So, I’m trying a new blog post idea in addition to my author interviews and book reviews - if this gets good feedback, I’ll keep doing it.
For my advanced fiction writing course this fall, my professor will give me different prompts, and I have to spend 15-30 minutes writing a very short story featuring the prompt. My lovely followers on Twitter voted for the “realistic mean girl” story, so I hope you enjoy this one! Please give me your feedback on my Twitter post so I can decide if I’ll keep posting my short stories. I included the prompt below so you could see what I had to write about.
Choose a dramatic scene that might happen to a family or a close-knit group of friends (4 or 5 people). It could be happy (like a wedding) or tragic (like a car crash). Narrate the scene using third person omniscient point of view, in which we see through the eyes of each character at least once.
[Adapted from 3 a.m. Epiphany.]
What a Beautiful Wedding
(Inspired by the Panic! At the Disco song I Write Sins, Not Tragedies)
On a bleak Saturday morning in October, whispers raced through the wedding party like wildfire, each murmur igniting a spark that fueled the gossip of the day.
“Haven’t you heard?”
“It’s about Kris, isn’t it?”
“It’s always about Kris.”
“Well, what is it now?”
“I heard that…”
“...no, she wouldn’t!”
“It is her wedding, after all...no one in their right mind…”
“She’s never been in her right mind, now, has she?”
“Ladies, ladies, please,”
Anne said sharply, waving her hand at the group of whispering bridesmaids. She was desperate to get them to stop speaking of Kris in that way. After all, a bride’s wedding day was supposed to be a happy one. And if it wasn’t happy, then Anne wouldn’t get paid. Sometimes being a wedding planner meant that you did everything in your power to keep the bride in a good mood, and Anne was hell-bent on making sure that this particularly juicy piece of gossip didn’t get back to Kris.
Anne’s paycheck depended on it.
One of the girls looked up from their little circle and gave Anne a go-to-hell look, and promptly resumed gabbing.
Anne rolled her eyes. Since when did young adults get to be so...so...annoying?
“Ian!” One of the girls squealed delightedly as a lanky bartender plopped down in one of the empty chairs nearest them. The squealing girl draped her arm over the bartender’s shoulder and nuzzled up to him.
How obvious. And sickening, thought Anne.
“How’re my favorite girls on this ‘ere right special occasion?” Ian said, his Cockey accent making him irresistible to the already-besotted young bridesmaids. And he knew it. He smiled to himself. He quite loved his job.
“Better, now that we’ve got a bit of leverage over Kris. Hopefully once she knows that we know, then she can pay for our dresses like we’ve been asking,” a frizzy blonde slurred.
Ah. Ian had forgotten that the drinks he had mixed for their wild bachelorette party the previous night were a little on the stronger side.
“Ooh, do tell,” he purred, nudging the hungover girl off him and leaning forward in his chair, ready to hear more Kris stories. He had already heard his fill last night, but he found them rather entertaining. That, and it was a bartender’s duty to know the dirt on everyone - especially if it involved him.
“Well, I heard from Callie that Kris slept with someone last night, but I don’t know who,” a brunette grinned, clearly enjoying herself.
“Mmm,” Ian mused. “Interesting.”
One of the more hungover girls propped herself up on her elbows and stared at Ian.
“Why is it interesting?” She asked loudly.
Ian grinned. “Well, because, love, you’d think that the bride wouldn’t want to get caught the night before ‘er wedding, so she’d be a bit more careful, wouldn’t she?”
“One would think,” said a gruff voice.
“Haven’t you people ever heard of closing a damn door?” Marc grunted, slamming the conference room’s double doors for added effect. He looked over in the corner and saw a haggard woman with dark bags under her eyes. She kind of glanced up at him when he walked in the room, but focused her attention back on the phone in her hand. She seemed to be furiously typing a message.
“What’s the matter, mate?” Some idiot with black eyeliner said from among a group of girls.
“The matter is that you’re being very loud, and that’s the bride you’re talking about,” Marc responded. “Show some respect.”
The man stood up and stepped out of the circle of girls. He wore a stupid grin on his face and looked quite proud of himself.
“I only show respect to people who deserve it, then.”
Marc was stunned. He wasn’t sure how to respond to that. No one had ever talked back to him like that before, probably because they were scared he’d bodyslam them if they did. Being a hardened Harley rider had its privileges.
“How would you like it if someone was spreading gossip about you?” Marc grumbled, deciding not to beat up the skinny kid on his niece’s wedding day.
The man - Ian - seemed to think about this for a minute.
“Well, I wouldn’t be caught doing anything worth gossiping about in the first place,” he grinned once again.
Marc couldn’t help but nod his head appreciatively. That was a pretty good comeback.
Marc was snapped out of his thoughts at the sound of the conference room’s doors being violently yanked open.
What a scene. Her wedding planner Anne had been kind enough to let her know what was going on.
