The eleventh day of NaNoWriMo says I should have 18,333 words by tonight and I'm currently sitting not-so-pretty at 14,100 words. I mean, hell, it's 14K! But it's also 4,000+ behind so I'm also currently stressed out. And I thought why don't I do a "currently" update post as I haven't done one in a while, and quite frankly, I don't have the brain power to put together anything better. Oh, look... What a run-on sentence I've written. Told you. Mentally, it ain't there today folks. 

What I'm currently...


My NaNoWriMo novel, Letters of Love & Treachery, as you well know. 


As of this moment (Wednesday morning), I'm trying to decide whether to start Winter by Marissa Meyer which just came out yesterday (eee!) or Carry On by Rainbow Rowell because I've been wanting to read it sooooo bad. All kinds of excites!


Why I can't seem to keep a clean apartment. Seriously, sometimes I wonder if I'm twenty-seven or just seven. If you walked into my apartment right now you'd wonder if you'd walked into a strike zone or if somehow a natural disaster that evaded your notice had only hit my apartment overnight. You'd also wonder if there was a clean drinking glass anywhere in the place. And the answer would be "no, no there is not."

Listening to

Aside from my NaNo playlist... a lot of Copeland because the Ixora is just a gorgeous album (and Ixora and Ixora Twin played in sync is an experience in and of itself). Specifically, this track: 


Episodes of the new cycle of America's Next Top Model. After all these years, I still can't quit youuuuu.   

Struggling with

World building. Omission may have a slight dystopian feel with hints of magical realism, but for the most part, the story is very much rooted in the current world. As a fantasy novel, Letters is set in a world where anything goes as long as it can be explained. So there's pressure to flesh out a cohesive world.


My new toaster. Is this a weird love? Oh well. Truth be told, I haven't owned a toaster in years. There just isn't enough room in my apartment for an appliance that I don't use that often (I'm not a toast person and almost anything you put in a toaster you can also put in the oven). But if you follow me on Snapchat (username: kay.peezy) then you may know that last weekend there was an epic search for Toaster's Strudel. So I finally caved and bought a toaster and now I'm toasting errythaaang. How did I live so long without this contraption?

Lusting after

All the Sephora things! Like this champagne highlighter or this Urban Decay palette or this lovely purple matte lipstick. Which is why you should do yourself a favor and enter the giveaway I'm cohost with a few lovely ladies for a $250 Sephora gift card. *Insert crazy eye emoji here* It ends tomorrow, so don't delay! Have I mentioned that Sephora's 20% sale is happening right now? 


Also, please forgive the strangeness going on with my comments. You can still leave a comment but I recently made "Oh For The Love Of Stories" my primary domain and Disqus has yet to import my old comments over. Or maybe I'm just an idiot (re: help me, kind reader!) 

Off to attempt the impossible (5K day say what?!). WriMoers, how was the first week of November for ya? Everyone else, same question :)

NaNoWriMo-ing 2015 Part I: Heavy Words

NaNoWriMo has just started and I already feel like it's gonna be a tough one. Granted I only really have one other experience to go off of, but in comparison, it's already a bit more difficult. Last NaNo, I went into writing having a very detailed outline of the first 1/4 of my novel and a vague outline of the rest, but not much insight into my characters. This time I know my characters better than anything, yet writing this story felt heavier.  

Has writing ever felt that way to you before? Like every word is hard to come by and somehow each syllable costs you something? It's the strangest sensation for me. I'm so use to stories just flowing organically without having to think too much. But now I feel like I'm overthinking it because I'm so connected to these characters. Like I'm afraid to, I don't know, not do them justice? Please tell me I'm not the only one who's ever felt this way. 

As it's only day two, I don't have much progress or thoughts to share, so I wanted to do Kristina Horner's NaNoWriMo tag instead.

How many times have you done NaNoWriMo?

This is only my second time. Eeep! But I've known about it for a while.  

How did you first find out about NaNoWriMo?

I overheard someone in the student community center during my senior year of college (2009-2010) say she was glad she finished NaNoWriMo, and I looked it up. I remember thinking "I want to do that." But then grad school was not having it so I put it on the back burner for a while. 

