Thursday, August 10, 2017

Book Review: A Name Unknown {Roseanna M. White}


Just as promised in last week's post, I am reviewing another book today! It's that gorgeous book with the library on the cover...and trust me, the inside is just as good as the outside of the book.

Allow me to present A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White!


Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family's history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family's German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered. 

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors' scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he's more than his name?

(Find this book on Goodreads & Amazon!)

/ / /

What does one say about perfection?

This book is a winner, friends. Even by looking at the cover, I had the feeling this book was going to be good (because duh, any book with books on the cover HAS to be good).

But the cover was just the beginning...

/ / Lovely Things / /

Hahaha...haha...ha.

Do you even want to get into the infinite reasons why I love this book?

- Rosemary. First off, you know a book is good when you have to devote separate categories for each character. I haven't done this in a while, BUT THESE CHARACTERS ARE SO WONDERFUL THAT I HAVE TO.

Rosemary is a complex character with intricate motivations. She's a thief, and she's been charged with the job of a lifetime: to steal someone's very name. She heads out to Peter's estate with the intent of proving him a traitor to Germany. Of course, Interesting Things happen when she has to put on the facade of being a librarian in order to work there. *winks*

Rosie's just one of those characters you have to love. Sure, she has her rough edges--boy, does she--but that's what makes her so real. She's spunky, witty, opinionated, often blunt. But also soft-hearted, compassionate, and loyal. As one character so perfectly puts it, "Delicate when it suits you. Strong always." (TRUTH)

Not to mention she's just hilarious all around and lands a pretty solid punch. ;)

- Peter. *cue the flailing* If ever there was a character I would marry...it's Peter Holstein. NOT EVEN KIDDING.

(Now if only he were a little younger. *grumbles because he's thirty* XD)

Peter is so. darn. nice. Don't get me wrong, I looooooove me some snarky antiheroes...but there's a part of my heart that will forever adore the sweet, gentlemanly type. And Peter perfectly fits that role. He has a stutter (which, frankly, is really endearing); he has a MASSIVE, SWOONWORTHY LIBRARY; and he writes. HE WRITES. *cue more flailing*

He's considered by most to be a recluse, and the popular opinion is that he's a German sympathizer. (Ughh. Really, people? Just because of his name?) Due to the imminent threat of war, he realizes that his heritage could cause quite a few problems for him if he doesn't find a way to prove his loyalty to Britain. Not only that, but if anyone finds out he's the famous adventure novelist, it may tarnish his reputation as a writer. Allllll the complex motivations, folks. *rubs hands together*

Over the course of the book, my heart just is completely lost to Peter. What with his teasing banter with his friends Gryff and Rosemary, his sweet interactions with sweet Elowyn, his caring concern for...well, everyone, and his wonderful faith in God, he's just THE BEST.

Of course, he has his flaws--namely never paying attention to people when he's writing (#relatable) and getting a little irritable at times. Haha! But he really is one of my new favorite characters. HE'S JUST A PRECIOUS LITTLE HUMAN BEAN AND I LOVES HIM.

- The people. Yes, I know I just talked about two people very in-depth. But this deserves being mentioned separately. The people that populate this novel are so alive. Roseanna White certainly does an incredible job with breathing life into this novel. Rosemary's family. The villagers. The household staff. The royal family. They're all so real and marvelously done!

- THE BOOKS. YES, PRECIOUS. ALL THE BOOKS. I about died of happiness with the library stuff, all the writers mentioned, and the bookish discussions. It was bookdragon heaven.

- The plot. *points up to blurb* Need I say more?

- The themes. This is really important to me as a reader, to have books that stick with me after I read them. WELL. A Name Unknown certainly does just that. Rosemary's journey to faith is incredibly poignant, and it brought me to tears at a couple points. This is probably one of the best-handled faith arcs I've read. Ever.

- The rich detail. The author obviously did her research! I loved all the British dialogue (er, most of it), the beautiful descriptions, the entire feel of this book. It legitimately FELT like I was in early-20th century Britain. ME LOVES IT.

- The writing style. Yeah, while we're at it, let's just mention that Roseanna's writing style is perfect. Because it is, people. It is. She somehow manages to write a story that doesn't get you lost in the details yet still paints gorgeous pictures. I will admit, I'm a wee bit jealous of Roseanna's mastery of showing vs. telling. This is a book I will undoubtedly reread just to get a glimpse of perfectly engaging writing.

- The romance. OH MY GOODNESS. These two = the most darling couple. I know, I know...I say this quite a lot. ;) But I love Peter and Rosemary together so much! They complement each other perfectly, offsetting each other's qualities and helping each other see/correct their weaknesses. Not only that, but their romance is NOT based off externals.Something which I always find extraordinarily refreshing. They don't have an insta-love story either. They start off a little rockily, but slowly become friends over the months they know each other.

(The short version: they are precious.)

/ / Not So Lovely Things / /

- You thought you were actually going to see something in this section? WELL, THINK AGAIN.

- (Okay, I lied. :P) Some of the British terminology got a little old, and I felt that the plot wound down a bit too quickly. BUT that honestly didn't detract much at all from my enjoyment of the book! Just a few personal preferences.

/ / /

CONTENT: Lots of British "cursing." (Blazes, blighted, blasted, dratted, etc.) I don't personally consider it swearing, but it might bother some people. Characters share one semi-detailed kiss and three or four undetailed ones near the end. There are two kisses on the cheek, one kiss on the hand. Also brief mentions of mistresses a couple times, though nothing is gotten into. I would probably recommend it those 14 or 15+, mostly just because of the depth of writing/little bit of romance.

I think it's safe to say that I love this book. AND I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE SEQUEL. *glitter explosion* This author has made an impression on me, and it's a good one.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.


5 stars!

(Find my review on Goodreads and Amazon.)

Hope you enjoyed this review! (And didn't mind all my flailing over a Certain Character. *coughs*) Have you read this book? BECAUSE YOU SHOULD. What is your favorite kind of character to read about?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Summer '17 Vlog // Giveaway Winner + Book Haul


(We're just pretending that this was posted on Thursday, not Friday. Okay? *quietly backs away*)

Greetings, bookdragons of the internet! Today I bring tidings of great joy!

...Or sorrow, depending on how much they like seeing your face.

*glares at Lieutenant Bradshaw* As I was saying, today I'm bringing you all a vlog! It's been a long time since I've done one, so I thought it would be a nice change.

Actually, you're wrong. It would be a horrible change.

Just...stop. You always ruin everything.

Well, excuse me for speaking truthfully here. I wasn't aware that freedom of speech didn't exist on your blog. Though I guess it's not much of a shocker really.

WILL YOU PLEASE BE QUIET? *sighs* Just ignore Lieutenant Bradshaw, everyone. He's rather annoying at times.

Someone has to make it more interesting around here, you know.

Back to my original thought. *taps chin* Oh! Yes! The vlog! It's been about 9 months now since I've recorded a vlog, and I just spontaneously decided to do one at midnight.

Totally logical.

I mentioned last week that nobody actually guessed the two lies for my 10 Truths and 2 Lies challenge...buuuuut I decided I was going to pick a winner anyway. I put everyone's names in a hat, shook them around, and picked the person lucky enough to receive a prize.

I think the correct term is unlucky.

I'm just pretending you don't exist.

