Friday, January 24, 2014

Upward To Live On Clouds

After working very hard on Secret of the Hazel Tree and reaching the great count of 86,000 words just this afternoon, I figured I deserved a break. And while I'm here, why not some snippets because you've all been such dear and wonderful readers? *high fives each of you* 

A girl with bouncing auburn curls dashed from the trees and stopped dead in her tracks when she caught sight of Celesta and the boy. “Oh, I thought we were... I mean, um, does this mean we're done now?”

“I don't think so.” He responded, still watching Celesta. “Are you sure you're all right? We're in the middle of a race, and that's why I didn't see you.”

“Donhans Leign!” The little girl couldn't have have been much older, or younger, than the boy, yet the way she spoke and planted her hands on her hips reminded Celesta greatly of Ahna. “Does that mean you ran her over?”


Jenisal's blue eyes sparkled with unshed tears. “You have the face of the Duchess Claria.” She held out her arms and Celesta stepped into them. “It's wonderful to see you again, Miss C'lesta!” She stifled a small gasp as her arms closed about the girl. “You are so grown now! I do believe you are my height!”

“She is, Ma.” Vrasen volunteered boldly. “An' she looks like you from the back.”

“No, she don't!” One of the smaller boys piped up. “Ma don't look nothin' like that!”

“Doesn't look anything, Kemual.” His mother corrected without taking her eyes from Celesta. “But I do believe you're right. She's a lot prettier than I am.”


 “Oh, Kadsa, I almost forgot.” Jenisal gave one last kiss to the cozy cradle sleeper and came back to the table. As she sat down, she dug into her apron pocket and pulled out a small slip of paper. “I found this on the bottom of Miss Celesta's bundle, slipper between two pieces of gingerbread.”

Celesta leaned forward. “A paper? Ahna didn't tell me anything about that.”

“I'd expect not, Miss Celesta,” Jenisal sent a smile in the girl's direction, “as it's got Kadsa's name on it, and not yours. I think Ahna sent it, judging by the handwriting.”

Kadsa accepted the paper, and her eyebrows flew up as she read the scrawl of her name inked onto the front. “That's Ahna's handwriting, all right. It hasn't changed a bit since she left.” She held onto the note for a moment, her eyes misted over with the love and memories of the past, before falling to tearing the sticky seal Ahna had pressed onto the back.

Jenisal couldn't wait for Kadsa to properly get the note open. “What's it say?”

“Now does it have your name on it, then?” Kadsa grinned, moving her fingers even slower to only further aggravate her friend. When it was finally spread out before her eyes, Kadsa read it quickly, and a knowing look crept into her face.

“What? What does she say?” Jenisal put both hands on the table in her enthusiasm.

Kadsa cleared her throat. “She's sorry that she couldn't come visiting today, but she's certain she'll be around soon enough to make sure that young man I married is taking care of me. And of course, she wants to see Taimee and Rerik.”

Jenisal's eyebrows went up a hair. “That's it? I don't recall Ahna being in the habit of sending greeting cards. If she writes anything down at all, it usually means she's planning to move the sky and send us all upward to live on clouds.”


Ahna was singing.

Celesta and Hasteri exchanged astonished glances. It wasn't uncommon to hear the sprightly tune of Prince Filbert being sung amid the poorer people of Troisem, for it was a nonsense song that even most children knew by heart before they turned six. It wasn't even odd that some of the notes coming from the kitchen sounded flat or off-key because the old song had been passed down verbally through the generations, from lips that sang beautifully to mouths that rasped like a hurricane in a monotone, until no one was certain what the original tune was at all because so many variations had resulted from the different singers. No, nothing about that surprised them at all.

It was the fact that Ahna was singing that was so astonishing.

Ahna. The stern housekeeper, the steadfast organizer, the one who kept things running smoothly and the woman no one wanted to cross or argue with was singing. Ahna never sang.

