Monday, December 30, 2013

55 Reading Questions

  I saw these 55 reading questions on {wishful thinking} and decided to give them a try myself. Since it's nearly the end of 2013, for the next couple of days I'm going to try to do blog posts about this wonderful year. Starting with this one, which isn't technically about this year, but...


1. Favorite childhood book? Probably Captive Treasure by Milly Howard and the Viking Quest Series by Lois Walfrid Johnson.
 
2. What are you reading right now? I literally just finished reading Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson less than an hour ago, so now I have the opportunity to choose my next book. Possibly River Secrets by Shannon Hale or Once Upon a Crime by Michael Buckley.
 
3. What books do you have on request at the library? Is it bad that my answer is none? I have so many books to read that aren't at the library right now. But... I may have my eye on a few...
 
4. Bad book habit? Hm. Well. I suppose it isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'm very protective of my books, and can be unhappy if someone doesn't treat one of my "friends" as I treat them.
 
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? Nothing at this time. (I'm so boring.)
 
6. Do you have an e-reader? Nope, but I have a Kindle app. :)
 
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? This varies, though oftentimes I find myself reading more than one book at a time.
 
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? Not really. Perhaps if I upped my blogging schedule. But... not really.
 

9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far)? I had a very good year of reading, but I'd definitely have to say Viewers by Scott Hawthorne. I expected so much more from that book, and it become rather uncomfortable. Also, Beloved Enemy by Al Lacey was a bit of a letdown. But I think that was just the writing style.
 
10. Favorite book you’ve read this year? I've read so many good ones. I'll just list some of my favorites. :) Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker, the entire Blood of Kings series by Jill Williamson, Burning Sky by Lori Benton, and... AGH. I wish I could name more. :P
 

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? I'll basically read anything. But as far as the sexual/cursing stuff goes, I have a cut off point, and don't really want to read that kind of stuff.

12. What is your reading comfort zone? I read many genres. I like fantasy and historical the most probably. Also, I like a clean book.
 
13. Can you read in the car? Yes!
 

14. Favorite place to read? Probably on my bed, but I enjoy curling up on the couch under a lamp.
 

15. What is your policy on book lending? I don't lend books a lot, but when I do, I wish people to treat them the way I do.
 
16. Do you ever dog-ear books? Absolutely not.
 

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books? No.
 

18. Not even with text books? Surprisingly, not really.
 

19. What is your favourite language to read in? English.
 

20. What makes you love a book? A lot of things go into making a book love worthy, including but not limited to... good characters that make me fall in love with them, a good plot, and beautiful description.
 

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? A book that I would read more than once, and fits the standards of the person I am recommending to.
 

22. Favorite genre? I suppose it's fantasy, though I love to read just about anything.
 
23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)? Steampunk. I'd love to read some steampunk when I get the opportunity.

24. Favourite biography? I'm sure I've read some sort of biography, but my brain isn't functioning properly so that I remember. :P But I have read up on historical figures many times.
 
25. Have you ever read a self-help book? Erm. Maybe? Does Preparing to be a Help Meet by Debi Pearl count?
 
26. Favourite cookbook? Muffin Mania. Not sure who wrote it.
 

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? I'm sort of reading Undaunted: Daring to do what God calls you to by Christine Caine, and it's pretty inspirational, but as far as books I've read... Band of Sisters by Cathy Gohlke, and Burning Sky by Lori Benton.
 
28. Favorite reading snack? I don't eat a lot when I read. But sometimes I read through a meal. :P
 
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience. I'm not sure if this has ever happened. I usually try to read books before they get big or not pay much attention to the hype.
 

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book? Hm. Since I generally have different opinions on books than others, depending on the quality of the story, I'd say probably not often.
 

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? I'm careful. Usually I try to list some goods along with the bads in the review, and try to be fair and encouraging.
 

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose? Any of them! I would love to read in another language!
 

35. Favorite Poet? Unfortunately, I'm not really a poetry aficionado. :/
 

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time? Usually a couple at a time.
 

