Friday, August 31, 2012

The Crystal Coffin

This is an interesting Fairy Tale that I ran across.

Now let no one say that a poor tailor can't get on in the world, and, indeed, even attain to very high honour. Nothing is required but to set the right way to work, but of course the really important thing is to succeed.

Ah, what a brilliant beginning. I love it!

A very bright active young tailor once set off on his travels, which led him into a wood, and as he did not know the way he soon lost himself. Night came on, and there seemed to be nothing for it but to seek out the best resting-place he could find. He could have made himself quite comfortable with a bed of soft moss, but the fear of wild beasts disturbed his mind, and at last he determined to spend the night in a tree.

Which is a wise plan, if you ask me. Spend the night in a tree where the birds can make a nest in your hair ... oh, never mind ...

He sought out a tall oak tree, climbed up to the top, and felt devoutly thankful that his big smoothing-iron was in his pocket, for the wind in the tree-tops was so high that he might easily have been blown away altogether.

Wow. He carries a big heavy object around in his pocket. Frankly I would like to know why. I mean, it's got to be seriously heavy if he's thankful he's got it so that the wind doesn't blow him away. Although, what happens if the extra weight causes the branch to break ...

I guess we're not supposed to think about that.

After passing some hours of the night, not without considerable fear and trembling, he noticed a light shining at a little distance, and hoping it might proceed from some house where he could find a better shelter than in the top of the tree, he cautiously descended and went towards the light.

Anything is better than sleeping in a tree ...

It led him to a little hut all woven together of reeds and rushes. He knocked bravely at the door, which opened, and by the light which shone from within he saw an old gray-haired man dressed in a coat made of bright-coloured patches. 'Who are you, and what do you want?' asked the old man roughly.

He obviously is not your typical nice old man ... although it is usually the nice old woman who takes in wandering strangers, so I guess this doesn't conflict with Fairy Tale rules too much.

'I am a poor tailor,' replied the youth. 'I have been benighted in the forest, and I entreat you to let me take shelter in your hut till morning.'

And if you don't, he'll have to spend the night in a tree, and may wake up on your roof, it's so windy.

'Go your way,' said the old man in a sulky tone, 'I'll have nothing to do with tramps. You must just go elsewhere.'

Oh, but he's not a tramp - he's a tailor!

With these words he tried to slip back into his house, but the tailor laid hold of his coat-tails, and begged so hard to be allowed to stay that the old fellow, who was by no means as cross as he appeared, was at length touched by his entreaties, let him come in, and after giving him some food, showed him quite a nice bed in one corner of the room. The weary tailor required no rocking to rest, but slept sound till early morning, when he was roused from his slumbers by a tremendous noise.

Okay, note to self, if someones being compassionate when I'm in trouble ... grab their coat tails. And I love how the fact that the tailor didn't need to be rocked to sleep was noted.

 Loud screams and shouts pierced the thin walls of the little hut. The tailor, with new-born courage, sprang up, threw on his clothes with all speed and hurried out.

YIKES! What's that!

There he saw a huge black bull engaged in a terrible fight with a fine large stag. They rushed at each other with such fury that the ground seemed to tremble under them and the whole air to be filled with their cries.

Okay, I'm really scared now.

For some time it appeared quite uncertain which would be the victor, but at length the stag drove his antlers with such force into his opponent's body that the bull fell to the ground with a terrific roar, and a few more strokes finished him.

Good for the stag.

The tailor, who had been watching the fight with amazement, was still standing motionless when the stag bounded up to him, and before he had time to escape forked him up with its great antlers, and set off at full gallop over hedges and ditches, hill and dale, through wood and water. The tailor could do nothing but hold on tight with both hands to the stag's horns and resign himself to his fate. He felt as if he were flying along. At length the stag paused before a steep rock and gently let the tailor down to the ground.

Oohh! that sounds like fun! I wanna fly!

