Friday, January 31, 2014

When Will Our Turn Come?

And I'm back with another Character Encounter!  CE is a monthly link up hosted by Kenda Ardnek at Knitted By God's Plan.  It is great fun and I encourage you to try it with some of your characters.

This month the challenge that goes along with the CE is, (in Kendra's own words): This month's character has to be one that you think about a lot, have much of his or her story plotted out, but have never actually sat down and written anything with them.

That made this month tougher for me.  There are practically none of my chracters who I haven't written anything about.  My usual way of fleshing out a character is writing a bunch of random snippets with them.

Sooooo... this month's character isn't one I've not written anything about.  But, it is one who I've written very little about.  It is a story I had begun as a collaboration with a younger sister.  She lost interest and I picked up her part of the story, too.  The first draft was started several years ago, but it's time to throw it out and completely restart the story.  One of these days....

    Aigoo, this shoulder and hip sure are being troublesome today.  I drop down onto the sofa in the living room and ease myself flat on my back.  Who would have thought that one slip on the winter ice would have left me feeling so sore?
    Well, you did grab onto the fence, my other inner voice reminded me.  That was how you wrenched your shoulder.
    Ummm, right....  My brain was already jumping ahead to the chapter of Pearl of Loyalty I needed to go write, as soon as my sister Billie was done with her turn on the family computer.
    I wonder why Alejan didn’t just tell her to....
    Someone comes down the hall from the side door and into the room.  That must be Billie.  No one else wears high- well medium- heeled shoes in the house.  I still do not understand how she can wear those things day in and day out.
    There is a moment of silence and I wait for Billie’s teasing comment about my prone position.  Instead I hear skirts rustling as she sits down in a chair.
    That’s strange.  She isn’t wearing a skirt that rustles... unless she’s dressing up for some reason.  I peek my right eye open and look across the room.
    The next instant, I’m bolt upright on the sofa, wincing as my shoulder and hip complain.  Both my eyes are wide open, fixed on this stranger in our living room.
    She is young, probably in her late teens and is dressed in a pale yellow Colonial era gown.  Based on the elegance of the outfit, I deduce her family is well off.
    I’m speechlessly looking her over.  She rises gracefully from the chair, curtsies to me and then sits back down.
    “Miss Melody,” she says, and her voice is low and cultured.  “I am pleased to see you.”
    My mind races.  Obviously, she knows me.  Who on earth could she be?  She has to be one of my characters, because no one else would address me so easily.  What stories do I have set in Colonial times... aha, now I remember!
    “Miss Anne Gardner?” I ask.
    She smiles, “Yes.  It has been long since we have talked.”
    “Yes.  Yes it has,” I relax back against the sofa.  “How have you fared in that time?”
    “It has been dull at our home.  If you recall, you left us anticipating the ball at the Carters.  Or, in the case of my father, elder brother and I, not anticipating the ball.”
    I shake my head.  “I’m sorry.  So much has happened since I left you and I just haven’t found the right mood to return to your story.”
    “I merely wondered if you had forgotten us,” she tilted her head.
    I sigh.  “No, though your story has lain dormant for a long time.  But it isn’t just yours.  I haven’t touched any of my historical fiction stories in a long time, not even Gemini.”
    “Aye.  Nearly everything you write now is fantasy, or a sub-genre of fantasy, as with your science fantasy Loyalty series, or your newest story about lions and roses.”
    “True,” I nod.  “It does seem that most of my stories are fantasy now.”
    “And yet historical fiction was your first love,” she reminds me.
    I shrug my right shoulder,  “True.  But, when I started reading fantasy with Narnia two years ago it completely changed my writing.  Nothing seemed to compare to the experience of making up practically every detail of a world, unbound by previous history.  Actually, no, I guess I trace my love of fantasy back much further than two years, to when I first read about King Arthur.  I had started my Three Kyngdoms story long before I read Narnia.  But, since my plunge into fantasy literature and worlds, it seems like the only stories that flow well are fantasy.  I do take an occasional journey into science fiction and historical fiction, and even more occasionally a jaunt into contemporary,” I defend myself.
    “I do hope you will eventually write our story?”
    “I will, I promise.  Only it probably won’t be this year.  Maybe next year, though.”
    “We will endeavor to wait patiently, since I have your promise you will write it and not forget us completely.”
    “You have my word,” I say again.  “I just do not know when it will happen.”
    “Then I shall leave you to your rest.  It has been good to visit with you, but I should return before Andrew ventures into mischief or Emma sits too long poring over her dresses, deciding which one to wear to the ball.”  She rises and curtsies again.  I stand up and attempt a curtsy but it is clumsy next to hers.
    “Fare thee well, Miss Melody.”
    “Fare thee well, Miss Anne.  Tell your family I look forward to seeing them again.”
    I lie back down on the sofa.  My mind now drifts over her story, The Broken Circle, and the tale it tells of a group of friends caught in the swirling maelstrom of the American Revolution.  Their conflicting loyalties, their friendships, their pains, their joys.
    She is right, I do need to pay some attention to my historical fiction stories.

