July Recap 2019

July has been a hard month. A lot has been going on in my personal life, and I’m finding myself both emotionally and creatively drained. On a high note, I began revising my adult fantasy romance WIP, Forbidden, and finished round one of revisions, which is amazing! But on the bad side of things, my mom had a mini-stroke and I had to take her to the hospital. She’s recovered well and luckily nothing too serious happened, but there’s still the worry of another stroke possibly happening again. On top of that, I started a new job! I’ll be working weekends, and still get several days during the week to dedicate to writing! But just between all the travel, the hospital visits, and the stress of the new job, I’m worn out. But I’m hoping I can bounce back soon!

What I Wrote:

Like I mentioned above, I finished round one of revising Forbidden. The previous draft was sitting at 128k, and I managed to cut it down to 117k! I’d still like to cut those extra 2,000 words, but I’ve made a plan on how to tackle the next few rounds of revisions. Otherwise, I really haven’t dedicated time to any of my other projects. All of my focus has been going towards these revisions instead, but I did get an idea for a new WIP that I’m very excited begin plotting.

What I Read:

Total: 8

My Sweet Audrina/Whitefern by V.C. Andrews ★☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

My Sweet Audrina ★☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Whitefern ★☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

If I could say two words to describe these books, it would be: just don’t.


I saw this two-in-one book on the shelf at Walmart one day and thought it sounded intriguing, so I decided to pick it up, thinking it would be right up my alley. Unfortunately, I bit off more than I could chew, and found myself spiraling into a book series I wish I’d never discovered.

The story follows seven-year-old Audrina, who after her older sister – also named Audrina – was brutally murdered, struggles to become “The First and Best Audrina” instead of “The Second and Worst Audrina”. As Audrina grows and lives her life, she uncovers the dark secrets that her family has been keeping from her. Whitefern, the sequel, follows Audrina as an adult, as she struggles to come to terms with the secrets she’s learned.

The premise itself is very interesting – but the problem is everything inside the book. It’s chock-full of melodrama, long, drawn-out scenes, and abusive themes and messages such as:

Trigger Warning:

*Hints of pedophilia
*Spousal Abuse
*Verbal and Physical Abuse
*Child Abuse
*Rape/Sexual Assault
*Disability Abuse
*Substance Abuse
*And much more

The worst part about reading these two books is that they’ve put me in a very negative headspace, and many of the negative messages inside have burrowed their way into my brain. I definitely did not feel good or excited while reading these, and I wouldn’t recommend these books to anyone.


The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins ★★★★☆

The Hunger Games ★★★★★
Catching Fire ★★★★☆
Mockingjay ★★★★☆

Okay, I have a dirty little secret: I’ve never read The Hunger Games. Until now. The books came out when I was in high school I think, but for some reason, I just never picked them up. Even though I’ve seen the movies and knew the plot o each book, when my boyfriend asked me to read them (since he has the box set) I said sure!

Even though I knew what was going to happen with every scene, I still found myself completely enthralled in the world of Panem. I loved the writing, the story, and found myself constantly on the edge of my seat in anticipation. I really don’t have anything negative to say about the series – except when it comes to the final book, Mockingjay. I did find Mockingjay, at times, to be rather confusing to read when it came down to the war and battle scenes, but other than that, the series was a very satisfying and fulfilling read.


To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo ★★★☆☆

I was really loving this book, until about halfway through. Something shifted in the middle of this book. Everything about the tone, the pacing, the characters – things took a very drastic turn that I just couldn’t get behind, and I found myself growing bored as I got closer to the end. By the time I did reach the final fifty pages or so, I was skimming just to get this book over with. Unfortunately, the plot became very unrealistic and cliché towards the end, and it wasn’t my cup of tea.

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks ★★★☆☆

I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t love it either. The writing was compelling, and I was really interested in the story. Even the twists and turns I didn’t expect! But as I was drawing closer to the end, I kept thinking there was going to be some big, mind-blowing twist, but there really wasn’t. While the story hooked me and kept me reading, I just wasn’t satisfied with the ending.

Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym M. Martineau ★★★★☆

This was one of my anticipated releases for this year, and it was definitely worth the hype! I loved the characters and the world, particularly the magic system – it was all so unique and interesting to read! I don’t have really any complaints about this book, other than I felt like the ending was just a tad rushed, but other than that, this was an enjoyable read! If you love fantasy romance, you should definitely pick this one up!

Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre ★★☆☆☆

I wanted to love this book, I really did. Everything about this premise sounded right up my alley. While the writing is nice and the story is fast-paced and an easy read, it felt like the author had multiple ideas that she wanted to write about, and decided to mesh them all together in this one book. Unfortunately, the difference in the ideas just didn’t work well together for me. There’s so much going on in this book, and not nearly enough time is spent developing each plot point. The ending wasn’t fulfilling, and there were multiple plot holes and subplots that felt neglected. Despite my complaints, I didn’t hate this book, but I feel like it was wildly miss-marketed. This is a really close three stars, but in the end, I just wasn’t happy with this one.


What I’m Watching:

I finally finished The Fosters, which I was very sad to see end! My boyfriend and I also watched Netflix’s Castlevania series, which was actually pretty good, and I’m very excited for Season 3! We also finished The Tudors, which was very good, and I definitely recommend watching it. We’ve started rewatching Dragon Ball Super in preparation for the last two volumes to be released on DVD, and as always, DBZ Super is a fun time, and an amazing show.

Currently Reading:


How I Did: July Goals

Back in July, I gave myself several goals:

• Revise adult fantasy WIP
• Finish writing YA Thief Idea
• Send adult fantasy WIP back out to readers
• Make a final decision about going back to school
• Create my blog schedule for August and September

Unfortunately, I only managed to complete one of these, which was revising my adult fantasy WIP! Since I still have a few more rounds of revision I want to complete, it probably won’t go back out to beta’s until August! I also didn’t finish writing my YA thief idea since I was so preoccupied with these revisions. I did create my August blog post schedule, but not my September one, so I guess I completed half the goal.

And then there’s the school thing. Ugh. Ever since I started posting monthly recaps, I’ve been talking about wanting to go back to school – and I did. But at this point in time, I have no debt, and I’m scared of getting into a ton of debt. Have any of you gone back to school later in life? How did that turn out?

August Goals:

• Finish revising adult fantasy WIP
• Finish writing YA Thief Idea
• Send adult fantasy back out to beta readers
• Create blog schedule for September and October
• Start writing YA Foreign Princess Idea
• Start plotting new adult fantasy romance idea
• Research literary agents
• Revise query letter for adult fantasy WIP

How was everyone’s July? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO – Devon

Birthday Book Haul

With my birthday come and gone, I’m sure you can imagine there’s something I asked for: books!

Lots and lots of books. With so many new titles releasing, I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on them! Luckily, my friends and family were gracious enough to buy me several books or give me gift cards to buy the books myself! So, I thought I’d share with you all the books I’ve received for my birthday!

(Books in no particular order!)


I also have to give a huge thank you and shout out to my friend and CP, Tauri Cox, for gifting me Kingdom of Exiles, You Are a Badass, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo!

Are there any books here that you’ve read? Or any you want me to read first and give my review? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO – Devon

4 Reasons to Join the Writing Community

Writing is a lonely process. Most of the time, us writers are holed up in a room, all alone, with our own thoughts, dreams, and ideas. It’s such an isolated process that it can be hard to remember there are other writers – and people like us – out there. Since joining the Writing Community two years ago, I’ve connected with so many amazing writers, and found a place where I can fully be myself.

So where do you join the community?

It’s all over the place! Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc…However, Twitter is the best place to be the most active. So many writers have accounts, as well as literary agents and publishing houses, and it’s the easiest place to interact and communicate.

But what benefits are there to joining the Writing Community?

1.) Community

There is a community full of writers out there. People who are on the same journey as you – whatever level you may be at. There are those who are writing their first novel, or their second; others who are ready to self-publish or already have. Whatever path you’re on, there will be hundreds of others just like you.

Like I said before, writing is a lonely process. But finding a community that you can connect with, where you can talk to like-minded people, makes the writing process a little less lonely.

2.) Connections

Being part of the community also means making connections with people. Other writers, editors, freelancers, critique partners, beta readers, and literary agents – they’re all people you can meet, and it’s important to get to know them.

Well, you don’t have to get to know all of them.