In all the years that Celesta had known her, she had never once broken out into a song. Not even a simple hum had escaped her lips in all her time at work. She always claimed songs were distracting, that tunes kept one's mind off the important things that needed to be done. Ahna didn't even whistle while she worked.

And now she was singing.


“She can have some sausages,” Georgettica inopportunely offered. “They are quite delicious.” She selected one from the platter in front of her and bit into it hungrily before reaching for a second to slip to The Count who was waiting impatiently under the table. She licked her fingers in enjoyment, but Veroniscen only smoldered.

“My dear, ladies of noble birth do not consume meat.” The duchess reprimanded her youngest. “It is a disgusting habit, and it does deplorable things to one's waistline. I really cannot condone it.”

“But I saw Veroniscen eat some venison yesterday,” Georgettica said in a quick pout, “and you like fried fish.”

“Fish is not technically a meat, and I was speaking more of red meat.” Her mother sighed heavily. “Gracious, Georgettica, I have so much to teach you. It is a small boon to know that the Crown Prince will not be marrying you. Veroniscen is so much better suited to royal life.”

“The palace is the last place for you, Jetta. You would only embarrass us, I'm afraid.” Veroniscen looked sideways at her sister, her tone one of sympathy, but her eyes filled with a gloating.

Celesta could hardly blame Georgettica for stomping her foot, sticking her tongue out at Veroniscen, scooping up the entire platter of sausages, and parading out of the room with The Count behind her, his tail wagging expectantly.


 “That name means nothing to me.” Julien rolled his shoulders back and stiffened into a rigid pose. “But names escape me more than I care to admit, so I suppose it is little wonder that I do not remember that one, Denstan. I can always remember a face, much to the dismay of many, yet titles and names are merely trifles, and I cannot recall them as well as I should please.”

“Indeed, my prince.”

“Denstan, it is not your place to agree with your Crown Prince when he is woefully berating his own flaws. Musketeers are to protect, not chafe.”

Julien caught snickers coming from the other guards and forced down his own smile. Denstan was the closest thing he had to a best friend, or any true friend at all, so how could he help such comments? They not only made Denstan speechless, which was an accomplishment all on its own, but it was also rewarding to break the stoic faces of the other musketeers.

“Indeed, my prince.”

Julien sighed. Almost speechless. 

God bless!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Dear Love Valentine Blog Party Annoucement

Yes, indeed! You are all invited to a Valentine blog party! 

I cannot even begin to describe how excited I am for this. For a couple years now (or for as long as I've been on Blogger), I've wanted to host some kind of young Christian ladies' blog party that celebrates the meaning of true love. Let's face it: so much of our world around Valentine's Day gets stuck in that modern rut of mushy romance and melting chocolate. Hollywood thinks that this holiday is all about candlelight dinners and gushy love songs, and we get so stuck on it all that we start to believe that.

But that's not true love! Whatever happened to Christian girls being content where God places them, seeking a man of God that will lead a new family in all truth rather than a picking out a good-looking friend once every six months who gives her a momentary thrill, and understanding the real meaning of true love? There's so much more to love, and people pass by and don't even notice.

Well, this year, we're going to notice. And so, for the week of St. Valentine's Day, I will be hosting a Dear Love Valentine Blog Party (let's just call it "Dear Love," shall we?). This is a party FOR young Christian ladies and BY young Christian ladies. I have a number of wonderful guest posts lined up for the occasion, and I'm also very glad to inform you that there will also be a giveaway. The party will run from February 10th to the 14th, and I'm inviting you all to be here at Lianne Taimenlore for the week. 

Below are buttons for the party, and I'd really appreciate if you all would help me spread the word on your own blogs and Pinterest pages. 

You know, for once, I'm actually looking forward to Valentine's Day. *winks*

God bless!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

"That Is A Nice Rock..."

Is it just me, or is there suddenly a superfluous amount of inspirational blogging posts? Somehow, with the start of a brand new year, something sparked, and now we have a flood of wonderfully marvelous posts. I'm probably spending way too much time on blogger reading them all. 

