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Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab

Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Tips For When Reading Makes You Too Depressed To Write...?

I'm not feeling too great right now.

I suppose feverishly job-hunting would make anybody feel poopy, but it's not just about that. It's about me trying to get my novel in some sort of readable mostly-finished shape, but it's running through my fingers like sand. That's pretty sad. =(

In terms of reading, I started off the year well. I read intensely. I DID finish The Fellowship of The Ring, with the aid of lemon biscuits and chocolate. In fact, I'm 2 books ahead of schedule according to Goodreads. But I stopped reading at the end of last week and I haven't been able to pick up a book since because I don't want to be reading. I want to be writing.

Every book I read, every blog post I read, even when I read my to-do list, all I can think about is how much I want to finish OOTD/ Karalan's Legacy and move on to my next novel. It's driving me a little bit insane and making me feel very depressed. (Not that I wasn't previously depressed about other things. I already had a history of it.) As a reader-writer, I often read a book and think one of 3 things:

1 - This is incredible. I want to learn to write like that!
2 - This is awful. I can do better than that.
3 - This is phenomenal and I'll never be able to write like that. I might as well give up now.

The third can be very debilitating, no? Therefore, I had to take a break from reading. Whenever I'm not thinking about writing, I'm sitting down and writing. And as I write, I just think about how impossible it seems to achieve this one goal that has ended up meaning so much to me.

How to solve this problem?
I have no idea. I do not have the answers. But here's what I'm gonna do anyway.

1. Put aside my fantasy books. Pick up a children's book, something light-hearted and hilarious (Lemony Snicket, preferably) and take a holiday from the headache.

2. Schedule 2 posts and take a one week blogging break. I need to be away from the blogosphere. That's depressing me too.

3. Set small writing goals. Make a list of ALL the things I need to do before the story is done. Then do not add to that list, only allow myself to tick off what's been achieved. In theory, it should work. But then, you know me. (Right? o_O No? O_O Who are you?)

4. Eat food. Lots of food.

5. Continue drawing as therapy. Fantasy and fashion illustration always gets my spirits up.

Ashana Lian .

I'm taking a one week break from... everything. I'll catch-up on the blogs I'm following as soon as I'm back! I'll also be taking a break from my 2015 Reading Challenges. Any newcomers during that time - please join in!

Do you ever feel too down to read, or to write? How do you pull yourself out? Please share your tips, and as always thank you for reading.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Naming Fantasy Novels: Titles That Hold Your Mind Ransom To Itself

There are some fantasy titles that hold your mind hostage, mercilessly, until your mind agrees to discover what that title is alluding to. As a reader, when a book is spine out on a shelf, the title will grab my attention as much as whatever aspect of the design I can see from the side.

And as a writer, I want to find a title that fills my reader with wonder and does my story justice. Naming characters, places, things, customs, celebrations, styles of clothes, food, and all the nitty-gritty stuff - I adore. I've gotten increasingly good at it, having practiced since I started writing at around 13. But naming titles of books - and I have NO idea why - has always been one of my great weaknesses. I normally give it a working title so that I can remember what story it is, and then just get on with the writing.

So let's pick a dozen books from my TBR list (mainly because I'm sure you're sick and tired of hearing about the fantasy books I adore, and if not then SEE THIS POST! =D I swear, I mention them every second post, though. Let talk about something new.) and analyse them. The focus is entirely on the titles, so I am ignoring whatever I know beforehand about the book.

1. The Slow Regard of Silent Things (A Kingkiller Chronicle Novella)
WOW. Doesn't that just make you want to own the book at once or cry? It's so intriguing, and the mention of 'silent things' is very mysterious.

2. Song of Blood & Stone: Volume 1 (Earthsinger Chronicles)
I admit, I am drawn to fantasy novels that "sing". A Song of Something or Song of Such and Such is such a popular, stylised title in fantasy. I'm sure you will recognise the series title A Song Of Ice and Fire. It's almost getting boring. Still, the part of me that doesn't roll my eyes at the predictability wants to read it anyway. Songs are magical and enchanting. Books are the same.

3. The Queen Of The Tearling
I'm also drawn to books about queens! Especially very fearsome or cunning queens - and I get the feeling from the cover I won't be disappointed. And what on earth is a Tearling?

