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Gifts for Writers 2014

Welcome to my big list of Gifts for Writers, 2014 edition!

For the past couple of years I like to put together a list of gifts writers in particular might appreciate. Something to send your families to get them to stay away from the staples of ‘a nice pen and a notebook.’

Without further ado, here it is!

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Holiday Gifts for Writers!

There’s such a dearth of good writer gifts, isn’t there? Your family members look at each other with helpless shrugs and finally settle on yet another fancy notebook, or gift card to Barnes & Noble.

BUT NOT THIS YEAR.

Here’s a list of fun and affordable gifts to add to your wish-list and put your family members out of their gift-buying misery. Each item was hand-selected by me for awesomeness.

 

1. Ampersand Bottle Opener – $10.00

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Books, Paintings, Horses, and Dogs – An update about my life right now

Horses

Both of my sisters competitively ride horses. One of them is competing in a national competition in NY this week, which my parents are attending. That leaves me with the duty of babysitting my youngest sister, the three family dogs, additional cat, and one cockatiel, all at my house and mixing with my own dog and cat.

My youngest sister is homeschooled after a bad experience with the county schools (yay rural Alabama), so she’ll be at my house all day, and I took off work so we can do fun sister-things when her homework’s done. Our plans include pedicures, scary movies, walks at the dog park, and abstract painting.

Painting

On that note, I’m excited to show off a painting I finally finished, that was started two years ago as a replica of these beautiful fake covers:

Mathilda’s watercolor is infinitely more beautiful than my acrylic copy, but this one is big enough to hang in my office, and gives me a happy glow every time I look at it. Thank you again, Mathilda, for the compliment of choosing my story for your school project <3

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So Proud and Excited – The Release of What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Today is a very special day.

On March 21st, 2010, Let The Words Flow received an application from a girl named Kat Zhang. It was pretty clear from the beginning that she was ‘one of us’, and she joined the group not long after.

I first read her novel, at the time titled HYBRID, on April 25th, 2010. As I was reading the very first finished draft, I knew the manuscript was something special. Kat was something special. It was no surprise when Kat received offers from multiple agents, or when she sold her book to HarperCollins.

Now, just two and a half short years later, Kat’s novel WHAT’S LEFT OF ME is debuting into the world :-)

You’ve got to watch her book trailer; it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen.

And are you SEEING this book cover? I was in the car with Kat on a roadtrip when she was emailed the first draft of the book cover. After having read multiple versions of her story it was… breathtaking to see her receive such a beautiful and unique cover. It demonstrates her book’s concept perfectly; two girls, two souls, living in one body.

If you haven’t heard, that’s the concept for this fast-paced alternate-universe fantasy. From Goodreads:

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

You guys, like I said above, I’ve read multiple versions of this story. I’m honored that Kat used me as a CP during her editing process, and each time I read the manuscript it gave me goosebumps multiple times throughout. Kat’s writing is minimalist but so powerful. Eva is a prisoner inside her own body. The glory of being able to break from that prison, the horror of having her self stripped away, and the warm chords of friendship throughout this story are masterfully represented.

I’m very lucky that Kat lives only 2 hours away from me during the school year. I’m a total wimp about driving long distances though, so I only go see her a few times a year, but I’ll be in Nashville this Saturday at her first book signing!

If you’re looking for something a little dystopian, a little horror-y, with a lot of tension and a very unique concept, I guarantee you’ll like WHAT’S LEFT OF ME. Especially if you like institution stories! It’s been compared to The Uglies and The Golden Compass, but I’d like to add Girl, Interrupted, and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Next.

Congratulations, Kat! Always knew you could do it <3

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Things I’m Up To and Into

First, I want you to know I’m working on subsequent articles about social issues related to beauty, makeup, weight, etc., but I’m trying to move slow with them so I’m certain of my position and how I want to talk about this stuff. Glad to know you guys are as interested in it as I am :-)

Here are some things I’m doing now:

Writing. It’s been a bad few weeks, writing-wise. I’ve been stuck and unsatisfied, but it worked out, like it always does. I took a few steps back and just let my characters play around, and broke through my obstacles. Just asking myself, ‘how are they feeling in this scene? What do they want right now?’ really, really helps. I’m considering making posters of writer’s-block-breaking questions like this.

