In Which I’m Kidnapped (Interviewed) by the Frabjous Ness Kingsley

Hey guys! I just wanted to let you know that I’m being interviewed today over on Ness Kingsley’s blog and it’s a total blast!

She is always one of the MOST DELIGHTFUL of bloggers and humans, with one of my top favorite blogs (it’s so funny, halp!) — plus, being from England and probably ranking as the world’s #1 fan of Georgette Heyer are further marks in her favor!

Also, her questions are hilarious WHILE being insightful, and I had a blast answering them, so you definitely don’t want to miss it.

So please go here: [i totally didn’t kidnap deborah o’carroll for an interview. pfft.] unless, as Ness delightfully puts it “DON’T READ ON … if you don’t want book recommendations, VITAL TIPS on participating in NaNoWriMo, and a banquet of scintillating conversation.”

Thanks for reading!

My Life’s Tower of Fantasy

Here at the end of all things, Samwise Gamgee the end of the second Silmarillion Awards, wherein we celebrate all things fantasy, Tolkien, and favorite characters, I have a bit to say about these things and their importance to me in my life so far.

So today, the 63rd birthday of The Fellowship of the Ring’s publication, seemed a good time to do so.

*distant cries of “Happy birthday!” and Bilbo saying (un?)complimentary things concerning knowing people half as well as he should like etc.*

*also birthday cake for one and all*

*and 63 still-burning candles to feed to your dragon*

(You’re welcome. I hope he likes wax.)

Warning:

The following is a somewhat lengthy post that is more of an essay than many posts I’ve written (don’t worry, it’s broken into segments with handy headers, so you might survive), and contains such things as Middle-earth, Diana Wynne Jones, Prydain, Stephen Lawhead, epic heroines, tower metaphors, nostalgia of some books/series that have shaped me, and how wonderful and life-changing Fantasy can be.

If this does not sound like your cup of tea, turn around and flee — for here in the realm of Faerie and Fantasy, truths are hidden behind every tree, characters are noble as can be, fancy runs free, and here . . . there be dragons.

On The Silmarillion

This month, using the Silmarillion Awards as a much-needed excuse, as I was re-reading The Silmarillion for the first time in many years, it startled me how much it felt like coming home. I used to read that book (as well as The Lord of the Rings, etc.) a lot when I was younger and just discovering the amazing worlds of Middle-earth. I lived in Middle-earth and The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but I lived in Beleriand in The Silmarillion too, and in a sense that was more “mine” since fewer people were into it than LOTR. The Silmarillion and surrounding mythology was like my special world that I went to live in, learning to write the Tengwar Elvish alphabet in calligraphy, studying maps, creating family trees of all the characters I knew by name…

It’s been a lovely journey, returning there and meeting these long-lost friends in this place I’ve been absent from far too long. I’m also bringing more to it now at a slightly older age, which has been fascinating. I’m aware The Silmarillion might not be for everyone, but it’s extremely special to me. I met it at a younger age and was so immersed in it that I knew all the names so well that returning was like going home and meeting old friends.

On The Tower of Fantasy

I’ve been thinking about the impact Tolkien’s works and other beloved works of fantasy have had on my life. Looking back, I can trace a few books and series that stand out as those important, life-changing, core-of-your-being books that I believe everyone (or all bookworms, at least) have. Those ones that are so much a part of you that, consciously or unconsciously, you are changed by them and they inform much of who you are and what your life is, your tastes in fiction (and in writing, if you’re a writer like me), and form a core part of your heart. They are different through the years, and that’s how I measure parts of my life (about three or four of them so far, I think) — by what was the most ME books I was reading or loving or living at the time.

Imagine your life is a tower that you are slowly building as the years go on. I see those books as the building blocks of the tower of my own life, the stones of my foundations (or at least, for the purposes of this post, the foundation for my love of fantasy in both reading and writing, which is what I’m here to talk about) that come and go in a way as I gain new interests, so that sometimes it feels like betrayal . . . How could you move on? But I can always go back down the winding stairs of the tower and visit them again, and they’ll always be a part of me. They all inform who I am, and what my reading taste is, and how I think, and what I want to be and do, and most especially (for this writer) what I write as well.

