Wednesday, October 31, 2012

One More Day Before The Storm...

...Of Writing!!!!!

Several of my Blogger friends will be beginning the rush to the NaNoWriMo 50,000 word goal tomorrow.  But not me.

I had really hoped to be able to take part in NaNo this year.  It would have been my first time.  But, Life decided that was not to be.  My November is looking extremely unpredictable so I won't be able to commit to 50,000 words.  However, I am pretty sure I can do 25,000 words, so, I will be joining Half NaNo, an event dreamed up by my friend Amy Dashwood.  For the rules and button and etc., check it out here.

I'll be writing on the first book in my Three Kyngdoms series.  Today having recovered from being sick yesterday (see below), I finished naming some of the minor characters - elf lords and knights and such.  I double checked my outline, rough sketched in a few more things and worked on backstories and character developments.  I think I'm ready to go!!

Yesterday, I woke up feeling awful.  It was a bit of a stomach flu combined with a buildup of stress from the past couple weeks, and being very overtired.  All in all, it laid me pretty low all day.  Not only was I physically exhausted (and still am) but I was also mentally exhausted.  That was a very weird feeling for me.  I am NOT used to mental exhaustion.  I almost NEVER run out of mental energy.  But, I did yesterday!  ):  Ugh.  I HATE being sick.  Passionately abhor it.  Loathe it.  Detest it! 

Uh, yeah, I think you all get the idea.  =)

Also going on this week, Anne-girl had the Scribbler's Conference Award Ceremony on Monday.  To my great surprise, I won The Participators Award!  Thank you very much, Anne!!!!

Anyway, that is what I've been up to this week!

Happy Scribbling to everybody tomorrow!!!

Miss Melody Muffin

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October Character Encounter: Klingsor

Kenrda over at Knitted By God's Plan has started a new monthly character link-up called Character Encounters.  (Click on the link to find out more about it and join in the fun!)

My entry is VERY late!  I scribbled this in a few moments last week but didn't get around to editing and posting it until now.

It was nearly the end of the day and I was glad.  Because it was Medieval Day at the local library where I worked, I had dressed up in a long, flowing, blue medieval dress I had sewn myself for a costume party a few months ago.  After an entire day of helping children, college students and adults, I was tired.  It seemed like all the students from the local college had been in at some point today and I lost count of how many children's questions I had answered about my dress, how medieval people lived and dressed and was I a princess.

I picked up a large stack of books the last two students had left and went to file them away.  I had only one book left and went to put it in the cookbook section.  I was hunting for its place when I heard a strange noise behind me and turned quickly.  Coming into the aisle was a young man with blond hair that hung almost to his shoulder and piercing blue eyes.  He was tall and skinny but what made me take a second look was his medieval garb.  He wore tight-fitting gray leather pants, a green long-sleeved shirt and black hip-length vest.  A black and green striped cloak hung easily on his shoulders. 
At first glance I thought he was simply another college student who had dressed up in honor of the day.  Then I saw something that made me bite back a gasp of astonishment.  On his right shoulder he wore the symbol of Malduc and Mordrech. 
It can't be, I think frantically. 
As I have been looking him over he is doing the same to me.  He smiles charmingly and reaches up to brush a lock of hair out of his face and tuck it behind his pointed ear. 
Pointed ears?  He must be an elf!  But no!  How could he be?  How did he get here?  And far more important, why was he here?
"I don't think I've met you," he says, with that charming smile.
"I'm Melody," I execute the proper elven bow.
He returns it and says something.  I recognize it as the proper greeting in the dialect the dark elves of the Three Kingdoms use.  "And where do you hail from?" he asks me.
"From here, this town."
He raises his eyebrows, "You live here," he gestures around at the library.
"No, no.  I work here."
"How can you work here?" 
"Well, I help people find books."
"Oh," his eyes sweep me again and I repress a tiny shudder.  "Then perhaps you can help me find what I'm looking for."
"And what would that be, sir?"
He looks around swiftly and lowers his voice, "A book on poisons."
Poisons?  I glance frantically around.  I think I've figured out who he is, and he is the last person I want to have a book on poisons.  Then an idea comes to me.  I turn to the shelf and pull down a book with brown swirls on it's cover.  "Here sir.  This book is full of poison recipes, especially effective on women."
He frowns at the strange language on the book.  I forestall what he is about to say, "If you cannot read the words, I am certain your sister will be able to."
He quickly locks eyes with me, his eyes narrowing, "How do you know who I am?  Or that I have a sister?  I didn't tell you."
"No sir, but who does not know of the learned warrior lord Klingsor and his lovely sister Kundry?" Fortunately for me he misses the sarcasm in my voice. 
"Thank you for your help."  He smiles his charming smile again and bows.  "I hope to meet you again, Melody."
"Perhaps my lord, one never knows what turns our lives will take."
He tilted his head, smiled again and left, his cloak swishing against my legs.

