May // Recap

Life

How do I even start?

Well…

I did the #walk30days challenge for the first time ever. It was really fun and here are some photos I took. Warning: major photo bomb ahead.

Summer break began! Solid Rock ended.

We went to Colonial Williamsburg for my birthday and it was amazing. We left late Saturday night (or Sunday morning? It was 12 am), got there Sunday and came home on Wednesday. I was going to put some photos in this post, but there were so many pictures and so many stories I want to tell, so it’ll have to be a separate post.

Our youth pastor and his family moved to Pennsylvania to pastor a church, so we helped them pack. I will miss them so much!

Some of my friends graduated and I realized that that will be me in just three short years. It’s weird. The older I get, the faster time goes.

It was my dad’s birthday and I made a really yummy einkorn buttercake with fresh strawberry sauce and whipped cream.

I tried to get pictures for the featured image of this post and it was so hard. A particular dog (I’m not naming names but you know who) decided she did not want to wear the hat I put on her head.

 << finally

Our baby chicks aren’t really babies anymore. They’re practically teenagers and they’re getting SO BIG, probably double almost the size they were in this picture taken earlier in May. I need to take some more pictures of them to show how giant they are now.

The summer reading program at our library started. Reading books to get free things? Count me in.

Reading

*a typical conversation with myself at the library*

Me: there are books and I really want to check some out

Also me: but you have a pile of library books and another pile of to-be-read books at home that you need to read

Me: but look at the books

Me: *grabs books*

Also me: oh well

    

    

Favorites:

  • The Reluctant Godfather, by Allison Tebo. I will actually be participating in Allison’s blog tour this month and I’m super excited about that! 4.5 stars.
  • Return to Harmony, by Janette Oke. You can see my full review here. 4.5 stars.
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, by Shannon and Dean Hale. I was really hoping this one would be good, since I’ve been disappointed by Shannon Hale, and luckily it was! It was really cute and funny and I liked it a lot more than I expected to. There were some things I didn’t love about it, but you can’t have everything… 4 stars.

Currently reading: Give Me Liberty, The Shadow Throne

Writing

Ummm… I’ve been writing stuff. Probably. Satisfied?

No?

Okay then.

I worked a little on Project Supernova. I can’t tell you how much because honestly I don’t even know. But, here’s a snippet!

I rubbed my arms and legs, trying to soothe away the aching of my muscles and my heart.

Crack. The snap of a twig brought me to my feet in a defensive stance. “Who’s there?”

A gangly, dark-skinned girl held her hands up. She wasn’t older than fifteen. “It’s okay.”

“Who are you?” I said, staring at her. Moonlight shone on her solid face. She wasn’t beautiful, or even particularly pretty, but she had the kind of eyes, reminiscent of shards of green glass, that you wanted to look at again and again.

Also, I wrote one piece of flash fiction and started on another one. For me, flash fiction is a fun and quick way to get rid of plot bunnies. (Although Project Supernova started out as a short story/flash fiction thing… but that’s a tale for another day.)

Listening

Actually I’ve been really enjoying listening to soundtracks of thunderstorms lately. It’s kind of a neutral background music, not to mention I love storms.

Loving

I have been putting my hair up with small claw clips. It usually takes five or six to get my hair up. The ones I like best are similar in shape to these, but the brand is Revlon. We got them from Walmart.

Blogging

April // Recap

Beautiful People // Parental Edition

Miniature Book Reviews // Cinderella, Animal Ark, and Return to Harmony

school is out // summer things

I’ve got lots of things planned this month, so stay tuned! Also, I just found out about a writing contest that looks really interesting. I can’t decide whether or not to write something for it, but you can find the details here.

 

How was your month? What are your plans for summer?

school is out // summer things

^^ That picture was ridiculously hard to take and I have so many blooper photos ^^

I borrowed this idea from Katie Grace, who borrowed it from Aimee. 🙂

Summer is short, and I don’t want to waste it.

Therefore, I am compiling a list. It is by no means an exhaustive list. There is no such thing as an exhaustive list. It’s a list of things I want to do this summer, and I will start…

Now.

I would like to:

1. Teach myself to play the ukulele.

I’ve already learned a few chords, but I’m hoping to get decent at it.