I can see blocks of time in this Fantasy Tower of my life.

Level One: Prydain and MacDonald

It started with George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin, and Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles. I don’t know which were first, I only know, looking back, that they were very early and, I believe, introduced me to Fantasy. Those are at the base of the tower; they were the first, and I read them and was enchanted. I LIVED in those worlds, and I loved those stories and characters so much. I still do, as with all of these. I’m afraid some of my earliest writings bore an uncanny resemblance to both those works, but we all start somewhere, yes? 😉

So, first was my beginning years of loving fantasy, with MacDonald and Prydain. (I believe Narnia came in somewhere around there a little after, and other works of Fantasy, though I don’t know how extreme their influence was.) That’s the first layer of stones at the base of the tower of Fantasy. They’re awhile ago from when I was younger and wasn’t aware of my tower, so it’s a little jumbled and vague, hidden in mists near the ground, and more instinctive than my deeper understanding of the later portions as I grew older, as I look back and remember better.

(Do you know why it’s called “in the mists of time”? Because YOU CAN’T SEE VERY WELL INTO IT. Ahem. Foggy memories… *shakes head*)

Level Two: Tolkien

The next really big thing, which is the largest on the fantasy tower so far, was Tolkien.

I read The Hobbit at one point, and then I later read The Lord of the Rings for the first time when I was ten or so, I believe. Some writers (and readers) come to Tolkien first, as their big fantasy introduction, but for me I already had the groundwork of fantasy laid; Tolkien served to strengthen it and built the next part of the tower, and was a focus of mine for many years, my absolute favorite. As I mentioned, I was enchanted and fell in love with these books, and went on to read The Silmarillion (several times), as well as reading any other works, finished or unfinished, by Tolkien that I could get my hands on. But not only were these stories, this world, these characters and languages, epic and beautiful and beloved and some of my favorites of all time, but the author himself simply seemed . . . right.

Tolkien was a kindred soul, and I know that sounds pompous to say, but when I read his letters and thoughts, I find myself agreeing with him and thinking “Oh! Yes! I’m just like that!” on so many levels. He and I just agree so well and have such similar temperaments. I’m not saying I’m anywhere near his level of talent or genius etc., I’m merely saying that he and I click, in a way that no other author that I can currently think of who I’ve run across does.

Tolkien’s works remain the next solid layer of my Fantasy tower, a very large portion of it, and still inform so much of my life and core personality and interests today.

Level Three: Diana Wynne Jones

(also concerning strawberry icecream)

Then, in 2012, I read Howl’s Moving Castle on a highly-trusted recommendation, and discovered Diana Wynne Jones. This is the third layer of my Fantasy tower. As some who read my blogs might have noticed, I’ve been very big on DWJ for awhile now. XD I’m captivated by and addicted to her books, particularly certain ones which have just stuck with me really well. I love her writing style and the humor she always had in her books, and her quirky but charming and lovable characters, and the absolute originality of her fantasy, mashed together with other genres to make her books unpigeonholeable (not a word, but should be), as well as how I always learn things about life and the world and people when I read her works. I’ve seen a bit of an influence on my writing as well, wanting to write more whimsical and amusing things.

It’s funny: when I decided Howl’s Moving Castle shared my top-favorite spot with The Lord of the Rings, and have been very DWJ focused, I didn’t realize (until recently) this thing about the Tower of Fantasy, how I can have different stages and favorites; and because I had just come from the Tolkien stage, I felt disloyal to Middle-earth, as if loving something else as well meant that I was betraying it by not loving ONLY it.

But I’ve realized that we have different stages in our lives, and that’s okay — it doesn’t make the previous stages any LESS important or less a part of you, you’re just on a different part of your journey so different things are more important right now. It’s not a betrayal. It’s growth and continuing and layers over the core.

