So Sang The Dawn {review}

2/7/2018
um, no review right now, too busy crying, good cry, don’t worry, LOVED the book, it’s beautiful.





2/10/2018
OKAY. deep breath. 

So I’m procrastinating on an article by writing this, but at least I’m writing, right? Yeah, anyway. 

I don’t know that I’ve read a book like this in a while. This one really needs like seven out of five stars. The last time I remember reading a book in such pell-mell haste and reaching the end and just—hanging—was when I read Moonraker’s Bride for the first time. Before that, Jane Eyre. In fact, I think I could list to you all the books I’ve read that yanked me in and ate me up in the process of reading, and when I came out… I’m going to sound like Gandalf when I say “You may never return… and if you do, you will not be the same.” So Sang The Dawn is one of those books for me.

The prose is vivid, engaging, and nearly flawless in terms of pacing, plotlines, and flow. The story is sharp, harsh in places, and it hurts in all the right places. This brought me to tears so many times – actual curled-up-on-the-bed SOBBING. I read it in a week which is the fastest I’ve ever read something of this size. I stayed up late nights reading, which is also unusual for me. 

Aurora was entirely too relatable and I slid into her shoes so easily that it scared me. Raine reminds me of my own best friends and made me miss them dearly. I haven’t slid so completely into a story in a while and it took me a good two hours after I finished before I could even quite remember me. 

Okay. Let’s see if we can make some order out of my feelings on this book:

IT’S HUGE. I could win awards for the book yoga I pulled off to be able to read this comfortably. Eh, nah, I couldn’t. But anyway. Ever since AnnMarie published, I’ve been debating whether it would be as big as my cat. The answer (as evidenced on her Instagram @elli_and_indie) is that yes, it is pretty much just as big as my cat. TOTALLY WORTH IT TO HAVE THE PAPERBACK. In a lot of ways it needs to be that big. The story is so big that it needs every single one of its 723 pages. 

I loved it. I just totally and absolutely loved it. If I was beta reading, I would point out the three typos I found (and for the record 3 typos over 723 pages is totally insanely good.) That’s it. I can’t find anything that I feel needs to be changed except that I need the sequel RIGHT NOW PLEASE AND THANK YOU. 

The characters, the setting – I won’t give you spoilers, but THE WHOLE FREAKING SETTING IS AMAZING. Reading it in February, in the mountains of Western Maine, I knew exactly what she was talking about and I adored it. 

The story-telling has a beautiful blend of detail and action that is both poetic and made my heart race. 

This is a high fantasy story like few I’ve read and it has the added delight of a contemporary world and a high fantasy world blending flawlessly. 

It’s taken me three days to be able to think enough to be able to write a review and knowing me, it will be like three weeks before I can verbally talk about it. 

I apparently made a record by sending the author her first ever review in GIFs only. 

There is semi-graphic violence and heavy themes, but it’s all handled so well, so I recommend for 14+.






I highly recommend getting your copy from AnnMarie’s website – you can get it signed, and she does the most amazing wrapping and packaging job. Seriously, that got all the heart eyes from me. 




AnnMarie’s Website



Amazon Link




-Annie

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Copyright 2018 by Annie Louise Twitchell. 

News: October 2017

As October marches onward and it finally starts behaving like autumn here, I have a few things to share: first of all, my new storefront at AnnieLouiseTwitchell.com is running a coupon for the rest of the month. I have limited copies available, so if you’re interested in a personalized, autographed copy of one of my books, head on over there and check it out!

I’m starting preparations for my second NaNoWriMo. Mostly that involves sitting on the ground in a quiet corner and thinking very hard of nothing much at all; I’m very industriously working on that.

Also, I’m working on rewrites for No Dragons, Please! which will hopefully be coming out sometime in November. I’m also illustrating this kid’s story, and I’m mostly done with those.

And for people in my local area: be watching my Facebook page for news about the craft fairs I’ll be attending during the holiday season with my books and other related things.

Now, for the boring stuff: I’m hiking a mountain this weekend, I have been walking miles a day because I’m slightly bored and also rather antsy, and I did a photo shoot with Elli and Cricket this last weekend.

