Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Our Journey So Far #16: A New Year

Alex Steele here today and since it's almost New Years (maybe it's already 2015 by the time you're reading this), I thought I'd talk about my writing goals for the new year. Every year we prepare to leave the old year behind and start a new one, we get thinking, did I accomplish anything this year? And what about the next year, what does it hold in store for me? What do I want to accomplish?

I'd never done New Year's resolutions, and they are way too easy to break. But, you know, it's still a good idea to think of a few things you'd like to happen next year, the thing is to do things you can control. You can put down to start querying your novel but stay away from things like get an agent, of course, that's the dream, but you don't really have a lot of control over that. You can however edit and revise and start querying.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Advice For Writers #17: Setting Goals

Alex Steele here today and in honor of the impending new year, I thought we could talk about setting goals. Every year hundreds of thousands of people set themselves New Year's goals. Writers in general have their own goals all year. Now, maybe you don't like setting yourself deadlines or maybe you can't live without them, either way there's no doubt that setting yourself goals can be helpful!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Weekly Muse #17: 5 Christmas Songs

In honor of Christmas, I'm going to do this list. And I'm hijacking Alex's post. Sorry, Alex, but Christmas is Christmas. And I have to do this before the week ends! 

Best Christmas songs. Read below the cut to know more about this strange post.

First of all, have you ever thought of writing a Christmas story/novel/poem? Well, I haven't. Because I'm sort of busy writing a novel before the year ends (good luck to me!). I know Alex is, so she is perhaps the person who should be writing this post, but I have to get this out of my head before I write my chapters of Welcome to the Dark Side. (It is YA Contemporary). 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our Journey So Far #15: Plot Bunnies

Hello, me. Hello, you. So, if you looked at my "Penelope Grace" page, you would see a bunch of writings already completed. (There is a much more detailed page on my Tumblr). 

Does anyone want to play "guess how many plot bunnies does she have" game?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Advice For Writers #16: Two or too? The Icky Thing About Grammar

Raise your hand if you hate grammar. I think half of us really hate grammar and the other half are probably Grammar Nazis. Just kidding. I'm sure I can create a poll to gather the correct data and statistics and everything, form the right conclusion, analyze the data...

Alright. Now, I'm going to tell how this: you seriously need to let it go about grammar. Just write. Don't get down because of a spelling error.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Weekly Muse #16: So... Inspirational Authors, anyone?

Here we go! Well, we all love to read, right? And I sure love to read the occasional book. Sometimes, I might reread books only to find an inner depth and surprising meaning. (Plus, Alex Steele is currently rereading the entire Harry Potter series, so... Might as well do this!) 

Alright, here we go. Top five in an meaningless order.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Our Journey So Far #14: Penelope Grace

Wow. I had an insane week. And I'm still trying to rest. I had a little crazy thing (syncope aka fainting and possible head damage) a few days ago (which is like December 1, but it seems to be a while back since then because we are always scheduling our posts 2+ weeks ahead of time). So for me, today is December the Fourth. While you all are somewhere in the future. 

So I hoped you all had a wonderful time with NaNoWriMo and enjoyed my first chapter (and unedited) excerpt of The Black Queen. (The link is in the "Our Works" page). 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Advice For Writers #15: Steele's Top Five Tips For Writers

Alex Steele here today to bring you my top 5 writing tips. This spans your whole writing process and *I hope* is applicable whether it's your first book that you are getting ready to write or your eightieth. Let's jump in!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Weekly Muse #15: Where To Find Inspiration?

Alex Steele here again with your weekly muse!

Weekly Muse is all about finding inspiration, but what about the times when you just can't? You're just feeling kind of blah. You really want to write, you want to get some work done, you want to get your creative juices flowing, but none of your old standbys work. What do you do? 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Our Journey So Far #13: Steele's NaNoWriMo 2014 Wrap Up!

Alex Steele here with another "Our Journey So Far" post, where we like to keep you updated on all our writing progress! Today, I'm mainly going to be talking about my NaNo novel. For those of you who don't know about NaNoWriMo, it's an event where thousands of writers try and write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. So, this is my NaNo update. Look at what's coming next!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Beautiful Books #3: Our Editing Process!

One again this is a Meme hosted by Cait @ Notebook Sisters(now: Paper Fury!) and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Basically, we're talking about our editing process this month, and if you want to find out more about all this pop on over to their blogs!

