Monday, May 21, 2012

Seek The Stars...

Let's face it, contests are a ton of fun. And for readers and writers, contests such as The Starseekers Contest are even better.Wayne Thomas Batson is having a contest of epic proportions to celebrate the release of The Errant King: Book Two of the Dark Sea Annals.
Unlike a lot of other contests, earning points for the Starseekers is a lot of fun to do, and fairly easy. In doing so, you also get the chance to win amazing prizes, such as (but certainly not limited to) a brand-new Amazon Kindle; a character in WTB's next book named after you; free e-book downloads; or you might even get a REAL star named after you or your constellation (more on constellations in a second here)!
So, like I said, the prizes are amazing.
It ends June 26th, 2012, but you can still join in the fun. For more information and the rules, visit .
Or you can check out the Forum to see the new Quest, and see how it's played:
There are a few teams called 'constellations' on the forums. Those are the teams that 'battle' each other (in a friendly way, of course) in a race to get the most Cyrium points (more information about that on that link I posted above).

I'm in the PHOENIX CONSTELLATION if you're interested in joining the same team as me. We could use some more players.

Like I said before, the contest is a lot of fun, and if you have some spare time for it, I think it would be enjoyable for almost anybody.

Here's a list of Wayne Thomas Batson's books:
The Door Within

The Rise of the Wyrm Lord
The Final Storm
Isle of Swords
Isle of Fire
Curse of the Spider King
Venom and Song
Sword in the Stars
The Errant King

I highly recommend checking them out if you haven't seen them yet!
So...yes! If you do decide to join in, let me know in the comments. : )

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Book Review: Runemarks, by Joanne Harris

"This is a WOW-this-book-is-so-amazing-that-if-they-made-it-into-a-movie-it-would-win-an-Oscar-for-sure book. Runemarks has so many twists and turns it will keep you on the edge of your seat."---Chicago Tribune

I couldn't agree more with this statement. Runemarks is, without a doubt, the most enjoyable book I've read in a while. Jam-packed with exicitement, life lessons, inner battles, and more than enough surprises, Runemarks has a subtle theme of what true family really is, and where one's loyalties ought to lie in the mortal world.
Despite the fact that this novel focuses more on Norse mythology than any religions followed nowadays, I still think that there are lessons worth learning hidden within the words.
Here's the statement on the back cover.

In Maddy Smith's world, Order rules. Chaos, old gods, Faeries, goblins, magic, glamours--all of these were supposedly vanquished centuries ago. But Maddy knows that a small bit of magic has survived. The "ruinmark" she was born with on her palm proves it--and makes the other villagers fearful that she is a witch.
But the mysterious traveler One-Eye sees Maddy's mark not as a defect but as a destiny. And Maddy will need every scrap that One-Eye can teach her about runes, cantrips, and glamours--every ounce of magic she can command--if she is to survive that destiny.
That statement does an amazing job of keeping the reader guessing. It doesn't give any of the main plot away, yet it is still relevant to the storyline.

Here are some facts about the book in general.
527 pages
Third-person POV (though it switches from person to person in every chapter)
Published by Alfred A. Knopf
The author is from England (seriously, almost every book I read by a British author is amazing. The Stoneheart Trilogy by Charlie Fletcher, anyone?)
Has a list of characters and a guide to the 'Runes of the Elder Script'
Link to Runemark's Amazon Page

Right, so. Pros and cons. There were some of both, though I must admit more pros--like, nearly the whole book was a pro. There were a few minor cons.

~ ~ ~

- None of the characters are who they seem; throughout the novel, I was constantly being surprised by all of the characters, even the minor ones.
- The POV (point of view) switches from character to character, which I enjoy in any book.
- There's something for everyone in the book. For action-adventure readers, there's plenty of excitement and battles. For fantasy readers, the book contains goblins, gods, and magic. For science-fiction readers, there are a few rifts between different worlds.
- Almost everything else is a pro. Great vocabulary, vivid images painted with words, and no inconsistencies or mistakes that I could see.

