Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Pox Upon You

For the longest time, I thought this:


was the worst curse possible... but this week has shown me an old Elizabethan one is far, far worse. 

I had noooooooooo idea. 

But after missing four days of class (here's hoping and praying I don't miss a ton next week!!!!!!), laying in bed for hours on end aching all over and unable to put two thoughts together because chicken pox itches so abominably badly, my head hurting, my eyes hurting, unable to sleep or do anything actually constructive either... believe me, a pox is way, way worse than a lego. *shudder*

I did spend some time praying for those with chronic diseases - I can be an absolute wimp, and just thinking about people who have to deal with pain on a daily basis made me feel even worse. Beyond horrible. 

So that was my week... :P I found myself complaining in an email to a friend how, unlike getting hurt, chicken pox wasn't even an experience I could include in a story (because, come on, nasty though it is, chicken pox doesn't make for a whole lot of dramatic tension, sorry...), and was therefore useless to me as a writer... and then my complaints morphed into a ridiculous story. One which I have no idea if I'll ever actually write, but... this short introduction was fun to mess with, nonsensical though it may appear to be. I said I couldn't put two thoughts together. XD



"WHAT?" he roared, and it was truly a fearsome thing to see. Dark brows lowering furiously, the mob king actually stamped his foot, and Ellian barely kept back his smile. He bit down hard on the inside of his cheek, bowing low before the man. To slip now would be fatal, and when he straightened, his face was properly calm.
"Yes, my lord. It has indeed been confirmed. You have chicken pox." The pronouncement nearly sent him over again, and once more he hastily bowed his head. "My humble wishes for your quick recovery."
"This is impossible! This is the week we move against the Esserhenes!" The man turned away, throwing up his hands before twisting to scratch the back of his neck.
"Oh!" Ellian leaped forward. "Do not scratch, my lord! It will leave scars! Here, I brought something with which to cover your hands."
Frowning even more heavily, the man turned back to him, and then stopped short, staring a moment is silent disbelief before breaking out in another outraged roar.  "STOCKINGS?!!?! Are you now joking with me! Scars are what a man lives for! Begone with those ridiculous things!"
Ellian twisted his face into something at least approaching concern. "Not scars from a late-come childish illness, my lord! The scars you now have, those are the kind a man earns! Those such as this disease would give you… those are the kind from which women turn in disgust and which make men hide their smiles behind their hands. Please, my lord, I beg of you. Cover your hands quickly."
The man let out another frustrated howl, then snatched the socks from Ellian's hands. "You must stand at the door and let no one in, so long as I am wearing them! I will not be laughed at!"
Widening his eyes, Ellian shook his head. "No, my lord! Certainly! I will guard your dignity with my life." He bowed once more, then turned to open the black bag at his feet. "Please swallow this powder, my lord. It will decrease the itching."
The man nearly lunged for it. "Quickly, quickly, give it to me! I am like to go mad - why did you not give it to me earlier, fool!"
Ellian quickly shook his head. "Forgive me, my lord, but I did not know for sure if it would work. Here, take it with water." Actually, he'd had to mix the drug in an overly hurried fashion - hopefully it was the right dose. At some point he'd learn to carry it with him. Incredible how useful the stuff was to have around. Not that he regretted in any way the anonymous phone call he’d made to the police, turning in the man who’d taught him to make it.  That guy was a creep.
And here was another. The mob king tried to swallow, and then gagged.
"Haste, drink the water!" Ellian said, mentally rolling his eyes at how that had sounded. At some point he'd get the hang of talking this way, too. Just not right now. "It is very powerful; that's why it tastes so bad," he explained, and the man tilted back his head and swallowed the rest with a gulp. Ellian almost had to respect him for that. Almost.
Wiping his mouth, the man shook his head, almost gasping. "It's not working!"
"Give it a moment, my lord. Soon… soon it will. Perhaps you should give the order yourself that you do not wish to be disturbed - lest they do not at first listen to me."
The man nodded, took three strides to the door, opened it, and bellowed out, "The next one through this door will lose his head! Whatever the physician commands, do it - the order is straight from me! And remember - come in only if you wish to DIE!" He slammed the door, then glared at Ellian.
"It's not working!"
Ellian smoothed his face into a convincing smile. "Do not doubt my skill, my lord. It will work, never fear."
Fifteen minutes, and the man would be out cold - and he'd have three hours, minimum to find the information he sought. Then he'd be home free.
And when he left, he was totally leaving the man with socks on his ears, as well as his hands.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

War = Fun ???


via google - see? I totally called it XD
I've seen Facing the Giants. The Blind Side. Radio. Mayyybe a couple other less memorable football movies... But as far as useful information, I know nothing about football. Nothing at all. 