What was the name of your first NaNo novel?

Last year's novel is named 'Omission'. I love her very much.   

Give us a 1 sentence summary of what you're writing this year.

Because I'm kinda pants-ing this NaNo novel, this is difficult to come up with. For now I'll say: Two hires, multiple encoded letters, and one dangerous secret.  

What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?

Probably Ernest Hemingway's encouraging quote - "The first draft of anything is shit" - because I always think my writing is so terrible and find it hard to turn my inner editor off.  

Did you ever take a year off from NaNo? Why?

Well, technically you could say my first year. The November after I graduated grad school I was going to participate but I felt so drained after a summer of studying and couldn't think of a story to pursue in time.  

What's your biggest inspiration when figuring out what to write?

I know it such a cop out answer but... everything. I'm always looking deeper into things, into music, into people. This year's NaNo novel, Letters of Love and Betrayal, came from imagining a gym buddy that was so badass he demanded his own story. There's another story I've got brewing because of something I overheard a homeless man say. And Omission sprouted from a "finish this sentence" writing prompt. Someone once said that I don't see buildings and people, I see stories. They might have been right. 

Read us the first sentence from one of your novels. 

I'll do you one better - Omission Paragraph one:  

From the trunk, each speed bump is less bearable than the last. Had he been driving faster it wouldn't have been so bad, but at this incredibly slow speed, each bump leaves a rush of nausea in its wake. I can't brace myself for it, which makes the jostling ten times worse. Each bump sends my head bouncing around between a guitar case and a pair of snow boots. The weight of the spare tire on the back of the Wrangler drives the hatch of the truck into my knee. He hasn't slammed it shut tight enough; he'd used his left hand while he held me in the trunk with the other. So this is it, huh?, I think as I gaze at the stars through the back window. Moments later, a bump sends my head flying into the upturned end of a ski and I stomp on the side of the car in frustration.

Why do you love writing?

I feel like this is a terrible question to ask a writer. We're wordy, we could go on about why we love words for ever. Yet strangely enough, I personally find it hardest to articulate what I feel about writing. That's probably one of my favorite things about it: that it's not always the easiest process but the most rewarding. I'm very opinionated and I find writing allows me to express myself and get a point across through fictional scenarios. Sometimes, I love being able to write the story how it should have happened, if that makes sense. And, throughout my life, specifically a rather lonely childhood, writing and reading was the one constant companion, and I like the idea of creating something that could so the same for another. 

"It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them." 

~ Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare


If it all (meaning NaNoWriMo) seems incredibly daunting, well, it is. Writing 50K in 30 days sounds like a good idea, and in many ways it is. But it's also crazy. You can do it though, person who slogs through my excessively long posts (I got love for ya, girl!). If you need proof, check out my lesson of NaNoWriMo from last year. I will say that with NaNoWriMo mainlining all of my writing mojo, I'm not sure how often I'll be showing up here. Between the drafts I've got and NaNo-related posts, I hope to visit 2x a week though. In the meantime, tune into my Instagram account where I'll be posting inspiration writing stuffs daily(ish) like I did last year. 

If you're participating in NaNo, tell me about what you're working on in the comments below. Even if you aren't, tell me if you've ever felt the same about writing, like words are harder to get out?

Stony, Sparkling Vampires and Mysterious, Magic-Wielding Men, Oh My!

Well, this is lame. Would it make me a complete grandma to say that I fell asleep last night at 7:30 and therefore didn't get this post up? Because that's totally what happened. But we can just pretend this isn't late, right? Right. Carrying on. Last day of Fall-O-Ween :0

Because I didn't want to write any old boyfriend-appreciation post a few weeks ago for my date-iversary, I drew inspiration from the happy occasion and posted a discussion all about instalove in books. I really enjoyed writing that piece. So I thought "why not discuss a variety of book-related topics? It's nothing new but it fits in well with the focus of your blog". And well, once the inner monologue kicks in, it's as good as done. And this season seems like the perfect time to discuss some of the book worlds most haunted characters - vampires and other supernatural creatures. 

