Seeking Beta Readers – The House with Two Faces

The House with Two Faces is nearing its final edits before I send it off to agents, BUT I’d like some feedback and more polish 😉 So hello beta readers!

I’ve narrated and uploaded videos of me narrating the first three chapters, which I hope is enough to entice readers and literary agents into reading more.  Check ’em out below and let me know if you’d like to read ’em!

(I’ve actually already received and implemented feedback, so the samples I’ll send out won’t be exactly the same as what’s below.)

Read Chapter One on Wattpad

Read Chapter Two on Wattpad

Read Chapter Three on Wattpad

Voting for Mockup Covers

Throughout February, I created mockup covers for my next book, The House with Two Faces (which I guess I should abbreviate to HTF, like I did with CSM).  For the first few days, I kept adding and changing things, then added and changed more covers.

Here’s what the first poll looked like:

CoverMockupVotes

1, 3, and 4 got the most votes.  A lot of people chose #1, I suppose because of its adherence to the title and its simple vector style which is similar to The Cycle of the Six Moons covers.  But I wanted to make sure that this book has nothing to do with CSM, so I wanted to stray away from that.

I still liked #2, though, mostly because of how it has to do with “magic!” and those who actually read the synopsis made good points about the second cover.

So then, instead of narrowing down the results, I offered a bunch of alternatives.

CoverMockupVotes2.png

In the end, it came down to 3 and 4.

covermockupvotes4.png

So I offered even more alternatives by making #1 look more art deco with the corner pieces and the font, and I liked the red I added to her face, so I added that to #2.

BUT IT WAS STILL MISSING THE MAGICAL ASPECT.  So then I did THIS

covermockupvotes6-8x10.png

And I really liked #3 because of magic and 20s buuuut still, the votes were super close between #1 and #2.

I gathered 357 votes total.

That put #1 at 44%, #2 at 38%, and #3 at 18%.

#1 was preferred by high school and middle school students, as well as girls.

#2 was preferred by people my age and older, as well as boys.

So, in the end, I guess we’re going with this one.

Cover Mockup 3E.png

Which is actually my least favorite cover ’cause I just don’t prefer photographic images of faces on covers 😅

Anyway, this isn’t a “final mockup” cover.  It’s just what I’m going to use when I post the first three chapters on Wattpad so I can get beta readers 🙂

 

Local Writers Tell All

lFrom the YA Panel “Local Writers Tell All” at the Suisun City Library on January 21.

Meet local authors Adelle Yeung (The Cycle of Six Moons), Jess Flower (RedBird), and book blogger Jesalin Belk (Blogging Everything Beautiful) to talk about books, writing, and following your dream of becoming a writer. They will share their insights about how to write for young adults, and their experiences with self-publishing books and blogs.

Continue reading

NaNoWriMo in December!

I couldn’t do NaNoWriMo last month because I was busy trying to promote The Last Winter Moon, so I decided to do it this month with a brand new  standalone book, (WIP title) The House with Two Faces!

I actually started on November 28 (the day before Final Fantasy XV came out) and wrote for a total of 34 days, as of today, the last day of 2016.  And I’m probably going to be a bit more editing later today, but the word count for today is over 1,667 so I’m content with that 🙂

I reached 50,000 words on day 20, and finished the first draft of the book on day 23, for an average of 2,691 words for the first draft.

On the days of editing, I averaged 1,897 words per day.

The lowest word count I wrote for the month was 517 on day 24, right after I finished the first draft.

The most I wrote was yesterday at 7,127 words.  (I’m not even sure how I did it.)

Now for a cool graph!

nanowrimo-2016-graph

And other nerdy statistics.  Yay nerdiness!

Day Date Expected Actual
1 28-Nov-16 1667 4729
2 29-Nov-16 3334 6605
3 30-Nov-16 5001 8569
4 1-Dec-16 6668 9805
5 2-Dec-16 8335 13702
6 3-Dec-16 10002 15812
7 4-Dec-16 11669 16490
8 5-Dec-16 13336 19035
9 6-Dec-16 15003 20895
10 7-Dec-16 16670 22023
11 8-Dec-16 18337 24354
12 9-Dec-16 20004 26603
13 10-Dec-16 21671 30589
14 11-Dec-16 23338 34888
15 12-Dec-16 25005 38899
16 13-Dec-16 26672 41009
17 14-Dec-16 28339 43553
18 15-Dec-16 30006 45865
19 16-Dec-16 31673 48813
20 17-Dec-16 33340 51823
21 18-Dec-16 35007 54945
22 19-Dec-16 36674 59013
23 20-Dec-16 38341 61895
24 21-Dec-16 40008 62412
25 22-Dec-16 41675 64117
26 23-Dec-16 43342 66192
27 24-Dec-16 45009 67331
28 25-Dec-16 46676 69259
29 26-Dec-16 48343 70027
30 27-Dec-16 50000 71600
31 28-Dec-16 50000 72646
32 29-Dec-16 50000 73487
33 30-Dec-16 50000 80614
34 31-Dec-16 50000 82765

I also “drew” some things for research.  Here’s the character concept art I sketched a few weeks ago.  Thinking of making Paula curvier though.  Her figure is too boyish.

cast1

And I made a diagram of the theater/house 🙂 It’s not quite to scale, though.  The doors got bigger toward the end.  Heh heh…

cort-theater

I also did the NERDIEST THING and create the house in the Sims 2 (I got the whole thing free on Origin!).  I couldn’t furnish it right, but hey, the structure is there 😀 (Tip: It’s easier to make a house in the Sims if you have a layout on hand instead of just drawing walls hoping for the best.)

