11.01.2018

PROJECT CANVAS Cover Reveal + Blog Tour - interview with contributor Hosanna Emily + Giveaway




 COMING NOVEMBER 15TH, 2018


(If you'd like to see the cover design process for this cover, make sure to check out my guest post on the Project Canvas blog!)

Summary

An international writing community.

61 authors
11 countries
6 continents

Are you looking for advice on how to create the perfect villain? Do you need the courage to put your story down on paper?  Find this and more in Project Canvas, a writing resource written completely by teen and young adult writers and compiled by Caroline Meek and Olivia Rogers.

Project Canvas includes:
71 short chapters, each written by a different author
bonus interviews with authors such as Tessa Emily Hall and Q. Gibson
world building and character development worksheets
and other helpful resources!

“This is a writing teacher’s dream – not a how-to book, but more of a literary testimony and homage to the process of writing.  A sweet balance between the practical and the spiritual, Project Canvas is concise enough for daily meditation, yet robust enough to move the writer’s soul beyond the temporary.” –Brian Dolezal, professional development and spoken word coach at Sumner Academy of Arts and Science

Project Canvas will be available for purchase through Amazon on November 15.

Interview with HOSANNA EMILY

Sorry, I'm having some technical difficulties with the video and need to re-upload it. Please check back later!


About Hosanna

Hosanna Emily is an ordinary girl following an extraordinary God. She’s a seeker of beauty in the midst of life, whether through creating emotion through ink on paper, dancing under the stars, using sign language in songs, or offering a hug. As a writer, Hosanna wants to showcase the glory of God to the world while reaching out to love others. She published a novella at age thirteen and continues to write stories and share her heart on her blog, Having a Heart Like His. She lives on a farm in the middle of nowhere with her family of 12.


About the Project Canvas Founders

Caroline and Olivia have been friends ever since kindergarten, when they met in a homeschooling group.  Their writing journey was a slow evolution over the course of many sleepovers, games of pretend, writing stories together, and finally publishing some of them.

Caroline Meek is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Project Canvas. She’s originally from Kansas City, Kansas, where she co-authored The Drawing in of Breath and attended Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences. Caroline has a passion for bringing writers together and is currently studying English & Creative Writing on the Publishing track at the University of Iowa. She’s been published in The Kansas City Star, Ink Lit Mag, Wordsmith, and blogs at Of Stars and Ink-Stained Things.

Olivia Rogers is the co-founder of Project Canvas. She’s originally from the great state of Kansas, where she showed sheep, competitively debated, and also became involved in politics. Olivia believes that writing is the gateway to change. She’s currently studying Political Science and Philosophy at Kansas State University, with the goal of becoming a lawyer and continuing to advocate for others.


Project Canvas Links
  


GIVEAWAY

Project Canvas is running a Rafflecopter giveaway from November 1-15th! CLICK HERE for a chance to win FREE COPIES of Project Canvas and more.

10.15.2018

Hey, here's a writing contest!

Hello, everyone!

I know I haven't been consistent in posting lately. My life is pretty crazy, and I don't have many post ideas. So, I'm not sure where this blog is going to go.

But...

Project Canvas (look out for the book on November 15) is hosting a writing contest for handwritten works!

The deadline for this contest is October 19, and winning is another thing to put in a query or book proposal! For all of the submission guidelines, please check out their website!

9.26.2018

ROMANOV by Nadine Brandes Cover Reveal (it's beautiful)

Raise your hand if you're an Anastasia fan.

*Aggressively raises hand*

Actual GIF of me holding Romanov.

Anastasia is my favorite musical of all time, so obviously I was super excited when Nadine announced that her next book is a historical fantasy Anastasia retelling. Seriously, I think I screamed.

Then I screamed again when I got the email with the cover. (I got it when I was waiting for my art history class to start...which is funny because this book cover will definitely go down in art history.)

So...without further ado...let's reveal this cover!



ABOUT THE BOOK

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.


WHEN DOES THIS BOOK RELEASE?

May 7, 2019

I know, this book needs to take a "Journey to the Past."
(Someone stop please me from making bad Anastasia puns.)

You can preorder the book now, so you can have this book in your hands as soon as May 7 comes around.

