Saturday, July 21, 2018

Q&A Vlog Part 2

I'm waving hello from St. Louis, Missouri, where Realm Makers is currently underway! (If you couldn't make it this year, please read THIS POST on Musings of an Elf. It's everything I'd say to you right now.)


As promised, the second half of the vlog is here! Just a couple of notes this time:


  1. The timeline is a bit off, because I mentioned, "by this time next week, I'll be at Realm Makers," not knowing that I'd split the vlog over two weeks.
  2. The guest post I referenced is this one over at The Author's Chair.
  3. All credit for the music (a song called Movement) belongs to Chasing Noise.
  4. The dragon makes an appearance at last!


I hope you enjoy the rest of these ramblings. Do feel free to shout out suggestions for that question I ask a bit closer to the end. And if I haven't caught up on comments by the time this post goes live, I do apologize. I'll reply to everyone once I return home, and also share a giant Realm Makers recap like I did last year! Then it'll be back to regular content here on Adventure Awaits.


Once again, thanks for watching! You all are the best!




Saturday, July 14, 2018

Q&A Vlog Part 1

At last, the vlog has arrived!



Thanks again for all the great questions, everyone! I had so much fun answering them, the vlog turned into . . . ahem . . . an hour-long video. So because no one wants to sit and watch sixty minutes of dorky chit-chat, and because I'm running short on time on my end, we're splitting this thing into two parts! If I can, I hope to get the second half ready for next Saturday, when I'll be at Realm Makers.


Little disclaimer: I filmed this on my phone, which was running so short of storage that I had to film it one piece at a time, upload to my computer, delete from my phone, and then continue. So there are awkward pauses in between that my miniscule video editing skills couldn't avoid. Just pretend we're facetiming or sharing Instagram stories or some other such casual thing, and let's not pretend that I'm some polished YouTuber. That would take a great deal of imagination.


So without further ado, here's the first segment!



EDIT: The background music is Lost in Las Vegas by Two Steps from Hell. Full credit goes to them!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Belated Blogoversary + #MyFirstPostRevisited



Adventure Awaits turned three at the end of March, and I promised some kind of party, didn't I? But I've arrived so late, even my wizard status can't excuse my tardiness. Gandalf is ashamed of me. As they say, "better late than never," so here we are! Help yourself to angel food cake and strawberries, because that's what I just ate, and we're going to happily live in the delusion that I can offer you a slice via the internet.
 
Blogging is a discipline I'm so glad I started. Sure, there are weeks (like this one) when getting a post up in time is a struggle. Life gets busy and sometimes I run out of inspiration. But I love sharing my heart here. Yet what I love even more is YOU. All of you who read, comment, and keep coming back--you're the reason Adventure Awaits exists! I hope your own journey has been impacted, even in some small way, by mine. Because life is story, after all, and we're all living epic tales of our own.
 
In the fashion of last year's blogoversary, let's kick off the party with some quick stats! Measuring growth is fun, right? It's like penciling in your height on the pantry wall.

Stats

 
  • 161 followers across Google Friend Connect and Bloglovin' (It was closer to 140-150 at the time of my actual blogoversary, I think . . . which is about double what I had last year . . . Anyway, I'm so grateful for every single one of you!)
  • 204 posts
  • 216,678 pageviews

Top Ten Countries



Most of those pageviews come from . . .

  1. United States
  2. Russia
  3. Canada
  4. France
  5. Ukraine
  6. Germany
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Netherlands
  9. Australia
  10. Ireland

It shocks me that this little place has grown at all in the past year, what with me going off to college and being less consistent here than I'd like. Here are some wild and wacky (and some predictable) ways people have found my blog:


Search Results



-larryboy and the fib from outer space (what? why???)
-rooglewood press (makes sense)
-josiah dyck (oh, look, that's my brother!)
-a girl who walk alone on the road (. . . this girl who walk alone needs to get better at grammar)
-allison tebo the reluctant godfather (why yes, I was part of her blog tour)
-adventure award wise counselor (ah, good times)
-five enchanted roses: a collection of . . . (it cuts off the end of the phrase, but I know which book that is, and it's excellent)
-rooglewood press contest (not like I entered any of those, LOL)
-adventure awaits blog (very sensible search result)
-Tracey (oh, so we're on first name basis now, Google and I?)
-summer book haul (always a good thing!)