And then I think, "Oh! Now it's my turn to write a wonderfully marvelous, epically inspirational post!"




Uh... how 'bout...


*more crickets*


Pinterest for inspiration, anyone?


*le sigh*

Everyone is writing all of these epic posts, and I'm just under my maple tree, saying to myself, 

"That is a nice rock. I like that rock."

"I wonder how a raven CAN be like a writing desk."

"Oh, look! Chips!"

"I need to finish reading Little Dorrit."

And a lot of other nonsensical things.


I do have a surprise for you all! Can't tell right now ya know, of course, as I still have a few wrinkles to iron out, but look for a WONDERFULLY MARVELOUS announcement on Monday! 

God bless!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Beautiful People: Celesta

Have you ever had a story that grabbed you by the throat and wouldn't let go until you agreed to write it? A story that knocked you down and sat on your head and refused to let you think of anything else? A story that made itself so important in your life that it was unpardonable NOT to work on it?

That's what's happening to me with Secret of the Hazel Tree. I began this as a small story for NaNo last year, and now it's grown to, well, basically consume me. I can't think of any other story right now because SotHT is too commanding. I have to finish this story. And I am determined to finish it. I have been writing at least 300 words on it every day this year, and if the Lord wills, I will be writing every day until I finish it, which I'm hoping will be sometime in March. We'll see. This story started out as only 75K long in the planning and grew to be 70K as only the halfway point. 

But enough on that. I've determined to let you all know more about my wonderful, amazing story (hey, it can be that in my eyes, right?), and so, since I haven't done one in forever, I'm Beautiful People-ing.

And yes, I think that's acceptable phraseology. Hush up, Little Writer.

Celesta Le'Blancard

1. If your character’s house burned down, and they were left with nothing but the clothes on their back, what would they do? Where would they go? Dear Celesta, forced from her beloved home... well, she'd most likely go with Ahna to a friend's house until they (or the duke) figured out what to do. The Leigns or Kronwards would definitely not hesitate to take them in. Celesta would mourn the home she lost, of course, but she would take the move better than most.

2. Are they happy with where they are in life, or would they like to move on? Celesta is currently happy with her life, even though there are a few, or a bunch, of dark spots that tarnish her world. The most "moving on" that she would want to do is exactly what she envisions her future 5 years from now: her stepsisters married, and her stepmother preoccupied with her daughters' lives, and she can be alone again. Well, not alone. Ahna would never leave her side. And of course, Ahna has plans very different from Celesta's, much to Celesta's dismay. 

3. Are they well-paid? Not paid at all in coin. She works as a servant in her own house, and in return for her labor, she is fed and given clothes and a place to sleep.

4. Can they read? Yes, and probably too much. Celesta expects no adventure in her life, not that she'd wish for much anyway, but she loves reading and fantasizing adventures in books.

5. What languages do they speak? The common tongue of the Twelve Kingdoms. Troisem is one of the northernmost kingdoms on the continent, but for a few exceptions, the whole continent speaks the same language. Each kingdom does have a slightly different dialect or accent, each in its own way. Most of the Troisans speak with a "peasant accent" which, in our world, sounds very muchly like a thick Brooklyn accent. Celesta, being the daughter of a duke, no matter how lowly he might be, was educated well, so while she's familiar with the peasant accent, she doesn't speak it.

6. What is their biggest mistake? By whose standard? Celesta would count hers as losing the love of her father. How, she's not exactly sure, but she would do anything to regain it. Ahna would say that Celesta's biggest mistake is her thinking less of herself, not in a worldly sense, but in doubting her ability to do or accomplish anything and believing herself to be of no consequence. Celesta's stepsister, Veroniscen, would believe that mistake to be not doing what she wants done, right now.

7. What did they play with most as a child? Books. Celesta was never much for dolls, and the stories written down already were much more interesting than anything she could make up herself.

