Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I Thought Of A Moon

                    I Thought Of A Moon                           

   of a moon on
     a planet over the world 
   with an angel with a star
   over Baby Jesus and Christmas

Poem and artwork by Hannah
(around age 6)

Merry Christmas to all of our wonderful followers! I've been waiting nearly a year to post this picture-poem combo, that I recited years ago, and, if I recall, my Mama scribbled down on a restaurant napkin. But it is difficult to recall, since it was around ten years ago.
Thanks for putting up with us for so long, what with our crazy posting schedules and our bizarre ways of thinking and everything else. I can't actually be here today to post this, it being Christmas morning. But I won't get into our special Christmas traditions now, though when you look into the numbers (number of celebrating guests, number of gifts, number of crockpots of food, number of injuries... no, forget that last part), it's really quite interesting. 
So, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, or even believe in Jesus Christ at all, I wish you a fantastic 25th, a fantastic rest-of-the-year, and a happy new year.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Twenty-One Excerpt

I know I offered an excerpt of Aouthentica, and I will get one for you! It's nearly all typed up, and once I get a chance to do a touch of editing, it will come. Pinkie promise. Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a cupcake in my eye. {Sidenote: Hannah's done most of the typing for me. So, special thanks to her. Also, I got her to do it by not letting her read it unless she's typing it up, so she's spent hours working on it just because she wants to get to the end of the story. Which surprised me for two reasons. One, that she would spend that much time sitting in front of the computer working for me. And two, that she actually liked it enough to keep working on it that long.}
I was writing in my 642 Things To Write book (which is basically a writing prompt catalog), and I decided to write a bit with my Twenty-One characters, and I quite liked it, so I decided to share it with you.
I haven't talked much about Twenty-One, because I don't have much to say about it yet. It's kind of been on the back burner, stewing and slowly, ever so slowly growing. But I'll give you a bit of explanation.

First, my little summary.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

NaNoWriMo Conclusion 2013

Alright, it's December first and I topped out at 50,395 words! :D

It was hard. It wasn't easy at all. Week Two was the worst because the words wouldn't come, we had guests over every day of the week, and I could only write between 11:00pm and 2:30am. And I only stopped then because I couldn't physically keep myself awake past that time.

Anyway. But I did make both my goals, the first being 50,000 in thirty days, and the second being to finish before Thanksgiving. By week three and definitely week four,

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

If Hannah Were Dobby (For Lack Of A Better Title)

It's Hannah, and on this, the 26th day of NaNoWriMo, I have a total of 3,609 words.

I am ashamed. Bad Hannah, bad Hannah!

So I'm fairly certain I will not be writing 46,000+ words in four days, especially with enormous Thanksgiving preparations at our house. I blame this entire mishap on a lack of commitment on my own part. Was this what happened last year? I have no idea. I think I have problems being pushed into writing (even though honestly that's really what I need).
In other words, epic NaNoWriMo fail for me. Yes, I feel like I'm just giving up (shame on me). But I will not be giving up the book I'm working on. NO, I won't be giving up the book, that's silly. My characters are lovely beautiful folks and they are going to be on paper eventually if I have anything to say about it. But not before Thanksgiving. And if my stats are correct, not before October 2014.

And in other news, Trinity is sprinting to the finish with flying colors and... what's another cliché I can use... anyway, with 47,000 something words. Instead of writing I have been typing up her words for her, and I really ought to get a move on that so she can validate it soon. (Bug her until she posts a snippet, it is rather good.) So applause for her or props to her or whatever cool people say because I clearly am not one. I happen to only know two Wrimos in real life and they are both outstripping me embarrassingly. As are all of my online writing buddies. (*makes raspberry noise*)

Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you all feel bitter better in comparison.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NaNo Update: In Which Trinity Reveals The Depths Of Her Insanity

So, I know I haven't updated in a while, but I have a good excuse. Which I guess makes it a reason.

I have been working my tail off keeping up with NaNo.

There's a lot of things that I have half-finished. Changelings. Tribes. Twenty-One is still in the conception stage. I still haven't taken my GED, and I need to do that before January 2nd (eeeep!). I've thrown away craft projects I never got around to completing. I was supposed to put together and upload a collection of my dad's radio episodes to YouTube months and months ago and I still haven't done that. Heck, I have a basket of laundry that needs to be hung up in my closet. Again. Still.

NaNoWriMo will not join that list this year. I'm going to finish, and I'm going to win. Unfortunately, Aouthentica will be nowhere near done. I must extend my scenes like nobody's business, because at 35k I think I'm only 1/8th of the way through my plot.

So all of week two (the depressing, bog-you-down, make you want to quit week) we had friends in town from Mexico. We visited with them all day for a week straight, and it was great! We had fun.
That situation is in no way, shape, or form conducive to writing 1,667 words a day. I did it anyway. The first night I stayed up until midnight to write, I thought "Hey, this is actually pretty productive. No one's bothering me, it's quiet... I like this!"
The next night I was up until one.
Then one thirty.
Then two.
Then two thirty.
I don't think it's humanly possible for me to stay awake later than that.
Actually, on the.... 8th, I believe, I did what my mom suggested and went to sleep at about ten, then woke up at two am and wrote for an hour and a half.

