December 29, 2018

IT'S THE END OF THE YEAR!! Again. Who's excited about recapping 2018 and planning 2019? I SURE AM. But it's still a lot to take in.

^^ parent: isn't it scary it's so close to 2020?
sibling: no
sibling: not really
sibling: the only scary thing is whether Dreamworks makes a fool of HTTYD 3 next year

The only scary thing is I'm only a year away from BEING AN ADULT. *cue panicking*

2018 was my second year of calling myself "an aspiring writer". Stuff I accomplished :

. I FINISHED MY FIRST BOOK aka Broccoli Queen in the spring. It's a middle grade fantasy novel about four girls competing for the crown. It's an absolute mess and I'm still trying to untangle it for rewrites. I'm looking forward to editing it + beating it into shape next year.

. I DID CAMP NANO IN APRIL and succeeded with 13 k of short stories and miscellaneous novels. I ALSO DID NANOWRIMO IN NOVEMBER ... and failed lol

. I STARTED A FUTURISTIC/DYSTOPIAN/SURVIVALIS BOOK IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR. It's called The 101st Human and it's one third way through so hurray for that!


^^ One was for Rosalie's flash fic challenge and the other for Christmas, if you want to check them out.

.  I GOT AN HONORABLE MENTION IN PROJECT CANVAS'S HANDWRITTEN POETRY CONTEST. I really had fun writing it and then rewriting it multiple times to get the lettering just right.  Then I must have taken 50 pictures because the first time round I didn't realized I had a spelling error until I'd taken about 25 photos XD

. I GOT A COUPLE OF MY STORIES BETA READ/CRITIQUED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE which was so insanely helpful and amazing that I shall be doing that a lot more in the future!

In beta reading I've done a nice amount of work too. I finished three novels, one novella, and multiple short stories and chapters. And three or four of the works I read will/have gone on to be published including Seek and Live Without You

Goodreads says I've read 62 books which is less than half what I hoped to read, but never mind. 

Cool stats: 

. I read 17,249 pages
. shortest book: 48 pages in Mansion of the Gods (comic book from Asterix series)
. longest book: 635 pages Inkspell by Cornelia Funke 
. average rating: 4.3 stars (pretty good, eh?)

Numbers by the genre (approx.):

Fantasy: 20.
Contemporary: 17.
Comics: 9.
Nonfiction: 6.
 Historical fiction: 5.
Classics: 3.
Sci-fi/futuristic: 3.
Thriller: 2.
 Retellings: 1.
. Mystery: 1.
Steampunk: 1.

Best books (first  time reads only):

the whole Wings of Fire series in general.

Blogging in recap:

Not a lot to talk about, I think. I do remember that I changed my template and spent hours customizing it to fit my wants. I took three hiatuses. I hosted a short story contest which was incredibly fun. I abandoned doing recap posts. I redid my aesthetic and I'm really happy with how the second half of the year reflects that in terms of images. I learned a lot about html and css. I discovered I like writing how-to posts about blog design. I gave up trying to do all the tags thrown at me. I have about 150 followers (including double followers and spam followers). I have enjoyed blogging A LOT but have also been ridiculously stressed over 

- how much time it takes,
- and what a perfectionist I am in terms of looks.

Most popular posts:

Best screen experiences:

. Hawaii Five-0 (the old series, which we finished in the spring after over one and half years of binge watching)
. Blue Zoo (one of the best surprises - it's about kids given six weeks to experience marine animal training and conservation)
. Studio Ghibli (after being convinced by my best friends I saw about seven of their films, the best being Howl's Moving Castle and Whisper of the Heart)
. Ballerina 
. Ferdinand
. Little Women (mini-series from BBC)
. Blue Planet II (awe-striking and eye opening and heartbreaking)
. The Boxcar Children (and The Surprise Island)
. The Lego Batman Movie
. The Star (best Christmas movie I've seen)
. 15:17 from Paris (thought it was going to be thriller but turned out more biographical)
. Father Brown (many thanks to Angela Watts for recommending the series)
. The Man Who Invented Christmas (multi-layered and brilliant)

MUSIC. According to Spotify I listened to 1,666% more than last year and below are the top artists and song. Unfortunately - it's incorrect. Thanks to the fact that I let my sister use my account for about half a year, the stats reflect HER FAVORITE SONGS THAT SHE PLAYED ON REPEAT and not mine. 

