Thursday, May 31, 2018

Snippets From Spindle Dreams

See? I'm back. This makes the second blog post this month for me... which, considering my record from the last four years, is pretty good. 

I began this summer with great plans for writing, books, editing, etc. While I've not been as consistent as I would have liked, I have knuckled down on a few things. FIRST OF WHICH was actually finishing The Rose and the Balloon's companion novella: Spindle Dreams. 

Confession time, folks. I began writing this short story back when Rooglewood announced its third fairytale retelling contest. IN 2015!! Yeah, I was in college and writing for fun doesn't come easily when you're cramming for tests and procrastinating on homework assignments. Three years, though. And do you know what the sad part was? I wrote most of the story that summer (2015) and then stopped a few chapters from the end. I picked it up again in 2016 and wrote all but the last half of the last chapter. 

And then the story sat that way for 2 years. Pretty pathetic, huh?

Anyway, that was one of the first things I knew I needed to do this summer. FINISH THE STORY. It was practically at the end anyway. My Little Writer was after me to complete the thing. Ha. And that was after he'd forbidden me to begin writing it in the first place

Anyway, we're at some 23K words right now, and I've already jumped into editing. I'm more pleased overall with how Spindle Dreams turned out -- almost more pleased than my first draft of The Rose and the Balloon. No promises, but I'm hoping to have SD self-published here in the somewhat near future. We'll have to see how things go. 

But I promised you snippets, and so snippets you shall have. Here you go. 

~*~

Dmitri noticed his odd attire for the first time. “What happened? Did you meet up with bandits?”

Felix waved away the concern. “No such luck. Samson decided I needed an impromptu bath. Twice.”

“You still have that rebel animal?”

“He's not a complete rebel. Just active and slightly mischievous. But he means well.”

Dmitri grinned. “Slightly?” 


~*~


Felix shut his eyes against the sight of the fire. The deed did no good, for he could still see fire with his eyes closed. He opened them again. The same dark laugh that permeated every dream was still clinging to his memory, taunting him, mocking him, squeezing his sanity to shreds.

“It was just another nightmare,” he whispered to the night, hoping to alleviate his thumping head.

The words, however, were too powerful. The echo of Dmitri's scream still rang in his mind, and the more Felix thought about it, the more he was certain he could never go back to sleep. With a strangled groan, he threw the blankets off and got out of bed.

No – tumbled out of bed described it better, for Felix's legs gave out and he hit the stone floor on all fours. Rubbing his stinging palms, he was suddenly very glad that bedrooms were private chambers.

After he had gotten dressed and finished the mug of hot chocolate left by the servants – now cold – he headed for the stable. The grooms, to be honest, were more than a little surprised to see the Crown Prince's cousin wanting to ride in the dead of night, but Felix needed some air. The hard, confining walls of the castle were too close. After he'd convinced the grooms he wasn't mad or sick, he rode out on Samson.

It was only then that he realized he’d forgotten to pull some shoes on. He suppressed a groan and looked away from his stockinged feet. Dmitri had loaned him a very nice pair of riding boots, too. 

Samson, the jovial creature that he was, delighted in the midnight ride. It wasn't often that he got the chance to frolic about when all other sensible animals were asleep. Felix let him go full out, and the night swallowed the echo of his hooves.

~*~

“We are very pleased,” Erland crooned, raising his glass, “to have such friends with this Rohesia. We have a long history of alliance, and it is the hope of us that we go together far in the future.”


The lord's thick accent did not merit him well-understood, but Felix thought he could stand firmly behind that claim of friendship so he raised his glass as well. Lord Erland, however, apparently was not finished. After giving Felix a glare until the latter lowered his glass, he cleared his throat and continued.

“We know that this fair land will not be the cost of our trade, and that our dear king will not harm his friendship with us. Trothen has seen her woes, but there is a time soon that she will rise again! From dirt she will rich, and from pain she will glory. She once the brightest star will shine forever.”

As his toast droned on, Felix tried hard not to show his confusion. National pride was definitely a virtue for all men, but the ambassador's thick accent did not merit him well-understood. When Erland began to quote the kings of Trothen, in order from the first crowning, Felix sighed. Nicolas and Nicoline would have smashed a pie over his head long before this.

~*~

Dmitri, looking worried, met him outside his room. “Felix! Where have you been? Do you know what time it is?”

“Couldn’t be that late, cousin, surely?”

