Starrellian Celebration

You may wonder at the title of this post, since I’m afraid I haven’t done much talking around here about my Starrellian Saga, the ten-book epic fantasy series I’ve been working on, on and off, since I first began to write, set in the Land of Starrellia. But today seemed a good day to revisit it.

Today, July 20, is a special day. It is the birthday of a character of mine.

Faron is turning 5 years old today.

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(I know I’ve used this picture for Trillum, and it actually makes me think a tiny bit of Ryan too, but it’s also the closest to anything Faron-like I’ve found — minus pointy-ears — so I’m using it again)

…All right, technically, he’s 17 when we meet him in the first book.

I mean that his character is 5 years old. Because on July 20, 2010, is when I first “met” him in my mind and he came into existence as a character. This is important, and I’ll tell you why.

I’ve before told the story of when I became serious about my writing in 2007, after a few early years of aimless scribbling on different tales. In 2008 I finished my first novel. But it was June of 2010 that I first began keeping a log of my writing.

I’ve been keeping that log ever since — noting down all of the writing or writing-related stuff I’ve done, each day, for the last 5 years and a bit. Wow. That’s kind of an amazing thought for me to realize… (My records also claim I’ve written over 580,000 words since beginning to record such things… But I digress.)

I consider my beginning of keeping a log, in 2010, to be the next step in my writing years, following my decision in ’07 to be a writer.

In 2012, I met Tare and started writing The Owl of Kedran’s Wood, and other tales of Kedran’s Wood have been following it, along with yet other unrelated stories that have cropped up since doing my first NaNo in 2010. So I haven’t talked much about Starrellia, as I said, what with Tare and others having taken over a few years back.

But there was a time, before Tare, and after the beginning of my log-keeping practices, that I was very absorbed with my Starrellian Saga (a time that I hope will come again).

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Starrellia and all of its tales were my original stories.

Most of them remain unwritten, and those that are will require a major re-haul. But from my earliest years of writing, Starrellia has always been there.

What has become the first book in the series, Grey Betrayal, was having a problem around when I started my logs. The main character, Ryan, a mysterious young lad with silver hair and eyes, was too different of a character for me to have as the primary Point of View character.

I knew I needed someone else, someone more ordinary and relatable, to filter Ryan’s adventures through the eyes of, but I was stuck as to who that character might be, especially since I had far too many characters in my tales already, and did not want to spend a lot of time trying to come up with another.

Enter July 20, 2010.

At the time, I was reading a book on writing, called “Anybody Can Write” by Roberta
Jean Bryant. I honestly don’t remember much about the book now, but there was a particular exercise that I read in it that caught my attention. It was to write stream-of-consciousness from the Point of View of the paper you’re writing on, and then of the pen, using first-person. I didn’t want to do that in particular, but I thought — wait. I could use this for a character.

Yes, those were early days. I was used to writing in my own way and not trying new things. You’re probably all laughing at me. But it was an epiphany moment for me, and as those thoughts of a character for the reader to view Ryan through had been swirling, my thoughts took shape and solidified.

I took a piece of paper (yes, I wrote on paper back then; I know, I’m ancient; don’t laugh) and I became this new character who introduced himself in my head at that moment. His name was Faron, and he spent 45 minutes writing out his thoughts through my hand and my pen, and I suddenly knew his mind deeper than any characters I’d written before then.

And just like that, I had my new main POV character for the first Starrellian book.

Faron would be the Watson to my Ryan’s Holmes.

I consider that day to be the beginning of the new era of my Starrellian writing. Everything before that is old and distant. Everything after that, all the solidifying and expanding of the plots I’ve done since, is post-Faron. Somehow, he’s the line dividing past from now.

So that day — this day — July 20, Faron’s birthday, is the beginning of Starrellia-in-earnest. …As I thought of it, until recently.

Because I realized that with this long time stepping away from Starrellia — my heart and my home — in order to write the stories of Tare (my favorite character) and the Chess Club (my dearest friends), I’ve stepped away long enough that instead of becoming estranged . . .

. . . I have gained a new perspective.

I have discovered that I can now look at Starrellia, its lands, its tales, its characters, with new eyes, and I see everything fresh and ready to be rediscovered and made new.

