Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Grinch


Colored Pencils/ pastels.

Artist's luck, if I believed in it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow....

Oh, there's lovely white stuff outside! And to think that every single snowflake is completely different and unique. Beautiful. And there are *trillions* piled up outside, just in the yard! But the whole town is covered. What a wonderful Christmas present!


Fun quote from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee:

'Next morning I awoke, looked out the window and nearly died of fright. My screams brought Atticus from his bathroom half-shaven. "The *world's* endin' Atticus! Please do something - !" I dragged him to the window and pointed. "No it's not," he said. "It's snowing."'


Merry Christmas Everyone. :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lovely randomness


1. Listening to Thriving Ivory - and lovin' it!

2. Just watched the first forty or so minutes of A Christmas Story, which I've never seen before, but I made myself stop, because it's going to be on all day on Christmas and I think Dad would be belly laughing all through it, so I'm going to wait so that I can belly laugh too. I can't belly laugh by myself.

3. CHRISTMAS EVE!!!!!

4. Gonna go to bed, read a lil' bit, get some good Z's.

5. Trying to avoid a scratchy/sore throat.

6. Made two pies today - and the crusts are atrocious. I mean, really atrocious. But, here's the thing: people are just going to eat it. It's all gonna end up in the same place - stomachs - no matter how it looks. Besides, the chocolate filling is still so pretty maybe nobody will notice the crusts, or will at least forgive how pathetic they look.

7. CHRISTMAS EVE!!!!!!

8. Watched the season five finale of Lost. Here's my take:

Can't wait for season six.

Don't like Sawyer and Juliet together.

Wish that Jacob hadn't died right after we met him.

Dislike Jacob's nemesis/John Locke twin.

Benjamin Linus is interesting.

Juliet changes her mind too much

Sorry that Dan died

Cried when Kate said goodbye to Aaron

I like Miles a lot more than I used to now. His flashback episode sort of brought his character home for me.

9. CHRISTMAS EVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10. AND THEN CHRISTMAS!!!!!!

Artsy Thins part three....




I wasn't going to put this up, but I thought that Abby might like to see them. :)

Don't step on my blue suede shoes....


Planning to put my colored pencil/pastel of my Grinch up soon....couldn't get a proper pic of it without natural light. Artificial light makes the colors look wrong.


There's actually a full body of this, but my photo thing isn't cooperating and I'm not gonna wait for it to come up again. Maybe someday, if people beg me often enough, i'll put the whole picture on here.

Artsy Thins cont......



This is Hatori Sohma from the Fruits Basket anime show.

He turns into a little sea horse - or a sea dragon, technically, but it looks like a sea horse. He's depressed. It's a Christmas present for Mikaela. I drew her another poster too...but I haven't colored it yet.

Artsy Thins. *I actually meant to type things, but thought the misspell was so cute and redneck that I left it there*


This is an owl that I started in colored pencil class and just finished a few months ago. He's cute, isn't he? Reminds me of Pigwidgeon. :D

Monday, December 21, 2009

Amused, not ashamed

Alright, so, I was just looking at this tremendous chapter that I've been working on in the second segment of my book - the book, book, not the nanowrimo book - and I realized that I wrote it wrong.

My book - Bumping Midnight, let's call it by its title - is different from my NaNoWriMo book. The Great Elation I wrote in 'omniscient prose' which all of you can recognize in the Harry Potter books. Unlike the Harry Potter books, I used this omniscient prose for more than one or two characters - I have a lot of characters. Maybe that's a bad thing. Maybe it'll overflow with characters and their quirks - or characters and their boringness for being shallow and undeveloped, but that's not the point. In my Bumping Midnight book, I write two characters in 1st person, and so far two characters in the omniscent prose thing. It really depends on the character, which one works best - and for the Great Elation, the omniscent prose works best for everyone. I tried to do 1st person for my 'me character' but she wasn't having it. She wanted omniscent prose, so I changed in the middle of her first chapter. But in my Bumping Midnight book, each character sort of has a preference.

