Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Walk, a Brainstorm, and a Discovery


I mentioned in passing that I'm currently redrafting The Prophet's Key (sequel to The Prophet's Quest). What I didn't say is that this novel is being a petulant little child.

I'm over twenty thousand words in, and something doesn't feel right. That's one of the worst feelings as a writer--that uneasy sense that something is wrong. It's when your spidey sense, which grows more and more accurate the more you write, tells you that something isn't working, and then you need to figure out what that something is so you can fix it ASAP.

This dull alarm is even worse when it comes for a story that's very near and dear to your heart. Journeys of the Chosen is a big project for me. It's important. I've invested a lot into it. So I want to be 'in the zone,' as it were. I want to be head over heels in love with this book I'm writing. That's what drafting is for! (And then I'll fall out of love during editing, only to fall back in again. It's how the cycle goes.)

So on Sunday, after lazing around and devouring half a novel (I can't remember the last time I read so much in one sitting--it was glorious, folks), I decided to take a walk to stir up my creative juices so I could make use of some writing time. And, let's be honest, I was falling asleep on the couch, so some physical exercise was a good idea.

Walking is a great time to contemplate things, specifically writing things. Marching along, hands stuffed in my sweater pockets and hair tossing in a brisk wind, I stewed. What's the problem? I asked myself. Why haven't I clicked with TPK yet? I ordered my wandering thoughts into a list.

  • Is it drafting doldrums? Drafting can be massively fun--in fact, it often is for me--but I know I usually go through bouts of wishing everything was already on paper so I could just fix and fiddle. So am I struggling to manufacture new words?
  • Is it prolonged editoritis? When I transition between editing obsessively (*cough* The Brightest Thread *cough*) and creating something new, it usually takes a bit for my left brain to settle down and shut up enough for my right brain to freely and messily explore things. But if I'm 20k in, I shouldn't still be feeling like this.
  • Is it because chunks of my plot are shaky and not yet researched? There's some stuff I haven't mapped out yet, and some of it is potentially tricky. Writing oneself into a plot wormhole is never a pleasant feeling.
  • Or . . . is it something else entirely? Maybe I haven't yet connected to the heart of the story. Maybe I haven't hit upon the reason I'm rooting for these characters and this book. Am I in love with the book yet? And if not . . . why?

In Ted Dekker's writing course that I'm slowly going through, The Creative Way, he teaches that in order to write powerful, transformational fiction, you need to take that journey of transformation yourself, along with your characters.

So I asked myself, "What's my journey with this story? Where do my struggles and my characters' struggles intersect?"

I know that once I figure that out, I'll truly, deeply care about TPK.

As I walked, I turned that over in my mind. And I came up with some good stuff that resonates with me. One intersection of author/character struggles I thought about was that of homesickness. The paradoxical kind you can get even when you're under your own roof. The longing for times past--good times, safe times--coupled with the bittersweet resignation towards an uncertain future. I've experienced that, and it's something my characters are going through in an even worse way. So in their journey through that homesickness, I need to take my own journey. Work through my own struggles.

I thought, "Let's delve into that, Tracey. Make it poignant and palpable on the page. Grip the readers with that aching, that yearning. Make Aileen and Josiah hurt in their individual ways, so much that I feel the pain and the readers feel the pain."



One criticism book 1 received from my editor was that I raised good challenges, only to let them fall away without much effort. I see myself doing the same thing now with book 2. Am I afraid of the pain?

I so badly want my protagonists to succeed because I so badly want to succeed in life. So is this too-easy conflict resolution my way of trying to make my own problems fall away with little effort? I'm scared of those dark moments when I have nothing but blind trust to lean on, and so I avoid putting my characters into those moments. Or rather, I put them there, but I don't let them stay for long.

It comes down to trust. I have trouble trusting that God will come through in my valleys. But I need to live bravely. And like my dear friend Christine recently said, we need to write bravely too.