Feeling more dead than alive, he paused for a while to collect his scattered senses, but when he seemed somewhat restored the stag struck such a blow on a door in the rock that it flew open. Flames of fire rushed forth, and such clouds of steam followed that the stag had to avert its eyes. The tailor could not think what to do or which way to turn to get away from this awful wilderness, and to find his way back amongst human beings once more.

The poor tailor, he should have traveled another way.

As he stood hesitating, a voice from the rock cried to him: 'Step in without fear, no harm shall befall you.'

And I would find a talking rock very encouraging.

He still lingered, but some mysterious power seemed to impel him, and passing through the door he found himself in a spacious hall, whose ceiling, walls, and floor were covered with polished tiles carved all over with unknown figures. He gazed about, full of wonder, and was just preparing to walk out again when the same voice bade him: 'Tread on the stone in the middle of the hall, and good luck will attend you.'

Middle stone. Got it.

By this time he had grown so courageous that he did not hesitate to obey the order, and hardly had he stepped on the stone than it began to sink gently with him into the depths below. On reaching firm ground he found himself in a hall of much the same size as the upper one, but with much more in it to wonder at and admire. Round the walls were several niches, in each of which stood glass vessels filled with some bright-coloured spirit or bluish smoke. On the floor stood two large crystal boxes opposite each other, and these attracted his curiosity at once.

Frankly, though, I'm more interested into those glass bottles.

Stepping up to one of them, he saw within it what looked like a model in miniature of a fine castle surrounded by farms, barns, stables, and a number of other buildings. Everything was quite tiny, but so beautifully and carefully finished that it might have been the work of an accomplished artist.

Ooohhh... someone must have worked a long time on that. But why would they store it in the middle of nowhere. If I had made a masterpiece like that, I would have put it where it could be seen. Maybe they don't want it stolen.

He would have continued gazing much longer at this remarkable curiosity had not the voice desired him to turn round and look at the crystal coffin which stood opposite.

Always obey mysterious voices in Fairy Tales.

What was his amazement at seeing a girl of surpassing loveliness lying in it! She lay as though sleeping, and her long, fair hair seemed to wrap her round like some costly mantle. Her eyes were closed, but the bright colour in her face, and the movement of a ribbon, which rose and fell with her breath, left no doubt as to her being alive.

And that is why Fairy Tale Princesses wear ribbons - so that there is no mistake of them being alive when they fall into enchanted sleeps. Snow White, you see, forgot to wear hers, and that was why everyone thought she was dead.

As the tailor stood gazing at her with a beating heart, the maiden suddenly opened her eyes, and started with delighted surprise.

What! He hasn't kissed her yet! Hmmmm...

'Great heavens!' she cried, 'my deliverance approaches! Quick, quick, help me out of my prison; only push back the bolt of this coffin and I am free.'

Oh, right, there's a glass coffin in the way.

The tailor promptly obeyed, when she quickly pushed back the crystal lid, stepped out of the coffin and hurried to a corner of the hall, when she proceeded to wrap herself in a large cloak.

I guess it would be cold in a glass coffin.

 Then she sat down on a stone, desired the young man to come near, and, giving him an affectionate kiss,

There's the kiss.

she said, 'My long-hoped-for deliverer, kind heaven has led you to me, and has at length put an end to all my sufferings. You are my destined husband, and, beloved by me, and endowed with every kind of riches and power, you shall spend the remainder of your life in peace and happiness. Now sit down and hear my story.

Of course, she still doesn't know a thing about him. He hasn't even said one word!

I am the daughter of a wealthy nobleman. My parents died when I was very young, and they left me to the care of my eldest brother, by whom I was carefully educated. We loved each other so tenderly, and our tastes and interests were so much alike that we determined never to marry, but to spend our entire lives together.

Her name must be Marilla and her brother must have been Matthew.

There was no lack of society at our home. Friends and neighbours paid us frequent visits, and we kept open house for all. Thus it happened that one evening a stranger rode up to the castle and asked for hospitality, as he could not reach the nearest town that night. We granted his request with ready courtesy, and during supper he entertained us with most agreeable conversation, mingled with amusing anecdotes.

