Monday, October 22, 2012

The Character Ilmatara

via pinterest
I loved Jenny's brilliant way of looking at countries, and then Anne-girl had the perfectly fun idea to do a Beautiful People link-up using a country... And Ilmatara stepped forward. :) 

Ilmatara appears mainly in And It Was Love, is mentioned in Hope Sprang Up, and is at the very least mentioned again in Faith Through Flames, which I have not yet written. 
I hope you enjoy! :D

What is their biggest accomplishment?
As a country whose beginnings are kind of lost in the ancient mists of times, she's got quite a list... I think it would probably depend on who you asked. When the country was pagan, I think the first queen who united Ilmatara as one was probably almost worshiped... Now, I think, Tarian's work is probably Ilmatara's greatest accomplishment - managing to cut through the unshakable traditions that surrounded religion in Ilmatara and set Truth in its place.

What is one of their strongest childhood memories?
Oh, so many stories I know are there... the one I have been told all Ilmataran children know by heart is The Legend of Ariae Who Loved - the legend behind the shooting star.

What is their favorite food?
Probably... something like sherbet - cool, refreshing, expensive (at least for her it would be...), and delicious. Actually, I'm pretty sure chocolate would be the national food, if she had such a thing... (Come on, the place is ruled by women. What else would it be?? LOL)

Do they believe in love at first sight?
Of course! XD The queens are the absolute rulers... and one of their privileges is to choose whoever they will to marry. Of course they would not deny their subjects that same privilege, and while I am sure there are some citizens a bit more prosaic, most of them love poetry and song, and nothing so much as a good romance. With lots of love at first sight. XD

What kind of home do they live in?
It is a warmish land, though snow comes sometimes, lightly... The palaces are huge and beautiful and filled with pillars and statutes and all that... the homes of the peasants are cute and cozy... the older it looks, of course, the better.

What do they like to wear?

Anything beautiful... 

and rich... 

and colorful...

 though peasants have it a bit harder.

What would they do if they discovered they were dying?
Fight. Much as she prefers candles and dances and feasts and services, she would not hesitate to fight any who should try to attack her from without. Decay from within seems a much more likely cause of death... but so long as there are within her those like Tarian, willing to fight that as well, she will be fine. :)

What kind of holidays, or traditions do they celebrate?
Oh, so many... I know she has a version of Christmas (in the Spring) and of Easter as well (not sure if that is also in the spring or not...). There is always a princess's ball before one's marriage... and the marriage of a queen is certainly filled with tradition (the vows must be spoken before 500 people as the sun sets, etc.), though funerals are much more simple. Because of the whole religious upheaval, I think she is sorting through some of their once-thought-unchangeable holidays... what she will end up with I am not yet sure.

What do your other characters have to say about them?
Hmm... as in other countries? :)
Eyvindr finds her wretchedly unchivalrous - what kind of a country would send women out as ambassadors or force a woman to deal with all the pressures of being sole ruler?
Taurhassdorien feels a bit abandoned by her (Ilmatara's ambassadors left Brynhaven, who then promptly took over Taurhassdorien), and I think finds her just a bit high-and-mighty - the whole ancient and stately deal, with all her tradition...
Brynhaven wants her, rather badly - land-locked by mountains though Ilmatara may be, it has not slowed down her industry or her growth, and the finely-tempered steel of which her weapons are made is apparently something to kill for.
Vastaavatkarhu finds her preposterous - how could a woman ever think to try ruling a country? - and is quite willing to join with Brynhaven in attacking.
Ellasar, before being taken over by Brynhaven, was quite willing to be friends - now strangled by Brynhaven, I don't believe Ellasar thinks of Ilmatara at all, except in a rather distant and jealously-hateful-of-the-fact-that-Ilmatara-is-still-holding-out-against-Brynhaven way.