Go ahead and ignore reality. That's one of your best skills anyway.

*sighs angrily* What are you doing here, anyway? You should be sitting in the unstarted draft of a sequel.

Ahh, so you are writing a sequel? This is news to me.

It depends how well you cooperate. If you don't shut up, I might just never continue your story.

Eh. I could care less.

Or I could kill you in the first chapter of the sequel. Whichever you prefer.

*grumbles* All right, evil author. You win.

*victorious smile* Thank you.

Now before the world's most annoying lieutenant decides to appear again, I should get onto the vlog. I drew the name of the giveaway winner (YAY!!) and rambled on about books I've purchased/borrowed/received for review lately. SO YEAH. This is just me being random essentially.



Um. Hopefully that wasn't too bad?

Don't worry, it was.

Go. Away. Right. Now.

*clears throat and steps out of room*

I hope that you at least partially enjoyed the vlog! I know I rambled quite a bit, haha. I promise there will be a Realm Makers recap post coming soon! (But maybe not a Camp NaNo recap post. All you really need to know is that I lowered my goal--again--to 10k. And I reached it! YAY! This is kind of a big deal since I had such a crazy month in July. *shrugs*)

ALSO. I'm having issues with spam bots subscribing to my blog. Anybody ever had that happen? I'm trying to figure out a way to add a CAPTCHA to the "subscribe by email" gadget. Or to completely change out that gadget and replace it with something else. Basically, I need tech help. Please. XD

I also wanted to let you know that I'm not sure how frequently I'll be blogging for the unforeseeable future. I want to blog, but I just feel like the quality of my posts isn't what it should be. I don't know. I may be posting less frequently, I may not. WE'LL JUST HAVE TO SEE. But I really really really want to reply to your comments and produce good posts. So that will probably become the priority in the next few weeks.

But hang tight! 'Cause I've got some cool posts headed your way soon. ;)

Now all you have to do is stop talking. Then we can get peace and quiet.

I swear, if you say one more snarky comment, I'm going to start plotting your tragic death scene.

Sometimes I really hate you.


I hope that a certain character wasn't too distracting for everyone. Ehehe. (I kind of love him, but don't tell him that. *coughs*) Let me know what you thought of the vlog! I will for sure be emailing you, Madeline, and sending you your prize should you desire it. :)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Camp NaNo July '17 // W E E K 4 Update + 10 Truths and 2 Lies Results


(Prefacing this by saying I'm at Realm Makers now. *glitter explosion* I'm very excited but very busy...thus the reason for this update post. XD)

Look at me, I'm actually doing a Camp NaNo update. *gasps*

To be perfectly honest? There still isn't much to update. This has been one of the busiest months I've ever had--rivaling even the crazy whirlwind that was February. Almost half of the month has/will be spent traveling. We had family visit. I've had some get-togethers with my friend. There was lots of packing. Fourth of July fun.

In other words, God has had different plans for me this month...and they did not involve writing.

My goal for the month was 20,000 words. And THAT felt low to me before. I've always done crazy NaNos--90k in November, 50k in April. I thought I could handle it. I thought I had it "covered."

WELLLL...I didn't.

My current wordcount: 9,312. 

Even looking at those numbers now, I can't help but feel insufficient. I know it's not true, that I just couldn't write a lot, but a part of me feels like I failed. And that's just...something I continually struggle with.

I officially lowered my goal to 11,000 words, almost halving it. Pressing that "submit" button after I changed the word goal was really difficult, honestly.

I'm an overachiever. I take on waaaaaay more things than I could possibly accomplish, and when I inevitably don't get everything done, I get so frustrated with myself. In fact, I devoted an entire post to this on my other blog. It's a real struggle, guys.

This July has been a m a z i n g. But on the flip side, it's also been h a r d. I want to write. I feel like I need to write. But the reality is that I CAN'T. I just can't. Life is too crazy and exciting right now, and that's okay. I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that it's impossible for me to reach my 20k goal, but I do know that God has other plans for me. AND THEY ARE SO MUCH HIGHER THAN MY OWN.

That aside, I do have a bit of an update. Remember how I mentioned switching projects in my last post? My Snow White retelling was just not. working. out. I love the plot, and I know for sure that I'll be picking up the story again. It's just not time to work on it right now. Instead, I started writing a new steampunk short story called Along the Lines of Legerdemain. (Notice the matching titles? ;D) I'm going to be hopefully doing an entire collection of the adventures of Fiona and Steel. THEY ARE JUST TOO FUN.

This story is going muuuuch better than Behind the Velvet Curtain, despite the fact that I haven't gotten the chance to write much of it. I LOVE MAH CHARACTERS SO MUCH. 

And with all my talking out of the way, I present to you some snippets! :)

/ / /

(I may be a little proud of these first lines. Just sayin'. ;P)

It is never very pleasant to wake up to a gun in your face.

Fear pulsed through my veins as I stared down the shiny barrel of a pistol. I was completely vulnerable, an easy target for my potential assassin.

And whoever was holding the gun had a very good grasp of that concept.

/ / /

“Border patrol guards,” I muttered.

“That’s no problem,” Aerick said. “We’ve gone through the inspections easily in the past. They’ll only arrest you if you’re carrying smuggled cargo.”

“Then I think now would be a perfect time to worry.”

Aerick paused. His mouth opened, then closed as a light turned on in his eyes. “Fiona, you don’t happen to have any smuggled goods . . . do you?”

I coughed and focused on the approaching airships. “Well, it might be a possibility.”

/ / /
He shrugged and quirked one side of his lip upward. “How fast do you want it to go? This ship happens to be one of the finest of its kind.”

“Which means it’s a piece of junk.”

He gave me the I-will-kill-you-if-you-say-that-again look. “Technically speaking, you’re just an annoying little girl that’s bothered me 363 days of the year for seventeen years, but we’re not being technical, are we?”

“You really know how to win a girl’s heart.” I slid into a seat beside him and sneaked a look at the speedometer, its red dial slowly ticking up to fifteen. Fifteen kilometers per hour isn’t going to cut it. I tried to ignore the nagging feeling in my gut. But something told me that the sleeker, newer zeppelins ahead of us could easily outrun us.

I raised my eyebrows. “Well, you’re going to have to make our baby run faster than it’s ever run before.”

“She will. Trust me.”

“You know how much I hate you saying those two words.”

Steel managed a wink. “My apologies, Miss McAvay.”

/ / /

Hope you enjoyed reading those as much as I did writing them. I always love writing Fiona and Steel's dialogue. XD

As the second half of the title suggests, I am also presenting the results of the 10 Truths and 2 Lies challenge I had on my blog a couple weeks ago.

And the winner is . . . 

*crickets chirp* 

Um, no one??

YEAH. Evidently I made these questions too hard for everyone again. *cracks up* But don't worry, someone WILL get a prize this time! Once I get back from Realm Makers, I'll do a random drawing of your guys' names from a bowl. Whoever gets picked will be contacted for their mailing address and choice of prize. 

Well, what are the two lies, you ask? They are...

