Monday, February 20, 2017

Treat or Tripe? | The BFG



Having grown up with the rather dark TV cartoon version (circa 1989) of Roald Dahl’s otherwise delightful story, I had my reservations about viewing Disney’s 21st century update. Reading the reviews gave me the impression it was pretty much a straight remake of the cartoon—with a few tweaks, of course—and since anything intense or frightening in a cartoon is usually ten times scarier in live-action and/or CGI…well, I wasn’t sure a trip to Giant Country was the best idea. However, as with several other new movies in recent years, my curiosity overcame my suspicions, and I put it in the NetFlix queue. We watched it last Saturday.

And while it will probably never be on my Top Ten Favorite Movies list…I’m glad we gave it a chance.

I’ll not delve into specific content and plot here—there are a couple Christian review sites that do a fairly good job of that. This post is simply my impressions of the movie, thoughts it provoked during and after viewing, and how it compares with the cartoon. I can’t say how it holds up to the book, because I’ve never read it (yet ;-)). In fact, I didn’t even know it was a book until almost half my life ago—long after I’d outgrown the cartoon. Story of my life…but I digress.

The live-action movie is definitely not a straight remake of the cartoon. In fact, it’s almost completely different, apart from the basic plot and several key scenes (which in themselves are portrayed differently). This is not necessarily a bad thing. As I mentioned before, the cartoon, for all its fun, lighthearted portrayals of BFG and Sophy’s friendship—and even a few goofy moments—does contain some pretty intense scenes for a kids’ movie. It’s never gory or particularly violent, but although Bro and I were pretty young when we first saw it, and neither of us had any ill effects…well, I wouldn’t recommend it for “chiddlers” under ten. Happily, this version isn’t quite as intense—although a couple scenes might be frightening for the under-eight crowd, especially in the theater in 3-D.
In fact, it almost feels tame by comparison (the climax especially).

The tone is, overall, more serious—even somber—than the cartoon, especially considering Sophy isn’t the first “Bean” BFG has brought back to his cave. It’s implied, although never actually stated (or shown), that one of the other giants eventually found out about BFG’s first little friend…and ate him. It adds another element of danger to the plot, and an extra layer of sadness to BFG’s character. It also explains why he’s so protective of Sophy…and why he eventually finds the courage to stand up to the other giants and help Sophy form a plan to end to their crimes against humanity.

I always loved the cartoon’s BFG for his cheerfulness and humor, and probably always will. This BFG, by contrast, struck me as being a bit grumpier, at least at first. As the story progresses, one gets the impression that BFG’s long years—and he admits to being “as old as the earth”—have made him tired and…well, I wouldn’t call him cynical, but he is definitely more subdued. He’s weary and heartsick at the “murderful” doings of his fellow giants, but too afraid to stand up to them. He feels he is too weak and too small to make them listen to him—he is, after all, the “runt.”
This BFG is older, wiser, and more of a thinker. This BFG is lonely, but shuns the company of the other giants because of their differences…and the fact that they bully and taunt and take advantage of him doesn’t help. He has a strong sense of right and wrong, but is too afraid to confront the wrong head-on (at first, anyway). He sees the faults of others around him and tries to compensate in his own way. He’s different from his peers—both in size and appearance, and in personality and conduct. He is creative and tries to make life beautiful; the other giants only know how to take what they want and destroy things. BFG lives in an improvised cottage or furnished cave; the other giants sleep out-of-doors. BFG collects firefly-like Dreams and gives them away like presents—blowing them into sleeping people’s rooms at night. Dreams that sometimes reflect the secret longings of the recipients’ hearts, which BFG can hear. And he’d rather eat disgusting, slimy Snozcumbers than stoop to his peer’s level of hunting and gobbling up humans. Even though he can’t stand Snozcumbers.
I saw a lot of myself in this BFG.

