Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Good Times and Free Grog!

Bear with me as I indulge in a bit of nostalgia, Gentle Readers, and take a short walk down Memory Lane….


Three years ago this very day, my family drove down to California to visit our few remaining relatives there. I’d rather not go into the family stuff, as it wasn’t exactly thrilling (plus it was rather sad, as my late grandmother was suffering from dementia at the time).

I will mention, however, the Cuteness Overload moment we had while watching Singin’ in the Rain with Grandma: I looked over at her, and she was singing along with “You Were Meant For Me.” D’aaaaawwww….


(Much of what you’re about to read was excerpted from an email to a friend shortly after the event in question, and lightly edited to be relevant to the present.)


The highlight of the trip, though, happened on Saturday night (the 29th). I had secretly contacted Peter’s three best friends (the other members of the old barbershop quartet) earlier that year, thinking that, since MY BABY BROTHER WAS TURNING THIRTY (!!!), it’d be cool to do something really special to celebrate. I was going to see if “the boys” (Caleb, Shawn, and Matthew) could come visit us for Peter’s birthday weekend, but when we found out we’d be visiting Grandma in Nevada City/Grass Valley in late July/early August of that year, we agreed it’d be more practical for the boys (who all still lived in California at the time) to meet us at Shawn’s parents’ home. A sort of “Un-Birthday” Party.

Plus it worked out better for their busy schedules.

Shawn found PDFs of all the songs they used to sing together and sent them to everyone, plus a barbershop arrangement of Happy Birthday…which they sang as Peter walked in the door (with Shawn's dad singing lead). Peter was pretty much oblivious to our sneaky plans until we drove up to the house and saw all the extra cars, hehehe. Although he must have thought it odd that Shawns mom would call us up the night before we left to “invite” us to dinner…and that we were bringing everything….

L-R: Peter, Caleb, Mom, Shawn, Bonnie, Guy, Matthew, me

(Please excuse the lack of photos. It appears I only took two still-shots that evening, and one of them was absolute rubbish due to backlighting. This one is horribly yellowed, but at least y’all can see everyone!)

On the whole, the evening was a great success, in spite of a bit of awkwardness on my part, and the music Caleb tried to print off the Internet getting saved goofy and printing messed up. It was so good to see them all again, and hear them sing (except when they sightread a new song—that was pretty awful, LOL), and catch up on their lives and just hang out…enjoying pizza and Root Beer, of course! (It was kind of a tradition.) As we used to say back in The Day: “Good Times and Free Grog!”

Normally, social interaction drains my emotional energy. I get to a point where Im thinking, “OK, Ive had enough of you. Go away/Lets go home now.”

Peters party had the opposite effect. I could have stayed up all night talking with them (or even just Shawn and his folks)…but of course that wasn’t an option.

I felt a real spirit-kinship with our old friends that night…which we havent felt with anyone weve met since we left California, really. It was refreshing. It was wonderful!

And it left me so charged that I wasnt a bit sleepy when we finally crawled back to Grandma's house after 10 p.m. I honestly don’t think I actually went to sleep until well into the Wee Hours, LOL.


Some highlights and quotes from the evening:

* Yours truly deciding to fist-bump “the boys,” not being sure hugs would be appropriate….
SHAWN: *Confused look* Well, that
s the hypo-allergenic way to greet someone.
ME: *Fist-bumps Caleb during this speech*
*Feels stupid*
*Sees Matthew with arms open*
*Hugs Matthew*
*Turns back to Shawn* Friendly hug?
SHAWN: Hugs….
*Hug*

Lesson learned: Dont be afraid to hug people youve known since grade-school. It just makes things awkward.


* Shawn making a little speech about how its become a tradition to celebrate our gatherings with Root Beer, but that “we dont have any root beer,” and someone suggesting a trip to the store to fetch some….
ME: *Opens cooler*
*Pulls out the pack of Root Beer we smuggled down for the occasion* Ta-da!
BOYS: *Sounds of appreciation and happiness*

* Matthew discussing the car he was trying to sell: “It makes vroom-vroom noises, Caleb….”

* Calebs diagnosis of why the music wouldnt print properly: “Yeah, someone set us up the bomb.”
ME: *Dies laughing*
(Virtual cookies to anyone who gets the joke!)

