Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Down the rabbit trail...

Today I want to do something a little different. Instead of sharing with you something about my book or anything book-related for that matter, I want to share with you something completely random; something that I'm extremely excited about!

For those of you who have taken the time to read the About Me tab, you have an idea that I love puppets, and for those of you who have not read it, that's ok because you also now know that I love puppets! I have updated the About Me tab, so it now reads that I own 5 puppets instead of 3. 

My first puppet I bought myself when I was 13 I believe. It's a Disney's Pinocchio Marionette Limited Edition. He cost way more than I probably should have spent, but I was young and didn't know any better. It's ok though because I'd totally do it again! My second puppet is a small yarn dog marionette that my brother bought for me a couple years ago. They're both really cute, the dog is a funny obnoxious little character and somehow my sister always ends up being her Mistress.

My mom sometimes taught Sunday School at church and she asked my sister and I if we wanted to help with the lesson and use our puppets. We said yes, but I couldn't really use the marionettes I had because (a). one is already a character, (b). I can't very well take Pinocchio in a church, and (c). I didn't have two marionettes that could really interact with each other. So my mom had this little Bible lesson kit thingy that came with 2 hand puppets. Let me say that I wasn't a big fan of those hand puppets, but we used them anyway. And it was fun. We did this for a few weeks before I finally bought my third marionette: a pink ostrich! She seemed like a perfect fit for the little dog marionette I already had.

I love all my puppets, but I've always wanted a goat marionette and of course, a hand-made marionette carved out of wood from the Czech Republic. And guess what? My mom bought me the goat and a sheep marionette that arrived just yesterday! I'm super excited about that! I think they're both SUPER silly looking and really really cute! Funny thing is, this isn't what I wanted. The goat was supposed to be white and the sheep was supposed to be black and white.  I opened the box however, and it's obviously not what was ordered. I took them out and ripped open their packaging anyway.

I played with them for a minute or two and by the end of the day I was ready to put them back in the box. We were going to ship them back so they could ship the right ones. Then I looked into the eyes of the little sheep and the goat and I didn't want to get rid of them. They have so much character already. They're so cute. I didn't want to see them go back in the box, but into the box they went. A few hours later I took the box to my room and opened it again and took the puppets out. The goat and the sheep are currently hanging on a door hook over my closet door. And now I ask you guys on what you think for names? I think they're both going to be female. If you have any name ideas, please share! They will be used for Bible story purposes. I've been calling them Milly (the goat) and Meep (the sheep). I did, however, consider Billie and Piper. What do you think? ;)

Friday, September 25, 2015


So I'd like to give you a little update about what I've been doing with my life lately and where I'm at with my book. Things have definitely felt pretty hectic lately!

As usual, school takes up a lot of my time. What I thought was going to be the 2 easiest courses this semester have ended up being extremely stressful for me! It's just one thing after another with these courses, having a lot of assignments and asking questions that no one seems to know. Like, what do they get payed for?!

Anyhow, I'm sure me ranting about school is pretty boring. I would like to say that I am very pleased with the direction my story is taking. It's still going slower than I would like, but it's hard to focus on it when I'm just stressing over school. As of lately, I've written some very nice bits and pieces - mostly at night when I should be sleeping. It's all good though. I keep thinking up lines that I could use much later on in the book, which prompts me to put in more time for writing so I can get there.

One thing that is a little bit challenging at the moment is the dialect of the characters and the writing style in general. It's very easy for me to write in Middle/Early Modern English and have that "fairy tale quality" as I call it, but sometimes I forget what I'm doing and start writing as if I were speaking. I don't want it to sound completely modern, and I don't want it to sound like Shakespeare wrote it either. I personally love Shakespeare, I just don't think many people would enjoy reading something like that. 
Instead of my writing looking like this:

Hollyhocks didn't answer. Instead she held her arms out and tried to balance herself as she walked on the slippery moss-covered rocks in the river. It was a warm spring day, the gentle breeze carrying with it a sweet fragrance of wildflowers. At the edge of the Forest where the shadows met the river, small drops of sunlight brightly sparkled and glistened on the surface of the still cool clear water... could look like this:

Hollyhocks didn't answereth. Instead she held h'r arms out and tri'd to balance h'rself as she walk'd on the slipp'ry moss-cov'r'd rocks in the riv'r. 'Twas a warm springeth day, the gentle breeze carrying with it a sweet fragrance of wildflow'rs. At the edge of the F'rest whence the shadows met the riv'r, bawbling gouts of sunlight brightly sparkl'd and glisten'd on the surface of the still cool cleareth water...