I must confess to being a bit shocked when, upon reading the reviews, I discovered that the effects of drinking Frobscottle—which BFG describes as a “whiz-popper”—is not, in fact, a burp. As a kid, I always assumed the downward-fizzing bubbles in BFG’s favorite brew came up once inside the drinker…or that it simply filled you with gas and lifted you into the air, rather like Willy Wonka’s Fizzy Lifting Drink.
*Sigh* The innocence of youth….
The cartoon just showed BFG, Sophy, and a kind of mouse-like creature rising into the air and zipping about randomly (accompanied by a catchy song that’s now running through my head…). The live-action version adds explosive clouds of green gas—and sometimes rude noises—to the “whiz-popping” experience. Which I felt to be a bit over the top, but then, I’ve never had any great love for body-function “humor.”
However, this is really a small part of the movie and doesn’t detract much from the main plot.

It’s hard to place the genera of this movie. Teens and older kids will probably find it slow and hard to follow, yet it doesn’t really offer adults much, either. As Bro put it, the moviemakers “focused more on abstract themes,” cutting out A LOT of the material we remembered from the cartoon, and leaving the movie feeling rather hollow.
Some of the tenderest and most important scenes in BFG and Sophy’s character development happen in the oddest places in the timeline, or with strange choreography—if you will—that doesn’t seem to fit the dialogue. Probably the biggest head-scratcher is their discussion of “Sophy’s Dream,” a special kind of Dream she caught in Dream Country…a discussion that takes place on a hillside overlooking the sleeping giants…while their plan to capture them is in motion. It just seemed out of place and impractical to be discussing Sophy’s heart’s desire in plain sight of nine other giants who would happily eat her for lunch if they saw her.

I’m not going to be mean and call this movie a load of tripe. This is actually one of the cleaner movies I’ve seen in a while (and considering some of Stephen Spielberg’s other movies—featuring rather cruder humor—that’s pretty good). And it was a bit of a “treat” to find it so much less frightening than parts of the cartoon.
However, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s better than the cartoon. It is, and it isn’t. The darker elements are toned down, what violence/intense content is there is more cartoonish and comedic. The cinematography is amazing. BFG—and indeed, much of the world around him—is so realistically rendered that I actually forgot for a while that he is really computer-generated. The addition of BFG’s mad camouflage skillz during Sophy’s abduction was a hoot. The Snozcumber was appropriately slimy and unappetizing (in the cartoon, it was red-and-black striped outside and deep seafoam-green inside, and didn’t really look that “slimy and sickable”). BFG himself looked almost as if he’d stepped right out of the cartoon—from his mysterious black cloak to his wide, pointed ears, down to the style of his sandals—and gotten a more realistic makeover.  I especially liked how they designed his Dream-blowing trumpet, and the various mechanical devices in his cave—many of which were made from Human artifacts, as were many other things in Giant Country.
The music (composed by none other than John Williams) is delightful—it’s one of those soundtracks that, on the whole, fits the action so subtly and so well that you don’t really notice it, yet it undergirds the story. The one exception is the scene where the evil giants are rummaging about BFG’s Dream-cave while hunting for Sophy. The background music has a more comical feel to it—what I’ve dubbed “bumbling idiot music”—which helps diffuse an otherwise tense sequence rather nicely.

But the more abstract feel and odd script and directing choices leave it lacking the depth, both in plot and worldbuilding, that the cartoon had. The live-action is a bit more kid-friendly overall, but the cartoon tells a lot more of the story, and in a more interesting way. As Elizabeth Bennett would say, there is just enough between them to make one good sort of movie.

On the whole, we all enjoyed it pretty well (Mom’s biggest beef was that they made BFG so much smaller than the other giants!), and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again every so often.

But now I want to read the book and find out what really happened….

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,
~R~

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Quote Queste February | Love and War. Mostly Love.


 




Joining Arielle/Miss Melody’s monthly writing challenge, using this as a starting point:
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/8f/20/bd/8f20bd88fcaaa07f16e28ffad1ce5f9a.jpg
It’s admittedly rather tricky coming up with a good scenario for these…especially since I never equate being in love with going to war. Total opposites in my mind. :-P Makes it all the more challenging, wot?

