Friday, December 30, 2016

Legacy Redeemed

To my dear readers,
I hope you had a very Merry Christmas this year. Once I had dined with family and enjoyed their company, opened presents, etc. I actually found the time to read a book on my new "Amazon Fire" for the rest of the afternoon. I quite enjoyed the story and would love to tell you about it. :)

Where I received this book and what my interest in it is:

The title said book is Legacy Redeemed (Redeemed, Restored, Reclaimed #1) written by Aubrey Grayson. How I came into possession of this book is quite a unique situation, at least for me. Aubrey Grayson stumbled across my blog earlier this year and asked me if I would write an honest review on her book. Once I had looked into the story I agreed to this, for which she sent me the ebook for free. So a huge thanks to you Aubrey for giving me this opportunity. :)

Type of book:

Recency / Christian Fiction

Ideas expressed, message, and/or plot:

Legacy Redeemed begins with our unknown heroine entering a masquerade ball. We soon learn that her name is Susannah Blackmon. Her fiancé had recently left her and her dowry was spent entirely by her wicked guardian, Hector Dunmore. She meets a mystery man at the ball who suggests she visit the peaceful town of Seaton to stay in the Thinking Cottage until she decided what she needed to do. So she escapes her guardian and goes.
The story is told in the third person, following Susannah and the mystery man from the ball, Nicholas Daventry, the brother of an earl. When Nick's grandfather passed, he left Nick a mansion in Seaton in his will. However, Nick is a widower with a four year old son, and his grandfather's will clearly states that Nick could only inherit the mansion if he was married ON his 30th birthday, not BY his 30th. This leaves Nick three months to find a wife.
Susannah and Nicholas become acquainted outside the ballroom and soon learn that they each despise the other. How could Nicholas associate with a woman who in turn associated with Hector Dunmore, whose bad reputation was well known in London? And how could Susannah allow herself to love a man when she is a fallen woman with no dowry?
Through many circumstances, Susannah, whose father was a vicar, no longer believes in God, despite  nearly everyone she meets in Seaton claiming that she is an answer to their prayers. Towards the end of the story, Susannah tests God for proof of His existence and finds herself in a rapid change of events.
The story left me waiting for explanations that were never given. At the time that I read Legacy Redeemed, I was unaware that it was part of a yet unpublished series, which I can only hope will further explain certain aspects of the story.

Favorite scenes/quotes/lines:

My favorite character in the book was actually Gabriel who is Nick's four year old son. He did not have a huge part in the story, but I found him cute and admirable.
My favorite scenes took place in chapters 24, 25, and 26. I don't wish to say too much so I do not spoil it for anyone. However, I will say that I truly admire the romantic gesture performed by Nick as he rode back to London for uh, certain reasons. XD

Legacy Redeemed
Other books to read by Aubrey Grayson:
Legacy Redeemed is the first book written by Aubrey Grayson, but as I noted earlier, it is the first in a series as well. I don't know about you, but I hope to read them when they are published!! You can check out her Facebook page and sign up for her newsletter about when the next book is going to be published.

Additional Notes:

I personally found myself neither liking nor disliking most of the characters. I wish that me as the reader could have connected with them a bit more. However, I did really enjoy the relationship between Susannah and Gabriel.
The writing style is quite unique. While the story takes place in Regency England, much of the dialogue felt a bit modern to me and less sophisticated and formal than I expected. It gave the book a very easy read feel to it, which is actually refreshing to not have to keep a dictionary at hand.
Another thing I really appreciated about the book is that the author used many scriptural quotes from my favorite translation of the Bible, the King James Version.
I have read other Regency/Christian fiction novels and this one stands out to me a little bit from the others. I am coming to love this genre of literature and Aubrey Grayson talks about the Christian faith quite a bit more in Legacy Redeemed as compared to what other authors do in these type of books where the Christian aspect of the story is very subtle.
I really enjoyed the story of Legacy Redeemed and I hope you guys do too. Please read it for yourselves, I'd love to hear back from you to know what you think of it!! (click here to purchase Legacy Redeemed)
Thank you everyone for always reading. ;)

Yours truly,

Friday, December 16, 2016

Word Count Update.

In the month of November, I participated in NaNoWriMo. I have written many short stories and novellas in the past, however, I wanted to write my first novel. I am writing a fantasy novel titled Beyond The Veil which has been a very long and amazing journey. Throughout the month of November, my novel only reached a word count of 26,000. It was not the word count I hoped for, but I strongly believe that I cannot force my words when there is no magic in them.

December has been a pretty hectic month for me. Somehow with everything that has been going on, I still manage to escape into the fantasy world of 15th century England that I have created. And let me tell you, it is such a beautiful world!! On average, it takes me 2-3 days to write 1 chapter. As of last Sunday, I have been writing nearly 1-2 chapters A DAY.  I love my story and my characters even more with each chapter I write.

Currently my word count is at 38,000. My goal is to no longer reach the NaNo word count goal of 50,000 words. I have no goal. The story will end where it will end. I am not pushing myself to a certain number; I am just writing what comes to mind. It is my guess, not my hope, that the story will end around 55,000 or 57,000 words based on where my word count is now.