Miss Melody Muffin

Snippets of Story: January 2014

Snippets of Story is hosted by Katie at Whisperings of the Pen.

    “Well, no, strategic marriages are not uncommon, exactly, but they are not nearly as common as they used to be, either.  And everyone knows those two can’t stand each other.  They have been enemies for years, for all that their families are so close, and they grew up side by side.  They argued all through their growing up years and rumor has it they haven’t stopped arguing since.”
    “But they work together regularly?” the friend questioned.
    “Oh yes, but that is different.  They have worked together for years, but if you ask me, it will be a miracle if they can manage to not kill each other within the first month of living together!  Living together is very different from working together, you know.”
Sub Rosa

    “Even as indifferent as Doran is to you, he won’t be able to help noticing you dressed like this,” Mavis enthused.
    “Then you don’t know Doran, dear sister of mine.  He’ll be as cool and unconcerned as I am.”
    “You can say that again,” Belli fumed, “He is such a…a… block of ice!”
Sub Rosa

    Jaris frowned, put his head on one side and looked her over carefully.  When was the last time you had a full night’s sleep?
    Johari thought hard, "I think it was a couple days before the riots started,” she replied finally.  "Since then, it’s been a couple hours here and there for Mom and me both."
    Jaris looked at Taruba, "How much longer until you drug her and thus force her to sleep for longer than a couple hours?"
    The Lassi's eyes twinkled, "I can’t very well tell you that in front of her now can I sir?”
    Jaris laughed, "That you can’t."
    "You should talk," Johari turned on him, "How long has it been since you slept a full night's worth?"
Oath of Loyalty

    Johari smacked him on the shoulder.  "With the amount of nonsense you talk, Jaris Landison, it astonishes me that there is even any room in your brain for the serious thoughts I hear from you once every five years."
    "The human brain has an amazing capacity for storage," he gallantly bowed to her.
    "Every five years?" Jiffrey said incredulously.  "I would have said every ten years."
    Jaris punched his arm.
Oath of Loyalty

    A cloaked figure stepped forward from behind Kaduna.  She reached a hand up and her hood dropped.
    Itimburi is definitely paler now, Johari thought with satisfaction.
Oath of Loyalty

    Maron’s eyes were riveted, not to the black alacorn, but to his rider, a young woman dressed the same way the other Valkyrs were.  She sat her mount with a wild, free grace that was almost as familiar to his eyes as the walls of Corbenic itself.  She pulled her mount up near the foot of the steps and the other Valkyrs halted too.  The leader’s eyes lifted to the people on the steps, instinctively finding the Anax and Anessa and locking eyes with them.
    Seren had returned.
Venit Hora

    “Then, Lord Llewellyn, stand forth,” Arimathe stepped back and bent his head toward Berenike.
    Berenike rose from her throne and stood forward.  Llewellyn stepped up onto the dais and knelt at her feet.  She unsheathed the sword that hung at her side.  Lightly, with the flat of the blade, she tapped him, first on his right shoulder and then on his left.  “Then, Llewellyn, by the authority given me as Regina of Corbenic, I dub thee Sir Llewellyn, Knight of the Realm.  Fulfill your oath and may the blessings of the Sovereign Dominus be upon you!”
Venit Hora

    “I heard from a servant who had worked for the family for a time that the woman tried to kill the child before her own death,” Bayses said.
    The corners of Arimathe’s mouth lifted wryly, “Those of the blood of Arthur will do everything in their power to prevent Mordred’s descendants from ever sitting upon the throne of Arthur again.”
Venit Hora

Miss Melody Muffin

February, The Month of Events

February is shaping up to be a very busy month.  There are some exciting events coming up in the blog world.

