Saturday, April 30, 2016

Monthly Summary: April 2016

Well, this month went a lot differently than I expected. I was really hoping it would be better than March, but ... well ... something really bad happened. There's a been a lot of highlights and a lot of struggles.

What I did:

1.) I finally finished editing Red Hood. Now I'm working on the proposal. I meant to get it done this month, but well life hit hard (see below). I should win Camp NaNo tonight with Silver Hood. I'm not sure if that will mean the end of this book, but if it doesn't, I'll finish shortly afterwards. I'm hoping within a week. I also wanted to get that done this month, but I repeat: life hit hard.

But ... my issue of Splickety Havok Magazine that I'm published in is out! Yays! I'm so happy about that. ^ ^ That's one of the ups I've been talking about. If you'd like to purchase it you can purchase a digital copy on Amazon or a digital or hardcopy or both in a bundle on MagCloud.

2.) Much like last month, April start pretty fine, I had a fun birthday and then I had a great job interview. Then I got into a car accident and everything went haywire from there. I didn't get hurt badly (besides being extremely sore for a week), I lost my really good car I would have had for three years next month, so I've been a ball of stress trying to find another car while also struggling to write, edit, attend a wedding, and figure out how the heck I'm going to get to this new job. I had fun seeing family and having friends visit, but I'm just not doing well with this latter half of the month. I'm hoping this will all get resolved, but this stress is killing me. Unfun adulting. It's just always something lately for me. 

My brother and I at the wedding. Seeing my siblings was a highlight.
3.) Because of the above circumstances, I didn't quite finish reading Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson and Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams, but I should finish them in the next week. I like them so far.

4.) I finally drew my character Dina from my steampunk fantasy series Red Hood! She's such a sweetie.

5.) I have reviews of Kings Quest: Rubble Without a Cause, the Jungle Book, The Huntsman: Winter's War up on Geeks Under Grace! My first article for Geekdom House called the Heart of a Girl on Fire is up!

The Geeky Department:

1.) I'm finally on season 9 of GMM! So close to being caught up on my two favorite YouTube comedians. 

2.) I'm caught up on RWBY! So many feels in this season. My gosh. I'm also caught up with Doctor Who and the Muppets. Working on catching up on my other shows lol. 

Nathan Fillion + the Muppets = SQUEEEE
3.) I saw the Jungle Book and loved it. Best version of that story ever.

4.) I'm playing the newest King's Quest game for review. It's been my stress reliever lately. 

5.) My new cosplay is slowly coming along. I'm hoping progress will go faster in May.

What I Learned:

1.) When Polishing Up Your Manuscript Check For Weasel Words - One thing one must definitely check before considering your manuscript done are weasel words. This are repetitive, vague, and often unnecessary words that can clutter up your manuscript. You can find a complete list of them in this post on Go Teen Writers. I found over 300 usages of the word "some" in my manuscript and I cut down too thirds of them. Other problem words were "now," "much," "thing," and "few."

2.) Converted Buildings Are Cool - On my birthday, my friend took me to downtown Atlanta where we went to several places that were buildings converted into other things such as an apartment complex and a meat factory made into strip malls. The designers still kept bits of the old designs, but I thought it was a really neat idea for a setting to convert buildings into other things.

Apartments made into a mall.

3.) Sparklers + Fire Place = Dangerous Fun - So I had some friends over for the weekend after my birthday and I decided to finally use some old sparklers I had stored up. Since they were old they'd started to fall apart and they weren't fun to just light regularly. We also had a fire going in the little outside fireplace I have, so I came up with the idea to throw some sparklers in there and see what happend. Welp, I should have shut the grate. The sparklers exploded and one whizzed past my friend's head. She and her sister screamed, I was elated at the display. We did it again with the rest of the sparklers with the grate closed and it worked much better.

4.) I like Rambutan - While on a trip to Hmart, I decided to try rambutan. They're yummy little suckers. They actually taste like a mix between coconuts and grape. Weird but true.

5.) Car Accidents Suck - I don't know how many of you have ever been into an accident, but it's not fun. Perhaps some of you can use this for book research. It happens really fast. You don't remember much of what happened. Even if you aren't hurt severely you're still sore for days. It took me a week to feel normal and even now I'm still dealing with painful bruising. I have a six inch long two inch wide bruise on my forearm from blocking the airbag (Kung Fu reflexes for the win) that swelled up pretty bad. It's still there and the accident happened a week and a half ago. In consequence of protecting my face from the airbag, I made the airbag gut shot me and I couldn't breathe briefly. 

