Monday, August 1, 2016

Subplots and Storylines - July 2016

July hummed and whirred with activity, a month sandwiched between the freshness of June and the heat of August. This midsummer season was brimming with all things alive . . . Watching Canda Day fireworks while slapping mosquitos, savoring the sweetness of just-picked raspberries, shelling peas until my fingers turn green, turning off the lights to better see the lightning forking across the sky, biking to the gas station where my brother works and getting blueberry swirl ice cream. This is full-blown summer, you guys.

Some notable threads weaving throughout July . . .

My sisters did two weeks of dog-sitting again, and I joined them a few times to play with little Mocha, a Pomeranian-Yorkie mix who's always beside herself with excitement every time we show up.

My mom and sisters and I spent a day shopping in the city, during which time I let myself splurge a little on some clearance sweaters (fall is coming, unfortunately, and I won't say no to new college clothes), a Ranger's Apprentice book, some odds and ends, and two soundtracks (How to Train Your Dragon and Battle of the Five Armies EDIT: I meant to say An Unexpected Journey).

Work was full, and I opened and closed by myself several times. Opening is my favorite.

Our family garden's pea season began late, and the bean season started early, so the two collided and we had to pick both on the same day several times. The beans have been especially prolific this summer.

I got to spend a great day with a friend who'll be leaving soon for her second year of university several provinces away.

An aunt and uncle visited from the States, which was quite fun.

Last weekend, I felt a bit like a kid again. A watergun fight with the siblings, ridiculous jokes, parks, bike rides, and a library trip will do that to ya!


Raising Dragons Graphic Novel by James Art Ville and Bryan Davis
After the monstrous length of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, I needed something breezy. This seemed like a great choice. Being one of the Kickstarter supporters back when they were raising funds for this project, it was super cool and nostalgic to see the fruit of Mr. Ville's labor. He did a great job reimagining Raising Dragons! I'm especially pleased with how Bonnie turned out. The story felt abbreviated, of course, because a 300+ page book needed to be shrunk down to 150 pages of pictures and dialogue bubbles, but it retained much of the heart of this beloved story. (And now I want James Ville to illustrate the rest of the books!)

The Shadow Lamp by Stephen R. Lawhead
OH MY TEA. THIS BOOK. I've been loving the Bright Empires series, and this, the fourth instalment, really really really raised the stakes. I'm talking "the universe will be in big, bad trouble if you don't do something" stakes. As one of the characters said, "Cataclysm does not seem a large enough word to describe it."

The book started a little slow, with quite a bit of recapping--which wasn't all bad, since it's been about a year since I read book 3--but once the crew gets together . . . things happen. Chapter 19 in particular marked the place where the plot started blowing my mind. One thing I love about this series is how Lawhead takes things from real life--science, theories, ancient history, geographical landmarks, etc.--and blends it almost seamlessly with the story. You're not always sure where fact ends and fiction begins, and I love that.

Also I'm very much shipping two particular characters.

And I need book 5, The Fatal Tree, right this minute.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Just like Cinder, I often caught myself composing a list of fangirly comments in my head the way I do when I beta read my friends' stories . . . and then remembering, "Oh wait, this is published and I don't actually know the author." There must be something about the hilarious and feelsy character interactions that reminds me of my writer friends.

Anyway, I liked the first book more, and prefer Cinder and Kai's romance over Scarlet and Wolf's. I'm just not an insta-love sort of person. Scarlet goes from pointing a gun at his head with the purpose to kill, to kissing him and trusting him with everything--in one day. Just one day. She is hotheaded and brash, I get that, but come on. This guy should not be trusted so quickly. That being said, Wolf has some adorable ticks like scratching behind his ear, and his fascination with tomatoes is also cute.

I guess I just identify more with Cinder, who's more practical and logical. (I do feel deeply, but I have more restraint than Scarlet, and almost never throw myself headfirst into something without thinking it through first.) So I loved the parts with her and Thorne (THORNNNNE!). And Kai just needs a hug right now.

Beta Reading
Perhaps one reason my reading levels were down again this month is because I devoted more time to reading and responding to the chapters my friends have sent me. Knowing my inbox is swollen with beta stuff but not knowing exactly how much, I sat down to actually count them at the beginning of the month.

Seventy-plus chapters, guys.

Some are from months and months ago. WHAT. It has been decided that I need to catch up before college, and after that beta reading will be have to be rather infrequent for a while, I'm sad to say.