Dmitri looked him up and down. “It’s well past midnight, surely. Janelle was certain something had happened to you and was ready to send a search party out. Is something wrong?”

“Couldn’t be better.” Felix smiled again.

Dmitri’s eyes narrowed and twinkled in the same motion. “We need to talk, then.”

A half hour later, Felix was still sitting in his sitting room with his cousin, both with cups of hot chocolate at their disposal. He’d already told the entire tale to Dmitri, but the prince insisted on hashing out all the good parts just to make Felix’s face go red. Why cousins made a hobby of that sort of thing, Felix didn't know. All he knew was that his cousin was thoroughly enjoying himself.


~*~

Janelle watched him walk away and then turned her eyes on Felix. “I know you’re not going to like this, but I’m putting food into you, getting you into a bed, and having the doctor look at those burns. And you can’t deny a royal order.” 

Merryweather let out a whimper. 

“The dog can go with you.”

~*~

Felix didn’t waste any time. As soon as the doctor left, he bolted for the door. He was already sixteen bounds down the hallway before he realized that he’d forgotten to pull his boots on and that Merryweather was close at his heels. The dog had become a close companion the last three days of confinement, and he was grateful for the company. As for the boots -- he’d already been making a fashion statement in the kingdom, so he didn’t bother with going back for his footwear. 

God bless!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Course I Failed in College

"Well, I'm back," he said. 

Even though that is the last line of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, I thought it appropriate to begin again with that. It's good to be blogging again! And Lord willing, I'll be a little more regular with it like I was before college. 

Don't look at me like that. One can hope, y'know.

And just like that -- four years and college is over! It's been a week and a half since graduation, but I still can't believe I made it this far. It was all God, I can tell you that. 

On May 4th (coincidentally also Star Wars Day), I received my degree in Creative Writing, the result of 8 long semesters-worth of work. On the same day, my husband received his master's degree in theology. I'll tell you what -- it was pretty neat to be able to graduate together. However, the master's degree is just a stepping stone for my hubby as he's planning on continuing his education in seminary and getting a doctorate. 

Lord willing, in about seven years, I'll be married to a doctor. How's that for cool??? I'm so stinking proud of my husband. 

College isn't easy. There were times when I thought some classes were gonna be the death of me, some assignments would never be completed, some tests would catapult my GPA to irreversible depths... but I passed the classes, I completed the assignments, and I managed to squeak out a pretty nice GPA to cap it all off. 

But there was one course I failed in miserably. Four times

Have you ever gotten the feeling that God really wanted you to learn a specific lesson? As in, He wanted you to learn it so badly He sent it to you more than once? Because that's exactly what happened to me. 

I thought I knew how to depend on God as my source of strength. Not far into my freshman year, however, God struck me with a bullet in the head. Metaphorically, of course. He showed me as a energetic, stupid freshman exactly how much I was relying on myself by giving me a knee injury while playing society soccer. Not only did the knee pain kick me out of soccer for the rest of the season (not that my exercise-induced asthma helped much in that decision), but it also made getting to class difficult at times. Steps were a nightmare. I was thankfully on the first floor in my dorm, but I had several second- and third-floor classes. Thus, it was either be late to class with a sore knee, or take the embarrassing elevator ride. To say it bluntly, that year was very humbling as it forced me to look to God as my source of strength. 

Sophomore year. I had the lesson down, right? 

Ha. Nope. 

Sophomore year began with a shoulder injury. My sister had hyper-extended her shoulder, and she wasn't allowed to carry her own backpack. So, I, as a helpful older sister, volunteered to help her carry it around. I had her backpack slung on one shoulder and mine on the other. The result? I hurt my shoulder, and then I wasn't allowed to carry backpacks anymore. Oh, the irony. Again, I was depending on my own strength to get around and help my sister when I should have been depending on God. 

I managed that semester having to accept the assistance of a very nice young man to carry my backpack around. Another friend and some cousins helped my sister carry hers. After always refusing help with my backpack, it was humbling. Honestly, I hated needing help. 

Second semester sophomore year, I struggled with random fevers and a lot of fatigue. My sister (also my roommate at the time) had some of the same symptoms and was diagnosed with the epstein barr virus -- mono. Guess who else had mono? Yeah, yours truly. For Spring Break, I spent the entire week in bed -- only allowed to venture out for food. I was weak and tired.

Again, I had to rely on God as my source of strength. 

