Thursday, February 22, 2018

Character Interview Outline

Hello there! I have a free template for you!

I have been working very hard on planning out my Christian YA novel as I write it. I'm not a fan of intense outlines. I like to "be surprised' by what happens in my book as I write it, but I do plan some things out. I always have an idea of what will happen in my book.

I love doing these character interviews for every single character. It helps me see them as real people. Knowing the little things and the deep stuff helps create a well rounded person. I came up with some of these questions by myself, others off of good 'ol Pinterest, and some came from my sister. I hope this helps you as much as it's helped me!



General Questions:

Age & Birthday:

Fathers backstory:

Mothers backstory:

Siblings?

What does ____ depend on?


Random Detail Questions:

One Word Description:

Hair:

Eyes:

Quirks/Funny Habits:

Favorite Movie:

Favorite Color:

Favorite Quote:

Favorite Actor/Music Artist:

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:

Dogs or Cats:


Personal Questions:

Life Goal:

What does ____ fear?

What does ____ want?

What is ____ doing to obtain that want?

What does ____ need?

What lie does ____ believe about her/himself?

What shows ____ the truth?

Who is ____ at the beginning of the story?

Who is ____ at the end of the story?

How can I show ____ imperfection?

What is ____ outlook on life?

What is ____ hiding from others and/or her/himself?


Characteristics:

Does ____ speak up or stay quiet?

Does ____ like physical touch or does it unnerve her/him?

What causes ____ the most pain?

What makes ____ angry?

How does ____ show emotion?

Does ____ laugh easily or does she/he hide her/his feelings?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Book Review ~ Wonder by R.J. Palacio



Book Title: Wonder

Author: R.J. Palacio

Release Date: February 14, 2012

Number of Pages: 311

Part in Series: Not a series but the following books "go along" with Wonder: 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts and Auggie and Me


About the Book (my thoughts, summary, etc.): This book.. oh my goodness. It's a heart gripper. I felt so many emotions reading this book: sadness, joy, fear, anger, and disgust. I kinda feel like the movie Inside Out.

Middle school is hard for everyone; the drama, the fights, the homework. Middle school can be a really rough time,especially when you're not considered "normal."

August Pullman was born with a severe facial deformity. In an attempt to protect Auggie from the cruel world his parents homeschooled him until the 5th grade, when they placed him in a private school. Now Auggie is facing new struggles he's never known before. Will he ever fit in? Will people ever stop making fun of him? Will he ever make a friend?

Wonder is narrated by Auggie, his sister Via, and several other people. You get to see things from everyones perspective which I think was a very helpful technique for this book.


                                       *THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THE "CONTENT"*


Sexual Content: A girl says she hates the whole high school "who likes who... who's cute, who's not?" thing. Comment of a girl having a boyfriend but dumping him for another boy. Kids tease Summer that Auggie is her boyfriend. Summer says that her mom thinks 5th graders are too young to date and she agrees. Jack tells August that his sister is hot and Auggie says he knows. Jack later makes another comment about Via being hot.

A girl wears a "tube top," which Via thinks is inappropriate. Via has an instant crush on a boy at school.Via starts dating a boy from school. He tells her that she's beautiful. He likes that she isn't flirty. He kisses her on the cheek. He later kisses her on the lips. A girl says that she sneaked into the boys camp at summer camp (nothing happened). 

A girl says that her parents are divorced and her dad was with someone right away. That's probably why they divorced. Her dad and his girlfriend are getting married and have a baby on the way. 
Mention of a guy being cute.

Auggie and Jack pee on a tree so they don't have to wait in line for the bathroom.


Violent Content: Via's grandma dies. A boy punches another boy, knocking out a baby tooth. A dog gets sick and dies. Some older boys pick on Auggie and Jack, pushing them around.


Language: About 6 "Oh my God." 2 "freakin'"


Other Negative Content: Auggie gets picked on a lot. People stare and tease. 

Teasing comments about a farting nurse. Auggie and his parents tease about a man's last name being "Tushman." Several "butt" jokes are made.

The kids celebrate Halloween and make costumes. Mention of Halloween stuff like dressing up as a goth girl, fake blood, etc..

Auggie lies to him mom. A girl arrives at a "cool kid's party" and when she realizes there are no adults she leaves. Kid's smoke.




My Rating: ★★★★★ This is a five star rating, y'all! I think that everyone should read this book at least once in their life!

