Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Character Encounters: Bookshelf

As it is the last day of September, I figured I had better do a Character Encounter. Kendra hosts them at Knitted By God's Plan.
In this story, you get to meet the "Beast" character from my Beauty and the Beast retelling.

This month, instead of letting the Character Encounter catch me unawares, I had come specifically looking for it. Aha, there was door to the study! This was where my Beast spent all his time, surrounded by books and plants and big furniture. I opened the door and went in. There he was, sitting behind his desk in his wheelchair, book propped up in front of him. For once he wasn't wearing the mask that hid his war deformities.
"Hello, Virgil?" I asked him. "May I call you Virgil?"
"Who are you? I've never seen you before! Mrs. Neville!" my Beast exclaimed, his native British accent coming out especially British today.
"I would call you Mr. Prince, but I think too many people are using that name, so I want to change it. I just don't know what I want to change it to yet. Yet Virgil Prince does have a ring to it... What do you think?"
"What are you talking about? Mrs. Neville!" Virgil Prince pressed the button on the side of the desk that alerted various staff members that he was in need of their services.
"She's not here," I said, "so you have to talk to me. Now, why does the name Virgil have such a ring to it?"
"I don't know!" Virgil snapped.
"Why are you called Virgil?"
"I'm not," he growled, "I go by my last name or 'sir.'"
"Still, your first name is Virgil. Why is that?"
"I don't know! My parents liked the Aeneid!"
"Have you ever wished you had a different last name? If so, what?"
"Because I'm thinking of renaming you!" Hasn't he been paying attention? I thought.
"Well, choose anything other than Maro."
"What's a really British-sounding last name... Virgil Austen? No... Virgil Dickens? No... Virgil Bronte? No... Virgil Smith? Virgil Brown? Virgil Stafford? Virgil Churchill? That has a ring to it."
"No. I refuse to be called Virgil Churchill."
"You don't get a say in the matter."
"Oh yes I do! It's my name, after all! And I say that my last name will stay Prince!"
I narrowed my eyes at him. "This isn't over," I said.
"Oh yes it is! Get out of my study! NOW!"
I could see why Carillon was frightened to confront him. Maybe I should just call him Virgil Terbeest. Beest meant "beast" in Dutch. He could be a Dutch man instead of a British man. Hmmm...

Live long and prosper!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Artistic Endeavors

This quote from Phantom of the Opera currently lives in the front of my piano folder. Just a little music humor.

Here's a biscuit that looks like a face. I didn't make it, but I believe I ate it.

And here is a stepped ziggurat that I made out of mashed potatoes, and then ate.

Finally, I've been working on a drawing of my favorite piano composer, Claude Debussy, and finished tonight!

(Kind of creepy, what?)

(Starting the shading...)

(Not quite finished shading yet... Finished, it is the best shading I've ever done.)

 (The finished product! With a side [and a bottom and a top] of Debussy's music.)

Live long and prosper!

Monday, September 22, 2014

"What are men to rocks and mountains?" (Pride and Prejudice)

Bethany and Becca at Clever Bunnies recently did a Jane Austen tag and I decided to accept their general tag, since I haven't done a tag recently. Thanks girls!

Here are the rules:
The Rules: 
~Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
~Tell how you were introduced to Jane Austen and share one fun fact about your Janeite life (this fun fact can be anywhere from "I stayed up all night reading Emma," to "I visited Chawton and met Anna Chancellor.").

~Answer the tagger's questions.
~Write seven questions of your own.
~Tag as few as one or as many as seven other Janeites and let them know you've tagged them.
In 2011, my mom introduced me to Jane Austen by getting the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice out of the library one day. At first I wasn't interested because it was simply a romance story, but in the end I really loved it! That lead us to watch the 6-hour version... two or three times in one week... And then I read the book and have read it every year since 2011!

Here are Clever Bunnies' questions:

1)  If you were to name a child after an Austen character, which name would you choose?

I'm going to go with what seems to be the popular answer... Elinor. =) Elinor is such a pretty name! And I love the way Jane Austen spells it, with an "i" instead of an "ea." Isn't Aunt Elinor from Inkheart named after Elinor in Sense and Sensibility?
If I were to name a boy after a Jane Austen character, I would choose the name George (after George Knightley, not George Wickham), since George is already on my future-children's name list.

2)  Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters are all coming to your house for tea; what do you serve them, and what would you talk about?
I would serve them tea and fruit and little cakes and tea sandwiches. It's more of a 1910's meal, but I'm sure the Bennet's would like it. We would probably talk about the differences between the 1800's and the 2000's. Mary and I might discuss music.
3) If you were running down a hill in the rain, fell and broke your ankle, and a handsome young man jumped down off his horse to rescue you, would it be love at first sight?
Haha ha... no. It would be more like embarrassment and then worry that I'm being too much of a trouble and then worrying that he's gonna think I'm weird and stupid for running and falling in the rain. He'd drop me off at my house and we'd never meet again. The end.

4) Which Austen heroine would make the best companion for the Doctor?
I think Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park would be a good companion for the Doctor. She's not necessarily a heroine, per say... I bet Emma Woodhouse would have fun with the Doctor too.
(Or, considering that Billie Piper played both Rose Tyler and Fanny Price, maybe Fanny should be the Doctor's companion?)

