up a bit when I get home).

Here is the schedule for the award presentations! (I will come back periodically to update these with the links to the indivdual posts)

Sat.  July 16 – Rawls E. Fanatasy – Best Weapon

Mon. July 18 – Madeline J. Rose – Most Epic Hero

Tues. July 19 – Abbey – Nefarious Villain

Wed. July 20 – JL Mbewe – Best Redemption Story

Thurs. July 21 – Jack Lewis Baillot – Best Fantasy Mount

Fri. July 22 – Tracey @ Adventure Awaits – Riddling and Poetry

Mon. July 25 – Zac – Wisest Counsellor

Tues. July 26 – Deborah @ Road of a Writer – Strangest Character

Wed. July 27 – DJ Edwardson – Best Friend

Thurs. July 28 – Jenelle – Heart Wrenching Death Scene

Fri. July 29 – TOLKIEN PARTY! Happy Birthday, Lord of the Rings!

~ jenelle