But! I devoured 22 beta chapters this month, including a novella retelling of Sleeping Beauty (yes, one of the entrants from last year's Rooglewood contest), a couple short stories, miscellaneous bits of novels, and a chunk of another friend's Beauty and the Beast novel. Lots of awesome story-ness all around!


The Return of the King
My brother and I absolutely loved it! And I cried again, more than once. I'm sitting here now, trying to come up with words to describe my reaction to this movie, and I'm almost at a loss. I must have used up all my words in my last post. TRotK was epic in every sense of the word, and seeing everything culminate in that huge, amazing ending was incredible. (With a goodly dose of bittersweetness as well, as the ship leaves for the Undying Lands and takes certain characters with it.) Oh, and Eowyn is now one of my favorite heroines!

Once Upon a Time (part of Season 4)
My sisters and I are about halfway through the season now, and we're really enjoying it. I've decided the Frozen elements do integrate well (and Anna is the sweetest person); I strongly dislike the Snow Queen but loved the climax of her part in the story; and the Charming family is my favorite thing ever.

The Flash (first three episodes of Season 1)
So I started watching this with my brother, and it's pretty great! I love Barry/Flash--his character is so earnest and warmhearted and down-to-earth. His relationship with his father is so good to see. A number of secondary characters are worming their way into my heart as well, and the motley villains are intriguing. I think this'll be a fun ride.


I finished the workbook stuff from session 8 of The Creative Way (the writing course by Ted Dekker that I'm taking) and also did session 9. Progress is sporadic, obviously, but still happening.

Another sort-of-writing-related thing was the Silmarillion Awards that took place this month! Narnia really stole the show this year, didn't it? I had loads of fun hosting the Riddling and Poetry award, which culminated recently with Bilbo presenting the Silmaril to the Sorting Hat, and later on, me gushing about Tolkien and how much the books mean to me. Many thanks to Jenelle Schmidt and DJ Edwardson for coming up with this marvellous idea, and for inviting me to join them!

What I did on my actual WIP, The Prophet's Key--that willful child made of rough edges and elusive magic, which I'm trying to capture--is write 11,399 words. A great month for me, considering work and whatnot! I finished drafting the Scotland scenes (sniffle . . . goodbye, Highlands--see you in editing. . .) and have just split up the crew, sending one half gallivanting to Australia and the other to Moscow, Russia. Hooray for writing about places I've never been to! And for tiring of research and then proceeding to write without gathering facts first! I will have plenty to shape up during editing, and that's putting it kindly.

But I'm getting a teensy tiny bit better at loosening up and just focusing on getting the story out. Details can be fixed later. That's the beauty of revisions. (#messyfirstdraft) I'm also happily suffering from bouts of wanderlust when I do research places. I honestly thought I'd never want to visit Russia. My mind has changed.

Also on the writing front, I've been reconsidering publishing tactics this month. But until I've sorted it out for myself (aka spent half a dozen pages journaling about it), I won't say much more here. I'm sorry, I don't mean to be cruelly mysterious! Just wanted to record the fact that these thoughts arrived in July 2016. Once they take a firmer shape, I'll explain myself more clearly. Promise.

That was July!

Full of green, growing things; a celebration of fantasy and Tolkien; books; and learning to write more freely. And I'm breathing a great sigh of relief, because I'm taking almost a week off now to kick back and unwind! I hope to get in some bigger writing days, catch up on more beta reading, and enjoy a more fluid schedule that allows time for little things like journaling or sketching or coloring or falling into a book for a few hours.

Keep a watchful eye on Adventure Awaits during August, as I have a couple of special things planned! One is something I've never done before, and the other involves another blogger. (Aren't I such a tease?)

So how was your July? (Can you believe it's August already? August. How in the world . . .) Did you enjoy the Silmarillion Awards? What's one of the best books you've read this summer? Have a glass of lemonade and share the summery stuff going on in your world!


  1. I can't even acknowledge the fact that's it's August. Is Time one steroids or something? WHAT IS THIS???

    But oooh, I loved this post! It just FEELS like summer. I love all the summer-y things you've been up to. Fireworks and gardening and watergun fights. Such happy things! ^_^

    HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON SOUNDTRACK!!! :D I have that one and love it sooooo much. I've listened to the track "Forbidden Friendship" like a badrillion times. So gorgeous. And OF COURSE Battle of the Five Armies soundtrack! <3333

    You get to open and close shop sometimes? I love doing that too! It's so fun going in and turning on all the lights and everything. I love it!