If they could change one thing in their world, what would it be?
Right now? Beat back those attacking her, stop the royal family from dying, make everything happy again, and probably just go back to being beautiful and traditional. She's been quite content over the past few centuries... though maybe it's time to at least start sending out ambassadors again, and not stay quite so peacefully at home while the rest of the world destroys itself...  
This is actually an awesomely Ilmataran gif... go see

Saturday, October 20, 2012

For your amusement...

something I wrote years and years ago when studying history of the world. XD enjoy...

via google

Egypt’s Economy Crashes! World Trade at Risk
Front-page story by Horam, son of Jabad

            The country still rocking from a combination of disastrous weather and a slave revolt, Egypt’s entire army was recently drowned in the Red Sea.
            It all started when the Pharaoh, in a frenzy after the death of his first born son, freed all of the country’s Israelite slaves. His brother, Moses, recently returned from exile in Midian, had been after him for weeks to let them go. 
            Moses is quoted as saying, “The LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, 'Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear.'” The man then claimed that all of the economic, health-related, and social disasters lately fallen on Egypt were the direct result of this God of the Hebrew’s wrath. The Pharaoh refused to listen to such foolishness, but neglected to put his brother into an insane asylum. Unfortunately, the man’s great charisma began to influence some of Pharaoh’s advisors, and eventually, when his mind was unsettled by grief, even the Pharaoh himself.  
            Our informers tell us that as soon as permission for the Hebrews to leave was granted, Moses led all of the Israelites out of the country. Apparently not knowing much of the land, he led the whole group right into a trap, fenced in between the sea and some hostile enemy tribes. By that time Pharaoh had come to his senses, and he immediately ordered his army to follow their escaped slaves.
            Upon reaching the Red Sea, they found the entire assembly of Hebrews had already crossed over. When the Pharaoh attempted to follow, the chariots sank, and the wheels of the army were mired down in the mud at the bottom of the lake. He must still have been greatly disturbed by the loss of his son, or he would not have tried to cross the sea on horseback. How the Israelites crossed is not exactly clear, but the same way must have been feasible for the Egyptian army.
            For unknown reasons, however, they did not cross in the same manner, and the entire army was drowned. Rumors have been flying that the God of the Hebrews is indeed stronger than the gods of the Egyptians and ours, and is leading His people to freedom and a country of their own. Their last reported direction was toward Caanan. 
            This, however, is not a cause for worry. Educated people will immediately see that it is no more than a remarkable coincidence that the Pharaoh’s brother went crazy at the same time as disaster overtook Egypt. All of the gods are equal, and no one can claim that their god is specially protecting them with power greater than that of another person’s god. It has been proven that bad things come in threes, and this must simply have happened to Pharaoh four times, because of mere random chance. Counting up the ten different plagues that occured and adding that his brother went crazy and his army drowned, one gets twelve - four sets of three.
            This is certainly no reason to become hysterical. It is against the odds that such things would continue to follow this group of escaped slaves and their insane leader, who hears voices coming from bushes. It is to be hoped that some of the diseases from the country they have so dramatically left will make an end of them in the wilderness in which they are currently wandering.
            Our king urges everyone to stay calm and await the next episode in this intriguing phenomenon. The armies are ready to fight at a moment’s notice, and victory against a small number of refugees is an assured fact.
            The next issue of the Times will continue with this narrative, which can go no further at present because of lack of information, will be continued when another reporter reaches Egypt. The reporter who sent these facts is home on leave to bury his oldest son, who was with him studying in Egypt. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget."
~ anonymous

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Snippets of Octoberness...

Source: via Story on Pinterest

“Perhaps it is here for the moment… but it must leave immediately. The gods themselves have forsaken this dark place.”
Again came that smile, one that drove the chill from my spine. 
“The gods may have forsaken it, but Iesus Christos has sworn to be always with me – and where He is, all hope cannot be gone. He is a light in all dark places, and He does not forsake those who seek Him.”
~Hope Sprang Up

