Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Perfect Place to Write and More #IWSG

August was a busy month. Crazy busy. Mostly it's been all about the mad scramble to get everything ready for the October release of my debut novel. It's been a steep learning curve. Nothing I can't handle, but it has been time-consuming. Then in among all that, I took five days out to drive down to Sydney for my dad's birthday. While I froze to death in the cold Sydney weather, I did take the photo above during that trip. And a bunch of others.

A big thank you to those of you who offered to read an advanced reader's copy of my young adult adventure fantasy set on the high seas. If you didn't get my email for some reason, or are interested in a review copy, then shoot me an email.

 
The IWSG Question of the month: If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

My answer: The perfect place to write is right here, right now. (Or maybe on a cruise to some idyllic islands--just because). I don't need a fancy view or a special nook. All I need is either paper and pen or a computer. That's it. Oh wait. Time would be good. I'm looking forward to when I have time to write again.

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August Reading
Considering how busy I've been, I managed to get through four books this last month. I surprised myself. Admittedly I was reading the biography of Leonardo Da Vinci in short bursts since February, and it's a tiny book too.

One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence -- What can I say? This is my kind of book. Time Travel! It's short and a quick read, and I enjoyed the writing. There are some great phrases that had me laughing out loud, even though it's not a humorous book. This story is a multi-universe take on time travel and has been likened to Stranger Things--probably because it's set in the 80s and the main character likes Dungeons and Dragons.

Leonardo Da Vinci by Sherwin B Nuland-- The language is a little old fashioned and formal but reading about Leonardo's life was hugely interesting. He was a fascinating man.

Grumpy Old Gods Vol 2 -- An anthology of short stories with roots in mythology. What happens when the old gods get old. A great read. Hugely entertaining.

Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson -- written about 15 years ago by an Aussie author. It has won all sorts of awards. I can see why. This is a novel for the younger readers but still enjoyable by any age group, especially if you love Chinese dragons. 

What have you been up to this last month? What reading did you do? What other great achievements did you accomplish? Where would you like to write your next story?

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.)
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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.
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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.
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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

Publication:
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.

Books:
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 ;)

Shows:
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?