This, then, is my journey. A journey of trust, of faith in the blackest darkness and of clinging to hope when all other handholds are washed away.

I must make my characters suffer. Chip away at their resolve bit by bit until they fall into a deep valley from which they see no way out.




Make their lives a living hell, so to speak (progressively worse in each book as I raise the stakes and whatnot), in order to discover alongside them how to trust the King and believe He's still there and still in the business of rescuing lost hearts. This is my journey just as much as it is theirs. When my own heart recognizes the 'valley of the shadow of death' for just that--shadows--and trusts in the light, that transformation will be apparent in the story too. What I bleed onto the page will transform the characters. In turn, it will transform the readers.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a book to write.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Grace (Part II)

[See part one HERE.]

[Fair warning: today's installment got longer than intended, and went places I didn't expect it to. Read on.]


At the dawn of the world, mankind enjoyed perfect bliss with their Maker. There in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve literally walked with God every day. There was nothing between them, nothing to detract from the perfect peace of their intimate friendship.

And then they broke the one commandment given to them. That peace shattered. Because God is holy and perfect and cannot tolerate sin, something had to be done. Adam and Eve found themselves banished from Eden, cursed to toil under the sun, destined to struggle for survival.

Generations passed. Each one succumbed to their own sins, and consequences followed.

A covenant was then forged between God and mankind, commandments written in stone. If the people obeyed, blessings would follow. If not, curses would befall them. "Obey me," God said, "and I will be with you. I will bless you, conquer your enemies, prosper you in abundance. But if you refuse to listen, you will be destroyed."

The only way for broken, sinful humans to have any sort of relationship with a holy God was to align their behavior with His perfect standards. Read the Old Testament to see how they fared. You'll see generation after generation circling through the same patterns: a time of following God, and then a sudden, violent tailspin into the morass of humanity. One godly king's reign of glory, followed by decades of chaos. Over and over again.

The concept was simple. Do good, get good. Do bad, get bad. And so it continued for millennia.


Until the story we all know so well: the unassuming entrance of a Savior into a world of pain. As someone just as human as the rest of us, yet paradoxically God, He lived a life that completely fulfilled every one of those commandments. On a wooden cross, He carried on His shoulders the crushing weight of the sin of every. single. person. Everyone who had ever lived, all who ever would live--their failures were heaped upon Jesus. The wrath of His Father God crashed down on Him. And He died.

The commands were fulfilled. The law satisfied. Forever.

No longer were we holding to a tenuous covenant based on our efforts and performance. Now Someone had stepped into our place, filling that old agreement to the brim, and replacing it with an unshakeable new agreement purchased with sinless blood. And this new agreement had nothing to do with us.

Don't you see? We're not in control anymore. We tried--and failed--to obtain peace with God through our own striving. When that didn't work, He forged a brand new covenant that no longer depended on us. Rather, it is between God and Jesus, on our behalf. Because Jesus' obedience was perfect, what flows toward us is never going to be curses and destruction, but blessing and peace and abundant life. Does Jesus deserve to be blessed and healthy and prosperous and full of peace? Of course, you say. Anything less would be blasphemous.

So it follows that we get to experience that in our own lives. Not through anything we did to deserve it (goodness knows how impossible that is to reach, never mind to maintain for any length of time), but because Jesus made it possible for us. He took the curse of the law upon Himself, and gave us righteousness (right standing) with God. Once and for all.

I see so many people balk at this. They protest that this kind of grace (but really, is there any other kind?) gives us permission to sin. After all, if our actions no longer matter, then we can do what we want, and we're forgiven anyway. Right?

Well, God will forgive you, but your family likely won't. Your friends and neighbors won't. The government won't. Sin still sends waves of destruction throughout our horizontal relationships, even if it can no longer touch our vertical relationship with God. There are consequences for our actions. There's no way around that. If you murder someone, you'll serve your sentence. If you cheat on your spouse, you'll have the pieces of your shattered family to pick up. If you withhold taxes, the government won't take kindly to you. The kind of misery this causes for yourself and people around you is horrible.

