News

News: Since April of last year I have managed to accomplish several monumental things in my studies, but I update you now to tell you that three nights ago I had the best sleep since I last visited my aunt's house (years ago) and probably will never have another good sleep like it for years to come *nods sagely*.

--12 March 2017 --

Quote: I really dislike how glasses slide down your nose impetuously when you're glaring down at your unfinished work. -Me

The Fellowship

September 30, 2010

A Bit of News

There are several important news-related things that I wish to mention to you folks. First, let's start with all Squeaks pertaining stuff and then we'll move on to the more interesting gab :P

If you haven't already noticed, please do now: Hidden Doorways officially has 50 amazing followers! Can you believe it? I remember the time I had 1 and I wondered when more would come...more who would listen to my blubbering and blabbing. And guess what? Now there are 50 of you guys along for an amazing ride! So I'm very happy to announce that and I also want to thank all of you who have been with me from the near beginning (family members too!). And big thanks to Jake for all the great comments :) You're the top commenter so far and I really enjoy your input. That goes for the rest of you too; you're all great people and I'm glad the Lord has blessed me with your attention to my writing :)

The next newsworthy thing is that there are now *7* awesome entries into the Green Giveaway. I'm very excited for tomorrow, since the voting then begins! So if you haven't gotten your entry in yet, I encourage you to do so...I think this will be a close competition! Rules will be coming up as to how voting will commence. For now, those of you who have already entered, if you haven't looked over the other entries yet, please do.
Rules for Entering the Green Giveaway
Current Entries into the Green Giveaway

Now for the "other" news ;) This stuff is great! Now that the Green Giveaway is coming to a close, those of you who want more opportunities at getting interesting stuff...there are other giveaways to enter!

Jake is holding The Fantastic Flaming Giveaway over at Teenage Writer. Enter if you dare! You could have a chance at winning Wayne Thomas Batson's amazing book "Isle of Fire". This is a definite must read...so if you don't already own a copy, make sure you check out The Fantastic Flaming Giveaway!

Eldra is holding a Giveaway at A Day On Daremo. Get in for a fantastic ride! To my current knowledge, Eldra only has two or three entries. The prize? A hand drawn picture of whatever you choose, done by Eldra's sister Leauphaun. I checked out Lea's website and let me tell you, her drawings are pretty great...this is an awesome opportunity to get that personal sketch done ;) Only set back though, is because Eldra is an awesome Canadian (like me *smiles*) she won't be able to send the drawing to the States, so she'll email it.

Noah from Books I Recommend (if you don't follow already, I highly suggest you do!) is having a Star Curiously Singing giveaway. To get entries you have to perform various tasks, most of which require little effort and all give you a shot at getting the prize...which happens to be the well spoken of book "A Star Curiously Singing" by Kerry Nietz. But wait! Before you enter, consider me...Squeaks...I want that book XD So maybe you shouldn't enter...ah, never mind, it'll only make the competition more fun, okay *sniff sniff* go ahead. :P

Nichole from The Pen and Parchment is having a First Chapters Contest (extra rules are found here).  The amazing thing about this contest is it's all about First Chapters! So if you're writing a book you can enter the very first chapter (plus prologue if you've written one) and you'll be entered. Short story writers can also enter. Winners? There are two of them! First place gets to choose between "Submerged" by Alton Gansky and "Dragon Rider" by Cornelia Funke, second place gets what's left over. I'm personally eyeing "Dragon Rider"...so get in the fun while it lasts! Nichole is looking for more entree's!

And last but not least, Nahla from Alone with Waning Candles and Ink is holding a Short Story Contest. The prize? BOOKS! Everyone loves books right? All you have to do is read the rules; to get in on the contest you'll be asked to write a short story based on three starters that Nahla has provided. So if you've got an itch to write, check out the offers Nahla has and you might just be holding some cool books sooner or later ;) (by the way; no one knows what books she's giving away, but she said she will reveal that secret information soon).

Here are some of the above giveaway's cool buttons...take them if you want...or rather, if you dare ;)

Jake's Fantastic Flaming Giveaway Button


Nahla's Giveaway Button


So that's nearly it for the news. To tell you the truth, I've only entered two of the giveaways (can't tell which). I'm promoting the rest because all of those bloggers deserve the promotion; they all have great blogs and well, even if they weren't excellent bloggers I'd still promote em because I like doing that kind of thing :)

Now for my last piece of news before I rest my peace XD Check the sidebar on the right and you'll see that Children of the Song has jumped 3,000 words! I've finished chapter 3 in one sitting and my word count is now officially at 13,131. You'll also see another story I'm writing...it's called The Raven's Curse. The tale behind that can be viewed here. I started on a creative writing exercise and then poof, it transformed into a wild story line. What you read there is going to be my tentative prologue. I'm fleshing the details out still, but here's the gist of the story:
Jenny was involved in a life changing accident that left her in a coma for over a year. She now has to deal with amnesia and a blurred past. Someone, or something, is out to get her. And they left her a rude awakening...a child. Her child. She has no husband, she's only 20, but this child, so the nurses say, was birthed by her. Jenny grabs a hold of the Jesus she once knew so well and prays for help. With the sudden appearance of a charming young man named Ty, Jenny finds herself swept into a story that was hers. Time is running out and the demons of her past are literally on her heels; will Jenny overcome them and embrace the destiny God has for her, or will she fall into the snare of the Devil?

Perfectly chilling! I think it will turn out grand, but it's not my main priority right now. So the word count on The Raven's Curse is probably going to go up slowly compared to that of Children of the Song.

Also, I intend to have a page up soon with a teaser and first chapter from Children of the Song, for your enjoyment :)

God Bless!

Scrawled with utter excitement,

Squeaks.

September 29, 2010

Last Call!

So we're almost ready to call the Green Giveaway cuts :) I'm very proud of all five entries, but folks, there is time for more! You have just one more day to get your entries in. This giveaway closes October 1st and voting then begins. So check the following pages and enter while you can!

The Green Giveaway!! (competition rules, regulations, and prizes)

The Green Giveaway Page (page dedicated to showcasing the contest entries; please make sure you read this through thoroughly so you will be able to vote fairly)

That's all for now folks, I hope to see your entry up there soon if you haven't sent it in already!

Signed with excitement,

Squeaks.

September 25, 2010

Real Peace



The Bible has a lot to say on peace, but for now I'll just do a short post on its meaning. {Note; I wrote this post last night and scheduled it to be released today...nifty eh? EDIT: Oops...I accidentally set the date for yesterday, *chuckles* but I fixed it now}

Phillipians 4:7 says...

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

That's pretty powerful...when you think of it, but you have to think deeply. Our Lord isn't just giving us ANY kind of peace...He's giving us His peace. It goes way above our heads; we don't understand it now and we'll never understand it later. Now here is an even bigger doozy. His peace is going to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Wow. Peace is doing some action here! We know that love (from way back to my previous posts) does action but now we hear that peace does action too.

This is even cooler...peace can be passed along. Which makes it a physical thing (like faith). We read from John 14:27:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Jesus is actually giving us His peace. When He left to be with the Father, to prepare us a place with Him, He not only gave us the Comforter (which is the Holy Spirit), but He gave us His peace. And He's not giving it to us as the world gives us peace. Worldly peace is temporary. It lasts a season and then *poof* it's gone. Think of the great World Wars. The peace before those wars was temporary and worldly. Yet the peace of God, which goes way about our understanding, is with us always and is way better than the peace the world offers.

