All posts for the month August, 2011

What is this?

Published August 29, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

I finished the character sketches for Charleevale, and as promised, here they are:

Everybody, meet Calista and Kalor.



My camera is misbehaving today, so the pictures are a little fuzzy.

Also, last week, S.B. at Writing the Other, gave me the Blog on Fire award. thanks S.B.!

1. Are you a rutabaga? 
No. Maybe. I plead the 5th
2. Who is your current crush? 
Ian Somerhalder. Because he is made of awesome  (I seem to use that word a lot)
3. Upload a heartwarming picture that makes you smile.
they used to get along so well… then puberty struck

4. When was the last time you ate a vine-ripened tomato? 
Never. tomatoes creep me out. the seeds remind me of frog eggs. And I know why…. *shudder*
5. Name one habit that causes other people to plot your demise. 
Not listening seems to be a pretty popular response, so to go with something completely different, my sarcasm? People can never seem to be able to tell when I am kidding or not. Even my best friends. Even my family. Except my brother, because we’re mind-twins
6. What’s the weirdest, most disgusting job you’ve ever had to do? 
thankfully my jobs haven’t been too nasty, but I was a housekeeper at a retirement home for a while. there were a few unpleasant situations involved
7. Where da muffin top at? 
I ate it. First. Because that is the best part
8. What author introduced you to your genre?

9. Describe yourself using obscure Latin words:
Certavi et Vici… totally copied S.B. here and went with my Irish clan motto, which also fits me

People who deserve this
Hmm…I don”t think I know anyone who hasn’t already received it.
Hektor… did you already get one? Whatever, I’m giving it to you.

YA Recommends–Time Travel!

Published August 28, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

With all the hoopla surrounding a recent WSJ article which Shall Not Be Named, I noticed there are a lot of adult readers who, for various reasons have avoided/shied away from YA. This is part of a series of posts where I recommend “gateway” novels– novels that will help  ease reluctant adult readers into the Behemoth known as the YA world.

In honor of the season 6 part 2 premier of Doctor Who, which aired last night, I give you time travel in YA!

*Happy nerd dance*

All synopses taken from Goodreads.

1. Timeless by Alexandra Monir

When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance.

Michele is soon leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – a quest that will determine the fate of both of their lives.

2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

3. Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era! Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

4. The Map of Time by Félix J. Palma

A Map of Time by Felix J. Palma. Set in Victorian London with characters real and imagined, The Map of Time is a page-turner that boasts a triple play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H.G. Wells is called upon to investigage purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence. What happens if we change history?

5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Meg’s father mysteriously disappears after experimenting with the fifth dimension of time travel. Determined to rescue him, Meg and her friends must outwit the forces of evil on a heart-stopping journey through space and time.

6. The Ancient One by T.A. Barron

When Kate travels to Blade, Oregon, to spend a quiet vacation with her Aunt Melanie, she has no idea of the adventures that lie ahead. Blade, Oregon is home of the magical Lost Crater, in which a grove of giant readwood trees has remained untouched for thousands of years. Now the ancient grove has become the center of a major dispute between those who wish to save this rare sanctuary and the local loggers who see Lost Crater as their last hope to rejuvenate their dying mill town. Caught up in the struggle, Kate feels compelled to learn more and decides to follow a trail into the crater, which, as legend has it, was made by the ancient Halami people believed to have once lived in the region. But for Kate, what starts out as a day’s discovery soon turns intor a life’s journey. With the help of an ancient walking stick, Kate is thrust back in time five hundred years. Quickly befriended by a young Halami girl, Laioni, Kate learns that not much as changed in five centuries as she is caught in the middle of a battle for the same wilderness. Confronted by a myrid of strange and frightening creatures, including the trickster Kandeldandel and the evil Gashra, who is bend on destroying everything he cannot control, Kate must complete her quest and return to her own time. But to do so, she must not only discover the truth behind her own beliefs, but also unravel an ancient and wondrous riddle bearing the knowledge of life’s intricate and fragile balance.

The Spark That Ignited a Fire

Published August 25, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?

The scope of Tolkien’s world-building has always amazed me. Particularly the Silmarillion. After reading through thousands of years of made-up history of various races, including mythos and origins, I was in complete awe. My mind was literally blown at the depth of detail that he went into. I loved the back story of the elves, and how all the races were created. I loved the tragic tales of the heroes of old. I loved the origins of the One Ring and Sauron. I even loved Gollum’s tale.

I knew that when I started writing my current wip, I wanted the world to be that vast, that all encompassing. I wanted to create my own mythos. I wanted to create countries with their own laws, histories, customs, and superstitions. I wanted to create heroes that my heroes could aspire to be. I wanted it all.

I don’t go into every book I write intending to have that much back story, but with TLF, since I was already creating a whole new set of gods and mythos, I though well why not? It’s a daunting and exciting process and I love doing it, even if sometimes trying to connect all the dots drives me nuts. Losing my sanity is worth it.

The Spark Blogfest– My Biggest Influence

Published August 24, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

Christine Tyler is hosting this Blogfest. Hop on over and check her and the other entrants out.

I liked the idea for this blogfest, because I like to talk about what inspires me on a fairly frequent basis. My inspirations are many, but I never actually thought about why I wrote or what that first spark was that set me off. Until now.

I was going to answer the question of what book made me realize I was doomed to be a writer, but I don’t think it was any one book. At least not one that I can remember.