I’ve always thought of myself as the girl who loves Middle-earth and the color green and Celtic music and chocolate and writes medieval fantasy. That’s still at my core and I will always be that person. But lately, if I’ve been a DWJ person who loves the color blue and dabbles in Christian rock or pop and loves strawberry ice cream and writes contemporary fantasy . . . that doesn’t mean I’m not STILL that same person as before too.

Because I can love both, I can have different layers of favorites, different layers of interests, and it doesn’t mean that blue or green or chocolate or strawberry are better than each other, or that in trying other kinds of books, music, and genres, that I’m abandoning the ones I used to have. I can do all of it, and it can all be me.

This is a slight tangent, but I feel like I need to address it while on the subject of moving through different books that are your favorites at the time. It’s okay to have different favorites at different times in your life, and it’s not being disloyal. I’m saying this partly to remind myself (especially when I feel bad about not having re-read some of these favorites in several years; I still plan to sometime), and partly in case anyone is having problems with it like I have. XD

I still interchange LOTR and Howl’s Moving Castle as my “favorite” books (and let’s be honest, sometimes I put Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal up there because I love it and it’s amazing) but hey, I can have more than one top-favorite, right? 😉

Level Four? (Bright Empires)

It’s always hard to know, while you’re currently on a part of the tower, if something you’re reading is going to be the next part or if it’s just another great fantasy work but not quite a core one. But I think and suspect that, perhaps (time will tell), my latest addition to the Fantasy Tower of my life are Stephen R. Lawhead’s works. I just read his Bright Empires series, and while (like I said) I can’t be sure whether or not they’re the next ring of building blocks for my tower, at the very least, it’s the best series I’ve read in a long time.

Definitely favorites, the Bright Empires books have expanded my mind so much, broadened my horizons, were thoroughly epic, mind-boggling, and fun, with beloved characters, and introduced me to the first heroine in a very long time who I want so hard to be, namely Mina. She inspires me so much. Plus, the books are simply masterpieces. I think very differently after reading these books, I clicked so well with them, and they were absolutely amazing.

Speaking of Mina, let’s talk about heroines for a minute, since the award I hosted was Most Epic Heroine.

Of Heroines

Heroines are hard to write, my friends. One strange thing about my personality is that I rarely come across a favorite female character. I think it’s because I’m a girl and I find that it’s harder for an author to write a girl character that I actually like, because I am one and we’re complicated, and the fictional girls often end up either too tough or too wimpy, neither of which I like. I more often am interested in the male characters, who are generally cooler and doing more interesting things. I do run up against female characters that I like sometimes, and that’s often a sign that the author is a good one.

But there have only been a handful that have stood out as my favorites, the ones who at some level I feel like are ME, and at another level I feel like are what I want to be, what I want to become, what I want to take and emulate because they are noble and good and show some part of humanity that I want to BE. They make me want to be a better person, while I also feel like I am them.

And those are basically:

  • Princess Irene from The Princess and the Goblin
  • Princess Eilonwy from the Chronicles of Prydain
  • Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings
  • Luthien Tinuviel from The Silmarillion
  • Wilhelmina “Mina” Klug from the Bright Empires series.

(I think on some level, I was Lucy from Narnia when I was younger, and many of Diana Wynne Jones’ characters have been instant connections for me, like Sophie and others, as well, though I haven’t thought as much about those for this post; likely because they’re more recent for me but not as mind-blowing as Mina was — who was the character that got me started thinking about all of this — so I haven’t thought them out as much.)

(Also, I find this a good time to mention the dedication in The High King by Lloyd Alexander, which I never understood until now: “For the boys who might have been Taran and the girls who will always be Eilonwy.“)

Of Heroism/Nobility versus Mediocrity/”Realism”

And I think it’s important to have favorite characters one can look up to, have as role models, but still feel you are like them. There’s a sort of connection there that is marvelous. Heroes tend to be more favorites of mine than heroines, and I can learn things from them as well, of course, and they’re simply awesome sometimes, so there’s that; but I can’t exactly BE them, quite the way I can be a heroine like Eilonwy or Mina.