Hmmm ... suspicious.

My brother took such a fancy to him that he pressed him to spend a couple of days with us, which, after a little hesitation, the stranger consented to do. We rose late from table, and whilst my brother was showing our guest to his room I hurried to mine, for I was very tired and longed to get to bed. I had hardly dropped off to sleep when I was roused by the sound of some soft and charming music.

Double suspicious.

Wondering whence it could come, I was about to call to my maid who slept in the room next mine, when, to my surprise, I felt as if some heavy weight on my chest had taken all power from me, and I lay there unable to utter the slightest sound. Meantime, by the light of the night lamp, I saw the stranger enter my room, though the double doors had been securely locked. He drew near and told me that through the power of his magic arts he had caused the soft music to waken me, and had made his way through bolts and bars to offer me his hand and heart.

Just like all magicians, he thinks his magic will charm every lady.

My repugnance to his magic was so great that I would not condescend to give any answer. He waited motionless for some time, hoping no doubt for a favourable reply, but as I continued silent he angrily declared that he would find means to punish my pride, and therewith he left the room in a rage.

As you can see, they get mad when their conceived charm falls very short.

'I spent the night in the greatest agitation, and only fell into a doze towards morning. As soon as I awoke I jumped up, and hurried to tell my brother all that had happened, but he had left his room, and his servant told me that he had gone out at daybreak to hunt with the stranger.

Oh, dear ... that's not good. Very not good ...

'My mind misgave me. I dressed in all haste, had my palfrey saddled, and rode of at full gallop towards the forest, attended by one servant only. I pushed on without pausing, and ere long I saw the stranger coming towards me, and leading a fine stag.

Stag? That sounds familiar. Oh dear ... or should  I say, oh deer?

 I asked him where he had left my brother, and how he had got the stag, whose great eyes were overflowing with tears. Instead of answering he began to laugh, and I flew into such a rage that I drew a pistol and fired at him; but the bullet rebounded from his breast and struck my horse in the forehead. I fell to the ground, and the stranger muttered some words, which robbed me of my senses.

In other words, she went unconscious. 

'When I came to myself I was lying in a crystal coffin in this subterranean vault. The Magician appeared again, and told me that he had transformed my brother into a stag, had reduced our castle and all its defences to miniature and locked them up in a glass box, and after turning all our household into different vapours had banished them into glass phials. If I would only yield to his wishes he could easily open these vessels, and all would then resume their former shapes.

That's a tough choice, isn't it? Marry a horrid man, or be trapped forever and have everyone you know be trapped as well.

'I would not say a word more than I had done previously, and he vanished, leaving me in my prison, where a deep sleep soon fell on me. Amongst the many dreams which floated through my brain was a cheering one of a young man who was to come and release me, and to-day, when I opened my eyes, I recognised you and saw that my dream was fulfilled. Now help me to carry out the rest of my vision. The first thing is to place the glass box which contains my castle on this large stone.'

Oh, so that wasn't merely a good likeness? I'm not so impressed anymore. Though, it does now make since that it wasn't on display.

As soon as this was done the stone gently rose through the air and transported them into the upper hall, whence they easily carried the box into the outer air. The lady then removed the lid, and it was marvellous to watch the castle, houses, and farmyards begin to grow and spread themselves till they had regained their proper size. Then the young couple returned by means of the movable stone, and brought up all the glass vessels filled with smoke. No sooner were they uncorked than the blue vapours poured out and became transformed to living people, in whom the lady joyfully recognised her many servants and attendants.

Nothing like seeing your old servants to make you happy.

Her delight was complete when her brother (who had killed the Magician under the form of a bull) was seen coming from the forest in his proper shape, and that very day, according to her promise, she gave her hand in marriage to the happy young tailor.

Believe it or not, I have read a Fairy Tale rewriting with this Fairy Tale in it. I was quite pleased with that book.

To Read without my commentary, click here.

