Tag Archive: Blog

Clean Fantasy and Boring Cover Syndrome

Since recently subscribing to a number of clean fantasy authors’ newsletters, I’ve come across a disappointing trend. A lot of clean fantasy books have really unimpressive covers. You know the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and that’s great in principle, but when it comes to books, readers really do judge books by their covers. As a reader myself I can attest to this. Heck, it’s why I’m writing this post.

I love finding clean fantasy books. They’re rare, and thus they’re hard to find. *thinks of all of the fantasy books she’s read that have been almost clean, but not quite* We need more authors of clean fantasy (or clean anything, for that matter), and we need those authors to step into the reader’s shoes and think about whether or not the cover they’ve chosen will draw someone’s attention or if it will just be overlooked on the bookshelf or as a reader’s scrolling through Amazon or whatever. If your goal as a clean fantasy author is to bless your readers with something they can easily trust to not have sex scenes or language or whatever else we don’t want to read, bless them by making your book stand out on a shelf, too, so that they can actually find it to read it. Maybe these books are fabulously written, but I’ll never know because the cover doesn’t make me interested enough to even look.

Now, this is not to say that all clean fantasy books have boring covers. I know several authors who write clean books and have wonderful covers (Wayne Thomas Batson, Miranda Marie, Jonathan Rogers, Evan Angler…), but it appears that as a general rule, clean fantasy has dull covers.

As a reader and author of clean fantasy, I just want to ask a simple favor of any other clean fantasy authors out there: Please pay attention to your covers. Please put effort into them. The Book Cover Designer has fairly affordable pre-made covers, if you want to start there. Since I’ve only ever bought one cover I can’t attest to anywhere else, unfortunately, but look around. Find something pre-made or get something custom made, just give thought to your cover.

The Leibster Blog Award

I was just nominated for the Leibster Award by Kaylan over at No Two Paths. Her blog name was inspired by Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken,” and specifically these lines:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

That’s really cool.

Thanks for the nomination, Kaylan!

What is the Leibster Blog Award?

In short, it’s an award for small blogs that’s passed between bloggers to explore growing blogs. Those who accept the nomination answer a list of questions given to them by whoever nominated them, write a bit about their favorite blogger, nominate 5-11 other blogs that have fewer than 200 followers, and provide 10-11 random facts about themselves. The official rules can be found here.


Melody at Melody Jackson, Author

Val, Remi, and Spanner at Our Mind Palace (I’m actually a fourth collaborator over there, so I’m not sure if this counts and I’ll post a sixth nominee, but I’d love to see their responses.)

Vinnie at Scribbles Playground!!!

Elyra at Two Roads Diverged (I highly suspect the name was derived from that same Robert Frost poem…)

Mandy at Jumping In the Puddles

Ruby at The Sea Calls Us Home

My Favorite Blogger

I follow quite a few writing blogs, but I think my favorite is Well-Storied (formerly known as She’s Novel). The author, Kristen Kieffer, does an excellent job of giving helpful writing advice in a number of areas. She has posts on publishing, editing, planning, writing, character development, etc. I think Well-Storied was the first blog I followed, and I’ve found Kristen’s posts helpful on numerous occasions, particularly as I get deeper into the writing process and am working on marketing. Marketing is something I know nothing about, and it’s really nice to have somewhere to go to find guidance in that.

11 Random Facts About Me

  1. I’ve been homeschooled my whole life.
  2. Autumn has been my screen name since September of 2015. I started using it when I joined the forums on the NaNoWriMo site and needed a nickname.
  3. I derived my pen name, R.M. Archer, from my initials.
  4. I’ve been in choir for nine years.
  5. I have yet to read Harry Potter. But I just checked it out from the library, so soon I can finally answer yes to the incessant question of “Have you read Harry Potter?”
  6. The question “Have you read Harry Potter?” kind of grates on my nerves at this point.
  7. My favorite author is Wayne Thomas Batson.
  8. I have about a dozen writing notebooks, and only three of them are full. Why? Because when I first started writing I would leave space between the current end of one story and the beginning of another so that I could finish the first one later. And then… I never finished any of them.
  9. I have finished about nine first drafts, two second drafts, and one third draft.
  10. My “pending” writing folder holds 375 files. My “archives” folder holds 171.
  11. My favorite villain is Loki.

Kaylan’s Questions

What’s your claim to fame? (It can literally be anything. Star of the class play in kindergarten? Go for it!)

I was one of the fastest runners at camp this year.

How do you relax after a hard day of school or work?

I read, write, or listen to music.

What could you give a 30-minute presentation on with no preparation? (In other words, what is something you totally geek out about?)