I think these heroines stand out to me partly because it is so rare for me to find a timeless one like that. There are many other noble and wonderful heroines I’ve liked over time, don’t get me wrong! Some even other favorites. But these are my FAVORITE favorites, the ones I want to be like. 🙂

And that’s part of why I’m tired of this “make them relatable and ‘realistic’ by giving them flaws and making them fallen and ordinary” trend in modern writing.

No.

I don’t want mediocre Main Characters. I want Epic Heroines.

If your favorite characters are mediocre, you’ll only want to be mediocre, you’ll only believe that’s how far you can go.

If, on the other hand, your favorite characters are noble and epic and extraordinary, then you’ll want to rise above your ordinary and mediocre, fallen and flawed life, and try to emulate them, to BE them; and these fictional characters who aren’t “real” can change your life and make you a better person. All by being fantastic characters. What’s not to love?

Things These Core Books Have In Common

What do all these books and series have in common? They are Fantasy, yes. But they each hold things that truly resonated with me — not just one thing but all the elements and the whole.

I love the stories. I love the worlds. I love the characters — not only the heroes, not only the heroines, but both, as well as the entire cast of characters, really. They have favorite heroes. I want to be the heroines. I want to live in the books.

“The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one.'”

(from The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis)

I also “click” with the authors — when I read things that these authors like Alexander, Tolkien, Jones, and Lawhead say (in fiction and nonfiction) I’ve had these wonderful “me too!” moments, those times when, like in the C.S. Lewis quote above, you form a friendship from a shared thought or feeling. We share the same truth. I feel like they’re kindred souls, and suspect that’s one of the reasons I love their fiction so much. (It’s interesting: when I love an author’s fiction work enough to try out their nonfiction, that’s when I discover my favorite works of nonfiction, essays, etc. It’s happened so many times with these and a couple other authors.)

And I learned things from these favorite, core books. Yes, shocking as it may sound to some, these fiction books, these works of *gasp* fantasy, have taught me so many things that, as I think about it, my mind boggles and I can’t even begin to explain all the things I’ve learned from these wonderful works of literature and art. (I did do a post about a few of those things, awhile back, but that was only scratching the surface.)

Because fantasy is true. These things may not have happened in our world, but they have Truth, and I learn things far better when they’re woven into a tale (a parable, perhaps?) than I can reading some boring textbook. I can see the things unfolding and understand things about the characters and wonder about things and want to learn about them. Fantasy may not always teach “facts” like how big the sun is or how many threes make a dozen (though they might teach that too), but they teach me real things about life and about love and about how people work and how to surmount obstacles and to try to be a better person like my heroes (and heroines).

I don’t know if these fantasy authors try to put these things in their works (I know I certainly don’t, but sometimes things creep in somehow), or if they simply are trying to tell a good story and their worldviews are shining through the particular leaf of the Tree of Tales that they are telling and coming out as good wholesome lessons from the Writer of all Lives, but regardless, I’ve found so much Truth in these and other works of fantasy.

And all of that as a bonus to reading simply amazing fantastical stories about fabulous characters in imaginative worlds. What is not to love? Who would have thought it, but Fantasy is fantastic in all meanings of that word, and that is why I love it as I do.

Plus, I mean, Fantasy has dragons. And there’s the icing on the cake.

*passes around the last of the LOTR birthday celebration cake and breaks out Gandalf’s fireworks to celebrate Middle-earth and Fantasy with a literal bang*

(P.S.: If you have a Fantasy/LOTR themed post this week, feel free to share the link in the linky over on Jenelle’s post!)

Life Lessons Learned From Fantasy Tag

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Tag time! And Fantasy time! At the same time — which makes it doubly exciting!

February is Fantasy Month (hosted by Jenelle Schmidt — go check out the linkup and short story challenge for more fantasy fun) and since Jenelle tagged me for this neat Fantasy tag, I thought I’d jump in and do it! 🙂 Thanks, Jenelle!

