2011 - further up and further in

Friday, December 23, 2011

please pray

Friday, December 23, 2011 0
please pray

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST:

One of my dear friends has a little brother named Noah who has been struggling his whole life with a mitochondrial disorder. This disorder is very serious and has no cure. He's only five years old and has already been through so much.

He's been in and out of the hospital a lot, but as of today, he is very sick. I was just IM'ed by his older sister who told me that he's not responding to medication. This may mean that his kidneys are failing. They'll try again one more time, but if he doesn't respond, this means they have 2-3 days with him at the most. Please, please be praying for this precious family however you feel led.

They have a blog if you want more info: http://www.prayingfornoah.com/

Thursday, December 22, 2011

the stable

Thursday, December 22, 2011 4
the stable
Immanuel.

God with us.

Why did he do this? Why? Why?

To be born in a stable.

The humblest of places.

No, seriously. Let me be as honest as I can. Stables are probably not your ideal place for a momentous event. [Would you get married in a stable? Not me.]

I've never been in a stable, but I can imagine it. Dung. Animals. Hay. Not exactly glamorous.

[I wonder how bad the risk of infection was for giving birth in a...stable. My inner germophobe cringes at the thought.]

Why?

Immanuel. God with us.

If you doubt that the love of Jesus surpasses all others, look at this. Look at his manger scene. See him laying in the hay?

So often we focus on the birth, but the reason Jesus came was for the death and the life after that.

He did this for you.

That is love. True love.

Immanuel. God with us.

“In our world too, a stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.”

- Queen Lucy, The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Novel Idea

Saturday, December 17, 2011 5
A Novel Idea

When I switched blogging platforms, I essentially vowed that I'd sworn off tags forever.

It appears that I have broken that vow; not for mere pleasure (okay, maybe that's a bonus), but for the sake of sharing my novel with you.

Many thanks to Katie @ Whisperings of the Pen for tagging me with this awesome tag. It's such a unique questionnaire.

And now I present to you another long-winded speech about my novel. (But this time, you get to read a few snippets of it as well!)

1. Who are the main characters?

Gavin Gray, a blacksmith who has dreamed of legends long past. Riah Gray, his sister, who is feisty and unpredictable. Torin, the prince of their land who has many grudges and secrets. Chasiel, the princess and Torin's sister, who is sweet and unassuming, and has received a certain blacksmith's love.

2. How did you get the idea for this story?

I sat and stared at the wall, and racked my brain with ideas. Smacked my head against the wall a few times to jar my brain into working, and then repeated the whole process.

I also grabbed a sword and ran after that fickle thing called Inspiration, threatening to skewer it unless it cooperated.

All kidding aside, it was a long process - or at least it felt that way. I had the idea of Chasiel and Torin first, who came along around the end of 2009-early 2010. Then Gray came along, pushing his way into my mind and compelling me to write a story about him. Shortly after Gray was established, I decided to put him together with Chasiel and Torin. Then I just needed a plot - which was one thing I was sorely lacking.

Riah, on the other hand, was one of the hardest characters to figure out. At first her name was Chaya Seagull and she had a completely different story entirely. Several items were connected to her, such as a silver necklace, a strong personality, and mountains by the sea. This annoyed me greatly because there was no way I could think of to connect it with Chasiel and Torin. There's nothing more irksome than a plot that won't cooperate.

One day, I decided that I was going to make it work, even if it meant majorly changing plot points. All of a sudden, the pieces fell into place, and the silver necklace became instrumental to the whole novel. Chaya Seagull became Riah, a feisty young woman who has grown up under her brother's influence and is essentially beyond being tamed. She is one of my favorite characters to write, ever. I think I came up with the bare bones of a plot that afternoon, and then spent the rest of the time counting down to NaNo and outlining chapter-by-chapter in a notebook.

3. What genre is this story?

Fantasy. It's the first fantasy book I've written in way too long, and I'm beginning to think I've finally found the stories I was meant to write.

4. Describe your book in three thoughts:
Bah, humbug. I always dislike summing up my book like this. Oh well.

Gray has always dreamed of finding a treasure that the legends speak of. However, the silver is far from a secret, and others dream of finding it as well, much to Gray's disadvantage. Through a series of events, he ends up doing what he's always dreamed of... but will it be worth it in the end?

5. The bit that describes an obscure piece of real life best:

His eyes flicker to Chasiel. An uncomfortable silence hangs in the air, like the elephant in the room. Everyone knows it’s there, but no one wants to talk about it.

6. The funniest line said by a side-character thus far:

My main characters are much funnier than my side-character. Nevertheless...

[Riah:] “Now I only wish I could knock some sense into that thick head of his.”
Bereket lets out a short, loud, barking laugh. “Ha! Good luck with that. Gray rarely ever listens to common sense.”


7. Your favorite piece of description:

His face was worn, his fingers tough from years of battle—years of fighting for his country with both his pen and his sword.

8. Your biggest fear in the writing of this story:

It's not so much the writing part of it that I'm afraid of as it is the editing. Writing is fine. I can write a bad first draft very, very easily. But when I have to actually fix the mistakes I've made? Oy.

9. Last full sentence you wrote:

The hill started to descend, and Athens skidded down the hill as he attempted to find a foothold.

10. Favorite character thus far:

Riah. Oh my goodness, Riah. She's impossible and yet amusing all at the same time.

11. What books have been written or have you read that are similar in style and flavor to your novel?

You know, the funny thing is that I haven't really ever read anything similar to my novel. It kind of defies the typical fantasy stigma. However, I've taken inspiration from The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, and the BBC show Robin Hood, respectively. Another novel that has similarities to mine is The Door Within by Wayne Thomas Batson. I read this book recently and absolutely loved it.

12. If it was destined to become a book on tape, who would you wish to read it?

Liam Neeson. His voice is so expressive and one of my favorites.


~


other links regarding Silver Tears: synopsis, etc.

Note: I'm currently on hiatus writing Silver Tears, and currently have another smattering of words that could, potentially, become a novel. As of yet it's completely jumbled, so wish me luck with that. This new inkling of a story's name is... well, you'll just have to guess. ;)

And now, I tag:

Rachelle @ Inspiring Daring

And... you, if you feel so inclined. ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

introducing my blog, in a nutshell

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 4
introducing my blog, in a nutshell
i have a sinus infection, hence the reason i'm typing in lowercase. it seems like a good excuse. :P

Elisabeth @ Something Solid Out of Air (an amazing name for an amazing blog :) did a Wordle for her blog, so i decided to do one for mine as well. i wonder, what do you think i post about a lot? ;)


also, i made a Facebook page for my blog. this was due in part to the fact that i wanted one central place to post my blog updates. still, i'm not a huge fan of Facebook... but if YOU are, you can check out the page here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

music to my ears {because everyone loves penguins.}

Monday, December 12, 2011 2
music to my ears {because everyone loves penguins.}
this is what i've been listening to lately. lately, as in since yesterday. I ♥ penguins.




P.S. - For the sake of posterity...


100 followers. Wow. Thank you all so much. *hugs*

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How to Control Your Characters

Thursday, December 08, 2011 5
How to Control Your Characters

Let me try to sum it up simply, in two words.

You can't.

Yes, the characters do belong to you, but just wait. Soon they'll start developing their own brains. Their own personalities. Their own way of doing things.

And sometimes, you may just be wondering if you're even the author at all.

Your main male protagonist, who had been perfectly well behaved up until chapter 22, may just start rebelling. "Yes, you remember me? You amputated my leg in chapter 10! I'll never forgive you for that!" Soon the other characters will join in, waving signs of protest and going on strike.