But think about it. Please. Even if this whole post is rubbing you entirely the wrong way and kicking at the support posts of what you've always been taught, just stop for a minute and give this consideration.

If this kind of wholly undeserved grace is yours, do you even want to do wrong? If God lavishes such extravagant love and mercy upon you, if He literally died for a chance to have you close to Him, do you really want to run away from that?

Tell me, truthfully: if I had the capability to come to you with open arms and say, "I don't care what you say or do, I love you completely and always will," if I could physically promise you unconditional love . . . would you scorn me? If you knew that you could spit in my face, curse my name, and leave my heart in a bleeding mess on the floor, but I would still love you just the same--JUST. THE. SAME.--would you have any desire to do those things? Of course, being human, you may do those things in times of weakness. But you probably wouldn't truly want to do them.

When confronted with such amazing grace, I am utterly humbled. I did nothing, absolutely nothing, to merit a drop of this. And yet my Father gives it to me. His Son sacrificed everything so that I may have life. I did not master this on my own or create it with my two hands. He bought it for me with His very blood. Jesus, on my behalf, paves the way to the Father.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV)

Is this not humbling in the best way possible?

Maybe one reason we react so strongly to this concept is that it means relinquishing control. It is so much easier to look at the problems in our life and assume that they'll go away if we just pray more, read the Bible more, serve more, love more, be better Christians. The simplest answer, and perhaps the easiest to live with, when facing unwanted circumstances, is to think we brought them upon ourselves. We're getting what our deeds deserve. Punishment or reward.

The matter is far more difficult to wrestle with when we consider that we did not bring this calamity upon ourselves--that this is not God's wrath but the results of living in a broken world.* It's harder to figure out where to lay blame. Harder to figure out what our response is supposed to be.

*I'm not touching on consequences of our own actions here. Sometimes the crap we deal with is our own fault. When I don't keep a promise to a friend, or say something unkind to a sibling, I have to work out the consequences. If I gorge on unhealthy food and never exercise, I will experience health issues, yes?

This is part of "fighting the good fight of faith." In those times of trouble, when shadows of death cross our path, we must choose to trust God's grace. We must let His truth influence our circumstances, rather than use our circumstances to try adjusting His truth to fit our experience.

We no longer do good in order to earn God's favor. We open ourselves up to the rushing tide of grace He's pouring out, and it is this grace that gives us the power to beat sin. The power to do good. Then there is such joy in it, you see!

It is a response, no longer a hoop to jump through.

It is our heartfelt answer to a Love that will take a thousand lifetimes and more to comprehend.

It's a beautiful mystery, this grace. An unending ocean. Will you dive in with me?


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Introducing "The Prophet's Quest"

Before we get into things, I wanted to take a minute to say a big thank you to all 19 wonderful people who filled out my survey! I appreciate the feedback so much. (And I recognized a number of you without having any names to go on. *wink*) Hopefully I'll be able to start incorporating some of your suggestions in the near future.

One thing that came up a couple times in the survey results was a desire to see more about my writing. Synopses, blurbs, that sort of thing. And while I've talked openly about The Brightest Thread and other smaller projects, my main love has been kept mostly under wraps. I've done a few Beautiful People posts for it, and even shared a few snippets, but that's about it. I mean, I'm still referring to the books as book one, book two, and so forth--not even their real names!

Seeing as I need some practice summing up my book(s) anyway, why not start here? (Querying will be a whole 'nuther thing, but shhh.)

Also, Daniela Ark started a linkup called A Book's Genesis that provided me with another nudge in this direction. You can use the linkup, which runs until the end of 2016, to talk about what inspired your current work-in-progress (WIP). Each month features a new slant, beginning with April's introduction to your story.

