Sunday, October 30, 2016

10 Thoughts Everyone Has Before NaNo (Warning: This May Terrify You)



Okay...so NaNo is two days away and I AM OBVIOUSLY NOT PANICKING. NOT AT ALL. *runs into the street screaming*

Ahem. Yes, perfectly calm. *cough*

I thought it would be fun to do another post about NaNo since that's basically all I can think about right now. And since I'm so experienced (I've actually never done NaNo before but psssh, details), I thought I would enlighten you all with some thoughts I've been having about said insanity.

1.) "I NEED COOKIES."



Every writer who goes into NaNo must be properly stocked up with cookies. How else are we expected to survive writing 1,667 words every day??? (You could also get cake, pie, donuts, or chocolate. Or fruit, if you feel like eating healthy. But eh, you know, sugar = the lifeblood of a writer.)


2.) "Why won't my story behaveeeee? *cries*"




So...for all you plotters out there, I know this has happened to you. NO PLOT. NO IDEAS. IT'S BASICALLY JUST A MESS. I mean, nobody feels ready for NaNo, right? (Unless you're a magical dragon with super plotting abilities.) I THINK WE ALL HAVE BEEN HERE.

...mostly me, because I'm a pantser and therefore know nothing about my book. *dies*

3.) "Okay. I'm REALLY excited! Maybe I'll actually survive!"


Hahahahaha...




Oh, you delusional child. No one survives NaNo. At least...no one survives with their sanity.

(By the way, if you ever have this thought of survival, please rest assured that it is short-lived. It usually goes away within a week of November starting.)

I'M SORRY, IT'S THE TRUTH.

4.) "Yesssss, I get to hide away in my hobbit hole and not be social!"



Yeah, this one's definitely a legitimate plus to NaNo. You get to hide away from society for 30 whole days. THIS IS ACTUALLY A REALLY MOTIVATING THOUGHT.

Of course, there's always that one sibling who doesn't get the memo and just hangs around you chatting whenever you write. So you'll most likely have to threaten them with your pet dragon and hope they get the idea.



5.) "I get to torture characters. Mwahahahaha!"




Ah yes. Torturing characters. The one true reason we write. You don't have to necessarily kill them, per se, but it's always fun to throw a few...ahem...obstacles in their path.

If you aren't one of those writers who gains delight from the idea of tormenting characters, then, well...


(Just kidding, you guys are probably just more humane than we are. XD)

6.) "I think I'm already insane."




First of all, yes you are. And second, it will only get worse. Sorry 'bout that.

But don't worry, all writers are insane. Madness and brilliance are two traits that often coincide, you know. JUST EMBRACE THE MADNESS AND DO YOUR THING. Trust me, it will be great.

7.) "I AM SO NOT READY. *collapses*"




*cannot stop watching gif*

Okay, moving on.

News flash: you will never be ready. Double news flash: NO ONE EVER IS. IT JUST COMES WITH NANO. GO WITH IT.

8.) "WAIT. Why did I sign up for this?"



Um, because you are a smart human bean, obviously. (Or just crazy, but hey, they're one and the same.) Writing 50k in a month is soooo muuuuch fuuuuun.

...I hope. *coughity cough*


9.) "I need to stock up on allllllll the things."




Like cake. And fuzzy blankets. And sleep because you won't get any. AND FOOD AND WATER BECAUSE THE APOCALYPSE IS COMING.

Ahem. Yeah, better safe than sorry. *raids grocery store for emergency supplies*

10.) "IT'S PARTY TIME!"



YES, IT IS. As terrifying as the thought of NaNo is, I think we can all agree that it's also super exciting. I CANNOT WAIT FOR THE INSANITY!

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Well then. How many of you are actually doing NaNo? Have you had any of these thoughts? (Hopefully I'm not the only one. XD) Also, am I officially crowned the Queen of Gifs? Because I think this post is the epitome of epic gif usage. ;)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A NaNouncement + Beautiful Books



So I have an announcement to make. Or rather, a NaNouncement (ha, I'm so clever. XD)...

I'M DOING NANO.