This, I think, is what is more formally known as writer's block.

Characters simply won't obey. This point has been proven to me time and time again. The other night was the most recent evidence of this, when a character showed up in my brain waving a rather large sign. "HELLO! My name is Beckett! I will be appearing in your next story, so just deal with it."


Yep, you guessed it. He is now in my story.

I've been thinking... maybe it isn't a bad thing when characters don't obey. Maybe it's a good thing.

And maybe, it just means that we're doing a good job with them.

On a more personal note, I have now decided to take a break from my NaNo novel, Silver Tears. It's not that I don't like the novel anymore, and I fully intend to finish it. I'm just having a hard time connecting, and my inspiration has completely run dry.

So, I have a new novel. This one started itself and I really need to find its plot. And yes, Beckett is in said novel. Now it's just a matter of finding out where this novel is taking me.

See? I can't control my novels, either. *sigh*

Monday, December 5, 2011

Writing Is Like Toothpaste

Monday, December 05, 2011 2
Writing Is Like Toothpaste

You know what happens when you've almost used up all your toothpaste? The toothpaste bottle gets all gunky and stagnant, and you nearly burst a blood vessel by trying to squeeze it out. After pushing until your knuckles turn white, you only get a meager bit of toothpaste that drizzles out.

Yep, that's what's happening in my writing life right now.

It's not like I'm not writing. Thanks to Georgie's handy box of writing prompts, I've written three short stories. One of them is about fire and tulips, the other about a New Year's Eve party, and the most confusing is about forbidden spheres. However, when it comes to my current WIP, Silver Tears, I'm hitting a wall.

Again.

NaNo ended five days ago, and since then I've only written about 2,000 words. This is hard, especially when 2k was my average per day. Still, I've hit a point in my writing where whatever I wrote on my outline is vague, if there's anything written at all.

I, of course, could just write. That would be the simplest option, and would also be taking my own advice. But I'm trying to get over my inner-editor. You know, the one that says, You MUST have the first draft perfect. This writing stinks. You'll never write anything good.

Yep, that one.

Is duct tape an acceptable method of tying up my inner editor, critiquer, and all-around annoyance? On second thought, maybe I should just throw him in the closet.

At any rate, I'm hoping to get past this wall. Maybe I need a sledgehammer to knock it down. Either that, or maybe getting a grappling hook would help me climb over it.

You know how in my last post I said this quote?


You can't wait for inspiration to come to you.
You have to go after it with a sword.


I think I need a bigger sword.

{side note: I've always wondered... why is bouquet spelled with two u's? I can understand the one after the q, but the first u always gets me.}

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Post-November Letdown

Friday, December 02, 2011 3
The Post-November Letdown

Something big happened this November:
I became a writer again.

But before I explain, let me say this. It's no secret: November has officially come to a close, and with that, so has NaNoWriMo.

It's always hard, after spending all your time writing, to adjust back to normal life. I was writing all day, every day, or at least that's how it seemed. Now that NaNo is over, I don't know what to do with myself.

However, now that I've been writing this long and this hard, I won't be able to stop.

See, I've always been a writer. Putting pen to paper. Throwing words on a page. Painting landscapes of the mind. Attempting to introduce people to my world and tell them my deepest thoughts and desires.

But somewhere along the line, that got tainted by the fear of failure.

I don't think I've really written anything for the past 2 or 3 years. Yes, of course, I've written things... but I haven't truly written. I haven't let my fingers fly or let the words take their course. I haven't really let my stories live. I've stopped after the first few hundred words. I was afraid to try because I was afraid to fail.

And then, this November, I realized that I can't really call myself a writer unless I write. If I'm serious about my writing career and my dream of sharing my words with the world, it's going to take dedication. Sweat. Tears. And a whole lot of patience.

And hopefully inspiration, if it will manage to stick around for long enough. 

You can't wait for inspiration to come to you.
You have to go after it with a sword.

My post-NaNo plans include finishing my novel, which has taken on a mind of its own. It's actually becoming real to me, and I'm proud to call it my own. It's not perfect, yes, but no first draft is. I just have to keep telling myself that (and maybe shove my inner editor in a closet while I'm at it). I'm at about 56,000 words and I still have a lot of plot left... too much plot. I'm going to keep writing, but it doesn't feel the same. I miss the rush of words as I try to finish writing my thoughts before bed. I miss the hype, the decorum, and the excitement. I'll keep writing, but it doesn't feel like a sprint anymore. It feels like a slow walk. I'm able to actually focus on the words, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. 

I admire you writerly types; yes, those people whose veins flow with inspiration rather than blood. I admire you. Because it isn't easy; writing a novel in a month. It isn't easy writing a novel, period. I know that now. But the thing I've discovered is, writing is hard. It's not for the faint of heart. 

But overall, we have to decide: is it worth it?

I think it is.




Hello, my name is Kylie,
and I am a writer.



{post script: speaking of writing, Georgie, Fin, and I have a surprise for you coming up shortly. so refill your coffee mugs and stay tuned. we'll be back.} :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

To Those Who Are Searching

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 6
To Those Who Are Searching

I won't deny it: I get some really, really weird referrals from Google. The search terms that people use when finding my site are nothing more than extraordinary, and sometimes, they're just plain weird.

I've decided to offer an apology to those who have searched and have not found.


~~~


Dear person who searched for "keep calm and call batman shirt",

I do not sell that shirt, I'm afraid. I am but a lowly blogger amongst the blogosphere who just happened to blog about it. The post in question that you probably found is, admittedly, rather stupid, and it probably doesn't help all that much. I'm not sure why you ended up here of all places, since I don't really talk about Batman on my blog all that often, and when I do, it usually has something to do with weird dreams and Polyvore sets. Nevertheless, I highly support your search for a place to purchase the Keep Calm and Call Batman shirt! Let me know when you find what you're looking for!

Sincerely,
-Miss Polyvore


~~~


Dear person who searched for "damian mcginty barefoot",

Simply put, you baffle me, and so does Google. I honestly have no idea why those search terms led to my blog, and I apologize for the inconvenience. The only thing I found that seemed remotely helpful is this post, where I just happened to mention Damian McGinty and the word barefoot in the same post. It's fitting because the title of the post is Awkwardly Awesome. I can't decide whether this search term is awesome, or just plain awkward. I'm leaning towards the latter.

Sincerely,
-Confused


~~~


Dear person who searched for "hanging cups white",

Somehow, you ended up here, and I have no idea why. All I can say is... huh???

Sincerely,
-Even More Confused


~~~


Dear person who searched for "owl city wedding song",

I believe I may have misled you. To my knowledge, Owl City has not produced a wedding song. However, I do talk about him on my blog quite often, and I did happen to mention that I may want to have his song played at my wedding. This is probably how you have gotten to my blog. You can find the source of this confusing mix-up here. Once again, I apologize.

Sincerely,
-A Misleading Hoot Owl


~~~


Dear person who searched for "yellow ice cream truck with a bright smile",

Huh???

Sincerely,
-I'm Still Confused



~~~


Dear person who searched for "further up and further in blog",

Your search terms are quite normal, and you are in the right place. Thank you for visiting. :)

Sincerely,
-Me.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cats Love Us, Therefore We Must Love Them

Monday, November 28, 2011 3
Cats Love Us, Therefore We Must Love Them
(This post is meant to be read with a sophisticated British accent.)

I have two cats. Their names are Tuxedo and Chessie. However, Tuxedo is the one I'm going to be focusing on today, and he is affectionately known as Tux or Tuxy.