I will return to it. That time is not yet, for I hope to finish some of my current tales first — stories that I love dearly as well, and which demand that I hear them out and set their words on paper. But then — then, I will go back.

I hope for a renewal, a returning, when I will once again journey back to the things I once knew, the hills and forests and mountains and seas, the castles and villages and caves, the cloaks and swords and harp music, the wild clans of talking bears, the Filanu and all their mysteries, the Seven and their long quest to protect the kingdoms, the exiled kings and lost princes, the villains who prowl at large and seek to dominate the free peoples of the land, the love and loss and victory and adventure, and all that is wild and adventurous and yet all at once comforting and at home, as only a world of fantasy can give.

And there I will meet long-lost friends, like Faron himself (happy birthday, m’lad! *tousles his hair fondly*), and Ryan the Silent One, and Prince Duncan, Bithoa the Outlaw, Varentle Kingson, Andrew, Ethan, Princess Atria, Eleanor, Oflagaro, Darksky the Bear, David and Donavin, Calendula, and all the rest, and we will travel on our quests through Starrellia and its surrounding lands.

And at night we will enjoy our friendship and sit or dance around a burning fire of red flickering flames, like a beacon of hope amid darkness, in a glade under the stars in the familiar forests of my dear Land of Starrellia.

Invisible Barrier Follow-up: Teague & Meridian

Since my random writing-prompt snippet Invisible Barrier (that I’ve since decided is in some form going to make it into my as-of-yet-unstarted novel The Other Half of Everything) was received with such surprising enthusiasm, I thought I should share what I’ve written as a sort of follow-up.

I know the styles / “feels” of the two snippets feel kind of different, which I might have to work on, I don’t know… And some stuff clearly happened between the two but I don’t know what exactly yet because I don’t have plots figured out. But at least you can see that the guy wasn’t stuck in the invisible barrier forever! 😉

And you get a longer glimpse of Teague and Meridian. Because we all need some lighthearted humor in our lives.

I hope you’ll enjoy this snatch of The Other Half of Everything!

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Excerpt from The Other Half of Everything

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Meridian

The invisible nothing vanished—I know that sounds odd but it’s what happened—and Teague flickered into sight. For an instant I could see how he must have been slumped half sitting, half leaning against the invisible side of the barrier. But now it was gone and was no longer holding him up.

Teague slumped sideways into the wet grass.

I ran to him and dropped to my knees beside his limp form, ignoring the damp.

“Teague!” I said.

His eyes were closed and I wasn’t sure if he was breathing, but at the sound of my voice he stirred. I sat and pulled his head into my lap, looking down into his face. His breath began to come evenly.

“Teague,” I whispered. “Wake up at once, do you hear? This is not the proper time for taking a nap.”

“Is it ever?” he murmured. His eyes opened and looked up at me. They focused. A slow smile appeared on his face like a sunbeam in clouds. “Hello, Meridian,” he said.

“Hello you annoying author.” I was happier than I had any right to be, considering I was sitting in a very damp patch of grass in another world with a very out-of-it Teague not showing any sign of getting up or moving his head from my lap.

“Mmm.” Teague closed his eyes and breathed for awhile.

“What happened?” I asked him, meaning “how did you end up locked in an invisible enchanted prison-thing?”

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Teague

“I made a Wind Chaser angry.”

“And how on earth did you go about doing that?”

“Would you stop saying that—we’re not on Earth. And I don’t know, exactly.” Then he smiled a little. “It must have been my charming personality.” He coughed. And went on coughing for awhile until I became alarmed.

“Are you okay?”

“Of course. I’m just remembering how to breathe air again. There wasn’t any in there, you know.”

“Well I call that nasty! How did that happen?”

“There was air at first, naturally. I just used it up. Foolish of me, I know.” He coughed again. “Breathing is a bad habit of mine. It’s also impossible to break.”

“Believe me, its one of your few good habits.”

“Thank you. I didn’t know I had any.” He tried to get up. “The grass is wet,” he observed.

“Thanks for that, Mr. Obvious.”

He frowned a little. “Well. It is.”

“Did it work?” a voice called.

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Lulin

We both glanced over. Lulin was running across the field toward us, her short white hair flying up and down with the wind of her speed.

“Teague!” she said.