Anyhoo, I dashed off this rather sappy piece of dialogue for the purpose of this exercise, using a couple originally part of my Heirs of Dunsmüir story-arc: Lisbeth and her best friend Brynhildr, AKA Ben. You’ve met Isabella—this was going to be her younger sister. I initially cut them from the cast to avoid having too many Main Characters, but I’m toying with adding them back in again. Or I may stick them in elsewhere in the timeline. Don’t know yet. For now, they made for a good scene that wouldn’t be spoilerific. ;-)

Black text = Ben       Blue text = Lisbeth

* * *
Leona:
via Pinterest
     “I suppose this is it—our last hours in this world.”
     “It looks that way.”
     “It’s not fair! You’re the strongest man in Fjórdhaven, and I’m no weakling, myself—we should have been able to give a better account of ourselves—”
     “One man and one strong woman are no match for two-score fighting Orcs.”
     “I suppose not—but it still goes against the grain to be caught like minnows and wait about to be used as bait.”
     “Well, there’s nothing we can do about it, so let’s not spoil these last moments with bitter grumbling.”
     “What would you suggest?”
     “We could say our goodbyes. Last words and all that.”
     “Things we’ve been meaning to say, but never got around to it?”
     “Something like that.”
     “You start. I don’t know how to begin, so perhaps I can take my cues from you.”
Character inspiration:
via Pinterest
     “As you wish. You’ve really changed my life, you know. Before I met you, I just sort of drifted along, like a skiff on a current. Never really took much interest in life or got involved with much of anything. Then you crashed into my life, and I found I’d best look lively. You forced me to do more than just observe and think; you taught me to do things.”
     “And you taught me to slow down and look where I was going—sometimes literally. You taught me to think before I speak, look before I leap—that sort of thing. And you didn’t sneer at me for wanting to know all about sailing and fishing. Every useful, practical thing I know, I learned from you. I’m glad to have known you, Ben Larsson.”
     “Likewise…and more.”
     “More?”
     “Well…knowing you…learning all about you…spending time with you…well, it was a bit like going to war. I was never the same afterwards.”
     “That’s not very romantic—or flattering.”
     “I meant that in a good way. I’d…given the chance, I’d have taken an arrow to the knee* for you, Lisbeth.”
     “And I’d have done the same for you—wait, what?!”
     “You heard me.”
     “Brynhildr Larsson, did you just propose marriage to me?”
     “That would hardly be fair, considering we’re about to be killed.”
     “But supposing we weren’t? Supposing by some miracle, we were able to escape to freedom?”
     “That’s a lot of supposing.”
     “Well, if you won’t say it, I will—”
     Nein, nein; that’s not very romantic either. Lisbeth Oláfsdóttír, if we survive this, will you marry me?”
     “Won’t I!”
    
__________________________

* Take [took] an arrow to the knee = Viking slang for getting married.

* * *


Forgive the lack of action; didn’t have the brain wattage to figure it out. I’ve been wrestling with some Real World garbage of late that’s sapped my emotional energy for quality writing. I’m open to suggestions, though. 
How do you imagine the scene? What backstory can you think up for this scene? Should I keep these two in the HoD timeline—along with Anton and Isabella, Jason and Ember, Ciaran and Tom/Fiona—give them their own timeline, or put them back on the cut list? I want to know!

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,
~R~

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Prepare the Sacrifice! (…wait, what?)




Miss Melody tagged me for what at first appeared to be rather an odd questionnaire, especially for book-lovers. It makes more sense as you read through it, though because it gives us a chance to rant about books we aren’t too fond of (or downright hate), and would be happy to sacrifice at need. A bit twisted, but fun.
So here we go….


#1: An Over-Hyped Book
Situation: You are in a bookstore when the zombies attack.  Over the loudspeakers you hear the military announce that over-hyped books are the zombies' only weakness.  What over-hyped book will you chuck at the zombies?

This is hard, because I haven’t actually read any of the books people are raving about these days. Just knowing what the themes of the books are turned me off. But I’m going to join Melody and Dessa and heave every stinkin’ copy of Twilight at the zombies anyhow.
This quote pretty much sums up my feelings for this series. :-P

#2: A Sequel
Situation: You are caught in a torrential downpour and you're probably the type who melts when you get wet.  What sequel are you willing to use as an umbrella to protect yourself.