Kendra Ardnek is hosting a read-along of her novel Sew, It's a Quest at her BLOG.  Mixed in with the read-along will be giveaways, chances to earn points toward prizes and all sorts of fun things.  For details, read THIS post.

Jessica Greyson will be hosting a big Book Lover's Giveaway.  The exact details haven't been released yet, but check THIS BLOG frequently for when they are released.

 Kiri Liz is hosting a Valentine's party focusing on the true meaning of love, not what Hollywood and pop culture want us to believe it is.  There will be guest posts on her blog Lianne Taimenlore and a giveaway. 

Fabulous February

And my mother, Elizabeth, is doing 14 days of free downloads on her homeschool site Shepherding the Lambs.  I don't know everything she plans on offering, but I know there will be several things for children 10 and under.  If you have young children or siblings, check it out!

I hope to see you at some or all of these events!  Have a happy February!

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snakes and Dragons... Fruit That Is

Chatterbox is a monthly link-up hosted by Rachel Heffington.  In her words it is:

 Chatterbox is an event to help authors get to know their characters and stories better. I love to talk and I love to write dialogue. Chatterbox is, essentially, an exercise in showing your character via the way he or she speaks. It's fun, it is sassy, it is simple. Each month I will assign a conversation topic and it will be your duty to write a conversation between several of your characters regarding whatever I topic I designated. Who knows? You might even end up with something you'll want to work into your real novel. When you are finished writing your post you will be able to link up with me here at The Inkpen Authoress and we'll have jolly larks reading the wide variety that springs out of the assigned topic.

You can link up with January's HERE and follow the links to read other writer's entries.  (And yes, I'm rather late with this- but it is still January so I'm ok.)

The topic for January's Chatterbox was food.  I was going to write one using characters from Three Kyngdoms... but that kind of flopped.  Then, just yesterday I was browsing a Pinterest board and this came to me:

    Johari, seated at her desk, looked up when her door chime rang.
    “It’s me, sis,” she heard her eldest brother’s voice over the intercom.  She pushed the button to open the doors and a moment later he strode into her office.
    “Hello, Jaris,” she stood up and hugged him.
    “Hey, sis.  Have you eaten lunch yet?”
    “No, I’ve been trying to finish this report,” she indicated the CHATU on her desk.
    Jaris turned to the nearest Companion, “Lassi Bolena, can the princess leave the report to eat?”
    “Yes, sir.  In fact, she should leave it.  It is high time for her to eat.”
    “And why could you not have asked me that?” Johari asked indignantly.
    “Because I doubt you’d have told me the truth,” he smiled charmingly.  “You’d have said something about needing ‘just a few more minutes’ to finish the report.  Whereas your Lassies have only your best interests at heart and thus they would tell me the truth.”
    “You certainly are high handed,” Johari grumbled, eyes still kindling.
    “I will make it up to you,” Jaris replied tantalizingly.
    “Join me and I will show you.”
    Reluctantly, Johari gave the order to break for lunch.  Companions Bolena, Melita, Tiegra, Jorda, Alejan, Jetain and Mataro followed her as Jaris led her out to the gardens.  He twisted and turned until they came to a grassy spot near a trickling artificial brook.  A blanket was spread out and her other three brothers sat on it, two huge picnic baskets nearby.
    “Yay!  You got her,” Jyder jumped up to pull Johari down onto the blanket with them.
    “Yes, he kidnapped me, after practically asking my Lassi to order me to leave my work,” Johari frowned at Jaris.
    “I’ve promised to make it up to her,” Jaris winked at Juston who winked back.
    “Now what are you boys up to?” Johari asked with a long suffering sigh.
    “A picnic, apparently,” Jiffrey said.  He delved into one of the baskets and began to set forth the food.
    Johari glanced over the dishes and trays he was setting out.  “It looks like you have enough food here for half the army.”
    “Well, I didn’t know how many of your Companions would be with you,” Jiffrey shrugged.  “Besides, we’re starving.”
    “As usual,” Johari nodded.
    “And we have a special treat for you,” Jaris picked up a smaller basket and reached in, withdrawing something and handing it to his sister.
    She looked it over curiously.  It was a yellow food, roughly triangular in shape.  It was lumpy and vaguely resembled a pineapple.
    “It looks like a cross between a pineapple and a kohlrabi,” she glanced at Jaris in puzzlement.
    “Is that dragonfruit?” Mataro spoke from behind her.
    Jaris grinned, “Yes.  Jori always said she wanted to try it.  I found some in the specialty market when I was in Shaebara.”
    “I thought dragonfruit was red,” Johari  was turning the fruit over in her hands.
    “So did I,” Jyder reached for one of the fruits himself.
    “Some are yellow,” Jetain said.  “They are a favorite in my home province.”
    “Here, let me show you how to eat it,” Jaris reached over and took the fruit from Johari.  He sliced it open with a knife and then carefully sliced around and scooped out the middle, a creamy white with black seeds in it.  He took the white part, sliced it into strips and then handed her a strip.  “Make sure you chew the seeds, or they will be indigestible.”
    Tentatively, she tasted it, “It’s mild, almost bland,” she took another bite.
    The other boys had sliced into their fruits and were tasting them.  Jaris tossed fruits to Mataro and Jetain and they cut them open for Bolena and Tiegra.  Juston and Jiffrey cut open fruits for Melita and Jorda.
    “I thought it would be spicy,” Jyder said in disappointment.  “It is called dragonfruit after all.  And the outside is a yellow color like dragon’s fire.”
    “When did you ever see a dragon to know what color its fire is?” Juston asked skeptically.
    “In pictures, dummy,” Jyder threw the rind of his fruit at his older brother.
    “Dragonfruit is rather misleading, Prince Jyder,” Jetain told him.  “It has a scary name, and a pretty color, but inside, it isn’t remarkable.”
    “It’s delicious though,” Johari said, reaching for another strip.
    “It tastes like a melon,” Jiffrey agreed.
    “Nah, a kiwi,” Juston opined.
    “It doesn’t taste like either one.  It tastes like watermelon taffy,” Jyder said firmly.
    “Watermelon taffy?” Juston said incredulously.  “This tastes nothing like watermelon taffy.”
    “I think it does,” Jyder argued.
    “Boys, boys, really?” Johari rolled her eyes.  “Just agree that you each think differently of what it reminds you of and be done with it.”
    “Jori doesn’t feel like listening to your nonsense today and neither do I,” Jaris said lazily.  “She has an unfinished report nagging at her mind,” he winked at her, “And I want to enjoy my time out here and not spend it breaking up arguments.”
    “You don’t like arguments?” Jyder’s eyes were wide with shock.  “As often as you argue, you could have fooled me.”
    His siblings and Johari’s Companions laughed.
    “He’s got you, Jaris,” Johari teased.
    “I don’t mind arguing, I just don’t feel like doing it today,” Jaris playfully pushed his youngest brother over.
    Johari bit into another strip of dragonfruit, “Thanks so much, Jaris.  Now I finally know what this tastes like.”
    “That’s not the only surprise I have for you,” he grinned, reaching back into the covered basket.  He held out his hand and there was a brown object in it.  It was about the size of a medium tomato and was bulb shaped.  It was covered with brown scales.
    Jaris winked at Alejan who also grinned and said, “Snakefruit, Luno.”
    “Snakefruit?” Johari looked horrified, “Snakefruit?  What in the galaxy is snakefruit?  Jaris, you know I hate snakes.”
    Alejan’s grin widened, if that was possible.  “This has nothing to do with snakes, Luno.  It was simply named that because it’s scales resemble those of a snakes.  It’s real name is Salak, snakefruit is its common name,” he held out his hand to Jaris, “May I?”
    “Be my guest,” Jaris handed the fruit over.  Alejan carefully pinched the tip of the fruit and pulled it off.  The scales near the top peeled back.  Working gingerly, he peeled the rest of the scales and revealed a white bulb.
    “It looks like garlic,” Johari observed.
    “Does it taste like garlic?” Jyder asked in trepidation.  “I don’t like raw garlic.”
    “It does not, Prince Jyder,” Alejan assured him.  He broke the bulb apart and handed a section to Johari.  She took it cautiously and looked it over.
    “Snakefruit, eh?  Is is a true fruit?  Or is it more like a vegetable?”
    “Taste it and find out,” Jaris urged her, irrepressible twinkles brimming in his eyes.
    She glanced from him to her Chief Laddie.  His eyes held the same laughter as Jaris’s.  “I’ve always liked the taste,” he offered.
    Carefully she brought it to her mouth and took a bite.  She chewed it hesitantly and then took a second bite, “It is pretty good.”
    Jyder watched her with wide eyes, “What does it taste like?”
    “I can’t really describe the taste,” she frowned at it, “Maybe like a cross between an apple and a pear?  And kind of a little greasy,” she smiled teasingly, “But, with your varying tastes, I’m sure you, Juston and Jiffrey will disagree with me.”
    The three named sheepishly grinned.
    The boys quickly reached for fruits of their own.  Jaris and Alejan showed them how to pinch the tip of the fruit off carefully so they would not be hurt on the scales of the fruit.
    Half an hour later, they all leaned back.  “That was a good lunch, Jaris.  Thank you,” Johari smiled up at him.
    “Does it make up for dragging you away from your work?” he asked mischievously.
    “Hmmm,” she tilted her head, pretending to think hard.  “Just the lunch, no, but with two new taste treats, yes.”
    Jaris winked at Alejan, “I’m only responsible for one of those new tastes.”
    Johari turned to Alejan, “What?  Do I find a conspiracy?”
    He ducked his head, grinning shyly, “Yes, Luno.  Jaris, that is Prince Jaris, called me while he was in Shaebara to check on something and then told me about finding the dragonfruit.  I told him about snakefruit and he promised to find some.  So, he does deserves some of the credit for going through that huge market in search of it.”
    Johari looked from one to the other, “I think you two are the most incorrigible men I’ve ever met.”
    “Is that a compliment?” Jaris raised his eyebrows.
    “I leave that for you to determine,” she smiled teasingly as she stood to return to her rooms and her interrupted paperwork.

