Saturday, January 28, 2012

Six-Sentence Saturday 01/28/2012

Another Saturday! Isn't it amazing?

1.) I watched Tintin and I absolutely LOVED it! Five stars absolutely.

2.) I got myself a Samsung Galaxy, and it's so cool!

3.) It's really cool because I was able to download a free writing app onto my Galaxy, so I can write and save stories in a doc. setting and transfer them to my 'puter, which is AWESOMENESS!!

4.) I had a really vivid dream the other day... it was so vivid and urgent that I woke myself up and wrote it down in the dark (I had to do it by feel since I don't have a nightlight in the bedroom).

5.) I'm in the process of reading The Mislaid Magician, or Ten Years Later by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (a fantastic story that is a Letter Game type of book) and since one of my sisters is away from home for several months we are doing a letter game as well, though it's not as Victorian as The Mislaid Magician.

6.) Stay tuned, 'cause on Wednesday I'm posting an interview with Rhonda Zymler, the main character in Anne E. Johnson's soon-to-be-published paranormal mystery novel EBENEZER'S LOCKER. It should be fun... Rhonda has a great voice, and I think you'll really enjoy her interview.

That's all for now, folks. (And I'm going to share this clip now, because at my singing class my teacher will do the "Leopold" gesture with the almost-final "money note" in Santa Lucia, and it gives me a giggle, so I hope you giggle too.)

God bless!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One Word

For today, there is one word I'd like to share with you.


This word comes from two Greek roots: logos, and philos. Logos means speech, word, or reason, and Philos means dear, or friendly.

Basically it means a Lover of Words.

So writers, you are logophiles! Welcome to the Logophile Club.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Six-Sentence Saturday 01/21/2012

Here we are, my six sentences.

1.) It's supposed to snow. Blast. It's actually snowing a little bit right now. Double blast.

2.) I HATE snow... even though I live in Tahoe, I hate the stuff with every fiber of my being.

3.) On the upside, I think I'll watch The Adventures of Tintin tomorrow.

4.) I think snow stifles my creativity... I've got a story I'm revising, a Letter Game I'm playing, and another short story idea simmering on the burners of my imagination, but I can't seem to get the words down on paper. Triple blast.

5.) One of my new favourite songs is called "Arrival" by Sarah Brightman. PRETTY!!!

6.) I'm going on vacation on the first week of March. Goodbye, snow!
That's all for now. What about you?

God bless!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Aunt Maria: by Diana Wynne Jones

The whole ordeal with Aunt Maria probably would never have happened if Dad hadn't driven off the road on his way to visit Aunt her in the village of Cranbury-on-Sea. But he did, and that's how Aunt Maria entered into the lives of Christian and Naomi Laker.

Before they have a chance to catch their breath, Chris and Naomi (more familiarly referred to as "Mig") find themselves bundled in the car with their suitcases and speeding off with Mum to Cranbury-on-Sea to tend to poor old Aunt Maria.

At first, Aunt Maria seems to be a demure old woman, cuddly as a teddy bear and oozing forbearance and patience. But there is a hard, iron side to Aunt Maria that can hardly be believed at first because it is cushioned so sneakily between layers of fluff and sweetness. But gradually the Lakers realise that they are expected to keep house, look after Aunt Maria, and provide the cakes (home-made, not store-bought, mind!) for the tea parties that Aunt Maria has every day with other women from the village.

This is bad enough, but gradually Chris and Mig discover that not only is Aunt Maria not what she seems, but the whole village is amiss. Men wander around like grey-suited zombies. The children are locked away in an institution-like orphanage and chaperoned by some of the ladies that attend Aunt Maria's tea parties. There is a ghost that keeps appearing to Chris at night, and the cat that stalks around outside Aunt Maria's house looks suspiciously like the servant that had been in Aunt Maria's employ before the Lakers arrived.

Aunt Maria's quavering gentleness is offset by Chris's incredibly rude attitude toward her, which becomes refreshing as the book goes on because Aunt Maria just gets more and more sweetly horrendous and you can't wait for Chris to speak his mind. You know there's going to be a point where something happens, for Aunt Maria has to be more than just an eccentric old woman with a whole village wrapped around her finger. Could she be a witch?

Once she turns Chris into a wolf, it seems pretty likely. But how will Mig be able to break the spell on Chris, release the ghost, and save the whole village of Cranbury-on-Sea from Aunt Maria's clutches by herself?

Diana Wynne Jones has written another zinger of a story. Aunt Maria is this perfect villain, devious and horrendous while at the same being so perfectly cozy, and Mig is portrayed as the perfect shy foil to Aunt Maria's prodigious slyness. Before the end of the book you are heartily hating Aunt Maria and just waiting for the climax when you know she will be taken down.

This book can be found on Amazon under the titles of AUNT MARIA and BLACK MARIA.

My rating: *****

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Six-Sentence Saturday 01/14/2012

Hello again, dedicated readers!

1.) Some of my family and I are going to watch WAR HORSE today - I'm super excited!

2.) I received a massive amount of Diana Wynne Jones books, and I'm going through them very methodically and devouring them.