2. Chocolate.

I’m hoping to chocolate and ice cream a lot this summer. Chocolate and ice cream are totally verbs.

3. Play the piano more for fun.

The fun part of this must be emphasized, because with church/recitals/regular pieces I haven’t really been able to play around with the songs I actually enjoy playing.

4. Write.

I’m not going to set any specific goals, although it would be nice to finish Project Supernova.

5. Dance.

With my friends. English Country Dancing, preferably, though 50s dancing is acceptable.

6. Keep on walking daily?

This one’s kind of tentative, but now Gracie-dog has gotten into a routine. If I don’t walk her, she might be depressed. I don’t like depressed dogs. This has nothing to do with the fact that I like walking.

7. Read all of the books.

All of them. ALL OF THEM. To be honest, I have no planned summer reading list, but I have a ginormous pile of to-be-read books and three libraries at my disposal.

8. Start reading through the Bible.

The other day I just realized, Hey. I haven’t read the entire Bible. I mean, I’ve read most of it, but not all. I’ve heard there are some plans that help you read through the Bible in a year, so maybe I should check those out? *adds to mental to-do list* *promptly forgets* *writes on hand instead* Hey, maybe I should add “Remembering Things” to this list…

9. Blog.

This will probably happen sometime this summer.

10. Try to get to bed on time and not eat too much junk.

Which contradicts no. 2… But honestly, I’ve been feeling icky these past few days and it’s probably because I’ve been staying up late, not getting up early, and eating a ton of junk food. I’d kind of like to remedy that.

11. Work on my poor neglected German.

Neglected is the only word to describe it. I got out of the habit of doing Duolingo each night before bed and I really need to get back into it again.

12. Remember things better.

‘Nuff said.

13. Not spend too much time on the computer.

I’m going to try to stick to just blogging, research, writing, stuff like that…

Thus, I will end with an “unlucky” number thirteen. Hee hee. There are probably at least five more that I forgot.

What are y’all doing this summer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miniature Book Reviews // Cinderella, Animal Ark, and Return to Harmony

Hi guys! Today I’m just doing a few short reviews.

Cinderella, by Brittany Candau

 

 

I was super excited when I found this book version of the Disney movie Cinderella at the library, but I honestly expected a lot more. I was very disappointed in this one.

Things I liked:
  • The cover. Because Ella and Kit.
  • The overall quality of the book. The design was gorgeous, and it felt great.
  • “Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly, lavender’s green…”
Things I didn’t like:
  • The entire story paled in comparison to the movie. Without the movie, this book would be just another mediocre Cinderella story.
  • The author told, instead of showed, the entire book. I don’t want you to tell me that Cinderella is uncomfortable, I want you to show me she’s uncomfortable.
  • It read like an old fairy tale, with a few modern words interjected randomly (like “okay”) in a way that was somewhat jarring. Old fairy tales aren’t bad, but they were meant to be told, not read.
  • Obviously, it didn’t have any of the beautiful imagery that made me love the movie.
Favorite quote:

“You must always remember this: Have courage, and be kind.”

Overall, the movie was much better. If I hadn’t watched the movie first, the book probably would have gotten two stars, but since it did remind me of how beautiful the movie was, I’m giving it three stars.

Animal Ark, by Joel Sartore and Kwame Alexander

 

 

I won this book in a giveaway from Dogobooks. For some reason I was under the impression that Animal Ark was a longer, more scientific book, but it’s a children’s picture book. My siblings and I all read it and enjoyed the pictures.

Things I liked:
  • The photography was amazing!
  • I loved the way the book was formatted.
Things that I didn’t like:
  • Honestly, the poetry didn’t do much for me.
  • The book is very environmental-ish,  listen-to-the-earth-ish, and glorifying “Nature” instead of God, which I really didn’t care for. A few quotes:

“Close your eyes tight. We are all made of light. Some of us even glow. We are secret siblings. Reflections of each other. Mysterious mirrors.”

a n d

“Nature is genius. This is our home.”

So yeah. Didn’t love that. At all. Three and a half stars, maybe?

On to the next book!