But making a few meaningful connections with other writers who can become your critique partners, or getting to know what an agent likes or dislikes by their tweets, can build meaningful connections that are guaranteed to help you along the way.

3.) Advice

Another amazing part of the community is learning advice from other writers, agents, and editors. So many of these writers tweet out daily writing advice, or agents will tweet things they frequently see go wrong in writer’s query letters or manuscripts.
Twitter can be a goldmine of advice.

Follow writers like Delilah S. Dawson, Susan Dennard, or V.E. Schwab for advice on writing.

4.) Platform

Whether you’re self, traditional, or small press publishing, one of the most important things you will have to do as a writer is build your author platform. By building an audience of people who are invested in you, and your work and brand, you’re already making a name for yourself in the publishing world.

Marketing is harder than ever these days, with so many markets oversaturated with products; but by ensuring you are active, and actively making connections with people, you’ll only continue to grow and build your platform. Follower count isn’t the most important thing – but building connections is.

If you’re interested in joining the community, follow along with hashtags like:


Do any of these tips help you want to join the community? How do you interact with other writers? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO – Devon

The 10 Best Gifts for Writers (Birthday Edition)

With another birthday come and gone, it got me thinking: what are some of the perfect gifts for writers? If you’re a writer looking for ideas for yourself, or you have writer friends with a birthday coming up and aren’t sure what to get them, then here’s a list that’ll hopefully spark the perfect gift idea!

1.) Gift Cards

You can’t go wrong with a gift card! They’re simple, yet so effective. Gift cards to places like Barnes & Nobles, Amazon, or Target are the perfect place to stock up on more books or favorite writing supplies.


2.) Books

Or, if you know exactly what your friend likes to read, then get them a book! Books make the perfect gift; just make sure you know exactly what your friend wants, or you could end up accidentally getting them duplicates of books they already own!

Another great book gift is to get them a special edition of a book they already love, or even a box set of their favorite series.


3.) Journals

What writer doesn’t love a journal? Whether they like to use it for, you know – actually journaling – or writing down plot ideas, blogging schedules, or writing routines, you can’t go wrong with a journal!


4.) Writerly Mugs

Whatever their favorite drink, a mug is always fun. Writing quotes, grammar rules, Shakespeare insults, you name it – there’s bound to be a writerly themed mug for it!

Cafépress.com has some of the best mugs available!


5.) Bookends

Writers are known for having lots of book, and book ends are perfect. Not only will they spice up a bookshelf, but they’re pretty cool to look at, and they’re the perfect writer themed decoration to liven up any room.

(I personally have my eye on the Game of Thrones Dragon Eggs Bookends)


6.) Writer Coloring Books

Forget about the stigma of adults coloring! Coloring is one of the most relaxing and stress-releasing activities there is. In the past couple of years, some awesome YA themed coloring books have been released, and they’re an amazing gift!

book 1.png913M+eCw8pL.jpg

7.) Wick and Fables Candles

I haven’t personally used these, but I’ve heard they’re amazing! Candles inspired by your favorite books and favorite characters is sure to brighten any writer’s day! Not only can you shop for individual candles, but you can also subscribe to their monthly boxes!

Seriously, who doesn’t love a good candle?


8.) Owl Crate Subscription

For just $29.99 USD, you can buy your friend a subscription to Owl Crate! They also offer three and six month prepay, if you’re feeling generous. Owl Crate is the leading young adult subscription box on the market. They gift you every month with a new YA release, bookish keepsakes, exclusive items from authors and publishers, and so much more They also offer Owl Crate Jr. for the Middle Grade readers out there.

I haven’t personally used Owl Crate, but I’ve heard nothing but good things, and even I’m tempted to sign up!


9.) Masterclass Subscription

With a payment of $180 for an all-access pass, or $90 for a single Masterclass, you can gift your writer friend with this amazing opportunity. Detailed classes taught by Dan Brown, R.L. Stine, Judy Blume, James Patterson, and so many other successful writers have available classes on the Masterclass website. Not only is the price point affordable for such a class, but you get life-time access that never expires.


