Saturday, July 22, 2017

Subplots and Storylines - July 2017

(I almost wrote 2018, you guys. Scary.)

Hello! Whew, it feels like a massive party has been happening around here, what with the fantastically epic SilmAwards going on! I hope you've been having as much with it as I have. (If you missed it, click HERE to check out who won the Wisest Counselor Silmaril.) The awards take a break over this weekend, but then on Monday, the next post will go live!

If you're looking for a schedule of the awards presentations, Deborah has a handy one right here.

In the meantime, S&S is coming to you a week early. "What!" you say. "July isn't over yet!" I know, but in a matter of days I depart for Realm Makers (which will require a recap post, trust me). And after that's over, I'll be away on family holidays and shan't return to the internet until sometime during the first full week of August. Hence the early post.

July thus far has been a little less crazy than previous months. We celebrated Canada's 150th and my dad's birthday. One afternoon, I went out for a spontaneous coffee date with two friends I hadn't caught up with in a long time, and it was good to step away from writing for a couple of hours. I spent a fun day shopping in the city with my mom and sisters. The week after that, I took my brother to the city too, and we enjoyed shopping, watching Spider-Man Homecoming, having milkshakes, and listening to a super long, super amazing playlist he put together for my novel The Brightest Thread. (I love my family, guys.)

Another highlight was strawberry picking. Come on, who doesn't love getting down on their hands and knees between the rows and hunting down the brightest, reddest berries? But the best part is eating them afterward. Strawberries everywhere--with cream and sugar, with ice cream, with yogurt, with cake, with waffles and whipped cream, with French toast. EVERYTHING. Strawberries have a way of making it feel like summer (so does pea shelling, which we've also been doing).

(*looks at above paragraphs* Apparently I can talk about food for just as long as I can talk about life happenings. Ha.)

Oh! Before we move on, I have to share one of the biggest things that happened this month. You know how I applied for college this fall? Well, recently I was told that I was put on the waiting list--I would have to wait a full year to get in. Needless to say, I was disappointed. But all the delays in my life thus far have ended up being really good things, and God has used them to take me down better paths than I had set out for myself. So I was resigned to spend a year working at my job, trying to get my writing out there, and seeing what unexpected opportunities God might bring my way.

But a week after getting that email, I got another one saying I've been accepted after all! A few students dropped out, making room for me this fall! Classes start at the end of August (which is ridiculously close, you guys). It's a two year course in business administration. I never would have thought of taking something like this, but I've come to realize that a) this can help me start a financially stable career, and b) this will also help me in the writing/publishing field, because authors are essentially small business owners! Anyway, this is a big answer to prayer! And life is going to be changing yet again in just over a month.

On the Screen

Yep, you guessed it again: more Once Upon a Time. Still slowly going through seasons 2, 3, and 5. After a decidedly blegh episode in season 5 (called Ruby Slippers, for those who may be wondering), the season is looking up again. Or rather, looking very bleak for the characters, but much more exciting for me. Can't wait to see the last few episodes!

I mentioned it above, but I must say it again: I saw Spider-Man Homecoming in theaters and LOVE LOVE LOVED IT! There was a tad more language than I expected, but other than that, this was the perfect Spidey flick. I love Tom Holland's performance, because we finally have a Peter Parker who looks and acts exactly like a high school teenager. Don't get me wrong, Andrew Garfield was fantastic (and Tobey McGuire . . . eh, he gets points for being cheesy and nostalgic), but Tom Holland brings out the things that make Spider-Man Spider-Man.

The movie was funny, endearing, down-to-earth, and still had its intense moments. I was literally on the edge of my seat near the end. That plot twist. Wow. And it was so great having Tony Stark around for a bit. I love seeing him play mentor. The villain had a more grounded/realistic backstory than some, the high school dynamics were the best, and Ned was a hilarious best friend/"guy in the chair."

I wish I had a more cohesive mini review to share, but my thoughts are all over the place. It's one of those movies I have to see again!

On the Page

Scorpia by Anthony Horowitz
Probably the best Alex Rider book yet! It still feels like a kid playing James Bond, but this book had a more complex plot. I think Alex is growing up. He discovered more about his father, was faced with some pretty difficult choices, and had to get out of even worse scrapes than before. My favorite scene was near the beginning when he's stuck in a flooding prison cell in Venice! Kind of reminded me of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation a little bit.