* Caleb finding a GORGEOUS old hymn called “Deck Thyself, My Soul,With Gladness,” and all of us singing it together (even though we werent sure of our parts).

* Sharing prayer requests before the party broke up, and praying together. The sense that everyone cared about each other and the things we were dealing with in life.

* Myself deciding not to be afraid take the empty chair beside one of the boys. Twice. Telling myself these fellows are my brothers in Christ, so its perfectly fine to sit next to them. (Ive been shy and nervous around boys since I was nine, and terrified of giving them the wrong impression, so this was huge for me.)

* Shawn asking me if Ive ever heard of NaNoWriMo, and suggesting I try it. Something about the act of “just getting it out there”—just writing on something, even if its not great—can unblock ideas that are clogged up. It was interesting that hed even heard of NaNo,† and kinda cool that he even remembered I write.

Re-reading this account, I remembered that several of our fellow message board members (circa early 2000’s) were involved in NaNo, so that’s probably where he heard about it. But it was still cool that he remembered after all those years.

* Peter, Shawn, and me discussing Star Trek after the party (Shawn had been going through the series for the first time). Peter and me advising him to “skip the first two seasons” of Next Generation, explaining the story behind the term “growing the beard,” and watching a Star Trek version of “Let It Snow” on Shawn's phone. LOL.
PETER: (as we were leaving) It took fifteen years, but we finally turned him into a Trekkie.

* Peter remarking on the drive back to Grandma's, “Id actually been thinking about the guys today, and thinking well probably never see them again....”

So it was extra special that they were able to come!

To this day, Im still just tickled that it all worked out—that these grown men, with their own lives and careers and what-not, dropped everything and carved out some time in their busy schedules to throw a surprise party for a guy they hadn’t seen in years. Sole Deo Gloria!

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,

~ℛ~

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Crafty Corner | “Briar Rose,” Part Three

BriarRose, Part One
BriarRose, Part Two

Admittedly, my enthusiasm for this project fizzled out after a while. Part of it was due to being sick of the whole quarantine malarkey (heh, me and everyone else in the wonky world, I daresay), but another part was an odd reluctance to tackle re-drafting my princess-seam pattern.


It didn’t make sense that I’d have kept my bodice pattern, but not the full-length dress. And what about all the different-shaped neckline supplements I’d labored over? Had I tossed them, too? ’Cos I sure couldn’t find them, either, despite looking through both supply closets in the sewing room. It irked me, to be honest, that I’d have (apparently) been stupid enough to toss a pattern made specifically for my somewhat odd proportions. As my Elven characters are so fond of saying, it is not wisdom.

Fast-forward to sometime in mid-May. Mom and I were sorting through our various pillow-forms in one of said supply closets—determining just how many pillows we really need in this house—when what should come crashing down on Mom’s head but…my princess-seam dress pattern! Complete with neckline supplements!
Quoth I: “Where was this six months ago, when I searched every inch of these closets for it?!” (Well, obviously not *every* inch, LOL)

That’s the good news.

The bad news is…I just don’t enjoy sewing that much. I love the design process—possibly my favorite part of any creative endeavor, TBH—and it’s exciting when the construction phase gets to that “hey, it’s starting to look like something!” point.

However, cutting out fabric (especially in complex shapes) has always scared me, and frankly, my skills just aren’t on the same level as my vision. I can do basic sewing pretty well, but the more formal garments I’ve made myself always turned out looking like a fifth grade Home Ec project (back when schools actually taught sewing classes, oy).

Me, trying to copy pretty frocks I've seen....

And of course, once you’ve cut a piece of fabric, there’s no going back. It’s not like yarnwork or beaded jewelry, where you can just disassemble the thing if it doesn’t work out. I mean, you could re-cut the fabric into something smaller, but…yeah. I decided I didn’t need that kind of stress in my already stressful life.


Another fact I had to admit was that I’m not as fond of pink as I once was (haven’t been for the last decade, really), and a solid-pink dress just seemed like a bit much. A bit too girly and floofy, especially with white lace trim.

We’d toyed with the idea of putting the roses on a white dress—even thought of refashioning Mom’s 1970’s-style wedding gown!—but vetoed the idea, as white is hard to keep clean, and frankly…who wears white dresses these days, save brides?

