Book Review: Finvarra’s Circus by Monica Sanz (DistantDreamer)

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I recently finished reading “Finvarra’s Circus” by Monica Sanz (AKA DistantDreamer), and, my, what a beautiful, haunting read.

This is the second of Monica’s books I’ve read so far, with the first being “A Witchling’s Rites” (first draft and continuing on Wattpad) and I loved it from start to finish. It follows the tale of young Leanna Weston, a girl with heart problems that rendered her disabled – physically and emotionally, the latter as a result of her family’s over-protectiveness – seeking an escape when she is forced into an arranged marriage. She’s heard the wonders of Finvarra’s circus from her mother when she was alive, and coincidentally that circus was coming to town, and was to be Leanna’s salvation.

This story — it left me reeling and breathless. I don’t cry over books (unless it involves dogs, generally — “Marley and Me” remains the only one so far) but finishing this book left me with an ache in the chest that’s both exhilaration and devastation I only ever see in a truly wonderful book.

Contains some spoilers.

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NaNoWriMo: Week 1

Well, Week 1 has been and gone! At the time of writing, I had just hit 14k words and I have to say, nothing but this has confirmed what I suspected all along.

I’m not built to be a writer (for a career).

I love writing, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing for good. Writing got me exploring places my mind had never been, twisting plots out of apparent thin air, sent my imagination reeling with every piece of writing, film, video, and anime that I watch. It’s amazing. It’s fulfilling and exhilarating to go through the journey with my characters and grow with them every step of the way.

But forcing myself to churn out words, to turn that detailed plot into actual story, making each of my characters talk to each other, to themselves, all the time — that is exhausting. Knowing I have to write, I have to meet that deadline — and it’s just for NaNo! It’s meant to be for fun! But that makes me realise if I were to become a full-time writer, assuming I even get an agent or publishing deal and people want my books, this will become my life. I will need to write, need to meet deadlines, just to earn money and pay my bills.

I don’t want that.

I don’t think I can deal with that stress when my source of stress relief is writing itself. And I admire very much those people who can write on demand and write continuously, because I can’t. NaNoWriMo has just cemented for me what I’ve always known: writing (for me) is a hobby, and I need to enjoy it for it to remain a hobby.

I’ll carry on NaNo’ing as long as I can, because there is still some bit I’m enjoying. It’s started to become a bit like running, though. The start is OK. I think I can do it. I think it’s not that bad. Then my lungs start burning, my brain starts aching, and my muscles hurt. Then I realise it’s actually a bad idea and regret thinking I was ever fit enough to run. My thinking machine is starting to ache a little.

Am I biting more off than I can chew? I can safely say yes.

All The Sins (The Art of Madness Prompt)

The second prompt in Nyhterides’s ‘The Art of Madness’ competition revolved the main character finding a strange CD-Rom, the voice of which tells him she represents all his sins he was afraid to commit, and then him waking up in a strange place.

This piece took me about three days of puzzling before I realised what I wanted to write about. There is nothing particularly twisted or scary about finding a CDR or waking up in the middle of nowhere, but there’s always something scary about people. Like my previous entry, I drew on a few of the stories I’ve read in the past year and mashed in something of my own.

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Ruined Childhoods: A Halloween Wattpad Writing Competition

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Halloween is looming, and what better way to celebrate than to run a competition? Gather round the fireplace, bring those marshmallows, and think of the happiest memories you have as a child…

Wait, what?

That’s right. I want you to think of your favourite things ever – and ruin it. The much-loved chatter topics of childhood – annihilated. The dreams and hopes – crushed.

I want you to ruin that childhood.

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The Dark One (The Art of Madness Prompt)

wallhaven-284216Further to my previous blog about Nyhterides’s competiton, I’ve posted a new short about “The Dark One”. Read it here.

I finally got inspiration after reading bits of Creepypasta (my gosh, some are pretty good, but some are just awful — I’ll talk about some of the awful ones later) and watching a play-through of “The Park” and “Boogieman”. I toyed with the idea of Tony and Cameron fleeing together from The Dark One, but that requires staging of an epic battle and a winning or losing outcome. I didn’t have any idea how they could win, seeing as I was stumped by how Tony could have effectively been immortalised for twenty years. Magic? Witchcraft? Really good skincare lotion?

With Tony and his friends taking off, leaving Cameron behind, I took inspiration from that.

Contains spoilers.

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Wattys2014 Entry Spotlight: Aurora by Sanya

Please take the time to consider voting for Aurora by xxSMxx forWattys2014.

Genre: Fantasy/Romance
This is a epic fantasy tale, with bits of tragedy and sweet romance.
It follows the journey of Isabella and Klaus through a quest to find out the hidden murderer after their lives.
An unbreakable curse, twisted souls and a hell lot of demons wanting to feast upon their flesh – these two find themselves stuck in troubled waters with forgotten secrets. That’s not all. An evil presence lurks in the shadows, far older and crueler then they could have ever imagined.
These star crossed lovers are destined to fight the other – as enemies and as the only soul of Darkness. The long battle awaits. The odds are against them, and all they have is their love to pull them back to sanity.
If you love a good dose of demons and magic, and if you think it deserves your support then vote for this story! And please share the linked posts on Twitter and on Facebook and give me a chance.