Miss Melody Muffin

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Writer's Worst Enemy


It is one of the most dreaded enemies of all writers, if not THE most dreaded enemy.  We fear it, we hate it, we do everything we can to ward it off, to break through it... and sometimes we still lose.

Yes, my friends, it has struck me, despite everything I did to try to avoid it.  I've been working on the first draft of Venit Hora (first book in the Three Kyngdoms series) all month, diligently putting in at least 1000 words a day on it five or six days a week.

It was going well.  Not fantabulously wonderful, but well.

And then, the last several days, it has not been going well.  At all.  Oh, I've still managed to make my word counts, but the writing seems to grow worse and worse (to me anyway).

To top it off, I have two other stories that are begging for me to write them.

I thought if I just pushed through the block and kept going, it would eventually go away and I'd be fine.  But that isn't happening.  In fact, the block seems to be growing bigger and bigger.

So, I've made a decision.  A friend recently reminded me to remember to go with the flow of what your brain is telling you.  If one story won't talk, take a break from it.  If another one is hammering your door down screaming at you to write it, listen to it.  Don't stress the one that isn't talking and write the one that is!

Normally, I don't have a problem going with the flow of my brain and going from story to story as the inspiration flows.  But this time, you see, I had this nifty little goal schedule for this year that involved finishing certain books at certain times.  Alas, stories and characters' don't appear to listen to their authors very well and they certainly don't give a hoot about schedules and goals.  They will talk when they are ready to and not before.