    Oh, oh, oh! The Raising Dragons Graphic Novel!!!! I MUST get myself a copy.
    And I agree with everything you said about Scarlet. Everything just happened waaaay too fast. And I like the other couples better than Scarlet and Wolf. I mean, I loved them, I did. I just like all the others BETTER. Buuuut Scarlet is where Thorne is first introduced so I'll forgive it. XD I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOU TO READ CRESS. *squeals*

    All that beta-reading. o.o *collapses* You are amazing!

    RETURN OF THE KING. AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Wasn't it just...just...WELL. There are no words. It just IS. I've probably watched it 293849384 times since I was 12 and I STILL cry every. single. time. DAT ENDING. D': But also :'D. I DON'T EVEN KNOW. All the feels! So glad you liked it! Also Eowyn, YES. I adore her. <3

    Oh wow, you've almost caught up with me on OUAT. I haven't seen past season 4. #pathetic Glad you're liking the Frozen thread more! Also, have you watched the spin-off, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland? I'm rewatching it with my little sister and oooooh man. I'M OBSESSED. I literally got chills when we started it, just remembering how GOOD it is. It's only one season (13 episodes) but it has a full story and conclusion and everything. BUT IT'S SO GOOD. I mean, I may be biased because WONDERLAND, but ya know. XD But you should totally watch it sometime if you ever get the chance. The first time I saw it I watched the whole thing in 2 days. o.o That's how much I love it.

    I've been meaning to watch Arrow AND The Flash FOREVER and still haven't! I must do that sometime! (According to my brother they kind of intertwine eventually so you may want to also watch Arrow? I don't know.)

    You're doing so well working on that writing workbook! AND TRACEY. So many words in TPK. :O And they're going to places like Australia and Russia? :O THAT IS AWESOME!!!! You go, Tracey! I am in awe! (But now I'm super curious about your publishing plans, you tease you. :P)

    The Silmarillion Awards was SOOOOO fun, and your poem and whole post with Bilbo was just AMAZING.

    You got so much done in July. It sounds like it was a lovely month! ^_^ I had quite a nice July myself and am curious to see what August brings. Even if it shouldn't BE August. >.> I do hope you have a more relaxing month. Don't overwork yourself, okay? *hugs*

    (And good grief my comments are as long as emails. I HAVE NO SELF CONTROL. I just love talking with meh Tracey!)

    1. I KNOW. IT SHOULD BE APRIL, NOT AUGUST. Time is moving so quickly. But if objects in motion tend to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force... we just have to figure out how to be that outside force. XD

      That makes me so happy, because a summery feel is exactly what I was going for!

      Yes, HTTYD is full of such gorgeous music! I love the Celtic influence. And oops, I meant to say I bought An Unexpected Journey Soundtrack, not BotFA! Le post has now been edited. But still, both are great soundtracks. :)

      YES, CHRISTINE, YOU MUST! And it's exciting to think that the graphic novel may introduce new readers to DIOM. Convert the masses, I say. XD
      The whole book took only a matter of, what? A few days? It felt longer, but still, that's an awfully fast relationship. Like you said, we still love the characters...just not quite as much as the others. I CAN'T WAIT FOR CRESS EITHER. THORNE IS PRECIOUS.

      It's been fun! :D

      It just is that powerful. I know I'll be rewatching it many times myself! (*gasp* Can you imagine how fun it would be to watch them all together someday? #friendshipgoals)

      Oh my, I never expected to catch up with you! So you've seen the whole fourth season, then? I have not yet seen the Wonderland spinoff, but I reeeaaally want to! Partly because Hatter. (I'm assuming he'll show up in there.) TWO DAYS. GIRL. Well, what else could I expect from a Wonderland fanatic like yourself? ;)

      Yes, I've heard there's some crossover between the two, and my brother bought one important episode of Arrow to make sure things make sense. But we may end up watching the whole Arrow show too, I don't know. (I've heard there's more questionable content in Arrow than in The Flash.)

      Thank you! I feel really slow at it, TBH. XD Yep, the Daintree Rainforest in Australia, and Russia as well. It's pretty fun! (We won't think about all the work fact-checking will be in the editing phase...) (Heheh...I'll let you all in on it yet!)