Return to Harmony, by Janette Oke and Davis Bunn

 

This was a birthday gift from a close friend. Return to Harmony was my first plunge into Janette Oke, and now I definitely want to read some of her other books.

Things I liked:
  • The relationships! The characters! They were just all so precious and… *tries not to reveal spoilers*
  • One of the plot twists surprised me, which is rare.
  • I know I already said this, but… THE CHARACTERS. Bethan was so sweet. I loved how it didn’t show Bethan and Jodie’s goals in life (to get married and have a family, to go to college, not get married, and study science)  as being bad or good. They were just different, which I appreciated.
  • The Christian elements and the SPOILER happily ever after sort of ending. END OF SPOILER. Just the kind I like best!
Things I didn’t like:
  • Honestly, the only one I can think of is that Ms. Oke is occasionally a little wordy, which is just a preference thing.
  • And there would be a huge spoiler here if it were up to me, but I shall spare you… Hey wait, it is up to me! So… MASSIVE SPOILER I really wanted Jodie and Dylan to get back together and they didn’t! 🙁 END OF MASSIVE SPOILER

All in all, a great read. Four and a half stars.

 

Have you read any of these books? Thoughts? Tell me anything and everything in the comments!

Beautiful People // Parental Edition

^This picture has nothing whatsoever to do with the post ^

This is a link-up/meme/thing hosted by Paper Fury and Further Up and Further In. I rephrased the questions so it was more of an interview format (I hope that’s okay?), but you can see the original questions here.

I’ll be doing it with two of my characters from my WIP Project Supernova. The main characters are:

Ryker Kane. He’s fourteen years old, goes a high school that I haven’t named yet, and has a mostly normal life. He’s an average size, with dark brown hair, probably blue eyes, and pale skin. The features that stand out the most are the scars on his left cheek from the surgery after a car accident. He lives with his older brother Luke and has a fear of riding in cars.

Katie Bird. She’s fourteen and goes to the same school as Ryker. She’s smallish for her age, has long, golden-brown hair, brown eyes, and a prosthetic leg. Even though she’s very extroverted and loves people, she’s somewhat shunned by her classmates because of her leg and her standoffishness. She has a secret that I can’t tell you and lives with her foster parents Dirk and Chryse.

  1. Overall, how good is your relationship with your parents?

Ryker.

They were killed in a car accident when I was eight. They were the best. *looks away*

Katie.

My parents have fostered me for over two years now. They’re everything I’ve ever wanted, and they’re trying to adopt me.

2. Do you know both your biological parents? If not, how do you cope with this loss/absence and how has it affected your life?

Ryker.

Wow, nosy. I guess I have to answer it, so… after my parents… died… in the car accident, I just kept going. I buried myself in schoolwork. My brother, Luke, took me in. He was barely eighteen and I figure it was pretty hard on him, but I didn’t notice. I was eight, and he always tried to look on the bright side, for me, I guess.

Katie.

I never met my dad. My mom kept me until I was five or six years old, and then she got arrested. I was put in foster care and was shuffled around through different homes until I was about twelve years old, and that’s when I met Chryse and Dirk.

3. How did your parents meet?

Ryker.

They met in college, dated for a few years, and got married.

Katie.

Are we talking biological or foster here? If we’re talking about biological, I don’t know, and honestly don’t want to. My foster parents grew up together and fell in love when they were teenagers.

4. How did you feel if you were told “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?

Ryker.

My parents were good people. *scowls fiercely and refuses to elaborate*

Katie.

I didn’t know my biological dad, but it wouldn’t be a compliment if someone compared me to my mom.

5. What were your parents doing when they were your age?

Ryker.

Going to school?

Katie.

I don’t know and I don’t want to.

6. Is there something you adamantly disagree on?

Ryker.

We never disagreed, that I remember.

Katie.

*huffs* I haven’t seen her since I was five or six.

7. What did your parents find hardest about raising you?

Ryker.

Ummm… weird question. I was a pretty quiet kid. I never really caused any trouble.

Katie.

Ha ha! My biological mom never “raised” me. She was mostly… not there. I was kind of troublesome the first few years I was in foster care, so my foster parents probably didn’t find me easy to raise.