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/8b/8d/f1/8b8df18719b9efd33b506c9376a86957.jpg

Fast-forward again to this past Wednesday, when Mom and I spotted this white tunic/short dress at the local Goodwill.

It’s made of an interesting knit fabric, which we thought would go well with the crocheted roses. While it’s too short to wear as a dress (for my taste, anyhow), it’s a graceful length for a tunic with fitted trousers, or even a flared A-line skirt. I may even wear my old pink mock-up (featured in Part One) under it.
It’s fitted, but not skin-tight, and the material is soft and stretchy enough that it’s easy to move around in. I love this flared style, and the vertical lines are quite flattering on me. Really, my only beef is that the “stripes” aren’t quite centered. *ERGLE* Aw well, can’t have everything. :-P

Imagine vines between the blossoms,
and more leaves and flowers, and....

I played around with what colored motifs I had, and I must say, I’m quite in love with it, overall. The pink and green on the white background is so fresh and clean-looking.
I’m not 100% sold on the lower arm design; the Rosebud and Half-open Rose don’t quite feel right, and the Full-blown Rose seems a bit much. I may work up a miniature version of the hem border….

Also, the area between the hem and the waist looks a bit bare, and I’m not sure I want an actual “belt”/girdle at the waist.

That said, I love the large rose and cascading leaf design at the sleeve-head and neckline, and the Rosebud at the shoulder. Will probably tweak the Half-open Rose and leaf placement once I get the Vine made and sewn down.
I’m also debating whether to decorate the back of the tunic or leave it relatively plain.

So yeah; I still have a bit of work to do on this project—mainly crocheting a few more flowers, and lots more leaflets—but not nearly as much as when this was going to be a full-on party-frock! >_< I think this approach will be more realistically achievable, and be more comfortable to wear in Real Life. Let’s face it; the long dress would only have been suitable for square dances—which I didn’t attend very often even when they were still a thing (darn you, COVID!). A tunic is still elegant and feminine, but less formal and potentially costumey.

I am so looking forward to finishing this project!

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,

~ℛ~

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Actually Finishing Something | Nooroo Plushie

Post #220 on The Rambling Rose, so Im doing something special to celebrate!

A few years ago, I joined the Miraculous fandom, following the adventures of Ladybug and C[h]at Noir as they fought to save Paris from the evil Hawkmoth and the people he turns into super-villains.

via Pinterest

One character I fell in love with (and wanted desperately to see rescued) was Nooroo, the little purple Kwami of the Moth/Butterfly Miraculous…which happens to be in Hawkmoth’s control.

Nooroo, the Moth/Butterfly Kwami. (I want to adopt him and save him from Hawkmoth!!!)
Somebody save this precious bean!

It’s probably safe to say that half the fandom wants to adopt this adorable little guy, and give him a better life than he has with his current master. And of course I chose Nooroo as my favorite Kwami—I mean, come on; he’s PURPLE! Plus I always did have a soft spot for the underdog. But obviously I couldn’t reach through the screen and snatch him—and his Miraculous—away from Hawkmoth and bring them into the Real World, LOL.

My solution? Crochet a plushie!


I used this pattern as a base (since most of the Kwamis use the same basic model), working it up in this vibrant lavender baby/fingering-weight yarn (doubled) and a 00/3mm steel hook. I used a smaller hook for the eyes and antennae (more on that below).

[Screencap by me, for illustrative purposes only.
No copyright infringement intended.]
For the facial features and spiral designs on his head and lower wings, I studied the photo and screenshot pictured in this post for reference. As you can see, the proportions are a bit off, and the eyes are a bit higher and more slanted than on the character model (but I couldn’t reposition them because I’d glued them on prior to sewing them down). And while it doesn’t show in the picture that much, the chalk I used to position the eyes stained the yarn, which really ticked me off.
If I were to do this project again, I’d crochet some wire along the wing-edges for stability, as they are rather floppy as-is. May revamp them down the road….

For the curious, I used a worsted-weight, super-soft purple yarn for the spirals, which has a slight sheen that the camera doesn’t pick up. These were embroidered more or less freehand, using a split-stitch. The mouth is worked in a tight chain-stitch, using the same periwinkle embroidery floss as the iris of his eyes.

