Posted in Yallfest

Breakfast with Yallfest

It was fun to get up early Saturday morning for this panel hosted by Brendan Reichs famous most recently for his The Darkdeep novels with Ally Condie. On the panel itself were Soman Chainani, most famous for his The School of Good and Evil Series. Melissa de la Cruz, who is famous for the Disney Descendants series. Kami Garcia, most famous for her work on the Beautiful Creatures series. Alex London, he’s most famous for his The Skybound Saga Danielle Paige, who is most famous for her Dorothy Must Die series and Margaret Stohl who is also famous for her work on the Beautiful Creatures series as well as many other works for Marvel.

In this panel the panelist gave some of their favorite bits of advice and also what they are currently working on.

Melissa de la Cruz is currently working on Neverafter: The Thirteenth Fairy. Her tip is to introduce the romantic interest by at least page 30 of your novel. At least in passing but the more in your face the better, also dig into what your character is feeling.

Margaret Stohl is currently working on Spiderman Noir. Her advice was accept that your books will be bad at first and just move on from there. The true value lies in having tough conversations about your book and making the hard choices.

Alex London-is currently working on a Upper MG which is a cross between How to Train Your Dragon and Fast and Furious which sounds amazing. His advice was to give yourself small attainable goals, such as, if you know you can write 1000 words just make your goal for the day 500. Have a to do list count towards your goal, also concept, and worldbuilding.

Danielle Paige is currently working on The Ravens with Kass Morgan. Her writing advice came from her work when she was writing soap operas, every scene should end with a metaphorical or actual slap. She also encouraged writers to write that big crazy thing you can’t imagine just make it believable. She talked about how coming from a television background the dialouge pass was easier for her, and that the prose, wardrobe and action passes were more difficult.

Soman Chainani couldn’t mention what he was working on, his advice was only start a book after you’ve really REALLY thought about what a character wants, once you have their real motivation it’s easier to write from. He also said to follow your dream and find something that only you can provide to the world.

Kami Garcia, her most recent book was the Teen Titans: Beast Boy graphic novel. She supported the idea of making a map to where you are going novel wise but kind of leaving room for stops or what you’re going to do or how you’ll get there. She also really supported Save the Cat Writes a Novel.

Brendan Reichs offered some useful advice in closing which was try to find the first conflict (it doesn’t have to be violent) and start the book there. You can fill in background information about how they got to that conflict as you move along with the story. He also said if the story needs to move from one place to another, don’t show them moving, just cut to the next scene.

Posted in Author Recommendations, Weekly Wrap-ups, Yallfest

Weekly Update

This week has again been slowed down by everyone’s friend pain. But I’m still doing pretty well despite that. I’m working on about three books at the moment which I hope to finish before the end of the week.


1) Unlocked Book 8.5

2)The Dragon Warrior

3) This is Not a Ghost Story


I’m continuing to write up the summaries of the panels I went to, more for me if nothing else. I mean, you guys have the videos but I hope you’re enjoying them at little.

Unlocked Tour

Due to Unlocked coming out, Shannon Messenger is doing virtual tour times for everyone who bought special editions from different places. I bought the special Barnes and Noble Edition so I get to hang out with her and other fans this afternoon.

Overall this past week or so has been pretty exciting, now I just have to get all my posts together. Tell me what kind of content you are looking to see, reviews, challenges, anything else?

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Posted in Yallfest

The Story Corpse

The Story Corpse was BY FAR, my favorite panel of the whole weekend and I’m going to use this technique when I soon get back working on my writing. The Story Corpse was a panel led by V.E. Schwab she described one of her writing techniques in detail. For this writing technique you have to think of the story like a body and the body has several portions.

The Bones

The bones are your plot. Schwab pointed out that it was less about knowing story at this point. You do need a beginning and an end though. At this you want to find at least 5-10 scenes to go in between the beginning and the end. It could be more like 10-20 if your novel is longer. You want to put them on a story timeline, which isn’t the same as a chronological timeline, and write out a few sentences to a paragraph about each bone. Again this may be longer, but this is the point where you are finding if you have enough story for a novel.

The Tissue

Now the body is going to grow in interesting and predictable ways, Bones are prompts. Thinking of each chapter as an episode is a good idea. The tissue is the twists and turns your characters take in life. This is where you might deviate from your original bones and you might what to go back and look is this the story I want to tell, or do I like the changes I’m making better, it’s all up to you. Make sure while you are here you establish voice and tense.

Also: If you are focused on making your writing pretty know that there will be a pass for that but not here, you might lose words from this portion of the story so it’s a good idea to create a cut file just in case there is anything you think you might want to come back and save.