And when they do that, we can only throw up our hands in exasperation, because unfortunately, we cannot FORCE them to speak to us.

So, I'm going to take a break from writing Venit Hora and instead work on writing Ebony and Aubergine, a book you will hear more about soon (it is the one hammering down my door right now).  And, I'm going to work on developing and probably writing the second book in the Loyalty/Sisters and Guardians series – tentatively titled Pearl of Loyalty. 

I will still aim for a total of 1000 words a day, on whichever story I'm working on.

How are all of you doing?

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tags Part Two: Elevens!!!!

I feel horribly ashamed right now.  I have wonderful friends on Blogger who were kind enough to tag me months ago and my answer posts kept getting pushed further and further down.

To all of those wonderful friends, I say, Thank you very much for tagging me and I'm sorry it has taken me so long to answer!!!

Because these are both elevensies tags, I'm going to do one set of random facts, answer all the questions, and at the end, tag one set of eleven people.

Random facts:
1. I had a new story series idea come to me last week and I've been developing it.  (I'll do a post on it sometime this month so I can properly introduce you to it.)
2. I've been reveling in oodles of pictures of East Indian saris as part of costume research for the aforementioned story.
3. I adore big cats.
4. Lions are my favorite, tigers are my second favorite.  Then, in order of preference, I like Snow Leopards, Panthers, Leopards and Jaguars.
5. We had about two inches of snow fall here today.
6. I'm absolutely loving a Civil War series I'm currently reading written by Joseph Altsheler.
7. Pinterest is one of the best inventions of the 21st century.  It has helped me enormously with my stories.
8. I really am not good at coming up with all kinds of random facts about myself.  :D
9. Blueberries are my absolute favorite berry.
10. I've been listening to Let It Go from Disney's Frozen over and over the last two weeks- both the English version and the Korean version.
11. I've been loading my new Kindle with dozens and dozens of books that I am very much looking forward to reading this year.

Amy Dashwood tagged me in October 2012.

1. Who's your least favorite literary heroine?
Elsie Dinsmore.  She's such a namby-pamby perfect person.

2. Did you read the American Girl books when you were younger?  Which series was your favorite?  Which book?
Yes, I did and enjoyed them.  Felicity was my favorite followed closely by Josefina.  My favorite Felicity book was Felicity Saves The Day and my favorite Josefina book- it was a toss-up between Josefina Saves The Day and Changes for Josefina.

3. You're having a friend over who has never seen a single period drama in her life.  Which one do you choose for her indoctrination?
North and South.  It has enough drama and excitement to hook a person's interest (as well as all the other best things about period dramas), without being as long as P&P 95.

4. Raspberries or strawberries?  Why?
Hard choice!!  I think I'll go with raspberries because if you've never had sun-warmed red reaspberries fresh off the bush- you're missing out on something wonderful.  For a few years when I was younger, we lived in this old farmhouse that had a red raspberry patch and my siblings and I avidly pilfered it whenever we had the chance.

5. What's your favorite cartoon movie?
Uuhhhhhh, I don't watch cartoon movies.  Although, I have watched some episodes of the old Tintin series – the one from the early 90's and I enjoyed that.

6. Who is your favorite singer?
Cracky!  A hard choice!!  Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess are my favorite musical singers.  Chris Tomlin is one of my favorite Contemporary Christian artists.  Korean singers... ok, ok, I won't go there.  :D

7. When do you start listening to Christmas music?
Preferably in October.

8. Which was the best birthday of your life so far and why?
Hmmmm... my 17th.  It was the birthday I received my horse.

9. Why did Mr. Gibson marry Hyacinth Horror Kirkpatrick?  Explain your answer in 200 words or less and don't forget footnotes.  If you haven't read/seen Wives and Daughters, write a two-paragraph essay on why lobsters don't wear socks.
Because he wasn't very clear-sighted and was taken in by a pretty face and artful manners.  As Miss Cornelia would say, "Just like a man!"

