Monday, June 25, 2012

Snippets of Story: June

Every month, Katie over at Whisperings of the Pen hosts a fun linky called Snippets of  Story.  
To participate,  you choose the best bits from your recent writing and post them.  I didn’t do much writing in May but here are my favorite bits from what I did write.


As they finished their simple meal a short while later, Cathbadh sat up straighter and threw a quick glance at Malagi.
            “Master.”  He waited for Merthyr to turn and look at him.  “Why are we off to Elysium so suddenly?”
            Merthyr looked from one young man to the other.  He leaned back and took a long drink from his flask.  His two apprentices waited.
            “The Time has come,” the Master Sage finally said.
Malagi and Cathbadh exchanged puzzled looks.
            “The Time?” Malagi questioned.
                                                                                    The Three Kyngdoms


The door between the sisters’ rooms opened and Cordelia entered, fully ready for breakfast.  Penelope looked up at her.
            “Are you done dressing already, Cora?”
            “Yes.  Are you almost done?  I’m very hungry.”
            “Marta is nearly finished with my hair.  Then I will be ready.”
            Cordelia nodded and walked to the window, where she stood quietly looking out at the garden below.  Something in her eyes and the way she held her head told Penelope that her twin had something troubling on her mind.  She waited a moment and when Cordelia still did not speak, asked softly,
            “What is it, Cora?”
            Cordelia did not turn around.  “They were talking about England again last night.”
                                                                                                Gemini


Elsheba had not come in by the end of the meal.  Just as everyone rose from their chairs, the door flew open and Aiyala burst in, breathless from running.
            “I beg your pardons, Your Majesties!” she gasped.  “I have been searching for Princess Elsheba for over an hour and cannot find her!  I’ve hunted throughout all the seventeen towers and from the topmost turrets to the deepest dungeons!”
            The queens exchanged bemused looks that held a hint of worry.
                                                                                                Quara


Llewllyn leaned against the rail next to Seren.  Seeing her eyes on her brother again, he casually said,
            “Iorwerth isn’t angry.  He’s just….”
            “Worried over the fate of Cambria should something happen to both of us.” Seren’s voice was quiet.  “I know, Llew.”
            They were silent a moment.
            “Of course,” Seren reminded him, “If something were to happen, you would be next in line to the throne.”
            “But for the fact that where Iorwerth goes, I go; and his enemies will never reach him except over my dead body.”  The passion and loyalty in his voice hung in the air.
            Seren’s eyes met his.  “The old bond is stronger than ever between you two.”
            Llewellyn only smiled in acknowledgement.
                                                                                    The Three Kyngdoms


 Head over and check it out!  Several other writers have linked to some great story bits!  Here is the link to the June edition.

Miss Melody Muffin

Interview Tag!

Anne-girl’s tag for week four of the June Crusade.  I’m answering it with my three main characters: twins Cordelia and Penelope and their mother Lady Roxana. 

This tag is so much fun!!!!

Do you want a hug?
Cordelia: That depends….  I take hugs from my parents, sister, and Philippe.  And Valaria.  I’d rather not be hugged by anyone else, although I tolerate hugs from my extended family.
Penelope: Cora!  You really shouldn’t talk like that.  It is disrespectful.  I love hugs!
Lady Roxana: I enjoy hugs from my family and friends.

Do you have any kids?
Cordelia: I’m not old enough to have kids.
Penelope: No.
Lady Roxana: Twin daughters that I adore.  (Although Cordelia can be hard for me to understand at times.  My husband was better at understanding her.)  And my husband’s ward Philippe Huntington who is like a son to me.

Have you killed anyone?
Cordelia: No.  Not yet, anyway.  (Smiles speculatively.)
Penelope: Gracious, no!!
Lady Roxana: Never!

Love anyone?
Cordelia: My family.  Especially my late father.  (Impassive mask slides over her face to keep her emotions in check.)
Penelope: My dear family and friends.
Lady Roxana: My family and friends.

