Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Before I Kick the Bucket...

Idioms are so interesting, aren't they? Here in America, when we talk about dying, we usually accompany that with the phrase "kicking the bucket." Did you know that in France, a popular idiom for dead people is "eating daisies by the roots"? Just think about that for a moment. Language, gotta love it, right?

Anywhoz, I've been tagged, or I think I've been tagged, or I've seen this tag floating around for a while (take your pick), and now at length I'm filling it out. I like that too -- "at length" -- why don't people use this anymore?

Okey dokey... my bucket list. For the sake of a sensible post, I'm limiting my number of wishes on this list. For more, you can visit my Bucket List page or my Pinterest board. And these are in no order whatsoever.

Hasn't it ever bothered you that we don't know?



 I've lived in the north most of my life, and I've never been ice skating. Can you imagine it?

 One day... I've never gone out of the Eastern Time Zone. Sad...

 Cinderella! Or Beauty and the Beast! Or Fiddler on the Roof! Or Singin' in the Rain! Or Peter Pan! Or The Sound of Music! Or... well, you get the idea.

 I'll get there one day!

 Based on my siblings' and cousins' wishes, this may happen... eventually.

 Who wants to sing the Hallelujah Chorus with me?? Or a Disney/Broadway song? Even if it's just a couple people on the sidewalk? Pretty please??

 Yes. Do you know how much fun this would be??

 Always wanted to try this!

 I love flying... so why not? :D


 Do we need to explain this? No, I think not.

Love Alaska. Love huskies. This is just a given.

And a few without pictures...

Sing the Messiah with a ginormous choir. Actually, this may happen. The college I'm attending this fall is performing the Messiah in December. All I have to do is get into choir.

Fill an empty mayo jar with vanilla pudding. Eat it in public. *nods* Yes.

Learn to fence. And learn archery. Let's call it research for my books, shall we?

Lead someone to Christ. I've witnessed multiple times, but have never actually had the opportunity to see someone give his/her life over to the Savior. But, oh, the joy to be able to help someone recognize the power of Christ's blood!

That's it, folks! And now, if you haven't done this yet, I tag YOU! What's on your bucket list?

God bless!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Snippets from Bonnie Rose

So, you all know that Beauty and the Beast meets Pirates of the Caribbean story I'm working on right now? Well, I can't divulge a lot of information about it as it's technically a contest entry, but I think I may be able to share a few snippets with which to whet your appetites. Enjoy!


Her cry echoed in the house, as if throwing back the threat of emptiness. But his horse is here! He must be here!

Bonnie thrust open the door to the kitchen and stopped short. There on the table lay a single red rose. It was easily the most beautiful rose she'd ever seen in her life. Her breath catching in her throat, she reached to pick it up, already feeling the soft petals against her fingers. Her father hadn't forgotten about his gifts; surely this was proof of his new riches.


“Well, then, if you're to be cabin boy... or girl, rather, we'd best get you started. The Black Thorn will sailing in an hour with the tide, and the Beast'll have your head if he catches you dallying about.” She tugged on Bonnie's arm and led her below deck. “My name's Brown Liz.”

Bonnie stared at the pirate's blonde – very blonde – hair. Brown Liz noticed the look and gave another laugh. “I know, I'm not very brown. But my twin sister is, and everyone got us mixed up, so I just got stuck with the name.”


She scowled at her sister. “Thought you were sleeping. You had an early watch, didn't you?”

Her twin returned the expression. “Aye, I was sleeping. Until you barged down here like a shark.”

“Sharks don't barge.” Brown Liz crossed her arms.


He threw his hand out with a flourish and bowed gracefully. “You are Bonnie, non? My name is Jean Bonheur.”

“You are French.”

He eyed her cautiously. “Oui. Quartermaster and the toast of the Black Thorn. My name means good luck, and I share my excellent fortune with all! I am Good Luck Jean!”

Brown Liz caught the end of his words as she hurried past and snorted. “So you say, pirate.” She threw an apologetic glance at Bonnie and continued on.

Jean Bonheur gazed after her. “I am lucky in all save for amorĂ©.” He sighed. “My country would not be pleased with me. I am French for nothing.”