Will turned his head to miss a random punch, reaching up with his other hand to box the ear of the boy holding down his arm. 
“I’m left-handed, dim-wit,” he grinned, then involuntarily gasped for breath as someone slammed into his stomach, almost knocking the wind from him. They were all closing in now, and he jerked his arm free, only to have someone step on his fingers. It happened to be someone wearing boots, and he ground his teeth against the pain. 
“Still wearing that stupid cap, I see,” someone else laughed, and snatched it off, slapping it into his face over and over. Will squinted his eyes against the blows, opening his mouth and catching the edge in his teeth. With a quick jerk of his head, he yanked it from the boy’s grasp and spit it out, then lunged upward. The top of his head caught the boy full in the face, and the boy jerked backwards with a yell of anger, blood flowing suddenly from his nose.
Will was on his back, wrestling away the two who were on top of him, when the girl walked by them in the next aisle, her tears quite gone. She caught his eye, looking down her nose at him. 
“I certainly don’t need orphans fighting my battles.”
~Will Arrington (I know, I know... Will fighting, again... )


Will cocked his head to one side. "I guess you could say that. Right now at least, I'm Mountain Ridge's best excuse for a pastor, so I'm working on it." 
He grinned infectiously.
~Some Trust in Chariots

“Jaime’s gone.”
The words hung there, in the air between them, and for an instant it seemed to Tristan that if he did not take them in they would not be true.
~Sons of Bretton Meyrick

He couldn’t find his way out of a one-room cabin if the lights were out, Caleb thought rebelliously. 
~Some Trust in Chariots

“Then I won’t go either! You can’t stay here by yourself!” He raised his voice, and she brought her finger to her lips.
“Will! You have to go! You know what will happen if you don’t.”
He wanted to cry, and the wanting of it made him angry. “But you need me to help you!”
Suddenly she was severe. “Shure, an’ you’ll be a lot of help to me dead! Now go like Sam said and get on that train.” She got up from the table, moving towards the door.
He reached out, catching her arm. “Wait.” She stopped, and his hand slid down to tighten about hers. “I’ll go then, but I’ll come back for you, Le-le. An’ when I do, I’ll marry you, and make you a princess.”
She smiled slightly, tilting her head as she looked down at him. “Faith, but you sound like you’re six again.”
He nodded. “You said you’d wait for me then.”
At that she smiled fully. “If that’s all you’re waiting for… an’ you come back, I’ll be here, Will.”
~Will Arrington 
(also ever the flirt... if marriage proposals can be called flirting... :P)

"Aha!" Velásquez struck the table with the flat of his hand and Josie sat up sharply.
            Jim merely raised his eyes to the man's face. "And?"
            "And I have solved it. You will make her fall in love with you."
~Some Trust in Chariots

“Trist – you can’t do this.” The words broke from him, and he could not have held them back.  
But there was a quiet smile on Tristan’s face as he glanced back, meeting Derek’s eyes calmly. 
“You’re wrong, Dare. This is the one thing I can do.” He reached down, turning on the hidden camera clipped to his jacket, the smile still in place.
~Sons of Bretton Meyrick


Josie sniffed a little. “Ailli’s boots are darling. They brought them special from out East.”
Jim looked back at her. “A lot of things from out East should stay out East. Those boots included. If that girl - Ailli? What kind of name is that?” 
~Some Trust in Chariots

To join in or read more, go see Katie! :) 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Author Interview #4... Don't miss this one! :)

Okay, this was actually an interview I was planning on posting later. But I finished Mirriam Neal's book Monster at some unearthly hour last week, and... gahhhh.... What can I say?
I'm still a bit in reader-shock. 

Monster is, without a doubt, the best book I have read this year. You know how sometimes stories and your life just CLICK? That was Monster for me.
God has taught me so much this year, and as I read Monster over the summer and into the fall, I found that He kept on speaking to me through it, bringing things to my attention, and making me look at so much in new ways.

It's not a book for absolutely everyone... it's stark, violent, and I will warn you right now, it will SHRED your heart. Multiple times. If you don't mind said heart-shredding, though, and you like Christian fiction that is new, different, and completely AMAZING - read it. Pretty sure I have the story memorized, and yet I can hardly wait to read it again.

Which means I am quite absolutely thrilled to be able to annouce that Monster will be published sometime next year!!!

