Monday, July 24, 2017

to name something is to own it -- Part II

~ Thomas L. Friedman

I already ran through a bunch of character names in the last post...but this time I'm curious about Book Titles. 

I began noticing titles differently when I started watching Korean dramas, whose translated titles range from straightforward (Dr. Frost - about someone named Dr. Frost) to confusing (Missing Noir M - a crime procedural drama) to simply ridiculous (Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo - a historical drama that does involve the moon and a whole lot of scarlet, but still...). One of my favorite titles is Time Between Dog and Wolf - as a drama about identity, the ability to see clearly, how to know those around you, and who is on your side, the title fit perfectly, as well sounding awesome and coming from L'heure entre chien et loup, a French saying about the difficulty of distinguishing dog from wolf at dusk, and referring to knowing friend vs foe. Seeing the odd ones (To the Beautiful You...7th Grade Civil Servant...Who Are You: School 2015...High Kick! The Revenge of the Short Legged) definitely made me look at titles in a whole new way.

One of my earliest novels was titled The Jeweled Dagger {Biblical Fiction}, and, as makes sense, prominently featured a jeweled dagger. Given that the MC was a horrifically scarred slave girl, I'm sure I could up with some more metaphysical meanings to the title...

My faith, hope, & love trilogy worked out decently enough to include Hope Sprang Up (I'm somewhere in the middle of a re-write that makes me happy), And it was Love (I'm less pleased with both title and story, but I think there's enough there that a good rewrite might find something worthwhile...XD),  and Faith Through Flames (partially written...it is the lynchpin and keystone to the trilogy, so I should probably get writing that...). The entire trilogy came from Hope Sprang Up, which title came from the story's heart.

Haunted came from an Emily Dickenson poem that says:
One need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place. 
As a story about personal demons and how pasts affect presents, it seemed fitting. 

Imperfecta actually came from osteogenesis imperfecta, otherwise known as brittle bone disease. I did not use that disease in the story, but did use several others, along with an entire theme of the beauty of humanity as creations of God, right along with how we have corrupted that beauty and the pain of facing the ugliness, and of feeling utterly imperfect. 

Rule the Whirlwind, that Hebraic/English mix of Chaos's story that is something of alternative history, came straight from Hosea 8:7, “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Certain characters are very willing to sow the wind...but they believe that they can rule instead of reap, and the title very perfectly encapsulates their identity and their personality and their goals.

The title of The Sons of Bretton Meyrick (remember that one? XD) was inspired by this song, which is funny when one is from an old Western involving Johnny Cash/John Wayne, and the other is a modern YA involving drugs and crime and a murder mystery...but both are about 4 brothers, and the feel of the song reminds me of certain of the brother's POV.

Inside My Mind, the futuristic sci-fi story inspired by The Phantom of the Opera comes from the particular line from the musical that inspired the entire story.

Cat's Got my Tongue, the futuristic sci-fi story inspired by The Little Mermaid, comes from the mermaid's inability to speak while referencing the feel of my particular retelling. 

The Medusa Maze, the futuristic sci-fi story inspired by, surprise, surprise, the story of Medusa, is kind of obvious, but fits my computer hacker MC quite well. I should maybe try blending it with the story of the Minotaur...oooh...

Contract to Time Travel came from the thing that started the story--Ellian Roya signing a contract to travel time in order to protect his story. Oh, the consequences of that decision...XD

Rebel Queen, CTTT's sequel, switches between Rebel Queen and Queen of Time with some regularity. The story hasn't decided what should be the main theme yet. Understandable, considering I added like 3 new POVs just last week. *AHEM*


This Present Time, the third book in my Time Travel series, was originally titled, Where Past and Future Meet. That was a bit bulky, though...and where past and future meet is obviously right now, in the present. Plus, considering the book's subject matter, Romans 8:18 seemed right on. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. {Eheheheheh...yes, I'm looking at you, people who have read the first book...XD}



Where do you get your book titles?
Thoughts on my titles? 
Do titles make you want to read particular books or do they not make much difference? What titles have caught your attention and did those stories match up to their titles?  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Why I am Not a Quivering Daughter


If you haven't figured it out, I was raised conservatively.
ATI, Vision Forum, small Baptist churches, and big homeschool families were all a part of my childhood.

Since then I've seen many "coming-outs" -- mostly women telling stories of the trauma inflicted in their childhood by one or all of the above things -- and it got me thinking.* I have also seen many of my fellow homeschool graduates grow up and systematically do the opposite of everything their parents did, not because of a horrific back-story but nevertheless making a definite statement about how they feel about their upbringing. Despite what you might suspect from the title of this blog post, I'm not here to say HOMESCHOOLING IS THE BEST or to defend or argue certain things. Rather, I want to explain what I've seen that drives people from their background {and many times from Christianity itself}, and why I'm not running, despite what I've seen of these things.

my favorite place in this town...and a place that reminds me of my childhood

*I should probably pause here to say that I/my family personally know several people who say these things, and some of them I believe {because I was there or close during their younger years and what happened is either obvious or clearly hangs together} and some of them I do not believe {because I was there or close during their younger years and their story does not match up with what I know of their life/church/family and, more importantly, does not match up with itself in multiple places}. For those who I do not know, I would similarly never dream of saying their story is not true unless they are caught in a lie in multiple places {the story of Razing Ruth is possibly an example}. 