I am very excited with my progress so far, I hope you are as well!! As I near the end of the book, I'll be sharing more about the story and what my next steps are. Until next time, take care and stay warm!! Thank you for reading. ;)

Yours truly,

Thursday, December 1, 2016

NaNo Is Over.

Hey everyone!!
November is over, December is here and that means I'm back!! I participated in NaNoWriMo last month and took a break from my blog. I hope to find all of my readers here as well. I have a quick update for you!

As many of you may know, NaNo encourages people to write a 50k word novel within the month of November. While I did not finish my novel, Beyond The Veil, in November, I have been encouraged to stay motivated to keep writing which is exactly why I participated at all.

I just want to say that I am not a coffee drinker. I don't really like the way coffee tastes. This month, however, I drank a total of 2 coffees which is a big deal for me. I was also sick at the beginning of the month and I got sick again near the end of the month. I guess that's what little sleep does to a person. ;)

Last month began very slowly for me. It took me about an entire week to get into the full swing of things and really begin to focus on my writing. Sadly, I only attended 1 write in during the entire month. I did, however, meet a few other writers in person. It was nice to hear what other writers are working on and how they go about it, what inspired them, etc.

As I said before, I did not finish Beyond The Veil in November. I will keep you guessing as to what exactly my progress is like, but will say that I am officially over the halfway word count mark. If I continue to keep this pace, I hope to be finished with this book near the end of December. I'm super excited about it; I hope you guys are as well!!

It's great to have you all back in the loop ;) I'll do my best to keep you up to date on my writing progress. Thank you so much for reading!!

Yours truly,

Monday, October 31, 2016


I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who reads my blog. You guys are amazing. :)

October has been a pretty exciting month for me. I joined a writer's club and I am one of the top 5 winners!
I also decided I wanted to be a part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year. It begins November 1st, and lasts until November 30th. I hope to stay motivated and if not complete, come close to completing my book, Beyond The Veil. If anyone reading this is participating in NaNoWriMo as well, I'd love if you added me as a writing buddy. I'm pretty easy to find, just search my name, Vanessa Paige Yorba. :)

I wanted to inform you guys that I'll be taking a break from my blog for a little while. NaNoWriMo is going to be intense. I'll be spending most if not all of my spare time writing. I've already been prepping, staying up later than usual as a result, and now I'm sick. Lord help me, I might die of madness!! November is going to be great!!
Everyone joining NaNoWriMo seems to be talking about coffee and caffeine influenced imagination, etc.. I actually don't like coffee, but that may change - we'll see.

Since NaNoWriMo is only a month, I won't be gone too long. I hope to find you guys still here when November comes to an end and I give you all an update. In the meantime, you can add me as a friend on Facebook for occasional updates. 

Thank you so much for reading. I look forward to the months ahead!! ;)

Yours truly,

Thursday, October 20, 2016

About My Writing.

To my dear family, friends, and followers who read my blog: I noticed it's been more than two months since I've told you anything about my book. I have written about my other interests and what I've been up to, however I believe it's time for more about my progress on Beyond The Veil. Don't you??

For a while, I had writer's block; and then my writing was just going very slow. I didn't feel inspired. One thing I've learned though is that I can't wait for inspiration to hit me in the head. Sometimes I just have to go after it and grab hold of it. I just have to sit down at my desk, reread the last few sentences I wrote to refresh my mind where I left off, and then let the muses fill me as I begin writing. Waiting to be inspired is rubbish. I'd never get the story written, as I hadn't in a while. Let me also say that it's rubbish to force yourself to write when there's nothing there. That's called writer's block. There's a difference.

Little more than a month ago, I had a publisher reach out to me. They asked what type of story I'm writing, what inspired me to write it, who my target audience is, if I am hoping to publish the book and some other decisions regarding that. I answered a few of their questions, however I told them that my manuscript is not far enough along to seriously consider one specific publisher or publishing options at this point. They understood my point of view and agreed with me, later emailing me to say that I was chosen to be a part of their writer's club for the month of October!!

The goal is to write 10,000 words by the end of the month. Some people chose to write short stories, others are submitting part of the novel they are working on. I did the latter obviously. I get feedback from other members of the writer's club. I also am encouraged to read their entries and post comments/feedback for them. Everyone also receives feedback from professionals. I love the club and I'm super happy I am a part of it. I joined mostly to stay motivated.

For the month of November, I am joining NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I'm not entirely sure what that is yet, but I know that the goal is to have written 50,000 words within the month. I know it's a great way to keep on track and stay motivated with one's writing and to interact with other writers out there within your genre and in your area. Maybe Beyond The Veil will be completed come December or the new year. Either way, that would be exciting!!

Please follow me if you like reading my blog!! Unfortunately, when someone subscribes, I don't know about it. But if you click the follow button near the top of the right sidebar, I can see that you read my blog. I'm also on Facebook now, so you guys should check that out!! :) Thank you!!

Yours truly,

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Celtic Thunder - best birthday ever!!