Copyright 2017 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Miss Floof

So after spending Saturday morning and part of the afternoon at a library book sale, I was planning to play with my rabbit, Bethie Butterscotch. However, my mom wanted some help at her library, so we decided to load the rabbit up in a laundry basket (because she’s kind of too big for the cat crate we had handy) and take her with us. Turns out, the space underneath the bookshelves is just the right size, and she spent the hour+ that we were up there, running around underneath the bookshelves, and NOT chewing on books.
When we came home, she was a bit agitated from the car ride, so I left her in the laundry basket in the living room while I went to do horse chores, intending to come back inside and snuggle her and help her calm down when I was done. I told Elli, jokingly, to keep an eye on the rabbit.
Elli took me seriously. She babysat the rabbit. By the time I was back inside, she was napping, and Bethie was all calmed down and comfortable, despite the cat sleeping on her. They stayed in the basket together like that for about an half and a half total. 
Once upon a time, Bethie B was little… 
It’s autumn so here, have another picture. 
Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Spinner of Secrets, Update Four

It’s really going to throw me for a loop if/when I redo the cover for this. I’m so used to this cover now…

With the ninth draft having 18,720 words, I’ve started sending it around to a handful of people for reading and editing help. One of my friends really enjoys editing so I emailed it to her, but I use Open Office for my word processor, and she uses Microsoft Word. Word doesn’t like to talk to Open Office and won’t open the document. I’ll have to get Dad to help me do the thing so it’ll work. (Because I don’t remember what the thing is.)
Also, I was emptying a laptop case that someone gave me a long time ago and I found an unopened, brand new, 16 GB flash drive. I guess I have another flash drive. Since my current one is 2 GB and the new one I got for Christmas (it’s a Minion) is 8 GB, this is a big upgrade. 
And in completely unrelated news, we have three horrible little beasties AKA The Kittens. 
Elli disapproves and has been spending a lot more time in my room because they aren’t allowed in there because that’s her space. 
Jester is the orange one. Poet is the black and white one. And Phantom is the muted calico. They’re Elli’s niece and nephews, but Elli is not impressed with being an auntie. 

Ever had a depressed cat? They’re a particular sort of creature. Elli was feeling depressed. So she came and found me and demanded snuggles and this was how she looked when we were done. That is a no-longer-depressed cat. 
Attack of the sleepies…

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Stories for Elli, Part Two

This was another 300 word prompt. I have fun with them, although it’s kind of hard to take one idea and have it stay small. It’s a good writing exercise. 



Running through the forest on my way home, I found a pair of dragons engaged in battle. Beasts of legend, we had always been taught that light ones were good and black ones were evil. I had no reason to mistrust this teaching, until the light dragon sought to seize me and use me as weaponry against the black dragon. The black dragon and his rider strengthened their attack and soon beat the light dragon and her rider back into the forest.
I started to run in the opposite direction, but the black dragon caught me and folded me up in gentle wings. His rider dismounted and came to fuss over me. I cowered away from the man’s figure, covered in black robes, and he laughed softly. His laugh was the gentlest, kindest sound I had ever heard and I stopped struggling in order to listen. He put a hand on my forehead.
“Do not be afraid of the night, child. Many good things are concealed under her mantle. Evil is not bound to light or darkness, but passes freely between the lines and masquerades as any number of good things. Learn to sense the evil for itself, and trust the darkness.”

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Maine Maple Sunday, Mud Season, and Poetry Contests

I am late.

I am not a wizard, therefore it is not surprising.

I meant to do a new blog post on Sunday. Sunday was Easter. I was baking a ham and helping drain the flooded basement.

I meant to do one on Monday. Monday didn’t happen this week, not entirely sure why. I think maybe someone stole it or something.

I meant to do one on Tuesday. Tuesday was crazy, as usual.

I meant to do one on Wednesday. I didn’t do much of anything on Wednesday, until after 9pm, at which point I went for a run.

It is now Thursday and I am finally making a new blog post.

Anyway.

I mailed in my poems for the National Poetry Month contests I’m doing this year. We shall see. *cue first photo*

I spent time with my cat. Actually, my cat spent time with me. *cue second photo*
Some of my family and I went to Maine Maple Sunday, on Saturday. I love maple season. I love it when I drink so much maple sap that I start talking Old Entish. I love it when we make our own syrup and get to climb on the woodshed roof and roast hot dogs over the smokestack. And smores with cinnamon graham crackers and Reese’s peanut butter cups are amazing. But we didn’t make syrup this year, so I settled for inhaling as much hot sticky steam as I could at the two farms we visited. It was a lovely day, as the chickens were discussing while they lounged in a sunbeam. *cue third photo*
I am doing Camp NaNo this year, which starts tomorrow, so we shall see how that goes.