I breathe a sigh of relief.  That was a close one.  How in heaven's name did he manage to fall into our world.  Was there a crack in time?  I hurry to leave for home.  I don't want to be around when he discovers that book is full of recipes for chocolate.

Miss Melody Muffin

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Quote of the Week: October 28

"No man is justified in doing evil on the grounds of expediency."
Theodore Roosevelt

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, October 26, 2012

Poem of the Week: John Keats

I love this poem!

When I Have Fears
John Keats

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starred face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love; –then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Snippets of Story: October

My favorite snippet so far from each of my current works-in-progress.

My three main stories:

My Victorian series.

Lafayette looked at Cordelia, "Is your family still planning to go to England sometime this year?"
You could have heard a pin drop in the silence that fell. 
Cordelia glanced from Penelope to Philippe.  "I believe so," she answered quietly.
Silvia looked stricken, "Oh, Penny!  You really might go?"
Penelope clasped her friend's hand tightly.  "I don't know," she said honestly.
"Soon?" Valaria asked Cordelia.
Cordelia shrugged, "I don't know that either."
Julian had been staring out the window.  Now he turned and looked straight at Penelope.  "For how long?"
Penelope shook her head, signifying she did not know.  She didn't trust her voice.  A great lump rose in her throat every time she thought of leaving Sicily and these people she loved.

The Three Kyngdoms
My Arthurian fantasy.

“What is it you wish to know, young Malagi?”
“My Lord, why can people understand horses?  Is it magic?”
“It is not magic,” Arimathe explained.  “Horses have a language of their own, as do unicorns and alacorns.  Or rather, unicorns and alacorns speak two dialects of the same language. All three are oral languages; they have no written form.  The language of horses, Cibara, is taught to all knights when they are squires.  In the same way, during a Templar’s training, they learn Lida, the unicorns’ dialect of Lidasyqua.  And prospective Valkyrs learn Qua, the alacorn dialect.  Anyone who has not been taught the language finds it difficult, if not impossible, to understand the animals.  When a horse speaks, they simply hear a whinny, while those who know the language, understand the words spoken in that whinny.
“Why, if all knights learn Cibara, can they still not understand every horse?”
“Horses have individual voices, just as you do.  Your voice is different from Emrys’, whose voice is different from Merthyr’s, whose voice is yet different from mine.  All horses speak Cibara, but, some horses are harder to understand because their accent, tone, and manner of speaking all render the words less intelligible.  Yet, each knight can perfectly understand his own horses because he has spent hours with them, learning their unique voices.”
“But, sir, why can a few people understand all horses, unicorns and alacorns?  Like Lady Seren and Sir Philippon?”
“Certain people have a gift or talent for understanding and speaking languages.  They are better at it than the rest of us.  Seren and Philippon have this talent.  They had a little study in the languages at first and then were able to learn the rest quickly and easily and now understand both languages, which is why they understand all equines.”

My still-trying-to-define-what-genre-this-fits-in-because-it-isn't-technically-fantasy story.

Alratar had told Kaldar that morning that 'special' riders would be accompanying both of the RER wings leaving that day.  Now the two young men waited by three great eagles for their turn to leave.
"Our special rider is receiving final instructions from their majesties," Alratar explained.
Kaldar noticed the the third eagle was one who had recently finished training.  So our special escort is a skilled rider.  He glanced back toward the gates as a cloaked person slipped through and approached them.  He was dressed in the traditional riding garb and his face was drawn back into his deep hood, effectively concealing it.  Alratar looked up and smiled when he caught sight of the rider.  Kaldar studied the stranger's gait as he reached them and halted.  Something is familiar about it....
Alratar greeted the newcomer, "We are ready, Ladari."
The rider nodded and slid his hood back.  Kaldar bit back a gasp of astonishment.  'He' was no ordinary rider.  The High Queen stood before him, cool and calm.  Eyes dancing, she smiled at his surprise.
"I promise we will explain everything when we return, Kaldar.  For now, simply know that you are to treat me as any other rider.  And don't address me as 'your majesty'.  Call me Ladari."

And my other two in-progress works, though these are more or less on a side burner.

Southern Sixteen
(Temporary name)
A Civil War story I started with my younger siblings.
The Harrington family is the largest family in Virginia.  They have a huge, beautiful plantation and live the typical life of southern planters.  Then the Civil War starts.  The older boys enlist at once.  The girls hate being left behind.  Is there anything they can do to help?

Theresa is 12 when she begins this diary at her governess' instigation.  It is a few years before the war starts.  In this snippet, Jesse and Percy are the only two who are not her siblings.