Two years... and the same lesson. You would think it would have gotten through my thick skull at this point. 

Junior year rolled around. I was still recovering from mono, but I had learned how to take care of myself better. I started relying on my own strength once again, and God sent Ken back into my life. 

(For those of you who don't know, Ken is my evil twin, a.k.a. the person I become when I have asthma.) 

At first, I thought it was just a quick visit from Ken, as he likes to come stay with me on the weekends (not cool). But a whole month went by, and he was still sticking around. As it happens, the smoke from the horrible forest fires in Tennessee was drifting south to my college, and I couldn't breathe outside unless I had a mask on. Coughing set in, and I actually had one teacher stop class so she could find me a cough drop. Again, weak and miserable, it was another humbling year. 

Senior year I was sure I had the lesson down. After all, I'd spent the summer getting married and setting up my first home with an absolutely amazing husband. What could go wrong? 

Truth be told, nothing went wrong. Everything went just the way God had it planned. The week before classes started, my husband looked at me and said in his blunt way, "You've been moody lately and you look kinda bloated. I think you're pregnant." 

(Side note: Most husbands shouldn't speak that way to their wives, but that's just how my husband and I communicate. I love our relationship.)

I was adamant that I was not pregnant, but we got a test...

And it was positive. 

Over the numbing, sheer joy at the realization that we were going to be parents, the tiny logical part of my brain kicked in: How in the world could I complete an entire year of school pregnant? Morning sickness was one thing, but our baby was due the last week of classes spring semester. Meaning that I'd be approximately giving birth a week or two before I graduated. 

Truth be told, I didn't have a terrible pregnancy. Morning sickness, though ill-named, wasn't too bad -- but I had to miss class and work sometimes because of it. The normal aches and pains weren't awful, but as I progressed further to the 9 month mark, I became more and more limited as to what I could do. God gave me just enough strength to do what I needed to do, even though I was often not allowed to get out and do extra things. 

Our little daughter arrived on April 21, two weeks before graduation. As I was still in recovery after giving birth and not allowed to walk very far, my husband took me across the stage in a wheelchair to receive my diploma. 

For someone who wanted desperately to be independent and do everything for herself, I had to be broken and humbled. God really used college to show me how much I needed Him. There was no way I could have survived all four years on my own. I'm very grateful for everything that He did for me -- there's countless other stories I could tell you. 

I'm not telling you all these things to get you to feel sorry for me. I would not change the last four years and the lessons that God taught me through them. I'm sharing this story because God's still working on all of us. I'm 24, married, a college graduate, and a mom, and I sure don't have my act all together yet. God's still teaching me, and I'm not ashamed to admit that. 

Even if God has to give you the same lesson four times, take it with grace and LEARN IT! Sometimes the thing we need the most is the redundant reminder. 

God bless!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Worth of a King Cover Reveal

Kendra's next book, The Worth of a King will be coming out SOON! And today I have the great pleasure of sharing the brand-new, never-before-seen, gorgeous cover. Lemme tell you, folks... you're gonna love this one. 


But first: all ze details. 

About the Book
Princess Obsidia’s father was killed the night she was born. Since there was no male heir, the crown went to the man who killed him, by Dialcian law. This never bothered her, growing up, and when it comes time for Obsidia to choose her husband, she chooses Prince Delaney, the son of that man, with little hesitation. Only then does her life start crumbling around her.

Adrian expected to live a normal life, taking his father’s place at the print shop when his father retired. But, on his eighteenth birthday, when the princess’ engagement is announced, his world is ripped out from under him when he learns that his life was a ruse, and he is the twin brother to the princess – and expected to take back his father’s throne.

Delaney knows that his country is hovering on the brink of war – and that his father may harbor murderous intentions towards his intended bride due to her Zovordian blood. He wants nothing more than to protect Obsidia and his people, but as merely prince, he has little power against his father.

The ancient war between the Dragons and the Immortal King and Queen is nearing its climax, and the three are already caught in it.

~*~

And now, for ze big reveal:



I think I've been following this story on Kendra's blog and Pinterest page for a while now. Ever since she first posted about it, my brain's been going nuts wanting to get my hands on a copy. 

The Worth of a King will be released on August 27th, but if you simply can't wait that long to get another taste of it, check out the link below. 



And Kendra also sent me some special things that I now have the privilege to share with all of you. 


This is a picture of Delaney and Adrian (via Pinterest). While Kendra lamented that this scene doesn't actually happen in the book, she and Jack had quite a smashing conversation that resulted from the image. 