It's all about finding that perfect balance, still keeping that "fairy tale quality", and using "nay" instead of "no", saying "nor did I" instead of "I didn't", and "I know not" instead of "I don't know". When I sit down to write, I have to place my mind in another world, another time. Like I said before, it can be a little challenging, but it's still an amazing experience and an amazing feeling.

Well, that's about all I've been up to. As always, if you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you! ;)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The pros and cons of writing.

I wrote a post the other day about the pros and cons of reading so I decided to do a follow up with that today about - you guessed it - the pros and cons of writing!

Of course writing can be different for each individual. For me, it's an art. It's being creative and the pro here is that it tests the limits of the imagination. If you can think something, you can make it happen. Everything around us has a story to tell. Perhaps the stranger next door was inspiration for a mystery thriller, a fond memory of days past became a romance novel, the song of a bird became a poem, and a simple painting became a fantasy novel. 

Some people believe that  sci-fi is more interesting and you may have more flexibility if you write about the future, but I personally believe there's something more enchanting about the past. Whether you're writing about the future or the past, you always have the freedom to imagine something that didn't happen and make it happen. When you write, you get to create a new world - maybe it's a world you used to live in or a world that you wish you could live in. You get to create people - maybe they resemble yourself or someone you used to know; maybe they resemble someone currently in your life or maybe someone you'd like to know. Just like when you read, the world on the page seems real when you write. You decide how they talk and soon you can hear their voice inside your head as if you're remembering that conversation. You get to see them grow and mature as they battle through the obstacles you've placed in their life. You may also see their downfall.

Above have all been the pros of writing. Now for the cons, and to me, that's one of the worst things about writing: seeing someone's downfall. Seeing someone die. Maybe they died a hero. Maybe they didn't. Maybe they were killed by someone, or maybe they took their own life. Perhaps they died a natural death. Maybe it was fate and they were gone too soon. Sometimes the reader grieves the loss of a character as much as the writer did. It's not always easy what we have to write about, but sometimes it needed to happen that way. Another con is this really annoying thing called writer's block. The muses are very kind to you and then suddenly they just stop and you're stuck (for anyone reading this, I just want to add that I don't believe in the muses - I just like to call it something and by it I mean those precious moments where you're on a roll and your hand seems to write before your brain can even comprehend it). You're characters have stopped, their world has stopped. It can last for hours, days, or even weeks as I've experienced. I can't just sit down and write. I have to feel something. I have to be inspired.

I got on a topic that I feel I could go on about forever and ever! Trying to keep these posts to a minimum though, I'll stop rambling now. Again, if you guys have any thoughts, I'd love for you to share them in the comments! ;)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The pros and cons of reading.

So I posted a couple days ago that I'd been sick and while I'm still sick, I just wanted say that I'm much better (big shout out to my green tea and honey!). For any book-lovers out there, we know that there are pros and cons of reading. I want to share with you some of my ideas about this and I'd love for you guys to comment and tell me your ideas!

First we'll start with the pros. Reading, for me, is a way to escape the real world. It's more than just a distraction though - it's like living another life. The places you see, the people you meet, the lessons you learn, the hard goodbyes. It's all real. Even if it's just in your own mind, it felt real; you actually laughed and you cried and you got scared and you felt your heart racing when the protagonist fell in love.

There are those times when you're so deep into the story and then you hear someone calling your name. Boy, those moments can be pretty frustrating. This isn't a con though! What I'm trying to make a point of is the beauty of being so caught up in the story that when you look up, it's like walking out of a theater and realizing that it's still daylight and the world is exactly as you left it. You can't deny that you've met people and made friends more interesting than the ones you really have, or been places you never dreamed of seeing, doing things you never thought you'd get to do. Maybe, just occasionally, you find a few quotes to call your own that describe you perfectly, or made you think about something you'd never thought before, or maybe said something you'd been trying to say. You can live a thousand lives and see a thousand places. That's the beauty of reading. Plus, if you're lucky, you get to read and sit on your bed or on a comfy chair and wear baggy clothes and drink tea (or coffee if you prefer that).