Tux is a Manx cat, which means, among other things, that he does not have a tail. We chose this breed of cat because they don't have the enzyme in their saliva that causes dander. (This arrangement is beneficial to my father, who is allergic to cats and consequently their dander.)

Up until this summer, Tuxedo was affectionately known as my "brother's" cat. Or rather, my brother was known as Tuxedo's person. Whenever Tux desired to be petted, or other such human companionship, my brother was the one he sought. This friendship was accepted and/or tolerated by either party.

However, things change. Furthermore, all things must come to an end. This thing came to an abrupt end this summer when my brother and I switched rooms. Actually, he moved to the basement, and I occupied his room. (I had formerly been rooming with my sister.)

It seems that, with the change of occupants in my brother's former room, Tux has become slightly confused. Somehow, he has managed to mix me up with my brother. Therefore, I am now Tux's person. Every time he desires love and attention, he comes to me.

This is a very annoying relationship.

But, I shall let you see for yourself by watching this video.





Dear Tuxedo,
I love you very much. However, it would please me greatly if you would stop taking over my desk as if you were the emperor of the world. Pretty please?

*whispers like a secret agent, then slams the phone shut* Kthanxbai.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In Which I Cross the Finish Line

Sunday, November 27, 2011 7
In Which I Cross the Finish Line

And so... I won NaNoWriMo.

After being away for three-ish days for Thanksgiving, I hadn't written a word. It was the same story yesterday. I was ridiculously sick yesterday, due to my fatigue from the aforementioned trip, so I didn't write much.

(Not to mention I got my first bloody nose, cried a lot due to being so tired, and threw up. But that's another story for another time.)

My wordcount at the beginning of the day today was 47,540. That was about 2,500 words away. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do it, considering I woke up with such a bad headache. (Advil is my friend, though.)

However, I decided that I'd like to finish today, and after my headache lessened a bit, I spent the afternoon writing. I hit 50,000 a little while ago, and I'm excited, sad, and happy, all at the same time.



To be honest, this was one of the worst weeks I've ever had. But now that I've reached 50k, my novel is still going at least reasonably well, and we're decorating for Christmas tonight, I'm thankful. This is the perfect ending to my weekend. The rest of our evening includes putting ornaments on the tree, and watching Elf. 


I'm so glad that good times in life come along with the bad. I'm even thankful for the bad things in life - especially the bad things, I think.

And yes, I'm really thankful that I finished NaNo! There's just one problem: my novel is really, really long. My ending is nowhere in sight, and I have a lot of plot to cover still. Hmm...

At any rate, my Christmas tree needs to be decorated. If you'd like to read more about my noveling journey this November, check out The NaNo Diaries.

And as a final note, this explains perfectly how I feel as NaNoWriMo draws to a close.

Granny Wendy: So... your adventures are over.
Peter Banning: Oh, no. To live... to live would be an awfully big adventure.
- Hook

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Writerly Sort Of Update.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 4
A Writerly Sort Of Update.
[Yes, I like to make up words, such as writerly.]


It's day 22 of NaNo, and we're nearing the end of week three. So, I thought it was high time that I gave you all an update, considering this blog has been sparsely updated as of late.

I'm currently plugging away at my story, and have managed a wordcount of 46,103 as of yesterday. (I haven't written anything today. *gasp*) As for how my story is going... well, I have my ups and downs. It's... interesting. And I'm learning just how hard writing can be.

So, I'm exactly 3,897 words away from the finish.

I can do this.

I think I can, I think I can... ;)

The nice thing about NaNo is that it actually forces me to write. I love to write, don't get me wrong, but it's the actual writing part that's hard. In other words, I have an insane amount of plots but 0% motivation to begin/finish them.

However, this year I've realized how much I missed this. I've missed just sitting down and typing my heart out. Spilling words onto the page, be it in the form of ink or keystrokes. I want to write for the sake of writing, because I love it so much. I can't stop.

So, this is my official post letting you know this one thing: I've started writing, and I can't stop.

As for post-NaNo plans, I hope to edit Silver Tears once it's finished, and try to polish it as much as I can. Editing... well, it's going to be interesting. I'm not quite thinking about that yet. ;)

Ironically, I'm plotting another novel to work on when my NaNo novel, Silver Tears, is finished. Hopefully you'll be getting some sneak peeks of it soon. :)

Also, please forgive the lack of coherency in this post. It's been sitting in my drafts since earlier this afternoon, but I think I'm going to hit publish now before I keep going. I'm braindead, can't you tell?

Oh, one more thing! If you'd like to read a synopsis of my novel, you can go ahead and check it out on my writing projects page here.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, lovelies!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Beautiful People - Holiday Edition

Saturday, November 19, 2011 0
Beautiful People - Holiday Edition

Hello, and welcome to Beautiful People! In short, BP is a monthly blog party for writers hosted by myself and Georgie Penn. If you'd like to learn more, you can find out by reading the introductory post or check out the FAQ.

Now that that's out of the way, read on!

This month is our holiday edition, including questions about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year. Holidays are something that I don't really think about in the context of novel writing, so I think it'll be interesting to find out what my characters think about it.

If you're a fantasy writer like I am, adapt these questions the best way you see fit. I'm sure your characters celebrate somehow, right? Even if it's just a birthday celebration or a banquet, we want to know how your characters celebrate and have fun.

One last note: We'll be taking a break in December from Beautiful People since the holidays tend to be very busy for most people. So after this round of questions, we'll see you in January! :)

Here are this month's questions.

1. What kind of holidays do they celebrate, if any?
2. What are they most thankful for?
3. Do they have any family traditions?
4. What is their most memorable holiday memory?
5. What is the most memorable gift they have ever received?
6. Do they consider it important to be with family during celebrations?
7. Do they usually wait till the last minute to purchase gifts, or do they buy them ridiculously early?
8. Favorite Christmas song? For fantasy authors, is music a part of their celebration?
9. Do they celebrate for religious reasons?
10. How do they celebrate the beginning of the new year?


Don't forget to sign the linky!


Sparks of Life

Saturday, November 19, 2011 1
Sparks of Life

One thing that never ceases to baffle me is the process of writing. I know, I know... I've been writing for years now, so I should be accustomed to it, right?

Wrong.

I don't think a writer ever gets used to writing. And if they do, it must be a very boring experience.

I'm of the opinion that I want every one of my novels to be different than the first (unless of course, it's a sequel). This is a recently acquired opinion of mine, to be completely honest, but nevertheless, I believe it. I don't want my writing to get stagnant by reusing the same plots. I want the characters to be different, with different dreams, goals, and ideas. And most of the time, I get my wish.

I'm sure all writers feel the same way.

However, my characters have since taken this matter into their own hands. They enjoy torturing me with their unique personalities. Even though I want each story to be different, this story has become a quilt of all my different stories that never went far. All these ideas and characters have formed together into one cohesive story.

Isn't it amazing how one idea can spark something so much more? It's amazing how our characters somehow graduate from being words on a page to being someone real; someone living and breathing. Or, almost alive.

Ironically, I'm writing this during week three of NaNo. I'm 36,000 words in, and admittedly, my characters are seeming rather stagnant. But I have to go back to step one, when my characters were sparks of life. Those sparks will become a flame, fueling my words and my story.

One word of advice for writers: Choose your characters wisely. After all, you'll be spending thousands of words with them, and it's always good when you don't mind them... too much. Sure, you will mind them sometimes. They may even turn into two-dimensional problems. Yes, they will annoy you... but so will writing. It's not for the faint of heart, people.

Tell me about your sparks of life. Do they inspire you, frustrate you, or baffle you? How do they manage to surprise you, even after all this time?

