All my thoughts condensed into words

And my dreams turned into paragraphs

Come Nightfall, Chapter One

The first chapter of Come Nightfall is officially live on Wattpad and Figment! I’ll be updating the story every other Friday, with a preview in the middle of each publishing.

So, here below is the initial draft of Chapter One, if anyone was interested in reading it as well. Make sure to check out the story!

It only took three days for my mother to break her promise.

It wasn’t a surprise; she wasn’t particularly good at keeping them. She made them all the time, ones like “I’ll be at your recital” or “I’ll be home for dinner”, but she is rarely able to fall through. Her empty words used to make me angry, but after so long I got used to them. They followed me like a shadow, manifesting a ghost in the absence of her presence. At least I had those to keep me company.

To this day I can still say her worst promises were spoken as my father was dying. If I close my eyes and try to recall hard enough, I can still perfectly picture my mother clutching onto my father’s hospital bed, tearfully promising “you’ll get through this” to the rhythm of his beeping monitors. He would smile at her, his face fatigued from fighting for too long. He was used to her useless words as well.

She tried to say we were going to be okay after we gave our final goodbyes, but that was one promise she couldn’t even attempt to make.

Now, our new home echoed her most recent broken promise. The words all blended together, continuously bouncing off the bare walls and hiding in unpacked boxes. “This new start will be good for us” and “I’ll be there for you, I promise” relentlessly mocked me in my mother’s soft tone as I sat in our new living room. Her subtle ghost greeted me in the form of fresh coffee stains spilled on the floor, probably from her rush to get out the door early in the morning.

New start, old us.

Trying to repress the slight disappointment I felt, I reached out for the packet of information that we received from my new school. Welcome to Arlee High, home of the Eagles! emblazoned the first page. Fumbling through the papers, I found my class schedule, map of the school, and other various items regarding my transfer. I didn’t feel the particular need to go, but I knew that I needed to put effort into school. I wouldn’t ever approach my mother about it, but I knew she had considered sending me to a private school. A few weeks after my father’s funeral I had come across the brochures, each of them scribbled with notes about costs and distance. I’m not sure what made up her mind about me staying, but I didn’t want to give her a reason to change it.

So, school it is.

Closing the door on my shell of a home, I began to cross our unnecessarily large lawn to the edge of the dirt road. Arlee High was located in the center of the sleepy town, much farther than I should be walking. Of course my mother forgot that my car was in the shop and that I would need a ride. Letting out a sigh, I weaved on and off the empty road, skimming the edge of the thick forest that surrounded Arlee. Small strands of sunlight shined through the lush wildlife, illuminating the dust that spiraled from the rocks that I started to kick. Shuffling on, the center of town seemed to be farther away than I first started.

“Excuse me.”

A soft voice, a whisper, stopped me in my tracks. It was faint, so soft that I doubted that I actually heard it. Turning in a circle, I nervously scanned the area around me.

No one.

Picking up my pace, I continued my trek to school. Unease prickled down my spine, motivating me to quicken my steps. The outskirts of town were now in sight, complete with the distant noises of life.

“I need your help, please!”

The voice was louder now, audible over the faint buzz of traffic and the humming of the birds. It was frantic, youthful, and female. A chill swept over my body as I surveyed the area again.

“Hello?” I unsteadily called out. My feet itched, almost begging me to run. My only response was the rustling of the leaves in the wind.

A string of curses flew seamlessly through my mind as I began to walk again. The streets of Arlee welcomed me within minutes and, for the the first time since our move, I was grateful.

***

Lockers slammed loudly as the first warning bell for the start of the school day rang through the halls. I had never been more thankful for the comfort of a classroom.

It had taken approximately one second within Arlee High to be completely ignored by the student body. Every student glanced, but no stares, no whispers followed. They parted in the halls effortlessly, almost as if it didn’t take any thought to blatantly ignore the new face. I tromped through the hallways, willing to make a scene. I didn’t want to admit it to the hesitant, distant students around me, but I was already lonely. I didn’t want to be lonely at school as well.

But, life never works as we would like. Three classes passed, same treatment, different faces. No one tried to talk to me. It was humiliating.

Passing through the cafeteria doors, I couldn’t say I was surprised that no one turned to look. I didn’t exist. Choosing an empty table in the farthest corner of the room, I slid into a seat that faced the wall. Rummaging through my backpack for my meager packed lunch, it took a moment to realize that the room had gone silent. Only the small tapping sound of shoes moving across the tiled floor could be heard.