And I am super excited to be interviewing the author here! Thanks so much for stopping by, Mirriam!

Enjoy, everyone! :D

1.) How many books are you writing/at what stages are they? (When can I buy them... ;)
Oh, this is a tough one. If you're talking written books? I'm plotting my NaNo novel and working on another book called Acesso, about a suicidal rocker and a deaf girl and how they both come to help each other. And another I’ve been plotting is called “Sixty Percent Human.” It’s in the future, and it has cyborgs. *laughs* You can buy them as soon as...they're either published or self-published.

2.) Can you give a short summary of each of them?
'Unforget,' my NaNoWriMo book, is about a man whose memories were taken from him. Only ten percent remain, but he is determined to get them back. He's borderline insane and SO much fun to write I've fallen in love with him. 'Acesso' is about a guy named Vey who's an emo musical genius (and a hemophiliac) and Leila, a girl full of life but who falls into slumps because she's deaf thanks to a water accident three years ago. 

3.)How many words per month do you write, on average? 
Words per month? That's tough. Sometimes I'm too busy to write as much as I'd like to (not that I usually let that get in the way - I stay up late at night handwriting if I have to!) So I'd generally say probably about 20,000 words total a month in various works.

4.) What's the craziest thing you've ever done for story research?
The craziest thing? Go onto a torture forum. I was more or less scarred for life and received no help at all. *laughs out loud* It's a funny memory now, but man, then...then, it was a little bit painful. (See what I did there? Eheheheheh). That's one instance - I do crazy things for research all the time and now that you ask, that's the only one I can think of!!! Curse my forgetful brain!

5.) Do you find more inspiration from music, pictures, movies, or other books?  Is there something from one of those things in particular that has provided you with a lot of inspiration?
I can honestly say that they ALL inspire me, to one degree or another. It depends on what strikes me in what particular mood.
'Monster,' the novel I just finished, owes pretty much its entire existence to a.) God and b.) a music video by one of my favorite Korean bands, Big Bang, called 'Monster'! The song and music video inspired me to ridiculous heights. In fact, I'm listening to it now as I write this interview! The song 'Silhouette' was a large inspiration for my NaNo novel 'Unforget.' A picture of a JRocker inspired Acesso. Usually, over the period of a year or so, inspiration from dozens of things soaks in through my skin and then comes out in the form of another novel.

6.) If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which one would you choose to meet and why?
Oh, my word. This is a really tough one. REALLY tough. I go through phases - whichever character I'm writing at the moment is the one I love the most. However, having JUST finished Monster and plotting my NaNo, it would be a tossup between Monster's main character Mir and Unforget's main character, Cayne. Mir is by far the sweeter of the two, but Cayn is a bag of cats and it would
be fun to peek in and see what makes him tic. (If anything!) Vey from Acesso...he's interesting, and I'd love to have a long talk with him. And there's another character I'm plotting who is ALSO a bag of cats, but in a more fun-loving way. He has a darker side, but he's completely unpredictable.

7.) Is there any book, nonfiction or fiction, you would recommend all writers read to improve their writing?
Yes. It's called the Bible. This may seem redundant to a lot of you, but I'm serious. My strong Christian upbringing and the excellent grasp of the Bible my parents have instilled in me is something invaluable. I could NOT write meaningful books with important messagesif I didn't understand the Bible. The Bible has real, flawed people - murderers, prostitutes, illegitimates - and I create characters inspired
by the real people in the Bible. Storylines include betrayal, redemption, salvation, death, sacrifice - it has everything you could want.
Adventure, war, history, romance, poetry, prophecy, humor - honestly, if you haven't read your Bible in a while, go read it. I can't tell you enough how much this has helped me.
Several books on the writing craft that have been really helpful are
a. The Writer's Journey, which is actually for screenplay writers but is really helpful, especially for fantasy writers.
b. How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. This man knows how to think outside the box, and in this novel - even if you don't write fantasy or science fiction - shows you how to do the unexpected thing, to use your imagination and use the question 'what if' in your writing.