So perhaps you're saying, "But I don't feel peace, Squeaks. It's torment inside this heart of mine. How can you say God gives me peace when I don't feel it?" Now this is my own suggestion, based on what I've read from Scripture, but I would say that the reason you don't feel peace is because you have not claimed it. God gives us everything. Salvation, love, hope, and peace. Yet in order to live a victorious life in these areas, we must claim what has been given. To be saved, we had to claim salvation as ours. To be loved, we had to claim and accept the Love of Christ. To have hope we had to claim the hope that Christ gives us as ours. The same is for peace. To have true spiritual peace, we must claim the peace of Christ as our own.

Isaiah 26:3 tells us how we obtain this kind of peace:

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. 

While Christ gives it freely, we must still focus on Him in order to reap the full benefits of the gifts He offers. We must keep our eyes on Him and Him only. God gives us peace if we keep our minds on Him. Isn't this next part amazing? God gives you peace because you trust in Him. Doesn't that ring true with the Philippians 4:7 verse? We have to trust in Christ first in order to receive His peace. Thus, we can conclude that the Old Testament compliments the New Testament and the New Testament confirms the Old Testament.

Yet we must also remember that it was not Christ's plan to bring physical peace to the world (see Matthew 10:34-36). He came to bring the sword that divides families apart. I believe that sword is the sword of truth. His words are the Sword. Yet even though Christ didn't bring physical peace to the world, He left us with spiritual peace. This is different than physical peace, because things can be going wrong all around you, yet you can still be at peace because your eyes are on Jesus. Physical peace means that the things going on around you are "well". Spiritual peace means that even when things are "bad" you're still able to walk through and be calm. Even if your next pay check comes in so low you can't pay your rent, if you have the peace of Christ in you you'll rest assured that He will take care of things.

So I leave you with these things to ponder.

- Real peace is a spiritual thing, not a physical thing
- Real peace is a gift we must receive from Christ
- Real peace is claimed by surrendering to Christ and keeping our eyes on Him


God Bless,

Squeaks. 

September 24, 2010

The Black Feather

I originally posted this on my other blog but thought some of you might miss it so I posted it here too. It's a creative writing "teaser" kinda piece that I just wrote. Let me know what you think of it!


Jenny rolled down her window frantically and stuck her head outside. The wind and sleet stung her eyes, so she shut them against the power of the storm and took in a deep breath. Her nose tickled and she smelt the familiar tones of summer and spring and...rotting eggs.
The driver pressed the gas pedal closer to the floor and the old Volkswagon groaned in response but thankfully sped forward.
"Smell anything Jenny?" The driver asked.
Jenny didn't respond. She focused on the smells, ignoring the pain of the ice crystals as they hurled themselves against her face. Her chocolate brown hair, which was once well kept now tassled itself all over the place.
"Jenny, get inside now; you'll get hurt." The driver grabbed Jenny's arm and pulled her in, then pushed down the button that rolled up the passenger window.
The ride was silent for a few moments; Jenny heard the rubber of the wheels slipping on the ice and the slap of the storm's worst against their windshield. The wipers left streak marks and squeaked in complaint as they swished back and forth.
Oh God, they're coming! She thought to herself and buried her face in her hands.
"Jenny? Did you smell anything?" The driver asked again, looking out at the passenger from a wool scarf that was wrapped around their face.
"Yes. They're coming." She whispered.
"It's all right hun. I'm here for you."
"I know mom. But..." Jenny paused and sniffed, "NO! They're in the car!" She cried out and went to unlatch her seat belt. Her mother took one hand off the wheel and grabbed Jenny.
"Don't! If you give them a chance like that they'll get us in an accident with no problem and you'll be dead? What good will that do?"
Jenny looked up at her mom. Her normally cheerful deep green eyes were now filled with fear.
"Pray. Pray Jenny, pray. It's the only thing that will help now."
Jenny glanced backwards and recoiled in disguist.
"Oh God! Save us! There must be a hundred!" She screamed.
"Be quiet and pray!" yelled her mother. The car slipped on the ice and fish tailed sideways.
Jenny bent her head and prayed, God save us, we're going to die. Jenny clenched her eyes shut and put one hand forward onto the dashboard. The smell was overwhelming now. She couldn't take it much longer.
BAM!
The sound of metal cruching on metal and squealing tires filled the air, followed by the sickening thud of flesh and the crack of glass. Then, everything went black.

Writing in Scenes

I came upon an intriguing comment on my other blog, after my rant about reaching 10,000 words for Children of the Song, so I decided to do a post on how to organize your writing.

Some people write what comes directly out of their minds; they slap it onto the page and then continue, connecting each scene with ... well, connecting words; and then they just write until they finish.

Other people write a chapter at a time and then go back later (during editing time) and edit the endings and beginnings of their chapters so they flow smoothly.

Finally, people like myself write a scene at a time and then go back to edit (again, during editing time) and connect the scenes together to make chapters.

So what am I getting at here? Well, I heard a statement from a writer that writing in chapters was somewhat tedious; and it's true, the connecting scenes are hard to write at times. To acquire the right amount of unity from chapter to chapter does take skill...and plus, writing in chapters can result in writers block more easily than writing in scenes (at least it's this way with myself).

Here's an example. My first chapter for Children of the Song deals with my first mc, Benaiah, and is trek through the woods and acquaintance with the Chosen Ones. So normally a person would do a chapter, from beginning to end, on how Benaiah gets from point A to point B. But I have trouble with that. Sometimes the ideas just don't flow...and starting out where I last left off is usually recipe for disaster because I can't think of what I was trying to say from before.

Thus, I write in scenes. My first chapter is broken up something like this:

Scene 1: A Trek through Vanaajael
Scene 2: Vanaajael Woods & Benaiah's Thirst
Scene 3: Benaiah Meets Kyla
Scene 4: Acquaintance with the Chosen Ones
Scene 5: Benaiah's Gift Unveiled
Scene 6: Benaiah Uses His Gift & The Kitchen Encounter

Pardon the cheesy titles lol, I just jotted down what came to my mind. But essentially, those titles explain the gist of what is going on in that scene. Benaiah is walking through the woods. The next day he wakes up and continues walking and becomes thirsty, then he meets Kyla who gives him something to drink. Benaiah follows Kyla and she introduces him to a hidden group of Marked Men. Benaiah is given a room and the reader finds out about his strange gifting. The day after that, Benaiah uses his gift and ends up in a hilarious situation.

All of these are part of one chapter and later, some of these scenes will be joined together. Each one is between 500-1000 words long (I'm aiming to do fewer scenes now but keep them at higher word counts, like 1000). The benefit is that you get to write about the action and worry about the connections later. When you go back to edit, you'll understand more about the book and will be able to smoothly bring each scene together.

I use a program called YWriter (click the link to see the main site). It allows me to create a chapter and then create a scene inside that chapter. It also has tabs for each scene that allow me to select my characters (which I've already created and put into the "storage banks") and say that these ones here have been used in this scene. In other words, it helps me keep track of who is where and what's going on. Another nifty thing that YWriter does for you is keep track of the POV for each scene and the total amount of POV scenes each character has. Therefore, if one of my important characters isn't getting enough scenes in, I can add more stuff about them.

What else does YWriter do?
- Tracks amount of words added per day
- Allows you to create a schedule
- Shows total word count of book
- Allows you to upload artwork for characters
- Lets you add scene details (e.g. Goal, conflict, resolution; type of scene, importance, ratings, what time of day the scene begins, and so on)

Yeah. In other words, YWriter is pretty awesome. I previously used MS Word but I found myself forgetting the names of creatures and places. With YWriter I'm able to keep track of that kind of stuff, which is just what this flitsy brain of mine needs :P

Another application I use (don't worry, this is the last one) is called YEdit. It's from the same producer as YWriter but isn't as fancy. It's simply a word pad that you can write on; as you write it deducts the words you've written from the words you want to write. I find this to be the most amazing asset ever! I plug in my word count of 1000 and then write; it's very encouraging to watch the numbers drop down until I've reached zero. If I haven't yet finished writing I continue and smile as I watch the numbers plunge into the negatives.

