Monday, March 25, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

First, I'd like to wish a very happy birthday to my father-in-law! <3

Second is this:

My good friend Lauren Spieller tagged me for this blog hop, which I'm happy to do again because it means I get to talk about myself. :D

What is the working title of your book? 

The Paper Magician

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Forced to give up her dreams of enchanting metal to become a paper magician, Ceony spends two days apprenticing under Magician Thane  before his angry lover literally rips his heart out, leaving her to save his life.

What genre does your book fall under? 

Young Adult Fantasy. Could call it YA Romantic Fantasy, though we're staying chastely on the Jane Austen side of romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

For Ceony, Emma Stone. Though I might be biased because of her hair color.

Picture from...
I actually found a photo on Pinterest that's incredibly close to what my protagonist looks like. :)

Magician Thane was harder to pinpoint, but Brandon Hillock is pretty close.

Photo From...

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

Aiming for agency/publisher.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 

Uh... a month-ish. Not sure on exact time.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

Dianna Wyn Jones's Howl's Moving Castle. It was my inspiration.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? 

Part one was Howl's Moving Castle. After I got the idea for the book, I wanted it to have the same feel.

I had wanted to write a book that included a character who could enchant origami for a while. In my head I always saw him as a side-character to another story, but then on a long trip from Salt Lake City to Moscow I came up with an idea that made the book entirely about folding paper. :)

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 

It's really short. That means less commitment. ;) And my protagonist is about a millimeter tall for the bulk of the story.

Anyone who wants to do this hop should, and then link me to their post! Always interesting to learn about others' books. However, I am going to specifically call out Hayley Stone for this one. TELL ME YOUR SECRETS!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy Birthday, Andy!

Happy 21st to my sister Andy! (She's the one gettin' hitched in June.)

Monday, March 18, 2013

I Forgot How to Use Commas

So I apparently forgot how to use commas.

I've been going through EMPIRE OF CRANES AND SPIDERS, cutting down words (my current goal is to get it from 125k to 115k before I send it off to the next batch of readers), and the plethora of typos in this manuscript aside, I'm facing an infestation of commas.

Comma Bug

I know how to use a comma. I swear I do. But crazed draft-Charlie does not. I wish I had saved the really horrid ones, but here are some examples I found from Saturday's read:

I apologize if the picture runs off the side of the page...

||EDIT: Oh oh, here's a good one from Sunday's read:

Her brain seemed to swim, and she clasped her hands together in front of her, gripping wads of long yellow sleeves, in attempts to keep them from sweating.||

Yeah, I guess some of those commas could technically go where they are, but it sounds stupid. And these are the nice violations. Seriously.

Funny thing is that I haven't found these violations in THE PAPER MAGICIAN, which I wrote after ECS. Maybe bad commas are a symptom of my wordy-spells, and not my rush-spells. All well. I'll be utilizing my backspace button a lot this week.

Is there any punctuation you struggle with, or absurd problems you find when editing manuscripts? My biggest one is writing "back" instead of "bag." Every time. I kid you not.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Recap on Portland

I went to Portland this past weekend to meet Juliana L. Brandt and Lauren Spieller for the first time in person! SO MANY great things about this day, including gorgeous weather and a breathtaking city. Portland really surprised me by how . . . pretty it was. I LOVE the look of old-timey buildings, and Portland is FULL of them.

Husband and I got to  Portland half an hour late, but managed to find cheap parking relatively quickly. We hurried to The Original Restaurant, where Juliana and Lauren waited outside. I then had my first brush with Portland Jay-walking.*

*(Let it be known that I was very excited to go meet the girls, I just despise jay-walking. But then Husband quite literally dragged me across the street, and Lauren is a bad influence, so I jay-walked multiple times that day.) 

SO we all giggle and freak like school girls and I’m definitely the shortest of the group :D. We went inside and ordered an awesome breakfast along with Juliana’s sister and Lauren’s boyfriend.

Then Juliana wanted to go “spend time with family” and “exercise” and “enjoy the outdoors” (load of hogwash, right?), so she went snowshoeing while Lauren and I (and the boys, of course) went to Powell’s Books, a stationery shop (where I got sealing wax and a stamp!), Chinese gardens, and got lunch at a bunch of food carts. I went for Korean. Lauren got a taco and Husband got some scary-looking burger from a not incredibly friendly burger guy.

Lauren later returned to Powell’s Books to purchase I Am NOT a Serial Killer by Dan Wells on my recommendation, so I feel like I accomplished something. :)

We met up with Juliana again and went to The Thai Peacock for dinner, which was fun. Then we went to Rite Aid for various supplies (and Mountain Dew for Husband) and said our goodbyes. Break my heart. I only got one picture with all the girls together:

We left Portland around 9:00 PM, but due to a very early rise that morning and muchos walking during the day, we were EXHAUSTED. Worst drive ever. So hard to stay awake! We got back to my friend’s house in the Tri-cities around 12:45 AM. I was worried about waking people up, but when I got to the door I heard Panic at the Disco playing over their speaker system because friend’s dad was still awake installing the kitchen sink. Crazy people. ;)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Going to Tri-cities and Portland!

