Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bacon. Welcome home bacon.

Some people have comfort food. Or comfort blankets. Or comfort stuffed animals.
I have a comfort author.
Whenever something isn't quite right I go and revisit my favorite books by Sharon Creech (namely 'Ruby Holler', 'Replay', and 'Bloomability.')

 

This January has been a tough month for me and so I pulled out Ruby Holler and re-read its careworn pages.

 

This was the first Sharon Creech book I ever read years and years ago. It it definitely the one of the best, in my opinion. I decided it needed a review.

Title: Ruby Holler.

Author: Sharon Creech.

Synopsis: Dallas and Florida are Trouble Twins. Thirteen years ago they arrived as infants on the steps of the Boxton Creek Home for Children and have been there virtually ever since. Sure, they've been taken in by many families - the Cranbeps, the Creepy Dreeps, the Burgertons.... but the metaphorical revolving door keeps sweeping them back into the Home.
Tiller and Sairy are an elderly couple living in their cabin in Ruby Holler, a beautiful wilderness. They are planning trips, but aren't going together. Tiller is going to sail down the Rutabego River, and Sairy is going to Kangadoon to find the Red Tailed Rockingbird.
They go to the Boxton Creek Home in search of companions. They decide to take Dallas and Florida on their trips with them.
But Dallas and Florida have other plans. They have never known love, not from the families they were placed with, and not from the Trepids, the couple running the Home. Dallas and Florida want to run away, catch the night train. Will they actually do it? Or will they accompany Tiller and Sairy on their trips?

My rating: 9/10 stars.

Why I liked the story: I can't really explain it. It's just one of those stories that makes its way into your heart and won't leave. It's well-written and the characters are such... characters. As Tiller says, "I will try to become Mr. Personality." From Tiller and Sairy, the old couple in love that everyone wants to become, to Z, the mysterious man working for Mr. Trepid.
Dallas and Florida will break your heart, because they've never been loved and can't recognize love when it's finally shown to them. They really change throughout the book, though - great character development. They go from mistrusting all grown-ups, to finding a family.
It's a very warm story full of fun characters and the hilarious things they do.

Why I disliked the story/what you should know: Hmmm... nothing really. Sometimes Sharon Creech skips ahead or goes back in time to explain something, leaving the reader going 'huh?' until she explains it.
Also, for those who are really sensative about crude words... Florida says 'putrid' and 'crud' a lot.

Have I read it before? Yes.

Will I read it again? Yes!

Would I recommend it? Yes!

Live long and prosper!

P.S. I forgot to mention this the other day... Thank you all so much for all the ideas for the second half of the Defenders of the Realm Prologue! I'm still not sure what to do, but you gave me some really good ideas - stuff I wouldn't have thought of. Thanks!
Also, the title of this post is a quote from the book.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bah Dah Bah Dah.....

Once upon a time I promised you all some choir music from the Christmas semester. Don't worry.... I won't play any Christmas music at the end of January.



video

That video was for Jessica... Because she was the one who originally told me about the song (because her school's choir did it a couple years ago) which led me to tell my choir director about it. She choose it for the girl's ensemble (hence the limited number of us).

I hope you enjoyed it!

Live long and prosper.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I drew a picture.

 

This is the big red book on the pedestal in the middle of the room in The Prologue of Defenders of the Realm.
It is called The Old Texts (subtitle: Everything a Wizard needs to know about Valdor, and managing the Realm).
It is a mish-mash of notes from previous Wizards of the Realm and has absolutely everything you ever wanted to know inside. Topics range from the extensive history of Valdor, to recipes on how to bake a wonderful cake. From how to kill an Undead, to what to wear to a Dwarf party (which are terribly hard to get into).

Every Wizard is born with a birthmark, of sorts, on their wrist, of The Old Texts. It is proof that they are going to be the next Wizard of Valdor.

 
 
(Sorry it's sideways). I feel no need to explain why that hand is giving you the 'live long and prosper' sign.
 
So there you have it. Some background information. I'm going to work on some characters now.
 
Live long and prosper!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Prologe.

Guess what? I have The Prologue done! Huzzah! And yes, I will share it with you. =)