3) I've never been camping (I ACTUALLY HAVE ONCE...that's a story for another day ;D)


11) I've eaten a scorpion lollipop (ewwww no way)



I feel kind of bad that I made it this hard, haha. But have no fear: someone will win something this time. ;)


Well, that's it for my last-minute post. I had to do something relatively quick because of Realm Makers (WHICH I'M SO EXCITED FOR *screams*). Tell me: have you ever been camping? What is the weirdest thing you've eaten?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Book Review: High As the Heavens {Kate Breslin}


HELLO, LOVELY PEOPLE! I am back from my road trip with the family! We got back Saturday night. The trip was amazing and I will hopefully be sharing lots of pictures on my other blog (yes, I have another blog, in case you didn't know ;)) this Sunday. I...kind of skipped my post there last week. *coughs*

Anywayyy. I have something very special for this week: a book review!! I know, I promised a Camp NaNo update...but sorry, that's not gonna happen this week. There's not much to update--except for the small fact that I abruptly changed projects in the middle of the month. Ahem. I'm also Very Behind at the moment. *grumbles*

Before I devote an entire post to my rambling, allow me to present the book High As the Heavens by Kate Breslin!

DAT COVER. *drools*

In 1917, Evelyn Marche is just one of many women who has been widowed by the war. A British nurse trapped in German-occupied Brussels, she spends her days working at a hospital and her nights as a waitress in her aunt and uncle's cafĂ©. Eve also has a carefully guarded secret keeping her in constant danger: She's a spy working for a Belgian resistance group in league with the British Secret Service. 

When a British plane crashes in Brussels Park, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to discover she recognizes the badly injured pilot. British RFC Captain Simon Forrester is now a prisoner of war, and Eve knows he could be shot as a spy at any time. She risks her own life to hide him from the Germans, but as the danger mounts and the secrets between them grow, their chance of survival looks grim. And even if they do make it out alive, the truth of what lies between them may be more than any love can overcome.

(Buy it on Amazon!)

Before anything else, can we just take a moment to admire that cover? *sighs happily* It's even more beautiful in person!

Now onto my long-awaited review of this lovely book. ;)

(You can also read my review here originally on Goodreads.)

// Lovely Things //

- The plot. It was so unique, as it focused on Belgium during WWI, which is actually the first of its kind that I've seen. The main character Eve works for a Belgian resistance group as a spy, and the romance revolves around a married couple rather than two people falling in love. SO YES. This was a super unique premise! There is a lot of suspense/intrigue throughout the story, and the stakes are set high. Like really high. I was on the edge of my seat at parts. o.o

- The characters. YESSSS. The characters in this story were the best. I loved Eve and Simon, both so very different yet so very perfect for each other. Eve was gentle and compassionate but also independent and spirited. AND YES, I'M ALL FOR THAT. It's so refreshing to find characters who aren't either a) wimps or b) superhumans with no emotions. Ahem. :P And Simon was rather wonderful, too...because hello, he's Scottish. That's enough reason to like him. *winks* I also loved the supporting cast of characters: Maddie, Eve's WONDERFUL friend; Father Francois, the best priest I've ever read about in fiction--he was probably one of my top characters; and Zoe, Eve's younger sister. AND THAT'S JUST THE START. I'm in love with this amazing cast of characters!

- The themes. Family plays a key role in this book. It's clear how much they all love each other, and Eve's devotion to them is really touching. There are also beautiful themes of redemption and forgiveness, as well as conquering the imprisoning power of guilt. GAH. It was all so splendidly done. <3

- The excitement. As I mentioned earlier, Eve is a spy. There are also double-agents, secretive messages, some brilliant spy tactics, and looooots of intrigue. THIS IS MY KIND OF BOOK, PEOPLE. I just loved the mysterious aspect of the plot.

- The writing. Oh my, the writing was lovely. The descriptions were so well-done, and the writing was emotionally raw. And believe me, this is a BIG deal. If I don't have an emotional attachment to the characters, forget it. I'm just not going to properly enjoy the book. Thankfully, High as the Heavens does a marvelous job of pricking my emotions. LIKE CONSTANTLY.

- The flashbacks. They were so heartbreaking yet so exquisitely managed. MY HEART. <3 I love when books have meaningful flashbacks like that! It's a glimpse at the characters before all the heartbreaking stuff happens and IT'S SO WONDERFULLY DONE.

// Not So Lovely Things //

You might be thinking, "So why four stars? It sounds like you love everything about this book."

Wellll, you're mostly correct. Unfortunately, I did have some issues with the book.

- The content. OKAY. I love Eve and Simon's relationship...BUT I felt uncomfortable at times reading about their romance. It was like spying on a married couple, and frankly, that made me feel Very Awkward. There wasn't anything over-the-top, but there were lots of kisses (some described), a bit of teasing between husband and wife (which is totally okay--I just don't feel comfortable with it seeing as I'm not married), and a couple scenes where they sleep together. They also long for each other at times, wishing they could kiss. Again, I know the characters are married, so there isn't anything wrong with their conduct. I just felt uncomfortable reading about it at times. This IS an adult book, so it's not really intended for younger audiences anyway. And thankfully, the stuff I described isn't dwelt on the entire book. The plot isn't bogged down by the romance, so I was able to keep reading it still.

On another note, there was also one chapter in particular that was EXTREMELY HARD to read. SPOILER [There was an attempted rape and lots of violence when the Germans invaded Belgium. That scene was unnerving and very disturbing. There were lots of dead bodies, violence, and even an unintentional murder by one of the characters. (Which they felt guilty about for years after.) On top of that, one character miscarries their child. VERY INTENSE STUFF. I understand a lot of it is necessary to the plot, but I still was horrified by things that happened in that chapter. It's a brutally honest look at the kinds of things that happened in World War I, which many people are unaware of.] END SPOILER

The content aside, I really loved this book! Due to the things I mentioned, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they're at least 16+.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

4 stars!

There you have it! Another book review by yours truly. *winks* Does this book look interesting to you? What are your thoughts on historical fiction?


(P.S. If you haven't already seen it, I did another 10 Truths & 2 Lies post last week! You have until Wednesday, the 26th, to submit your guesses so you better hurry! ^_^)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

10 Truths and 2 Lies {vol. 2} //


Salutations! *waves* It's been three months since the last time I did 10 Truths and 2 Lies. Since everyone seemed to enjoy it that time, I decided to use this as my post the next time I went on a trip.

Yep, that's right! I'm currently on a road trip with my family, probably in North Carolina when you read this. If you missed my last Truths & Lies post, you can check it out here. Basically, the quick run-down of it is this: I'm posting twelve facts. Ten of them are true and two are not. The person(s) who correctly guess BOTH lies wins a prize. You only have one guess so make it a good one. :) Feel free to consult other people/stalk my blog/use your ninja skills to figure out the answers. You can thank the lovely Nadine for coming up with this idea and allowing people to steal it.

Are you ready?? HAVE AT IT, PEOPLE.

1.) I've touched an alligator.

2.) I don't like sequins.

3.) I've never been camping.

4.) A big pet peeve of mine is biting into popsicles.

5.) I don't like physical contact.

6.) I've been on TV.

7.) I have two siblings.

8.) Hardcovers are my favorite book format.

9.) I went without chewing gum for a year.

10.) I have a pet cat.

11.) I've eaten a scorpion lollipop.

12.) I like pineapple pizza.


If you happen to guess BOTH lies, you have your choice of a copy of my own artwork or a corner bookmark. It could be either a Studio C Funko Pop drawing (of your own choice), a Pascal sketch, or a surprise piece of artwork.