8.) What are your plans for the future - writing/non-writing goals?
Plans for the future? Well, I'm focusing on editing and getting Monster published, definitely. That's my biggest priority right now. Now that Monster has a publisher, things seem pretty surreal – I’m editing like a madwoman!
Also of course, NaNo and 'Unforget.' In the future, I want to continue writing books and short stories and telling truth wrapped in fiction that I love and that means a lot to me. I can't imagine myself not writing - it's so much a part of me, to do anything else seems ridiculous. I know without a doubt that I was meant to be a writer, and I love it. I've decided not to do college - once I graduate high school, I'm going to focus completely on writing and studying books and subjects that I'm interested in.

9.) What is the most important thing God has taught you through your writing?
The most important thing? To love people unconditionally (not that I have this down, but it's something I've been taught!)
To create characters who are real because they are flawed, but have the potential for redemption. There's a quote from my favorite American TV show, "Jericho," where Robert Hawkins' daughter asks of Jake Green, "Is he a good man or a bad man?" "Honey," Robert replies, "there's no such thing." And that is one of the truest statements I've ever heard.

10.) Is there any particular lesson or idea you hope readers take away from your books?
Each book and story I write has a different theme to it. Monster's was the sanctity of life, and readers really seem to grasp it withoutfeeling like it was shoved down their throats. Unforget's theme is redemption, which will be very interesting to work with. The Shadows Fall, my first fantasy, was themed with faith. Everything is different, but everything is important to me and something I really want readers to understand in a way that will entertain and intrigue them and maybe they'll even fall in love with the characters. If they can understand the message and still love the novel, then I feel completely happy and that I've done my job the best I can. :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

In place of an author interview this week...

eeeek... okay, that's a bit scary... O.o But evil should be shown as evil, and that looks... evil.


An Ancient Evil 

Long ago, Etanun buried his sword in the depths of the Netherworld then vanished from all known history. One day, it is said, his heir will find the sword, and the Dragonwitch, firstborn of the Dragon King, will be finally slain. 

A Desperate Hope 

These stories are no more than nursery rhymes. In a world of cold reality, what room is left for fairy tales? Lady Leta of Aiven is pledged to marry a man she does not love . . . sleepless Lord Alistair struggles to unite the stubborn earls of the North Country . . . Mouse is lost, far from home, slaving as a kitchen drudge . . .  

. . . and the reclusive Chronicler, keeping the records of Gaheris Castle, bears a secret so dangerous it could cost him his life and plunge the North Country into civil war.

An Impossible Journey 

But when nursery rhymes begin to come horribly true, will these unlikely heroes find the strength they need to fulfill a prophecy of fire? For the Dragonwitch lives. And she has vowed vengeance on all who have wronged her.


Coming Summer 2013
Tales of Goldstone Wood
Timeless Fantasy that will keep you Spellbound!

Monday, October 1, 2012

a story in .gifs...

The beginning of the semester was nearly a full month ago... that first moment when the whole class was sitting there, expectantly waiting... 

and the professor came in all 

and the subtext was all

And they start out with the whole, say your name, major, and something interesting about yourself. 

And everyone goes:



and inside you're just like:

But that was just the beginning. 

Then the professor started actually teaching. And he's all, Are we good?

and there's that one smart kid in the front row who's like:

but most people are like:



and then when the professor calls on you you're just like...

and the communications majors are all talking about parties and fun and their friends and your whole class is like... Friends?

And now it's the night before the test and you're like:

and your roommates look at you studying and go:

and you're just like

and pretty soon they all go to bed and then you start going:

and then you wake up and realize it's time for the test:

and you  put on your favorite outfit

and get to class and look at the first page of the test and, sure enough, your immediate reaction is:

followed instantly by:

but then afterwards everyone is like DID IT GO WELL? and you're just like... 

or at least that's what we're hoping for here, right? XD 

I had 1 test last week, 3 this week, and 2 next week. Prayers appreciated, as always... Otherwise, I just hope you enjoyed this randomness. XD
Okay, off to go study... ;) 

biting the bullet... or a lime... or... studying... yup... 


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