10.) Workshop

Writing Workshops can range from $100 – $800 or more, and cover a myriad of topics like: Writing Women’s Fiction, 12 Weeks to a First Draft, Advanced Novel Writing, Focus on the Short Story, and so much more. There’s bound to be a topic your writing friend is interested in, whether they’re looking to get a certification, or level up their writing craft.
While Workshops are on the more expensive side, they’re definitely a more personalized and special gift. You can look more into workshops with resources like:

Catapult Classes
Writer’s Digest University
Gotham Writers Workshop

I personally asked for a specific workshop as a birthday gift, and I’ve really been enjoying it!


Whatever your budget, or your writing friend is interested in, I hope this list gives you a better idea of finding the perfect gift for all your writer friends out there!

Have you personally bought any items on these list or taken a Masterclass? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO – Devon

Interview with a Writer: Kelsey Atkins

Are you interested in getting to know more of the writers who are part of our amazing community? As part of my blog series, I’ve interviewed some of the writers in an effort to get to know them better, as well as share their stories!

Today, I’m introducing Kelsey Atkins onto the blog! Kelsey is one of my CP’s, and her feedback on my work has been so helpful! I’m excited to share Kelsey’s story!

#1. What got you into writing? How and when did you first start?

I started to enjoy writing at a very young age. I’ve always kept a journal and even wrote a few short stories when I was in middle school, but I didn’t start seriously writing until I was out of college. Writing was never something I thought about doing until I had a story to write. As soon as that first story planted itself in my brain and demanded to be written, I began my official writing journey and have been at it ever since.

#2: Where do you usually get your ideas?

As cliché as it sounds, I get my best ideas from dreams. Occasionally an idea will randomly pop into my head or develop from something I saw or heard, but the best ideas come from my subconscious.

#3: What current project are you working on right now? What was the inspiration for this project?

My current project is a dystopian novel set in a fantasy world. This is my first dystopian, but I stayed near my comfort zone by adding a fantasy element. I can’t remember where the idea originally came from, but I do remember it started out more as a feeling than an overall idea. I tried to write a different story before I chose to work on this one, but it kept tugging at the back of my mind, begging to be written, so that’s where my focus currently lies.

#4: Traditional, Self-Publish, Small Press? What path to publishing are you pursuing/have pursued and why?

My first book was traditionally published and I will continue to seek that route for my future novels. This is such a personal choice for each writer and for me it came down to needing to have someone in the industry believe in my work. I also wanted the support a traditional publisher provides as well as help navigating my way through marketing and book signings. The financial support is a huge bonus too!

#5: What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever received?

“There are no rules for writing. Find what works for you and stick with it!”

I really struggled to complete my first book because I thought I had to write it linearly from beginning to end. I thought I had to have an outline and do my best to stick to it. When I finally let go of all that, writing came so much easier. It took me five years to write my first book, but after I developed a process that worked for me, it only took me four months to write my second novel and eight weeks to write my third (thanks to Camp Nano and awesome cabin mates).

#6: When are you most creative?

My creativity hits whenever it’s inconvenient such as in the shower or while I’m driving. One of these days I’ll need to invest in a voice recorder and waterproof notepad, but until then I’ll continue jumping out of the shower with soapy hair, pulling over on the side of the road, or trying to convince myself I can remember whatever great idea popped into my mind.

#7: What authors inspire you the most?

Honestly, the authors who inspire me the most are those in the writing community who have yet to be published or have just started their publishing journey. The journey is LONG and hard and exhausting. It would be so much easier to give up after the first ten rejection letters and even easier to give up after the next twenty, thirty, or however many may come. It is so inspiring to see the writers who believe in themselves and their work keep fighting every day to make their dreams a reality. Persevering through the criticism and the let downs is so hard and takes an immeasurable amount of strength. Those who fight the good fight every day inspire me the most!

#8: What’s your most anticipated read in the next few months?

I don’t often read new releases so I couldn’t even tell you what’s coming out in the next few months, but I can tell you I am really looking forward to Sarah J. Maas’s new book!

#9: What are you currently reading?

Right now I’m working my way through several beta reads but am also reading Tower of Dawn which is taking me much longer to get through than the other books in the series.

#10: What’s your favorite book or book series?

This question is almost impossible. One of my all-time favorite series is The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, but there are several close seconds including A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Tiger’s Curse, and of course Harry Potter!

#11: Favorite childhood book?