Should you choose a corner bookmark, you have your choice of either a fox, heart, or surprise bookmark.



Choose wisely, my friends, and may you actually get them right this time. ;) *coughs*

(Oh, and in case you're wondering, my Camp project is still being rather elusive...hoping that time away from it will give me better clarity. *glares at story* Full update once I get back from my trip!)


Are you up to the challenge? (I'm REALLY hoping I can give someone prizes this time. XD) Bring on all your best guesses and hit me with them!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Camp NaNo July '17 // W E E K 1 Update


(Apparently we're already almost a week into July?? Howwwww.)

HELLO, EVERYONE. It's me again, this time actually posting on the day I'm supposed to. For the sake of picking an easy post idea, I decided to do a Camp NaNo update!

...And quite frankly, there isn't much to see here. *coughs*

My writing goal for the month is 20,000 words. That may seem like a lot, it may not--depends whom you ask. For me, it's a good balance between being challenging and relaxed. I think I can reach it, but still be able to purposefully take time away for my upcoming road trip (NEXT WEEK EEP) and Realm Makers (only three more weeks, holy cow). July is a craaazy month for me so I set it lower than I have in the past.

All that being said, I'm essentially on track right now. I didn't write on Fourth of July or the day before that, but I got caught up last night. I still haven't written today, but I plan on buckling down and writing lots of words this weekend so I'm ahead before our road trip. Hopefully.

I've written 3,343 words so far. I'm trying to take it a bit slower with this story since I want it to be higher quality writing than some of my previous works (like Moonlit Mirror *coughs*). So far, I'm...not totally sold on my story. It doesn't feel quite right yet. I'm still trying to get the feel for the characters/setting/plot. But I'm hopeful that I will really get into it this month and fall in love with my characters all over again. ;)

SO. I'm not exactly sure if we're allowed to share our Snow White retelling entries before we submit them. But oh well, I'm sharing a couple snippets anyway. I don't think it will be a problem?? *crosses fingers* :P

/ / /

(The opening of the story.)

Sometimes the moon stalked her.

Adelia tucked a stray hair behind her ear and used her other gloved hand to reposition the hat on her head. Mist clung to her skin and left damp droplets on her forehead.

The shadows of the London street had lengthened into night, and a sliver of moon grinned down at her from above. She shivered, though not from the chilly winter air.

Someone was following her. And it wasn’t just the moon.

Adelia ran her tongue across her chapped lips, absent of the vibrant crimson hue she usually applied. It was a good thing she had remembered to wipe off the lipstick before she entered town, otherwise she would have created a public upset.

Yet even without her stage makeup, she still managed to attract the attention of someone.

She felt her heart pick up its pace as she caught a glimpse of the figure behind her. He had managed to hide for most of the journey, and she had only spotted him a few minutes ago. Dressed in a black waistcoat and top hat, he was dressed just like all other Londoners. Indistinguishable from the rest of the crowd but startlingly unlike anyone she knew.

/ / /

No. She wanted to scream the word. Slap him with it. Use it to thrust him out of her life.

But she just shivered in silence and let the fearfully grinning moon stalk her down the street.

/ / /

(Ta-da! I promised there would be snark, and I delivered. ;D)

As he strolled away, Adelia turned to head back to her wagon, only pausing when she heard Theodore. “Who was that?”

“Cassius Hathaway, a journalist for the newspaper.” Adelia held her hand over her neck, casually adjusting the collar of her dress to hide the stain.

Theodore nodded, the action seeming a bit forced. “Already on a first name basis, are you?”

“Don’t be an idiot, Theo.” Adelia had to bite her cheek to keep from laughing at the suspicion evident in her friend’s features. “It’s not as if we’re ready to elope or anything.”

“You’ve done stupider things in the past.”

“Name five.”

“I would name five hundred, but then I would have to face the wrath of your half-mad younger sister. I rather value my life.”

Adelia chuckled under her breath. “She’s very skilled at thimble-throwing.”

/ / / 

There you go! These are the very first snippets I've shared for Camp NaNo--I haven't even shown my cabin buddies these. ;) You might be able to tell that this story has a different tone than some of my other works. It's darker, but I'm making sure to inject my signature snark into it anyway. 

I think that's it for this update! I've had a great beginning to July. what with all the fun activities surrounding Fourth of July and the arrival of my ukulele. (IT IS BEAUTIFUL AND I CAN'T WAIT TO SHOW IT TO YOU GUYS.)

How is Camp going? Any plans for July? What did you do for Independence Day? 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Summer Life Update // Typewriters, Trampolines, and Trips


HELLO, PEEPS. Once again, I've been scrounging for things to post about. Life has been crazy this summer, and frankly, I haven't had a ton of time to work on blogging. After sifting through my pile of blog post drafts, I finally decided to do something incredibly original: a life update.

I'm so creative, aren't I? *rolls eyes*

In a way, I'm allllmost doing a monthly recap? But I'm not calling it that because then I might feel obligated to continue monthly recaps if I do. AND RECAPS APPARENTLY STRESS ME OUT A LOT?? So if you're wondering what the heck happened to Frabjous Finalities...that's what happened. And if you're NOT wondering, well...

Before I put you to sleep, let's get on with the actual update. ;)


|| L A T E L Y ||

Watching:

+ Way too many movies, honestly.

+ Oh, that's not an answer? (Picky, picky...)

+ ALL THE ANIMATED MOVIES. Yes! In the past month or so, I've watched The Little Prince, Finding Dory, The Emperor's New Groove, The Peanuts Movie, and Moana. And I basically loved all of them. The Little Prince made me cry so hard. Golly, that movie was so touching. I'm honestly not sure if I liked it more or the book--they were both amazing. And Finding Dory? PRECIOUS. Way better than I thought it would be! Not to mention my latest find, Moana. I'M NOT ADDICTED TO THE SOUNDTRACK AT ALL, NOPE. #lies

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+ That Darn Cat! It's rather ridiculous how much I love this movie. It's one of my favorite oldies. Full of humor, fun characters, great costumes, and an engaging plot...it's just the best. If you haven't seen it before, YOU SHOULD.

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+ Pete's Dragon. AHHHHH. This film was the best. It just felt nostalgic and cozy and somehow PERFECT. I don't know how to explain it, really. But in case you need a solid reason to see it, there is a dragon. There. Nuff said. (And the songs played in this movie have become favorite of mine. <3)

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+ My Fair Lady. Um...so I couldn't stand this one? I know it's a beloved musical by a lot of people, but none of the characters were likable. It had a terrible ending. There was lots of language (thankfully filtered). HENRY HIGGINS WAS THE WORST. Ughhhhh. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. But in its favor, it did have some catchy tunes and great costumes. *shrugs*

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Writing:

+ I FINISHED MY SHORT STORY!!! Yep, the steampunk short story has been completed. It's titled "Along the Lines of Lawbreaking," which I rather like. As a good friend of mine said, it hints at some of the snarkiness contained in the story. ;) 

+ I began plotting my Five Poisoned Apples entry. I did a whole post about it last week, in case you missed that. I haven't done chapter-by-chapter plotting, but I might do some before NaNo starts in TWO DAYS. Yipes. I'm definitely running out of time to plot. :P

+ I wrote another poem, which you can read on my other blog.

Eating:

+ Green smoothies. I've become "that person" who makes green smoothies now. XD Surprisingly, they taste really good. (I was skeptical of all the people saying you "couldn't taste the vegetables." I thought they were lying just to make you eat veggies, haha. BUT IT'S ACTUALLY LEGIT. I couldn't even taste any of the spinach,--seriously.)

+ Besides healthy food, I've also had flatbread pizza. YUM. 

Oh, best friends for LIFE.
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Listening:

+ I wrote an entire post about this here, so I'll just link to that because I'm lazy efficient.

+ Folk music. Oh yes, I've really gotten into folk music lately. Specifically some songs by The Oh Hellos, Gray Havens, and The Lumineers. I haven't listened to all their music, so I hesitate to recommend them...but all the songs on my playlists are great. :)

+ Jazz. Because duh, summer. I love classic jazz music; it just makes me think of dusk and porch lights and lemonade and fireflies. <3

Reading:

*cackles* THE TIME HAS COME TO TALK OF BOOKS. I've been reading up a storm this summer.

+ Rereads: Paper Crowns, Chasing Jupiter, and The Penderwicks. ALL SO GOOD GAHHH. I would 10000% recommend them to everyone. They're perfect summer reads, and some of my favorite books of all time.

+ The Lost Girl of Astor Street. This one was so good! It's a historical mystery that takes place in the 1920s. The characters are FABULOUS, and I love the setting. 

+ The Voyage to Magical North. *blows a fanfare* THIS BOOK WAS THE BEST. It's everything I love in a book: pirates, magic, humor, and great characters. EVERYONE MUST READ THIS. I actually gave it five stars, which is a high honor. I only give the finest books a solid 5 stars.

+ Summerlost, Hope Was Here, The Distance Between Us. All of these books were "okay." I honestly didn't care much for any of them? *shrugs* If you're curious, I reviewed them all on Goodreads.

+ The Illusionist's Apprentice. SO. MANY. MIXED. FEELINGS. I thought for sure this would be one of my favorite books ever...but then the ending happened. I AM STILL CONFUSED A WEEK LATER. I guess the mystery just makes zero sense to me? #clueless BUT I rated it 4 stars anyway because the characters and writing style and setting were amazing.

+ Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors. Ehhhh...nope. I didn't like this very much. *shakes head* It was boring and confusing and not at all what I thought it would be. :P

+ In conclusion? Most of my good books have been rereads. A few good new books, but only one that screamed awesome at me. But hey, I have read ten books this month. I can't remember ever reading that many!

Emperor's New Groove Disney Characters
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Feeling:

+ Relieved. I finally booked my airplane tickets for Realm Makers! YES!! That is a huge relief to me. I've been rather worried about it for the past couple months, and we finally found decently priced tickets. God has definitely been gracious in helping us with this!

+ Busy. VERY BUSY. Life has been insane--no joke, it's even busier than the school year. Thankfully, it's a good kind of busy, but summer still seems to be going by way too fast. SOMEONE PLEASE SLOW DOWN TIME THANKS.

+ Excited. What with my plans for Realm Makers set, a sleepover with my bestie tonight, and an upcoming road trip, I've been feeling really excited today. Lots of fun things on the horizon! As the title suggests, we are taking a road trip next month. We're going to the Smoky Mountains and stopping at some places on the way. It should be a ton of fun and hopefully very relaxing. Our vacations tend to end up crammed and stressful, so we're making an effort to enjoy the journey this time around.

Random:

+ I GOT A TYPEWRITER. AHHHHHHHHH. I'm super excited about it! I've actually had it for about two weeks now? I'll share some pictures of it in a later post, but it's awesome. I got it for only 5 dollars and it actually works. It's my first typewriter, and I've been wanting one for ages. SO MUCH EXCITEMENT.

+ I went to a trampoline park! Omw, that was the best. My best friend and I were SO SORE afterwards, but it was worth it. I want to go again before the summer is through because we had a blast. (It did take me like a full week till my back was normal, though. #ouch XP)

+ I'm thinking about getting a ukulele. Actually, I'm almost positive I'll get one. My friend just purchased a uke, and we're thinking about learning together. IT'S GOING TO BE SO MUCH FUN. Once I see hers, I'll most likely decide whether or not to buy one. 

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+ Fourth of July is coming up! I know that everyone has a fourth of July (I mean, it's part of the calendar for everyone, haha), but this is Independence Day for us Americans. AND I'M VERY EXCITED. It's one of my favorite holidays, so I always look forward to it.

/ / /

Well, I think that's about it. Like I said, LIFE = ALL THE CRAZY. I feel like there's so much to update you guys on!

How is your summer going so far? Have you read any good books? Any trips planned? I must know everythingggg. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Introducing My July '17 Camp NaNo Project // Behind the Velvet Curtain


It's that time of year again! It seems like just yesterday that I was doing Camp NaNo...but it's actually been two months since it ended?? Somebody please explain this phenomenon.

In light of the fact that July and Camp NaNo are almost upon us, I've decided to introduce my project. YES, I'M DOING IT EARLY YAY ME. ("Early" as in nine days before July, rather than one. :P)

July Camp is definitely really special to me. Last July was my first time ever doing a NaNoWriMo event of any kind, and I completely fell in love with it. I had a FANTASTIC cabin (and I only knew, like, two of the people in there when I joined XD), and it really stirred up the creative juices for my story. I started a fresh draft of Moonlit Mirror with no clue what I was doing. And thus my glitter-coated, squirrel-ridden story began. ;)

As is my tendency, I didn't commit to doing Camp until about a week or two before. *rolls eyes* SERIOUSLY. We all know I'm going to end up doing it. :P My goal is a little lower this time around at 20k, mostly because I have two trips planned for July so it's going to be pretty busy. I might end up writing more than 20k? Or not? I honestly have no clue. I just decided to set it lower so there wouldn't be any stress. (HAHAHA that's a good one, Mary. No stress. Hilarious.)

AHEM. Anywayyyy, back to the main point of this post. *reroutes train of thought*

Would you all like to see what I'm doing for Camp?

Yes?

No?

Maybe?

*crickets chirp in the distance*

Oh well, you're going to find out even if you don't want to. :P

Behind the Velvet Curtain




Some curtains should never be lifted.


Adelia is counting down the days until she is finally free of her job as the magician's assistant. And when a young journalist rolls into town with the offer of a lifetime, she dares to hope her dream will be realized. The only thing that might shatter her hopes is the unusual mirror in her possession. When the mirror shows more than just her reflection, Adelia begins to wonder if legerdemain extends past the stage.

Life is determined to make Theodore bleed. One morning, he wakes up in an orphanage with no memory of how he got there. He runs away to join the circus and there discovers his two passions in life: the violin and performing. But with his impaired eyesight, he has no hopes of pursuing a professional career. He has no memory of his past and no prospects for the future . . . until a woman in an airship shows up at his door.

They say the world is a stage. But in the mist-shrouded society of England, some curtains should remain closed.


/ / /

*makes strangled squealing sounds* I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS STORY. I actually think the synopsis turned out great. And I'm not going to lie, writing synopses is so much fun for me. I don't know why, haha.