Well, not exactly *melt* but I do hate getting wet (hello, ugly straight bangs…). As for what book I’d use as an umbrella without shedding a tear…I’d have to say Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery. I tried to read this again several years ago, but just couldn’t get into it. I was miffed at Anne for talking like Rilla’s not wanting to go to college as a bad thing. I was more turned off by Rilla’s all-fired hurry to grow up. She didn’t have the charm and imaginative quality that Anne had throughout most of the series, and of course a lot of the book deals with WWI, and I hate war stories. Oh my gosh, poor Walter….
So yeah. Eat rain, Rilla.

#3: A Classic
Situation: You're in English class and your professor won't stop going on about a classic that "revolutionized literature".  Personally you think the classic is garbage and you decide to express your opinion by hurling the book at his head.  What classic is that?

Stepping Heavenward by Mrs. E. Prentiss.
*Ducks under Everything-proof Shield*
I hate this book. I’ve seen this lauded as an excellent example of Christian womanhood in Christian book magazines and what-not, but I honestly don’t know why. I tried twice to read it—once at sixteen, once as an adult. Couldn’t finish it either time because I was so disgusted. At first, I felt sorry for Catherine, because her mother didn’t understand her, and her father (who did understand her) up and died, then she was railroaded into marrying a man she didn’t like….
When I read it again, I saw things from the mother’s perspective, and found Catherine to be a willful, petulant little…*shrew*. Then I ploughed through the rest of the book, where she has to deal with her unpleasant relatives, her mother dies, she’s worried about her delicate little girl—but it’s her strong, healthy boy who keels over (EXCUSE ME?)—but the last straw was when her brother, who just got engaged to be married and was all set to go to India as a missionary…yeah, he dies, too. Just like that. It’s like the author sat around and thought to herself, “Who can I kill off next?”
A little conflict is fine, but this was just too much, and seemed so arbitrary. AURGH.

#4: A Least Favorite Book
Situation: You're hanging out at a bookstore (where else would you be?) when global warming somehow manages to turn the whole world into a frozen wasteland.  Naturally, your only hope of survival is to burn a book.  Which book would you not regret tossing into the fire?

Wait—global warming causes the world to become a frozen wasteland?? O.o Anyhoo….
While I’ve never actually read the Harry Potter series (which my Bro dubbed “Hairy Potsmoke,” LOL), just looking at anything related to them gives me the creeps. Actually, I did read a bit of ChristianAnswers.net’s review here…only a bit because I was so disgusted with the pagan overtones and undercurrents just in the short snippets they featured (“sacrificial goddess magic”? Someone’s blood has magical powers? Ew…). So, yeah, I’d be happy to toss this witches’ brew in the flames.

#5: A Series
Situation: There's a flooded stream you have to cross on your quest and you can't get your feet wet.  Which series (oh yeah, btw, you brought your whole bookshelf and also probably local library with you) will you use as stepping stones?

Any of the last three books in the When Calls the Heart series by Janette Oke. The first two were pretty good, but the series just got more frustrating as it went along. So many potential plots glossed over. So many opportunities wasted. Such shallow. Very disappoint. Much ugh.

Runner-up would be the Emily Books by L.M. Montgomery. So little love, virtually no character development, and there are some pretty strange ideas featured (reincarnation and Emily’s being “psychic” among them). Bleh.

I tag Kendra.
...and anyone else who wants to participate.


 God bless,
~R~

Thursday, January 5, 2017

New Year’s Reflections



Lord, help me be all You want me to be
Help me find what You have in mind for me.
Let me look to You
In all I do;
Help me be all You want me to be.
~Go For the Goal!

Who am I, really? Probably every person on the planet asks themselves that question. Each of us goes through a journey of self-discovery on the road of life, and for the Christian, it involves finding God’s purpose for us in this life, in preparation for our Eternal one.