That’s it for now 😀 Back to more editing, I guess >_<

Have a great new year, everyone!! 😀

Why “You’re Beautiful” Almost Didn’t Make it into The Last Winter Moon

my-goddess

In The Last Winter MoonJayse pulls Michelle — disgruntled from injustice — onto the back of a korelian cat, and they race up the steps of the Arriscylean palace.  He pulls her off and tells her, “You’re beautiful when you’re scared.”  She laughs, and Jayse says, “You’re even more beautiful when you smile.”

This almost didn’t make it into the final book, for reasons similar to changing a line of Dastin’s in An Eclipsing Autumn, which was something like, “Smile for me,” which I thought was so unforgivable that I just had to change it.  (Telling women to smile is a whole ‘nother problem, though.)

I took special care in crafting Michelle and Jayse’s relationship.  When I brought up having second thoughts about this line (“You’re beautiful”) to my friends this past summer, one of them asked me how close Michelle and Jayse’s relationship is to my ideal relationship.  I said that it was pretty close, at least for a sixteen-year-old girl, like Michelle is by the end of her journey.  It was what I would have wanted when I was sixteen.  A life of adventure, danger, and maybe just a little bit of romance, and when it really comes down to it, saving the world is the most important thing, and romance won’t get in the way.

Michelle and Jayse’s relationship is supportive, playful, innocent, and sweet, but never really sexual.  Heck, I was pretty prudish when I was sixteen (same as you see in Michelle’s disgust toward Dreana’s seduction).  I wanted to write a relationship that I would have wanted when I was her age.  I didn’t want to have to force sex into their relationship to make it more realistic, or whatever, because Michelle and Jayse know the stakes of their duties.  They know they can’t just make out all day, forgetting the horrors of the world, because they just want to lie next to each other and stare into each other’s eyes.

When it really comes down to it, I suppose it’s a sort of message to young readers.  Not all romantic relationships have to be physical and sexual.  Don’t give up your duties and ambitions for someone else who’s going to change you and make you forget them.  I wanted to send a nice, healthy message with their relationship, instead of romanticizing something unhealthy and abusive.

Sure, there is physical attraction in their relationship.  You see it all over Michelle’s thoughts when she first meets Jayse.  She even blurts out “Oh my God, you are so hot” the first time they speak.  (I don’t really count this toward any kind of profession of love, because he doesn’t even know what it means :’D And her “you’re hot”s to Gediyon don’t count.)

A few times, Jayse says stuff like, “I didn’t see Goddess Saei, but I don’t need to,” and looks at Michelle, “I suppose the wait was worth it” and “I think you beat me in that competition” (in regards to a silly game they were playing to see who’d show up to dinner the prettiest) and at the end of The Starriest Summer, says, “You look magnificent.”  BUT, he hadn’t said outright that he thinks she’s pretty.

I did this on purpose because I didn’t want their relationship to be based on physical attraction.  He finds her cheerfulness and optimism sweet and adorable.  Once she finds out more and starts to break under the pressure, he’s right there to keep her on her feet. He falls in love with her when they find out how much they have in common with their unwanted responsibilities, and they work together to support each other.

Same with Michelle.  Sure, she’s immediately smitten by him from his looks, but she’s more interested in a friendship with him, and it’s not until after she loses the Prince Imposter that she realizes she might have romantic feelings for Jayse, too.  As her adventure goes on, she also comments less on his looks, and even manages not to freak out and not get a nosebleed when he’s shirtless in An Eclipsing Autumn.  (Also, him being bloody and having nearly died might also have something to do with it…)

And then there’s this scene in The Last Winter Moon.

Hot Spring

She’s just whatever when he’s lying in the hot spring, cleaning himself off, and then when he jumps up to kiss her, she’s like, “Oh… oh this is happening. OH GOD I DON’T THINK I CAN HANDLE.”

Anyway, the point is, I didn’t know if I wanted to keep the line “you’re beautiful” in the final version of the book.  However, my friend said, “It’s already been established that their attraction toward each other isn’t based solely on looks, so saying ‘you’re beautiful’ is just a nice assurance that he thinks so.”

I had thought of changing the line to, “You’re adorable when you’re scared,” but after my friend told me that, I was convinced it wasn’t as impactful.

She then asked me, if Michelle and Jayse have the ideal relationship, then what about Gediyon and Dreana?  And I said, “Oh, they’re adults, they can do whatever the hell they want.”

Also, what’s with Michelle glowing and having white hair and reaching down toward Jayse in the picture at the beginning of the post?  1) Read The Last Winter Moon 😉 2) The scene doesn’t actually happen.  It was just an image in my head that I wanted to illustrate 😀