Tuesday, 29 July 2014

One Year Ago.

One year ago on this date, July 29th, I made my first post on this blog, To Write Something Worth Reading. I have been blogging on this blog for a year! Wow! Thank you to all my followers for... well, following. And commenting! Without you, I wouldn't have anyone to write this blog for except myself. :P

Anyways, just a quick post to say that this blog is one year old! Yippee!


Oh, and I watched Newsies for the first time last night! :D

You know, probably all of this post can be read from the little preview thingy. :D Oh well. :)

Monday, 28 July 2014

A Story For You.

Let me please tell you a story.

Once upon a time, on April 2nd, 2013, a girl began to write a story, opening with this not-edited sentence.

There was doubt about it that it was the same thing every time they went.

The girl is me. That sentence, missing a "no" after the second word, was the very first real sentence of the first draft of my book: The Lost World. That book is what I want to write about today. For that book, which has come a LONG way since those first few ideas and sentences, is now a published work.

SQUEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! Finally, after more than a year, The Lost World is published and for sale. I wish I had some chocolate to eat in celebration. :)

I want to thank Belle,  Selena, and Bea for their help in reading my book or parts of it for me. I also thank my mom for listening to me when I wanted to talk about it and helping me if I needed some questions answered and stuff. And I thank God for helping me through this. It was TOUGH at times. I got stuck and there were times when I didn't feel like writing, especially after a certain point. But it's done. And I'm glad.

I don't want to sound snooty or "You have to buy my book" or anything, but, The Lost World can be purchased here,  and hereThe first link is to Amazon, the second to the Create Space eStore. 

I wonder if we do have any chocolate lying around the house?



Monday, 21 July 2014

Week Four-- Only One More After This One!

Hello, my followers! Oi, don't I sound high and mighty? :D Let me try that again. Hello! Now I shall answer the questions for week four of Actually Finishing Something in July at Katie's blog.

How goes progress?

Pretty well, I hope! I have 11 stories and at least one Author's Note to go! That is... around a story and maybe a half or more a day. I don't like all the decimals the calculator on this computer is giving me. :P


Snippet-time! Share a snippet or two from your weekly writing.

Gladly! Like usual, this is from stuff I've been editing, not necessarily new stuff that I wrote this past week. They're all from West by Train.

“I’m sorry, sir,” she whispered.
*
She closed her eyes, building another layer to her shield against emotion.
*
Mrs. Bruin’s eyes softened and she took Miranda’s hand. “I’m sorry, lass. I didn’t mean to hurt you, But sometimes it is good to let out our feelings.”
Miranda wiped her nose with her sleeve. “I don’t think so. It can be too hurtful.” I have to put my shield back in place. I’ve let too much show.
*
“Do you want to talk about him?”
She shook her head. “No. I have to keep it all in. I have to be strong. I have to.”
Jonathan shook his head as well. “We’re all weak, Mira. Pulling back from showing emotion won’t make you stronger. You should let it all out. I did, and I feel better now. Shouldn't you do the same?”

Do you have a Pinterest inspiration board, or other
collection of images, that inspires your story? If so, share a couple of them with us.

I don't have a Pinterest board, but I have pictures for my characters. At least, for most of them, I think. So, here is how the speaking and at least slightly important characters in West by Train look like. I don't have a picture for my character called Thad, though. :P


This is Miranda, the main character.


Jonathan Grassel, the second most important character and perhaps my favorite. :)


Miranda's pa.



Mrs. Bruin. I imagine her a bit like this and a bit like this.



Charlie.



Peggy Grassel.

Now to go find some pictures that fit my story. I don't know if they will inspire me, and I'm just now looking for them but that's okay, right? :P


This is sort of Miranda, but I don't think I would say she is completely out of control. Just very, very hurt.


This is basically Miranda.


How would the main character of your story react if he or she were introduced to you?

Hmmm, I'm not sure. Miranda might be wary of me at first, until I showed whether I would be kind or not. I hope she would think I was kind! :)

Introduce us to one or two of the secondary characters in your story. 

Jonathan. He can be silly, fun and full of energy when he is happy. And even when he isn't, most of the time. Jonathan had horrible memories of the war, and wants so badly to forget. But unlike Miranda, who thinks she needs to shield all emotion form the world, he knows when he needs to let it all out. He doesn't want to hurt others with his pain, but he does let it go out and doesn't keep it all bottled up.

If your main character were allowed to choose a super-power, which power would he or she most desire? 

Miranda would choose the power to be invisible. Perhaps things she wouldn't get hurt as much if no one could see her. It would be easier to bear not being loved by the family who took her in.