So when I went to the homecoming football game for the first time, I had no idea of what to expect. Well, except that I was kind of excited to finally see the band play - I can hear them practicing allllll the time at my house, and that gets old after a while. :D Anyway, I figured I should do something college-y at some point (XD), and since we had friends coming up and my school was playing my hometown's school... I went to a football game. 

Know what stuck out to me? All those guys charging headlong into each other trying to reach the opposite goal... three guys on the loosing team being pretty much carried off the field... the audience screaming insults at the other team...
It was like a war going on.

With that thought fresh in my mind, having just watched the casualties being helped up from where they had fallen (or been smashed; it was pretty violent), I was  not terribly surprised when the marching band came out with... drums, horns, and flag-waving standard bearers. Also, a majorette. Maybe I've seen too many sword fights (is that even possible?), but I kid you not, I recognized sword fighting moves in her baton twirling. It was kind of awesome.

But then I started wondering.. why is this so ingrained in humanity? Why must we fight over a silly leather ball and twirl a baton like a sword and march around to drums when we're not actually fighting? You'd think people would be glad they're not forced to fight in a war, not invent ways to hurt themselves in playing at it... Do we really love violence that much? Why is this something common to all cultures and countries? Why... yeah, I was totally over-thinking it. ;) 

Then as we were leaving, it hit me. We were standing on the sidewalk when the loosing team came by. Despite having 3 teammates down and a score of 30-0, they were all smiling and cheerful. Maybe laughing to cover their feelings (I guess I can't quite see them crying over it...) but it made me think of something else.  

Of course fighting is ingrained in humanity. There is a war going on. An invisible spiritual war where the casualties are far worse than I even want to imagine. The fight between good and evil has been raging since before the first dawn, and even those of us who refuse to believe that still bear witness to it. 

Drawing on that analogy, despite the war, we can still smile. No matter how many battles we lose, the war is already won. Even when it seems like we just got creamed (30:0 kind of hurts... Elections can be painful... etc. etc.), we can still joy in the Lord, because eventually goodness will triumph and right will win. Which was a reminder I think I needed then, and I found it kind of funny that I got it at a football game. :) 



And yeah, that's the kind of random things that run through my mind when I'm at sports events... my sister read this goes This is what you were thinking while we were standing there??? XD 
I still don't know anything about football. 


Friday, November 2, 2012

Author Interview #5!!! especially for fellow writers...



This week's interview is a bit different in that I have not yet read this author's book. However, I want to, and considering how many books there are on my reading list, and how little time I have these days, that is an accomplishment in itself! :D Seeing reviews, interviews, and mentions in various places around the blogosphere, I found myself growing more and more curious about her book.
So, in anticipation of reading Violets are Blue, I asked Elizabeth Rose if she would be willing to answer some questions more on the marketing side of things, and she graciously agreed! Read, learn, and enjoy!!! :)



- For those of my readers who may not have visited your lovely blog, would you mind saying a little bit about yourself, your book, and what stories you're working on right now?

I am a Christian young woman passionately in love with my Savior. I never leave the house without a book, my thesaurus is my best friend, I love big purses with plenty of room for pens and notebooks, and I'm nearly always drinking tea. History inspires me, which is why most of what I write is historical fiction. I also dance several days a week at a Christian studio, and the experience of worshiping the Lord in this way cannot be contained in words. In my spare time, I scribble away at various stories of my creation, read voraciously, and spend way too much time on Pinterest. You can find me on Literary Lane.

My debut novel, Violets Are Blue, was published in April 2012. It's a story about two young girls, Violet Bradshaw and Lillian Prescott, and how their friendship is threatened when the Bradshaw family moves from England to America's unfamiliar shores. Lilli and Vi find a way to communicate through constant letter-writing, and with each passing week, but one desire remains in their hearts: to see each other once more. When Lilli tells Vi that the Prescotts will be coming to America as well — and on the "unsinkable" Titanic, no less — neither girl can foresee the great tragedy on the horizon and what a test it will for both.