Still from the Shadowhunters TV Show coming in January 2016 on ABC Family.

Still from the Shadowhunters TV Show coming in January 2016 on ABC Family.

Vampires and supernaturals have probably become as cliché in storytelling as insta-love and love triangles (a topic for another post). In fact, Twilight actually had all 3! Readers generally fall into two camps: those who love the trope and those who hate it. Some are sick and tired of beautiful sparkling vampires, ripped and sweaty werewolves, and other mysterious supernaturals (or sups) that frequent the fantasy genre, especially young adult literature, especially in romance. There's the more recent novels like our multiple offender Twiliight, the Vampire Academy series, The Lux series, the Shadowhunters Chronicles (the list goes on...). And then of course, there are classics: Dracula, Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and the like. And those are just off the top of my head. Whether you liken it to a particularly strong strand of a gruesome disease or the greatest gift we've ever received, the stories of supernaturals seems to as popular now as it was at it's inception. 

But aren't we past that stage? Aren't stories of supernaturals just getting old?

Well, vampires and other sups will always be interesting to me so long as they are well explained and purposeful. By this I mean, if supernaturals are just thrown into a story to make the unattainable boy sexier or the tough girl a total badass, then I'm not a fan. In that way, it just seems like a poor device, a cop-out for writing intriguing characters. Sure, if you tell us that this girl is a werewolf we will assume she's tough as nails or that this guy's got to be drop dead gorgeous if he's a vampire, but that's laazzyyy writing. Show us instead. Using supernaturals solely as a storytelling tool is a non-starter for me.

In my opinion, Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunters Series is a good example of supernaturals put to good use. Her books are chocked full of vampires, werewolves, faeries, warlocks, demons and last but certain not least - her own original sup - shadowhunters. Shadowhunters are human-angel hybrids, created thousands of years ago when an angel appeared to a man and granted his wish for a race of people strong enough to protect humankind and keep the Downworlders (all those other sups mentioned above) in check. Clare then continues to expand this world, exposing the truths of how these sups were created, what lead to their creation and the interesting dynamics between the groups. The inclusion of supernatural creatures in her story don't feel arbitrary and they definitely aren't baseless. She weaves an intricate backstory, borrowing from classic supernatural rules and instituting many more of her own. I think this is what allows her to keep creating in her world, having written a dozen books so far. 

What do you think about the vampire/supernatural trope? And most importantly...


I really hope you enjoyed my Fall-O-Ween series this year. It wasn't perfect, life got in the way as it typically does, but I still very much enjoyed sharing all things Fall-O-Ween and seeing all of your festivities! Please do link up below to share your final posts of the season. 

Have fun & above all, stay safe :)

Didn't get enough Fall-O-Ween? I don't blame ya! Check out some of my favorite posts from Fall-O-Ween's past below:


Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood Duo

A few weeks ago, I compiled all of my spooky Halloween posts in one creep-tastic post, complete with a pretty cool video montage (if I do say so myself). This month I set out to read quite a few of those books. Although that mission was a fail overall, I did succeed in reading the Anna Dressed In Blood duology, and I loved it!

Just look at that cover! One of my favorites.

Just look at that cover! One of my favorites.

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood; Girl of Nightmares

Author: Kendare Blake

Publication: 2011; 2012

Blake's story is told from the point of view of Cas, a seventeen-year-old boy who happens to be the most prolific ghost hunter in the land. Cas has spent his teenage years traveling from place to place hunting a plethora of violent ghosts, taking the over the namesake after his father's demise at the hands of a flesh-eating ghoul. When Cas gets a tip about a young girl in Ontario called Anna Dressed In Blood, who vicious dismembers anyone who steps foot in her house, he's immediately intrigued. So while he walks into her home, he fully expects to be torn limb from limb, and is beyond surprised when she spares his life. 

