Monday, August 10, 2020

My Favorite Fictional Characters Are Like What? pt. 1

I always thought I didn't have a "type." Because, I mean, Teddy Kent looks nothing like Peeta Mellark, and Sam Gamgee and Luke Skywalker could not be more different. (Though Luke is short, just not hobbit short...)

But I was thinking about my favorite fictional guys (and girls too, but I'll get to that in a bit) and I noticed a pattern of...guys who take forever to talk to/get the girl, or don't get the girl at all looking at you, Obi-Wan Kenobi. And I was like, "what?" I mean, I've liked Teddy Kent (Emily of New Moon series) since I was 15, and man is that an extreme example of takes forever to get the girl, but that there are others like Teddy? Whhhyyyyyy?????? This from the girl who hates relationship drama with a vengeance. 😜 But I stick by my faves.

The king of it all is Teddy, and why do I like him? I dunno. He's an artistic, quiet, dreamy sort of person, and despite knowing Emily since they were kids, it takes them until ten years after high school to actually get together (yes, I went through Emily's Quest once counting the years). Part of it's not totally his fault *River Song voice* "Spoilers," but if he hadn't let his shyness keep him from telling her how he felt about her in person when they finished high school like he tried to do and then didn't, it wouldn't be a problem. Or any of the myriad opportunities throughout the years where they instead perpetuated their misery. Just FYI, Emily's Quest is kinda depressing. But yet I like it. Happy for deep people?
Peeta Mellark. Notices Katniss when his father points her out on the first day of school when they're five years old. Likes her pretty much from the start. Saves her life by giving her bread when they're eleven. Doesn't talk to her until they're reaped in the Hunger Games at age 16. Then doesn't tell her to her face that he likes her, but mentions it in their televised interviews after asking to be coached separately. But he really is a good guy who loves her unconditionally and does all he can to protect her...until he gets hijacked and I'm never going to get over that. But eventually it's as okay as it can ever be after all they've been through and they're together.

"Go on, Sam. Ask Rosie for a dance."
"I think I'll have another ale."
"No you don't." *Frodo pushes Sam to Rosie*

Didn't think Sam counted for this until I remembered. He wouldn't even go ask Rosie to dance before the whole Mount Doom thing happened. And that adventure gave him the courage to go straight to her when they got back (after 13 months of near death). Merry and Pippin's faces in that scene are the best. 😆

Hey, Luke and Mara also took ten years (and a near death experience) to get together. I mean, Luke did have other girlfriends, but several of them were only after him to use him/betray him, one of them being straight up an Imperial and later Sith. (I mean, Mara was a former Emperor's Hand and when they met she wanted to kill him, but that's beside the point. She stopped wanting to kill him in 9 ABY and they didn't get married until 19 ABY.) For ten years, he'd ask her to come complete her Jedi training, and then when she came he'd barely spend any time with her because he was focused on his students and so she'd leave. Until Han Solo and Talon Karrde decided they needed to force Luke and Mara to spend time together, and, well, things didn't go how anyone thought they would, but Luke and Mara ended up trapped in collapsed, rapidly flooding caves pretty much sure they were going to die, getting engaged. So things worked out. Eventually. Until Darth Caedus, but that's another story.


Obi-Wan just straight out gave up the girl because his duty to the Jedi (and her duty to the Jedi) was more important than their love. I'm talking Legends here, because it's Siriwan all the way for me. (Though to be fair, he gave up Satine too. I'm just not a Satine fan.) See, as padawans, Obi-Wan and Siri were several times paired up on missions and on one when they're in their upper teens, they discover their love for each other. And very shortly thereafter put their commitment to the Jedi above their feelings. And their friendship isn't quite the same, they're still a good team, but there's a barrier between them. And when finally they talk about it again, twenty years later during the Clone Wars, well, then she gets killed. But yet Secrets of the Jedi by Jude Watson (where this all happens) has been my favorite Star Wars book since I was 13. Whhhhyyyyyy??????? (I mean, it's a really good book, but 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭)

For Arthur, it's not his fault. Gwen's a servant and he's the crown prince and so he has to wait until his father dies and he becomes king, and then Agravaine and Morgana try to mess it up further. So they aren't able to get married until the end of season 4 of 5.

I'll finish up with Will Treaty. To be perfectly honest, Will's a real dope when it comes to girls. Brilliant battle strategist, completely clueless about girls. And so despite growing up with Alyss and her obvious interest in him, it's years before he tells her he loves her, and then it's only to break her out of a hypnotic trance wherein she's literally about to be forced to kill him. And then she's not sure he actually said that and he's not going to bring it up, and so they're all awkward about it. But at least Horace knows what went down and tells Alyss to just ask Will about it, that they need to stop thinking so much about things and come out and say them. So Alyss writes him a letter and Will goes to her and they're finally a thing, but yet 4 books later, Will's still kind of an idiot about girls. But Will Treaty is amazing. Just sayin'. November 3rd can't come soon enough.