Hello everyone!!
I hope you have all been well. I was sick a few weeks back, but I'm better now. I'm super excited that autumn is here. Am I alone?? :) Autumn is my favorite season for various reasons. I love how one can see the skies sparkle with stars more clear than any other season. I love the beautiful hues of nature. I love the cool crisp nights. I love the rain. I love Sprites, which are autumn fairies!! And my birthday is in the autumn. :D

This year though, I was excited for another reason. I believe it was in May of this year, that I found out one of my favorite groups, Celtic Thunder, would be touring in North American and playing at a venue only about 6 hours from me!!!!!!!!

Needless to say, I received tickets to see Celtic Thunder for my birthday this year!!
For my 18th birthday, my family and I went to Disneyland. Every year since, I have been joking that we need to do something to top that like ANOTHER trip to Disneyland or a trip to Ireland or England or something crazy expensive.
Anywho, in the car on the drive home from the concert, we were talking about how amazing it was and I said, "That topped Disneyland." My parents didn't understand that. My dad said something along the lines of, "No way, Disneyland is way better!" My sister agreed with me though. I mean, she better agree with me, we went to see Celtic Thunder not just for my birthday, but for hers as well - after all, our birthday is the same day. ;)
While still at the concert, we stopped at the merchandise table. The guys at the table had Irish accents!! <3 Between my sister and I, we bought 2 T-shirts and 2 DVD's. As much as I'd like to listen to the guys in the car on long drives, I absolutely love the energy of actually watching them perform. DVD's are the way to go in my not so humble opinion. :D

Seriously though, if you've ever been to a Celtic Thunder concert (and to Disneyland) then you know I'm right. If you haven't, then you need to!! I really don't know how to express how great it was. The guys are extremely talented vocalists and they're funny. It was such a surreal experience. My sister and I kept looking at each other because we couldn't believe that we were actually seeing the guys perform LIVE!! EEEEEEEEE!!!! They sang songs I knew with new twists, covers of songs I knew, and songs I had not heard before.
I got to see Neil Byrne, Ryan Kelly, Damian McGinty (which some of you may remember from Glee), Emmet Cahill, and the newest member, Michael O'Dwyer. Sadly, Keith Harkin wasn't there. Despite his absence though, still best show ever. At one point (before the concert started I believe), my dad asked me if I needed a tissue. I half-jokingly said yes.

For those of you who don't know, Celtic Thunder first formed in 2007. They have since released 12 DVD's, and 14 albums. There's so much I could tell you about the group, but that could get pretty boring very quickly to a lot of you. I will say, however, that I first "discovered" the group in 2014. The first Celtic Thunder song I ever heard was called "The Island" with Keith Harkin taking the lead vocals.

Here are a few songs by Celtic Thunder that you guys should check out. Also, they're still on their North American Tour 2016, so if you're interested, you can still get tickets here. Thanks so much for reading!! ;)

If you enjoy reading my blog, please follow me!! You can do so by clicking "Follow" near the top of the right sidebar.

Yours truly,

Monday, September 12, 2016

One of the best books I have ever read...

I hope everyone has had an amazing summer!! My deepest condolences to those of you who have started school again...

My summer was alright. I read several really good books. One of those in particular has stood out to me. Not only is it the best book I read this summer, but it is also one of the books I have EVER read!! It's one of those books that is going to stick with me for a while. I keep thinking about it. I haven't begun to read a new book since finishing it. I haven't even put it back on the shelf yet. I just keep moving it from my desk to my nightstand. And I'm just aching to talk about it...

Where I received this book and what my interest in it is:

The title of the book is The Dancing Master written by Julie Klassen. I first became interested in the book when I went to the bookstore for my 21st birthday. I know what you're thinking, that I'm like, the coolest 21-year-old out there. :D
At first, it was just the cover that caught my eye, sad to say. The colors (green, which is my favorite color), the fact that it looked like a romance novel, AND the title (which sounded magical to me) all struck me as the kind of book I would enjoy reading. Anyway, at the time, I wasn't able to purchase The Dancing Master for uh, reasons.
In January of this year, my sister wanted to go to the bookstore to purchase The Phantom Of The Opera. I can't go into a bookstore and not purchase something, I mean I'm only human. Obviously, I bought it. January 29th, 2016. Don't ask me why I remember the exact date.

