A to Z Challenge 2016: My Thoughts and Feelings

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Well, my friends, another A-to-Z Challenge has come and gone. I spent the month of April revealing little tidbits of information about my current work-in-progress, a four-part series called The Other World. So how did the challenge go? Stand by for my thoughts and feelings on the process.

First of all, as far as the challenge part of the challenge, it was definitely a success. I managed to not miss a single day, which is something I wasn’t able to pull off in the previous years, and I didn’t have much trouble at all thinking up topics to match each of the 26 letters. So that all went very well.

Secondly, I did have fun with the theme that I chose. It was interesting coming up with stuff to talk about without sharing too much. The people who dropped by to read my posts seemed genuinely amused by the topics, and I even actually found myself coming up with some new ideas for the series based on stuff I came up with on the spot just for the challenge posts. So that worked out rather nicely as well!

Third, as far as the success of the challenge as pertaining to the blog itself…meh. It wasn’t all that great. I did pick up a few new followers, which is awesome, but overall the individual posts didn’t get many views at all, especially compared to previous challenges. I attribute this mostly to the fact that I personally didn’t visit as many other blogs as I should have. This challenge is a social thing – people visit the blogs of participants who visit theirs – and on that aspect I failed miserably. I just couldn’t seem to find the time this year, and it really bit me in the ass as far as the success of the challenge in bringing new people to my blog.

Lastly, though I had fun with my theme, I realized about halfway through the challenge that I was pretty dumb for choosing it. Why did I share tidbits from a story that might be available by Christmas, when I could have been sharing info on my currently available book, Nowhere to Hide? I’m foolish, that’s why. I should have spent the month hyping up the book that I’m actually actively trying to get out there, rather than a book that is not even close to being released yet. Here I am always complaining that I don’t know how to go about marketing myself, and I completely screw up an awesome opportunity to do it. What the heck, Tracey? What the heck?

So, basically, I feel like the challenge was pretty much equal parts success and failure. It was fun and amusing, and people seemed to like it, but I didn’t really achieve what I hoped to, and gave up an opportunity to do something that might have been better. Do I regret doing the challenge with The Other World as a theme? No, definitely not. I just wish I had thought to market Nowhere to Hide instead.

And that’s that! Another A-to-Z Challenge is over and done. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to read my posts throughout the month of April, and I really hope you enjoyed participating in the challenge as well! Cheers!

A-to-Z Challenge: “Z” is for “Zabernism”

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For the A-to-Z Challenge 2016, I am blogging info on my current work-in-progress, a YA fantasy/adventure mini-series tentatively titled “The Other World”.


Okay, I’ll be totally honest: I had no idea what to do for my “z” word that would be related to The Other World. Then, in my moment of struggle, I happened to trip over this word: “zabernism”. It apparently means “the misuse of military power or authority; bullying, aggression”.

I thought this was an interesting word to share, and also a great way to end the challenge because, really, this is what the story is about at its bare bones. Iryen was a boy who grew up to be a bully – a very powerful, very dangerous bully – and asserted to use his power in a way that would definitely be considered “misuse”. He failed once, but returned to make another attempt, and now he holds the kingdom in an iron fist.

And the question, of course, is whether or not Tori can stop him.

So there you have it! An A-to-Z of my current work-in-progress, the first book of which I really hope to be able to release by Christmas. What did you think? Were the snippets enjoyable? Did they make you interested in the book? I’d love to hear what you guys have to say! And don’t forget to drop in on Monday for my thoughts and feelings on the challenge in general.:)


I hope you’re enjoying the A-to-Z Challenge and my little snippets of ‘The Other World’! If you’re interested in what else I’ve written, please be sure to check out ‘Nowhere to Hide‘, available on Amazon in both hard copy and e-book versions!

A-to-Z Challenge: “Y” is for “Young Love”

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For the A-to-Z Challenge 2016, I am blogging info on my current work-in-progress, a YA fantasy/adventure mini-series tentatively titled “The Other World”.


When our protagonist, Tori, was a child she was very independent and proud of it. She was the kind of little girl who would see a little boy coming at her with lips puckered and would react by punching him square in the nose. She had no use for boys at all. She fancied herself the kind of girl who would grow up to be a powerful businesswoman who would never let a guy hold her down for any reason.

Of course, many children change as they grow and become teenagers, and eventually Tori met a guy who made her change her way of thinking. It was young love, and that can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be something that changes a person, and not always for the better. Slowly but surely, without ever realizing it was even happening, Tori changed to suit the young man she considered her “true love”. It was a very gradual thing, but as time and their relationship went on, she lost that sense of independence and began more and more to rely on him for her happiness, her sense of worth. This gradual loss of her sense of self is what eventually tipped off the series of events that would flip her life upside-down by taking her parents away from her.

Now, understandably, Tori is jaded against young love. She is hurt, confused, torn up inside, and numb. In a part of her mind that she barely even registers she swears that she’ll never fall in love again because giving in to love just makes the world crumble beneath her.

But there is another now, someone who watches her closely and falls for her a little bit more with each passing day. He’s falling in love with her…but will she ever be able to accept that young love?


I hope you’re enjoying the A-to-Z Challenge and my little snippets of ‘The Other World’! If you’re interested in what else I’ve written, please be sure to check out ‘Nowhere to Hide‘, available on Amazon in both hard copy and e-book versions!

A-to-Z Challenge: “X” is for “Xenophobia”

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For the A-to-Z Challenge 2016, I am blogging info on my current work-in-progress, a YA fantasy/adventure mini-series tentatively titled “The Other World”.