4. The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Series)
A magician? MADE OUT OF PAPER?! Haha I'm joking. But seriously O_O do they work on paper? With paper? Paper dolls? Does the magician eat paper? I need to know why the word magician - one of the most powerful figures in fantasy - is coupled with the word paper, one of the most fragile, boring substances unless it's being used to make something.

5. The Broken Eye
I've heard of eyes being a lot of things, but never 'broken'. My interest is piqued. Maybe it's a metaphor for a spyglass, or a telescope, or... contact lenses.

6. Sins of a Sovereignty: 1 (Amernia Fallen)
This interested me because it made me wonder all the ways a governing body or an authority can collapse. That would leads to chaos, wouldn't it? *rubs hands* Mwa ha ha.

7. The Thousand Names (Shadow Campaign 1)
I love books about names! I've always had a slight fascination (obsession?) with how they're used and how they are chosen, and I happened to have a lot of them. What sort of person has a THOUSAND of them, though? A great ruler, perhaps? Also, I adore the name of the series - The Shadow Campaign. Oooo. Very Assassin's Creed.

8. The Sin Eater's Daughter (Sin Eaters Daughter Trilogy 1)
... I get put off when too many books go on about sin and make it into a desirable thing. Sin is not cool. (Many erotica books use 'sin' in their titles - like Delightful Sin or Wrapped in a Bearskin of Sin or something bizarre (I made those up). Y'know, sometimes working in a bookstore teaches you things you'd rather not know.)

What drew me to this was the Eater part. Sin EATER? Also the story is about the daughter, which is akin to my own novel Karalan's Legacy. An old title of that novel was The Daughter Of The Man Who Defied Death. So I'd like to see what this book about eating is all about. If the father turns out to be absent from the story though, and this is just another YA romance and not a father-daughter bonding story, I'll be pretty pissed. Where are all the fantasy stories about family love? WHERE DA LOVE? =(

9. Who Fears Death
This stuck in my mind as once because the title is a disjointed phrase - not a word, not even a complete sentence. Which makes me want to ask... "Well, WHO fears death?" And I want to read and find out.

10. Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History
MYSTERY! J'adore mystery. What has been long hidden?! So many possibilities! =D

11. Shades of Milk and Honey (The Glamourist Histories)
This title I like because it's highly unusual. In a way, it's very boring. It doesn't draw attention to a person, place or pivotal event in the story. But thinking about milk and honey swirled together is somehow quite a nice thought, like thinking about a bubble bath. I'd want to try this book.

12. Unwrapped Sky
One of my FAVOURITE titles. Those two words conjure so many images in my mind of what an unwrapped sky would look like. I see stars and curious lights and faraway planets without a hint of a cloud. It gives me the feeling of a journey, and who doesn't love an adventure? c:

Also, I'm getting a bit tired of fantasy books that start with 'The'.

What do all these titles have in common?

They are named after:

- THE PROTAGONIST - Their actual name, a metaphor, or a title. eg. The Paper Magician.
- A PHILOSOPHY OR TRAIT OF THE PROTAGONIST - (Auri DOES regard silent things.)
- AN EVENT - which should be included even though I haven't got an example here.

Ashana Lian .

Once again, thanks for reading. Which did you think were the most striking titles? Why do you think that might be? Comment below! 

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Tag: My Life In Books

Thanks to Heather at Sometimes I'm A Story! for the open tag. This My Life Through Books tag was created by Rebekah at Horse Feathers. Well, my longtime readers have seen this bookcase before! Now it has some Japanese fans stuck at the top, my uni worksheets bottom left, and a bunch of ribbons hanging on the left because I never feel brave enough to wear them in my hair. Though I suppose it would be easier with my dreadlocks than with straight hair.

And don't forget my Plush Toy Army! They guard my books in case someone tries to "borrow" one when I'm not there. e_e
Did you like to read when you were little?

I know I've loved reading since I was little but as a baby... I really can't say. I know that I read Ladybird books and Biff and Chip books, but this young? I doubt it.

What was your favorite picture book?

Oooo I still own some of these! (They're torn and marked with chocolate fingerprints.) That includes the Happy Families books set by Allan Ahlberg, Winnie The Witch by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul, Elmer by David McKee - and especially The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, which had little holes that I just LOVED putting my little fingers through.