Via Pinterest

10. Stardrana is the only Hidden who can heal humans with her fire.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tips From a Young Writer - Beginning

Once upon a time ... (Any old Fairy Tale)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ... (Tale of Two Cities)

There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it ... (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)

Every good story has to begin somewhere. It needs an opening line that peeks your interest and makes you want to read more. It needs an opening chapter that introduces you to the characters, but leaves you with questions as to why are they like that!!!???

It needs a good beginning.

The question is, however, how do you get a good beginning?

First off, start with the chapter. You can always change the opening sentence later to make it sound more grabbing, but if you write a brilliant first sentence, and then it completely does not fit the book, well, it'll just make you cry. Sure, try to make the sentence as grabbing as you can (for you, if you aren't pulled into what you're writing at the first sentence, you'll never finish. Trust me, you won't) but don't obsess over it, yet.

In writing your chapter you want to do three things:

1. Introduce your main character. This is just common sense. If you wait till chapter three to introduce the MC, your readers will be all ... "What ...? I thought Staci was the MC, who's this Jerald you're now so interested in." Of course you need to do more than just say, "This is a book about a guy named Jerald, he's going to be the MC of this book!" No! you need to let your readers fall in love with him! You don't have to tell every little thing about him at this point, but you do need to let your readers see his core personality, and his biggest quirks.

2. Introduce the Conflict. What is the story going to be about? What problems are your characters going to have to face? Let your reader know! You don't have to introduce the entire conflict, but enough so that your readers can start rooting for your characters.

3. Introduce secrets. Don't give away everything upfront. Let your readers know that your MC is a dragon rider, but you don't have to tell them all the riggamaroll they had to go through to get into that position, yet. Let your readers know that Julia has found a glowing egg in her backyard, but you don't have to tell them that there is a Mr. Fiery intent on hoarding all the glowing eggs in the universe, yet. You can tell your readers everything later. Right now, you're only trying to get their attention.

As for the first sentence, what do you need to look for in it?

1. It needs to fit the mood of the book. If you have a first sentence that invokes fear, your reader will be expecting a scary book. They'll then be severely disappointed when you're book is a happy-go-lucky book about a girl who collects flowers.

2. Make it pertain to either the conflict or the MC, preferably both. If it's about a character who disappears never to be mentioned again only a few pages later, or a conflict that is resolved before the page is over, your reader won't like it.

3. Make it either profound, exciting, or intriguing, preferably all three. Do an observation of your character's life philosophy, or maybe have him ask a question, or start it with some action - but make sure it fits your book!

Remember, the first line and first chapter will probably be what induces your reader to read the entire book. If you fail that, your book, no matter how good the rest of it is, will never be given a second glance.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Interview with Amy Dashwood

Hello folks! I've had the privilege to interview a fellow author, Amy Dashwood, who recently published her first book Only a Novel, for her blog tour.

Elizabeth Markette has always led a quiet and privileged life under the guardianship of her wealthy grandmother. But when her grandmother dies and leaves twenty-one-year-old Elizabeth alone in the world and nearly penniless, she’s forced to earn her own living for the first time in her life. Taking inspiration from her favorite British novels, she sets sail for England to seek a position as a governess. Before she can do that, however, she is rather abruptly and overwhelmingly befriended by a lonely and slightly eccentric young socialite, Lavinia Bancroft, who introduces her to the sparkling world of London society. Yet Elizabeth still feels the need to make her own way, though once she actually acquires a position, she begins to have doubts as to whether she’s actually qualified. The children she’s teaching don’t seem to like her, the housemaid seems far too eager to be friends—who wants to be friends with a housemaid?—and the stable hand keeps interfering with the children. Elizabeth’s one hope and consolation is that somehow, some way, Mr. Darcy will come riding out of the mists very soon indeed to save her from a life of respectable servitude. There’s just one problem—where is he?

What inspired Only a Novel?