My current work-in-progress is also historical fiction (no surprise there, eh?) and is set during the American Revolution. Titled Rifles in the South Field, it chronicles the story of a motherless young woman left to manage her family's Georgian plantation while her father fights in the Continental Army and a British foot-soldier who has yet to find his true purpose in life.

- I was recently at a book festival where a panel recommended starting an online platform 3-4 years before your book is published - and I know I was following your blog quite a while before you published a book. What social media sites are you on and how long had you been using them before your book came out?

I've been blogging since January 2010, which was over two years before Violets Are Blue was published. I'm also on Google+, Twitter (@misslizzyrose), and Pinterest, but none for more than a year.

- Which one has been the most helpful?

Blogger has been the most helpful by far, but I account that to the fact that I've been building an online platform there for nearly three years now.

- Easiest to use / any tips on being a successful blogger, etc.?

The best advice I've ever been given about blogging is to concern yourself with quality, not quantity. A few good posts are always better than ten so-so posts. Devote time and thought to your blogging, and your readers will notice. If you're a photographer, try incorporating a few photos throughout your posts: it rests the eyes after paragraphs of text. Even if you aren't a photographer, Pinterest provides scores of beautiful photos that you can find sprinkled throughout almost all of my posts. Finally, write about what inspires you, what makes the very passions of your heart burn like flames of gold and scarlet. The most dull blogs are those authored by bloggers who don't enjoy what they write. Blogging is a hobby, not a chore, and making it such acts like a bucket of water dousing the flames of a fire.

- I saw your author interviews all over the blogosphere, and also that you were doing a little more than just random stops. How did you set up your blog tour, and do you think it really helped get the word out?

In August I hosted a blog tour to promote my book. I began organizing it about a month in advance, which gave me plenty of time to write up guest posts and answer interview questions. I was blessed with a wonderful reception, and many young ladies kindly hosted me on their blogs throughout the month. As far as sales and promotion go, it was very successful, but also very time-consuming. For those interested in promoting their books in the same way, I suggest being willing to set aside a large portion of time, since it's a big task.

- What else have you done to promote your book?

In April 2011, my sister and I began a year-long event called Unsinkable. As a means of both honoring those who perished in the sinking of the Titanic and promoting the approaching release of Violets Are Blue, we hosted twelve monthly giveaways for products inspired by the infamous ocean liner, released excerpts of Violets Are Blue, shared a total of 100 facts about the Titanic over the course of the year, and featured several guest posts on various topics relating to the Edwardian era. The event concluded on the Titanic's centennial, April 14th 2012. Though my book was to be released on that day as well, making it available on Amazon took a few more weeks.

- Are you selling your book locally? 

My book is only available on Amazon currently, but those who know me personally can buy autographed copies through me. I'm also planning on making autographed copies available through my blog.

- How hard do you think selling books is, as compared to writing them?

Selling books, in theory, is much easier, since the work of writing the book is completed. However, when crafting a story, whether it is finished or not entirely depends on you. If you devote yourself to your project and keep disciplined, you will finish. Book sales are another matter entirely. Obviously you cannot force someone to buy your book if they do not want it. You can promote and advertise all you want, but in the end, whether or not someone purchases your book is their choice and not your own. In this way, sales require much more patience and a good deal of humility.

- Is there one thing you wish you had known before you published your book?

As I mentioned in my answer to the question about, publishing a book is a very humbling experience. I've received praise for my work, but I've also received criticism. Though I blush to confess it now, I was a bit naive about this side of the publishing world when my book was first released. I wish I had known better how to take honest critique with grace. I also have a burning desire to go over the whole book with a red pen and rewrite it once more (but that, I'm told, is a normal feeling).

- As a published author, is there any particular advice you have for those who would like to self-publish their books?

Unlike the more traditional route, when books are self-published, the pressure of promotion weighs most heavily on the shoulders of the author. Publishing a book does not happen on its own. You have to be willing to put time and energy into your project. On the brighter side of things, you are your own boss, and you can make your own schedule depending on other personal responsibilities. I particularly enjoyed the flexibility that this gave me.

Thank you for hosting me for an interview, Katherine Sophia!

Thank you! :) It's been delightful!

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