Did you go through a book phase? (i.e. reading the thickest books, reading all an author’s books, etc.)

I did go through a book phase, but not at this age. At about this time I read Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, a lottt of Jacqueline Wilson, Roald Dahl, and The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

What books made you feel grown up?

I dunno. Books didn't make me feel "grown up", because at this time I read books for my age. I simply read what I liked. I know I did find Confessions of a Backup Dancer from the library at around this time. That book never fails to make me crack up laughing. I was looking at the Teen section in the library recently and saw many books I used to read. So nostalgic! I remember my school library had a series called Wicca by Cate Tiernan. ALL my friends were reading that.

Reading Heather post, I remembered something I thought I forgot. I read a book that I think was called Come Clean or Coming Clean, and it was the first time I'd read a book with explicit sexual abuse in it. I was really disturbed and sad for the character, and I couldn't think about anything else for quite some time. Of course I didn't know then that I would study The Kite Runner at college...

What are books that you rave about?

NOW I began to go through phases. I deliberately picked the biggest books, which is how I ended up reading fantasy - the original and unedited book of The Stand by Stephen King, Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, Magician by Raymond E. Feist, Trudi Canavan books and Alison Croggon books.

At some point I stumbled across some very steamy Jackie Collin books that gave me an aversion to erotica for life. I barely understood it then, I barely understand it now, and I think I was just easily disturbed by what I couldn't comprehend. oO

I also read whatever was trending at school - Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, House Of Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast, and Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead which I ADORED. That was the one I raved about. Also I began reading manga: I loved Special A, Demon Diary, Chocolat, and Immortal Rain.

What are books that used to seem boring to you but now you really like?

I can't really answer that question. I began reading adult-targeted literature at about fourteen because of the whole I-want-to-tread-the-biggest-book thing. Also, many teen books I came across were stupid and/or ridiculous. One of my friends was really into It Girl and I didn't get that. So I felt a bit like I'd jumped a hoop. I never really went back to read teen lit, though I don't mind YA now.

My school friends were just as ambitious as I was - while I read Game of Thrones, they were reading Les Miserables and The Handmaid's Tale, which I ended up studying at university almost ten years later. Being 22, I can only say that my focus is on fantasy at the moment. You can see what I've read lately on my Goodreads - there's just too many books to bring up.

What are books from your childhood or teen years that you still cherish?

...I'M NOT AN OLD WOMAN YET! Haha, again, can't answer that. It would take too much time to go through them all. I will say, if I was to sell all my books for some reason, I would hang onto my Harry Potter, Roald Dahl and Darren Shan books until the very end.


If you want to do this tag, consider yourself tagged! Although I am specifically tagging Imogen @ Gossiping with Dragons because I want to see her answers O_O

You can find out much more about my reading/writing history on my Writer Bio.

Ashana Lian .

Similar Posts:

Is there any particular book you used to love when you were very young? Comment below c:

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Reader Writer OCDs

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? I have it.

My most prominent OCD is hygiene. There are certain things I can't do or touch, and I go crazy if somebody puts something from 'outside' (like a shopping bag) on 'inside' furniture like the rug in my room where I walk with my bare feet just before bed. O_O NO. Do not do that. e_e

But don't even let me get started on my books...


1. I do not break spines, ever.
Unless it can't be avoided, for example if the book is short and fat it's really hard to read and not break the spine.

2. Never. Fold. Corners. Use a bookmark or index marker.
The only problem is... if the index markers fall out then you have to write the number on them and then a short thing becomes a long-winded process. O_O

3. I always put books in a carrier bag before putting them in my bag.
- to stop them getting battered. This is why my brother can't borrow my books any more. He shoves them in his rucksack, and when I get it back (falling apart) it's not how I gave it to him (pristine).

I used to read in the bath but bathtub is now my personal mindfulness/meditation/think about my future time, so no books allowed. Plus I HATE when books get wet and crinkly.

5. I shouldn't eat and drink while I read, but...
Let's be honest here. I do that ALL THE TIME. It's a bad habit, actually.

My book-care standards is what makes it awkward when people wanna borrow my books. I WANT them to borrow the books - I have so many, if no-one else enjoyed them it would feel like a shame. But I also don't want anybody to treat my babies - er, I mean my books badly. Also my friend gets kind of nervous borrowing books from me, which I feel a tiny bit guilty about.