      Wasn't it a blast? Awk, thank you muchly! :D

      'Twas lovely, and I'm glad your July was as well! No, it should definitely not be August. But since it is, I hope yours is splendiferous in every way possible! *hugs* It looks like it might be a bit of a breather for me, which is awesome.

      (I LOVE IT. EMAIL-SIZED COMMENTS ARE LOVELY. I love talking with you too! And I haven't sent you a proper email in aaaaaages. D: But anyway, I just had to chuckle when I saw how long your comment was. XD)

    2. An Unexpected Journey soundtrack is amazing too! I love them all!

      You mean watching LotR together? :O THAT WOULD ONLY BE THE GREATEST THING IN THE UNIVERSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I have seen the whole 4th season of OUAT, yeah. Just haven't continued it from there. BUT YES. WONDERLAND! Love it so much! <333 EXCEPT, the Hatter is NOT in it. D: I was sooo excited when they announced this spinoff because, like you, I was ecstatic to have more of the Mad Hatter. But I guess he was too busy being Bucky at the time... Which I guess I can't complain about TOO much. XD BUT STILL. No Hatter in a whole Wonderland show? IT'S A TRAGEDY.

      I think Arrow IS a bit darker than The Flash. But, again, I've never seen either so I can't say for sure.

      I'm embarrassed looking back at the length of my comment now. XD And here I am adding MORE. I'm so chatty, oh my word!

    3. They are all amazing--Howard Shore is a GENIUS, I tell ya.

      YES! Greatest thing in the whole entire cosmos!!! XD

      I guess season 5 is still airing, anyway. Or maybe it's done already. I don't keep up with that schedule much because of potential spoilers. XD HATTER'S NOT IN THE WONDERLAND SPINOFF? I am so disappointed! I adored Hatter! But you're right, I can't be too upset since he was being Bucky, someone I love even MORE than Hatter.

      I'll have to wait and see if we'll watch Arrow, and then I'll know for sure.

      Oh, don't be embarrassed! Chatty is FUN! I really do love it!

  2. Sounds like you are having a lovely summer, all the great books and movies. Eeekk!
    I love those moments when you feel like you have captured your childhood again,my favorite part of summer.

    1. Yes, it's been good, and the books make it even better!

      ME TOO. I need more of those moments. What makes for a moment of reclaimed childhood for you?

  3. Wow, you have so many writerly and bookish things up there! I'm envious. You make the Bright Empire sound so good. What is the first book in the series?

    July was a whirlwind for me. It started off with a Canada Day family dinner, and from there it was busy. At the end of the day I'd have fingers stained from fruits and flowers, or whatever greenery I was working with. It was good.

    But one of the highlights of this July was certainly the Silmarillion Awards! Thanks for hosting!

    1. And yet not as many as I'd like... XD The appetite of a reader/writer is unending!

      Oh, I think you'd really enjoy Bright Empires! The Skin Map is the first book, followed by The Bone House, The Spirit Well, The Shadow Lamp, and lastly The Fatal Tree. :) Those books have a great British flavor to them.

      Sounds like a lovely, summer-y month! :) I hope your August is just as good, if not better.

      Very glad to hear that the awards were such a highlight!

  4. Oh! I really want to read the Raising Dragons graphic novel, but I haven't bought it yet. I haven't read Scarlet yet, but I really liked Cinder. My favorite book I read this summer was probably Pull by...Anne Riley I think.
    Once Upon a Time! I love the episode with the Frozen characters in them.
    Over 11,000 words! That's awesome!

    1. YOU SHOULD. I think it's only about $10 on Amazon. ;) Yes, Cinder was a great book--way better than I expected. Just looked up Pull...and instantly added it on Goodreads!

      Do you have a favorite OUAT Frozen character?

      Thanks! I hope you have a great August!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Awesome! I hope you like it!
      Hmm...probably Anna. :D It's been a while since I watched Once Upon a Time though. :)
      Haha, I just accidentally commented under Andrea Adams. I forgot to change from my pen name on that comment. :)

    4. Anna is adorable; I love her too. :)

      LOL, I didn't realize you and Andrea Adams were one and the same! XD

  5. So I just found your blog and I love it but YOU MAKE ME FEEL SO LAZY. Take this post for example, you sound so so productive and I've done precisely nothing with my life for the whole day and UGH what am i doing!
    Hahah, but seriously. I'm so glad I found your blog and let's hope I'm as productive as you this month...xD


    1. Oh my goodness, thank you! And welcome here! I know I've seen you around somewhere--maybe Paper Fury or Ink, Inc.?

      I have plenty of unproductive days too, promise. Like today. :P Summing up an entire month's achievements makes it sound bigger than it is!