8. What’s your most vivid memory with your parental figure(s)?

Ryker.

Honestly the most vivid would have to be the car wreck. Everything before that is kind of a blur now. I do remember, when I was about four and Luke was fourteen, us all gathered around Dad, listening to him read The Horse and His Boy aloud.

Katie.

Something that she did a lot was leave me in a library and tell me to sit quietly and look at the books until she got back. I didn’t know how to read, so I just looked at the pictures. She always came back, until one day she didn’t. I sat and looked until it was time for the library to close. The librarians called the police and they couldn’t find my mom. I was put in a foster home after that.

9. What were you like as a baby/toddler?

Ryker.

Mom and Dad told me I was a good baby, that I was quiet and kept to myself. I was the same as a toddler, I guess.

Katie.

I don’t know, but probably trouble.

10. Why and how did your parents choose your name?

 Ryker.

My full name is Ryker Theodore Kane. Ryker was the one name my mom and dad could agree on, because it’s popular but not too popular. Theodore is because of my dad. His personal hero was Teddy Roosevelt.

Katie.

My full name is Katherine Aline Bird, but I go by Katie. Katherine was a family name, I think. My birth mom probably just thought Aline sounded romantic.

Well, that was fun! Thanks for reading! If you have any questions please comment below : )

April // Recap

 

Life…

Various things that happened this month, not in any order because I am a scatterbrained person:

softball, softball, softball! (for my brother, not me ;D although I am Team Mom)

kept our friends’ cute kittens 🙂

I turned fifteen. Yikes…

got baby chicks!!! They are the most adorable things. We got six total and their names are Sally, Hazel Rose, Priscilla, Trixie, and Attila the Hen. In case you’re wondering about the sixth, her name was Hazel (the first) and she died on us unexpectedly. 🙁

Sally (above) and Hazel Rose (below)

finished school!!!! Mostly, at least… we have a bit of catchup to do.

had a piano recital. I was terrified. But at least I did all right, I think 😉 Here are a few photos taken beforehand.

helped our grandparents move. I took this weird picture in a mirror that was propped up against my dad’s truck. It looks like a portal to Narnia or something.

Easter was lovely. Made Resurrection cookies with my family and also two rabbit cakes. They were delicious.

When my grandparents were moving, they gave us a box of jewelry. Hope put on a bunch of gold necklaces and said she was Mr. T/B.A. Baracus! 😀

probably lots of other things happened that I’m forgetting. But I can’t write them down because I forgot.

Reading…

 

Wow-ee, I managed to read 21 books this month. Most of them were: A. books that needed to be returned to the library, B. books to be read for little sister, C. both.

Favorites:

The Lunar Chronicles, of course! ALL OF THEM! They were just so good and I need the fourth one immediately. By far my favorites.

I am happy and proud to say that today I finished my very last library book. (Probably?) We won’t be going for a while, because last time we had massive overdue fees. Whoops.

Writing…

Congratulations to everyone who won Camp NaNo!!!

I had an irresistible plot bunny back at the end of March. I usually don’t have a problem taking a short break from my WIP if it’s just a short story, and that’s what this little rabbit said it was.

LIAR.

I said last month I was almost done. Well… I’m not. My so-called “short story” morphed into a monstrous beast. It’s going to be a middle grade/young adult novel. Somewhere in there. I’m hoping to be done by the end of this month (ish). Its code name is Supernova. And that’s pretty much all I can say about it.

I just love these characters so much, y’all.

Listening…

I’ve practically had these songs on repeat while writing all month.

 Hero, by Family of the Year. if I had to pick a soundtrack to my WIP, this would be it.

I See Fire, by Ed Sheeran. This has practically nothing to do with my story but it gave me this really good feeling anyway? Oh well. My brain is not to be comprehended.

Anything by Lauren Daigle. She has such a great voice…

Anything by the Piano Guys. I just love their renditions of songs! So cool.

Blogging…

This month I:

said goodbye to march

ranted about what I thought about Emma Woodhouse in Dr. Suess form

posted some opening lines of my stories through the years

told my writing story

wrote some book reviews here and here

and totally missed my deadline on Saturday, but who’s counting?