10. Who would you rather have tea with, Miss Bates or Mrs. Bennet?
Miss Bates.  Tea with Mrs. Bennet and I would be a disaster.  I'd probably end up stark raving mad.

11. What is the ugliest/most unflattering dress or outfit you've ever seen on a period drama? How would you have dressed the character who was so unfortunate as to wear it?
I can't think of one off the top (or bottom) of my head!!!!  (Just watch, in a day or two after I post this, then a dress and answer to this question will come to me.  The perverseness of my brain somedays....)

And Jessa Bri tagged me in November 2012:

1. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas or Thanksgiving.

2. Do you prefer hot or cold weather?
Hard question!  Cold weather, I think.  You can always put more clothes/blankets on when you are cold, or curl up in front of the fire, but in the summer... yeah, the heat really gets to me somedays.

3. Which country would you like to visit?
ALL THE COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD!!!!  Not quite, but I do have a ginormous list of places I want to visit.  At the top of my list right now is either South Korea or Italy.

4. Vanilla or chocolate?
Vanilla.  Every time.

5. Describe the perfect ice cream sundae.
Vanilla ice cream, topped with butterscotch sauce, maple sauce and caramel sauce, whipped cream, chopped macadamia nuts, and fresh blueberries on the top.

6. Would you rather attend a ball, eat something very unusual, solve a mystery that puzzles even Sherlock Holmes, or break the world record of the most books read in one year?
Well, I'd love to be able to read however many books it would take to break the world's record, but I think I would prefer to solve a mystery that baffles even Sherlock Holmes.  That would be fantastic.

7. Breakfast or just coffee?
I'm not a fan of coffee, so breakfast.

8. What is your favorite era in history?
It is a tie between the Empire/Regency era and the Tudor era in England.

9. Do you have any kind of accent when you speak?
Yes, a Midwestern accent.  I can also imitate a few other types of accent.

10. Is it soda or pop?

11. Name 11 of your hobbies.
Writing, reading, watching period dramas, crochet, knitting, tatting, riding horses, watching kdramas and kpop, inventing elaborate costumes, more writing, more reading.  :D

1. If you are tagged/nominated, you must post eleven facts about yourself.
2. Then, you must answer the eleven questions the tagger has given you and make eleven questions for the people you are going to tag.
3. Next, tag eleven more bloggers.
4. Tell the people you tagged that you have tagged them.
5. No tagging back.

My questions for my tagees:
1. What is your attitude toward reptiles?
2. Do you know what a Mumakil is?
3. How many state capitals have you been in?
4. Have you read Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe?
5. Have you read Jane Austen's Lady Susan?
6. What is your favorite rendition of Amazing Grace?
7. Do you listen to country music?
8. Would you rather have a squirrel or a rabbit for a pet?
9. What is your favorite big cat?
10. Do you prefer your hair long or short?
11. What is your favorite color of rose?

I tag:
Katherine Sophia
Jessica Greyson
Amy (I know one of today's tags was from her- but since the other one wasn't- I'm not technically tagging back.)

Miss Melody Muffin

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 in Review

Last year was definitely an interesting one for me.  It had several chapters I really would rather have skipped, but you can't have rainbows without rain, can you?

Looking at my New Year's resolutions for last year, (found HERE), there were a few of them I accomplished and others did not go as I hoped. 
  • I did more writing and reading, but not much more more horseback riding.  Injuries and life circumstances were to blame for some of that.
  • I did not read at least 2 books a week.  Some weeks I only read a few chapters of one book, while others I devoured 5 books in the week.
  • I did not read 5 Dickens- only 2.
  • I did not read every unread novel in the house... but I did get a good start.
  • I did not finish the first drafts of The Land Beyond the Sunset and the first book in the Three Kyngdoms series.
  • The collaborative story idea with my sisters fell through by May, partly because only one out of the four sisters is serious about writing.  She and I may take the unused ideas and do something with them sometime....
  • I think I had more posts on this blog than in 2012, but they weren't necessarily more regular, except during the 30 day Challenges in October and November.
  • During the summer, several weeks at a time passed without me seeing anything.
  • Didn't see all the Jane Austen adaptations that I haven't seen yet.
  • I DID see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Les Miserables 2012.  And adored both of them.
  • I was privileged to get to know many bloggers better, and make new friends in the blogging world.
  • Ummmmmm, probably did not succeed about the stressing.  I'm beginning to think it's hopeless.  I'll be a stresser for the rest of my life....  :D

