Wednesday, July 20, 2016

#PitchWars #PimpMyBio Hi, I'm Scarlet!

I'm biting the bullet and entering Pitch Wars this year! I'm nervous, but there are only positives to entering, right?

So, a little about me...

I pay the bills by working in a large, chain bookstore (you know the one) where I'm happiest when I'm organizing the Teen section or talking about the latest book I've read (and am most likely obsessing over). I post all of my staff recommendations on Instagram!

My hobbies, though, are what really enrich my life and I have many of them: I play the clarinet and bassoon in a community band, I have a Gilmore Girls podcast, I love photography, I watch a million TV shows and films and, of course, I read and write a lot! Oh, and I have a bit of an obsession with tennis. Er...I guess I need to be honest here: I am completely and irrevocably in love with tennis. If only watching tennis counted as working out!

Despite always being a voracious reader, I never thought I could write something of my own. I am not that person who, as a child, wrote my own stories and dabbled in fan fiction because I loved it. In fact, I kind of hated writing. I wasn't very good at it and I never gained much confidence for it while in school. I was proud of myself for doing well enough on my AP Lit exam so I would only have to take one english class in college. (I know!)

While I was always much better at math and science (I double majored in Biology and Music at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA), I have always been extremely creative. I have the type of brain that exists outside the box and I think that is why I love books so much. I have such an appreciation for the minds that think up the stories I love and in the past few years I finally realized that I could do it, too!

I wrote my first manuscript (a contemporary YA romance about a vague breakup), but set it aside because I figured it was my "terrible first book":) What I wrote next, and what I'll be querying is a YA adventure that was inspired by my own love of music when I imagined a world where it was illegal. THE MOVEMENT is told in dual POV and my male MC is based on Dave Grohl. (They say to write what you know and I have definitely done that!)

Thanks so much to Brenda Drake and all of the mentors out there! I'm excited! (and nervous!)

Check out the main blog hop page to find some other awesome writers!


Friday, July 08, 2016

Escaping Into Fantasy

I was never really into fantasy books.

Sure, I'd love for a sparkly vampire to crawl through my window and sweep me off my feet, but that's like saying you like spicy food when really you just like pepper. Vampires are practically mainstream now.

But in the past couple of years, I've found myself drawn to the fantasy aisles of the bookstore more. My love for contemporary novels has cooled just a bit and I'm now craving things a bit less real. A bit less like real life.

I think I started reading more YA years ago because I related more to the less jaded, unmarried, childless characters than those in so many adult fiction books. I didn't want to read about women who were getting divorced or dealing with preschool applications. Or school. Or work...or any of the mundane things I actually do deal with in my life. And I think that's why, lately, I've been reading way more fantasy than contemporary. I need a better escape.

Last night, I made the fairly long 4.5 hour drive home from the beach and listened to HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J. Maas the entire way. It's the third in the THRONE OF GLASS series and it's incredibly epic and about [fill in fantasy word I can't use because it's a spoiler]. I was lost in that world the entire drive, enjoying the wonderful storytelling as I made my way home. And then, once home and inside, I looked at twitter and saw that something terrible was going on in the world: more people were being shot and killed.

I kind of wanted to get back in the car and drive some more. Instead, I got off Twitter and read more fantasy before going to sleep. Even if I'm reading for escapism, it doesn't mean my heart doesn't hurt for so many people at the same time.

A war is on the horizon in the book I'm reading. One that involves magic and fae and swords and ancient stones and good vs evil and it's intense! But it's the escape I want and need right now. It's a story that can translate thematically to the real world, but it's different enough that I can let myself get lost in the fantasy.

I like that for 300+ pages of a book I can think about things that aren't real: fae wars, ancient curses, immortal kings, shapeshifters, magic, and yes, even vampires sometimes.

I used to only want to read about characters who were real, people who could exist in our world...but now, I'm gravitating toward worlds that aren't too like ours because I can read about our problems all I want just by checking out Twitter or turning on the news, and sometimes, I need to get away from it. Away from our world. So, thank you, writers, for sharing your imagination and creating these amazing worlds for me to escape to. Thank you for writing fantasy.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Book Boos: June

It felt like I read a lot in June, but then I checked Goodreads and it was only five!? Ugh, that's ridiculous. Having to work ruins things!

5. A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn. (Audio) This was a fun book and I really like the main character, Veronica Speedwell, a lepidopterist who tries to figure out who is after her. I loved the Victorian England setting and the feisty nature of the main character. 

4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. (Audio) Honestly, this book was awesome and the fact that it's in 4th "place" just shows how amazing June's books were. I feel like I say that every month, but it's true! The world-building is awesome in this book, which is why I picked it up in the first place- that cover! I loved how different the entire story felt and read with fervor, trying to learn everything I could about this world Bardugo created. I can't wait to get to book two!