 

Elsewhere:

Olivia at Important Nothings did the Blogger Book Tag!

Go Teen Writers had a great post about when you have “no time to write”.

Jonathan at Fishing for Ideas wrote a fantastic post about merging fiction with faith.

Hannah Heath posted some thought-provoking ideas about mentor characters.

Abbiee wrote an extremely relatable post about ridiculous things we ponder as writers.

Kate at Once Upon an Ordinary had some great tips on beta-reading.

Loving…

These hairsticks. I have thick, heavy hair that comes a bit past my hips, and hairsticks are my favorite way to put it up. I have other hairsticks but these are my favorites right now. They’re smooth and comfortable, sliding easily into my hair. Not to mention the fact that they’re pretty. 😉 I’m thinking about buying another set – maybe these or these.

Eos lip balm. I didn’t think I’d like the round shape, but I love it! It’s super moisturizing and I use it all the time. I got the sweet mint scent.

This Month…

I’m planning to:

work on Project Supernova (I’m not setting a word count goal because I don’t really keep track of my word count anyway). I’m not sure I’ll finish but it sure would be nice if I did.

do #walk30days! I was inspired by Nadine Brandes to do this challenge. The rules are: take a walk every day. Take a picture every day. Post the picture every day. I walked this morning with Gracie-dog and it was pretty fun. 🙂

write more blog posts, since we’re on summer break. I have an idea for a summer bucket list and that’ll probably be coming soon.

play the piano more for fun.

lots of other things that I had thought of and now I’ve forgotten. *smacks forehead…*

 

How was your April? Did you do Camp NaNo? How was Easter? I’d love to hear about your month in the comments!

 

Book Review // Cinder

Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.


Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.


But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.

(Via Goodreads)

 

WOW THIS BOOK. Without a doubt, Cinder was one of my favorite books so far this year. I will attempt to stop fangirling for the majority of this review.

Y’all, in general, I do not like science fiction. (Although I enjoy dystopian, and it’s kind of a blend of both…) But this! This!!! I was totally, completely hooked. I mean – it’s a cyborg Cinderella story! Just yesssssss.

I loved Cinder. I loved the concept of her being an orphan, taken in unwillingly by Adri (the wicked stepmother), forced to work as a mechanic for a living. I loved the various themes that stretched through the book and came together SO PERFECTLY.

And Kai! He was such a good, noble character. The romance between him and Cinder seemed real, not forced, and it was so sweet. I wanted them to get together. (SPOILER I still want them to get together! END OF SPOILER)

Iko was so hilarious. I loved her personality.

The worldbuilding in general was fantastic. My disbelief was totally, delightfully suspended.

And Queen Levana. I haaaaaaaaate that woman. Ms. Meyer did a fantastic job of creating a villain that was SO FUN TO HATE.

And at the end! Oh my goodness. Why??! I was not a huge fan of the cliffhanger ending, and thought it could have been a little more resolved.

Warning to parents: there are some graphic descriptions, mostly medical-ish, in here that may disturb younger readers. For example, I would currently NOT allow my highly sensitive younger sister to read it, but I recommended it to my thirteen-year-old brother and he was totally fine with it. Also, there is (SPOILER) a long, 5-paragraph-long kiss. (END OF SPOILER.) I don’t like mushy stuff, so I skimmed over that part.

And those were my only complaints about this book. Seriously, guys. Go read it. SO GOOD. Four and a half stars.

Book Review // Hero

Fourteen-year-old Zach Harriman can feel the changes. The sharpening of his senses. The incredible strength. The speed, as though he can textmessage himself across miles. The confidence and the strange need to patrol Central Park at night. His dad had been a hero, a savior to America and a confidante of the president. Then he died, and the changes began in Zach. What Zach never knew was that his father was no ordinary man-he was a superhero, battling the world’s evil. This is a battle that has been waged for generations and that knows no boundaries.

And now it’s Zach’s turn to take on the fight. It’s Zach’s turn to become a hero.

(Via Goodreads)

There were several character stereotypes in this book that got on my nerves.

