Sunday, September 30, 2012

Quote of the Week: Wilberforce

"If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever to be at large."
William Wilberforce
I love this quote!  God grant we may all be fanatics like this!

And from Wilberforce's third son comes this quote, spoken during a debate with Thomas Henry Huxley on Darwin's theory of evolution.  It is heavily sarcastic and did it ever make me laugh!! 

"Is it on your grandmother's or grandfather's side that you are descended from an ape?"
Samuel Wilberforce

Have a wonderful week!

Miss Melody Muffin

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Favorite Characters Tag: Villains

The second part of Kathryn's tag; my four favorite fictional villains.  For a villain to be my favorite, he/she must be thoroughly despicable.  I like to hate villains.  :)

Still frame from: The Scarlet Pimpernel

1. Chauvelin
Ah, yes, the arch nemesis of the greatest hero ever.  The Scarlet Pimpernel would not be who he is were it not for Chauvelin.  The man who dogs his every step and does his best to thwart Percy's every brilliant plan.  The man who never gives up trying to bring down the League– any way he can.  Played by Raymond Massey (above) in the 1934 film, and even better by Sir Ian McKellen in the 1982 film.

2. Rupert of Hentzau
The young villain in The Prisoner of Zenda.  The aristocratic, handsome, scarcely more than a boy, devil-may-care rogue who intrigues against his allies, laughs at danger, and goes singing away after he has been injured.

3. Guy of Gisborne
Robin Hood's arch nemesis.  The man who wants Maid Marian and/or her money and property for himself.  The man who is constantly figuring out ways to 'get Robin Hood this time'.  The man who intrigues with the Sheriff of Nottingham and Prince John, and against King Richard.  Basil Rathbone played him magnificently in the 1938 Adventures of Robin Hood.

4. Iras
Ben-Hur's infatuation and almost his ruin.  The woman who was my first introduction to a very complex female villain.  She is fascinating, although I was a little annoyed that Ben-Hur didn't figure her out sooner.  Her two-faced behavior, her meanness to Esther, her disrespect of her father and her scorn of anyone who believes Jesus is the Christ, yes, all in all definitely a memorable villain.

Next up: my four favorite heroes from my own stories!

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, September 28, 2012

Poem of the Week: Beautiful Sky

Gorgeous imagery!

Beautiful Sky
Joseph Horatio Chant

Oh beautiful sky of every hue;
Golden and purple, crimson and blue,
With some sombre lines thrown in between,
And some bright spots of emerald green.
The earth is wed to the sun it seems,
And to grace the robe of his royal bride
No pains are spared, nor a tint untried,
And thus complete it with glory gleams.

He wields his brush as an artist now;
Lo beauty glows on the earth's fair brow!
And the lovely flowers at once arise
To match the glow of the radiant skies,
The sparkling dew drops at morn are seen,
Close nestling among the petals rare,
Like crystal studs in a maiden's hair,
Brighter than gems which adorn a queen.

Miss Melody Muffin

Monday, September 24, 2012

Snippets of Story: September

I'm finally posting my September snippets!  I was going to follow Jessica and Katherine Sophia's examples and post a snippet from each of my stories, but I'm afraid that will have to wait until next month.

The West home had been the perfect place for Philippe to recover from his grief and loneliness.  Lewis' kindness and understanding, Roxana's care and the twins... ah the twins.  Their quaint ways, for they were only a year old at the time, their baby words and the way they accepted him wholeheartedly had been an important factor in his emotional healing.  His nickname dated from then, for they could not say 'Philippe' and one day when she tried, Cordelia said 'Pip'.  The name clung and was used by the girls even now, especially in tender moments.  The bond forged at that time, between a five-year-old boy and one-year-old girls, had only grew stronger through the years.

"It would be amusing if it were not so frustrating," Falkirk admitted.  "I can have my pick of every unmarried woman in England between seventeen and twenty-five; yet I'm madly in love with a sixteen-year-old girl who I doubt even knows I exist!"
Alistair raised his eyebrows but forbore to smile at his friend's plight.