Type of book:

Regency/Historical Fiction / Christian Fiction

Ideas expressed/message and/or plot:

Though The Dancing Master is told in the 3rd person point of view, it switches every so often from being told from Julia Midwinter's perspective, to Alec Valcourt's perspective, and to Lady Amalia Midwinter's as well.
Alec Valcourt was a renowned dancing master in London. After an unfortunate incident, he takes his sister and mother and moves to Beaworthy, Devonshire, England to live with his uncle. Alec soon learns that the matriarch, Lady Amelia, has prohibited all dancing.
Julia Midwinter and her mother, Lady Amelia do not have the best relationship with one another. Julia is somewhat reckless, extremely defensive, and a dangerous flirt. Her mother is the exact opposite.
Though Lady Amelia is clearly not fond of Alec nor his former profession, she eventually hires him to work for her as clerk, warning him to stay away from her daughter Julia because he is not her social equal. Of course, a romance of sorts begins to form between Alec and Julia, even though she is expected to marry another.
Alec begins teaching a few private dancing lessons with the hope to open a dancing academy in Beaworthy. He is soon dismissed from working for Lady Amelia after she uncovers secrets about his past and why he and his family left London.
Lady Amelia, though elegant and refined, seems very bitter and unhappy. Though much of the seemingly quiet and uneventful town of Beaworthy circles around Lady Amelia's past, she does not speak of it.
Julia, having grown up without the love of a father, seeks the love of any man.
Eventually, Lady Amelia and Julia realize their mistakes and wrongdoings, and come to find that God is a God of forgiveness, love and grace.
The focus of the book was hardly just a romance story about Alec and Julia. It had many stories awaiting to unfold by the end of the book.


I'm not going to give anything away that's too drastic, but if you don't want a tiny spoiler, then skip down to the next section. XD
I have nothing negative to say about The Dancing Master. However, the end left me wondering about a few things. While we learn the eventual outcome of our hero and heroine, I wondered how those outcomes came to be. The biggest question I had was, how did Lady Amelia come to accept Alec?? Based off the end of chapter 30, we may think everything was fine after that. But in the Epilogue, Julia tells us that her mother was still trying to get her with a more suitable man. Like I said before, I just wonder how that last event came to pass.

My favorite characters:

Alec Valcourt is my favorite by far. He's charming, funny, kind, and just seemed like a really caring person. He's really what I'd call a "perfect gentleman." Next, I pick Julia Midwinter. I really appreciated how her flirtatious and defensive exterior hid her vulnerable soul. She was a really sweet person when she let her guard down. Next I'd choose Walter Allen. He didn't have a huge part in the book, but his awkward shyness/clumsiness was fun and just added some overall lightheartedness and humor to the book. I really liked Mr. Barlow as well. 

Favorite scenes/quotes/lines:

I'm not going to say every scene I liked for the sake of you who may not have read this book. But I think some of my absolute favorite scenes appeared in Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 14, 24, 27, 29, and 30. Not to mention every chapter in between!! :D
There were a lot of really well written lines throughout the book, but the one quote that I keep thinking about is:
"Don't allow any man to treat you less than you are." (Chapter 12).

The Dancing Master

Other books to read by Julie Klassen:
Prior to reading The Dancing Master, I didn't know who Julie Klassen was. Now I am extremely eager to read her other works as well, such as: The Tutor's Daughter, The Secret Of Pembrooke Park, The Painter's DaughterLady Of Milkweed Manor, The Apothecary's Daughter, The Silent Governess, The Girl In The Gatehouse, and The Maid Of Fairbourne Hall.

Additional Notes:

As I said before, The Dancing Master is one of the best books I have ever read. I loved the story. I loved the characters. I loved the setting. I loved the ending. I loved the genre. I especially loved the writing style. It was beautiful, passionate, and just extremely well written. The dialogue made you feel like you were living in that time era, as it felt very proper. Certain parts of the story were more intimate than so many other books I've read, and it felt really nice and refreshing.
Days after I finished the book, I began thinking that it would be kind of nice if I had a movie to watch next. I had a very serious discussion with my sister and a friend of mine about this. We put a lot of thought into it. If the novel was ever made into a movie and I couldn't have the models on the cover to play the parts, it was decided either Chris Pine or Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be able to pull off the character of Alec Valcourt, while Teresa Palmer, Julianne Hough, or Claire Julien could play the part of Julia Midwinter. Now all we need is someone to want to make the movie, and have me choose the cast. XD
Anyhow, this book felt like it was written for me. It has just about every quality in a story that I cherish. It's the kind of story I wish I could live in. Being in that world, with those people, in that society, learning how to sounds magical. I definitely rate The Dancing Master ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars!!! Thank you Julie Klassen for an amazing journey, and thank YOU for reading!! ;) 

Yours truly,


P.S. click here to view the book trailer, and here to get a copy of The Dancing Master.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Marionettes - Angels, Fairies and Elves.

So, I know some of you are already aware of this, but for those of you who maybe stumbled onto my blog just today, reading and telling stories aren't the only things I enjoy. I absolutely adore puppets; marionettes being my favorite. Come to think of it, I guess puppetry is sort of another form of story telling... o.0 but that's beside the point.
Over the past few years I have acquired 6 marionettes, my first being a Disney's Collector Edition of Pinocchio and most recently, a pink poodle. Pinocchio typically stays at home, while every other puppet I own (with the exception of the new one), has been used in little skits my sister and I have put on in the church for children's ministry.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about one of my favorite marionette companies. I don't know about you, but I absolutely loved that post!! Not only that, it's currently my most viewed post to date. Apparently my dear viewers (that's you guys) find puppets more interesting than me... 🤔
There is another marionette company that I really really love (my mom says I spend too much time looking at the site). It's called AXA Marionettes. It's also based in the Czech Republic.