We're nearing the end of this summer challenge! Is the completion of your goal in sight?

I hope so! Like I said above, I have 11 stories left, so I hope I can finish!


Friday, 18 July 2014

Yankee vs. Confederate-- Week Three Questions.

Here are the questions for week three of Actually Finishing Something in July!

Were you able to meet your goal this week?

Let me see... I don't know. Hopefully! :D

Where did you get the bulk of your writing accomplished? In the quiet of your room, outside on the patio, on the bus?

In the computer room where the computer that I use is kept.

Share a couple of your favorite snippets!

With pleasure! Well, I don't know if they're my favorites, but they're some I like!


“Quit feeling sorry for yourself!” Jeffrey raged, getting up as well. “You are the worst kind of baby I ever met! If you want pa to love and admire and be proud of you, then do something to win that love and admiration! You really think he’s gonna feel sorry for you because all you do is pout and say he loves me more?
“Oh, and I do know what suffering is! How dare you say I don’t understand! Know what? You don’t understand!”

*
He lifted his eyes from the stack. Somehow, as he gazed into the ranks of Union soldiers, his eyes found only one face. Gilbert, standing tall and strong, with eyes full of bright tears. Gilbert, the Yankee. Gilbert, his twin.
*

One step, then another. Jeffrey had his eyes on the ground. The words from the song came to his lips and he began to sing them in a faltering whisper. His home was just around the clump of trees ahead, but he afraid to look, afraid to go near, afraid of what he would find. Or more like, not find. “When Johnny comes marching home again, hurrah... hurrah... We’ll give him a hearty... welcome then, hurrah.... hu..”
He turned the corner.
Have you introduced a new character into your story? Tell us about his or her personality. 

I don't believe I have.

List the favorite foods of your main characters.

Jeffrey, from After Four Long Years, loves fried corn cakes more than anything else in the world. He also loves beans, (why?) cornbread, and honey. And venison.

Gilbert, from the above story, loves jam. And cake. Not a very healthy diet. But he also likes cabbage. :P

Introduce us to the antagonist in your story and tell us about one of his or her quirks.

In After Four Long Years, the boys, Jeffrey and Gilbert, are kind of their own antagonists, as well as being antagonists to each other. As for quirks... Jeffrey isn't the most patient person in the world at all, but his best friend during the war is a grumpy soldier named Albert who could drive him nuts if Jeffrey weren't used to his grumblings most of the time. As for Gilbert, he likes to push his cap back on his head whenever he can, but he hates it when he sees anybody else doing it. It annoys him.



Saturday, 12 July 2014

Week 2.

Here are Week Two Questions for Katie's Actually Finishing Something in July! Since my goal is finishing editing my HF Short Story collection, I'm not doing that THAT much writing, though I am doing some. Here I go, then!

1) Were you able to reach your weekly goal?  
I don't have a weekly goal; my goal for the whole month is to finish editing. However, maybe I SHOULD make a weekly goal... let me see. Right now I am in the year 1864, and the collections goes up to 1963. So, I still have 99 years to go, though I do NOT have a story in every year. :D So really, I have thirteen more stories to go through, not counting Friend or Foe, (which I'm in right now) and around nineteen days in which to edit them. That's about... a story or so a day, with some wiggle room. Make nineteen days into around four weeks and that gives me a goal of three and a quarter stories a week. That's doable.

BTW, by the time this gets published, all these dates may have changed, so sorry if it's confusing. I never published this earlier, so it's late. :D But I'm too lazy to go and change all the dates in there. :P

2) Is this challenge encouraging you to write more often?
I don't think so. I believe I've been pretty good lately about writing or editing, so I guess not. It's a good challenge to have, though.

3) At what time of the day did you accomplish most of your writing? 
In the afternoons. Mostly after 3:30, I believe.

4) Which musical tracks do you listen to most while writing? 
That is a hard question to answer. I listen to a LOT of music on Pandora, and probably a lot of the time I don't know what I'm listening to. But probably the majority is (or should I be saying are?) Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, Star Trek, and How to Train Your Dragon.

5) Share a descriptive snippet or two of your writing.
I don't think I really have a descriptive snippet to use. Well, let me check again...


He had settled down to sleep in the hollow of a tree about a mile from his house, and was now very near the army camp, so near that as he awoke he could smell smoke from fires drifting on the clean, fresh air. Excitement rushed through him and he clambered out of the hollow and began to run towards the smell. Sounds began to reach his ears; horses nickering, the clink of pans and bayonet tips, the murmur of awakening men. He had really found the army at last!

That's about as good as I can find for right now.