That Oliver!  He will never learn!  Today he went rushing down the stairs without looking.  Someone had left a pile of papers on a bottom step and Cap slipped on a paper and fell.  He yelled and tried to stand up.  He couldn't so he yelled more.  Everyone came running and Papa and Henry picked him up and carried him to a sofa in the breakfast room.  Henry hurried off on horseback for the doctor.  Tina and Louisa were crying.  Mama was worried and scolding Cap.  Papa said, "Looks like it's his ankle."
Southern Sixteen

Seren tried to rise, only to be pushed back by Ixolta's hand on her shoulder, "My women?  I didn't lose any in the battle?"
"None, My Lady," the healer assured her.
"Where are they?"
Astrophel spoke from her other side, "The fittest of them went with my knights to reconnoiter Iladar cave and set up camp if it is safe."
"Arion?" Seren called to her alacorn.
"I'm here, My Lady.  Rest.  Conserve your strength.  It is a nasty wound you have."
"If another person tells me to rest..." and though weak from blood loss, Seren's eyes kindled.  The others around her chuckled in relief.  If she had spirit enough to protest, she was already well on her way to recovery.
The Three Kyngdoms

"B-but," Mileth stammered, "We should have found her earlier."
"What do you mean?" Hanetta asked for all the queens.
Mileth fixed his eyes on the ground and mumbled, "Rascal kept trying to tell me and it took me a long time to understand him."
"Oh, that is all right." Abijalla smiled warmly.  "You've not had him for very long and it takes time and plenty of practice to understand a Castle Cat.  Don't feel bad!  No one blames you."
The young guard straightened and Rascal lifted his head, which he had been hanging.  They bowed in unison, "Thank you, Your Majesties."

"We're traveling heavy," Malagi remarked.  "A pack horse for each of us plus an extra.  And one for Emrys, so we must be meeting him somewhere."
"And both the first and second wings of tygerhawks are missing.  So Merthyr must have sent a another message before we returned," Cathbadh tightened a strap on one of the packsaddles.
Malagi's eyes widened, "Pretty important message; to merit the first wing taking it."
The Three Kyngdoms

Miss Melody Muffin

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Quote of the Week: Dinah Craik

"The blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely.  Oh the comfort – the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person – having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away."
Dinah Craik

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, September 21, 2012

Poem of the Week: The Land of Beyond

I've been spending some time in my own Land of Beyond today, trying to understand what some of my characters were trying to tell me.  I think I finally figured it out and now I'm going to take a break from writing!

The Land of Beyond
Robert W. Service

Have ever you heard of the Land of Beyond,
That dreams at the gates of the day?
Alluring it lies at the skirts of the skies,
And ever so far away;
Alluring it calls: O ye the yoke galls,
And ye of the trail overfond,
With saddle and pack, by paddle and track,
Let's go to the Land of Beyond!

Have ever you stood where the silences brood,
And vast the horizons begin,
At the dawn of the day to behold far away
The goal you would strive for and win?
Yet ah! in the night when you gain to the height,
With the vast pool of Heaven star-spawned,
Afar and agleam, like a valley of a dream,
Still mocks you a Land of Beyond.

Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond
For us who are true to the trail;
A vision to seek, a beckoning peak,
A farness that never will fail;
A pride in our soul that mocks at a goal,
A manhood that irks at a bond,
And try how we will, unattainable still,
Behold it, our Land of Beyond!

Have a beautiful weekend!

Miss Melody Muffin

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Today I Am....

Jemimah C originated this and it has been going around the blogging world lately.  It is a fun way to give all you great readers a slice of my life.

Finishing plot outlines for Quara and The Three Kyngdoms, and drafting the outlines for my newest plots. 

Several blog posts.  (Including my Les Miserables posts!)

I Will Repay by Baroness Orczy.

The original Broadway cast recording of Les Miserables.  Since it is the Broadway cast, no Michael Ball, and whoever does sing Marius isn't as good.  Also, Judy Kuhn as Cosette (I prefer Rebecca Caine).  But, Colm Wilkinson still and Michael Maguire as Enjolras. 

And the songs from Anne of Green Gables: The Musical.

Downton Abbey Season Two and Star Trek: Insurrection

At the stunning sunrise spread across the sky, and the reddening maples on the mountains.

That I love beta reading. 

And despite how many stories have already been written about it, there is still so much potential for stories set during the French Revolution.

Stressed and a little tired, but energized because several Quara characters are bombarding me with information about themselves!

Watching the 25th anniversary concert of Les Mis on Saturday.  Can't wait!!!!

There were more hours in a day.  :)

Researching the French Revolution. 

Writing Quara.

Have a good rest of the week!

Miss Melody Muffin

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Favorite Characters Challenge Tag: Part One

Kathryn started this tag and tagged me ages ago and I finally filled it out!