I went to a chair in the corner to read the note.  Jo and Percy started talking and Lane and Jesse were joking loudly.  When I finished the note and looked up, Lane and Jesse were laughing hard over something one of them had said.  Joseph and Percy stopped talking and looked over at the other two boys.  Jo whispered something to Percy and suddenly both of them grabbed pillows off one of the sofas and threw them at Lane and Jesse!  The younger boys yelled when the pillows hit them.  Then they rushed for pillows to throw back.  Soon all four were fighting a pillow war.  Joseph looked over his shoulder at me and called, "Come on Tissie!  Come join us!"  I jumped up and ran over to him and Percy.  Lane hollered, "Not fair!  Addie, you come help us!"  Addie ran over to him and very soon everyone was in the war.  Duke, Cora and Henry were on Lane's side.  Amy, Tina and Cap were on our side.  Cap had to sit still because of his ankle, but he could still throw the pillows when Tina handed them to him.  Lou wanted to join the fight, too, so Henry said she could help him.  We threw pillows until Aunt Lilly and Aunt Lydia came to tell us girls it was time to freshen up for supper.  It was so much fun!

I'll Be Home For Christmas
Started last year in response to a writing challenge from one of my sisters.

"We can heat the chili on one of the wood stoves," Josie told her sister.
"I'll start the fire," Juli volunteered.
"Then I'll go gather the others," Josie went over to the intercom built into the wall, "All cousins from James to Jeremiah please gather in the kitchen."
There was a loud pounding and thumping as the cousins dashed in and lined up along the windows on the north side of the kitchen.
"Where is Mom?" Jean asked.
"Our parents went to settle in," Josie leaned against the counter.  "We're going to do up the little bit of work there is to do before we can kick back and just have fun.  Now, we need one group to bring in the rest of the food from the vehicles.  Another group can bring in the rest of the luggage and the presents and put it all away.  Juli and I are going to start heating supper."
"I volunteer to bring in the food!" Jeff's hand shot up.
"Judah and I want to help with the food, too!" Josh exclaimed.
"I'll bring in our boxes of presents," Jessie said.
"And I'll bring in our presents and other stuff.  Since greedy Jeffery jumped for the food," Jean tried to duck as Jeff punched her in the shoulder.
Janie nodded to Josie, "I'll bring in the rest of our luggage."
"That's settled then," Josie turned to her older brother, "James–"
"Yep.  I'll go fire up the furnaces," he cut in, grinning.
"Thanks, bro."  Then as an afterthought she turned back to the other cousins, "Oh, is anyone up for a snack after the unloading is done?"
The response was deafening.
"Then I'll make the snack," Jackie volunteered.  "And Jerusha and Joanna can help me."

Hope you all enjoy these!

Miss Melody Muffin

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Beautiful People Worldbuilding Edition: Esidaraq

The first workshop for the Writer's Conference!  We are supposed to go through the Beautiful People Archives and choose questions to answer with our fictional land as the character. 

I'm using the country of Esidaraq in the land of Quara.  It is the home of the main characters in the Quara series.

What is their full name?
The Kingdom of Esidaraq.

How old are they?
Well, the story begins in the year 1139.  But that is dating from the year the kingdom itself was formed, not necessarily the year the land was created.

What are their favorite colors?
The royal colors, which are deep rose pink and sky blue.

What is their favorite season?
Summer.  It is the longest season of the year and is the most social season.   And there are the Eight Summer Hunts then too!

What is something they are afraid of?
The Empire of Jibar invading their peaceful land.

What do they do in their free time?
Ride horseback, hunt, have parties and balls, and dance.  And sing.  And dance and sing some more.

What is their favorite animal?
Well, they have more than one favorite animal.  Horses, giant eagles, Castle Cats and ketris.  (Ketris are very similar to squirrels.)

What is their favorite writing utensil?
A quill.  And the best quills come from the Quill Goose.

Who is their best friend?
The kingdom of Kastunar on their eastern border.  The two countries have been allies and friends for generations.

Do they have any enemies?
Unfortunately, yes.  There weren't so many in the years before the young royals were forced to take the throne, but now several kingdoms are eager to add Esidaraq to their domains and think it will be easy to conquer.  Afykor, Thol and Lacus are just some of the enemies of Esidaraq.

What is their favorite kind of music?
Lively dance music.  Lots of drums, horns and guitars.

What languages do they speak?
The native language is Sidar.  The upper and middle classes also speak Komerci, the language of trade.  And along the coast, some of the people can speak Koie, which is basically a dialect of Komerci that sailors speak.  It is a mix of Komerci and words borrowed from other languages.

Do they have a theme song?
A few different songs.  The main theme song is Touch The Sky from Disney/Pixar's movie Brave.

What do others expect of them?
The neighboring countries have always looked up to Esidaraq as a leader.  That hasn't changed in the six years since the young monarchs came to the throne.