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread? Um. Not too often. But every once in a while.
 

38. Favorite fictional character? Goodness, really? ERM. Peeta and Finnick (Hunger Games,) just about all the characters in Mysterious Benedict Society, Achan Cham (Blood of Kings,) Sohrem (just about anything written so far by Carissa Barrows. I think The Follower, and Merchant's Son? Though I've met him in character chats, :D) Miri (Princess Academy,) and so many others. All of my friends characters are awesome.
 
39. Favourite fictional villain? Uh...... Loki from the Thor movies is a fun character though he isn't from a book... Albert Garrick (The Reluctant Assassin.)
 
41. The longest I’ve gone without reading. I'm not sure. Though, everything requires reading. I read school books I read labels, I read read read.
 

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish. Unsure. I've stopped reading some for content.
 
43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading? It can be distracting when someone's talking loudly or watching a movie.
 
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel? Hm. I'm still trying to read the LoTR books, but the movies are sooo good. And Hunger Games wasn't too bad.
 

45. Most disappointing film adaptation? I'm not sure. The jury's out on this one.
 
46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time? I never seem to have a lot of money to spend, so maybe $15. If I had more the bookstore world would have to watch out! :P
 
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? Trying to decide if this question means flipping through the book, or skimming the cover... cause I skim the cover quite a bit, and sometimes flip through. But I don't like finding stuff out ahead of time, so...
 

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through? Mostly sexual content and swearing and whatnot.
 

49. Do you like to keep your books organized? Hm. Not exactly. I had a way of keeping my favorite books on my top shelf, but now I have so many that sort of doesn't apply anymore and I have two boxes with books as well as the shelf...
 
50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? The above answer should clue you in to the fact that I keep them. :P
 

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding? Hm. Not really. Besides the books I don't want to read because of content.
 
52. Name a book that made you angry. The Tide of Unmaking by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper. Yeah... Those cliffhangers.
 

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did? Hm. Not sure. I usually try to go into a book with a hopeful attitude.
 
54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t? Beloved Enemy by Al Lacey.
 

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading? EVERYTHING!

~ a rambling author

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Quick Update

 Hey ya'll! I hope your Christmas season is going wonderful, and you have a wonderful Christmas eve. Obviously we're all very busy with life stuff. I'm currently with my darling niece and nephew, my sis, and her husband, as well as my other siblings and parents. So this week won't have a traditional post. At least not today. Because I hope that you all are spending time with your families, and celebrating the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ, the king of all kings. So enjoy! See you later! :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dark Halo: A Book Review

 Hello everyone! *waves* I know it's been a couple weeks since my last post, and I give my most sincere apologies. But I had a good excuse. As you know, I participated in NaNoWriMo which took a lot of time, but that isn't the reason for my lack of posts after November. (Yes, I won, by the way.) Actually, I only missed last week this month, but... I still feel the need to explain myself. Remember the Five Glass Slippers contest I was talking about a while ago? Well, the deadline is almost here, and I'm still trying to brush up my story. So I've been doing that a lot, besides preparing for Christmas and all that crazy stuff. But today, I have a book review of Dark Halo by Shannon Dittemore for you! This book was given to me to review by BookSneeze. All opinions expressed are my own.

Back Cover:
One halo brought sight to Brielle. Another offers sweet relief from what she sees. 

 Brielle can’t help but see the
Celestial. Even without the halo, the invisible realm is everywhere she looks.
It’s impossibly beautiful—and terrifying, especially now. Because a battle
rages above Stratus, Oregon.

The Terrestrial Veil is ripping, and
demons walk the streets past unseeing mortals. Dark, sticky fear drips from
every face, and nightmares haunt Brielle’s sleep.

Worst of all, Jake is gone. The only
boy she’s ever loved has been taken by the demon, Damien. When she receives
instructions from the Throne Room leading her to Jake, she unknowingly walks
into a diabolical and heartbreaking trap.