AND... a juicy snippet

“There’s no time like the present,” said Father. “In my opinion, we should have told him years ago. Celeste, can you get the letter?”

“Yes, yes, of course,” said Mother, distractedly.

“But right now?” Jerolin repeated, voice rising. “He’s still asleep!”

“It’s nearly noon,” Father replied. “It’s high time the boy woke up. We can give him cake to soften the blow.”

Jerolin snorted. “Like cake will make up for finding out that his entire life has been a lie.”

~*~

This book is making a grand tour of lots of fabulous blogs today, so let me encourage you to visit around and check out more fun posts! Who knows? There may be more special secrets to discover to whet your appetite even more. 


~*~

Author Bio

Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairytales and twisting them in new and exciting ways. She's been or acting them on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years. "Finish your story, Kendra," is frequently heard at family gatherings. Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children's tales that glorify God and His Word.

Find her online at:

Website || Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

2017 Recap and Announcement

*blows dust away* 

Oh, look, Blog. There you are! Still alive after all this time? Amazing that the old interweb connection's still pumping away. 

Well, dear Blog, let me tell you. 2017 has been a long year. I was not prepared for this year when it began, and I don't think my brain's processing all that's happened in just 365 days. Somehow, it felt twice as long as normal and half the time it took to see 2016 slip away. 

What's kept me so busy? Oh, you know, college mostly. I just completed my second-to-last-ever semester, and the last-one-EVER is looming right around the corner. I've made good friends this year, studied a lot... and yes, used school as an excuse to ignore you, faithful Blog. Once graduation rolls around, I'm really hoping to spend some more time with you. I think you deserve it after almost 4 years of neglect. 

~ READING ~

I did manage to get a bit of reading in this year, though. Only about 32 books, but again, that will change once graduation. Let me share some of my favorites, or some highlights, whichever you prefer, dear Blog. 



Five Enchanted Roses -- The Beauty and the Beast collection that inspired The Rose and the Balloon. Ah, yes, I finally got around to reading it. I should write a review of it, but I'm torn. First collection ever that I didn't read all of the stories. My favorites were Stone Curse and The Wulver's Rose, hands down. But I couldn't bring myself to read Wither... for the sole reason that I've been inflicted with numerous nightmares involving zombies. 

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library -- This was such a fun book! Basically, the whole library turns into an escape/break-out room, and it's puzzles, and riddles, and tons of fun to get out! As a librarian, I muchly enjoyed the numerous references to Dewey. 

The Pickwick Papers -- So far, Dicken's most hilarious novel. In the words of Mr. Brown, "I defy you not to roar."

Mere Christianity -- First time reading this classic from C.S. Lewis. I loved his writing with Narnia, but his nonfiction is all so excellent! His arguments are easy to follow and a joy to read. I really want to get my hands on the rest of his works like this. The only other ones I've read so far besides MC are The Screwtape Letters and The Problem of Pain

Exiles -- BEST BOOK OF 2017. PERIOD. And did I mention it came out on my birthday? 

King's Warrior -- I've had a couple of Jenelle Leanne Schmidt's books in my kindle for a while now, but I finally got around to reading them. This series is (albeit wordy) but pretty good. I've not read the third book yet, Yorien's Hand, but I'm excited to see where the story goes.

Larklight -- I came across this little steampunk trilogy by Philip Reeve at the library and figured since I'm writing more steampunk-ish stories, I should read more steampunk-ish stories. Easy reads, but so funny! If you need a good steampunk guffaw one rainy afternoon, definitely put these on your list. 

Emma -- And dear Emma. This was a re-read for me, but it never gets old. If Lizzy or Elinor don't glare at me, this is my favorite Austen. 

~ WRITING ~

Oh, yes, and I did some writing. I worked a bit on The Dragon Tamer as well as The Twelfth Kingdom and Spindle Dreams. I'm almost done with that last one. With any luck, I can finish it within the month or so, and begin the journey again soon to self-publishing. After all, The Rose and the Balloon has stood without its companion novella for some time. Spindle Dreams wants to be let loose. And who am I, dear Bloggy, to stand in its way?