Mary Con and Brown Liz led the swarm of congratulations toward Bonnie. Two pirates grabbed her arms and hoisted her up on their shoulders. Their excitement was contagious and Bonnie found herself caught up in it, grinning almost as wide as Mister Blair himself. It wasn't until she was in her bunk that evening, listening to the sounds of Mary's snores that the realization hit her.

I'm a pirate now. 

She wasn't sure then if that was something to be excited about.


God bless!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Inside My Mind...

Trust me. That's a scary place. 

I was talking with some family and friends over the weekend, and the topic of how people view different people came up. Out of curiosity, someone asked me what I honestly thought of them. After a moment's thought, I realized that I didn't really have an actual thought that could be described in one sentence. Don't worry -- I'm really close to the person who asked me, but I was a little confused at myself for my odd sense of thinking.

Instead of an actual thought, something in a complete sentence, I realize that I do a lot of my thinking and analyzing in pictures and colors. Odd, ain't it? 

Ice block = my thoughts.

I guess I do most of it without realizing it. People I meet on the street, my family, friends I've known for years... everyone around me I semi-consciously assign them a color, images, words. It's more of a collage, really. And it doesn't always make sense. I'll associate people with colors based on what their personality is, what they might have worn the first time I met them, or even something that just makes me think of them. And at this point I'm just baffled thinking about how me, the girl who LOVES words, doesn't even do very many words when I'm just thinking on my own.

Did you sing that last bit? I did.

What do I mean? Let's phrase it this way... when I think of my father, the first thing that comes to mind is a picture of his pillow. I'm attributing that to a memory I have -- as a child I would often snuggle on my mom and dad's bed and bury my face in their pillows. My dad had a distinct scent that I loved, and since then, I always felt safe whenever I smelled that, whether I was on his pillow or in his embrace.

My mother first makes me think of the color peach -- vibrant, cheerful, sweet, and warm.  For my sister Beth, it's those cobalt blue chevron stripe/v-shaped pattern thingys. My sister Jessa -- pink cupcakes and green polka dots. My brother Doofus -- a mottled collage of red, yellow, green, and antique history book colors. Teddy? Cherries, stuffed animals, and pink flowers. KT Bugs is fruit flavored candy and adorable smiles on top of bubble gum pink and an almost golden tone. I have colors and images for pretty much everyone I know.

Not only do I assign colors and images to real people, but I'm finding I also do that with my characters. For example, Davin from The Dragon Tamer trilogy is the color green with just a tinge of purple on the outskirts. Why? Well... his dragon is green, for one thing; green is the symbolic color of growth (which Davin does a lot of in the books). Green is also pensive and non-flamboyant. The bits of purple indicate mystery and sorrow, with perhaps some intrigue thrown in there as well.

What about my other characters? Celesta from SotHT is a mix of gray, a light yellow, and a dash of royal blue while Prince Julien (from the same book) is a mottled blend of three different purples. Fort Gregorick from Beyond the Thorns is mostly a deep scarlet with some chocolate brown and dark green on the outside. 

But what about images? Let me give you some examples. Grant from The Dragon Tamer conjures up pictures of swords, sweaty palms, green grass, daring smiles, and fires. That's not technically a description of his character, but that's what I think of when I hear his name. Josette from The Twelfth Kingdom is a little tougher to pin down with exact images, but I see a lot of green gowns, blue flowers, tiny slippers, timidity, dark passageways, and frilly bedclothes. 

Yeah, that's me.... I realize this post may sound really weird, but I'm just an odd duck. If you didn't know that about me already, it's probably time that you did.

What about you? How do you think of people? 

God bless!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Official Goodreads Author!!

Sufferin' cats, I'm so excited I'm not sure it's good for me!! 


And I am officially a Goodreads Author! Yeeee-hawwwwwwwww!!!

Okey dokey... I'm calming down. It may take a few days, but I'll get there eventually. *grins* It just means I'm that much closer to getting SotHT published! If you have a Goodreads account, it'd be just ducky if you would stop by Secret of the Hazel Tree's page and add it to your shelf! And, if you do, I'll give you some virtual gingerbread. No, that's not a bribe. 