6) Share three dialogue-based snippets from your week one writing.
These will be from the stories I edited this week, not stuff I just wrote this week, though a few bits might be new, I'm not sure. And also, I'm kind of guessing if I was actually editing this part of the story this week. Because when I started the challenge, I was already partly into one of my stories in editing. But anyways, here you are.

“I’ve wanted to fight for so long,” Tim confided. “And now I might get to in just a little while! What’s it like?”
Jeremiah turned to look at him, a strange glint in his eye. “It’s the worst, the most exciting, the scariest, the most thrilling experience you’ll ever get.” Suddenly, a gloom came over his eyes. “But I almost wish I had sent you away back at the creek. You're too young to be in the army. I should have let Colonel Barlow tell you to go back home, that you couldn’t sign up. It’s my fault you’re a soldier now.”


Timothy! Be careful where you put your knees or I’ll report you for violent conduct!” His voice was playful, but Tim noticed a grimace as he stopped the flow of blood trickling from his nose with a handkerchief. “Does it look crooked to you?” Jeremiah consulted Brain, pointing to the injury and talking in an affected buzz.
Brian snickered. “Naw.”
“Sorry, Jeremiah,” Tim grinned, not very apologetically, setting his knees carefully on the ground.



“Home?” scoffed Tim, brushing away the nurse’s calming hands and glass of water. “Home? When I’m better I’m going back to fight!”

“With one leg? You wouldn't get very far, Tim.”
7) How are you going to move forward in this challenge? Are you changing your word-count goal or other plans? 
I'm not changing anything. I'm going to try and do three and a quarter short stories a week like I said earlier.


Thursday, 10 July 2014

Foreign Relations.

Chatterbox time again! Click here to see Rachel's blog. Please. Because it's nicer to say please. :D


“May I please have a cup of tea?” Charlotte asked timidly.
The boy narrowed his eyes. “Tea? What are you, anyway? A Loyalist, I’ll wager, from the looks and sounds of you and...” his eyes scanned her dress, “a rich one at that.” Turning, he darted away, shouting, “Mr. Covington! Some Loyalist girl wants a cup of tea! Should I tell her to go check Boston Harbor?”
Charlotte felt her cheeks grow hot. The impudence! She rose to the feet and made her way toward where the boy had disappeared. “Sir? Excuse me, sir?”
A large man turned to face her from a table covered with vegetables and meat. Beside him was the boy. “What would you be wanting?”
“I politely asked your boy if he would get me a cup of tea, but he mocked me, and very impolitely at that. I only asked to be served.”
The man turned and grabbed hold of the boy’s collar. “What did ye say to this young lady, Solomon?”
Solomon wriggled out his employer’s hold. “Nothing that would be offensive to a sound Patriot. She’s a Tory, that one! Comes in like a queen, she does, and asks for a cup of tea! Tea! So, shall I ask her if she’ll take kindly to riding up to Boston to take a dip in the harbor? There might still be a bit ‘o tea in there!”
The man chuckled and slapped the boy fondly on the back. “That’s the way we treat these Tories, lad. Well done, Solomon.” He turned back to Charlotte. “I would advise ye, miss, to keep your head down. We Patriots don’t take kindly to Tories. Good day to ye.” He went back to his vegetables.
Charlotte sucked in her breath. “Your advice may be well meant, sir, but I shall not keep my head down and be ashamed of my loyalty to King George! Michael has been more right than Gerald in this case! The Loyalists are better behaved and have more common sense than the Patriots! And to think I once wished Great Britain to let you colonists have your own way!” Whirling on her heel, she left the shop as swiftly as possible. But she had hardly gone a few paces down the street when Solomon caught up with her.
“Excuse me, miss, but I wanted to say--”
“That you’ll tar and feather me if I don’t break my allegiance to the king?” Charlotte snapped. “Because in that case you will have to go ahead and tar me right now, for I won’t!”
“Oy, but you have a sharp tongue,” Solomon smiled, showing crooked teeth. “I only wanted to say that I admire that stand you took with Mr. Covington. Not that it’s right, but I always did like to see someone stand up against that man. He’s not a bad old fellow, but still.” He stuck out a surprisingly clean hand. “So. I say you have a fine way for speaking, even if you are a Tory. Shake?”
Charlotte stared at him for a moment. “Thank you.” She shook his hand and turned to walk on. He stayed by her side and so she said, “I have just arrived in the colonies, you know.”
“Come from England, did you? Ah.” Solomon stuck his hands in his pockets and whistled through his teeth. “Why’d you come over if you’re so loyal to your old king?”
“My brother. He... he’s in the British army; come over here to fight you Patriots.”
Solomon’s nose and forehead wrinkled. “Poor old fellow.”
“Poor old fellow? Why would you say that?”
“Because we’re going to beat you British,” Solomon yawned, as if this was childish talk. “Why, everyone knows it.”
“We British don’t,” Charlotte said primly. “Our army is much bigger, stronger, and more well-trained than yours.”
“Oy, listen to the proud Tory’s speech!” Solomon snickered. “So sure of yourself, are you?”
Charlotte raised an eyebrow. “And are you so sure that you will win this war?”
“Aye,” Solomon said simply.
“And why?”
“Because,” Solomon turned to face her directly. “We have the courage and initiative to win. Your fine British officers will soon be or are already wishing that they could go home. Us Patriots? We’ll keep fighting until our goal is reached. Can your English toffs beat that?”