What kind of holidays do they celebrate, if any?
Esidaraq has several holidays.  There is their version of Thanksgiving, which is a three day Harvest/fall Festival.  Then there is a Winter Festival, Spring Festival and Summer Festival.  Also in the nature of a holiday are the Eight Summer Hunts.  New Year's Day is one of the biggest holidays and combines our Earth holidays of Christmas and New Year's.

This was such fun I think I'm going to do this with more of my fictional countries!

Miss Melody Muffin

Monday, October 22, 2012

Doctor Who Party Tag!!!

This is going to be so much fun!!  I made myself fill this out before reading everyone else's answers and now I'm off to do that!

1. If you decided to name your first born child after any Doctor Who character, male or female, who would it be?
Rose.  I've always liked the name anyway, and Rose is such a fantastic character!  But I'd probably use the Spanish version, Rosa.

2. What is your favourite colour of the Doctor's shoes?
Hmmm, red I think.

3. Look around yourself and name the one thing that is TARDIS blue in your house!
I had some tennis shoes which were pretty close, but I wore them out this summer.

4. If you could pick who plays the Twelfth Doctor which actor would you choose and why?
Benedict Cumberbatch.  (He's a fan of the show and actually talked with David Tennant about trying for the role, but decided not to.)
And his companion?  Katie McGrath.  (Lady Morgana on BBC's Merlin)
And I'd like to see Tom Hiddleston either as another companion for Twelve or as Thirteen.

5. The Doctor is going back in time again, which historical era should he visit?
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION!!!!  It is one of my two top favorite historical time periods.  (Tudor England is the other.)  I don't know all the era's he has visited, but I'd also like to see him go to the Norman Conquest if he hasn't already been there.

6. Would you REALLY go with the Doctor in the TARDIS?
In a heartbeat.  I would find it almost impossible to miss such a chance of having adventures and seeing amazing things.  And saving the world.  =)

7. Who's your favorite Doctor and why?
The Tenth Doctor.  He is hilariously quirky, is more of a smart aleck than Nine (who was more sarcastic) and not quite as geeky as Eleven.  And he can be sweet and sad and angry and kind and furious and protective and....

8. Would you be afraid to spend Christmas in London?
No, because if something goes wrong that means the Doctor would be sure to show up and then I'd get to meet him!

9. Do you look at an ordinary screwdriver and think 'this could be a bit more sonic?'
Yep.  Just yesterday in fact.

10. Angel statues, plastic mannequins, Christmas trees - what ordinary everyday object would you love to make an object of terror to Whovians were you Steven Moffat?
Tough one!  Probably a broom or mop.

11. The TARDIS lands in your garden and the Doctor steps out. What is the first thing you say to him?
"What danger is the world facing now?  Can I help you save it, please?  And then travel with you?"

12. Who is your favorite actor who has played the Doctor so far and why?
David Tennant.  He's quite funny in interviews and he does Shakespeare!!!

13. Have you seen any Classic Doctor Who? If so, which Doctor/episode(s) is your favorite?
I've seen clips of the Fourth Doctor, played by Tom Baker.  Mainly because he is the Doctor my Mom knew so I was curious.  I enjoyed him.  "Have a Jelly Baby."

14. Which are the creepiest, scariest and all-out meanest baddies in all the Who-niverse?
Cybermen.  Daleks are the biggest baddies, but the Cybermen are scarier.  Creepiest though, goes to the Gelth.  *shudders*

15. Who is/are your favorite Companion(s) and why?
Rose Tyler.  She's so personable and fun and I love her relationship with the Doctor.  Martha Jones would be my second favorite.  What little bit I saw of Donna, well, she annoyed me a tiny bit, but she may grow on me.  And I haven't figured out if I'm going to like Amy yet or not.  She and Rory are pretty funny though.

16. Did you cry more watching Doomsday or The Angels Take Manhattan?
Haven't seen either yet, but I suspect Doomsday will be the more emotional one for me.

17. What is your favorite quote from the show?
So far, "There's an act of Parliament banning my autobiography."  (Harriet Jones, Prime Minister.)

18. Which Doctor (including all previous regenerations) would you most like to be the companion of, and why?
Ten.  For all the reasons listed above.  Although, being the companion of Twelve if he was BC would be terrific.  Or of Hiddleston as Thirteen.

19. Which of the following are you more scared of, the Daleks, Cybermen, or the Weeping Angles?
The Cybermen I think.  With the Weeping Angels a very close second.

20. Who are some of your favorite guest stars in the series?
One of the best parts about Doctor Who is that you can see the guest stars in so many other great things.  From the episodes I've seen so far, Penelope Wilton and Anita Briem are my favorites.  Oh, and Simon Callow.  I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing Hadley Fraser, Michelle Ryan and Colin Morgan.

