Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Third Annual Literary Heroine Blog Party

My answers to the delightful Literary Heroine Blog Party questions.  Go HERE to join in the fun, today is the last day!

 1.  Introduce yourself! Divulge your life's vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random!
I am the eldest girl and second child of twelve, I am a huge literature and drama geek, love BBC shows, costuming, horses and wouldn't be anywhere but for the saving grace of the Lord.  A random fact about me: I love reading The Black Stallion as much now as I did when I first read it at the age of seven or eight.

    2.  What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine? 
A person who is strong-willed but not too stubborn, one who takes care of those she cares about and who might be scared to death, but goes ahead and does the right thing anyway.

And somehow, I haven't managed to put this into words very well.  Ugh.

    3.  Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to. 
I'm horrid at picking favorites!  Buuuuttt....

Rebecca of York  (Ivanhoe)
She is brave, skilled in healing, not afraid to help people despite negative consequences and nobly hides her own love for Ivanhoe, knowing they can never be together.

Elinor Dashwood
She and I are very much alike.  We both are sensible (well, I am most of the time), hide our feelings well and don't let our hearts run away with our heads.

Princess Flavia of Ruritania
She doesn't have a happily ever after ending, which is sad, but she does her duty.  As someone to whom duty is second only to God and my family, I've always admired her.

Elizabeth Bennet
Who can't love Elizabeth?  I share many character traits with her as well.

    4.  Five of your favorite historical novels? 
Since all of my five favorite novels are historical fiction: The Scarlet Pimpernel, Ivanhoe, Captain Blood, Robin Hood, Pride and Prejudice

    5.  Out of those five books who is your favorite main character and why? 
This is hard !!!  But I have to say Sir Percy Blakeney.

    6.  Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why? 
Sir Andrew Ffoulkes.  He is the BEST lieutenant a person could ever have.

    7.  If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there?
Well, I'd start out in London where I would go to Westminster Abbey and then see Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera in the West End, then I would travel to Scotland, Ireland and Wales and see famous landmarks like the Giant's Causeway and also as many of the magnificent castles those lands boast as possible.  After that I would visit Paris and spend a month there.  Next would be Italy, where I think I would be content to spend a year, seeing Rome, Venice, Naples, the countryside, and oh, immersing myself in studying Italian.

*Sigh*  Yes, people, I dream big.  Do any of you want to come along?

    8.  What is your favorite time period and culture to read about? 
Anything from ancient history to WWI.  :)  If I have to narrow it down- my favorite periods are Tudor England and 1790-1820 – the French Revolution/Empire/Regency era.

    9.  You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of? 
I would recite Sir Walter Scott's Lochinvar.  I taught this to my younger sisters years ago and actually started to write a play based on it.  (Said play is actually still around, waiting for me to dust it off, revise it and finish it.  Someday....)

    10.  If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent? 
Hmmm, Rebecca of York or Elizabeth Bennet.  Or Maid Marian.  Maybe Elinor Dashwood, although I'm darker-haired than I always imagined Elinor to be.

    11.  What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate? 
It is delicious but I'm not as attached to it as most women are.  :)  (Caramel and butterscotch taste just as good to me.)

    12.  Favorite author(s)? 
Sir Walter Scott, Jane Austen. Rafael Sabatini, Georgette Heyer, Baroness Orczy, J.R.R. Tolkien, Shakespeare... can you tell I'm horrible at picking favorites?

    13.  Besides essentials, what would you take on a visiting voyage to a foreign land?
My five favorite books and a cloak I could wear to conceal my identity now and then (purely for fun and because I've always wanted to).  I consider a bunch of notebooks, pens and my computer to be essentials.

    14.  In which century were most of the books you read written? 
The 19th century.

    15.  In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is… 
Sink me, Sir Percival Blakeney of course!

    16.  Describe your ideal dwelling place. 
An old castle that has been refurbished for modern living but still has secret passages, long hallways, balconies and amazing architecture.  That's not too much to ask, is it?

Of course, cleaning the place; well, that is a different story!

    17.  Sum up your fashion style in a short sentence. 
Classic, simple elegance.

    18.  Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name? 
 I can't think that I ever have.

    19.  In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is... 
Well Chauvelin and Guy of Gisborne are pretty bad, but I think worst of all would be Sauron from Lord of the Rings.

    20.  Three favorite Non-fiction books? 
(Besides the Bible) Lyons on Horses, Dover's History of Costume, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther

    21.  Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon? 
Swinging in a hammock reading or writing, since it would probably be too hot for riding where I live.

    22.  Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character. 
Millinery is not my strong point.  But, let's see... a dark purple felt tricorn with gold trim on the edges, decorated with white cockades and a long, full veil of the same dark purple floating behind.

    23.  Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year. 
My baby brother was born, a good friend was married, another dear friend had her first baby and I started this blog!