Fortunately, staying up late gives me a couple funny stories. One night I was so tired, I decided to close my eyes for just a minute, then opened them twenty minutes later, capped my pen, put my notebook away and shut the light off. It wasn't until the next night that I realized I had two big splotches of ink on my pajama shirt... AND I had somehow scribbled on my neck. Not quite sure how I managed that.
Saturday night, I was up until two again when I dozed off. Usually I pretty much remember going to bed. I didn't this time. I vaguely remembered dropping my notebook, and looking at the clock. I don't remember shutting off the light (which is a twirly type dimmer knob) or adjusting my pillows and blankets like I always do.
Neither do I remember writing the last line in my notebook. I only saw it the next morning. I must've written, because I signed my name and it looks like I tried to date it. It was the 16th, not the 24th.

corron. - Trinity 11/24/at 2oy   .... WHAT?!
So, all ya'll who are ready to murder me in my sleep because my word count is rising steadily, be comforted in the fact that this is not at all easy for me. It's difficult and is requiring an amazing amount of effort and dedication, and a little suffering. 
I seem to have two projects modes... Slacker Mode and Obsessed Mode. In Slacker Mode I try to get out of my task, or get it finished using any short-cut I can find. In Obsessed Mode, which usually comes with self-assigned tasks, or tasks I've completely resigned myself to, I want to get the job done, and get it done right even if it kills me. Until it's done, I don't want to focus on anything else. 
NaNo got Obsessed Mode. And so did my beautiful Christmas lights that I hung up the other day on the outside of our house. But that's beside the point. 
I don't... actually remember what my point was. NaNo has stolen my brain. 

There ya go, then. 

Oh, right! My goal right now is to write enough to either be two days ahead, or finished by Thanksgiving so I can take Thursday and Friday off of writing and spend it solely with my family and friends. 

That is all.

Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

NaNo Waits For No Man

Trinity here! I'm going to ramble today. Bear with me.
Get it!? BEAR with me? .... Oh, never mind. Ya'll are hopeless.

November marches on, fellow wrimos, and today is the end of the first week. Apparently, the second week is the hardest for us. It's the one where the doldrums hit us and we get discouraged. 
I have to say, I'm starting to feel it. I've heard of that little inner critic that starts saying that all your writing is horrible, and why are you even writing at all? I'd never heard from him before, but he appeared last night and I started to despair. My dialogue tags were all monotonous. My descriptions of action were drawn out and boring. Everything was moving too slowly. It didn't have any emotional depth to connect with the readers. My strong silent characters were too sappy and talkative.
Also, it was rapidly approaching midnight on the third day of staying up late to cram words in.
But. I will continue on. I don't think it's as bad as I thought it was last night, but I don't think it's as good as I originally believed it to be. My decision may change as the night wears on. Last night I managed to finish before midnight, so I'm happy about that.

Week three, though, is supposed to be a little better than week two. Like the Hump Week. (Hump daaaaaay!) The light at the end of the tunnel week. Right now my stats are predicting that I'll be done on November 27th, which would be nice, because then I could be done in time for Thanksgiving, and if I'm not mistaken, that's the day after you can officially start winning. But that's only if I keep up my pace of about 1,903 words a day. 

I don't know how many of you know, but I'm doing all my writing in a notebook so I can carry it with me everywhere I go and still get writing done. But then I have to type it all up to get an accurate word count.
I got tired of spending my whole morning, and sometime a good chunk of my afternoon typing everything up that I wrote the day before, so I came up with a clever solution. I numbered all the pages that I've filled in my notebook, then divided my word count by the number of pages to get the average number of words on each page, which is 138. Now I can just estimate how many words I have by how many pages I've filled. I think I'll have to get everything on the computer before the end of the month so I can validate it all (and win?), but for now I'm gonna stick with this.
I try to fill eight sheets (which is sixteen pages) every day, which gives me about 2,208 words per day. I estimated that, and then typed it all up and my accurate word count was 2,264, which is close enough for me. 

But anyway. My word count now is at 13,322. So, I'm moving right along. I got to my first action scene yesterday, which needs a little cleaning up. I'll probably do a little editing when I type it up because it really didn't portray Rienna accurately at all. She just kind of collapses into depression after an awful thing happens, when she's still needed. In "reality" she would just absorb the blow and keep moving on, and not bother with her more intricate, delicate emotions until she had some time to herself. 
Yeah. I'll need to fix that.

So. Keep going! And for those of you who are not NaNo-ing, I apologize, but this is what's going on right now, so that's what I'm writing about. We'll return to our regularly randomized posts in December. 

And now I need to go. I'm stalling. Procrastinating. Which gets ya'll posts, I suppose. I didn't take that into account when I was trying to guess how things would go in November. Technically it's still writing. But not really. I'm just not trying to convince myself it counts. 

Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!

P.S. Check out Malinda Lo's pep talk! I don't usually think much of the pep talks, but I liked this one.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Opposite Of Success

From Hannah, to all of you Wrimos - here's a reminder not to be narrow-minded... the world doesn't revolve around NaNoWriMo. Several other holidays are going on without you even noticing! For instance: Thanksgiving. The US release of the Royal Ranger. The US release of Thor: The Dark World. My birthday. And No-Shave November! To show my appreciation for this last event, I have purchased the according writing equipment.

No. No, I did not buy this in celebration of No-Shave November. That's just weird. I bought it because mustaches are cool, being the socially acceptable person that I am.

In any case, NaNoWriMo is driving me bonkers.

Today I need 6666 words (lovely). And I have... not that much. Fewer words. Less of a word count. Maybe somewhere around 1554. It occurs to me that this is the worst time for writer's block. The 1554 words I got down were going quite well. But then I realized that I didn't like it. Any of it. It was all in first person and I WANT THIRD PERSON.
Trinity said not to trash it and to add my rewrite underneath. But I can't do that either. Seriously.
I tried staring at a blank screen, listening to the same two songs over and over, lounging in a clothes basket (Trinity's) in a dark closet, lying facedown on our dining room floor for a good five minutes, raving at Trinity while vacuuming our room (there was lettuce on the floor!), and I almost rewatched all of The Reichenbach Fall as "research". None of it worked. I did get some chocolate out of the deal, some Whoppers Trinity didn't want to finish, which she gave me in exchange for my last mini Snickers. But I didn't do hardly anything writerly-wise yesterday.