The cons of reading are few, but unfortunately they do exist. Sometimes you have to decide if you're going to read a book or take part in a family activity or some other activity. If you're like me, you may sometimes take part out of guilt. Another con is what we like to call a "book-hangover". This is definitely one of the worst things about reading. When a book is so good, and you're so in love with the characters, and then it's over, what then? Finishing a book is like saying goodbye to those people. It can be quite emotional. What do you do with yourself? It's like, what were you doing with your life before you began reading that book? It takes getting used to, living in the real world again.

Well, that's all I can think of at the moment. If you guys have other pros and cons that I missed, I'd love to hear them! ;)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Even writers get sick.

Hey everyone! I've noticed that in the past week or so - has it been a week already?! - I haven't posted a whole lot of new material about my progress on my book or anything new about me etc. So I just wanted to tell you what I HAVE been up to!

As many of you are probably aware, school has started up again. Some of us have already been back for a month. And some of us (myself included) never got out for the summer. I know,  how do I manage that? How am I still alive? Well, to be completely honest, I ask myself the same questions. Like, how am I still sane? Come to think of it though, if you asked my family, they'd say I was INsane...but that's beside the point.....

Needless to say, school takes up a lot of my time. I still have plenty of time for a social life though - oh wait, I don't have a social life. What I DO have time for is reading. I've been reading Paper Towns for any John Green fans out there! Also, I make sure to fit in some time for writing, though I actually haven't written much in the past couple days. One thing I don't understand though, on my schedule I NEVER said I had time to get sick. And sure enough, I'm sick anyway. Soar throat, throbbing head, stinging eyes, mouth breathing, sleepless nights, that's me! So apparently even writers can get sick, and don't ask how, because seriously all I do is sit at my desk... 

Hopefully I'm better really soon so I can post for you guys more! ;)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Chapter 1 (part 2).

So now imagine that the Forest is very dark because the heavens are dark. Nearly every creature in the Forest lay his head upon his pillow for a night of dream filled sleep, only one family is doing no such thing. A hole in a tree provides a home, while leaves provide a door. And through this layer of leaves, a faint light can be seen. Shh. Listen carefully. Hear that? Try harder until everything is so silent that you can hear the sound of your own heartbeat. Faintly, but surely, there is a strange sound coming from inside this fairy home. It sounds almost like chimes; like someone running their hand over a throng of chimes. That, Dear Reader, is the sound of a new born baby fairy crying. Indeed the stars get excited every time they witness the birth of a fairy child, as there is nothing quite like it in all the land.

Inside this humble home we see a handsome young male fairy, strong and fair, dark eyes, his face anxious and excited, sweat on his brow. He is kneeling by a bed of heather on which lies his wife, unashamedly wearing nothing as is he.

You see Dear Reader, the sprites live in a different world than humans entirely. They live in peace with one another always. They know no hate, only love. They are innocent in the ways of man and they are not ashamed to be naked.

Now, she is no older than what you and I might say, 20 years of age, for sprites age quite differently than humans do. She is pale, her golden locks falling over her sweaty face. But her eyes are open and a smile cannot hide on her sweet lips, for in her arms is a baby no bigger than that of a small acorn (though a very normal size for a sprite), clothed only in a neat brown cloth to keep her warm.

"She is beautiful my Dear Corabelle. She looks like you."

Corabelle smiled warmly at him. "Eldon, what shall we name her?"

Eldon (eel-don) thought for a moment. He looked around the house, first at the table, then at the things piled on it. Then he scanned the shelf, first a small bottle whose contents are unknown, then a small book, and a flower vase. The vase was empty and had been so for many years. This is because Dear Corabelle would have no flowers save for the single hollyhock preserved neatly between the pages of an old and worn book - the very same hollyhock Eldon had found on the edge of the river once on a forbidden outing in his youth. He could have a wild streak at times and Corabelle fell helplessly in love with it - with him. Corabelle cherished that flower, and wished to keep it forever as she knew she would never have another so lovely and beauteous as that. This Eldon remembered very well at seeing the empty vase. He then turned back to his wife. "Hollyhocks. Then you will have Hollyhocks with you forever."

"Hollyhocks," Corabelle repeated. "I will love you always."

She smiled at her new baby as little Hollyhocks fell asleep on her mother's bosom. "My little angel," she whispered, kissing her baby's soft forehead, gently touching her round rosy cheeks. They couldn't even begin to grasp how different their lives were than the day before; they had no idea that their lives were forever changed. Still though, they couldn't have been a happier family.

