Saturday, July 28, 2012

Snippets of Story: July

Linking up with Katie's Snippets of Story again!


Princess Hadalsa was in a tower sitting room with her older sister Queen Sarai and they were planning the party.  Planning parties was Queen Sarai's favorite thing to do.  Queen Hanetta and Queen Abijalla were helping plan the party.  They loved parties, too.  High Queen Ariana didn't always like parties (she said most of them were rather boring), so she was locked up with High King Timotheus and half the royal counselors.  They were trying to straighten out some knotty problem of state.
Quara


"She has adored him ever since he saved her from a toss a year ago.  Now he's her hero."  A note of disdain crept into Cordelia's voice.
"You don't have the same high regard for Julian?" Philippe teased, "Really Cora, I'm surprised at you!"
A nose in the air was the only response he received for a moment.  Then Cordelia shrugged, "I'm grateful, of course, but, well... I think Penny adores him too much.  I wasn't the one saved though, so I daresay she is correct after all."
"Maybe, Cora, maybe," Philippe said slowly, and a little frown had appeared on his brow.
Gemini


They left the hall and made their way across the courtyard.  Seren glanced up at the young prince beside her.  "Sir Astrophel, I apologize if I was rude just now.  You are perfectly correct, you have every right to join the search.  I truly do appreciate your coming."
Astrophel's eyes were kind, "There was no rudeness at all, My Lady.  You just returned from a long, fatiguing mission, your brother is now missing, and if I heard your women aright, you've had very little sleep for the past several days.  It is no wonder you feel exhausted."
"You are too kind, Sir Prince."
"Never to you, My Lady."
The Three Kyngdoms


"I didn't think I wanted to go back at first either," Philippe joined the discussion.  "Then, after we'd been there some time, I began to remember it more and grew to like it.   Now I think of it as my second home.  But, it would be harder for the girls, mainly because they were younger when we moved.  I was nearly eight and they were only four."
Gemini


Prince Davardi pushed open the door and stepped inside.  This room was one of his favorite places in the whole castle.  He loved seeing the the roaring fire and hearing the ringing of the huge hammer striking the metal.  And, of course, he liked talking to Jackdough and hearing his big, strong, deep voice talk back.
"Welcome, my prince," that big, strong, deep voice said now, "And how does this day find you?"
Quara


A smile curved Penelope's lips, "Very spirited!  But you know Cordelia.  She likes her horses full of fire.  It is why Mama worries about her.  I prefer calmer horses."
Gemini


"Caie, I see women all the time," Astrophel wasn't sure what his adopted brother was trying to say.
"But you don't look at them."
"And what precisely is looking at them supposed to accomplish?"
Caie threw up his hands, his voice rising in exasperation, "Listen to you say that!  It is completely unnatural!"
Astrophel sighed patiently, "It's just disinterest.  My men, comrades and kingdom are far more important to me than... love."
Caie's eyes narrowed speculatively, "Someday that will change.  And I hope I'm there when it happens," he said quietly.
Astrophel raised his eyebrows and turned to leave.  Over his shoulder he called back, "If you should need me, I'll be on the West Terrace with Iorwerth and Morodd."
The Three Kyngdoms


Miss Melody Muffin

Actually Finishing Something July Week Three

Round Three's questions for Actually Finishing Something July:

You've little less than a week left in the challenge.  Now that the end is in sight, do you think you'll finish your goal?
With Quara, yes.  With the Three Kyngdoms, I'll come close.  I had hoped to finish the first chapter of each story but too many new things are popping up in The Three Kyngdoms and I'm working on sorting them out and writing them all down, so I won't be able to finish the chapter.

For me, the last week and a half has been so chaotic that I've hardly had the time to sit down, let alone write.  How have you balanced life's craziness with your writing goals?  Late night writing?  Scribbling down a few lines while waiting in the grocery check-out line?
For me, this week was less chaotic than last week, so it hasn't been too hard too find the time to write.