So there you have it! Both YWriter and YEdit are completely free; you just download them and *poof* you're off to a great start :)

I think I've said my piece about writing in scenes. Let me sum this up now:

Writing in Scenes Benefits

- Ignore the tedious process of tying things together until later
- Plan ahead and worry less about writers block
- Give yourself the ability to switch scene positions or add in new scenes



Simply Signed, 

Squeaks.

The Riddle Poems

I've composed several poems for my book Children of the Song and wanted to share them with you. The Maiden Promise has two versions (due to translation from the old tongue) but I won't post both of them. I hope you guys enjoy it!

And thank-you to everyone who has put in the time and effort to write entries for the Green Giveaway! Your work is amazing and I'm sure this is going to be an excellent contest :-) If you haven't read all 5 pieces yet, please check out this page and click the Green Giveaway link for more details on entering the contest.



The Key

Ormer's Deep to Marwen's Fall, 
Moonlight shines through Casef's Hall. 
Breached the wall to Meadowville, 
Hunted down till blood was spill'd

Firey blaze seen from afar, 
Forest torn to leave a scar.
One soul longs to bind the land, 
And one to fill his own demand.

Demons haunt a trav'ler's dream,
Waters cursed turn red in steam.
Hopeful gain is but a lie, 
For it will leave all men to die.

Breath of Sapling turns to dew,
Making hearts refreshed and new.
Key to all that lives and breaths, 
Watch all men fall on their knees.

Blood stains all of Aryenzhal
Force opposing gives up all
Dying breath reveals the way
To sacred lair in mists of gray.

~Prophecy by Gormel, written in the 12th year of Geen Yandor's reign~



The Village

A liquid fire drips down like rain
Erasing memory, breeding pain.
Hidden deep inside the hill;
Touched not by man; it shall not spill.

The evening moons glow from afar
Making wildfire with each star. 
And burroughed deep beneath your feet
A village, dead, from hurtful heat.

This village old, this ancient tomb
Unfettered by the barren womb
Will come alive with ghostly song
Upon the beating of the gong.

Beware! oh pilgrim, of mysteries high!
Of dragon lights in yonder sky! 
For from the east, a wand'rer comes, 
Bearing hope now etched in thumbs.

Once free from chains, the giant paw
Will guard its love, restore the law.
And hope will reign the hopeless land
When leaves the ship of one now banned.


Yet if the fire is not restored
And village deep dissolves to fjord,
A greater worse will then be freed,
And countered but by Sapling seed.


~Prophecy by Kardith, a Silent Wanderer, written in the 1st year of Queen Yandor's reign~






The Maiden Promise I

A maid of honour treads the Way
With blood-filled hands and jars of clay.
Her path, uncharted, falls upon
The secret Children of the Song.


Her lake-blue eyes do captivate
Those who tread before her gate.
And golden hair was spun upon
The silver looms of ancient dawn.


Of two there shall be one who's true
Her heart and mind are pure and new.
And of the two there, one must be
And evil, slaying one of three.


Of three companions, one must flee
And board a ship to cross a sea.
So thus to find a myth-bound isle
Where dreamless sleep shall crush their guile.


And of the one who passed away,
Their tale shall haunt each solemn day.
An oath, once made, now called upon
To save the Children of the Song.


~Prophecy by Gormel; of his IV Volume~

{Note; I've included the alternate version of the fourth stanza for your enjoyment; this is from Gormel's earlier edition, the II Volume}

The evil one shalt fly away
By hidden ship through fabled bay,
And pass to a forbidden isle
Where dreamless sleep shall crush their guile.


I hope that you have enjoyed these poems! :-) Just remember that they lie under a different copyright than my photos. So please don't use them or distribute them in any way. Thanks!


Signed in a flourish,

Squeaks.

September 23, 2010

A Could-Be & A Has-Been




"I'd rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are because a could-be is a maybe who is reaching for a star. I'd rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far for a might-have-been has never been, but a has was once an are. -Milton Berle

I read this quote over on another gal's blog and found it very thought provoking. You see, in your life, if you are a could-be then even if you can't be "are" (which is like an "is") there is at least a possibility of you "being". A could-be IS a maybe (which has a chance of "being") and maybe's are always wishes (like wishing on a star). Now for the has-been.

I'd rather have already been a being (which means it's already happened) than to have been a might-have-been (which means it almost happened but never did) because a might-have-been never happened but a has-been was once an "are" and that is what I wished for when I was a maybe, reaching for a star.

So if I make a wish and hope for what may come, I'd rather wish a maybe and treasure just that crumb. For if I have already been, my joy has passed away, yet if I can but hope to be I save my joy another day. And I would choose to save my joy and wish upon a star, because the joy that could be is better viewed than past joy stars. --by me!

G'day folks; and let me remind you...the Green Giveaway is still up and running so if you haven't gotten your entry in yet make sure you do! 4 entries have already been uploaded (and they're all rather amazing!), so feel free to head over to this page to check them out.


Signed with dreaminess,

Squeaks.

September 22, 2010

Lizard Breath & Kybris

Yippee! 3 entries into the contest :P Looks like my earlier post stirred ya up! Well, I suppose that's a good thing. I really love the entries so far: it's all great stuff coming from great people. I can't wait to receive the rest that I know are going to be coming (*hint hint*).

So yeah, about the title...no, I don't have lizard breath. It's just a phrase I coined (err, maybe more like someone else coined and I liked it). You see, when it comes to fancy, catchy phrases, everyone grabs at them like kids grab at candy and then *poof* they all become boring cliques that everyone knows about and no one wants to use. So I randomly generated my own title for this weird post. Yup, it's a bit random, but don't worry, it's not too random that you'll have your socks blown off by the tornado of randomness (yes there is such a thing; but don't forget the rabbits and lizards too!)

Alright, so the first thing I want to address today is a conversation that I'm going to have with my character Kybris. Yes, I'm going to have this conversation in a moment, I haven't had it yet. So *clears throat* you ready? Everyone, meet the amazing Kybris.