Um. Well. This feels a little awkward. You see, this series has been part of my life for eight years. It was the first time I got serious about a long project, the first thing I stuck with beyond a few chapters, and maybe also the first idea to hold any merit. Prior to this, my stories consisted mostly of girls and horses, or talking pets, or mysteries that . . . were so mysterious I can't even make sense of them. So you can see how it might be difficult to sum up something that has been such a long-time fixture in my life. It's just there. How am I supposed to explain something that feels like it's always been around? But I shall certainly make an effort to give you a window into it.

That "book 1" I'm always vaguely mentioning is titled The Prophet's Quest (or TPQ, as I tend to shorten it). It's the first in a four-book YA fantasy series. The second is The Prophet's Key, and is currently being wrangled into a brand new form, so we won't speak of that wild infant thing just now. Books three and four exist only as nebulous ideas in my head, and thus do not yet have titles. The series is called Journeys of the Chosen, though I'm not happy with that name. It's a placeholder until inspiration strikes me with a brilliant replacement.

My badly rendered picture of the Prophet. XD
The Prophet's Quest has evolved massively since I sat down as an overzealous twelve-year-old to begin penciling out a thinly-veiled hybrid of The Chronicles of Narnia and Dragons in Our Midst. In more recent years, I have grown tremendously as a writer--though I still have so very much to learn--and the book has been through fire after fire, being purged of loopholes and spineless characters and bad writing. Not that it's perfect now, but it's a whole heck of a lot closer than it used to be. And considerably more original, I hope. It also went from 68,000 words to 131,000. Not even sorry. According to my rough estimates, it will probably make a 300-400 page book.

Anyway. It's a portal fantasy/high fantasy/contemporary fantasy mash-up. Which basically means it starts on modern Earth, and then moves to another world with a medieval fantasy setting (called Alewar, for those of you who want to know--and that's pronounced Ah-luh-WARR . . . rhymes with car . . . just in case any of you are fantasy pronunciation nerds.)

I feel like I'm blandly describing a piece of real estate or something. Goodness.

Here's an actual blurb to give you a sense of the story:

When visions of suffering begin to plague Aileen and Josiah, they pursue answers, and discover they are the prophesied rescuers of Demetria, a nation in another world. On that world, war hastens. And the very evil threatening Demetria has extended a branch to Earth as well. Transformed into dragons, Aileen and Josiah are propelled into a harrowing journey. Only a mysterious orb called the Prophet guides their way as they embark on a quest to save the Demetrians . . . and their own world as well. But the malevolent dragon Criffel will stop at nothing to keep the prophecy from coming true.

So we have a prophecy, some deliciously evil bad guys of the human and beastly sorts, a transformation into dragon form, talking animals (I can't seem to get away from those), awesome Demetrian people, and a huge new world to explore. And, of course, there's the Prophet--an object of which there is more than meets the eye. There are guardians, lords, warriors, mountains, waterfalls, long flights, battles, fortresses, fire, ice, allies, enemies, betrayals, division, ALL THE EPICNESS. (That's the incoherent synopsis, methinks. The one where my writer side goes all bubbly and excited.)

That gives you a sense of the plot, but what about the characters? If you're like me, an awesome storyline is well appreciated . . . but if it's not populated by vibrant characters, my interest level severely drops.

Main Characters

Note: I'm terrible at finding accurate character pictures. The ones that follow are rough representations of how I picture these people.

Aileen McKay - Sixteen years old. Brown hair, brown eyes. Introverted, intense personality, makes thoughtful decisions. Turns into a white dragon with ice breath. Read more about her HERE.

Josiah Williams - Sixteen years old. Blond-ish hair, grey eyes. Bold, self-assured, makes snap decisions. Turns into a red dragon with fiery breath. Read more about him HERE.

The POV switches back and forth between these two. It's fun to get both of their perspectives and see the storyworld through two different lenses.

Secondary Characters

(Alas, I have next to no pictures for these guys. One of these days I might just cave and make a Pinterest account. Google images is almost useless for good character pics.)

Mr. Hawkins - Aileen and Josiah's geography teacher. Guardian of the Prophet and all-around epic person.