Have you written mostly in computer programs such as Word, or do you prefer scribbling in notebooks?
I always do my first draft in my notebooks.  Then I retype it in Word.  My second draft can be done in either, it just depends on the circumstances at the time.
However, on occasion, if I am on a roll typing in Word, I'll go on to write some things that are not in my notebooks.  (Which is how I could have scenes that I lost permanently in the computer crash.)

Have any new characters jumped into your story?  If so, tell us about them!
A whole new family and kingdom, complete with backstory, just plopped into Quara yesterday afternoon!  (Inspiration struck big time for me yesterday!!)  The family is old, old friends of Esidaraq's Royal Family and are monarchs of the kingdom of Kastunar, which borders Esidaraq.

In the Three Kyngdoms, a few new characters have shown up and they are all villains.  An elven brother and sister who join forces with Malduc to try to bring down the heroes.  The sister is strikingly beautiful, almost too beautiful.  The brother is very cold blooded.  :)

Share a snippet of your recent writing!
"Let's spread out" Abijalla suggested, "I'll double check the dungeons.  Sarai, you can search the towers again.  She must be here somewhere!"
"I'll cover the Outer Ward and Garibella can search the Inner Ward," Hanetta was already moving toward the door.
"And we'll scour the Palace Ward," Benjamorn spoke for himself and Davardi.
"I'm just so sorry!" Aiyala burst out, wringing her hands again.

Sometimes the most mundane, simple of things can spark one's creativity.  Have you come across anything, simple yet special, in your daily life, inspiring you to write?
A hawk sitting on top of a telephone pole the last few days when I've taken my morning walk.  And watching my baby brother roll around on the floor.  Random, I know.

Any pictures, images inspiring bits of your story?
A picture a friend drew and sent me years ago in a birthday card.

Introduce us to the antagonist in your story and tell us his favorite dessert.
In Quara the main antagonist is the villain, The Emperor of Droizza.  (So far, he has positively refused to tell me his first name.  If he keeps it up, I'm going to be very annoyed and angry with him!)  His favorite dessert is this extremely rich cherry and orange confection that the people in his country make.  (Doesn't sound very good to me.)

Pick, from all of your July writing, your favorite three lines said by your characters.
"Our High Queen isn't quite what I expected."  Kaldar Dein, Quara
"The tunnels!"  Seren, The Three Kyngdoms
"I've hunted from the topmost turrets to the deepest dungeons and throughout the seventeen towers!" Aiyala, Quara

Any advice for your fellow writers as we reach the final stretch of this challenge?
Always, always, write with the flow of your inspiration, no matter what the inspiration is at the time.  If it is a different project than you were planning to work on, just go with it!  Things go so much better when you're writing with the flow.


Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, July 27, 2012

Poem of the Week: The After - Echo

I love poetry and have been thinking of doing a 'Poem of the Week' for awhile now.  Then I saw that Elizabeth Rose over at Living on Literary Lane has started a Poem of the Week link-up on Fridays.

Here is a sweet poem by one of my favorite poets.

The After - Echo
Henry Van Dyke

How long the echoes love to play
Around the shore of silence, as a wave
Retreating circles down the sand!
One after one, with sweet delay,
The mellow sounds that cliff and island gave,
Have lingered in the crescent bay,
Until, by lightest breezes fanned,
They float far off beyond the dying day
And leave it still as death
But hark,-
Another singing breath
Comes from the edge of dark;
A note as clear and slow
As falls from some enchanted bell,
Or spirit, passing from the world below,
That whispers back, Farewell.

So in the heart,
When, fading slowly down the past,
Fond memories depart,
And each that leaves it seems the last;
Long after all the rest are flown,
Returns a solitary tone,-
The after-echo of departed years,-
And touches all the soul to tears.

Miss Melody Muffin

Let The Games Begin!

The Summer Olympics 2012 begin today!!!!

I'm a big fan of the Olympics.  My favorite events at the Summer Games are the equestrian events: Three Day Eventing, Dressage and Jumping.  I'm eagerly looking forward to the results of the competitions!