So yeah, all these guys who are too shy or too clueless or too duty-bound to get the girl in a reasonable amount of time. Why do I like them? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I mean, they're all great characters, but that's a strange trend that I can't pretend to explain. Especially since such behavior creates relationship drama and I hate relationship drama. But yet...yeah, I can't explain why my faves have this in common.

Well, that went on longer than I thought it would, so I'll talk about the type of girl characters I tend to like best/relate to most next week. See ya then!

Monday, August 3, 2020

What Is a Plan, Anyway?

This is me realizing on Sunday afternoon that I forgot to write a blog post because NaNo.

Anyway, I started thinking while I was loading the dishwasher after lunch, and this is probably going to be rambly because I still have NaNo brain, but here goes.

I don't have everything figured out.

Primarily, I was thinking about this in regards to writing. I've been trying (with a half-functioning NaNo brain) to talk my sister through writing the second half of a book. We've talked through character arcs and story structure and reactive vs. proactive character actions, and it's been good. Actually helping me better process those things and try to identify them in my own writing. But I don't have all the answers. I can't tell her the perfect way to implement them in her book, or even a perfect way I've implemented them in mine (because I'm still learning too).

I'm also struggling still with Acktorek book 2. I know the general storyline and I have adequate worldbuilding for what I'm doing, but there's still so much I don't know. I'm struggling to figure out Emma's mental state and character arc. I'm struggling to figure out how Emma and Mitchell work as a team, what their particular strengths and weaknesses are and how they complement each other in this story. I'm having trouble figuring out how to seamlessly weave all the elements together into a cohesive whole.

But that's okay. I don't have to get it all right at this very moment. I mean, book 1 went out to betas on its 6th draft, and I'm about to head into editing again based on feedback. And I have a lot of work to do, not because it's a bad book—so far my betas and cover model have really liked it—but because I haven't figured everything out yet.

Am I going to have it all perfect by the time it's published? Well, the question we should be asking is "Is any book ever perfect?" No, it won't be, because they never are. But it will be the best I can make it at this stage in my writing journey.

Is this draft of book 2 going to be perfect? Not by a long shot. That's what subsequent drafts are for, for digging deeper, finding and correcting plot holes, fleshing things out. And eventually it'll be the best I can make it.

But it's not just in writing that I don't know everything, that I'm still learning and figuring things out as I go. It's in everything. And you know what? That's okay. I can't wait until I know everything to do things, because then I'll be waiting forever. I can't feel so overwhelmed by my inadequacies that I don't try. And believe me, this weekend in particular, all the things I'm not sure how to handle in Acktorek 2 are tempting me to give up and work on something else that will be "easier." (Though they never really are.) But I won't. It takes work and determination and risk to move forward in life. And figuring things out as I go along.

And this is only sort of related, but mostly I just want to share it because it was inspiring to me in church this week. We can't flee from hard, scary, dangerous things. We can't hide in safety away from life. Because it's easy to prize that safety and security above God. And God doesn't want us to run away from the things that are hard, to flee from our enemies, whatever form they may take. God commands us to be strong and courageous, He encourages us and is with us in everything. God rules. He is in control of everything. And He rewards those who live in righteousness, those who seek Him and live according to His will.

So no, I don't have it all figured out. Yes, I often want to give up and run away from my problems, or the things that are hard, or the things where I just don't know what to do. But that's the wrong response. It's okay that I don't have all the answers and that there are scary risks in life because God does have all the answers and He is in control of all these things I feel like are out of control, or I don't understand, or think I can't actually do.

Anyway, I'm not sure how coherent all this is, but these are my Sunday afternoon thoughts this week. I know I don't ever repost sermons on here, but I'd strongly encourage you to listen to this one, because it was really good and especially relevant. God's got this.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Contest Winners and NaNo

I forgot to prep a post this week. Oops. Anyway, here's the contest winners!

Carrie Mouse book and doll: Mindie G.

Carrie Mouse book: Esther G.

I'll be emailing you for details. I don't have my copies yet...they don't seem to make printing author copies much of a priority...but I'll send you your prizes once I have them.

I don't have a whole lot else to say because it's NaNo and my brain is toast. Especially since Emma's mental/emotional state right now is very difficult to figure out, and I still don't think I'm hitting it quite right. But I guess that's why I rewrite. Over and over again.

I've started getting feedback on Acktorek book 1, which is awesome, and I have a lot of editing to do. I...don't really like editing, but I know it's necessary. Still, while I have editing to do to make it its best, the feedback is overall positive and I really can't wait to see this book enter the world.

On NaNo brain, I really haven't got anything else to say, so if this is a lame post (I know it is), have a fanfic I wrote a few weeks ago about Vader losing his lightsaber. It was fun.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Carrie Mouse and the Piano Lesson is Here!