What is your job?
Cordelia: Do lessons, help oversee the stables and be strong for my mother and sister.  And, do my best to liven life up around here.
Penelope: Be a good daughter to my mother.
Lady Roxana: Raise my girls properly.

What are you going to do when this tag is over?
Cordelia: Find some way to sneak off from lessons and out to the stables.
Penelope: Cora!  Again!  That will be the third time this week already and it is only Tuesday!
Cordelia: Only the third time?  I must be slacking!
Penelope: You’re hopeless!
Cordelia: Afraid so!
Me: Penelope, you haven’t answered the question.
Penelope: Oh, right!  Um, go to my lessons with my governess Mademoiselle Silette.

What is your greatest fear?
Cordelia: That I’ll lose even more of my family.
Penelope: That Cordelia will get into trouble again today!  Actually, losing my mother or sister.
Lady Roxana: That Cordelia will never fully open up to me again.
Cordelia: People worry to much about me!

What do you think of your parents?
Cordelia: My father was everything to me.  I’m not sure how I’ll go on without him.  Mother is very nice and I love her but I don’t understand (or agree with) the way she thinks sometimes.
Penelope: Cordelia!!!  What a shocking thing to say!
Cordelia: It’s true, nonetheless.
Penelope: I love both of my parents, but I’m closer to my mother.  We understand each other very well.
Lady Roxana:  I have wonderful parents.

Any siblings?
Cordelia: Two – my twin sister Penelope and my adopted brother Philippe.
Penelope: Cordelia and Philippe.
Lady Roxana: Four brothers and one sister, plus five siblings-in-law.  And, two soon-to-be siblings-in-law.

Eye color?
Cordelia: Green.
Lady Roxana: She has the most brilliant and beautiful emerald eyes.
Cordelia: I said green, didn’t I?
Penelope: But, you didn’t correctly describe them.  They are so bright!
Cordelia: Whatever!
Penelope: My eyes are turquoise blue.
Lady Roxana: Sky blue.

Are you good or bad?
Cordelia: Bad.  I’m very stubborn and don’t like to follow rules.
Lady Roxana: Cordelia, she meant, are you a bad character or a good one.
Cordelia: Oh, well, I think bad, but the way my mother and sister are glaring at me, I think the correct answer is good.
Penelope: Honestly, Cordelia, what is wrong with you today?  You’re going to make everyone think badly of you.
Cordelia: I won’t deign to answer that.
Penelope: I’m good.  At least, I always try to be.
Lady Roxana: Good, thank goodness.  I’ve never wanted to be bad.

Favorite season?
Cordelia: Sicilian Spring.
Lady Roxana: That is not a proper season!
Cordelia: Isn’t it?  What a pity!  Well, spring.
Penelope: Summer.
Lady Roxana: The London Social Season.  But, since that isn’t a proper season either, I’ll say spring because that is when the London Season takes place.
Cordelia: (muttering) How unutterably dull!!

Who's your best friend?
Cordelia: Valaria
Penelope: Silvia and Julian
Lady Roxana: Here in Sicily: Beatrice Howard

Hobbies:
Cordelia: Training and riding horses.  Playing the pianoforte.
Penelope: Drawing, painting, playing the harp.
Lady Roxana: I enjoy drawing, playing the pianoforte and doing fancy work.

Do you care what others think of you?
Cordelia: My parents, Penny and Philippe, yes; everyone else, no.  They can think what they want to.  Should I care?
Penelope: Yes, sister, I think you should care.
Cordelia: Oh well.
Penelope: Public opinion is very important to me.
Lady Roxana: Yes, I do care, very much. 

Was this interview fun?
Cordelia: Yes, especially shocking Penelope.  Mother ignored the worst of what I said, in case you couldn’t tell.
Penelope: I liked it very much, except for the dreadful things Cora said.  Allow me to apologize for her.  She has been under a lot of stress and strain lately and isn’t quite herself.
Cordelia: (Sneaks quietly out of the room.)
Lady Roxana: Quite true, Penelope.
Me: Very true, indeed.  Poor girl.
Penelope: Thank you very much for interviewing me!
Lady Roxana: I had a delightful time!