Meanwhile, Trinity's skipping around talking about her 5649 words and being all competitive ("I have __ more words than Ashley!"). Here you have two sides of the experience, the joyful "my story is writing itself" Wrimo, and me (the one who stomps around the house muttering about biting pencils in half).

If NaNoWriMo is going well for you, congratulations! If it's not, you aren't alone. But I'm going to say that you should just keep working... that sounds about right.

P.S: Did you know that it is impossible to pinpoint the age of someone who has two children that are 30 years apart when you want the person to be about 60 when the second child is 13, and want them to have the first child 10 years after they move, yet right afterward, when they got married at age 17? Because it is. Timelines are so complicated.

Sosrin God ignt eht ceallian,
(To God be the Glory)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Seven Tools For NaNoWriMo

Alright, I have just over 5,000 words, so I'm completely justified and free to write this post. (Not really, but don't worry about it. I'll get my quota in for today. Promise.)
Here I have for you seven NaNoWriMo tools: - For you pluviophiles (rain lovers). A constant stream of rain noises, with a little thunder and wind thrown in. It's very relaxing. Nice if you get bored of music or plain white noise.
I used this a LOT last year during Nano. You can choose between white, pink, and brown noise (which are different pitches). Then you can choose how loud you want it to be and have it oscillate just up to that volume. I kept it open in a couple of tabs and had all three going at once, at different volumes. My favorite pitch is pink noise. Brown noise doesn't block enough sound and white noise hurts my ears, but it's up to you. -
It says fake name generator, but it's really a fake identity generator, complete with mother's maiden name, visa number and expiration date, birthday, weight, height, occupation, company, email, vehicle, blood type, etc. etc. Very cool. -
It's like a reverse dictionary, where you can look up a definition and get the word to match. Great for when you have a large vocabulary and poor recall. I haven't actually gotten the chance to use this much. I pinned it and then kind of... forgot about it. Go figure.

Thsrs -
Look up words that mean the same thing as the one you wanted to use, but they're shorter. I don't know why you'd want shorter words except maybe when you're tweeting. But if you want it, here it is.

Haha! I've been waiting until NaNo came back around to use this. You can buy it for your computer, or just use the web app, which is free.
"Write or Die is a web application that encourages writing by punishing the tendency to avoid writing. Start typing in the box. As long as you keep typing, you’re fine, but once you stop typing, you have a grace period of a certain number of seconds and then there are consequences."
There are three settings: 
Gentle Mode: A certain amount of time after you stop writing, a box will pop up, gently reminding you to continue writing.
Normal Mode: If you persistently avoid writing, you will be played a most unpleasant sound. The sound will stop if and only if you continue to write.
Kamikaze Mode: Keep Writing or Your Work Will Unwrite Itself!

This is the only one that you have to purchase to use. It's $4.99 a month, but there's a free trial. 
I've never tried it, but it's supposed to be an online grammar checker and proofreader that gives you detailed writing tips and feedback on voice, word choice, sentence structure, and more.
Sounds neat, don't it?

So there you go! I hope this encourages you and helps increase your productivity instead of just distracting you. Good luck to everyone on your word counts, and commendations to Ashley Tahg, who doesn't seem to be having any trouble keeping up at all. Slightly jealous, as it's taking everything I've got to keep this pace up. And it's only day three... :O

Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!

Friday, November 1, 2013

3, 2, 1... NANO!!

It's close to midnight, and NaNoWriMo's lurking in the dark

Under the moonlight, your lack of outline almost stops your heart
You will not scream, your inspiration comes because you'll make it
You cannot freeze, your novel looks you right between the eyes
You're energized
'Cause this is NaNo-oooo! NaNo night!
And no one's gonna save you from the plot about to strike
You know it's NaNo! NaNo night!
You're writing for your life to share a marvel, novel tonight!

Mwahahaha! 'Tis NaNoWriMo, my follower friends! And I (Trinity) am so ready for NaNo!! I'm far and away more organized than I was last year, so I think I have a good chance of finishing. It's amazingly difficult to get where you want to go without having a map to tell you how to get there. And what does that incredibly vague analogy have to do with anything? Well, map=plot. If that makes any more sense.
Plus, this year's project is my baby, so I'm already super excited about that (I think I've mentioned this before). I have this huge desire for people to get to know my characters (a.k.a my brain's best friends), so I want to portray them properly. And yet at the same time that's a little scary, because each character likely represents a little section of my personality, which suddenly makes this book seem like it will be very revealing... 0.o *gulp*
Oh, well. I'm still excited.
What about Hannah? Oh, she's freaking out. Didn't do much planning. She's a mess. But going for it anyway. Yay for her! (Everyone cheer her on. She's working with timelines and her head's about to explode, I'm sure.)
So what will happen to the blog during November? Haven't the foggiest. Either we'll be so busy writing we won't post much, or we'll be so busy writing, it'll be easy to just pop a post out. Actually, we'll be sure to keep you updated on our word count. But beyond that, no promises.
I did get my playlist put together, though I haven't had time to look into everyone's suggestions yet, so keep your shirt on if your suggestion didn't make my list. And uh, keep your shirt on anyway. It's just good policy. No shirt, no service here, people. Bare feet are okay, though. Ahem. Moving on.

1. Down to the River to Pray - Alison Krauss
2. Dance with Dragons - BrunuhVille
3. Desert Mermaids - BrunuhVille
4. Clair de Lune - David Garrett
5. Kashmir - David Garrett
6. Smooth Criminal - David Garrett
7. He's A Pirate - David Garrett
8. An Epic Age - Immediate
9. Imperitum - Immediate
10. Welcome to the Jungle - 2CELLOS
11. Smooth Criminal - 2CELLOS
12. Salvation for a Proud Nation - Immediate
13. Augie's Municipal Band - John Williams
14. The Chase - Trevor Rabin
15. Car Chase - Trevor Rabin
16. London Chase - Trevor Rabin
17. Pacific Rim Theme - Ramin Djawadi
18. Welcome to Wonderland - Valentin Wiest

So there you are. Good luck Wrimos! Oh, and if you want to be our writing buddies, I'm A Quill In Her Quiver and Hannah is The Quill Is My Sister. Just be sure to let us know where you're from if you have a different NaNo name, or if we're not familiar with you.