I scrunched my eyes tightly, my heart skipping a beat. Ignorance wasn’t my friend, I knew the person was walking towards me. Refusing to turn around, I nitpicked at the food in front of me, even when the clicking had disappeared.

Everything was at a standstill.

Taking a deep, uneven breath, I broke off a piece of my sandwich and popped it into my mouth. Seconds after, an icy sensation shot down my spine, cold seeping through my body. Someone had dumped water on me.

“Consider yourself saved. Next time, don’t show your true self so soon.” A low feminine voice hissed next to me.

Without thinking, I turned around and slapped the unknown female.

Wattpad 

Figment

Short Story: Come Nightfall

Hello my dears!

As I did mention awhile ago, I was working on a short story. I’ve recently got it set in motion, starting with the first chapter preview on Wattpad and Figment!

Synopsis:

Following in the wake of her father’s death, Lily Moore is forced to relocate to her mother’s sleepy hometown of Arlee, Montana.

Unknown to Lily, Arlee is home to more than just her mother’s childhood. The small town thrives on an urban legend, one that warns of a loose demon and a vengeful ghost, the source of jokes in the daylight but creates unease in the night.

Forced into the woods by a few of her classmates, Lily and her reluctant acquaintances find themselves face-to-face with the truth of the myth. Charged with a mission from a restless spirit, the ragtag team of teenagers must lure evil into the woods and rid of it once and for all.

If the story sounds intriguing at all, be sure to check out the preview on either of the sites listed! I would greatly appreciate it!

FIGMENT

WATTPAD

More to come soon!

~CVH

Exciting Things!

I’ve had some pretty stressful days the last two months, but it is SO worth it. I’m here to share with you all on the anniversary of my blog!

First, I didn’t really post any new original work because for the last month-and-a-half I’ve been working on submitting to Warner Bros for their Writer’s Workshop. It was extremely stressful, but I enjoyed writing the scripts and I really hope that I have a good chance at gaining a spot on the workshop. I submitted two scripts: first, a Bob’s Burger’s script; and second, an Empire script. I received a lot of positive feedback for the Bob’s Burgers script, which was good because it was so easy to write. My main focus (and source of stress) was the Empire script. It went through a lot of revision and plot changes before it got to where it is now, and I LOVE the script. I’m really proud of what I accomplished with these two pieces. Even if I don’t gain a spot this year, the experience helped me grow as a writer even more and really get in the mind of characters I love. It was great and if I don’t get in this year I will probably submit next year. (Along to other programs, we shall see!)

A line from the Empire script that didn’t make the cut:

You can be loyal to both your ambition and your man, but be careful what you choose if you have to pick one over the other. A man is always loyal to his ambition, and his alone.

Now, onto my own personal projects!

I’m starting a comic collaboration with an artist I met through social media ages ago. I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS. I’m hoping to flesh out the entire plot within this next month or so, which hopefully means we can start sharing character bios by the middle/end of summer. So, if you’re interested, keep an eye out for anything related to Ascent of Chaos. 

Finally, I will be working on and releasing a short story by the end of summer called Come Nightfall. It’s a step out of my usual fantasy genre and goes into paranormal/horror. Another thing to look for if you’re interested.

I’m really hoping to work more on my book reviews and the book challenge for this year. Reading was something I committed to and I really want to push through that commitment. We shall see!

I guess that’s it?

Sure.

Later!

-Court

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

COTAR

5 out of 5 stars

Maas is easily becoming my new favorite NA fantasy author, and A Court of Thorns and Roses would be the book to seal that title. I really thought I added this to my reading challenge list, but I guess I didn’t. BUT ANYWAYS

A Court of Thorns and Roses is a beautiful story with Beauty and the Beast parallels.

After her father landed their family in poverty, Feyre’s vow to her mother has her family’s survival on her shoulders. Most of this survival is based off hunting animals for food and trade.

In the midst of a hunt, Feyre kills a wolf who posed very little threat to her. For this, a faerie locates her and demands her life for the life taken- as was agreed upon in the Treaty between the faeries and humans after the war. Leaving her family behind, Feyre unhappily leaves to live the rest of her life on the faerie’s estate.

While living with Tamlin and his brash friend, Lucien, Feyre slowly learns of the Blight- a terrible sickness affecting the faeries, one that could soon come after the humans. Feyre desperately searches for answers, and finds that the truths tests her affection and dedication for Tamlin and the world she unwillingly left behind.

I don’t think I actually did reviews for the Throne of Glass series, but that series is the reason I know of Maas and why I was willing to pick up this novel. In my opinion, A Court of Thorns and Roses completely blows Throne of Glass out of the water with a compelling story line and remarkable characters.