The Sagire - A group of Criffel's people on Earth, hunting for the Prophet and the chosen ones.

Lord Mauray and Lady Geneva - Benevolent rulers of Demetria.

Captain Dauntless - Fierce leader of the Demetrian dragons. Trains Aileen and Josiah.

Korohan - Centaur. Head of Lord Mauray's security.

This is a bit like how I imagine the lesser cousins of Criffel's species,
which appear in The Prophet's Key (book 2).
Sheena - A female leopard warrior who befriends Aileen.

Leander - A white lion with a broken past. Read more about him HERE.

Fay Blacktail - A spirited crow brimming with opinions.

Criffel - Powerful mith'vel dragon. Main antagonist. Twisted ideals and bloodthirsty methods.

Character who will not be named due to spoilers - Criffel's right hand. Mysterious magical abilities. Skilled in the art of deception.

This is a very brief look at just a few of the important characters. I fear it doesn't do them justice, but I guess you'll have to wait until the book is published to learn more! Because yes, this is the book I plan to start querying this year. (!!!)

Your turn to yammer away!

Do you like portal fantasy? Are you partial to the chosen one trope, as long as it's done in new ways? DO YOU LIKE DRAGONS? (Most important question right there.) Oh, and if you have anything to say about my synopsis--constructive criticism definitely included--please tell me. Not like it's the official synopsis, but you know. I need to make one soon, so if you feel this one was too broad or too specific or something, I want to know.

And do tell me about your work in progress! I love hearing about other people's stories--rejoicing over fabulous ideas or commiserating over stubborn plots/characters/what have you.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Giveaway Winner

The Adventure Awaits Blogoversary giveaway closed at midnight last night. Thanks again to every single one of you who participated in the party. I had lots of fun, and I hope you did too. So, same time next year? Yeah? Good. It's a deal.

One lucky person was drawn at random to receive the prize of:
  • a handmade notebook
  • 3 handmade bookmarks
  • a printout of a poem I've never posted on my blog
  • and a personalized note
And that person is . . .

Anna Catherine!

Congrats, Anna! I sent you an email asking for your mailing address so I can ship the prize to you.

To everyone else: I wish I had enough prizes to give to all of you. (If it's any consolation, this giveaway was so much fun, I know I'll host another one day.)

Happy questing!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

My Top 10 Pet Peeves as a Reader

I usually like to focus on the positive side of things. And as a bookworm who is also a writer, I try to give my fellow authors room for occasional slip-ups because I know how hard it is to produce a book. (At the same time, as a writer I also tend to hold authors to high standards. So it goes both ways.)

I guess what I'm saying is I try to be positive, but I also try to be honest, and I appreciate quality writing. There's just not enough time to waste on a bad book, am I right? I'm here today to discuss some of my personal pet peeves as a reader.

(I have discovered that Dr. Who gifs are fun, even if I've never watched that show.)

1. Dumb parents

You know those books--often children's literature, but sometimes YA too. Mom and Dad are clueless. Their kids are ten times smarter than they are. The joke's on the parents. Events conspire to highlight their deficient intelligence, and it's usually played for laughs. Where's the respect? Those impressionable children need good examples. They need somebody other than Mom and Dad to back their parents up. To show them that Mom and Dad are wise, they're doing what's best for you, and you would be well advised to listen to them and realize how much they love you.

Let's just say I didn't read many Robert Munsch books growing up.

2. He saw/heard/felt/knew

This might be the ultimate object lesson for "show, don't tell." Many authors feel the need to spell things out explicitly for the reader, and it comes off forced and lacking in emotional punch. Please don't tell me that Bob is angry--show me. Show me the reddened face or the bulging vein at his temple or the clenched fist or the slamming door. Don't tell me Sally is feeling sad. Show her fighting tears or her downturned eyes or her shoulders quaking with silent sobs.