I'm pretty sure that's not news to most of you since I've basically told everyone individually in blog comments that I'm doing it. *coughs* #fail

But I decided it was such a momentous decision that it deserved being officially announced on my blog. I'm like 98.93% certain that all my sanity is gone for good. BECAUSE GOSH, MARY, HOW WILL YOU HAVE TIME TO WRITE 50K??? Fall is literally one of the worst times of year for me to commit to doing this. (Because college classes. And the SAT. AND EVERYTHING BASICALLY.) However, I'm pretty sure that almost everyone who does NaNo doesn't have the time? They're just crazier than other people. :P

Because I still haven't finished my WIP from Camp NaNo, I'm being a rebel and attempting to add 50k to it in November. I'm not sure whether that will officially finish it, but I am hoping to have it completely done by the end of the year. And then...who knows? I miiiiight be letting beta readers at it in spring. *mysteriously waggles eyebrows* (Don't hold me to that, though. I am very apt to change my mind. XP)

Once again, I have no outline. I didn't have the time to construct one before Camp NaNo, so I ended up completely pantsing it. Turns out I actually had a ton of fun doing that, which means I'm going to do the same thing during NaNo. And yes, that makes me even more insane than normal human beans who actually plan out their novels. But hey, I never claimed to be normal. ;D

I've rambled on long enough. You guys are probably curious what I'm actually writing (and if you're not, well, pretend you are) so I will also be introducing you to my novel today.

The wizards Sky and Cait have returned once again with Beautiful Books! Usually, they do Beautiful People (wherein we get to rave about our characters), but whenever NaNo begins to creep out of the shadows, they bring out Beautiful Books. That means that you guys get to hear alllllllll about my WIP. Lucky you.


// Moonlit Mirror //





1.) What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

A little over a year ago, I sat down in my "reading chair" with a journal and began writing a synopsis for a pirate story. I jotted down a few plot points, as well as brief character descriptions, and wrote the first scene in a different journal. 

I had just seen the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie before this so I have a feeling it was originally inspired by that. *coughs* However, my plot has changed drastically in the past four months. I completely scrapped the original plot--only leaving some of the same characters and the pirates--and converted the book into a whimsical fantasy story. Honestly have no clue what inspired my current plot...probably just the pressure to write words during Camp NaNo. XD

So I've had the basic idea for Moonlit Mirror for about a year. ^_^

2.) Describe what your novel is about!

I wrote my first official blurb a couple weeks ago! Here it is:

Charlotte Davidson has spent her whole life wishing to be free of her scheming uncle's clutches. So when she is invited by his Regency Aleck Theodus III to a masquerade ball, she jumps at the chance to make her escape. However, the bizarre Royal City seems to be full of lunatics. The only partially sane person there is the dashing (yet irksome) Alexander Bradshaw, a lieutenant in charge of a mission to reclaim Ile de la Phantome from a group of rogue pirates. As annoying as the Lieutenant is, she begins to think her only chance of freedom is stowing away on his ship. After all, what could be worse: a controlling uncle or deadly pirates?

James Sawyer, the apprentice to an exiled magician, only wishes to be in and out of the Royal City as fast as he can. Unfortunately, his annual trip to the mainland (on official "wizard business") goes every wrong way imaginable. He soon finds himself aboard a ship to Ile de la Phantome...with a man who wants him dead.

(Yes, it is awesome. Thank you for noticing. ;D)

3.) What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!


(Thanks, Cait. I just spent like an hour on Pinterest looking for pictures. :P)

If you want more pictures for my WIP, you can check out my Pinterest board.

4.) Introduce us to each of your characters!

I'll just introduce you to a few of them since I don't want to drown you guys in names. XD

Charlotte Davidson // The 18-year-old niece of a power-hungry uncle. She has brown hair and blue eyes and is known to say whatever pops in her head. She's secretive about her past, and because of that, tends to read into things more than necessary. She also has a very logical mind, which makes her reluctant to accept the insanity of the Royal City. (But don't let her logical mind fool you: she's also extremely impulsive. :P)

James Sawyer // The 19-year-old apprentice of an exiled wizard. He has brown hair, brown eyes, and a withdrawn demeanor. He's very protective of his family and sensitive to other people's emotions. However, he can get aggravated when you push the right buttons. Namely, saying anything to offend his loved ones.

Lieutenant Alexander Bradshaw // A 20-something lieutenant in charge of a mission to reclaim an island from rogue pirates. He has tawny hair and penetrating grey eyes. He thinks a little too much of himself and has the innate ability to aggravate Charlotte. (I mean, James kind of does, too. But Lieutenant Bradshaw does it on purpose. XD) His moral compass doesn't exactly work very well, but he does have a shred of decency...somewhere. *coughs*

Tom (ha, no last name) // The 18-year-old son of the aforementioned wizard. He has curly red hair and blue eyes. He's annoyingly happy and basically lives for food. He's James's close friend and is very people-oriented...which is tricky because he lives in exile on an island. Eheh. >.>

5.) How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)


Um...well, I don't. XD Unless you count stressing over the fact that I haven't prepared. ;)

Like I mentioned earlier, I'm pantsing this novel, which also happens to be my first "official" novel. That means I haven't prepared much at all. I did write up character profiles for a couple characters a while back, and I have an idea of the basic plot, but that's about it.