Alex Steele
Novel: This World In Gray (NaNo Novel)

1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) how well do you think this book turned out?Honestly? A week from now I'll probably change my mind, but for now I'm going to say 8 or 9. I'm really really really happy with how it turned out!

2. Have you ever rewritten or edited one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan? Yes, I have. I've edited a couple books before. I don't really prepare myself that much. I'll take a piece of paper and write down notes of all the big things that I already know I need to work on, and then I'll print out my first draft and my brother will read/edit/suggest things, and then I'll take all of that and just start revising!

3. What’s your final wordcount? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book? 99,881 I don't really plan on lengthening or trimming, there's a few things I know I need to add and I will more than likely end up cutting some things out, but I'm not setting out to do either.

4. What are you most proud of? Plo
t, characters or pacing? Hmm. Hard question. I think, probably a combination? I don't know. I think I'm most proud of my main character and her voice because it's legitimately like nothing I've written before.

5. What’s your favourite bit of prose or line from this novel? Hmm. Hard question...only because I could spend hours trying to pick something! So, this is from a very emotional part of my book, towards the end, and it's a flashback of my main characters sister.

  “Some songs just speak to you, Lace, and it can’t be explained because it’s words you can’t say and feelings you can’t put into words. That’s the magic. It’s the feeling of not being alone and just finally understanding what it is you’re feeling because it’s right there in the lyrics and the drumbeat.”

6. What aspect of your book needs the most work? Probably the secondary characters. They need to be a bit more fleshed out.

7. What aspect of your book is your favourite? The grief...does that count? I think it does. It's the best way I can describe it, the overall feeling of the book and that thing that I tried hardest to keep throughout it. Really the grief is almost its own character... It's my favorite because it's what makes the book, without it would be nothing.

8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed-out? Both. The main ones I think are nice and well rounded but some of the secondary characters need to be a bit more fleshed out.

9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process? Nothing. Yeah, I don't really think I would change anything, I'm very happy with how it all worked out!

10. Did anything happen in your book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad? Mason, the kind of love interest, he definitely turned out differently than I imagined. Mainly he doesn't really play a big part, which is actually good because this isn't a love story...the romance needs to be in the background and it is.

11. What was the theme and message? Do you think it came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring it out more? The theme was grief, and the message that you never really get over death and how hard it can be... and I think it came across pretty well. I know I need to add a couple parts towards the end to bring it across even more and kind of tie it all together better, but besides that, I think it's pretty good.

12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes? Deadline, definitely. I always give myself a deadline. When I first started writing I always assumed I would do bad with deadlines, but they really help me stay focused and having a deadline makes me determined to meet it, so yeah, definitely deadlines.

13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men, etc.) Hard question... I would say Fault In Our Stars by John Green meets I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson...

14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?! By giving myself a week of break, where I don't have to think about working on anything else. I can just read and sleep and ignore the world at large. Also, for NaNo my prize that I gave myself for winning was my Fall Out Boy concert tickets, if I lost I was going to give them away, but I won so I get to go!

15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with? I want people to be sad yet hopeful when they finish reading this book....which is kind of a large order if you know what I mean.

Penelope Grace
 The Black Queen (One of NaNoWriMo 2014 Novels)

1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) how well do you think this book turned out? I remain quite optimistic. Because of that warm feeling, I think 9. But I have quite an amount of work to do! 

2. Have you ever rewritten or editing one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan? Yes! I did that for The Lost Princess (which is currently being queried now). I usually read over the book quickly and make notes about plot holes, character arcs, etc. If I see anything wrong, I will fix it. I aim to make about 2-4 drafts before I start beta reading. However, The Black Queen's first chapter is already out on this site, because I was bored. 

3. What’s your final wordcount? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book? Word count? Ahhh! Don't get me started! But 75,383 is the final wordcount. For now. 

4. What are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing? Ohhh... This is a toughie. But I got to say that I'm most proud of one character. And his name is Eric. With that weird accent thingie on the E. (He is French).

(And yes, I do know that it is an acute accent).

5. What’s your favourite bit of prose or line from this novel? Actually, I have a lot of favorite ones. And they are all names of my chapters. Or at least most of them. Here is some of them:

The ones that are sort of blacked out is either irrelevant or relevant to the plot. Or useless to the plot, because I'm currently editing. Okay.

I'm not editing The Black Queen, but I'm going to.

6. What aspect of your book needs the most work? Hahahahahaha. I just can't stop laughing. If you read the titles of my chapters, you can probably tell that the plot needs quite a bit of work.