... ;)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Chapter 1 (part 1).

I hope you enjoyed the lost chapter of the original story of Hollyhocks as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you! I'd like to compare that chapter with the first chapter of Beyond The Veil and I'd love to know what you think. I know this is a pretty lengthy post which is why I've separated the chapter into two parts - hopefully you find this interesting enough to even want to read the second part. Please remember that this is still the rough draft! ;)

Chapter 1.
Imagine with me, Dear Reader, a world very different from the one in which you live. Not a world with smooth paved roads or fancy cars. Not a world where your best friend is a phone call away. Not a world where every bit of information ever recorded is conveniently awaiting you on the other side of a touch. Not a world where you can't even see the horizon and the setting sun, for the skyline is met with tall buildings. No, imagine something not like this at all. Instead, imagine that the earth is still filled with secrets that men have not yet discovered. Imagine that on the northern banks of a river is a massive brick castle which served both as a residence for the royal family and a prison for those whose hands were dirty and whose hearts were stained. The many lifeless windows gazed across the countryside that lay before it. Four towers whose tall pointed heads are reaching high into the heavens, overlooking a city known as London. The castle is dark and dismal with an almost ominous aura about it, but it is very old and it is very beautiful. In Westminster Abbey a child is being born, a baby boy who is destined to one day reign over Great Britain.

Now far far away, past streams and rivers, over hills and through grasslands, imagine that at the edge of a mountain there are quaint country cottages in the midst of wildflowers with a flowing river passing through and a stone bridge leading from a dusty dirt road to a cobblestone street. On either side of this street are a diversity of shops and businessmen with plenty of goods to be traded. Yet, the streets are empty. Not a soul is to be seen, not a single light is lit, and the village is peacefully quiet. A gentle breeze is blowing, causing the thatched roofs to lightly rustle and the flowers to sway back and forth, like mysterious waves across the ocean. 

The land is lit by our Good Friend, very dear to all who behold him, the Moon. Look at him as he sits up in the sky, proudly showing off his radiant gleam. But notice also that the stars are very cheerful and excited on this night. Perched up in the sky, they must know something that others do not. It is a fact that one star, one that is not known to the eyes of man, got so excited that he couldn't help himself, and just to get a better look at what was happening, he burst and shot himself down to the earth, only to be burnt out. Some didn't care, some simply didn't notice, and some will miss him.

To get our heads out of the sky, let me now say that also on the edge of the village, just to the West, is a dark forest. The people in these parts know it as the Lost Forest not because the forest was lost, oh dear no! But because those weary travelers who dared to pass through got lost; because there were tales of men who went into the forest and never came out. The Forest did not like travelers. The Forest did not like travelers at all. Of course you may be wondering why this is. The Forest was not all bad, in fact it was very protective. It had to be because it was very very very old and many secrets it had to hide. Some say that when you get nigh the edge of it, you can hear faint whispers, and screeches and strange animal sounds. There are those who believe that evil spirits are warning outsiders not to enter, there are those who believe that some sort of witchcraft is brewing inside.

There was no witchcraft in the Forest. But there were many strange and beautiful creatures. Screeching owls and hungry wolves. Skittish unicorns. Many different birds with many different calls and chirps and songs to be sung. And there are spirits. Not evil transparent ghosts with chains. They are tree spirits, dryads as they are called. They are the soul of the tree. Unlike a human soul, a tree spirit can leave it's body whenever it wants, but only for short periods at a time. If you listen to the wind, you can hear soft whisperings. This is how they communicate to one another, using a lost language once known to man, now understood only by the fairies and the dryads themselves.

Of the fairies, there are three different kinds of which inhabit the Forest. First, and strangest of them all, are the hobgoblins. The size of a small child, but hairy like a beast, with the face of an elderly man, they are able to shape-shift. Though pleasant enough, they can be very ill-mannered, bad tempered, and greedy. They spend nearly every night in the village, never taking anything without having first earned their loot.

Second are the pixies - tiny human-like figures with large pointed ears, wild eyes filled with childish glee, and feet that carry them as swift as that of a hunted fox. Pixies are mischievous beings who delight in deliberately tormenting and misleading people, sometimes with the use of magic, sometimes not.