God bless!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Happy July // June Crusade Recap

Whoa! When did July happen? Is it just me, or is this year just flying by? It's already half gone? Whew!

Anywhoz, I just wanted to pop on for a moment and say a few things. First off, I hope you all had a very fantastic Fourth of July! My family and I traveled out of state to spend the holiday with my grandparents. Coincidentally, my grandmother's birthday is also on July 4th, so we're celebrating two "holidays" in one. *grins* Yes, we may or may not have too much ice cream. 

A huge, big, glorious THANK YOU to Anne-girl of Scribblings for hosting another lovely June Crusade! I had immense fun with all my plot bunnies, and now my brain's buzzing wanting to write on all eight of them at once. My Little Writer is not pleased with me, but... *shrugs*

Just for fun... and for those who were curious... here is a quick overview of my plot bunnies for the Crusade (clicking on the titles below the pics will take you to my original posts for that particular story):

Who doesn't like the tale of Sleeping Beauty? *raises hand* Oh, me!! Me! And even though Tchaikovsky's ballet adds beautiful music to the story, it's still kinda dumb. So I'm retelling it... the way it really happened. 

MC: Troy Gregorick

A big THANK YOU to Anne-girl for designing this cover!

Le'seur's Bells

Inspired highly by Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, this story sprung from the idea of telling a tale from the perspective of a deaf girl. How would she see the world? And more importantly, how would the world see her?

MC: Le'seur

I've always wondered what happened to the American Girls when they grew up. By general rule, I'm not huge on fanfiction, but too many ideas came for me to ignore. One month before Samantha turns 18, one very big historic event happened -- the sinking of the Titanic in April of 1912. 

MC: Samantha Parkington

Beauty and the Beast meets Pirates of the Caribbean... more or less. I began this as a possible entry for Rooglewood's BatB writing contest, and I'm having loads of fun with it. Currently, I'm at 7,100 words. 

MC: Bonnie Rose Allaway


 Allen's Revenge

Two brothers - orphans - want a new life, and who can blame them? They've suffered at the hands of cruel masters for far too long, and new opportunities on the lower island beckon constantly. There's just one problem: they can't leave together. And once they're apart, how long will it take them to reunite? 

MC: Allen Wolfhouse


This is kinda dystopian meets The Avengers meets The Scarlet Pimpernel meets... I'm not sure what else. A team of accidental superheroes, political groups intent on killing all Christians, and a boy named David that no one believes exists. 

MC: Jonathan

Who doesn't love fairy tales? And I especially love retelling them to fit my own desires. The Riddle is probably a lesser known fairy tale, but it's still pretty neat. Start with your basic storyline of an unsolvable riddle, give an old woman a few reasons for murder, throw in a band of relentless robbers, and you've got one retold fairy tale.

MC: Prince Rian Ro'de Lar

I'll admit -- this one was way too much fun to dream up. A six-year old cellmate with a flair for Alice in Wonderland, and a Black Widow-ish character who gets stuck in a fantasy she despises. What's not to love?

MC: Agent 6-1-2


What about you? Who of my followers participated in the June Crusade? Did you manage all eight plot bunnies?

God bless!

Friday, June 27, 2014

"Liebster" Means Dearest...

Hey, would you look at that! The Liebster Award's coming around again, and I got nominated. Thanks, girls! You're just peachy! *grins*

Since I've already done this so many times in the past, I think I'm qualified to skip the 11 facts. I've answered so many questions, I'm running out of facts about myself. *winks*

First off, from Robyn Hoode:

1. Do you prefer Winter or Summer?
Whichever season I'm currently in. Right now -- that'd be summer. 

2. What is your favorite section of the bookstore?
Ooh! Good question! Probably the classics or fantasy or children's. What? Those are all excellent genres.

3. What is the most interesting non-fiction book you've read?
One that I really enjoyed was My Philadelphia Father based on the life of Mr. Anthony J. Drexel Biddle from which the old Disney musical The Happiest Millionaire came. You can read my review of it HERE.

4. What is the best writing prompt you've ever used?
Hmm... to me, everything is a writing prompt. I can get story ideas from the strangest places. One of the most recent came in this form from Pinterest:

And THIS was the story that resulted.