Write on!

Look who Hannah and I dressed up as this Halloween!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Novelling Music

Real quick post here today. I'm kind of scrambling to get ready for NaNoWriMo (FIVE DAYS PEOPLE!!!), and I want to put together a playlist to write to this year. So I want to know... what do you recommend? I'm looking for artists and particular songs, not just genres.
And here's a brief list of artists I'm familiar with already:

Two Steps From Hell

Sound Adventure

Piano Guys


Adrian Von Zeigler

Celtic Woman

Tom Salta

Lindsey Stirling

Blackmore's Night

I'm going for mostly instrumental/soundtrack type music, but I'm willing to try out anything ya'll like to write to. So, what've you got?

Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Alright!! Here's our big surprise. You finally get to meet us sorta face-to-face.
Mostly we're just kind of fooling around, answering some questions.
You'll probably be disappointed with what we really look and sound like. I usually am when I finally see someone that I've thus far only read their writing. But anyway.
And yes, this is absolutely normal for us. We act like this at home, when we're alone, and sometimes when it's late. Actually, we get worse when it's late.
So, here we go!

 -Trinity (And Hannah)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Master Post

Hello everybody! Trinity here!
First of all, I'd like to give a shout out to our newest followers. You guys have no idea how excited we get when we see someone new on here, or even that someone's commented. It's great!

So, without further ado, a big welcome to:
Ajax Cochrane,
Bekah Joan,
Jessica Spurlock,
and Margaret Carpenter!

Alrighty. Moving right along.
I have about four half-finished draft waiting to be written, refined and posted. Unfortunately, I have doubts as to whether I'll actually get around to finishing them. And some of them are only about a paragraph long. Too short for a single post, but I don't have much more to say.
So I've decided to create a master post. Be forewarned. These subjects are somewhat random and are fragments of what would be a complete post.

Number One - Masculine Versus Feminine Writing

 I've noticed something I do when I write men versus women. Of course I do their dialogue differently (guys are usually more succinct, and women are more likely to go off on tangents). And of course I describe them differently (because guys and girls just look different, people.)
But it goes beyond that. I describe the way they do things, or what they do differently.

For example, my guys rarely smile. Usually they grin.

Women laugh or giggle. Men laugh or chuckle.

I'm more likely to say throat for girls and neck for men.

For the most part, they both pass out, but occasionally women faint. “Faint” sounds more wimpy, so I don't use that as often.

Women tend to moan while men groan, though I'm not as strict about that since one seems to be more out of pain and the other out of exasperation or dread.

Women are slender, or slim, but I describe guys as lanky, or lean.

Just little things that, in my opinion, tend to portray women in a more feminine light, and men in a more masculine light. Of course, if I'm trying to make the female seem tougher, I'd decide to have her snarl instead of just saying something angrily, and if I wanted a male to seem less tough, I'd probably have him giggle or faint.
Does anybody else do this? Or do you think that I'm reading into the meaning of the words too much?

Number Two - In Which I Have A Problem

I admit it. I have a problem.
I may need professional help.
I don't know if it's normal for writers, but...


Like, a lot. 

To the point where office supply stores, school supply aisles, and back-to-school sales become pits of evil temptation.

More than once, Hannah has had to almost literally drag me away from the notebook section in any given store.

Would you like to see my collection?

Here it is in all it's glory. I have a couple (six?) more now, because this was taken a few months ago.

There are 42 notebooks, 4 sketchpads, 3 notepads, 2 manuscripts, 1 binder, 1 legal pad, and a partridge in a pear tree. (Well, maybe not that last part.)
9 of the regular size spiral bound notebooks are for school purposes. Three are assigned to writing Aouthentica. One is assigned to Tribes of the Earth, and one is assigned to the Changelings. Oh, and one's my poor, highly neglected journal. The smallest notebooks on the right are from my note-taking in church over the years (those are the only sizes that fit in my Bible case). The binder is for Aouthentica too. The littlest brown leather notebook stays in my purse. 
The sketch pads are rarely to never used (because the artsy gene skipped me), but I keep them anyway. Just in case.
The saddest part about this is that most of them are only half full because I ran out of things to write, and who wants to finish filling an old notebook with a new subject when you could get a new notebook that's shiny and smells good? (I'm reminded of Jesus's parable not to put new wine into old wineskins. I have Biblical support for my notebook hoarding now, people!!)
Does anyone else have this problem? I almost feel like I should be calling Notebook Hoarders Anonymous. 

and finally...

Number Three - The Bracken Trilogy As Reviewed By Trinity 

 "Princess Rosalynn is pretty, spoiled, and childish. She gives no thought to the men and women that protect her father's throne. Then one day, invaders from the enormous kingdom across the river storm across the Bridge and conquer the royal castle.

Alone and in danger, Rosalynn sets out on foot to find her father. Some of her own subjects, she discovers, are willing to sell her to the enemy for reward. Driven by fear, she finds the Bridge and crosses it. In the enemy kingdom, she meets an unexpected friend--a woman who has discovered a secret way to save Rosalynn's kingdom.

Together Rosalynn and the wise woman face enemy soldiers, wicked outlaws, and the wilds of the river on their quest to save her tiny kingdom. Their goal is the Bridge itself, and the secret that it holds."