1. Finish. The Scene.
Apparently, this actually hinders your flow. They always say - finish in the middle of a sentence so you can pick up where you left off! And I think, "Are you crazy?!" My biggest fear, being someone who had so many ideas, is to forget what I wanted to write. I ALWAYS finish my scenes before I stop, even if that means I don't get back into the flow of writing for another three weeks.

2. Typos galore
I can't touch type, I just type in this really shoddy, messy way that I've been doing since secondary school. When I was young, I believed people naturally learned touch typing when they got older and practised. Now I know that was an embarrassing lie, I type like a madman to capture the scene in my mind before it fades, and if I write that way I can't go back to fix typos immediately. So my drafts are almost always typo rich.

3. Post-it Notes
My long-time habit for writing things that pop into my head is... no, not a notebook, despite having enough notebooks to start a shop. It's scrap bits of paper, and post-its. I always forget to type them up or copy them into a notebook, so as a result many of my precious ideas float around my room for ages and probably get lost. This, of all my writerly habits, I hate the MOST.

4.  I Abandon Planning
I begin a novel with the Concept. I create the Characters, Era, Setting. Then I GO GO GO. If I don't start typing immediately after this, chances are whatever sparked that creative drive for that idea will be lost. I only slow down and start planning it once that initial bit is down. That's just how my motor works.

5. There is only ONE CORRECT notebook
It took me years to figure out how I wanted to plan my books and scribbled ideas, charts and maps. There's this particular notebook I love that I've had since secondary school - It's an A5 ruled 'office book' by Oxford. I have one in red for older fantasy ideas, purple for my sci-fi stories, green for epic fantasies like Que$t and blue for... haven't decided yet. But actually I've learned that I can plan my novel best if I have PRECISELY THIS
- A4 notebook
- plain/blank/not-ruled
- hardback if possible
- spiral-bound if possible
- pretty cover. That's a must. :3
This is hard to find, so I end up buying scrapbooks or sketchbook instead. Perfect.

By the way, Fiction Friday will probably start up again in February. I need to keep my skills sharp... if that's even a thing that can happen. O_O

Ashana Lian .

Do you have any reader-writer compulsive habits? Comment below!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

My Illustrations, Blog Button-Making Secrets... And Would You Like To Meet My Mascot?

Hi from the Ether! This is an artwork post - MY artwork, this time. I know. Please don't choke on your drink with surprise. I AM ACTUALLY GOING TO CHANGE UP THE POSTS THIS YEAR.

New blog header: Ashana (left) and macot Jade Rose. Image credit: mine, for once (LOL.)

My Illustrations

I've been drawing vigilantly these past few months, because I'm aiming towards a career in fantasy illustration alongside writing fantasy novels. Unfortunately I don't know enough about the industry to even know precisely what job role I want, so I'm in for sitting in front of Google either until I find the answer or until my eyes fall out. O_O

Remember that header I promised?

Well, it's right above ^, and it's coming along! I got SERIOUSLY stuck because I still haven't got the right pencils for the skin tones. I'm hoping to get Derwent Skin Tone pencils, but I know that better artists than me have made do without. So for now I'll wing it with my WHSmith Sketching and Drawing Starter Set (below) and just hope I don't f*** up the best thing I've drawn since I was like 15.

Also, I learnt the hard way that drawing with a HB pencil will probably leave you with a smudged piece, which is why I also bought a 4H Staedtler pencil. It doesn't smudge, but it leaves a very light mark. So FINALLY, after years and years of wondering what 'HB' means on a pencil, I finally know.

----- H - hardness (lead is harder. Doesn't smudge and leaves light marks.)
----- HB - right in the middle.
----- B - blackness (lead is softer, so smudges better and leaves dark marks.)

I'm linking elbows with Tabitha's Art It Up! linkup on Not Yet Read today! It encourages bloggers to share their art! I'm going to try and join in every time because my DeviantArt is still pitifully empty and bare. =(

Ironically I did do a five-minute sketch a few days before that post of my mascot Jade Rose - I wish I remembered to colour in her iconically pink hair! Oh well. This sketch was weird because Jade Rose is not a character associated with fire or the defiance it represents. I liked the contrast, but you can only appreciate it if you know beforehand that Jade is actually an optimistic, playful and good-natured girl.