It was VERY hard (nigh impossible!) to choose only four favorite heroes!  I have so many!!  But here are just four.  Someday I will do a post listing all of my favorite fictional heroes and heroines, but I warn you it will be VERY long!!!

Still frame from: The Scarlet Pimpernel

1. The Scarlet Pimpernel AKA Sir Percival Blakeney
Unquestionably the greatest hero in literature.  Ever.  He is best portrayed onscreen by Anthony Andrews in the 1982 film The Scarlet Pimpernel, and second best by Leslie Howard (above).

File:Olivia de Havilland and Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood trailer.JPG

2. Robin Hood. 
The best archer to ever draw breath in Merry England.  That is until Legolas Greenleaf came along.  What?  Legolas isn't English?  Oh, then Robin Hood keeps his title of best archer.  :)  IMO, Errol Flynn's is the best portrayal of Robin Hood to ever hit the screen.

File:Errol Flynn in Captain Blood trailer.JPG

3. Captain Blood
He's brave, resourceful and chivalrous; he's a pirate with an unbounded imagination for escape plans, he is passionately in love with a women who scorns him and he has a charming Irish accent.  What's not to like?  And by the way, Errol Flynn is Captain Blood (as well as Robin Hood).  Period.

Still frame from: The Scarlet Pimpernel

4. Marguerite Blakeney
I must do one heroine to balance this post out, but who to choose?  Ah, yes, Marguerite Blakeney.  Yes, she didn't understand Percy at first, but after she figured him out, she did everything in her power to make it up to him.  She passionately loves him.  Even when she wishes he would stay with her instead of risking his life, deep down inside she understand why he does it.  And, she becomes a member of the League and has to help out now and then!  My favorite screen portrayal of her is in the 1982 film, by the terrifically talented Jane Seymour.  Merle Oberon, (above) also does a fairly good job.

Next up: my four favorite fictional villains.

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, September 14, 2012

Poem of the Week: Victor Hugo

Earlier today I was trying to decide which of two poems I should post for this week.  One was by Henry van Dyke and I idly scrolled down the page reading more of his poems.  Then this one leaped out at me and I knew I had to post it today.  What better way to close out my Les Mis reading challenge than with this tribute to its author?

Note:  Hugo died in 1885 but this poem was written in 1902, thus the title.

Victor Hugo 1802-1902
Henry van Dyke

Heart of France for a hundred years,
Passionate, sensitive, proud, and strong,
Quick to throb with her hopes and fears,
Fierce to flame with her sense of wrong!
You, who hailed with a morning song
Dream-light gilding a throne of old:
You, who turned when the dream grew cold,
Singing still, to the light that shone
Pure from Liberty's ancient throne,
Over the human throng!
You, who dared in the dark eclipse,–
When the pygmy heir of a giant name
Dimmed the face of the land with shame,–
Speak the truth with indignant lips,
Call him little whom men called great,
Scoff at him, scorn him, deny him,
Point to the blood on his robe of state,
Fling back his bribes and defy him!

You, who fronted the waves of fate
As you faced the sea from your island home,
Exiled, yet with a soul elate,
Sending songs o'er the rolling foam,
Bidding the heart of man to wait
For the day when all should see
Floods of wrath from the frowning skies
Fall on an Empire founded in lies,
And France again be free!
You, who came in the Terrible Year
Swiftly back to your broken land,
Now to your heart a thousand times more dear,–
Prayed for her, sung to her, fought for her,
Patiently, fervently wrought for her,
Till once again,
After the storm of fear and pain,
High in the heavens the star of France stood clear!

You, who knew that a man must take
Good and ill with a steadfast soul,
Holding fast, while the billows roll
Over his head, to the things that make
Life worth living for great and small,–
 Honour and pity and truth,
The heart and the hope of youth,
And the good God over all!
You, to whom work was rest,
Dauntless Toiler of the Sea,
Following ever the joyful quest
Of beauty on the shores of old Romance,
Bard of the poor of France,
And warrior-priest of world-wide charity!

You who loved little children best
Of all the poets that ever sung,
Great heart, golden heart,
Old, and yet ever young,
Minstrel of liberty,
Lover of all free, winged things,
Now at last you are free,–
Your soul has its wings!
Heart of France for a hundred years,
Floating far in the light that never fails you,
Over the turmoil of mortal hopes and fears
Victor, forever victor, the whole world hails you!

Miss Melody Muffin

Ring Out The Bells... I Did It!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, my friends, I have just this moment finished Les Miserables.  The last 208 pages are now history. 