21. What was your first experience with Doctor Who and how did you hear about the series?
My mother actually!  She told me about it a few years ago but I didn't get really interested in it until I started blogging and heard more about it from certain people's blogs, like Alexandra's and then later Natasha's.  I looked it up on Wikipedia and knew I wanted to see it but that it would have to wait until this fall because I would be too busy over the summer.  When Tasha announced her blog party, I finally took the plunge.  I saw some clips on You Tube first and loved them!  Then I started watching Series One with Nine and It. Was. Terrific.  And last Saturday I saw the Christmas Invasion.  I already liked Ten best from the clips I'd seen, but that episode confirmed for me that he was my absolute favorite Doctor.  I've been watching clips on the nights when I didn't have time to see a full episode, so I have seen several scenes with each of the three doctors.

22. The Ninth Doctor said, 'Fantastic!', Ten said, 'Allons-y', and Eleven says, 'Geronimo'; what would you like to be the signature exclamation of the Twelfth Doctor?

Blitzen, I think.  Or cracky.

23. If you were trapped in an episode, which one would it be?
The Christmas Invasion.  Or World War Three.

24. Which is your favorite episode with each Doctor (Nine, Ten and Eleven)?
Nine:The two part Aliens of London and World War Three.
Ten: The Christmas Invasion
Eleven: I have yet to see any full episodes with Eleven, but I love the clips I've seen from Series 6 Episode 6- The Almost People, when he is trying to build a TARDIS console.  "You never read the instructions."  "I always read the instructions."

25. After watching a certain Doctor Who episode, did you summon up the courage to try fish sticks and custard?
No.  And I still halfway cringe when I watch Eleven eat it.

Miss Melody Muffin

Quotes of the Week: Les Miserables

I'm a day late with the Quote of the Week because my Sunday was rather hectic....

This week, I'm going to share some of my favorite quotes from the characters of Les Miserables.  And believe me, it was hard to keep it to only a few per character!  All quotes are from the book.  WARNING: spoilers ahead!!

Jean Valjean:
"You are free." (to Javert)
"Inspector Javert, you have me.  Besides, since this morning, I have considered myself your prisoner.  I did not give you my address to try to escape you.  Take me.  Only grant me one thing.  Dispose of me as you like, but first help me carry him home.  I only ask that of you."  (Valjean, so selfless!)
"It is you, Cosette?  You are here?  You forgive me then?"
"The proof that God is good is that she is here."
"Because things are unpleasant, that is no reason for being unjust toward God."  (Sound advice!)

"I live only when the mayor is here."  (Sweet!)
"God is kind, Monsieur Madeleine is good; just think of it, that he has gone to Montfermeil for my little Cosette."

"I beg the Mayor's pardon.  the insult does not belong to him, but to justice."  (This perfectly sums up the essence of Javert)
"Don't go and shoot.  It'll misfire."  (LOVE this one!)
"Take your revenge."
" granting me life, in sparing me, what has he done?  His duty?  No.  Something more.  And I, in sparing him in turn, what have I done?  My duty?  No.  Something more.  So is there something more than duty?"

The Bishop:
"There is bravery for the priest as well as for the colonel of dragoons....  Only, ours should be peaceable."
"Do not forget, ever, that you have promised me to use this silver to become an honest man.  Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good.  It is your soul I am buying for you.  I withdraw it from dark thoughts and from the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God!"  (Who doesn't thrill to this quote?)
"Do not ask the name of him who asks you for a bed.  It is precisely he whose name is a burden to him who most needs sanctuary."

Eponine: (One of my top three favorite characters!)
 "You're following me too closely, Monsieur Marius.  Let me go on ahead, and follow me like that, without seeming to.  It won't do for a fine young man like you to be seen with a woman like me."  (The heartbreaking tragedy this quote expresses!)
"Friends!  Listen to me!  Now I'll tell you.  In the first place, if you go into the garden, if you touch this grating, I'll cry out, I'll rap on doors, I'll wake everybody up, I'll have all six of you arrested, I'll call the police!  Beginning with my father.  Go on about your business, you annoy me.  Go wherever you like, but don't come back here.  I forbid it!  You have knives, I have feet and hands.  That makes no difference to me, so come ahead!"  (My top favorite from her!  Her courage here!  Especially since she is defending the house of the girl who is in love with the man she herself loves!)
"And then, do you know, Monsieur Marius, I believe I was a little in love with you."  (HEARTBREAKING again!)

 "Ah.  You are putting on your man's voice, monsieur.  Very well, I'll go.  You, Father, you have not backed me up.  Monsieur my husband, Monsieur my papa, you are tyrants.  I'm going to tell grandfather about you."
"I will have Monsieur Gillenormand scold you.  Grandfather's are made to scold fathers."
"I don't need a father anymore!  To things like that which don't make common sense, one really doesn't know what to say!"  (Poor confused Cosette.)
"Father!  My Father!  You will live.  I will have you live, do you hear?"  (My top favorite of hers!)