My first degree of inspiration, so to speak, came in the form of reading far too many Sherlock Holmes mysteries when I was fifteen.  (Yes, I’ve read all four novels as well as each and every one of the short stories.  Any fellow obsessive fans out there?)  My writing tends to be influenced by what I read (do tell!) and I started to get wisps of ideas about an American young woman who went out to work as a governess for a family on a cold and lonely English moor. No, there was no Hound of the Baskervilles, but there could very well have been.  :D  That story never really went anywhere, but then when I started contemplating NaNoWriMo in November 2011, I dug out the idea and revamped it with the title “What Would Elizabeth Bennet Do”?  This time around, the story focused on a rather different heroine with a deep-set love for Jane Austen’s books.  And then—well, then it just started flowing.  And stopping.  (Insert agony on my part.)  And flowing again. (Insert joy on my part.)  And stopping again… yeah, you get the idea.  And somewhere along the way, the title got re-done as well. :D

I’ve always been fascinated by titles. What caused you to choose Only a Novel?

Elizabeth Markette (the protagonist) tends to view everything that comes her way through bookish-colored spectacles, and she often forgets that life isn’t just like a book.  So when I was brainstorming titles, I had a whole list of possibilities that revolved around books and literature, but none of them seemed quite right.  For one thing, my book was meant to show that life doesn’t always imitate literature, but I certainly wasn’t trying to bash literature in any way (quite the reverse!) Then I remembered Jane Austen’s famous “defense of the novel” in Northanger Abbey, and bang, in came my title.

How long, from initial inspiration to publication, did it take you to write your book? 

About nine months, total.  I’d had an idea brewing in the back of my head since Febrary 2010, but I didn’t start the real brainstorming for the project until October 2011.  So from October ’11 to June ’12 was a little over nine months.

What projects are you working on now?

I'm currently scribbling out first drafts for three stories: a happy-feely summertime tale of a girl who goes to spend her vacation with her rather unusual cousins (The Rochesters), a slightly off-the-wall mystery set in a boardinghouse populated with hilarious people who don't get along too well (The Butterwick Boardinghouse Detectives) and the story of a girl caring for her blind sister and getting tangled up with a group of oddly heretical tinker-travelers in the countryside of 13th century France (The Color of the Sky).  The Rochesters and The Color of the Sky are very tentative titles right now... I haven't yet hit upon just the right names.

Have you always known you would be an author? If not, when did you figure that out?

I’ve wanted to be an author since I was seven years old.  That was the age at which I became a really voracious reader, and one day I just decided that when I was grown up I would write Books (with a capital B) so that I would never run out of things to read.  It sounds a bit cheesy but I can honestly say that I’ve never faltered in that decision in the decade that’s followed.

Since you are a fan of Jane Austen, which of her books are your favorite? Favorite character?

My favorite Jane Austen novel usually depends on which of her books I’ve read most recently, but I’d have to say it’s usually a toss-up between Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.  Those two regularly battle it out for the top spot.  Northanger Abbey is a close second, however.  As for a favorite character... wow.  Elinor Dashwood followed closely by Henry Tilney, probably.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Quite a lot!  I’m currently a senior in high school, which means schoolwork has to take precedence, of course.  But in my spare time I enjoy sewing (I’ve recently become quite interested in historical costumes), reading classic novels and Agatha Christie mysteries, cooking, baking, riding my bicycle, going for long walks and singing with my family.

If you could travel back in time, when would you go?

Wow, that’s an interesting question!  I’m really not sure.  I think the time of the American Civil War might be the most interesting, but that makes me sound rather hard-hearted because there was so much devastation in our country at that time... Mmm, perhaps the Regency era in England would be my choice.  Surprise, surprise.  :D

Do you prefer notebooks or word processors on the computer to write?

I’d love to say I prefer a good old-fashioned notebook, but the fact is that word processors get the job done faster and allow for easier on-the-spot editing.  :D

Where’s your favorite place to read?

Pretty much anywhere!  I really like sitting out in my backyard in one of those canvas camp chairs, though.  We have a bunch of them and they’re pretty comfy.  Lying across my bed is a favorite position too.