Ann Romney, wife of Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has a horse on the U.S. Dressage team.  It will be ridden by her trainer who co-owns the horse.  And Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Zara Phillips is part of the UK equestrian team.  Both Zara's parents, Princess Anne and Mark Phillips, competed in former Olympic Games, and Zara has tried twice before to qualify for the Olympics.  She finally made it this time!

I'll also be following the results of the archery and fencing, and maybe a few other events.

So, will anyone else be following the Olympics?  What are your favorite events?

Miss Melody Muffin

Beautiful People: June Edition

I'm linking up with Georgie and Sky's Beautiful People for the first time this month.  I've been following other people's BP and it looked like it would be fun and I love anything to do with character developing!  For this month we're supposed to choose our own questions; either make up some or choose questions from the archive.  I went the easy way and am going to answer March 2011's questions with my character Iorwerth from the Three Kyngdoms series.

(This is the first story I've actually done any character casting in and he hasn't been cast yet.)  Basically he is tall, lean, dark haired and generally considered good looking.

What is their full name?
Prince Iorwerth Roland of the Kingdom of Cambria
 
Does his or her name have a special meaning?
Iorwerth is Welsh and means handsome lord; and Roland is after his famous ancestor the Paladin Roland.  All the crown princes of Cambria have Roland in their names somewhere.

Does your character have a methodical or disorganized personality?
He is a  fairly organized person.

Does he or she think inside themselves more than they talk out loud to their friends? (more importantly, does he or she actually have friends?)
He mostly thinks inside himself.  The people closest to him: his sister Seren, lieutenant and best friend Llewellyn, and elven cousin Maron, know him so well that he doesn't need to speak for them to know what he is thinking. 
He does have several friends.

Is there something he or she is afraid of?
He is afraid of what the fate of Cambria would be if Seren, Llewellyn and himself are all killed in the war to retake the land.

Does he or she write, dream, dance, sing, or photograph?

Write: other than letters, not really; dream: he dreams of a united Cambria restored to the glory of former years.  He also has a special personal dream right now but I shall wait to reveal what that is!  Dance: thanks to his cousins' teaching, he is an excellent dancer; sing: yes, usually old Cambrian songs or elven lays; draw: he is very good at quickly sketching accurate maps.

What is his or her favorite book? (or genre of books)
The kingdom histories in his Uncle Arimathe's library.

Who is his or her favorite author and/or someone that inspires him or her?

His father, who kept a journal for most of his life.

Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Summer Peach.  Sun-ripened peaches with just a hint of vanilla.

Favorite season of the year?
Summer, when all the trees are green and offer cool shade to wander and sit beneath.

How did I do with my first attempt at BP?
This was a ton of fun!!  Now I want to go do lots of Beautiful People with all of my characters!

Miss Melody Muffin

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July Writing Tag Two

Oh dear, I'm late again!  This is the second tag for the Actually Finishing Something July Challenge:

Be truthful.  How has the first week-and-a-half of your personal writing challenge progressed?
The first week was terrific!!!  The second half week - not so well.  That is when our computer crashed.  See this post for more information on that event.

Did you reach your weekly goal or word count?
 I came pretty close.

Are you finding it easier to work with a goal in mind?  Or does it make you nervous and even less inclined to get the work done?
Sometimes a goal does make it a little easier for me to work.

Did you do most of your writing in the morning, afternoon, or evening?  When do you like to write?
I do most of my writing in the morning and evening.  My favorite time to write is all day long!!

What music has been inspiring you to write?
Enya - Book of Days, May It Be, Listen to The Rain and a few others; Les Miserables - the students' revolutionary songs :); The Impossible Dream and Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries.   Also, just the last couple days, Alfie Boe's version of Over The Hills and Far Away.  Love it!!!