Miss Melody Muffin

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June Crusade Tag Week Three


Dear me, how dreadful!  This tag is a week late, but I just now found the time to fill it out!

1. What  is your word count now?
Oh, I don’t want to answer this!  You see, the first three weeks of the month turned out to be WAY busier than I had originally thought they would be.   And then, this last week was spent playing catch-up on a lot of things that were laid aside during wedding sewing/preparations.  So, I only wrote about a thousand words on my story this month.  Add that to the one and a half thousand I already had and the total count is somewhere in the vicinity of two and a half thousand.  Obviously I won’t come anywhere near the 50,000 count!  I wish I could have done more, but life intervenes sometimes.  I’d like to be able to do at least four thousand this last week.  Here’s hoping!
 

2. What is your favorite paragraph so far?
This is still the first draft so it has not been edited yet:
            The riders were off in a burst of speed.  Twelve horses thundering down the wide lane; twelve riders eagerly guiding them.  The starting sprint did not last long and then everyone settled down to a swift, steady gallop.  Claudio and Alano had taken the lead.  Behind them were Julian, Valaria and Cordelia.  Everyone else was bunched behind these frontrunners.  They held these positions for about a mile.  Then Philippe and Silvia moved their horses up on the heels of Julian, Cordelia and Valaria.  Philippe threw a quick glance at Sirocco.  The stallion was fighting for more rein, wanting to go faster.  Philippe knew Cordelia would not hold him in much longer.  In the next few minutes she would give him his head.
            Julian nudged his horse with his heels and the gelding responded, drawing a little abreast and ahead of Alano and Claudio.  Penelope rode up even with Alano and Maria pushed her horse beyond her brother Claudio.
            With a quarter mile left until the finish, Cordelia pulled Sirocco to the outside of the other riders and gave him his head.  It was as if she had released a streak of lightning.  The stallion bolted down the lane.  Julian, Philippe and Penelope gave chase.   The other riders also increased their horses' speed.  The fight to the finish was on!
 

3. When you are writing what is your favorite song to listen too? Not theme song for your book but favorite song for while you're writing?
Currently, anything by Enya.  Also, a few of Ramin Karimloo’s songs off his album Ramin.  And, I really enjoy opera overtures, especially when I’m writing dramatic scenes!
 

4. Do you love your villains or do you relish hating them?
I tend to relish hating them.  :)
 

5. What was your very first piece of free writing?
A story about two sisters and their horses I wrote when I was six or seven.  As you can see, I lived, slept, ate and breathed horses from a young age!  (Age 3 to be exact!!)
 

6. What was your first completed piece of fiction?
Um, I have to think about that for a minute!  I believe it was called The Hidden Jewels.  It was about a princess in hiding, who didn’t know she was a princess.  It was NOT very good and had plenty of cliches.  I don’t think I even have it anymore, it was that bad!
 

7. What are some of the plot bunnies that you are being teased with right now?
Retellings of several old fairy tales, set in one of my fantasy worlds.  I’ll probably start with The Eleven Swan Brothers.  Oh dear, I shouldn’t even have mentioned it!  Now I have a stream of ideas trying to rush through my head. * Runs off to scribble down the ideas.*
 

8. What is your strategy for writers block?
Writer’s block doesn’t hit me too often.  Unfortunately, right now is one of those few times!  I usually bury myself in one of my favorite books or go for a nice long hike to clear out my brain and start the creative juices flowing again.  I think I'll go with the favorite book option today....
 

9. If you could meet one famous author which one would you pick?
Without question, Baroness Emmuska Orczy!
 

10. Who is your favorite secondary character so far?  
The twins’ adopted brother (and the ward of their father), Philippe Huntington.  He is so much fun to write!!


Miss Melody Muffin

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Award!!



Kiri Liz over at Lianne Taimenlore has awarded me the Kind Blogger Award.  Thank you so much, Kiri!!!!!! 

The award was made by Miss Elizabeth at The Country Handmaiden.

Award description:
This is a simple, yet personal award.  This is not meant to be given out to ten people at a time, but to a select few who have been kind to you.