Friday, November 18, 2011

let go and let grace

Friday, November 18, 2011 4
let go and let grace
i have some drastic news to tell you.

you can't earn God's grace.

i know, it's hard to accept it. but it's not possible to live life by yourself.

you will fall. you will mature. you will get back up again. you will fall again. you will fail. you will hold onto God's hands.

and you will grow.

grace and growth go hand in hand. grace takes growth, and growth takes grace.

and growth and grace take God.

you can't do it by yourself.

you can't.

Christianity is not about trying to make yourself better. 'self-help' books that they sell in Christian book stores drive me crazy sometimes, though not all of them do. i think it's just the genre that i resent. 'self-help'? what's up with that?

we can't help ourselves.

we have to just be us. love God. hold onto his hand. and let the potter refine the clay.

what are you holding onto? your pride? i know i am.

your hope? i know i am.

Jesus? i know i have to. otherwise i'll never get through.

grow. let God. let go. let grace.

why do we have to depend on religion to keep us in tact? that will never work. in fact, we'll only fail. we'll never measure up to the standard.

but Jesus did. and does.

we have to let go of our guilt to have his glory. we have to admit that we are nothing, and he is something.

as I read on this blog this morning, "I am enough because I AM is enough."

what more could be said than that?

a radical change of love could overtake the church. the bride of Christ. but it's only if we let it.

sometimes i wonder if it's us that are holding us back. you know? i'm holding myself back from abundant life. from joy. i'm choosing to be anxious. but i can't do that. not anymore. i have to step outside my box and be free.

i have to let go, and teeter on the edge of this precipice.

and trust God to catch me when i fall.

linking up with Five Minute Fridays @ The Gypsy Mama. this week's word is grow.
>>click here to participate, too.<<

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Authentic People Blog Party: This Is Me

Saturday, November 12, 2011 5
Authentic People Blog Party: This Is Me

 I'm linking up with Abigail Kraft for her Authentic People blog party, so if you'd like to join the fun, check it out here.

First off, let me introduce myself. For those of you who haven't been here before, my name is Kylie.


Despite my Blogger username, which is Sky, I do not mind being called by either name. In fact, I have a lot of different names, such as Charlotte (Charlie) Penn, Mountie, and Samwise, just to name a few. (Yeah, I collect nicknames. Who knew?)

I started blogging in 2006 and I absolutely love it. Over the past five years, I've met so many great people and even have had the opportunity to meet them in person. The people I've met through blogging remain some of my closest friends.

I am a writer with many thoughts, ideas, characters, and words. I love composing things, whether it be a novel, a poem, a blog post, or a song. I write because I have to, otherwise these ideas would never get out.

I have an amazingly overactive imagination, which can be both good and bad. I have played guitar for about 2 or 3 years now, and my favorite chord is G. I love coffee and drink it every morning. I love watching movies and reading books. (In fact, my mom just came in bearing an armload of books for me to read. :P)

Oh, yeah, and... this is me.




{1} What's the nerdiest/geekiest/weirdest thing about you?

I'm writing this post in HTML mode in Blogger so that I don't have to deal with any unnecessary formatting. Is that not geeky to you? :P

Other than that, I wear glasses. I have very weird fashion sense that tends to be defined as "hodge-podge." And I'm a writer who has characters that seem very, very alive.

Oh, I also have a hard time picking just one nerdy thing about me. Hehe.

{2} If you could live in a fictional universe from any book, movie, or television show, what would it be?

Oh, um, seriously? Do I HAVE to answer this?

I live in fictional universes all the time. I'll bounce from my own imaginings to another created world, like Narnia, Middle-Earth or Locksley.

But if I had to pick a place to stay, it would be Narnia, hands down.


{3} Little or big, practical or frivolous, what is one of your favorite items in your house?

My room. After sharing a room for almost my whole life, I just got my own room this year. It's so great to have a place to relax in. I would like to say that I keep it perfect and clean, but I don't. In actuality, I should be cleaning it right now. Shh. :P

And followed in close second is my laptop. It's my portal to pretty much anything, whether it be reading blogs, meeting people, chatting with friends, or writing.

{4} Do you like animated movies? If so, what is your favorite?

Um, yes. A thousand times, yes.

My favorite is Tangled.

I even have my own frying pan. See?


And yes, I do use it as a weapon.

Other favorites include Beauty and the Beast, Over the Hedge, The Incredibles, and pretty much any other Disney/Pixar film ever made.

{5} What is your favorite household chore?

I don't have one.

Seriously, I don't have one.

But if I did have to pick one that I at least minorly appreciate, I'd say cleaning off the mirrors in our house. (It's the easiest job I have.)

{6} What's your favorite thing to get at Starbucks (or your favorite coffee shop)?

For the longest time, it was steamed milk. Then I actually started liking coffee and drinking it on a regular basis, and so my mom's love for white chocolate mochas rubbed off on me. (Which is actually really ironic since I don't like white chocolate at all. I'm a fan of dark chocolate all the way.) If I'm feeling especially frivolous I'll order a peppermint white chocolate mocha.

Sadly, I don't go to Starbucks often enough, but I do drink coffee every single morning. A cup of coffee with cream and sugar is the best way to wake up.

{7} What is your favorite pizza topping?
Pepperoni, sausage, and/or bacon. Which, again, is ironic since I don't like sausage in any other way, shape, or form.

My family tolerates three-meat pizza, but a lot of them like pepperoni & pineapple. (I don't like the pineapple so much.) My little sister likes cheese pizza. So overall, we have a lot of different tastes in our family. :P

{8} Waffles or pancakes?

I am finding these questions exceptionally hard to answer.

Pancakes. But waffles are pretty great, too. Anything with syrup that can be served with eggs & bacon is fine by me.

{9} Do you like to play games? If so, what is your favorite?
Apples to Apples and Clue. Apples to Apples because it is downright hilarious, and Clue because I love solving mysteries. :D

{10} Have you ever let anyone win a game?
Yeah. A lot. But in my defense, I have a soft spot in my heart for those who are more disadvantaged than I am (i.e., younger kids).

{11} Have you ever dyed your hair?
No, I haven't really had to. I had very blonde hair when I was younger. When I was but a wee tyke, I wished that I had brown hair, and voila, my hair changed when I got to be around 5 or 6. Sometimes I wonder if I'd still be blonde had I not wished for brown hair. And my hair story is proof that dreams do come true.

It is also even more proof that I am secretly Rapunzel.

{12} Do you make your bed every morning?
I'd like to say that yes, I do make my bed, and my life has no disorder whatsoever.

However, that would be a complete and utter lie.

No, my bed remains unmade.

{13} Picasso or Norman Rockwell?
Norman Rockwell. Yep. Since I don't know much about art, I can't say too much about that. :P

{14} Do you like carpet, tile, or hardwood floors?
Oh, there are advantages to all three. Carpet is perfect for getting out of bed in the morning when it's freezing and your feet are likewise. Tile is very multi-purpose and isn't too hard to clean. Hardwood floors, however, are wonderful for sliding around on in sock-clad feet. (Sadly, I have no hardwood floors.)

Let us consider all three a tie, with different and unique benefits to each. (Don't I sound so diplomatic and indecisive? :P)

{15} If you could put one thing in a safe under your bed, what would it be?
My journals. I've journaled off and on throughout my whole life, and it chronicles my journey as I've grown into who I am now. I'd like to keep them forever, but like all things written by a 10-year-old, they can tend to be embarrassing... hence the reason I'll keep them in a locked safe. ;)

{16} What's your favorite condiment?
Ranch dressing!