   PROLOGUE
   Legend had it that on the darkest night of the month, the New Moon, Undead minions – living skeletons in service to Varkolak, from the battles of old - entered cities and farm communities, stealing children, unmarried women, and the elderly from their beds, to be feasted upon.
   Of course, no one in the Realm of Valdor believed such rumors, especially since Varkolak had been defeated over four-hundred and fifty years earlier; his army of Undead, mostly destroyed by fire – the only way to kill them completely. Varkolak and his remaining minions had fled into the Wilderness beyond the Dark Woods, never to be heard of or seen again.
   Yet, despite the general disbelief of the old legends, all the doors and windows, save one, of Monarch City – the capital of Valdor – were shut tight on the night of the New Moon.
   The one window that had been left open was set in the highest tower of the Castle, watching over Monarch City like a worried parent.
      A light breeze drifted through the open window and ruffled the hair of an old man sitting at a table so covered in paper and empty ink bottles, that it was hardly recognizable as a table. He stared out into the darkness, his brow knit. Slowly he stroked his dark gray beard with a wrinkled and weather-beaten hand. Though the night was unusually warm for the time of year, the old man was wrapped tightly in a dark blue cloak.
   Three chairs as plain as the table were tucked underneath it and the old man sat in the only one not covered in paper. Off in a darkened corner an ornate wooden throne stood, covered in a royal red robe, set aside in case the King came up for a chat.
   The room itself was rather plain. The room held no furniture, besides the table, chairs and several large shelves which lined the walls, from floor to ceiling. Books had been crammed the space inconceivably tightly, perhaps never to come out. The shelves groaned under the weight and bent in the middle, threatening to break.
   In the middle of the room was a marble pedestal. On it a large, red book laid open, a scarlet bookmark stuck in its spine. The cover, though not visible, was covered in a fancy golden script.
   The room had four doors; three leading to bedchambers. The fourth followed a spiral staircase down into the rest of the palace. Suddenly that door slammed open, followed by an unladylike grunt.
   “You could help me,” the owner of the voice grumbled. The old man by the window didn’t have to turn around to know who had entered the room; he always knew when Gwina was nearby. Nevertheless, he did turn to watch her wade through the mess of papers, quill pens, ink bottles, books, and other oddities which littered the floor.
   Gwina was tall. Nearly as tall as the man, something she didn’t let him forget easily. She had long black hair and delicate swirls painted around her eyes. Her dress was red and had slits going up just past the knees on either side. She wore a black, sleeveless mantle that rustled when she walked.
   In her hands were several more books – to join those in the rude piles on the floor – a new ink bottle, a number of scrolls, and on top of it all, a cake.
   Gwina made her way over to the table and, balancing her load on one hand, swept the paper from one of the chairs to the floor and sat down with a thump. Though she tried to carefully place her handful on the table, the cake still managed to slip. She caught it just before it splatted to the floor.
   “What is that for?” the old man asked, raising his eyebrows and nodding towards the rescued cake.
   “It’s our birthday! I thought I’d bake us a cake in celebration. It took me a few tries… and I nearly burned the palace down, but I finally got it right! I thought to myself, ‘Gwina, a birthday cake is the one thing that has to make Master IsenGRIM smile.’ I see I was mistaken.” Gwina smirked as she looked on the stormy, and frowning, face of her teacher. “Surely you haven’t forgotten our birthday?” she asked incredulously.
   “On the contrary,” said Isengrim, resuming his stare out the window, “I was contemplating our birthday the very moment you burst in. Gwina, what day is it?”
   “Why, you know that Tutor! It is the night of the New Moon! The darkest night of the month! Which begs the question… why is this window open? Do you want the Undead to come in and steal us away?” Gwina laughed but Isengrim remained stolid.
   “How old are we this New Moon?” Isengrim asked.
   “You know that too, Tutor,” Gwina replied. “You are one-hundred and I am fifty…“ Realization hit Gwina. Her eyes opened wide and her mouth hung open in a perfect ‘O.’
   “What does the Old Text say about our birthday?”
   Gwina leaned back in her chair, the smile banished from her lips. “Every fifty years, on the night of the New Moon, a Wizard is born. He – or she – will be brought to the palace to be trained by the current Wizard, or Wizards – that’s you and me. The new Wizard will be taught to control his - or her - powers and defend the Realm of Valdor against evil!” Gwina’s eyes shone. “We’ll be getting a new pupil soon!”
   “I don’t think so.” Isengrim’s eyes were full of foreboding and his physiognomy was troubled.
   “What’s wrong, tutor?” Gwina’s usual happy-go-lucky countenance assumed a worried look. Usually, she teased Isengrim’s worries, because she knew they had no merit. This time, however…. Something was very wrong.
   “I do not think we will be gaining a new apprentice any time soon,” Isengrim said.
   Gwina gasped. “What? How can that be? A Wizard is always born! And always brought to the palace! It has never been otherwise, the Old Text says so! It is treason not to bring forth a new Wizard for training! It endangers the Realm!”
   Isengrim didn’t answer, just stared out at Monarch City, slowly shaking his head. The gesture made Gwina’s stomach do a little flop. She no longer felt hungry for the birthday cake she had so painstakingly made. She turned to stare out the window as well, prepared for a sleepless night, watching and waiting for the inevitable.
***
   Many miles away from Monarch City lay Brookdale Village, surrounded by its abundant farmlands. In one of the most isolated farms a baby was being born.
   “I’m going to ride to Brookdale Village for the surgeon,” the father said to the mother.
   “No! Imradil, please don’t leave me. It will take you hours to ride to and from the Village. The baby will be born by then. Please stay. Besides, I’m not in much pain.”
   “Yet,” muttered Imradil, pulling a chair over to his wife’s bedside.
   Despite Imradil’s apprehension, the birth was relatively quick and easy.
   “Look at our daughter Imradil! Isn’t she beautiful?” gasped the mother.
   “What’s wrong with her, Raya?” Imradil frowned, staring at his daughter.
   “Nothing is wrong with her,” Raya said, disgusted. “All newborn babies look like this.”
   “No, it isn’t like that. She has a mark on her wrist.” Imradil carefully took the infant’s right hand from the folds of the blanket she was wrapped in and examined it.
   “It’s simply a birthmark,” Raya said, paying it no attention.
   “Birthmarks don’t look like fancy red books with twisty writing on the front,” Imradil persisted grimly.
   Raya took the baby’s hand from Imradil and inspected it. Sure enough, she saw a bright red book with fancy looking gold writing on the front printed on her daughter’s wrist. “Birthmark…” she whispered, trying to convince herself. Meanwhile, Imradil got to his feet and slowly walked over to the door. He unlatched it and flung it open and looked out into darkness.
   “It’s New Moon,” he said absentmindedly.
   “Don’t let a draft in!” Raya leaned protectively over her child.
   Imradil turned to his wife. “Raya, do you know what this means?”
   “What does what mean?” suddenly Raya was feeling exhausted. She just wanted to go to sleep, not try and decipher her husband’s words.
   “It’s New Moon!” Imradil slammed the door and rushed over to the bed. “New Moon is the night when Wizards are born! One every fifty years, is what the rumors say. They also say the parents will always know when they have a Wizard baby by a strange mark on their child.”
   “Imradil, what are you saying?” Raya whispered, fear in her big blue eyes.
   “Raya, I think our daughter will be the next Wizard of Valdor.”
   Raya gasped and stared down at the sleeping child in her arms. Tears replaced the fear in her eyes. “Oh Imradil…. Oh Imradil, just think! Our baby, our little daughter, will be raised in the palace! She will grow up in Monarch City! Imradil, she will learn to defend the Realm! Our little daughter - a hero!”
   “No,” Imradil said quietly.
   “What?” Raya asked her husband.
   “I said no,” Imradil repeated darkly. “Our daughter will stay right here, with us.”
   Raya gave her husband a quizzical look.
   “I’m not going to give her up,” Imradil continued. “It’s stupid and unfair that those tyrants in Monarch City can take away our daughter without our consent, just because she was born a Wizard. I won’t let it happen, I tell you!” Imradil thundered, and slammed his fist against the wall.
   In Raya’s arms, the baby startled awake and let out a tiny whimper.
   “Look, you’ve woken her!” Raya said in an upset tone. She gently rocked the child back to sleep. “Imradil,” she said when she was sure the baby was sleeping soundly once more, “we have to give our baby up. She’ll have a much better life in Monarch City than here on the farm. And I don’t see why the King wouldn’t let us visit her every once in awhile.”
   “That’s not good enough!” Imradil said angrily. Suddenly his idea came gushing out. “We will keep her here, with us. No one needs to know about her. We live miles away from anyone. We can keep her isolated…” He nodded as he spoke, as if assuring himself that his plan was fool-proof.
   “Imradil, that’s treason!” Raya said, shocked. “Besides, living in isolation is no way for a child to grow up!”
   Imradil fixed Raya with such an malevolent glare that she shrunk back into her pillows and put a protective arm across her baby.
   “Raya, there is no way that our child is going to Monarch City,” he growled. “Don’t you dare argue with me about this. Ever. Do you hear? This child will grow up in isolation. No one will ever know about her. You won’t tell anyone, and I won’t tell anyone.”
   Raya didn’t dare answer and instead looked down, in submission, to her child. Raya gently stroked her daughter’s pink cheeks.
   I’m committing treason for you, Baby, she thought, shaking her head slightly. Please be worth it.