I think it’s really hard with stories like this to make romance convincing without running into the thought of Stockholm Syndrome, but this novel definitely veers away from that possibility and develops a very tangible, gorgeous romance. The first half of the novel is actually spent more or less on developing this romance. It paces well and is intriguing, which is a major plus for the story.

The second half of the novel is focused on the source of the Blight and how to overcome it. This part of the novel is extremely interesting; the plot flows and it highlights the strongest- and weakest- features of the characters.

One thing that particularly struck a chord with me is Maas’ decision to make Feyre uneducated. That is not a feature that is normally seen in YA and NA, mainly because of the hindrance to the character. It does provide hindrance to Feyre, which aids in humanizing her as a heroine while also highlighting her persistence and courage.

The only true complaint I have is a small one- the source of the Blight. I personally think the conflict of the source could have carried on farther into the series, but Maas seems to be hinting at a larger threat, so I will reserve that judgment.

Otherwise A Court of Thorns and Roses is a really gorgeous fantasy novel that I will probably be talking about to my friends for the next few months. It is a new favorite, one that I don’t really have the words to do just for. I can’t believe that it just came out and I have to wait all this time for the next book. The ending leaves plenty of room open for character development and a revolution of sorts.

If you have any inclination to do so, I would highly recommend picking up this novel, along with the rest of her works. (Throne of Glass is a great series!)

Book Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

thetesting

3 out of 5 stars

I’m genuinely surprised I haven’t heard of this novel, especially considering my interest in dystopias. It’s been out since 2013 and I’ve known about it for barely a week. A coworker of mine is currently reading it, which is the only way I know of it now.

Reading the synopsis I figured I would like it because it sounded similar to the Hunger Games series and the Divergent series. Reading this series made me feel like I was reading a hybrid of the two, which I have yet to determine if it is in favor of the novel or a flaw.

In The Testing, life as we know it was destroyed completely by the Seven Stages War. What’s left is a barren wasteland, one that the survivors are determined to see survive and thrive. The new goverment, the United Commonwealth, ensures this by picking the best of the each graduating class and placing them in the Testing, weeding out those who are intellectual and mentally capable of becoming leaders.

Malencia Vale, known as Cia, is the youngest of her graduating class, and one of the brightest. She longs to be chosen for the Testing and to advance her knowledge at the University, just like her father did. To her initial delight, her and five other graduates from the Five Lakes Colony are chosen.

On the eve of her departure, her father gives an eerie and vague warning that the Testing is not what is seems. Left unsure if gaining entrance to the University is what she wants, she embarks on a physical, mental, and emotional journey to test her abilities.

Honestly, I’m not even sure where to begin. I don’t know what to pinpoint as a major setback or a genius moment. There are aspects that I really like about the novel; for instance, education being the goal. It made me extremely happy that what Cia wanted out of life was to achieve more and create better for her world. Her intelligence and her humanity are beautiful characteristics that set her apart from other characters.

But, let me tell you, these character traits get completely washed out by the fact that her hardships are not as difficult as they should be. The novel sets itself up so much as every decision, every answer is do-or-die that her struggles are completely anti-climatic. Cia did not invoke a sense of admiration as a leading character. Sure, her smarts are more than I could ever credit myself for, but everything worked too well together to really find it a great story.

I don’t mean “worked together too well” as “the plot flowed seamlessly together”; I mean “worked too well together” that Cia had too much for her to really ever fall. She came from a decent, loving community. Her intelligence was able to weed through almost every little thing she is against. She notices too much that it almost seems as if the other candidates are on a more brainwashed or unaware level. I understand that she does face trauma, but it doesn’t speak to me as a reader because there is something in the plot that is a safety net for her.

Also, one thing that REALLY irritated me is that she is YOUNGER than the other candidates. Her being younger seems like it would give her a sort of edge, maybe that she is more advanced than people give credit for. BUT IT’S NEVER EMPHASIZED IN THE NOVEL. ONLY IN PASSING COMMENTS. THE FACT THAT IT’S NEVER EMPHASIZED MAKES HER YOUTH COMPLETELY POINTLESS TO EVEN EXIST. THERE IS NO NEED FOR HER TO BE YOUNGER IF IT DOESN’T ADD AN EDGE. I promise you there isn’t. I sincerely promise you there is no reason for her to be younger. Actually, it would’ve made her being built up and never really falling a little easier to swallow.

This book is honestly a little bit on the annoying side to read until about a little over halfway through, AKA the Hunger Games part. In this section the romance that you cannot miss is actually believable and the plot is actually extremely interesting. In this section Cia questions a lot about the system and it is extremely thought provoking as far as questioning leadership and mistakes. I want to say reading would liven up a bit in this section if they encountered more candidates, but I don’t believe it would be a wise choice because it would compromise her development as far as the system goes.