Starting with...my mom was never afraid of calling the Emporer naked. When the Duggar scandal happened, I was not shocked...we'd seen and discussed an episode once and thought it unwise of any family to so set themselves up for a fall, and while it hurt watching sometimes-verified accusations nearly destroy my own church and then in about one year's time crash through ATI, Vision Forum, and a "high-profile" family like the Duggars, it did not horrify me.

We'd always been taught that putting people on pedestals was asking for disappointment and disillusionment, and searching for truth was far more important. We bought things from Vision Forum -- because who doesn't find dress-up fun? -- and were immediately displeased by their shoddy workmanship. You don't end up respecting people too much when you buy their [very expensive] stuff and it looks terrible when you open it up or falls apart when you first use it. My grandpa {a fairly conservative Christian introduced to homeschooling through our family and then several families at his church} saw some of Vision Forum's teachings and very bluntly called it as he saw it --a business taking advantage of poor families with very expensive teachings that shouldn't have to be bought, i.e. wrong. We got through 3 Elsie Dinsmore books before my mom said This is so stupid and the characters do not make sense. We started going through Wisdom Books and there was the whole "Do the curriculum this way or it will not work" and my mom was like...for dumb. We'll do the parts we want and take what we find interesting out of it. She mentioned to some friends that the teaching we got from ATI was fascinating and could be gotten nowhere else, and those friends said EXACTLY. You can't find that stuff anywhere else, which gave us all another reminder to not embrace it too fully. We went to several Basic Seminars, but when my mom heard about people being sent to work at Headquarters she nearly laughed. Why would she send her children to go work for strangers for free? The idea was ridiculous.

Was I hurt by some of those things? Yes, because for a while I actually believed that the Civil War was completely over States' Rights and slavery was barely part of it...{thankfully my family's focus on going to the source led to reading quite a few original documents and a better understanding of history.} Yes, because I poured over Character Sketches like they were the Bible, and it took me a whole lot of Bible reading later in life to realize that the Bible was misrepresented in quite a few places, and my understanding of several stories had been entirely skewed. Yes, because my understanding of the world was being formed and some things that went over my mom's head stuck in mine and later had to be dealt with, unfortunately. Yes, because I desperately wanted to pretend we had the perfect type of Christian family that was held up before us all the time and I knew we didn't. {And saw repeatedly that being open about hurts, pasts, and realities made other Christians distance themselves from whoever was dumb enough to be vulnerable.} And Yes, because for a while I resented my dad for not being the archetypal VF/ATI father with a home business I could help out with and that he did not have the leadership qualities so praised by so many around me. The fact that he wasn't the type was another protective factor, however, because even though many of his goals created their own set of issues, the fact that he insisted we all attend college and encouraged me to be a doctor {when the "acceptable" after-high-school-paths  for girls around me appeared to be limited to photography, teaching, music, or nursing, despite an incredible lack of any Biblical support for that view} was obviously key.

Also, a huge factor was that we were not raised with the Forbidden Other as a mysterious marvel. Yes, we had restrictions on the books we read, the movies we watched, and the music we listened to, far more than most people we knew -- restrictions which were explained and which loosened as we grew older. I was raised on a steady diet of classical music, hymns, old novels, and an occasional black and white movie -- I never remember feeling deprived that I couldn't watch something my friends were watching. {Except maybe Phantom of the Opera, because my cousin raved about it and because it introduced me to a new type of music. XD Given the movie is a lousy adaptation of that music, I clearly didn't miss much.} We played sports and knew people who weren't homeschooled and got [carefully vetted] jobs in high school -- I saw enough of public school to know early on that I wouldn't enjoy it, and easily saw the problems inherent there. Which isn't to say there weren't issues -- when one of my younger siblings began taking more and more classes at the local high school, my mom was the one to say "I feel like we always hear horrifying stories about trying to work with schools, but these high school counselors are pro-homeschooling and amazing to work with." She definitely felt the one-sidedness of the message we had been receiving. The fact that she clearly didn't listen to it explains a lot. XD That, plus the fact that my dad is rarely convinced of anything with which he doesn't already agree. And of course, my own silent attitude, which led me to refuse to wear a white blouse and blue skirt for years, lest I be mistaken for following ATI dress-code {the whole matching group thing creeped me out just a little as a child}.

There were quite a few years where I felt absolutely rejected by many in the community in which I was raised. In college, nobody understood where I was coming from or why my life and life goals seemed so foreign, while going back home to baby showers and high school graduation parties led to a whole other set of subtle snubs and dislike of me as someone "clearly" stepping outside the bounds of female order and God's will.
These were from outside my family, however, and I was dead-sure that God was calling me to what I was doing -- the rest hurt, but couldn't affect me that much. Rather, it made me search the Scriptures more and become far more wary of ever again putting God in a box.