6.) What are you most looking forward to about this novel?


Probably all the glitter. *nods seriously* Really though, the amount of glitter in this book is mind-blowing. (Oh, and also, there's a scene that takes place in a cake shop. So that's fun. :D)



I'm also really looking forward to writing about the pirates. I haven't gotten to that part of the story yet, but I think it will be a blast. ^_^

7.) List 3 things about your novel’s setting.


Well, the Royal City is where the beginning of the book takes place. It's the capital of the fantasy world and home to his Regency (who's basically mad, by the by). The whole city is so bizarre and fun, and I'm honestly so pumped to write more about it.

I don't have the whole world planned out (I'm a pantser, remember?), but there is an island that disappears, a city paved with glitter roads, and a squirrel village somewhere in the mix.

8.) What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?


Charlotte's main goal (in the beginning) is to attain freedom from her uncle. She's been tied to him for as long as she can remember, and all she wishes to do is escape his control. The main thing standing in her way is James Sawyer, who just so happened to fill in the last spot on the ship she wanted to board.

James desperately wishes to free his younger sister, who was captured by a band of pirates years ago. His primary obstacle is his employer's lack of expertise in magic. James's father sent him to work for the wizard so he could learn spells to be used against the pirates, but the old magician seems to have lost his knowledge over the years.

Their goals will probably change as the characters themselves change, but that's what I have at the moment.

9.) How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?


I haven't exactly figured that out yet. #oops One of the joys of being a pantser. -_-

(But even if I knew, I wouldn't tell you. A writer's gotta keep her secrets, you know. *cackles evilly*)



10.) What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?


As you've probably gathered, my book isn't exactly a deep, inspirational read. But I would like to communicate themes of hope, determination, and friendship. Also, letting go of the past is one theme I want to weave into my story.

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Before you guys scramble down to the comments section, I wanted to let you know about something my friend Abi is doing. She's holding an event called 5k1day, which is essentially just writing 5k of your WIP in...well, one day. Pretty straightforward. You can join the Facebook event or the Google Hangout. (If you want to join the hangout, just let me know in the comments.) Either way, you'll be surrounded with like-minded, crazy people who are endeavoring to write 5,000 words on November 1st. And nope, you don't have to be doing NaNo to participate.


Well then. Did you enjoy "meeting" my book? AND ARE YOU AS TERRIFIED AS I AM OF THE FACT THAT NANO IS ALMOST 10 DAYS AWAY??? I'm obviously completely prepared. *cough, cough* 


P.S. You can stalk my NaNo profile right here. ;) 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Eye of the Storm

Hurricane Matthew

For those of you who aren't already aware, I just survived a hurricane.

Hurricane Matthew, which at one point was a Category 5, has already claimed over a thousand lives, most of them in the impoverished nation of Haiti. It was a powerhouse of wind and waves, with winds gusting up to 160 miles per hour at one point.

And it was headed right toward us.

In all honesty, I was terrified. Although I craved an element of excitement in my life, the idea of a monster of a storm hitting us frightened me. All the models started pointing it right in our direction, predicting that it would make landfall almost right where I lived.

As the models grew more and more certain, we packed our bags and stuffed our minivan full of stuff. I boxed up my books and stored away as many of them in my closet as possible. A part of me wondered whether or not I would ever see my home again. Sure, our home was supposed to be extremely sturdy; but fear claimed a part of my heart and made me doubt.

Yet something happened. Something that could only be called a miracle.

The storm shifted.

Instead of making landfall, the hurricane veered 20 miles off course. Those 20 miles made all the difference. There was only minimal damage, with some trees, signs, and fences down. A few shingles were blown off some houses. The gate to our fence blew off its hinges. But we were miraculously saved.
{Source}

Someone intervened. Someone who has power over the wind and the waves. Someone who holds the seas in the palm of His hand.

Someone who calms.

In all this turmoil, God whispered something to my disquieted soul: Be still.

I tried to combat this with my anxious thoughts. I have too much to prepare. There's no time for relaxing.

Yet He persisted. Be still.

My restless heart could still not be persuaded. But what if it hits? What if we lose everything?

He whispered, Be still and know that I am God.



I continued to ignore His voice. Deep inside, I knew who was really in control. But I wasn't sure if He could really do it. After all, how could the hurricane miraculously shift when all the models seemed to say otherwise?

But I had forgotten something: there is calm in the storm.