Rules

1. Link back to Jenelle’s blog
2. Use the image above
3. Tell us 5-10 lessons you’ve learned from reading a fantasy book (or watching a fantasy movie) – lessons can come from multiple sources, as well, of course
4. Tag 2-4 other bloggers to keep the game going

Lessons I’ve learned from reading fantasy? It might be easier to ask what lessons I’ve NOT learned from fantasy… which may be why at first I was having a difficult time with this! (Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. But still.)

Here are just a few of the books and series that have helped show or further illustrate important things for me and are helping to shape me into a hopefully better person.

List (Because Lists)

1. Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles, and George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin, started it all and introduced me to the wonderful world of Fantasy — at least some of my earlier memories of it — thereby widening my horizons and showing me heroism first off.

2. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit taught me (and continues to teach me) that it’s okay to be both adventurous and a homebody, introverted and extroverted, bookish and active, Tookish and Baggins-ish — there’s a place for each of these things, I don’t have to be just one or the other; that if I switch back and forth between them, that’s all right; and the place to be is probably somewhere in the middle… which I can therefore strive toward.

3. The Lord of the Rings taught me so many things that I don’t even know where to start–including nobility, selflessness, and pressing on when things seem darkest. Such a rich well from which so many things can be drawn out.

4. C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia books showed me so much through Aslan, and continues to do so.

5. Patrick Carman’s Land of Elyon series (affectionately called “The Alexa Books”) helped show some things through allegory like about the Creator/heaven/happy endings and so on (also due to Narnia as well).

6. The Bright Empires series by Stephen R. Lawhead is teaching me a lot about life at the moment, particularly Wilhelmina Klug, “Mina”, showing me the kind of woman I would like to be (role-models exist in fiction for a reason, people). Also that nothing is a coincidence. About friendship, love, and loyalty, hospitality and kindness, and loving our enemies. The difference one person can make. That there is a bigger Plan in the universe which can make one feel so much less small and alone. And so many other things.

7. Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci series illustrates so well things about people and the choices we make, shying from wrong and choosing the right one — I’ve just been noticing the things in this series on my second read and it’s amazing.

8. Speaking of Diana Wynne Jones, Howl’s Moving Castle showed me a way to deal with things when I’m a coward about something (i.e. procrastinating) — that I can “Howl myself into it” as I call it… trick myself into doing things I need to that daunt me. In Howl’s words: “Not likely! I’m a coward. Only way I can do something this frightening is to tell myself I’m not doing it!”

Something as seemingly small as that can change a person for the better, and there are a million little things one can, and does, and will continue to, learn from Fantasy.

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When life seems insurmountable, it’s only natural to compare it to the problems faced in beloved tales of Fantasy — if I’m daunted by an event, I say I’m feeling Baggins-ish and want to stay home, and only need to try to be more Tookish to survive. If something sounds impossible, I can’t even count the times I’ve said, “Well, if Frodo can get the Ring to Mount Doom, I can do this…”

Fantasy in general shows me life in a new light, a new angle, so that it’s fresh and can be seen clearer than through the usual dusty glass of normalcy.

Fantasy taught me that happy endings are possible, that light is stronger than darkness, that love is the greatest thing we can give. It teaches me all the time through truths which are easier to see in other worlds than in our own, and through characters who face it all and yet still stand noble and true. It’s something to look at and think, “I want to be that way.”

Fantasy is such an entwined part of my life that I don’t always think of it as such — it’s as natural as breathing and makes just as much sense. It’s a part of me and I know I would not be who I am today without it.

I Tag…

Christine @ Musings of an Elf | Sarah @ Dreams and Dragons | Claire @ The Overactive Imagination | Tracey @ Adventure Awaits | You, fellow lover of Fantasy who is reading this, if you want to!

(Obviously no pressure to do it; just if you want! ^_^)

What about you, Roadlings mine? Do you love Fantasy (please say yes)? Has it shown you things? And are you going to pop over to Jenelle’s post with a linky and join the Fantasy fun this month? Tell me all in the comments! Thanks for reading, and remember that . . .

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october ishness

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October 2016

Whew. October was at least as busy as I expected it to be, and largely consisted of much pre-NaNo running around. I’m sure there were other things in there too but they may have been lost behind the madness. Ahem.

Writing

lscoverMostly what I did, writing-wise, in October was — surprise — plotting The Library in the Stars for NaNo! Not entirely plotted, sadly, but we do what we can.

I also, as I mentioned, started trying Scrivener for the first time and may or may not have TOTALLY FALLEN COMPLETELY IN LOVE WITH IT. Ahem. Not that I’m excited about it or anything. Not at all. *coughcough* Waiting to see if I enjoy writing in it during all of NaNo before passing final judgement on it, but I definitely like the organizational aspects of it.

Snippets

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None from October, but Sarah asked if I could share some snippets, so here are a few from the other month, from The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2) — enjoy! 🙂

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Reading

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Despite NaNo-prep insanity, I still managed to get a few (awesome) books read last month!

A couple of small books: I’d been wanting to read more Neil Gaiman, so Odd and the Frost Giants happened: strange but okay (maybe 3 or 4 stars? The only one of the month which wasn’t SUPERB. But still enjoyed). I was thrilled to find another Moomin book which I hadn’t read, and LOVED IT! It may be my favorite Moomin book yet. ^_^

Then I’m still working through Stephen R. Lawhead’s Bright Empires series and enjoying it IMMENSELY. Seriously, I just love these books so muuuch and I need to read the final book ASAP! ❤ Aaaand obviously I positively adored An Earthly King judging by my review, so. 😉

Much delightfully awesome reading going on this month!

Blogging

Posts around here:

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Reviews on my book blog:

Watching

  • Ant-Man — I finally saw this one! Hurray! Not my favorite Marvel movie ever, but I really enjoyed it a ton. XD So much fun!
  • Big Hero 6 — Part of it was sad… but otherwise a lot of fun and a very cute movie. ^_^ Much adorbz.
  • starwarsrebels

    (My buddies. ^_^)

    Star Wars: Rebels (Season 2) — For most of this, I really enjoyed the second season (though not quite as much as I loved the first season) and just had so much fun hanging out with my Rebels character buddies… until the VERY END of Season 2, like the last couple of episodes, when certain things happened and are starting to happen which are 1000000% NOT OKAY. I’m very much an angry camper at this point. *glowers* So yeah, in my opinion, the last few episodes positively DID NOT HAPPEN. So there. Humph. (I do highly recommend the first season, but if you’re going to watch this one, don’t watch the last two or three episodes. Just. Don’t. -_-)

  • Emma (2009 BBC miniseries) — I’ve heard great things of this one, from many people, so it was fun to finally see it! Definitely enjoyable. 🙂 I really liked the amount of time it had to really show the whole story. 😀 Much fun. ❤
  • Emma (1996* TV movie with Kate Beckinsale & Mark Strong) — I’d actually watched this one before, in fact before reading the book (fortunately I hardly remembered it, so I was able to enjoy reading the book for the first time earlier this year). ‘Twas even more fun than before, since I actually knew what was going on. XD
  • Emma (1996* with Gwyneth Paltrow & Jeremy Northam) — …Yes, I did in fact see 3 Emma adaptions this month. *coughcough* What can I say; I recently read the book so I’ve been trying the movie versions. *shrug* This one I was excited to find at a secondhand bookshop, because Jenelle had told me I needed to see it and I couldn’t find it at the library. So I was very glad to get a chance to see it, and it was so much fun! Especially since it had Pepper Potts and Obi-wan Kenobi. *coughcough* Also, I loved this Mr. Knightley (the book version is still my favorite, but this one’s probably second. 😉 Though obviously I like ALL the screen versions of Mr. Knightly I’ve seen, because they’re all awesome, just not quite like the Mr. Knightley of the book, who is still a more superior man as one might say… ;)). Oh, and the archery! Fun.

*Because 2 different Emma adaptions coming out in 1996 (one a TV movie, one in theaters) is not confusing at all… >.>

November Plans

Obviously, it’s NaNo (how are we almost a third into the month? o.o), so my plans mostly consist of WRITING ALL THE WORDS!