“I don’t know what ‘it’ is, but evidently it did,” Teague said as she came up. Then, “Hello, Lulin.”

Lulin looked down at him with a cheery smile. “Hello obnoxious descendant of the human race.”

“Same to you, sister of mine.” Teague sat up this time.

Lulin’s smile took a vacation. She dropped next to him and assaulted him with an enormous clinging hug. “Don’t you dare ever ever do that again,” her muffled voice said into his shoulder.

“Believe me, I have no intention of it.”

“Why do you never listen to my advice?” I said.

“I would if you had anything useful to offer,” Teague said.

“You mean if I said something you already planned to do,” I translated.

He smiled. “Exactly. By the way, Lulin, I was very much enjoying getting to breathe again and you’re kind of defeating that just now,” he added.

She let her tight hug go and pulled back.

“Thank you. Very considerate.”

“I learn from the best,” Lulin said with a mischievous grin, suddenly cheery again.

Teague laughed. “I know—I am.”

July Fourth, Chess Club Style

Well then. It’s July 4th, which means, of course, Independence Day!

*cue fireworks*

(Sorry, non-Americans who don’t get fireworks and ice cream… but I hope you have a lovely day all the same! ;))

Maybe think about celebrating Independence Day not just with fireworks and barbeque, but perhaps even reading the actual texts of the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution and Bill of Rights…! Novel thoughts, I know…

I also wish I was watching Beyond the Mask again… That movie was SO good! *flail*

Today I can’t help but post a snippet from The Owl of Kedran’s Wood, the first book in my Kedran’s Wood series, because the Chess Club celebrated the 4th of July in the story. …And I just realized it’s the only holiday I’ve ever written about. Weird.

Here we go!

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The week passed with surprising quietness as far as anything having to do with Tare and the Wildlings went, but was anything but quiet besides that. The Fourth of July arrived with a literal bang as the Chess Club celebrated Independence Day along with their families and the rest of the town.

A very overrated parade wound its brightly colored and blaring but cheerful way through town. It was really much too hot to sit around and watch it, but everyone did anyway, even though the line of vehicles, people, and occasional horses seemed to last all day.

Most of the Chess Club members had dared each other to enter the parade itself, but despite that, no one had ended up doing it.

Ice cream flowed rather more freely than the local river did, and the tantalizing aroma and sizzle of grilling hamburgers filled many back yards, parties flourishing everywhere.
The Chess Club also took the opportunity of an impromptu party of their own at Ivy’s house to finish off the famed disaster cake of the Epic Cake-Bakers, and consumed more of what Ivy claimed was the best lemonade to be found for miles.

The snap and bang of firecrackers filled the air sporadically all day long, and toward evening everyone gathered to watch the firework display from the grandstands of the local football field. The deafening noise, general hum of happiness and excitement from the crowd, and the smell of leftover smoke filled the air, while the brilliant and beautiful fireworks themselves lit the sky in dazzling flashes of colored light.

“They’re not nearly as good as Gandalf’s fireworks,” Baz complained. But he had to admit they were okay nonetheless, and that it was still fun.

“I’m trying to imagine Tare having fun,” Lavender remarked over the noise. She giggled. “It’s not working.”

“I should think not,” Baz said with a laugh.

Adrian put in dryly, “I bet he doesn’t understand people who have a good time listening to explosions.”

“Poor Tare,” Ivy said, also laughing. “He’s probably sitting at home reading or something, and subconsciously grabbing his guns whenever there’s a bang, thinking he’s under attack.”

After the public firework display, groups split off and headed variously home to wrap up the night with fireworks of their own, or in some cases watching neighbors or friends setting them off, and ate still more ice cream, getting very sticky in the dark because they couldn’t see the mess they were causing.

And when all was over, everyone finally went to bed far later than was good for them, and didn’t care a bit.

***

Happy Independence Day!

And here, have some gorgeous soundtrack music because I’m thinking of it. (Don’t let Mel Gibson running at the screen with a flag scare you. It’s just music with a picture in the background. XD)

Beautiful People: Parental Edition (Tare)

It’s time for Beautiful People again! Which is a monthly blog linkup, hosted by Sky at Further Up and Further In and Cait at Paper Fury, with lists of questions to help writers get to know their characters better!

