Sunday, June 29, 2014

Author Influence-George MacDonald

George MacDonald is one of my favorite authors. I adore The Princess and the Goblin, and its sequel, The Princess and Curdie, as well as most of his many short stories. George MacDonald influenced both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and I am proud to say that he has influenced me as well. 

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George MacDonald has reminded me to dream big, and let my imagination take flight. No idea is too wild, strange, or fanciful, anything can happen. Goblins with shoes, ugly creatures with hearts of gold, princesses as light as air, great old grandmothers who live in attics, fires of roses, children named after horses, a girl who has never seen daylight, and a boy who has never seen the night.

His beautiful stories will stay with me always, lending their glorious color to my imagination. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sunflower Award

Special Thanks to Maddie Jay and Ghost Ryter for both nominating me for the Sunflower award! The rules for this award are very simple: 

1. Share 11 facts about yourself. 
2. Answer the 11 questions that the previous blogger asked you. 
3. Tag 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.

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Let's get started with 11 Facts about me:

1. I love words passionately.
2. I love listening to musicals, and singing along.
3. I spend way too much time on the internet, mostly on Pinterest.
4. I went through a drawing phase for several years where I would only draw in pen.
5. I'm almost %100 Dutch.
6. My birthstone is an opal.
7. If I had to choose a superpower I would choose invisibility. 
8. I don't like pop tarts.
9. When I was little I didn't want to be a writer because people told me I should be one.
10. My favorite school subject is History, and my least favorite is Math.
11. My favorite color changes all the time, right now it's purple, or maybe red...

Now for Ghost Ryter's questions:

1. What made you start blogging? I was inspired by a friend's blog Visiting with Dragons, and decided to start my own blog. I started back in 2012 and blogged somewhat steadily through the first months of 2013, then I lost interest and gave it up for a while. Last April I went to a writer's conference and realized the importance of having a professional website or blog. So I logged back on, did some major design changes, tightened my focus, deleted my terrible old posts, stuck to a schedule, became more social on other blogs, and here I am now.

2. If you were forced to go back in time to live, when and where would it be? I've always been fascinated by the Renaissance, a time of art, science, and discovery. I probably wouldn't live all that long, and women's rights were nonexistent, but I would love to live in Renaissance Italy.

3. Name the one food you can't do without. Potatoes. I love them fried, mashed, boiled, with cheese, baked, poached, scalloped, etc. They are amazingly versatile and so tasty, all you really need is a bit of salt and butter. "Po-ta-toes! Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew." -Samwise Gamgee

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4. If you had to wear a mask for a whole year (never taking it off), what kind of mask would it be? Hmm, that's a really interesting question. I think I would go for a small black super hero mask that fit around the eyes. Something small and simple, and hopefully something that wouldn't attract too much attention. Can you imagine having to wear a full face mask for a year! How would you eat?

5. What is one thing you wish you knew how to do? I can't really think of anything right of the top of my head, maybe better jewelry making skills...

6. Favorite genre to read/write? Fantasy both ways though I do love a good Sci Fi or Post Apocalyptic novel, and historical fiction is also really good. A Genre I don't like is Romance, don't get me wrong I love a little bit of romance in a novel as much as the next girl, but the whole genre of romance books is disgusting.

7. Name one thing you are really proud of having done. Completing NaNoWriMo last November!

8. Are you a bold font or italics type of person? Bold, I like how strong and clean it looks.

9. M&Ms or bubble gum? M&Ms, even though I don't like it when the candy coating bleeds color all over my hands on a hot day. Bubble gum loses it's flavor too fast, and it really hurts if you have to get it out of your hair.

10. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate!

11. Who do you wish most to resemble? That's a really hard one! Physical characteristics? Hmm, I've always wanted darker hair and more prominent cheekbones, but I can't really think of any certain person I'd like to look like.

And Maddie Jay's questions:

1. Who is the best looking cartoon guy you've ever seen? Hiccup from How to Train your Dragon 2. He was cute in the first movie, but WOW those few years in between the sequel have really been good to him.

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2. If you had to live in an era besides this one, which would you choose? I already answered the Renaissance earlier, but the early 1900s would be really interesting as well. 

3. If you could have dinner with anyone, Dead, Alive, Or fictional, Who would it be? I would love to have dinner with C.S. Lewis. I think he would be fascinating company, and I would have so many questions to ask him about everything, from faith, to greek mythology, to Narnia.

4. What is your ideal first date? I don't know about first date, but one day I'd love to go on a date to a fair, have my boyfriend win me a stuffed animal, share cotten candy, and kiss on the top of a ferris wheel at dusk.

5. If one of your characters (or a favorite book character if you don't have any original characters) were to be put in a movie, who would you want to play them? That's a hard question because I'm not very good at picking actors to play my characters. Hmm... Well if "The Paths of Thyme" was ever made into a movie I think that Astrid Bergès-Frisbey would make a great Nadasa, except she's French and doesn't speak much English. 

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6. Talking Veggie Tales here. Bob, or Larry? Wow it's been a long time since I watched any Veggie Tales. I'm going to have to say Larry, he's so funny and loveable. I can't think of anyone who likes Bob better...

7. Do you like to play Checkers? I do sometimes, but I never play with my brother, he always beats me.

8. Why do you think all the super genius villains in shows like Person of Interest and Sherlock Holmes like to play chess? It's funny that you would as that, all I can think of is the time in the show Sherlock BBC that Sherlock and his brother Mycroft were playing what the audience thought was chess, and it turned out to be operation. That made me laugh so hard because they threw the stereotype on it's head. Typically I suppose genius villains enjoy it because they like the strategy and love to beat their opponents.

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9. Summer or Winter? When it's winter I long for summer, when it summer I long for winter. Human nature cannot be satisfied with one or the other.

I seem to be the last one in my circle of bloggers to participate in this award. Since I don't know of any bloggers who haven't done it already, I nominate anyone who would like to participate.

And Here are their 11 questions:

1. Describe your perfect day.
2. Who's your favorite movie/book sidekick?
3. What's your favorite kind of sandwich?
4. When did you first start writing/blogging and why?
5. If you only had one day left to live what would you do?
6. What's something from your childhood that was not as good as you remembered?
7. Have you ever been to the ocean?
8. Did you ever move someone deeply with something you wrote?
9. What's your favorite holiday?
10. What food would you say represents your personality?
11. What do you like to do on rainy days?

I hope you learned something interesting about me from this award, it was a lot of fun to do. Don't forget to comment below, I always love to hear from you!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Character Development Series-Buy a Gift

Take your character to the "store" and have them purchase a gift for another character. Who would they buy the gift for? What would their attitude be? Would they be happy to buy the gift, or throw a fit about it? What would they buy? Something sentimental? Something practical? How much would they spend? How would they wrap the gift? What happens when your character gives the gift to the other character? Does the other character like the gift, or not? Would the other character give the first character a gift as well? What would would be in their gift?

Comment below with your answers, I always love to hear from you!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Writing Contest Entry-The Stranger

Guess what? Teen Words of Steel is hosting another writing contest! Just as before there are three different prompts to work with and a 600 word limit. If you would like to look at the prompts, enter the contest, vote for my story (you need to be a follower of Teen Words of Steel in order to vote), or check out the other entries, just click one of the links. The prompts were a lot harder this time, and seemingly completely unrelated. At First I was completely stumped, but after I sat down and did a bit of writing I discovered a really interesting story. Here it is, and I hope you all enjoy it:

The Stranger
Then came the rocks. They hit my chest, my arms, and my legs, ripping and gouging my flesh. I turned my back to them quickly, shielding my face from the hard chunks of stone that painted blue and purple bruises on my skin. As I turned I heard them gasp, and the pelting came to an abrupt halt. I looked over my shoulder at their stunned faces, and in a blink of an eye, they were gone. They had stampeded away, to vanish among the peeling whitewash that clung stubbornly to the surrounding buildings. 

I walk out of the now deserted alley, letting the dark shadows slip behind me as I step into the bright sunshine. I look around with disgust at the crippled town; garbage and refuse litter the ground, plastic bags rattle in faint wind. Scrawny dogs yap at each other among wrecked rust covered cars. I step onto the empty main street. The glass of smashed bottles crunches under my boots. I walk boldly in the open, letting anyone who watches from the boarded up homes see the red blood stains on my white shirt that they put there. I had come to warn them of their impending doom, but they had sealed their fate with every rock they had thrown.

It was said that you should live in such a way that if someone spoke badly of you, no-one would believe it, but no-one would ever believe anything good of this town. “Alright then,” I say quietly in response to the echo of a slamming door, “You've had your second chance, and refused the help you have been offered.” I stop in the town square and listen for a moment to the wind that wanders through the empty streets. I raise my voice and shout, “Now is the day that judgment will be delivered!” Closing my eyes I unfurl my wings and take to the air with a mighty leap, letting the town vanish beneath me. There is no such thing as a third chance.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Author Influence-J.R.R. Tolkien

There can be no doubt that when it comes to fantasy there is no one greater than Tolkien. The author of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and many other lesser known books of Middle Earth. I fell in love with Tolkien's work as soon as I read it, and I fell in love with hobbits. Ordinary creatures, capable of extraordinary things. A people very fond of food and comfort, but unshakable in adversity, even when the fate of the entire world rests on their shoulders. We can all learn something from hobbits, we are all capable of extraordinary things, as long as we never give up. If a little hobbit can get the one ring from Hobbiton to Mordor, and then write a book about it, then you can finish writing your book. 

“Hobbits really are amazing creatures, as I have said before. You can learn all that there is to know about their ways in a month, and yet after a hundred years they can still surprise you at a pinch.” -The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Reading Plans

Happy first day of summer everyone! I have a huge list of books to read, but I've narrowed it down to ten books/series that I'm really excited to read this summer. Here are my summer reading plans:

1. The Harry Potter Series
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I'm sceptical about these but still hopeful. I've heard a lot of good, and a lot of bad about them. I finally decided to just read them myself, and decide what I think about them. 

2. Tales of Goldstone Wood Series
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I've seen this series talked about on lots of different blogs, and heard a lot of good things about them.I am very excited to read them this summer.

3. For Darkness Shows the Stars
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I got this book for a great deal a while ago and haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I love the cover, which is mostly why I ended up buying it, I'm just hoping the story is as good as the cover.

4. A Curse as Dark as Gold
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I got this book as a Christmas present from a good friend of mine. Books always make the best gifts in my opinion. This story is based on the story of Rumpelstiltskin and the miller's daughter which I have always found fascinating. I even have a story idea in the works, centered on the story of Rumpelstiltskin that I am very excited to write sometime in the near future. I hope to find some time to read this book this summer.

 5. Ruth-Loss, Love and Legacy
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This one is a bible study I will be participating in over the summer. I love Kelly Minter's other books, and am very excited to do one focused on Ruth, one of my favorite biblical characters. I love her loyalty to Naomi, "...Where you go, I will go..." 

 6. The Safe Lands Trilogy 
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I've also heard a lot about this series on different blogs. This series looks very interesting to me especially since it's set in a post apocalyptic setting, and is told from a christian perspective.

7. The Shack
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I've been meaning to read this one for a while, I've heard some amazing things about it, and plan to pick it up some time this summer.

8. Cinder
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When I first saw this book I was horrified. A book about cinderella as a cyborg! What?! What's with that? What's going on here? Since then I've heard a few very good reviews for this book, and decided to give it a try. It has an intriguing premise to it, and I'm very interested to see how it all works out.

9. The Book Thief
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This book sounds intriguing to me. A story narrated by death? I've heard lots of good things about it, and with the movie that came out recently, I decided that it would be a good idea to read it.

10. The Books of Pellinor Series
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Last year I found The Naming at the library book sale for a dollar, this year I found The Riddle for the same price. I haven't really heard much about this series, but I thought I'd give it a try since I already have the first two books, they sound pretty interesting, and they were such good deals.

What about you? What are your summer reading plans? Do you have any suggestions of books I should add to my list? Please let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Princess in the Forest

"Princess in the Forest" by Andrea Nan

This piece took forever! I didn't realize when I started it what a challenge the background would be. Anyways though, here it is now. I really like how it turned out, what about you? This piece was inspired by one of my favorite books "The Ordinary Princess" by M.M. Kaye. If you have never read the book, I highly recommend you do so.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Character Development Series-Cook a Meal

There are lots and lots of different things you can cook. If you have a little bit of ingenuity, some ingredients, and an oven, stove, or campfire, there is almost no end to the variety of things you can create to eat. That being said, you also have to have some knowledge and skill to cook, you can't just throw a bunch of random ingredients in a pot, turn it on high, forget about it, and hope it comes out tasting halfway decent. Using a recipe can help a lot, but some people refuse to do that, and others will not cook at all without a recipe book by their side. What would your character do if they had to cook a meal? Who would they make it for? What amount of skill do they have in the kitchen? What would they make? Would they use a recipe, or not? Would they just order a pizza? How would their meal turn out?

Comment below, I'd love to hear about your characters and their cooking escapades!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Author Influence-C.S. Lewis

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C.S. Lewis is my favorite author from my childhood. My family had The Chronicles of Narnia on CD from Focus on the Family. My siblings and I listened to them so often that we could almost quote them all from memory. C.S. Lewis seemingly effortlessly wove the greatest story ever told into his books, creating amazing books that have been loved by people everywhere of all ages. C.S. Lewis taught me about allegories, and how good always triumphs over evil. His stories with stay with me forever, reminding me that my faith can be a central part to my writing, and to never be ashamed of what I believe in.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Beautiful People June Edition-Nadasa

Today I will be participating in Beautiful People, a monthly set of questions to help me, and you, wonderful readers, get to know my characters. I will be answering these questions about Nadasa from my book The Paths of Thyme, So without further ado, let's get started!

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1) What is their full name and is there a story behind why they got it?  Nadasa's full name is Nadasa Wren. She was named that because she was such a small baby, but had a very loud cry, just like a wren.