What I did accomplish in 2013:

  • I successfully completed NaNoWriMo.
  • I finished my first full novel- Oath of Loyalty.
  • Started a short story tentatively titled Betrayal... that is still waiting to be finished....
  • Entered a short story contest and wrote an entry that was less than 2000 words- a hard thing for me.  It was good practice though, and I even took second in my category!

  • Introduced my sister Butterfly and others of my family to The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings.  Butterfly is now as enamored with Tolkien as I am.  :D
  • Read 2 Dickens' novels (A Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield), and discovered that I do enjoy his writing, once I get into it.
  • Bought my own Kindle- sort of my Christmas present to myself.  It will be a tremendous help because my family reads a lot of pre-1925 texts off places like Project Gutenberg, and even two Kindles in this house of voracious readers wasn't quite enough.
  • Downloaded a bunch of free Kindle books off Amazon, mostly fantasy and a few sci fi, that looked interesting.

  • Was introduced to Kdrama (and kpop) by three dear friends (Mirriam, Katherine Sophia and Jessica), and am now obsessed with it.
  • Introduced my sister Billie to the Star Trek tv series.  She is enjoying it very much and we have such fun watching it together.

  • Saw Shakespeare's Henry V performed by a traveling theater company and LOVED IT.
  • Attended the funeral of a grandfather where we saw extended family members.

What I would like to accomplish in 2014:
  • Post at least once a week.
  • Post more book and movie reviews.

  • Finish editing most of the typos out of Oath of Loyalty (typos caused by me typing at ridiculous speeds because no matter how fast I type, my hands still can't keep pace with my brain).
  • Finish the first draft of the first book in the Three Kyngdoms series, at the moment tentatively titled Venit Hora.
  • Finish the first draft of the first book in the Quara series, The Land Beyond the Sunset.
  • Start the first draft of To See The Stars (formerly known as FAMILY).
  • Start the first draft of the sequel to Oath of Loyalty.  The other day it was bombarding me with information about itself.
  • Write at least 500 words a day, six days a week.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo again.
  • Start the first draft of new book, temporarily titled Sub Rosa.

  • Read one pre 1925 text for every one of the modern ebooks I just downloaded from Amazon that I read.
  • Read 5 Dickens: Little Dorrit, The Pickwick Papers, Our Mutual Friend, Great Expectations, Bleak House.
  • More beta reading!!!  I'm in the middle of several fun stories right now, some of which I am very eager to see published.

  • Watch more Kdrama- I have a HUGE list of ones I want to see.
  • Since I didn't do it last year, watch all the Jane Austen adaptations made since 1980 that I haven't seen yet.
  • See several Shakespeare adaptations, including The Hollow Crown with the excellent actor Tom Hiddleston in my favorite Shakespeare play- Henry V.
  • Watch The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Real life:
  • Ride my horse more!!!!!!!

Miss Melody Muffin

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ring In 2014


It does seem a little hard to believe that it is 2014 already... although I feel more prepared for the new year this time than I did when it turned 2013.

As usual, my family stayed up until midnight to see in the new year.  The younger children watched Thomas the Train Engine and Curious George while Mom and we older girls watched both the 1934 and the 1982 Scarlet Pimpernel movies.  I had seen both before, more than once, but Mom and the girls hadn't, so it was fantastic watching their reactions to the wonderful world of Anthony Andrews, Ian McKellen and Jane Seymour in my favorite film version of Orczy's iconic hero, as well as the 1934 version, which they join me in agreeing was not as good as the 1982.

I was reading this poem earlier and it fitly describes my mood today, looking forward joyously to what this year will bring.

Ring Out, Wild Bells
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

How many of you stayed up until midnight?

May you all have a wonderful new year, my friends!!!!!!

Miss Melody Muffin