Well, I was looking at Chapter Twelve, and I wrote North Kitt, which is usually a 1st person narrative, in omniscent prose narrative. I'm not sure why I did this. I had no idea that I was doing it wrong until just now, and it's turning into a long chapter, so I'm not going to go back and redo it. However, North seems to like being written in both, so that's okay, even though eventually I'll have to go back and completely redo the chapter. I guess that's alright. But it's funny that I've been working on and off that chapter for nearly a week and just now noticed. Does anyone else do stuff like that? Stuff like writing a book, and you're writing comfortably with this one character and one chapter and it's going great, and then you realized that even though the content of the chapter is great that you wrote the prose wrong?

I'm not ashamed, just amused.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bad things don't make bad days.

Okay, so, today I had a really great day. I got to hang out with my Dad, finish Christmas shopping, see a good movie, and now I'm home relaxing and having a jolly good ole' time.


Which just goes to show you that bad things don't make bad days - because earlier today I was literally nearly run over by a truck.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Peaple Who Have My Shoes #5



Doctor Who (The Tenth Doctor)

Movie/Book: Doctor Who, New Series, Season 2-4

Shoes: Black Chuck Taylors

He's always wearing converse. Of all colors. Red, white, black, all sorts of colors. Time to grab your converse and save the world. :D


Okay, thought: How come girls don't wear cool shoes? I mean...I've seen a few movies where they do, but they're chick flick characters, and somehow they don't seem worth mentioning. At least not the one that had Selena Gomez in it.

People Who Have My Shoes #4


Charlie Pace

Movie/Book: Lost, Seasons 1-3

Shoes: Checkered Vans Off the Wall


Okay, I admit - I actually got these shoes because I thought Charlie's were so cool. I always liked Charlie, even though he was a heroin addict and could sometimes be a really annoying character. I still liked him. Probably because I really like Merry.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Star Trek Season One: A list of the episodes most worth watching IMHO.

IMHO = In my humble opinion, for those of you who don't speak Text. These are probably my favorite episodes from Season One.

The Naked Time.
I think this is the first episode that really grabbed me as being a good one; it stood out a lot, especially compared to 'Where No Man Has Gone Before' which I really didn't like.

The Enemy Within
Kirk is has a good vs. evil face off - with himself. The philosophy in this one is interesting.


Dagger of the Mind
This is the episode that introduced the famous Vulcan mind meld. :)

The Galileo Seven
This is a great one for Spock.

Tomorrow is Yesterday
The first time travel episode in the series.

Court Martial
Excellent plot, and has one of the things that makes the old Star Treks the best; one of those really eerie alien planets with a purple sky and a big Saturn looking moon or something in the sky.

Space Seed
Actually I don't like this as well as you would think - but it introduced the infamous Khan Noonien Singh, and it was a good episode, so definitely worth a mention.

This Side of Paradise
This one was actually really funny. I feel like its just a little bit ridiculous, in some ways, but it's not nearly as bad as it could have been, and D.C. Fontana wrote it, and she wrote some of the best episodes in the series. I'm not a big fan of criticizing, so even though this episode could come off as being really corny, awful episode, I liked it. Another great one for both Spock and Kirk.

The Devil in the Dark
A pure, honest to goodness creature/monster episode! This one was really good. I need to watch it again.

The City on the Edge of Forever
This is one of the greatest ones ever. It has everything a good Star Trek has; an eerie planet, a big problem that's nearly impossible to solve, one of the better romances in the series, humor, and good character development. I read the adaption by James Blish last night - you won't know unless you're a certified nerd like me and love old, obscure paperbacks printed in the late sixties - and thought that some of the twists he added in were good. So this one is kinda fresh on my mind....

Opperation - Annihilate!
The last episode in Season One. A main character loses a family member, another main character goes blind. Not as good as it looks, but certainly worth a watch.


These ones are pretty corny, but I still enjoyed watching them for the first time:

The Man Trap
Eerie, I was actually a little bit freaked out

Charlie X
The kid that acts in this always plays a disturbed character, seems like - again, I saw him in a Big Valley episode

Miri
For some reason I want to mention this one, even though it's probably a much less strong episode than the last two I mentioned.