 Now she’s stranded in a sulfurous
desert with the Prince of Darkness himself, and he’s offering her another
halo—a mirrored ring that will destroy her Celestial vision. All she has to do
is wear it and she’ll see no more of the invisible world. No more fear. No more
nightmares. No more demons. It’s a gift. And best of all: it comes with the
promise of a future with Jake, something the Throne Room seems to be taking
from her.

Will Brielle trade the beauty of the
Celestial and the truth of the world around her just to feel ordinary again?

 ~
 
*Ahem* So this was a good book. It is the third and final book in the Angel Eyes Trilogy, and was a pretty good ending to the series, wrapping up loose threads leading back to book one, and blowing your mind along the way. 

 I will say it wasn't my favorite book in the series, but that's just a personal preference thing. Oftentimes I'll enjoy a first or more often second book than the third. It's my weird quirk. 

 But I did enjoy this. The characters were well written, the storyline was solid. Jake was sweet, as always to new believer Brielle who is still coming to understand what it means to follow Christ. It was very creepy to meet the prince of lies himself who appeared as a handsome man because... well... the Bible does say Lucifer was an angel of light, so of course he would be beautiful! I loved the inclusion of Brielle's best gal friend, Kaylee. She was hilarious, and could often make dark situations a little lighter with her comedic timing. Marko keeps getting better.

 There were lots of interesting plot points brought up. I wasn't ever sure what was going to happen. It seemed like everything was somehow connected and tied with a bright red bow. It was very neat to see it all come together, and I loved the final scene promising of new adventures that we readers may not get to see, but know are coming. 

The Heavenly warfare was upped in this book. We got to see more chapters with Michael, leader of God's army, as well as Satan, and his demonic warriors, but we also got to see the army of light. It was an interesting look at what God's word says about this topic. 

 Also. The Sabres. The plot about tearing the veil was so cool. I just... yeah... I don't want to blow anything. But I did enjoy this book! 

 And the entire series was very well done. Shannon Dittemore is a very talented writer to keep an eye on. Wonderful debut series to showcase her artistic writing ability. I'm excited to see what she writes next!

~ a rambling author

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl Blog Tour

Hey everyone! Today I'm hosting Lydia Howe and her newly released book, Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl. (Sometime I'll go into the craziness of NaNo.)  I'm so excited to take part in this. I haven't yet had the opportunity to read the book due to pressing book reviews/my crazy life, but I have it upstairs in my to-read box, and I'm looking forward to it greatly! Now... on to Lydia's portion of the post!




About the book: Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl:Traveling with her parents brings Lydia, daughter of explorer and singer Buddy Davis, plenty of adventure and mystery - from hidden clues in bookstores to cave paintings deep underground.


















Answer to the True or False question from the last stop:  False. I have never believed in evolution. 





Throughout this blog tour I’ll often be talking about my adopted parents. They are a huge part of my life - plus, they co-authored Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl with me! So I figured it might be nice for y’all if I shared more about who they are and what I mean when I call them my adopted parents. ;)

Several years ago our family (the one I was born into, who, by the way, are absolutely amazing!) went to an Answers in Genesis conference. It was a pivotal point in my life, although I didn’t realize it at the time. I had recently gotten Lyme disease, although we wouldn’t figure that out for five more long years. I was therefore sick, fairly miserable and feeling horribly sorry for myself.

One of the big reasons we wanted to go to the AiG conference was because Buddy Davis was going to be there and our family loved his music. The first night after the meeting was over (including a mini concert by Buddy Davis!), a lot of people (including most of our family) went out to a pool area where a little snack bar was located and, lo, and behold - there was Buddy Davis! So we got to talk to him. (Picture one of the most exciting moments of my life.)