{17} Have you ever thrown up on someone (excluding when you were a child)?
Not recently, no. When I was a child, however, it is a much different story. :P

{18} What was the last thing that made you laugh?
Uh... reading over old blog posts and coming across a picture of the character Gwaine from Merlin. (Read this post to see it, if you must.)

Yeah, if I didn't have to be completely honest with you guys for this blog party, I would have probably left that out. ;) I hope you realize what a great honor it is to be graced with the embarrassing moments of my day.

{19} Think fast...what's the first song that pops into your head?
I've Got A Dream from Tangled.

(I think was partly influenced by the fact that Abigail listed "I Have A Dream" for her song, and my mind did word-association. :P Oh well.)

Since some of you probably came over from Abigail's linky, I wanted to say thanks for stopping by! 

I'd love to meet you. Comment and tell me a little about yourself, if you feel so inclined.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

oh dear

Wednesday, November 09, 2011 4
oh dear

Today I found myself typing the above phrase.

Oh dear.


It seems so nostalgic. Two words with multiple meanings. These words could be interpreted differently depending on the context.

"Oh, dear, this is terrible!"
"Oh, dear, you make me laugh."
"Oh, dear, we have a flat tire."
"Oh, dear, you are ridiculous."


Or, if you're me, you find yourself coining the phrase, "Oh my dear word." A combination of oh dear and oh my word, of course.

Saying oh dear makes me think of days long past. Of British tea-houses and dainty tea cups. Of cardigans and Irish coasts and wedge shoes.

So I'll sit here, trying to stay warm. No matter what I do, my feet are still cold. I'm wearing both fuzzy socks and fur-lined clogs, but there's still an edge of coldness beneath all the fluffy layers.

I tried drinking green tea a few minutes ago, but gagged once I reached the last mouthful. I made one of the weirdest noises I've ever made when I realized how bitter it was. I really should remember to put sugar in there.

Also, this is a rambling pointless post because I really don't know what else to say... except, Oh dear.

P.S. - I know I've been a bit slack about blog posts as of late, but if you'd like to keep up on my NaNoWriMo journey, I've created a Tumblr just for that purpose. Check it out @ The NaNo Diaries.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

in which i am discouraged & brain dead

Sunday, November 06, 2011 5
in which i am discouraged & brain dead
ok, so i'll be honest.

despite all my pep talks about NaNoWriMo, and how awesome it was going to be, and how much we'll have fun...

i am burning out.

it's the end of week 1 and i'm wondering if we'll ever get done. if i'll ever have a real, true, cohesive novel in my hands by the end of this month.

i probably won't.

and that's what frustrates me.

yes, i'll have written a novel. i'll have written 50,000 words. but then i have to EDIT. *cue scary music*

can you see why i'm beginning to freak out now?

not only that, but my outline is falling apart. i don't know what i'm doing or what my characters are going to do next. i think i need to poke them with a cattle prong, but the only thing that would work to do so is scheduled for chapter 7, not chapter 5. what am i going to do for 2 chapters until then?

sigh.

okay, i know that you NaNo'ers are probably feeling the same way. so be honest. are you burnt out yet? what's the hardest part of NaNo so far? and are all your perfect plans turning out less-than-perfect?

yeah, mine too.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

remember to breathe

Tuesday, November 01, 2011 4
remember to breathe
Hello, WriMos (aka, those who are undertaking the NaNoWriMo adventure). How did your first day go?

Mine started out awfully. I hadn't slept well at all last night due to excitement and a bit of anxious anticipation. When I woke up, I began doubting my decision to ever undertake NaNo, and thus became very anxious - even more than I was when I woke up. I started my novel anyway, but it felt a bit lackadaisical, and my poor prologue suffered.

I took a break from writing to do school, chores, and live life. During this time I prayed. Hard. I still got the same sense: I am supposed to do NaNo. It's good for me. I need to write and abandon my inner editor. Or better yet, shove my inner editor into a closet. Either one.

God basically reminded me that if he told me to do this, He'll give me the strength to follow through. I need to remember why I write in the first place. Remember that this is for fun. And best of all, remember to breathe.

Guys, we can do this. Just remember to take some time off. Try to forget about your novel for at least a little while. Spend some time with your family. Watch a movie. Play a video game. Read a book.

And best of all, remember to breathe.


Letters from the NaNo home front: After my initial breakdown, I started chapter one. Getting into my main character Riah's perspective really helped the story flow, and I'm ending the day with 5,000 words, though it took me a while to get there - I've been writing all day! :P What's your current wordcount?

Monday, October 31, 2011

almost there, and i can't wait

Monday, October 31, 2011 3
almost there, and i can't wait
I'm starting to feel the anticipation more than ever for NaNoWriMo. It's going to start tonight, at midnight, and I'm excited. The jury is still out over whether I'll stay up till midnight or wake up early to write. [I'm not sure which method of losing sleep would work better.] Regardless, I can't wait to start.

I've outlined all the way up to chapter 26, and after that I only have a vague idea about what happens.

Crazy, eh? Yeah, I get that a lot.

I can't wait for...

...the chats with friends.
...the writing, of course.
...delving into the plot of my fantasy novel.
...getting to eat, breathe, and sleep my novel for the next 30 days.
...absolute insanity.

Oh, and by the way, after this, my posts may not be as coherent as usual. My brain juices will be focused on NaNo, and I'm embracing the crazy. I'm embracing the challenge... and the adventure. In other words...

I can't wait.

What are you looking forward to about NaNo? [Or if you're not doing NaNo, what are you looking forward to about November?]

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dear Writer

Friday, October 28, 2011 4
Dear Writer

Dear You,

Yes, I'm talking to you: the hopeful writer. You are so brave to be forging new ideas and thoughts. And yet you're cowering behind your computer screen, afraid to write one word lest it be imperfect.

You think your novel's not good enough?

Think again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Outlining: In Which I Hit A Wall

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 7
Outlining: In Which I Hit A Wall
A few days ago I was rejoicing because of a new growth in my writing journey. Originally, I had resigned myself to being nothing but a seat-of-the-pants writer for the rest of my life. No planning involved.

NaNo has compelled me to plan. And as such, I'd discovered a new love of outlining.

This new love has been somewhat tainted by the fact that I have hit a wall.

I'm sure you can relate. You're coasting along, loving how your plotting is going, and then suddenly a wall looms up in the path ahead of you, bigger than anything you've ever seen.

You can't go around it. You can't go through it. The only direction to go is... over.

The problem is, you don't know how to get over it.

The wall that I've hit is something you're very familiar with, I'm sure. It's called a villain.

My plot is turning out amazing so far... except for one thing: it's boring. It needs conflict; someone that stands directly in the goal of the main hero. I'm aware of my hero's goals. I'm just not sure how my villain can prevent them. Or really, who is my villain anyway?

Part of the problem may stem from the fact that I'm trying to be original. And the fact is, there are no original ideas - only original ways of writing them.

However, I'm having trouble taking this to heart.

I have a few ideas for my villain, but they're elusive. As soon as I think I've nailed something down, I end up rejecting the idea because of one reason or another. My problem? I think I'm being too perfectionistic, sadly. It's one of my weaknesses as a writer. I want everything to be just right. I want my story to be good enough so that I don't have to edit it later.

Ha!

Moving on.

Then again, part of the problem might be that this is my second day without a shower. We're trying to fix our hot water heater, and I think it's getting to my head. My hair is a literal mess. Time to find a hat, I suppose.

Anyway, I want to hear from you: what are your villains like? Maybe it'll get my brain juices going. Or maybe, it'll just help me to see that maybe writing a villain isn't too hard after all. 