AXA Marionettes was started about 5 years ago by Xenie Axamitová, though she has been creating puppets for about 26 years. Though she has made puppets for theater purposes and TV shows, most of the puppets go to people in their homes. The website displays puppets by several different artists, including Tonda - one of the best carvers in the Czech Republic (he actually made the vampire marionette shown in the other puppet post).
Years ago when I began searching for marionette/puppet companies online, AXA was one of the first I ever stumbled across. They sell wooden marionettes, plaster marionettes, and marionettes made out of ceramics and clay.

Even though the White Angel marionette is one of the more popular puppets, the first puppet that caught my eye from AXA was the Fairy marionette. Her curly hair, the flowers and leaves - this puppet screams meeeee!! She's such a beautiful puppet. I loved her sort of sad expression. I could picture her story and the things she had gone through that maybe made her look that way. My sister and I even wrote several skits together befitting for a marionette with her appearance. Both of these puppets have wooden bodies with plaster faces, hands, and feet. They are mostly for decoration use only.

Some of the other puppets I like include the Butterfly Fairy marionette and the Partly Sad Angel. I can't even imagine how strenuous carving the Angel's wings must be...I'm quite mesmerized with her.

The Birthday Elf and the Home Elf are really cute and fun looking. With their crazy brightly colored hair and attire, they seem like they'd definitely be the life and light of a party. Who knows, they might even cause some mischief.... You can't say that these 2 don't bring a smile to your face. I mean, how could they not? XD

But my absolute favorites from AXA are, currently, the Cemetery Fairy made of wood, and the Elf. Notice the vibrant, almost iridescent harmonious colors on both of these puppets. I love the carving detail, especially on the elf. I admire his smooth facial expression. I love his boots too. The fairy is quite mesmerizing in her way as well. Personally, I love the red hair on the fairy. Both her and the elf look so beautiful, graceful and elegant. They're extremely beauteous works of art.

Someday I'm going to own one of these. Someday... 😌
I highly suggest you guys check out  AXAmarionettes to explore "all things possible, impossible, kings, princesses, dragons, fairies..." (AXA Marionettes Homepage).
Thank you to AXA for letting me do this post, and thank YOU for reading!! Please leave comments or email me through the contact form, I always look forward to hearing from you. ;)

Yours truly,

Monday, August 29, 2016

Filled, Lit & Ready

Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight. 
~Luke 12:35

Hey everyone!!
It should come as no surprise that I am writing my first novel, a fantasy set in 15th century England. Though I admit, I'm not very good at focusing only on my book, that was originally the primary reason I created this blog. XD
Something that might strike you as a surprise though is that my dad had been working on a book as well.
Go back a few years, my dad seemed like the last person who wanted to read a book (with the exception of the Bible), let alone write one...and now he has done just that!!

My dad read a book about the Jewish Feasts and the significant meaning behind each one. I suppose that was the foundation for the book he would eventually write. He'd spent several months writing a book that focuses on being ready for Christ's return. 

Chapter 25 of the Book of Matthew, from the New Testament, tells the parable of the 10 virgins. The parable talks about the 10 virgins, or bridesmaids, awaiting the bridegroom. 5 of the virgins were out of lamp oil before the bridegroom arrived. Once they had set out to buy more oil, the bridegroom came. The 5 virgins returned, but it was too late.

I've read Dad's book quite a few times. I believe it's very informative and motivating. It's about understanding that Christ WILL return one day. It's about ALWAYS being ready for His return. It's about being filled, lit and ready, like the other 5 virgins.

Inspired with the idea, my dad felt that God put it on his heart to write it down for other people, believing it was not just for himself.

The book is titled Filled, Lit & Ready by my dad, George Yorba. It was published just last week. Please check it out, and thank you so much for reading. Would love to hear from you in the comments below. ;)

Yours truly,

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Olympic Games - Michael Phelps

Growing up, and even now, I have never been someone who's enjoyed sports. Growing up with brothers, going to youth groups, summer camps, etc. I was the girl who sat on the side and watched. Lame right? 😜
I much preferred to read a book or make up stories with my dolls, or create something. I prefer literature, music, art, and theater over sports. I don't like basketball or football (gasp). I strongly dislike watching it on TV, I don't get into the Super Bowl, like, AT ALL.
I know, I'm writing about sports on a fantasy blog. Please bear with me!! I just want to tell you guys what I've been doing the past few nights. But first...

I remember watching the opening ceremony for the 2008 Olympics with my mom. Later, I watched very little swimming, and little more of the women's diving, which I fully enjoyed. I didn't really watch anything else from the Olympics that year. In 2012 I watched the Olympic games more than I ever had before. I watched several different events with the girls in the staff cabin at the camp I worked at and in the basement of my brother's house (long story). That was the first time I heard of one of America's greatest athletes ever - Michael Phelps. 

Swimming was already one of the sports I enjoyed watching most of all. And then I saw how many gold medals Michael Phelps was winning, and he was representing Team USA, and he was really entertaining to watch.