Share a snippet of your writing!
(This snippet is from Quara:)
Princess Elsheba, seeing her her three Castle Cats, hurried over to talk to them.  You see, in this land, cats could understand humans - at least, Castle Cats could.  What's more, they could speak - in a mewing sort of language to be sure; but with a little practice a human could understand it.  Elsheba's Castle Cats' names were Caela (she was the leader), Delban and Leromoko.
     "Hello Caela, hello Delban, hello Leromoko."
     "Greetings Princess Elsheba," all three of her friends said at the same time.  To hear all of them speak at once was a fascinating thing I can tell you.

Share your favorite Ah-HA writing moment.  Have you written anything that made you sit back and think, "Okay, this is awesome," during the last week and a half?
I was brainstorming titles for my Three Kyngdoms books, and like a thunderbolt out of the blue, the title for the first Quara book came to me!  (Incidentally, I still don't have titles for any of the Three Kyngdoms books!!)

Any problem spots, scenes that are proving hard to work or characters giving you grief?  If so, how did you overcome these obstacles?
Some of my forest kingdoms in the Three Kyngdoms proved a little hard to name at first.  I needed them named before I could move on.  I just stuck with it and then suddenly had a breakthrough moment and got all of them named in about half an hour!

Share your favorite line said by a character during this week-and-a-half of writing.
Kaldar hestitated, "It's just that, our High Queen isn't what I expected."  (Quara)

How are you going to move forward in this challenge?  It's been little more than a week-and-a-half since the start (July 4).  Are you changing your word count or page goal for this coming week?
Persistence!!!  Losing all those notes when our computer crashed was a blow and got me down for awhile but I've pulled out of it and am fired up again.  My goal for the coming week will stay the same.

 
Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, July 20, 2012

Starting Over....

Okay, my dear readers, here's an update on my life right now:

Last week I mentioned having computer problems.  The laptop I shared with some of my younger sisters had quit working and was in for diagnosis.  Well, on Tuesday, the technician called to tell us the hard drive was fried and he couldn't retrieve anything from it.  

I was crushed.  We hadn't yet backed up that computer, so I lost two full years of work.  Studying notes, all my web bookmarks, quite a bit of my writing, all of my June Crusade work on the Gemini; completely gone.
 
Thankfully, I do have hard copy notes for most of the writing I lost.  And, let me tell you, I've never been more thankful to the Lord for giving me a good memory!  Aided by it and my notes, I'm starting over.  And, attempting to pick up the pieces of that part of my life.

When my Mom's new Macbook arrives in a couple weeks or so, she is giving me her old one, for which I am profoundly grateful.  I've been wanting a laptop of my own and although I don't mind Windows, I prefer a Mac.  So, yes, I'm looking forward to using it, but I wish it was under other circumstances.  Honestly, if given the choice between a laptop of my own and having all that data back, I'd choose the data in a heartbeat!  But, God knows best, and although I can't see much good in this situation right now or why he allowed this to happen, someday I hope to be able to look back and see His hand in it.

On a brighter note, I should soon be able to post regularly.  I have lots of plans for posts and post series, some book reviews, more about my stories, and I hope to share some of my other interests with you!

Until then,
Miss Melody Muffin

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Announcing....

Well, my dear readers, this is the surprise.  Miss Amy Dashwood has graciously agreed to make a stop at my blog on her blog tour to promote her new book Only A Novel.  I only 'met' Miss Dashwood a couple months ago but I have enjoyed becoming acquainted with her.  To my delight she agreed to write a post on one of my favorite subjects, historical research.

Hello everyone! Miss Melody Muffin has kindly invited me to guest post on her blog today as part of my blog tour, and I’m thrilled to be here!

In June, I finished writing a my first full-length work of fiction, entitled Only a Novel.  Only a Novel takes place during 1881-1882, which qualifies it as historical fiction.  (In the words of Mr. Palmer in Sense and Sensibility, “Thank you, my dear, I think we had all apprehended that much.”)  Obviously, writing historical fiction requires some amount of research, and that’s what I’m here to talk about today.