What do you think? Do you like it? Does it all make sense? (Well, it's not all supposed to make sense yet.) Any constructive criticism?
I'm still not sure if I quite like the last half of The Prologue.... It just feels like it lacks something, but that could just be me.
Sometime in the near future I will write up a synopsis and post that as well. Perhaps I'll share a few of the characters sometime as well... But since I actually have no clue about most of them we'll see about that. (I have about eight characters - because they are from the board game - and only two of them have anything like a personality.)

Live long and prosper!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A new opening sentence.

I am re-writing The Prologue for Defenders of the Realm, even now, as we speak (okay, not now because we're not speaking and I can't type two things at once).
I'm about a third of the way done and will hopefully find time to finish it in the next day or two. Then it shall be posted here.
I am already much happier with how it is progressing. It isn't so boring now. And I've added some background information!
Here is my new opening sentence (background information and all!).

   Legend had it that on the darkest night of the month, the New Moon, Undead minions – living skeletons in service to Varkolak, from the battles of old - entered cities and farm communities, stealing children, unmarried women, and the elderly from their beds, to be feasted upon.
What do you think?
Live long and prosper!

Monday, January 21, 2013

To Kill A Mockingbird (book review).

Today our Internet was down. We still don't know exactly what was the problem.... But we didn't get it back until about quarter past nine.
I also haven't been feeling good today, so no writing. Not much of anything the past few days.... I've just kind of been lazing about.

Nevertheless, I though I'd do a book review because it's easy.

Title: To Kill A Mockingbird.

Author: Harper Lee.

Synopsis: The story follows Scout Finch and her brother Jem. They live in a small town in Alabama where everyone knows everyone - and everyone else's business. Their father, Atticus, is a lawyer.
For years, the whisperings of Miss Stephanie Crawford (the town gossip) had to do with Boo Radley, the shut-in down the street from the Finches. Rumor had it that he stabbed his father with scissors and was mad. At night he sneaks around and looks in people's windows as they sleep!
Something ruffles the town, though, when Atticus is chosen to represent a colored man in a trial.
Even though it is the 1930's, colored people are still not treated fairly. To Kill A Mockingbird deals with this issue through the eyes of children.

My rating: 10/10.