- The ending left a lot to be desired. It was kind of...mixed emotions for me. A few characters (they may have been good, they may have been bad, but I didn't see any reason for one or two of the deaths) died, for what seemed to be no reason. It was also slightly confusing, and left me wondering what would happen to the main character afterwards. All in all, I didn't really like the ending.
- There was some mild swearing throughout the book. Nothing too strong, but it was an issue for me at times. Eventually I just skipped over them; believe me, it was well worth it.
- There was some violence. Nothing too graphic, although one or two things made me squirm a little. Seriously though, nothing too bad.
- Throughout the book, I had to double-check a few things due to my confusion. This might or might not be an issue for the rest of you.

~ ~ ~

Despite that, I greatly enjoyed the novel. Want proof?

Well, let's see. The last book I stayed up late reading at night was...either the Codebearers series by the Miller Brothers, the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, or The Unicorn Chronicles by Bruce Coville. ((See? It's been so long since I stayed up late reading anything, I can't even remember which book it was.))

And I stayed up late last night reading Runemarks. I would have stayed up until midnight if I could, but my mom made me go to bed. Curses. Oh, well, that meant I got to finish it this morning. And I had dreams about the book last night, so that's a plus.

All of the characters were written well, with third-demensional personalities and backgrounds. It's almost too hard to choose my top three favorites, but if I had to, it would probably be these three.

One-Eye - A Wanderer, Outlander, and Journeyman (as he is called by people who do not know him) who takes Maddy Smith under his wing for very important reasons (nope, not telling; read the book). ~
- One who is not what he seems. Throughout the book, Maddy struggles to figure out whether Lucky is trustworthy--or untrustworthy. She has good reason to wonder.
- Sugar, as he is commonly known, is a goblin. He appears throughout the book, and is probably one of the funniest characters. Maddy catches him in the cellar, about to escape through his burrow. After that, they keep running into each other.
If you're someone who knows me well--extremely well (bookwise, anyway)--you probably predicted that those characters would be my favorites. Even if you haven't read the book, those sorts of characters are the kinds I like. Ones who are rugged and bold, ones who are often untrustworthy and fight with inner demons, and the 'class clowns' of the novels.

Hmm...if it is made into a movie, I'm definitely going to try out for...well, the only character I'd fit the description of is Maddy, so probably her. Or I could be the
screenwriter and I'd get to be on set with the actors and other people anyway! And it would be epic if Viggo Mortensen played One-Eye, and Sean Bean played Lucky. And then after that, maybe I could find some way to get my fantasy trilogy made into a movie, and Viggo Mortensen could play Keallan, and Sean Bean would play Ingvar...! Major awesomeness overload. *dies*

...yeah, yeah, I know, my daydreams get away with me sometimes. Your point being?

Anyway. If you're someone who didn't bother reading through this whole post (I know who you are, and I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE! *evil laugh*), I'll sum it all up.

Runemarks is an intriguing, rollicking tale with believable characters and an engaging plot. The ending leaves something to be desired, but do not let that deter you.
If you haven't read it yet, go to your nearest bookstore/library/online store and get a copy. I'm serious.

Overall, I give Runemarks 4.5 stars. If I had been more satisfied with the ending, it would definitely have been 5 stars.

Here's the trailer.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo Is Almost Here!

Camp NaNo is coming up soon, and I have no idea what I'm going to do for it.
My Screnzy quest rather failed. I was going to write a novel instead of a script; but then I stopped writing halfway through the month, waited a week, started writing my novel Celtic Secrets, and then I stopped writing for Screnzy altogether. I started editing The Night Phoenix instead.

So, hmm...what to do for Camp NaNo? I really want to do it, so I can finish two novels this year--one for Camp NaNo, one for NaNoWriMo, and perhaps one I work on all throughout the year.
Here are the novels I've come up with to choose for Camp NaNo. I'd appreciate it a lot if you'd tell me which one I should do!