Likewise, telling me that Bob knows something ruins the POV intimacy. There are more creative, subtle ways to convey the main character's knowledge than: "Bob knew the enemy tribe bred small, light-footed horses for crossing the plains quickly."

And while we're at it, I like immersive sensory details. None of this, "He could see the horsemen cresting the ridge," or "She heard Granny snoring in the next room." Just say, "The horsemen crested the ridge." We should know at this point whose head we're in, and if he can't see it, neither should we. If you're writing this way, there's no need for "he could see."

For the second example, just write, "Granny's snores rumbled through the thin wall," because it should already be apparent that the point-of-view character is the one hearing this.

It's a waste of words, lazy writing, and an insult to the reader's intelligence to overuse those sensory tags.*

*Now, there are exceptions to every rule (not that this is a rule, necessarily--just my preference), and so of course there will be instances when an author just has to say "he saw/heard/felt/knew," because that really is the best way to say it. Those times, however, are few.

3. The world is falling to pieces, but let's spend all day kissing instead of saving everyone.

Looking at you, Tris and Tobias.*

This is predominantly a problem in romance, whether YA or otherwise. The world is about to crash and burn, lives are at stake, a rebellion is launching, and the couple is making out. Firstly, ew, can we cut back on the details, please? And secondly, where are your priorities? Yes, I get that life-threatening circumstances can forge a deep bond, but maybe you two can work out your relationship later on. When the fight is over and people are safe. When the world isn't ending. Save your kisses for then.

*I like the Divergent books, I do. I just have a bone to pick with this particular aspect.

(Also, don't get me started on the tendency among female protagonists to have this mindset: "Ooh, there's a tall, dark, and handsome fellow with daddy issues and anger problems. I love him!" This mindset is made even worse when you throw it into the paranormal soup. "A tall, dark, and handsome fellow who probably wants to kill me or suck my blood--I love him!")

4. Lack of emotional connection

Sometimes tied to #2. It's just . . . I find it hard to enjoy a book where I can't establish an emotional connection with the main character. Or with any character. I want the author to slip me inside that MC's skin. I want to be in their head and feel what's on their heart. I want them to react to things. Even if the character is a relatively unemotional person, I still want to make a connection of some sort. When I can't, the entire book falls flat.

5. Instantaneous transformation

You may remember my vehement thoughts on Shadowmancer back in January. In that book, Demurral (the villain) looks out over the land and is instantly overcome by greed and blackness and hunger for power. Just like that. No real motivation at all. Bleck.

This goes for all characters, by the way, whether they align themselves with the good guys or the bad guys. I love transformation, redemptive character arcs, downward spirals, etc. But not instantaneous ones. Internal change takes time. It takes strong emotion and logical motivation.

Please don't make a normal guy turn bad on a dime. Please take longer than a few paragraphs to redeem a villain. Don't chuck your soon-to-be hero headlong into his journey without setting up something to motivate that quest. And pretty please, stay away from instantaneous or miraculous conversions to Christianity. Not even we Christians like that.

6. Agendas

While we're on the topic of conversions . . . *cough* I have a problem with writers approaching their books with an agenda. Even if I agree with that agenda, I don't read to get a sermon, okay? Of course I adore strong themes, but these should arise naturally from the story instead of being shoehorned in there like propaganda.

I picked up your book because I wanted the story, not because I wanted to hear your thoughts on climate change (pfft) or homosexuality (Above, you were a waste of time) or politics or diversity or any of that. Not to say those topics can't be skillfully incorporated into a book--they certainly can--but when the story is a thinly veiled sermon on said topic, I'm very much turned off.

7. Bad grammar

There have been books that have made my fingers twitch for a red pen. This is bad. No book is perfect. No editor is perfect. But argh, it drives me up the wall to see typo after typo, or consistently bad grammar! It makes me think somebody accidentally published the wrong draft, or that the editor took a vacation. And sometimes, when it's really bad, I wonder how this person is even an author. I thought acceptable grammar was kind of in the job description?

