The Writing Tag

Saturday, July 29, 2017

I'm finally getting to this long overdue writing tag! Many thanks to Jem Jones and Lilly for tagging me! Alright, let's get started with the questions....
What Genres, Styles, and Topics Do You Write About?
I write under the YA Christian fiction umbrella, and so far, beneath that, I’ve explored contemporary, mystery, fantasy, and historical. Historical and contemporary have been the ones I’ve “clicked” with the most—in fact; I’m currently working on a contemporary project and a historical project.
I’m a little confused about the styles part of the question, but topics I write about… I like to write about topics that are near and dear to my heart such as my faith, Uganda, etc.

How Long Have You Been Writing?
I’ve been writing seriously for about two years now, but when I was little I would draw a bunch of pictures and have my mother staple them together as books. I would then narrate the wording for each page to my mother and she’d dutifully write my words down. I don’t have any of these books, but I do have my very first book I ever “wrote.” It’s all about Dora and her friends with my scribbled drawings and stickers dotting the pages—not a bad start for a promising career. xD

Why Do You Write?
Here are five reasons I write: 
1. I believe that God gave me this gift of writing, and I want to use it to glorify him to the best of my ability.
2. Writing is like a “therapy session” for me when I’m feeling down, confused, etc.
3. Writing is a way I can be Jesus’ hands and feet.
4. Writing is a way I can run wild, make worlds, and learn.
5. Writing is my passion.

When is the Best Time to Write?
The best time to write is when you have any time to squeeze in writing at all! I try to write or work on a project for at least half an hour every day, and that half hour usually comes in the afternoon or before I go to bed… It really depends on what my family is doing, how many chores I have, etc.
What Parts of Writing Do You Love? What Parts Do You Hate?
I love being able to create worlds and have fun with my imagination. I love being able to touch people with my words. I love sitting in front of a first draft with a goofy smile on my face. I love reading my favorite quotes of my own work and dreaming of a hopeful someday when I can hold a print copy of my novel in my hands.

I hate losing steam in the middle of a project. I hate getting writer’s block. I hate being told that I’ll never make it. I hate that others don’t always understand why I love this and why I’m spending so much time doing this. I hate when my plot isn’t working and I’ve filled out a dozen plot outlines. But despite this, I’d never trade my love of writing for anything else.

How Do You Overcome a Writer's Block?
One way I overcome writer’s block is by skipping the scene I’m having a hard time with and marking it with a placeholder so I can come back later. Then, I continue writing until I’m ready for that particular scene. Another thing I do is re-motivate myself by creating playlists for my projects, collages, back cover blurbs…. Creative procrastination helps, just sayin’. xD

Are You Working on Something at the Moment?
Yes, I’m working on quite a few somethings. I’m still brainstorming a novella for the Rooglewood contest and am reconsidering if the contest is something I will be able to have time for this year. I’m brainstorming also with a plot bunny that won’t leave me alone (lots of brainstorming, y’all.). And then I’m also taking a look at Hiraeth and trying to decide what needs to be done with it (no, it’s not finished.).  Lots of charts and scribbles going on. =)

What Are Your Writing Goals This Year?
My number one goal is to finish at least one of the projects I’ve mentioned above. I hope to have a first draft of either Hiraeth or the contemporary story idea done by the fall and to then edit it throughout the winter and releasing it to beta readers.
My second goal is to submit more of my writing to other publications and hopefully get published by them.
I’m not much of a schedule/goal/deadline person, if you can tell. xD

I Tag...

YOU! That is, if you haven't joined in the fun of this tag yet. =)

What are you working on right now? Do you have any writing goals? What is your favorite way to creatively procrastinate? What’s your favorite genre to write in? Read in? Let’s talk!

Unwritten Melody Book Review

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Unwritten Melody is one of those books that you pick up to enjoy over and over again-laughing and sighing at your favorite parts. It'll have you singing along with James Russo and clicking at a typewriter in no time, trust me. =) Don't worry, I might get to my schedule that I had all planned out.... Maybe. I don't do well with schedules. xD