Now, my dad has a website called Free Bible Music, and he asked Buddy if he would be interested in singing some of the songs. They traded contact info so they could keep in touch. Throughout the rest of the week I had a blast getting to hear Buddy speak, listening to him sing (I’m pretty sure I was the happiest person in the building then!), and hoping to somehow find a reason to talk to him (which actually did happen several times). One of the coolest things was that the hotel room I was staying in was really close to the meeting room for the conference center. Often I would sit out there and write during breaks. Some of the coolest memories I have are of Buddy coming to practice for his concerts, and I would be the only person (other than the sound guys) to hear him. And yes, it rocked! I think I can say I was about giddy about it. :)

It was also around that time I began to realize that feeling sorry for myself (as I had been) was not the way to live, and the best way for me to get over it would be to start writing to people who either felt worse than me, or were in ministry - and therefore in need of encouragement. I would also pray for them. Buddy and Kay Davis were one of those people I started writing to (albeit several months later, and at the suggestion of my dad).

It was six months after the conference when we next saw the Davis family again. We went to their house for supper, and I was shocked when they immediately mentioned the cards I had been sending and how much it meant to them. They also began replying to my notes (something I had never intended on happening!).

As time progressed, our families got to know each other better, and Buddy, Kay, and I became really great friends. More time passed and one day someone said something about them being like my second family. Eventually, I realized that we were indeed turning into a family, at least in heart.

A couple of years went by and we were continually amazed at how much alike we are. We share a lot of the same personality traits, as well as tons of the same likes and dislikes. It wasn’t long before I began calling them Dad and Mom, and they began calling me their daughter. I must say, it’s quite fun for me to have one family in which I’m one of ten kids, and a "second family" where I’m an only child. For someone who's used to being around lots of people, it gives me quite a change of perspective!

I usually hesitate to share this story in writing, because it's hard to really understand how special our relationship is unless you actually see it. It really is like I have two families. Often, when my adopted parents and I are talking to others about our family, we just drop off the word ‘adopted’ because it can get really confusing. And most of the time during this blog tour, when I talk about my family it will be my adopted ones, because they’re the ones who co-authored the book with me. Plus, my other family doesn’t really enjoy being in the spotlight much. ;)

I truly feel as if God has given me two different families and I am so very, very thankful for both of them!

On my adopted dad's newest CD, he has a song he wrote about our relationship as a family and it's titled "I love you, Dad". Check out this post to see how you can win one of the CDs! 







Have any of y'all ever been caving? Did you like it?

About the author:
Whether she’s building life-sized models of dinosaurs with her adopted family, trying her hand at cooking at a private retreat, or living in a barn, author Aidyl Ewoh (aka Lydia Howe) seems to have adventures follow her wherever she goes. Check out her book, Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl and find out more about her at her BlogFacebook, and Twitter

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013: Up The Scarlet Staircase



  Hello everyone. *Sheepish* If you haven't noticed, I took a bit of a blogging break the last couple weeks. My life has just been insane, and I needed some time to evaluate and figure out what I'm doing on the blog and whatnot. Anyway, I'm taking part in NaNoWriMo this year, which is insane! But I'm on schedule... actually a little ahead. In case you don't know what NaNo is, here's the long and short: I'm trying to write 50,000 words of a novel in just the month of November. That's why NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.

 So today... on Day 5 of NaNo, I've decided to share with you a little about the novel I am writing.





Title: Up The Scarlet Staircase
Genre: YA Christian Dystopian
Age Range: 12 and up

My bad Back Cover Copy:

 Max was raised in the facility. It's all he knows. Every since disease wiped out the greater portion of the world's children, things have changed dramatically. Children are kept in special air filtered facilities, supervised by Doctors who look out for their well being, searching for a cure.
Max is almost thirteen, and when he turns that age, he will be sent to an all boys facility, and separated from his only friend Aimee.
 But age is not the only thing Max has to worry about.
A small window in his room's doorway allows him to see out into the hall where a mysterious red staircase climbs. And sometimes he sees children taken up the staircase... and never brought back down again. When one of his worst fears comes true, Max decides to leave the facility to find the family he knows he must have, even if it means walking through poisoned air to get there.
But the Doctors are not so eager to let one of their children leave.


