Sunday, March 27, 2016

Freedom Rises From The Tomb


Through Midnight Ages
Thomas L. Harris

Through midnight ages dark and lone,
Oppression triumphed o’er the free;
They set the watch, they rolled the stone,
Upon the grave of liberty;
When lo! the angels burst the gloom,
And Freedom rises from the tomb.

Robed in the sable veil of fear,
The mourners haste at early day,
But angels from a brighter sphere
Disperse their gloomy cares away;
Rejoice! O earth, rejoice! they cry
For Freedom lives, no more to die.
 
O Christ, our Savior! Thou who art
The Lord and ruler of the free,
Reveal to every human heart
The freedom that is found in Thee;
So shall the world’s last tyrant fall,
And love and light be all in all.


Wishing all of you a Blessed Resurrection Day!


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Writers vs. Authors

It is an often asked question: 'What makes someone an author?'  Ask Pinterest and you'll be answered with snark, hilarity and references to how weird they are.  Ask Tumblr and you'll receive even more references to insanity with examples to prove it.

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines the two terms thusly:
Writer: a person who has written a particular text
Author: someone who writes books as profession

Years ago I found this quote: 'not everyone is a writer, but everyone can write.'  It has stayed with me for years because I strongly agree with it.  I  would go one step further to differentiate between those who 'can write' and who are thus writers, vs. those who 'are writers' AKA authors.

In talking with my soul sister Mirriam about this subject recently, we discovered that we had both been wanting to write blog posts about it.  We agreed to write our posts and then read each other's after they had been posted (as opposed to sending them to each other beforehand, as we've sometimes done).

Now, writing a post on writers vs. authors might sound ridiculously arrogant and pretentious from someone who has yet to be published herself.  What right do I have to 'judge' them?  Firstly, this is my personal opinion.  Secondly, as someone who has read a hugely varied range of books from the classics to modern teen and YA fiction and almost everything in-between; I'm evaluating from the perspective of a reader, not judging.  (My friend Kate said, "One does not have to be a French chef to tell the difference between a five-star restaurant and McDonalds.")  There are certain hallmarks of 'authordom' that are common to all good authors and more and more I'm seeing books self-published by people who frankly are not authors.  

Firstly, I think all authors have a burning passion for at least one thing in particular- whether it's to bring hope, change the way the world thinks, raise awareness of a particular issue or just to set someone's imagination on fire with fantasy or science fiction.  I would liken authors to a lit match.  As they look around for others to burn, they burn themselves.  'What you wish to light in others must first burn in you' is certainly true of them.

Secondly, they never consider a story as well-done.  There are always things they think could have been made better or changed.  But, they recognize that each story is a signpost along the journey and do not allow perfectionism to keep them from continuing to walk the author's path.

I think the single most defining thing that separates writers from authors is long-term vision.  Writers can write short scenes, long scenes, short stories, long stories... but authors have a vision for what they want the premise of the story to accomplish, and where they want the story to take them and to take readers.  It is the shaping of a fire that will burn others.  I don't think you have to be a 'big-picture' thinker to have long-term vision.  I know several people who aren't big-picture thinkers who have the 'writer's vision'.

Finally, the author has the perseverance to see that vision through.  This is often where the insanity enters.  Like writing best when you're studying for medical tests.  Or staying up until 3 a.m. with eyes almost feverishly burning as you race to write a scene because you were cleaning all day and had literally no time to sit down and write but the scene has to be set down because every nuance of it is fresh and alive and pulsing.

For the authors I know, writing a novel tends to be a very intuitive thing.  We might not spend hours answering character questionnaires because we just 'feel' the character.  Everything lives in such vivid detail in our imaginations that when we're asked how we write certain dynamics or styles or what are the mechanics of our character crafting process; we'll probably blink blankly at you for a moment and then try to figure out some way of explaining it in actual English instead of saying, "I just DO.  It just /comes/.  You mean it doesn't for you?"

Ultimately, determining whether you are an author or a writer comes back to one question: WHY do YOU write?

Anyone can write.  But not everyone burns with the white-hot passion of an author.  I am not pointing fingers at anyone.  I am not trying to discourage anyone from writing.  There is nothing wrong with being a writer and I'm most assuredly not saying that every writer needs to strive for authorship, nor that if anyone is not an author they should not be writing.  Never.  I encourage everyone to write.  Just, please don't publish until you are 1000%, without-a-shadow-of-a-doubt sure that you are an author or that you really have a story that needs readers to set on fire.  You'll save readers a lot of frustration.