Speaking of grammar, I'm a strong believer in the Oxford comma. I can forgive those that don't use it, but its absence always snags my attention.

8. Sluggish pacing (because we readers are desperate to spend another fifty pages watching your characters do nothing)

One word: ERAGON. I don't believe I've talked much about these books here before. Let me start out by saying that I know people who love the Inheritance Cycle hugely, and I say good for them. But I am sadly not one of them. I've read the first two books, and I plan to read the last two at some point. I have a few things to rant about, but the biggest is probably the pacing. Or lack thereof. Have you seen those books? They are massive. Again, nothing against big books, but please--if you're going to write something long, make sure that every single one of those gazillion pages does something important for the story!

As a young adult, I have less reading time than I used to. (This is a great tragedy of adulthood, one which I hope to redeem somehow. Magic would be helpful.) So when I do read, I want to be sucked in right away. I want the story to keep moving forward. Lollygagging about watching the characters accomplish very little or waiting around while the plot camps out in the same spot for a dozen chapters is . . . well, it's a little boring.

Just to clarify, not every book needs to be a thriller, either. I don't need (or want) a breakneck speed every time. I just want something to be happening.

9. Mr. Evil-to-the-bone & Mistress Strangle-you-in-your-sleep

This particular pet peeve totally depends on the context. It's when a villain comes onto the scene for the first time, and the other characters don't know who he or she is--but it is immediately obvious to the reader because of the villain's name. It's hard and guttural, or slimy, or slick and smooth in a vile way. The name might include something to do with black, night, chills, shadows, or the like. I don't mind blatantly obvious villain names (besides, Saruman sounds way more menacing than, say, Kyle). But if we're not supposed to know right away that this character is bad, then, um . . . you should've picked a less obvious name.

If, however, the story is self-aware and a little tongue-in-cheek, then I can smirk at the hero's ignorance when Sir Blackheart oh-so-innocently enters the scene, and read on.

10. Floating POV

This is when there is practically no established POV whatsoever. I can't tell if it's limited or omniscient or something else, because it waffles between them all. Whose head am I even in? Are you going for an omniscient feel, Mr. Author? Because right now it just feels like head hopping, and sporadic head hopping at that. It's so muddled up, I can't even tell which rules you're breaking. (I think maybe all of them . . . ?)

What are your pet peeves?

Do we share any? Do you disagree with any of mine? These are all preferences, so maybe what bugs me makes you the happiest bookworm to ever devour a book. Let's discuss things!

P.S. The blogoversary giveaway is still open until midnight on Sunday the 10th, so hurry and enter! The survey doesn't have a closing date, so you still have plenty of time to participate in that if you so wish.

Monday, April 4, 2016

One Year Blogoversary + Survey + GIVEAWAY

Hey all! I'm four days late to my own blog's birthday party. Woops. Life got in the way, so instead of stressing over a self-imposed deadline to get this post put together, I postponed it till yesterday. Which . . . obviously didn't work out either, but I'm here today, right? Onwards!


One year ago, I set forth on a digital adventure. Long had I roamed the Kingdom of Blogosphere, but never had I staked a claim on my own corner of the land. So it was on March 31st, 2015 that Adventure Awaits was born.

It's hard to believe a whole year has gone by since then! In some ways I feel like I've been blogging for ages, and in other ways I feel like a baby blogger, still wet around the ears and mostly clueless. It's been a super fun start to a wonderful adventure, though! I've met many fellow voyagers, crossed paths with many dear souls forging their way through this quest of life. Without all you who follow and read and comment, there'd be little reason for Adventure Awaits to exist--so THANK YOU.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for following. Thank you for taking a moment to tell me what you think, to discuss books or talk writing or delve into the delightful complexities of life. You guys make this incredibly fun.

Since this little place is now one year old, I've decided to throw a celebration! Just like mothers measure their children against the wall and pencil in their growing heights, I enjoy watching my blog's stats, so I'll share a few of those with you. After that, there's a fun little survey, and then a fun little giveaway to wrap things up. Because what's a birthday party without presents, I ask you?