And then the Olympic Games Rio 2016 came. 😄
I wasn't aware that it was going on again, but a few days after the fact, I saw something about it on the internet. My sister and I then began watching it, streaming it live a few times, but mostly watching YouTube videos. Eventually, we turned the TV on and watched it for several hours one night. But swimming wasn't on. I watched a lot of team sports like basketball and women's field hockey, amongst other sports. Most of it was entertaining too! But where was Phelps?

The online schedule was no help really. We sat up later than I care to admit, but we watched about 6-7 hours of the Olympics on TV a night for several consecutive nights last week to catch swimming. No, I'm not obsessed. It's just good.

During the Olympic games, I'm proud to be an American! My sis and I were cheering on every American team that was competing.

And then Michael Phelps came on for his final olympic challenge and the USA won the men's 4x100m medley relay. The finger wag he did after winning the Men's 200m Individual Medley was hilarious!! And let us not forget about the Phelps face which fans are saying is better than McKayla Maroney... 😂 "The memes are hilarious," he explained to Access Hollywood's Billy Bush.

Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian athlete ever, with 28 Olympic medals, 23 of those being gold medals.
He first competed in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney at the age of 15, winning no medals. He took 5th in the Men's 200m butterfly.
In 2004 Olympics in Athens, winning 6 gold medals and 2 bronze medals.
At the Olympic Games Beijing in 2008, he won 8 gold medals.
In 2012 at the Olympic Games in London, he won 4 gold medals, and 2 silver medals.
In 2016 Rio, he won 5 gold medals, and 1 silver medal. Phelps came in second to Joseph Schooling in the Men's 100m butterfly.
He's extremely talented at what he does, and he's really fun to watch. It's just kind of bittersweet that he insists that this year will be his last time competing at the Olympics, especially after watching him get emotional during his last award ceremony. In an interview with Bob Costas, Phelps stated, "Where I am now is exactly where I want to finish my career." I'm glad America had someone like Michael Phelps representing the country. For someone who doesn't like sports as much as I don't, I thoroughly enjoy watching the Olympic games. ;)

*All photos courtesy of Getty Images.*

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Cyclopedic of Fairies: Dryads, Hobgoblins, & Banshees

First off, I'd like to say that I meant to get this post up a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, instead I had my wisdom teeth pulled. It really sucks. My face was so swollen for the first 5 days. I still can't really eat anything that isn't mushy (thank God for mashed potatoes and pudding). I slept a lot the first few days, but I somehow still managed to begin and finish reading The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Oh.My.Gosh. Such a beautiful book. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

I also highly suggest you check out THIS post I wrote back in November of 2015. It is one of my most viewed posts about the fairies from my book, Beyond The Veil. The only way that post is relevant to this post is that this post is also about fairies, which I'm guessing you already knew if you read the title. :D As many of you are probably aware, I have shared knowledge with you about pixies, pillywiggins, and sprites. But those aren't the only fairies featured in my book, which you already know if you have read my first chapter. Here I am going to share with you a few things you may find interesting about dryads, hobgoblins, and banshees.

Type: Dryad
Habitat: the Forest

A dryad is a tree spirit and originates from Greek mythology. Originally, dryads were only the spirits of oak trees, though now the term is lightly used to refer to any tree spirit. While some tales say that dryads can move from one tree to another, some believe that a dryad is tied to one tree and if that tree died or was cut down, the dryad would die. Their appearances vary, taking on a humanlike figure with elfin features, green or pale skin, and roots or leaves for hair. Some say that they have no physical body, but they can only be seen through leaves blowing in the wind. Like all nymphs (nature spirits), dryads are only female.

"And there are spirits. Not evil transparent ghosts with chains. They are tree spirits, dryads as they care called. They are the soul of the tree. Unlike a human soul, a tree spirit can leave its body whenever it wants, but only for short periods of 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." ~ Beyond The Veil. First mention of dryads in the book.


Type: Hobgoblin
Habitat: the Forest

Hobgoblins are thought to be of Welsh origin. The word goblin comes from the Greek word "kobalos"meaning rogue. Since a hob is a part of a fireplace, the hobgoblins were believed to be household fairies, unlike goblins. Perhaps the most famous hobgoblin today is Puck from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream. In folklore, hobgoblins lived in people's houses, hiding in the walls, closets, and chimneys to remain unseen. Like most fairy creatures, hobgoblins did not particularly like humans. Yet they did household chores, from dusting and sweeping, to darning socks. Usually the only thing they would take in return was food. Hobgoblins were believed to be more closely related to brownies than to goblins, but some believe that hobgoblins take on the dwarf-like appearance of old men, even though they are able to shape-shift according to some.

"...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 first having earned their loot." ~ Beyond The Veil. First mention of hobgoblins in the book. Brakt, amongst others, is the hobgoblin featured in the story.