I’ve been through a lot in my life, not least of which has been the ongoing study of fashion and how it affects one’s looks, and as a tool for self-expression. It’s fascinating, learning how the right colors can bring an otherwise dull complexion to life, or how certain styles can enhance the best features of even the most “awkward” figure, while gently downplaying the perceived “faults.” How certain styles, colors, and embellishments can reflect one’s personality. There’s nothing wrong with this, in and of itself…but to obsess over one’s looks is not only wicked; it’s unhealthy. To elevate the outward appearance to such an important status that it overshadows the inner being—the character and heart-attitudes that are of more worth to God than mere looks—can bring a load of grief. Stress and anxiety from self-imposed standards (admittedly gleaned from the media of our society). Depression that one doesn’t fit the mold of what the world deems “attractive.” Spending money on clothes (or materials to make them) in hopes that they will somehow bring happiness and beauty to one’s life. (And in my case, added to the mix is the delusion that by dressing similarly to my favorite fictional characters, I could somehow be like them, a part of the world they live in.)
I’ve been there, and it’s not fun.

This has resulted in boxes overflowing with potential sewing projects—many of them fabulous and exciting…but not especially practical outside ComiCon or a Ren Fest. (And now that there’s a bit more of me than there was at eighteen, some styles I’ve chosen aren’t even flattering anymore.) You’ve heard me mention the “ginormous pile of sewing” looming over me for many years—usually as a joke, but with a real undercurrent of stress…which has often affected my health and threatened my sanity. I’m convinced this is NOT what God intended when He gave me my imagination, my powers of analysis and creativity, and ability to work with my hands.

By God’s grace, I was FINALLY able to whittle down my sewing and alterations this year. I’m gradually developing a better sense of my personal style—slowly separating the fantastical dreams from the pretty-but-practical Reality.
I’m tired of obsessing over my looks and my wardrobe. Tired of trying to look like an Elf, or a Hobbit-lass, or a Disney Princess, or even a heroine from my own books. I’m even getting tired of trying to do my hair in elegant updos and romantic curly styles…only to end up with Anna’s Bed-head or Bad ’80s Frizz at the end of the day. I’m tired of trying to be pretty and ending up looking awkward and overdressed.
In other words, I’m tired of trying to be something I’m not and making myself miserable. It’s time to stop play-acting, find out exactly who I am and what that looks like, and be content. And if that means T-shirts instead of peasant blouses, knits and rayon instead of chiffon and lace, and “normal/modern” styles instead of Regency frocks and female Robin Hood-esque ensembles…then so be it.

She wears short skirts,
I wear T-shirts—

Um, Anton?

She wears high heels,
I wear sneakers—

Pixie….

She’s cheer captain, and—

I’M ON THE BLEACHERS!!!

I’m ashamed we even know that song….
Thanks a HEAP, you guys. :-P

Aw, you were being so serious; we just had to liven things up a bit.

We thought we’d end your post on a happy note. *Silvery laugh* :-D

*Eyeroll* Or a silly one. Aw well, I appreciate the thought, anyhow.

Anyroad, I believe God is slowly showing me who I really am—gradually stripping away the veneers and masks I’ve put on over the years. Telling me it’s OK if I can’t look like my favorite characters—I can still enjoy them. That I don’t have to dress like my alter ego and other heroines from my own books in order to bring their stories to life. That dressing myself one way and my heroines another way isn’t hypocrisy; it’s realistic.

You’re being serious again.

Because this is a serious subject, sirrah. Stop interrupting.

*Salutes* Yes, sir, ma’am!

My head is full of goofballs. :-P

I sense that 2017 will be a year of change and discovery…a year of letting go of the misconceptions I’ve formed about myself and what defines and enriches my life…and perhaps about others, too. A year of doing, not just dreaming. And I know that, with God’s help, it will be.

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,
~R~

Monday, January 2, 2017

Goal-setting



With the New Year comes hope—hope that 2017 will be better than 2016, which was a rough year for us…especially December, since we were dealing with my Grandpa’s passing on November 30th on top of all the other stress and over-commitment that was our Christmas season. -_-

Hope that the Good Lord will fill in the “missing pieces” in my family’s lives.

Hope that He will resolve some conflicts and frustrations that are blocking us from moving on and having some joy.

Hope that I’ll do better at reaching the goals I’ve set than I did last year. :-P I’m not going to go back through my list and count all the goals I didn’t meet—that’s too depressing. Instead, I’ll make a new list and pray for God’s strength and perseverance to complete it!