What a beautiful, wonderful, magnificent story!!!!!  From it's beginning with the saintly Bishop to meeting Jean Valjean and his amazing transformation; from poor, broken Fantine to the beautiful, charming, but a little silly, Cosette; brave, sad Eponine and the disgusting Thendardiers; the blockheaded at first, prejudiced, yet courageous Marius to the noble, idealistic Friends of the ABC.  From the chapel to the streets, the convent to the barricades; through to the heartbreaking but glorious end.

I did it.  It is done.  I have finished the book.

Thank you all so much, my dear friends, for your encouragement!!  It was very sweet to me to know you were cheering me on!

And now, that mountain climbed, I am looking for other adventures.   I shall start with watching the 10th anniversary concert tomorrow. 

One day more....

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The End Is In Sight!

I reached both yesterday's and today's reading goals!!  I read 187 pages of Les Miserables yesterday and 208 pages today.  I now have only 208 pages left until the end of the book!!!!

And then, Saturday, the concert!  Hopefully!

Thank you all for your continued encouragement!

Miss Melody Muffin

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Think I Can Make It, I Think I Can....

Just a quick note to say, thank you all for your encouragement!  I made my Les Mis reading goal today, too!  I read 212 pages.  There wasn't as much description to wade through this time so it didn't feel so much like I was slogging through a heavy downpour.  :)  I 'officially' met the Friends of the ABC, watched Marius fall in love with Cosette, observed with Marius the incident' at the old Gorbeau house with Jondrette/Thenardier, Valjean and Javert, and, thanks to Hugo's detailed explanatory descriptions, learned all about the quietly rising tide of revolution in Paris at the time.

Now if I can only keep it up for the next three days....

Miss Melody Muffin

Monday, September 10, 2012

Of Les Miserables and Goals

As most of you who read my blog know, I am in the process of reading Victor Hugo's massive, 1,465 page tome Les Miserables.  I started it at the end of July and until today still was only a third of the way into it.  I breezed through the action parts but when it came to the scores of pages of description before the dozen or less pages of action, well, I lagged.  I did consider skipping the descriptive chunks (I've done it before, when reading James Fenimore Cooper) but then decided that was rather cowardly.   :)

Then, this morning I decided it was time to knuckle down and FINISH the book.  Not only because I want to see the full anniversary concerts, but also because it is unheard of for me to take this long to read a book (I mean over a month?  Good grief!) as well as the fact that I have a couple hundred books on my 'to read' list (and more being added all the time) that I won't let myself read until I'm done with Les Mis.  So, right before I went to wash the breakfast dishes, I scribbled out a quick schedule.  You see, I decided I want to finish the book this week.  And that means I have to read approximately 200 pages a day.  Yes, you heard that right.  Two hundred pages of Victor Hugo a day, from now until Friday.  My sisters think I'm crazy.  (They aren't keen on Les Mis anyway.  Do you suppose it might have something to do with the fact that I go around singing the songs all the time... and they don't like that kind of music?)  :)

I accomplished my goal for today, and read a total of 217 pages today.  I've just finished the part where Marius gets kicked out of his grandfather's house.  Tomorrow I officially meet the Friends of the ABC!  I'm eagerly looking forward to it!  (I say 'officially' because I skipped ahead and read some of the students' scenes several weeks ago.  I just couldn't wait.)

As I type this, I am listening to the students' songs from the Broadway cast recording.  While he doesn't have the passion Ramin Karimloo has in the role, I really enjoy Michael Maguire's Enjolras!  His voice!!!  I do like baritones!  Oh, and by the way, I prefer Hadley Fraser's Drink With Me to Anthony Crivello's.

If I reach my goal, I will watch the 10th anniversary concert on Saturday.  Do you think I can do it, my friends?

Miss Melody Muffin

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Quote of the Week: Mitchell Burgess

If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection.  It's a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone.  Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it's time to reflect on what's come before.
Mitchell Burgess

I believe in God instead of 'Mother Earth', but the rest of this quote is quite relevant to how I've been feeling lately.

Have a beautiful week!

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, September 7, 2012

Poem of the Week: Thoughts

Here I am back again for another Poem of the Week!  I'm sorry I've been rather sporadic in my posting again.  Between crazy days and a couple crazy nights, finding time to write hasn't been easy, and then my stories flow better than a blog post.  I do believe things are looking up though, and I should be back to posting at least every other day soon!