The first book I remember really enjoying growing up was The Golden Compass by Philip Paullman. In high school, my favorite series was Harry Potter!

#12: Biggest book pet peeve?

Love triangles are geometric romances from hell! I never have and never will enjoy them. Reading one is the equivalent to nails on a chalkboard for me which is funny because several of my favorite books have at least one written into the story somewhere.

#13: What book has made you cry?

I know there are plenty that have made me cry, but the only ones I can think of off the top of my head are The Shack and Where the Red Fern Grows. I try to stay away from books that will make me cry, but it doesn’t take much to elicit an emotion response from me, so I tend to cry at some point in most of the stories I read.

#14: Favorite writing snack or drink?

I’m not a huge snack eater when I’m writing because I don’t like to stop writing to take bites. I do enjoy having coffee or iced tea while writing and I usually reward myself with chocolate or a milkshake after a good writing spree.

#15: What’s your biggest fear? Writing related or otherwise – or both!

My biggest fear has always been drowning! I don’t have a lot of fears associated with writing because it’s something I truly love and enjoy doing, but I do get nervous when I share my work with others.

#16: What other hobbies do you have outside of writing?

Most of my time is taken up by a rambunctious five-year-old, but when I have some free time to myself, I like to read, listen to music, color, crochet, and play Final Fantasy (my guilty pleasure).

#17: Biggest real-life pet peeve?

Mean people! I can’t stand it when people treat others with anything other than kindness. We all have bad days and rough lives; it doesn’t give anyone the excuse to take it out on someone else. Mean people are especially frustrating in the writing world. I’ve seen far too many unfair negative reviews of books simply because someone was upset about something that had nothing to do with the story.

#18: Any final words to aspiring writers out there?

Keep doing what you love and never give up! The best part about writing your own story is that it can be anything you want it to be. Take the critiques, listen to advice from those you trust, but never compromise who you are or the heart of your story!

All About Kelsey

WSYOawJN.jpgKelsey Atkins is an elementary and middle school teacher who loves to write. Her work with young adults in the classroom inspired her to write the Finding the Light series. Kelsey grew up in a small town in Idaho where she grew to love the outdoors. She currently lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, son, and fluffy Samoyed. When she isn’t teaching or writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, hiking, and volunteering at church.

Follow Kelsey!

Twitter: @AtkinsAuthor



6 Tips to Help You Read More This Summer

I love the summertime. In fact, summer is my favorite season! There’s nothing better than sitting out in the sun with a good book and enjoying the breeze. I love wearing my summer clothes, and being outside during this time of year. Where I live, most of the year it’s freezing or just too cold to go outside, so I try and enjoy the summer for as long as I can!

Summer is the perfect time for barbecues, water parks, campfires, family vacations, and so much more! But during the summer, it can be difficult to remember to read! There are so many other fun activities that occupy our time, and sometimes reading can slip our minds! If you’re looking to read more this summer, look no further! And if you’re hoping to make a reading a habit, check out my blog post all about how!

#1.) Bring a Book Everywhere

No matter where you go, carry a book with you! Or if you have a kindle, that works too! There are so many moments in our day where we can slip in a little bit of reading time, even if it’s just a paragraph or a page.

Whether you’ll be a passenger in a long car ride, traveling on a plane to your perfect vacation destination, or camping out, steal those moments to read instead of checking your phone. Oh – and you might want to bring more than one book!

#2.) Don’t Be Afraid to DNF

There is not enough time in our lives to force ourselves to read books we don’t like. Our time is so precious, and we need to enjoy every moment of it. If you’re just not enjoying a book for one reason or another, don’t be afraid to put it down. Find a different book you know you’ll enjoy. The summertime should be all about relaxing, not stressing!

#3.) Listen to Audiobooks

Audiobooks are a form of reading, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! They’re perfect for long car rides, or whatever travel plans you may have. And if you don’t – turn your audiobooks on at home!

I would listen to more audiobooks if I could – but the CD players in my car no longer works!

#4.) Read Lightly

Believe me, I’m a lover of huge, 800 – 1,000 page books. They’re fun to read, and they have their place. But even for a fast reader, a hefty book with such a large page count can still take some time to read.

Try limiting yourself to smaller books in the 250 – 400 page range. Not only will you read more, but if you’re traveling, you can take more books! The bigger the book, the less room you have!