So here are my musical obsessions listed for you.


Sleeping At Last :: Ben Rector :: Raelynn :: Alec Benjamin :: Svrcina :: For King & Country :: Colton Dixon :: Sarah Reeves :: Tori Kelly :: Lany :: Pentatonix


you are enough (sleeping at last).
cross my mind (arizona).
island (svrcina).
don't wait (addison road).
reckless love (cory asbury).
living hope (phil wickham).
resurrection power (chris tomlin).
well done (the afters).
fear no more (the afters).
more of you (colton dixon).
you are (colton dixon).
i stand here (hannah kerr).
i love you (sarah reeves).
cheerleader (pentatonix).
boulevard of broken dreams (lindsey stirling).
it ain't me (lindsey stirling).
if i killed someone for you (alec benjamin).
kids (ben rector).
lonely call (raelynn).

Cool stuff that happened in the months (I'm taking the major highlights from my recap posts *sigh of relief*):

JANUARY : read approx. 15 books + quite a bit of travel writing  // was sick // hardly wrote // went to a wedding // got guitar strings but never played it
FEBRUARY : THE OLYMPICS // snow for the first time that winter // chinese new year // read a health book (the only one of the year)
MARCH : was sick again // went skating once // finished alpha reading projects // FINISHED BROCCOLI QUEEN and two short stories 
APRIL : cherry blossoms everywhere // Nanowrimo and finished with 13 k // plotting The 101st Human // got a story of mine beta read for the first time EVER // read four ARCs/review copies // got We're All Just A Garden Full of  Souls by Julia Ryan // took a blogging hiatus
MARCH : watched too much of Miss Marple // won the Allegiance series' first three books in a giveaway 
JUNE : bought a Kindle // HAD MY BLOG ANNIVERSARY and hosted a short story contest // finished a course // acquired an orchid or two // THE FIFA WORLD CUP BEGAN
JULY : THE WORLD CUP CONTINUES AND FRANCE WINS // played too much foosball having been inspired by the games // had some really hot days
AUGUST : SUMMER CAMP which was the most exciting thing that happened in our lives" according to a sibling of mine XDD // also got a new phone (<< major highlight)
SEPTEMBER : went of a road trip // tried out video editing (and I love it) // watched Little Women 
OCTOBER: inktober // started painting again // for king and country released a new album (!!) // got a succulent // turned 17 // became a writer for Oh Beloved One magazine
NOVEMBER : failed Nano // wrote The 101st Human to it's third way point // beta reading again
DECEMBER : went on unexpected hiatus due to major school deadlines // wrote a Christmas story and had it edited // lots of present wrapping // potluck on the Eve // studying like mad

SO THAT'S MY YEAR IN RECAP! Lots of good stuff happened and I'm super grateful for everything accomplished, learned, and discovered.

Now it's your turn - how was your year and what were your biggest highlights? 

hope your new year is wonderful + and 2019 is your best year yet.
xx lisa

ps. don't forget to check out that christmas story of mine right here.


MERRY CHRISTMAS + my short story present to you

December 24, 2018

hey GUYS AND MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF YOU! chances are you're probably not in the blogosphere at the moment because you're celebrating with your fam, but for when you come back -


^^ Also, I want to say sorry for disappearing for the past month. I had so much school work to catch up on that I had to put breaks on all my other hobbies. That means that I didn't even finish with the Shared Wip Tag - but no worries. I'll talk a bit more about The 101st Human in the future.

Fun fact: The Boy Next Door and Sipping on Moonlight actually tied places but I ended up writing The Boy Next Door because a) it came to me easier, and b) it actually looked like it would win at first but then I had some comments come in a week or two later so!! The Boy Next Door it is!! It's about 4.4 k and 12 pages long.