7. What aspect of your book is your favourite? I think this is the easiest to answer. Of all the questions so far.

Because my favorite aspect is the subtext. 

8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed-out? Some of them are well-rounded. Others are just plain silly. But I do want some of them to remain 2D. I'm trying not to go into too much detail for a minor character.

9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process? Definitely that part that is the most unromantic. And put a bit more humor into it.

10. Did anything happen in your book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad? Definitely! Some of the characters I'd planned to be 1D or 2D came out more... defined than I thought. And I concluded that maybe I accidentally made some subtext not so subtle. 

11. What was the theme and message? Do you think it came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring it out more? Well, I'm trying to be subtle. TBQ is an adventure first and foremost, but I always try to send a message.

12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes? I love deadlines! 

13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men, etc.) Well... I can't really define it. I based it upon King Thrushbeard (a fairy tale), but it didn't come out anything (for the most part) like it. I can't really say... Hmm... Maybe Romeo and Juliet. But it doesn't really fit TBQ very much. I definitely need to think about this more.

14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?! Dancing! And writing another novel!

15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with? This is an easy one. I want them to be mad. Mad about that cliffhanger. 

Gif is not ours.

Well, that is it. Feel free to read my excerpt of The Black Queen here. First chapter! 

Don't forget to leave us links to your Beautiful Books posts in the comments!
Also, what's your favorite line that you've written recently?

Happy Writing!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Advice For Writers #14: The Stages Of Finishing A First Draft

Alex Steele here to talk about the 5 stages of grief that follows finishing a first draft. Basically, I wanted to talk about the five stages I go through after having completed a first draft. This mainly goes for when I've done something like NaNoWriMo. They are as follows.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Weekly Muse #14: Let's Dance

Penelope Grace again. I want to talk about the songs that inspire you to move. I know that it is a bit weird, because I'm talking about songs that inspire you to move around rather than songs that inspire you to do some writing. 

But dancing always helps shake off the Writer's block, so yes, I'm going here. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Best Blogging Buddies Award!

Both Grace and Steele here today to bring you this award post! We were nominated by the awesome Rachel@SecretScribblings for this award and will be doing it together! This is our first award/nomination thing so bare with us!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Our Journey So Far #12: Penelope Grace

NaNoWriMo. So it is over. I know I had at least three meltdowns during the entire thing. I was most certainly insane throughout the entire thing. So if you see any random sequences like (jsoidfjiojasiofjsiodjfs) on my blog, Twitter, Tumblr, or anything else, you know I was taking it out on my keyboard. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Wordy Gift #3: NaNoWriMo Excerpt

Third month, guys! And we are going strong here at Grace & Steele. So awesome. And because of this awesome anniversary (by months), I'm going to be sending you all a wonderful excerpt from the NaNoWriMo novel I was working on. For 2014. And yes, this is TBQ (The Black Queen) aka the first book I wrote for NaNoWriMo. 

Here we go! First chapter. Please note that this is an unedited version of it, so it is a bit crazy. And weird. I fixed it up in a hour (I know, so lazy of me), and I had Alex look over it a bit. But this it what I got.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Advice For Writers #13: How To Lie

Now, I'm not trying to teach you how to lie. Whoops! That was a lie. 

Anyway, Penelope Grace is here. I'm going to tell you what excuses you can tell to your family when you are trying to hide the fact that you are writing like a maniac/insane person. Quite honestly, I'm going to tell you that if my family knew I was participating in NaNoWriMo and writing 100K+ words in a single month, they would send me to an institution. Or therapy, at least. Or rehab.

Either way, it is icky. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Weekly Muse #13: Things That Inspire Me

Alex Steele here for your Weekly Muse! So, this week I thought I'd do something a little bit different. I'm going to list out a few things that have inspired me to write my newest book (my NaNo novel: This World In Gray). Now this is different because it's not just going to be songs and pictures, it's going to include things like feelings and colors... It might be a bit weird, but I'm really excited to share it with you all!

not that weird...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Our Journey So Far #11: NaNoWriMo

Alex Steele here to update you on some of my projects! This week I'm mainly going to be talking about my NaNoWriMo project!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Advice For Writers #12: Get Out Of That Comfort Zone!