(Heh heh... I coloured in her hair on Paint. Despite the shoddyness of my workmanship, just the fact that her hair is pink in a black and white sketch is PURRFECT.)

Blog Button Making Secrets

1. Get image. 2. Recolor purple.3. Paste original image over it and make a circle.4. Use Holgaart image effect in befunky.5. Adjust hue. 6. Adjust color mixer.7. Add text. 8. Voila!
When I was searching for Graphic Design, Artworker, Illustrator and Concept Artist jobs, I quickly realised that almost all these roles need advanced knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite. For those who don't know, that includes Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

Ever since I started making cast cards on fanfic forums a decade ago, I've used Microsoft Word and Paint to muck about with. I still do - I find the challenge really fun to set my mind to. After discovering Befunky, which is a little goldmine that I just adore, I've upgraded my basic Microsoft shapes from this:


Would You Like To Meet My Mascot?

OF COURSE YOU WOULD!! (and she is very pleased to meet you.)

Jade Rose, created on anime avatar makers, The Sims 2, and other dress up games! These were all made when she was created, to provide many different versions of her possible appearance. the one I ended up going with is the one I drew.

JR is an original character I created for a fashion blog I used to run, but now I think she is much better as a fantasy hero, DON'T YOU THINK?!?!!

- Protector of the Tear Star. Woot!
- Is she 14 or 15? I forget.
- Excitable, prone to fangirling and very very happy individual.
- Can be naive, scatterbrained, and generally annoying. e_e
- Charged with solving other people's problems.
- I wanted her to be an architect at first... now I'm reconsidering.
- Her best friend is Katie Sprite, who is often moody, sarcastic, and pessimistic.
- May possibly be the protag for a children's book I'm whipping up. =D
- ... I have ALWAYS LOVED pink hair, by the way.

Ashana Lian .

Do you like drawing or doing anything artsy?! I would love to know! (And if you have a blog, I'd love to see them too. c: )

Read about:
Other Fantasy Artwork posts!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Bad Habits Of Every Blogger

I was beating myself up just now about missing my Tuesday post, because what I was GOING to post... well, I suddenly hated it. It was boring and not at all funny. I couldn't figure out what I wanted to post about instead. Then suddenly I woke up to Wednesday morning. O_O

I felt so frustrated about skipping a post day that I sat down to schedule some posts to avoid that problem. But then I realised, everything flowed out of my head much better this time round. Maybe Tuesday was just a bad day. Or maybe my bad blogging habits - writing the post on the day it'll be posted, putting myself under pressure, having boring content, etc - was the reason. So I made up this little questionnaire... do you recognise yourself in any of these scenarios?

1. You are flailing about something. You:
a) Type a bunch of random letters on your keyboard (Cait e_e)
c) Don't even type, because, ugh, the feels.

2. Something unexpected comes up. But it's okay because...
a) You have posts scheduled for the next three years.
b) You're going to quickly finish a draft of something you were tagged for and post that.
c) Who are you kidding. NOTHING IS OKAY. Just forget about posting anything. (me.)

3. Something cool in your life happens.
a) Post about it on a designated Everything-Goes day where you talk about your life.
b) Post about it in-between your book reviews because you have to share!! (me.)
c) Don't post it at all, because helloo? This is a book blog.
d) Your blog is ABOUT your life, which renders this question meaningless.

4. Fangirling on your blog?! Dude, that's totally...
b) Okay, but keep it to yourself, man.

5. You said you were going to post That Thing of Whatever on Thursday, but Thursday was yesterday. So...
a) You hurriedly finish it up and post on your next post day, knowing that now ALL of your posts will run behind.
b) You stick to your schedule, waiting for the gap/holiday you planned earlier so you can post it then.
c) You stick to your schedule, and because you are a mess you had no gaps or even a plan so now that post just sits there, getting older and older and less relevant as time goes by until you eventually stop trying to find a time to post it and two years later when you look back you wondered why you wanted to post it in the first place..? *sings* de-le-eeee-te!

(*cough*, me.)

6. You're making a joke in your blog post! What better way to emphasise it than to...
a) Use a lot of exclamation marks.
b) USE A GIF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
c) Nothing is needed. The joke will automatically be funny. (... me...? I guess?)