Technically, I "should be" editing Moonlit Mirror or finishing The Scent of the Sun (which I didn't finish last month as I planned). BUT WHO CARES. I got this story nugget, and I couldn't resist the temptation. :P

Behind the Velvet Curtain is the tentative title right now. I quite like it, but I'm not sure if it's totally what I'm looking for. It's going to be a historical/steampunk/fantasy novel...kinda difficult to describe. XD And and and! IT'S MY SNOW WHITE RETELLING!! Yes, I'm planning on entering the awesome Rooglewood Press contest. I know it doesn't seem very much like Snow White, but trust me, you'll recognize some of the elements from the story if you read it. ;)

I will hopefully be writing the entire novella during July, but I'm thinking about also writing another steampunk short story during July as well. Remember that one unnamed short story I've been posting snippets of on my blog? Well, it's done. And now I just want to write a bunch more and make a short story collection. If that happens, I miiiiight even open it up for beta readers. MAYBE. (By the way, my short story has a title now...and I sent part of it to an author for a critique. *dies* We'll see how that goes. o.o)

Aesthetic


aes// shadows. moonlight. velvet curtains. silver combs. white doves. lace. top hats. striped tents. cold metal. gilded mirrors. circus wagons. fog. stagecoaches. rosined bows. playing cards. waistcoats. buttons. phonographs. rain-streaked windows. clicking typewriters. smell of dust. 


This idea has just recently found its way to my brain, but I think that the plot is actually one of the most put-together ones I've concocted. (Note: plot is not my strong point normally.) I'm optimistic about this story, but we'll have to see how it plays out. It's kind of darker than my previous novels...but there will still be snark soooo yeah. ;)

Oh, and you can stalk my progress here, should you desire. I changed my username now, and I rather like it. *coughs*


What did you think of my synopsis? Do you enjoy writing synopses for your books? And are you entering the Five Poisoned Apples contest? YOU SHOULD. GO DO IT.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Cookie Book Tag //


(Ignore the fact that this picture was taken during Christmastime. I haven't gotten any cookie pictures since then. :P)

SALUTATIONS! I've been scraping for ideas the past few days (seriously, I was super desperate to come up with something), and I finally decided to do A Cookie Book Tag! I saw this on Shantelle's booktube channel last summer and it sprang to mind recently. This tag is genius, and you can thank My Bookcase and I for creating it. It looks so fun...because duh, cookies and books. 

THIS TAG WAS BASICALLY MADE FOR ME.

So here's how the tag works. There are eight different cookies, and for each cookie, I pick a book to match the description. Don't worry, it will all make sense once I actually stop gabbing and get to the tag. *coughs*

|| A Cookie Book Tag ||


Chocolate Chip // A book that never gets old


Just one?? *dies* I have so many favorites that I could read over and over again and never stop loving them. <3

To narrow it down to three, I'll go with Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal, Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker, and Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. These are three of my FAVORITE books, and I literally just reread two of them this summer. If you haven't already, GO READ THESE BOOKS. *shoves them in your face*

Dutch Snowballs // A book that gave you an unexpected surprise



(I think these are the peanut butter cookies with the Hershey Kisses in the middle, just clarifying. ;))

I'm going to go with The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen. There was so much hype surrounding this series that I honestly wasn't too excited about it. (I'm weird that way...when things are popular, I get rather skeptical, hehe.)

I'm happy to report that this book was FABULOUS. The entire series is, actually. There's sass and pirates and more sass and amazing characters and YET MORE SASS. Basically...read this for the sass, people. XD

Molasses // A book with a character that gets in a sticky situation 



Um...every book ever?? Hehe. I think one of the crucial parts of a book is making sure there is conflict with the character's main goals...which means there will inevitably be some sort of sticky situation. (Admire my alliteration mastery, peasants.)

But if I had to pick one, I would go with llusionarium by Heather Dixon. The main character basically has four days (I think) to find a cure to a disease that is wiping out the entire female population. He's thrown into another world, and suddenly he has to figure out a way to save both realities.

Annnnd he has a cocky airpilot with him, and that makes things even stickier. *coughs*

Runner-up would be Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I mean, the main character is turned into an old woman and has to figure out how to reverse the spell so I'd say that's a rather uncomfortable situation to be in.

Oreo // A book dealing with the light and the darkness


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. It's a classic, guys. Lewis was a genius at allegory--which, by the way, is not one of my favorite types of fantasy--and he created a magical world that just feels like home. Not as much as Middle-earth, but still very homey.

Sugar // A book with a sugary sweet villain



*scratches head* I think this is supposed to mean a villain that pretends to be good but is actually evil? Or something like that?

In that case, I'll go with The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The first one has this seriously messed-up person who fools everyone into thinking he's good...but is actually Very Evil. And Pride and Prejudice? You have Mr. Wickham--the guy who fools Elizabeth into thinking he's a "poor miserable soul" who had his life ruined by Darcy. *rolls eyes* Ugh.


Monster // A book that confused your emotions


By this point, I'm sure you've discovered I'm terrible at narrowing my choices to just one book. :P

Well, I've got two for you again: The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde and Black by Ted Dekker. These are both books that I have very confused thoughts about. The Last Dragonslayer had a really disappointing ending, and Black was just...not my thing. But I still liked aspects of both books?? IT'S ALL VERY CONFUSING, HONESTLY.

Snickerdoodle // A book that made you laugh


I'm notorious for being the crazy person who laughs out loud randomly in her room while reading a book. Therefore, I have many books that make me laugh...a lot. But the first one that comes to mind is The Reluctant Godfather by Allison Tebo. YOU GUYS. This book = alllllll the hilarity. There's a grumpy, sarcastic godfather who loves to bake. DOESN'T THAT SOUND AMAZING?? (Hint: it is.) I probably highlighted every other sentence while reading it on my Kindle.

In other words: THIS BOOK IS THE FUNNIEST THING EVER.

Peanut Butter // A book with a nutty character


I have a bit of an obsession with nutty characters. Probably because I'm as nutty as crunchy peanut butter.

There are lots of nutty characters in the books I read, but Lady Moon by Rachel Starr Thomson has some of the nuttiest. They are so. much. fun. EVEN THE VILLAIN.

I love this book so much that I gave it the honor of being the first book I ever reviewed on my blog. AND I REALLY NEED TO REREAD IT ACTUALLY. It's one of my faaaaves.

/ / / 

Now for the lucky recipients of this tag! I know that I'm a tag pirate who, whenever she does a tag, ends up doing one she WASN'T tagged for to begin with (*COUGH*), but I'm still following some of the rules here and tagging people.

Tracey // Adventure Awaits
Faith // The Writer's Song
Lisa // Inkwell
Laura // An Odd Blog
Jonny // Fishing for Ideas
Deborah // The Road of a Writer
Victoria // Wanderer's Pen
Savannah // Scattered Scribblings

As always, there's no pressure to do this tag. Feel free to do what I do and wait months...or years...or forever to do it. Unlike real cookies, A Cookie Book Tag never goes stale. ;)

Have you read any of the books on my list? What is your favorite cookie? And do you have any book recommendations?? I'M DESPERATE FOR GOOD BOOKS. *dramatically faints*


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Summer Road Trip with My Characters //


In honor of summer, I have decided to do a fun post revolving around road trips. It's such an iconic thing to do during the summer, and I thought it would be fun if I could get some of my own characters involved in it. After all, who doesn't love a bunch of snarky characters thrown together in a car for thousands of miles? *coughs*

I'm going to be interviewing four different characters who will be going on a road trip together: Fiona (my steampunk short story), Lieutenant Bradshaw (Moonlit Mirror), Tom (Moonlit Mirror), and Felix (The Scent of the Sun).