When you write a historical novel, your first step is to choose the time period in which your story will take place.  This is often the easiest and most obvious step (if you want to write about WWII, your best bet is to set your story during WWII), but for me it was a little more difficult.  I knew that I wanted to write a story about a girl who became a governess after losing her fortune, and I knew that I wanted this girl (Elizabeth Markette, by the way) to be a rather fanatic fan of Jane Austen.  So, obviously, her story had to take place sometime after the Regency era in order for her to have access to Jane Austen’s novels.   The latter half of the 19th century interests me more than the first half (especially because I like the clothes better) and so I did a little research on the Internet about the 1870’s and 1880’s. 

To my delight, I discovered that there had been an economic depression in Europe in the 1870’s, following the Panic of ’73 in which many stockholders’ fortunes were lost.  Bingo! I knew Elizabeth had to have some reason for losing all her inheritance (the excuse, “well, her grandparents spent it all on bubble gum” seemed a little weak) and the Panic of ’73 fit perfectly into my story.

Now that I had historical context for my novel, I had to make sure that I didn’t write anything that would be anachronistic.  I have a pretty good working knowledge of the fashions of the 1880’s, but I still found it helpful to check victorianweb.org (invaluable! Highly recommend!) for details.  And believe me, I checked often.

To anyone who’s planning on writing historical fiction, let me give you a little hint: it’s really, really good for your ego.  No matter how much you think you may know, you’ll find yourself constantly realizing that you don’t know as much as you thought you knew, and you’ll be looking things up all. the. time.  In one of the very first scenes in my book, I introduced a lawyer whom the heroine mentally compared to a rubber band.  Writing the scene gave me a great many giggles, and when I’d finished, I realized with some horror that I might have to change it.  Were there such things as rubber bands in the 1880’s?  That was when Wikipedia came in handy.  :D Oh, and rubber bands were indeed around in 1881, in case you were wondering. 

Another thing to keep tabs on is the way your characters speak.  (Technically that’s a grammatically correct sentence, but it still looks… odd.  Hmmm.  Anyways.)  There is nothing that makes me cringe more than a book set in the 18th century involving characters who shoot “okay” back and forth at each other.  Puh-leese, puh-LEESE don’t do that (and don’t let your characters say “puh-leese” either, unless they’re at least slightly more contemporary!).   A good way to get acquainted with the lingo of thine era (heh, heh) is to read as many contemporary-to-your-chosen-era books as you can get your hands on.  There’s no better way to become familiar with the way people would have talked than to actually, you know, read the way they would have talked.  :D

In fact, that’s really the best advice I can give you.  Read, read, read.  Read books, read websites, read more books.  Find out all you can about the era you plan to write about—immerse yourself in it, so to speak—and then, hopefully, everything will come together and a completed novel will fall into your lap.

Kidding.  Kidding.  It’s not that easy.  There are these things called blood and sweat and tears, but believe me, it is totally worth it in the end.

Er, that is, I mean to say that it may be a difficult path to follow, but you will feel a great sense of satisfaction when you have accomplished the goal after which you strive. 


"Miss Amy Dashwood is a daughter of the King of Kings, a homeschooled seventeen-year-old and a lover of books, period dramas, chocolate, long bike rides, babies, teacups, historical costumes and fiddle music.  Only a Novel, her first full-length work of fiction, chronicles a year in the life of Elizabeth Markette, a young woman with a head full of books who takes on a job as a governess after the death of her grandmother.  Only a Novel is available for purchase on Amazon, and you can find Amy at either of her two blogs, Yet Another Period Drama Blog and The Quest for Stories."

Thank you for this fantastic post, Amy!

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, July 13, 2012

Coming Up....

Several days ago I tentatively promised you all a surprise.  Keep a lookout for it tomorrow!!  

It may be awhile until I can get back to posting as regularly as I'd like.  I'm having computer problems and am just praying our computer doesn't crash and lose a year's worth of work!  

Miss Melody Muffin

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Period Drama Costumes Tag

Miss Elizabeth Bennet is having a Period Drama Fashion Week over at her blog Elegance of Fashion.  If you love the costumes in period drama you will enjoy this event.