Aside from the gore and horror aspect (which I'll get to in a minute, don't you worry child!), the highlight of both of these novels is the narration. I'm always a bit wary of stories told from a guy's point of view. When I think of the way guys tell stories, it's always in clipped, basic sentences, a.k.a not something I want to actually read. In novels, it usually reads one way or the other: (1) the guy tells the story in that clipped way I expect and it's as boring and painful as a bag of nails or (2) the guy sounds exactly like the next flowery, very detail-oriented female protagonist (see Allegiant). But Blake hits the sweet spot with Cas' narration. Cas sounds "guy like" but his voice isn't juvenile or annoying as he paints an effective picture for the reader without describing things in excessive detail. He tends to describe things in terms of what he observes as opposed to what he feels (or his observations of feelings, i.e. "she looks at him a lot and always touches him when he speaks" instead of "she's so in love with him and worships everything he says"), which is both guy-like yet still interesting. To put it simply, he isn't poetic but rather descriptive, observant rather than emotional, and it adds so much to the story and his character development. 

By way of character development, Blake does a great job with all of her characters. She creates an entire host of secondary characters that hold their own. There's Cas' witch mother who is a constant presence in the story, his English mentor/kinda-grandpa, his only two friends - Carmel, the typical yet so not typical popular girl, and Thomas, the slightly-off sidekick - and Thomas's witchy, hipster grandfather. They all add so much to the story, even the phantom presence of Cas' deceased father, but the standout for me hands down was Thomas. I really loved his character. He latches on to Cas as soon as he gets into town and never lets go, and it is so damn endearing. His quirks are perfect, his loyalty is unquestionable and I just want to hug him until his head pops off (take about horror!).    

Before I get into the best part of this duology, I'll note that the first book is kind of disappointing in the horror department. Although there are a few pretty awesome moments, they were few and far between. And while I throughly appreciated the other aspects of the story, I felt like I was missing that scare factor that I desperately wanted. It's still worth it though! It's definitely creepy and the second novel amps it up! But if you aren't a horror fan and are wondering if you can handle it, I say give Anna Dressed In Blood a go.

Now that said, I'll end my review with my love for everything Anna Korlov. Anna is one bad ass b___. She's this ultra powerful, crazy vicious, who tears boys in half and asks questions later. At the same time, she's surprisingly witty and sarcastic, and there are dips and divots to her character that I was not expecting at all. Any time she was in a scene, she owned it. Even when the focus wasn't on her, I found myself wondering "where's Anna?" or "what does Anna think about all this?" Anna Dressed In Blood is so well-written that she doesn't need to carry the story, but she totally could if she had to. If in doubt, read it solely for her character. 

"You make me want things I can't have."

"I've seen most of what there is to be afraid of in this world, and to tell you the truth, the worst of them are the ones that make you afraid in the light. The things that your eyes see plainly and can't forget are worse than huddled black figures left to the imagination. Imagination has a poor memory; it slinks away and goes blurry. Eyes remember for much longer."

Only read on if you have read Anna Dressed In Blood. Text is white; highlight to read.

Girl of Nightmares picks up a few months after the end of Anna Dressed In Blood. Anna has just dragged the obeahman into god-knows-where and saved everyone, but Cas just can't let her go. He dreams this horrific dreams about her and searching for information about where she could have gone is driving him to take some big risks. Friendships are tested, hell, his life is tested, and Cas has to figure out how far he's willing to go for the fierce dead girl he loves.

Where Anna Dressed In Blood disappoints, Girl of Nightmares kicks ass. This sequel is full of pretty cool ghost scenes, action-packed moments, seances read with baited breath and even a impromptu trip to England and a truly spooky adventure through the creepiest forest. I wasn't terrified (I don't scare easy) but it was a really thrilling read. I was squealing every few pages because of some really creepy or strange detail Blake would include in the storyline. Overall, the novel felt full within enough scare and plot twists to satiate my hunger for a haunted read. Again, the stand out is Thomas! He's just such a wonderful, wonderful friend. A true sidekick. Blake summed him up perfectly somewhere in the middle of the book:

"...Thomas was always scared. The important thing is that his kind of fear doesn't run deep. It doesn't stop him from doing what he has to do. It doesn't mean he's not brave."

We should all aim to be so lucky.