7. You scheduled a post. Um...
a) Shit. It went live before it was meant to. (me.)
b) Shit! It was supposed to go live! WHY DIDN'T IT GO LIVE?!
c) How do you schedule a post?

8. You're trying to format a post in f&$%@#! Blogger. And what happens?
a) It deletes your entire post content, autoaves the blank post, and no matter how many times you press undo does not come back. You have not saved it elsewhere. (me.)
b) It goes perfectly, and you post an absolutely gorgeous article. (everybody else.)

9. You're trying to think of something to blog about. Your mind goes blank.
a) Post some crap.
b) Post some tag/meme/challenge/game you *coughstole* from somebody else's blog.
c) Post nothing. (me.)

10. Your blog looks ugly. You...
a) Leave it. Designing is work. Work is HARD.
b) Switch to Wordpress, buy an affordable theme and make it look pretty.
c) Attempt to design a header yourself to go live on January 1st, only it's the 15th and it's still not ready yet because you do not have all of the materials required to make it fabulouso and perfect and meanwhile you search online for free themes and after uploading the template to your blog which completely messes up all of your widgets the template then proceeds to open a link it hid on your blog to an adult pornography site. You don't have to guess who this happened to, do you?


Ashana Lian .
P.S. I will never again use a free template.
P.P.S. I hope my blog is okay after the stupid hidden links template! I've checked it and it seems to be fine. I swear, that gave me SUCH a scare.
P.P.P.S. I'm getting really addicted to making blog banners on Befunky. c:

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Thursday, 8 January 2015

Ashana Lian Fantasy Challenge || 2015 Link-Up

And now... what you have all been waiting for...!

As an avid reader of fantasy, I was delighted to start the Summer 2014 Fantasy Book Reading Challenge (phew, mouthful) when I broke up from uni. I'd fallen behind a lot of adult fantasy novels while I'd been in education. It was an intense five-month challenge and I aimed to read 20 books within the fantasy genre ONLY. I adored doing it.

However... =/ I understand that for many people, fantasy can be 'difficult' to get into. I've no doubt this is why other forms of fantasy become popular, such as YA books and film/TV adaptations of adult fantasy novels.

So I decided to change the format of this challenge. It's now year-long, and this way you can read other genres beside fantasy and still have a chance of hitting the target. Also, I've made the rules looser; YA fantasy, mangas and comics are no longer excluded, although they do count as half a point. I hope that this new and improved challenge will allow people who've really wanted to get into fantasy to do just that, and finally see what so awesome about my favourite genre.

Rules- You can begin when you like, but the challenge ends on 31st December 2015.
(Link-up closes on 3rd March. After that, leave your link in the comments.)
- Keep track using a blog, goodreads, Shelfari, etc.
- Adult fantasy fiction only, no non-fiction about fantasy.
- Books can be any subgenre of fantasy: eg. Science Fantasy counts, but Science Fiction does not.
- YA fantasy, children's fantasy, comics and mangas are allowed, but they only count as ½ of an entry because they are easier to read.
- Paranormal romance DOES NOT COUNT. It is not a fantasy sub-genre but something else entirely.
- Books can be any size and published at any time.
- Your goal: 12 books. You're allowed to read non-fantasy during the year (though I can't imagine why you'd want to =P) but if you are a fantasy fanatic like me, then go for the Fierce Deity trophy! (+1 to the first person who gets that reference. Srsly e_e)
- Anyone can enter, but to validate your challenge you must write the Entry post.

Note: if in doubt, check Goodreads and Amazon. If they both state 'fantasy' as the first genre, then I say it counts. (Although they do make mistakes sometimes. But for the challenge it's okay.)

TrophiesInstead of levels, I use Trophies. You earn a trophy when you reach that score (don't forget to count up your halves) and immediately start earning for the next one. I'm going for the big thirty-six!

4 books: The Avatar
8 books: Shinrabanshō Scholar
12 books: The Reader Who Lived/Shall Not Be Named
20 books: Ye Who Sits Upon The Iron Throne
36 books: FIERCE DEITY!!

Choose whichever one you like.


I MUST JOIN YOUR WORLD. (O_O) How do I begin?1. Write an Entry that says you are doing the challenge on a blog or likewise, and list the first 4 books you'd like to read (this can change as you go along). SO. MANY. TO. CHOOSE FROM.
2. Grab the AL Fantasy challenge banner for your Entry post and link back to this blog.
3. When it's been posted, grab the ALFchallenge for your blog's sidebar/footer.
Finally... join the link-up! Make sure you put the link to your post and not your blog.
Don't Forget: support all those who take part!

Click Here for the AL Fantasy Challenge Goodreads Group.

To Get You Started:
Here's some fantasy novels I rated 5-stars.

Epic Fantasy: Magician by Raymond E. Feist
High Fantasy: The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
Dark Fantasy: (? can't think of any.)
Steampunk Fantasy: The Falconer by Elizabeth May
Slipstream Fantasy: (... well now I know what I need to read this year.)
Urban Fantasy: Rivers of London by Ben Aaranovitch - in fact, just read the whole series, it's hilarious.
Science Fantasy: A Natural History Of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Historical Fantasy: Across The Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn

YA Fantasy: Half A King by Joe Abercrombie, Vampire Academy Book 4/5 by Rochelle Mead - but start from 1.
Children's Fantasy: The School For Good and Evil by Soman Chainani; Harry Potter - I think Goblet of Fire (Book 5) is my favourite - but start from 1, Philosopher's Stone.
Comics: The Runaways Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan; Superman/Batman Volume 2: Supergirl by Jeph Loeb.
Manga: Immortal Rain by Kaori Ozaki; Psyren by Toshiaki Iwashiro

Classic = The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Popular = Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

CLICK TO TWEET! "I'm doing the Ashana Lian #Fantasy #reading challenge. It's super easy & twice as awesome. Do it. #alfantasychallenge"

Please comment, tweet me, or pm my Goodreads if you have any questions. I hope you have LOOOOADS of fun, and I'm eager to knock heads with more fantasy fans! *dances*

Ashana Lian .

P.S. THESE BUTTONS DIDN'T TURN OUT SHIT! MIRACLE! (I really wasn't happy with the last one.)
P.P.S. Check out my two other 2015 challenges!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Trilogies and Series Challenge || 2015 Link Up

You know when you're so frantic about how many books you have to read that you kind of just read one of everything, for variety, and never get round to more of the authors you really like? No? Well maybe it's only me. e_e Still, the series challenge encourages you to not only start but complete a series, whether it be three books, four books, or forty books. O_O (The last one was a joke. Ain't nobody got time fo' that.)

- You can start at any time (it's okay if you started the series before this year), but you must finish before 31st December 2015.
(Link-up closes 3rd March. After that, leave your link in the comments.)
- Trilogies and series only: must be 3 or more books in the series.
- From the first book to the last OR most recently published book in a series, counts as ONE 'completed' series.
- Spin-off novels or novellas do not count.
- Any length and any genre; for example, mangas count. But comics, because they can span into the hundreds, do not count.
- If you end up disliking the series and stop at any point before the last/most recently published book, it DOES NOT COUNT!
- Your goal: 3 series, but you can also try for the Superhero and Overlord trophy! (I won't be, because: uni and work.)
- When you finish a series, you must write a short review of it (it can be a small paragraph if you want) on a blog, Goodreads, or similar.
- Anyone can enter but to validate your challenge, you must write the Entry post.

Oh, by the way...
If a newer book in the series will be published before 31st December 2015, you still have to read that before the deadline for the WHOLE SERIES to count. (I hope your series doesn't have a book coming out on 30th December!)

Instead of levels, the TASChallenge uses trophies. If you're really ambitious, you can aim for the highest trophy! When you earn one, leave a comment or tweet with #trilogiesseries hashtag, and go for the next.

1 series - Better than none! Costumed Crusader trophy
2 series - On a roll! Saga Sidekick trophy
3 series - Hit the mark!  Humble Hero trophy
5 series - Superhero I HAVE THE POWER trophy.
9 series - Overlord of the Trilogy, Quadrilogy, Pentalogy, Hexology, and other sequential books created by authors could not stop writing. Trophy.

I want to do it! What do I do first?