8.27.2018

The Worth of a King BLOG TOUR - Character Interview with Christa


Princess Obsidia’s father was killed the night she was born. Since there was no male heir, the crown went to the man who killed him, by Dialcian law. This never bothered her, growing up, and when it comes time for Obsidia to choose her husband, she chooses Prince Delaney, the son of that man, with little hesitation. Only then does her life start crumbling around her.
Adrian expected to live a normal life, taking his father’s place at the print shop when his father retired. But, on his eighteenth birthday, when the princess’ engagement is announced, his world is ripped out from under him when he learns that his life was a ruse, and he is the twin brother to the princess – and expected to take back his father’s throne.
Delaney knows that his country is hovering on the brink of war – and that his father may harbor murderous intentions towards his intended bride due to her Zovordian blood. He wants nothing more than to protect Obsidia and his people, but as merely prince, he has little power against his father.
The ancient war between the Dragons and the Immortal King and Queen is nearing its climax, and the three are already caught in it.

Character Interview

Alea: If you could bake only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Christa: It would probably be the cream cake as, apparently, I make the best cream cakes in the world and Adrian would never forgive me if I gave them up.

Alea: Mmm. Now I want cake... :) When you were little, what was your favorite thing to do with your best friend, Adrian?
Christa: Actually, when I was really little, Adrian's younger sister, Lily, was my best friend. It was only after her death in the plague that Adrian and I bonded in our grief. We would explore the forest together - we even found a special meeting place alongside the creek. We've spent so many long hours there, just talking about anything and everything.

Alea: Wow! I'm so sorry about Lily! What is the weirdest present someone has given you?
Christa: Adrian's younger sister gave me a Zovordian knife, once and made me promise to tell no one that she did so. Not particularly out of place for her, but I never figured out why she did it. 

Alea: That is an interesting gift  :) What is your favorite food?  
Christa: Vegetables. 

Alea: Is a surprise birthday party fun or your worst nightmare?
Christa: It's a luxury that I'll probably never get, given that my cream cakes are apparently the best in the village and you cannot celebrate anything without them.

Alea: A wizard and a group of dwarves want you to help them reclaim their dragon-infested mountain. (Yes, this is a Hobbit reference.) What do you do?
Christa: I would go to Adrian's father for advice, as he is Zovordian and the Zovordians have an ancient war with the dragons. 

Alea: What is the most embarrassing baking mistake you've made?
Christa: One time I used sour milk for a cream cake - it didn't come out right at all and was a complete disaster.

About the Author

Website || Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon 

7.18.2018

How to Bring Characters to Life (explained by someone who used to not understand it)




I'm a very cut and dry person. I like to be able to follow the 3 Step Formula To Perfect Results. I'm the person who doesn't understand how my English teacher figured out the author's thoughts on an issue from reading a fictional piece, but I understand how to get an answer in Algebra using PEMDAS.

For all of you like me, I'm sorry to break the news to you, but developing characters and making them come to life is NOT cut and dry because people aren't cut and dry. Why isn't it cut and dry? PEOPLE ARE COMPLEX. We are intelligent creatures made in the image of God. We are fallen creatures born with a sin nature--a natural desire to serve ourselves. On top of this, no two people are exactly the same. Everyone is different, and that is beautiful. But...that kind of makes it complicated for writers. Unfortunately here isn't a worksheet or Myers-Briggs site that will magically help you make awesome characters. However, I'm here to try to shed a little bit of light on this subject for the rest of us who struggle with understanding abstract concepts.



1. Figure out how he/she talks and thinks.

I know that this isn't a super deep thing to start with, but it's pretty important as you discover a character. We have to start from the outside in. Think of a movie. One thing that sets movies apart from books is that we only see how a character acts and reacts, we don't get to see their thoughts and emotions. The impression we get of them comes from the actors' portrayals. This brings me back to finding the character's voice.

When we find the actor's voice, we find the "actor portrayal" of the character. It makes the character come alive in our minds, which is key.

Is he he sarcastic? Does he tell jokes a lot? Does he rarely speak, but when he does, it's powerful?

Now, move on to how does he think? Some people talk to themselves...I think to myself. I literally have thoughts that go through my head. That's part of my voice.

So...how does the character think? Does he say one thing but think something completely opposite? Can he speak smoothly while internally freaking out? What comments does she make in her head?