Basically, my parents did it right, and things that have been blamed for giving a completely warped view of God and His will managed to mostly slide past me.

What good did I get from these things, though? Would I use them in teaching my own children?

I think to start -- I adore homeschooling. I fully understand that there are times and places that it is impossible...but that was why public school was originally invented. {Although, honestly, at this point, I'd think that finding another homeschool family able to teach your children would be better than public school. My grandpa worked in education for years. Both my parents went to public school. I and my siblings have all interacted with the public school system in some way. It's a lousy way to learn for soooo many children.} I loved being home with my family, I have awesome memories of adventures with my siblings, I had opportunities to train horses, to fly airplanes, to work with incredible ski instructors, to make a house-cleaning business in high school, and to read and create and do a million things I never could have done if I had been forced through the ridiculousness of the public school system. I took an AP chemistry class in 11th grade, and while I learned what I needed to and very much enjoyed my teacher {who happened to be a great guy with 7 kids who wrote me an awesome recommendation letter for college}, having to GO TO CLASS EVERY DAY AT THE SAME TIME was torture. XD {The worst of my homeschooling: it prepared me for an alternative lifestyle of not one of being told what to do all the time.} Of course, my view of homeschooling is the end result of educated parents, and an incredibly skilled mother wholly dedicated to us learning everything we could. Yes, in our homeschool, some mornings we did nothing but read the Bible {which actually teaches you a million things, despite what some claim}...and as years went on some of us got through calculus and some of us struggled with algebra...some of us were reading by age 5 and some of us read slowly even in high school...but all of us were easily on track where we should be nationally...and none of us struggled with transitioning to "normal" classrooms when the time came to be a little more in the world without being of it.

Not VF approved, clearly...

 
I always enjoyed reading through Vision Forum catalogs, looking for books recommendations and costume ideas...I read a ton of Henty books and fell in love with To Have and to Hold {though my ancient copy was definitely not from Vision Forum...}. ATI's focus on character was not a bad thing -- learning character qualities and practicing Wisdom Searches wasn't the end goal it was sometimes treated as, but it was a useful stepping stone. The people who I watched treat it as a stepping stone were the ones who benefited, while those who viewed it as The Way were the ones who got burned. {We only have One Way to follow, and He does not require a stack of workbooks or a chart of rules to follow.}
Would I use ATI materials in home schooling my hypothetical children? Probably not. I think I can take the good I learned from them and apply the good without making my hypothetical children sift through the bad. Which is exactly what my parents tried to do. Will I miss something that will end up negatively affect my hypothetical children in whatever I do choose to use in raising them? I am sure I will, because I am human.

Everyone goes through a growing-up time. {Called growing up.} They adjust what they believe and what they grew up with and how they want to order their future life. I've seen it on both sides of the conservative/liberal spectrum, and found it fascinating how that adjustment plays out.

For every homeschool/conservative upbringing horror story, there are an equivalent number of horror stories from public school/liberal upbringings. {So far, in college/medical school, I have seen multiple instances of absolutely horrendous childhoods, all of which so far have been incredibly worse than the bad childhoods I have since recognized among my homeschooled friends.}
I think the reason people react so violently to ATI/etc in blaming their upbringing is that they can link it to a "movement" or a lifestyle...when something is mainstream {like public school} it's a lot easier to link it to one bad teacher, a terrible school, or a completely dysfunctional parent, rather than to GOTHARDISM as a whole, something that corrupted their parents and destroyed them.

I do not want to minimize the pain that verbal abuse, that a false view of God, that an attitude of constant judgment or a surrounding micro-culture of condemnation will bring to a child, or how that will continue to affect a person's life throughout their entire adulthood. I can't. This is absolutely devastating. I've seen it and I've seen the effects. It destroys. There is little worse than insisting you have light and instead pouring darkness into someone vulnerable. I cannot fault vitriolic backlash when it comes because a person has held themselves up and pretended they are wholly right and stand with God beside them when they are not actually following Him. Do not dare to give God the lie and hurt His children. It has been done, is being done, and it must be condemned. 

But I also have to say that when I am standing over a child's bed in the PICU, watching the machine that is keeping them breathing following their drug overdose, hearing from their weeping parent how this child followed their own footsteps since they went to jail and how the child has been doing meth since barely old enough to read and that this overdose is following a sexual assault two days ago...I see the other kind of damage. I know what my parents wanted to protect me from and I know why I am standing beside that bed and not lying on it. 

As the children of an experiment, we do need to give grace to our parents, to recognize that they were trying something counter-cultural, and to value the good they gave us and what they sacrificed to do so. And, if your parents "did it right" and you got only the good in your past...you have that much more to give. I hope you can recognize others may not have had your experience and not give them more rejection or deny their experience. If your parents didn't and you got only the bad...I hope you can separate it from the truth and find how to change where you are at and meet people who truly walk the talk you may have heard but never seen and who can personify love for you. (And I mean that in the most serious I-hate-what-has-been-done-to-you-and-am-terrified-lest-you-read-what-I-have-written-here-as-condemnation-of-you sense.)