I also began, finished, edited, and submitted my very first and very last ever story for a Rooglewood contest. This year was Snow White, and what began as Snow and Copper, a tale that was meant to focus on copper mining and the dwarves/miners, turned quickly into What the Mirror Said, a tale in which (you guessed it) the mirror became the most important character. I'm not sure how the story will stand in the contest, but I am sufficiently happy for FINALLY entering one of the contests. My husband was such a great help; he encouraged me daily to get it finished and even went the extra mile to help me get the form mailed. After starting a story for each one of the contests, it was such a pleasure to finally get one done and sent in. 

Now, don't hate me, dearest Blog, but I'm afraid I have not been the most faithful of friends. At the command of a teacher, I was forced to begin another blog for a writing class. Not only is it not you, Blog, but it's hosted on Wordpress. And now I'm hopelessly torn between blogger and wordpress and which blogs to keep updated. Ah, yes, of course, I won't abandon you, best and dearest of Blogs, but here's the link to the new one should you wish to check it out. 

~ LIFE ~

Probably one of the biggest changes 2017 brought was the new last name. I did tell you I got married, Blog, so don't give me that look. After 15 months of dating my best friend (and some odd months/years before then getting around to it), he proposed and we have been living happily ever after ever since. Who knew marriage could be so much fun? 


And then I should probably also tell you, Blog... I will be busy with my new little family here so things can't completely go back to the way they were. I will do my best to be here more often, but when there's a little girl kicking the inside of your ribs, you know she's gonna be a handful after she's born. 


See ya later, Blog!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Exiles: Exclusive Excerpt

Ok, so it may or may not be an exclusive excerpt, but I love alliteration. How can you blame me? 

Keep reading, though. This is not a post you'll want to miss.



My friend Jaye L. Knight just released her newest novel! And it all happened on my birthday -- August 11th! How convenient, wouldn't you think? *winks* Exiles is the fourth book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles, which is basically one of the best fantasy series EVER. I highly recommend to one and all. Read this series. You will not regret it.

Also: LINK TO GIVEAWAY BELOW!


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Cover. *drools* Each time Jaye releases the cover art for the next Ilyon book... wow. They just keep getting better. I can't wait to get my hands on this amazing novel.


About the Book
Exiled after their defeat in Samara, the Resistance struggles to find allies in their quest to restore King Balen to his throne and put an end to the emperor’s tyranny. When the crete people refuse to lend their aid, Balen leads a group to Dorland to reason with them and win their support. However, enemies prove to be everywhere, and they find themselves in a fight to keep Dorland from becoming Daican’s latest conquest.

Back in Landale, the arrival of a new enemy forces Trask and Anne to tread more carefully than ever. Tensions are rising, and the enemy is determined to test Anne’s loyalty and root out the location of Trask and the Resistance once and for all.


Feeling trapped within the walls of ValcrĂ©, Prince Daniel must contend with an ever-eroding relationship with his father. As their clashes escalate, the situation becomes potentially life threatening when his loyalty is called into question. His sister seems bent on branding him a traitor and actively seeking to condemn him to the fate of those put to death in their father’s new arena. Daniel is certain his father would never execute his only son and heir, but with other forces at work, it might not be that simple.


One small misstep could prove fatal for all.



Available now on Amazon!

goodreads


Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Exiles, a pewter dragon necklace by treasurecast, and a sword letter opener! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

GiveawayBanner

A Rafflecopter Giveaway - Click Here


If you happen to be one of those people who have never heard of the Ilyon Chronicles, well, it's your lucky day! Jaye is holding a sale on the first three books on Kindle! The sale lasts until the 14th (tomorrow) so head over to Amazon and get your copies now! 


Well, there you are, folks! *waves goodbye*

*crickets*

Did I forget something?

Oh, right! You all came here for an excerpt. *grins* Ta-da!

Le excerpt:

Leetra crossed her arms and surveyed the gathering. She used to enjoy these parties . . . years ago. As a child, she’d raced around with Talas and their other family and friends getting into all sorts of mischief. Something about the nighttime air, bonfire, and music always put them in a rowdy mood. A smile tugged at her lips when she spotted a couple of her siblings dashing past just as she had once done. One of her little sisters let out a squeal, and she laughed.

But it caught in her throat when she spotted Timothy nearby. She narrowed her eyes. Two young crete women stood talking to him. One, a girl even more petite than Leetra, with the largest and most brilliant green eyes she had ever seen, giggled and gazed at Timothy adoringly. He smiled kindly at them but didn’t appear entirely comfortable. Leetra rolled her eyes with a huff and determined to ignore them, setting her attention on the nearby dancers. Five seconds later, her gaze shifted back to the trio.

