Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Young Adult Fantasy ARC Giveaway #IWSG

If all goes well, I'll be releasing my debut novel in October. It's a young adult fantasy adventure set on the high seas. Although it's part of a series, it reads as a standalone. I have completed the maps for it, the covers for all three books in the series and I've even worked out the formatting for the ebook (For the ARC version, anyway--there are still some tweaks I want to do). That was a victory and a half. The formatting for print is yet to come. Eek.

Right now I'm looking for lovers of fantasy who are interested in an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of Wielder's Prize, book one in the Wielder's Storm series. In exchange I'd deeply appreciate an honest review. Shoot me an email (lynfaw[at]gmail [dot]com) or say "Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!" in the comments ;) I'll be sending out a limited number, so be quick.

My current tagline for book one: No training. No discipline. No time.

The IWSG question of the month: Has your writing ever taken you by surprise?
Sometimes I do a detailed outline before I write. Other times I just wing it. When I wing it, anything can happen. Surprises galore! It's lots of fun. Of course, outlining does the same, only earlier in the process.

July Reading
July was a slow reading month because I was down with the flu for half of it and super busy the other half. It was also a month of thrones. Giggle.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas is a young adult fantasy, the first in a series. I quite enjoyed it, though it wasn't quite what I expected based on the cover and blurb. It still carried me away to another land, and I like that in a fantasy.

The Templar Throne by Paul Christopher is the third in the series about Doc Holliday's adventures of tracking down ancient Templar relics. Each book has been different in its own way and all of them have been enjoyable. I think there's another four or five in the series. They are a light, fast read and full of action and intrigue. The first is The Sword of the Templars.

That's all I have for July. I've been reading lots of short stories lately too. It makes me want to write more short stories.

What have you been reading lately? Has your writing ever taken you by surprise?

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

5 Benefits of a Pen Name #IWSG

Exciting News: I will be publishing a young adult fantasy adventure this year. I'm super nervous about it. It will be my novel debut. That's my insecurity revealed for this month. I've decided to take the pen name, Elle Cardy. For so many reasons:

1. My name, Lynda R Young, is super common and I get lost in the crowd. It is so common that I couldn't use it or a variation of it for gmail. It's why I use Lynfaw (faw = fearful and wonderfully, if you're curious).

2. It's shocking how many people can't get my name right. It's not a difficult name. Or you'd think. I get Linda, Lydia, and a bunch of other variations. Just yesterday I got Lydr. Say what, now? Also, my middle initial, which is crucial if I want to be found on Google, is so often left off when someone publishes my work or mentions me online. A little frustrating.

3. It's a long name which means it has to be small on book covers. Yes, I think about these things.

4. Young is at the end of the alphabet. Whoever thought a list in alphabetical order was fair had a name in the first half of the alphabet. Just saying ;)

5. I figured the name Elle Cardy was short, easy to remember, difficult to get wrong, and it separates my nonfiction writing from my novels so there's no confusion. There's also almost none of us on Google. Obviously I won't be hiding my true identity. The plan is that everyone who knows Lynda R Young will also know Elle Cardy and vice versa. I do have separate Instagram accounts though.

@LyndaRYoung for my macro photography.
@ElleCardy for everything books.

(I only follow you back if you're active and you actively like my stuff. I'm looking for real connections on Instagram, not numbers.)
AntipodeanSF Issue 250 is now available in the paperback version. If you’d like your own copy, you can pick it up here. With over 50 stories, it is definitely worth checking out. Otherwise, just go along to the AntipodeanSF website to read the stories online for free for another month.
June Reading

Red Rising by Pierce Brown -- this was beautifully written. I read it in two days, which for me is fast since I'm a particularly busy and a slow reader. It is set on Mars and is a dystopian. Think Hunger Games on Mars.

Stallo by Stefan Spjut -- this is a translation of a supernatural thriller written in Swedish. I would've liked to have read it in its original language because the translation is a little flat. But the story is awesome. It's the kind of book you settle in with under a blanket. It's about the mythical creatures of the woods that steal children and a woman searching for them. I loved it.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard -- Very similar to Red Rising in so many ways but instead of the Reds against the Golds, it's the Reds against the Silvers. The worldbuilding in this one isn't as rich as Red Rising, but the story is still enjoyable if you love typical young adult books.

NOTE: I am a judge for the 2019 Aurealis Awards. All my book reviews are my personal opinion and don't reflect the opinion of any judging panel, the judging coordinators, or the Aurealis Awards management team.
Are you a huge fan of young adult fantasy? Let me know in the comments. What are your favourite books in that genre? Done any reading last month? What were the standouts?