3. Prince's Gambit by C.S. Pacat. The only reason this hit at three is because I was impatient as a reader and wanted to get to what I hoped was at the end. Publishers Weekly describes it as an "erotic political romantic fantasy novel" which is a lot of words to describe a book, but they're all true. Everything in Pacat's books are multi-layered. It's incredible. 

2. Crown of Midnight. (Audio) I waited a long time to move along in this series,mostly because I wanted to save it. We all know about my ACOTAR series obsession and I kept thinking I could save this series for the long wait until May 2017, but Empire of Storms comes out this September and I don't want to be left behind so here we are...and I'm glad I did it because the Throne of Glass series is so much fun! I had heard some people didn't like book 2, which surprised me because I really liked it. We still get badass Celaena who is somehow even more badass as well as Chaol and Dorian who now hold very different spots in her life. 

1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Once I started this, I was so angry with 2015 me for not cracking this wonderful book open when I bought it! It is so so so wonderful and beautiful and filled with some of the most amazing imagery! I loved the main characters, who are both flawed, yet grow, and I really really loved the magic in the book and how Novik described it. It's loosely based on Beauty and the Beast and my boss at the bookstore has likened it to Night Circus, which I totally agree with. I could read all day about the magic in this book. And, side note, this would make an AWESOME movie!

A Court of Music (An ACOTAR Series Playlist)

The connection between writing/reading and music is something very special- two of my favorite things in the world that work together so well. I love that so many writers use music to help their writing and I love when a reader finds a piece of music that reminds them of a book.

Sarah J. Maas is a writer who talks a lot about the music she uses when writing. She makes her Spotify playlists public and, in her newsletter, she shares many of the specific pieces of music that go with certain scenes. I may have cried a little when she revealed that it was Beethoven's 7th she imagined being played for Feyre while Under the Mountain. I cry every time I hear that 2nd movement..including when I played it in orchestra. (Awkward. Like, I legit was tearing up while on stage.)

So, it was inevitable that I would create a playlist for A COURT OF MIST AND FURY, my new favorite book. Sooo many songs were reminding me of the book because Sarah is so good at writing words that convey a ton of emotion- just like good music!

So, check out what I came up with in my Spotify playlist below. I started out just picking songs that reminded me of ACOMAF, but I wanted to encompass the entire story from Feyre first entering Prythian to Under the Mountain, to her depression and coping, and of course, to what happens after that. There are some spoilers below, so be warned. And please- let me know what songs you would include!


  • “I love you,’ he whispered, and kissed my brow. ‘Thorns and all.”  (Tamlin)
  • “I threw myself into that fire, threw myself into it, into him, and let myself burn.”
  • Rhysand stared at me for long enough that I faced him. "Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don't feel anything at all.”
  • "Because I'm tired and lonely, and you're the only person I can talk to without putting myself at risk." (Rhysand)
  • As I lifted the ash dagger, something inside me fractured so completely that there would be no hope of ever repairing it.

  1. Fell On Black Days- Soundgarden
    1. “Sunspots have faded and now I'm doing time Now I'm doing time 'Cause I fell on black days
  2. Wolf- First Aid Kit
    1. “Wolf father, at the door You don't smile anymore”
  3. Satellite- Dave Matthews Band
    1. “Winter's cold spring erases”
  4. Sacrilege- Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    1. “Fallen for a guy, fell down from the sky Halo round his head Feathers in a bed In our bed, in our bed”
  5. Yellow Flicker Beat- Lorde
    1. “This is the start of how it all ends They used to shout my name, now they whisper it I’m speeding up and this is the red, orange, yellow flicker beat sparking up my heart”
  6. The Blackest Day- Lana Del Rey
    1. “Because I'm going deeper and deeper Harder and harder Getting darker and darker Looking for love In all the wrong places”
  7. Truth Doesn’t Make a Noise- The White Stripes
    1. “My baby's got a heart of stone”
  8. Black Tangled Heart- Silverchair
    1. “Take the rope to my heart and fall”
  9. Stars- The Brian Jonestown Massacre
    1. “And every moment I'm not with you Well it seems like years.”
  10. Ink- Coldplay
    1. “Got a tattoo said 'together thru life'”
  11. Lykke Li- Hold On, We’re Going Home
    1. “I can't get over you, You left your mark on me.I want your high love and emotion, endlessly”
  12. Better Love- Hozier
    1. “But you were mine Staring in the blackness at some distant star”
  13. All I Want- Kodaline
    1. “But If you loved me. Why'd you leave me?”
  14. Symphony 7, II- Beethoven
  15. Hurt- Nine Inch Nails
    1. “I focus on the pain. The only thing that's real.”
  16. Night Sky- Chvrches
    1. “I'm the night-sky I'm the fire in your eyes And I want you Now and for all time”
  17. Wandering Stars- Portishead
    1. “doubled up inside Take awhile to shed my grief”
  18. In This Twilight- Nine Inch Nails
    1. “Night descends Could I have been a better person? If I could only Do it all again”
  19. The Words- Christina Perri
    1. “And all of the steps that led me to you And all of the hell I had you walk through But I wouldn't trade a day for the chance to say My love, I'm in love with you”