She wasn’t jealous. No. Those girls just didn’t know half the man Timothy was. But who cared? She didn’t . . . she really didn’t. She stiffened, her blood zinging through her veins. What if he was doing this purposely to make her jealous? Yet, the thought died instantly, along with her ire. Timothy wouldn’t do that. Falcor might have, but Timothy? Never.

The musicians started a new song. One of her favorites, actually, before memories of Falcor had tainted it. She scowled. She’d sworn never to dance to it again . . . but . . .

She grumbled to herself. Fine. She would save Timothy from an uncomfortable situation and that was it. It wouldn’t mean anything. After this, he was on his own. If he didn’t avoid the girls, that was his problem.

About the Author
JayeAuthor2015
Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her websiteblogFacebookTwitter, and Etsy.



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Snow White Snippets

Let me tell you, honestly. My Little Writer is not happy with me. Not in the least. This summer has NOT gone the way it was supposed to. 

First off, I was supposed to be continuing edits on Secret of the Hazel Tree. And let me see... haven't touched it all summer. 

I was also supposed to be finishing up the rough draft for Spindle Dreams. Uhh... well, I opened up the doc a few times in the last couple of months.

And, I was planning on finishing the first draft of the second Dragon Tamer book by Christmas. Hmmm... oh! I did work on that one a little bit at the beginning of the summer.

What was NOT on the agenda was a Snow White retelling. 

Well, yes. You see this happened...



And then this happened... 



And then it was all downhill from there.

And so, while my Little Writer is fuming at me, I'm going to take this opportunity to share a few snippets. I may do an informational post about the story sometime soon (maybe a character post as well), but for now - here's snippets from Snow and Copper (title change very probable, since I don't have anything about snow in the actual story).

Ahem, anyway.


~*~*~*~

Gwen Weiss was the only child at Lohr Manor to grow up never having worked in the copper mines. It wasn’t that she couldn’t work; she was just the daughter of the late Lord Weiss, and such a privilege tended to hinder the need to work. No one would allow her to step into the mines anyway, much to her chagrin. Having the heir to the largest estate in Ebbenhout killed in a cave-in or other mining disaster was not a risk anyone wanted to take. 



Gwen, however, liked to keep busy. By seventeen, she’d already read all of the interesting books in her father’s old library, learned how to bake seven different kinds of cake, knitted thirty-nine and a half scarves, and basically run out of new things to do at home. So that’s why she was currently chasing little Adva out of the road. 


~*~*~*~

Isaak and Katrin hurried away, leaving Gwen alone with a spoon, a boiling pot of potato stew, and two shouting children. Thankfully, Rochen and Adva were content to resume their chase around the maze of tables and chairs. The problems of grownups were hardly worth fussing over at their age, but Gwen couldn’t hold down the irritation rising in her heart. With one last glance to ascertain Rochen and Adva were fine, she stomped back to the kitchen and plunged the spoon into the heart of the stew. The mines technically were hers. It wasn’t fair that she was the only person on the entire manor not to have even seen them. 


She sloshed the spoon violently around in the pot, sending splashes of stew into the fire below with each turn. Turning eighteen would do a lot more for her than simply getting her inheritance. She was going to enjoy her new title and the new power it came with as much as she could. 


“One more month,” she muttered to herself. “And then they can’t deny me anymore.” 

~*~*~*~

Gwen woke the next morning to the unpleasing sound of rain beating against the window. Isaak had been right. She scowled. 

Of course, he’s always right. 


~*~*~*~

Gwen leaned back in her chair, wondering what to do next. That was the problem with being rich; there were often too many things to do and look at in one’s house that it became very boring very quickly. Guess it’s back to the library, then.

~*~*~*~

A soft laugh came from the closet. “Then it is Gwen. Do come in, and let me see you.”

Gwen reached for the closet door and slowly swung it open. She wasn’t sure exactly what to expect and, truthfully, what she saw was the last thing she had ever dreamed to expect.

The closet was empty save for a large mirror standing upright against the far wall. It was taller than Gwen and looked old - very old. Thick, gold trim encased the edges and delicate designs had been carved into the metal, making it even more beautiful. If it had been a normal mirror, Gwen should have been easily able to see her entire body in the glass; but this was not a normal mirror. Instead of her own reflection looking back at her, when she looked into the mirror she saw the face and form of a strange woman.

~*~*~*~

God bless!