Ahem. 

This shall be fun. *rubs hands together and cackles*

// Charrie Road Trip Summer 2017 //


Who drives on the trip?

Lieutenant Bradshaw: Me, obviously. After all, I have an innate sense of direction.

Tom: *snorts* 

Lieutenant Bradshaw: *glares*

Fiona: Wait, drives what? The airship? 

Tom: No, the dragon.

Lieutenant Bradshaw: Don't you two know anything? We're taking a ship. That's the only way to go.

Felix: *rolls eyes* We're taking a motor vehicle, commonly known as a car. And since you three don't even know how to define it, I don't know how you expect me to put my life in your hands.

Tom: Oh well, I'd rather be in charge of the snacks anyway. 

*everyone groans*

What is your most essential item to bring on the trip?

Fiona: My aviator goggles. That is, if Steel didn't accidentally destroy them again.

Lieutenant Bradshaw: Totally worthless item anyway. Applause for him if he manages to properly dispose of them.

Fiona: Don't make me pull out my pistol, please.

Felix: I would bring all my books. You all just have to promise not to damage them. 

Lieutenant Bradshaw: Of course we won't...

Felix: I have the strangest feeling you don't mean that. No idea why. 

Tom: Uh, why hasn't anybody mentioned food yet? 

Fiona: IS THAT ALL YOU CAN THINK ABOUT??

Tom: *grins* Of course!

Pick one song for your playlist.

Lieutenant Bradshaw: . . . 

Tom: . . .

Fiona: . . .

Felix: Oh please. Why was I thrown in a car with people from fantasy worlds? *facepalms* Just put on Beatles music. They need some culture.

What movie would you watch in the car?

Felix: Okay, remember how I briefed you all on movies? We watched a few together.

Tom: Ooh, ooh! I remember this! We watched Frozen!

*Lieutenant Bradshaw and Felix groan*

Fiona: Hey, I thought it was good.

Lieutenant Bradshaw: Says the one who watched Brave. Twice.

Fiona: You just didn't like it because Merida has better upper body strength than you do.

Lieutenant Bradshaw: I choose to credit that comment to your inherent lack of proper eyesight. 

Felix: Can we get back to the original question? Please?

Fiona: *sighs* Fineeee. I would probably pick Raiders of the Lost Ark. 

Lieutenant Bradshaw: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Even if I look much more handsome than every single pirate in that film. 

Fiona: *makes gagging sounds in the background*

Tom: How about Moana? Or The Lego Movie? Or A Bug's Life?

Felix: Ugh, I can tell this is going to be a long trip.

What snacks would you bring?

Tom: YES. Finally, the question I've been waiting for! I'd bring pumpersnap bread, vargalot sandwiches, razzlebets, and roasted berklon. Oh, and cake! And what about some vrock? And--

Felix: Stop before you make me nauseous.

Fiona: I don't know what over half that stuff is, but I'm afraid to ask.

Lieutenant Bradshaw: *smirks* What about glitter, Tom? 

Tom: *sticks out tongue*

Fiona: I'd bring roasted chicken. That's my favorite.

Felix: There is absolutely no "road trip" food on this list. What about the potato chips and granola bars? And we could bring a cooler with some lemonade to drink.

Lieutenant Bradshaw: How about I get all the cake, and you three go beg on the side of the road?

What is your destination?

Tom: The Royal City! They have cake fights.

Lieutenant Bradshaw: Decent idea, actually.

Fiona: OOH. Do they have pistols?

Felix: Let us pray they don't.

Tom: You know, we could also go back to the squirrel island. That was fun.

Felix: *raises eyebrows* Do I want to ask?

Fiona: I really don't think we want to know.

Felix: In terms of real destinations, I would say the Rocky Mountains or Mount Rainier. But do fictional worlds count? Narnia would be an ideal vacation spot.

Lieutenant Bradshaw: I'd much prefer to hop around various islands and thrill the residents with my charming personality.

Fiona: Somebody please get me a bucket to stick on this guy's head. 

How long is the trip? 

Tom: How about three months?

Everyone else: NOOOO. 

Felix: I think I'd go insane if the trip lasted more than four days.

Lieutenant Bradshaw: Why, are you unable to contain your jealousy of my good looks for very long?

Fiona: I think four hours is the maximum I can last. 

Felix: If only Peri were here...

Tom: AWWWW.

Felix: The only reason I said that was because I want to see her as miserable as me.

Lieutenant Bradshaw: If she knows you, torture is already part of her daily life.

Fiona: *chuckles*

Felix: Oh, shut up. 

How would you pass the time on the way?

Fiona: By formulating a thousand different ways to murder Lieutenant Bradshaw.

Felix: Agreed.

Lieutenant Bradshaw: Oh, come now, that's not fair. I'm the driver.

Felix: Um, actually I am. So be careful what you say. 

Tom: I would look at all the different license plates! And eat.

Lieutenant Bradshaw: I would find ways to make myself look extremely dashing. Oh wait...I already am. 

Fiona: GET ME OUT OF THIS CAR RIGHT NOW.

Tom: Don't worry, Fiona, it's only 1,300 miles till we reach our destination. In the meantime, I can entertain you with all the magic skills James taught me.

Lieutenant Bradshaw: *glares* Absolutely not. I don't want you to end up blowing the car to bits or something.

Tom: No need to worry! James taught me everything he knows.

Lieutenant Bradshaw: That's precisely why I'm worried.

Felix: I know I'm technically the driver, but with all the bathroom breaks Tom takes, I will most likely get in some reading time.

Tom: See? I'm really helpful!

Lieutenant Bradshaw: *smirks*

/ / / 

Well, there you have it. Doesn't that road trip look fun? (Or dangerous. Take your pick. :P) 

Are you going on any road trips this summer? Which of these characters would you most want to have along for the ride? Should I do another post like this sometime?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

My Steampunk Short Story Pt. 2 // feat. explosions


Since the first part of my short story was so wildly popular (hey, I can pretend, can't I?), I decided to share the second part of my story this week! This is a bit of a longer section, but I hope you all like it. I'm currently working on finishing/editing my short story, so you may not get part 3 for a little while. JUST TAKE WHAT YOU CAN GET, OKAY?

It's still unnamed because darn it I have no idea what to call this story. It's just...so name-defying. Anyone have ideas? BECAUSE I NEED HELP.

(Oh, and go read the first part if you haven't already. Otherwise this probably makes zero sense...or it still might make zero sense, I don't know.)

/ / /

“Remind me again why I’m the one who has to unleash explosives from the highest point in all of Legeria?” I asked.

Steel sighed and leaned dangerously close to the edge of the stationary airship balcony. “Look, Fiona, I told you. You’re shorter so you’ll be less noticeable on the roof—”

“Thanks for the reminder.”

“­—and you’ve dealt with explosives more so you’re less liable to kill everyone.”

“Wonderful,” I said sarcastically. “It’s nice to know that I’m holding the lives of all the citizens of Legeria in my hands.”

“Hey, I’m the one who has to trust you to lower me from a rope into the castle courtyard. Knowing you, you’ll probably let the rope ‘slip’ from your hands as some kind of twisted retribution for my prank.”