      I'm so glad you found it too, and I hope your August is fabulous and productive! ^_^

  6. I really cannot believe it is August! How very strange. The best book I've read this summer would be a tie between Career of Evil by JK Rowling, Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater and River by Ted Hughes, all read in July. THOSE BOOKS, MAN.

    I'm so glad to hear TPQ is going well! Australia and Russia?! LOVE IT. (Though I'm a bit sad you're done with Scotland. Can't wait to read!)

    It's great you feel you're writing more freely, and I am very intrigued about "publishing tactics"! I look forward to hearing all about all of it.

    1. Very strange indeed. I don't want to think about the fact that it's the last full month of summer. *sniffle*
      After catching up on your blog posts, I'm not at all surprised that you listed those three books! ;D

      THEY GO EVERYWHERE, IT FEELS LIKE. (Why, oh why, would I do this to myself? XD It's awesome, but it's hard.) I know, I'm sad about leaving Scotland as well, but I have the consolation of knowing I'll come back for much longer during edits. You know, when I read more on the country and then make it sound like I actually know what I'm talking about. XD

      There shall be more on that, if not this weekend, then possibly next!

  7. Loved your post, sis! :D
    Mocha is sooooooo cute!!!!!!!! Like, she has got to be the cutest dog on. The. Planet. :D
    (Wasn't that ice cream so good? I can't believe used to not like it. I must have been a silly kid. :P Because now I love eating it in cones!!! LOL. :P )
    I had a fun time shopping. (It seems so long ago now...)
    I need to read the graphic novel sometime. It looks really sweet and cute. Bonnie looks adorable.
    I also want to reread the first books of "The Lunar Chronicles" and finish the rest of the series. (Tell me if the next one's good. :P )
    Ack! "Once Upon a Time" is so GOOD! I LOVE IT! That season has got to be my favorite. (Well, until I watch the 5th... 'Cause it just keeps getting better.)
    And "The Flash" is UH-MAZING! XD Can't wait to see what happens next.
    *Claps* Good job at writing, sweetie! :P (Why did I just call you "sweetie?") Yukon do it! :P (Get it?) (I think I am becoming hyper. I should stop talking before I say somethin' real weird...)

    1. Thanks, Chloe! <3

      She is completely adorable, I agree.

      You silly child, I almost forgot you used to dislike ice cream. Good thing you've mended your ways. ;D

      Yessss, read the graphic novel! (It's available anytime you want to borrow it from me.) And read The Lunar Chronicles too--I think you'd like them much more this time around.

      Hooray for OUAT and Flash! Both shows are extra fun because I get to watch with you guys. ^_^

      Haha, you're a sweetie too. You make me laugh.

    2. You're welcome, sista! ;)

      Aww, thanks I love watching it with you too. (You're commentary when you are hyper is fun to listen to. XD )


  8. It sounds like you had a great month! Lots of summery fun and it does feel weird that it's already August. XD Yay for Return of the King! I just marathoned Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit recently too. ^ ^

    1. I know; where IS the time going?? XD Oh man, how long did that marathon take you? Sounds like fun!

  9. I can't believe it's August already!!! Nooo, where has summer gone, seriously?
    My July was mostly revising and research, but August started off fast when I went out to see friends and relatives in the Midwest for 1 1/2 weeks! I feel like all of my summer fun was packed into that small amount of time, haha, it was a blast! Now I'm trying to catch up with everything online-wise that I missed. :)
    I didn't quite enjoy Scarlet as much as Cinder, either. I'm hoping the 3rd book will focus more on Cinder. :/
    I'm currently reading Mistborn, and enjoying it so far! It's different, and the first book of Sanderson I've read.

    1. And now we're practically halfway through August. O.O

      Sounds like you've been having a great summer! Revisions, research, visiting loved ones... Those days of condensed summer are such fun. :D

      I was really glad that Cinder was featured in Scarlet even a little bit. It helped balance things out. Her storyline doesn't feel complete yet, so I'm pretty sure we'll get more of her in Cress, too.

      Oh, cool! I've never read Sanderson, but I've heard a lot of high compliments about his books. (And also a few complaints about length and too much worldbuilding. But I'm still really interested in trying at least one of his books someday.) You'll have to let me know how Mistborn is!