    24.  Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently.
Proverbs 30:5
'Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.'

Miss Melody Muffin

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Music of the Week: The In–Between

I'm going to try a new weekly feature.  On Saturdays I'll spotlight whatever music I've been particularly listening to that week.  This last week it has been a few songs from the concept album of a musical.  I first saw it when I was listening to a song by Hadley Fraser.  Recommended was another song he sang called Beyond the Door.  I clicked on it out of curiosity and liked it a lot.  In the sidebar of that video was another one from the same album done by Alexia Khadime and Liam Tamne, both names I knew from the Les Miserables London cast (Alexia played Eponine and Liam is currently Enjolras).  Again, out of curiosity I listened to it... and fell in love with it.  I've played it over and over and over and OVER!!!!  (I'm currently listening to it.)  Then of course I had to go Google the musical and read the plot.  :)  It sounds very interesting, and I'd like to see it on stage.

My top favorite song- Not Alone:

My second favorite song- Someone You'd Be Proud Of:

Beyond the Door- the first song I heard:

My fourth favorite- Out of Your World:

The trailer for the musical:

And here is the site about the musical:


Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, February 22, 2013

Poem of the Week: Riding Song

This gave me such a longing for riding bareback on a summer evening....

Riding Song

Let us ride together,— 
Blowing mane and hair, 
Careless of the weather, 
Miles ahead of care, 
Ring of hoof and snaffle, 
Swing of waist and hip, 
Trotting down the twisted road 
With the world let slip.

Let us laugh together,— 
Merry as of old 
To the creak of leather 
And the morning cold. 
Break into a canter; 
Shout to bank and tree; 
Rocking down the waking trail, 
Steady hand and knee.

Take the life of cities,— 
Here's the life for me. 
'Twere a thousand pities 
Not to gallop free. 
So we'll ride together, 
Comrade, you and I, 
Careless of the weather, 
Letting care go by.

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review: Annabeth's War

When I heard, several months ago, that Jessica was going to publish one of her books, I was thrilled.  I had gotten to know Jessica's writing through her blog Safirewriter and thoroughly enjoyed it.  To my surprise and delight I won one of the giveaways she hosted of the book after she published it.  When the package came in the mail a few days before Christmas, I wanted to rip it open at once.  I did make myself wait until Christmas morning, knowing I wouldn't have much time before that to read the book anyway. But what a terrific experience awaited me when I did read it!

LENGTH:208 pages
RATING:10 out of 10 stars
READ ALOUD:    4 out of 5

What would you do if you were the only person who stood between the crown prince and death?  And you were a girl on top of that?

Annabeth is a skilled swordswoman, having been trained by her father, a master soldier.  She is the only person in the kingdom of Beltarra that has the information that prevents Lord Raburn from killing Prince Alfred.  Added to that burden, her father is in Raburn's dungeons- dead or alive she does not know.

Ransom is a spy and a soldier and he has been sent to find Annabeth and bring her back to his master.  Finding her was easy.  Earning her trust however, is a completely different matter.

Can she find the courage to do what she knows she must?  Will her father and the prince ever be safe?  And can she learn to trust Ransom?

Annabeth definitely had my sympathy and intense interest from the first.  Her combination of fierce bravery and vulnerability, and the little feminine mannerisms that would slip out (like her little twirl) make for a memorable character.

Ransom is a true gentleman and it was fascinating reading as he followed Annabeth and tried to earn her trust.  His patience, kindness and care were beautiful to see.

Besides Annabeth, my favorite character is the bard, Song Lark.  He has some of the funniest lines and his relationship with Annabeth is hilarious.   And his songs are brilliant!  I love how he is always strumming his lute.

Prince Alfred and Eliot are the other two characters that really stood out to me.  Eliot I felt sorry for and yet respect also.  Alfred was amusing and his protectiveness toward Annabeth was very sweet.  And Annabeth's father is a wonderful man.

Lord Raburn is a disgusting, despicable, loathsome specimen of a villain!  Jessica did a great job of bringing to life such a detestable 'bad guy'.

I rate this book ten stars out of ten for pure enjoyment.  I definitely recommend it if you are lookig for an inspirational adventure tale.  I gave this four out of five stars for reading aloud because while teenagers and some preteens will be fine, the level of violence in some of the scenes will be too much for younger children.

To end this review I'll share some of my favorite quotes:
"You have the luxury of being a damsel in distress." Ransom  (This one always makes me giggle.)
"Just because you rescued me doesn't mean I have to be grateful." Annabeth
"Is it your purpose to drive whoever you are running from absolutely mad?" Ransom 
"I never take advice I don't ask for." Ransom  (I love this one!)
"I'm not used to taking protection I don't ask for." Annabeth  (And this one!!)
"You are free to do as you wish, Ransom- when have you done anything else?" King Harold

Miss Melody Muffin

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Coming Up....