This post was written for the IWSG. Every first Wednesday of the month the members post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG or want to learn more, then please go HERE

Note: The new look for my blog is temporary. I'm currently down with flu and it was the best I could do for now.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Favourite Genres and Favourite Books

The IWSG queston of the month: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why? That's easy. I love both fantasy and science fiction. I love to read those genres too. There is something so appealing about visiting other worlds. The remarkable and different. The heroic and magical. The what ifs.

To check out my latest scfi short story, Between the Ticks, you can read it here.

Article worth reading: Walking is the key to creativity and productivity (It's not just a mind-clearing activity). Check out the article here. I loved it.

Standout books read last month:

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: This one is the second part of her duology. It's amazing. I seriously loved it. Read the series if you haven't and you love fantasy. Beautifully written. A rich world. Yum. Part one is Six of Crows.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff: This one was written by an Aussie author and won one of Australia's most prestigious book prize for fantasy. I can see why. While it's super dark, it's brilliantly written. Another fully fleshed out world. It's about a girl in a school of assassins. I loved it.

The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer: If it's a book with time travel in it, I'll read it. This one was different and interesting. It's about two brothers in 1348 who have six days to live after contracting the black plague. Each of those days they live another 99 years in the future. This read is more of a vehicle to see the reactions of a 14th century person to all the changes over time. It felt historically accurate which I loved.

The Templar Cross by Paul Christopher: This is the second adventure of John Holliday. This time his niece has been kidnapped. It's a chase across the globe involving an ancient Egyptian legend. I liked it more than the first one, which I also liked (The Sword of the Templars). It's just a lot of fun.

What's your favourite genre and why? What was your favourite book last month?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Power of Language #IWSG

My sci-fi short story has been officially published with AntipodeanSF today! You can find my story, Between the Ticks here and you can read Issue 250 in full here. This issue will be online for three whole months and a paperback edition will also be released. I'm super excited.

AntipodeanSF is an Aussie online magazine that's devoted to the monthly publication of fabulous and original science-fiction, fantasy, and horror mini-stories of about 500–1000 words each, with occasional longer feature stories.

I read more than two books in April, but these are the best
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo--I can't recommend this highly enough. It is a great study in character interactions, engaging dialogue, beautiful world building. This is a YA Fantasy with class and some dark edges. So gorgeous. Ok, I'll stop gushing now.

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch (Known in the UK and Oz as The Rivers of London). The voice in this book is a real treat. It had me laughing out loud quite a bit. It's a police procedural set in London with a bunch of magic thrown in. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are currently working on adapting the series for TV, so think Hot Fuzz meets Harry Potter ;)

Avengers: Endgame
No Spoilers here. I just wanted to say how much it surprised me. I loved it. With it being 3 hours long, I had thought they were going to drag it out and get all indulgent, but no. Every scene mattered. The movie had so much unexpected heart. I was thrilled.

Game of Thrones.
No spoilers again. So glad it's back. I've been thoroughly enjoying it. I think I want more surprises than we've got so far. The last episode in particular. But I'm still loving it.

Insecure Writers Support Group:

The question for the month: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

There's a silly children's chant I learned when I was young because I was bullied a lot: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." I wish it were true. Words do hurt. They can build a person up and they can pull them down and tear them apart. I was pulled down and torn apart an awful lot. It hurt worse when it came from people who were supposed to be my friends. I became small and escaped into stories where the weak overcame overwhelming odds, the little guy who was dismissed by society became the hero. Would I change any of it? No. Everything I've experienced--the good, the bad, the ugly--has shaped me into the person and the writer I am today.

What books have you been reading? What shows have you been loving? What's been your experience with the power of language?

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Reading Fun and Writer Insecurities #IWSG

March went by at a blink of the eye, and I feel no closer to finishing book 2 of my YA Fantasy series. I have never chopped and changed and rewritten a book more than this one. It has been fighting me the whole way. It's because I wrote the first draft slowly, in dribs and drabs at a time when I was struggling with some rough stuff. Consequently the book didn't have a clear focus. Part of me thinks it might've been better to have thrown it all out and started again from scratch. But no. At least Part 1 now has focus and clarity and high stakes. Woo! It's just taken me way longer than I had hoped. But then, I want everything NOW!, and sometimes a story just won't play nice. This is one of them. On to part 2 and 3!

My photo above is a representation of my work on book 2. I'm getting into it, but getting all caught up in a tangle ;)

That was the insecurity part of the post. Glad that's over. On to the fun part: Reading!!
Last month I read another three books. All three were great.