Last are the sprites. Perhaps the most beautiful of all for reasons not only in appearance, but also in manner. They are very kind-hearted, caring, and innocent by nature. They too resembled humans, except for their pale almost translucent soft skin, and their elegant gossamer wings protruding from their backs. The fairies all lived at peace with one another for the most part, but unlike the hobgoblins and the pixies, the sprites avoided all human contact. The magic they worked was very important and like nothing else to behold. Nothing short than the work of a skillful artist, they painted the leaves in the autumn, carefully but swiftly, though not too swift; they enjoyed to make the autumn last before the winter came upon them and carried the leaves away in the wind.

Part 2 coming tomorrow! ;)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The lost chapter.

Every Christmas my sister and I would make little gifts for our dolls and put them in little stalkings and then have the dolls open them on Christmas morning before we opened our own gifts. One thing I loved to make were books. Small enough for the doll of course, I would sit down and usually write the first chapter of a book I enjoyed. On the rare occasion - very rare occasion, I would write down one of my own books. This might seem kind of random, but the other day I pulled a trunk out from under my bed and started looking at stuff (most of which I had forgotten I owned) and I found those little books I made. Imagine my surprise when I found the first chapter to the original story of Hollyhocks! That's right, the manuscript is lost, but amazingly I still have the first chapter written in this tiny little book meant for a doll. I read it and laughed at how bad it all sounded. I'm a little embarrassed about it, but I think it would be fun to share it with you:

Chapter 1.

Do you like fairy stories? Oh good! Let me think a minute. What would be a good tale to tell you? Hmmm...I know! I will tell you the story of Hollyhocks. I love that story. It never gets old.

Now, the story is based back in the 1400's, during that of the Middle Ages in a place called the Valley of Doves. This place gets its name from all of the doves that live in the land. Also, the dove is a symbol of peace and the Valley of Doves was a peaceful kingdom ruled by King Wilhelm. All of the people in the village were quite fond of the good king.

At the north end of the kingdom there was a mountain on which was a brick castle with six tall towers. King Wilhelm lived in the castle and the mountain was called the North Mountain by the people of the village.

It was in this land, eight years ago, a little girl was born to two very happy parents, John and Petronilla, who named their daughter Hollyhocks, and they loved her dearly.

John was a handsome man, and his wife was a beautiful woman. He was a human, but Petronilla was not. She was a fairy with wings. Humans did not usually marry fairies, however, it has happened before.

Holly (as she was sometimes called) was a fairy like her mother, and she has aqua eyes with a hair color that was more green than blond. She had freckles and rosy cheeks and she was a kind and sweet girl. She was raised in a humble cottage. Her parents were very poor, but they got on well, for they grew a lot of their own foods and they had chickens and a cow. They also had a milk white unicorn.

Holly helped a lot with the crops and the animals and not once did she complain about the work. She rather enjoyed it. Whenever there was time, Holly would ride Anlon, the unicorn. She loved to ride and was very attached to him.

Just now Holly lay in bed waiting for her goodnight kiss. Her father came in and gave her a kiss on the forehead. Her mother came in after him and sang her her favorite song:

"Close your eyes my little one, close your eyes and have a dream.

I wish you dream you meet a king, I wish you dream you fall in love.
I wish you dream you have a girl whose as sweet as you.
I wish you dream you have a boy who's eyes are blue,
so close your eyes and dream this dream I wish for you."

Holly loved it when her mother sang to her because she had a beautiful singing voice. And they were a happy family who loved the Lord.

Then one day something happened that nearly broke poor Holly's heart. It makes me very sad to think about that day, but since you do not know what happened, I will tell you.

John and Petronilla went out for some fresh air and left their girl at home. They went out for a walk in the forest and never came out. They were the eleventh couple to disappear. Therefore, the forest has earned the name the Forest of Doom. The reason people keep going in there one after the other is because word does not get around. Something else that is strange is that not every person who goes in there disappears. 

When her parents did not return by evening, Holly was restless, and knowing no other relative, she ran to her papa's brother, Uncle Owaine, and his wife Emmencia, and their daughter May. Uncle Owaine and his family were not nice people because they hated anything that was not human. And well, Hollyhocks was a fairy as was her mother. Petronilla knew Owaine was a horrible man, but Holly was too young to know any better. 

She went to his house and cried while she told him of her troubles. Owaine did not care about anything she told him, but he pretended to feel sorry for her. He held her in his arms and said in a sorrowful tone, "my poor brother, your poor mother. Hollyhocks, I am very sorry, You have nowhere to go. Stay here with good Uncle Owaine and he'll take care of you, you poor child. Shall we go home and get your things?"