Type: Banshee
Habitat: Unknown

A banshee is a female fairy creature from Irish folklore. The banshee was an omen of death. Some believed that her scream, or wail, was a prediction of a death in one of the major Gaelic families, while others believed that a banshees keening meant that she was already mourning one's death. One thing to be perfectly clear on, is that banshees never caused one's death; they only warned of it. Banshees could not be seen by the dying, but by loved ones surrounding that person. The family then knew that that person would die soon. However, if the banshee became aware of humans watching her, she would disappear as mist. The origin of the banshee is unclear, but it is widely believed that folklore about them came from ancient Irish traditions where women would sing laments for those who had died, and get paid in alcohol. It is said that the church frowned upon this, that when the keening women died, they became banshees; forever having to grieve the dying as punishment for their false grieving. Some say that a banshee is the spirit of a woman who was murdered or who had died in childbirth. The banshee changes slightly with Scottish folklore and Welsh folklore. Sometimes she was depicted as an old hag and sometimes she was a beautiful young woman with red or green hair and pale skin. The Irish usually depicted her as having a comb in her hair, as finding a comb was considered bad luck. In Scottish folklore, she was believed to wash the grave clothes of the dying in a wash bucket or a river.

I have not written about a banshee in Beyond The Veil, and since the story is set in England, I haven't entirely decided if I will or won't put one into the story. I know I would like to write about one. I know exactly where she will appear and how I will use her, I'm just not that far into the story yet. It also depends on where the story is at by that point and my mood. :D
So I guess you can look forward to seeing or not seeing a banshee within the story.

I always have so much fun doing research about fairies. I hope you found some of this interesting, thank you so much for reading!! I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!! ;)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

My Latest Thoughts.

To my dear readers, friends and followers, I apologize for waiting so long to write my next blog post. I'm not sure if I've been too busy to write or if I just haven't taken the time to write. It might be safe to say a bit of both. I guess I am not going to update you on my life just yet or on my book. I just wanted to share with you some thoughts that I've had recently. If you have any specific questions to ask me, please don't hesitate to contact me. I absolutely love hearing from you!!

If you were able to read all of my past books and stories, you'd see a very similar theme to them. Each one either set in the Middle Ages or the Victorian Era, each one high fantasy, some circling around old legends or tales of Greek Mythology. They all have roots set in the past, and they all, if I may say so, are written in such a way as to add a very magical and whimsical atmosphere.

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Something I find very interesting is that right now, we are in the age of information. People share their photos and events and life stories all over the internet. What I wonder is how long will we still be here, and how long will the internet still be here? Suppose in the future all of this information is lost. What then? 

What we know of the past is what was recorded. We have only a few books written on a few people. And those people were mostly important rulers, scholars, philosophers, astronomers, etc. We have books and poems and we're not sure who wrote them and sculptures and we're not sure who sculpted them, paintings and we don't know who painted them. And what about the common people? We don't know their names, what their lives were like, or where they're buried. Countless numbers of people who have walked this earth, lived and died and don't even have a grave marker. They're lost in history. Something I recently started thinking about is people in the Bible. These are people I've grown up hearing and reading about. I'm not sure why, but this recently stuck with me: that the Bible is filled with REAL people who were mostly common people. We get to see people who were servants, shepherds, farmers, fishermen, tax collectors, carpenters. We don't get to see deep into their personal lives, but we learn their characteristics and mannerism, maybe a little bit about their past, the lessons they learned and the people they became, and whose company they were in.

I was having this conversation with a friend just a few days ago. Go to a cemetery. Read the names of the people on the headstones. People you never knew, stories you'll never know. What's going to be remembered in the future? Who's going to be remembered? Who's going to remember my story - our stories? No one will know the nights we sit in front of our computers and talk for hours. No one will know what I did last night. No one will know the little things in life that make everything worthwhile. It's the little things that mean the most and no one will ever know about that. Will people remember our stories? Will people ever know what life is like for me and you? Something that really bothers me is when people don't know me, and they act all surprised when I tell them something about myself. They have no idea the things that go on inside my head, my hobbies, my favorite color, favorite food, etc. So why should they be surprised when I tell them anything? If I say I'm a writer, they might say, "Oh, that's so cool, I didn't know that!" How dare you say you didn't know that because you don't know me. If I would have told them my favorite color is green, they would have said, "Oh." Oh? That's all I get? Again, they know nothing about me.

That's something I really enjoy about writing - and reading too for that matter. The history books mostly recorded the success or downfall of "important people". But reading/writing for pleasure is different. If you hear a story or see a T-shirt in a store or listen to a song, you can picture someone that that story relates to, or you can picture that one friend who would love that shirt or that song. You can hear in your mind the words they would probably say in almost any situation. 

In my book, even if I write about a prince you can find in a history book and I base it around historical facts, I'm not limited to following the history books. We don't know what his personality was like. We don't know if he was a sweet innocent kid or a spoiled brat who didn't know any better. We don't know if he had a sense of humor or if he was serious. We don't know the kind of childhood he had or the little things he did on a daily basis. That's what makes history and writing so fascinating; your only limitations are your own imagination. ;)

Friday, May 27, 2016


Have you ever and noticed the magical world around you? I don't mean the hocus pocus kind of magic. I mean the kind of magic that is a feeling only - a feeling of beauty and awe and inspiration.
Take a minute. Listen to the breeze. Listen to the leaves on the trees. Look at the grass. Listen to the falling rain. Feel the drops on your skin as they trickle down your body. Feel your hair cling to your face. Smell the dampness of the earth. Look up at the massive skies stretching on forever. That's the kind of magic I mean. It's the moment when you realize just how small you really are. It's the moment when you think you start to realize just how big God really is.