Four stars.

Solitary by Travis Thrasher (audio book)
I read started reading the Solitary Tales back in 2013. I remember loving it back then. The writing style isn't particularly beautiful or complex, but that's why it's so easy to fly through. Listening to the audio book over the last couple months (what can I say? my drive to work is too short), I couldn't speed through the story, but it was cool to "reread it" now that I know how the whole story ends.

I'd forgotten how dark and hopeless it gets, but I don't mind because I know that Chris, the main character, is embarking on a journey to find light. Even if he doesn't know it by the final page of book one. Meanwhile, the web of secrets strung over the little town of Solitary is intriguing and terrifying. It's still suspenseful the second time around, because I don't remember all the ins and outs.

Anyway, back to the audio format: four stars for this one. The book itself gets five stars, but I enjoyed the narrator of the last audio book I listened to (Crazy Dangerous) more.

Reapers by Bryan Davis
I'm in the middle of it right now, and expect to finish before I leave. I'll have more thoughts to share in next month's S&S post, but for now I'll say that the pace is picking up, and I'm quite enjoying myself! Phoenix is a very different protagonist than most of Bryan Davis's. He's still principled, but not to the extent of someone like Billy Bannister or Adrian Masters or Nathan Shepherd. (Although I'm still figuring Phoenix out, so don't take that as my final say on the matter.) I look forward to seeing where the second half of the book goes!

On the Writing Desk

As you know, the Silmarillion Awards have been going on this month, which sort of counts as writing--at least part of it.

Other than that, I clocked my writing time again this month: about 30 hours spent writing and/or editing The Brightest Thread. As I edited, I wrote in a few new scenes and added touches of description, contributing another 6,665 words to the manuscript. Now it stands at precisely 68,727 words. Not quite as close to my 70k goal as I wanted, but at this point that's all I have in me to add. After days of slow progress, including taking my laptop along on the drive to and from church a few Sundays, just to get more writing time in, it's a relief to be done!

I think The Brightest Thread is the strongest novel I've written to date, despite the fact that it's also the shortest. I'm excited to pitch it next week and see what kind of feedback it gets! Even an unfavorable reaction is a learning experience, so it's impossible to lose out.

In other writing-related doings, I finished up session 12 of The Creative Way (the writing course by Ted Dekker I'm slowly going through). I also designed business cards and wrote up a one sheet for the conference!

Farewell for now, my friends!

Although I'll be using the internet whilst at the conference, after that I'll be unplugging for a week. You won't see me around here for a little while. However, I hope to schedule a few posts to go up during my absence, so it won't be completely quiet on Adventure Awaits.

One of the scheduled posts will be for the end of the SilmAwards on July 29th. All of you are welcome to join in as well with your own posts (blog or otherwise) to celebrate all things Tolkien and fantasy! There are no rules. Feel free to write a tribute to Tolkien, pen an ode to Samwise Gamgee, start a discussion about favorite elements of fantasy, share a collection of quotes, include a gif or two (or three hundred) from Lord of the Rings, make a list of favorite fantasy novels, or whatever you like! (Remember to use #SilmAwards2017 on social media!) I'll catch up on it all when I return.

Take care, my friends! I look forward to sharing my adventures with you! And if any of you are coming to Realm Makers--I'll see you there.

How has your July been? I hope you're having a fantastic summer. Bet you're craving strawberries now, thanks to me.  If you've seen Spider-Man Homecoming, what did you think of it?


  1. We went raspberry picking and it was wonderful! You can't beat the north for delicious berries. *licks lips* I hope you have a great time at Realm Makers!

    1. I looooove fresh raspberries! I wish we had a place around here to pick those too. Berries in general are my favorite.

      Thanks! I hope so too! ^_^


    First of all, YOU'RE LEAVING FOR REALM MAKERS IN A FEW DAYS. I am so ridiculously ecstatic for you! Literally, for the past few days I keep thinking, "Tracey is going to Realm Makers soon! This is so exciting!" I just know you're going to have the most magical time!

    Second, YOU WERE ACCEPTED INTO COLLEGE???? AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS! *flails and squeals and throws confetti* Business administration is PERFECT. I've seen multiple authors say that's one of the best things you can go to college for if you want to be an author, because, like you said, publishing a book is like owning a little business. EEP. This is so awesome, Tracey! I love how you're taking your dream so seriously and DOING things to make it happen. I'M SO PROUD OF YOU. YOU INSPIRE ME.