Here's a collage of a few characters: 




Max is my male main character, while Sharron is my female main character. Aimee is Max's friend, and Valen Steward is a leading Scientist/Doctor.

 Here's a few songs on my writing playlist. I'm not a huge fan of some of the songs, but they fit my novel really well. The words, especially. 

Radioactive – Imagine Dragons

The Broken Ones – Dia Frampton

Song of The Caged Bird – Lindsey Sterling

Safe and Sound – Taylor Swift



 And for your reading pleasure... or maybe not so much pleasure... here are a few snippets that I've written thus far. 
 ~
There once was a boy named Jimmy Swift. He was eleven. He was the first to die.   
~
Our removal of children from the home was a necessary step in the protection of our future, and the future of the children. ~ Doctor Valen Steward
~

  The doctor was headed for the staircase. When you think of a staircase you see a flight of steps leading to a specified location. But this staircase was different. It lead to a place that was unknown, and its color was scarlet as blood.
~

 
 “This facility was built for the protection of you all. You live here because you are being protected. You should feel honored, and want to serve the Director with all that you can. He was appointed by an act of science- a disease- to lead us, and with science we will succeed in all things we so wish to accomplish. The Director has plans for all of you. You may become a worker in any facet of the jobs we provide: research assistant, instructor, or perhaps even a gold star scientist yourself. Anything can be accomplished with hard work, and when you are eighteen, you may decide which course you would like to approach.” ~ Professor Maclemore
~
 Aimee stuck her feet down, letting the rubber scrape against the gravel under foot. “Of course it matters. You’re the smartest kid I know Max. I think one day you will be a Scientist- one of the Doctors. Maybe you’ll be in charge of your own facility.”

 Max shook his head. “I don’t want my own facility.”

 Aimee turned to look at him. “Do you hate it here so much?”

 He shrugged, glancing at the children who ran on the track, played in the sand boxes, and swung on ropes. “It is all I have known. How could I hate it?”

 She stood, walking to him. “Why do you talk like you do then?”

 Max shrugged his shoulder, wondering if he should tell Aimee the worries plaguing him. “It’s the staircase, Aimee. It’s strange how that boy… I haven’t seen him since Doctor Ryland took him up it.”
 ~

 
Doctor Ryland pressed a button on her wristband, and a holoboard appeared. She studied it for a moment. “For now we will only need a sample from Aimee.”
 Max felt his muscles tighten. It made him uncomfortable that Aimee was the only one having to have her blood taken. Why shouldn’t they take his? He was scheduled for sooner relocation. Or were they focusing on the girls? 
~
  “This is where we filter the air. It comes in through some of the panels, and is filtered on its way down here, where it is dispersed to the entire facility.”
  Sharron nodded, pretending to listen, though she knew about filtering methods already. She hadn’t seen a dome designed like this one before, though.
 “Sounds complicated,” she said, acting as if she was a greenie with no experience whatsoever.
 He smirked. “It does, but it isn’t too hard to understand. It just requires experience to figure out, like most things here.”

~


 Science is the one thing you can always count on. With science you can accomplish anything. We are seeking to use science to find a cure. We will find a cure. Because science is everything. ~ Doctor Valen Steward
~

“I want you to know that was you saw was nothing. There is nothing devious going on here. We are simply working for the betterment of all of you children, nothing more.  Whatever you saw last night… you should forget. It is for your better interest.” ~ Doctor Ryalnd
~
 In a few moments the men exited along with Doctor Ryland. The door shut behind them.
 Max ran to it, slamming his fists against the metal. “Let me out! Where are you taking her? Please! He climbed on top of his stool, peering into the hall, desperate for any sign of his friend.
 Doctor Ryland had her… was pulling her across the hall… toward the scarlet staircase.
 “No!” he screamed, aware that his voice might not even carry into the hall. “No! Take me instead! Let her go! Aimee! Aimee!” 
~
“My name is Sharron. I lived in a facility too.”
 He looked at her again, and this time there was a glimmer of curiosity in his eyes. “You? But aren’t you one of them?”
 Her heart pounded. She hoped their words hadn’t been picked up by some bugging system installed in the Activity Center. “Not exactly. I’m an assistant.”
 He looked up. “You mean… you’re one of the people they say we can be someday?”
 She smiled at his wording. “Something like that.” 