So ACORAS is moving forward, and I’m tinkering in my mind with a few side projects.

Running. Chris and I ran THREE MILES on Saturday! Whaaaat! Full disclosure: I only made it 2.25 before I had to stop and walk, but I finished strong!

Planning for Halloween. I’m attending a conference in early October in Atlanta, GA, and there’s going to be a costume ball! This year I’m going as Persephone when she’s Queen of the Underworld. My vision was big, black, and gauzy. Here are some of the inspiration photos:

   

I’ve also ordered a black wedding veil, and my sewing-talented mother is getting involved, so I can’t wait to show you all the final product. What are you going as for Halloween?

Last year I felt pretty lackluster about Halloween and autumn in general, so this year I avoided thinking about it so I’d feel ready to do it big!

I’m really loving this Martha Stewart Halloween Handbook. Picked it up at the magazine rack at the grocery store.

You can see my other Halloween plans here on my Pinterest board.

Preparing for Christmas. Every year Chris and I throw a party at our house for our two families. This year we went with a Godfather theme. Here’s the party invitation:

The menu includes  Chris’s Nana’s meatball recipe, home-made baguettes for custom crustinis, and home-made cannolis. Chris tested out the cannoli recipe at my parent’s house this weekend and they were so good. We made them with Kahlua filling ;-)

My color theme for Christmas this year is light green and silver. You can see my decorating ideas here on my Pinterest Christmas board.

…Have I mentioned that I love holidays?

Take special note of this pin. I’m currently making it in white and green.

DIY. Speaking of Pinterest, it led me to discover tons of DIY projects that rip off Anthropologie decorations. If you’re like me, you love Anthro but don’t want to pay the high price. Now you don’t have to. Special thanks to this blog, my new favorite.

Music. I’m adding music all the time to the ACORAS playlist, if you were interested. The latest piece is this absolutely beautiful instrumental piece from one of my favorite calming music artists, Liquid Mind. It literally made me cry. Do you know how rare that is?

I’m also loving Little Talks from Of Monsters and Men. I designed an animated music video for it in my head that is about ACORAS. What? You do it, too.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Chris and my dog Bella wrestling on the floor:

What are you doing for Halloween? What are you into lately? Got any Christmas plans yet?

<3, Savannah

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A Fluffdate: Playlists, Incest, and Help Me Remember a Fairytale?

What is a fluffdate, you ask? It’s an update with fluff in it. A fluffy update. A fluffdate. You’re smart; you get it.

Playlists

I’ve been steadily adding songs to the ACORAS playlist, which you can find on the ACORAS page. I’ve bolded ones that were major influences to the story, but the rest are pretty good, too, I guess. If you like awesome.

(The first part of The Funeral is my dream track for the ACORAS movie/book trailer.)

In particular, the lyrics of Little Talks had me nearly in tears yesterday. Nearly. Which is sobbing for normal people.

Incest

I talked about this a little on Twitter recently. Basically I realized that in two books I have strange, pseudo-incest romances. I’m pretty sure this has to do with my ideas about family, love, blood, water, etc., but let’s dissect it for fun:

In ACORAS, for Rose there’s the opportunity for romance with one of the descendants of her brother. He’s technically her grand-nephew. Sounds totally incesty, but does it make it better that Rose and her brother weren’t blood relatives? One of them was adopted, so she has no blood relation to this grand-nephew. Their ages are very close, and they never knew each other until Rose woke up, so it’s not like they grew up together.

Is that incest?

Second scenario: In a new book I’m fleshing out, the MC and her love interest are second-half cousins. They have the same great-grandfather, but their grandfathers were born to different women, so they were half-brothers. Legally you can marry your second-cousin but personally I still find that a bit weird. So I made them half-second-cousins.

So is it incest?

Look, I’m not a huge incest advocate over here. I am troubled that readers might find these relationships disturbing. I feel somewhat squicky about it myself. But here’s my feeling on why I think this stuff keeps cropping up:

I like family drama. When you are blood related there’s a strange biological compulsion there to help each other out. Yet at the same time, family is permanent; you can’t divorce or break up with family. Even if you hate each other you’re still part of the same blood. For these reasons I think a lot of people take their family relationships for granted, because no matter how thoughtless or careless or mean you are, you can never lose them. This causes people to be less kind than they could be.