Initially, I tried making the eyes out of white felt and gluing a tight spiral of the shiny purple yarn for the iris. It looked awful. Embroidering the eyes onto the crochet also DID NOT WORK. So in the end I crocheted the eyes in embroidery floss and thin crochet-cotton.

Below are the patterns I developed for the wings and eyes, since I haven’t see one anywhere online.

If you want to make up your own Nooroo plushie—for yourself or that special munchkin in your life, or to sell—all I ask is that you check with the creator of the base pattern, and give me credit for the wings and eyes. Good faith and common courtesy and all that.

But enough yakking—on to the patterns!

(For crochet term abbreviations chart, click here)

~Wings~


Antenna:
(Use US size 6 hook & single strand fingering-weight yarn or #10 crochet-cotton)

Row 1: Ch 4, 3 dc in 4th ch from hook. Ch 3, turn.

Row 2: 1 dc in next 3 dc, holding back last st of each until last; yo, draw thru all 4 lps.

Row 3: Ch 4, 2 dc in 4th ch from hook. Ch 3, turn.

Row 4: 1 dc in next 2 dc, holding back last 2 st of each until last; yo, draw thru all 3 lps, turn, insert hook in base of Row 1 and make 1 sc, folding yarn-end down inside work.

This forms “bobble” at end of antenna, which is sewn together at sides later. For “tail” of antenna, make a double chain-st of 30 ch.

For Lower Wing, switch to #00/3mm hook and continue working with doubled yarn. NOTE: Do not work in 3-ch of previous rows.

Row 1: Ch 4, 3 dc in 4th ch from hook, ch 3, turn.

Row 2: 1 dc in next dc (counts as 2-dc inc), 1 dc in next dc, 2 dc in last dc, ch 3, turn.

Row 3: 1 dc in next dc (counts as inc), 1 dc in next 2 dc, 2 dc in last dc, ch 2, turn.

Row 4: Dc 2 tog, 1 dc in next st, dc 2 tog, ch 2, turn.

Row 5: Dc 3 tog .

Border: Using 1 strand yarn or CC and #6 hook, ch 1 & work in sc along edges, making a sl st at base of wing/top of antenna and upper tip. Fasten off.
Make 2nd wing.

Upper Wing:

Row 1: Ch 4, 2 dc in 4th ch from hook, ch 3, turn.

Row 2: 1 dc in next st (counts as 2-dc inc), 1 dc in next st, 2 dc in ch-3 of previous row, ch 3, turn.

Row 3: 1 dc in next st (counts as inc), 1 dc in next 3 dc, 2 dc in ch-3 of prev row, ch 3, turn.

Row 4: Sk 1, 1 dc in ea dc across (including ch-3 of prev row), ch 3, turn.

Row 5: 1 dc in ea dc across, ch 2, turn.

Row 6: Sk 1, dc 2 tog, 1 dc in next 3 dc, dc 2 tog, ch 2, turn.

Row 7: Sk 1, dc 2 tog, 1 dc in next dc, dc 2 tog, ch 2, turn.

Row 8: [Dc 2 tog] twice.

Make a border as for Lower Wing, working 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 hdc around opposite tip from starting point. (For second wing, turn work and work Border in opposite direction as first Wing, for a mirror image.)

~Eyes~

Left Eye:

Using #10 steel crochet hook and 3 strands embroidery floss (or #30 crochet-cotton) in Purple and White.

Rnd 1: With Purple, make a magic ring and ch 2, 5 sc in ring (counts as 6 sc), sl st in 2 ch of ch-2.

Rnd 2: Ch 2, sc in same st, 2 sc in each sc around, join with sl st.

Rnd 3: Ch 2, sc in same st, *1 sc, 2 sc* around, join.

Rnd 4: With Black, sl st in each sc around, join.

Rnd 5: With White, ch 2, *2 sc in next st, 1 sc* 6 times, ch 1, turn.

Rnd 6: Sl st in next st, 1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc, 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next 4 sts, 2 sc in next st, 1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc, ch 2, turn.