Top Ten Most Popular Posts


I'm always somewhat bemused as to what gets a lot of pageviews and what doesn't. Whatever the reason, here are my most-viewed posts of all time! Numbers 1, 3, and 9 are some of my personal favorites.

1. Realm Makers 2017 Recap
2. Sunshine Blogger Award
3. Retellings - Love 'Em or Hate 'Em?
4. Beautiful Books - Writing Goals
5. Subplots and Storylines - November 2016
6. Book Review: Five Enchanted Roses
7. Subplots and Storylines - October 2016
8. Silmarillion Awards - Wisest Counselor Nominations
9. Why Fiction Matters
10. Problematic Opportunities and Opportunistic Problems
 

#MyFirstPostRevisited

 
Over half a year ago, the ever-creative Victoria Grace Howell @ Wanderer's Pen tagged me to participate in #MyFirstPostRevisited. Thanks, Tori! I thought it'd be fun to incorporate this into my next blogoversary! The rules of the tag are as follows:
 
 
  • No cheating. You must highlight your first post. Not your second post, not one you love… the first post only.
  • Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of ladybugs).
  • Cut and paste your old post into a new post or reblog your own bad self. (Either way is fine, but NO editing.)
  • Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
  • Tag five (5) other bloggers to take up this challenge.
  • Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog (don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
  • Feel free to cut and paste the badge to use in your post.
  • Include “the rules” in your post.
  • Completely silly rules that I’m making up as I type:
  • Write your post while wolfing down your favorite dessert.
  • Do 10 cartwheels after you hit “Publish.”
 
Well, I did just eat cake. But I'll neglect that last rule, because if I attempted a cartwheel, I would break something. Like my head. Or a piece of furniture. Or my pride. Let's have a look at my very first post from March 31, 2015!
 

Welcome!

 
Well met, fellow travelers!
 
I suppose introductions are in order. My name is Tracey Dyck, and at the moment, all the clever ways I planned to succinctly introduce myself have scurried out the back window and left me with a blank page. So let’s start with the basics, in no particular order.
 
I am:
-19 years of age
-Canadian
-a homeschool graduate
-a writer
-a God-chaser
 
And now for some random facts.
 
I feed on words. The smell of spring is hope to me. My bookshelves are congested. I have awesome parents and three awesome younger siblings. I live in the Prairies. I read and write pretty widely, but fantasy is my homeland. I write because I need to, and because I hope that someone else needs me to. New notebooks call to me. I take pictures of shadows. I sketch. I am a slayer of evil dragons and a friend of good ones. I am an introvert. My space is organized chaos. I love the colors of the Caribbean, of watermelon, and of new leaves. Please take me to Narnia because I left my heart there. I love children. Dark chocolate trumps milk or white. Captain America is, without a doubt, my favorite Marvel superhero. Apparently my personality type is the same as Batman’s, though I fail to see many similarities. I laugh easily and cry easily. I am a paradox because a sunny optimist and a cynic coexist in my brain. I adore humor. I am a girl of strong convictions. Jesus is the difference in my life; He is my anchor, my shield, my fortress.
 
Now, what should you expect on this blog? Good question. Even I’m not entirely sure. But I think you’ll find a mix of the big and the small, the important and trivial. A blend of life and faith and anything story-related. I aim to post about once a week, but that schedule may change as I settle into it and find out what works.
 
Life truly is a grand adventure! I sincerely hope that this place will be a rest stop where you can brush off the dust of your travels, warm your hands by the fire, and find stories in the coals. I hope that this is an armory where you can sharpen your blade, shine your armor, and stock your quiver. Here is where our quests intersect. Let’s swap tales, remind ourselves of the light, and look for the story the Author is weaving in each of our lives. To the wanderers, the wayfarers, the voyagers—I bid you welcome!
 
* * *

Surprisingly, that actually wasn't as cringey as I expected. I still hope this place is a rest stop for questers on their journey, I'm still looking for the heart I left in Narnia, and my bookshelves are more congested than ever!