3.) I'm on the second stage of my revision process on one of my WIP's, and I've just started editing chapter seven.

4.) Don't let anyone tell you - EVER! - that revision is easy, 'cause it's NOT.

5.) I keep having odd and random dreams that play out like book plots, and this new one that I just had last night makes me think I've been reading too MUCH Diana Wynne Jones, if such a thing is possible... it was just that bizarre!

6.) I just received an email from my Josh Groban subscription that says Josh is starting on a NEW ALBUM!! That is the news of the year for me right there. HURRAY FOR 2012!

That's all for now, except I'm also going to share the new Josh Groban music video of his fabulous song "If I walk Away." Enjoy, and God bless.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Back to the Bestiary

I was reading the Children's Writer newsletter the other day, and the very first article I read was about going back to the bestiary.

You all know what a bestiary is, right? If you don't, here is the definition kindly provided by

bes·ti·ar·y [bes-chee-er-ee, bees-]
noun, plural -ar·ies.
a collection of moralized fables, especially as written in the MiddleAges, about actual or mythical animals.

A bestiary really is a fantastic source of inspiration for the fantasy writer. I suppose it could be inspirational for the fiction writer as well, though they'd have to do something really inventive to make a cockatrice compatible with real life. However, the article I read kind of gave examples of how to do that, such as making the monster something inside you, an insidious dark aspect of your character that the protagonist has to defeat in order to grow and conquer.

One of the best things about the bestiary is that it is full of real and fantastical beasts. You can take those you like and adapt them to your needs. You don't have to stick to one set diagram. You can use what the bestiary gives and perhaps put a little twist on the creature's character. Why does the manticore sup on human flesh? Why can't you cut off one of the hydra's heads without causing two more to grow in its place? What happens if you cross a centaur with a gryphon? Kind of interesting, isn't it? I thought so.

You can access the Children's Writer article here. It was really fantastic. While you're at it, why not take a trip through the whole newsletter? It's a brilliant newsletter, full of tips, insight, and inspiration... sort of like a bestiary. :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Six-Sentence Saturday 01/07/2012

Happy Day-After-Epiphany! In case you missed my Epiphany post at In Principio, you can read it here. I hope you enjoy it. I just adore Epiphany, especially since my family and I celebrate it with wine, food, and gifts.

So, here are the six sentences:

1.) I got a BOOKWYRM for Epiphany!!!... actually, it was the gift I saved from Christmas, but still, isn't he adorable?

2.) I also got a gorgeous shawl that my Mom made for me, of a beautiful blue sparkly yarn inset with lovely pearl beads so that it looks a bit like the night sky and a bit like Eowyn's cape in this scene in the Lord of the Rings. (Click here for more images of her fantastic Starry Mantle!)

3.) I wish I knew how Diana Wynne Jones' mind worked... her stories are just brilliant.

4.) I think there is nothing quite so lovely as a piece of unmarked paper.

5.) I can look up Tim Hawkins and LOLcats and laugh over them for hours.

6.) In my book, an LOLcat picture is worth MORE than a thousand words.

That's all for now. Talk to you later!

God bless.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wordy Writers

Writers have to be wordy. Seriously. They have to have a whole convoy of words at their disposal, ready to be fired relentlessly at a hopefully-attentive audience.

They have to know antonyms for words like rude, unhappy, sociable, and be able to trot off synonyms for words like incredulous, superfluous, and irritating. They have to know the difference between homonyms like peace and piece, and know if that book goes they're, there, or their.

It can be like a treasure hunt. "What does convivial mean?" **flip, flip, flip** (or, for the more computer-minded people, **browse, browse, browse**) AHA!

Con·viv·i·al [kuhn-viv-ee-uhl]
1.friendly; agreeable: a convivial atmosphere.
2. fond of feasting, drinking, and merry company; jovial.
3. of or befitting a feast; festive.

"What does translucent mean?" **flip, flip, flip** (**browse, browse, browse**) AHA!

Trans·lu·cent [trans-loo-suhnt]
1.permitting light to pass through but diffusing it so that persons, objects, etc., on the opposite side are not clearly visible: Frosted window glass is translucent but not transparent.
2. easily understandable; lucid: a translucent explication.
3. clear; transparent: translucent seawater.

Writers have to know a lot of words. (Bonus points for anyone who can tell me offhand, without or Google, or any other online dictionary, thesaurus, or search engine, what the word CARRIWITCHET means. **gigglegiggle) My advice? Use a dictionary!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Two Things on Monday

First, I wanted to share that I have taken the plunge and I'm going to participate in the 12 x 12 in '12 challenge, which you can read about by following the link provided here. It sounds like a jolly kind of challenge, and since I've been wanting to work on my picture books this year, this was just too good an opportunity to pass over. If you'd like to join me, that would be more than fun! There will be a lot of us participating, and it should be a good year for creativity.

Shealynn's Faerie ShoppeNext, there is a giveaway going on over at Shealynn's Faerie Shoppe. It is a brilliant-looking giveaway, and I hope you go over there and participate. It looks like SUCH fun!

Happy New Year!

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