Why I liked the story: To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my absolute favorite books. Harper Lee's writing style is so wonderful to read. It is easy to understand and very very entertaining.
I love how funny the book is. My favorite part is when Scout experiences snow for the first time. She looks out her window and thinks the world is ending. "Atticus! Atticus! Come in here quick! The world is endin'! Come stop it!" she yells to her father. Atticus comes running in, half-shaved, and explains that no, the world isn't ending, it is just snowing. Scout and Jem proceed to build a mud-man and then cover him in the snow. It looks so much like one of their neighbors, they are forced to change it.
The characters. I love great characters. Whether they have a quirk... or are out of the ordinary... or are exceptionally moral... etc. etc. A great character can make a book for me. The characters in To Kill A Mockingbird are absolutely wonderful.
The story is told in Scout's perspective. Her real name is Jean-Louise and she is (I believe) seven or eight when the book starts. She is a total tom-boy and likes to wear overalls. She had a fiery temper, especially if someone is making fun of her. Throughout the book, she has to learn to control it.
Jem is Scout's older brother by four years. He loves football and adventures. He takes care of Scout, but does a lot of growing in the book, as he gets older.
Atticus is my favorite character and one of my literary heroes. He is so moral and he tries to be a good father, as well as a good lawyer. He doesn't defend Tom Robinson because he has to, he does so because he believes in justice. He knows Tom Robinson isn't guilty.


Dill is Scout and Jem's friend. He is the nephew of their neighbor and comes to live with her during the summers. He is the one so very interested in Boo Radley and the one who comes up with the plans to make him come out.
Boo Radley, the Eules, Miss Maudie Atkinson, Calpurnia, the Cunninghams, and all the other characters are wonderful as well.
I love how there are two separate plot lines and two separate climaxes. Everyone always makes such a big deal about Tom Robinsons case, and while that is a huge part of the book, it really only takes up a couple of chapters. The two plot lines are so intertwined, yet have nothing to do with each other. That's what I love about the book.
The Tom Robinson case shows just how unfair people can be. It is showed through the eyes of Scout (who is ten or so at the time) and understandable. We also feel the unfairness of the kid's innocence. Why should a man go to prison when he is so obviously not guilty? Why is his color the only reason he was stamped 'guilty'? The question everyone thinks, but only the children are young enough to ask out loud.
All in all, this is a wonderful wonderful book. Far from boring.

What I didn't like/things you should know: I can't think about anything that I disliked about the book... There are, however, things you should know.
Tom Robinson is convicted of raping Mayella Eule and is found guilty despite all the evidence that supports his innocence. It is implied that Mayella's father is actually the one that does her physical harm.
Tom Robinson's trial is spread out through three or four chapters and isn't really graphic... But things are described in full.
Scout goes through phase where she thinks she needs to swear all the time. There are quite a few swears in the book... Not a super lot though. Only a hand full of D-words and H-words, as I can recall. Also the N-word is mentioned very frequently (the slang for "Negro").
There are several intense scenes.... A house burns down. Jem and Scout are almost killed.

Will I read it again? Absolutely!

Would I recommend it? I would recommend this book for mature 12 year olds and up. I think I read it (for the first time) when I was 13.

Live long and prosper!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Writing news.

I'm stuck. I haven't even gotten past the prologue, and I'm already stuck with my Defenders of the Realm story. I'm not sure if I like the prologue which I wrote. I might scrap it and re-write it.
I've also been mulling over the fantasy genre - mostly the magic part of the fantasy genre.
That, and the stuckness issue, are forcing me to put Defenders of the Realm to the side for the time being. Hopefully it won't be too long.

On another note... I had the most brilliant idea for a plot. Actually, the core idea came two summers ago. I have been thinking about it on and off for two years and I think I may finally have a good enough plot to start coming up with characters - then I can maybe start writing.

Now I shall talk about After the Twelfth Night.
For those who don't know, I played Antonio in Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night in 2009. I was upset because we never find out what happens to Antonio after the play - does he go to jail or does Sebastian come to his rescue?
In 2011 I decided to write a book about what happened to my beloved character for a novel writing class my friend's mom taught. The subsequent months consisted of much writing, re-writing, editing, and formatting.
Finally, sometime in the early fall, we ordered five copies of my book from Blurb.com (a site which I do not recommend - too difficult to format).

The experience was like no other. I had never written something so long before - I had actually written a novel!
Shortly after I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the first time - taking my writing to new levels entirely.
During NaNoWriMo 2011 I wrote the sequel to After the Twelfth Night.

I have been working on re-writing and editing The Sequel for about a year, now. The end is nigh... My mom and I are currently going through it fixing discrepancies, spelling and grammar mistakes, making sentences better, and taking out information that doesn't need to be in there.

Now I am debating publishing....
I have already decided to combine the first and second books into one book, separated into Part 1 and Part 2.
This not only eliminates the trouble of having to come up with another title and another cover, it allows me to edit Part/Book 1 and make it better (and maybe longer! It's only about 16,000 words. Either that or 26,000 words... I can't remember since the document was deleted off my computer). I also don't have to go through the trouble of explaining what happens in Book/Part 1 in Book/Part 2.

Back to the publishing thing....
Part 1 isn't long enough to be it's own novel - and truthfully, I don't think it's up to par with other writings out there (which is why I am glad to be editing it some more). Much of it is somewhat fantastical and historically inaccurate (it's set in 1604).
Because I didn't want to publish Book/Part 1, I hadn't planned on publishing Book/Part 2 either.
Now, though, since I am combining them, I am reconsidering.
Part 2 easily takes care of the length problem. The book (both Parts) is still somewhat fantastical and historically inaccurate... But I didn't write it to be a historical novel. It is an adventure. It focuses on the plot and the adventure and the characters. I don't want it to become a historical novel, either. It is meant to be a fun read - it isn't meant to teach about how things used to be.
Besides, who said the worlds in Shakespeare's plays were accurate? I mean, he had fairies in A Midsummer's Night Dream. And wasn't there a giant in The Tempest?