And for those of you who are asking, no, I do not consider myself a good author.  Decent on occasion, yes.  But certainly not good.  Not yet.  But with hard work at learning /how/ to shape the fires properly, I hope to reach that goal.


Visit Mirriam's blog to read her post.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Brothers-in-Arms Cover Reveal!

Today I'm participating in my friend Jack's cover reveal for her WWII novel Brothers-in-Arms.  I was privileged to read this book in beta and it's GOOD.

You know how these work, you have to wait until the end of the post for the cover.  :)



Author Bio:
Jack is one of those strange people who calls herself an Author. She spends a lot of her time writing and even less time editing. She likes to write about friendships which is partly how Brothers‐in‐Arms came to be. More than ten years in the making, this is the book she dreaded the most writing, but which also has the most meaning for her.

When Jack isn't writing, which doesn't happen too often, she keeps busy with various other hobbies – such as reading, playing the bagpipes to the dread of her neighbors, and drinking tea – which might not be considered a hobby by most but which should be.

She lives in a cabin in the woods with her dog and a library which isn't quite equal to Prince Adam's but will be given enough time and a secret doorway.



Contact Info:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JackLBaillot
Twitter – https://twitter.com/JackLBaillot
Goodreads ‐ https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5862775.Jack_Lewis_Baillot
Blog – http://www.jacklewisbaillot.com/
Goodreads link ‐ https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24703965‐brothers‐in‐arms
Brothers‐in‐Arms Pinterest Page ‐ https://www.pinterest.com/jackbaillot/brothers‐in‐arms/


Synopsis:
Can a Jew and a Nazi survive Hitler's Germany?

Franz Kappel and Japhet Buchanan never expected their friendship to be tested by the Third Reich. Friends from early childhood, the boys form an inseparable, brotherly bond. Growing up in a little German village, they escape most of the struggles of war until the day Japhet is banished from school for being a Jew, and later has a rib broken when other village boys beat him up. Franz learns he is putting himself in danger for spending so much time with Japhet but continues to stand up for his Jewish friend even at the risk to himself. Then one day their lives are shattered when they see first­hand that the price of being a Jew is dangerously high.

With the war now on their doorsteps, Franz and Japhet come up with a desperate plan to save their families and get them out of Germany alive. Leaving behind the lives they've always known, they move into Berlin with nothing to protect them but forged papers and each other. Convinced their friendship can keep them going, the boys try and make a new life for themselves while trying to keep their true identities and Japhet's heritage a secret. Taking his best friend's safety upon himself, Franz joins the Nazis in an attempt to get valuable information. At the same time, Japhet joins the Jewish Resistance, neither friend telling the other of their new occupations.

With everyone in their world telling them a Nazi and a Jew can't be friends, it is only a matter of time before they believe all the lies themselves, until neither is certain if they are fighting against a race of people or fighting for their homeland. Somehow they have to survive the horrors of World War II, even when all of Germany seems to be against them.



 Aaaaaand NOW.  THE COVER.  




Check back for the release date!


Monday, March 7, 2016

Beautiful People: Fidelitas Couples Part 2

Part two of the February Beautiful People questions with the Fidelitas couples.


Johari/Shariios
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1. How did they first meet?
When he was ten, he came to the capital city to live with his cousin, who is her best friend.

2. What were their first impressions of each other?
She thought he was a rude boy and he thought she was fun.  He plagued her unmercifully for months until she figured out how to torment him in return.

3. How long have they been a couple?
They're not technically a couple yet, but they were close friends until they were sixteen and Shariios moved away.  When he comes back to the capital as an adult, they pick up pretty much where they left off.  Aside from Lirios and her bodyguards, Shariios is the non-family male that knows her best.

4. How committed/loyal are they to each other?  Would they break up over a secret or a disagreement?  Could stress drive them apart?  Would they die for each other?
She is the Crown Princess of his planet and the Denzlians take their loyalty to the Crown seriously, so yes, he'd absolutely die for her.  As a friend, he'd also die for her.  Their relationship isn't such that secrets would be a big issue- he's perfectly fine with the fact that there are things she'll never be able to tell him.

5. List 5 "food quirks" they know about each other.  (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they're allergic to something, etc... and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)
He knows she's picky about fish and how she likes her coffee.  She knows that he'll spend hours working out after his temper gets the better of him.

6. Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?
Yes - Her best friend, who happens to be his cousin.  Mostly because he's in love with her himself.  Other than that, not really.  There are nobles and councilors who prefer Lirios as a match for their princess, but Shariios regarded as second best even by them.