5) Which Austen character most deserves a slap in the face?
Henry Crawford. Ugh.
6) If all the main characters from Jane Austen's books were attending a ball, who do you suppose would strike up the most engaging conversation?
Hm, intriguing question! I think Frank Churchill and Henry Crawford would get together and talk about the latest London fashions. Wickham and Willoughby would talk about being slimy womanizers. Mr. Knightley and Mr. Darcy might talk about running estates and their wives would probably giggle at them behind their backs.
7) If you and your favorite Austen heroine unexpectantly switched places for the day, what havoc would be wrought in both the literary world, and the real one?
My, my! If I switched place with Fanny Price, I would most definitely wreak havoc! I would start by telling her cousins and aunt and uncle to be nicer to her. Then I'd go find Henry Crawford and give him a nice big slap. =)
If Fanny were to come into my life, I really have no clue what would happen. She probably wouldn't wreak any havoc... She'd probably just sit around and absorb everything that was going on around her.

Live long and prosper.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Music to Novel By.

I like to write to music. Lately, I've been writing to a mix of Elton John, Queen, George Gershwin, Claude Debussy, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Sound of Music, Beatles, Billy Joel, Harry Connick Jr.... AKA Pandora radio on shuffle.
Sometimes the music I listen to while writing reflects what's actually being written.

After the Twelfth Night was written primarily to the Beatles, because I had just discovered them. This resulted in several Beatles song references. (Can YOU spot them?)
During the rewriting/editing process the music tended to be more on the classical side. And not just any classical music – exciting classical music. Music like Tchaikovsky's Slavonic March or Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Music which elicited strong emotions and reminded me of the crashing waves of the sea. Music that seemed to go with the Ivan Aivazovsky seascapes which inspired some parts of After the Twelfth Night (especially the cover part).

Daniel and Varina's first story is, in part, about Liberace, the flamboyant piano player. So, while writing their first book, I listened to quite a bit of Liberace. Also, around that time, I discovered the genius of George Gershwin and his music fueled much of the book. 
Daniel turned into a piano playing spy and near the end of the book, he sits down at one of Liberace's pianos and plays Rhapsody in Blue.
Since Daniel and Varina are some sort of spy (I haven't figured out what kind yet. Haha), I wrote their next two books to the tune of Music to Spy By, a wonderful CD I purchased at the International Spy Museum.

Now I'm writing a fantasy story and have mostly been listening to the Peer Gynt Suites by Edvard Grieg. He wrote the music to go along with a five-act play based on a Norwegian fairytale about a troublesome man trying to figure out who he is. Many people know the first song, Dawn, and the fourth song, In the Hall of the Mountain King. But did you know that those two songs go together in the same Suite? They don't sound like it.
And today I found another "fantasy"-esque song to write my story to. The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Paul Dukas. What a charismatic song! It's wonderful! Just have a listen.

How about you? Do different stories inspire you to listen to different types of music? Or does it work the other way around? Do specific pieces of music inspire stories? Or do you write better without music?

Live long and prosper.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Day in the Life; or, why I'm not around much.

One word: SCHOOL! Lack of inspiration too... but mostly SCHOOL!
This is what a common day in my life looks like:

Sometime between 7:00 and 9:00 an alarm goes off, pulling Abbey out of sleep. Sometimes she turns off the alarm and gets up. More often, she turns off the alarm, turns over, and falls back asleep. When she does happen to get up, however, she jumps right into the school day.
With nary a pause to grab a bowl of cereal, she hurries over to the computer and pulls up Geometry. Thankfully, Abbey needs only do one lesson a day, unlike in Algebra 2 when she had to do two lessons a day!
Next in the schedule comes Dutch. The computer program isn't working so Abbey is trying to read the first Warriors book by Erin Hunter in Dutch. She hasn't gotten very far yet.
A variety of different activities follow. Since Abbey is in two Advanced Placement online courses this year, she has a lot of homework. She is loving her English Language and Composition class and is learning so much! World History, however, is another story. While history is interesting, the textbook isn't. Ten dull pages a day. She can barely get through them without being driven out of her skin. Anyone would think she had ants in her pants!
After finishing reading history, Abbey likes to give herself a nice break and watch an 20 minute TV episode of this or that program.
On top of reading textbooks, Abbey must complete writing assignments for each class. Her English course has more writing than history does currently, but there are essays looming on the horizon!
Late afternoons are spent practicing piano and voice. DUN DUN DUNNNN... Abbey enjoys making everyone's ears ring with Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C# Minor. Preparing for a senior recital is no easy feat.
Finally it is evening! Wiped out, Abbey crashes on the sofa and spends time on her computer. She has also been trying to write every night and has, so far this week, accomplished that goal! Before going to bed between the hours of 10:00 and 12:00, Abbey must always read. Currently captivating her cerebral cortex is E. Nesbit's Railway Children.

Now Abbey pleads with her audience: what should she blog about??

P.S. This is Dolls, Books, and Things That Matter's 500th post! Woot!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The New and Improved (Plot) Bunny Song

Also, I got a Youtube channel! You can access it from the video (just click my name). Soon there will be more stopmotions, some piano videos, and possibly some videos about books.

Live long and prosper.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014


Friends of ours own property out in the middle of nowhere, in the woods. We went to visit their property on Saturday for the first time and now I can't wait to go back!

This is what we saw:

A Beautiful Beach.

With a beautiful view. (Not only does the Photographer's knee add depth perception to this picture, but it adds human interest too.)

(Here's where things get interesting) A salamander.

A snail.

Kira the Dog was very interested in the snail.

An owl.

It was very interested in one of my friends and followed his movements with scrutiny.