Everyone's parents make mistakes...some of which are far harder for children to deal with than others...and yes, some parents, including those who call themselves Christians, make other than mistakes and willfully damage the souls in their care. Speaking from another angle, one not associated with homeschooling or Christianity, though very much associated with my life, we can all find the pain in our past. We can all blame people for who we are, we can all find an excuse for our personalities, our situations, our issues. 

But that's the thing. They are our lives. I am not going to reject everything in my past over certain pieces. I am not going to blame certain people for who I am {well, maybe I will, but I will also move on and work to change who I am ;) }. This is not their life; it is mine. It is Christ's. 

I am not a quivering daughter because there were people in my life who followed Christ more than man; I am also not a quivering daughter because I am a child of the Healer and He defines me, not any pain of my past.
There is so much damage in the world, so many broken and hurting...we can all focus on our own wounds or we can find someone more wounded and seek to strengthen them and find ourselves strengthened in turn. 


Monday, July 10, 2017

welcome to my home


something living ~ my happy garden....
+
the view from my balcony



learning to love salad
+
baking for resident parties
+
peonies my mom brought me when she visited
+
flowers outside the Medical Center




living room/bookshelf
{the must-haves; I left a full bookshelf in my parent's house}
+
guest room & travel center
{stuffed animals & cool things from other countries & exercise stuff here}
+
my bedroom
{the best; I sleep like a rock for 5 hours here XD}
+
laundry room/study room
{the quote wall came with me, see}





Bless this house, O Lord we pray
make it safe by night and day
Bless these walls, so firm and stout
keep want and trouble out
Bless the roof and chimney tall
let Thy peace lie over all
Bless the door that it may prove
ever open to joy and love
Bless these windows shining bright
letting in God's heavenly light
Bless the folk who dwell within
keep them pure and free from sin
Bless us that one day we may dwell
O Lord with thee.
~Anon



Monday, July 3, 2017

Interesting...


I'm not sure what I think of this poem... but there's something intriguing about it. A story behind it.
And northern lights are always cool. ;D


I don't know where this is from...google...not mine...etc.

Sometimes. 

Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail.
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well. 

A people sometimes will step back from war, 
 elect an honest man, decide they care enough, 
that they can't leave some stranger poor. 
 Some men become what they were born for. 

Sometimes our best intentions do not go 
 amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to. 
 The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow 
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you. 

-- Sheenagh Pugh

Monday, June 26, 2017

to name something is to own it...

~ Thomas L. Friedman

Arielle's splendid post on names--both of them, actually--made me think of names, and how I go about naming characters, and when I said...you just made me want to write a character naming post...she replied, Please DO

So, here I am, doing. XD 

I am a pantser, and in my younger years, not a very thoughtful one. So, ignoring some of my earlier books, I'm going to focus on a few of my more recent stories, and how I got the names I did. Mostly for fun, though if you need a look into the mind of a very distracted writer, you might learn something... XD

I'll be pulling from the following stories:

My Time Travel series {sci-fi/dystopian fantasy/something like that...}
Contract to Time Travel, Rebel Queen/Queen of Time, This Present Time


Rule the Whirlwind {somewhere between alternative history and historical fantasy, I haven't decided; kinda on hiatus, though probably my go-to if I pause in Rebel Queen}


Fairy Tale/Myth/Etc Retellings
{Phantom of the Opera, Sleeping Beauty, Little Mermaid, and Medusa, remember. Sci-fi on semi-hiatus, but still brainstorming XD}

Haunted {modern YA; currently on hiatus}



I literally titled the document Turquoise Trauma
Haunted is still in its infancy, with many characters requiring names, and that alone is stalling me. Maybe you can take your child home from the hospital with Baby Boy on the birth certificate, but I get stuck in the doorway and panic until my child is named. I change very few names, and the changes are always semi-traumatic, with character personality morphing with the name change--hence, I don't want to go too far with characters unless their name seems right. Of those who have been named...

Madison Comstock got her name because her mother called her Maddie, and I needed a modern middle-class name for a girl fighting cancer with a mother who'd married a math professor.

Emerson St. George got her name because I wanted the MC, her current foster child, to call her dragon-slayer. She will fight for what she loves, and St. George fits her like nothing else. Somehow, with that, Em simply was her first name. It might be a bit odd, being named after her father in place of the son they thought they were getting, but she doesn't mind it. 

Destiny, Xavier, Lexi, Elisha, and Miss Lear are all going to fit in somehow...for a ridiculously full story about foster care and WWII vets and drug abuse and abortion and families and expectations and love and belonging. 