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Stories For Elli, Part One

I like to tell Elli stories. She’s a good listener. She likes to be talked to. 
This was a story prompt on one of my writing groups – write a short scene (less than 300 words) about the picture below, dialogue optional. I tried to find a link to the original artist but we’ll have to settle with the vague blurred web address on the bottom right hand corner because searching the image on Google resulted in two story prompt collections and at least eight Pinterest boards. 
I would have blinked in surprise, had I still possessed my human eyes with proper lids to blink with. Instead I stared up through the murky water. I was certain that I had heard someone rowing a boat across the surface of my lake. I rose from my watery bed amongst the grasses at the bottom and drifted to the surface.
There was a boat, drawn up among the reeds. I could see the shadows of two people in it, but when they heard me break the surface of the water, they darted and hid behind it.
Help me! I screamed in my head, but all that came out of my mouth was an unintelligent roar.
No wonder they fled, like everyone else. No wonder there was no rest for me, trapped in foreign flesh, dying for human companionship. I was now as much of a monster on the outside as I had always been on the inside.


Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Image Credit to Artist

Witches and Cream

Witches and Cream
Annie Louise Twitchell

The wind howls and
rattles the bare branches
of the dead pine tree.
In the pale milky light
shining down from the moon
I see a black cat, perched
high in the tree.
Her yellow eyes stare
venomously down,
as she threatens to unleash
the storms of darkness.
In terror I shine my lamp
upwards, hoping that the light
with drive away this–
dainty gray tabby with golden eyes,
hiding up the tree and
playing at scares.
She scrambles down, purring,
quite happy to be done
and come home now.



I, apparently, have a pretty good witch’s cackle when I put my mind to it. This information was given me by a slightly more knowledgeable source than the thirteen year old boy who informed me that I was the scariest woman he had ever met. It was, in fact, given to me by a source who excels at evil laughs. (Muahahahaha!!) It is appropriate, therefore, that my cat has a pretty good witching attitude herself, when she puts her mind to it. This evening she was running wild and being spooky, and I managed to get a picture of her doing so, which reminded me of the poem above that I wrote a couple months ago. Now, as I am writing this, she has stopped trying to nestle between me and the laptop and is instead sitting beside me, looking forlorn and waiting for me to be done so we can go watch a movie and she can have my lap, uncontested. 

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

My Writing Companion

My cat Eleanor is currently upstairs in my bedroom, wrapped up in my comforter, and probably sharing a bowl of cream and some cookies with the fairy, named Sassi, who resides in my house plants. This is Elli’s day off. Yesterday she was out, doing important C.A.T. work for the agency. Top secret, you know.

Okay, so not really. But I’m sure that she’s telling Sassi something like that.

Elli is pink. Well, partially pink. She has a pink streak down her face and pink spots all over. Her markings are really quite similar to her Tortoiseshell sister, Arwen.

This was little baby Arwen. This is behavior that she still frequently engages in.

Elli likes to be in the thick of things. Which, since she is a cat, means that she likes to sleep curled up in the exact middle of whatever we happen to be working on.

This is Elli. There really is a cat in there, I promise.

One of my favorite things to do when I’m writing is to have an hour or two entirely my own, a cup of hot chai tea at my elbow (but not too close or I might knock it over), and Elli curled up nearby (but not on my wrist.)

This is okay.

This is my writing desk. This is less okay.

Elli likes books. She likes to be read to, she likes to sleep on them, she likes to bat at the pages with her paw when I turn them, and she likes to weave herself in, under, on, or around them while I’m reading and not paying enough attention to her. She probably reads them too, but she doesn’t write book reports for me so I can’t say for certain.

Classic novels are a good place for a luxurious bath.

Yes, I asked her permission before I shared pictures of her. She didn’t mind too much as long as I didn’t start telling embarrassing stories. She is a cat, thank you, and has dignity.

In front of the kitchen cookstove is a good place, if I’m working in there.

Elli likes to sit on the dog crate in the kitchen while I’m cooking and glare disdainfully at Lute. Lute is my family’s black Lab. They are not the best of friends.

And the best place to be is right in the middle of whatever I’m working on.

Elli is just generally a helpful sort of cat, you know?

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell