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3 Books I'd Bring with Me to a Deserted Island

Posted by Makayla Yokley on November 17, 2014 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)


Every introvert has, at one point or another, wished they could be alone on their own little island. When imagining my perfect deserted island, North Brother Island where they kept Typhoid Mary during her second quarantine comes right to the forefront of my mind. Trees would be everywhere. Gloomy gray sky would turn the leaves a dark emerald color, the tree trunks would seem serrated and ashen, and the dirt a shade of brown so dark it would be almost black. Occasionally a cool breath of air would caress my skin but for the most part the levels of hot vs cold would remain in the happy middle so often associated with mid fall. The water that surrounds the island would probably only be nice when it wasn't hurricane season, otherwise I'd be too terrified to be there alone, especially if this imaginary island really is North Brother Island and the rumors about it being haunted are true.


The last thing I want is Shudder Island kind of problems. Knowing me that would be exactly how it turns out too. What can I say? I have the kind of luck that would hint towards the existence of a benevolent God (or Gods, doesn't really matter) with a twisted sense of humor akin to the very definition of Black Comedy.


If I ever got a chance to go to this imaginary island, I would naturally want to bring a bunch of books. Not bringing any books to a deserted island would be like that episode of the Twilight Zone that had the guy as the only human being left in the entire world, finally giving him the time and silence to read, only to have his glasses fall and shatter. But if the one taking me to this island said "You can only bring three books to keep you entertained for the rest of your days! Which would you bring?" it brings about quite the dilemma. Out of every book in my library, how could I possibly narrow it down to three?


Luckily I have an answer. Maybe it wasn't as hard to decide as I thought. Though to be honest I would probably still try to smuggle in more if I thought I had a way to get away with it. Wrap them up in my clothes maybe? Send them to myself as a package before I have to arrive, leaving the one transporting me none the wiser about my decision?


Anyway, here are the three books I'd bring:


  • Bag of Bones by Stephen King
  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


My criteria for choosing was entirely based around how often I've read these books in the past already. I've been reading Bag of Bones at least once or twice a year since I was a sophomore in high school. Same with Memoirs of a Geisha. I've read that one so many times the spine is starting to wear out. I've been in love with the Great Gatsby since high school and was the only one in my junior English class who was so entirely enthralled with the story that I got 100s on all my Great Gatsby tests. In choosing these three books, I feel like I'd be a happy camper alone on my little island.


Again, though, I think I would try to see if I couldn't get away with sneaking more onto the island. It's always nice to have fifty or sixty back up books just in case.

"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn

Posted by Makayla Yokley on June 19, 2014 at 11:35 PM Comments comments (0)


More than once I've seen "Gone Girl" on the shelves. Whenever I went to Barnes and Noble or Wal-Mart or a library I saw that book sitting on the shelves proudly looking over the area around it as though it were aware of some superiority that it held over other books. For the longest time I avoided it like the plague. No particular reason, actually. It just never really showed up on my radar other than a fleeting "oh look, there's that book again" thought before going off to search for what I really went there for. There was no reason behind not wanting to read it. No self-important idea that somehow the topic which the book would cover was below my level of interest. Mostly because I didn't even know what it was about. But one day I was on vacation with my mom and my aunt. We'd gone to Wal-Mart in the town where my Grandpa lives (we were visiting him, you see, though that really has nothing to do with the story at hand) and I once again saw it sitting there looking at me. For some reason I thought "What the hell? I'll give it a shot."


(Summery provided by Barnes and


"Marriage can be a real killer.


One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.


On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?


As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?"


Now that doesn't sound too bad, does it? While in the early stages of the novel I figured that even if it wasn't any good at least I'd know for sure now.


Boy was I wrong.


There are only a handful of novels that activate some weird part of my brain that starts drawing connections between it and my own life. Two, actually. The other one was "Revolutionary Road" but that's beside the point. This case, admittedly, may have been partly due to the jetlag of having just come back from a vacation and possible mensie madness. I can't really divulge what made me call my fiancé in a fit of worry over the two of us turning out like the leading characters in this novel (minus the obvious 'missing and suspects you did it' part, obviously), but I CAN tell you it affected me each and every time I picked it up--- only to make me feel like a total moron after I'd gotten to the big part. I loved that. It made me laugh at myself while mystifying me at how wrong I was.


First of all: When you read this novel be prepared to have the truth slap you across the face. Gillian Flynn has an amazing ability to make you THINK you know the leading characters, only to be able to flawlessly turn around and show you that you don't know a thing-- and to do it in a way that doesn't feel tacked on. When big shockers were revealed, I wasn't left feeling like she came up with it at the spur of the moment and thought it would work with the "Rule of Cool." It just left me feeling like the characters weren't honest, and they weren't. By no means.


Admittedly though, the main character, Nike Dunne, seemed a bit preoccupied with the economy. I know it's bad and everything but this guy really harps on it and let's it dictate his whole life. He's got a serious perspective problem that maybe I don't understand because I've never lost a job to the economy or known anyone who has. Maybe when I get older and if it happens to me I'll understand his bitterness better, but that's what it felt like. Like he was just a bitter guy who couldn't get himself together enough to move on.


I can't even talk about Amy, other than she was beautifully written by Flynn and when you read the book she's going to make you laugh a little bit. Not the 'ha-ha that's so funny you're a clown' sort of laughing either. I mean the maniacal, Joker-style laugh that makes people cart you off to Arkham Asylum while you giggle and giggle away. Okay maybe that was more than just a little bit.

Traditional Views vs Modern Views

Posted by Makayla Yokley on April 12, 2014 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)


I can just hear the butthurt now.


I just got done reading the article written about Kirsten Dunst and how she believes in traditional gender roles. If you want to read it you can find it here ( ) and at first I didn't think much of it. So what if Kirsten Dunst has traditional gender role views? It didn't seem like something that was trend worthy on Facebook, so I went to read the article to see WHY it was trend worthy. Again, didn't think much of it.



Until I read the last line. THAT really got me.



"Kirsten Dunst is not paid to write gender theory so it shouldn't surprise anyone that she's kind of dumb about it."



Who the hell has the right to say that about somebody? Someone who is just expressing their personal opinions on how they want to live their life doesn't deserve to be called "dumb" just because their views are different from someone else's. Essentially, the article talks about how Kirsten Dunst is saying that she prefers it when men are manly and women are feminine, since it seems to be something that's undervalued these days and actually I completely agree with her. To some people that might sound like she's saying that women should be subservient to men and let them rule over their women like gods -coughCandaceCameronendcough- without question and without reprieve.



I'll agree that women who constantly need saving by a man need to re-evaluate some things because that's not what makes a good relationship. Men and women need to be equals in their relationships or else it's doomed to crumble. That doesn't mean that men and women aren't allowed to look at gender roles and see what works best for them personally. My fiancé and I are a very traditional couple in that respect. He's my manly man and I'm his dainty woman BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WORKS FOR US. I'm more than happy to have him bring home the bacon while I stay at home and cook it--though actually he's a better cook than me so he would be doing the literal cooking of bacon-- and take care of any future children we have. In fact, I told him right out of the gate that someday I'd like be a stay-at-home novelist, wife, and mother and he was completely okay with that because he WANTS to be the provider. That doesn’t mean that he's lording over me and telling me what I can and can't do. That means he supports me and loves me and helps me get closer to that dream the same way I love and support and help him work towards his own dream. We're equals, and it's not a case of "knowing our place" but instead looking at what we value as people and finding compatibility in that.



It's stupid that we have to justify ourselves to people who don't understand the idea of having a personal opinion about your own personal life. Are you a woman who wants to be the breadwinner while your husband stays at home and takes care of the family? Good for you. Are you a woman who wants to stay at home and take care of the family while your husband provides? Equally as good for you. Just let people have their own opinion, especially if they're not trying to shove that opinion down your throat.


In conclusion: Let's just leave each other alone, okay? No need to be a jerk.



Writing Process Blog Hop!

Posted by Makayla Yokley on March 29, 2014 at 2:30 AM Comments comments (0)

I’ve been asked by my dear friend and fellow author Samantha LaFantasie to participate in a blog hop where I talk about my writing process. I’m kind of curious myself as to what that exactly is. It’s something I’ve never really sat down and thought about, it was just something that happened naturally, so I suppose we’ll all find out together!


What am I working on right now?

At the moment most of my attention is focused on doing edits for two projects: A paranormal thriller called Bad Blood, which focuses on vampires; and the third book in my steampunk fantasy series The Violet Chronicles which will be titled Briar Light.

Bad Blood has been something I’ve worked on on and off for the last handful of years since my sophomore year of high school (which was… Gosh… six years ago? That can’t be right! Has that much time REALLY passed? ) and have finally gotten a good feel for it. I’m a firm believer that when you’re ready for a project all the pieces will fall into place and you’ll know how to make certain things work that wouldn’t do so before. When I first started working on this story six years ago (still doesn’t sound right) there were so many elements that were wrong. I didn’t understand why they were wrong, but they were. So I put the story away and only brought it back out when I felt I had something new to say. Until recently I never got past the first chapter. Now it’s off at my dear editor friend, Sam—yes, same Sam! She’s a great editor—and I’m awaiting its return filled with comments on how it could be improved.

Briar Light has been a huge struggle for me. I lost my confidence halfway through and it made me nervous to even look at it. Lately I’ve found that confidence again and have been making incredible progress on the edits. Much more progress than I ever thought I would, which is a huge ego boost for me! I’m hoping to get it out sometime this summer, but I’m definitely not making any promises. This fall might be a more realistic timeframe to be honest.

On the writing side, I’ve got quite a few more projects in the works than I like to admit. A young adult fantasy, a paranormal romance, one or two regular romances, and the fourth book of the Violet Chronicles called Seventh Snow. Hi everyone, I have a works in progress problem.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

For the sake of time, I’m going to focus the rest of the hop on Briar Light. We could be here all night, folks, and I don’t know about you but I’ve got a roast in the oven that needs attending to (Not really, I’m not sure I like roast. I can’t think of a time when I’ve ever had it, but hey, these are the jokes!).

Briar Light, and the Violet Chronicles as a whole, is different from others in their genre because they mix the elements of traditional fantasy and industrial rawness of steampunk. Like fantasies with mages and elves and dwarves? We gotcha. Want robots, steam powered doohickeys, and corpses reanimated with electricity and clockwork? You’ll find that and more within the Violet Chronicles.  

Along with the mixing of these two genres, plus pretty much a hundred more here and there, the Violet Chronicles also holds onto the fact that our protagonists are still young adults—the oldest being twenty. They’ve got to suffer through horror after horror as they try to combat an occultist religious group in an attempt to save a world that has done nothing but cause them pain, but while it’s easy to forget their still kids, they still have the same fears and desires as any normal 16 to 20 year old. They get crushes. They have a past love life. They have friends. All of this, mixed with our main protagonist Violet Seymour being an escaped murderer and Hero, conspires to make their lives incredibly difficult.

Not to mention that the entire series is several fairy tales working together to create one, large, new fairy tale. Now, this isn’t always apparent. Mostly the characters themselves embody the traits of fairy tale characters. Violet, for example, is Little Red Riding Hood (Please contain your collective groans. It’s not my fault if Little Red Riding Hood is the best one, therefore the most used by writers) while the antagonist in The Ruby Curse is based off the Russian fairy tale “The Snarling Witch.” The second book, Triton, is based around the original Grimm version of “The Little Mermaid.” Briar Light will be a tweaked version of “Sleeping Beauty” in the most awesome way possible—but here I am going on in a long winded description! I think you get the point now, don’t you?


Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always been drawn to stories where I can create my own world, which is why I love science fiction and fantasy. I like the idea that by simply putting words into my computer or down on paper, I’m able to give life to this new place. I can give it people who live and work and play there, people who create a civilization.

This isn’t just about building a whole new world from the ground up. I like manipulating the world we think we know too. I like taking the mundane and giving it another dimension that we can all pretend exists even if it doesn’t really.

Although, I never want to lose the human element. As fantastical as their worlds may be and as far removed as they might feel from our everyday lives, these are human beings with feelings and desires and the more the trials surmount the more they feel themselves reacting to it. It’s human nature. I abuse them relentlessly so that when they triumph, they deserve it.

That is my biggest thing. I don’t think anyone suffers more than our heroes in the Violet Chronicles (Can some of the fans back me up on this?) yet somehow they find a way to keep on going.

How does my writing process work?

I sit down and write.

Not helpful, I know, but true!

Thanks for stopping by! and don't forget to check out some of the other hoppers:

Audra North

Alexandra Haughton

Amy Jo Cousins

Petra Grayson

Jody Wallace

Julia Kelly

Shawna Thomas

Jeanne Hardt

DT Dyllin

Alexis Anne

Annie Welch

Samantha LaFantasie


Rune Factory 4

Posted by Makayla Yokley on March 26, 2014 at 7:05 PM Comments comments (0)

When I was a kid I used to love playing the Harvest Moon games. This farming simulation game has always been one of my favorite games even as I got older, but all it had to offer was somewhat repetitive farming activities while trying to get one of the bachelors (and, if you're playing as a boy, bachelorettes) to fall in love with you and marry you. Don't get me wrong, it's fun. It really brings the idea across that you're living in an idellic and rustic community. But this post isn't for Harvest Moon, no matter how much I reccomend playing them. Esspecially if you're a fan of farmville but want something with a little more to do. This post is about Rune Factory 4.