~Goals for 2017~

·        Organize. All. The. THINGS!!! Sorting and culling. Finding a place for everything from bed sheets to beading supplies. Ridding myself of things I don’t need or even want anymore (except a few special keepsakes, of course). Simplifying and streamlining my personal space.
·        Build my Dream Dollhouse. This has been a dream of mine for twenty-three years, and after a lot of second-guessing, confused praying, and almost physically painful waffling, I’ve decided that yes, this is something I want—something I almost need—to do. It’s time to stop dreaming, hoping, and waiting—and start DOING!
Also under this category: Doll-making. Deciding which of my numerous dolls/kits will have the privilege of living in the Dollhouse.
·        Writing! Main goal: Finish Prince Nácil. Before the family lock me up in the Tower of Ecthelion with nothing but bread and water, LOL. Also fine-tune and polish up some details for the rest of the House of Othniel/Main Series, the “spin-offs,” and work on that Blog Party I want to host someday.
·        Bethlehem Bazaar. This is a scheme Mom and I (mostly Mom) cooked up, due to the sad lack of much of anything Christ-centered at the local Christmas Bazaars. We’re talking with other church-folk in the community, and getting ideas for things to make that will focus on the Birth of Jesus. Mind you, not EVERYTHING will HAVE to be Christian-oriented; my contributions will mainly be crocheted hats (inspired by this pattern, with tweaks, of course), teddy bears that are safe even for babies, perhaps some Irish crochet hair ornaments, and of course my Wild Rose Designs jewelry.
·        General Good Habits. Things like being more cheerful/focusing on the positive, drinking more water, getting some form of regular exercise, being more regular with my Bible reading and contacting friends, going to bed and getting up at a decent hour—that sort of thing.
·        Taking Time for FUN! Spending less time on the computer [read: surfing the Internet] and more time doing things I used to love, like reading, yarnwork, embroidery, drawing, sculpting (polymer clay), miniatures, writing. Putting time slots in my schedule for those things and giving myself permission to do them. Convincing myself that my interests and hobbies are VALID.

I have a few fun craft projects I’d love to do this year, too, but I’ll share those as they progress (or I finish them). That way, if I don’t get to some of them (or I decide not to do them), it’ll be less awkward. :-P

I’m oddly hopeful about this year. Perhaps, please God, this will be the year when things start to settle into place. The year we can start thriving and blooming where God has planted us.
Maybe this is the year I’ll actually do something instead of just dreaming about it. ;-)

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,
~R~

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Christmas Prayer

Life is busy. So often the dull, mundane, grown-up things pile up, leaving us no time or energy for what's really important...like blogging and keeping in contact with friends. December is especially busy, with parties and church activities and other fun what-nots, and of course Christmas shopping for loves ones. But as Christians, we need to take time to be still, to remember the Reason we celebrate this special Season, and give thanks to God for making a way for us to be with Him forever.
And so, Gentle Readers, I leave you with this delightful poem, written by my mother many years ago, that beautifully illustrates this mindset. Enjoy!

At this lovely time of year
When festive is our way,
Help us remember You, Dear Lord,
And what took place this day.

When carols gay fill all the air,
May we sing of Your birth
And thank the Father up above
Who sent You to this earth.

Praise to the Father and the Son
Who came down on this day;
A Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes
With no bed but the hay.

When we see lights twinkling so bright
Upon the Christmas tree,
Help us remember that one star
That shone so bright for Thee,

To guide the wise men from afar
And shepherds in the fields.
May we allow Your Light to shine,
In us Your love reveal.

And thought the tree is pretty now,
It soon will fade and die,
Reminding us of that harsh cross
You hung on in the sky.

And when we wrap each special gift
For loved ones young and old,
Help us remember frankincense,
The sweet myrrh, and the gold.

And yes, the greatest Gift of all—
The Gift of love You gave,
To live and grow in all our hearts,
Our sinful souls to save.

Please help us keep You in our lives
As we go on our way
Through all the busyness and fun
The joyful Christmas Day.