As Kris looked at the circle of open-mouthed girls, her uncle Marc, and Ian the bartender, she suddenly realized just how those rumors were getting spread about her.
“What the hell is going on here?” Kris shouted, storming up to her bridal party. They shrunk back in horror - an angry bride on her wedding day might possibly be the most fearsome thing in the world.
“I’m out in the dressing room when I hear the waiter pass my door, talking at the top of his voice about me sleeping with some guy right before my wedding day!”
Callie, her red-haired maid of honor, looked like she was holding back a small grin. The other party members seemed to be on the verge of tears. Ian stood up and tiptoed out of the ring of girls.
“Why would you dare to have the nerve to speak about me like this?” Kris growled, letting go all of her frustrations from the previous night.
“We didn’t mean it, Kris,” Amanda squeaked. “We’re sorry!”
Kris smiled inwardly, quite excited to see the upcoming look of shock on the faces of her bridal party.
“Well,” Kris said, looking at Ian, who had just sidled up beside her.
“I’m not sorry.”
And Kris took Ian’s arm and walked out of the conference room, leaving behind a stunned wedding planner who wouldn’t be getting a paycheck, a bridal party that posted the scandal all over social media, and a confused uncle who decided the day shouldn’t be put to waste so he would help himself to the reception food.
I hope you all enjoyed this! If you’d like to see more of my writings, just let me know!
THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK
Author: Adrienne Young
Genre: YA epic fantasy
Publisher: Wednesday Books / St. Martin’s Press
Release date: September 2019
Trigger warnings: none
(Review copy sent courtesy of St. Martin’s Press).
THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK is a new companion novel to SKY IN THE DEEP, previously written by Adrianne Young. The story focuses on Tova, a Truthtongue, and what happens when she washes up on the shore of a rival clan’s land. THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK is a book that fans of the TV show Vikings will enjoy, and also those who like reading about interesting new cultures in YA novels.
Here’s a short summary taken from Amazon:
The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.
For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.
For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.
First of all, I’d like to thank St. Martin’s for the review copy! The cover of THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK is absolutely phenomenal, and I’ve already featured it in quite a few bookstagram photos. :)
I didn’t actually know that there was a prequel book before THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK until I decided to look up the author’s previous books. I was a little worried that I would need to read SKY IN THE DEEP before this one, but it turns out that you don’t need to have read it to understand what’s happening. So that was a plus!
I am such a fan of the fact that the author wove Norse and Viking cultures in the story of her book. I think that her writing was lyrical and charming, and it did read almost like a Norse history book. If you had told me that Tova was a real figure in Norse mythology, I would have believed you. I am such a huge fan of reading about the beliefs and mythology of different cultures, and Vikings have always been of great interest to me. I really appreciated that subtle nod and appreciation of the Norse culture in Young’s writings.
Alrighty. Honesty time, friends. So, as you all know by now, I am honest with every book that I review. I don’t believe in BS-ing through a review, but I also don’t believe in author-bashing or being unkind to the writer who has put so much love, care, and time into making their dreams a reality. My opinions are my own, and I will hopefully be diplomatic in presenting them to you.
To be completely honest, I DNF’ed this book about 50% of the way through. I’ve been dreading writing this review because I wanted so much to like this book. Like I stated above, I absolutely love Norse culture and I was quite excited about it. As much as I tried my hardest, I couldn’t get into the book.
It’s set between two POVs, Tova and Helvard’s. Apparently, they are connected by a prophecy. The thing is, they see each other like three times in the entire book. And I knew then that if there is supposed to be a slow-burn romance happening, then I do except a romance to happen. The aforementioned romance was pretty non-existent. It’s hard to care for someone when you don’t really see them at all in the story. Plus, it was very hard for me to differentiate between Tova and Helvard’s POVs. At times, they sounded so much like the same person, that it was hard for me to figure out what was happening. That brings me, unfortunately, to my next point. As is the case with most mythology, there are many name-drops, whether it be people, gods, or clans. My problem with TGTSGB was that the different names sounded so similar that I kept getting confused as to which clan we were talking about, and which people were on which side. I felt like I, personally, couldn’t connect with Tova because her character was rather static. I didn’t get a sense of her uniqueness, and as much as I wanted to root for her and like her, I found myself wishing for hints of her personality or her character.
While I did indeed DNF this book, I did enjoy other aspects of it. The battle scenes played out very much like an epic film scene, and I could imagine a cinematic score being played along to them. Also, the uniqueness of the book’s concept is one to be commended on, because I have never read a Viking culture-inspired YA book before.
Even though I did DNF THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK, I was really sad that I did. I think that I may read SKY IN THE DEEP soon and see if that helps me get through TGTSGB if I maybe know a bit more about the background of the story. I am actually giving THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK three stars because the concept was brilliant, the writing was readable and flowing, and the battle scenes were pretty darn good. I think that with a good re-edit and adding to Tova and Helvard’s characters to make them more unique and personable, THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK has the potential to be an incredible epic fantasy book, even with future TV show possibilities.