Monday, June 5, 2017

The Adventure Continues...

This is the (long overdue) story of how I lost my boyfriend. 

But don't worry! This is actually a very fun story, and the truth is - it's not all mine. It's only half mine.

After coming through a rather long and complicated process which brought me to dating the most wonderful guy on the planet, I spent 15 happy months calling him my boyfriend (In case you forgot, I'm talking about Jed/Jonathon). It was a busy time, considering we were both still in school, but it was tons of fun. We double-dated a few times with some friends and also attended a few events on campus together, but we never had an official, just-us-off-campus date. Not one real date in 15 months. Jed's work and the importance of homework made it difficult for us to go off-campus together, so we'd allowed 15 months to slip by before we realized we'd never really had a first date together. 

Jed decided to fix this. "Let's have lunch some Saturday," he suggested. "We'll go off-campus, just the two of us, and bring a picnic to the park." 

I liked the idea. After a long and stressful week of school, I needed a break. In one of my classes, I had a group project the size of Chicago looming over me, and while I had amazing team members (astonishing, yes, for a group project), we were presenting a month's worth of research, collaboration, and brain power the following Tuesday. Was I nervous?

You bet. A lunch date was just the thing to get my brain to relax... if only for a little bit. 

Jed picked the Saturday, and we began to make simple lunch plans. I warned him that I had a project meeting with my group at 12:30pm, but I didn't think it would be too much of an issue to get back by that time. 

I should have suspected something fishy was up when Jed picked me up wearing a blue shirt. Most of his t-shirts (for whatever reason) are bright red, and (outside of his work uniform) he doesn't typically wear any other color. He's just a guy who likes red. Several weeks previous to this particular Saturday, he had put on a dark blue shirt and I had commented that I really liked him in blue. And apparently he had remembered that. Well, in addition to the blue shirt, he'd shaved (which he never does on a Saturday) and was wearing his good sneakers (the ones without the holes). I was impressed, but I figured he wanted to look good for our first real date. 

Me, on the other hand... well, I didn't dress up. I'd stumbled out of bed that morning and didn't feel like doing anything extravagant. So, I stuck on a comfy blue t-shirt and a pair of jean capris. It was rather warm outside, so I had a pair of flip-flops complete the ensemble. 

I was probably more interested in the food Jed had picked up for our date lunch more than the clothes we were wearing. If there is any truth that is more universally acknowledged than that of a single man in want of a wife, it is that hungry men should never go shopping. Hello, proud new owner of aisle 4. 

"I got some meat and a jar of pickles for you," Jed told me. 

Pickles are amazing. Seriously. Pick up one of those big jars of whole dill pickles from Walmart and my brother and I could down it in one day. Needless to say, I was rather excited about that. A whole, big wonderful jar of dill pickles. I had the best boyfriend ever.

But the meat? Jed's "some meat" turned out to be a bag of pepperonis, a summer sausage, and a package of black forest ham lunch meat. If that isn't the definition of a hungry man going shopping, I don't know what is. 

So, armed with our pickles and "some meat" we drove off to the park. To be honest, I had quite a few curious stares as I walked through park carrying a gigantic jar of pickles, but I just smiled back. 

Jed picked a spot by a small waterfall, and we set up the blanket and got the lunch out. I ate a small handful of pepperonis before Jed offered me a pickle. Boy howdy, was that thing good! Even though there was a full jar sitting beside me, I was determined to enjoy that pickle as long as possible. 

I ate it very slowly. 

Jed, on the other hand, ate pepperonis and pickles so quickly I thought he might get indigestion. I'm not sure how much he'd eaten when he finally stopped and looked at me. I was still munching on my pickle, content to savor it. It was the first time in about three weeks that I had gotten to just sit with him and talk and have fun. Forget the meeting I had at 12:30. I wanted to make this moment last as long as possible.

Jed, however, did not want it to last as long as possible. 

"Aren't you almost done yet?" he asked. "You eat pickles really slowly."

I only grinned and took another small nibble. Yes, I am a rebel at heart. 

"I wanted to give you something," he continued, and I must confess my heart jumped at that point. My first thought was, Is it a ring? But I quickly stomped down on that. 

Of course it wasn't a ring. He couldn't give me a ring yet. Neither one of us wanted to be engaged for longer than six months, and the earliest possibility for a wedding that we had discussed was in December of this year. It was still April. April 22nd, as a matter of fact. Do the math, folks. April to December isn't 6 months - no matter how you stretch it. Did I want a ring? I'd known for a solid 10 months that this was the guy I wanted to marry. Duh. But there was no way I was getting a ring until at least June. 