  1.  The grieving teenager, investigating his father’s death, discovers he has superpowers
  2. The super-smart, super-pretty girlfriend
  3. The athletic bully
  4. The protective mom, trying to recover from the death of her husband by diving into work
  5. The uncle trying to step into the dad’s place
  6. The wise old-guy mentor
  7. The random, vague, cliché bad guys without motive or personality

None of those things are bad, they’re just overdone. It felt reminiscent of practically every superhero story ever.

Let’s dive into a few of the different characters and why they didn’t work for me.

Zach was just… ehhh. He didn’t grab me, but I didn’t hate him. He’s a typical kid, thrown into a whole new world after his dad’s death when he realizes he has superpowers and HE IS THE CHOSEN ONE AND HE MUST SAVE THE WORLD FROM THE EVIL NAMELESS BAD GUYS.

Kate is so, so, so, so cliché. She’s pretty. She’s smart. She’s determined. She teases Zach all the time and yet is incredibly supportive all the time. Yes, Kate got on my nerves.

Spence. Why must there be a mean, athletic bully every. single. time. I just don’t get it. This part really felt like Spiderman to me.

Elizabeth (Zach’s mom) is fine. She might be the best character in the book.. She’s a pretty typical mom-trying-to-recover-from-husband’s-death-and-take-care-of-her-kid-etc. She was okay.

Uncle John. This guy got on my nerves and I’m not even sure why. I didn’t completely understand what he had against Zach’s dad and Mr. Herbert, but maybe that’s just me.

And here were are at Mr. Herbert, the stereotypical old-dude mentor. (Noooooooo!!!!) He’s cryptic. He disappears and reappears when Zach isn’t expecting it. He drops little bits of wisdom here and there. He trains Zach. He quotes Spiderman. What’s not to like? Ummm… everything?

Now for my personal favorite. The “bad guys”. *FACEPALM* (I’m about to get spoiler-y here, so be warned.)

They (emphasis on THEY) are the Bads. Therefore they must be evil, even though we never. ever. get an introduction to them. Most of the encounters Zach has with “bad guys” are really just SPOILER tests by Mr. Herbert. END OF SPOILER.

The only actual bad guy Zach meets is the SPOILER assassin at Senator Kerrigan’s speech and he doesn’t even meet him properly, he just shoves him out of the way of the bullet. END OF SPOILER. So far we have nameless, faceless bad guys with NO MOTIVES that we’re supposed to believe are huge threats, or bad guys that SPOILER are really just tests by Mr. Herbert END OF SPOILER. Uhhh… no thanks.

Also, the beginning failed to get my attention. He dove straight into a fight scene without making me care about his characters, and therefore I did not care. Instead, I skimmed. Another no-no – he didn’t open his book with his protagonist. He opened with a character that’s dead the entire novel.

All in all, I didn’t like it. It had a lot of potential that, sadly, it didn’t live up to. It really felt like a first draft of a book that could have been good – but just wasn’t edited properly. One star, for the fact that it was a superhero story which I typically love, and that there was practically no violence or objectionable content.

 

 

 

My Writing Story

I started writing seriously when I was ten or eleven. By seriously, I mean: I had a binder. And I wrote in it. How much more serious can you get?

I had written a few stapled-together booklets (that were very heavily drawn from whatever book I was interested in) and illustrated them, but the urge to write – really write – struck at around age eleven.

I think my writing interest had been sparked by a skinny American Girl book called Writing Smarts that appeared from I-don’t-know-where. (It’s out of print. I don’t really recommend it… If you want a good writing book for children, try this one.)

I especially loved the mini character interview.

And it’s funny. Even then, I wasn’t as interested in reports and poetry. The sections of the book I kept coming back to were always about creative story writing.

Anyhow… In about 2013 I started writing in a large, pink patterned notebook/binder/thing. I scribbled my ideas practically anywhere, but that was where I tried to keep everything.

Then the idea for a time-traveling story hit (don’t even ask), and of course I had to have a binder for it. Complete with title. And hand-illustrated cover. And copyright (mostly warning my brother to stay away from my idea). I was obsessed.

I wrote maybe two or three chapters in it and showed them to a friend. Can you believe that me, the super secretive writer, willingly showed a friend her writing? Ha ha, me neither. That’s funny, Zane!