One of the things she posted is this period drama costumes tag.  Most of these questions were difficult for me to answer because it meant making a choice from dozens of favorite costumes!

Which costume in all the period dramas you've seen is your favorite (list up to three)?
Anna’s gorgeous white ball dress from Anna and the King 1999.
Catherine’s riding habit from Northanger Abbey 2007.
Victoria’s gold post-coronation ball dress from The Young Victoria.

Which period drama costume vexes you the most (list up to three)?
Although I haven’t seen the whole movie, Caroline Bingley’s Netherfield Ball dress from Pride and Prejudice 2005.  I detest that dress!!

Which period drama hat or bonnet do you like the best?
The bonnet Elizabeth wears when she goes with the Gardiners to Pemberley (Darcy’s famous swimming scene), Pride and Prejudice 1995.

What costume would you wear today if we could wear period drama fashions in this day and age?
Any of the day dresses from Sense and Sensibility 1995.

Do you notice historical inaccuracies in the period dramas you watch or do you just ignore them for the most part?
I usually notice historical inaccuracies.  How much they annoy me depends on how major or minor they are.

Pick a period drama character. If you were designing their costumes for a new adaptation (or a new episode), how would you go about designing their costumes?
This question is actually easy for me to answer: Marguerite Blakeney.  I’ve always wanted to see a Scarlet Pimpernel production that got Marguerite’s dresses right!  (And her hair color, but that’s another story.)  I would start with the books.  Baroness Orczy did a wonderful job of describing many of Marguerite’s dresses.  I would so love to see these come to life on screen!  Then for her other dresses, I would look at the costume history of the period, keeping in mind what Orczy says about Marguerite being a fashion leader and adopting the Empire fashions ahead of everyone else in England.

What's your favorite fashion era? Why?
The Empire/Regency era.  I just love the classically influenced fashions, the high waists, the simplicity of the day dresses balanced with the gorgeousness of the court and evening gowns, the simple fabrics, the sumptuous fabrics.  I just love it all!

Which period drama has the best costuming? The not-so-great costuming?
Best costuming: Pride and Prejudice 1995 and The Scarlet Pimpernel 1982 (despite the fact that they disregarded what Baroness Orczy said about Marguerite’s dresses, it is chock full of stunning Georgian gowns).
Not so great: I’d have to say Pride and Prejudice 2005 again, even though as I said earlier I haven’t seen the whole movie.

Miss Melody Muffin

Monday, July 9, 2012

Actually Finishing Something July: Part Two

Here is the second part of my Actually Finishing Something July questions post.  These are the answers for the second story I’ll be working on: The Three Kyngdoms.

Tell us about this project.  Give us a small synopsis.
It is mostly Arthurian Fantasy, with some of The Matter of France thrown in and also some Greek, Celtic and Norse Mythology.  Basically it is a blending of my favorite parts from all of that!

Synopsis:
            Five hundred years have passed since the Battle of Camlann where Arthur and Mordred were slain.  Camelot has fallen into darkness.  Tales of Arthur and the Round Table have become legend.  Knighthood is taught in secret.  Descendants of the Knights of the Round Table long for the chance to restore Camelot to its former glory.  The rightful heirs to the thrones of the three kingdoms (Camelot, Cambria and Cornoval) are in hiding – most are unaware they are the heirs.
            Mordred’s descendant Mordrech has seized the throne and is ruling the land.  He is aided and abetted by his evil counselor Malduc.  Merlin’s progeny, Merthyr, and the elven Grail King, Arimathe, wait for The Time.  The time when a sign will come telling them to gather their forces and reclaim the three kingdoms....

How long have you been working on this project?
About a year and a half.  But like Quara, there have been long periods when it was laid aside for other things.

Introduce us to three of your favorite characters in this project.
Astrophel - heir to the mighty King Arthur.  So far, he has no clue he is the heir.  He has been trained as a knight by an old friend of his father.  Conscientious, courageous, determined and surprisingly well educated for his time.  He is one of the most skilled swordsmen in the land.