And it also results in great drama sometimes: doing what you feel is best for someone even when they disagree, the obligation to care for and protect them, the dedication to face hell for them, the loyalty to choose them over everyone else. There’s so much potential for awesome moments and choices and conflicts.

But I also really love exploring relationships where deep love turns someone into your family even though there’s no blood relation. When you fall in love and marry someone you become family. But we don’t consider those relationships incesty. Family doesn’t automatically equal incest; blood does.

And I do truly believe that family is made of more than blood. Sometimes your blood turns on you. Sometimes your blood is really shitty. There are people out there disowning and being disowned, and deciding never to speak to their blood relatives again. Loyalty and dedication can be just as powerful when you are related by love and not blood.

There’s a country song that goes “Blood is thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood.” And I guess I believe that.

So going back to Rose – we have these two characters who are family, by love if not by blood. They are friends, and they are close, and they work together. If something sparks from that is it okay?

I think so.

And as for my half-second-cousin scenario… A huge part of the plot has to do with lines of succession. I needed the MCs to be of the same social standing, good friends as children, and for one’s disappearance/appearance to affect the succession of the other. Therefore they had to be somewhat related. Yet I’m feeling this thing between them that is stronger than blood. One sacrifices a heck of a lot to save the other, and I feel like there should be this deep, abiding love there. Love deeper than platonicness would allow. Hence, second-half-cousins.

What do you think? Would you be squicked out by this relationship? What about relationships that might be incesty except adoption takes away the blood relation?

Can you remember this fairytale?

I’m looking for fairytales or stories where someone is pulled into another world/underworld/shadow land, etc., and the other person has to go and save them, perhaps having to pass tests or sacrifice in order to get them back.

I feel as if there are some great stories like this out there, but I can’t remember them and I’ve misplaced my big book of fairytales. All suggestions are welcome, but here’s what I have so far:

  • A Troll in Central Park
  • The 7 Tasks of Hercules
  • Spirited Away
  • East of the Sun, West of the Moon
  • Hercules the movie

Can you come up with anything else? I feel like I’m missing something big here, and I cannot place it.

Personal News

I have always wanted to be a runner. For years I believed I just didn’t have a body that could take it. Whenever we ran in gym class I felt like my lungs couldn’t keep up with my body’s demand for oxygen. I have a big body, and I figured when you got to a certain point the proportions are all wrong and I just wouldn’t be able to keep up.

*cough* I was wrong. And now Chris and I are running! On Saturday I did a 2 mile run, 1.5 of it without stopping, which is a personal lifetime best. We’re about to do another 2 mile run tonight. What changed for me? I have no idea. Sorry. Somehow now I’m able to a) not get bored, and b) go for long periods of time without my lungs feeling overwhelmed. Yeah, I dunno either. I’m like 30 pounds overweight so this shouldn’t be possible.

The ACORAS rewrite continues to go well, and as you might have gathered, I also have a shiny new idea I’m working on. Hopefully I’ll get to tell you a little more about that later, but for now I’m trying to keep it on the back-burner while I finish ACORAS. Then we’ll talk.

<3, Savannah

 

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Naming Things – Characters, Places, Gods, and Stories

One of the best things about writing the stories you want to read is that you get full control over all the little things that would bug you if they weren’t done right. And one of these things is naming stuff. Here’s how I do it:

My Philosophy on Names

I do believe that the name is usually indicative of the person. There are exceptions, naturally. But typically I view names as really fitting the people who have them. Therefore naming stuff is incredibly important to me. Meaning, origin, and connotation have to be thoroughly examined before I settle on a name. It has to ‘stand out’ to me as The One. It has to be the sound I go to when I want to feel that person.

I’m nuts, I know.

It’s very difficult for me to make up names, and if I have to I’ll usually try to derive from an existing name. I tend to gravitate towards the more flowy, stereotypical Fantasy names, so I am very strict with myself on what is not acceptable.