The Flesh

The Flesh is the revision process. A good idea is to think of the story like a streamed piece of media where you meet your character at the end. How did they come to be where they are what pushed them to make those choices, it’s a good way to have your writing make sense forwards by looking at it backwards. Also when editing the middle of the book always tends to sag.

The Clothes

The clothes are word choices and aesthetics. Think of the mood boards everyone makes. The clothes convey your books style to the world.

Here is the video below see what you get from it.

Posted in Author Recommendations, Yallfest

UPDATED: Fantastic Fantasy and Astonishing Adventure

The second panel I went to on Friday included panelists John August famous for the Arlo Finch series. Sayantani DasGupta famous for the Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series. Kwame Mbalia famous for the Tristan Strong Novel series, and Claribel A. Ortega famous for her book Ghost Squad. The panel was moderated by Soman Chainani famous for his The School for Good and Evil series.

They discussed the differences between portal fiction vs. pure fantasy and how they as a group seem to prefer portal fiction such as Narnia and the Wizard of Oz books in their youth because it gave them a sense of being part of the story. They thought that was probably part of the reason they wrote portal fiction. Chainani asked the authors about how their own cultures or upbringings affected their writing.

John August talked about pulling from his days in scouting to create an adventure, and he wrote the book set where he grew up because he’d never seen any books like what he was looking to do set in Colorado. He also liked the idea of the adventurer being able to leave the scary thing for awhile and go home to bed. That in that sense the portal wasn’t something you had to spend all your time through.

Sayantani DasGupta talked about the immigrant experience being its own form of a portal, someone who was an immigrant could access two or more space at once, she used the metaphor of the strings on a guitar. Someone who was an immigrant could operate on more than one string, while people who didn’t have that upbringing couldn’t even see that there were different spaces.

I also liked how Claribel A. Ortega talked about the importance of traditions in her stories and how myths and old sayings were things that needed to be held on.

The panel also went over parallel universes vs. wish fulfillment. Chainani asked the authors what they considered their work. I particularly appreciated Kwame Mbalia answer who said wish fulfillment, but basically just the world as it should be if it weren’t so dumb. He made a great point.

The two best pieces of advice that came out of the panel were one from Kwame Mbalia was to use all five senses of the character when writing and that helps ground the writing for the reader.

The other I’m not sure who said it, but it was the the more specific your writing is the more universal. I believe it came up when Sayantani DasGupta was talking about writing Bengali folklore, she said she’d never seen it written, but she said allowing herself to feel authenthic enough to write the story made the story universal by her putting in all the little details that only she would know.

Finally one more piece of advice they all said to tell yourself the story and it becomes true, I think that in concert with the universality comment make for some powerful advice.

Image by Gerald Friedrich from Pixabay

Posted in Reviews

Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr

I don’t think I have to tell anyone I’m a huge Frozen fan. So any supplementary books that come along get two things from me Yay! More Frozen and can you work within the Frozen world. Basically I’m a superfan with standards, the other Frozen books I’ve reviewed here have met my standards and thankfully this one does too. Like in my woefully badly written review in Frozen Forest of Shadows, the problems and characters are believable to the Frozen world, it’s a good link Frozen to Frozen II. This book does a different job, but it does it well, it tells the story from the Battle of the Dam to when Induna and Agnarr’s ship goes down. Most of all it answers questions which any additional material book for a movie needs to do, it also makes great references but we’ll get to those later.

Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr

Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr by [Mari Mancusi, Grace Lee]


Sixteen-year-old Iduna has a dark secret, one that could get her killed. It doesn’t matter on the surface she an Arendellian village girl, aspiring inventor, best friend of Prince Agnarr, she’s secretly Northuldra.

Ever since the Battle of the Dam the people of Arendelle have despised and distrusted Northuldra with a vengeance. It doesn’t matter that the Northuldra, and some of Arendelle’s own have been trapped in the in Enchanted Forest behind a wall of mist that hasn’t lifted since the day of the battle.

Iduna doesn’t understand the mist, why it refuses to part or why it descended to begin with. It only clear to her that she must keep her past a secret from everyone even Agnarr, her life and maybe more depend upon it.

Fortunately Agnarr hasn’t connected the idea of Induna being the Northuldra girl he saw seemingly flying on a gust of wind, with the girl who rescued him when celebration turned to disaster.

What he does know is that Iduna is a true friend and ally in the face of his royal responsiblities which are becoming more crushing every day, between an overbearing council and a well meaning regent who is ruling in Agnarr’s place until he turns twenty one and assumes the throne.

However the two soon grow closer and realize friendship isn’t enough. With royal responsibilities on Agnarr’s shoulders, and Induna’s past chasing at her heels, will they find a way to take a chance on true love?