~ * ~

1) Celtic Secrets---Three Irish lads - Gareth Kelly, his brother Jesstin, and Gale Harkin - spend their free time exploring County Donegal, searching for crumbling ruins or exciting landscapes. One night, however, they go out against their parents' wishes and go explore an ancient castle they've found. Everything goes horribly wrong when they stumble through a portal and find themselves in the wonderful yet dangerous world of Faerie. The three lads begin their quest to return home to Ireland and close up the portal before creatures can escape onto Earth. But not everyone is who they seem in the magical world of Faerie...

2) Dreamscape---Riley and Derek have been best friends since childhood, all through their teenage years. Now, as adults, they don't speak with each other as often. Riley's in college; Derek is struggling to make a life for himself. They get together to catch up on old times one day, and are unexpectedly transported into an alternate reality/future; where the magical creatures and warriors of the past have taken control of Earth, and returned it to its former, mystical glory. This alternate reality is called Dreamscape, and it is a land in turmoil--there is no law, no order. Because of this, Riley and Derek are forced to do many quests for various creatures before they can get home. The question is, however...will they survive long enough to see 'home' ever again?

3) Ireland: The Banshee's Cry---Scott O'Brien, crewmate of the Ocean Raider, has always been fiercely protective of Claude DuPont, the fourteen-year-old cabin boy. So when Claude is kidnapped, Scott is furious and terrified all at once--even moreso when he finds out that the man to kidnap Claude is none other than Scott's arch-nemesis, Viper. So Scott and the rest of the Ocean Raider's crew head to Ireland (the country where Viper and Scott both grew up) to rescue Claude and defeat Viper once and for all.

4) Fiery Stars and Lone Hearts---A collection of poetry and songs I've written.

5) The Storychanger---Elijah Turner's home life is okay. He has a loving father who works at home (Elijah's mother ran off on adventures when he was a toddler), and although their apartment is quite messy at times, Elijah doesn't mind. He's a daydreamer, and, like his father, writes stories of his own. But at school, he's plagued by bullies, harsh teachers, and other common dangers on the streets of London. Every night he goes home, hides in his bedroom, and cries himself to sleep. One night, he unconsciously summons three characters from his stories--Harken, Sleet, and Niko. By summoning them, he opens a rift in between the Real World and the Dream World, allowing nightmarish creatures to stalk London. Now it's up to Elijah and his newfound friends to close the rift and save London.

~ * ~

I have reasons for wanting to write each of those.
I'd like to write Celtic Secrets because I like the basic plot, and I love Ireland, which I've been reading about lately. Also, Celtic Secrets is one of the few stories of mine that has teenage characters, which would make it easier for me and my friends to film a short film about it (something I'd love to do).
I'd like to write Dreamscape because I love the plot idea, I admit it. Also, it's a standalone fantasy novel that I think could reach up to a good 300 pages or more, if I write with the best of my ability. Besides, I like the idea of our future actually being more like the past.
I'd like to write Ireland: The Banshee's Cry for several reasons. One reason is that it's one of the books in my pirate series, which I self-publish on Amazon through CreateSpace (I've only got one pirate novel on Amazon, currently. For more information, check out my "Novels" page.) Another reason is that I'm trying to earn up enough money to go to Ohio this October, and if I get it on Amazon before then, I might earn a little bit of money, at least.
I'd like to write Fiery Stars and Lone Hearts reason, really. It's another book I'd put up on Amazon through CreateSpace, so I could get some money for it as well as display my poetry and song writing abilities (which, I admit, are meager; but I'm working at it).
I'd like to write Storychanger because I love the characters, I love the plot idea, and it's another one of my stories that has a teenage main character. I'm also fascinated by London, so yeah.

And there you have it! So which should I write for Camp NaNo? Please leave feedback!