Oh, and are you hitting any walls yet? Perhaps your wall looks a little something like this?


Yeah... me too.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

different, yet the same

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 2
different, yet the same
I'm not a pastor's daughter by any means, but sometimes I wonder if the title couldn't be applied informally. I can't remember a time when my parents weren't reaching out to someone in need. I admire my parents. They do their best to completely open themselves up to God's plan, whatever it may be. They're not perfect, but they don't have to be. The thing about surrender is that God sometimes turns it into His wildest, greatest plans.

Along the way, God drops people into our lap. They need us to speak into their lives in different ways, and it surprises me that we often need them, too.

My heart hurts for these people. Our friends. Broken families. Redeemed situations.

I'm learning that life... isn't perfect. If it was, we wouldn't need heaven. We wouldn't need a hero.

We wouldn't need Jesus.

Still, it hurts. The world hurts. Pain hurts. Life is hard.

We are broken.


And the sad part is, we all think we're alone. We feel isolated, and we've fallen into the trap of believing that no one could possibly understand how we feel. So we coldly trudge along, lost in our insecurities and struggles, traversing a lonely, rocky path that we never would have chosen for ourselves. We believe we are alone.

We are wrong. We are never alone.

'Cuz we could never find our way back home with broken hearts
So love has come to meet us where we are."
- Sing, Josh Wilson

I was pleasantly surprised this week to find out that many people go through the same things I do. Insecurity, depression, fear. This is all a part of being human, traversing this road we call life.

And it's going to be okay.

He is coming soon, He is coming soon
He will take his bride,
He will make her new
He is coming soon, He is coming soon
To carry us home."
-The Saints, Josh Wilson

We are uniquely different, yet the same. Same struggles. Same pain. Same Savior.

We are broken, tossed by the winds. We are bruised, battered, and bleeding. We are beautifully made. We are blessed.

We are different, yet the same.

And we are His.

Monday, October 24, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Are You Freaking Out Yet?

Monday, October 24, 2011 1
NaNoWriMo: Are You Freaking Out Yet?

Every morning this week I've been greeted by a slew of posts about NaNoWriMo on my dashboard. It's thrilling, to be sure.

This is NaNoWriMo, people. It's happening in 7 days.

Seven days?!

I must be crazy.

Oh wait, NaNo is made of crazy.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fantasy, Writer's Doubt, and Inspiration

Sunday, October 23, 2011 3
Fantasy, Writer's Doubt, and Inspiration
I've gone through a dry period in my writing lately when it comes to writing fantasy. I don't think I've written fantasy for the past couple of years. Looking back, I wonder why on earth I didn't.

Reese's Pieces was my first novel I finished, but it is certainly not fantasy. It contained a girl, coffee, her family, friends, and life. No swords or castles, definitely. (Also, I need to work on finding a better title for it. :P)

Before that, I had another work-in-progress. When I was 12, I started writing Talryn's Tale and continued it for at least 2 years until I hit a road block. Sadly, I stopped. I still have it in its entirety, but something has been stopping me from writing it. I'm not sure why.

Honestly, I think I didn't write fantasy because I started to doubt myself and my writing. I decided that my writing wasn't good enough to compare to C.S. Lewis or Tolkien. (Yeah, comparing a first draft to a masterpiece that has been edited and published is not a good idea.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Blog World, Meet My NaNo Novel

Friday, October 21, 2011 3
Blog World, Meet My NaNo Novel

I can officially say without a doubt, that this is my favorite Beautiful People round ever, as evidenced by the fact that I couldn't wait to put this post up. I've enjoyed reading about all your novels, and I'm amazed by how creative we all are! Writers, I think you all deserve a high-five. :)

As for me, here is my contribution to this month's edition of Beautiful People.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beautiful People - NaNoWriMo Edition

Thursday, October 20, 2011 2
Beautiful People - NaNoWriMo Edition

Hello, writers! Welcome to November's edition of Beautiful People, which is geared around NaNoWriMo. Can you believe we'll be breaking out our Word documents, pencils, and coffee in eleven days? Neither can I. Hopefully, this Beautiful People edition will make you even more excited about it than you were before.

(For those who don't know what Beautiful People is, check out this post, and also the FAQ.)

If you're not doing NaNo, then you can still participate! You can either answer the following questions about your current novel. Or, there is another option, if you are ready for a challenge.

NaNoers, listen up too. We'd like to challenge all of you to... well, a challenge. As evidenced by this blog thing, asking questions about your characters helps you get to know them. So, if you need to figure out what goes on inside your character's brain, we have a treasury of questions. This is a complete archive of all the BP questions, from March until now, and we'd like to challenge you to answer them about your main character this month. All of them.

Are you feeling brave? I hope so. ;) Whether you do it on your blog or just for yourself, we hope it'll help you get a better grasp of the way your main character's mind works. This is an optional challenge, but if you're feeling up to it, click HERE to go to the official BP archives.

However, if you're just looking to answer ten questions like you normally do, then be my guest. Here is this month's round, courtesy of Georgie and I. ;)

  1. Sum up your novel in five words or less.
  2. Novel title?
  3. Sum up your main character(s) in one word each.
  4. Advice for newbies in three words?
  5. Tell us about your secondary characters, how do they affect the story?
  6. Do you plan to stay up till midnight on the 31st?
  7. How many years have you done NaNo?
  8. What came first, characters, or plot idea?
  9. How much prep do you do before November?
  10. Now be honest, how do you really feel about NaNo?

Don't forget to sign the linky, and have fun! :)




P.S. - thanks to all who voted on the poll, telling me what you think about my design. 12 people (66%) LOVED it, and 6 people (33%) liked the other template better. I appreciated your feedback, and maybe my old design will make a reappearance in the near future. ;)

I have a new poll up, so do check it out. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

fearless, pt. 2

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 0
fearless, pt. 2

{follow-up to this post.}

I've been realizing something since my post about being fearless. We don't need to be fearless as much as we need to choose not to fear. There's a difference, believe it or not. We will still have fears, but it matters what we choose to do with them. Choosing not to be fearful is vital.

And it's also very, very hard.

Bravery is a lost art, it seems. It's hard to be courageous. Fear pushes its way in, suffocating us. Paralyzing us. It makes us too afraid to do anything, much less fulfill God's plan for us. We're bound up in ropes of insecurity, anxiety, panic... and fear.

There seems to be no way out. But there is. It's called the Truth.

It's not that obvious, really. The easy way out is to keep struggling, trying to find a way out on our own. But we can't make it out on our own. We need help. We need Jesus. He is the Truth.

You'd be amazed how free I feel when I speak truth to the lies that bind me. I am a redeemed child of God. I am free. I am beautiful. I am loved. I have a hope and a future. I am His.

We have a choice to make. It's a constant, mental decision. Everyday... every waking moment. Will we fear, or will we trust? Will we believe God's words, or Satan's lies? Because that's all they are. Lies.

I can't do this on my own. I need Jesus. I need the Truth.

{I know this post could be considered a bit redundant, but it's something I needed to say, more for my sake than anyone else's. Thanks for reading! :) }


P. S. - check back tomorrow for our NaNoWriMo edition of Beautiful People! :D

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ordinary Heroes

Sunday, October 16, 2011 3
Ordinary Heroes
It's midnight, and I just got done watching the movie Unstoppable. Basically, it's about a train... that is unstoppable. It was my first real suspense movie.

It's midnight, and I should be sleeping, but I'm too excited to sleep. There's something about the adrenaline rush; the feeling you get when you see ordinary people do heroic things. I want to write something just as amazing, a story about someone who does something heroic.