8. What are their thoughts on politics? Don't know if she really has any. Celesta feels deeply about helping people, but the affairs of state, international issues, importance of imports/exports... not really. She doesn't ever expect to have to worry about that stuff, so she doesn't.

9. What is their expected life time? Pretty much the same as humans in our world. Most people live to 70-80 years, so I'd expect Celesta to live about the same. However, I can think of people who'd love to disagree with my expectation.

10. If they were falsely accused of murder, what would they do? How would they react? Firstly, be shocked that anyone would stoop to recognize her. Then the shock would change into terror when hit with the realization of the accusation, and she would deny the charge and try to clear her name. Celesta tends to be naturally curious, even though she'd timid, so her investigation would be mostly avoiding direct contact with, you know, people.

God bless!

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Years Tag... Yes, I'm Doing It

Don't judge me, folks. You know how much I love a good tag. And besides, I don't think my other post quite made the cut.

What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before? Privately self-published my first book for myself and family/friends to have a hard copy while editing; also beta-read for the first time for 2 (and counting!) fellow writers; and more, but I can't think of anything else that was big.

Did anyone close to you give birth? My second cousin and his wife had an adorable little girl on Christmas Day, but they live in another state, so I have to content myself with looking at her pictures on Facebook.

Did anyone close to you die? No.

What countries/states did you visit? Any states between Michigan and South Carolina, and also any states between Michigan and New Jersey. You can tally that up.

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? More oxygen, definitely. This last year was a killer for asthma. Hence, the appearance and introduction of my evil twin, Ken. 

What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory? March 19th, the day the first Hobbit film came out, very important, even though we waited to watch it right away; or the other one that comes to mind is December 28th, the day I played the piano for my second wedding. I had a lot of fun with that.

Did you move anywhere? Nope. 

What was the best month? Probably August... my birthday month. *winks*

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Writing 72,000 words in a single month. That was amazing, albeit exhausting.

What was your biggest failure? I'd say being sick so much. Asthma was rough, and I used my inhaler waaay more than I usually do.

Did you suffer illness or injury? Did you not read the above? No major injuries to report, just lots of asthma. 

What was the best thing you bought? More Dickens! I got myself Great Expectations, Little Dorrit, Our Mutual Friend, and The Pickwick Papers.

Whose behavior merited celebration? Umm... I'll say my oldest sister's. Beth left in October to go stay with my grandparents for a while. She's really helping them out, and even though we miss her terribly, we're happy knowing that she's where God wants her to be.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Well.... My own? I definitely should have been more out-going and positive, but I wasn't. 

Where did most of your money go? In loans. 

What did you get really, really, really excited about? The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey!!! Wow, was I giddy when we first watched it! But I couldn't help it... Tolkien writes amazing stories.

What was the best concert you've been to this year? My family watched a live streaming of a Christmas Vespers concert from the college my cousins attend. It was extremely well done! The music was gorgeous!!

What song/album will always remind you of 2013? Probably Disney's Frozen. We're not allowed to listen to all the songs, but Do You Want to Build a Snowman?, For the First Time in Forever, and In Summer were daily occurrences in our house for a solid two weeks when we first got the soundtrack, and they still really haven't died out.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
1. happier or sadder? "I have learned that whatsoever state I'm in therewith to be content." 
2. thinner or fatter? The same... I think.
3. richer or poorer? I had three part-time jobs this year. You decide.

What do you wish you'd done more of? Write.

What do you wish you'd done less of? Waste time on Pinterest.

What was your greatest musical discovery? Les Miserables, for one. This was a great year for musicals, but Les Mis was really the only true discovery in the musical genre because I knew songs from the other musicals and hence, none of those could be counted as this year's greatest discovery since I knew them from before, and Les Mis was the musical I discovered *was* a musical this year, and therefore must be put down as the greatest musical discovery of the year. Truly, I have a dizzy intellect, and iocane powder comes from Australia. Bonus points for anyone who gets that reference.