On April 6th, my mother bought a Lovebird. We named him Captain Flint (like the parrot from Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson). I wanted to call him Pip, but that's not important. My dog, Weenie, isn't really sure what to think about him. She and Flint will both fall asleep on my lap and it's the cutest thing!! She does very well with him, so long as she's supervised. My sister has a chihuahua, Roxie, who basically just wants to kill him. =/  I was telling my best friend that if Roxie could talk, she'd be running around like a mad woman (which she already is) and yelling, "Die! die! die!" Oh well. I keep having to remind both of the dogs, "Girls, don't eat your brother!" Haha, I know, I'm crazy.

When I think of a bird, I don't think about this adorably cute animal that walks on your hand and perches on your shoulder or wants to cuddle in a blanket or hang out in my hoodie like he is in this photo (yes, he did poop in there for anyone wondering). I think of a wild animal that you'll scare if you come within 6 feet of it. Having a bird isn't what I thought it would be. It's much more fun and it's really cool because I never thought a bird would do the cute little things he does. In my mind, it's really sort of a magical thing. I think of that scene in Disney's Beauty And The Beast where Belle and the Beast are outside feeding the birds and then the birds are eating seed right out of their hands! I mean, that sort of thing doesn't really happen, does it? I've certainly never had it happen nor have I ever known anyone that it's happened to. Like I said, it's magical to have that happen, like something from a fairy tale.

Something I find pretty cool is that, as an artist, whether you're a writer, a musician, a painter, etc. you can find inspiration in anything. The world is filled with wonders and mystery and magic. Ideas don't come from nowhere. For me, those ideas come from reflecting on a part of my own being, or finding myself in aw at the night sky, or looking at how moss grows on rocks, or having a conversation with a friend, or even getting a pet bird. I know I should do this every time, but sometimes before I write, I pray to God. I just ask Him to help me and to inspire me. Sometimes I just ask Him to help motivate me. And believe me, He is ALWAYS listening to me, and I usually find my hand flowing with words faster than my mind can comprehend and I write with ease. I love those moments. Those are the moments when I begin to think about the Muses and wonder if that's how the poets of old felt.

Anyhow, if you've read about the Pillywiggins here: Cyclopedic Of Fairies, you may remember that Pillywiggins show themselves to humans with pure or good hearts. I just recently started thinking that what if wild birds only came to people with pure hearts? Animals are very good at reading people, surely a bird can tell which humans truly have good hearts. I thought maybe that would be something pretty cool and magical to add to my book, Beyond The Veil. Thank you Captain Flint! ;)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

My Favorite Books.

Ok, so I've had several people asking me over comments and the contact form what my favorite book is, or what kind of books I like to read. So, for those of you who asked, and for anyone else who is curious to know, you finally get your answer! It's impossible for me to choose just one book though, I mean really? So, this post is going to be different. To keep this as short as possible, I'm just going to list my favorite books rather than explaining why I like each one because this is supposed to be a blog post, not a 10 page essay assignment. Please keep in mind that these books are in no particular order, because that's asking too much of me. XD

1. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (first published in 1911)

2. Pinocchio: The Tale Of A Puppet by Carlo Collodi (first published in 1883)

3. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland and Through The Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll (first published in 1865 and 1871)

4. Grimm's Fairy Tales by The Brother's Grimm (first published in 1812)

5. Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory (first published in 1485)

6. The Odyssey by Homer (first composed at the end of the 8th century B.C.)

7. The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge (first published in 1946)

8. Kissed By An Angel series by Elizabeth Chandler

9. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (published 1999)

10. The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen (published 2013)

While I'm not sure if I enjoyed the books listed below as well as the books on the previous list, here are a few more that I have greatly and thoroughly enjoyed as well, and I consider them a close second:

1. Little Women (volume 1 & 2), Little Men, and Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott (first published in 1868, 1869, 1871, and 1886)

2. The Merry Adventures Of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle (first published in 1883)

3. A String In The Harp by Nancy Bond (published 1976)

4. The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tomi DiTerlizzi and Holly Black (published 2003-2009)

5. The Chronicles Of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (published 1950-1956)

6. The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (published 1954-1955)

7. The Shakespeare Stealer series by Gary Blackwood (published 1998-2003)

8. Percy Jackson & The Olympians by Rick Riordan (published 2005-2009)

9. The Heroes Of Olympus by Rick Riordan (published 2010-2014)

Now you can go ahead and tell me what great taste I have. :P  Keep in mind, I always find myself reading new books, so this list will be modified constantly. I'm always open to suggestions too, so I'd love to know you're favorite books if you want to go ahead and tell me in the comment section below or hit me up by email through the contact form located in the Contact Me tab near the top of the page. ;)