There are a few exciting events coming up in blogland!!

 First of all: Kellie from Accordion to Kellie is hosting the Third Annual Literary Heroine Blog Party.  I saw it last year but since I didn't have a blog yet, I didn't participate.  So this year I am very excited to be taking part (my post should be up in a day or two).  Hop over to her blog and fill out the tag and let us all know your favorite literary heroines!

And, on February 22nd, my friend Kendra E Ardnek is having her 18th birthday party!!!  She will be answering questions, some of her characters will answer questions and there will be all kinds of other birthdayish things going on.  I believe there is still time to submit questions for her to answer.  Go HERE to find out more about it and how you can join in.

And sometimes soon, my friend Katherine Sophia will be releasing her book Ransomed!!!  She has kindly agreed to stop at my blog to celebrate its launch.  So look for that in the next few weeks.

I hope to see you at some or all of these events!

Miss Melody Muffin

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Quote of the Week: John Wayne

This is one of my top favorite quotes!!!

Courage is being scared to death – and saddling up anyway.
John Wayne

Miss Melody Muffin

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Too Much Development?

Ahem.  My esteemed fellow writers.

I have a question for you.

Do you ever find yourself spending too much time on developing a story and not enough time actually writing it?

You see, I've think I've developed a small problem.  I've been spending the majority of my writing time the last few weeks planning my stories.  I am a very analytical, organized, detail oriented person by nature and thus a lot of meticulous worldbuilding goes into my stories anyway.  But this last week I noticed I've not actually done much writing each day.  Oh, I've done some, but it usually amounts to a few snippets and hastily sketched scenes to write out in full later.  And then I go back to naming minor characters, looking up castles for models, deciding what costumes will be for each person or country, or figuring out what types and breeds of horses I am going to limit myself to.

Now, all of this is most necessary information in order to have a truly believable world.  But, if I don't actually write the story, I won't need all that detail, will I?

I have concluded I need to balance my planning/worldbuilding/developing more evenly with the actual writing.  So, from now on, I will be making myself write at least 500 words a day before doing any developing.  And hopefully I'll be able to actually finish a manuscript before spring.

Have any of you ever run into this problem?

In the middle of all this planning a new story idea came knocking.  So now I have a new story in the works.  Post on it coming soon....

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, February 8, 2013

Poem of the Week: Snow-Flakes

It snowed here a little today, and we have a winter storm warning in effect until late tomorrow afternoon.  I hear the East Coast is getting dumped with snow, though.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.

Have a good weekend!

Miss Melody Muffin

Pride and Prejudice Meets Downton Abbey???

You read that correctly.  THIS article popped up in my BBC news feed this morning.

Pride and Prejudice from the servant's perspective?  It certainly sounds interesting.  I'd never heard of this author before but I did just go look her up and read the summaries of her other books.  Hmm.  They don't really interest me.  But I am very curious about Longbourn.

HERE is a little more information on it.  And HERE is the author's bio on her website.

What do you all think?

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Period Drama Challenge!

Old-Fashioned Charm

Miss Laurie over at Old-Fashioned Charm is hosting a period drama watching challenge!  I've been intending to enter and post about it since she first announced it but somehow this post kept being pushed further down on the 'drafts to publish' list.

I'm choosing to enter the Period Drama Fanatic level.  That means I need to watch and then review 12-15 period dramas between now and July 7th.  Well, actually only 10-13 since I saw two in January.  (Reviews coming soon!)

This also fits in with my challenge to myself this year to see every JA adaptation since 1980 which I haven't yet seen.  (With one or two exceptions like Mansfield Park 1999.)  Not all of the movies I watch for the challenge will be JA adaptions but probably a fair amount will be.

Miss Laurie is also posting a monthly tag for participants to answer.  Here are the January tag questions.

1. What period dramas have you watched in January?
Mansfield Park 2007 and Persuasion 2007.

2. Do you prefer period dramas peppered with humor or laced with dark emotions?
Hmm.  I enjoy humor- especially British humor- but I'll always be a Drama Queen at heart.  I love passionate dramas laced with many levels of emotion and plenty of dramatic events, so 'laced with dark emotions' wins for me.

3. What was the first period drama miniseries (two episodes or longer) that you ever watched?
Pride and Prejudice 1995.  In my opinion, one of the best introductions to period drama a person can ever have!

4. How many Jane Austen adaptations have you seen?
Let me think... eight, I believe.  (P&P 95, S&S 95, S&S 08, Persuasion 07, MP 83, MP 07, NA 07, Emma 09)

5. What period drama, that you haven't seen before, are you most looking forward to seeing in the future?
The new Les Miserables!!!!!

Look for my reviews in the next couple weeks.  I am looking forward to participating in this fun with my fellow period drama fans!

Miss Melody Muffin