Monsieur Thenardier:
"Silence!  I am suppressing the freedom of the press!"  (This one makes me laugh every time!)

Monsieur Gillenormand:
"Permission to adore each other!"  (And this one from Marius' grandfather is just too funny!)

You've probably noticed there are no quotes from the Friends of the ABC or Gavroche.  That's because I'm saving them for another Les Mis quotes post.  =)

Have a great week!

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, October 19, 2012

Poem of the Week: Susan Coolidge

I thought this was such a fun poem!

How The Leaves Came Down
Susan Coolidge

"I'll tell you how the leaves came down,"
The great Tree to his children said:
"You're getting sleepy, Yellow and Brown,
Yes, very sleepy, little Red.
It is quite time to go to bed."

"Ah!" begged each silly, pouting leaf,
Let us a little longer stay;
Dear Father Tree, behold our grief!
'Tis such a very pleasant day,
We do not want to go away."

 So, for just one more merry day
To the great Tree the leaflets clung,
Frolicked and danced, and had their way,
Upon the autumn breezes swung,
Whispering all their sports among–

"Perhaps the great Tree will forget,
And let us stay until the Spring,
If we all beg, and coax, and fret."
But the great Tree did no such thing;
He smiled to hear their whispering.

"Come, children, all to bed," he cried;
And ere the leaves could urge their prayer,
He shook his head, and far and wide,
Fluttering and rustling everywhere,
Down sped the leaflets through the air.

I saw them; on the ground they lay,
Golden and red, a huddled storm,
Waiting till one from far away,
White bedclothes heaped upon her arm,
Should come to wrap them safe and warm.

The great Tree looked down and smiled.
"Good-night, dear little leaves," he said.
And from below each sleepy child
Replied, "Good-night," and murmured,
"It is so nice to go to bed!"

Miss Melody Muffin

Monday, October 15, 2012

Party Time!!!

October and November are going to be terrific months in the blogging world because there are some fantastic events coming up!

Manic Mother

First up is not exactly a party, but the Scribbler's Conference, hosted by Anne-girl of Scribblings of My Pen and Tappings of My Keyboard.  It runs from Oct. 22 to Oct 27.   There will be keynote speakers, tags, Q&A sessions and other fun for writers.  As you might well imagine, I am SUPER excited about this.

Doctor Who Blog Party - October 22nd

Also going on next week is the Doctor Who blog party hosted by Natasha and Ashley.  I am a very recent convert to Doctor Who, having just started watching it last Thursday night.  There will be a party tag with Doctor Who questions, DW inspired fashion posts and lots more.

And in November, Jenny of The Penslayer and Abigail of Scribbles and Inkstains are hosting a blog party in honor of the anniversaries of their respective books The Shadow Things and The Soldier's Cross.

Let the fun begin!!

Miss Melody Muffin

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Quote of the Week: Bravery

The brave man is not he who feels no fear,
For that were stupid and irrational;
But he, whose noble soul its fear subdues,
And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from.
Joanna Baillie

Boy, I'm knackered tonight.  My cousin came down yesterday afternoon and spent the night with us, and then joined us today in reorganizing our two woodsheds.  We took EVERYTHING out of both sheds and then put it all back, rearranging it in the process.  A hot shower helped my sore muscles and now I'm going to go relax.  I'll probably watch something that doesn't require any thinking :), and then go to bed early.

Hope you all have a good week!

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, October 12, 2012

Poem of the Week: Nod

I thought this was a sweet little poem.

Walter de la Mare

Softly along the road of evening,
In a twilight dim with rose,
Wrinkled with age, and drenched with dew
Old Nod, the shepherd, goes.

His drowsy flock streams on before him,
Their fleeces charged with gold,
To where the sun's last beam leans low
On Nod the shepherd's fold.

The hedge is green and quick with briar,
From their sand the conies creep;
And all the birds that fly in heaven
Flock singing home to sleep.

His lambs outnumber a noon's roses,
Yet, when night's shadows fall,
His blind old sheep-dog, Slumber-Soon,
Misses not one of all.

His are the quiet steeps of dreamland,
The waters of no-more-pain,
His ram's bell rings 'neath an arch of stars,
'Rest, rest, and rest again.'

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Book Review: Les Miserables

Aaaand I finally present my Les Miserables book review!  It has been sitting in my drafts for a month, ever since I finished the book, waiting for me to find the right words to describe it.  How does one write a concise, coherent review of Les Miserables?  I have written and rewritten and agonized over it most of this morning; in between chores, meals and work.  It has gone through a grand total of five drafts and this version has been edited three times.  Sigh.  It isn't as perfect as I'd like, but such as it is, here you are:

Les Miserables

Victor Hugo

TYPE/GENRE:Historical Fiction
LENGTH:1,463 pages
RATING:10 out of 10 stars
SOURCES:Project Gutenberg

"In 1815 Monsieur Charles–Francois–Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop of Digne.  He was seventy-five and had presided over the diocese of Digne since 1806."