The Menagerie Parts 1 & 2
This episode was centered around bits and pieces of the failed Pilot episode, and is the only time in the series (except for the actual failed Pilot) where you get to see Captain Christopher Pike. Seeing Spock young is kinda funny, because they hadn't gotten down his character or Vulcan make up very well yet.

Shore Leave
This one is ridiculous, but it's entertaining. :D

The Squire of Gothos
Also ridiculous. Also entertaining. Plus, you get to hear Spock say "Tally-ho," so....

Arena
This one isn't ridiculous, it's just a little bit corny. I haven't seen it since the first time I watched it, but it was still fun.

There are a few episodes I know that are considered really good that I didn't enjoy very much, but I need to give them a second chance. (Balance of Terror, Errand of Mercy) and a few others that were either really corny or really boring.
This is such a great show. Old science fiction. Always the best.

Anna

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

People Who Have My Shoes #3: Christmas Special


Scott Calvin/Santa Clause

Movie/Book: The Santa Clause

Shoes: Black Chuck Taylors

Ho, Ho, Ho!
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Anna

A Christmas Movie for Teenagers


Or, fans of Tim Burton, whichever fits you.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A NaNoWriMo technique

Okay, so NaNoWriMo is bearing down on us. I'm safe; I'm 10,000 words past the required word count. (YAY!!!!!) And very excited, but I still have a problem; the book isn't finished.

It might take another thirty thousand words to get it finished, maybe another fifty thousand, even!

The creators of NaNoWriMo recommend having the novel, for all practical purposes, finished by the end of November. Write the end, write the crucial scenes between the end and what you've got. You can go back and connect them later.

When I found this out, I created an outline of stuff that needed to happen by the end of the novel and filched about a third of my old draft from when I actually started working on this idea. I'm not sure when it hit me that I couldn't possibly write all of that by the end of the month, or if I knew before I made the outline, but later I went in and highlighted important scenes that I could connect later.

Yesterday I went in and highlighted the most crucial scenes so that I could just write those and work on the other ones later, and then I highlighted stuff I had already written (I'm a little past writing them in order now; yesterday I wrote the last scene in the book, and I'm working on one of the less important events, still, but after that I can concentrate on the crucial ones.

I found the highlighting and outline really helpful. I used gray for the important scenes, yellow for the crucial scenes, and green for the scenes that I've already written. It helps me stay organized. So, if you're struggling to get to the end, writing out of order might help, if you have a rough outline and highlight it. :) Just an idea. It helps me.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

People Who Have My Shoes #2


Harry Potter

Movie/Book: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Shoes: Black Chuck Taylors


Harry and I have the same shoes. WHAT'S UP?!

Anna

Saturday, November 21, 2009

People Who Have My Shoes #1


Okay, something I think is very cool:

I have the exact same shoes as some of my favorite characters in various TV shows and movies. I'm gonna start keeping track of this. (Humans love lists, don't write this off as a dorky waste of time.)

So, here's the first person:

Rocky Balboa

Movie/Book: Rocky

Shoes: Black Chuck Taylors

Eye of the Tiger, baby!

Anna

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Short Excerpt for this week:

I'm at 43,808 words. :) This is an excerpt from Chapter Twenty-One, in which a new character is introduced. Enjoy. Maximum two more excerpts before NaNoWriMo is over; and I might decide to take all of them down, who knows.






He squeezed it and watch the blood slowly squirt out. It dripped down his finger and temporarily stained his dry skin. Dex clenched his fist and flinched when he heard another sound; soft footsteps, almost too quiet to hear.

Footsteps.

"Hello?" Dex asked tensely. It didn't make any sense for there to be footsteps in a gravity free room. He was sure he had imagined that. Something had just fallen. He gripped the corner of the shelves and peeked around the corner. His eyes still hadn't adjusted very well; all he could see was a bunch of shapes and shadows of things.

He pushed himself away from the shelves boldly, now certain that he was alone in the room; the idea of footsteps was just silly. The idea of someone in here was even sillier, and he was old enough not to freak himself out like that. He was about to go tell Marty that everything seemed to be stable enough in there to not have to tie down anything when he heard a loud bump.