(also I wanted to change the title but came up with nothing better???)

An enormous thanks to my critic who made this story 1000% better than it originally was.

And so I present you with ... my story!!!


brief synopsis:

No one owns corner stores anymore - no one except the quiet social outcast Benjamin Reeves. And Robin Greer is more than happy to revel in the mysterious and miserable rumors about him that circulate her high school. That is, until Christmas comes, bringing with it the first snow in decades ...

click image to view and download pdf.

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xx lisa

Writing Related

THE SHARED WIP TAG [questions about my antagonist]

November 16, 2018



No?? Ok. If you saw this post in your feed and clicked its link, you probably ended up right here and didn't see anything new. HOWEVER. I have added/changed stuff in my design and I'm so excited!!

And I really want you to have a look and tell me what you think. 

So, I added a FRONT PAGE to my blog which means that if you go to you will see it first (instead of my blog home). Also, I changed the look of my pages, removing the SIDEBAR so that they look more like professional pages rather than blog pages lol 

I did all this cos I SUDDENLY HAD AN OBSESSION TO REDO SOMETHING and I wanted to be a tad more pro XD (and yeah, it took me like three days and reading countless sites and tearing out my hair over html.)

The cool thing is that if you click my header it'll still take you right to my BLOG HOME and not the front page (like it wanted to do at first), so that you won't have to run around in circles. 

In essence the only NEW THING is that my front page exists at the front, and my blog is still perfectly intact XD

NOW. ON TO THE ACTUAL POST. aka the shared wip tag in which I talk about my storyworld and side characters ...

Introduce the main antagonist of your book!

GLYNIS - the governess :

aunt to Adam. first female governor of the island. aka tyrannical dictator. never gives up. strong. stone heart. succeed or die. "i carry this island on my shoulders."  

when they said to her, "governess meant a teacher in the old days," she replied, "stop living in the past. this is the present. besides which, i'm going to teach you to survive." therefore she has been called governess, because "it's the female version of governor". 

she never should have been the ruler. it was meant to be her brother (adam's father). but he died and she got what she'd always wanted.

she succeeded her father and was going to be the best leader that ever existed.

[some people might disagree.]

What do you (the writer) have in common with the antagonist?

obviously I modeled her after myself and my amazing skills at being a tyrannical older sister and making my younger siblings do all the work for me ...


*ponders* Maybe ... I relate to her in the great desire to succeed, to be the best, to keep going and never give up. 

Maybe? I mean, I hope I'm not as obsessive as she is *awkward laughter*

What do you not have in common?


She lives in a future era where most of humanity has died / I do not
She has raised a nephew / I have not
She's the leader of an island / I am not
She's very harsh / and I am hopefully not
She probably doesn't care much for people other than that they SURVIVE / and I ... do
She's an adult and / I am not
She was a youngest kid / and I am not

What does your antagonist do when he/she is mad?  Do they have a soft spot?

When my antagonist is mad she ... yells. Shouts. Screams. I mean ... really. Her temper goes up, her voice goes up. She yells at Adam mostly - about how he's always studying geography when he should be learning to be like *her*.

Her soft spot is any mention of her parents. She wanted to please them so badly but they never had eyes for her ... unfortunately.

Who is your antagonist’s worst enemy?  What is their greatest fear?

My antagonist's worst enemy is circumstances that go beyond her control. And that's her greatest fear too. Things happening that she cannot fix, that she cannot change, that she cannot bring back to normal. This must be the reason she is so infuriated with Rae ... 

What is your antagonist’s weapon of choice?

Definitely a gun. *nods*

How would your antagonist surprise your reader?

... this sounds suspiciously like a spoiler-divulging question ...

What is one thing your villain would never do?

That would be a long list ...