So begins the epic tale of Les Miserables.  Hugo created a memorable cast of multi-faceted characters each complete with backstory and sub-plot of their own:

Jean Valjean- former convict, redeemed, forgiven, self taught, undaunted, courageous, adopted father to Cosette whom he worships, philanthropist, mayor, saviour of more than one person.

The Bishop- humble, kind almost to a fault, he has few flaws and an unshakeable faith in the Almighty.

Javert- stern, unbending, relentless in his pursuit of justice, for ten years he hunts Valjean.  He is the antagonist of the book, but he is not a villain.

Fantine- a beautiful seamstress abandoned by her lover.  Left with a daughter to support she goes through a succession of jobs and eventually becomes a woman of the streets.  Saved from going to jail by Valjean, on her deathbed she entrusts her daughter to him.

Cosette- beloved daughter of Fantine, adored angel of Valjean, quiet, innocent, naive.  Sheltered by Valjean, she knows little of life in the real world.  She falls in love with Marius and very quickly cannot imagine life without him.

Monsieur Thenardier- innkeeper, beggar, con artist, cheat, thief, greedy, lazy, disgusting; he is most definitely a VILLAIN.

Madame Thenardier- the better half of Thenardier?  I don't really think so.  Fond of her daughters, she turns her sons out into the streets.  She is slovenly, nasty and as lazy and greedy as her husband.

Eponine- one of the Thenardiers' daughters.  Coarse looking, ill-dressed, skilled at life on the streets.  She falls in love with Marius but in spite of this, helps him find Cosette.  Jealous, she gives Marius a message that sends him to the barricades, and then sacrifices herself to save him.   A vivid picture of the tragedy of life on the streets for poor girls.  Despite her family and upbringing she has an amazing strength of character.

Gavroche- ah, little Gavroche!  Son of the Thenardiers, he has been living on the streets for several years; cocky, sassy, foolhardy, bold and FAR too young to die.  Absolutely adorable!!

Marius- studying to be a lawyer, turned out by the grandfather who raised him because of a difference on political opinion, he falls in with the Friends of the ABC and is caught up in the Revolution.  He is moody, sometimes silly, a blockhead at times, but brave and though it may take him a while to figure things out, when he does he is quick to act.

Enjolras- The marble lover of liberty.  Passionate, handsome, enthusiastic, eloquent, the natural leader of the students, a magnetic personality, and a stern will.

The Friends of the ABC:
Combeferre- philosopher
Courfeyrac- knight-errant
Feuilly- the workingman who is always learning
Jean Prouvaire- the poet
Joly- cheerful hypochondriac
Bahorel- spendthrift prodigal
Laigle/Bossuet- happy, unlucky, accident prone
Grantaire- last but not least, the drunkard who worships Enjolras

And finally, a host of colorful minor characters: Mme. Magloire, M. Gillenormand, the gang of Patron-Minette, Azelma, M. Mabeuf, M. Fauchelevent....

I had known about Les Miserables for a long time and it had been on my 'to read' list for about two years.  After Amy and Petie's Les Mis week, I moved the book to the top of the list.  I determined to read the book before seeing either concert of the musical in full, and then of course, before the movie came out this December.

I cannot praise this novel enough!!!!  These characters and their story threads are masterfully woven together, set against the backdrop of Paris, in a France attempting to find its place in the new order of Europe.

My favorite three characters are, in order: Valjean, Enjolras, Eponine.  After them, Gavroche is in fourth place and after him, everybody else.  :)

I almost NEVER cry at books or movies (or anything else).  It just isn't my way.  Yes, I become emotionally involved in the characters' journeys, trials, etc. but I contain the emotion.  I must admit though, that for the last fifty pages or so of this book, I was choked up.  It was that powerful, that moving, that amazing!!!

However, there is one drawback.  Hugo is VERY wordy.  I mean, honestly, eighty-some pages of description of the battle of Waterloo, in addition to the description woven through the dialogue??!!  I was annoyed sometimes by the tangents Hugo would go off into in the middle of the action!  The one that annoyed me the most, was when he inserted seven pages of philosophizing on death, right before the final battle at the barricades.  I DO NOT like ANY philosophy, on death or anything else, right in the middle of a battle on the barricades!!!!  Give me the battle and then the philosophy but for heaven's sake, DON'T INTERRUPT THE BATTLE!!!!!  Is that clear, Victor Hugo?  =)  I was strongly tempted to skip the huge chunks of description... and then thought that would be cowardly.  :)  But I certainly do not blame anyone else for skipping them!!  I am of the opinion that you don't lose too much of the story by skipping those sections.  Also, I'll tell you that in future readings, I'll be skipping most of those chunks.