I’m surprised and pleased with the revelation of Tomas. The ending to the novel makes me a bit more intrigued as to Cia’s decisions with her personal life and what kind of leader she will be.

While the story is a bit of a let down, The Testing is a fast, easy read that I would recommend to anyone who needs to fill their dystopia obsession. It isn’t the best out there, but I hope the last two books of the series make reading it worthwhile.

I’m like ninety percent sure this will become a movie. Eventually.

Giving up would be like admitting none of it mattered. And it needs to matter. It needs to be remembered.

P. 263

Book Review: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

vanishinggirls

4.5 out of 5

I’m not sure if I’ve made this well known, but Lauren Oliver is one of my favorite modern authors. Her stories are always interesting and her writing style is beautiful. I’ve yet to be disappointed by her. Vanishing Girls is on my 2015 Reading Challenge list (which I desperately need to work on) for a book published this year.

The premise of the story is fairly simple:

Nick and Dara are sisters who grew up extremely close with one another. That bond was severed when the two of them were in a car accident, causing Dara to be hurt while Nick came out untouched physically.

Two months and some days had passed without the two of them interacting. Nick had moved in with her father, who had left their mother, while Dara remained home with their mother, extremely hurt and scarred. After being picked up by the police, Nick is forced to move back home with her unstable mother and her absent sister. She is forced to get a job at the local amusement park, FanLand, working alongside her former best friend and Dara’s ex boyfriend, Parker.

Nick and Dara experience a lot of nostalgia and longing for the relationship to be fixed, which is followed along the timeline of a missing girl, Madeline Snow. Their stories become intertwined in a shocking way as the sisters uncover the truth about Madeline and the truth of their accident.

——

Now, I normally give a moderate analytical review of books, but I’m finding it extremely hard to do that with this book. It’s very close to being a perfect story; I just can’t put my finger on what is truly missing from it.

The story definitely hit my emotions, and hit them hard. Throughout the beginning of the novel the nostalgic feel and struggles with change, guilt, depression, and a broken home really resonated with me. While I wouldn’t have been able to really place myself in the shoes of Nick or Dara, I could see myself reflected in their pain and their hopes. This novel had the effect on me that my 11th grade lit teacher said that the Catcher in the Rye normally has on teens.

The ending has an extremely shocking revelation that I did not pick up on. It threw me off and I bawled my eyes out. I mean it. My hands were covered in mascara and eyeliner and I had mascara running down my face. This book has officially made me cry harder than anything I’ve ever read.

Reading through the first time everything seems so disconnected; related, sure, but in a minuscule way. But that all changes once the reader (if they read the story about the same way I did) reaches page 330. Everything becomes so clear and it hurts. It hurts so much, but the ending makes the entire story that much more spectacular. Everything is connected and it makes the story heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once with the journey that the sisters go on.

It wasn’t the happy ending that I was anticipating, but it was a hopeful ending that doesn’t leave me bitter.

Vanishing Girls is easily one of my new favorite books. It’s a really interesting psychological thriller that will resonate with young adults, especially those who are struggling with depression, change, and nostalgia. I would definitely recommend giving it a try.

“for a split second, she comes to me as the clouds, the sun, the wind touching my face and telling me somehow, someday, it will all be okay.

And maybe she’s right.”

– p. 357

Reading Challenge 2015

The start of a new year is close, and I cannot wait to see what the new year has in store for me as a reader and writer. There are a lot of plans in the works, some that will take time to implement, but they are still in the works regardless. I will probably post about them in the new year when the time comes.

Added in the mix is a Reading Challenge that my friend Carlyn found. A few of us decided to accept the challenge, and planned out the books accordingly. As far as reviewing I will not review some, maybe even most, of the list below. Some would require reviewing the books in the series beforehand, some just will get pushed aside to allow other reviews to be done. However, if any of the books listed below spark enough interest to ask for a review, I wouldn’t mind reviewing them at all.

But if you want to know how the reading challenge is going, you can friend me on Goodreads and see the progress of all the books.