Seren - princess of Cambria, spirited and brave.  She has been trained as a Valkyr - one of a group of elite women knights.  She will defend her family with her lifeDefinitely not someone you want to fight against!

Iorwerth - heir to the throne of Cambria.  Descended from the great Paladin Roland.  Quiet, introspective and as loyal as they come.  He and Seren were raised by their great uncle Arimathe - the Grail King.  He is very close to his sister and his friend Llewellyn.

How will you make your characters behave long enough to finish this goal?
At this point they daren’t even dream of misbehaving!  They did that the last day of the June Crusade, leaving me unable to focus on my Crusade story.  Now they fully appreciate how fortunate they are that I allowed their story to be the next one I worked on, instead of putting them down for six months like they know they deserve!

Go to page 16 (or 6, 26, or 66!) of your writing project.  Pick your favorite line or snippet on the page.
Page 6:
“The time to come out of hiding and fight for Camelot.  To restore the rightful rulers of the land!”

Miss Melody Muffin

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Actually Finishing Something July: Part One

Linking up with Katie’s Actually Finishing Something July challenge!

The goal is to set a writing goal and pledge to finish it by August 1,2012.  The goal can be any size; a chapter, half a book, a whole novel, etc.

This is the first week’s tag:

What is your writing goal?
To finish naming all my characters, sketch out the plot and write the first chapter of two of my fantasy stories: Quara and The Three Kyngdoms.

Because my goal for this month involves two stories, I’m going to answer these other questions in two posts.  Today I’ll do Quara and tomorrow I’ll answer the questions with The Three Kyngdoms.

Tell us about this project.  Give us a small synopsis.
Quara started out as a bedtime story I was telling my younger siblings.  They all loved it so much they insisted I write it down.  It has grown by leaps and bounds since then, until now it is one of my favorite fantasy worlds.

Synopsis:
    Beyond the sunset, in the land of Quara, lies the Kingdom of Esidaraq.  For decades it has been prosperous and at peace.  Until the dreadful day six years ago when the High King and High Queen were killed while on a state visit to the Empire of Droizza.
    Forced to ascend the throne before their time, their teenage children have nonetheless done a brilliant job of administering the kingdom.  They know their parents’ death was no accident, but a planned incident by the Emperor calculated to weaken Esidaraq.  Thanks to their allies rallying around them, it did not succeed....
    The Emperor of Droizza is frustrated by his carefully engineered plans going awry.  He determines there is now only one way to bring all of Quara under his domination - invasion and all out WAR!  Starting with Esidaraq....
    For the young monarchs, this war will be a test beyond any they have ever faced before....

How long have you been working on this project?
About a year, off and on.  It has been laid aside for long periods of time to focus on other projects.

Introduce us to three of your favorite characters in this project.
Oh dear, choices.  I can’t introduce you to only three of the fourteen royals so instead I’ll tell you about three of the secondary characters.
    Kaldar Dein - recently promoted second-in-command of the Royal Eagle Riders.  He is the personal messenger of the High Queen and one of the best riders in the RAR.  But, he would rather be fighting in the army than carrying messages for the palace, despite his mentors trying to tell him being a messenger is more important than fighting.
    Usaya Madkin - Head Housekeeper.  It is her job to be one of the few allowed to scold the Royal Family; it is her privilege to make sure everything runs smoothly around the palace.  Woe betide anyone caught not doing their job correctly!  The wrath of the Head Housekeeper is something to fear!
    Darold Verdyn - Captain of the Palace Guard.  A quiet man but immensely capable.  He is responsible for overseeing all guard duties in and about the palace, assigning the watches, etc.  He must also make sure members of the Royal Family are properly guarded when they leave the castle.  And if you think the last task is an easy one, just ask him about it.  He’ll tell you most of them have no regard for their personal safety, and the High King and Queen are the worst of the lot!

How often do you intend to write in order to reach this goal by August first?
Hopefully every day I’ll do at least one thing on this.