You get all stressed over the outcome. Will they win? Will they lose? Who will live? Who will die?

And then the end comes. And you are completely, utterly satisfied.

Ordinary people doing heroic things. That's the kind of person I want to be.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

In Which I Copy & Paste... A Lot

Thursday, October 13, 2011 1
In Which I Copy & Paste... A Lot
If you use a blog reader, you may be confused with all these new/old posts appearing from 2006. No worries; you haven't gone back in time - I've just been moving over old blog posts to my blog.

As some of you may know, I started out blogging at an old site called Homeschoolblogger. (You can find my original blog here.) Since then, I've hopped around to Wordpress, then to Blogger, then to HSB, then back to Blogger again - and I'm here to stay. So I'll be moving over all my old posts, and you can find them under the label HSB.

Just be forewarned: I use exclamation points. A lot!!!!!!!!!

Oi. It must be getting to my brain.

Anyway, I'm thankful for my blogging journey; the ups and downs. I've loved chronicling my life like this, and I've laughed several times reading notes from my 10-year-old self! It's these kind of things that make blogging worth it, and I'm thankful.

What about you? What makes blogging worth it?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Five Reasons Why I Love NaNoWriMo

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 8
Five Reasons Why I Love NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. The idea is simple: write a novel in 30 days. Doing it, however, is another matter entirely.

Yet in spite of the challenge, I enjoy it, and here are five reasons why.

  1. Word wars. Seriously, is there anything greater? The concept is that you'll be forced to battle against a friend (or two... or three) to see who can write the most words in a set amount of time. And let me tell ya - you will be compelled to just write. I don't think there's anything more crazy. Or more fun.
  2. Writing. Well, NaNoWriMo is about writing, and guess what? By the time November is over, you will have written a novel. And that's a good thing.
  3. Friendship. There's something about writing a novel in 30 days that encourages camaraderie. Or insanity. Or both.
  4. Insanity. That seems like a good one to mention. Take it from the girl who wrote 25k in 5 days - it's insane. But it's also possible. And by the time you're done writing, you will feel accomplished. Be amazed at what you've done... and try not to think about how bad your novel actually is.
  5. Skills. Yes, NaNo is fun, but it also teaches you something. It teaches you how to finish what you start. It teaches you how to let go and just write. Most of all, it teaches you how fun writing can be... and how vital sleep really is.

Yes, NaNo is hard, and yes, you will write absolute rubbish. But that's the point of it. You can't be a writer unless you write.

So write.

And make us all a pot of coffee while you're at it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

to be fearless

Monday, October 10, 2011 7
to be fearless
I have some friends that really like Taylor Swift. And then some of my other friends aren't really fond of her music.

As for me, I remain kind of indifferent. I don't listen to country music a whole lot, but there are a couple songs or singers that catch my attention. (Josh Turner would be one example of this.)

I've listened to a little bit of Taylor's stuff and actually really liked it. My favorites are Love Story and You Belong With Me - because who doesn't love two songs about Romeo and Juliet, cheerleaders, and nerds?

But I digress. Whether you like Taylor Swift's music or not, I think she has gotten one thing completely right.

Fearless.

What comes to mind when you read that word? Taylor? That's right, it's one of her albums. I think it's one of the best album titles I've ever heard. Just that one word evokes so many vivid images.

Falling off a cliff into the unknown.
Diving deep into the lakes of Elyon.
Living life in vivid, passionate brushstrokes, engulfing your empty canvas in bright colors.
Throwing off the chains of sin and Satan and legalism... to be free.

Freedom.

Could it be that the words fearless and freedom are synonymous?

And then there is the opposite: Fear. It binds us - in so many ways and on so many levels. It shrouds our world in darkness, blinding us. It blinds and it binds. It leaves us believing there is no way out.

But the truth shall set you free...


Truth. It breaks down the walls and the lies. Fear is nothing but a lie. Satan wants us to get wrapped up in fear because when we fear, we are useless. We are trapped in our own walls of anxiety, unable to break down the door.

And then, there was light...


Jesus.
The way, the truth, and the life. He did not come to give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and a sound mind.

WHY are we so afraid? Afraid of what people think of us. Afraid of what God thinks of us. Afraid of His plan. Afraid that He's not strong enough. (Believe me, I'm preaching to the choir.)

Life is not about rules, fear, regulations, or laws. It's about Jesus.
Sweet Jesus.
He empowers us to be free.
With him, we can do all things...

Plunge off that cliff, wherever He's leading us.
Dive deep.
Paint from the depths of our soul.
Throw off the chains.
Be free.

To be free is my greatest wish.

Because to be free is to be fearless.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beautiful People: Torin

Tuesday, October 04, 2011 1
Beautiful People: Torin

So, it's time for Beautiful People, and this time I'm not posting it way late. Last time around, I accidentally posted my BP post a day before the next month's version came out. Oops.

Ahem. Carrying on.

This character is in the plot that will tentatively be my NaNo plot. His name... is Torin.

1. Do they have any habits, annoying or otherwise?
Torin has a very roguish, rebellious personality. So, depending on your view of such characters, he could be endearing. On the other hand, certain habits of his will be annoying whether they're meant to be or not. In fact, you're apt to be annoyed with Torin himself.

However, he does have a few habits in particular that can definitely be classified as annoying. The biggest one is cracking his knuckles. The second is the way he manages to defy authority in pretty much everything, and is very willing to debate his point of view. You could see the latter as both a strength and a weakness, I suppose.

2. What is their backstory and how does it affect them now?
This is all very tentative information, but here goes.

Have I mentioned how hard it is to write backstory?

Sigh.

About an hour later, after procrastinating, writing a bit, and then playing Clue, I have written out a full paragraph. The best part is, BP has helped me come up with a backstory... and a plot! Hooray!

So here is the short version of the story... and the most vague.
The King of {Insert The Name Of Their Country Here} had a brother, and Torin is the son of that brother. Shortly after Torin was born, his parents mysteriously disappeared, and were never seen again. The cause behind this is unknown, but Torin believes that the King was responsible for this somehow and had his parents killed on purpose. Because of this, he has always resented his adoptive father. He tries not to show it, however, because he's convinced that he'll inherit the throne.

3. How do they show love?
Love? Ha!

Just kidding.

Believe it or not, there are a select few people that Torin loves. However, he's not very good at showing it... but he tries.

If Torin loves you, he will most likely:
A: Respect you. Mostly.
B: Give you flowers... maybe. If he can find them. And if you appreciate flowers. Preferably if you're a girl. Like his sister-formerly-cousin, Chasiel. Okay, okay. He only gives flowers to her.
C: Smile. Possibly. If he feels like it.

4. How competitive are they?
Let's just say it's not a pretty picture at all when Torin loses.

5. What do they think about when nothing else is going on?
He's always wondered what happens when people die, or if there's an afterlife - this is largely brought on by wondering about his parents and what really happened to them. He thinks about sword-fighting, one of his favorite things. He also ponders what will be for dinner that night, and whether Chasiel will force him to take a bath.

6. Do they have an accent?
Depends. Do you?

I didn't think so.

He either has a British accent or an American one. The verdict is still undecided.

7. What is their station in life?
He is a prince, unfortunately, and he resents it and loves it all at the same time.

8. What do others expect from them?
His father expects him to behave. The world expects him to behave in a princely fashion. And Chasiel expects him to change his attitude and keep his room clean.

9. Where were they born, and when?
He was born in a {City Whose Name Is Yet To Be Determined} in a {Nameless Country} in a certain year that isn't set in stone yet. Isn't that so amazingly clear?