Yet Another Period Drama Blog Miss Amy Dashwood is a daughter of the King of Kings, a homeschooled seventeen-year-old and a lover of books, period dramas, chocolate, long bike rides, babies, teacups, historical costumes and fiddle music.  Only a Novel, her first full-length work of fiction, chronicles a year in the life of Elizabeth Markette, a young woman with a head full of books who takes on a job as a governess after the death of her grandmother.  Only a Novel is available for purchase on Amazon, and you can find Amy at either of her two blogs, Yet Another Period Drama Blog and The Quest for Stories.

Monday, August 20, 2012

EDBP Tag Questions

EDBP stands for Epic Disney Blog Party, which is hosted by Lianne Taimenlore.

Which is your favorite Disney film and why?

After a long deliberation, I finally selected The Gnome-Mobile. It's an older one, and the special effects may have left a bit to be desired, but it was a hilarious movie, especially the ending "Get the guy" contest. That was epic. Simply Epic.

Which is the most annoying/worst Disney film and why?

I could go the easy way and just say every movie that was adapted from a book or fairy tale that I have read, because they all annoy me to some extent. However, I believe the most annoying one to be Prince Caspian. Most of the others I can turn a blind eye to the discrepancies and enjoy on their level. Prince Caspian, however, they completely ruined the book (and especially the character Susan), and The Chronicles of Narnia happen to be one of my favorite book series ever. The animated Robin Hood comes in a close second.

What was the first Disney film you can remember watching?

The earliest I can recall is Pooh's Grand Adventure, where Christopher Robin goes to school and they go on a huge adventure to find him because they think he went to skull. My sister, V, is a huge Pooh fan, but this particular movie I hated. First of all, I thought it too scary, and second, I didn't see the point.

What are some of your favorite quotes from Disney films?

"Gotta save the Queen!"
"Yeah, but you're counting on the wrong two of us." (Although I may be a bit off on this one, I couldn't find it on-line)
"Hey, was that floating like a Cadillac, or was that stinging like a Beemer? I'm confused."
"Oh my, this is a twist in our story! It's the brave little princess coming to the rescue.  I guess this makes you the damsel in distress, huh, handsome?"
"I could get used to a view like this. Yep, I'm used to it. Guys I want a castle."

Which Disney character do you think you are most like?

That was a tricky one. I finally had to go with Tigger. We both are very exuberant, and love to say things the wrong way. (I like to say vitlemins instead of vitamins for instance.) We both enjoy being the life of the party, and we can both talk endlessly.

What is your favorite Disney film song?

Uh ... song? That's not something I spend my time thinking about. Hmm ... if I had to choose ... I think it would be the "How does she know you love her?" song from Enchanted.

What is one Disney film you find yourself recommending over and over?

I don't recommend movies all that much. I recommend books.

What is one thing from any Disney film or films that really irks you?

When they adapt a book or fairy tale and they make huge deviations. For instance, I don't like the fact that Rapunzel is a princess and Flynn is a thief. I just don't. My other issue is when the child thinks they know better than their parents, and, by the end of the movie, the parent is agreeing with the child.

Who is your favorite Disney heroine and why?

Giselle from Enchanted. First, I love how long her hair is in the animated part (and I was sorely disappointed when they cut it). Second, she can sew her own clothes! My favorite thing, however, is that, though she at first is going to marry a man based on "first sight and a song," she ends up marrying a man she has gotten to know and who can make her angry.

Who is your favorite Disney hero and why? 

Prof. Ned Brainard from the Absentminded Professor. He's smart, and invents flubber, has a flying car, gets to work with the government ... and just can't seem to remember to attend his own wedding - thrice! He's very funny.

Who is your favorite Disney sidekick and why?

Linguini from Ratatouille. All he was looking for was a job. Then he messed up the soup, and a rat fixes it - and he ends up owning the restaurant. All from the help of a rat.