The award rules:
1.Choose two people you feel have been kind to you in the blogging sphere.
2. List one aspect of each one’s kindness to you.

I choose to award:
My dear mother at Nutty’s News for her invaluable help in walking me through the process of starting my blog, and her continued feedback on my posts.
And, my very good friend Alisa at Simple Observations.  She let me bounce ideas off her and very kindly checked everything out and gave me feedback on how my blog looked.

EDIT:
I forgot to add the HTML for the button!  Oops!  So here it is:
<a href="http://thecountryhandmaiden.blogspot.com/"><img border="0" src=" http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LZxirn9DPg4/T9esMM74MGI/AAAAAAAAApo/EevALPKKmvk/s1600/the+kind+blogger+award+button.jpg"/></a>

Miss Melody Muffin

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I'm Back!!!!

Well, THE WEDDING is over.  What wedding you ask?  The Wedding that my mother spent the last few months sewing bridesmaids dresses for; and did a terrific job I might add!!  The Wedding that took more of my time this month than I thought it would.  In short, The Wedding that has, to all practical intents and purposes, engrossed my time and life for the last 3 weeks!  But, it is now over and my friend is happily married.  Many warm congratulations to her and her new husband!!!

So, now I may plunge into all the things I've been planning to do this month and just couldn't.  Here's a little of what is on my to-do list for the next two weeks:

Finally write more than a few words at a time on my June Crusade novel.  Hurrah!

Write a few dozen of the scores of blog posts I have ideas for.

Catch up on the writing tags for the June Crusade .

Start reading Les Miserables.  I can hardly wait!!!!!!

Watch Sense and Sensibility 1995.

Start watching Little Women 1978.

Ride my beautiful mare who I have hardly been on this year.

Watch more extras on the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring dvd.

And, join my family in housecleaning!  (Sometimes I do wish housecleaning had never been invented!!  I know, dreadful of me.)  Alas, what must be done, must be done.  And my mom was wonderful to give us a day off after all the wedding hustle and bustle.

Anyway, you should see quite a bit more of me now!

Miss Melody Muffin


Saturday, June 9, 2012

I'll Have Another Disappointment

Last night, just after I had written my blog post about the upcoming Belmont Stakes - due to be run today, my mother came to find me and informed me that I'll Have Another had been withdrawn from the race.  Sadly, it is true.  His trainer Doug O’Neill told reporters that the horse developed the beginnings of tendonitis and he and owner J. Paul Reddam made the difficult decision to withdraw the colt from the race.  (Tendonitis is the inflammation of a tendon.)  Although I’ll Have Another could probably still have run, in the best interest of his welfare, he will not.  In light of what he has already achieved, he is being retired to stud, instead of being rested and then returned to racing.   

So, I’ll Have Another will not try for the final race in the Triple Crown today.  But, as an tribute to him and what he almost did, he will lead the post parade. 

You can read the official news articles here and here.  

History will forever wonder, "Could he have won the Triple Crown?"  Personally, I think he had what it took.  Yet, being a horse owner myself, and choosing to put the animal’s health and well-being above glory and fame, I deeply respect the decision to retire him.  

Happy Trails, I'll Have Another!

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tomorrow....

Tomorrow is the big day!!!!!!!  The day a dear friend and I, and many of my family, have been waiting for.  The day we find out if we'll have another Triple Crown winner... or another 'almost there'.  Tomorrow....  I can hardly wait!!

On another note, I'm sorry I haven't posted this week.  I have had a crazy week.  After next week though, I should be able to post more regularly.  As well as work a lot more on my June Crusade novel!