10. How do they feel about people in general?
He likes them. Kinda. If you like him, then at least he'll try to be civil to you.
...Maybe.

P.S. - if you'd like to join Beautiful People and haven't yet, click here for our latest round of questions!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Blessed

Monday, October 03, 2011 4
Blessed
"Don't give up! God is still in the business of blessing His children."
-Sandra Byrd
It's been one of those weeks.

The ironic part is that it's barely even started yet. So, I guess I should just say it's been a harder day. Parts of it were amazing, and parts of it were hard. But I guess that's life, eh?

I really don't want to seem like I'm complaining - I'm just being honest. Life is hard... but it's also good.

In the midst of my morning routine, I checked my email and saw this article sent to me by my grandma. The quote really struck me. God is still in the business of blessing His children.

No, life is not perfect. Yes, life is hard.

But God loves His children. And even better than that, He loves blessing them.

He loves blessing us. In everything we do. Sometimes the blessings are little ones that we don't even see. Sometimes they're big ones. But all the while, He is blessing us.

It makes me excited to see how He blesses me. I don't know when He will, or how he will. But I do know one thing: He will.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! -Matthew 7:11

So, as hard as it is, I'm trying to be thankful for the good... and yes, even for the bad. As one of my dear friends says, "Glory in the struggles. We wouldn't grow without them." This is something I'm still working on. ;)

Could it be that our lives would be easier if we saw our struggles as a blessing?

It's funny how you find you enjoy your life when you're happy to be alive.
-Relient K

Friday, September 30, 2011

i don't need a telescope

Friday, September 30, 2011 1
i don't need a telescope
ever since i posted my last post, i've been struggling to write. go figure, eh? writing suddenly became challenging for me, and i'm wondering if i'm even ready to write this story yet. so i've been dabbling in other writings, and working on other things, and working on high school biology. the last one in and of itself has been challenging.

as of tomorrow, it's a month until nanowrimo. i'm still trying to figure out what i'm going to write. oh dear. we'll see how this goes.

life has been so busy. there are so many good blogposts i want to write; inspiring blog posts that encourage my creative side. i have all these ideas while i'm trying to fall asleep, and then when i wake up i don't remember them. so this blog post, i hope, will make up for the lack of blog posts. sometimes i just have to let it go, write in lowercase, and ramble.

my laptop also broke again, after just getting it back from the repair shop. apparently the first repair wasn't successful, so back to the computer shop it went. this means i do not have access to my adobe photoshop, and my creative-graphics side is suffering. this is rather frustrating, but at least i haven't been wasting time making avatars when i could be doing other things. it's a win-win situation... i guess. :p

hey, look - it's wall-e!
i've been anxious lately, over trivial things, and trying not to be. unfortunately, it doesn't work to try not to be anxious. i think i'm mostly over it now. ha... emphasis on the word mostly. still, i'm learning that i don't need to be afraid. i don't need to be afraid of making the wrong choices, or of failing. i don't need to be afraid of... well, anything.

however, putting this into practice is easier said than done.
i don't need a telescope to see that there's hope and that makes me feel brave. -owl city
i've been wondering what would happen in the blog-world if we dropped our masks and posted from our heart. i guess this is what i'm trying to do right now. it kind of helps when i can't even think straight. :P chronic pain can do that to a person. someday, i'll write a post about headaches and chronic pain and all that comes with it. but for now, i'm in too much pain. haha, isn't that so ironic?

note to self: headbanging is not a good activity to engage in when you already suffer from headaches. i have a really bad headache now, unfortunately.

that is all.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bottles

Friday, September 23, 2011 5
Bottles
You've heard about Avary. Probably more than you've ever wanted to. She's the one who started Beautiful People, because you asked me questions about her. And slowly, she started to become a story.

 I've tried multiple times to start this story, but every time it didn't feel right. Until tonight.

 Tonight, inspiration hit in the form of 965 words. Almost 2 years ago, it hit in the form of a dream. And tonight, I started my novel.

I started writing about bottles, and the words came from there. Avary slowly became a reality, and her story is soon to follow.

I'm feeling both trepidation and excitement. I've never began a project this big. This is something I've spent blood, sweat, and tears over.

And now it's become a reality.

I'm not sure where this novel will take me or what will happen. But I'm excited.

I'll spare you a remark about how this is just the "first step in the journey" or something like that. Instead, I'm just going to ask if you could pray for me. I want God to guide this story, and I think He already is.

It's going to be interesting, but worth it. I can't wait to send my message in a bottle.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Beautiful People - September

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 3
Beautiful People - September
As Georgie said in her BP post, I feel like I just did Beautiful People.


Oh wait... I did. :P

If you don't know what Beautiful People is, I'd highly suggest looking at this post. You're welcome to join us at any time and use whichever edition of questions you'd like. Also, if you have any ideas for questions we could use in the future, feel free to comment on either Georgie's or my post.

And here are this month's questions! Thanks to MeganEmma for submitting a question to this round. :)


1. Do they have any habits, annoying or otherwise? 
2. What is their backstory and how does it affect them now? 
3. How do they show love? 
4. How competitive are they? 
5. What do they think about when nothing else is going on? 
6. Do they have an accent? 
7. What is their station in life? 
8. What do others expect from them? 
9. Where were they born, and when? 
10. How do they feel about people in general?



Don't forget to sign the linky below, and have fun!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Beautiful People: Gesparo

Monday, September 19, 2011 0
Beautiful People: Gesparo

I apologize for the delay in this post! I've been under the weather - literally - with a head cold and some achiness, plus good ol' procrastination.

Anyway, today I'd like to introduce the villain of Avary's story. His name is Gesparo, and he's my first "real" villain. Prepare to be amazed.
  1. What is their biggest accomplishment? His biggest accomplishment is overcoming the challenges of his childhood, namely being abandoned by his mother, and becoming the person he is today. Oh, and getting out of jail was a plus, too.
  2. What is one of their strongest childhood memories? He has lots. Gesparo's childhood was easily the hardest part of his life, and the most memorable. He was abandoned on the streets by his mother when he was seven, and he spent his time drifting from planet to planet, in an empty effort to find his true home.
  3. What is their favorite food? Escargot. (And no, I've never eaten it.)
  4. Do they believe in love at first sight? Gespardo? Ha! No. He doesn't believe in love at all... at least, that's what he'd like you to believe.
  5. What kind of home do they live in? A cave! Dark, dim, and dank. It's his evil LAIR. ... Okay, that's not true. He lives in an average-size house, something that you'd never suspect was hiding the greatest villain of the century.
  6. What do they like to wear? Clothes.
  7. What would they do if they discovered they were dying? He'd probably give up his current plan and turn to a plan that was faster and more effective. Like, explosives. That way he'd be able to take revenge on the world before he died.
  8. What kind of holidays, or traditions do they celebrate? His birthday. Other than that, not much.
  9. What do your other characters have to say about them? Well, considering he's the villain, the other characters aren't so fond of him... except for one person. Brian has actually looked past all the grime and evilness on the outside and seen the good part of Gesparo: his inner child.
  10. If they could change one thing in their world, what would it be? He would make it easier to control the things that happen to him, like pain and struggles. In fact, he'd eliminate them all together. Either that, or make the world suffer instead of him. Sounds like a happy guy, eh?
If you would like to participate this month's Beautiful People, click here! September's BP post will becoming up really soon. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

what is grace?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 2
what is grace?
Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect? (No great surprise, right?) And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren't perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin? The accusation is frivolous. If I was "trying to be good," I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan.

What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.


Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

--Galatians 2:17-21