Today's the day! The sun is shining! The tank is clean! And we are getting out— The tanks is clean!
*shrugs* I just had to do it.

Anyway, Carrie Mouse and the Piano Lesson is here! Visit this page for purchase links and a free color sheet, and visit the bottom of this post for a chance to win a copy!

Carrie loves music, so she's excited to begin piano lessons! But piano takes a lot more work and patience than she expected. Will Carrie work hard to pursue her dream of playing "Oh! Susanna"? Or will piano prove to be too much for her?

U.S. Residents only.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Carrie Mouse is Almost Here!

Carrie Mouse and the Piano Lesson comes out next week!

I'm super excited about a music teacher, it's a story that's very special to me. So, to help you get excited about this book too, I want to share some fun facts about the book.

It's inspired by one of my students.

I had a student whose mom told me he was disappointed after his first lesson that he couldn't just sit down at the piano and play songs already, but he worked hard to learn the concepts he needed to play Star Wars music and did a great job playing a custom arranged Star Wars medley the next spring. (BTW, I'm pretty sure I've taught more John Williams in my studio than any other composer.) This was the primary inspiration for the book. I just decided it was best to go with something public domain for the song Carrie wants so badly to play.

Miss Legato's teaching method is loosely based on Step by Step by Edna Mae Burnam.

It's a series that's pretty much never used by anyone but me in my music circles, and it's kind of theory-lite, but I've had the best success with teaching kids to read music with this series. It teaches the notes one at a time, which is a lot easier for someone new to music to keep up with, particularly for auditory learners. (I have a much easier time teaching sight reading to visual and tactile learners.)

Miss Legato's statement "The more you practice, the faster you'll learn," is one I've used repeatedly.

Yep, trying to get kids to practice is a constant part of teaching music. I actually used a variation of this phrase with a student last week. Practice 40 hours a day!

(This book is a good excuse to go binge watch TwoSetViolin. 😁 Or...go practice.)

There is an object in Carrie's room that foreshadows the next Carrie Mouse book my sister and I have planned.

But I'm not going to tell you what it is. 😉

You're not going to find any five-stringed violins in this book.

I mean, this is about piano, so there aren't any violins, but the point is, my sister plays piano, so the illustrations of instruments are as accurate as can be on that scale. I've seen some really inaccurate portrayals of instruments in picture books and they always drive me crazy.

Music is amazing.

And teaching it is one of my favorite things. So is writing, so combining the two in this little story was a lot of fun, and I love the way Rebekah's illustrations came out. 

And I can't wait to share the book with you next week!

Monday, July 6, 2020

A Trip to Jekyll Island

This is going to be a quicker trip post than what I normally do, since we weren't there a full week and we spent most of the time at the beach, and because it's NaNo and I need to go do words.

Anyway, last week, we went on a camping trip to Jekyll Island. The beach isn't my favorite thing to do (at risk of sounding like Anakin, I don't like sand very much because it gets everywhere—it's almost as bad as glitter), but it's alright, and it was definitely nice to get away for a few days. At one point, the forecast was saying it was going to rain all weekend, but it ended up only raining the last evening we were there, and even that wasn't very bad at all. It was actually kind of nice, since it barely actually rained, but the weather changed enough that the temperature was more pleasant and it was less humid.

We brought our bikes (which makes me think of The Dumb Bunnies), and rode to Driftwood Beach, which is really pretty cool. Like I said, we spent most of our time at the beach, where my sister found a TON of sand dollars (and I accidentally stepped on a few), my mom and I saw a huge horseshoe crab (but didn't get a picture), while walking on the beach I FINALLY figured out a plot for the pirate book about Captain Herb's son that I've been wanting to write for 7.5 years, and I read the entirety of Terri Blackstock's Restoration series (the characters annoyed me in the first book, but by the end, well, the last book made me cry and that's hard to do). And of course I had to continue my tradition of doing this:

Also, the ice cream shop in the historic district closes at 5, so the last day we were there, we had ice cream before dinner. After all, it is vacation.

The craziest part of the trip was on the way home. The camper blew out a tire, and we discovered that the tools that came with our truck don't actually fit the camper. So we ended up sitting on the side of the interstate for over an hour before the HERO truck was able to get there. But eventually it came, and God protected us from getting hit while we were sitting there (we were on a curve, and you don't realize how fast interstate speeds are until you're stationary and they're whizzing past). Not the way we wanted the trip to end, but all's well that ends well.

And now to go do NaNo...

P.S. My mom avoids the front of the camera as much as possible. She was there...taking the pictures.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Sign Up for a Carrie Mouse Review Copy!

I need volunteers to review/post about Carrie Mouse and the Piano Lesson when it releases on July 20! Fill out the form below, and I'll send you a copy as either a kindle book or PDF. I'm super excited about this book, and I hope you enjoy it too!