My retellings are also in that tenuous place of sorting...Philippa Thakur-Lee is Prince Phillip - the University on the Moon has students from all over the world, and his name reflects his heritage as the child of the Bengali ambassador and a Korean diplomat. His first name, of course, is tribute to Prince Phillip, but also to his Bengali parental factor and the fact that Philippa being, in fact, a masculine name made me laugh. {We'll see if he appreciates it.} 

His best friend is Kieren McKay--his heritage isn't terribly hard to guess, and he just kind of showed up and announced his name. {Characters often do that in my books.}

CenSci Labs sprang into being with similar ease, but their scientific and business rival, Fashioning all Relevant Innovative Enterprises Incorporated, or FaRIE Inc, took a bit more planning. {We'll see if I let them keep that...} 

Sun Ren-Qing, my POTO Raoul, is very definitely Chinese, but his choice to change his name to Rakshan Sun reflects his manipulative decision to honor his adoptive father's Indian heritage. Madam Galiaskarov is my Russian ex-nun version of Madame Giry--I wanted to keep the G and the phrasing, but she did not want to be French. {She is a little bit opinionated.}

Meanwhile, my gender-swapped Little Mermaid is currently going by Aridai Seung-ki Macnamara. The first is a nod to the Disney Mermaid and a reflection of the futuristic setting of the story, the second is a nod to his Korean birth parents, and his last name comes from his Irish adoptive parents and weirdly Irish personality. {Unlike the others, he is not on the Moon because of his brilliance, but because his grandfather sent him there on his first police assignment to discourage his interest in space travel.}

{Clearly the moon is thick with Irish and Koreans, but don't worry, other countries will definitely have their mark on the stories. XD}

Rule the Whirlwind is...different...as alternative history should be. XD Chaos, as an abandoned Gypsy child, tells people she is nameless, but when everyone calls her Chaos, technicalities are a little false, aren't they? Her sister-self, Maranatha Sidori, or Mara, went through a few name changes, including Marionette, before firmly settling on her current name, without much regard for anything other than her personality and how the name fit the story.

Jericho Chand, my darling dark wolf-child {as in character/personality, not fantasy kind, though that is of course an option...XD} was one of those who rather named himself...and he also simply mentioned his sisters, Selah and Amelia.

The Imp had his nickname long before anything else showed up, but when he was ready to enter the story, Rey Gabriele fit my bitter golden puppet-master like nothing else. There is very little angelic or sunlike about my crippled orphan, but that itself fits his cold sarcasm to perfection.

Emmett Kinring Kalliden comes from a long history of wanting a character named Kinring, Kalliden standing out to me during medical school, and my love for the name Emmett. Which also happens to fit with E and his father's penchant for naming each of his six boys something beginning with E--including Edmund Ethan, Ellis, Erastus, and Everard.

By now I have a growing list of names that feel like they "fit" the story, which I will continue to draw from as I write. Many are Biblical, which manages to fit the story's vaguely English roots without being too foreign. {Okay, so Shabbethai and Enrimmon might be pushing it, but they might end up as towns or last names. XD}


My Time Travel series also has a name-list going...but the names of the main characters were a little different. Ellian Roya I literally made up on the spot for a blog contest, and it somehow snowballed from there. I do not remember how Echo Fire and her twin Phoenix ended up with their names (other than that I liked them), but Tylar is Mirriam's fault {this is probably the first she's heard of it XD}, and Rui just picked his name off a name list. He's never told me why, and asking doesn't much help. {His name was originally Anton Beck, of all things and his personality changed just a bit when his name did. No wonder he talks more in the first chapter than in most of the book to follow...Also, I completely forgot that many characters, including Rui, changed names shortly after I started this particular book. I found the evidence in an old email after I started writing this post, and was properly shocked.}

The chimeras were a little more work. I had chosen Korean models for the characters and wanted to use Korean names for at least some of them, so I basically looked up Korean names and listed combinations and meanings that I liked and then ran through them repeatedly until they each picked one. Hae means grace and Jin means jewel of truth...and since I already had some idea of Hae-Jin's story arc, that was his name. {I didn't know about the thing that happens in the middle of the book...that came later.}

Kang-Dae basically means power and greatness, which he liked, and which I liked because it was possible for Ellian to mistake it for Ghandi while in the middle of being beat up by Kang-Dae and not paying much attention. XD  

Then Dante happened because I thought it was a cool name and I wanted to evoke Dante's Inferno and he glared at me and walked away with it. Hang Korean names, apparently. 

Petra is actually Dante's fault--he originally had a name that meant wise-energy, but the name was unwieldy and difficult to pronounce for most of my audience...the meaning fit him, but that name didn't, so he ended up following in Dante's footsteps for a non-Korean name. Also, he clearly did not care that Petra is occasionally a girl's name in today's world. {I remembered his name change and his alone, because it happened nearly at the end of the novel, unlike the others.}

Ja means attraction/magnetism and Il means superiority...it seemed to fit him as leader, but maybe I should have left the Ja off if I didn't want him taking over the story...yeah, so in retrospect I should have seen that coming. 

As the story-world began to build, I noticed a theme. Many of the characters had noun last names {Fire, Song, Day, Star, Sunn, Storm} and slightly different but not entirely unusual first names {Phoenix, Silver, Ara, Aksel, Thia}, with occasional odd names out, which fit my story of a islanded future, cut off from other countries, but with descendants of many countries and cultures remaining under Amon's dictatorship where only his rules apply. Some of the characters, like Echo Fire, I planned on being important characters and therefore gave a name that had intrigued me. Others, like Minato Star, I simply named for a side-character and then had to do a double-take as they moved forward with plans to invade my story.