    You saw Spider-Man: Homecoming??? I LOVED THAT MOVIE. I agree, Tom Holland is the BEST most PERFECT Spider-Man to date. He was so precious! That whole movie just SDKJ:FKSJKDJF. Tony, Ned, the humor, the plot twist (I think I forgot to breathe a few times o.o), Peter himself, just EVERYTHING. It was fantastic!

    OH. You're reading Reapers? Exciting!!! :D I'd definitely say the DiOM books are much better. And I also liked the Echoes from the Edge books quite a bit more. But I still LOVED Reapers. Though I agree, Phoenix isn't quite the same as the usual protagonists we get. I liked him a lot but maybe not quiiiiite as much as people like our dear Billy, etc. Anyways, I look forward to hearing your overall thoughts when you're done!

    Oh my gracious goodness, you worked SO HARD on TBT! I've literally been watching in complete in utter awe as you chip away at this thing day after day after day, so determined and dedicated. I repeat: YOU INSPIRE ME. I am so, so, soooooooooooo excited about you pitching it at Realm Makers. I know everyone is going to love it!

    And speaking of which, I want you to know you've been extra in my prayers lately--that you'll make it to Realm Makers and back safely, that you have the best time, and that all your hopes for it will go wonderfully. I cannot wait to hear all about it when you return!

    I WILL MISS YOU!!! But I'm so glad you're going to get some vacation time and be able to unplug. I know it's much needed!

    I hope the rest of your summer is the most amazing one! LOVE YOU! <3

    (P.S. I'm toootally craving strawberries now, so thanks! :P They're my most faaavorite of fruits!)


      Awww, it's so precious that you'd be so excited for me! *hugs* (Your whole comment, really, has me grinning from ear to ear.)

      I'm still kind of blown away about that! Especially after accepting the fact that I'd have a year's wait, and then getting in this year after all. Talk about a mindset switcheroo! But I'm excited. And it's actually rather comforting to hear from other authors (albeit second-hand through you) that it's a good degree to get! OKAY, BUT YOU INSPIRE ME TOO. <333

      Hahaha, I hadn't realized you'd seen Homecoming until I saw your comment on Katie Grace's blog! XD But wasn't it incredible?! I almost forgot to breathe a few times too, especially at that one scene near the end...! :O

      DIOM will forever hold a special place in my heart, that's for sure! Nostalgia also colors my view of it ^_^ Reapers IS a decidedly different sort of book, but it still feels like a Bryan Davis novel somehow, despite that. As I near the end, I'm getting really curious about where the next two books will go... But yes, I totally get what you're saying! And I will for sure share my thoughts--here and on Goodreads, probably.

      And your encouragement helped SO. MUCH. as I chipped away at it. I'm serious, it was so great to bounce ideas off of you and know you were cheering me on. <333 I'm pretty ridiculously excited too! :D

      Oh goodness, I almost teared up--thank you ever so much for praying!!!! Just--all the hugs, okay? <33333

      I'll miss you too, but hopefully it won't feel like I'm completely absent with some scheduled posts! :) LOVE YOU TOO!

      (P.S. That's right, it is your favorite! Mwahaha.)

  3. Best of luck with pitching your novel, and with your mental preparation for college. Summer has been going pretty well, and July has been fun.

    1. Thank you, Patrick! "Mental preparation"--so accurate. XD Glad to hear you've been having a fun summer thus far! Hope the enjoyment continues.

  4. I hope you have a great time at Realm Makers and college. You do have a lot going on, I will miss you around here.

    1. D'awww, you're precious, Skye. *hugs* Well, I managed to keep up with posting (more or less...heheh...) during last year's college, so I hope my workload allows me to do that again this fall! <3 I don't want to leave you guys!

  5. When you have a moment you should tell me about The Creative Way course because, duh, it's Ted Dekker. Well seriously I have seen/read about it and am curious to see what you think and what it contains :)

    1. *whispers* Same here - I've been considering signing up when enrollment opens again ;). I'd love to hear more about it!

      ~ Savannah | Scattered Scribblings

    2. I'd love too! Actually...come to think of it, that would make a great blog post when I finish The Creative Way. Thanks for the idea, you two! (I've only got a few sessions left, so perhaps I can finish before school starts.)