1. Write an Entry post that says you're taking part (on a blog or other social media) and lists the first three series you're going to try. This can change as you go along.
2. Grab the Trilogies and Series challenge banner to put in your Entry post and link back to this blog - Ashana Lian: A Fantasy Writer's Blog.
3. When your Entry post goes live, put the TASC button in your blog' sidebar or footer.
Finally... join the sign-up linky below! Make sure you put the link to the post, not your blog.
Don't forget to support the other bloggers who take part!

Click Here for the Trilogies and Series Goodreads Group.

CLICK TO TWEET! "Only for the Awesome = the Trilogies & Series reading challenge on Ashana Lian's Fantasy blog! Join: #trilogiesseries"
As always, if you have any questions you can contact me using the comment form below, via pm on twitter or goodreads, or leave a comment. HAPPY READING!

Ashana Lian .

P.S. Check out my other 2015 challenges!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

TBR Smash Challenge || 2015 Link-Up

TBR = To Be Read. The "TBR Pile" refers to every book you've looked at and thought "I must/ should/ will/ need to/ get round to reading that." Which is why it never ends.

I work in a bookstore. I see a LOT of books I want to read. I see more in the library, at a friends house, at my sister's place, online, on blogs, on publishing house newsletters - and I'm just adding away to my virtual TBR, which is an Amazon wishlist I've kept for years.

But then there's the PHYSICAL TBR. I never enter giveaways or competitions, so every book on my makeshift bookshelves were either gifts, or those I bought myself at fantasy events (follow the link to discover any I've been to lately!) to signed by authors. And what about library books? Ebooks? What about that job lot of 85 fantasy books I bought off eBay? IT GETS CRAZY, DOESN'T IT?!

Well, the TBR Smash Challenge will be hosted exclusively on this blog, and hopefully it'll help you (and me!) to smash that brick wall of books into bite-size pebbles. There's also the advantage of being able to see the floor of my bedroom. Yay!

- You can start anytime, but the challenge ends on 31st December 2015.
(Link-up closes on 3rd March though. After that, leave your link in the comments.)
- Track your progress on a blog or other social media, eg. Goodreads.
- It has to be a book that has been sitting around, ideally for more than a month. Therefore:
- Books published in 2015 DO NOT COUNT.
- Any book, any genre, any length, includes ebooks, mangas, and comics.
- Your goal: 15. I'm sure you'll want to read new books too. If you're mainly reading your TBR's this year, go for the gold! (Supreme 'Smashed it' Trophy: 40 books.)
- Anyone can enter but to validate your challenge, you must write the Entry post.

TBR Smash doesn't have levels like other challenge, instead it has trophies. All those taking part, try to aim for 15! If you have the time/motivation, aim higher. Don't forget to leave a comment or tweet me when you reach a goal!

5 books: Managed it.
10 books: Tackled it.
15 books: Wrecked it.
25 books: Dismantled it!
40 books: SMASHED IT!

1. Write an Entry post to declare your participation (any social media will do. A blog is best.) and list the first five books you'll tackle from the pile. Make yourself excited for it!
2. Grab the TBR Smash banner to put in your Entry post, and link back to this blog: Ashana Lian: A Fantasy Writer's Blog.
3. When your Entry post goes live/is posted, put the TBR Smash button in your blog's sidebar or footer.
Finally... join the sign-up linky! Make sure you put the link to the post, not to your blog.
Don't forget: support the other bloggers who take part!

Recommended Practice
1st - Read library books so they can be returned.
2nd - Read books on your PHYSICAL TBR pile.
3rd - When (LOL, I mean IF) you clear that, you can read the books on your VIRTUAL TBR that have been sitting in your Goodreads 'Want To Read' or Amazon Wishlist for years.

Click Here for the TBR Smash Goodreads Group.



Any questions? Leave a comment, tweet me, or use the contact form in this blog! Come on gang, let's do this.

Ashana Lian .

P.S. Those buttons took me AGES to make.
P.P.S. And this post took me HOURS to put together. Who knew link-ups and button grab boxes could be SO CONFUSING?!?!
P.P.P.S. I am hosting two other Challenges this year:

You may also like to know, Crini at All About Books is hosting the TBR Reduction Extreme challenge, which I have decided not to do because it takes the form of a battle - you pair up with another blogger and try to beat their TBR reading score. But with work and university, I can't commit to that, but you may find it interesting, as I did.

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