Saturday, 5 July 2014

Nathaniel Simmons.

Time for Beautiful People over at Further Up and Further In! This month I will be using Nathaniel, from Broken Nation.





1) What’s their favourite food? (Bonus: favourite flavor of chocolate!) 

Fried squirrel. Nathaniel prefers dark chocolate. Milk chocolate won't be invented for another twelve years.

2) What do they absolutely hate? 

Hmm, I guess that could depend. But maybe people getting bad ideas about him. He wants everyone to know exactly who he is and what he thinks, not just let people have their own twisted ideas.

3) What do they enjoy learning about? 

Science. Nathaniel wanted to study the earth and plants before the war started.

4) Who is the most influential person in their life? 

Fanny, his sister. They are very close, despite a three year age difference. Nathaniel is seventeen, Fanny is fourteen.



5) What is their childhood fear? 

Spiders. Nasty, crawling, biting spiders. Yuck.

6) What is something they have always secretly dreamed of doing, but thought impossible? 

Nathaniel wants more than anything to go to the moon. Of course, that could never happen, but still...

7) What is something he is impractically afraid of? 

Gunpowder blowing up in his face. He's in a war, he has to take a chance with that happening, but he still fears it.

8) Are they a night owl or morning person? 

A morning person. Nathaniel can be up hours before dawn for many days at a time.

9) Do they say everything that pops into their head, or leave a lot unsaid? 

Hmmmm... Nathaniel tends to keep things inside, except when he's talking with Fanny.

10) What are their nervous habits?

Nathaniel rubs his forehead and pulls at the hair at the edge of the back of his head.




I wonder what the questions will be next month? :)

Friday, 4 July 2014

"No Parade."