Which gives you a pretty good overview of how my characters get their names. As in I dunno, but they all got names. XD {Except the MC of that Haunted story. He doesn't have a name yet. Which is why the story is on hiatus.}


How do the characters in your stories get their names? And have you ever forgotten you changed a character's name???? 


Monday, June 19, 2017

New Life Things™


Or, recent things in my life that I feel like talking about today. XD




~ Moving to My Own Apartment. {pictures upcoming, possibly. also, I feel like I have been moving for forever.}
will I move next year? who knows...
at least sticking to the same town, though, Lord willing...XD

~ Driving My Own Car to that new apartment. {Though I plan to bike to work as many days as possible, there is something very awesome about God leading us to the cheapest truck of its kind in the state immediately after the car I had been driving died...plus it's still under warranty, and should be something I completely don't have to worry about while Residency Things are going on...}
what, it has to do with cars. XD 

~ Starting an Adult Job™ for the first time, and my first job at ALL since starting medical school. {Today is the first day of training, you guys...we'll see what happens to blogging after I officially start. XD}
I wish I were not kidding quite so much right now. XD
But maybe at least I will no longer be going IN to debt?
That will be quite the improvement.

~ Finally discovering what it feels like to wait on hearing back from a publisher...you got my baby, publisher peoples...I may have separation anxiety...XD
*internally screaming*

~ Also discovering what it feels like to say that out loud. {I normally would not mention I'd sent something anywhere until I'd heard back...I'm being uncharacteristically open, you guys... XD}



~ Also trying to reconcile the thought of moving hours away from my family and having less time to be in contact with them than I ever have before. While simultaneously doing something harder than I've ever done. {It's medical boot camp, and from everything I've heard, just as bonding and as horrifying as you would expect...}



~ Reading a new book, as in Thick as Thieves.
I read The Thief back in...2009? 2010?, immediately turned around and read most of the series aloud to my family, and have been trying to make the people around me read the Queen's Thief series ever since. This spring I actually read The Thief aloud and sent it to one of my friends who recently was listening to a bunch of audiobooks, and then gave it to my sister for her birthday. {It's been delightful to watch her face as she reads through the rest of the series herself.}
This year was the publication of the 5th book, and this month is the first time I've read through one of Megan Whalen Turner's books simultaneously with one of my friends, stopping to freak out and share the awesomeness after every 2 chapters. 


The book is gold, and also gold was one of the "hint words"
that MWT threw out to fans while writing the book. XD

~ Figuring out taxes. -___- And I'm not even to the taxes part, just the signing up for stuff.
'nuff said

~ In other writing news, I just won a medical student writing contest with a poem I wrote in the middle of the night prior to an interview, and I will be published in a medical journal this summer!


~ I even had to set up a photography session with the journal's photographer in order to get my picture taken. Definitely New™.




I think that's all the recent stuff I wanted to talk about...stay tuned for whatever else randomness strikes my blogging fancy....XD


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Lord, teach us to pray...



Our Father, our Father, our Father, our Father...You are Father to each of us, and bear the burden and care for each one. I do not have to hold it all, because You do.

Who art in Heaven...Your ways are not our ways nor Your thoughts our thoughts...You are above, we are below.

Hallowed be Thy Name...regardless of what You choose...holy, holy, holy is the Lamb that was slain.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done...Your presence and Your power and Your place here and now and forever more...Your plan before and above ours, in the world and in our hearts.

On earth as it is in heaven...may we obey as if already in heaven, may Your power and Your glory be our highest good, may we taste and see that You are good, even here, even now.


Give us this day our daily bread...You have claimed us, You have translated us into Your kingdom, You are the Bread of Life...Give us You, spiritually and physically, show us Your love and strengthen our faith.

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us...make us like You in all ways, cover us with Your righteousness, Give us You, physically and spiritually.

Lead us not into temptation...keep us from the evil way, do not let our feet slip, protect us from the designs of the evil one. Make Thy way straight before our faces.

But deliver us from evil...wholly take us out of the way. Make clear the escape from sin, protect us from this fallen world and how it would seek to taint our relationship with You and with others. Be Thou for us, our Strength and our Deliverer.

For Thine is the kingdom...the kingdom which Your good pleasure would give us. You are Goodness, You are Love, at Your right hand is pleasure forevermore, and Your will for us is good.

And the power, and the glory, for ever...All power is Yours, all ability, all knowledge. You are infinitely able...You held the sun still in the sky so that Your will could be done and turned back death to bring us life. You, as Creator and as Healer, are able to heal our uttermost brokenness, to create in us a new heart, to make us new creatures entirely. There is nothing impossible with You.

Amen.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June Snippets


What, I just did May? Shhhh. Ignore that. XD



I've mentioned this story before...and really, I had almost started it before I finished book one.  But, as much as I loved them, I wasn't entirely ready to spend another two years in the heads of the same characters I'd been in for what already felt like forever.