How did you spend Christmas? At home with my family. We skyped with my grandparents and Beth Grace all morning, so that was something new, but it was loads of fun.

How are you spending New Year's? At home, again. Quiet, but content to leave it so. 

Who did you spend the most time on the phone with? Probably Beth Grace. Before she left, I was not a phone-talker in the least, and since she left, I have more than twice recorded over an hour conversation with Beth. I don't know what's happened to me.

What was the best book you read? Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, besides many others.

Did you fall in love in 2013? No.

What was your favorite TV show? My family doesn't have cable/satellite TV so we don't watch TV shows really.

What did you want and get? Dombey and Son book and War Horse piano music are probably the two biggest. The former was a birthday gift, and the latter, Christmas. They're both superb.

What did you want and not get? Little Dorrit (2008) on DVD. Hopefully, I'll be able to afford that for myself soon. 

What were your favorite films of this year? The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Rise of the Guardians, Epic, and Jack the Giant Slayer. All fun adventures, but please be warned that there are scenes, music, and language that I do not endorse.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I was sick again this year; I don't think we did anything big, really. I probably read or wrote most of the day, and yes, I left my teens behind by turning the big two-oh. I don't feel 20, though. I'm wondering when that's going to kick in.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? My sister said I looked like a homeschooler; I thought I looked like a writer; you decide.

What kept you sane? My family.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy most? I don't do this "fancy." Celebrities don't really mean that much to me, but thanks to Pinterest, I know more about them by name and by face than I ever did before.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? More oxygen, but now I'm feeling redundant. Anywho, here's to a better year of easy breathing!

What political issue stirred you the most? I deliberately do not follow most political issues because they're so depressing... but I'm sure there were a few that I read articles on, but nothing big is standing out right now.

Who did you miss? My sister, Beth. Obviously. Although, since she left, I've gotten her bed. That's a plus.

Who was the best person you met? I don't know that I've met anyone really this year. I mean, not anyone that was more than an on-the-street-hello or I'm-near-you-for-about-a-day status, so I'm going to mark this question NA.

Tell a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. Life goes beyond the internet. You have a family, and time is better spent with them making memories than building up a reputation on Pinterest by having a thousand and one pins. You only have a few years with your parents and your siblings, so make the most of them. They're the only family you're ever going to have. Love them before that chance escapes you.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS! 

Five personally significant events of 2013: Privately self-publishing CoaL; writing 72,000 words in a month for NaNo; playing for my second wedding; my sister leaving for my grandparents'; and discovering I have a carob intolerance.

Five things I want to do in 2014: Write 150,000 words. Play my flute more. Breathe easier, even if it means being smarter with my inhaler (I immensely dislike using it). Publish my first, real book. And... watch Frozen and Desolation of Smaug! *grins*

Five people I'd like to know better in 2014: Blogging friends!! But there are more than five, so don't you dare make me pick names.

God bless!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014... I Need You To Meet Someone

Happy New Year, everyone!! 

Wow! Can you believe that 2013 is behind us? I know it was the usual three-hundred and sixty-five days in length, just like any other year, but it just seemed to fly by! 

Well, just to keep this post short, I'm going to give you all a quick review of my 2013, what I hope to accomplish in 2014, yada yada yada, and then at the end, I have a little someone I'm going to introduce to you all. Someone who has made a HUGE impact on my life.

So, first, 2013...

Started the year off with an epic party with my CBCs and classy blood cousins, and then spent a week at the latter's house while my parents went to visit my grandparents out-of-state. Also worked two part-time jobs from home.

Began writing Rebirth of a Legend, landed another part-time job, played the piano at a benefit dinner for a church friend, in addition to other things I can't recall.

Was very glad to get a brand-new, allergy-friendly mattress cover which greatly helped with my nocturnal slumbers, and began working on a new story, Kianna. Watched The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey after innumerable months of waiting! It was amazing!