Having a sister with cerebral palsy, I know what it's like to have people be rude or overly nice to my "special" sibling. I feel like Via was based off of myself in some ways. This book hits very close to home for me. I can't recommend this book enough!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Book Review ~ Regal Hearts: Season One by Olivia Jarmusch





Book Title: Regal Hearts: Season One

Author: Olivia Lynn Jarmusch

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Number of Pages: 430

Part in Series: Season 1 of the Regal Hearts Series


About the Book: Regal Hearts is the story of four girls, daughters of the late King and Queen of Bella Adar. After the murder of their parents by evil Raymond, the four girls were whisked away to different foster families. It isn't until the girls: Aurora, a celebrity pop singer in California; Elizabeth, an Amish girl from Pennsylvania; and Lena, a simple girl from the country in Bella Adar (we do not meet the fourth sister in this season), are 16 years old that they find out that they have sisters.... are are royalty! The URIA, the military group responsible for their safety and protection in the past and future, is working hard to give them a chance at regaining the throne from Raymond. But will they accept the task of ruling the broken country?

There are many characters and they are all people I feel like I could relate to in some way. It feels as though they could be real people. I must admit, I don't usually like female characters in books. They are usually either too wimpy or too macho, but the girls in these books are perfect! Olivia captured the true emotions and feelings of a teen girl. Her need to be heard, to understand why she is here, and to have a meaningful relationship with God.

This book brings a creative twist to a fantasy story line. It wraps heart, family, faith, and courage into one neat little package. Young girls and teens alike will enjoy reading Regal Hearts: Episode One. 


*THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THE "CONTENT"*


Spiritual Content: Elizabeth was raised Amish. Many mentions of the Amish belief and lifestyle. Her adoptive parents told her that a woman came to them and told them that God had spoken to her. She knew their names and that they were barren. She told them that they needed a family to adopt a baby, Elizabeth, and they agreed. 

Amish teens have the option to go on a "Rumspringa," which is a trip into the Englisher's world to see if they want to go into the sinful world of Satan or stay in the Amish community. When Elizabeth has to leave the Amish community for safety reasons, she feels like she is in the home of the devil. She is confronted about her religion several times. Why would God not like color or music? Why can't the average person read and study the Bible? Elizabeth simply answers that that is just the way it is; but she soon questions the strict rules of the Amish. When Elizabeth returns home she is scolded for mentioning anything about the Englisher's or their ways. She begins to doubt that the Amish way is the only way to Heaven.

Mentions of God and trusting God. People pray throughout the book. Aurora asks a fellow teen pop singer how to know if you're really a Christian or just a fake. He replies that faith isn't just in our actions. We have to follow Christ in our hearts. Several Bible verses are quoted.


"The book to read is not the one that thinks for you, but the one which makes you think."
Harper Lee


Sexual Content: Quite a few flirty comments. Comment of kissing a guy in a movie. Girls call guys babes and "really cute." Comments of dating, wanting to date, wishing for kisses, crushes, wondering if a boy/guy is interested in her, boyfriends, wanna-be-boyfriends, guys not being boyfriend material, and not being on the dating market. A married woman and unmarried teen call their husband/boyfriend "hunky" one time each. Comment of a girl being a diva. Two teens talk about their parents divorcing. Lena is shown the bad side of Bella Adar; children that are forced into work or human trafficking. 

The girls sneak out to go night surfing with some guys. Aurora is trying to set her friend, Emma, up with her crush. Aurora and her boyfriend are surfing when she woo's him into a kiss. Before he kisses her she dumps a cup of cold water on his head. They have a water fight (he holds her by the waist several times) and almost kiss again but are interrupted by fans and paparazzi. Aurora wears revealing dresses and bathing suits that Elizabeth and Miss Maggie do not like/approve of.

Eleanor is annoyed by the whole teen heart-throb and boy bands thing. A teen heart-throb shows up at her family's ranch to film a movie and they are bombarded by young teens. Eleanor's step-mom is very disrespectful to her dad. Her dad says he is going to leave for a few days to "let the storm pass" but he actually has work to do for the URIA. When he get's back the step-mom has filed for a divorce. 

Elizabeth goes to a "singin'" where young Amish boys ask young girls to ride home in their buggies which is the first step to begin courting. Elizabeth's crush asks her if she want's to ride home with him and she is thrilled to. 

It may sound like a lot of sexual content but in my personal opinion it really wasn't. Most of the things I wrote down were just comments but I wanted to list them anyways. There isn't a single scene that is actually sexual


Violent Content: The King and Queen of Bella Adar are murdered. Lena fears that Jack is kidnapping her to kill her, or worse, but her fears are only for a moment. Raymond, the evil ruler of Bella Adar, is trying to find the girls to kill them. Anyone who remained loyal to the true King and Queen and their royal line was/is murdered. Lena, Peter, and Jack are attacked by some of Raymond's men. Several punches, karate chops, and a man is shot in the arm. Jack shows Lena a large group of hungry, homeless children in Bella Adar. Grandmary and Theodore, along with their guard, are murdered.