I just finished reading this again recently, and man I wish I owned the last two books (which I've read, but not in several years). Jeri Massi's writing doesn't make you think that she's a great writer, but she is. At first, it seems a little childish, because it is geared toward younger children, but she's very good at capturing your heart through her characters.
Looking at it now, I can see the weaknesses in the story more clearly, but it's still told with talent, like a storyteller sitting next to you and telling it to you, and describing the softness of the fabric, the slick, muddy riverbank, and the rough wooden shoes that give her blisters.
I loved it just as much a eighteen as I did when I first read it at ten or eleven, and I highly recommend reading all three of them. If memory serves correctly, the writing only gets better as the series goes on. Though The Bridge is still my favorite.

Wow! Ya'll got like, three posts in one! And I cleaned out my drafts folder!
A couple of announcements/updates:
I got the blogging bug a few weeks back, but instead of writing posts (except for my plotting post), I worked on my "Trinity's Works" page, so check that out, because I've updated it quite a bit.

Um, right. We have a guest post in the works (riiight? I'm not really in charge of this... Hannah's supposed to be setting it up. How's it going over there?!) by a very cool blogger/Pinterest friend of ours. Pinterest is a great place to meet other homeschooled writer girls. We've got our own little community.

And segueing from that, Hannah and I are on NaNoWriMo as A Quill In Her Quiver (Trinity), and The Quill Is My Sister (Hannah). So make us your writing buddies if we haven't weirded you out too much, and if you're doing NaNo. Just let us know how you found us. It's a little creepy to have random people just come up and be like, "Heeeeeey. Writing buddies?" Then we tend to fall back on our instinctive reflexes, which for me is to grab for the nearest weapon and start yelling at said creeper to stay back, and for Hannah is to scream and jump and twist in the air like some demented acrobat and then hide. She may correct me on that.

For all ya'll newcomers, please check out this post: "Presenting Our New Idea!", because we only ever got to do one of those Fifteen Minute Stories and it was kind of fun. Make your choice and challenge us, sah!


Tomorrow is our blogoversary! And we have something special planned. And we shall do our absolute best to get it up tomorrow! (Computers are tricksey things. -_-)
I can't believe we've been doing this for a year....

Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How To Create A Passable Book Cover

Ollo, it is Hannah. Jumping headlong to the meat of the matter. I was pondering aloud what I could post about today, and my sister Emily, overhearing, suggested I do a tutorial on the covers I make for my books (usually as a form of procrastination - artistic procrastination). Sounded good enough an idea, so as an example, I present my cover for my as-yet-untitled NaNoWriMo novel.


Maybe a bit odd-looking to some, and may not survive the first draft, but it's an example. 

I shall now wax eloquent and speak lengthily, so if you are not at all interested in covers, you may skip this entire post, because that's what's for lunch. 

To begin with, I went to Pinterest (surprise, surprise... it's a writer's best friend and worst enemy) and found these images. None of them belong to me, they are just for experimentation and all of the credit for the images goes to the original owners. I don't know who they are, sorry. If you do know, speak up or forever hold your piece. Peace. Whatever. (I'm a writer, I swear!)

There were a few other pictures I'd picked out, but these four are the ones that made it into the final cover image. They have things to do with the story, but I'm not giving away spoilers right now. 

Next, I opened them up in Photoshop. I have Adobe Photoshop Element 7.0 (I know, super old compared to these 12.0s coming out, but I like it, it's easy to use).

I opened up all the images on one file (on different layers, mind) and I arranged them in the general places they would be in on the cover.  

Blending them together was super easy, way easier than I thought it would be. I took an eraser and put it on a fuzzy-edge setting (that probably has some sort of special name, but I call it fuzzy-edge - sue me) and put it on 87% opacity. For those of you without the knowledge of Photoshop lingo, that means the eraser is making the picture transparent, but you can still see the erased part of the picture faintly. I've found that makes the transition smoother. To any of the people who have used Paint on the computer, it's like that, but fancier.

As you can see here, I'm working on putting all the images together. Make sure to completely erase the edges, or anyone can tell it's a sloppy Photoshop job.

Look at all the fluffy looking pictures! All smooth and pretty. But I'm still not done, because I'm a perfectionist. The background was looking a bit too dull for my taste.

I clicked Enhance, went to Adjust Color and Adjust Hue/Saturation, and fiddled with the saturation levels until I was satisfied (not the hue ones, though, because I liked the color).

You may be able to tell the slight differences between the before and after pictures in the background. The hill is a bit greener and the clouds are a bit bluer. Not overly obvious, but still.

And this is the finished product. Several months after making the first copy, I went back and decided to fade the backgrounds on the upper left corner and the center right side a bit more (with the handy-dandy eraser). I haven't made a title for it yet, so if something seems to be missing, that's it. 
I specifically picked the colors for this one to be brighter and more light-hearted. This is a prequel to my other series (which, no, I haven't written yet), and quite a bit less dark, especially cover-wise.

(These are three of my other books... As you can see, none of them have titles...)

So there you are, lovely people. I have an urge to say peeps, but I refrain. I hope this was at least a little bit informative, though it may be easier for you to go and use Instagram or whatever. In this family of Photoshop users, I have been trained to be prejudiced against Instagram (it's been said that it's like Paint is to Photoshop, which is to say, neanderthal) but don't take that as me judging whichever person prefers that method. Not outright, that is.

If you do not, in fact, have Photoshop in your possession, that's okay, as long as you have a computer to work on, because I believe you can download the older versions for free somewhere. Keep in mind that the newer the edition is, the better it is, but the harder it will likely be to use, especially if you're used to something simpler. 

Now, I have to give the credit to Trinity for the basic idea of how to do these covers. She showed a picture of her Tribes Of The Earth cover in this post and told me how to do it. It is, in her words, "spiffy".

So I think I'm done babbling on. And by the way, the piece/peace thing up there was a joke. Ha ha. No, really, it was...

Oh! I forgot to mention! Our Blogoversary is in two days! We'll do something special (I hope), so mentally mark your calendars.