Rnd 7: 1 dc in next st, *1 sc in next 4 sts, 2 sc in next st* twice, 1 hdc in next 3 sts, 2 hdc in next st, 1 dcin next 2 sts, 1 hdc, ch 2, turn, 1 sc in next st, sl st in next st, fasten off.

Right Eye:
Work as for Left Eye to Rnd 4. Join in White and continue thus:

Rnd 7: 1 dc in next 2 sts, 1 hdc in next 3 sts, *2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next 4 sts* twice, 1 dc in next st, ch 1, sl st in next st, pull out loop and pass ball through, pass thread under work and connect loosely to opposite corner; ch 1, 1 sc in next st, ch 2, sl st in next st, fasten off.

Glue Eyes to head in desired position (iris only). Sew outer edges to head with black thread, using a tight whip-stitch.

~*~

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how he turned out.
I think my favorite part of this project is the eyes. It still tickles me that I had embroidery floss on hand in the perfect shade of periwinkle, and I love how they just pop and give this little guy so much character. He’s definitely a keeper, regardless of whether or not I continue watching the show (which is another kettle o’ fish altogether).

What say you, Gentle Readers? How do you like my attempt at replicating a fictional character? Fellow Miraculers—which is your favorite Kwami? I want to know!

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,

~ℛ~

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Character Spotlight | Interview with Prince Nácil (feat. Kerry Goodwill)

Even though the Blog Tour is over, I wanted to add one more bit of PN content on the ol’ blog.

During the planning and preparation stage for my Blog Tour, my mother expressed a wish to interview one of my Characters, by way of being involved. Initially she chose Victor/Nácil, but Kendra had another blogger assigned to him, so she interviewed Müriel instead.

I felt Mom’s original interview deserved to see the light of day, as it were, so I’ve given it its own special blog post. My hope is that reading Victor’s answers will give y’all a bit more insight into his character.

On to the interview!

[via Pinterest]
(Yes, I know it says "Fingon,"
but this was just about
perfect for Nácil)

~*~

  1. What was it like to suddenly be thrust into the world of men and discover you no longer could read anyone's thoughts? I found it very different from Ýdära—and even from the last time I had been there. (My author hasn’t mentioned it in this book, but I was actually born in the World of Men and left sometime in my fourteenth year.) I’ll not distress you with the details of all I felt and observed … but suffice it to say, it was what you would call quite the culture-shock. And of course I was still reeling from the horrors of the Revolution, and mourning my family’s deaths, so having to deal with that grief in a strange place was a sore trial, to be sure.

As to Mind-reading, we Elves can read Mortals’ thoughts to some degree, and sense your emotions; however, it’s more difficult. Pray don’t take this amiss, but my people have often likened reading the Human mind to pushing through thick mud or miry clay, or a wall of beefsteak. It took me some time to learn the knack of it.

Remembering that Mortals can’t read my mind also took some getting used to. Eventually I realized I needn’t be so guarded in my thoughts … which led to my neglect of some of my mental powers … for which I now suffer severe headaches until I re-learn them.

  1. What were the biggest adjustments you had to make concerning your life style as it was in your world compared to the world of men? First and foremost, I had to learn English by trial and error, for none in the World of Men even remembered the Common Tongue, let alone Elvish. I also had to disguise myself as a Son of Adam, to better integrate into your culture. On a slightly humorous note, I at first found male fashions of the time rather bulky, and it was several years ere I was truly comfortable having my hair so very short (we Elf-lords traditionally wear our hair anywhere between shoulder-length to mid-back, so cutting mine up above my ears at first felt as though I had no hair at all, by contrast).
    I had to be cautious about using my Gifts
    . By that time, most of Adam’s Race thought the Fae only make-believe, so anyone using magical powers would be suspicious, at best.

But perhaps the greatest adjustment I had to make was accepting the fact that the Children of Adam are—to be blunt—decidedly self-centered … and while many of them claimed to be God-fearing, they often lived their lives to please themselves, without regard to His Law, in my observation. A stark contrast to my people, who seek Elyon’s wisdom in everything, and live to serve our fellow-beings and make life beautiful … or at least a trifle easier.