I would be self-publishing. I would probably use Lulu.com since I've heard good things about it from various sources.
If I finish editing both Parts before June, however, I might consider using the Createspace code from NaNoWriMo (given to the winners). I heard it's pretty hard to figure out, though.
Also, I heard somewhere that as well as sending you five free copies, it publishes your work on Amazon for all to see? I have no clue if that is true or not. If someone out there knows, please tell me!

Anyway, there are all my authorly plans out in the open.

Would you like to read the prologue of Defenders of the Realm even though it isn't very good? Should I self-publish? What about the possible historical inaccuracies (I know so little about Shakespeare's time, I don't even know if there are any huge inaccuracies)? Also, would you like to hear more about After the Twelfth Night? Perhaps meet some of the characters?
Answer away! I would love to hear your thoughts.

Live long and prosper!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I have nothing to blog about. Lalalalalaa.....

I have no clean clothes. Yesterday I was forced to wear a Star Trek uniform to voice and piano lessons. And to the bookstore. I didn't mind. Hardly.
Today I found a chain... I put my One Ring on it and pretended I was Frodo all day.
Yep.
Here's a geeky song to go with what I just said:
 

Of course I could post the prologue for Defenders of the Realm (which is done but needs to be edited).
Or I could do a book review on To Kill a Mockingbird or Howl's Moving Castle.
Or I could post some of my music... a piano song or a choir song.
Or I could do a post on one or more of my After the Twelfth Night characters....
Which would YOU guys rather have? (Or, what order do you want that stuff up there?)

Live long and prosper!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Daniel Adams and Varina Webb.

Alright, I lied. No prologue for Defenders of the Realm today. Perhaps tomorrow.

Instead, I am going to explain some of my characters names.
Daniel Adams and Varina Webb are my main characters from my 2012 NaNoWriMo novel You Don't Find Them, They Find You which is a spy novel, of sorts. Both Daniel and Varina are spies... Though the novel is more of a race.

A little bit of history on the name "Daniel" in correlation to me.
When I was little, my friend and I would play house with our Bitty Babies. We were the moms, our husbands were invisible, our children were our dolls. For awhile, my friend and I had Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby as husbands.... Then we branched out and used other names. I always had James, until my friend and I started to fight over that name. Then I changed mine to Daniel and she changed hers to Dwight. From then on, our "husbands" were always Daniel and Dwight.

So, when I came up with the idea for They Find You there was really no other name for the main male character.
Daniel's last name, Adams, has always been with him too.
Which presented a problem....

In our games of house, my name was always "Arica Adams."
Now, for my female main character, I natually named her Arica because that's a name I'm very familiar with. But I couldn't name her Arica "Adams" because she and Daniel couldn't have the same last name.
Trouble trouble trouble... At first I wanted to change Daniel's last name because I wasn't sure if "Adams" was a British last name. Then I decided to change Arica's last name... I didn't know what to change it TO, though.
Then one day I was lying on the couch watching this GREAT old cop show called Adam-12 and the name hit me.

 

The guy on the right is called Jim Reed in the show. I got to thinking... Arica Reed? Then the name "Webb" flashed across the screen (he's one  of the producers or something). That was it! WEBB! Arica Webb!

Then we departed on our long journey to the East Coast.
We saw many many things. One of those things was the home of President Jefferson Davis (he was president of the Confederacy during the Civil War).

 

Before we got the tour, however, the guide told us a bit about Jefferson Davis and his family. They mentioned his wife... Varina Davis.


My heart leaped a bit. Varina was the absolute perfect name.
I was so excited that I pulled out a scrap of paper and wrote it down. It says, "Instead of Arica Webb... Varina Webb?"
Thus was born Varina Webb.
She even looks a bit like Varina Davis - the same dark, silky hair and round face.

I think that Varina is one of the prettiest names in the whole wide world. And Webb is one cool last name.

How do you name your characters?

Live long and prosper!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The one where "struggled" became "shruggled."

It is official. After the Twelfth Night and its Untitled Sequel are going to be one book. The first book will be "part 1" and the second book will be "part 2" because it is much easier. Plus, that  means I can edit Part/Book one and make it better. It also means that I don't have to think of another title and cover!
My mom and I have been editing Part/Book 2 and I have busily typing it into the computer.... Only I think I need a break.
So far Jamie has sat down and tried to ear (instead of eat) and poor Verges shruggled to hold Dogberry's weight up.
Know what else I found out? "Two men" is basically the word "woman" except with a "T" at the beginning. I found that out trying to read my hand-edited version of the book. I'm staring at it going, "As they caught up with the fwomen they slowed their pace to remain at a distance. But that makes NO sense! They're following Dogberry and Verges! Not women! What in the world is a fwoman anyway? MOM! Can you read this--- wait a minute.... TWO MEN! That's what it is! HAHA!"
Must... push.... forward....

Also, it has been 84 years since Tintin was first written into existance! Happy Birthday Tintin!!

 

(My cake, from my last birthday.)

On a parting note... I know how Sherlock survived the fall!