5. The farthest you've ever been from home (you don't have to say where you live)?
If I take one more step, it'll be the farthest away from home I've ever been. ~ Samwise Gamgee. 
From my current home under the maple tree, I've been 15 hours away for a four day period. I'm expecting to be about that distance again when my family goes to visit my grandparents for the Fourth of July.

6. What do you do to keep yourself from being bored on long car trips?
What? You mean people get BORED on car trips?? I'm never bored; you can't be with a car full of eight people. We read, sing, listen to music, play the alphabet game, snack, etc. It's one of our favorite things to do!

7. If you could go back in time, what time would you visit and why?
To visit? Oh... so many choices! Let's say medieval just because I love the costumes, wide open spaces, and adventures. 

8. On that note, would you consider yourself a Whovian? If so, favorite episode of Doctor Who?
Nope. Not a Whovian in any form. Personally, I can't understand the hype over reincarnated aliens with screwdrivers.

9. Favorite board game? Least favorite?
Favorite: CLUE. Because I always win. Least favorite: MONOPOLY. Because I always lose.

10. What is the longest book you've ever read and about how many pages long was it?
If we're just talking all books, it'd be the Bible with over 1,000 pages. I've read through mine... I think five times now. Other than that, I think the longest was probably Bleak House. My copy was 860-something pages.

11. Which famous author would you want to read your books and give you feedback?
Tolkien!! Oh, wait... he can't. But I still want his feedback.


For the second one, I wasn't actually awarded, but Michaela of Stepping Toward the Son kindly offered to let anyone who wished take her questions. Did I wish? Yes, yes, I did. 

1. Do you live in the country or the city?
Country. We're surrounded on three sides by asparagus fields. But we have a five minute drive into town.

2. Would you stay in bed all day if you could?
That depends; if I was sick, then yes. I'd rest, read books, and listen to Focus on the Family dramatized Narnia CDs. But... as much as I like my bed, I don't think I'd want to stay IN it all day. 

These CDs are almost worth staying in bed for.

3. Describe yourself in one sentence.
HA! Is that possible? Well, let's try.... I'm a Christian writing INTP with a love of classic books, good music, and gingerbread with a flair of obnoxious on the side.

4. What is your favorite social media network?
Define "social media network." I'm really not all that social. I use Facebook to connect with family who live in other states, and I have a Twitter account that I just set up this week, but I barely check it.

5. What would you do if you woke up one night, and there was the animal you fear most sitting on your sheets staring at you? (haha)
Umm... my brother? *winks* Joking. What animal do I fear the most? Probably some kind of wild cat, mangy, bad-tempered, and sporting razor-sharp claws. What would I do? Eh... roll over and go back to sleep.

6. What is your favorite song and artist?
Favorite song? Favorite SONG??? I can't pick just one! My favorite-of-the-minute song is, I think, Out There from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, so I guess the artist would have to be Alan Menken. I really don't follow modern artists and singers as they tend to be... well, not my style. And most of them can't even sing, so... *shrugs*

7. What is one of your fondest memories from when you were a little kid?
Too many! I don't know if I could pick just one... Where we live, it's rare for the sun to go down before 10 o'clock in the summer, so when my siblings and I went to bed, there was still plenty of light to read by before we fell asleep. Or... if we were lucky, our parents would let us stay up later, and we'd have a 9 o'clock baseball game or an energetic romp before it got dark.

8. What is one of the books you read (or had read to you) when you were little?
Make Way For Ducklings was a favorite. I memorized it and used to recount it to my sisters after we went to bed.

9. What was the last thing you ate?
Crackers. Plain crackers. 

10. What do you do when you wake up in the morning?
Examined my foot. I twisted it Sunday night fooling around with my brother, and have been stuck with Ace bandages, ice, and ibuprofen all week. It's not as sore as it was, but my foot is swollen pretty good and it's got a lovely purple color all over.

11. What is your favorite old movie?
One of my absolute favorites -- the Original Nancy Drew Mysteries with Bonita Granville. If you haven't seen them, you must. THEY ARE FANTASTIC!


And then, lastly, I was nominated by Katie from Cousins in Christ.