 ~



 Annnndddd I've probably posted too much already. Have a good evening!

~ a rambling author 


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Teen Read Week!

 Hello everyone! Sorry my blog post is a couple hours late. Crazy day! It is that time of year again! Teen Read Week! In which teens are encouraged to read. What else? I am a part of a special Teen Read Week tour through Inklined Writers.

 My post is on

 The Benefits of Reading

 So I could obviously go on forever about the benefits of reading, but I'll just touch on a few things.

1. Reading improves your brain. That's right. When you read, you're using your brain, and it's almost like doing mental push ups. Get yourself a GOOD book (because just like there are unhealthy work outs, there are unhealthy books), and start toning those reading muscles.

2. Reading makes you smarter. Not only does it improve your brain in other things, but you can actually get some smarts from reading. A lot of the information I know about the world etc came from the pages of a book. Who knows how much I would know without books?

3. Reading makes you able to discuss interesting topics with your friends. By interesting topics, I mean you can geek out about a certain character or plot with other books lovers. This can be done with movies too. But.

4. Reading has lots of detail. You watch a movie and it might last two hours, and it's over. Don't you hate it when you feel like the story could have gone a lot farther? Well with books... they can. There is no two hour time limit on a book, and you can read it at your leisure. Now you can really get into it. And the details will make so much sense.

5. Reading is fun. Contrary to popular belief, reading isn't boring. Whoever started that heinous lie should be forced to read a thick text book in one sitting. Then maybe they would change their mind about what is boring, and what is not. Reading allows imagination to leap off the page, and into your mind. Although I love watching a good film, reading allows you to get your own opinion, imagining the character yourself instead of having an actor/actress already representing them. Books are exciting, romantic, full of action, adventure, and special effects.

 I suggest you pick up a good book soon! Here are a few of my suggestions...

Romanticish stuff: The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet by Stephanie Morrill, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (also historical.)

Historical: The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers, Band of Sisters by Cathy Gohlke, Alone Yet Not Alone by Tracy Leinenger, The Viking Quest series by Lois Walfrid Johnson, Isle of Swords/Isle of Fire by Wayne Thomas Batson.

Fantasy/Spec fic: Blood of Kings Trilogy by Jill Williamson, Replication, The New Recruit, Captives also by Jill Williamson, The Berinfell Prophesies by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper, Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, Goose Girl by Shannon Hale.

And that's about all for now. I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Check out the other stops...

Inklined Writers--7:00 AM
Emily Rachelle Writes--9:00 AM
Lily's Notes in the Margins--1:00 PM

~ a rambling author

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Pauper's Masquerade

 I've been debating on what to post on today. I posted about theater last week, but I don't have a book review for you today. So... how would you like me to introduce you to the current project keeping me busy?

Photo credit: http://pmatijmuses.wordpress.com/page/2/ (I do not own the original image!)
 I briefly mentioned this story in an earlier blog post, but I think now it's time I really introduce you. This is a Cinderella retelling, written primarily for Ann Elisabeth Stengle's Five Glass slippers writing contest. Here's a bit of a blurb.

 Noelle, raised in the palace kitchens, longs only for one thing: To learn more about the father who abandoned her. But when the mysterious princess betrothed to her kingdom's prince needs her services, Noelle finds herself on a path of danger and deceit. Appearing at a ball in the princess' honor, dressed as her mistress, she finds her pauper's masquerade has just begun.