Sosrin God ignt eht ceallian,
(To God be the Glory)

Friday, October 4, 2013



Five little girls, five steps they took 
To the clear and crystal babbling brook .
To the five berry bushes that grew down there, 
A-waving in the autumn air. 
On each little bush two berries grew, 
of white, green, red, and black and blue. 
Of the first little bush with berries green, 
One made you nice and the other mean. 
The second bush, with blackest berry, 
One made you sad, the other made merry. 
The third little bush, with berries blue, 
If you ate one you shrunk, the other... you grew. 
The fourth bush had berries, red as a rose, 
That changed the size and length of your nose. 
The fifth, berries white, as babies breath 
The one berry brought life, the other death. 
The very first girl... Anne, called she 
Was meaner than a bumble-bee. 
The second girl, by the name of Beth 
Had nearly cried herself to death. 
The third little girl, whose name was Cort, 
Happened to be extremely short. 
The fourth girl's name was Daffodil, 
A semi-truck her nose could fill. 
The fifth girl's name was simply... Ever. 
She was convinced that she would live forever. 
They traveled together to the quiet stream, 
Each with her own private dream. 
Anne from bush one, a green berry tore, 
Ate it and got nastier than before. 
Beth though, had no inner fears 
Ate a blackberry, and then drowned in her tears. 
A berry of blue, did Cort pick from bush three. 
She ate and then shrunk till too small to see. 
The giant-snozzed Daffodil ate a berry of red. 
Her nose swelled ten times and then squashed her down dead. 
The small simple Ever stared at the fifth bush. 
Then picked both berries and squashed them to mush. 
She took them both and ate them plain, 
And then walked back home, exactly the same. 
Despite all her confidence of immortality inside, 
At age 97... Ever up and died. 

By the way, the name of this post, or this poem, has nothing to do with Gail Carson Levine's book. Actually, the above is a poem I (Hannah) wrote in my notebook in two hours while my family ran errands and I sat waiting in the van, back in the November of 2011. The first few lines I came up with when I was about to fall asleep the night before.
It took a lot of thought to get all the colors and numbers and names to line up and rhyme at the same time. And did you notice the girls' names start with A, B, C, D and E? Maybe this is an indicator of genius... 

Trinity suggested that I put some of my poems up, like this one and the Clementine one, but as I've said, I can rarely write poems where someone doesn't die or something. I mean, really, Ever, for example, it's around 320 words, and I killed off five people. Well, I killed off three, technically Anne and Cort didn't die. I made horrible things happen to five people. That's just the writer in me. So continued poetry posts might or might not be a thing.

Tell me what you thought! Comments always make the day. My day, Trinity's day, just the day. And I'm sorry if I scared you with my... creepiness... *cough cough*. Not to say it won't happen again.

To God be the Glory,

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

~ Plotting ~

Trinity here. So, for NaNoWriMo this year, I believe I'll be working on my baby. My precious. My firstborn. Aouthentica. (Previously known as Milliayn, or Village of Milliayn.)

Now, technically, when you do NaNoWriMo, you're supposed to start on an entirely new novel. To say I haven't written anything for Aouthentica before would be a grossly exaggerated lie. In fact, I've filled (yes, filled!) three notebooks and a binder with Aouthentica stuff, but I've tossed it all out (not literally). I'm currently working on plotting the whole thing out first, and THEN writing it all down. A novel idea for me. 
(Get it? Novel... idea? I'm writing a novel and I... Nevermind. It's late. Ignore it.)

Also, as you can see in my fourth and most recent notebook, I try and mark what date and time I start a notebook for future reference, and then when I get to the end, I mark what date and time I finished it. My first one I finished on November 4th, 2009 and it took about 3 months to fill. My second was started November 4th, 2009 and I finished it on April 19th, 2011. So, like two years. The third "assumed duty" on March 19th, 2011 and was "retired" July 30th, 2012. The fourth and (currently) last one assumed duty on July 30th, 2012 as well. And I still haven't finished it. Some of that I credit to using a huge binder in an effort to organize everything better, but then I couldn't carry it around, so my writing slowed down.


Here's how I'm plotting it out. 

First, I wrote down all the major events I could think of that I wanted to happen, as well as a few not-so-major-but-still-important ones, and colored a square next to them to sort them with my nifty colored pens. Blue means I'm not sure if the even will stay in the story. Red means there's a death. Purple means that it's an important part that has to go in somewhere. Green means I'm not exactly sure how that event will play out, or if it's important.

Then, I wrote down all the events on index cards cut in half, still color coded. Well, actually I wrote them on whole index cards, but then they wouldn't all fit, so I bought a whole new package of index cards, forgetting about the package at home in the desk, and cut them all in half and rewrote everything.

I stuck them on my bulletin board, with semi color-coded tacks. Basically, red means death. Otherwise, it's kind of a free-for-all. Underneath the deaths I put a little note for the event that it's linked to.

Since it's written in a three plot lines twined together type style, I have three lines of plot so I can plan out what happens when. Deaths go on the very top and the very bottom. The top left corner is actually a stack of prologue events that I stuck all together, because, again, I didn't have enough room. 

I haven't finished plotting it to the end yet (still working on that...), but at least I've got all this worked out and documented, which is way more organized than I was before.
So. What d'you think?

Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

25 Book Questions

It's Hannah, answering 25 Book Questions just 'cause. My mom asked if we could do a similar questionnaire with books, so I modified the music questions. Books have more to do with writing anyway, right?  

1: A book you like with a color in the title: Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. This includes the whole series, but my favorite is Anne of Avonlea, I think... I might have just liked it cause it had the prettiest cover. Gosh, it's been a long time since I read those.

2: A book you like with a number in the title: The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien. Lord of the Rings, wink wink. 

3: A book that reminds you of Christmas time: Becky Garcia by Elspeth Campbell Murphy.

4: A book that reminds you of someone you would rather forget about: Um... Nope. Got nothing.