So I dawdled and told myself I had to wait for beta reader responses and then got them and dawdled some more...played with all my other stories--a chapter here, a chapter there...worked on editing Contract to Time Travel...wrote a proposal...sent Contract to Time Travel to 3 publishers as a somewhat drawn out simultaneous submission...messed around with new novel ideas...and then came back to this one. 

And found myself, for the first time in months, writing-writing. As opposed to the numerous variations {considering-writing...attempting-writing...forcing-writing...fighting-writing...etc.} that have been plaguing me for a very long time. New Life Things™ will be happening soon, so I don't know how long this will last, but right now I'm loving it. XD


~~~

      But even this could not completely stop the rumors. The whispers that some ordered to death had disappeared before the patrols could come for them. That a sky car bringing supplies to the capital had been stopped and all food and weapons stolen. That one of the government homes for children of traitors had burned to the ground but no bodies were afterward found. That one of the databases in Itai had exploded, and hundreds of records regarding biogen experiments, including the chimeras, had been destroyed. That maybe, just maybe, there was a way out of Itai, even, perhaps out of Makul itself. That somewhere there lived a people who did not answer to Amon.
The penalty for speaking any of this is death.


~~~

        “I think I saw Amon’s Shadow on the way to school and I think we should review the safety protocol about the angel.” The boy’s words spilled out of him like salt overshaken, and Eren drew his eyebrows together, lowering and not at all caring that he was doing so. 
        “First—we do not call him that.” How many times could he drill this into their heads? Words have power. “Name the creatures of Amon what they are and name your fears. Forget Angel, Amon's Right Hand, Head Assassin, Last of the Five, and call him Amon’s Shadow only when required. Even calling him a transgenic or a chimera—he is merely a man with spliced DNA and a mind twisted and shattered by years of experiments and abuse. Do not make it sound more impressive than you must. Second—what is our safety protocol?”



~~~

         “You going to be okay?” he asked before he thought. Stupid question. But it sounded better than are you going to start breathing normally anytime soon?
        She looked down at Ty and shrugged, the struggle to sound calm giving a ragged edge to her voice. “Good isn’t happening, but I’ll work on okay. Until either utter panic or overwhelming relief become more appropriate.”



~~~

        The street was there before them, and she stopped short, scarcely noticing the chimeras doing the same on either side of her. It was bleak and barren, but that place beneath the moonlight had been burned into her soul and she was bleeding now as if the wound had never healed. Ja-Il was falling, broken wings outstretched, lifeblood spreading across his skin; Dante screaming a horror too great for words; the others crying out in agony as the bonds that held them close were torn apart by sacrifice and by betrayal. 
      The burning ache of it wrenched through her, and still she stood frozen. How could it still hurt this much?


~~~

        “Forgive me,” he whispered. “The thought of cutting his throat is all that keeps me sane some nights.


~~~

        “Yes,” [he] said simply. 
        The older man shook his head, as if the admission were too brazen to believe. 
       [The chimera] stretched out his hand, as though he would slow the gathering storm. “I have fought and bled with you. You have known who I am, if not what.”