I also got bruising from my seatbelt across my chest and burns from it scraping on my direct skin (It wasn't a good day to wear a tank top). The seatbelt and the airbag are safety features, but they will hurt you. My back was also sore for a week so much so I couldn't walk for too long without pain that required me to take pain meds and put a heating pad on my lower back to get relief. So if you have a character getting out of a car accident totally fine, that's not normal. They're going to feel it for a while. 

I also had trouble sleeping after it happened. I felt vulnerable to the point I got scared of being alone, and I'm still dealing with the fear of driving. I even had panic attack which also aren't fun. You can't breathe and your vision tunnels. Car accidents are traumatic experiences.

What I'm Going to Do:

1.) If I don't finish Silver Hood this weekend, I'm going to finish that. I'm also going to finish my proposal and send it off with my book. *crosses fingers* Then I'm going to begin edits on Subsapien Biomech which will probably take a few months. I'm not rushing it like I did last year. My plan is to read the whole book through and take notes then fix any inconsistencies then start line editing. I'm hoping to get this ready to begin sending off chapters to my betas as I go by .... Mid to late June.

2.) Next month I will be starting a new job. Right now I have two new job possibilities. I'm just going to have to see which one I get. I'm also looking for a new car which is so stressful. Then at the end of the month I'll be going to MegaCon for some much-needed unadulterated fun. 

3.) I'll be reading Hollow City, the second book of the Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children series, by Ransom Riggs,  The Hive by John W. Otte, and the Raising Dragons Graphic Novel by Bryan Davis.

4.) I'm hoping to finish Rouyn's expressions this month then work on Claes. ^ ^

5.) I have another Geekdom House article coming out and plus I'll be doing more reviews for Geeks Under Grace particularly for Captain America: Civil War and X-Men Apocalypse.

Last Month on Stori Tori's Blog ...

This month's Writerly Bundles: 

This month's books:

This month's writing tips:

My stories stuff:

Other stuff:

Coming Soon to Stori Tori's Blog ...

Because I'm going to MegaCon at the end of next month, my schedule is going to be a little weird this go around. Depending also on job situation, I may have to cut down my number of posts too. May will be a trial month.

May 1 - Writerly Bundle #13 - An Amy Pond-themed post featuring a review of Super Ginger tea!

May 3 - A Book Review of Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams - Because of life I couldn't get my review of this book up, but now I finally am!

May 6 - Questions for Caleb (Subsapien)! - A call for questions for my cutie character Caleb Heagen! 

May 7 - 7 Ways to Help You Get Back Into Reading - I've been seeing people all over the interwebs who struggle with reading slumps. This post is for you guys.

May 8 - Writerly Bundle #14 - A Merlin-Themed post featuring the review of Chai & Mighty tea!

May 10 - A Book Review of Cinder by Marissa Meyer - I really enjoyed this sci-fi retelling of Cinderella and I can't wait to share my thoughts with you!

May 13 - Beautiful People or A Book's Genesis - I don't know if BP is going to be AWOL again this month, but if it is I'm going to do Daniela Ark's A Book's Genesis link-up. If Beautiful People does come back I'm going to do the link-up instead of a tag at the end of the month. We shall see. 

May 14 -  So Your Character is From England or Scotland ... - The next edition of this popular series is coming! This month will feature Emily Lobb @ Ink, Inc., Mawa Mahima @ The Controversy, and Maria @ Purple Dragon Writing. Join us for a great discussion on how to write a British or Scottish characters!

May 15 - Writerly Bundle #15 - Where I review Ginger Moringa tea geeky style.

May 17 -  A Book Review of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson - A book review of a neat twist on superpowered beings. I haven't finished it yet, but I like it so far.

May 20 - Interview with Caleb (Subapien) 2!  - This is when Caleb's interview goes up!

May 21 - Writing Lessons from Video Games: King's Quest - A analysis of the things we can learn from this classic point and click game series. (Yes, this was Spirit at one point, but I got struck with glorious inspiration for this post.)

May 22 - Writerly Bundle #16 - Where I review Mango Turmeric tea geeky style. 