Not only was this book good, it was cute. You can see where Anna and Elsa’s personalities came from via there parents, you can also see the way the intergenerational trauma that is dealt with in Frozen II has its roots here. Agnarr is a lot like Elsa even learn that ‘Conceal, Don’t Feel’ was something he did to himself and probably learned from his father. The story about Agnarr’s mother and the trolls, ugh right in the heart. This book makes Iduna and Agnarr’s choices in Frozen make sense.

I also love the small little jokes with the songs, they aren’t necessary but they are great jokes for the fans. I hope if there are more opportunities to write more additional material that we will see more, but for now I’m happy to see everything is high quality and wonderful to read.

Amazon: Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr

Posted in Yallfest

UPDATED:Middle Grade Gets Real

Middle Grade gets real was an interesting panel. The panel included Kacen Callender who is famous for Felix Ever After and Hurricane Child. Brandy Colbert, who is famous for Little and Lion and The Only Black Girls in Town. Ally Condie who is famous for the Matched series as well as many other projects, and Erin Entrada Kelly whose two most recent books are We Dream of Space and Lalani and the Distant Sea.

The panelists ended up talking a lot about how trauma shaped the middle grade writing experience. Because usually, not to exclude people who have it rougher, middle grade was the time people were experiencing their first major pains of their lives. Coming out and not being accepted, mental health stuff, dealing with death, relationships, not to say those things don’t happen earlier but there is a large intersection at the middle grade age group.

One of the panelist talked about going on a school visit and wanting to wrap the kid up in a bubble so they wouldn’t have to get hurt. In my work with youth I totally identify with that. The panel then of course talked about how that wasn’t possible and even if it were wouldn’t be good for the kids.

But the conclusion the panel came to is middle grade kind of helps you through your first pains, or that it should.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Posted in Weekly Wrap-ups

YallFest Day Two

Sorry for the late post on this, I just spent a lot of Saturday going to panels and kind of needed a day to intake all the information I got from those panels, plus I had to get up early for a doctors appointment today. The mysterious illness continues! Yallfest Day Two was great, I plan to put up information for the individual panels like. I got up early for the Breakfast with Ya’llfest which was a lot of fun. I had an especially good time in the Building Tension panel and the Queering Everything panel both of which will be helpful for my own writing personally. I also went to the how do you plan a series panel and the Worldbuilding panel. Finally the Dark Stories Shine bright gave great ideas on how to build villians.

I really can’t wait to share all the information I learned during the writing festival here on the blog!

Image by DarkmoonArt_de from Pixabay

Posted in Uncategorized

Ritu Weds Chandni

Ritu Weds Chandni

I got early access to this book through NetGalley yay them!


This book is not only sweet but educational about the situation for queer couples in India. Told from the perspective of one of the bride’s younger relatives. Ayesha is excited to attend her cousin Ritu’s wedding, her cousin is going to lead a ceremony which is traditionally lead by men and not everyone is happy about that.

The ceremony involves the family going through the town riding on a horse to see Ritu’s bride Chandni but when bigots get in the way and seem to ruin the wedding Ayesha starts dancing and reminds them that no matter what happens there is still something to celebrate.

I appreciated the glossary at the end though most could be gleaned from context, as well as the authors note about why he chose to write this story.


This is picture book so it’s pretty short, not much to say other than what I said above other than that the illustration is lovely, the book just feels lively because of the rich colors present in the illustrations. I’d read it again just to look at it, I also loved the stylized illustrations of the horses they rode throughout the book.

Anyway it was a very cute book, totally 5 stars.

Amazon: Ritu Weds Chandni

The book will be released December 1st!

Image by rajesh koiri from Pixabay

Posted in Reviews

Day to Process

I’m taking a day off to process all the good writing advice I got at Yall’fest and just the experience in general. I should have something up about Day 2 on Tuesday. I have a review coming on Monday. Then my notes and feelings about specific panels should be up throughout the weeks, hopefully with the Youtube links if they have them up to the recorded panels. Just wanted to give you all a heads up that I’ll be back tomorrow.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Posted in Weekly Wrap-ups

Ya’llWrite Day One

I know today was like the slower build up day, but I still had a great time. My favorite panel by far was The Story Corpse with V.E. which talked about a great writing method that she has for plotting out her stories. I think it will be very helpful for me once I get back to writing at the end of the month. Other panels I especially enjoyed were Middle Grade Gets Real, where the panelists talked about how Middle Grade can relate to trauma and trauma work. Finally I enjoyed Fantastic Fantasy and Astonishing Adventure though it was different than I thought it was going to be. I’ll get into more about it when I do the post on the individual panels. Lots of good thoughts about stories and plots.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay