Of Writing and …Stags? #TheWritersTag

I saw this tag on Mirriam Neal’s blog and decided to steal it.

Ahem. Borrow.

*scours entire internet to find gif of Captain Jack Sparrow saying “Borrowed. Borrowed without permission” and discovers that one does not apparently exist and is now sad*

Except there was permission, because Mirri left it open for people to consider themselves tagged. So I am doing so.

What’s with the stag, then, you ask?

Well, for one thing, they’re awesome and we should always have stags. *nods seriously*

What do they have to do with this post? Ohhhh, that’s what you meant…

Well, as I remarked over on Mirri’s blog: I first read “TheWritersTag” as “TheWriterStag” and now have images of an antlered author somewhere in a green wood living incognito as the White Stag and granting wishes to writers who are seeking release from the curse of Writer’s Block.

The Writer Stag is now a thing. We should all go questing for it together.

Aaaanyhoo… I’m doing this tag thing, so enjoy.

#TheWritersTag

1. What genres, styles, and topics do you write about?

Genres: Let’s just call it Speculative Fiction; for the most part Fantasy. Mostly epic fantasy, contemporary fantasy, or fairytale retellings. I occaaasionally dabble in steampunk, sci-fi, etc. All bets are off on my short stories, which are all different and weird. 😄

Styles? I have no idea. But I hope they’re kind of funny? I try to adapt the styles for the “feel” of each book.

Topics… yeesh. I don’t put topics in on purpose, I just write the story that wants telling. If it wants to have specific topics, I won’t complain, but it probably wasn’t on purpose.

2. How long have you been writing?

It’s been 10 years since I decided to officially finish a book and be a writer (though I had been writing for a few years before that, even). Basically, it’s been awhile.

I started out with the first few pages of my (now) epic fantasy series (in a pink notebook); and a rather-obvious re-imagining of Lloyd Alexander’s The Book of Three (with magical chickens instead of a magical pig); and continuing from The Magician’s Nephew, the story of the first king and queen of Narnia (I got about a page of this done, which consisted almost entirely of a long list of what they were planting in their gardens. Yeah.).

Not actually sure which of those were first, second, or third, and I remember some other scribbles as well, but I barely remember a time when I wasn’t writing something.

3. Why do you write?

I’m going to commandeer Mirri’s answer to this one:

“Because I need to. Next question.”

(Because yes. Yes exactly.)

4. When is the best time to write?

Definitely the nighttime, when I’ve finished with the day and it’s dark and quiet and I have no distractions or things I need to do, and will not be interrupted.

Unfortunately, this makes for a very night-owl-ish writer.

I wish I wan’t a night owl because I know I should actually, you know, get up early and be on a good schedule, but night seems to be when my creativity awakes, so a night owl writer I be.

5. Parts of writing you love vs. parts you hate?

Um. It really depends. Sometimes I love the actual writing, other times I… don’t. But that’s usually a lack of writing, and hating having to start?

So, I’d say I love most the actual writing, when it’s flowing well. I also love the feeling of finishing a story. The best thing ever. ❤

I have occasional quarrels with editing, and dislike having to start, usually, because it’s hard, guys. Starting is the absolute worst part. Don’t try to tell me otherwise.

6. How do you overcome writers block?

I will… get back to you on that.

7. Are you working on something at the moment?

Sort of? It depends how recent/active qualifies as “at the moment.” 😄

I also occasionally work on The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (because Tare and the Chess Club are always doing something in my head), and The Other Half of Everything (because my absentminded author character Teague loves to banter with his opinionated housekeeper Meridian).

I have a couple of short stories I’ve been writing and/or hoping to write this month for Camp NaNo, although there’s only a week left, so I suspect I won’t get anything else done.

But since I already wrote 11K this month and my goal was 5K, that’s probably all right…

8. Writing goals this year?

These are vague, nebulous and ever-changing, but at the moment:

  • Write a couple of short stories (I have a list…)
  • Finish the first chapter of The Other Half of Everything (I WILL do this someday, I WILL)
  • Write Part 2 of The Secret of Kedran’s Wood a.k.a. all of it that I have plotted at the moment (lofty goals, y’all. o.o)
  • Mayyybe finish The Library in the Stars (Camp NaNo round 2, do I hear you calling meeeee?)
  • Write something for NaNoWriMo. Current candidates to choose from: The Quest of Kedran’s Wood, Once Upon a November, or The Siren and the Skyship, or some rebel mix of several WIPs. No idea which of the four (or something else) it might be. But that’s very far out, so don’t quote me on this.

Likelihood of these things all happening this year?

I’ve been very timidly creeping back into the world of writing after a long year+ of burn-out.

So I have no delusions about getting all these goals done this year.

Oh wait. I do.

How foolish of me. >.>

So there you have #TheWritersTag or #TheWriterStag or whatever.

Feel free to consider yourself tagged if you want to do it!

What do you think? Was this a post about writing? Or about stags?

Or just an excuse to throw lots of Captain Jack Sparrow and Han Solo gifs at you?

…Probably.

If you need me, I’ll be on a quest in search of the Writer Stag to help me with my lofty writerly goals.

Gifs via Giphy.com, Stag images via Pixabay.com

I Love Austen Week Tag + #VintageJaneAusten Project

I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest Jane Austen fan in the world (being more of a fantasy person) but I do enjoy her books and characters rather a lot when I do read them! 🙂

So when I saw that it’s “I Love Austen Week” over at Hamlette’s Soliliquy, I thought it was the perfect excuse to do this neat tag she has, talk about some Jane Austen favorites, and to mention a Jane-Austen-related project I’m really excited about which I’ve been looking forward to sharing with y’all! 😀

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The Vintage Jane Asuten is an upcoming series, by six different awesome authors, of retellings of Jane Austen’s novels, with a twist… they’re are set in 1930s America.

I adore retellings of any kind, and I’d never read an Austen retelling before… so although I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, I really enjoyed the ones in this series that I’ve beta-read so far! If you enjoy Jane Austen at all, you’re going to want to make sure to check these out. 🙂

Fun side-note: I designed the website for the series! (Because I’ve recently discovered that webdesign is so. fun.) So pop over there if you’d like to see more about the series!

www.vintagejaneausten.com

Even more fun: the first book, Emmeline by Sarah Holman, is actually releasing tomorrow (February 18)!

It’s a retelling of Emma and it’s delightful. ❤ (I’ll be reviewing it next week, so stay tuned. :))

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Today (Feb 17) is the last day to preorder Emmeline (here) — if you do, you can enter a giveaway for an Amazon giftcard (details here). You can also add it on Goodreads… because I am Goodreads-obsessed. 😉

Okay, now on to the tag… because tags are fun!

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(I ❤ this picture)

I Love Austen Week Tag

1.  Which did you experience first, a Jane Austen book or a movie based on one?

Book. I read Pride and Prejudice a very long time ago, on something of a whim, and greatly enjoyed it. I then proceeded to neglect reading the rest, until a couple of bookclub reads a few years ago got me into them, and I’m at long last finishing up all her books with Mansfield Park, which I’m currently reading.

2.  What is your favorite Austen book?

Pride and Prejudice and Emma.

P&P was my first, and to me is still the most classic (plus Darcy is in it, which is reason enough; and he and Elizabeth are awesome).

Emma is a recent addition to my Jane Austen knowledge (I only read it last year) and I enjoyed it immensely because it’s unexpectedly brilliant (and because Mr. Knightley, of course).

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3.  Favorite heroine?  Why do you like her best?

Um… not sure… I guess I’ll go with Elizabeth Bennet. I’m not sure why I liked her (possibly because she was the first I met and because she has spirit) but she’s great. 🙂

4.  Favorite hero?  Why do you like him best?

Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley.

Mr. Knightley is so… Mr. Knightley. *can’t describe* He just… IS.

Mr. Darcy is rather antisocial and such but he’s a really great guy deep down, and that’s my favorite. He’s just awesome. 🙂

5.  Do you have a favorite film adaptation of Austen’s work?

I’m fond of both Pride and Prejudice versions I’ve seen (Kiera Knightley’s and BBC), and of Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility (which I feel is an excellent adaption in general), and I did really enjoy the Persuasion I’ve seen, as well as the Emmas… I don’t know if I have a favorite. I still prefer the books to the film versions, in general. 🙂

6.  Have your Austen tastes changed over the years?  (Did you start out liking one story best, but now like another better?  Did you think she was boring at first, then changed your mind?  Etc.)

I’m not sure… I do think that I’m glad I only read Emma recently, because I don’t know if I would have appreciated it as much, several years ago.

7.  Do you have any cool Austen-themed things (mugs, t-shirts, etc)?  (Feel free to share photos if you want.)

Um… not really? I have a hardcover all-in-one collection of all the novels, and I also have a few of the movies, but nothing particular other than that… unless the website I made for the Vintage Jane Austen book project counts as a “cool Austen-themed thing” that I have. 😛

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8.  If you could ask Jane Austen one question, what would you ask her?

I’d ask her what she thinks of the continued fascination and remaking of her novels, 200 years later, and for her thoughts on if people are missing the point of her jabs at society and only focusing on the romance aspect. 😛

9.  Imagine someone is making a new film of any Jane Austen story you choose, and you get to cast the leads.  What story do you want filmed, and who would you choose to act in it?

Pride and Prejudice with Richard Armitage as Mr. Darcy. (Actually, he’d make a good Mr. Knightley too…) Not sure who else to cast, though.

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Because obviously.

10.  Share up to five favorite Jane Austen quotations!

Mr. Darcy is very quotable, so most of what he said… But I’ll just put one down of his for now.

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Pride and Prejudice (Mr. Darcy)

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

Northanger Abbey (Henry Tilney)

“We do not look in great cities for our best morality.”

Mansfield Park (Edmund Bertram)

Poor Edward muttered something; but what it was, nobody knew, not even himself.

Sense and Sensibility

…Everything Mr. Knightley said in Emma. 😄

(I’m also rather fond of the lengthy quote in Emma from Mr. Knightley’s brother about having to go see people for a dull event through the cold when he’d rather be comfortably at home; it appeals to my introvert-ish nature. :P)

So there you are! Do you enjoy Jane Austen? Which is your favorite story or character? Have you read the books (they’re better than the movies! *almost always the case*) and which is your favorite movie? Feel free to do the tag if you like, or answer the questions in the comments!

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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Two Word Tags: Text + Quotes

Two Word Tags

I’m here today with two brief word-related tags: The Text Tag from Savannah @ Scattered Scribblings, and The Quote Tag from Mary @ Sunshine and Scribblings (all the scribblings! I love it. ❤ )! Thanks so much to both of you! ^_^ They both have absolutely lovely blogs that make me smile and laugh, so check ’em out, do!

The Text Tag

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to them
  • Answer the original 6 text-themed questions
  • Add a typography/word related question for those you tag to answer
  • Tag 6+ bloggers and notify them that you tagged them
  • Include these rules in your post

1. What is your favorite letter of the alphabet?

Maybe V? I’m also fond of T, if the beginning letter of most of my awesome characters is anything to go by… *cough*

2. What are three words you love?

Enigmatic, adamant, & grey (with an e; none of that American-spelling-with-an-a nonsense. ;)).

3. What are three words you hate?

Whoa, hate is a strong word. How about I hate the word “hate.” 😄 And also, erm, dislike shall we say… the words “humidity” and “procrastination” because of associations. 😉

4. If you could create a word, what would it be, and what would it describe?

Oh, I create words all the time. 😄 One I made recently is Authorialdom, as in “That takes real authorialdom” — probably “the state of being a skilled writer” or some such. *nods*

5. What are your three favorite punctuation marks?

Parenthesis, ellipses, and dashes. (I use them — at least I think I do — the most . . .) *cough*

Well, those are favorites in that sense, but I’m also very fond of “quote-marks” and exclamation marks! And semi-colons; because they’re lovely and/or useful. *nods* And let’s not forget commas, and periods either. Can’t have them feeling left out. And question marks and colons: how can we leave them out? Now that is the question. I just love all punctuation marks, I guess. ^_^ *goes to look at Eats, Shoots & Leaves again to remember there are kindred souls out there*

6. What are your three favorite fonts?

Hmm. That’s tough. Well, here are at least three of my favorites:

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(Apologies for the squiggly red lines; my spell-checker is under the erroneous assumption that my name is not a word. Ahem.)

7. Savannah’s Question: What is one word you are constantly misspelling?

Received. I literally spelled it wrong when I went to type it… I know that it’s “I before E except after C” (and E before N in Chicken… *cough*Andy Griffith reference*cough*) but my fingers just want to say I-E. It’s bad. 😛 Most words I’m pretty good about though. *nods* It comes with being a perfectionist of the wordish variety that I am.

The Quote Tag

Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Post a new quote everyday for 3 consecutive days
  • Nominate 3 new bloggers every day you post a quote

I’m going to disobey this one slightly and instead of posting a quote three days in a row, I will just post 3 quotes right now. 😉 And I nominate anyone who wants to do it and hasn’t yet.

(The quote graphics were designed by me using Canva.com.)

1

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“Fairytales are more than true — not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

— G.K. Chesterton

2

A room without books

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

— (attributed to Cicero)

3

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“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

— J.R.R. Tolkien (from The Fellowship of the Ring)

Well! Wasn’t that a delightful wordish-exercise? ^_^ Do you have a favorite quote/word/letter/punctuation mark? Let me know in the comments!

And consider yourself tagged for both or either if you wish to do it!

Wintry Tag

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Sarah @ Light and Shadows had a wintry A Few of My Favorite Things Tag, and left it open for people to snag on their blogs… so I’m doing so (nearly a year later) because it’s December, and wintry/Christmas-y things are in the air. ^_^

1. Favorite “snuggle weather” books?

Books.

(…Okay, I sound like Tare when I answer like that.)

Um. I don’t really have any specific books I think of as good wintry reads. I guess I just read what I usually read?

I do like reading a short story called Wintermoon Wish by Sharon Shinn around this time of year… maybe I’ll do that again. Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas is a fun read for this time of year, as is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by Lewis. But I haven’t been reading those.

I do seem to be in the mood for rereading Diana Wynne Jones books (Chrestomanci, in particular). But who am I kidding — I’m always in the mood for DWJ. 😉

OH! Do you know what would make a PERFECT wintry read?? (Or any other kind of read, TBH.) PAPER CROWNS BY MIRRIAM NEAL. It has the snow and ice, it has the awesome, it has the fantabulous characters, it has the snark… YES. I highly recommend getting yourself (or anyone else) a copy of this book for Christmas and snuggling up for a delightful read. ❤

2. Favorite winter/Christmassy snacks?

Candy canes, of course!

(Um. That was my inner Baz talking; pay no heed. >.> *COUGH*)

I don’t actually snack much, so I like any kind of snack, but around Christmas I’m partial to nuts and dried fruits (craaanberries, preciousss), chopped veggies, crackers/cheese/summer sausage, and of course cupcakes and chocolate. *nods*

3. Favorite hot drinks?

Hot chocolate and herbal teas like red raspberry leaf with honey. Yum. (I like coffee when I drink it, which is rarely. 😉 )

4. Favorite Christmas movies?

A Muppet Christmas Carol, hands down, every time. I love that movie. ❤ I even like it better than the book, and this movie is the classic version of the story for me. I tend to watch it most Christmasses.

5. Favorite holidays songs?

Carol of the Bells/Ring Christmas Bells, Silent Night, The Little Drummer Boy, Don Oiche Ud I mBeithil, O Come All Ye Faithful, A Breton Carol, Come O Come Emmanuel, 12 Days of Christmas, and the Snoopy and the Red Baron Christmas song.

6. Favorite “snow day” crafts?

By “snow day” I’m going to assume this means a cold day spent indoors. Since, you know, I don’t actually get snow here, or if I do I’m more likely to be out in it BECAUSE IT’S SO RARE, than staying inside because of it. 😄 Buuut… how about knitting or crocheting (if I actually have something in mind, which is rare), or more likely . . . reading. Yep. I don’t actually do much with crafts. Ahem.

7. Do you wanna build a snowman?

YES PLEASE.

How about you? Feeling in a wintry/Christmassy mood? Feel free to do the tag if you are! ^_^ Merry Christmas to everyone (and happy winter to those who aren’t into Christmas). May your hearts follow the star that led to the stable when the Light of the World was born there. 🙂 Have a blessed couple of weeks and I’ll see you again at the year’s turning! ❤