5: A book about drugs or alcohol: Hmm... I don't know if there are any of those... there's probably a Frank E. Peretti book about that. No, I've just remembered. The Icebound Land by John Flanagan has a lot about a drug called warmweed. It's not strictly about drugs, but it has drugs in it. Not in a positive light, mind you.

6: A book that makes you happy: Just about any book by John Flanagan... except maybe Halt's Peril. Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard is funny, too. The Derwood Inc. series by Jeri Massi is also hilarious.

7: A book that makes you sad: The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis. The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer. Halt's Peril by John Flanagan. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini. These are books that make me merely sad. See also "a book that breaks your heart".

8: A book that you never get tired of: I don't know if there's a single book, but I'm quite content to read the Enola Holmes books by Nancy Springer several times over. Harry Potter is good for repeat-reading too.

9: A book from your preteen years: Hmm. The Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis. The Chronicles of Narnia is one of my favorite series ever.

10: A book that is a retelling of another story: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. Or maybe even the whole Chronicles of Narnia series. It's a retelling of the Bible: The Magician's Nephew being when Aslan created the world; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe being when Aslan (Jesus), as the son of the Emperor-Over-The-Sea (God), sacrificed himself for a traitor and was resurrected to triumph over evil; and The Last Battle relating the events of Revelation, etc.

11: One of your favorite classic books: Not sure what "classic" entails... I guess I'll say Beowulf, then, which is about as classic as they come.

12: A book from the year that you were born: Oooh! Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling. Special.

13: A book that makes you think about life: Do Hard Things by Brett and Alex Harris, The Courtship of Sarah McLean, by Stephen B. Castleberry.

14: A favorite book with a person’s name in the title: Gypsy Rizka by Lloyd Alexander.

15: A book that moves you forward: Do Hard Things, by Brett and Alex Harris. 

16: A book that you think everybody should read: The Holy Bible, by God. Good stuff. But I also think every teenager should read Do Hard Things.

17: A book by an author no longer living: Rakkety Tam by Brian Jacques. Or the whole Redwall series, as a matter of fact.

18: A book from another country: Oh, a whole lot of the books I've mentioned. If I have to pick one, let's say Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. The author lives in Ireland.

19: A favorite book from a favorite series: Abandoned by Jeri Massi, from the Derwood Inc. series.

20: A book that makes you want to fall in love: The Viking Quest series by Lois Walfrid Johnson is pretty good. Most fairytale books by Gail Carson Levine...

21:  A book that breaks your heart: Hmmm... what counts as "breaking my heart"? The ending of The Return of The King by J. R. R. Tolkien was really depressing. Left Behind by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins can get pretty heart-breaking, both the kids and adult series. And... oh, gosh, the Seven Sleepers series by Gilbert Morris. The Final Kingdom made me cry. Oh, and another book that makes me sob like a baby is the Courageous novelization by Randy Alcorn. My word. If you haven't seen the movie Courageous by Sherwood Pictures, you should watch it. You know, I'm actually pretty emotional when it comes to fiction. I say emotional, Trinity says sappy...

22: A book by an author you love: For a long time I'd say Gail Carson Levine was my favorite author, and The Two Sisters of Bamarre is one of my favorites from her.

23: A book that you remember from your childhood: Elsie Dinsmore by Martha Finley. Heavens, that series was traumatizing. Mama used to read it to us before naptime, and we often dreaded it, because, besides Elsie, none of the kids ever "did good"... and the girl just had a horrible life. I read this book again a few years ago, and for some reason it wasn't quite so bad.

One of our several, disorderly bookshelves,
24: A book that has many meanings to you: Should I at all include the books I am writing in this list? Those have many meanings to me. But if not, perhaps one of the books Mama used to read to us when we were little. I know I've already put The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe on here several times, but that book means a lot to me. When I was younger, I used to hate it being read to me about as much as Elsie Dinsmore, mostly because Edmund "did bad". I hated it to the point of disliking the spot on the bookshelf it sat on whenever I walked past. But later, in 2005, we got to see The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe film. Now, back then, we didn't see very many recently released films, or DVDs for that matter, so Narnia was revelatory to me. I left the room during the Stone Table scene - it was super scary and made me cry - but Mama wanted us to see it, I assume because of how it related to the crucifixion, and sent me back in. I spent most of the scene hiding under my blanket (I was only seven at the time... and give me a break, The Little Mermaid scared me).
But once we finished the movie, in the following days... and weeks and months... it got to be one of my favorite movies. And I knew there was a book about it, but I'd never read it, so I finally finished The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. So it has many meanings to me.

25: A book that reminds you of yourself: The Mildred Keith series by Martha Finley were great, but we accidentally sold it, so I haven't read it for years. The Big Green Pocketbook is a kid's book that I used to read a lot that is reminiscent of my... big... green... purse. The Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer, too, and again, the Derwood Inc. series by Jeri Massi. And the first six Trixie Belden books.

So there you go. Not even a fifth of all the books I've read in my lifetime. I was going to say tenth, but I'm not really sure how many books I have read, so I'll say it's a fifth to be on the safe side. And there's at least 153 books here. When there should be 25. Oh, well. Reading's awesome.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

30 Music Questions

Guess what?! It's been almost an entire month since anybody posted. And two months since I personally posted. But Trinity is back! 
Aaaaand, I won't be talking about writing today. It'll be music. Which is a big part of writing, right!?
Anyway, here are the thirty questions that I'm going to answer for today's post. 

1: A song you like with a color in the title:
I actually have quite a few, but here's a few my favorites... Courtesy Of The Red, White, And Blue by Toby Keith / Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern) by Miles Davis / Streets of Gold from Oliver and Company.

2: A song you like with a number in the title:
I'm making two whole new playlists for colors and numbers! And they're huge. I found 22 number songs. I'll try and narrow them down to... three. Ouch.
Okay, okay, four... Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks / The 12 Days Of Christmas by Straight No Chaser / Million Voices by Barlow Girl / Seven Ways To Praise by Carman

3: A song that reminds you of summertime:AHA! I already have a playlist for this one. Summer Sunshine by *gulp* ... Barbie / Knee Deep by Zac Brown Band / Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride by Jump5 / and sigh... Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen.
Hey! It reminds me of summer because the first time I heard it all the way through was when the Olympic Swim team made a music video to it, okay!?

4: A song that reminds you of someone you would rather forget about:
I will gracefully bow out of this one as I really don't have a good answer for it.

5: A song that needs to be played LOUD:
Boomin' by TobyMac. And Showstopper by TobyMac.
6: A song that makes you want to dance:
Oooh, lots of songs... But if I'm not in the mood, no song at all. If any song can make me dance, it's Thriller, though.

7: A song to drive to:
Showstopper by TobyMac. Most Audio Adrenaline songs. White and Nerdy by Weird Al Yankovic because when I drive a twelve passenger van with carseats and a Bible verse on the side, it's ridiculous to think I'm so cool for rapping this song perfectly.

8: A song about drugs or alcohol:
At first I was like, "Uh.... I don't have any of those." But then I thought of one.
Who Spiked The Eggnog by Straight No Chaser!

9: A song that makes you happy:
Touch The Sky by Julie Fowlis usually makes me feel somewhat rapturous. If that makes sense.

10: A song that makes you sad:
Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman. It makes me sad to think of leaving my family when I get married.

11: A song that you never get tired of:
I can eventually get tired of any song. A song I'm not tired of yet, but have listened to many times? This This, Message For Ya, and Baby Girl by Nicole C. Mullen.

12: A song from your preteen years:
Get Down by Audio Adrenaline. My dad used to listen to DCTalk and Audio Adrenaline on the way to work and I remember riding with him and singing their songs, so they're special to me now.

13: One of your favorite 80’s songs:
Oh, gee... I know so many... (Not sarcasm). Okay, here's three.
Another One Bites The Dust by Queen / No Spill Blood by Oingo Boingo / Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics

14: A song that you would love played at your wedding:
Sabbath Prayer from Fiddler On The Roof, maybe. I don't know. I really don't care for sad, sappy songs that make me bawl. Thriller will almost definitely be played at some point. (Not during the ceremony, though.)

15: A song that is a cover by another artist:
Party Rock Anthem by Lindsey Stirling.

16: One of your favorite classical songs:
Ooh-ooh!! Yay!! I've always had a special place for Tchaikovsky's music. It's just been a favorite of mine. Pachelbel's music is close behind, possibly tied with Bach, then Beethoven. Mozart I've never liked much for some reason. Wagner's Ride Of The Valkyries is a favorite. / Moonlight Sonata, possibly. / La Gazza Ladra, or The Theiving Magpie by Gioacchino Rossini. / Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 / Holst's Mars, Bringer Of War 
I don't know. I was exposed to a LOT of classical music as a child, so it's special to me.

17: A song that you would sing a duet with on karaoke:
Playing With The Big Boys from Prince of Egypt. / Let Our Voices Rise Like Incense by Petra / Hallelujah by Michael Henry and Justin Robinette / and though I probably shouldn't... Phantom Of The Opera by Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

18: A song from the year that you were born:
Colors Of The Wind by Judy Kuhn. (I didn't even know that was written the year I was born!)

19: A song that makes you think about life:
Something To Be Proud Of  by Montgomery Gentry / Walking Her Home by Mark Shultz / We Live by Superchick / You're Gonna Miss This by Trace Adkins

20: A song that has many meanings to you:
This is a hard one. I'm going to go with Sweetly Broken by Jeremy Riddle. Ever since a friend told me it was her favorite song it's had extra meaning, and then the song itself is very meaningful and almost always makes me cry.

21: A favorite song with a person’s name in the title:
A Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash / Ahab The Arab by Ray Stevens / Valorie by Nicole C. Mullen / Me and Becky by Chris Rice / Bye Bye Brianna by Nicole C. Mullen

22: A song that moves you forward:
Not entirely sure what this means, but I'll give it a shot.
Always Love You by Nicole C. Mullen / Anthem by Superchick / You Can't Take Me by Bryan Adams (Spirit)

23: A song that you think everybody should listen to:
Should've Been Me by Citizen Way

24: A song by a band you wish were still together:
Jesus Is Just Alright by DCTalk. /sigh....

25: A song by an artist no longer living:
Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash. /sigh...

26: A song that makes you want to fall in love:
Love Like Crazy by Lee Brice / Walking Her Home by Mark Shultz

27: A song that breaks your heart:
Forever 17 by Zoegirl / For You by Keith Urban / I Need A Miracle by Third Day
And the last, worst/best one... Little Brother by Judy Rogers.
Just listen to it. Really.

28: A song by an artist with a voice that you love:
Well, the voice I love is Nicole C. Mullen (She's on this list a lot, isn't she?). And the best song to hear her voice is Redeemer. But my favorite song by her is This This.

29: A song that you remember from your childhood:
DCTalk song, Audio Adrenaline songs, but my two songs of choice are You Are My Sunshine sung by my mom to me, and Grandma's Feather Bed, sung by my dad while he plays his guitar for us kids.

30: A song that reminds you of yourself:
Goodness. This is a really hard one. All of these songs are me...
Okey-dokey. I'll pick a couple. Barlow Girl by Superchick / Man Of God by Audio Adrenaline / Words by Hawk Nelson / Cowboy Girl by Lonestar / and White And Nerdy by Weird Al Yankovic

WOW. That took me a really long time. Like, two hours. 
I've got other stuff I need to get done today, so I'll leave it at that. 

Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!

P.S. Pick some questions out and answer them in the comments! Or at least leave me a link if you decide to do these questions so I can check your answers out!