Read Great Expectations, my seventh Dickens, and really enjoyed it. Wrapped up my family's sugaring season by making over ten gallons of syrup, and consequently, ate lots of pancakes. Somehow smashed my finger, making it the third time I've injured/broken the aforementioned finger.

My family started the month out by doing two concerts, and, as always, if I can say this without seeming boastful, the old people we sang for loved us. Little sisters always steal the show. *wink* Pollen level was high around our house, resulting in a rough month for asthma.

Attempted to write 50K words on RoaL, but got lost in editing Children of a Legend instead and ended up privately self-publishing the latter so that family/friends could help me get the last edits done for a hopefully soon publication.

Visited our CBCs to celebrate the glorious birthday of our great country, enjoyed reenacting (by popular demand) the first 4 chapters of CoaL with my siblings and cousins (which was quite hilarious), and finally began scraping the horrid purple paint out of our dining room. Purple does not belong in dining rooms.

Celebrated my twentieth birthday in the usual tradition of being sick, and resolved to break that tradition next year. Spent another fun visit with our CBCs, and said a sad good-bye to the first classy blood cousin to break our group up and go to college.

Discovered that in addition to being allergic to chocolate, I'm also harboring an intolerance for carob, the popular chocolate substitute, and decided to enter Anne Elisabeth Stengl's Five Glass Slippers story contest, a decision which was only a prelude to cooking up a Cinderella story unlike any I'd ever heard before.

Went on my third College Up Close trip to visit a college and two cousins who are currently enrolled there. Started cooking up the 30 Day Middle-Earth Challenge with Melody Muffin, and said farewell to my oldest sister, Beth Grace, who went out-of-state to be with and assist my grandparents for a while.

Wrote 72,000 words on Secret of the Hazel Tree, and made the obvious decision that it would not fit in the Five Glass Slippers contest. Visited Beth and my grandparents for Thanksgiving, and spent way too much wonderful time stuck in Middle-Earth doing the 30 Day Challenge.

Completed my goal of reading through the Bible in exactly one year! Went nuts with my sisters watching every Frozen clip and trailer we could find, and ended up making my youngest sister a replica Elsa dress for her doll. Played the piano for my second wedding, and had a wonderful Christmas week with family and friends, not being able to grasp that 2013 was just about over.

Some things I hope to accomplish in 2014...

Write at least 150,000 words story-wise

Finish writing Secret of the Hazel Tree

Publish Children of a Legend

Discipline myself to play the flute more

Read at least three more Dickens

Memorize more songs on the piano

Complete a study of one theological-type issue

Turn twenty-one (and not be sick while doing so!)

That's all I can think of for the moment, but there you have it.

And now, dear readers, I have that someone I promised to introduce to you all. Please don't get your knickers in a twist thinking I'm about to introduce you to some boy, because I'm not. Well, maybe... but not that kind of boy. 

Admit it, though... I had some of you think that. *winks* Yes, I'm incorrigible.

The "boy" I'd like you to meet is someone by the name of Ken. Ken is not necessarily a nice person, even though he has the unfortunate blessing of looking exactly like me, blue eyes, blonde hair, 5'7'', and everything. The way to tell us apart, really, is to listen to our voices. While I have a normal, girl-sounding voice, Ken has a deep and breathy voice to which, frankly, I don't like listening. Ken tends to be rather short with people, and he's forever giving me grief because he's not polite in the least respect. He shows up when he's least wanted, and doesn't go away until he wants to. He stole the goldfish I didn't even know I had... yeah, he's that type of guy.

And what's worse.... we're the same, Ken and I. He's my alter ego/evil twin, the "boy" I become when I have asthma. And he's here for New Years.

Anywho, hope you all are having a splendid holiday! The Lord really blessed my family this last year, and I'm looking forward to what 2014 may bring!! 

God bless and keep you all!