If you could spend a day in any Disney film, which one would you pick and why?

I'd like to hang out with the Never fairies. I just like fairies. Not that I completely like the never fairies, but they are fairies.

Choose any one Disney film character and place them in any Disney film (other than his or her own). How would the story be different?

Hmmm .... lets see. Howabout I put Tinkerbell in Winnie the Pooh. I'm not sure that it would change anything, but I'm sure that Pooh and the gang would have a delightful adventure with her.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Robin Shrunk!

We've been going through the heroes of faith of Hebrews 11 at our Wednesday night church things, and were at Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (They aren't mentioned directly, but they are the ones that come to mind with "Quenched the Violence of Fire") 

So we  made shrinkydinks.

Here are the ones I made

Wrong side of the Daniel in the Lions Den. I didn't draw this, it was one of the pre-drawns. I just colored and signed my name.

Here's the right side. Yes, I know my name is backwards, but that's the thing about shrinkydinks. The side you draw on is the wrong side.

After I colored Daniel and his lion friends and gave them to Mrs. J to bake, I decided to get a bit more creative. I got a piece of blank shrinkydink plastic and started drawing.

This is what came out. Yup. Robin. I just don't know what it is about her, but she's always getting me to draw her. There's only one character I have worse than her ... and she's ... well, I can't tell you about her yet. She's not born yet.

Anyways ... 

I'm quite pleased with how she came out. Despite the fact that Robin NEVER wears her hair down, I like how I managed to capture the motion with her hair. The sword came out pretty good too. And, actually, having her sword in her right hand works. Robin fights with both hands. Learned it from Inigo Montoya ... er ... I mean ... never mind.

On a completely unrelated note, you see that flower design on my thumbnail? My cousin Terri (the one mentioned in the acknowledgements of Sew, It's a Quest) sent us a box of stuff the other day - including a bottle of fine-tipped fingernail polish. 

Unfortunately, these only count as one.

Thanks Cousin Terri!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Actually Finishing Something in July 4

And, at last, the final round of "Actually Finishing Something in July" hosted by Katie. My goal was to do a personal edit for Do You Take this Quest?

Were you able to reach and finish your July writing goal?

No, still haven't finished editing. Sigh. I let The Ankulen and Water Princess, Fire Prince distract me towards the end.

If you did not fully complete your goal, were you able to make progress in your project? 

Well, seeing as how I added an entire new chapter (thereby removing a confusing list of names) and got rid of quite a few grammar errors ... I think I made some progress ... I think.

What was the most difficult part of finishing something this July?

When my mind was blank. I mean, there was a reason I had not written the scene the first time I wrote it.

Did you maintain a writing schedule? How often did you write to meet your goal? Did you write into the wee hours of the morning, or wake up extra early to write? 

Nope, I don't use schedules, other than the fact that I can only get on my computer at certain times during the day.

List the three musical tracks that most inspired your writing this July. Tell us why they inspired you and how they fit with your story.

I ... um ... don't listen to music while I write.

As you wrote, did you come across any component of your story that  surprised you? Plot-twists, Grand-New-Ideas!, new characters? 

Madeleine completely caught me off guard when she suddenly got stage fright and fled to the safety of a curtain and refused to come out ...

Choose and share your three favorite pieces of descriptive writing you penned for the challenge.

Madeleine entered the room, but did not, at first, venture to speak to Shira. Instead she stared at the unfinished painting. She had been painting a picture of the ball she had been imagining for Rosamond’s sixteenth birthday … before she had known how tragically it would end. She had finished all of the background, the grand ballroom. Only the dancers had remained for her to paint, as she had been reluctant to paint them before she knew what they were wearing. Only Samson, Shira, Maximilian, and herself had been painted, and only because she had known ahead what they were going to wear. 
- Chapter 7 "Out from Behind the Curtain"

And, actually ... that's all the descriptive I wrote this month in Do You Take This Quest? Umm ... I suppose I could get some scenes from the other two stories I worked on ...