1. What's your best memory? Why?
I love remembering playing outside when I was younger. We didn't have TV or internet to distract us, and we were only hindered by our own imaginations. My siblings and cousins and I would do all sorts of creative and foolish games. It was so much fun. I don't know if I could pull out one specific instance as the best.

2. What book are you currently reading?
I'm currently reading three: The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (first time and loving it! save for the essays on Paris architecture), Isle of Swords by Wayne Thomas Batson (re-read), and Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix (in preparation of Secret of the Hazel Tree's publication, I'm trying to read, review, and compare as many Cinderella stories as I can; this one, I can say honestly, is *not* a favorite).

3. Would you rather bathe in a pool of ketchup or mustard?
Probably ketchup.

4. How do you like to relax?
Read, write, play the piano, listen to music, watch a movie with my family.

5. Favorite childhood toy?
My Kirsten Larson doll. 

6. What genre do you like to write?
FANTASY! Most of what I write is fantasy. I've done a bit of historical fiction on the side, and I just started my first dystopian novel.

7. What's the best writing advice you've ever heard?
Don't ever fall in love with your writing. Always be looking for ways to improve because no writer is ever perfect. There's always room to grow.

8. Besides writing, what do you do in your free time?
Read. Play the piano. Didn't I answer this already?

9. What are your wall colors? (I want to do a random question like Athelas :)
Spa blue/green. I share a room with four sisters, and we had to compromise on the color; half of us wanted blue, the other half wanted green, so we went with this spa aqua color. We all love it.

10. Favorite Bible verse? 
Joshua 1:9

11. Why do you write?
Because I love it. Because I want to put the books I want to read into the world. Because I want to inspire and challenge others. Because I'd go crazy if I didn't.

And because I'm feeling lazy, I'm not going to tag anyone. If anyone wants to steal some/all of the questions above, go right ahead! Answer them in a comment or a blog post of your own! I'd love to read your answers! Just say Kiri Liz awarded you! *winks*

God bless!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Samantha: First Scene

Annnnd.... I just realized that I never got around to writing and posting the first scene from my Samantha plot bunny. For those of you who need a reminder, please check out this post. For the rest of you, here's what I've got:

You're so dumb,” the voice taunted. “You're so dumb, you don't even know how to climb a tree.”

Samantha examined her scraped knee and scowled. The fall from the oak branch hadn't hurt her too much but Grandmary would not be pleased to see her ripped stocking. The most embarrassing part of falling out of the tree was having such a display witnessed by one's least favorite neighbor. She glared at the bushes.

“Go away, Eddie.”

But the voice did not go away; it only laughed. “You're so dumb you probably think three times four is twelve.”

She gave an unladylike huff. For once, his wild guesses at math were correct. He may be two grades above her in school, but no one could tell by his obviously stupid remarks. “Three times four is twelve.”

“Samantha, you're so dumb...”

She turned away. Why wouldn't he just leave her alone? “Eddie, go away!”

The voice cackled as a sticky face appeared from the bushes. “Samantha's dumb! Samantha's dumb!” It cried as it came closer, filling her vision until she could see nothing else.

“Go away!”

“Dumb Samantha!”

“Stop it, Eddie!”

“Samantha! Wake up!”

With a gasp, Samantha Parkington sat straight up in bed. Her hand flew to her knee, still covered by the blankets. Even with the cloth under her fingers, she knew instantly that there was no scrape discoloring her skin. The voice was gone, the bushes all but a distant memory. She was no longer that little nine-year-old girl with ripped stockings. No, she was far from that. 

She felt someone gently touch her forehead. “Are you feeling ill, Samantha?”

“I'm fine.” Samantha pushed Nellie's anxious hand away. “It was only a dream.”

Her adopted sister regarded her critically. “More of a nightmare, if you ask me. You cried out more than once and woke me up.”

Samantha fell back onto her pillows and pulled the blankets up to her chin. “I'm sorry.”

But Nellie wasn't finished. She leaned over Samantha, placing one hand on the iron-wrought headboard to steady herself. “You were yelling at Eddie.”

“Next-door nuisance,” Samantha mumbled, rolling over to avoid Nellie's eyes.

Her sister sighed. “Why are you letting that bother you still? I thought you left those nightmares behind you. That was almost ten years ago!”