7. What would be an ideal date?
A musical or play and dinner.

8. What are their personality dynamics?  Similar?  Contrasting?  Do they fight a lot or mesh perfectly?
He's loud and boisterous and constantly teases her- he stirs her up and she tames him down.  She's one of only two women he'll listen to when they scold him.

9. What have been their best and worst moments together as a couple?
Haven't gotten there yet.

10. Where do they see themselves and their relationship in the next few years?
He hopes he'll have the chance to date her.  She sees them becoming better friends as she works with him more and more within the government.



Johari/Kol
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1. How did they first meet?
When he comes to warn her head bodyguard about a security risk.

2. What were their first impressions of each other?
He was surprised that she wasn't just a pampered princess- that she was intelligent and observant.  She knew he was hiding something but didn't have a clue what until he removed his jacket.

3. How long have they been a couple?
They're not technically a couple.  Yet.

4. How committed/loyal are they to each other?  Would they break up over a secret or a disagreement?  Could stress drive them apart?  Would they die for each other?
He's sworn to die for her, as a member of a secret society that protects the monarchy specifically against another secret society that aims to remove the monarchy and return the planet to a democracy.

5. List 5 "food quirks" they know about each other.  (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they're allergic to something, etc... and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)
She knows that he detests most kinds of green vegetables, and he knows that she loves fruit of almost any kind.

6. Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?
If they were to have a relationship, pretty much everyone would be against it.  His superiors, the government, her family, her Companions.  Being in a relationship with the person he's supposed to be protecting would mean compromising some of the secrecy that must of necessity shroud him due to his membership in the secret society.  About the only people who would approve are the romantics at heart and teens with stars in their eyes about Romeo and Juliet stories.

7. What would be an ideal date?
 A horseback ride or watching a horse race.

8. What are their personality dynamics?  Similar?  Contrasting?  Do they fight a lot or mesh perfectly?
He's very impatient with her independence over security arrangements and frequently tells her to sit down and shut up- in slightly more polite terms.  She considers him arrogant but very good at his job, and sees past his facade to the lonely boy inside.  

9. What have been their best and worst moments together as a couple?
That's still in the future.

10. Where do they see themselves and their relationship in the next few years?
He sees himself as finishing this special assignment and being forced to leave her, she's trying to figure out a way to not lose contact with him permanently, as would be usual for their situation.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Light That Doth Not Depart

Random poetry appreciation post.  I love this poem a lot - it's been one of my favorites for years.



Ode
Arthur O'Shaughnessy

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams; —
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song's measure
Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.

A breath of our inspiration
Is the life of each generation;
A wondrous thing of our dreaming
Unearthly, impossible seeming —
The soldier, the king, and the peasant
Are working together in one,
Till our dream shall become their present,
And their work in the world be done.

They had no vision amazing
Of the goodly house they are raising;
They had no divine foreshowing
Of the land to which they are going:
But on one man's soul it hath broken,
A light that doth not depart;
And his look, or a word he hath spoken,
Wrought flame in another man's heart.

And therefore to-day is thrilling
With a past day's late fulfilling;
And the multitudes are enlisted
In the faith that their fathers resisted,
And, scorning the dream of to-morrow,
Are bringing to pass, as they may,
In the world, for its joy or its sorrow,
The dream that was scorned yesterday.

But we, with our dreaming and singing,
Ceaseless and sorrowless we!
The glory about us clinging
Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing:
O men! it must ever be
That we dwell, in our dreaming and singing,
A little apart from ye.
We are afar with the dawning
And the suns that are not yet high,
And out of the infinite morning
Intrepid you hear us cry —
How, spite of your human scorning,
Once more God's future draws nigh,
And already goes forth the warning
That ye of the past must die.

Great hail! we cry to the comers
From the dazzling unknown shore;
Bring us hither your sun and your summers;
And renew our world as of yore;
You shall teach us your song's new numbers,
And things that we dreamed not before:
Yea, in spite of a dreamer who slumbers,
And a singer who sings no more.



Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Quote Queste: March 2016 ~ Just Another Boy


 

I skipped February - not intentionally at first.  I had a lot of things going on and kept forgetting to post the QQ and finally just decided to skip it.  This month marks one year since I started this linkup!  Along the way some great people have participated and I love reading the challenge posts every month.  Here's to another year of writing challenges and stories!


Rules:
1. Take the quote below and write a short scene based on it.  It can be a scene for a story you're currently writing, one you plan on writing in the future, or you can make up characters solely for this challenge.
2.  Post your scene on your blog, with the banner from the top of my post and a link to my blog.
3. Come back to this post and leave a link to your post in the comments so the other participants and I can read your scene.
4. Have fun!


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Happy Writing!