For example, I will never include apostrophes in my names. Never. I’ve seen them ridiculed too many times. If you have an apostrophe name you can pull off, then more power to you, but I just can’t seem to. No Fa’anaan or Shira’fa’na for me.

I also want things to be easily pronounceable. Because of all the Spanish classes I took, my made-up names are usually phonetic, instead of expecting my readers to pull those fancy pronunciation tricks English uses. I get irritated in books if I can’t figure out how to pronounce something, because inevitably I’ll decide on the wrong way, and when learning the right one am very resistant to change.

For example, I read Seamus as see-muss. Siobhan as see-oh-bun (still not sure the correct pronunciation of that). In reflection, maybe it’s just Irish names… Which leads me to another point. In the sleeping beauty retelling I tried to include a few Gaelic names as an homage to fairy legends, but after belatedly realizing the English spelling pretty much has nothing to do with English pronunciation, I gave up and just started changing the spelling of stuff to how I thought those Gaelic words should be pronounced.

So as well as being nuts, I’m also insensitive and disrespectful. Joy.

A word I use frequently in the sleeping beauty story is damhsóir, which means dancer. In Gaelic apparently this is pronounced DOW-sor. I pronounce it damh-so-ear. You know. Like it’s spelled.

I like saying it this way because it evokes ‘damned’, and the damhsóir are cursed soul-slaves of the Fae. Those familiar with how fairies often ensnare victims by playing magically-compelling music will understand why I chose that word :)

Characters

Names are so tied up with personalities for me that when I envision a new character I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want their name to sound like or evoke, usually even options for a first letter. Then it’s off to the baby name websites. I’ll surf around in letters I think the name should start with until something sticks. Alternately, I search for names that describe an aspect of the character’s personality.

If I’m doing a particular genre I’ll look for those names specifically. For the sleeping beauty story I pulled a lot of names from Old English. For my sirens story it was Greek. For Nameless I wanted to have a Hispanic influence.

Recently I was trying to name a new character and I really wanted a v in her name. V’s are severe (ha, look, another v word), but I think they can also be feminine in a dangerous sort of way. That was the personality for this character, so I sought out names with v’s, but eventually had to create my own (Shava).

I collect potential names in my character document and play around with them in the fake queries and summaries I write to see what sticks. Usually by the time I’m really writing the story the names are solid.

Then all I have to worry about is repetition. I’m drawn to certain sounds. That’s how I ended up with Rowan, Halen, and Soren all in one story. Two syllables, all ending in an ‘un’ sound. I’m trying, you guys. I’m really trying.

In other notes, there are some authors whose names I just don’t get. Let’s go with the obvious: Peeta and Gale. Need I say more?

Places

I like my places to be derivative of real places, or to describe physical features in their native tongue. For example, in the sleeping beauty story I asked Twitter for German-inspired names, and ended up with Adalwin. I forget why now, but it had something to do with the region.

For inspiration, I turn to parts of the world that evoke the fantasy world I’m working with. Google maps is awesome. Even just country maps are amazing. There are so many beautiful country names, like Mauritania, Syria, Croatia, Lithuania, etc. Changing out come letters can give you a familiar-sounding country that still works for a fantasy setting.

And then sometimes you just have to make stuff up. My main country in the sleeping beauty story is Becharon. And yes, I violate my own rules by making it tricky to pronounce. This article is not about pointing out my hypocrisy, readers! Remember that. Anyway, Becharon is pronounced beh-care-un, but you can call it beh-share-un if you like. That’s pretty, too. It came to me while I was driving. Other names that ‘just came’ to me are Shalimar, Kasabrian, and Nicobar.

Gods

This is a fun one. I feel like there’s more leeway with god names because they’re supposed to be mystical. God names for me have to evoke that god’s function. I recently created a god for a new story, the god of the Truly Wicked. This god uses wicked people to bring about positive change in the world. I felt like there was already a word for using bad to bring about good, but couldn’t find it by googling. So I started looking around for different articles on ‘the ends justify the means’ and stuff like that, and ended up with Mohist Consequentialism. The god’s name became Mohiste.