      I can tell you right now that it's an amazing course. Just the first couple of sessions alone totally enhanced the way I view writing. As far as the actual writing SKILLS he touches on, it's not a lot of "new" info, per se--but he has a way of distilling things that just clarifies what you may already know. I don't know if that made any sense at all, but hopefully I'll get a chance to review the course in a blog post in the near-ish future! :D

  6. AGH SPIDERMAN HOMECOMING!!! I LOVED it!! I agree, there was a little more language than I'd normally expect from a Marvel movie, but it was still good!! THAT PLOT TWIST THOUGH. O_O

    1. IT WAS SO GOOOOOOOD. *flails like an octopus* Yeah, it did seem a little harsher on the language side than I expected (though I did read the PluggedIn review, so I was aware of it beforehand), which was unfortunate. But otherwise--AMAZING. Ugh, yes, that twist. So suspenseful. :O

  7. Congratulations on your acceptance into college, and also for finishing The Brightest Thread for Realm Makers- I'm sure both experiences will be amazing!
    Yes, I am craving strawberries now- but I always associate July with blueberries.

    1. Thanks very much, Blue! <3

      Mission accomplished. ;D But oh, blueberries--I can't get enough of those! I wish we had a patch around here I could pick from!

  8. Who waits to eat strawberries until after you're done picking? We eat some right off the plant. . .
    Today my mother bought sweet corn on the way home from church. Husking it on the porch, all alone, with cicadas in the background, is summer too. So are eating tomatoes right off the plants, and peas, and raspberries, and pretty much anything --- the only rule is you must eat it within the bounds of the garden and without washing it first, to get it as fresh as possible (we don't spray our plants, so it's safe). But this year our garden kind of failed, and all we've got is tomatoes and raspberries.
    I'm not all about food usually, but when there's fresh fruit and vegetables, *really* fresh, not from a store, then I'll crave them all year and eat them whenever I can.

    I hope Realm Makers goes well for you! At the very least it should be educational, right? And don't feel bad about taking a break. You'll do more and better work for having had it.

    1. Pssshhh, no one! I always sneak a few while I pick. ;D Corn, tomatoes, peas, raspberriess...gosh, you're making me hungry! We grew the most amazing corn last year--the stuff we froze still tastes fresh off the cob when we cook it up even now.

      Okay, I can tell you're a fellow gardener because YES YES YES, eat it fresh and straight from the ground! Carrots are the best for that. But awww, I'm sorry to hear that your garden failed this year. :(

      Thank you! Yes, I'm sure I'll learn a ton. Looks there are many great authors and speakers going! Thanks for the timely reminder about taking breaks; goodness knows I need a reminder now and then. ;)

  9. TRACEY DARLING YOUR MONTHLY UPDATES ARE THE BEST. I've forgotten how much I missed sitting down and enjoying them!! It seems I'm always too busy to sit and enjoy blog posts and write up enormous comments. XD (Erm...I'm actually still too busy. AND STRESSED. But that's no different than usual. ;P)

    All that time with family and friends sounds lovely! I haven't seen my best friend is several weeks now because of all the trips we've been taking. But having that time with your loved ones is really so priceless. <3

    HOW DARE YOU MENTION STRAWBERRIES. Now I'm going to have to go raid our refrigerator at midnight. *grumbles* ;D (Also, berry picking does indeed sound very summery! I've never been, sadly, but I'd love to someday.)

    I'M SO HAPPY THAT YOU GOT ACCEPTED TO COLLEGE!!! Eep! That is seriously so incredible! *hugs you* Very excited for this unexpected turn in your life and for all the adventures that are bound to unfold!

    AND REALM MAKERS ASHDLDHSLS. You obviously know how I feel about that. *coughs*

    Ahh, Spider-Man! My sister actually saw that in theaters. As you know (I think?) I've never actually seen a Marvel movie...but I *did* start watching a little bit of the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movie today. We shall see what I think. *strokes nonexistent beard* *because it would be really weird if I had one*

    AND OF COURSE TBT!!! I'm sooooo proud of you! Like, you don't even KNOW. You've worked so incredibly hard, and it shows. I have a feeling your stories are going to change lives, Tracey. TRULY. <3

    WELLLLL that's all for now. Loved hearing what's going on in your life, as always! And I can hardly WAIT to see you!!! *screams*

    1. AWWWWGSH, MARYYYY. <333 I was so delighted to see your lovely long comment show up yesterday! But ugh, I know how you feel with being too busy to leave longer comments these days. Don't feel bad, though! (Also: kick that stress to the curb. That's an order, you got it? But don't stress about it. ;D)

      HOW DARE I INDEED. Hope your midnight raid was successful! ;) *gasp* You've never been berry picking??? I must take you one day!