Quick Notes:

Overall, if you want to top of your Halloween with a fun, spooky ghost story that's not so scary, pick up Anna Dressed In Blood asap. The characters are great, the narration is perfection, and although it's not a terrifying read, Anna is one baaaddd (wo)man. And if you're looking for a little more haunt out of your story, continue on to Girl of Nightmares. Both are great books that I think I'll want to reread during the Halloween season for years to come.     

                                  My Rating: 4 cups (4.2) = Stay Up Late!

                                  My Rating: 4 cups (4.2) = Stay Up Late!

Top Ten Tuesday: Villains

I've chosen villains as my Top Ten Tuesday topic because of how essential they are to a story. Part of what we feel about a hero is linked to how formidable the villain is. A good villain can fill two categories: either we love them because they are so misunderstood or we love to hate them. I can appreciate either type so long as they feel real and robust and so long as the author doesn't erect a redemption arc for them out of nowhere. These are a few of my favorites:

***Note: there may be spoilers for the following books - Shadow & Bone, Cinder, The Darkest Minds, Wuthering Heights, The Great Gatsby, Interview with a Vampire, Harry Potter. I have tried to keep it to a minimum.


The Darkling

My feelings towards the Darkling are so all over the place. Most times I totally get why everyone is so ga-ga over him. There's just something about his swagger, the way his movements are described, the way he phrases things that are just too good to be bad (or maybe too bad to be good?). And no matter where you fall on the love-hate spectrum, you always care about what happens to him. 

Also, I just spent through Darkling fancast photos. For this bit of downright sexy, you're welcome :)


Queen Levana

In the first three books, I simply hated Levana. She was oppressive and manipulative and unreasonable. I expected the story from her point of view would try to evoke sympathy for her. And while Fairest gave readers a much deeper insight into the character and the mistreatment she experienced, Marissa Meyer doesn't soften her. She doesn't break Levana into palatable pieces, explain away her evilness or create a hope for redemption. Meyer uses Fairest to delve deeper into the depravity of Levana's character, illustrating some of the more truly truly horrific things that she does and offering no excuses for them. And even though I hated her, I still wanted to know her story and I think that is genius writing.    

Daisy Buchanan

Daisy Buchanan isn't your typical villain. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece The Great Gatsby, she doesn't reek havoc for the sake of being evil and ruining lives. However, she ends up doing so all the same. She is a villain not because of her motivations but because in her carelessness, she does things that hurt people and doesn't face the consequences. 

They were carless people ... they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

Lord Voldemort

No villain list is complete without mention of He Who Must Not Be Named. If I loved how Meyer makes no apologies for her villain, then I bow down to J.K. Rowling's brilliance. Rowling offers no sympathy for Voldemort. He is vile and despicable and completely unredeemable from the start. He's broken his soul into so many pieces that he's barely human. Then in books 6 and 7, when we get a deeper look into the character's past and present, he doesn't get any "better". His motivation aren't rooted in mistreatment or trauma, and I think his "evilness" is part of what makes us love Harry so much. 


The Raven

Sometimes villains simply remind us of life's harsh truths. The Raven in Edgar Allan Poe's poem is unrelenting. He doesn't care that the narrator is in mourning, he delivers his grim message all the same. He deepens the madness the grieving man experiences and terrorizes him with his repeated lament "Nevermore".   



Another unusual choice for the villain, but in Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger, it seems to be the only real nemesis around. Holden's story is based on his attempts to both be part of and escape adulthood. He stays in the city for days to avoid the consequences of his expulsion from school. He spends the entire book trying to seem older and refined and engage in adult activity like smoking and drinking and paying for female company . However, he's not very good at any of these things because he's really just a child playing at the things he's terrified off.

Honorable mentions:

  • The Brat Prince Lestat de Lioncourt of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles who outright rude and defiant nature is actually quite delightful;
  • Clancy Gray in The Darkest Minds trilogy, whom I can't truly include on the list because I've only read the first book, but who thoroughly creeps me out yet makes me want to know more about him;
  • Childhood favorite Captain Hook from Peter Pan, who's somewhat tame evil allows the reader to like him and desire being a part of his pirate crew

Who are your favorite villains in literature?