But I also have a writing-related tag scheduled for each Monday for the next 3 weeks, so that should keep something going on the blog even if I’m not actively posting. 😉

So, that’s what’s up with me — how about yourselves, my roadlings? How was your October? If you’re doing NaNo, how’s that going? If you’re not, what else are you up to? (And I do hope you’re not sick of hearing about NaNo… *coughcough* Sorry about that; I know how one-note the internet can sound during November… >.>) I hope you’re all doing splendidly! ❤

Junishness {2016}

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Ishness of June 2016

Oh. Hello, July. How did you get here.

CAN WE TAKE A MOMENT TO FREAK OUT ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE YEAR IS OFFICIALLY HALF OVER???

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH.

Okay. Thank you. Freak-out is done.

…Ish. (*internally shrieking*)

Ahem.

On with the regularly scheduled Ishness of the last month…

EXCITING THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN MY LIFE

Dead internet, often, agaiiiin. Joy. So I’m still behind on everything due to that. Surprise! XD But fortunately it’s been back for a little while now so maybe that will be over. 🙂

I went to a library sale. I normally spend hours and hours… but this time I was done in a record 45 minutes. It was a very tiny library sale, evidently. XD But I found few gems…

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We kicked off The Silmarillion Awards! Nominations are ending TODAY (July 1), and voting for the top five nominees in each category will start early next week!

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skinmapStephen Lawhead commented on my book blog, on my review of his book The Skin Map. … GUYS. STEPHEN. LAWHEAD. He thanked me for a “splendid review”, said I seemed to have “got” it, and was curious what I’ll think of the rest of the series. (FYI, The Skin Map was one of my favoritest reads last year. SUCH AN EXCELLENT BOOK. You should totally read it — highly recommended.) I’m still recovering from this amazing happening. Saying my day was made is a huge understatement. *flails around*

WRITING

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I wrote closer to 3,000 words than to 2,000, which is a feat for me these days. (Okay, so it was 2,693. BUT STILL.)

Mostly writer dares from my writing group (thanks, Shelby and Ellie!), some snatches of The Other Half of Everything, as well as randomly rewriting an old flashfiction story of mine called Midnight Fear. Which was… interesting.

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I also may or may not have started thinking about possibilities of what I might write for NaNoWriMo this year. …Yep, that’s a thing.

What? NaNo’s four months away. Might as well start preparing… *cough* Pleasedon’tkillme.

Speaking of alarmingly fast-moving time and writing…

We’re officially halfway through the year and I’ve written a grand total of 10,000 words this year, which on the one hand is WRITING but on the other hand is rather sadly small…

READING

Jun16reads

Once again, I didn’t read a lot, but these were enjoyable all the same. 🙂 To be fair, Defying Shadows was HUGE (and also AWESOME. O_O) so… beta-reading that kind of counts for a couple books, I’d say, which is why I didn’t read as much. Anyway. Brief thoughts on them all are here on my book blog. ^_^

BLOGGING

I kinda-sorta-almost-maybe-perhaps mayyyy or may not have roughly planned out ideas for what I might blog about for . . . the rest of the year.

Um.

That might be a thing. >.>

I mean, hey, I technically only post usually once a week sooo that’s only 4 per month, right? No idea if it’ll actually HAPPEN but one can hope. XD

What can I say, I’m an obsessive planner and haven’t done something like this in awhile, and I kind of wasn’t able to actually BLOG very much due to said internet, sooo planning happened…

*crickets*

…I’m obsessed and insane, aren’t I. -_- *faceplants into desk*

Ahem.