*Kybris enters room and looks around*
"Hey Kybris, how're you doing?"
"I'm fine I guess. It's a bit bewildering to be pulled from the story theme and plopped into this...this..."
"This blank room? I know, how about we add some colour."
*We're walking through the woods now*
"Oh, wow! How'd you do that?" asks Kybris.
"Kiddo, I'm the author here, right? I can do whatever I want."
*Kybris shakes head and twitches lip*
"You could even...get rid of me?"
*I look sheepish*
"Yes, well, I could, but you're one of my main characters in the story, I can't let you go now."
*Kybris raises her eyebrow*
"You mean there is another important person in the story?"
"Yes, you just haven't met that person yet?"
"Might I know their name?"
"No, no. You'll meet that person soon enough."
"Oh, ok." Kybris sighs, "You know, this is much better than being stuck with the dilemma of how to save Palaceir."
"Right, I forgot about that! So how do you intend to save her?"
*Kybris rubs chin*
"Umm, well, I don't know. I really think you should just let Sir Ritherwhatshisname save her."
"Have some respect Kybris. He's an important character too."
"Oh, sorry. But what about the moat? How do we get ac-"
"Not here," *points to audience* "they don't know about the moat yet. Or the castle for that matter."
"Oh. Then why do--"
"Shh! Now tell me about your home town. I don't know much about it."
"Well, I've lived there my whole life. Kalendaar is beautiful you know."
"Yes, I saw from the scenery description that it was quite magnificent. What is the castle like? Your father is the chief administrator for King Torus so I'm guessing you've been there often."
"Indeed I have." *Kybris stops walking and rests against the side of the tree*
*I stare and then realize*
"Oh, I forgot you're still recovering from your illness."
"Yes, thanks to you I'm not better yet."
"Sorry; go on."
"Well, Kalendaal Castle is big. It's made of gray stones that were transported from the southern quarries. It was grueling work and actually took place during the reign of King Torus's father."
"Oh, the southern quarries eh? I thought it was the eastern ones."
"No, that's what most think, but I know because I've read the royal diaries concerning their transportation."
"Well that's helpful for me. Continue please."
"Anyways, the outside is very impressive. I doubt many villains would ever want to try and besiege the castle."
"Hmm."
*Kybris twiddles thumbs*
"The inside is the best though. The royal halls are bedecked with all kinds of carpets and draperies and gold or silver figurines. It really is the very picture of royalty."
*Kybris smiles*
"I used to play in those halls very often. I would pretend...Oh well, never mind."
"You would pretend what?"
"I don't know. My mind is blank."
*I ponder this and then understand*
"Oh, that's probably because I haven't filled in that section of your character sketch yet. Sorry."
"Your fault again? I see...well, as I was saying, the castle is beautiful. The only part I don't know much about is the dungeon. It's about a quarter of a league under the ground. My father has told me many stories; I only visited it once and I was too scared I think I've repressed that memory."
"No Kybris, my psychology studies have told me repressed memories are false. So, let me just check your sketch here."
*checks character sketch*
"Aha! You do know about the dungeon you just don't want to tell me. Come on, or I'll have to squeeze it from you."
*Kybris gives me one of those rebellious kinda 2-year-old glares*
"Seriously! You're not a baby any more. I expect you to act your age."
"Whatever. Alright, so I do know a bit about the dungeon. Let's see..."
We're both sitting on the ground now; it's nice and warm in the forest. Lots of little birds are chirping and insects are buzzing and bumbling all around. It smells nice too.
"Kalendaar Dungeon is well know for its horrid executioner and torturer Corbis--"
"Yes, I know enough about Corbis and I don't want the audience to know too much about him, so just leave him out of the picture for the moment, if you don't mind."
"Sure; the dungeon is cold and damp. Since the lake is near the castle the underground streams seep in through the walls and make the lower levels quite mucky. I even heard that the lowest level, which I have never seen, is never cleaned out by the guards. They leave the prisoners to decay in their ow--"
"Right, umm, how about the structure of the prison?"
*Kybris gives me another glare and then smiles*
"The layout is really fun. It's like one big maze. When I toured the upper levels I remember nearly getting lost; if it hadn't been for the palace guards guiding my group I'm certain I would have gotten lost. It twists and turns in the most unruly manner; it even has dead ends and traps (at least that's what I've heard, I've never seen the traps so I'm guessing that if they are real they would be in the lower levels). I suppose it's all just designed to keep the prisoners in."
"Hmm, that's very interesting."
"Yes; but can we talk about something else now? Prisons and dungeons and all those sorts of things just give me the chills."
"Why of course! How about your capability with the sword? Are you any good?"
*Kybris blushes and fumbles with her sword*
"Yes, I suppose I'm good. I did win the national swords competition last year."
*applaudes*
"Why that's excellent! We'll need your good sword abilities later in the novel."
"Really? What will I be fighting?"
"Most likely Omriel and --"
"Omriel! You mean, the king's famous mercenary?" *Kybris turns pale*
"Oh uhh, yeah, I meant to keep him a secret but--"
"How about you get someone else to do that job. I refuse to fight him."
"Kybris, you have to fight Omriel. It's for the good of the other mc."
*Kybris huffs and glares and kinda pouts*
"I don't even know this other "em-cee". How can you expect me to fight for an individual I don't even know!"
*I chuckle to myself and grin*
"Oh you'll get to know this one very very well."
"And how well are you going to force me to know this person?"
"Well enough that you'll give up your life if needed."
"Great!" Kybris throws her hands in the air and raises her voice, "Just great! Now I'm going to be planning my demise. Wonderful. Can't you give me another part?"
"No honey, you'll get to understand the workings of story-making. How about we just put you back in the book for no--"
"Oh no you don't!" Kybris stands and paces, "I will not go back to sit in that situation of uncertainty! I can't stand being frozen in the position of eyeing that old knight as he tells me we have to find a different way into the castle. I just want to go through the main gates!"
"But don't you get it Kybris? If you go through the main gates the guards will be notified and you won't be able to save Palaceir."
*Kybris stops pacing and thinks*
"Oh, I never thought of it that way before. I see now. Makes a bit of sense."
"Yes, precisely. Now you go wait in the book while I finish my business."
"But your business has been taking place for several days now. Can't you at least write SOMETHING to get me out of that position?"
"No, not now; I can't think of anything."
"Oh."
"Yeah."
"Well I guess I'd better go wait then."
"I'll see you later Kybris. Say hi to Hrophna and Falx for me. Those Baelinur are amazing."
*Kybris smiles and waves goodbye*
"I will!"


---


*wipes sweat from brow* Whoo...that was hard. I can't really think of much more to say now...except, I think I've got a temperamental character on my hands. I never thought Kybris would offer so much resistance! She was supposed to be a quiet gal with lots of guts...Hmm, I guess characters have minds of their own.

Well, I'll leave you with that to think on for now. And remember, if you haven't sent in your entry for the Green Giveaway yet, please do consider it! I'm looking forward to reading some more amazing writing from you crafty folks :-)


Signed with valor,

Squeaks.

Tick-Tock-Tick-Tock

I have received 1 entry into the Green Giveaway so far (See "The Green Giveaway Page to read it!). Folks, time is winding up; we have till October 1st to get entries in! If you're not interested in this giveaway (and hopefully I'm not asking too much of you, lol) but I would be very appreciative if you notified your own followers as to this giveaway's status :-) Why, what is a giveaway without anyone to receive the gift? XD

Thanks for your patience with me guys :-) I hope to get at least 5 entries this week :P


Signed with a flourish,

Squeaks.

September 18, 2010

The Agony


This story is dedicated to my father on his birthday.

The crouched figure sobbed and tore at its hair. Swirling shadows crept closer and closer, peering in and out from the spiral of their unwavering descent. Flames licked the soil and slowly slithered towards the beast, huddled on the dirt floor. It was as hell should be.

The figure murmured; whether in sorrow or in wonder, I do not know. It bent towards the blue flames that danced across the ground; it touched them. The terrifying pain sent shockwaves of agony up and down the hand of the poor beast. It leaped backwards, only to stumble to the other side of the tightening circle of blue flame.

A scree erupted from the black mass above the creature's head; it was horrible. So horrible I don't know how to explain it. It rattled the bones of the thing and shook every nerve fiber and cell until another wave of pain blasted across its skin. It screeched and huddled in the middle of its circle, crying now. A tear dribbled downwards, reaching for the ground, screaming to be let free from the horrific face, but it couldn't. The beast blinked and blinked but the tear would not fall. Not even that simple comfort was given to it.

As the blaze crept closer and the dark mass cinched downwards, the beast raised its eyes upwards. Far in the distance, through the center of the demon horde, was a pin-hole of light. It twinkled and blinked like a star. The beast stretched a withered claw at it and croaked. It croaked and when it could croak no more and the flames began to lick at its impoverished heels, and the horde of blackness was pressing the thing to the ground, a strange phenomena happened.

The black cloud was split in half and the flames, lifting their scraggly eyes, drew back. A blinding light pierced through the hell-hole, causing evil flesh to sizzle and sin to collapse in eternal death. The beast raised a crooked hand to its eyes and shielded its gateways from the bright light. It sniffed through cracked nostrils and marveled at the scent of roses and mulberries. What was this? It wondered; how did this get here?