*none of the murders are graphic*


Other Negative Content: None


My Rating: ★★★☆☆ I loved this book! The story line and characters were exciting and fun. It was a clean, fresh read. This book left me on a cliffhanger! The only reason I'm giving it 3/5 instead of 4/5 stars is because I had a bit of a hard time keeping all of the characters straight. Maybe too many names started with the letter e. I will admit though, I currently have tonsillitis and a double ear infection so I'm not exactly all there. I probably would have been able to follow the characters better if I wasn't sick. Other than that it was an amazing read and I'm excited to start reading Season 2!

You can purchase Regal Hearts: Season One in paperback or kindle.

You can follow Livy on her social media accounts here:


*I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A Sample Chapter!





It's November so... it's NaNoWriMo! 

I've been stewing over this story for a few months. I've worked on it a little bit here and there but never really pushed myself. That's gonna change! Since setting my goals for NaNoWriMo I have the first and second chapter done already. I haven't done a ton of editing and this is still a rough draft (I don't even know the name of the book yet) but I thought I'd go ahead and share the first chapter with you. Enjoy!

Chapter One

Just drive! Stop thinking. Just go,” I scold myself as I check my mirror once again. I've been driving for three hours. I've left Illinois and am now in Missouri but I can't help still felling paranoid. I press my foot harder on the gas pedal and urge the thoughts from my mind. Unconsciously I reach up and touch my eye. It still stings. I glance at my reflection in my rear-view mirror and see that it looks as bad as it feels.

I can't keep last nights events out of my head; my dad, glossy eyed and confused from the alcohol, screaming at me. He shoved me across the room and I tripped over the couch. Pulling out his revolver he pointed it at me screaming that I was the most pathetic excuse for a daughter. I covered my ears and screamed as a gunshot echoed through the valley.

A car lays on its horn and I swerve just in time to miss side sweeping an SUV. “Get it together!” I scold myself, my heard pounding. I pull off the next exit and into an abandoned parking lot. The tears come now. “What am I supposed to do?” I cry. “Why can't things just be normal?! I just want a normal life,” Sobbing I rock back and forth. .

My stomach gurgles, reminding me that I haven't eaten since lunch the day before. I don't feel like eating but I know I need to. Wiping my eyes on my sweatshirt sleeve I look around for a place to get some food. I start my truck and head for a gas station a few blocks away. Pulling up next to a pump I pull out my wallet. I count the money inside; $43.69. That's what I have to live on. It has to get me to Vegas. I'm not even sure what I'll find there but I have an aunt that lives in the area. I only know her first name, Ronda, and that she works at a bar. She's my dads half sister, from his moms second marriage.

I decide to put $10 in gas and $3 on a water and candy bar.

*

I bolt upright in my seat. It's dark outside. I turn, squinting against the dark. I heard something. I know I did. I jump at a shadow but realize it's my own. I settle back in my seat and try to fall back asleep. It takes a few minutes but soon my eyes begin to feel heavy again. Almost asleep I hear my name being whispered. The warm air of breath reaches the back of my neck. I freeze at the click of a gun. I feel a bead of sweat forming on my brow and it slowly runs down my cheek. The gun cracks in my ear and I feel blood trickle down my neck as my head thumps against the steering wheel.

No!” My scream is loud inside my small truck. I look around and see that I'm in a Walmart parking lot. “It was just a dream,” I whisper. “Just a dream.”

My fingers shake, the adrenaline of the dream hasn't left me yet. I attempt to relax but I'm too shaken. I grab my wallet and keys from the ignition and step out of my truck. I need to use the restroom and get some food in me. Some of the shaking is probably from being so hungry. I lock my doors and head into the store.

It's pretty much empty inside since it's 7:20 in the morning on a Tuesday. A few employees shuffle around, looking tired and unhappy to be working this early, sweeping and restocking a few shelves. I make my way to the restroom. It's cold inside and that doesn't help the shivers still enveloping my body.

After cleaning myself up a little bit I go looking for some food. I decide to get some peanut butter, bread, and a few jugs of water. These should last me a while.
The checkout lady is extremely chirpy for it being so early. “I just love early mornings! Don't you?”

Uh, sure.” Not really.

Its like a fresh start, a reboot, every single day. I just love it. Oh!” she exclaims, “I get this exact peanut butter. I'll tell ya, the generic tastes just as good as the cheap stuff. That'll be $7.51.” She places the peanut butter in a plastic bag along with the bread.

Oh yeah.” I mutter as I hand her a $10 bill. I'm not in the mood for chit-chat but this gal doesn't seem to notice. She continuous to tell me all about how great mornings are and that she has three kids and one of them hates peanut butter and she just loves the movie Shrek. I just don't get morning people.