© Kerry Goodwill
7/22/88
(Used by special permission)

Have a very Merry Christmas, and a Blessed New Year!
God bless, and much love,
~R~
(And the Peanut Gallery ;-))

Monday, October 24, 2016

LDTD Blog Tour, cont’d | Author Interview



The Party continues! Y’know, I think this is the first time I’ve posted twice for one Blog Party, aside from an Announcement Post….
In the past, I’ve interviewed a few of Kendra’s Characters, with a question or two for her in the mix, but today, I get to put her in the hot seat all by herself, mwahaha. /EVIL

The Pixie
OohOohOoh! May we interview her, too?








Anton Argentos



Ja, there are things we’d like to know, too.

Um, guys….

(And it would help you think of questions, since you seem to be at a loss for them today. ;-))

(Cheeky. :-P)



Shasta Whittaker
PLEASE? PleasePleasePlease? We’re so excited—






Sierra Whittaker

Calm down, Shasta. You’ll get us in trouble.

OK, settle down, folks. All right, you may each ask her ONE question—

Just one? *Pouts*

*ElbowRibs* Quiet! You should be glad she even let you on her blog.

Girls, I do wish you wouldn’t bicker so. You never did in your original draft.

That was before you made her such a crazy tomboy—

—and her such a priss! *Tongue*

OK, you’ve both officially lost the privilege of interviewing Anka Kendra. Go home now and behave!

(Now look what you did. Our first time on our Ankas blog, and you get us kicked off!)

(You were just as bad!)

Scoot!

*Twins scamper off*

*Sigh* Sorry about that. Seems like all my twins have issues with each other, but those two are the worst. But back to the main point….
Anyhow, seven of you may ask Anka Kendra one question, and I’ll ask her three (’cos I’m the Anka round here, that’s why). Decide who will ask what….


*Peanut Gallery Huddle*

Well, since the others seem to be discussing it at length, I’ll go first. How did Reuben get Petra to count him as a friend? I’m told it’s a great honor that INTJs don’t bestow on just anyone.

(Didn’t see that one coming. *Smirk*)


He wouldn’t take no for an answer. They grew up together, unlike you and Isabella, so he was always just there in her life, and he took her seriously when others wouldn’t. He proved himself to be someone she can trust and doesn’t abuse that trust. And she kinda admires his wild imagination.

Well, actually, Isabella and I—

Aherm! Spoilers, boy-o. And it’s Isabella’s turn now.


Isabella Oláfsdóttír, Queen of the Nóska. Neckline needs to head North, otherwise, great new inspiration! (Cendre Portrait by *orpheelin on deviantART.):
Isabella Oláfsdottir

That is not a proper question, sirrah. We are here to discuss Anka Kendra’s Characters and world, not gain information for our own stories.
Pray tell us how the social structure of Rizkaland is set up.


Um ... with people!

To be honest, I don’t really know any of the details of their social structure past the kings and queens of Rizkaland, the Bookholder’s family, and the king, queen, lords, and ladies of Klarand. I know it has a number of ranks ... but it’s actually one of the details I bluff on. I prefer messing with the fauna and flora and physics...
Ember MacTavish


*Eyeroll* Uuuuuuugh, politics! My eye, Isabella, you would be asking such a question. Here’s a better one: What might the folk o’ Rizkaland be doing for FUN? Do they have archery tournaments, or festivals, or stuff o’ that ilk?


Archery tournaments, festivals, and stuff o’ that ilk is a good summary. They love tournaments of all sorts, from archery to a form of jousting. Dancing is also a favorite past time, from balls for the nobility to barn dances for the common people. Every night there is a recitation of a Legend by the Bookholder in Loray, and almost anyone is welcome to attend, and a similar recitation is held by a Bookdaughter in the Kastle in Klarand. There are also a few acting companies that travel around Rizkaland, and their plays are quite popular.
 
Jason Windrider, when he first meets Ember:
Jason Windrider
I’ve been wondering—having grown up with Dragons, you know—good ones, that is—and they’re pretty rare in our world…well, I guess I’m wondering if there are any good Dragons in Rizkaland, or if they’re all bad, or if Lady Amber’s the only one (although she’s technically not a Dragon, exactly…and I’ll stop babbling now.)



Amber is the only dragon in Rizkaland. However, you will be seeing more dragons in the companion stories set in other worlds - most notably Worth of a King and Dragon Song. Unfortunately, I don’t know yet if there will be any good dragons in the Rizkaland multiverse. There are some neutral dragons, though, in The New Division.