Alex Steele here to discuss one of the biggest, most important, pieces of advice I have ever given. That's to get out of your comfort zone. This is the thing that has helped me to grow most as a writer. I'm sure you hear it all the time when it comes to your reading habits(at least I have), or your socializing habits, but it goes for writing too!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Weekly Muse #12: Romantic Songs

Hey guys! Penelope Grace, here. And don't you love romantic songs? After writing The Black Queen (which may or may not be romantic), I'm suddenly in the search of romantic songs. I hear them on the radio, read about them in newspapers, and listen to my friends babble on about this new song from Taylor Swift. I do have to agree that Sean O'Pry looks hot in her music video, "Blank Space." 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Our Journey So Far #10: A Few Queries

Oh... Wow. Last week, I  posted about all the queries I sent to literary agencies. Well, not all of them. I sent a few more after that crazy Halloween spree. (For The Lost Princess)

But this is what happened so far.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Advice For Writers #11: The More You Write, The MORE You Write

Alex Steele here with your weekly dose of writing advice, which will hopefully help you with your writing or at the very least entertain you while you read this post!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Weekly Muse #11: Sad Songs

Alex Steele here this week to bring you more inspiration! So last week Grace shared some epic couples whose love she finds inspiring. This week I'm doing something similar.

I am someone who always has music playing in the background of whatever it is I'm doing, whether it be reading, writing, baking, the dreaded exercising. So, of course I like to "set the mood" when writing. Meaning I almost always make a playlist for the theme of whatever book I am writing. If it's an epic fast paced fantasy it tends to be a lot of rock and some of the fantasy style songs I mentioned in my last muse post. If I'm writing a cutesy contemporary it's lots of Taylor Swift and Mayday Parade. My NaNoWriMo novel is more... sad. Its overall tone is sad yet hopeful. So, of course, one of the first things I did when I started preparing for NaNo was to make a playlist! Now I'm going to share with you some of my favorite sad songs that inspire this story I am writing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Our Journey So Far #9: What I'm Doing

On October 31, I sent out five queries. It is so scary, especially for the first one. I was like... "Oh, my goodness. Should I crack a joke? Or maybe I should add in some details! Maybe the agent won't like it. Oh, crap... It is time to send!" 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Beautiful Books #2: NaNoWriMo Novels

One again this is a Meme hosted by Cait @ Notebook Sisters and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Basically we're talking about our NaNoWriMo novels again this month, if you want to find out more about all this pop on over to their blogs!

Alex Steele's Novel:

1. Be honest: how is your writing going? Pretty good! I'm ahead of schedule and my book is turning out pretty much just how I wanted it to! I'm enjoying taking my time on it, and I love writing it.

2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?
  Some days are destined to be full of sunshine: weddings, birthdays, carnivals. Some days are destined to be full of snow and that warm glow of a fire. Then there’s the other days, the days that should be full of rain clouds, not a ray of sun in sight. Days that should be filled with mournful howling, and weeping trees, collapsing under the weight of the world.

3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book? I did make a cover...but it's kind of lame...

4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.) No pictures, I will do my best to describe them!

Lacey: With a heart shaped face, wide eyes, and sharp features(sharp chin, high cheek bones, small yet pointed nose), Lacey looks like some kind of pixie. Hair cut short and choppy into a pixie cut and dyed a deep royal blue that has faded at the ends, she's about 5'3, on the short side.

Grace: See above^. "The differences were small, Grace and I were always switching places, you had to be trained to tell the difference. Of course, the illusion was broken the moment one of us would talk. 
Grace had a dimple in her right cheek, I had one in my left, like we were each given half of the same smile. Grace would smile with her mouth open, teeth on display, while I was always the closed lips kind of smiler."
The main difference is that once they cut their long blond hair, Grace's hair was short(like Laceys') and pink.

Oz - Skeleton like in how tall and skinny he is, looks like the goof ball he is. Dark skin the color of dark roasted coffee beans. Narrow dark blue eyes, a narrow and round face, and a bald head. He often wears cargo shorts and tshirts, plain colors, the kinds with the little pocket that no one EVER uses.

Mason - Tall(though shorter than Oz), with wide shoulders and slight, well defined, muscles. He has messy blond hair that's just a touch too long as if he's trying to grow it out, or simply forgot to get it cut. Wide eyes that could either be blue with green specks, or green with blue specks. His eyes are wide, with matching lips, you tend to forget to take in the rest of his face. Slender neck and matching face, with a nose just slightly too big, and a sharp chin.

Okay, done. Oddly enough I think that's the most I've described Mason so far...which is why it kind of sucks!