And then, when the beast felt as though it would shrivel from the glory, a voice called,

"Would you have me now?" It asked kindly. The soothing tone was water to the beast's parched throat. It felt as though scales were being removed from its eyes and it clawed at the ground to raise itself upwards.

"Yes." It cried pitifully, "Yes, yes, yes!"

Then came the transformation; the light became brighter and more glorious, but the creature did not back away. It drew near the center of the great beam. The room had been transformed; no longer did the hellish prison scald its eyes, rather all was light. All was brilliant, bright, blinding light. Slowly, the beast watched as its own skin smoothed and lightened. It was as though the dirt and filth had been cleansed by some unseen, hidden fountain. The claws were dulled and soon developed into normal fingers and well groomed nails. The dirty rags were traded for a brilliant white robe. The beast was no longer a beast, but the most beautiful woman in all the earth.

She cried, from joy; her tears of holy sacrifice dripped down her face and onto the ground, where flowers and grasses sprouted at their hopeful touch.

Then, the voice came, but this time it was right beside her, whispering in her delicate, new ear;

"You are beautiful." It said proudly.

The woman looked and there stood her Lord and Saviour. The only one who had cared to reach into her own hell and bring her out. She grasped his hand and knelt at his feet.

"My Lord--" she began, but soon quit trying to speak, for her words of worship seemed too trivial to be said.

Finally, when it was as though an age had passed, she managed to form some words with her delicate lips,

"Why?" She asked, with tears streaming down her face, forming radiant gardens beneath her feet.

Her Saviour looked at her and smiled, a smile that made her weep even more with joy.

"Because I love you." He said and stretched out his hand to lift her from the ground.

She jumped to her feet and gazed at his deep, wise eyes. He smiled again and then took her into his arms in an embrace that continues till this day.


---


An allegorical story of a human accepting the Lordship of Christ.

The Moral

Do not give up on those who have not given their hearts to Christ.
He is calling and you are asked to help.
It is your duty
Your calling
Prepare the way.


Squeaks.

September 17, 2010

The Green Giveaway!!

The Green Giveaway

YES! Hidden Doorways author Squeaks (the minstrel) is officially holding a giveaway! For those of you who were here for my first giveaway, you’ll remember the excitement *crowd cheers* and flurry *whoosh* of that grand day *applause*. Ok, so it wasn’t that grand…but hey; I’m now celebrating my 100th post (this is my 113th, to see my hundredth please view: Beauty). And I’m also celebrating the fact that I have 40 followers! I can’t believe that 20 more awesome people have jumped aboard this wild ride since my last giveaway! It’s just grand :-). Now, for more about the actual giveaway…
The title of this giveaway has nothing to do with being green (just thought I’d point that out). The concept is that there will be 2 winners to this giveaway. Here are some rules:
·         To be eligible to win, you must be a follower.
·         To enter the contest, you must email me one entry (and only one) of the following choices:
o    A few descriptive paragraphs on à water, fire, earth, or air
OR
o    A descriptive section from your book
·         Either of the choices must both be above 250 words and below 600 words. [Note: in your email, please give me a title for your work and a name (alias or real, whichever you choose) so that I know who is who].
Here’s the catch to this giveaway; you must include at least one sentence (that fits smoothly with the rest of your writing) that includes the word “green”. If you don’t have the word “green” in your writing then you’ll be “disqualified” from the contest XD
The prizes include:
·         1st Place: Advertising for your blog on Hidden Doorways and the ability to write 3 guest posts.
·         2nd Place: 1 guest post
·         Both: Your names and the names of your main blog will be posted at the top of Hidden Doorways for 1 week.
[Note: all guest posts must be written and submitted for publishing by the end of November]
I would have given away a gift card or a book or something more spectacular than just “advertising” but I can’t give away my address…so I hope you don’t mind the meager prizes, they’re the best I can get you right now :-)
So there you have it! The thing about this contest is: you don’t get any points if you tell someone about it. How will you win? Simple; email me your entry (whichever you choose) and I’ll post it on a special page on my blog. Please include a title, because I will put up a poll once all the entries have been submitted and you (the reader) will be able to vote on which description is best. The writer who receives the most votes wins the contest.
Now here is the tricky part. You probably don’t want many people to know about this contest, but now it is important! Why? Because the more people there are, the more likely you’ll have a chance at being voted “best writer”. So I encourage you to spread the word of the giveaway on your blog!
As the author of this giveaway, I will not be voting (that would just be biased lol). In the event of a tie, I will put another poll up and voting will commence again for 2 days. If the tie is still not split, then I will choose who wins first place and who wins second place.
One more important note; you cannot tell other writers which piece of writing is yours; if I catch you, you’ll be disqualified.
So that’s how it goes! My email is hiddendoorways[at]gmail[dot]com. The contest officially begins today and entries close October 1st. You may only submit one piece of writing. Voting begins October 1st and goes till October 6th. Prizes will be announced between October 6th and 7th.
*sword is drawn and slashed downwards* Let the competition begin!!

Signed with Fervour,

Squeaks.

September 16, 2010

Tagged by Eldra

Guess what....I got tagged! It's been ages since I've been tagged :P Not that I don't mind not being tagged, but it is nice to have someone send you something that is interesting :P In this case, Eldra, author of A Day On Daremo has tagged me with a Top 5 Tag :) Here goes...


Top 5 Favourite Songs:

1. Surrender - Downhere
2. How Many Kings - Downhere
3. My Last Amen - Downhere
4. Live for You - Downhere
5. Here I Am - Downhere

(and no, I don't just listen to Downhere XD the reason only their songs are up there is because they are my absolute FAVOURITE band)

Top 5 Favourite Colours:

1. Forest Green
2. Deep Blue (or cerulean)
3. Charcoal
4. Cream
5. Ebony


Top 5 Favourite Animals:

1. Horses <3 <3 <3
2. Cats!
3. Dogs <3
4. Killer Whales
5. Monkeys :P


Top 5 Favourite Horse Breeds:

1. Peruvian Paso
2. Mustangs
3. Thoroughbreds
4. Canadian Warmblood
5. Paints


Top 5 Favourite Books: (how can you do this to me!!!)

1. Gideon's Dawn - Michael Warden
2. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis
3. Sinner - Ted Dekker
4. Sir Bentley and Holbrook Court - Chuck Black
5. Isle of Fire - Wayne Thomas Batson

(those aren't my 5 absolute faves; they're just the ones I could pull of the top of my head, sorry!)


Now to tag someone...I choose *eeni meeni mieni mo....* *closes eyes and spins in circle and points at...*

Katherine Sophia! Author of the amazing blog: Seek Him First
&
Liz! from the fantastic blog: Awake



God Bless! & Goodnight,


Squeaks.

Purple Prose

Every writer, or almost every writer, says purple prose is the dragon of death and you're to avoid it with your whole being. I differ somewhat and that is why I am here today.

Purple prose is explained as being too flowery, ornate, and over the top. Some people say it takes the emphasis off the plot and puts it on the writing, others say it disrupts the storyline and causes the reader to stumble. Yet I love purple prose. The depth of description that I find in long, lavish paragraphs of this forbidden art seem to entrance me into writing it myself. Am I a bad writer because of that? I don't think so; a portion of purpleness is needed to accompany the chunky, meaty scenes of your plot. Without that melodramatic poofiness, I fear my heart would fall apart.

So what is wrong with purple prose? Well, it can get you off track; if you start dipping into your scenery and pouring the oil all over how the flowers look, then...well, I'm afraid the reader wouldn't be very interesting. But you see, some authors are so great at writing purple prose that they make the story seem more real than anything.