      THANK YOU! *hugs back* I'm sure it will be quite the adventure!

      OBVIOUSLY. ;)

      Oh that's right, I forgot you've never seen a Marvel movie! LOL, Tobey Maguire's movies are cheesy/fun/a little cringey at times, but I hope you enjoy them, nonexistent beard and all. XD

      Thank you EVER so much, girl! You're such an encouragement to me, for real! <333

      See you soooooon!

  10. Congrats on your college acceptance! Hope that goes well! Hope you have a good vacation with your family, and I HOPE YOU HAVE A MARVELOUS TIME AT REALM MAKERS AAAAAAAHHH!!! *flailing* I wish I was going -- it would be AMAZING to meet you and the other several authors I know who are going. <333 Also huge congrats on getting TBT to 68K! :O I'M SO IMPRESSED. YOU'RE AMAZING. Love you girl! Have a good break and MEET ALL THE AWESOME WRITERS AT REALMMAKERS FOR ME! <3

    1. Thank you, Deborah! ^___^ Thanks for all the encouragement and well wishes! I SO WISH YOU WERE COMING TOO. *sobs* One day, okay? SOMEwhere, SOMEday, we'll meet each other.

      THANK YOU AGAIN, AHHHH. I'm so glad/relieved to be on break, and I'll be thinking of you when I meet "all the awesome writers!" ;D

  11. Strawberries - <3 I actually have a patch of them in my garden. We went out a few evenings ago and picked them till dusk. They were the prettiest I've ever grown and so tasty!

    Congratulations on getting accepted into the college and have fun at the writers' conference!

    1. Ahhh, lucky! We used to grow strawberries a long time ago, but the robins were as fond of them as we were, and then the strawberries staged an invasion of the garden, so... Sounds like fun picking berries till dusk, though!

      Thank you!!! ^_^

    2. That's so funny about the strawberry invasion! The same thing is happening to me this year :)

    3. Oh no! Must send reinforcements to help Meaghan stave off the strawberries! *launches a flock of berry-eating robins* XD

    4. Ha! Though...Are the robins the ones secretly enabling the strawberry invasion? Because I'm having strawberry plants popping up in some random and distant places...

    5. IT'S A CONSPIRACY. o.o Those traitors!!!

  12. Strawberries! Um yeah I'm really hungry ... thanks mate!

    WELL DONE RE COLLEGE!!! SERIOUSLY, GO YOU! That's super exciting. And, like, really soon! Gosh!

    I hope you're having an amazing time at RM, can't wait to hear about it <3

    PS I sent you something exciting ... maybe it will have arrived when you arrive back in Canada!

    1. Anytime! ;)

      THANK YOU! I know, I can't believe I start in THREE WEEKS. WHAT.

      Can't wait to fill you in on everything!

      P.S. I returned home today to find that certain exciting something waiting for me--thank you! :D

  13. I haven't been strawberry picking in a while... but it is so fun! (When not corralling small children and making sure that they aren't eating TOO many before I pay for them) haha

    Congratulations on getting accepted into the college!!!! YAY!!! *tosses confetti*

    I WANT TO HEAR ALL ABOUT REALM MAKERS! I am living vicariously through you, here, so every detail!!!!

    I can't wait to see Spiderman! He's my favorite. There are other superheroes I can wait until Blu-Ray for, but Spidey brings me back to the theaters every time.

    1. LOL, herding children about would complicate strawberry picking a bit, I'm sure! ;)

      Thanks so much! It's pretty exciting.

      I WILL POST ABOUT IT THIS SATURDAY. As long as I can pull my thoughts together! There's so much!

      Yes! Homecoming was amazing! I think you'd really like it. Good ol' Spidey, but with enough newness to freshen it up.

  14. I can't wait to read your Realmie post! And I really need to see Spiderman and Wonder Woman. I'm so behind on movies right now. XD Have a relaxing vacation!

    1. I hope to have it up at the end of the week! (And I need to leave a comment on yours, speaking of RM.) I really want to watch Wonder Woman myself, but then, I'm always behind on movies. XD Thank you!