      The man crossed the room in two steps and there was no calming the fury within his eyes. “You are an accursed angel,” he said, and his voice caught in blinding pain. “And you are the monster that killed my wife.” His fist smashed into [the chimera's] face before [she] realized his intent.


~~~


            Aksel Storm raised his hand, running the other through his mess of brown curls and barely waiting until Eren pointed to him. “Know all available information at all times.”
          Min raised his hand again, clearly unabashed. “But that is impossible and exactly my point—the protocol is not a protocol at all. It is merely more things to think about and in a moment of panic we are to what? Stroke our chins and evaluate Amon’s Shadow for a weakness?”
           Aksel sent him withering glance. “We are not supposed to panic, brainless.” 




Thursday, June 1, 2017

#TWIN

from a trip to Florida

The past few months I've been working on memorizing John 14-17. {Mostly 14. I got bogged down because of traveling so much.} Every time I go through I hit 14:14-15, and have to pause a moment. 
if ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it.  
If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
I keep thinking about the relationship between those two verses, and their straightforwardness compared to how very complicated they seem to us as humans...and then before I know it I'm in chapter 15 and in the middle of all the abiding, and having to pause again.

Abiding is something I've thought about for sure...but it's also a concept I've had trouble grasping. Like seriously, how do you abide in Him? It's clearly central to living as His person, the concept makes sense...but HOW?

In some ways my family has always been pretty close. Every so often my mom and I will say the exact same thing at the exact same time -- it happens more often the more time we spend together, and it always sets my mom laughing. "I guess I can die now," she usually says. "I've replicated myself." 

Perhaps stranger than that is when my two closest friends and I {one of whom I see on rare, light-filled days in which sugar and sleeplessness are closely entwined, and one of whom I have not yet met in person} do the equivalent online: type the same words at the same time while chatting with each other. We call it twinning. {Hence the name of this post.} The record is perhaps 3 of the exact same responses in a row for each of us, the odds of which I don't feel like calculating. 

This happens the most when we are in sync, obviously -- when we have been spending a lot of time together, when we are most in tune with each other's thoughts and moods, when we are, to put it simply, feeling the same thing.

It was thinking about this that finally made the concept of abiding click, and with it, a lightbulb flash of understanding regarding the command to pray without ceasing.

When I go for days without truly talking to my mother or chatting/messaging/texting my closest friends, this does not mean our friendship has ceased to exist. But, it means that when we talk again it takes just that little bit longer until we reach that place of being totally in sync.  

When I go for days without real, serious prayer time, this does not mean I am not a Christian. But it means that when I next pray, it will take that much longer before I am thinking His way. Prayer is not so that God knows what is on my mind {though I think He created us and Heaven because He actually does enjoy spending time with us, mind-blowing as that thought is}. Prayer is that I can know His mind, so that I can know His heart, so much as is possible for the finite to understand the infinite. So that I can be like Him. What else is abiding, but that closeness, that oneness, that unthinking knowing where my actions, my words, my thoughts, become His? 

How do I get there? I am guessing it works with my God the way it works with my people -- which is by loving them, caring about what they care about, and discussing everything under the sun with them and snatching any moment I can to share with them. Just as simple and as difficult as that. 

I have to keep thinking about John 14...but if I put John 15 into practice, I think it will become understandable on a different level. The times when I am in sync with my people are always amazing...abiding in God the way Jesus describes in John 15? Try to imagine that. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Mystery of the InterVerse


So Blogger's search keywords under Stats aren't very helpful. {You're hereby notified I'm going to try out Google Analytics and see what comes of it...XD Curiosity killed the Kate, you know.} As an example of their non-helpfulness, would you like to see the top 10 ways that people have apparently reached this blog?

By googling:

seek him first
....I feel like I should apologize to the scores of people who were looking for a Bible verse and ended up here...there's a lot of extra information if you were just looking for Matthew 6:33.

firstseekhim.blogspot.com
...so what did you guys do? Type that address into google? Trust your instincts more! You had it right!

the grinch's dog
It continues to absolutely crack me up that of all the posts on this blog that I've written...THIS ONE has the most views. A five-minute post from back in 2009.

love quotes for him
....I don't know whether to find that phrase itself more confusing or the fact that it apparently brought 37 people to this blog.

grinch's dog
Again with that dog. -_-

i'm lost
...aaaaand that many of you ended up here via being lost. I'm not sure if I should take that as a compliment or an insult...

exam comics
I guess I do talk a lot about exams? And maybe at some point I had some comics up?? I don't even remember it, though...hrm...what do you know about me that I have forgotten about myself...

dachapoo
SERIOUSLY.  I have to start paying that dog a commission or something...

3 billy goats gruff printables
Okay, THAT was kind of a cute post. XD And I always liked that printable.

grinchs dog
...I'm not even going to add up the total and see how many people she has brought to my blog...I should just take a bunch of pictures of her apparently, and stick with that for blog content...XD

Speaking of curiosity, though...I really want to know how you found my blog. How many of you who stuck around to read it found it because of that little dog? XD Or was it through fellow blogger sidebars? Tags? Interviews? I wanna know, Anne.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

On Abandoning the World and Walking with the One who Created it




from one of my 5am flights

And he walked with God and he was not. 

How is that for abandoned to God? Living so completely in and with and for and through God that you simply walk with him until you are not. He must increase and I must decrease.

~ Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord; he was perfect in his generations; God did not take him. Instead, God directed him to build an ark.
~ Moses, to whom God talked as to a friend, a relationship unlike any other, afterward had a face that literally shone. So brightly he had to veil himself, as the temple was veiled to hide the Holy of Holies. That's how much his body reflected the Person of God with Whom he met. He was buried by God.
~ Elijah and Elisha raised the dead and called down fire and over and over and over again asked for and received the impossible. They heard His voice, saw the otherworld surrounding them...lived in that reality of the God who spoke in a still, small voice in the midst of earthquakes and fire, and who sent chariots and horses of fire to carry His servant home - or to protect them as they served Him on earth.
~ David, the man after God's own heart, of whose shattered prayers we can read pages upon pages, heard from prophets. He also up and asked God things and heard God answer him. But he was not allowed to build a temple for the God who spoke with him.
~ Paul, the passionate, difficult-to-understand missionary who traveled across the world and died for the One whose Name he proclaimed, heard a voice from heaven...and was later 'caught up to the third heaven', and that was enough.
~ Daniel, dedicated to the God who permitted the destruction of his entire life, was beloved of the Lord, visited by dreams and visions and angels throughout his life.
~ John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, not only walked with God incarnate, but in worshiping Him after saw Him as the King among the rainbows and candles, and was given vision after vision of the future of the world.

It doesn't happen the same way twice. 

There is no perfect pattern of here is how to walk with Me and here is how I will reveal Myself to you. It's the same God working with and connecting with different people in all these different ways. It doesn't matter how you think it'll go or what specific person you want to someday be like but rather it is about with Whom you are walking.

Abide in Me and I in you.

What does Abide means to you? What are practical ways that you abide in Him and forsake the world in which you actually live, while still being in the world but not of it
How you walk with God

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