(…Y’know, just in case you have been living under a rock and haven’t heard about it. 😉 )

I also hear it’s kind of its anniversary so YAY!

Anyways it’s awesome and you should totally join in the fun, so go click this beautiful picture (see what I did there?) and see the other posts and link up with a post of your own if you should so choose! (Hint: you totally should!)

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This month’s Beautiful People theme is the Parental Unit. Because they are often sorely neglected in YA fiction — sad, but true — due to being quite the nuisance for getting in the way of our young darling protagonists going off on horrendously dangerous quests, and besides that we evil writers tend to mooostly have them dead or killed off for convenience’s sake. Ahem. But parents in fiction, specifically YA, can be awesome when done awesomely! …I just am not that great at it. >.<

But since I’ve been messing about recently with an idea for a prequel to my Kedran’s Wood series, I thought I’d try doing Tare’s parents for this. They actually fall into the usual category for the series in general, I’m afraid (*cough*dead*cough*) but I want to explore them a bit in case they make appearances, however brief, in a prequel.

So. On with the party!

Let’s see if I can be sneaky enough to manage this without descending into complete spoiler territory! 😉 *rubs hands together with maniacal laughter and an evil grin*

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Tare

Questions

1. Do they know both their biological parents? Why/why not?

They’re both dead by now (yeaaah, sad, I know. I told you, we’re evil writers. >.>) but he knew both of them at one point. His father when he was very young, and his mother then, and when she found him again… It’s not like he knew her a very long time after that, but yes, he did know them.

2. Have they inherited any physical resemblances from their parents?

His black hair is from his father, but I think you can see a resemblance to both his father and mother in his face. His father was more of a broad-shouldered type, and I think Tare inherited his mother’s slighter build. They both had similar bright blue eyes too, and though Tare’s are darker now, he did originally inherit his eye color from both.

3. What’s their parental figure(s) dress style? Add pictures if you like!

His father’s was much the same as his own — a lot of dark, and a black leather jacket. In fact, Tare at one point wore the jacket that had once been his father’s, which his mother had saved for him. Tare’s mother wore simple but elegant dresses of different varieties.

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(Some resemblance to Tare’s father and mother…)

4. Do they share any personality traits with their parental figures? And which do they take after most?

Both of his parents were very strong minded people. Tare’s father was also very much of a lone-wolf type person who tried to help others and indirectly be a hero — not for heroism’s sake, but because someone needed to do it. That’s very much a trait of Tare’s. Tare’s mother knew exactly what she wanted and didn’t let anything pull her back, but also knew when to compromise for those she loved. But Tare mostly takes after his father, strong, silent, and out to do what he has to do.

5. Do they get on with their parental figure(s) or do they clash?

Not having known his father past a very young age… hard to say. I wouldn’t say he “got on” with his mother too well, being rather standoffish by the time she found him again, but I wouldn’t say they clashed, either.

6. If they had to describe their parental figure(s) in one word, what would it be?

His father: Strong.

His mother: Golden.

7. How has their parental figure(s) helped them most in their life?

The memory of his father’s strength keeps him strong often, and his mother’s independence but love and pulling him from a hard place in his life have shaped him somewhat as well.

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Tare

8. What was their biggest fight with their parental figure(s)?

He doesn’t remember any with his father, who was killed when he was quite young. With his mother, they had a fight about whether or not they would stay where she suggested they live. Tare was not big on the idea. Mostly, though, there wasn’t much in the way of argument.

9. Tracing back the family tree, what nationalities are in their ancestry?

A bunch of Irish on both sides, and I think some Italian from his father’s side and maybe some Russian from his mother’s side. And of course, Tare will occasionally say something about having a fairy in his background too, but pffft, who would believe him about that

10. What’s their favourite memory with their parental figure(s)?

A memory of his father throwing him in the air and laughing and catching him, when he might have been three or so. And when his mother found him.

“Tare . . . Tarragon,” she called after him.

He halted. Half turned. Then glanced back, wary.

“Do you know who I am?” her voice came soft on the cold wind down the alley.

His eyes looked deep into hers, wisps of her golden hair blowing around her face as she stood perfectly still some paces off, watching. Waiting.

Long moments passed.

His voice came at last, low, emotionless, with a simple statement.