/ she would never get married,
/ she would never have kids,
/ she would never go visit anyone in town,
/ she would never tramp through the forest for no reason,
/ she would never do anything *just for fun*,
/ she would never give up on anything she's doing
/ she would never hug Adam,
/ she would never let him bring an animal home,
/ she would never let him be a geographer,
/ she would never let him marry anyone she doesn't like,
/ and most importantly SHE WOULD NEVER EVER KILL HIM.

She could and might do a lot of other horrible things but she would never kill Adam.

What lie does your antagonist believe about the MC?

Haha. The Governess believes that Adam ... is kind of useless. So far he hasn't shown any signs of toughness or sternness and no interest in being a leader or an enforcer of the law. All he wants to do is read book and draw maps and tramp through the forest and feed animals and build a boat. 

He wants to explore the ocean.

And the Governess thinks he's doing all this just for fun and that he has no idea what he's doing.

Well, she's dead wrong XD

What is your favorite thing about your antagonist?

Hmmmm ... I rather like the fact that she's got an explosive temper and pretty much throws tantrums whenever I need her to. Makes her more exciting than those *calm, cool, and calculated* villains who are annoyingly clever.

If your antagonist was your MC, what would your book look like?

Very interesting, as matter of fact. It would start out when she was young and trying so hard to do everything how her parents wanted her brother to ... and how she grew all cynical and hard and when her brother died, her father was forced to see her for all she was worth. And then she ... became what she is today.

And still she isn't happy.

Then Sammy comes and disrupts everything she built and she goes into a panic and ... yeah. Sammy is still very important in this version of the story.

*is inspired to write a companion novella*

OK, and that's one more week over *SWOOSH* be sure to check out the blogs of these amazing people : 

Ceci @ Ceci Creates
Julia @ Lit Aflame
Melissa @ Quill Pen Writer

how is nanowrimo (or your other writing projects) going, my dudes? i'd love to know!!

(and don't forget to give me feedback on my blog improvements)

Writing Related

THE SHARED WIP TAG [questions about my protagonist]

November 09, 2018

TIME FOR PART 2 of the Shared WIP Tag in which I'll be talking about the main characters for The 101st Human ...

That's all the intro I have for today, and as for how Nanowrimo is going well ... don't ask XDD

Fun breakthrough though - I FOUND THAT SOME OF EDGAR ALLEN POE'S POEMS SUIT MY STORY so it's going to be a theme in here lol 

Introduce your MC a little (name, maybe a description or picture, etc,) and tell us something quirky about them.

I have two main characters who have perspectives in the book - Rae and Adam. Rae is the main main character, who gets more chapters, but Adam is just as important.

I don't have pictures for them because ... well, I once saw a guy and thought - I need a character to look like him - and so Adam looks just like that in my mind and I cannot find a good picture of him XD And if Adam can't have a face, Rae won't either :P

Here's something I LOVE doing for characters though - I call it a verbal board (alternative to Pinterest ha!).

It'll probably take you a while to figure all that out so let me help :

17. dark wild hair. dark eyes. eye bags. no sleep. nightmares. no smile. her mom used to be the village baker, and everyone still thinks she is, but they don't know who really is. her arms are as strong as her father's from chopping wood every day. a singer who will not let anyone hear her voice. temper. scorns art. a survivalist in every way. 

wanna-be explorer and geographer. a genius. but no one knows he's a genius. raised by his tyrannical aunt who thinks he's useless. loves animals and plants. keeps tabs on the island's wildlife. short. sandy brown hair. has a collection of old moldy book and draws maps. on a quest to build his own boat. wants to escape but is afraid to do so.

[and here's a bonus for Sammy, Rae's nephew, who's a major character too:

7 years old. pale and weak, with a boundless energy and imagination that has been stifled and pressed down. a reader. a voracious reader. a reader who's possibly read all the books there are on the island. memorizes edgar allen poe. sharp mind. good, kind, and a sad, mild kind of kid.]

What does your MC value the most?

There's nothing Rae values like Sammy. And second, her brother Dex, and parents - their comfort, survival, and presence. 