Danny introduced the game series to me, and though I'd heard about it before, he was the one that made it sound fun. I trust his input on games since he's played a wider variety of them than I have and is going to school to learn how to design them. In fact, the day before I went and bought this game I had him sit with me while we went through the Gamestop website in an attempt to find some new games for my 3DS. Until last Friday, I only had two games for it (Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Pokemon X ) and figured that the system cost too much to just have two games for it. I ended up getting three games for it, two fantasy games and one Fatal Frame series game, which I will talk about in future posts. One of the two fantasy games I got was Rune Factory 4.

and WOW.

Why hadn't I been playing this before? It was like a blind man being introduced to water on a less dramatic scale.

The whole story is focused on your character, who lost their memory after an airship fight. That right there should sell you the game. AIRSHIPS. Who doesn't love airships? Everyone loves airships! If that's not enough for you, it's an adorable game with anime-style characters that even have their own fully animated introductions. There's a farming element to it, just like Harvest Moon, but there's also a plot that keeps the game from getting stale. You can fight monsters out in the forest while wooing one of the eligible bachelors/bachelorettes in town. The game doesn't focus on any one part of the experiance, making you feel as though that's the whole reason you're there. The way people feel about you goes up even if you just talk to them and it's easy to make friends with the characters you're not trying to marry, while at the same time not making it too easy to make the person you WANT to marry fall quickly in love with you.

Actually, that last part irks me a bit. I want to get Dylas to love me, dammit!

At the same time, though I'm glad it doesn't. Or else that's what you'd spend all your time doing instead of moving the plot forward.

I was able to play this game for nearly four days straight without ever getting bored, so it's definitely wortht he price. If you're a fan of the Harvest Moon series, I definitely reccomend Rune Factory 4 and any of the other Rune Factory games. Especially if you're a lover of fantasy, which only makes this game that much more fun! 

I give this game: :D:D:D:D

Magic of a Good Day

Posted by Makayla Yokley on February 25, 2014 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Yesterday, I had a pretty bad day.

Kind of awful, actually.

One of the worst I've had in a while.

But that's okay. Days like that happen every once in a while and really the only thing we can do is pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and try to do better tomorrow. Today, I did do better. Tuesdays are my designated write-in dates with fellow author, my editor, and one of my best friends Samantha ( ). Lately we haven't gotten to get together as much as we would like. Thanks to the frigid weather and sicknesses on one or both of our parts, we've had to keep getting rain checks and deciding that next week will definitely be the week no matter what. Even with that promise having spilled from our lips, we still pushed it back. It's okay. We both understand that the other is busy, sick, or it's just too damn cold to go outside.

Today we finally got together and had an absolute blast. We didn't do much actual writing, but Sam did finally get her "You Beat Me In Our Nano Word War" reward. We went perusing through a store I heard about online but never got to go shop (It turned out to be super expensive and neither of us had the money to spend there. I mean, come on! Who justifies selling a little dragonfly necklace for upwards of $40? That's highway robbery! What, was the gold real? The gemstones in them more than just flashy beads? Then again, maybe I'm just cheap), and because no movie theatres were open when we tried to go see a movie we decided to just go ahead and have lunch at Red Lobster. We laughed and talked and had the exact kind of day I needed after yesterday.

I'm not going to go into details about what happened to make it as bad as it was, but just know it was twelve shades of suck all around. Sam was there to listen to me vent about it, to ease my guilt, and today erased it all together. I don't need to feel as crappy as I did when I've got friends like her around me. I'm super grateful to the people who deserve it.

Anyway that's not what this post is about. It's just a good aside.

The point of this post was what happened after I got back from my day with Sam. I've been having a hard time making my brain work lately, but having a day out was exactly what I needed to dislodge whatever was keeping me from doing good work. I got home, sat down, and wrote When I checked my word count, I realized I wrote 2k words in maybe an hour. This may not seem like a lot to some people but for a person whose word count as of late has been near the 1.5k mark at best, this is pretty good. Best part is I feel like I could keep going.

So if there's someone out there reading this post who is just starting out writing, here's a piece of advice: Sometimes it helps to get out of your head. Go on a date. Go out with a friend. Talk, laugh, do something to open up your mind. Maybe this is why I've heard writers say that you've got to go out and experience life if you're going to be so conceited as to write about it.

I'm going to go try and get some more work done before I stop to work out, so I hope everyone enjoyed the first post on the new site!