  • “When you spend so long trapped in darkness, Lucien, you find that the darkness begins to stare back.”
  • “Hello, Feyre darling,” he purred.
  • “You sent that music into my cell. Why?” Rhysand’s voice was hoarse. “Because you were breaking. And I couldn’t find another way to save you.”

  1. It Was There That I Saw You- ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead
    1. “You were fair and fey as a sun that evil day We were bold and life was great But as time went on I wondered what was wrong I wondered what became of you”
  2. Black Star- Radiohead
    1. “What are we coming to?I just don't know anymore”
  3. Without You- For King & Country
    1. “This thorn in my side, though it cuts and stings me Has opened these eyes, I've never seen so clearly”
  4. Broken Crown- Mumford & Sons
    1. “But oh my heart, was flawed I knew my weakness So hold my hand consign me not to darkness”
  5. Identikit- Radiohead
    1. “Broken hearts make it rain”
  6. Hold On, Hold On- Neko Case
    1. “That echo chorus lied to me with its "Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on"”
  7. Fall In Love- Phantogram
    1. “Love, it wasn't love to recognize To see of was the reason you feel sick inside”
  8. Crown of Love- Arcade Fire
    1. “If you still want me, please forgive me, The crown of love has fallen from me.”
  9. In the Arms of Sleep- Smashing Pumpkins
    1. “Sleep will not come to this tired body now. Peace will not come to this lonely heart”
  10. Breathe Me- Sia
    1. “Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found Yeah, I think that I might break”
  11. Better Love- Foxes
    1. “I cried myself to sleep again You lie right there, but I've learned nothing”
  12. Skinny Love- Birdy
    1. “I told you to be patient.I told you to be fine.I told you to be balanced.I told you to be kind”
  13. Plug In Baby- Muse
    1. “I’ve exposed your lies…”
  14. In The Night- The Weeknd
    1. “”All alone she was livin In a world without an end or beginning
  15. Spectrum- Florence + the Machine
    1. “Say my name And every color illuminates”

ACOMAF- Depression, Recovery, Fighting, Loving
  • “There are different kinds of darkness,” Rhys said.
  • “There are good days and hard days for me—even now. Don’t let the hard days win.”
  • “No one was my master— but I might be master of everything, if I wished. If I dared.”
  • “To the people who look at the stars and wish, Rhys." Rhys clinked his glass against mine. “To the stars who listen— and the dreams that are answered.”
  • My friend through many dangers. My lover who had healed my broken and weary soul. My mate who had waited for me against all hope, despite all odds

  1. Unsteady- X_Ambassadors
    1. “If you love me, don't let go”
  2. Stars- Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
    1. “I can't look at the stars. They make me wonder where you are”
  3. Between the Bars- Elliott Smith
    1. “Drink up baby, look at the stars. I'll kiss you again between the bars. Where I'm seeing you there with your hands in the air. Waiting to finally be caught”
  4. Yellow- Coldplay
    1. “Oh yeah your skin and bones, Turn into Something beautiful”
  5. You Should Know Where I’m Coming From- Banks
    1. “You ought to know where I'm coming from How I was alone when I burnt my home”
  6. Planet Caravan- Pantera
    1. “We sail through endless skies stars shine like eyes the black night sighs”
  7. Shadows of the Night- Pat Benatar
    1. “We're running with the shadows of the night So baby take my hand, you'll be all right”
  8. Reflektor- Arcade Fire
    1. “Trapped in a prism, in a prism of light. Alone in the darkness, darkness of white”
  9. Galaxies- Laura Veirs
    1. “When you sing, stars fill up my eyes”
  10. Everlong- Foo Fighters
    1. “Breathe out So I can breathe you in”
  11. A Sky Full of Stars- Coldplay
    1. “'Cause you're a sky, 'cause you're a sky full of stars I'm gonna give you my heart
  12. Gun- Chvrches
    1. “You had better run from me With everything you own 'Cause I am gonna come for you With all that I have”
  13. Cosmic Love- Florence and the Machine
    1. “Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too. So I stayed in the darkness with you”

  • And so Tamlin unwittingly led the High Lady of the Night Court into the heart of his territory.