For instance, Stephen Lawhead's second book of The Dragon King Saga is said to be purple. I read several complaints on Amazon about how he delved too deeply into the scenery and other unnecessary descriptions. To those people, I say "Pooh, pooh!" Lawhead did an excellent job! His prose was beautiful; it captivated my imagination and brought each scene alive in my mind's eye. I only wish I could write as he writes.

A famous example of purple prose can be seen in this excerpt of the first sentence from the novel Paul Clifford, written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. 

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents—except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
 Do you see anything wrong with that? I find it beautiful! Just look at all the senses Edward is activating in that sentence. It just draws me into the story, and I love it when that happens.

So now I want to know your opinion on purple prose. What do you think of it? Do you like it? Admire it? Hate it? Despise it? Do you enjoy reading/writing it? Let me know in a comment :-)

Written in a Scrawl,

Squeaks.

Michael D. Warden: Excerpt

From the blog of Michael D. Warden, author of Gideon's Dawn and Waymaker (I've only read the first book and I LOVE IT!!! It seriously is my favourite book in the world of fantasy; yes I love it even more than Tolkien or Lewis): I found an excerpt that I absolutely love. This is linked to Michael's blog (link below). It precisely describes how I feel...it's a feeling I cannot get away from. Some part of my being seems inextricably linked to writing; if I don't do it I feel as though I am suffocating.

Writing, like any endeavor of art, is a craft that requires a kind of obsession from the artist. A serious writer does much more than simply write. Writing is his air, his way of breathing. The scent of writing lingers on her clothes and in her hair even when days have passed since she last raised a pen. He cannot get away from it. The endgame of a serious writer is not just creative expression (many can do that quite naturally with minimal effort) or a consistent writing practice (which is merely a means). The goal is mastery. Good writing is common. Masterful writing is among the rarest of human experiences.

...
My true voice swims. I touch lightly…here, then here, then over there, like that, until a sense of the essence of a thing is coaxed out into the open. My writing is all seduction, and a willing honesty. I will look anywhere—to find the truth and sing it to the page, whether that is the truth of a moment’s pure beauty, or the truth of a festering hypocrisy I happen to love. My voice is an honest voice. But refined. Smooth. Easy like wind in the cool of eve. Some writers shock with the staccato dissonance of their prose. Some impress with the clever juxtaposition of obtuse words. But my road into the soul is not quite that. I enchant. I hear the song and with my pen I try to sing it, to share not only the transformative insight, but also the music I heard on the journey to uncover it.
Quoted from: Michael D. Warden | Practicing Your Scales Please visit this link to view the rest of the article from which this quote was taken.

Squeaks.

5% Completed!

So my rough copy of Children of the Song is officially 5% finished! I know that isn't very much...I've only written some 5,554 words (my goal is 100,000), but since I'm such a terribly procrastinator when it comes to writing, I wanted to encourage myself and push myself onwards. I wrote one whole scene last night and introduced another character and her attack dog-like creatures (called Baelinur). My map is nearly complete and my plot is MOVING!

What's going on right now? Well, I've got my male MC (Benaiah; previously called Galeron) wandering around the woods until he stumbles upon a hideaway for a religious sect; he gets pulled into a plot to search for the lost sapling. My other MC (Kybris, a girl) is in the capital city of Kalendaal recovering from an illness. Her grandmother, Palaceir, has been captured by Corbus (head executioner for King Torus) because of involvement with the Marked Men (also called Chosen Ones). Kybris is debating whether or not to save her from certain death. Her Baelinur say no, because she is ill, but she says yes.

You can read an old, unedited portion (it doesn't look like this now) from Benaiah's part of the story by clicking this link. There is a bit of history and other fun stuff included.

Where do I hope to go? I don't quite know right now. I'm thinking, of course, that Kybris will meet up with Benaiah somewhere on the road. Palaceir and Stephos are both going to have a key point in leading their pupils to Elia (the Son of Shammahya). As for now, my thoughts are on getting Palaceir out of Kalendaal dungeon in a curious fashion (I haven't devised how, yet). On that path, Kybris is going to meet another person who will help her release her grandmother. Of course, once the convict is free they will all be on the run from the authorities. I can't say much more because I don't want to ruin the story for you! (If I ever do publish it)

Scrawled in Weariness,

Squeaks.

September 13, 2010

Map Making

From Celestial Maritime Maps
I've officially begun to draw my map for the land of my book Children of the Song. Originally I named my world Eafwe, but the name just sounded clumsy and big...not graceful. So I changed it (the name is still undergoing reno, but at least it is a bit better); I think I'm heading for Aeil although I might put an ending on like: Aeilbro or Aeileneth.

So what is map making? Well, every fantasy writer should have a map. Not all require one, but most like to have one to keep track of where there characters are and also give them an idea of the surrounding territory. Enemy movements can be plotted in advance, escape routes can be predetermined, and dangers can be added suddenly.

Currently my map has two big lakes and three smaller ones, two forests, two mountain ranges, and two deserts. It also has about 8 peninsulas and 8 major bays. In terms of rivers that meet the sea, well, there are 20 or so *grins*. Making a good looking map is really hard (especially for those of us who are not artistically talented). You want your lines to be clear, but don't push the pencil too hard or you won't be able to erase if you make a mistake.

For making bodies of water (such as lakes), I like to outline the edge in light pencil and then outline again pressing harder (to make a dark outline; the outlines of my lakes are always darker than those of my rivers). After I finish the outlining I gently colour in the body with a light shade of pencil.

Rivers are squiggly lines that meander around the place (but always end up starting near mountains or lakes; you gotta think about water supply). Since river systems look like trees, you want to make sure you have several branches going out from your main body. I tend to outline in light pencil and then go back and press a bit harder to make it sharper (but not as sharp as the lake outline).

For trees, I don't do dramatic drawings with branches and leafs. I simply draw an upside down cone with a stick in the middle (like an ice-cream cone with a straw in it; then turn that upside down). While forests can be on the coast line, they tend to veer more inland.

Finally, for mountains, I draw an upside down "v" and shade one side (usually the left side; make sure you keep this constant because it indicates the sun...that is, unless you have two suns!). Mountains can form natural barriers to protect your cities or they can form barriers to keep your people out of important places. Plot your mountain ranges carefully, and remember, mountains usually don't occur by themselves, they come in groups :-).

The only major major issue I have with drawing maps (aside from the neatness) is the scaling. I can't seem to get the mountains scaled right and the river lengths logical. It's hard to think in levels like that. Ah well, at least hand drawing your maps doesn't cost anything (other than the led and the paper).

That's about all for now; I'll be posting more later (as in maybe tomorrow). And make sure you check out my other blog, if you haven't already: The Minstrel.

Cheerio!


Squeaks.

The Dragon King Saga: "In the Hall of the Dragon King" by Stephen R. Lawhead

The cover of the new book my family owns
The Dragon King Saga by Stephen R. Lawhead is composed of three books: In the Hall of the Dragon King, The Warlords of Nin, and The Sword and the Flame. This post is based on the first of the series. The following review is by Lorianna from http://www.reviewstream.com/reviews/?p=2805.

The Dragon King fantasy series by Stephen Lawhead seems to be lesser known than his other works, perhaps overshadowed by them. In Book 1, titled In the Hall of the Dragon King, we are introduced to a fifteen year old boy named Quentin who is an acolyte in the temple of Arin. His life changes one night when a wounded, dying knight comes to the temple and charges Quentin to deliver an urgent message to the queen. Quentin sets out on the quest to deliver the message and help the enslaved King Eskevar. His adventures lead him to question his religious training and discover the only true God.