As my best friend can attest, I can rant on for half an hour at least about the Eragon movie or about The Maze Runner. She can also tell you that I repeat myself a lot when I’m ranting, so it would be half an hour long, but it would only be about ten minutes worth of information.

What city would you most like to live in?

Hmm. Is this real or fictional? For a real city… London? I don’t know, honestly. I’m pretty happy where I am, I think. And it has my choir and my youth group and some of my extended family. As for a fictional city, probably Minas Tirith. That place is just cool. But then again, so is the Shire, and it’s more peaceful, so maybe a home in one of the Shire’s cities would be a better fit. I’m almost short enough to fit in a hobbit-hole, too. ;)

What fictional place would you most like to travel to?

Middle Earth, The Seven Kingdoms, Erilea, The Four Lands… Probably most The Four Lands, since I’ve been immersed there so much through the dozens of Shannara books. But then again, maybe that’s a reason to choose a different one. I don’t know. Shannara is almost home for all the times I’ve visited, and I’d kind of like to know more about The Seven Kingdoms, so… I guess either one.

What job would you be terrible at?

Um… Pretty much anything… Sort of kidding. Um… I guess I’d be particularly bad at cooking. I can’t cook without totally going into panic mode. It’s really sad. So I guess I’m going with that.

What takes up too much of your time? (Sleeping? TV? Staring at a wall?)

Procrastinating. Browsing social media even when I know there’s nothing interesting going on. It’s awful. A friend of mine said she can’t imagine me wasting time, but oh man do I waste so much time.

What’s your favourite type of physical activity? (Sports? Hiking? Walking? Sitting outside in the sun?)

I like running, but I can only do it for a little while. “We dwarves are natural sprinters.” ;) Another one is swimming, even though that one tires me out pretty quickly, too. Call me cliche, but I love pretending to be a mermaid.

What’s your favourite Bible verse or quote, and why? (Your explanation can be brief, this is not an interrogation)

Acts 17:16-32. The altar to the unknown god. I don’t know exactly why, but that story always just fascinates me. I guess because Paul was able to use something pagan to point to God and the truth, and it’s always cool to me to find things that aren’t Christian, but yet still point to Christ, and maybe are even against Christianity but still point to it in some way. I made that observation with Wonder Woman, and when my little sister read it I thought her response was really deep: “This is how we know God exists; He’s reflected even in secular stories.”

I have to throw this one in here: what’s your favourite book? (I can never answer that question when I’m asked, but just name the latest one you read that you loved)

Well, it’s not the latest one I read and loved, but Heartless by Marissa Meyer. That one was so good!

What movie can you watch over and over without getting tired of it?

The Princess Bride. No contest.

Questions for My Nominees

  1. Who (other than God, of course) do you look up to?
  2. How long would you survive the apocalypse? Justify your answer! (Credit to somebody else for this question (who credited someone else) ’cause it sounded cool)?
  3. Would you rather have a book signed by your favorite author or an album signed by your favorite singer/band?
  4. Do you like writing prompts or would you rather not use them?
  5. Who is your favorite superhero and why?
  6. What is your favorite era? (Medieval, colonial, Civil War, WWI, WWII, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, etc.)
  7. What is your favorite play?
  8. Give a brief description of an old project you cringe at now.
  9. What is your favorite character name? (An existing one, and not one of your own.)
  10. What would your reaction be if your favorite author read and reviewed your current novel?
  11. What would your ideal playlist look like?

You know what’s annoying? When I make these lists of questions I then want to answer them. XD

Thanks for reading! Go check out the blogs I nominated, ’cause they’re awesome, their authors are awesome, just overall awesomeness. And if you have your own blog, link to it in the comments so I can check it out!

Farewell to September

Another month is done, and NaNoWriMo is only a month away. Hooray! But before we get into prep for NaNoWriMo season, let’s backtrack and see what I did in September.

September’s Writing

Over the course of September I’ve written 46,865 all totaled, 20,621 of which was on The Last Assassin, my current WIP. I also wrote almost three short stories, which were 14,559 words altogether. I also created an author Facebook page, which you can find here, and I’ve started cleaning up my Pinterest account to add it to my platform. Guys, platform is hard. Very hard. I also created a Patreon page, found here, and changed the name of my blog. Then of course I’ve written a lot on my blog, and I sent House of Mages to my editor.

September’s Reading

I finished Graceling this month (read my review here), and I’ve also been working through Light of Eidon, The Hobbit, North! Or Be Eaten, and The Fault In Our Stars. There are several other books on my “reading” shelf, but I’m not actually reading them at the moment.