May 24 - A Book Review of Raising Dragons Graphic Novel by Bryan Davis - Pretty self explanatory. I've been wanting to read this book for a while and I'm finally getting to it!

May 27 - Tag - I will either do A Book's Genesis here or one of the many tags I have in stock. It depends how the month goes.

May 28 - So Your Character Has Mutism - A guy with Mutism has been brave enough to speak about this subject on the blog. You don't want to miss this post.

May 29 - Writerly Bundle #17 - Where I review Goji Pop tea geeky style.

May 31 - A Book Review of Hollow City by Ransom Riggs - I'm so excited about reading this book. I really enjoyed the first one. ^ ^

June 3 - Tag about MegaCon - I will be using one of my facts tags to tell you guys all about MegaCon!

June 4 - May Monthly Summary - Yes, the May monthly summery will be in June, but I won't have time to do it in the same month next month. XD

June 5 - Writerly Bundle #18 - Where I review Midsummer Night's Dream tea geeky style. 

Elsewhere ...

1.) My Top 10 Pet Peeves as a Reader by Tracey Dyck @ Adventure Awaits - A great list of tropes that also bother me in books.

2.) ELEMENTS OF A STRONG FEMALE PROTAGONIST by Imogen Elvis @ Gossiping Dragons - Finally someone who agrees with me with how a strong female protagonist should be!

3.) The Power of Fiction by Jason Link @ Faith and Fantasy Alliance - An inspirational post about the power of stories.

5.) Finish the Story by E. Stephen Burnett @ Speculative Faith - Another inspiring post about finishing the story both in reading and in life.

Also don't forget to look at the new Writing/Resources page up top! I've put all of my writing tips and resources there so you guys can find them easily. And the winner of the giveaway is ...

Mary Horton


I hate ending on a bad note. I don't like being negative, but 2016 has honestly been a really rough year on me so far. It feels like there are a lot of highs and a lot of lows. I'm struggling with a lot of things financially and emotionally. I'd really like to have some prayers right now. I keep trying to pick myself back up, but every time I'm almost on my feet something hits me in the fact again and I slam back down. I'm hoping May will be better, but with all of this ... I'm not sure what to think. I have a lot of life changing decisions to make. I'm just praying that God will provide and my year will just only be having a rough start. I hope you all are doing much better than me. I'm pushing on. It's just a bit rough.

How was your month? What did you do? Have you read any of these books or seen any of these shows? How's your writing going? Are you looking forward to any of the upcoming posts?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Interview with Bryce (Subsapien) 3!


This month's character interview is finally here! Yay! Thank you everyone for the questions. I so appreciate them. I know Bryce pretty well, but you've asked some questions I didn't even think about. This helps me so much. If you'd like to know a bit more about Bryce before we get started, you can check out his bio. *sitting on a chair with my laptop on my lap, turns to Bryce* Hey, Bryce.

*sitting in a chair next to me like a talk show, slumped in the chair with his arms on the armrests, tapping his tail against the side of the chair* Hey.

Ready for some questions?

I guess.

Great! The first one is from Cadi Murphy: WHY ARE YOU SO COOL?!

*blinks* Uh ... I don't know. I don't try.

*smiles* The next question is from Anna J Jacobson: What's it like having a tail?

I don't really know what it's like not havin' a tail, but it's handy for balance and fightin' and pickin' up things. *opens and closes tail pincers* But the pickin' up things is new. I didn't have pincers until I got brought to the L.T.R.

*nods* Sara Letoureau asks: What is one good thing about being part-cheetah?

One good thing? I like bein' part-cheetah. I like runnin' fast and jumpin' high. I'm proud to be a grafting. 

Grafting pride. An anonymous questioner would like to know: If you weren't a cheetah grafting, which animal grafting would you want to be?

Somethin' with wings, so a owl grafting. Flying would be fun. I like bein' up high.

Another anonymous asks: Do you have any hobbies? What's your favourite one?

Hobbies? Don't got much time for hobbies. Is runnin' a hobby?

That can count. Next one is from Anna J. Jacobson: How do you find the humans Pro and Caleb?

*frowns, thumps tail against the side of the chair* They're stupid spoiled norm pups. They don't know nothin', and they wouldn't last a day in the L.G.R.

They're not so bad when you get to know them.


*clears throat* The next two are from Sara: What or who do you turn to when you need cheering up?

Emil or Mattie. Emil always says some dumb joke that makes me laugh, and Mattie is a good listener.