5. What scene are you most excited to write? It's a scene later in the book (somewhere in the last third or so of the book) and it's the introduction of two of my favorite characters: Erin and Darla. I'm very excited for it!

6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.
 These were the moments that Grace came alive. That she stopped thinking, stopped caring, about the fact that she was wedged in on all sides, surrounded by strangers and would no doubt go home with a little of all of their sweat on her. She just existed. She was as loud as anyone, screaming and jumping around the two feet of space she had and I couldn’t help but be drawn in with her. Those were the moments that I understood Grace’s love for music, because nothing else, not books, not movies, not the biggest beer fest in the world, could bring people together like this. Everyone in that room with us was united and alone, all that mattered to them was the music and that united them even though they more than likely would never be able to recall the face of the person next to them.
  Grace had always said that music is life, without life there’s no music, and without music life becomes dull, pointless. Sometimes it seems as if Grace was my life. And I know that’s dramatic, and maybe a little creepy, but when you go through your whole life as part of a duo, one half of a whole, never straying away from someone who was your best friend, your other half. That’s the way the world looked when they were gone; dull, pointless, gray.

-This is from a flashback chapter that I wrote yesterday, it's about the first concert they went to by themselves.

7. Now that you're writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined? The two main things that have turned out a bit differently are actually two of my characters. Besides that, not much has changed from my original outline and plot...yet.

8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that's difficult to write? There's an aspect and a character both. My story mostly consists of inner monologue and my character being alone (it's supposed to), so anytime she's around other characters it's a little difficult to balance her still being depressed and anti-social, with her reluctantly making friends and almost having fun. 

Mason,the love interest, is probably the hardest character to write.

9. What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character? I really love how...simple this book is. It's not some complicated plot or anything, I love all the metaphors and how my character, Lacey, views the world.

Hmm. Overall my favorite character so far is Oz, I just love him. But Lacey and Grace are my favorite characters to write.

10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and characters? Umm. Well the character of my main character (Lacey)'s grandmother is highly influenced by my own grandmother. 

The main theme of this story is grief and death so I've definitely drawn on my own experiences with those things. Also, it's Lacey's sister who has died, and they were super close, and I am super close to my siblings, so I draw on that stuff and how I would feel if something happened to one of my brothers.

11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters? Yes. An enormous 147 song playlist! I'll just share one song for each of my most important characters!

Lacey - Memories by Panic! At The Disco
Grace - I Don't Care by Fall Out Boy - because it's her favorite band!
Mason - Stars and Boulevards by Augustana
Oz - The Downfall Of Us by A Day To Remember
Darla - Angel With A Shotgun by The Cab
Erin - Song For Someone by U2
Dakota - How You Get The Girl by Taylor Swift

12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with? Oz. He sort of becomes Lacey's best friend and I love him. He's basically a male version of me, in his most basic characteristics.

13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount?(Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?) Well, I don't really reward myself daily except with sleep. For the month as a whole though, my brother is holding my Fall Out Boy concert tickets hostage and I don't get them until I win NaNo.

14. What’s your favorite writing quote or piece of writing advice?
So, it's kind of weird, but it's this one:
“Writing stories is a kind of magic, too.”
― Cornelia Funke, Inkheart

Who doesn't want to have magic? And I guess for me writing has always been about the magic, so I just love this quote.

15.How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?
Oh jeez, I don't know. I'm not really laughing, definitely not. I'm happy and excited still? I think. Yeah, this book, even though it's sad, still makes me feel happy and excited to write.

Penelope Grace's Novel:

1. Be honest: how is your writing going? Honestly? It is done. Finished. 75K and finished. First draft. I'm thinking about working on a second novel, but I don't feel the spark... No spark like the first... I definitely am not going to write the second book. I'm probably going to wait until I find my inspiration again.

2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?
'“Checkmate,” says Gloria, moving her black rook against my white king. She smirks at me while Grandmother Four watches on.' -The Black Queen, first paragraph

3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book? Nope. Sorry, but I don't have any pictures that inspire me. For either book. 

4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.) Well, no. But I can tell you that Ashlina (narrator) is Chinese and pretty short. Eric (main character) is much taller than her and is French. Simon... Well. That guy is a douche.

5. What scene are you most excited to write? Oh... There are so many. If I tell you which scene I'm most excited to write, I'm going to be giving so much of my plot away.

6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing. No! Sorry. I can't give away my plot! Let me tell you that there is a lot of hint, hint, nudge, nudge kind of thing.