Titles

Every writer’s passion and nightmare. There are horror stories of having to change titles and getting stuck with one you  hate. Or one the marketing team loves, but then the readers all get the wrong impression because readers think differently than marketers. Titles are HARD. They have to describe your story and be ‘marketable’, and get changed so often that some writers don’t even name their books. They call it MagicStory or The Story About Bears, and only when the publisher assigns a title do they consider it to have one.

Having assisted with several title brainstorms, including my own, I can tell you that titles can be fun or taxing. Some stories naturally lend themselves to lots of story ideas. Others, not so much.

For example, NAMELESS was originally called WOMAN’S WORLD. I know. But that was my shorthand for the story that was about a world of women rulers. And really, what were my options? GYNARCHE? Something to do with slaves that would make everyone think it was about BDSM? It became ANTEBELLUM, which literally means ‘before the war’, which applied, but is also a historical term for the years before the United States’ Civil War, and so that too was out. So it took like 6 years to arrive at NAMELESS, and I don’t think anyone blames me for that.

The sleeping beauty story was originally called ROSES OF ASH. I love this title, and still think it’s awesome, but my agent didn’t, and so we changed it to the more marketable A CURSE OF ROSE AND SNOW. I decided not to get too attached to anything in lieu of being assigned a title, so I just call it the sleeping beauty story, and you guys know what I’m talking about.

I did name the second book, though. It’s A GARDEN OF HEARTS AND DARKNESS. Which I fully expect will change, and I only really named so I would stop getting confused between ACORAS 2 and ACORAS version 2 in my google docs.

So now that you’ve been privy to my rules and neuroses about names, tell me yours: Do you have a naming philosophy, what are the favorite names you’ve invented, and how do you usually go about naming your characters?

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Weird Tenses: Writing in First AND Third person at the same time

First: The outpouring of support and love over my last day at Pub Crawl has been heart-touching. None of you owed me anything, and the fact that so many of you went out of your way to say kind words and let me know that I’ve affected your lives was incredible, humbling, cathartic, and encouraging. I didn’t fully tear up, but it was close ;-)

Now here’s a thought from my ACORAS revision:

Recently in my revisions on the sleeping beauty story I’ve run across an interesting situation I haven’t heard of anywhere else. That’s not to say that I’m the only one, but I’m pretty sure this type of scene is rare:

I  have somehow managed to create a scene that is written in both first AND third person.

Let me explain: This is a flashback scene, aided by magic so that the MC is viewing the past through the experience of another character’s body. Therefore, she is describing what is happening in the body as ‘he’ (third person), but also viewing her past self, which she refers to as ‘I’ (first person). For example:

[Character]’s blood chilled, and my hand squeezed his tight. The golden glow surrounded me in the image, and a silver circlet appeared on my forehead.

So you see, she can sense what’s happening in his body like an omniscient narrator, but also describes her reactions as she sees them through his eyes.

I love first person because it’s so much easier to describe how someone feels, and give that emotion to the readers. I’m not the greatest at third person, and having to sprinkle the third person’s emotions with the first person’s actions only is throwing me quite a curve ball.

It may not be the first time this has ever happened, but it’s definitely new to me. Have any of you read about a situation like this in other books? I’d love to see how other writers handled it.

<3,

Savannah

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Worst Literary Pickup Lines

In honor of VD, which is mostly received with lots of griping and moaning, here’s a list of the worst literary pickup lines I could think of. That’s right, they’re created by yours truly ;-) So if you feel the need to mock a holiday dedicated towards commercializing love, yet want to stay within a literary theme, go ahead and give these a peruse.

  • Baby I’ll put a crease in your spine!
  • You can dog-ear my pages anytime!
  • Goodreads? How about fantastic-in-bed-reads?
  • You’re so fine I’m gonna Barnes & Ogle you.
  • Borders went bankrupt, but your borders are rich ;-)
  • Books-A-Million’s got nothing on your Looks-A-Million!
  • Feel free to bookmark my page in your address book.
  • Kirkus Review gave me 5 stars, if you know what I mean ;-)
  • Can I query your heart?
  • I’d wait on subs forever for you.
  • You’re a Fantasy walking, is it any Mystery I’d want to make a Romance with you? Let’s take Action and fall in a Literary kind of love, YA?
  • You’re as pretty as a new ARC.
  • My agent’s taking calls if you want to sign me on ;-)
  • I bet all the critics adore you.
  • You’re as stiff as a hardcover, let me rub your paperback.