September’s Blogging

All of my blog posts from the past month:

Life of a Teenage Homeschool Writer

Friendship Bracelets & Seashells – Short Story Sunday

Writing Terms & Abbreviations

Character Interview: Detren Everlind

Jac & Jiles – Short Story Sunday

If I Had a Fandom…

Character Interview: Pellan Shyle

Love Is…

What To Do When You Can’t

Rainy Days & Coffee Grounds – Short Story Sunday

Music and Writing

Character Interview: Ismena Ivery

Weekly Writing Update – September 17 to 23

While I Was Sleeping – Short Story Sunday

My Favorite Music

Writing Resource Round-Up

Guest Character Interview: Emma White

Book of the Month Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Weekly Writing Update – September 24 to 30

Farewell to August

August’s Writing

August has had a lot of worldbuilding and development for The Dark War Trilogy. I’ve designed flags, royal seals, a brand for traitors, I’ve created all the advisors I think I’ll need for royal councils, I’ve come up with a new way to timeline that’s working really well for my overlapping storylines, and I’ve finished several character profiles, among other things.

I’ve also written a short story, which you can read here, and gotten my blog on track to be posting regularly.

Also, I finished my third draft of House of Mages on the 26th, which I’m super excited about because it means come the sixth I can send it off to my editor and get it polished up. ^-^

August’s Reading

I’ve done some reading this month. I finished First King of Shannara by Terry Brooks and The Collective by R.S. Williams (see my review of that here), and I’m in the middle of several (read: fourteen) more books. I won’t list them all, since there are a lot, but so far they’re all really good. I’m particularly enjoying Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Hobbit by Tolkien, and North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson.

August’s Blogging

A list of the posts I’ve published this month:

Character Development

The Dust Thief – Short Story Sunday

I’m Publishing A Book Soon(ish)

My Writing Role Models

Character Interview: Roran Brance

Through A Character’s Eyes

An Interview With Me

My Bullet Journal

Sea Glass & Pressed Flowers – Short Story Sunday

My Writing Process

My Experience With Collaboration

Character Interview: Nissa Quail

Idea Organization

This Is His Story – Short Story Sunday

Writer’s Block: How To Deal With It

Guest Character Interview: Taya Pars

Book of the Month Review: The Collective by R.S. Williams

My Bullet Journal

A bullet journal is something that I’ve seen lots of authors, and non-authors, using. I tried it out a while ago and it didn’t really work well for me. But I’m also pretty sure I was using it wrong, which probably affected the use I got out of it. At the beginning of the month I found a video that better explained how to use it (I’m not comfortable linking to said video because it had enough language in it I almost didn’t finish it) and decided to give it another try. I used the same notebook that my failed attempts are in, and now I consider my bullet journal starting at about page 23, because the rest of it isn’t really a bullet journal because I had no idea what I was doing. So here’s the process I’m using now, and hopefully it helps out someone else who is maybe in the same boat that I was in and doesn’t really understand the bullet journal system.

To begin with there’s a legend, which I originally used to mark pages, but now I use to mark goals. All but two of the above are stories I’m working on/I have waiting in the wings, and the colors aren’t nearly as dull as they look here, I’m just a really bad photographer. The ones written in lighter are ones that I expect to change the titles of.

This is a piece of my monthly “spread,” as it’s called in official videos. The dates are down the side, and I have written in the blog posts I’m putting up those days. (Hooray! You get a sneak peek of what’s coming up!) I also have icons next to those that I have events to go to.

This is below the end of my monthly list, though you can’t see that in this picture. It has my main goals for the month, and this month I have more than usual because before this system I didn’t really make myself goals.

This is my first daily spread. Beside the date I have my word count for that day, and then below that is my list of goals for the day. The arrows indicate I postponed that goal, and Xs indicate cancelled goals.

I also kind of use my bullet journal as a space to talk about my writing progress, and so for each day I have a journal section where I talk about my writing that day and how it went and if anything special happened. On the 4th I troubleshooted a part of House of Mages and mentioned a piece to cut, on the 7th I mentioned some cool things I’d learned while researching for Dark Queen Rising and that I finally picked a satisfactory name for one of the characters in that, etc. And there have also been days that I’ve used this space to make writing-related lists or notes, as well. I have a full two pages dedicated to blog post topics between the 9th and 10th (which really annoys me, but I needed the space).

Overall, this has really helped me because it gives me some accountability with myself. I like seeing the pretty colored boxes checked off. I’ve written a lot more this month than most non-NaNoWriMo months, I think. I’ve written 35,193 words this month already, and I had a 7k+ day, which I’m fairly certain has only happened once outside of NaNoWriMo. And it was also very instrumental in reviving my blog. I wouldn’t have started posting so regularly if not for the organization that my bullet journal has provided.

Overall, I’m very glad I found that video and learned how to use a bullet journal, because it has helped me a lot. Hopefully this post was helpful to you like that video was to me. :)



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