7. Now that you're writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined? Subplots, definitely. Main plot... Um... Not so much. 

8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that's difficult to write? Oh, yes. There are two of them actually (not going to tell you their names). But they are those Russian dolls. You pull off a mask, and there is another within. Countless number of character layers. So many. And it is hard to write their POVs, because they are complicated and they are guarded. They don't want the world to see who they really are. 

Sorry, I probably gave too much away.

9. What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character? Definitely the hints. As I said before, I'm pretty much pooping them everywhere. Thanks, Alex, for taking that to Twitter. 

As for characters, I'm definitely a fan of Liesel, the Black Queen.

10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and characters? Of course! But I'm tight-lipped on this. 

11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters? Mostly the Billboard. Some old songs from the old days like Billy Joel's "Vienna." 

12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with? Ha! That one is a easy one. Definitely Eric, because he is... Oh. Darn. Giving that away is a minor spoiler. 

13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?) NaNoWriMo itself. I had been thinking about The Black Queen for a long time. Like two years ago, and it has already remain in my mind. Seeing it come alive... Well, that is a beautiful experience.

14. What’s your favorite writing quote or piece of writing advice? Gosh. I think my favorite says something like "Write on!" That kind of thing. I'm not one for looking up quotes and finding advice, though I do like giving people a piece of my mind. 

15.How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated? Laughing for sure! After writing a long scene with a bunch of hint, hint, I can't help but giggle for the rest of the day.

How's your NaNo going? Don't forget to leave us links to your posts in the comments!

Happy NaNo-ing!

-Grace & Steele

Monday, November 10, 2014

Advice For Writers #10: How To Win NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo. National November Writing Month. The craziest acronym I have ever seen. With the exception of Misha Collins' scavenger hunt's acronym. Remember that one? GISHWHES. "The ugliest acronym the world has ever seen" as stated by Misha Collins somewhere. I agree. 

Wholeheartedly, of course.

But how do you win NaNoWriMo? I think it is safe to say that everyone wants to write a novel by the end of the month. Or at least a novella. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Weekly Muse #10: Lovey Dovey Couples

Don't we all love those lovebirds? Eh... Not always, but you are sometimes moved by the very power of their love and their... Ahh... I'm getting into it now. Okay, I'll start listing, alright?

In no particular order, here goes the five fictional couples... With the most powerful and amazing love. Yes, with amazing love stories.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Our Journey So Far #8: Looking Back On Last November (NaNoWriMo)

Alex Steele here today. Have you missed me? So! With NaNoWriMo preparations, and that feeling of Fall in the air, not to mention the lovely scent of all things pumpkin spice flavored, I've been thinking about last November. Last November was my first NaNoWriMo (which is where thousands of people try to write a 50,000 word novel in 1 month!), and it was kind of a disaster. I won. I wrote my 50,000 words and finished most of that book, but it was bad. Then I got thinking, how have things changed since then? How have I grown as a writer and a person?

Last year was a big year for me. Over that summer I wrote my first book, and I got really serious about writing, but this year has been just as important, if not more so. I feel like I've learned a lot more about writing and about the kind of writer I am, what I can and cannot pull off. I've really started to grow into my own, I feel. Which got me thinking; how different is this NaNoWriMo going to be from last years? The answer: I think it's going to be vastly different.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Advice For Writers #9: How To Properly Procrastinate

Everyone knows that procrastinating is a big part of being a writer, it can get your writing juices flowing and help you focus (kinda?). Either way, it's very important to know the proper way to procrastinate (though really there's no wrong way to do it). Therefore, Grace and I are partnering up for todays Advice For Writers post to bring you the top 6 ways to procrastinate!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Second Anniversary By Months: The Fact Sheet

Hey guys. It is Penelope with Alex here. Joint post again! Sort of. This time, it is going to be a grand total of thirty facts about both of us. Fifteen facts each, of course. And this will be awesome, though unfortunately, we are referring ourselves in third person. Like Dobby from Harry Potter

Penelope Grace: 