Back at my truck I make myself two peanut butter sandwiches and guzzle some water from the jug. Licking my fingers I turn the knob on the radio. Garth Brooks' voice sings out of my speakers. He's always been one of my favorites. I think he might have been mom's favorite too.

*

It's day five of endless driving. I'm somewhere in Kansas. All I see out my window is corn, wheat, corn, and some more wheat. The two lane highway that I'm on seems to be going nowhere. I haven't seen another car in an hour. I quietly sing along with the static radio. “Do you love me, do you wanna be my friend/And if you do/ Well then don't be afraid to take me by the hand/If you want to/ I think this is how love goes/ Check yes or no.”

I have half a jar of peanut butter but I'm out of bread and water. The thought of eating straight peanut butter with nothing to drink makes me sick. I'm really hungry but I only have $4 left and that has to go towards gas. I only have half a tank left. I might have to stop along the way and work for gas when I find a bigger town.

About a mile down the road I see a flashing sign that says “Open. Bradford's Gas Station.” I turn my blinker on even though there isn't a soul in sight and pull into the little parking lot. Sitting in front of the store I contemplate what to do. I need water and maybe more food. I don't have any money. The only option seems to steal it. I've never stolen a thing in my life and I don't want to. But what other choice do I have? Slowly, I step out of my truck and head inside. A bell chimes when I walk in and a husky voice calls, “I'll be right with ya,” from behind the counter.

You're fine,” I call, barely getting the words out. I force my legs to walk towards the cooler. I take two bottles of water and put them in my sweatshirt pocket. I turn and reach for a box of trail mix and start to put it down my sweatshirt. My hands are shaking. Just as I get in in my shirt I see a shadow.

What the heck do ya think yer doing!” I turn and see a tall, broad, bald man standing very close to me. I turn to run but he grabs my arm, “You ain't goin' nowhere with that without paying fer it, young lady!”

Let go of me!” I cry. A sudden feeling of panic rises into my throat just like when Dad would beat me. My heart starts pounding, I can't catch my breath, and I can't focus my eyes. I feel my legs going weak. A bottle of water falls out of my pocket and rolls under an isle. My body goes limp and the man catches me.

Lowering me to the floor he whispers, “Oh Good Lord, what's wrong with her.” His strong hands pull me towards him as I struggle to stay conscious and try to pull away. I have no strength. “Josh!” He screams. “Call 911!” I feel my throat constrict. I cough trying to catch my breath but I can't. His hand is on the back of my head, balancing me, and he cries, “Breathe girl, breathe! No, c'mon, take a breath, girl!” Blackness envelops me as my heads falls onto the mans shoulder.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Book Review ~ Live Original by Sadie Robertson





Book Name: Live Original

Author: Sadie Robertson

Release Date: October 28, 2014

Number of Pages: 224

Series: As of now, no

About the Book: The title of this book, Live Original, says it all. Sadie compels her readers to step out, be original, be yourself. In a world full of clones, people trying to be just like the newest star or celebrity, we need to be who God created us to be.

Sadie opens up and talks about her and her families struggles and how they overcome/came it. She talks about life as a celebrity on Duck Dynasty and she talks about life before her family was famous. She also talks about how life as a celebrity isn't all it's cracked up to be, it's hard work.

Sadie covers many topics; from mission trips in the Dominican Republic to church summer camps. She talks about her relationships and how she stays true to herself no matter what. One of the biggest things she talks about is being confident and happy. As her grandpa Phil is famous for saying, be "Happy, Happy, Happy."

Sexual Content: Sadie talks about relationships always being open in her family. She says that her Uncle Si has been known to talk about STD's in front of boyfriends, her grandma talking about what is and isn't acceptable on a date in front of her friends, and her grandpa telling a boy to "keep in in your pants." She says that while this is embarrassing at times it does keep things open to discussion. She also says that she told a boy "I ain't no hoochie momma, and you ain't about to make me one."

When Sadie talks about "5 seconds of awkward is better than a lifetime of regret" she comments that telling a boyfriend or girlfriend "no" if they are going to far is important. She also comments that getting pregnant before you are married is a sin and can really cause problems in your life.

Violence: Sadie tells a story about passing out from working hard and not eating all day. She also talks about two authors that were held in concentration camps during WWII.

Other Negative Content: A comment that drugs are dangerous to our society.

Movie Style Rating: PG

My Rating: ★★★★☆ I really enjoyed this book. Sadie is a good author and I love that she stays true to her faith. As a country gal myself I love her country attitude and southern twang (even though I'm from the north and proud of it ;))