My Rating: Five Blocks of Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Out of Five
Back Cover Blurb
Does breaking free require breaking the rules?
Cassie Gilbert lives every day in the shadows of her deceased mom’s rebellion. But now that she’s seventeen, she finds herself longing to break away from her grandmother’s suffocating rules, experience what it’s like to be a regular teenager, and fulfill her songwriting dreams.
James Russo, former American Spotlight contestant, escapes to small town Willow Creek, SC hoping to flee from his tarnished past. When a school project pairs him with the shy principal’s granddaughter, he’s determined to get to know this Emily-Dickinson-obsessed and typewriter-using girl. His plan? Convince Cassie to co-write songs for his demo album.
As Cassie gets to know James over “project meetings” (more like opportunities to match her lyrics with his melodies), she becomes intrigued by his sense of adventure and contagious passion for music. But soon, his past becomes exposed. Cassie’s left to wonder—did she make the same mistake Mom did by falling for the bad boy?
Then, Grandma’s control pushes her over the edge. Cassie must choose between remaining in the chains of yesterday, or delving into her own freedom by completing the melody her mom left behind.
My Review
Unwritten Melody, a YA romance by Tessa Emily Hall, is a memorable tale of love, loss, hope, and healing. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t tear my eyes from the story of James Russo, a pop star seeking to escape his past in Willow Creek, South Carolina, and Cassie Gilbert, a small town girl with a thirst for freedom and the wish to be a “normal teen.”
One thing I loved about Unwritten Melody was how relatable the characters were. I could find myself nodding my head to bits and pieces of the beautiful story. Not to mention, Tessa skillfully mixes in a dash of humor and many praiseworthy messages. Quotable quotes are found throughout, and the story wasn’t just about the two teens falling in love, like many romances are, which is something I absolutely loved (pun intended =). 
The settings were painted so well that they became real in my mind. I loved the small town in South Carolina! The plot kept me flipping the pages (I finished reading in about two days). The characters were memorable, realistic, and relatable. The style of writing brought everything together as one amazing book.
Overall, Unwritten Melody is a must read, and a must re-read for me. Snag a copy on Amazon here, and be sure to check it out on Goodreads too!  
About The Author
img_5556Tessa Emily Hall writes inspirational yet authentic YA fiction to show others they’re not alone—and because she remembers the teen life like it was yesterday (or a few years ago). The debut novel she wrote at 16-years-old, PURPLE MOON (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) was a Selah 2014 Finalist. Her second novel, UNWRITTEN MELODY, releases with Clean Reads November 2016. She’s the Founder of, a magazine that inspires teens to embrace their calling. Tessa also enjoys helping writers achieve their dreams through her internship at Hartline Literary Agency.
When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, Tessa can be found making healthy homemade lattes, speaking to teens, decorating her insulin pump, and acting in Christian films. She writes in a small town nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Southeastern coast. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website.
Have you read Unwritten Melody? Do you like peanut butter fudge? Making music? Listening to music? Have you been to the beach? Or maybe to a quiet town in South Carolina? Let's chat!

I'm Back!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I'M BACK!!!!!!! *cue epic music* Whew, that was a longer hiatus than I thought I'd take, but now I am SO ready to stick around the lovely blogosphere. A lot has happened since I've been gone, and I have the pictures to prove it. Be prepared.... There's quite a few. xD And please note that I'm not just doing a monthly highlights post this time around, I'm doing highlights from my the time since my hiatus.

  • My family got to go visit my cousins in beautiful Montana this past trip. We got to go to a super cool fair where a bunch of local vendors sold their handmade wares, and OH MY GOODNESS I FOUND THE MOST PERFECT NOTEBOOK FOR MY COLLECTION AT JUST MY TYPE DESIGN'S BOOTH. It's an 100 year old book that has been turned into a gorgeous notebook. And guess what? You refill this notebook with Moleskine notebooks so you can reuse it over. And over. And over. *sighs* I'm in love with it. And don't you LOVE the design of Montana on the cover? =)  
  • My sister and my cousin both turned 13. *jaw drops* How? Why? THEY ARE NOW TEENAGERS!!!!! 
  • Glacier National Park happened. See my main graphic up at the tippy top of this post? That's Going-To-The-Sun Road, one of the most beautiful roads I've ever been on. And how about those cute little red buses? Glacier was probably the most beautiful place I've ever been to. Mountains, waterfalls, forests hidden lakes.... I mean, take a look at Avalanche Lake (above). Best. Lunch view. Ever. The photo doesn't do it justice. Also, if you ever head up to Montana, grab a huckleberry chocolate bar. Scratch that, buy two. You'll thank me later. 
  • I also got to visit the Oregon coast recently. Tillamook ice cream, giant sand dunes, and a fun hike during which I photographed my little bird friend (above) ensued during that camping trip.  Isn't he so cute? =) 

The plot bunnies. Guys, THE PLOT BUNNIES. More stories, more ideas.... HELP!!!!!! I've taken a long writing break and am so ready to jump back in!

One plot bunny in the form of a collage. IT'S SO PRETTY I WANT TO WRITE ABOUT IT!

My favorite book I recently read: Glass Girl by Laura Anderson Kurk
I seriously finished this whole book in one day while sitting in a car during our trip. It was SO GOOD, and that same day I purchased its sequel to enjoy on the rest of the trip (which I'll get to later...). The main character was amazing, the setting was breathtaking, and the interactions between Henry and Meg were so sweet! A book review for this one may be coming soon. =)

My least favorite book I recently read: Perfect Glass by Laura Anderson Kurk 
Perfect Glass felt like a let down after Glass Girl, to be honest. I wasn't the biggest fan of Henry's POV and the love triangle going on felt SO cliche. *unhappy sigh*

 What have you all been up to? Plot bunnies, anyone? Have you read any of Laura Anderson Kurk's books? Have you found any cute notebooks lately? Eaten any ice cream (please say yes)? Let's talk, it's been FOREVER!
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