  1. She loves watching tv shows like Castle, Arrow, White Collar, Bones, and Supernatural.
  2. If she couldn't become a writer (which is totally not possible, because she believes it to be impossible), she would probably become an engineer or an accountant. 
  3. Penelope considers herself excellent at math (anything from basic math to Trigonometry). 
  4. She was about to become a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, but never took the test to become one. Don't you dare ask her about the latest tax laws. She isn't the news reports or Congress itself. And most definitely not IRS.
  5. She has a passion for pop music (anything from the eighties to present) with a few exceptions, which include rap songs, hate songs, and just plain weird songs that doesn't make sense. Like "What does the fox say?" by Yvis. 
  6. She is definitely crazier than Alex, but that is obvious. So we'll add that she is eccentric. 
  7. She is an overachiever. 
  8. Penelope has a liking towards inside jokes. But she is most definitely not Batman and neither is Alex. No one but Bruce Wayne can be Batman. Not even Richard Grayson. Terry Mcginnis is an exception to that rule. He is Batman Beyond.
  9. She has no clue what her future will be like. But if she has to predict, she will say that she hopes to be an awesome author by the next ten years. 
  10. Penelope has a very large bookshelf, not including the books on her Kindle. Most of them are stored in boxes while the most beloved ones are right at her fingertips. She reads a lot.
  11. Cinder, Harry Potter, Ink, Percy Jackson, and more are among her most favorite books. (Written by Marissa Meyer, J.K. Rowling, Amanda Sun, and Rick Riordan respectfully). 
  12. 2014 NaNoWriMo will be her second year at a NaNoWriMo. It is also her first year anniversary of writing. Well, typing and writing on a computer. Technically, she has been writing ever since she was twelve.
  13. Her NaNoWriMo name is Phyre Song. Go ahead and add her as your buddy. She will most likely add you back, if she isn't busy with her next book. While you are at it, you can add Alex Steele (whose name is Nobody53). 
  14. She has a very picky taste. 
  15. Her favorite ice cream is strawberry. And she never had coffee before. She is more of a tea person. 
Alex Steele:

  1. Alex Steele doesn't think she's Batman (though she too loves inside jokes), however she believes Dick Grayson aka Nightwing) is better than Batman.
  2. She has a soft spot for romantic comedy's and YA contemporary.
  3. She has a love/hate relationship with commas.
  4. She has a very wide and varied taste in music, loving everything from Katy Perry to Lady Antebellum to Linkin Park to Metallica.
  5. Alex Steele's caffeine intake has increased by at least 70% since she started seriously writing.
  6. Her favorite books include the Percy Jackson series, the Seven Realms series, Hunger Games, and Harry Potter.
  7. Alex is obsessed with books and reading.
  8. She is also obsessed with old Disney Channel movies (like Halloweentown, Now You See It and Zenon).
  9. Alex Steele is an uber nerd who loves Star Wars (Han shot first!), The Big Bang Theory and Batman.
  10. She's been to San Diego Comic-Con twice (best moments of her life).
  11. If she couldn't become a writer (impossible), she would want be either a baker or a vet.
  12. 2014 NaNoWriMo will also be Alex Steele's second NaNoWriMo!
  13. She keeps all her documents (book related) on a flash drive that she wears on a chain around her neck (she's the crazy one!).
  14. She burnt down the cabin during Camp NaNoWriMo (though she retains that she was influenced by Penelope!).
  15. She has two tattoos! A golden snitch from Harry Potter on her right wrist, and a Mockingjay from Hunger Games on her right upper arm. (She hopes to get more before the end of the year!)
This is technically Alex's idea, and I think it is a great one. Fact Sheet! Love it. Find anything interesting about us? Probably about me. Don't ask me about the latest tax laws. Ask (or email or Twitter) me about the next writing subject you want me to cover. Beware that Alex and I might have already covered it. Anything else to add, Alex?

Don't ask about the burning of the cabin. Do ask about us about our next secret project! And tell us if you're interested in more posts like this!

-Steele & Grace

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Celebrating The First Day Of NaNoWriMo!

Alex Steele here, I thought I would help inspire everyone for the first day of NaNoWriMo with a post of gifs! The following gifs represent all our feels about the first day of NaNoWriMo!

Tell us! Are you feeling good about NaNo so far? Are you excited??? How's your first day going!?!

Write on, write on.

-Alex Steele

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween: What The Heck Happened To Us?

Ohhh... Penelope Grace here. Just woke up from a throbbing headache. In a weird place I don't recognize. And there is this supernatural hunter with a broken arm. After dropping me home, she went off to hunt some ghosts and plot bunnies. 

But I think the worse is this: our blog. Alex's blog. My blog. It is all chaos and insane. I mean, just look at it: 

And I was totally like... What happened? So I started reading and I was all... Oh, my goodness. Pro-Lucifer...? What... How...