Word about the Forest of Doom finally got around to everyone and no one else has gone there for four years. Hollyhocks is now twelve years old and has greatly regretted her choice when choosing the person to run to. She has been treated like a servant for four long years. She has her uncles crops to take care of, his animals to feed and gather eggs and things, and she had her own animals to care for and she had to cook the meals and clean the entire house! No gratitude was ever shown towards Holly. They were even mean to her and made her work on April 18th, the day of her birth. The only thing she ever got was, "You'll do better tomorrow, I'm sure." Sometimes she was sent to bed without supper because she had worked too slow in the day. "Maybe a night without supper will teach you to work faster," they would say to her.

"How can I work faster without food?" Holly would think to herself, but she wouldn't dare say it. She hadn't any friends. She was like a prisoner and was never allowed to leave. The only companion she had was Anlon and the good Lord who watched over her...

The End ;)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Then and now.

I'm so excited to be able to share with you my past journey about this book I'm writing! As promised, here is the second part of that journey about the early challenges and changes my book has been through.

After I lost the first copy of my story, I was too upset about it to really do anything about it. I could have rewritten the story. I have to admit that at first I DID try to rewrite the story, but I couldn't remember all the details. I couldn't remember some of the phrases I had used. I couldn't get it to sound as good as it had before and I gave up on it. Let me also add that the title of my first draft became The Story Of Hollyhocks, making Hollyhocks one word rather than Holly Hocks, and somewhere along the way the date had changed from 1406 to 1463 to 1493. 

Over the next 6 years we'll say, I wrote and completed 2 books, both within the fantasy genre, both set in mythical places in England. I suppose they'd be considered short stories, as they are both right around 25,000 words. After a failed attempt to write in a different genre completely, I decided I wanted to go back to Hollyhocks. I first began by calling it The Enchanting Tale Of Hollyhocks. Instead of trying to rewrite the story from memory, I decided to write a new story, a sort of reboot if you will. Set in 1483 now for accurate historical reasons, Hollyhocks was no longer the same character she was first intended to be. Many of my original characters do not exist any more. Many specific settings and events do not exist any more, and I think it's for the better.

I wrote the first chapter on my new laptop and I had started the second chapter. I loved the way it sounded, but was a little unsure of where I wanted the story to go, or rather, I knew where I wanted the story to go, but I was unsure of how to get there. I was so busy with college, I kind of pushed the book to the back of my mind. I hadn't read any books (outside of boring textbooks) or written anything in a long time. Until just a few months ago. I decided this year (late winter/early spring I think) that I would read at least 20 books (I'm reading my 21st now) and I would write my book. I pulled Hollyhocks back out. I rewrote the first chapter once again and it's been going very well for the most part.

Again, here are 2 more pictures of Hollyhocks. These were drawn 2 years ago when I started the reboot. If there are any questions you guys have for me, or maybe something particular you'd like to know about, please let me know, I'd love to post something that was requested! ;)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

My biggest heartbreak.

Ok, so as I promised, I am going to begin telling you some of the challenges I have faced while writing this book. I know I haven't posted anything in a few days and I apologize for that.

To get started, I just wanted to say that I used to hate technology and quite honestly, I didn't know how to use a computer. Though that was my biggest challenge, I'm actually a little bit proud to admit that. I had better things to do than play with a computer. I read books. I played outside. When I wrote something, I wrote it on paper with a pencil. Go ahead, call me old-fashioned. There's just something about the smell of paper and ink...

All of my research for writing this book came from books. I read encyclopedias for the kind of clothes they wore back in 15th century Europe, the sort of things they ate, what their music sounded like and the sort of instruments they had. I began reading literature that was written during that time to better understand how they talked and what life might have been like. I then read so many fairy tales. I enjoyed every minute of my research.

Beyond The Veil was originally titled The Story Of Holly Hocks. I had no reason for setting it in the specific date of 1406. I started writing it about 8 years ago and had completed it within 5 months time. Being the noob that I was/am, I typed the first chapter on the computer and forgot to save it. But it wasn't so bad. I had the first 10 chapters written in my journal. After they were typed out, I ripped the pages out and threw them away. And then I forgot to save those chapters on the computer. I obviously didn't know what I was doing. I was so upset, I cried for a while. The third time around, I completed the book and saved it. I was extremely happy with myself as you may imagine. I printed the manuscript and ended up with about 144 pages. I saved the story to a hard drive (or so I thought). Of course one day I lost the printed manuscript, and of course, after plugging in the hard drive, found there was nothing on it. Unfortunately the computer I had typed it on no longer worked. There was no way that I knew of on how to save my story. All that hard work, all those months I put into it and it was just gone. You may say I've had an easy life when I admit this, but that was honestly one of the biggest heartbreaks I've ever experienced.