Until then, I remain,

Miss Melody Muffin

Monday, June 4, 2012

Around the World in 80 Days Tag

Hayden over at Story Girl is having a fun Around the World in 80 Days blog party. Hop over and check it out!  Here are my answers to her tag:
1. Have you ever read Around the World in 80 Days, or any other books by Jules Verne? If not, do you plan to?
Yes, I read Around the World in 80 Days and loved it!  I also read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and enjoyed it every bit as much.
2. It's your turn to travel around the world! But you can only visit one country on each continent (excluding Antarctica). Which do you choose?
Oh, this is a tough one!!  I want to visit so many countries!  Let’s see, if I had to choose, it would be: Europe-Italy, Asia-Saudi Arabia, Africa-Egypt, Oceania-New Zealand, North America-Canada, South America-Peru - Machu Picchu to be exact.
3. What is your favorite "foreign" song?
The Tarantella, an Italian folk dance tune.
4. Do you know your heritage? From which country(s) does your family originate?
Yes, I do know.  My heritage is Norwegian, Black Irish, Polish, Italian and Lakota Sioux.
5. What is your preferred method of travel?
Horseback to be honest!
6. What is your favorite ethnic food?
Italian - specifically Lasagna.
7. If you had to choose one literary character to travel around the world with, who would it be?
The Scarlet Pimpernel!  Sink me, but that would be monstrous amusing!
8. From kilts to kimonos, most countries have some form of traditional dress- of which would you be most willing to wear?
Well, really just about any European folk costume/traditional dress and a good amount of Asian as well.  But top favorite - folk dance dresses from the Caucasus region are absolutely stunning.
9. If you could speak any foreign language, what would it be?
Well, I want to be multilingual.  My top pick would be Italian but I also want to know Spanish, French, Arabic, German, Welsh, Norwegian and Lakota Sioux.  And a smattering of Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Greek would be nice.  And… ok, I’ll stop now!
10. What is your opinion on the subject of hot air balloons?
I’d love to ride in one!  ‘Up, up in the air so blue’  But I’m not sure I’d choose to seriously travel in one.
11. Okay. Pick a country, any country (except England). Now pick a piece of classic literature (fiction, please!). If that story took place in this other country, what would be different?
Russia
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Sir Percy and his League rescuing the Royal Family from the Bolsheviks!
12.Choose five of your favorite authors (or just as many as you can)...each from a different country!
Baroness Orczy - Hungary (does she qualify?), Georgette Heyer - England, Marguerite Henry and Louisa May Alcott - United States (it’s a tie between the two of them!), Alexandre Dumas - France, Sir Walter Scott - Scotland
13. In Around the World in 80 Days, Phileas Fogg is accused of bank robbery. Of course, we know he didn't do it- but the book never explains who did. Who do you think robbed the bank?
Robin Hood of course!  (Time travel I guess!)
14. Does your church support any foreign missionaries? If so, tell a little about what countries they are from!
It doesn’t.  But I do have cousins who have served in Mali.
15. Time is running out! You only have a few days left to finish your journey! You're on the last leg of your trip, traveling through the American West by train, when suddenly Indians attack! What do you do?
Start praying!  Do my best to stay calm.  Try to protect any children in the group as well as defend myself.

Miss Melody Muffin

Saturday, June 2, 2012

First Crusade Tag

What is the name of your novel?
Hyacinths of Change
Are you doing the book in a month challenge?
Not really.  Although I hope 50,000 words will finish the book, I’m not sure it will.
Name your three main characters.
Cordelia West, Penelope West, Lady Roxana West
Give a basic summary of the plot line. Sort of like a back cover blurb.
I did that here.
Which character is your favorite so far?
Definitely Cordelia.
Do you believe in assigned word counts and deadlines, or just writing whenever you feel like it?
Deadlines can be good motivation sometimes but mostly I prefer to write when I feel like it.  Things usually flow better for me that way.
What's your books theme song?
Good question!  I think Vivaldi’s Autumn from his Four Seasons.
What inspired you to write this?
I’ve been interested in the Victorian era for a long time and knew sometime I wanted to write a novel set in this period.  Then this plot idea just kind of 'came' to me one night and I knew this was the book(s) to set in that time period.  It was also inspired by some of the things that had recently happened in my life.
Have ever read or seen Les Mis?
No, not yet.  But, after reading some bloggers' posts about it, and seeing the new trailer yesterday, I have moved it up on my list!
What author has inspired you the most?
Baroness Emmuska Orczy.  And Jane Austen.