How would you describe your brother Matt? What do you admire the most about him?

*smiles a little* We look a lot alike. It's how we found out we're bros. He's shorter than me and has green eyes. He also has asthma. That bothers him a lot. *licks upper lip* He's always kind, lot kinder than me, and he just says stuff that blow me away, you know? Like I can't think of good stuff like he can. Like when the grens were usin' him for drug testin' and Matt was throwin' up, Matt said it was okay because least he was helpin' people. *sighs, smile fades*

He's a special person. The next two questions are anonymous: If Emil and Matt were fighting, who side would you take?

Mattie. Emil gets mad about stupid stuff most of the time.

*snorts* If you were able to escape Rota, where would you go and which three people would you take with you?

I'd take Emil, Matt, and Matt's girl Ingrid. I wanna visit a city then we'd live out in the country where Rota can't find us.

*nods* Sara asks: What kind of stories were you told about Outside? What about it has convinced you that it's the right place for you and Matt to escape to?

I heard stories about lots of food and a city with lights like stars. I wanna go there because Matt will be safe. The grens don't like Matt's asthma. They kill defective kids.

*nods* The next two are from Anna J Jacobson: What would you do once you get to the outside world?

Find somewhere far far away from the L.G.R. to stay. I heard about farmin' and buildin' houses. We could do that on our own.

What was the accident? Were any others injured?

*sniffs a bitter laugh* "Any others" are dead. It was a test.

Bryce, be nice.

*rolls eyes*

*purses lips*  The last two are from anonymous: If you could change one event in your life, what would it be?

I'd keep this person from dyin'. I'm not talkin' any more about it.

*smirks* How do you feel about your authoress?

Right now I'm kinda ticked at her. *shoots me a look*

*smiles innocently* Well those are all of the questions for today. Thanks for reading! Bye!

*waves once*

What do you think of Bryce? Do you have any further questions for him? Have you done character interviews before? Post a link in the comments!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Book Review of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Buy from Amazon!
A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. 

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Series: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Book 1)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Quirk Books; Reprint edition (June 4, 2013)
Page Count: 382 pages

After seeing the above book trailer, I've wanted to read this book. The whole concept seemed so strange, creepy, and cool. Years later, I finally got around to reading this story and I'm so happy I did!

Note: I know this wasn't the intended review, but I've had a lot of serious things come up and because of this I couldn't get Songkeeper read in time. I plan to put up the review next week. 

The Plot: This is a fantastically strange and mysterious story. For a while, you're not sure what's real and what isn't, but then you're swept into the incredible world of peculiars. The story is full of twists and turns that keep you turning pages as you thirst for the knowledge of this hidden world. I know a lot of people are a bit nervous that this story is scary. Though there are some chilling parts, I wouldn't consider this horror or too scary. The photography included add this extra sense of realism. You feel like you're uncovering each of these letters and photos just like Jacob is. I've never read a book like this before, but I absolutely love it!

The Characters: Jacob is a cool protagonist. He's brave, curious, compassionate, and clever, and for a long time deals with thinking himself insane. 

All of the peculiars are unique and having intriguing, odd abilities. Emma can create fire in her hands, Olive can float, Millard is invisible, Bronwyn is super strong, Enoch can reanimate things, Hugh has bees living inside him, and Claire has a backmouth just to name a few. Miss Peregrine herself is of course an amazing character. I mean she can shapeshift and time travel. How cool is that? It's all just so wonderfully strange!

Other characters like Grandpa Portman, the rapping punks Dylan and Worm, Kev the Innkeeper, and Doctor Golan all add to the story to create a wonderful cast.

The Setting: Though the story starts in a quirky Floridian neighborhood, most of the book takes place on a small island in Wales. Even better the characters go between this island in the modern age and during World War II. This creates such an interesting setting as you step between the two times. Ransom Riggs describes it all in beautiful prose. 

Epic Things: Where do I even start? It's set in Wales. That's just awesome. All of the abilities are well so peculiar and fun. The ymbrynes like Miss Peregrine are especially interesting. I can't wait to go deeper into their culture in the next books. They're like female time lords! I loved the foreshadowing of the cairn by using old Celtic legend about bogs being portals to other worlds.

The Theme: Loneliness is definitely a big theme. Jacob only had one friend and even that friend wasn't a great one. Empathy is also another one. Jacob has a big heart for those in trouble. 