The next review (slightly longer) was voted 5 stars on Amazon; it is written by Priscilla Stafford and can be found at this link: http://www.amazon.com/review/R14FF7XCI8UMLF/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R14FF7XCI8UMLF

The cover of the first book I read
Stephen R. Lawhead's book, "In the Hall of the Dragon King" is a fantasy novel. The story is set during what seems like the Middle Ages where there are kings and queens, knights and lords, and battles against good and evil.
Quentin is the main character of the story. In the beginning, he is a fifteen-year-old acolyte to the god Ariel but later becomes a follower of God. He is very headstrong, courageous, and kind. He is always helping others and makes many friends. Durwin the Holy Hermit is the one who teaches Quentin about God. Durwin is a hermit who lives in the woods, healing and helping the sick. He is very helpful and caring and loves to tell others about God. Toli is a Jher, a race of people who live in the woods. He leaves his tribe to be a servant of Quentin. He is not only a servant, but also Quentin's best friend. Toli is a quiet person with a crafty and quick mind. Prince Jaspin is the wicked brother of the Dragon King of Mesandor. He is crafty and mean but also a coward. He plots against the king with the help of Nimrood the Necromancer. Nimrood is an evil magician who calls on the dark side for his powers. He is evil, cruel, and a lunatic for power.
Very late in the night, Quentin awakes suddenly. He hears the priests talking in the temple a goes to find out what happened. A morally wounded knight had stumbled into the temple where Quentin serves as an acolyte to the god Ariel. The knight says his name is Ronsard and that he has a most important message to deliver to Queen Alinea at the city of Askelon. Since because of his injury, he pleads for one of them to send to message. Quentin decides to deliver the message for him. But though that means he can never come back to them temple, he still insists he will go. So one of the priests named Biorkis, tells him to go and on the way ask help from a certain man named Durwin.
Quentin leaves on the knight's horse Balder and sets off for Durwin's cottage. He arrives there and sees not only Durwin there, but also Durwin's friend Heidi. When they hear that Quentin has a message from Ronsard for the queen, they both suddenly get excited. Theido says he will go with Quentin to Askelon. They go to Escalon trying to slip there unnoticed but Prince Jaspin recognizes Theido. You see Theido is really a lord who was made an outlaw by Prince Jaspin! Prince Japan's henchmen catch Theido but Quentin escapes. Quentin takes his message to Queen Alinea. When he delivers the message and the queen reads it, she tells him that Nimrood the Necromancer is holding the Dragon King prisoner. Queen Alinea knows that if they don't free the king, Nimrood and his accomplice, Prince Jaspin, will kill him. The queen then frees Theido, and goes to Durwin's cottage with Quentin and her warder, Trenn. Then, the four of them flee to an ancient city called Dekra, but they find out that Prince Jaspin has put three Harriers on their trail. Harriers are barbarous and savage people who hunt down people and bring them back, dead or alive. Will they be able to make it to Dekra to obtain help to find the king? And even if they do, will they be able to free him from the evil clutches of Nimrood the Necromancer?
Great trilogy, one of my favorites of fantasy novels. It's very exciting and suspenseful, while at the same time it has a Christian moral to it. My favorite part is in the beginning where Quentin tries to give the message to the Queen. Also love it when Quentin and his band try to free the king. Enjoyable for everyone, kids and adults alike though my opinion is it is best for teenagers.
For other fantasy books like "In the Hall of the Dragon King", I recommend the Narnia Chronicles and the Lord of the Rings series. These books are also terrific!

Now for my own opinion:

I personally enjoyed In the Hall of the Dragon King immensely. It was infused with prose left-right-and-center, which is precisely the writing style I love. I cannot get over how beautiful Lawhead's writing is and how magnificently and poetically he describes scenery. If you're one for fantasy that has a touch of a medieval tone, very little romance (there was practically none, and I kind of like that), and expertly manned battle scenes, then you will love In the Hall of the Dragon King.

The only part of the book I didn't take a liking to was the large portions dedicated to sorcery, spells, omens, and teleporting. Once I realized how to decipher the Christian background to the book, I realized that it was an excellent read (it took me a little bit XD). The fact that the mc (Quentin) comes to be a believer in the Almighty One is a highlight of the story. Also, as I'm reading the second book, I'm finding that his faith continues to grow and the people around him are coming to know his Lord as he knows Him. While there have been complaints on Amazon concerning the "Christian" basis of this saga, I personally enjoy the viewpoint and find it very refreshing to read from an author that is talented in prose, mythology, and Biblical matters.

If you wish, you can read the first chapter of In the Hall of the Dragon King at Stephen Lawhead's official site. Just click that link! :-)

Squeaks.

September 12, 2010

NEW BLOG!!

I'm terribly excited to announce the birth of my new blog!


I'm so excited! This blog is not a writing blog; it's a bit more personal (just a bit) and is based on random/everyday things. I might not post on it as much as I post on Hidden Doorways (don't worry, I won't leave you folks hanging here!) but at least it will give me the ability to separate my writing material from my random material. Thus, if you want to come for the writing, you come to Hidden Doorways, if you want to go for some adventure, check out The Minstrel :-) 

Cheerio!!

Signed with so much excitement I used two pens and made a really cool ink mark, 

Squeaks.

The Gander or the Goose?

The gander or the goose...which do you choose when it comes to a main character (mc)? In other words, do you choose a girl or a guy? If so, why? (ok, that last sentence was plopped in just for the rhyming effect, excuse my poor English skills folks, I'm trying to roll with the puns (pun intended)). Now, back to the topic; if you're starting a story, your brain is probably far from wondering what the gender of your mc should be. In fact, it is always the furthest thing from my mind as my brain hurries to plot the scenes, start the battles, and fix the glitches (yes, the glitches that begin at the beginning and never end).

Let's say you choose a guy. Are there any reasons why you should choose a male mc? Any good reasons? Of course; I have a couple:
  • Guys are stronger. No offense to the ladies, but guys just have the brawn. If you think about the average muscle mass of a guy compared to a girl, it's way greater. 
  • Guys are usually stereotyped to be great warriors and battle-planners. We can force girls into these positions, but to do so will result in a casualty to our readers. Readers like to keep things the same. If we introduce them to a topic slowly, they will warm to it, but if you introduce them too quickly (over the time-span of one book) they might get scared off. Okay, maybe that is a bit drastic. More likely, they will not get swarped into your story...they won't believe it. They'll hold it at an arms length and say "Nice story, but it's only fiction." They could be saying "Awesome book! Too bad it's not real! I thought it was!"
  • Guys are more straight forward than girls. Male characters don't have to deal with emotional ups and downs and zig-zaggers. Very rarely will you find a female character that has the disposition of a male (one example is Mindarin in the Binding of the Blade series).
Now perhaps you're a girl and you're shaking your fist at me saying, "That's not fair! The guys always get the good parts!" Well slow down there :P I have some good news for you; girls are awesome mc's too...
  • Girls are very dynamic. As mc's you can use them to add great depth to the story that probably won't be attained (at least to the same degree) as with a guy. 
  • Girls are fun to pick stuff for; just think of the great times you have choosing what colours they wear, their hairstyles, boots, etc. I have a blast! Just think of Kale Allerion in The Dragon Keeper Series by Donita K. Paul. Fighting in hot pink? Now that is stylish! XD 
  • Girl mc's are superb for giving the story some problems. Just think of the hard-headed characters they can be. Girls tend to forget things, misplace things, or stumble on things. They can also be very fussy and exasperating. In other words, if your mc is a girl, have fun trying to get her into and then out of danger. 