I had to laugh at that. He knew me so well.

Blowing on his gloves, he nodded. “Ready?”

I raised an eyebrow and fingered the coarse fibers of the rope. “The question is. . . are you ready?”

Steel glared, producing a big grin from me. “Sometimes I really wish you were a boy so I could hit you.”

“That’s never stopped you before.”

His eyes glinted in amusement. With a low grunt, he sat himself on the ledge and dangled his legs over the courtyard below. He tightened the knot around his waist, gave me a thumbs-up, and dropped into the empty expanse of air.

/ / /

The sun was just beginning to set when I reached the castle tower, satchel full of explosives in hand. I collapsed against the wall, my heart still pounding wildly. That encounter with the air guard patrol had been close. I would have to be more careful next time I docked my airship in a private lot with giant “NO TRESPASSING” signs posted everywhere. Fortunately, the press badge Steel had forged helped me gain access to the main gate. It was astonishing what security would allow for a chance to be in a newspaper article.

What was even more astonishing was the fact that I had made it through the entire castle without being stopped. It seemed everyone was so occupied with the queen’s birthday celebration that security was more lax than usual.

“These explosives should change that,” I muttered, a smile tugging at my lips as I opened the satchel. There were so many firecrackers in there that the seams of the bag had begun to stretch.

I crouched behind the wall, positioning myself so I could see into the castle courtyard. Steel should be back in a few minutes, if all went according to plan.

After about ten minutes of rubbing my hands together and checking my pocket watch, I picked up the sound of voices in the courtyard. Craning my neck, I made out the forms of about fifty people streaming towards the center of the courtyard. The citizens were just beginning to arrive.

My gaze found its way to the sky once again. The sun was dipping lower beneath the horizon. It was almost time.

Another ten minutes passed as the rest of the people gathered in the castle courtyard. I noted an abundance of guards, who were still not paying attention to much of anything. I smirked to myself, scarcely able to believe how fortuitous this was. Any other night and the armed guard would be on high alert; but Queen Amelia’s birthday was a huge event, and they seemed to get lost in the festivities. After all, who would dare invade the castle on such a night as this?

I shook my head at the irony of it all as the queen herself strode into the courtyard, a score of guards flanking her on both sides. Straightening, I grabbed my pair of binoculars from my belt and peered through the glass, focusing on the queen and her attendants. There she was, dressed in a rich blue vest atop a flowing white dress. The front of the gown hit her knees, and the longer train billowed behind her in the stiff autumn wind. Her black boots were laced mid-calf. She was wringing her hands, covered in fingerless silver gloves, and forcing a smile. I frowned, confused by her expression. Usually the queen didn’t seem this distracted.

I shifted my gaze to the right. There was Falston , her advisor, his dark hair slicked back, sideburns and mustache neatly trimmed. He patted Queen Amelia’s hand, and bent over to whisper something in her ear. The queen shook her head just slightly and seemed to take a deep breath before moving past her chief advisor.

As Queen Amelia began her typical address to the people, I scanned the ever-growing crowd for Steel. Where was he? He was supposed to grab the keys to Aerick’s cell, snag a guard’s uniform, and wait for me in the courtyard below.

Just my luck that he got killed or something, I thought, a bit of uninvited worry filtering into my annoyance.

That worry morphed into near-panic as the queen neared her conclusion, much faster than I expected. It was almost time for the balloon launch. If Steel didn’t show up soon, I would have to set off the explosives and find Aerick on my own. There was no way I could break him out of prison without the keys Steel was supposed to get.

There! My heart skipped a beat, relief flooding me as I spotted an armed guard slip into the far reaches of the crowd, near the entrance to the inner court. He had made it.

His gaze casually surveyed the towers overhead. When his hazel eyes landed on me, he gave me a slight grin and nodded.

That was all I needed. The queen was done with her speech now, and it was time to act.

Glancing at the sky to make sure it was clear of aircraft, I hauled a fist-sized amount of firecrackers from the satchel and grabbed the pack of matches from my pocket. Striking one, I began to light each of the fuses, propping up the firecrackers against the wall and hurriedly moving down the line. Already the firecrackers were about to go off. I wouldn’t have enough time to light them all.

I snatched my satchel from the ground. I scurried toward the door to the inside of the castle and bolted through the entrance just as the firecrackers began to go off . The ruckus was louder than I expected, especially since I had made a point not to use the loud ones. Curious, I cracked the door open again. The sky was alight with fire, nearly blinding me.

Boom!

Blazing heat singed the hair on my arms as a ginormous ball of light exploded in the night sky. Stumbling back a step, I slammed the door shut and collapsed against it. My heart trembled in my chest, and my ears rang with the sound of explosions.

I’d been a pilot long enough to realize that was no firecracker; that was an airship.

But I hadn’t seen any airships! I had made sure there weren’t any in the sky beforehand. If that airship crashed, I doubted there would be any survivors.

I shook my head and tried to push the guilt from my mind. I need to find Steel.

Going back through the castle was even easier than the first time. Any guards that may have been in the castle beforehand had probably raced outside when they heard the explosions.

When I arrived at the entrance to the dungeons, deep within the castle, I spotted Steel right away. He was glancing around nervously, soot smeared across his cheek. He saw me, and the look on his face stopped me dead in my tracks.

I had never seen him so. . . distant. It was as if his mind were trapped in a different world. And the way he looked at me, you would think he’d never seen me before in his life.

Swallowing, I approached him cautiously and laid a chilled hand on his arm. He furrowed his brow and stared at my hand.

“Steel,” I whispered. “You ready?”

He blinked a few times, then seemed to snap out of his fog. He nodded and dug a ring of keys from his pocket. As he handed them to me, he said, “That was an airship.”

I took the keys, careful to keep my grip on the one that he was holding. Licking my lips, I twisted the key in the lock and let the door swing open. “I know. Did it. . . did it crash?”

“Are you kidding?”

I glanced at him, confusion taking over as he grinned widely. “Fiona, I didn’t know your firecrackers were that powerful.”

Now I was utterly flabbergasted. “What are you talking about? Did it crash?”

He rolled his eyes and pushed me forward a step. “Look, Fiona, there was an airship docked on the tower next to yours. It caused quite a show, but I doubt that ancient piece of junk could even lift itself off the ground, much less crash.” He winked and flashed me that annoying grin again. “I didn’t know you had that in you.”

I sighed, relieved that no one had been injured. But now I couldn’t resist smacking him on the shoulder.

“Ow! What was that for?”

“For letting me think something horrendous had happened. Seriously, by the look on your face, I thought the entire city of Legeria had been decimated.”

He shrugged and hurried down the steps to the actual dungeon. “You females are so confusing.”

“Well, this female just exploded an entire airship so you best not insult her.”

He coughed, looking a little uncertain as he noticed the pistol at my side. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

/ / /

Annnnd that's Fiona and Steel for you. AREN'T THEY PRECIOUS LITTLE MUFFINS? I'm...slightly fond of them. *coughs* (Even though they insult each other like 98.4% of the time. Which honestly makes them that much more endearing.)

Thoughts on part two? Would you like to see more? (The answer is obviously, "Whatever pleases you, O Glitter Queen.") OH AND CAN YOU HELP ME COME UP WITH A TITLE FOR THIS STORY? I am so lost right now.