I didn’t keep on with it for very long, because…

I discovered something amazing.

I discovered that I could write on my computer. And it would look like a real book! (Minus the, you know, paragraph breaks.)

That was when I wrote my first story on my computer, in 2014. It was called “Florence” and I worked on it until it was a whopping 1,757 words long. It was heavily inspired by the current fantasy I was obsessed with: The Castle Corona. (Which, strangely, I don’t love anymore…)

I had a pen name. It was so cool. And don’t even get me started on how excited I was over the fonts.

I was in loooove.

And more stories followed, of course. Many, many more. I progressed as a writer. For example, I made the ground-breaking discovery that there are paragraph breaks between lines of dialogue.

I began outlining and researching my stories, if vaguely. By early 2015, I had started at least 37 stories (on my computer) and finished 14.

(I know this because in early 2015 I took a convenient inventory of my stories, marking them complete and incomplete. I’m too lazy to go count all of them now. Therefore, you will not be getting the numbers up through 2016 and this year.)

Sadly, I did show some of those to people. (Namely family and close friends, but still.) Dear, dear, some of them (who am I kidding, ALL of them) are a bit… cringe-worthy?

Let’s just say I didn’t know what editing was.

But… I kept writing. I kept growing. I kept improving, and I can clearly see that through the tangled mess of my abandoned stories my growth. Luckily, it was just a part of me growing as a writer. I had to go through all that to get where I am today.

My writing still needs improvement and I’m far from done growing (I hope). I’ll keep writing. Keep pushing on.

And keep sleeping. No one likes a cranky writer. 😉

 

What are some books that have influenced you in your writing? What’s your writing story?  And does anyone else find it hard to write a blog post when siblings are singing the Mexican Hat Dance in the background? (Yes, this really happened while I was trying to write. Oh well…)

 

 

 

 

 

Beginnings

I’ve decided to do a post of first lines from my numerous stories/story beginnings/story stuff. A few warnings before we start…

  • When I first began writing, I had a “thing” for fairy tale endings, beginnings, and everything in between. “Once upon a time”, “they lived happily ever after”, etc. Later, I had an obsession with high fantasy (C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, etc.) and heavy accents that I knew nothing about (mostly influenced by Redwall books).
  • Also, I was heavily under the influence of a… um… a writing program that was… less than desirable? And it told me to use lots of modifiers! Lots and lots and lots! And never use the word said! So I didn’t. And my writing suffered.
  • Of course the fact that I was a beginning writer should not be forgotten. But I still shan’t put any of the really bad beginnings.
  • Oh. And I forgot to mention. I didn’t know what “editing” was until circa 2016. So prepare yourself.
  • Most of them technically don’t have names. When that happens, I just use the main character’s name as the document title, so that’s basically what I’ll do here.

These beginnings were written from 2014-2017.

 

 “Once upon a time, there was a small, white cottage by a waterfall, and in it, there lived a girl named Raziela and her large dog, Jock.”

Raziela’s Story, finished, 2014

 

 “Once there was a raindrop. Her name was Rae. She slipped down a window, unaware that she was spoiling some child’s picnic. She slid on, not knowing that two little boys were watching her.”

Raindrop Rae, finished, 2014 

 

“It’s not very pleasant knowing that your grandfather was a deserter from the army.”

Dragon Tales, finished, 2014

 

 “It was midday. As a hammer clanged in the forge, Eliot of Darsville pulled up a bucket of water from the well.”

The Seven Simons, finished, 2015 (this is actually the second version of this story I wrote.)

 

 “My story begins, I suppose, on the day I was born, but since I don’t remember that, I’ll start with my accidental (and unfortunate, I might add) meeting with Prince Wilmet.”

Elwyn and Harlan, finished, 2015, second version (again)

 

 “Calix stumbled over a stone in the rough road.

“Come back ‘ere, you young scoundrel!” A voice echoed through the streets.

 Calix ducked into an alley and watched his pursuers run by. Safe, he thought.”

Calix, unfinished, 2015

 

 “As Ardyth Forsyth raced down the road to Bushra, her skirt whipping around her legs and her braids catching in the wind, she bumped into a man and knocked him over. He was a strange man, his eyes wide, his hair mussed, his clothing disheveled.