From The Ankulen: 

For a few minutes, I just watched the dancing. Right now, all the Wood Children and Water Babies were dancing in a circle, clapping their hands. The Wood Children were extremely graceful, but the Water Babies kept falling over, and each would have to be helped up by a neighboring Wood Child. In the center of the circle were Tisha and Chris, dancing a fast, intricate dance to the rhythm of the clapping. They were having fun. All of them. 
- Chapter 20 "Party Before the War"

From Water Princess, Fire Prince:

There before him was the largest, most terrifying creature Andrew had ever seen, that he had ever dreamed possible.
It was about the size of a draft horse, but with a dog-like face and cat-like body. It was a mottled black and blue color, with a face that was mostly teeth and nose. The small teeth were like steak knives – the creature also had huge tusks sticking out of his mouths – reminding Andrew of a saber tooth tiger. The claws of the beast were just as horrid as the teeth.
- Chapter 7 "Kirats and Stuff"

I personally consider description my weak point.

Share the meanest, most unfeeling line said by one of your characters from your July writing.

“Easy for thee to say …” - Shira.

What she's insinuating is that the fact that Maximilian is gone means nothing to Madeleine - Maximilian's twin sister.

Pick one of your favorite characters from your July writing. Describe his/her wardrobe. Share how this character would dress is he/she were living in the year 2012 (or, if your character already dwells in the 2000's, describe how he/she would dress if he/she lived in the time period of your choice). 

My favorite character for this book is Madeleine. Sorry, Robin, I just like Maddie better, okay? I actually don't know much about her wardrobe. pretty much typical of the a medieval world. Oh, and it's all paint-stained. Madeleine's an artist.

If she were to live in our day, she'd probably be the sort of person who stays at home with messy t-shirts and shorts. Oh, and a Barrett, or whatever that french hat is called. She's the sort of person who has to look the part.

Pick your all-time favorite bit of July writing and share it with us. Tell us why the passage is your favorite. 

Madeleine froze. Everyone was staring at her! 
She jumped out of the chair as fast as she could, and ran for the nearest curtain. Why in Bookania had she just done that????
She could hear the room erupt in an uproar almost at once, and it took everything King Jeremiah could do quiet them.
But she tuned it all out, as she stood with the curtain twisted about her, concealing her completely from the sight of the on-lookers.
- Chapter 6 "Friendly Introductions"

This caught me completely off guard when it happened. She had been doing an impromptu speech - of her own initiative ... and then ... well you saw! And, yet, it was so Madeleine!

Bonus Question! What was your favorite part of the Actually Finishing Something July Challenge? 

Getting to read everyone else's ... Oh, and the initiative to do my own.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Introducing ....

I have this series I've been working on for about seven years. It's about some kids that fall into another world... yeah, sounds cliche, I know, but it's better than it sounds.

Well ... one of the characters from the first book had taken on a life of her own ... and has started her own blog ...

I'm not sure what to think about that, exactly, but, anyways, since I'm her author, I guess I might as well promote it. It's called Clara's Classics, and, as you may have guessed from the title, the character is named Clara. In this blog, Clara's going to share her opinions on the classics ... which is quite high, actually.

I wish I could say the same of her opinion of me ...

But, be warned. Clara's opinions may not be exactly my own. She takes great pleasure in contradicting me.

Pictures I drew of Clara. I'm actually quite pleased with them ... although she isn't. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012


This is something I wrote in third or fourth grade.
Maidens were brought to the palace for the king's selection of a queen. Mordecai the Jew sent his cousin Esther. Esther was chosen queen. The king comanded servants to bow to Haman. Mordecai would not bow to Haman. Furious, Haman sent orders to kill all the Jews. Mordecai asked Esther to go before the king. Esther risked her life going before the king. Esther invited to a banquet. Esther revealed Haman's plot at the last banquet. Haman was hanged. Mordecai was given a position of authority. A new decree allowed Jews to gather and defend themselves.

Aren't they cute?

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