For examples on all of this, just look at the world around you. Gather ideas from conversations at a coffee shop, from those awkward family reunions, or even from that one family in Walmart with the kids that are constantly fighting. Also, look into yourself. How do you think? Do you make sarcastic comments to yourself as you talk to others? Can you be completely cool and totally freaking out at the same time?

2. Discover his/her greatest fear.

In a lot of books, the main way a character grows is by facing his fears head on and conquering through them. That's what makes a hero a hero. Using the character's voice as a guide, (and probably your story idea. This is one concrete thing you can do.) decide what his/her greatest fear is. If the character is quiet and reserved but always has great comments playing out in her head, maybe she's terrified of being unwanted. Find all of the masks this character hides behind. Maybe the character says his greatest fear of snakes, but if he goes deeper, he discovers it's actually of dying. Right now, you don't have to figure out the backstory of why she's terrified of X, just figure out the what. (And some fears just come naturally with who you are as a person. My greatest fear is death, but that came literally from me just being alive. I didn't have a near-death experience as a baby to make this my greatest fear; it's just because that's the way I am. Also, this one central fear stems into a variety of other fears like fear of heights or fear of dangerous-looking things. I'm just more of a timid person because of this.) Also, a character can have a couple of deep, great fears.

3. Find the walls in his/her heart.

Everyone has walls built up for various reasons. Find those walls. Sometimes it takes writing an entire draft to discover these, but they're crucial to the story because they affect every interaction that character has. Does this character suddenly shut down whenever she talks to her dad because he's broken and broken her heart numerous times? Who does he open up to? How long does it take for him to open up? Does he wear his heart on his sleeve?

4. Find his/her greatest desire.

What does he want more than anything in this world? To be loved? To be happy? To find something more in life? This is the time to look to the Big Things, not just the "goals" everyone hears writers talking about. Goals are temporary, but these are desires etched into the character's heart.

I also want to address one thing here about antagonists. EVERYONE. I repeat, EVERYONE has a hole in his heart. Everyone. And everyone tries to fill it with something. People try and try and try. I don't care if you're a saint or a super villain, everyone has a hole. You may think your villain just wants power power power, but WHY does he want power? Again, this isn't a time for backstory, this is why. What is the hole he keeps trying to fill? Does he think power will make him happy? Does he think having power will finally make him feel loved? Villains aren't mindless evil robots.

Stepping aside from writing for a second, there is only one thing that can fill this hole. One. Thing. Nothing in this life will satisfy us. Not money, other people, our reputations, fame, or whatever else. The only thing that can fill the un-fillable hole is Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. Why else would every single person long for something greater than this life? Why is the material world never enough? Because we were MADE FOR MORE. However, because of the Fall in the Garden of Eden, we can't become more and we will never be able to become more. That's why God sent His Son, Jesus, to take our place on the cross to atone for OUR SINS. Everything GONE. Once we accept the gift of Jesus's sacrifice, we are CHILDREN OF GOD. God fills that "love" hole with love. He fills the "happiness" hole with joy. HE FILLS THE HOLES.

5. Figure out appearance, likes, dislikes, hobbies, occupation, and all the surface level stuff.

This is the probably the best step for all of your worksheet people. This is the basic, cut and dry stuff like eye color, height, hobbies, occupation, and favorite movie. This is the stuff you learn when you first meet someone. Make sure to keep in mind all of the previous steps. It would be pretty contradictory to make the person who's terrified of snakes a zookeeper assigned to the reptile room. (Unless that's the whole point of the story. If that's the case, have at it.)

6. Figure out the character's backstory.

Okay, now that you know this character's heart and a little bit of surface level stuff, it's time to figure out what happened to them before the story. I put this step after the surface level stuff because that surface level stuff affects this step. How did she get to where she is now? I feel like this is pretty self explanatory, and there are plenty of other resources on this, so I won't go too into detail.

7. Just write.

Remember, this is just the first draft, so it's okay to keep discovering more and more about your characters as you go. You're "becoming their friends" and "getting to know them" as you see them respond to different events and characters. Watch them grow and see where it takes you. If you have to adjust your plot or planned outcome, so be it. Let the characters remain true to themselves, otherwise the story will feel forced.


How do you develop your characters? Do you have any tips to add to this? Who are some of your favorite characters? Which villains do you think are well written?