Before hitting the ground, Sherlock fell into a portal which led to Narnia. He fell out of the sky and landed in some badly placed dragon treasure... which turned him into a fire breathing beasty (just like Eustace!).
Sherlock the Dragon then wandered - quite by accident - into another portal which led to Middle Earth.
Poor Sherlock then used his massive intellect to reason that if he became a dragon by touching treasure, he should touch MORE treasure to become his regular self again. Sherlock the Dragon wandered into the nearest treasure hoard his dragon nose detected and scared some Dwarves in the process.
Long story short, Sherlock touched the treasure and found himself still a dragon! He also found out that he was too big to fit back OUT the door! (Which is the reason no one saw him a long time.)
After sleeping for hundreds of years, Sherlock woke to find that the walls had crumbled around him and he could escape!
Unknown to him, though, the Dwarves had harbored a grudge and had come to reclaim their home. They took a very familiar looking burglar with them too....


Sherlock the Dragon was then shot unceremoniously from the sky by Bard the Bowman.
Curiously, the only thing that went through the mind of the Dragon as he fell was, "Oh no, not again." Many have speculated that if we knew exactly WHY Sherlock the Dragon had thought that, we should know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.
Since the villagers from Laketown never went near the carcass of Sherlock the Dragon, they did not see him regenerate into his original form... Sherlock Holmes!
Sadly, Sherlock was a bit jumbled from his regeneration and took to calling himself "John Harrison."


He was then beamed up to the Enterprise where he wreaked havoc all the way back to London Town where they dropped him off (and where he saved Mickey Smith's daughter).
After figuring out he wasn't actually John Harrison, Sherlock returned to 221b Baker Street and walked in with a calm, "Well that was tedious."
Whereupon, John fainted.


~A few hours later~
I finished typing in the edited Chapter 2 without much more trouble (unless you call procrastination trouble).

Then, after dinner, I started writing Defenders of the Realm.
I'm listening to the Song of the Lonely Mountain (from The Hobbit) which is really adding to the mood. I may have even felt my heart flutter a bit.
By tomorrow I should have the prologue written and then I shall share it on here in all its unedited glory (to be fair, though, I spend a considerable ammount of time perfecting my prologues for some ood reason. And since this Defenders of the Realm book will be a side project, it will most likely not need as much editing as my NaNoWriMo spit-out-the-50K novels).
Before I go back to writing, I would like to share the first sentence. First sentences are very important, because they need to draw the reader in. I'm not so sure about my first sentence.... What do you guys think?

Doors were locked up tight on the night of the new moon and the people of Monarch City slept soundly.


 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Snowfall! (And castles!)

This morning we woke to this....

 

Snow! I love snow. It always makes me think of the Peanuts and this song.... it is my favorite winter song, entitled (you guessed it!) Snowfall! I played it for my recital last month and it is one of my favorite piano songs to play.

video

Of course, all the snow is melted now....

I strongly dislike research, especially if I have to do it on the computer. And especially if it has to do with something I'm writing. I had rather make everything up.... But of course, that is not allowed.
I am, however, doing some research I enjoy for once. I am googling pictures of old castles because the King in Defenders of the Realm has to live somewhere!
There is a picture of the castle in the board game... Although I believe the picture is actually of the city itself, not just the castle. So, the castle is left to the imagination.... The first scene of my Defenders of the Realm story takes place in the high tower of the castle. But I need something to base the description of the tower off of....
I was having trouble deciding between my two favorite castles when I found out they were actually the same castle!
This castle is Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, which, I think, is the blueprint for every castle.


Although I'm not sure if I want it to be that big in my story.
Another castle I really like is Craigdarroch Castle... Though it is smaller and doesn't have any towers.


I have been to this castle, though not inside. My dad took piano lessons there when he was little (although really, he hid in the bushes until his mom came to pick him up).

Live long and prosper!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Character Encounters: January.

I'm doing another Character Encounters.

 

http://knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com/
 
This months encounter spot was a fast food place...