#5.) Do a Summer Reading Challenge

Some people are very goal oriented, so have a reading challenge is a perfect way to keep them on track. Not only that, but they’re fun, too!

The PopSugar Reading Challenge, 2018 Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge, and NY Public Library Challenge, are all great examples you can try. Or if you want, make your own!

#6.) Ignore the Hype

There are tons of book that come out every month. Tons. Every month, I hear about the hottest new releases, and can’t help but want to buy and add them to my TBR list. But the hype only deviates me from reading what I already have on my shelf.

Instead of reading books that are (and have) been waiting for me to read for months, I buy the newest books and devour them first. Not only does this keep me from reading what should have been read months ago, but it also makes me feel stressed about missing out.

Instead, try and ignore the hype. Take the summertime to read what you already have, or catch up on some old favorites. Even if the hype for a new book dies down, don’t worry – the book will still be there.

Do you find these tips helpful? What do you do to read more in the summer? Let me know in the comments!

XOXO – Devon

Interview with a Writer: Chantel Pereira

Are you interested in getting to know more of the writers who are part of our amazing community? As part of my blog series, I’ve interviewed some of the writers in an effort to get to know them better, as well as share their stories!

Today, I’m introducing Chantel Pereira onto the blog, and I’m so excited to share her story!

#1. What got you into writing? How and when did you first start?

I feel like there has never been a time in my life where I wasn’t secretly obsessed with creating, telling, and hearing stories. However, I’d say the definite moment when I decided I wanted to be a writer was in the fifth grade when our class was assigned The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Before then, I’d never read anything as fantastical and magical as that, and I recall it being a significant time in my life. But I didn’t start taking writing seriously until the sixth grade when I stumbled upon my first novel idea during a class camping trip.

#2: Where do you usually get your ideas?

While I find most of my ideas when I’m around nature (I sort of have a knack for thinking up my best stories while in forests), I find ideas everywhere – Pinterest, music, scents, myths and folklore, reinventing classic tropes. I also shape many of my ideas around my personal life. How I felt during certain moments in my life and how can I take that mood and root it in a fantasy or horror setting?

#3: What current project are you working on right now? What was the inspiration for this project?

I am currently working on a handful of projects, but the two I’m closest to firing out into the world are my two MG Fantasy novels. The first is the rewrite of my book titled, The Irretrievable Ones. It’s the first book in The Yawning Graves series, which is a Harry Potter, Hocus Pocus, and Stranger Things-inspired MG about witchy cursed forests, secret libraries, disappearing girls, Halloween, and abandoned witch cities.

The inspiration for this project came from my years growing up in northern Canada (where it is set). I grew up in a town steeped in negative stigma surrounding mental illness, and as a result, a high suicide rate amongst its youths (especially amongst Indigenous children). The Yawning Graves came to me not simply out of my desire for a Canadian Harry Potter-type story with strong-hearted girls and soft boys, but out of my wish to pull that veil off themes of lgbtq and mental health in small northern towns. To talk about these scary realities in the safety of a fantastical, hopeful story.

Also, fun fact – this is the novel I first wrote/thought up on that sixth-grade camping trip.

The second book I’m working on is called The Phantom Imaginarium which is a story about Manuela Hierro, a ten-year-old inventor who stumbles into a carnival for ghosts, and discovers she has only one night to defeat a tyrannical puppet master who has stolen the sun and sunk the carnival into one endless night.

#4: Traditional, Self-Publish, Small Press? What path to publishing are you pursuing/have pursued and why?

Traditional. I want nothing more than to see my books in Indigo and for them to reach as many readers as they possibly can. I also have a secret bucket list of milestones I hope to achieve, and following the traditional route would be my best way of ticking off this list.

#5: What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever received?

The best tip I received was from Neil Gaiman’s Masterclass. And I’m horribly paraphrasing it right now, but it’s, “Be honest and brave in your writing”. When writing, we’re crafting a series of lies into something believable. The greatest way to do this is by pulling from the truths of our lives – whether that be feelings we felt and/or the lessons we’ve learned the hard way. And sometimes, while it can be scary to figuratively put pieces of our soul onto the page and turn our stories into horcruxes, it becomes that much more of a powerful story. For both the reader and for you.