Nothing was coming up. Hank had said casually that nothing ever would, but of course Kenny hadn’t wanted to believe him. Of course his apple seed would come up! It just needed some time!
Kenny rested his chin on the dirt, staring at the little mound before him, inside of which lay an apple seed. He had planted this tiny seed after consuming the fruit which increased it and several others. He could have planted any one of those tiny seeds, but this one had been his favorite. Small, brown and slightly wrinkled.
Hank’s footsteps crunched along the gravel path that wound throughout the backyard. “Kenny, are you still watching that mound of dirt? That seed’s never gonna come up, you know.”
Kenny raised his head and sighed languidly. “It will.”
Hank was the one to sigh now. Seating himself beside his little brother, he poked a finger at the mound. “See, it doesn’t have anything to drink. It’s just going to die.”
Kenny dribbled a bit of orange juice from his cup onto the mound. “There. Now it has something to drink.”
Hank rolled his eyes. “What are you trying to do, make it an apple/orange tree?”
Kenny stared at his older brother. “You think that’ll happen?”
“Naw. Anyways, you won’t be able to get even a plain apple tree.”
“Why not?”
“Because you can’t get it from that one little seed from your apple, Kenny. I’ve tried it when I was your age. Now I’m grown-up and know better.”
Kenny frowned. “Wish I was six already.”
Hank got to his feet. “You will be, in two years.”
Two years. Practically a lifetime. Kenny put his chin back on the dirt. “I think I’ll watch for my apple tree some more while I wait.”
“You’ll lie there for two years?” Hank asked slowly.
“Yes,” Kenny said stiffly, gathering together all his dignity. “What, couldn’t you be able to wait that long?”
“I... I don’t really know for sure,” admitted Hank, a slight tinge of respect in his voice. A moment, and it was gone as he said, “Well, you can lie there for two years if you want, but I’m going to be in the parade tonight.”
Kenny jumped to his feet. “I forgot! Today’s Independence Day Eve!”
“That’s only for Christmas, Kenny,” Hank said knowledgeably. “Just call today the 3rd. That’s what mama does.”
Kenny licked the dust off the upper part of his chin with his tongue. “Let’s go see if we can get dressed up yet!” He took off running and beat Hank to the house, which was very satisfactory.
*******
“Is it time for the parade to start? When can we get on the sundae?” Kenny asked anxiously, hopping from one foot to the other. His taekwondo outfit was tickling his neck. In the distance a grumble caught his ears, but he ignored it.
“Kenny, it’s not a sundae we’re riding on, it’s a float,” Hank said in his most patient tone of voice. “And we don’t start for another half hour.”
“Oh.” Kenny stared around at the colored flatbeds and trailers of trucks that were being mysteriously called ‘floats.’ There was so much to look at when you were in a parade! Fire trucks, girls with weird looking dresses and lots of makeup sitting on the tops of open cars, old army jeeps, bands and lots and lots of flags.
Kenny smiled at the float he and his taekwondo friends were to ride in. It was a flatbed with lows sides so the kids wouldn’t fall off, decorated with flags, banners and their taekwondo symbol. Everything was all red, white and blue.
Kenny stood as tall as he could, staring at a huge American flag above him. “Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light? What so proudly we hail, at the twilight’s last greeting. Who’s--”
“Kenny, be quiet!” Hank poked him vigorously. “Someone’s starting to talk.”
Maybe it’s time to start!” Kenny said breathlessly.
“...So, I’m very, very sorry to disappoint all of you,” the man was saying. “But I’m afraid we’re canceling the parade. The storm is just too big and moving too rapidly toward us to try and continue with our festivities this evening. So, I say goodnight to you all, I’m very sorry, and have a great 4th of July.”
A disappointed groan running through the gathered people, everything suddenly began to be dismantled and taken down. The taekwondo leader, Mr. Chu, waved his arms. “Okay, kids, get onto the flatbed. I’ll take you home now.”
Kenny was crestfallen. Clambering awkwardly onto the flatbed, he sat gloomily beside the other saddened kids as Mr. Chu began to drive slowly through the dispersing parade people.
“Mama and daddy!” Kenny said suddenly. “What if they don’t know the parade has been canceled?”
“They’ll know,” Hank said glumly beside him. “Gee whiz, what a rotten evening.”
Kenny sighed. Glancing up at the sky, his eyes took in ginormous black clouds and a huge flash of lightning. Rain suddenly began to pour, soaking them all in a matter of seconds. Into his lap floated a little puddle of water, in the middle of which was a soggily wrapped piece of candy.
“Can we just eat all the candy we brought ourselves?” Kenny wondered, poking the floating sweet.
“I don’t know,” Hank yawned.
“Mr. Chu’s telling us to pull the tarp over ourselves,” a kid near them shouted of the noise of the ruin and thunder. Once the crackling canvas was in place, everyone was very quiet, each trying to deal with the disappointment of a canceled parade. The ride home seemed to take hours.
*******
The 4th of July came and went pleasantly enough, but five days after the canceled parade, Kenny still felt bad about it. It would have been the first parade he had ever been in. Now he would have to wait all the way until next year.
The backyard was still soggy from the rain that had come off and on for the past few days as Kenny walked around through the grass. Hank was up in the treehouse playing spies with his friend Lynn, but Kenny didn’t feel like joining them. He plodded through the grass, trying to think of something cheerful. Mama had said that God worked all things together for good for those who loved Him, but Kenny still didn’t see anything good about the rained out parade.
A flash of green in the midst of a bare plot of dirt caught his eye. Kenny went forward to investigate. Dropping to his knees on the muddy grass, he stared at the tiny green shoot. Could it possibly be...
“MAMA!” Kenny howled so loudly that mama came crashing out of the house at top speed and Hank and Lynn nearly came crashing right out of the treehouse. Thankfully, they weren’t too startled that they weren't able to grab for the ladder just in time.
“Kenny! What is it?” Mama panted, running over.
“Mama, is that an apple tree?” Kenny could barely wait for her to answer.
“Let me see...” Mama peered at the tiny plant and thought for a moment. “Yes, it does appear to be one. I wonder where it came from?”
Kenny stared at the tiny tree, his heart filling with joy. “Mama, it’s the seed I planted! It came up!”
“I can’t believe it!” Hank whispered incredulously from behind his little brother. “It actually grew!”
“It must have been all the rain we got, Kenny,” mama smiled, her eyes twinkling. “All things for good, remember?”
Kenny nodded. “I remember what you said, mama! The rain kept my seed from dying!” He touched the tiny leaves gently, caressingly.
“Um, Kenny?” Hank coughed, putting a hand on Kenny’s shoulder in a friendly gesture. “Next time you eat an apple... may I have a seed?”
The End.



Happy Independence Day, everyone!