However, I think being the daughter of my mother doomed me. She was one of the smartest, craziest, imaginative people I know.

She was convinced she had been abducted by aliens (or so she claimed. I’m not entirely certain she actually believed this or she just wanted others to believe it).

She convinced me that vampires were going to get me in my sleep if I didn’t cover my neck (I couldn’t sleep for weeks. WEEKS).

She also convinced me that those fence rock wall thingies were Attack Rocks, and if I let them out, they would well, ATTACK ME.

My brother has these two things to say about her, which I have to agree with:

We can’t be completely positive that anything she told us was true, or how much of those truths were fact and how much were fiction.

And, we were too young to fully appreciate her (I was kinda old enough).

I wouldn’t necessarily call her a liar, she just liked to tell stories. Lots of them. The more interesting and unbelievable, the better. And she was very convincing. VERY. Convincing.

Despite having an insane imagination, my mother didn’t write. Aside from telling my brother and I these wild stories, and knowing every single question on Jeopardy, she didn’t do anything with it. We will never fully know the depths of her imagination because for the most part, she kept it to herself.

I write because she didn’t.

I was conditioned from a very young age to be creative (and a huge nerd, but that’s besides the point). My mother not only opened me up to the past, present, and future of our own existence, but the limitless worlds beyond our own. She taught me to transcend the bounds of reality, to imagine worlds far greater, or far worse than the one we live in. Because of her, I spend my days pondering what was, what could have been, what will be. She challenged me to think, to explore, to create. Because of her, I was the girl with my nose stuck in a book.

Because of her I was a princess, a ghost hunter, a witch, a dragonrider, an Amazon queen, a healer, a broadway actress, a pirate, an explorer, a fairy godmother, a tiger, an astronaut, a bird, and an elf all before I hit puberty.

That is why I write. I mean, what else was I going to do with my crazy imagination?

Oh, and if you’re wondering where I got my artistic talent from, that was completely my father’s doing. Thanks dad!

Who, or what inspired you to pick up the pen?

YA Recommeds–Urban Fantasy

Published August 23, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

With all the hoopla surrounding a recent WSJ article which Shall Not Be Named, I noticed there are a lot of adult readers who, for various reasons have avoided/shied away from YA. This is part of a series of posts where I recommend “gateway” novels– novels that will help  ease reluctant adult readers into the Behemoth known as the YA world.

I meant to post this on Sunday, but between watching the Three Natural Disasters and cleaning up after them, it slipped my mind. Yesterday got swallowed up by reading Hush Hush, which I only started reading because I left the book I was reading at the house. Those girls can be pretty distracting. And destructive. And dirty.

Anyway, on to this weeks recommendations: urban fantasy.

All synopses taken from Goodreads.

1. White Cat (and Red Glove) by Holly Back

Synopsis of White Cat

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn’t got the magic touch, so he’s an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago. Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

2. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White 

Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours, but still. Normal.
Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie’s dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.

3. Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

Love can be a dangerous thing…

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna’s tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.
But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she’s far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.

4. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Synopsis of City of Bones

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder – much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing – not even a smear of blood – to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know….

5. Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

This one is a little iffy. It’s sci-fi-ish, but I would still call it urban fantasy.

A year ago, Cal Thompson was a college freshman more interested in meeting girls and partying than in attending biology class. Now, after a fateful encounter with a mysterious woman named Morgan, biology has become, literally, Cal’s life.

Cal was infected by a parasite that has a truly horrifying effect on its host. Cal himself is a carrier, unchanged by the parasite, but he’s infected the girlfriends he’s had since Morgan. All three have turned into the ravening ghouls Cal calls Peeps. The rest of us know them as vampires. It’s Cal’s job to hunt them down before they can create more of their kind. . . .


Does anyone else have any recommendations?


Published August 19, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

I have consulted the Random Powers That Be, and divined a winner.


*throws glitter*


Charlee, if you want to e-mail me at cnicoll85 [at] hotmail [dot] com with your choice of color or b&w, head shot or full body (you can do one of each if you like), along with the descriptions of your character(s). Please be as descriptive as possible so I can accurately portray the characters–hair and eye color, hairstyle, skin tone, body type, clothing style, personality, genre, and anything else you can think that might help.

I’ll try to start on them this weekend, but I’m babysitting Hurricane, Tsunami, and little Squall so it might be a little to tough. Now excuse me, red gatorade just exploded all over the kitchen.


Walking Zombie

Published August 18, 2011 by caitlinnicoll

Does anyone else feel like that after they’ve stayed up all night, they’ve drunk a bottle of rum and sung at the top of their lungs? No? Just me?

I figured out some snazzy new tricks for CS5 last night (hence the lack of sleep), and I will now say prematurely that I will be the next digital art master. I can get pretty obsessive with my art. Sometimes staying up all night to work on it, then returning after roughly four hours sleep to finish it. I tend to be like this because the urge to draw usually doesn’t last very long, so I frantically get it all out while I can.

Anyways, today is the last day to enter my character sketch giveaway. Anyone can enter, and it’s really easy. The winner is chosen randomly, so its not like if I don’t agree with your comment, you’ll be disqualified or anything.

I’m excited about the prospect of drawing someone else’s characters. It’s a whole new and exciting frontier of unknown. A break from the monotony of the same old characters, the same old fan art.

So enter. Maybe you’ll win. And I promise I won’t be a walking zombie when I start them.