“You’re my mother.”

~Son of Kedran’s Wood, KW 0.5

April Ishness

It is now the Merry Month of May! (Happy May, y’all!) Which means… Time for another round of Monthly Ishness!

…I have no idea why I call these things that, or if they are at all interesting, but I’ve become addicted to looking back at my month like this.

Anyways, I had a fabulous April — I finished up some projects and did a lot of reading and life was generally beyond tolerable, so yay!

Editing

I completed my editing project! Yay! I know I’ve mentioned it a few times — I was doing a proof-read/copy-edit of an AMAZING Christian fantasy novel called Silver Rose by lovely authoress Shantelle Mary Hannu. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. ❤

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This was one of my first more “official” editing jobs and I was so happy to get it finished, and it was an awesome experience. 🙂 I may be looking into doing some more proofreading/copy-editing type jobs in the future! Since I’m addicted to catching typos and making things sound better, but don’t consider myself good at content-editing, exactly, since I feel like each story is the AUTHOR’S story and aside from pointing out typos and inconsistencies/stuff that doesn’t work (and lots and lots of gushing about what I love), I’m just not a good critiquer. But the polishing aspect? I’m all there!

Anyways, it was great to work with an author and develop a system for editing and just gain some experience in the field of editing. So I’m quite excited about how it all turned out. 🙂

Writing

I was fairly laid-back about writing this month… I was focusing on finishing my editing job, and then I sort took off for awhile… And after that I was stuck, as I mentioned.

But I did manage to write 3,500 words in April, nonetheless. Snippets for The Secret of Kedran’s Wood and The Other Half of Everything… and started a new random short story.

I’m calling it Darkling Reflections and it’s a contemporary/mystery type of thing with a slight old-fashioned, elegant feel, which I’m 500 words into and should be writing right now instead of blogging… Hee.

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I know, I should know better than to start new stuff when I’m in the middle of so many already… But plot bunnies attack and sometimes you have to just go down that rabbit-trail with them!

Reading

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(My Goodreads Reading Challenge)

Okay, so four of them were rereads (Howl’s Moving Castle, and the first three Penderwick books, which I wanted to reread before reading the newly released one).

But I read 13 books in April…

As soon as I finished my editing, I dived right back into reading other books and… well, let’s just say I kind of went overboard… (My number-of-books-consumed-per-month is normally more in the 5-to-8 range.) But especially as I wasn’t doing as much writing, I just wanted to devour all the books!

The new reads ranged from enjoyable to awesome, my favorite by far being The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye. EVERYONE: READ IT. IT WAS PERFECT. I was also sooo looking forward to The Penderwicks in Spring and it did NOT disappoint! ❤ Oh my goodness. SO MUCH AMAZING. I wish I could write like that. (Aaand now I just have to wait two more years for another one… No big deal, right? *pulls hair out*)

I’m also getting back into reading fairytale retellings! The Princess Curse, Twelve Dancing Princesses, and A Dream Not Imagined… I am officially re-obsessed with fairytale retellings.

Watching

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So many film-ish things! I’m not always a big watcher of movies/TV, as my free-time is usually spent reading or writing, but I muchly enjoyed most of these!

  • Frozen Fever: ADORABLE PERFECTION.
  • Cinderella: AMAZINGNESS THAT I WANT TO SEE AGAIN. ❤
  • Beyond the Mask: SO MUCH AWESOMENESS I CAN’T EVEN. And it’s coming to more theaters! Guys! I am soooo excited about this! Seriously, if you get a chance to see this, do! It was AMAYYYYZING.
  • Mockingjay Part 1: I am withholding my judgment on this until Part 2 comes out. XD
  • Leverage: Can we just take a moment to realize that I finished watching Leverage? As in, have watched every single episode and have now run out of this glorious awesomeness? This is both extremely sad and awesome at the same time (awesome because I finished and it was… awesome). I loved that show so much! So. Much. Amazing. (And Eliot of course. Who is my favorite. …He’s a very distinctive favorite.)

***

So that’s some of what’s up with me. 🙂 How about you?

Have you read/watched any of those? And how’s your writing, if a writer you be? 😉 (Especially with Camp NaNo having just ended!)

How was your April?? Do you have plans for May?