Content Cautions: The only thing I didn't really like about this book is the amount of profanity. There's not as much as in say the 5th Wave, but there's some to call question to. I counted thirteen uses of h***, twelve uses of d***, ten uses of piss, nine uses of sh**, eight uses of a***, six uses of ba****d, four uses of godd***, three uses of a**hole, two uses of Jesus as a swear, and one usage of bi***.

There is some notable violence such as a monster slaughtering sheep, a character stabbed in the eye, a character shot in the throat, a many having multiple gash wounds, and a dead man who's been partially ripped apart. The hollowgasts are creepy and could be scary to some. There is some kissing but not very much.

What We Can Take Away For Our Writing: 

1.) The Accents Worked - This book is set in the U.K. and that means accents! We had American, Welsh, English, and Cockney. On top of that he has the difference between the accents in the 1940s and in present day. Ransom Riggs did a great job at showing these characters accents in a way that these characters speak.

Modern Welsh: "Oh, and you'll need these. The generators stop running at ten since petrol's so bloody expensive to ship out, so either you get to bed early or you learn to love candles and kerosene. Hope it ain't too medieval for ya!" ~ Kev

1940s English: "Polite persons do not eavesdrop on the conversations of others!" ~ Miss Peregrine

1940s Welsh: "I don't know no Kev, and I don't fancy bein' fed stories. There ain't any rooms to let around here, and the only one lives upstairs is me!" ~ Bartender

1940s Cockney: "Soon as I figger out to train 'em up proper, I'll have a whole army like this. Only they'll be massive." ~ Enoch

As you can see by just using word selection and playing around with the grammar each of these accents sound vastly different. Barely any cut off words that can lead to confusion are used.

How this can be applied to writing: Accents can be a very tricky thing to write. If you don't write them out, the reader can often forget that the characters have an accent. If you overwrite them, then the readers can have a hard time understanding the character. When writing a character with an accent pay close attention to how to word their lines. Watch videos that feature people from the country and area that your characters are from and really study how they speak. My So Your Character Is From Another Country series is design to help out with this. The Australia, Canada, and New Zealand posts are up with more to come!

2.) Using Pictures and Documents in a Novel Worked - To be honest, I was a bit nervous about a story using pictures as part of the storytelling. I wasn't sure if it was going to take away from the writing, but the idea intrigued me enough for me to proceed anyway. The pictures are amazing! When I saw a dark page coming up, I grew excited about seeing what cool old photo I'd see next. I felt like I was looking through the old photos and documents beside Jacob and it made me feel more immersed in the story. It was such a cool experience.

How this can be applied to writing: This must be tricky to pitch to publishers, but using pictures and documents within a story adds a sense of realism that I've never experienced before. With all the new ways stories are being told, why not see if you can use them for your story? Watch out for copyrights when doing this or use your own photography to utilize this trick for your tale.

3.) Caps Worked and Parentheses Sometimes and Didn't Other Times - Many times throughout the book Riggs uses parentheses to insert a thought or caps to let you know someone IS TALKING REALLY LOUD. These had their pros and cons. The parentheses allowed some witty lines to be inserted, but much like Tolkien did they were also used to insert some bits of telling. The caps I felt like were mostly unneeded. There's only one instances where Bronwyn shouts for them to run where I believe the caps were necessary. They can often feel a bit childish.

How this can be applied to writing: Take care when uses caps or parentheses. They can be two-edged literary devices. At some points they can be great and others they can seem childish.

Conclusion: This is a great book. I highly recommend. It's chilling and strange without being scary. It has great characters and a fantastic plot. I hope the upcoming film does it justice! I'll update with my review of the film when it releases. In the mean time, read the book. Five stars!

About the Author:
Ransom Riggs grew up in Florida but now makes his home in the land of peculiar children -- Los Angeles. He was raised on a steady diet of ghost stories and British comedy, which probably explains the novels he writes. There's a nonzero chance he's in your house right now, watching you from underneath the bed. (Go ahead and check. We'll wait.) If not, you can find him on Twitter @ransomriggs.

If you liked this post, come back every other Tuesday for book reviews; Friday for tags, character interviews, and link-ups; Saturdays for writing advice and life updates; and Sundays for the Writerly Bundle which includes a new soundtrack piece, vocabulary word, and tea review!