Stats and Fun Facts

A few bits of trivia:
  • Though I'd played around with Blogger casually for months, the thing that pushed me over the edge and forced me to actually make something of it was my first ever guest post going up on Bryan Davis's blog: Courage to save the Mockingbirds.
  • I initially didn't have a specific name for the blog, but someone saw the tagline in the header and referred to the blog by that name, and so I ran with it. (I think it was you, Tori. ^_^)
  • I've had two guest posts here so far: the first with my friend and artist, Kianna G., and the second with my brother Josiah.
And now for some stats. I currently have . . .
  • 38 freakishly awesome followers across Google Friend Connect and Bloglovin'. (Unless some of you follow on both, in which case I have less. BUT there are always people that bookmark blogs and follow unofficially, so I figure it balances out.)
  • 73 posts
  • 12,190 pageviews
The top ten countries from which my views come are:
  1. United States
  2. Canada
  3. Russia
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Ukraine
  6. Israel
  7. Germany
  8. France
  9. Mexico
  10. Australia
Some interesting (and some odd) search results that people have used to get to my blog:
  • ted dekker (I do talk about his books a fair bit.)
  • tracy dyck (Ah, you're so close . . . Just add an E!)
  • once upon a time main cast (Yes, I suppose I do mention OUaT in most of my Subplots and Storylines posts, seeing as I'm going through all the seasons.)
  • tracy dyck edmonton (I don't . . . live there. But okay.)
  • adventure awaits (Bravo!)
  • bryan davis dragons in our midst (Another author/series I can't stop talking about.)
  • house frank peretti and ted dekker i . . . (Unfortunately, Blogger won't let me see the rest of this line. It just stops partway through a word.)
  • ooh ahh winnie the pooh wallpaper (WHAT EVEN DO YOU MEAN?!)
My ten most popular posts, in order from most views to least:
  1. Welcome! (also has the highest number of comments)
  2. Lovely Books // covers & titles
  3. Beautiful People - 2016 Plans
  4. Lovely Books // couples
  5. Four Elements of a Successful Villain - guest post by Josiah Dyck
  6. Lovely Books // villains (I'm sensing a pattern here . . .)
  7. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - a Christmasy tag
  8. Subplots and Storylines - February
  9. Books of 2015
  10. Philosophical Ramblings on the Subject of Time Travel
I wish Blogger did a cool stats report like Wordpress supposedly does, but alas and alack, it does not. Otherwise it'd be fun to mention top commenters and whatnot, but there's no way I have time to go through every post and manually tally everyone's comments! Just know that I appreciate EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, AND EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU.


So much of blogging is guesswork, people! And some things I write about take off, and others may fall flat, and basically--confession time here--I can't read minds. So I would adore you forever if you would take a minute and answer some questions. I want to know what you think! And please be 100% honest, even if that means answering negatively. You'll help me grow and be a better blogger.

Online survey powered by Typeform

Thanks again, my friends!


Since this is my blog's first birthday, and since birthdays mean parties, and parties mean presents, tada! I'm hosting a giveaway! I'm being a generous dragon today by shelling out a few coins from my pile of gold in order to make this giveaway open to residents of Canada AND the United States. Aren't you thrilled?

Feast your eyes on the lovely little prize I put together.

a handmade notebook

3 handmade bookmarks
Not only will one lucky follower win the notebook and bookmarks, they'll also receive a printout of one of my poems (never posted on the blog before), and a personalized note from me. Just because I love you guys.

What are you waiting for?

a Rafflecopter giveaway
(I tried embedding the giveaway into this post, and all I got was a boring-looking link. Sorry 'bout that. Please click the link to enter.)

(Oh, and it runs until midnight on April 10, 2016, Central Time. Just FYI.)

That's it, that's all, folks.

Once again, I have to say a ginormous thank you! This first year of blogging has been a blast, and I'm looking forward to another year that's even better than the first.