So, following along with the picture provided, here are the books as part of my 2015 Reading Challenge:

A book with 500 or more pages: 

womaninwhite

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

A Classic Romance

persuasion

Persuasion by Jane Austen

A book that became a movie

endersgame

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

A book published this year

vanishinggirls

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

A book with a number in the title 

catch22

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

A book written by someone under 30

thisside

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

A book with nonhuman characters 

screwtape

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

A funny book 

goodomens

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

A book by a female author 

songofsolomon

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

A mystery or thriller

gonegirl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

A book with a one word title 

neverwhere

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

A book of short stories

assasinblade

The Assasin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

A book set in a different country

anna

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

A nonfiction book 

cagedbird

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

A popular author’s first book 

piano

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut

A book from an author you love but haven’t read yet 

casualvacancy

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

A book a friend recommended 

statprob

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith

A Pulitzer Prize winning book 

gonewith

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

A book based on a true story 

annefrank

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

A book at the bottom of your to read list

tenant

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte’

A book your mom loves

hearts

Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King

A book that scares you 

sleepyhollow

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

A book more than 100 years old 

othello

Othello by William Shakespeare

A book based entirely on its cover

shine

Shine by Lauren Myracle

A book that you were supposed to read in school but didn’t 

gideon

Gideon’s Trumpet by Anthony Lewis

A memoir 

glasscastle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

A book you can finish in a day

monstercalls

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A book with antonyms in the title 

warpeace

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

A book set somewhere you always wanted to visit 

chasingathens

 

Chasing Athens by Marissa Tejada

A book that came out the year you were born

honestillusions

Honest Illusions by Nora Roberts

A book with bad reviews

frozen

Frozen by Melissa De La Cruz

A trilogy

lotr

Lord of  the Rings Trilogy by JRR  Tolkien

A book from your childhood 

littlewomen

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

A book with a love triangle

shadow

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

A book set in the future

brave

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

A book set in high school 

beastly

Beastly by Alex Flinn

A book with a color in the title 

thecolorpurple

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

A book that made you cry 

sweetfar

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

A book with magic

diviners

The Diviners by Libba Bray

A graphic novel

seconds

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

A book by an author you’ve never read before

lolita

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

A book you own but have never read

allegiant

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

A book that takes place in your hometown

aiden

Aiden by Derek and Nathan Howe

A book that was originally written in a different language

inkheart

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

A book set during Christmas

holly

The Legend of Holly Claus by Brittney Ryan

A book written by an author with your same initials

fools

The Fool’s Girl by Celia Rees

A play 

earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

A banned book

sonslovers

Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence

A book based on or turned into a TV show 

thrones

Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

A book you started but never finished 

pandemonium

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

 

It seems like a daunting list, but I’m excited regardless. I really tried to stray away from books that I’ve read before or that would be in my comfort zone. I’m really pumped to start this challenge to help broaden the genres I read and to hopefully gain some new favorite. (All though I know not all of them will be winners.)

2015 is about to be insane.

Started working on Draft 2 of Trancer. Have to rip apart the beginning and start from a different point in the plot.

Rest In Word, you beautiful and unusable piece of prose.

Rain slowly fell from the dark sky, lazily drenching the undisturbed streets in the small village of Katel. Morning had only begun to come, bringing the streets into the swing of the day. The radiant beams of Edan had refused to shine on the village, instead leaving the faint drops to wake the inhabitants from their slumber. Most were unbothered by the rain, opting to gain more sleep before lining the streets with decorations in preparation for Soleda.

Beautiful Covers of 2014

“Never judge a book by its cover” has to be one of the most well known idioms. Of course, just as we judge people, we still judge our book covers as well. If there was any doubt of that, just look into any debate about professionalism with self-publishing.

Regardless, it’s just as easy to be enchanted by book covers as it is to look down upon them. There are many different lists appearing as we close 2014 regarding the best book covers of the year. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so not every list will vibe with the reader. For instance, me. So my friends and I decided to create our own lists of beautiful book covers of the year.

Now, this particular list barely even scratches the potential candidates that were published this year. But after comparing over 2,500 covers I think it is safe to say that these particular covers had held their own enough for me to create this list. These particular books are only merited by their covers on this list, all though I do hope to review some of them soon.

So, without further ado, my list of beautiful book covers in no particular order:

igniteme

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

clippedwings

Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting

loveletterstothedead

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

rain

Rain by Amanda Sun

tease

Tease by Amanda Maciel

joinings

Joinings, A Seared Sky by Stuart Aken

strangebeautiful

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

endofeve

The End of Eve by Ariel Gore

undertaking

The Undertaking of Lily Chen  by Danica Novgorodoff

Yaaaas!

I have, for now, a computer up and running. It isn’t a reliable source, but it’s enough to be able to be consistent with posting again.

I have a couple ideas in the works, some which will be implemented next year. But I shall go back to reviews and other things.

And maybe rearrange this blog. I dunno yet.

I’m so excited though!

~