Calming my racing heart by taking another bite of pickle, I watched him reach into his backpack. Then I started laughing. 

My freshman year of college I had begun an odd collection of lost bobby pins. See, the poor fellows were abandoned and lost in every place conceivable. I used to watch for them on the sidewalks and try to see how many lost bobby pins I could spot in one day until I gave that up and began picking them up instead. A few of my friends caught the excitement, and they began collecting them for me. Three years later, we'd collected over 1,000 bobby pins from everywhere on campus (and off campus). Jed works on the custodial crew here at the university, so he'd come across zillions of bobby pins every day. Before he told me that he liked me, he would pick up bobby pins and stow them in his wallet. Then he'd give me one or two at a time, using them as an excuse to come over and see me at almost every meal. Bobby pins, since then, have become a natural part of our relationship. 

Now, Jed was pulling a small Starbucks frappuccino jar from the dark depths of his backpack - and the jar was full of bobby pins. 

(Sidenote: I don't wear the lost bobby pins we pick up. Bobby pins have never EVER stayed in my hair, so I've never truly ever bothered with them. I just call myself the bobby pin kleptomaniac, and it's a race to see how many I can find before I graduate college.) 

I admired the newest additions to my collection, and we talked for a bit about former bobby pins we'd picked up. Sweet reminiscence. And before I knew it, I had finished my pickle. 

Abruptly, he stood up. 

I looked up at him, confused. "Where are you going? We're not done eating yet." 

"I need you to do something for me."

"Sure. As long as it doesn't involve moving."

"Stand up."

I grimaced. Standing involved moving. "Do I have to?"

"Yes."

With some grumblings, I stood. "Now what?"

"Look at the falls," he said. "And don't turn around."

Ladies and gents, everything in me started going nuts all at once. What in the world is going on? There were way too many thoughts all at once, and I think my brain almost exploded. 

Then Jed walked up behind me and began whistling. 

The world stopped, but my heart was beating so hard I couldn't hear the roar of the falls over top of it. 

Now, a normal girl probably wouldn't react that way to a song being whistled. Jed often whistled as he walked, and I loved hearing it. It wasn't the fact that he was whistling that got me in a tizzy.

It was what he was whistling. 

Near the beginning of the year, I had mentioned to him that I loved the song "For the Dancing and the Dreaming" from HTTYD 2. It was just a really sweet song, and the lyrics absolutely made it. For those of you unfamiliar with this song, please click here. It's worth the 3 minutes. 

And because the lyrics are so beautiful, I'm going to post the last refrain here:


I’ll swim and sail on savage seas
With ne'er a fear of drowning,
And gladly ride the waves of life,
If you will marry me.

Jed was whistling that song. And then he jumped right into singing it to me - just as Stoick did to Valka. 

I couldn't believe it. No matter that Jed abruptly forgot the second word of the song as soon as he started singing. I sang with him, inside going mad the whole time. And somehow between the two of us, we managed it all right. 

But it was perfect. The first date, the pickles, the "some meat," the waterfall, the song. If I had picked out how I wanted to be proposed to, this would have been it. The song literally ends with a proposal!

I was so mad at him.

Did I need to remind him that it was still April?? December wasn't 6 months away yet! Outwardly, I was thoroughly enjoying the entire afternoon, but internally I was a mess. 

How can you do this to me? I fumed. It's too perfect a set-up. Jed, don't you dare propose and make me say no! I won't say how tempted I was to push him over the falls. I wanted so badly to turn around, face him, and tell him to stop. 

Jed finished the song. "Kirsten..." 

I couldn't help it. I turned around.

And he was on one knee with a box in his hand. 

"Will you marry me?"

My mind barely registered the silver glint in the box before I yelped out, "You don't have a date yet! What's the date?"

He only smiled. "June 24th." 

If the world had stopped before, now it simply exploded. June 24th??? As in NOT December?? As in JUNE?? 

I was thoroughly speechless, but I managed to squeak a little bit of voice out. I don't know if Jed heard it or not, but I think he could read the answer in my over-enthusiastic smile. 

"Yes."


And that's how I lost my boyfriend. But I gained a fiancĂ©. And I think that's so much better in so many ways. 


God bless!