   This is a horrible idea. I thought to myself as I jerked the wheel angrily and nearly hit a green Chevrolet.
   “Watch out!” my mom shouted.
   “Sorry!” I replied, my hands trembling. I took a deep breath before putting the car into reverse. A few moments later the car was parked without further mishaps. Mom and I got out and surveyed my work. “I really need more practice…” I chuckled. The car was in the parking spot… horizontally.
   “Why are we here again?” my mom asked, nodding to the newly re-built McDonalds, which was stationed around the corner and down the road-a-ways from our house.
   “We’re meeting a wizard,” I replied. My mom gave me a look. “I know, I know,” I sighed, “that sounds strange. But it really isn’t! He’s the wizard from Defenders of the Realm! You know, the board game I’m making into a story? The wizard won’t tell me him name…. I have five possibilities – I asked my blog followers which they liked best, remember? Well, he has decided to come into our world, from the Realm. He said he’d meet me somewhere to disclose his name…. and the place he picked was McDonalds!” I explained in one hurried breath.
   “Why did he pick McDonalds?” my mom questioned, holding the door open for me. I shrugged as I went inside.
   “He said he’s never had fast food before and wanted to try it out…. I didn’t even know Wizards liked fast food! Especially this wizard… He is so grim and grumpy, he doesn’t like anything.”
   I had only seen a McDonalds as crowded as this one once, and that was in Times Square, New York City.
   It is lunch time, I suppose. I reasoned as I unconsciously began to hum the theme from New York, New York.
   “Should we wait for this, er, wizard friend of yours or get in line?” Mom asked me.
   “I don’t know…” I said absentmindedly. My gaze swept the McDonalds, searching for a tall, old man, with a face as stormy as his dark gray beard. He would have a long staff with him, sure to draw attention. And if the staff didn’t, the midnight blue cloak he always wrapped himself in would. 
   “Come on,” my mom called. I hurried to join her at the end of a long, long line.
   “He’s not here yet!” I cried is dismay.
   “I’m sure he’ll be here soon,” Mom reassured.
   As she spoke a curious looking female made her way over to us. I recognized her at once and groaned. “Gwina.”
   She held herself beautifully; erect and imposing. She wore a long dress with slits going up just past her knees on either side. The dress had puffy sleeves and fitted in a loose turtleneck under her chin. Her boots were black and looked heavy. Yet as she stepped towards my mom and I, her feet looked as if they didn’t even touch the ground.
   Elven make. I realized.
   In her hand was a staff, slim, and twirling at the end. She wasn’t wearing a travelling cloak, but a jacket-like garment which fell to the floor and had no sleeves.
   Her face held much mirth and she was grinning a flashy smile. Her long black hair fell down to her waist, even though it was tied in a high ponytail.
   “Hi.” She grinned at me. “I suppose I have the pleasure of meeting ‘The Author’?”
   “Yes. What are you doing here?” I asked, glaring back at Gwina. “Did… The Wizard send you?” I still didn’t know his name.
   “The Wizard-“ Gwina had to stop talking as she burst into a fit of laughter. Her laugh was booming, commanding the attention of everyone. Heads turned towards us and my face went red with embarrassment. “No, no,” Gwina said when she finally stopped laughing and grew very serious, a trait of hers I would have to remember. “’The Wizard’ did not send me. I’m afraid I brought you here under false pretenses. You see-“ she laughed again – “I wanted to try this thing called ‘fast food’ so much that I shifted into ‘The Wizard’ and asked you to meet him here!” Gwina looked quite pleased with herself and I groaned again as I remembered her special skill: shape-shifting.
   By this time we had reached the front of the line.
   “I’ll take a number 5 please,” I ordered, momentarily ignoring the wizard from another world who stood next to me.
   “Angus snack wrap,” said my mom. “What do you want Gwina? We’ll pay,” she added generously.
   Gwina was staring open-mouthed at the selection board. “I’ve never even heard of some of these foods!” she gasped.
   “She’ll take a number 5 too,” I said.
   In less than five minutes our food was ready. We took our things to the only empty table in the place and sat down.
   “How do you like your food?” I asked Gwina.
   She sat chewing slowly, as if pondering the food. “Very interesting,” she said at last. I tried asking Gwina some more questions, about the Realm and the other Heroes – I needed more background information - but she wouldn’t answer. We finished our meal in silence.
   When Gwina swallowed her last bite and shoved her garbage into the middle of the table, she turned and looked me straight in the eyes. “I didn’t bring you here just to eat your peculiar food. I came to tell you nothing. I know ‘The Wizard’s’ name and I’m prepared to tell you. He’ll kill me if he finds out, though!” her eyes widened, but I could see mirth sparkling in their depths.
   “I won’t tell,” I said.
   Gwina leaned back in her chair. “His name is-“
   At that moment a flash of light erupted near the cash register. People screamed. A booming voice called out: “GWINA!”
   “Uh-oh…” Gwina said. “He’s found me!” Sure enough, he had.
   The most powerful wizard since Amarak the Great was standing in McDonalds. My face hit my palm. How was I going to explain this one??
   “Gwina!” The Wizard walked towards us, his cloak flapping out behind him, his staff tapping ominously on the floor.
   Gwina stood up and faced The Wizard, her staff held high. She was nearly as tall as him and just as imposing. “What do you want?” she asked.
   “You know you are not allowed to leave the Realm!” The Wizard boomed. Everyone was watching. Most had their phones out and were recording. Silly them. They would find, as soon as they replayed the scene that Gwina and The Wizard weren’t really there. Technology of our world wasn’t able to record figments of my imagination. I knew because I had tried before.
   “I’m allowed to leave the Realm!” Gwina replied haughtily. “You can’t tell me what I can and cannot do. Besides, we’ve had to leave the Realm before...” Gwina didn’t finish her thought and instead nodded in my direction. “Author, we can’t disclose too much information.”
   “Ah, yes.” For a moment The Wizard’s furrowed brow unfolded itself as he gazed on me. Then it wrinkled back into its ever present look of grim worry. “Gwina, you know what I mean. You cannot leave the Realm and come… to this place; the Author’s place.”
   “I already did. And so did you, making you a hypocrite.”
   “I am no hypocrite!” boomed The Wizard.
   “No, you’re just a grim old wizard!” Gwina said. “All the Author wanted was to know your name! You would not tell her so I decided-“
   “You decided to take matters into your own hands, like you always do,” finished The Wizard.
   “Yes!”
   “Well, I’m here to undo this. You are coming back to the Realm with me!” The Wizard glared at Gwina.
   “No! You can’t make me!”
   “Yes I can!”
   “Try and you’ll be sorry!”
   “Fine!” The Wizard lifted his staff and said something in the Spell Language. Before he could finish Gwina lifted her own staff and countered his spell. They stood there, casting and countering for a few minutes, people watching, all agape, until I decided that, as author, I should intervene.
   “Guys, stop it,” I said, getting between them. The two Wizards stared at me for a moment and then lowered their staffs. “Gwina, I want you to go home with… The Wizard,” I said. Gwina gasped at my betrayal. I lifted my hands, “Not yet, you don’t have to go yet.” She sighed in relief. “Gwina, will you go with The Wizard and promise to be nicer to him if he gives me his name?”
   “Yes,” Gwina said with a decided nod.
   “Wizard, do you agree to this bargain? Gwina will try not to bother you as much if you give me your name.”
   The Wizard stared at me for a full minute and a half before nodded slightly, giving in.
   “Good.” I smiled. “Name please?” I looked at the old, grim, weather-beaten face, so full of the misery of past battles and the foreshadowing of one’s yet to come.
   “Isengrim.”
   “What?” He had said it so quietly, I nearly didn’t hear.
   “You heard me; I am not going to say it again.” Isengrim, The Wizard, grunted.
   He touched his staff to the ground, murmured something and disappeared in a flash, just as he had come. Gwina smiled broadly at me before doing the same. Then they were gone.
   I smiled like the mad author I was. Isengrim. MWAHAHAHA.
 