#6: When are you most creative?

I’m most creative at night. I’m the quintessential night owl. I truly admire all those writers who wake at the crack of dawn and dive straight into their stories, but I can’t do it. I’ve desperately tried. I also always find that my best ideas come during the colder months – it must have something to do with all that autumn and winter magic in the air.

#7: What authors inspire you the most?

C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and J.K. Rowling were the authors that inspired me to start writing, but I’m also inspired by Stephen King, Maggie Stiefvater, Emily Brontë, Shea Ernshaw, and Claire Legrand.

#8: What’s your most anticipated read in the next few months?

WILDER GIRLS by Rory Power and A SORCERY OF THORNS by Margaret Rogerson.

#9: What are you currently reading?

I’m actually just about to crack into A Sorcery of Thorns. In the meantime, I’m diving into the manuscripts of two of my writing friends: SECRETS WITHIN THE GRAVES by Elora Cook, and AT THE LAKE’S EDGE by Lyndall Clipstone.

#10: What’s your favorite book or book series?

Without a doubt, my two favourite book series are The Raven Cycle and Harry Potter. Namely, The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Order of the Phoenix, and The Deathly Hallows. As for standalone books, I devoured Sawkill Girls, The Devouring Gray, and The Wicked Deep.

#11: Favorite childhood book?

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I recently received a new copy for Christmas since my original fell apart. I was also a massive fan of the Redwall Series.

#12: Biggest book pet peeve?

I detest when what could be an interesting scene takes place off page.

#13: What book has made you cry?

I cried recently with Sawkill Girls! Without delving into too much spoiler territory for those who many not have read it, I adore gray characters– and this one is full of deep motives and high stakes.

#14: Favorite writing snack or drink?

Blueberries, Peanut M&Ms, and tea – lots and lots of tea.

#15: What’s your biggest fear? Writing related or otherwise – or both!

On top of a constant fear of failure, I always fear that I’ve missed my moment or lost my chance. Strangely enough, I also fear that if I do make it, that I will lose significant time with my cat, Hagrid, and with my loved ones. I know it’s a ridiculous thought, but it is unfortunately there.

#16: What other hobbies do you have outside of writing?

I’m a huge lover of the outdoors. I love camping, hiking, and BONFIRES. I am also extremely passionate about the paranormal and horror. Outside of this, I attempt to act – emphasis on the attempt. I was part of a geeky musical theater group that also did improv, sketch comedy shows, and I’ve been able to test the waters with voice acting. (If any of you ever meet me, I do a mean Hamtaro). Most recently, I also got the chance to act as an extra in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

#17: Biggest real life pet peeve?

People who diminish the seriousness of disorders like ‘OCD’ by using it as a quirky word for liking things to be neat.

#18: Any final words to aspiring writers out there?

Failure is a gift. This took me so many years of heartache to realize this, but failure is such a gift. Yes, it can break you. Yes, it can make you question whether you should throw in the towel. But the moment you can silence it, learn from it, and get past your tears, failure always rebuilds you into the strongest version of yourself yet.

All About Chantel

Chantel grew up surrounded by water and woods in a small northern Canadian town wfnMLMiZwhere there were more deer than people. A proud daughter of two hardworking immigrants, she now lives in Toronto with her fiancé, Eddy, and her hell-raising cat, Hagrid. Originally, she intended to pursue a career in music. However, after a physical setback led to some serious soul-searching, she decided to risk it all to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an author since her other childhood dream of becoming Elton John was already taken.

Through many all-nighters and early mornings trudging for her finals through the snow, she acquired her Honours Bachelor in Literature with a minor in Classics from Lakehead University under the mentorship of Michael Christie. She then moved to Toronto to acquire her Certificate in Book Publishing from Ryerson University and is presently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing.

When she is not writing, she is wishing that she was…or obsessing over Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, black tea, musicals, and Halloween. An avid horror movie buff, amateur ghost expert, and hobbit, Chantel aspires to write the type of stories Guillermo Del Toro would want to direct.

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Instagram: @chantellpereira
Twitter: @chantelpereira
Tumblr: @barrierspark

Elora Cook: @eloraflora13

Lyndall Clipstone: @writerlyndall