How will you make your characters behave long enough to finish this goal?
I’m not really sure!  Threaten them with destruction?  Tell them I’ll lay them aside for several months?  (Anathema to characters!)  These characters haven’t even thought of misbehaving so far.  (Said in a whisper so I don’t jinx their good behavior!)  :)

Go to page 16 (or 6, 26, or 66!) of your writing project.  Pick your favorite line or snippet on the page.
Page 6:
    Meanwhile Prince Benjamorn, followed closely by Yuhon, went to the shield workroom.  There Mooosu, who was the best shieldmaker in all the length and breadth of Esidaraq, was busy repairing a shield that High King Timotheus had severely dented during a practice session with one of the knights.

Tea or coffee?
Tea, hands down.  And in this hot weather it is a tall frosted glass of iced tea!!

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Reading Habits Tag

I found this delightful tag at Abby’s blog: Newly Impassioned Soul.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack:
 I love snacking while I’m reading!  I prefer fruit-especially apples, nuts and cheese.

What is your favourite drink while reading? 
Tea or fruit juice.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
Mark my books?  Horror of all horrors!!!!

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
Bookmarks.  I have a couple dozen of them stashed here and there in my bedroom.  But, in a pinch, I’ll just memorize the page number.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?
Both.  More fiction than non-fiction though.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
I definitely tend to read to the end of a chapter.  And then maybe squeeze in a just a few words from the next chapter, if I possibly can!!

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?

No.  But I have been known to slam them onto the shelf or table in such cases.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

Very rarely.  I usually store it in a corner of my brain and look it up whenever I’m near a dictionary next.

What are you currently reading?
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo!!!  (And loving it I might add!)

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?
Every hour of the day!!  As for favorite place: lying on my bed, curled up in the comfy chair in my room, or swinging on a comfortable swing under a tree in the summer.

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?
Both.  I like stories that continue on and on in series, but some books can’t be anything but stand alones.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
The Scarlet Pimpernel/Baroness Orczy!  Also, Jane Austen and Sir Walter Scott.

How do you organize your books? (by genre, title, author’s last name, etc.)
By genre or author’s last name.  Westerns, exciting adventures, Austen, Shakespeare, classics, etc.  It just depends on the book.

Miss Melody Muffin

Monday, July 2, 2012

June Crusade Recap

Well, my dear people, the June Crusade is over.  It is finished.  I feel a little sad, for it was a wonderful event, even though I didn't come close to accomplishing my word count goal.

So, what DID I accomplish? 

Plenty of character development.  I hadn't touched this story in several months so I did lots of character exercises to reacquaint myself with my people and because it was just plain needed anyway.

Some important emotional scenes dealing with a character's death written.  I wasn't sure how these would go and if I would be able to properly convey the passionate feelings I wanted to, but I'm pleased with the way they came out.

About one thousand words written during most of the month.  Then, during Anne-girl's Great and Terrible Challenge I wrote 3,071 words on Tuesday, 2,744 on Thursday and (horrors!) only 858 on Saturday.  A Very DREADFUL Thing happened on Saturday.  My characters refused to talk to me!!!!  HOW COULD THEY DO THAT TO ME ON THE VERY LAST DAY???!!!!  Needless to say, I was a Very Unhappy Person!!  And on top of that, characters from another story kept attempting to push their way in and tell me things, despite me telling them they had to wait just one more day!!  (Seems some of them have learned my habit of impatience, or something!)

Total words written this month: 7, 673; bringing the grand total of words on the story so far to 9,294.  Not nearly what I had hoped to do over the month, but hey, when life hands you lemons, make the lemonade as sugary as possible!!

Now I will be taking a break from the Gemini story to focus on two of my fantasy stories, Quara and The Three Kyngdoms.  They have won their turn, in spite of my annoyance with one of them on Saturday!  I am also going to work on rough sketching some plot bunnies.  You can expect to hear more about these projects in the upcoming days.

And, I plan on doing several posts about other things, like book reviews, thoughts on some movies, a favorite poem or two and perhaps even... a surprise!!

Miss Melody Muffin