Postses on le blogs of mine werrrrrre:

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Here:

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The Page Dreamer:

Random: I’ve made 40 posts on my book-blog since starting it on New Year’s Day! 🙂

LINKS ELSEWHERE

I’m sadly very bad about remembering to save links to posts I loved, so I can share them on my blog… but I DO remember a small handful from this month:

VIEWING

jun16movies

(I’m fully aware of how weird these movies look together; hush)

I actually don’t usually watch movies much, but libraries happened, so I saw a bunch of weird, random movies for some reason…? So you get to suffer through me rambling about them… 😛

  • Pan: Okay, so this was BIZARRE and they changed a ton of things and — it wasn’t really my favorite and was really NOTHING like Peter Pan, buuuut all in all I enjoyed it okay and was really surprised at that. o.o Mostly that I really really really loved James Hook. XD …I know that sounds bad. But he wasn’t Evil-Captain-Hook yet! And he’s also a funny, self-centered, kind-of-epic, Indiana-Jones-ish character played by Murtagh. What is not to like? I mean… y’know, other than the fact that he’s supposed to become an evil villain. >.> Ahem. *cough* The fact that this movie was basically “a buddy movie of Peter Pan and Hook” is… WEIRD. Like WHAT EVEN. But it was also fun. So. *shrug* I’ll just pretend it’s an alternate universe version of Peter Pan. 😛 (Also, the last lines. *flail*)
  • Red Riding Hood: Um. Creepy. o.o Mostly too creepy for me, I guess, but I did enjoy parts of it, and it was interesting trying to guess who the wolf was… Everyone was SO suspicious. I guess it’s like a mystery/not-quite-horror/medieval retelling of Red Riding Hood. Very… different. But I kinda had fun with it anyway. 😛
  • Snow White and the Huntsman: Apparently I was in for dark fairytale movies this month? I . . . was . . . kind of really surprised at liking this. I expected it to be awful? But it was surprisingly okay. Not brilliant exactly, and a bit creepy, but I enjoyed it. I haven’t seen Kristen Stewart in anything and I know she gets a lot of nastiness from viewers because of Twilight but c’mon, she was kind of nice in this. XD It was interesting to see Snow White retold like this, and it kept a lot of the original stuff. (It even had a touch of Christianity, which really surprised me and I liked. 🙂 …Yes, I do consider a character saying The Lord’s Prayer on-screen, and another character speaking of heaven and angels to be Christian.) It also had Thor Chris Hemsworth (and Finnick Sam Claflin) so that was a plus. 😉 Chris Hemsworth had a Scottish accent, which was WEIRD. O_O He was fun. 😀
  • The Lorax: This one was okay. Not my favorite, but I guess it had its moments, particularly some humor and the cute creatures. 😛 I liked it over-all. 🙂 (I also missed part of the ending because it was a scratched library DVD. PEOPLE, PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH LIBRARY DVDS.)
  • Inside Out: I liked the idea of it, and some of it was brilliant and perfect, regarding memories and stuff. Pixar stuff is always fun and I enjoyed this one. Again, not a fave (I’m seeing a trend here… enjoyed but not favorites… I DON’T EVEN KNOW, GUYS. Apparently I just enjoy movies. *shrug*) but it was a pretty good movie and gave me feels and stuff, so. 🙂 Plus, like I said, mind stuff is fascinating! Anyways, pretty good! 😀

Aaand I’ve been rewatching The Lord of the Rings, because that’s always a good idea. 😉

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(pinterest; I’m… just gonna leave this here. Yeah. Sorry but I liked him. XD)

JULY PLANS

  • I have a couple books I need to read, and then I’ll hopefully be back to reading anything I want… which means I want to read a LOT this month. But we’ll see.
  • My calendar has started to fill up so I think I’ll be busy… Good busy, but still busy.
  • We’ll have the rest of the Silmarillion Awards this month, so yay! Voting for a couple weeks, and then the awards will be presented and partying will ensue. It’s gonna be great. 😀 *nods*
  • I also will probably post a couple of reviews around here so watch for those…
  • I would like to write again, please and thank you, but we’ll see.
  • I’m not doing Camp NaNo, but for all of y’all who are, I wish you the best of luck and happy writing!

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That ’twas my June. How fared ye, travelers of word and page? And, most importantly, HOW IS THE YEAR HALF OVER? *incoherent shrieking noises*