In conclusion, I strongly recommend this book.  But be prepared to devote a sizable chunk of time to reading it.  =)  (And if you do cry at books, expect to spend some time in tears, too.)

And there you have it my friends!

Miss Melody Muffin

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quote of the Week: Star Wars

Luke Skywalker: All right, I'll give it a try.

Yoda: No.  Try not.  Do... or do not.  There is no try.

One of my favorite Yoda quotes!  And one I would do well to remember more....   =)

I hope last week went well for everyone and this week is beautiful for you all!!!

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, October 5, 2012

Poem of the Week: A Vagabond Song

This is my favorite autumn poem.  A dear friend introduced me to it several years ago and I've loved it ever since.  Hardly an autumn day goes by that I don't think of this.  It perfectly captures everything I feel during this season.

A Vagabond Song
Bliss Carman

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood––
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Favorite Characters Tag: Part Four– My Villains

I have come to the end of this tag.  May I present... my favorite villains from my own stories.

And since this is the last part of this tag, the people I've tagged and the tag rules are at the bottom of the page.

1. Mordrech
As you may be able to figure out from his name, Mordrech is the descendant of Mordred and the arch-enemy of Astrophel.  He is young, and largely controlled by Malduc at first.  One of his weaknesses is women.  Another is sharp swords.  :)  His main ambition is to be High King of the Three Kingdoms and rule in Camelot from Arthur's throne.

2. Egrelmozor Edome
Once called the Emperor of the Evil Empire by young Rickfred.  Which basically describes him!  He's a tyrant, a thief and a conqueror; and nothing makes him angrier than to be thwarted in one of these things.  He hopes and plans to eventually rule the entire land of Quara.  He already has seven countries under his domination.  The next ones on the list are Esidaraq and its allies....

3. Kundry
She is an elf, and a very beautiful one at that.  She has mostly left the ways of the elves along with her brother, who she is very close to and who has much influence with her.  Thanks to him, she joins Mordrech's armies and Mordrech himself.  Her bitterest enemy is a young princess by the name of Seren....

4. Miss Helen Gardner
The only daughter of the younger son of a viscount.  Helen wants three things: money, a noble title and Lord Falkirk as her husband.  Of course, marrying him would give her all three in one fell swoop.  The way she sees it, one person stands in her way, some little upstart named Lady Cordelia West, from Italy of all ridiculous places!

And now that I've finally finished this tag (sorry it took so long!), I'm supposed to tag three people:

I tag:
Katherine Sophia

Here are the rules:
1. State the rules!  :)
2. Post four posts about your sixteen favorite fictional characters, including four good and four bad each from novels you have read and stories you have written/are writing.
3. Tag three new people when you have finished and comment to let them know you have tagged them!

Have fun!!  I look forward to seeing your posts!

Miss Melody Muffin

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Favorite Characters Tag: Part Three

A few of my favorite heroes from my own stories:  (Note: obviously none of these have been character cast yet!)

1. Timotheus of the House of Belyia
High King of Esidaraq, head of the Royal Family, and respected throughout Quara.  He is handsome and charming and thus, popular with the ladies, who already swarm around him because of his title.  He likes hunting, singing and dancing, when he can find time away from his kingdom duties to do anything for pleasure.

2.  Ariana of the House of Belyia
High Queen of Esidaraq and female head of the Royal Family because her mother is dead.  Authoritative, multilingual, serious, and according to her brother, 'the epitome of a High Queen'.  She handles foreign relations and has charge of making sure their family is being raised and educated properly.  She enjoys traveling among the kingdoms and having arguments stimulating discussions with family friend King Mindolf.  Her sisters are convinced she doesn't know what it is like to relax or 'have fun'.

3. Quentin Kilmory, Marquess of Falkirk
The darling of London society, the man every eligible girl is on the catch for, handsome, courteous, rich, powerful, he has it all.  But the man behind the mask doesn't want flattery and a brainless society wife.  He wants someone who will love him for himself.  He wants someone interesting, who is intelligent and not afraid to show it.  And preferably someone who shares his passionate love of horses and travel.

4. Lady Cordelia West
A spitfire rebel in a world of proper Victorian women.  She is no-nonsense, reserved, unemotional, and a tower of strength to her sister.  The sister she loves better than life, despite -or because of- the the fact said sister is as different from her as night and day.  A skilled horsewoman, she can outride most of her cousins, and would rather be foxhunting than attending a ball.   She is definitely one of my top favorite heroines.

 (And for those who are wondering, Gemini is NOT going to be one of those feminist, 'proper young woman being independent and wanting a career and a life of her own' kind of story.  Cordelia is headstrong but most definitely NOT feminist.)

Next, my favorite villains from my stories!

Miss Melody Muffin