 ‘Turn around, little missy,’ he said fearfully. ‘Believe me, you don’t want to go to Bushra, not right now.’

 ‘Why not?” Ardyth asked. ‘I’m on my way to see my aunt.’

 ‘She’s very likely dead,’ said the man, ‘if she lived in Bushra.'”

Ardyth, unfinished, 2015

 

 “Bowan didn’t do anything. To be in jail, I mean. He was just a gawky, ungainly boy, too small for his fifteen years and scrawny as a rabbit in midwinter.”

Bowan and Eliana, unfinished, 2015

 

 “Evian O’Raleigh was running away again. He ducked under a low-hanging branch and leaned against a tree, catching his breath.”

Evian, unfinished, 2015

 

 “Fifteen-year-old Colin Timblin sat underneath the old oak tree whittling and thinking about the rumors around his village. The popular one was that the kingdom was being invaded by cats. He didn’t really care who ruled; to a farm boy, one king was as bad as the other. He and his mother would still live in poverty anyway, so what was the difference?”

Colin, unfinished, 2015

 

 “Skye Ransom envisioned herself hurling a knife and it hitting dead center every time. This was her favorite fantasy, the one she most often hid in during the long, boring classes.”

Taratung, unfinished, 2015

 

 “Sixteen-year-old Jorel Slyte woke up to the sound of gunshots and a pounding on the door.”

Jorel Slyte, unfinished, 2015

 

 “The young girl looked around at her miserable surroundings, and clutched the tiny baby close to her chest. It was Christmas Eve, and nine-year-old Mary Fairfax had no place to spend the night.”

The Perfect Christmas, finished, 2015

 

 “Rosie slipped away from the small crowd of people wearing their Sunday best. She didn’t want to talk to them. She wouldn’t talk to them. Their intentions were surely kind and good, but she wanted to cry, and she didn’t want anyone to see her doing it.”

Unnamed pioneer story, unfinished, 2016

 

 “I slipped into an alley, clutching my satchel. As I knew all too well, the city of Ezei was infested with thieves, beggars, and pickpockets.”

Elle, finished, 2016

 

 “My old violin sang the last notes of “Ave Maria”. I let the sound linger, then put down my bow. It needed an accompaniment, and the notes were twangy, but other than those tiny details, I thought my father’s violin sounded beautiful.”

Imaginary, unfinished, 2016

 

Oswell’s heart sank as he got the report card. The F’s stood out like sore thumbs. In a few of his worst subjects, like Maiden-Scaring and Fire-Breathing, he had F minuses.”

Oswell, finished, 2017

 

 “I stood on the edge of the mountain, hopeless. The smoldering, water-drenched ruins of my once village hurt every particle of my pathetic being.”

Hanna’s Hope, finished, 2017 (coming soon!)

 

“It was my fault entirely, so that’s what I told the police.”

Ryker, unfinished, 2017

 

 Did y’all like them? Which was your favorite? Do you think I’ve progressed in my writing? Tell me in the comments!

And yes… I’m a day late.  On the first week I had a scheduled “publishing date” too. Tsk, tsk. Sorry ’bout that.

What I Think Of Emma Woodhouse

A poem in the style of Doctor Suess // Expressing my righteous indignation at Emma Woodhouse from Jane Austen’s Emma

 

I do not like her in a book

I do not like her in a nook

I do not like her personality

She would not win Miss Congeniality.

 

I do not like her here and there

I do not like her in her lair

If people heard the things she said

Behind their backs, they’d flush red.

 

Perhaps I’d like her with some kindness

Her biggest fault might be her blindness

Her prejudice could be much less

She’s worse than Miss Elizabeth*.

 

I do not like her matchmaking

It leaves my miserable head aching

From the times I’ve banged it against the wall

I do not like her, she makes me bawl.

 

Perhaps later in the story

She’ll fall in a different category

But until time can tell,

I do not like her. All is well.

 

*Bennet

 

I hope you were amused by my mini-poetical-rant. Seriously, am I the only person in the world who doesn’t like Emma Woodhouse? Pride and Prejudice was sooooo much better.