After work today Husband and I are driving to the Tri-cities to see my friend Jessica and her lovely family. I met Jessica in my Japanese classes at BYU and she now slaves away as one of my beta readers. :)

Then very early in the morning we are driving to Portland (never been!) to meet Juliana L. Brandt and Lauren Spieller! Both are awesome writing friends I met online and I'm SO EXCITED to see them in person!

In case you don't know, Juliana is a YA writer who just got representation with Emmanuelle Morgen of Stonesong Literary Agency. Lauren is an agent-intern who writes short fiction and YA. Her short story, "Going Under," will be printed in Black Heart Magazine in the coming weeks.

I feel like I've formed a love circle of critiquing goodness with these girls in a very short amount of time (they're hilarious to Skype with). And now I get to see them face-to-face!

Husband and I will only be in Portland for a day because of my work schedule, but it will be worth it. So excited!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Chad Morris's middle-grade novel, CRAGBRIDGE HALL: THE INVENTOR'S SECRET is out from Shadow Mountain Publishing today! Chad is currently unable to promote his book (which has a great cover, if I may say) today because he's a dedicated dad and staying with his daughter in the hospital, so we're just going to take the steering wheel and drive this sucker all over town on his behalf. ;)

What's the book about, you ask? Well. I shall tell you.

Imagine a school in the year 2074 where students don’t read history, but watch it happen around them; where running in gym class isn’t around a track, but up a virtual mountain; and where learning about animals means becoming one through an avatar.

Welcome to Cragbridge Hall, the most advanced and prestigious school in the world. Twin siblings Abby and Derick Cragbridge are excited as new students to use their famed grandfather’s inventions that make Cragbridge Hall so incredible. But when their grandfather and parents go missing, the twins begin following a trail of clues left by their grandfather. They must find out where their family is, learn who they can trust, and discover what secrets are hidden within Cragbridge Hall.

Abby and Derick soon realize they are caught in a race with a fierce adversary to discover their grandfather’s greatest secret–a dangerous discovery that could alter both history and reality.

So there you have it. Go check it out!

About the Author

Chad Morris grew up wanting to become a professional basketball player or a rock star. (Inspired by Animal from the Muppets, he’s been banging on drums since he was eight years old.) After high school, he wrote and performed sketch comedy while going to college, and eventually he became a teacher and a curriculum writer. He lives in Utah with his wife and five kids. Chad would love to teach at Cragbridge Hall.

Unlike Oscar Cragbridge, however, he hasn’t really invented anything, though his son once sketched out blueprints for a machine that would turn celery into cookies.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Where I'm Overly Conservative and Discuss Taylor Swift

I am a big Taylor Swift fan.

I listen to her music frequently (on Pandora or YouTube, because I'm too cheap to own an iPod, let alone buy songs for it). I always wished the time-space continuum had altered just a bit so her songs would have come out while I was in high school, because I would have very much related to them. Especially "You Belong With Me," but that's okay, because I did score the guy the in the end. :D

Anyway, her songs aside, I've always liked Taylor Swift because she seems like a decent, genuine, all-around good person, which is harder and harder to find in the entertainment industry nowadays. (I don't think I need to illustrate my point, there.) She's always been very nice in the interviews I've seen of her, very good-hearted, and very kind to her fans.

But more importantly, for me, I think she's an excellent role model. I love that I never have to worry about filtering or turning off a Taylor Swift song on the radio because I know it will be free from lewd* references and cursing. I love how modest she is in behavior and in dress. And here comes the part I'm sure many of you will argue with me about.

Her recent cover on Elle Magazine:

Photo from

Putting the fact that Taylor is so photoshopped I barely recognize her, is she wearing a transparent dress?

Mmmm.... yep. That's see-through all right, and photoshopped to take out her crotch and and any bit of nipple that passes the boundary of those small yellow squares. Is it just me, or does this picture completely go against Taylor's branding? Does anyone else think that this breast-and-skin-emphasizing photo shouldn't be centered on a girl who is the role model to millions of teenage girls across the world?

I don't know. I was really surprised when I saw this magazine in Walgreens because it kind cracked this awesome image I had of Taylor Swift in my head. I'm worried that the industry has finally gotten to her and the "good girl" I've loved since I heard my roommate playing "Fearless" on her guitar might be in a downward spiral toward joining the ranks of all those other entertainers you know I'm talking about.** I mean, what makes a person willing to be photographed in a clear dress?

Anyway, there's my two cents for the day. What do you think?

*I learned how to spell "lewd" today.
**This was a very long sentence.