I included here a couple more of my drawings of Hollyhocks. Please remember that I drew these years ago and I like to think my drawing skills have improved since then. Consider this post part 1 of my early challenges. I'll try to post part 2 tomorrow. ;)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The birth of Hollyhocks.

I wrote a bit in my book today - not a lot, but a few pages. This book has proven itself to be a little bit of a challenge for me. You could say I've been working on it for nearly 8 years. You could say I've been working on it for 2 years. You could say I've been working on it only a couple weeks - or has it been months...?

First of all, the birth of my story is an interesting one. It happened about 8 years ago. I remember nearly every Sunday after church we would go to this little store that had this beautiful collection of notebooks and journals. I really enjoyed looking at them and admiring the art on the covers. And then one week there was a new one. It had a painting of a fairy on it. I remember she was young, only a child. She had beautiful long blond hair, pretty little bare feet, and gossamer wings. I wanted that journal. From the moment I saw it, I wanted it. 

It was weeks until I got it, but eventually my mom bought it for me. I was really happy about it. Suddenly this beautiful journal was mine, filled with blank pages just waiting to be written upon. I remember sitting in my room admiring the cover. This fairy child looked so simple but her beauty was otherworldly. Why was she sitting by the water? Why did she look so thoughtful? What was she doing? And then I started answering those questions and I began to write them down.

So I had a few ideas. Next I needed a name. Out in the garage my mom had an old set of encyclopedias. You could say I hated technology and computers back then. All of my research came from books. I found the one that said F and found flowers. I looked at all the flowers, first selecting the ones with the prettiest pictures. And then I looked at the names of those flowers. The Hollyhock won, both for it's simple beauty and its name. Thus my character was born. 

My book has gone through many changes over the years, including the title, the setting and time, and even the character of Hollyhocks herself, though her name has remained the same. Over my next few blog posts, you can expect to see a bit of how this book has been a challenge like I said and the changes it has gone through. I will also share a few of the pictures I have drawn of Hollyhocks throughout the years as her appearance was constantly changing in my mind. I was a pretty pathetic artist, I know. I still am I think. Can't wait to tell you the rest! ;)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What lies beyond the veil.

How about that, only the second day and here I am writing my second post. This looks promising! Well, I haven't written anything in my book yet today. I'll probably do that tonight when I should be sleeping and then I'll feel like a zombie tomorrow. Oh well.

What I'd like to share with you today is a little bit about my story so you have an idea of what I'm even writing about. As you may remember, I have titled it Beyond The Veil.  It's a fantasy story set in 1483 and loosely based around the historical event of the princes in the Tower, Edward V and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury. 

I like to thank modern society and its movies for the images of magical fairy creatures most people have. Fairies are cute small winged human-like creatures. Mermaids are pretty and nice. How about when they try to drown you? Are they nice then? My story takes you beyond the veil and into a magical realm of fairies with their original roots from the tales of old (or as close to those roots as I dare). The fairies were mostly dark mysterious creatures. They were not particularly fond of humans, and those who dared to join the human world only did so to delight in torturing them.

Not all of the fairies are bad though. My particular favorite who just so happens to be my main character, is Hollyhocks - a Sprite. When I began writing this book I wanted the world beyond the veil to be extremely different from the world you and I come from. So I thought and thought. How are the fairies different from us? They resemble people, but they DO have wings (at least Hollyhocks does). What else? Sure, she lives in a tree in the Forest. She's a sprite which means, according to old myths, her race has the ability to change the colors of the leaves in the fall. But that wasn't enough. I needed more. And then it hit me. Living in a sinful world is a human issue. Knowing what it's like to hurt, to be angry, to hate - those are human things. What if Hollyhocks didn't know those things? And what if she was naked? No sexual content of course. But her nakedness defines her innocence I believe, and I think that's a beautiful quality to have. 

Alright, well I better stop. This is going to end up being the entire story not a blog post. Look forward to telling you more tomorrow! ;)