2) How old are they, and when were they born?  Nadasa is about fifteen, she was born during a very tumultuous time in her world, when Gurethek, the traitorous prince succeeded in murdering the queen and the crown prince.

3) Describe their physical appearance. (Bonus questions: 1. What is their race/nationality/ethnicity? 2. Do you have a picture of them? If so, include it!)  Nadasa has black curly hair, brown eyes, and tan skin. Her Race is half Wanderer, an ethnic group similar to gypsies, and half Amarian. Of course, I love this picture of Astrid Bergès Frisbey, it looks exactly like Nadasa to me.

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4) Describe your character's personality first in one word, and then elaborate with a few sentences.  Curious. She has so many questions she wants answered, and can't help herself when she is tempted with answers.

5) What theme song(s) fit their personality and story arc?  Where are we going from here by Blackmore's Night. I love the mysterious feeling of the music which matches Nadasa's Wanderer background, and the words fit with her story very well.

6) Which one of the seven deadly sins describes your character?  Wrath, she is usually very sweet, but has a bad temper that flares up when she feels that something is unjust, and can be very frightening when angry.

7) If they were an element (fire, water, earth, air), which one would they be?  Earth. Nadasa is in love with nature, she is an herbalist, loves plants, and is always climbing trees. She is also very steady and dependable, she will not let you down and will stand by her friends to the end.

8) What is their favorite word?  Wings. She named her horse Wing because she has always dreamed of flying.

9) Who’s one person they really miss? (It could be someone who’s passed away, or someone they’re not close to anymore, or someone who’s moved away.) Nadasa has always had a missing piece in her heart, she never knew where she came from, or who her family was. Thalia, the herbalist who adopted her, refused to tell her anything. When she discovered that she was a Wanderer, then her whole life turned into a mission to find her people who have disappeared from the land.

10) What sights, sounds, and smells remind them of that person? On dark nights, when the three moons are shining in the black sky, and the wind rustles the leaves outside her window, she wonders what life would be like to know a family. Whenever she sees bright colors it reminds her of the Wanderers who always wear as many bright colors as possible.

If you enjoyed this and would like me to do more things like this in the future, please let me know in the comments, as always I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wicked, Elphie and Glinda

"Wicked, Elphie and Glinda" by Andrea Nan

Wicked is probably my favorite musical, I can sing almost all the songs from memory, and I love the story. It's so amazing that the you can take the Wicked Witch of the West, who is so such a one dimensional, scary, green witch, and turn her into a lovely, misunderstood, smart, strong, and brave heroine. This story shows you the power of empathy, you can take a bad guy/girl, like the Wicked Witch of the West, Loki, or Maleficent, and turn them into someone wonderful even though they are evil, with just a little sprinkle of empathy. Why do they act the way they do? What brought them to this point? If you can show how the villain became the villain, in a way that your audience can empathize with them, then you have a really great bad guy.

"Those who are heartless once cared too much" -Unknown

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Character Development Series-Lead in a Play

Cast your character as the lead in a play. You can pick any play you would like: Wicked, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Annie, Mary Poppins, etc. 

Ask yourself what character your character would play in a play. Look for similarities between the lead in the play and your own character, and if your character is not really the acting type, or just really wouldn't get into that, then just cast them as a supporting or minor character.

Don't forget to comment below! I always love to hear what you have to say!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Author Influence-Jessica Day George

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Jessica Day George is one of my favorite authors. Her Dragon Slippers, and Tuesdays at the Castle series are among my top favorite books of all time. When I read Jessica's books I was surprised to find that her characters were doing things like knitting, or embroidering, and those things became a major plot point in the story. Then I discovered that these were things that Jessica enjoyed doing herself. She had taken things she loved and written about them, in an unusual and fun way. She even wrote her dog, Pippin, into Dragon Slippers. I had always heard that you should write what you love, but Jessica Day George really drove that into my mind. She has inspired me to write what I love, and to keep it fun. You might as well have a good time while you write.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dandelion Fire

"Dandelion Fire" by Andrea Nan

I was inspired to draw this picture after reading N.D. Wilson's Book, Dandelion Fire, the second book in the 100 Cupboard's Trilogy. I definitely recommend the series if you're looking for some good books to read. If you'd like to check out more of my artwork, you can browse my Gallery here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Character Development Series-Surprise Party

Hey everyone, I'm back from camping and it's Wednesday again, which means it's time for another piece in the character development series! This time I decided to do something fun, and a little different. This time you are going to throw a surprise party for one (or more) of your characters! Plan it out just how they would like it, decorations, food, guests, theme, setting... Have fun!

Let's face it, we put our characters through so much, it's the least we can do.