  1. How did you feel when Mrs. Whitaker took you in and you discovered there were people in the world of men who did care for others? I’m not sure mere language can properly express it. Joy. Gratitude. Overwhelming relief. Those are the words that come closest. After one-hundred years of being taken for granted at best, and muddling my way through life however I could … to find folk who treated me like a person, and were concerned for my well-being … well, as I said, words simply fail me. The day Mrs. Whitaker and her family took me in as one of their own was one of the happiest of my life at that point.

  2. Could you tell us more about your faith and how it sustained you through the loss of family, home and even country? In all honesty, the first decade or so of my exile was a struggle, to put it mildly. For a time, the only thing preventing me from giving way to my grief, and fading away from the Land of the Living, was the thought that Iceheart would have victory over me then. I couldn’t abide that. As time passed, I was able once again to look to Elyon for comfort, and strength to endure each day. From a child I have always believed He never does or allows anything without a purpose … but I must confess, I could see no purpose for such horrors as I endured. I still can’t. But of course that’s what faith is all about—trusting in Elyon’s wisdom, and clinging to Him, even when we don’t understand His will.

  3. Were you excited or horrified when you discovered there were still portals from the world of men to your world? I knew the ancient Portals still existed; I simply didn’t know where they all were. I was frankly shocked to discover one so close to my friends’ home. In a way, it was both exciting and frightening. Exciting, because it represented a chance to return to my homeland, which I missed sorely, in spite of everything that had happened. Frightening, because I knew once I set foot in Ýdära again, I was as good as dead.

~*~

Well, that’s a fine note to end the interview on. :-P

VictorNácil:
To be sure, it
is rather what you would call a downer, but it’s the truth.

Thankfully your story ends on rather a happier note, wot?

*Lopsided faraway smile* Indeed.
Stay—wouldn’t that be considered a—what do you call it?—a “spoiler”?

Aw, anyone who knows me knows I only deal in happy endings.
And I didn’t say
how your Happy Ending came about, did I? ;-)

And just so this post ends on a happy note, may I ask your Majesty to relate your thoughts and feelings about your Happy Ending?

Without giving away too much … it still astounds me that things worked out the way they did. That it pleased Elyon to give me back my life, that I might serve Him and the people He has put under me, as did my father. *Lopsided grin* And the fact that I needn’t do it alone … well, it’s simply too wonderful for words.
I do realize life won’t be a bed of roses henceforth—in fact, I can foresee one or two “thorny patches” looming on the horizon. However, it doesn’t frighten or discourage me as much as one might think. I have my loving queen by my side, and Elyon above all to guide us. I’m determined, by His aid, to face whatever the future holds for us.

(Hang onto that faith, Victor; you’re going to need it. *Evil Anka cackle*)

Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,

~ℛ~

Monday, July 6, 2020

Prince Nácil Blog Tour! Day Seven | Looking Forward

So. Here it is—the last day of this here Blog Tour.

Anton Árgentos:
And oddly enough, The Pixie hasn’t been about, covering everyone in glitter this whole time.

~*~The Pixie~*~
Oh, I have—but only in the background. The Anka had several important things to say, and it seemed more polite to let her say them without confetti in her hair. *Giggle*
And besides—may I tell them now, Anka? *Eager beaming*

No, Pixie; not yet. Your part in this series is still a ways off, and we don’t want to spoil the surprise, now, do we? ;-)

No, indeed!
Very well, I’ll say only that this Party was in honor of the Elven-king, and I decided to let him be the center of attention.

VictorNácil:
*Indulgent smirk* How very generous of you.

*Wink*
*Glitter-bomb*

Riiiight ….

It dawned on me that I forgot to mention another influence in my writing career: the delightful Quote Queste challenge hosted by Miss Arielle Bailey/Melody Muffin. The mental gymnastics involved in thinking up a story or short scene to fit the Quote of the Month was good exercise for my imagination, and contributed to the process of honing my writing skills. In fact, one of my early QQ scenes ended up in the final version of Prince Nácil.
All that to say, shout-out to Arielle for her part in making PN
’s publication a reality!

I’ve taken my first step into a whole new world—

*Sings off-key* A whole new wooooooorrrllddd …!

Anton.
*Ahem*
By God’s grace, and with a truckload of help, I have a toe-hold in the world of publishing. What happens next?