As for Adam - he values his books, his maps, his work ... oh and his pet monkey, Ruzzie. There's also this old reclusive religious dude on the island who's his only friend so far, and calls him "son"... And maybe - just maybe - he comes to value a certain other person in the course of this story.

What is your MC’s wildest dream?  What is their greatest fear?

Rae has no dream, she thinks, but honestly, deep, deep down she wishes she could live in the past where an unlimited amount of people were allowed to exist. Her wildest dream is that Sammy could live like a normal kid.

Her greatest fear is that they'll find Sammy and that her family will be punished and that Sammy will die.

Adam's greatest wish is that his aunt would not expect him to be the next *dictator of the island* and that she'd let him have a boat and explore the seas that surround the island. His greatest fear is that he'll become like his aunt and that he'll be stuck on the island forever. 

What is your MC’s favorite food?  Can they cook?

YES! Both my main characters can cook because I'm sick of characters that can't. 

[^^simple as that]

Rae's favorite food would be bread (that she made) eaten with a kind of vegetable stew (that her mom made). Adam likes plain scrambled eggs ... with ... Rae's bread. (Surprise, surprise? Of course, he never knew it was hers XD). Bread is a very very common staple food on the island.

What do you (the writer) have in common with the MC?  What do you not have in common?

Just like Rae I have a) a baking parent and b) younger siblings whom I feel very protective of ...

[^^ or maybe not? maybe I just feel it's my duty to teach them all I know ...]

Currently I really relate to Adam because I HAVE TO STUDY SO MUCH just like he does. Except that he does it because he wants to. (Or maybe not? It's his aunt's fault, because that's all she made him do when he was younger ...)

What lie does your MC believe about himself/the world?

Well the lie they both believe is that --- ----- -- ------------ --- ---- --- --- ------ ----- but that's all spoiler stuff so, SORRY xD

I think they both believe that they are stuck where they are without power to do anything about it and that's just ... not true. Just that doing something about it is very hard and dangerous.

Who is their best friend and why?

Rae's best friend, Kaya, is this writer girl whose family owns the dairy farm. They are best friends because they practically grew up together - went to the same school (as if they couldn't, ha!) and just spent a lot of time playing when they were little. Now, Rae loves Kaya because Kaya is really reserved and reclusive and Rae can escape to her house whenever she wants to.

Adam has no friends ... except the reclusive man who lives all alone on a cliff on the north end of the island, studying ancient languages (that means Spanish and French and Chinese and *gasp* even Latin ... etc.). 

[^^ wow reclusive-ness is becoming a theme in this book. actually, kaya isn't that reclusive, she just likes to be locked up in her room or roaming with her cows ...]

What song best describes them in this book?

I'd say ISLAND (by Svrcina).

What is their personality type?

*skips question bc I never thought about it till now*

Why should your readers care about this person?

Good question. My readers should care about Rae because ... as a character she's very practical and caring and I think people will relate to her fears/troubles (of loosing someone she loves) and then she's thrown into a very desperate situation and she acts quite selflessly and smartly - while still making mistakes and taking things very hard. So I'd say she's a mix of relatable human and admirable wits. (I hate characters who do things we readers know they shouldn't. I like those stories where the characters do all the right things and things still go wrong.) 

As for Adam, I think people will like him because he's in a relatable situation of struggling with expectations, and while he's trying to figure out how to break away, he has his own dreams and goals, and in the end he does the right thing.

I hope my readers will relate to these characters because they'll be going through the same internal struggles we all do; and I hope my readers will like my characters because they are conflicted and smart and suffering and still try their best.

Ya know? 

OKAY MY DRAGONS, we're done here for this week. I hope you liked hearing about Rae and Adam. Be sure to check out the rest of my friend participating in this link up/tag. 

Ceci @ Ceci Creates
Julia @ Lit Aflame
Melissa @ Quill Pen Writer

speak up, dudes : 
what would make you like/relate to my characters?

xx lisa

[acknowledgements to pinterest for pics]

© Lisa Elis 2017-2019. All text mine unless otherwise credited. Please do not steal. Thank you.