 So that's just a very cryptic idea of the story. And now, in honor of Mirriam Neal, I shall post a scene. Sorry it isn't very snarky!

  ~~~
 Shaking her head, Noelle tried to pen some more words besides a vague title.
 What is freedom? To be let out from a cage, like a bird in flight? To no longer have to scratch, to work, to fight? Why do we all long to let go? Why do we all want to be away from thoughtless words and deeds?
Because they are thoughtless of course, and isn’t it so?
 Pursing her lips, the girl crossed out her lines, hating to waste such precious space. “Oh how I wish I had some other paper!”
 “There is some in the desk if you so wish to borrow it.”
 Emitting a squeak, Noelle turned in her chair, mouth gaping at the sight of Prince Alfred, Crown Prince of Ellern. “Oh. Oh my!”
 Noelle dropped from the chair, feeling very conspicuous all of a sudden. She had been caught sitting in a royal chair! She fell to her knees, bowing her head in shame and fear. “Your highness, I beg your forgiveness. Please forgive me… I didn’t mean to assume. I just… I just wanted to write… I’m so sorry…”
 The prince laughed, his laugh not deep and milky as the girls claimed, but rather a bit stressed sounding, but somehow still sincere. “Do not fret. It is no great sin. Though I do find it strange… a servant girl who writes?”
 Another cloud of fear surrounded her. What if the prince didn’t like for servants, or women for that matter, to write? “My lord, please pardon me. I learned from the old cook who passed away. I thought it might connect me to my father.”
 This time the prince’s voice was stern. “There is nothing to pardon. Now, stand. I don’t enjoy talking to the tops of people’s heads.”
 Scrambling to her feet in a very unladylike way, Noelle kept her head tilted down, staring at the elaborate embroidery of Prince Alfred’s dressing robe.
 “Well, that’s a little better,” the prince said, his voice full of amusement, “But might I see your face.”
  Feeling ridiculous, Noelle looked up.
 This was the first time she had ever seen the prince so close up before. He had black hair, and dark eyes that glowed with some secret Noelle suddenly wanted to know. There was a deep, endearing dimple in his cheek.
 While she was taking in the sight of him, the prince was also surveying her, and he burst into more laughter.
 Noelle felt her face, cheeks warming. “Oh, your majesty, I’m so sorry. It’s the soot, isn’t it? You see… I tend the ovens… and…”
 He waved a dismissive hand. “There’s no need to explain yourself.”
 Noelle curtsied, grateful. All of a sudden, overwhelming curiosity overcame her, and, trying to be careful, she voiced the question vexing her. “My lord, I don’t wish to sound rude, but may I ask you a question?”
 The prince raised an eyebrow, and the girl expected to receive a harsh rebuke for her boldness.
 “Of course, if you will allow me to put one forth to you.”
 Relieved, she bobbed her head. “Yes, sire. You see… every night I have come to this library… to tend the fire; there has been no living soul around. So, if it isn’t wrong to ask, what brings you to this place tonight?”
 The prince tapped a finger against his forehead. “A very good question to ask. And the answer is simple. I decided to come read a bit after preparing for bed… my stomach has been a bit out of sorts. And I somehow fell asleep in that chair over there, only to be awoken by your voice, talking to yourself.”
 Noelle felt like sinking into the earth. “Oh.”
 The prince just smiled again. “Now, for my question, and I hope you don’t think it rude.”
 “Of course not,” she mumbled, staring at the floor.
 “My question is, why do you dress in this fashion? I believe my mother instituted a dress code, and I only wonder why you do not uphold it?”
 Noelle bit her lip. Would she now be punished? Would it be all right to tell what Cook had done?
 “You are not in trouble, I only wish to know.”
 “Oh. Well. The cook has not given me a uniform. I work in her service in the kitchens, you see… and well… she never saw the need since I don’t work in the palace.”
 The prince’s forehead scrunched. “I see.” He glanced at a beautiful, engraved clock hanging from the wall. “I suppose I should be heading to my chambers. Please sleep well.”
 Noelle curtsied again. “Th- thank you, your majesty.” 

 I hope this brief intro makes you a bit eager to read more! :)                                                                    
Have a lovely day!
~ a rambling author

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Other Side of Me: Willy Wonka

 Okay. I know I'm late, but I honestly have a pretty good excuse this time. Besides other life things, I had a rather long eye appointment and I had to go to the city about an hour and a half from my home  for head shots/trying on costumes in the evening Tuesday. (Did I mention I was cast in A Christmas Carol? But more on that later...)