As always, I encourage my readers to read books for themselves to form their own opinions on it. Please give THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK a try, and let me know what you think of it!
THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK receives 3 stars out of 5.
Wow, life has been so hectic since I last posted. Today marks my third week as a college freshman and I currently have mixed feelings about it. Yes, I am enjoying a lot of my classes (especially the fiction writing one), but being a commuter means it’s much harder for me to connect with people. Hopefully, as the semester moves on, I’ll have a better time with this!
But enough about me.
I am so thrilled to have the lovely Makiia Lucier featured on my blog today! Remember when I announced a few weeks ago that I would be featuring the books and achievements of authors who’ve been kind enough to send me a book, or put up with my fangirling, or have helped me in some way? I am proud to say that Makiia is the first author featured!
I first read her second novel ISLE OF BLOOD AND STONE back in September of 2018! Now it’s September 2019, and Makiia’s sequel SONG OF THE ABYSS recently released (which I adored) and she’s going to YallFest this fall! (I am so excited to be going to that this year...I’ll get to meet Makiia and many other authors!)
Makiia was kind enough to participate in a book/publishing related Q&A session and a fun Q&A. Her bookish achievements and bio is after the Q&A, so make sure to stick around and check that out!
When did you start writing your first book? Did you know then that you wanted to be a published author?
March 2011 (I had to look up the date in my first notebook!). And yes, I knew that if I finished the manuscript for A Death-Struck Year (then titled A Beautiful and Death-Struck Year), I would do my very best to find a publisher for it. It was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers in 2014.
How long did it take for you to find an agent from the time you first started querying?
I really don’t remember (It’s the kind of painful thing you block from your memory, like childbirth!). What I do know about publishing in general is that however long you expect something to take, it will inevitably take tens time longer than you would like. There’s plenty of waiting in this business.
What has been the thing that you’ve enjoyed most about your book’s publishing process?
You really can’t beat seeing your book on a bookstore or library shelf.
Have you written any books since your first book’s release?
I’ve published three so far: A Death-Struck Year, Isle of Blood and Stone, and Song of the Abyss.
Tell the readers a little bit about your book. Is there a character in particular that you relate to?
Sure. Song of the Abyss is a standalone companion to Isle of Blood and Stone, which means they don’t have to be read in any particular order. In Song, men start vanishing at sea without a trace, and seventeen-year-old Reyna, a royal explorer, must travel to a country shrouded in secrets to solve the mystery before it’s too late. Readers can expect a romantic adventure that combines both history and fantasy. It’s also very much a story about friendship and the family one chooses for oneself.
I relate to many of my characters in some small way or another. With Reyna and Levi, I understand very deeply what it feels like to lose a parent. Both parents. And Reyna’s friend, Blaise, wants nothing more than to leave her hometown and study at university, but there’s the problem of costs. How can she possibly afford it? I think many of us can relate to that.
What part of your book did you most enjoy writing?
Finishing a draft has to be the one of the best feelings ever, especially since your brain is just wiped out by then. But also, I really enjoy having the time to play around with ideas, writing longhand, and having unexpected ideas pop up.
What’s some advice you can give to other aspiring YA writers looking to become published?
Besides writing and reading, I think it’s important to keep your eyes on your own work. Everywhere you look, someone is signing a book deal, signing deals for multiple books, while you’re just a chump with a half-finished draft and little else. It’s easy to become discouraged. Keep your head down. Keep writing. Finish your story. For most people, writing a good story takes time and patience and a little faith.
Lastly, some fun questions!
What’s your favorite movie?
Master and Commander with Russel Crowe
Pineapple fried rice.
Top 3 favorite books?
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle
Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
Beatles, Green Day
Makiia Lucier is the author of historical fiction and fantasy for young adults. She grew up on the Pacific island of Guam (not too far from the equator), and has degrees in journalism and library science from the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Her debut novel, A Death-Struck Year, was called a “powerful and disturbing reading experience” by Publishers Weekly. It was a finalist for Germany’s top book prize for children, the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, as well as Japan’s Sakura Medal, and was named an ABC Best Books for Children Selection by the American Booksellers Association.
PRAISE FOR SONG OF THE ABYSS:
“Reyna ranks with Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games and Dashti from The Book of a Thousand Days as one of those rare characters who feels completely realized in her strengths and depth as well as her limitations…This makes for a thoroughly enjoyable read peopled with satisfyingly complex villains to serve as foils to heroines and heroes who will stand the test of time.” –ALAN Pick, Assembly on Literature for Adolescents
Thank you so much for tuning in to today’s YA author feature! And a big thank you to Makiia for participating.
Be on the lookout for another author feature coming up in a week!