…all of which I’m dying to read, BTW. ;-)

My Anka has mentioned that there are Elves in your world of Rizkaland, but that they are different from my own kindred. Pray tell us about your Elves, Anka Kendra.
Prince Nácil:
Prince Nácil


Yes, there are elves, and I’m willing to say that they are different from your kind, as my elves are rather non-traditional. For this world, leastways. They do have pointed ears and delicate features - though it’s a subtle point to their ears - but they’re physically inferior to humans - being smaller, weaker, and lacking humans’ stamina - and usually not as clever. However, to compensate, each elf receives a gift - a supernatural ability such as invisibility, healing touch, flight, incredible hearing, speed ... the list goes on.
OohOoh, I have one! Our Anka said the Water Princess and Fire Prince (and other important people sent to help Rizkaland) received magic rings that gave them special powers. I want to know if the gemstones in the rings are themselves magical, or if the Elves put some kind of enchantment on them when they were made.


It is the stones themselves, as far as I’m aware. And Alphego himself made them, not the elves.



Our Anka has informed me that Alphego is what your Rizkans call Elyon, the Creator of all. I just assumed your Elves made the Rings and what-not because Anka Rebekah’s Elves (she’s glaring at me for using her real name, hehehe!), my kindred, are themselves craftsmen—some of them—but for the Creator Himself to make special rings and such for His servantsthat is amazing!

Thank you, Pixie; I think it’s someone else’s turn now.
I see you hiding behind the sofa, Huckle. Come on out. Don’t be shy!

Well…I…I did want to ask Anka Kendra something…but I’ve forgotten. And I think Ciára has a better question, anyhow, so let her go next.

Please yourself, boy-o (and one of these days I am GOING to finish your PaintShop Portrait!) 

(Oh, but then I’ll scare off all your readers!)

(I think not, but that’s a discussion for another time.)
OK, Ciára, go ahead.


Ciára Littlefoot
I was wondering if there are any Brynikins—I mean Little Folk—in Rizkaland. Like Professor Tolkien’s Hobbits (although I know you can’t call us that because the professor’s people would be cross). Or any other Creatures that are but myth and legend in your Real World now, for that matter.


Not in Rizkaland, but the elvings in the companion series “The Mikada Chronicles” that my sister and I are working on, are part “little people.” And part elf. They’re fun.

(Another world  on my "To Visit" list...;-))
And now for my three questions:

Might we know why there are no stars in Rizkaland? Or is that a spoiler? ;-)


Because I decided to not have any stars. That’s the entire reason. I wanted a more contained universe for Rizkaland. And I thought it’d be a good contrast to Lintooalintae where they ONLY had stars.

Color plays an important role in Rizkaland, I’ve observed. Do you always associate your Characters with specific colors?


I usually do, even if I never actually state the colors in the story, though said color will usually end up as a character’s favorite color. It’s a weird quirk of mine that I didn’t even realize I had until one of my friends [was] talking about how she did the same thing. But I think in colors, associating them not only with the characters, but also with various scenes, settings, themes, even the books themselves. And it’s not just my own writing, but also the books I read, and people I know. You’re lavender and mint green, by the by, Tom.



Fascinating. Lavender was actually my signature color for a while, and I do like mint green. These days, I go for teal and royal purple, so you were close!
(You’re either aster-purple or fuschia. :-D)
 
And finally…have you begun work (plotting, brainstorming, whatever) on Book Three yet?? ;-)



I’ve started the first draft. Everyone is breaking my heart and I’m regretting my decision to become a writer.

Owwwwwuch.

Would you like a snippet?

Yes, please!

Laura was going to fall out of the porch swing, Reuben was sure. She’d push it back as far as she could with her toes, and then tuck her legs under her as it swung wildly. She wasn’t even holding on.
The look in her eye was wild, but he could tell she wasn’t really enjoying herself. She was doing it for the thrill, a distraction. The same reason he was watching her and not telling her to stop before she killed herself.

Thank you for visiting my humble blog…and for bearing with the Peanut Gallery. :-)

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