Any others you can think of? Feel free to woo me below :-)

Also check out this XKCD comic, which basically describes how Chris and I handled Valentine’s this year. We also put up some fun, legitimate literary Valentine’s over at Pub Crawl, assembled again by yours truly, my favorite of which is J. K. Rowling’s “Let’s cuddle, my muggle.”

<3, Savannah

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Blogging: An Existential Crisis

Do you blog? Do you dare to blog?

Some people agonize over if they should blog or not. For me, the question isn’t To Blog or Not to Blog? but What Should I Blog?

It’s more complicated than it sounds.

Social media is changing. Blogging used to be The Thing, but now that everyone does it the value has decreased (Read this for even more evidence that blogging just isn’t as effective anymore). You no longer need to write lengthy posts to have a conversation with your readers; you can chat with them on Facebook or Twitter, exchanging short snippets about minutiae and brief emotions.

For example, ‘I love cookies!’ will never qualify as a quality blog post, but put that on Twitter and you could get dozens of retweets and even new followers.

I’ve noticed bloggers around me grow into niches. Writers maintain personal blogs, separate industry blogs, and then separate hobby blogs. Cultures have grown up around different blogs, and writers have to define their platform if they hope to gain a dedicated readership. Your blog now defines the message you send to the world.

And I had a really hard time selecting a message.

With all these new ways to access and distribute information, its value is changing. I read a post by a social media guru saying that you have ‘currency’ with your readers, and if you post too often, or post things they aren’t interested in, your currency with your readers goes down, and they will begin to ignore you.

That is so true. I barely keep up with any blogs because I’m just not interested. My attention span is so short that if I’m not entertained immediately, I stop reading.

How then do I dare to run my own blog?

Should I post instructional articles about writing, like so many of my friends? But I have Pub Crawl for that. And why should I offer you my instructions when people far more qualified than me are out there giving advice?

Should I post about my life and my personal updates? Why should you care? How could I grow a following that isn’t just a group of my already-existing friends if I talk about things only I find interesting (ie my life)?

All of these issues and fears have been tumbling around in my head the past year. I go through blogging spurts. I update and share snippets about my stories hoping to hold your interest. I confess and share personal stories in the hope of being relevant. But on the whole I’m not sure that I’m accomplishing anything.

Then I came out of a big slump and realized: I am always drawn to those who talk about what interests me. And my biggest interest is writing. But not just writing – that magical, spiritual connection we have with our writing. That soul call from the universe that says THIS IS YOUR PURPOSE.

Lots of people in the industry insist that writing is a job, and while you may love it, you must treat it as a career. Sometimes they make it sound so passionless, as if for them writing is just another 9-5. While I do hope to one day make it my 9-5, it is my dearest wish to never, EVER lose that internal, magical whisper, no matter how burnt out I get, or how frustrated with my deadlines or own lack of inspiration.

Recently someone read my Nameless sample chapter and emailed me to say hi. We began discussing writing and inspiration, and it turns out he knew about the duende, a Spanish concept I bastardized for my own uses at the age of 16.

You know those people who talk about their muse, and give her some silly girly name and call her a fickle bitch? I’ve never understood disparaging your creative self like that, and at the same time it made me reluctant to talk about the personification of my own muse. But if asked, I have one, and it’s the duende. Something wild and unknowable, an ambivalent god, the tiny darkness waiting in the corner.

And that’s what I want to give to you. Documentation of a writer’s life in partnership with writing.

So. That’s what I dare to blog about, and I’ll do my best not to feel goofy about it anymore (and book reviews. And important announcement. And of course updates about my projects and sample chapters). If you’re interested, by all means stick around. If not, I understand. :)

Regardless, thank you to everyone who’s come with me this far, and read my work, and commented on my posts, and listened to my recommendations, and created me fan art. And especially thanks to those of you who email out of the blue. You always remind me of why I’m here.

<3, Savannah