You publish more books, of course! Think of it, Anka—all the fabulous stories Elyon’s put in your head—all those bits of plot and dialogue you’ve been laboring over for years—can finally be polished up and sent out into the world to bless and entertain others! Kylä!* The possibilities are endless—amazing—WUNDERBAR!!!

* Kylä (pronounced kyew-LAA) = A Finnish exclamation denoting pleasure (literally translated “good” or “beautiful”); sometimes used as a slang term similar to “cool” among the younger generation.

Anton.

Breaking free

As I write this, I’m working on a sequel to Prince Nácil that promises to be both deeper and more complex than its predecessor. I also have several ideas for continuing Nácil’s story, and that of his family. Namely, a prequel series (the House of Othniel), and my long-deferred pet spin-off series, the Heirs of Dunsmüir Saga.

Staring ME! *Thumbs in lapels*

ANTON.

*Elegant bow* The one and only.

Will you kindly stop interrupting? I’m trying to write a blog post here.

You can’t blame a fellow for being excited, ja?

Why don’t you save your excitement for when I actually get around to your book, Silver One? :-P At this rate, it’ll be another several years before I’m finished with the Children of Light Series.
I need to get back to business—

Let’s get down to business”—

and make stupid puns. :-P
Go flirt with Isabella or something; I need to salvage this post if at all possible.


*Flourish* To hear is to obey, O Anka.
Exuant Anton, calling, “Oh, Liebschennnn …!”

*Indulgent eyeroll* (I figured that would make him cooperate.)
(Dear me; what did I just encourage? :-P)

Anyhoot, all that to say, I have a truckload of plans, which, by God’s aid, I intend to make reality sooner or later (hopefully sooner). Be prepared for dealings with Dragons, finding hidden treasure, wizards’ duels, undiscovered heritage, and even a few secret identities!Stardust, the silver Water-drake, in her lair. Obviously, she hoards books instead of shinies ;-)

and Closet Monsters …. ;-)

I’m also working towards getting my Snow White/Nutcracker mashup, Princess Starflower, polished up and published in time for Christmas this year, Lord willing!

Check out my Pinterest boards to see pictures and quotes that have inspired my numerous WIPs. If you have any questions, leave a comment below, and I’ll do my best to explain.

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in my debut into the world of published authors, and to anyone and everyone who actually read my ramblings this week. Bonus points (and BIG GIANT HUCKLE-HUGS!!!*) for those who visited the other blogs on this here Tour. You guys are the best! 😊

Drop by those other blogs listed below to get in that last bit of fun before the party ends:


July 6th

Rambling Rose: Looking Forward

Dreams and Dragons: Interview - R.R. Goodwill

Knitted by God's Plan: Miss Prescott


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


* A reference to the Monster who lives in my closet until such time as I write his story … and his penchant for *enthusiastic* bear-hugs.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Prince Nácil Blog Tour! Day Six | Isn’t It Romantic?

I’ve always been a romantic at heart. My favorite stories—whatever the genre—are those where the Hero and Heroine live Happily Ever After at the end.
which is ironic, considering I still can’t stand to watch people kiss. In fact, for the longest time, I couldn’t bring myself even to write the word “kiss” in my stories, let alone describe a tender love scene. Mind you, my earlier works featured children and teenagers as the protagonists, so it wouldn’t have been appropriate anyhow. Still … squeamish much? :-P

Nácil and Müriel (Jurre and Emrah by Gnewi.deviantart.com on @DeviantArt)
[All pictures via Pinterest]

Prince Nácil was my first serious foray into the realm of Romance. I had dabbled with couple interactions now and then as I got older, but never put any concerted effort into their stories until Nácil and Múriel came along.

Admittedly, this was one of those times where imagination had to fill in for experience.
It’s one thing to read books and watch movies and TV shows where people fall in love and enjoy one another’s company (or go on a journey of discovery as they figure each other out *coughcoughDarcyandElizabethcough*), and (sometimes) get married in the end … but quite another to craft a convincing love story myself.

How does one write interactions between two characters one has destined to love each other, when one is so idiotically bashful and self-conscious around the opposite gender in Real Life? How does one write a convincing progression from attraction to love to marriage, when one hasn’t even been on that first date?