Thanks for celebrating with me, friends! I appreciate each of you immensely and feel honored to spend time with you in this space. Next up is that vlog I'm working on! (Hopefully. Somebody send me a bottle of Extra Time, please.)

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Subplots and Storylines - June 2018



Hello, hello, everyone! I'm back! Thanks for all the great vlog questions you left me. I hope to film a coherent video answering them all very soon. In the meantime, how was your month? Sit down and grab a cup of lemonade (because coffee is much too hot for this weather) and let's chat!


My June was about as full as all my months seem to be, and yet it was a lot more relaxing because . . . I took a holiday! More on that in a minute. This could become a long post, so I'll try to keep each section of the recap brief and under control. (Yeah, right.)


A few notable life happenings:


  • I took my sisters to a Maze Runner-themed escape room! Kind of a homemade one put on by their youth group, but it was super well done. (And I got to sneak in and go through it too, even though I'm too old. Ha.)
  • A couple more friend get-togethers
  • My sister, Chloe @ Faeries and Folklore, graduated high school and we threw a party!
  • One of my best friends had a baby shower
  • Aaaaand holidays!


It was wonderful to spend a week at a cabin with my family, doing absolutely nothing. I devoured five books, watched a bunch of movies, ate delicious food, swam in the river, and played an ongoing game of Phase 10.


We also went to see the ruins of the old Pinawa Dam. I'm a sucker for ruins of any kind, but to find some in my home province of Manitoba was super cool! Can't you just see this old wall being used as the setting for a dystopian story? Or even a fantasy?




Screen Subplots



Once Upon a Time season 6
I only watched two more episodes this month, but the season is still making a slow upward climb, so that's good.


Avatar: The Last Airbender
Just one episode this month. Still a fun show!




Spider-Man 3
At last my siblings and I are finished the Tobey Maguire trilogy! I'm sorry to insult a classic, but these movies just didn't hold up like I'd hoped. (I did love them years ago.) At least Harry Osborne was better in this one.




The Greatest Showman
This has got to be the most hyped-up movie I've seen in a long time. I was rather worried it wouldn't live up to my expectations, and while pretty much the whole plot came as no surprise at this point, I LOVED IT. I loved the music, the visuals, the characters, the charm of it all. I loved the emphasis on family. It was beautiful. Truly. And if you'll pardon me a moment, I'm going to go buy the soundtrack!




Captain America: The First Avenger
My siblings and have started rewatching the Marvel movies (it's our youngest sister's first time!), and we skipped the Iron Man movies to watch this one. It gets me every time. I love Cap. And Bucky. And everything.




The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Another rewatch. So heartrending, I cried again.




Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Look at that, I'm really jumping on the HP bandwagon now! But this movie was so enjoyable. Faithful to the book, with an adorable young cast, it brought Hogwarts to life in such a charming way.




Coco
This one was better than I expected! If you don't mind the Day of the Dead stuff, it's a cute little film about family and remembering those who have passed away. The visuals are brilliant, and I didn't see one of the twists coming.


Page Storylines



Guys. I read nine books this month. NINE. I can't remember the last time that happened! (Thank you, vacation, for all the reading time.)




Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff // Chip Gaines


I've never watched Fixer Upper or read Chip and Joanna's previous book, but I still enjoyed getting to know them through this quick nonfiction read. They seem down-to-earth and have an approach to business I could get behind. Lots of anecdotes here, with some good advice for living fearlessly, taking risks, and prioritizing family. The book did feel a bit scattered, but that could be my own expectations interfering. 4 stars.




Steal Like an Artist // Austin Kleon


This little book is a pithy pep talk. Inspiring, quotable, whittled down to a few quick scrawls and snippets to catapult your own thoughts. It's a starting point, and I like where it leads. The biggest thing I took away is that our work is a sum of our influences--and that's okay. For any creative worried about originality or feeling short on ideas, this is a great pick-me-up. 5 stars!




Enoch's Ghost // Bryan Davis


(Continuing my reread of Dragons in Our Midst / Oracles of Fire / Children of the Bard series) Oh goodness, I'd forgotten how much I love this one. Themes of sacrifice run like a scarlet thread through the narrative, characters grow and develop through excruciating circumstances, and the threat facing our heroes is cataclysmic.