 Okay. So today is the second post in my The Other Side of Me series. I'm not promising that these will be weekly, cause I'm still trying to figure out that pesky blog schedule, but we'll see what happens.

 I left off last week talking about the choir I was in. I forgot to mention one thing. While in this choir, we traveled as a group to see The Wizard of Oz performed by Christian Youth Theater.  I was amazed by the talent and professionalism, and dared to dream that someday I could do CYT even though at this time it was impossible.

 Back to my group, and what Mrs. A had said when we first inquired about musical theater. Well, true to her word, around January, info went up about the show they were going to perform in the Spring: Willy Wonka. I was pretty familiar with the Willy Wonka storyline having seen the movies and whatnot. I looked at the roles, and since they said pick one to try for, I decided to try for Veruca Salt. I was thirteen going on fourteen, but they'd said I could try for a kid's or adult part. Even though that was the specific part I was auditioning for, I practiced other parts as well.

 Finally the audition day arrived. Guess what? I was sick. Or recovering. And thanks to my illness, my voice was in a terrible state. I went to the room with Mrs. A privately, and told her that my voice was messed up. She assured me that she already  knew what my voice sounded like, and I sang what I could of my audition. "You have a callback," she said. "It will be here, next week."

 I was so excited! I'd never heard of a callback before, unless you count maybe... the part in Hoodwinked where the schnitzel guy gets an acting callback?

 Anyway, the callback day came. I was so nervous. The idea of competing against others using simply my vocal and acting abilities which probably weren't at their peak completely intimidated me. There were about three other girls called back for the same Veruca Salt part. We all sang her song together, and then sang it alone. Unfortunately, I let my nerves get a hold of me, and was kind of shaky with my audition. After this, we read a few lines, and the callback was over. They told us when the cast list would be posted.

 Oh the wait was excruciating! I may have felt pretty bad about my callback, so I was very nervous about what might happen.

 The cast list was posted!

 I looked-- would I be portraying bratty rich girl Veruca?!?

 No.

 Mrs. Beauregarde - Bethany Baldwin

Was I disappointed? But of course. If you are hoping for something you're going to be disappointed if you don't get it! But my mindset... I don't know if I started it then, or when, but it is this. No matter what part you get, always do your best. Besides, I was a named character! That was something to be happy for!

 Mrs. Beauregarde was one of the characters I hadn't really researched (The mother of the rude, gum chewing Violet,) but I found myself becoming excited anyway. And in the end, I discovered that Mrs. Beauregarde was really the better part for me anyway.

I went to rehearsals, I read lines, worked on acting, etc. When I came into this show I had a shell. I was pretty shy around the other kids except my friend Charlotte who I had known before, and I wanted to do well, but I was a bit afraid to pop the lid off the box. But I did. For some reason, when I get on stage, I feel alive. I become a part of the story, not just an actor on the stage, but I am that person. And for your viewing *cough* pleasure, here are some photos of me as Mrs. Beauregarde.


Here's the top half of my costume. I believe this photo was taken before my first show.


  Full outfit. I should also mention that I got my braces off just in time for the show, so I was smiling proudly. :D


                   This is a photo inside the factory. I changed into this dress for the second act.



                                 In this room here... surveying the wonders of Wonka's creation.


                              About to take a hulking bite in the chocolate smelting room.



                                    Scolding/talking to my daughter outside the Wonka factory.


                                    Looking smug with my daughter during her interview.


                                             My "air guitar" picture as I call it. Who knows...


                                       The finale. Once again, who knows what I'm doing?


 I enjoyed being in my first theater show SOOOO much. Especially after waiting to long to do any sort of acting. I was a bit depressed that I would have to wait an entire year for another show! Which you will learn about next time. ;)

 What do you think?

~ a rambling author