As I said, I’m a hopeless romantic deep down, and the Good Lord has given me an active imagination. With it, I’m able to take my observations and information I’ve gathered on the subject and imagine what I hope will be realistic scenarios based on that. I also tend to imagine 1.) what I find especially attractive and/or desirable in a man, and write my protagonist accordingly (with variations in personality and such, of course), and 2.) how I would think, feel, and/or do in a given situation if I was one or another of the characters (and if I wasn’t so [expletive deleted] shy and driven by emotion :-P).

In Nácil and Müriel’s case (or Victüriel, if you’re into this whole shipping† names malarkey ;-)), it was relatively easy to imagine how they would act because … they’re a lot like myself, actually.

"Let them go free, Iceheart; your quarrel is with me, not them!"

Nácil is my noble, justice-driven, caring side; the part of me that is fiercely loyal to my loved ones and desires their happiness and success (and woe to anyone who hurts or mistreats them!). I probably made him a bit too emotional for one of the male persuasion … but seeing as this is Fantasy, I can lampshade it by saying that Elf-lords are more in tune with their feelings than the average Son of Adam. ;-)
"He shall never forgive me."
Müriel … *nervous laugh* … Müriel wasn’t supposed to be one of my fictional alter egos, but it just sort of … happened. I ended up giving her a lot of my self-doubt, fears, and insecurities, as a result of past emotional trauma. (Mind you, I was NEVER emotionally or physically abused growing up like Müriel was, but I’ve always been too sensitive for my own good … and I kept running into people to whom considering others’ feelings was a foreign concept, so ….) On the flip-side, Müriel, like Nácil, has a lot of my highly-developed sense of justice and fairness, and a heart for giving help and comfort when needed. She’s just not as confident about it as he is.

Shipping = Believing two people would make a cute couple. Derived from the word “relationship.” Often expressed by the phrase, “I ship it,” and combining the first names of the parties involved into one. Basically matchmaking.

No, it wasn’t their personalities that often had me banging my head on the wall in frustration (figuratively speaking). It was progressing their interactions from shy self-depreciation (on her part) and kind cluelessness (on his), to mutual love, respect, and understanding. I agreed with my family when they said Müriel’s character had to get beyond the “I’m not worthy” stage long before the climax. Brokenness and self-doubt can only go so far before people find it annoying. (At one point in the initial writing stage, my cool-headed, logic-driven brother declared, “I just want to smack her”—which shows you how much of a mess her character development was, LOL.)

It was only when they suggested that she follow Nácil’s example of strength in the midst of weakness, and in turn giving him some of her strength, that things began to click.

Nácil and Müriel, when Iceheart captures Jane and Harold

Similarly, Nácil was just as broken as Müriel, but in a different way. Like Müriel, he was also haunted by past trauma; but whereas Müriel internalized it and blamed herself for everything she endured, Nácil blamed the parties responsible and struggled with unforgiveness. This led to trust issues involving anyone he associated with the horrors he endured, and he had to learn the hard way that one’s own perspective isn’t the whole story.

Admittedly, I probably delayed the Declaration a bit too long … but I’d already written the climax long before the in-between bits of their relationship, and I didn’t want to toss out all the beautiful drama. :-P (Ahh, the joys of non-linear inspiration!)

On the whole, I feel I’ve learned a lot from writing this book, and perhaps taken a step towards integrating the Romance angle into my stories more believably, and with confidence.

But I promise not to allow it to overshadow the actual Plot; nor will you ever find anything graphic or “spicy” in any of my future work. I don’t touch that kind of garbage, and I certainly couldn’t bring myself to write it!

My prayer is that my writing will instead showcase romantic relationships patterned after God’s standards—relationships and marriages based on mutual trust, respect, selfless love. Not necessarily a Happily Ever After every time (because happiness isn’t forever), but more of a “We’re in this together” ever after. Couples whose mantra is, “Us against the problem, with God over all.”

In other words … the sort of relationship and marriage I would want in my own life, should God deem me worthy. Until then (if ever), I can give it to my characters, and perhaps inspire my future readers to work towards such a goal in their own lives. That would be awesome.

Two hearts, one soul

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out the rest of the Tour:

July 5th

Rambling Rose: Isn't It Romantic?

Live. Love. Read.: Review


Until next time, Gentle Readers,
God bless,

~ℛ~