Wool by Hugh Howey is a post-apocalypse/dystopian set underground in silos. An interesting world with fully fleshed-out characters. Loved it.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is a YA fantasy set in a the rich, dangerous world of Faerie. This wasn't what I had expected. It can be quite dark at times. Another great read.

The Sword of the Templars by Paul Christopher is a treasure hunt type book. Think National Treasure, or Lara Croft with less acrobatics, or a modern day Indiana Jones with less swashbuckling. I got this because it was part of my brother's collection I inherited. This one is a light, fun read.

How has your writing been going? What have you been reading lately? What are you struggling with at the moment?

This post was written for the IWSG. Every first Wednesday of the month the members of our group post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG or want to learn more, then please go HERE

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Joys of Reading and Writing #IWSG

Last month was a whirlwind of writing and reading and everything I love. I was struggling with book 2 of a series I'd like to complete this year, so when an idea struck me for another story, I thought, why not? So I wrote a YA sci-fi thriller novella, currently sitting at 32k words. With the first draft complete, I set it aside and now I'm back to working on Book 2 of my YA fantasy series. And it's flowing so much better now! Phew!

Reading: So far I've read ten books this year. I'm a slow reader, so I'm rather thrilled to have gone through so many books already. With the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I had pledged to read 25 books this year. I'm way ahead of schedule and this pleases me greatly.

Of the books I've read, two are by Australian writers; four are fantasies, two of which are young adult; three are sci-fi, and again, two of those are young adult; one is a post-apocolypse because apparently I can't get enough of those at the moment; one is a thriller; and one is general fiction.

The stand-outs? All were great reads but the stand-outs were easily Illuminae and Navigating the Stars. Both are YA sci-fi full of awesome characters and high stakes. I HIGHLY recommend.

Awesome happy news: one of my short stories was accepted into AntipodeanSF's May-June special 250th issue. AntipodeanSF is an Aussie online magazine that's devoted to the monthly publication of fabulous and original science-fiction, fantasy, and horror mini-stories of about 500–1000 words each, with occasional longer feature stories.The 250th edition will also be available as a paperback. Woo!

The IWSG question of the month is: Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? I enjoy both, but the villain is harder to get right without turning them into a cartoon character. Getting that third dimension on the bad guy is a challenge.

What's been your favourite book/s so far this year? Who do you prefer to read or write--the hero or the villain? What have you been up to recently? 

This post was written for the IWSG. Every first Wednesday of the month the members of our group post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG or want to learn more, then please go HERE

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Need for Creative Outlets #IWSG

Writers are creative creatures. Whether we are currently writing up a storm, editing, or doing something else entirely, we need that creative outlet. So often when asked why we write, the answer you'll get is, "Because I must." But honestly I don't think that it's so much about the expression through the written word in particular. I think it's more about expression--in any form.

Lately I've been writing up that storm I mentioned earlier. I've also been editing for another writer. In the past I've put my focus in traditional art which included mediums like oil painting, ink drawing, then less traditional mediums like 3D animation and digital art. As many of you know, I've also thrown myself into photography.

Over time, I'm sure I'll discover something else that takes my interest as well, something just as creative. For now, I'm loving my writing and photography most of all.

How about you? What creative outlets do you have?

This post was written for the IWSG. Every first Wednesday of the month the members of our group post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG or want to learn more, then please go HERE

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The New Year and New Goals #IWSG

Happy New Year to everybody.

Wishing you all a positive, productive and successful 2019.
This year I'm hoping to publish my young adult fantasy series. I've been busy writing book 3 but I still haven't finished book 2 yet, so I have a ways to go.

I've also been busy taking heaps of photos around the place.  In particular I've been enjoying macro photography like the rose above. If you are interested in seeing my gallery on Instagram, you can find me as @LyndaRYoung 

How about you? What are your hopes and dreams for this year?

The #IWSGPit Twitter pitch is on January 15 so stick that date in your diary and get your pitches ready. Hundreds of agents and publishers will be checking the hashtag that day. For rules and list of genre hashtags, visit the #IWSGPit page.

Now for the winners of the fourth IWSG Anthology Contest:

Oddly Suited, LG Keltner
Sea of Sorrows, AV Brown
Behind the Catcher’s Mask, Jennifer Lane
A Diver’s Ball, Angela Brown
Fearless Heart, Deborah Solice
The Dark Charade, CD Gallant-King
The Cog Prince, Elizabeth Mueller
Flower of Ronda, Myles Christensen
Remedy, Chelsea Ballard
Charleston Masquerade, Carrie-Anne Brownian

Congratulations to one and all.  Look for Masquerade: Oddly Suited later this year.