So what kind of mc should you choose if you're going to write a book? Well, first it depends what  kind of book you want to write. In this case, I'm talking about epic fantasy or earth-centered fantasy. Fantasy is always an experience for both reader and writer. As a reader, we learn about crazy things and enjoy ourselves. As writers, we begin to mold our own characters, learning from the experiences of our mc's and developing traits that are God-honouring and respectable.

Therefore, if you're going to choose a male/female mc you have several choices ahead of you:
  • Choose the gender that is hardest for you to write; at the end of your book you'll find you've learned something about guys/girls that you might not have known before, or perhaps you'll come to respect them more than you did before. 
  • Choose the gender that is easiest for you to write (most likely that will be your own gender, unless you're really really really weird). When you take this step, you learn more about yourself. 
  • Choose both genders...have two mc's...and get the best of both worlds :-)

That's all for now folks; I hope you have enjoyed this episode of Squeak's rantings :-)

Endurance and Victory,

Squeaks.

Dusky

Last night, as I was trying to fall asleep, I heard the unmistakable sound of pattering outside my window. I blindly stumbled to the sill and opened it and had to stop myself from whooping when I realized the sound was rain! The valley here has been disgustingly dry during the summer. It's not like the coast (where they get so drenched in that watery goodness), so we don't have vibrant flowers or luscious grasses during the summer. It's all bone dry...and sometimes that's a very bad thing, because fires tend to like to inhabit bone dry places.

So when I heard that rain running around last night I almost (almost) jumped for joy. The smell of fresh rain is quite exhilarating. It leaves one close to breathlessness and they inhale its dewy sweetness. It carries an earthy scent; like flower petals falling from the sky (ok, maybe not so poetic).

Now I look outside and it's dusky; the sun hasn't yet risen. I love this weather! I know, you're probably staring at the page going, "Didn't Squeaks just rant, yesterday, about how big a blessing the sun was? What on earth is up?" I hear you, but I'm really not changing my mind all that much. You see, the sun is awesome now and then, but when you get too much of it, it becomes a bother...especially when it blinds you or bakes you. The calming shades of gray from the clouds are necessary to give a human a break. Sensory overload can be a bad thing, you know.

What is it that draws me to a good rainy day? Well, perhaps the fact that we haven't had one for a while; that's always a starter. Then again, I love to see the clouds appear and disappear, mysteriously, on the side of the hill. The cloud banks touch the top of the valley and leave a cozy little nest in-between the peaks. It's like one of those sausage things rolled up with batter (dogs in a bun I think...err, make that "doggies"). Overcast skies remind me of winter and the fun and memories that come with that season. Wait! You're saying I just got excited about fall and now I'm rushing on winter? Oh, I'm sorry :P Just a bit sentimental this morning.

In the time that it has taken me to type those last 4 paragraphs (and yes, I'm afraid I type much slower than you can read), the sky has already begun to blue and I can see the greenery outside. It's beautiful! The bushes are vibrantly green, even the trees seem to dawn a new shade. Yet the most beautiful of these are the trees that have already begun to change colour; the ones where the reds and oranges and yellows are pressing out and slowly cascading down the sides of the great giants. That's one of the beautiful things about autumn. The hillside (at least where the deciduous trees are) lights up with speckles and spots of colour, intermixed with forest greens. It's quite the sight.

I kinda feel like taking my camera outside and snapping a few shots of the grayness, but I won't. I'm in a fluffy right now so I can't extract myself and leave this seat. Yes...a fluffy. I've got a nice warm blankey (*embarrassed smile*) wrapped around and it would be a big thing for me to leave XD

Well, I will have to write more later, but I can't think of anything else to say right now. I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday!

Signed with Distraction,

Squeaks.

September 11, 2010

Mumbling and Muttering

I felt compelled to write a bit more today, even though I really wanted to keep that 9/11 post up at the top :-( But my pen (or in this case, my keyboard) is dancing glamorously before my fingers, begging me to punch it. So I am.

I must explain several things. First of all, I did my BISC121 exam today. It was a biggy and it was difficult, but I have completed it and I am now officially done my bio course. What were the questions on? Well, there were 26 questions: 18 multiple choice and 8 short answer. Huh? You say that's not a problem? *huffs* It was more difficult that it sounds. I don't remember much of the mc, because it went by quickly, but the short answer...that's another deal.

One question was on the lac operon, its layout, and how it worked. Then there was a question on how scientists determine if transformed bacterial contain recombinant plasmids (you know; the stuff involving X-gal medium, beta-galactosidase, and the lacZ gene?). Another question asked how lactic acid was created, the process by which it was created, and where it was stored (the anaerobic fermentation process; waste stored in muscle). The last question asked about the action potential of a neuron and wanted me to go through the 5 steps and talk about ion movement in the cells (toughy). There was also a question on the transcription of mRNA and the post-transcription modification process (you know, adding the 5' cap and polyA tail to the strand of exons).

Oh right, and then there was that one about the nephron structure...I know I got one wrong: I chose to match the afferent arteriole to the point that said "leads blood into the glomerulus" but it actually should have been "leads blood away from the glomerulus". And then it asked about what the vasa recta did...I had no clue, but I guess and I got it right (I checked in my text book after I finished). There was another question about hormones during pregnancy, what released them and how they worked (trixy).

The mc was interesting. There were a couple questions on the Krebs and Calvin cycle; there was also one "no-brainer" but *chuckles* I don't remember what it is now. Another mc asked what organism has the Malpighian tubule excretory system...I answered insects, because that's the only logical choice (I remember seeing a very well defined image of a grasshopper in my textbook with the words "Malpighian tubule" next to it XD so you can't go very wrong there).

Anyways, that's about all for my exam. It was interesting and tough...I hope I get a good high mark; it's worth 60% of my course mark (my assignments are only 40%). The stress of that is off my back so I am left to deal with the other terrorizing things of my life.

I'm overjoyed with my wonderful find (or should I say, Google's wonderful find) of the photo-editor "Picnik". If you search it up with Google it'll come up right away, but if you use Picasa then you can just edit your photos with Picnik by clicking the edit button (they've now joined with Google). This is the reason why I've taken a sudden liking for photo-shopping and picture-snapping. I'm quite surprised at how "professional" I can make my photos look by using Picnik.

Now to counter my over-enjoyment of Picnik, I must bear some very very sad news. *holds back tears* I saw a rabbit today while my mom drove me to the exam center. It was a rabbit gone to heaven. It was in the middle of the road, lying as still as roadkill. I think it forgot to pack its lunch properly in its tum tum because it was all over the road :S (ok, that was kind of gross). I was just reading Jake's post about flobbits, which reminded me very much of rabbits, so I decided I'd better tell you folks this news.

I'm very happy to announce (yes this post bounces from good news to bad news to good news) that I have officially welcomed 2 new followers onto my blog! Now normally I don't do this, but...two more followers means two more closer to reaching 40 followers, which means two more closer to the start of my giveaway :-) Sooo...I welcome to Hidden Doorways:

Now it is time for me to scoot for a bit. But before I do, I must explain this delicious feeling right now.


The sun streaks through the window in warm, autumn tones of gold and brown. It hugs the clouds with its fuzziness and strokes ones skin with an absolutely delightful touch. It seeps through clothing and regenerates cold bones. What a gift from my Lord! The sun peeks out from the clouds, smiling and waving. I cherish these days, for I know that when winter comes, the sun will hide from the fury of the storms; it will hide behind large snow clouds, only chancing to peek out once a week to tell you "I'm here, I have not left". All the flora and fauna soak in the radiance, willing their tender bodies to relax under the heaviness of the soft blanket. It is a luxury that we must enjoy before Frost comes and steals it away.


Signed with Delight,

Squeaks.
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