Dictionary.com defines xenophobia as an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers, or of that which is foreign or strange. There is no lack of such unreasonable fears in our own world, and there is no lack of them in The Other World either.

When Tori first finds herself in the “other” world, the first person she encounters is Jacob, so at first she actually has no idea that there are other species of intelligent people in this land. When she in turn first meets the Maelekanai there is a fair bit of fear and/or hatred on both sides of the coin. Tori feels mostly fear, having been faced with something she previously never would have imagined possible. The Maelekanai tend toward an extreme distrust of the stranger in their midst, with Kaima‘s feelings bordering on outright hatred.

That’s not nearly where it ends, of course. With everything that has occurred in recent years, all of the races have some level of fear or hatred for one another, which is why so many of them hide themselves away, particularly from humans. Some even fear and hate Eden, who wants nothing more than to help and protect them.

How, then, will Tori be able to push past the xenophobia that grips the entire kingdom, and convince each of the different peoples of this world to help her in her quest to rid the kingdom of the evil Iryen?


I hope you’re enjoying the A-to-Z Challenge and my little snippets of ‘The Other World’! If you’re interested in what else I’ve written, please be sure to check out ‘Nowhere to Hide‘, available on Amazon in both hard copy and e-book versions!

A-to-Z Challenge: “W” is for “War”

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For the A-to-Z Challenge 2016, I am blogging info on my current work-in-progress, a YA fantasy/adventure mini-series tentatively titled “The Other World”.


If you’ve been following these little blurbs about The Other World this may come as no surprise to you, but war is coming to these lands.

It began when Iryen first cast his infamous spell, and it came in force when Iryen returned suddenly with his army of black Shadow creatures. It’s been boiling in the hearts of the people for almost two decades as they hide, run, die, or become enslaved. The pot has been stirred by a disdain for one another, constant disagreements on how to broach the situation, and general racial dislike for one another. It has been exacerbated by the lies Iryen whispers in the hearts of humans and slaves alike. And it reaches a burning point when Tori arrives and vows to put a stop to it.

Yes, War is coming. But who is going to fight on each side?


I hope you’re enjoying the A-to-Z Challenge and my little snippets of ‘The Other World’! If you’re interested in what else I’ve written, please be sure to check out ‘Nowhere to Hide‘, available on Amazon in both hard copy and e-book versions!

A-to-Z Challenge: “V” is for “Volatile”

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For the A-to-Z Challenge 2016, I am blogging info on my current work-in-progress, a YA fantasy/adventure mini-series tentatively titled “The Other World”.


The word “volatile” can describe many aspects of The Other World. For one thing, the entire situation is quite a volatile one. The kingdom has been taken over by an evil specter from the past who commands power over difficult-to-kill monsters made of darkness. The different races have all but abandoned each other, spreading themselves thin across the lands, squirreling themselves away in hiding from Iryen’s reach.

In addition to that, Iryen himself has become much more volatile since Tori began her quest to take him down. He’d spent nearly two decades creating a sense of organized dictatorship, posing himself as the rightful king, bringing the Shadows under control and organizing them as an army, and slowly convincing his human inhabitants that they are better off, that he’s created a better world for them by driving the other races out. Now that Tori and her companions have set out on their quest, Iryen’s characteristic rage has resurfaced and he makes dangerous, violent decisions in the name of destroying the ones who would defy him.

On top of all this, Tori herself is quite volatile. She has many understandable reasons to be angry, frustrated, depressed, and full of self-loathing, but these things often cause her to make rash decisions without putting nearly enough thought into them beforehand. She has rare moments of peace and sometimes even contentment, but most of the time she’s on edge, always in danger of falling off.

In short, the entire situation is a ticking time bomb and no one knows which wire to pull.


I hope you’re enjoying the A-to-Z Challenge and my little snippets of ‘The Other World’! If you’re interested in what else I’ve written, please be sure to check out ‘Nowhere to Hide‘, available on Amazon in both hard copy and e-book versions!

 

A-to-Z Challenge: “U” is for “Underworld”

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For the A-to-Z Challenge 2016, I am blogging info on my current work-in-progress, a YA fantasy/adventure mini-series tentatively titled “The Other World”.


The people of the “other” world have a number of creation myths, stories about magic and where it comes from, and religious-style beliefs that vary based on race. However, one myth that seems to have prevailed throughout the ages and across the lands is that of the Underworld.

The Underworld is not an idea of hell – or heaven – but of a place that both exists and doesn’t simultaneously, and is where all souls retreat to upon death. It is not a physical place separate from where the living exist, but is rather the same place and time, except somehow removed so as to be inaccessible.

Imagine, if you will, a computer playing the same audio file through two different programs at the same time. For all intents and purposes, the two audio streams are only one because they’re both coming from the same file. But now imagine that one of the programs has been advanced by half a second so that it is playing each note slightly before the other program. So they are the same, occupying the exact same space on the computer, but they are just slightly out of sync, unable to become one, never able to touch. In a way, this is how the people of the “other” world think about this idea of the Underworld. It is all around them at all times, identical and occupying the same physical space, and yet somehow always just out of reach.

There are many very old stories about how one my traverse to the Underworld while still of the living, but the stories have been twisted and changed over the ages so that no one can even recall whether it’s ever truly been done. The myths persist, however, with very nearly everyone in the “other” world believing in the Underworld with absolute certainty. It is one of the only things on which all six races agree unanimously.


I hope you’re enjoying the A-to-Z Challenge and my little snippets of ‘The Other World’! If you’re interested in what else I’ve written, please be sure to check out ‘Nowhere to Hide‘, available on Amazon in both hard copy and e-book versions!