Not my best work. But I figured out the wizard's name! Isengrim just seemed to fit... I think I knew that the moment I wrote that name in my list of possible names. It will just give Gwina reason to annoy him. Hee hee.
Live long and prosper!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Geek Cookies.

The original idea came from Jack.
Once upon a time, a long while ago, she posted this picture on her blog:


Recently, Jack made some red shirt gingerbread men and I just had to follow suit... Not gingerbread, sugar cookies.

The dough:


The uncooked cookies:


Decorating (in one of my Star Trek uniforms... I didn't realise that until later. Hee hee. Grama, that's the apron you made me!).


Here they are! Red shirts, blue shirts, and yellow shirts. And a Captain Picard.


Red shirts close up! One of those guys is Scotty... The lucky last man. And one of those guys broke in half as I tried to put his shirt on... He was dead before he was even red!


Captain Picard, baldness and all.


And who are they?


The TARDIS, Rose, Nine, Ten, and the sonic screwdriver dropped in! Wow!

Live long and prosper! (especially if you are a Red Shirt!)

Friday, January 4, 2013

The most powerful wizard since Amarak.

I have a question to ask you.... Remember the Defenders of the Realm board game I told you about a few blog posts ago? The one that I'm basing a story off of? Well, I need a little help from my friends!
I need a name for the wizard. Everyone else has a name... But the wizard.
This is what he looks like (except with a gray beard and hair [this picture has been taken from BoardGameGeek]):


I've narrowed it down to a few that I like (I kind of stole them from Tolkien... Heh heh....):

Darzin.
Isengrim.
and Gerontius (which is actually Old Took's first name, I learned) are in the front running.
My mom liked Aldabert.
Gamwich is also kind of wizardly.
Which is your favorite?


Last month for my piano recital I played C.P.E. Bach's Solfiggietto.
Here it is:

video
 
Live long and prosper. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Christmas Carol. (Book review).

Title: A Christmas Carol. (Book #9 of the Vancouver Sun classics.)

Author: Charles Dickens.

Synopsis: A gruff, rough, mean old man is taken on a trip to his past, present, and future and shown the Christmas spirit.

My rating: 8/10.

Why I liked the story: I loved Dicken's writing style. It was very humorous! His description was also very good.
His character development was pretty good too.
A Christmas Carol is a Christmas classic, for sure. As recognizable as the characters are, one really has to read the actual story to understand the full meaning behind the story.
And I loved Scrooge's nephew and the Christmas party Scrooge watched.
The sheer number of different places and characters Scrooge saw was very cool. It kept me entertained.
It was a fairly easy read - my copy is only 92 pages long.

Why I disliked the story: The spirits were kind of interesting... They served their purpose. God wasn't really mentioned. Instead there was a spirit world, which Scrooge was privileged to see.
Some smaller children might find the story scary.

Will I read it again? Yes! It might become a book a read every Christmas.

Would I recommend this book? Yes! Not only is this book a classic, is is a Christmas classic all about how the season should be about loving and not greed. It is a good read for everyone at Christmastime!

Live long and prosper!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, New Plans.

Happy New Year everyone!
2012 was a particularly good year... I am reminded of a Frank Sinatra song.
When I was seventeen.... it was a very good year.... etc.etc.

2012: A Year in Review.

My mother, grandmother, and I went on a trip all the way to the East Coast and lived to tell about it.

 

I discovered no tonly Sherlock, but Doctor Who, two amazing British shows.

 
 





I finished writing two novels.

I went to my grandfather's funeral.

I bought my final American Girl Doll.

My studies have become very important to me, and a high priority.

I read 38 books.

Now it is 2013.

My forthcoming goals are as following...

Continue to study hard.

Write three novels (I found out that there are two more NaNoWriMo's other than the one in November - they are Camp NaNoWriMo and take place in April and July. I was so excited!)

Read at least 40 books, two more than last year.

Grow in my faith in God!

As well as goals, I have ideas for this year as well. Writing ideas.
We own a board game called Defenders of the Realm.


This board game is a cooroprotive game, meaning that all the people play together, instead of against each other. The people play heroes who have to kill minions and the four generals in charge of the minions. It is very hard to win, because there are so many ways to die.
Anyway, the game has a story-like theme and I've thought before about writing a story about it. I never knew what I wanted to do for a plot, though.
Until yesterday. Yesterday when I came up with an idea.
So now I will write this Defenders of the Realm story whenever I have the time, as a side project. It needs a lot of background information, though. (Luckily it doesn't require research - I can make it all up!)

Happy New Year and God Bless you all this year!

Live long and prosper.