He is the eye of the storm. As paradoxical as it may seem, when we are at our lowest point, when a hurricane of troubles seems to be pounding us mercilessly, we can find rest in the middle of it all. There is a calm that can be found in the very core of our troubles when we look to the right source. Just like the eye of the storm, God is a steady source of peace. In His presence, we can find rest. Though the strongest gales may assail us just outside the eye, we can be still and know that He is God. 


{Source}
He is the author of the wind and waves.

He is the lighthouse in the swirling fog.

He is the calm in the storm.

The world may seem to be crashing down on us, like breakers on the ocean, but we need to remember why we're in the storm. Through the turbulence of life's sorrows and heartbreaks, worries and fears, we can find our greatest joy and peace if we only learn to be still.

Remember who spoke the world into existence. And find peace in the knowledge that He is holding our hand. He will not let our hand slip out of His grasp. His love is holding us.

It can be difficult to rest when everything seems to be going awry, but true peace can only come when we cast our cares upon the Creator. Letting go of our deepest fears and allowing Him to heal the scars is such a cleansing feeling. Only when we pass through the waves can we be broken enough to find peace. God puts us through the storm so that we can find the calm. He wants to ease our burdened hearts...if only we have the courage to be still.

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Here are some songs that have been ministering to me lately:




I've been meaning to write another devotional post for a long time, but no inspiration had really settled in until now. Leave it to God to work the worst things into beautiful revelations!

"Be still and know that I am God."
// Psalm 46:10 //

Friday, October 7, 2016

Why I Love Fall // Guest Post by Morgan

I'm beyond thrilled to announce that my darling pen pal and blogging friend Morgan is guest posting today! AND SHE'S POSTING ABOUT FALL. Eep! This makes me all kinds of delighted because autumn is my second favorite season. I loooove it!

ALSO. We swapped posts so there's a post up on her blog by yours truly...and it just might have something to do with dragons. Just sayin'. ;) GO RAID HER BLOG BECAUSE IT'S AH-MAY-ZING.

Please welcome Morgan as she tells you some of the reasons that fall is fabulous!

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Hello, everybody!  I'm Morgan from The Day the Lord has Made.  I would first like to thank Mary for letting me post on her lovely blog today.  I'm going to be sharing with you all some reasons why autumn is the best of all the seasons (in my humble opinion). 

These are in no particular order, by the way.


1.  Cooler weather. 


After a long hot summer, I am so ready for crisp cool days, aren't you?  I love getting up when it's foggy, misty, or raining and it feels like it's time to bundle up with a nice hot drink and a good book. Which brings me to my second point.



2. Hot drinks.


Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, whichever you fancy, you got to admit they taste a whole lot better when its cold out.  Though you might drink hot drinks in the summer, I think they are even better in the fall and winter.  I for one drink more hot drinks in the fall/winter months myself.  Who's with me?



3.  Sweater weather.


In the summer it's so hot out all you end up wearing are shorts and a tee shirt, am I right?  But the fall is when you can bundle up in a sweater and sweat pants...and maybe a blanket.  And just be all cozy!  It's so lovely to snuggle all up like a big marshmallow.



4.  It's apple picking time!


I love apples!  Apple cider, apple crisp, apple donuts (they are SO good!), and apples in general.  They taste the best during this time of the year as well.  We live close to this place called Apple Hill and we go up there and get our apples and the apple donuts.  It's a lot of fun.  We bring home a couple boxes of delicious apples to munch on and bake with.



5.  Fires going in the fireplace.


I LOVE having a fire going in the fireplace.  At my house, we have one of those fireplaces that you just flip the switch and voila, fire is going in the fire place.  It lets off a lot of heat and is really nice.  But I also love having one going in the fire pit outside.  And of course when you are camping a fire going is always a must.  The heat, smell, cackle, and just looking at the dancing flames is wonderful.



6.  Trees changing color.


I love seeing the trees turning into beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and red. And then falling to the ground gracefully.  It's such a lovely time, the trees and the weather altogether changing.



There are more things that I love about fall, but these are the basic ones. God has blessed us with some awesome seasons, but fall is my favorite.  Coming out of the heat into the refreshing coolness and loveliness we call autumn and fall is my favorite.  I'm ready for it to be nice and cool all day long.  Hopefully soon! :)

I hope you all enjoyed this little post.  Thank you again, Mary!  Blessings to all of you!  ~Morgan

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Thanks so much for that beautiful post, Morgan! It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Now I can't wait for autumn to arrive where I live. ^_^

WELL. Have you guys checked out my guest post yet? Because I'm so nice, I'll graciously leave the link here again. SO THERE. You have no excuse. ;)

What's YOUR favorite season? And do you say fall or autumn? (I usually say fall, but autumn is so much more melodic.) What's your favorite thing about fall?