“Eight years,” Samantha corrected. “And I don't know! Can I help it that the dream came back?”

Nellie grabbed her shoulder and forced her back over. “Samantha, that's all past now. Eddie Ryland isn't here, and we most likely never see him again. Didn't his mother send him off to some obscure college somewhere? Don't let him bother you anymore. Besides,” she continued, “you're not dumb. You're the smartest girl I know.” She gave Samantha a friendly poke in the shoulder. “Who graduated from the academy with the highest honors? Who received the most status for academic achievements? Who astonished the teachers beyond recall with excellence and deportment?”

Samantha couldn't keep her grin back. “Me.”

“Yes, you! Not Eddie.” Nellie's eyes flashed excitedly. “Now just tell that to your nightmares.” She left the bed and walked across the room. “Are you hungry?”

“Not very. What time is it?” Samantha glanced at the clock resting on her nightstand. The elegant hands were small but easy enough to read – six thirty. Grandmary wouldn't be up yet, although the Admiral would be just returning to the hotel after his morning walk. If they hurried, they could meet him when he returned to the suite. He was fond of two smiling faces greeting him at the door, as she and Nellie both knew.

She threw the blankets off and leaped out of bed as Nellie pulled their dresses from the wardrobe.

“Can you believe that it's already our last day in Paris? I never imagined our tour to go this quickly!” She exclaimed, studying the dresses with an expert eye. “Just think – next week we'll be on the RMS Titanic, sailing home, and then we'll be in New York City in time for your eighteenth birthday.” She frowned and cast a quick look at Samantha. “Do you want the white one or the pink one?”

“Pink,” Samantha said without even glancing at the dresses. The white was pretty enough, but the collar on the pink one proved most flattering with her locket she never took off. For a moment, she let her fingers rest on the tiny, gold heart. Inside were two faded pictures, though she hardly had to look at them anymore to remember what they looked like and to recall the beloved faces smiling back at her.

I miss you, Mother and Father, her heart whispered as a brief tear clung to her eye. I wish I could have known you longer. I wish we could have been a family.

“Samantha?” Nellie was holding the pink dress out to her, watching her with a curious expression. Her face softened as she caught sight of her sister's hand clutching the locket. She nodded, understanding. “I know, I miss mine, too.”

Samantha accepted the dress blindly. “I still don't understand why they had to die. Why I was never really given a chance to know them.”

“Would you wish them back?”

“Why wouldn't I?”

Nellie looked away. “But what about everything you have now? Would you change any of that?”

Samantha's heart sunk. She knew to what Nellie was referring. “No, I wouldn't change it. I mean, it's not every day that my best friend would become my sister. And everything we have in New York – Bridget, Jenny, little William, Uncle Gard, Aunt Cornelia, and all the others – I wouldn't give them up for anything. But... but don't you sometimes find yourself yearning for your real parents next to you? A mother to sympathize with you, a father to seek advice from?”

“Of course I do,” Nellie answered, rubbing her hands against the dress she'd chosen, a blue silk with dark gray trimming. “But we can't change the past, Sam. I think these things were all meant to happen for a reason. We can't control the universe and how it works, even though we may try to. I think there are things bigger than us, some things we can't even comprehend.”

Samantha snorted, eagerly dashing away all former signs of sorrow. “When you can find something bigger at work than the matchmaking Mrs. Woodbourne, let me know. I seriously doubt anything could be bigger than her.”

Nellie lost her somber air to an instant fit of giggles. “It's not her fault that she loves cake.”

“And cookies, and pies, and breads, and...” Samantha rolled her eyes and rounded a list out of the rotund lady's favorite foods. Nellie's giggles didn't cease, so neither did her sister's tongue. But the time Samantha had gotten around to breaded pork and beef tenderloin, Nellie had to sit down lest her laughter cause her to fall over.

“Oh, Samantha, stop!” She cried, holding her side. “Please!”

With a grin, Samantha added one last food item: “And pickled livers.”

The oddity had the expected result. Nellie's jollity vanished into a disgusted expression. “Jeepers, Sam! That's horrid!”

Now it was Samantha's turn to laugh. “Come on; we'd better hurry. The Admiral will think we've abandoned him.”

God bless!