Ashley, struggling to relinquish control, has never been more relatable to me than right now. And I love her relationship with Walter! I'm also a huge fan of Second Eden, the infinite staircase, Dikaios, Elam, and Timothy. (That Timothy . . . he breaks my heart.) Everything wrapped up so incredibly well, with just enough hope amidst the disaster to last me until the next book! 5 stars!




Siren's Song // Mary Weber


Whew, this was quite the trilogy! There were a few things overall that I wasn't too keen on, but my love for Nym's journey and the powerful themes eclipse those minor annoyances. In this book, it's evident that Nym has come so far since the beginning. There were many characters to love, and even the dastardly Myles garnered my approval. (It helped that he reminded me of Loki.) The pace left my heart pounding, and the ending was thematically magnificent. 5 stars!




Unblemished // Sara Ella


I was a bit worried it wouldn't live up to the hype, but it was surprisingly good! It had some Once Upon a Time vibes, which made me happy. At first, the mysteries were easy to see through, and the beginnings of a love triangle seemed predictable. But then the plot twists started happening, and I actually grew to like the love triangle. (Gasp!) Life-or-death stakes have a way of breathing fresh life on that old trope. And in case you're wondering, I'm Team Ky. 4.5 stars.




The Minish Cap // Akira Himekawa


I don't read many graphic novels, just as I don't play many Legend of Zelda games, but this was a fun, quick read with an adorable drawing style. Link, Zelda, and the Picori were super cute. It was rather fast-paced--just the nature of graphic novels, I guess--but the ending was satisfying. 4 stars.




Paper and Fire // Rachel Caine


I read the first book on vacation last year, so it seemed fitting to continue while on another holiday! This one consisted of an intense rescue plot, an alternate-universe Rome, creepy automatons, much sneaking around, brilliant details, forbidden books, and serious squad goals. These crusty munchkins are becoming a family and I love it. The only things I didn't love? The continuation of a romance that goes against my beliefs, a small smattering of language, and the fact the main love interest seemed to be the only person lacking personality. But overall, I adore this series and can't wait to get my hands on the third book! 4.5 stars.




All the Crooked Saints // Maggie Stiefvater


With the lyricism of The Raven Cycle and none of its objectionable content, THIS was the kind of Stiefvater book I've been looking for! It was lovely, atmospheric, and somehow managed to be a feel-good story without the inherent cheesiness. The omniscient point-of-view worked beautifully, the very setting seemed alive, and the lovable cast was quirky as all get-out. What really got me is the message of hope: healing is found through opening yourself up to help others, and this eclectic crew of pilgrims on a Colorado ranch in the 1960s proved that better than anyone. 5 stars!




Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets // J.K. Rowling


More rollicking adventures in Hogwarts! The plot felt at times like a replica of the first book (until the plot twist happened), but I was having too much fun to care. A few things you must know: a) I am going to visit the Weasely's Burrow if it's the last thing I do, b) Mandrakes are hilarious, c) the duel scene was the best, d) Lockhart is annoying 95% of the time, e) Draco--just Draco, and f) somebody get me book 3 pronto. 5 stars!


Subplots of My Own Making



Not a ton to report on the writing front this month, unfortunately. Going away for a week may have had something to do with that. But! I did accomplish a few things.


I listened to episode 13 of The Creative Way, a writing course by Ted Dekker that has been taking me forever to finish. (But it's still excellent.)


I did a short critique for a critique partner. Her story is awesome.


I wrote a 300 word flash fiction and submitted it to Splickety.


I rewrote chapters one and two of The Brightest Thread AGAIN and finally moved into chapter 3. I hope I've stopped spinning my wheels on this opening, because I'd really like to make some progress before Realm Makers (which is two and a half weeks away!!!). It may be too soon to say, but I think, perhaps, maybe, this new opening is "The One." It stays true to the original version more than my other rewriting attempts, but I think it's mechanically stronger.


Whew! If you made it this far, here's a refill on that lemonade. What were your June highlights? Have you read/watched anything mentioned here? What's your ideal holiday? I hope you have a fantastic July! And to my Canadian friends--happy Canada Day!