Elisabeth Rose has a weekly link-up if anyone else wishes to do so with their poems!

I love this poem!  It so perfectly describes my thoughts.  (Well, except for the burning rose one!)  :)  And as much as I love my thoughts, I love my real friends better.

Sara Teasdale

When I am all alone
Envy me most,
Then my thoughts flutter round me
In a glimmering host;

Some dressed in silver,
Some dressed in white,
Each like a taper
Blossoming light;

Most of them merry,
Some of them grave,
Each of them lithe
As willows that wave;

Some bearing violets,
Some bearing bay,
One with a burning rose
Hidden away-

When I am all alone
Envy me then,
For I have better friends
Than women and men.

Miss Melody Muffin

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Another award!

Kiri Liz awarded me the Liebster Blog Award.  Thank you, Kiri!!!!

Rules:  (This one is all about elevens!)
1. You must post eleven facts about yourself.
2. You must also answer the eleven questions the awarder has given you and make up eleven questions for your awardees to answer in turn.
3. Tag eleven fellow bloggers
4. Notify them that you've awarded them
5. No tagging back
6. And the eleven blogs you tag must have less than 200 followers.

Eleven facts about myself:  Oh, let's see....
1. I love rain and wind.
2. I don't like the color orange, for the most part.
3. I have never learned to like beets.
4. Roses are my favorite flower, followed closely by lilacs.
5. I have two new story plots swirling around in my brain right now.  (Posts on them coming soon!)
6. I dislike photo shoots unless I'm behind the camera.  My younger sisters keep trying to get me to enjoy them, but... so far they've only had partial success.  I don't hate photo shoots anymore, but I still don't like them.
7. I spent years thinking I had been born 150 or 200 years too late.
8. Empress Josephine of France is one of my favorite historical people.
9. I very rarely go barefoot.
10. I bought a copy of The Princess Bride book last week and it is going under lock and key until I finish Les Miserables, lest, like Anne Shirley, I be tempted to read it before I am done with Les Mis.  :)
11. This is quite an odd collection of random facts!

Eleven questions from Kiri Liz:
1. What is your favorite book?
The Scarlet Pimpernel

2. Do you prefer coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?
If it is winter, hot chocolate.  The rest of the time, tea.

3. Preferred style of dressing: casual or formal?
Causal, most definitely.  I dress up for weddings and that's about all.  Dreadful, really.

4. What is your favorite candy?

5. If given a day to spend in any book/movie, which one would you choose?
Oooh, choices!  Right now, Les Miserables, at the barricade.

6. What are some of your favorite blogs?
Besides the blogs of those who I awarded:
Old-Fashioned Charm
Lianne Taimenlore
Yet Another Period Drama Blog

7.  What is your favorite way to eat ice cream?  Cone, ice cream cake, sundae, or other?
I love ice cream sandwiches!

8. What is your favorite outside activity?
Riding my horse!!  What makes it even better is if I'm riding through some sagebrush; not too much, but just enough that the smell clings to my horse and me.  :)

9. What is your favorite Bible verse?
Psalm 34:7 "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."

10. How does your family spend a slow, summer evening?
We prefer to spend it watching Amazing Grace (for the twentieth time or so!) or The Swiss Family Robinson.  Of course, since our summers are very busy, it doesn't happen very often!  :)

11. What is your favorite memory?
I can't think of a absolute favorite at this moment but going on a trail ride up in the mountains with a bunch of friends a few years ago was terrific.

Eleven questions I pass on:
1. What is your favorite flower?
2. Do you plan to see The Hobbit and/or Les Miserables when they come out in December?
3. If you could wear a dress from any period movie, what would it be?
4. Have you read any of Beverly Lewis' Amish fiction books?
5. Do you prefer Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley?
6. Have you ever ridden a horse and if so, do you regularly ride?
7. If you could time travel, what historical period would you visit?
8. What is your favorite hymn?
9. Who is your favorite poet?
10. Do you knit, crochet, tat or embroider?
11. What is your least favorite book?

Eleven bloggers I award:
Katherine Sophia
Natasha Marie
Maria Elisabeth
Miss Jack Lewis Baillot
Katie S.
Miss Woodhouse
Miss Abilaine
Jemimah C.

And I'm awarding Amy with this as well, although she's not passing on awards anymore.  :)

Miss Melody Muffin

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Quote of the Week: Winston Churchill

"The truth is incontrovertible.  Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is."
Winston Churchill

Have a wonderful week!

Miss Melody Muffin