Anyway, I'm totally going to put it all back together again. Before those demons... Princess of Thrones or whatever she is... come back. 

Sooo...Alex Steele here. My story isn't as horrific as Grace's. You see I just woke up in my bed, a cat leering over my head, to find out I'd been sleeping all month...

My head is pounding and my mouth dry, the last thing I remember is discussing whether or not Destiel is canon with Grace... four weeks ago!

I'm gonna let Grace handle repairs to the blog as I'm feeling quite nauseous at the moment.

A Halloween Nightmare and Exorcism 

-Grace & Steele

Weekly Muse #9: Epic Fantasy Songs

Alex Steele here this week with your weekly dose of muse! What is Weekly Muse? Well, in case you're a newer follower, Weekly Muse happens once a week and it's where Grace or myself share something that inspires us to write (but really it can inspire you to do anything). Last week, Grace talked about Love Songs, and the week before I talked about Inspirational Writing styles if you want to check those out.

Now, Grace has done two muse posts about music...and I've done none. This is unacceptable! I never stop listening to music; I sleep with my Ipod! I am a music fanatic! How have I not done a post about music that inspires me when I'm writing!?! So this week I'm taking about Epic Fantasy songs.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Our Journey So Far #7: Where I Started And Where I'm Now

And now, it is back to me! It is almost NaNoWriMo, but that doesn't matter very much to me. I have one day to ignore the panic. And the anxiety. The eagerness. 

Breathe, breathe, breathe.

I didn't write a "Our Journey So Far" post like last, last week, because I was very busy with the Contract (which is here and longer than the U.S. Constitution). 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Advice For Writers #8: How To Prepare For NaNoWriMo

It's nearly that time of year again, full of stress, overeating and shiny gifts. Not Christmas, mind you. No. It's almost NaNoWriMo! The stress of writing a book in only 1 month! Overeating from all those snacks you're shoving into your face while writing! And the gift of words.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Weekly Muse #8: Love Songs

Penelope Grace. Again. Oh, don't moan and groan. I'm pretty sure that I'm not hideous at all. Of course, that is up to the eye of the beholder.

Love songs. I have done songs before, but this time I'm doing the songs for romance. Romance, love, whatever you call it. This is going to be about being in love and... in a dreamy state. Somewhere beautiful and magnificent. Or pining love. Unrequited love.

Really, I'm being very vague. Off the top of my head (with some little help), I'm listing love songs. Five of them.

So in any order...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Preparing For NaNoWriMo: How I Outline (Alex Steele)

Alex Steele here today to share with you my outlining method in preparation for NaNoWriMo!

Keep in mind, this is just how I outline. You don't have to outline at all for NaNoWriMo and if you do, remember there is absolutely no right or wrong way to outline! I have seen many posts and videos about outlining. A lot of them include a complicated sounding structure along the lines of say a 3 Act, 9 block, 27 chapter method. Basically, you would split your book into 3 acts - beginning (setup), middle (confrontation), and end (resolution). Then each act gets 9 chapters for a total of 27 (or something like that). I think that's too much math! Seriously, it sounds complicated! Next, I guess you outline each chapter!? What? So, no. That's not what I do. Others, like my co-blogger Grace, do a simple 7 act outline(which she talks about here). I don't like to be so specific and yet I like to be more specific. Basically, I don't like to be so technical.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Our Journey So Far #6: Alex Steele

Alex Steele here! Last week Grace gave us an update on all her current WIPs (Work In Progress) and I figure all do the same thing this week! Mainly because what I'm working on at the moment is a secret (it's mine and Grace's secret project!) and I can't talk about it yet!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Advice For Writers #7: Outlining

I'm getting all worked up now. Outlining! One of my favorite things to do when writing a book! Other than writing the book itself, of course. 

An outline is basically a guide, a blueprint to your book. It tells you how to build it and makes sure you don't go off-topic. I'm going to tell you the different ways of how I outline. And yes, it is going to be very interesting. You can most definitely use my ways or not. Outlines saved me many times. Sometimes, I get lost or at a loss for words. Outlining gives answers to where you have questions or bumps in the road.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Short Story #1: Dead, Dead, and Undead

Before we share this story with you, we'd like to announce that it is our debut as co-authors! We wrote this short story together, Grace wrote the beginning and I ended it. We had so much fun and we hope to work together more in the future!(wink, wink. nudge, nudge)

We'd also like to thank "The Author" @ To Write Or Not To Write, for giving us the prompt of "death scene" and posting this story on her blog!