He whirled, expecting to see a metal box or something near a shelf, but instead he saw two eyes shining at him from the shadowy corner. Dex automatically kicked off of the object nearest him and flew into the wall behind him. He banged his head against a sharp corner.

The pain made him stop and think. He had a gash on the back of his head, probably bleeding. He groaned out loud, forgetting to be scared of whatever was in there with him, and lifted his hand to feel. Good; it wasn't a gash and it wasn't bleeding. An overreaction. He would have a bruise back there, maybe a mild headache later. Or a severe headache now; either way, he would be fine. But now, more importantly; what was back there? What - or who - was watching him?

"Hello?" he asked. His voice cracked. Great. He actually sounded scared.

He thought he heard a deep breath, like someone had thought about talking and then changed their mind. He took a step forward, his eyes finally starting to adjust to the dim light in the room. He had dropped his flashlight somewhere, so he couldn't shine it at the person/thing that was hiding in the corner. Or, he assumed that he or she was hiding in the corner. He peered and tried to see the eyes, or at least a body that went with them.

He couldn't see anything. Hesitantly, Dex took a step forward.

"Hello?" he said again.

A quiet voice answered him.

"Hello." a very, very soft voice.

"Come out where I can see you!" Dex demanded.

He heard things moving around and being knocked into the shelves and walls.

Dex kicked off frantically from the wall he was closest to and looked around for his flashlight. He didn't see it anywhere. He looked up, now looking for the person/thing that had answered him, and then he saw her.

She had a small frame and was clenching the vertical make-up of one of the shelves, now on the other side of the room. He couldn't see what she was wearing, or what color her hair or eyes were; only that she was huddled there like a scared animal.

As she turned her head, he saw the light shining in her eyes.

"Come on out," said Dex, trying to sound stern. He didn't succeed. He liked to think he was too nice a person to be mean to someone that was scared, but he wasn't sure if that was the reason.

She paused, and slowly began to emerge from behind the shelf, but paused again, as if waiting for something. "It's alright," Dex assured her.

She shook her head; her hair looked like it was wavy, or curly, or something. A little bit different from anything he had seen before. Yeah, it was definitely different.

"Are you the Captain?" she asked.

Dex was surprised by this question; but he answered quickly anyway.

"No, I'm not."

"Who are you?" she asked.

"Dex," he said, unable to think of anything impressive to say.

"Are you the writer?" she asked.

"No."

She emerged some more from behind the shelf.

"You're the mechanic, maybe?" she asked. She sounded hopeful, like she wanted to be right.

"That's right," said Dex, confused. How had she known that?

"You like to fly the ship, though." she said it like a guess.

Dex frowned; he wasn't sure what to make of this. It seemed really weird; and he should be asking her the questions, not the other way around.

"Who are you?" he asked, trying to sound stern again.

"Xarryn," she answered. "Xarryn Shaa."

"Zarin Shaw?" asked Dex, trying to get the pronunciation right.

"That's close enough," she said, but the humor that should have been in her voice wasn't there.

"What are you doing here?" asked Dex, taking a step forward. She withdrew all the way back behind the shelf.

"It's alright," he assured her. He would just have to give up being stern. It wasn't working, and if it did he would only scare her.

"I'm not going to hurt you," he added.

"The Captain will be...angry," she said.

"Why?" asked Dex, although he was thinking that it wouldn't take a whole lot to make Marty mad.

"I'm not really supposed to be here," she explained.

"A stowaway," Dex whispered.

She nodded, an action he could barely see behind all of the junk floating around the shelves.

"Yes," she whispered back.

A few more things:

1. Read this article; it has some really interesting stuff about Ray Bradbury and some quotes.

2. Still miss my old book, which is a good sign, definitely, BUT; I'm still loving NaNoWriMo. I'm a little over 7000 words from getting to 50000.

3. Great idea for old book.

4. Closer to exciting parts in NaNoWriMo book.

5. Finished Twilight...excellent, again...I'm on Team Edward now, and I'm about to dive into Ray Bradbury and a Star Wars book that has three novels in it with various authors, and then New Moon by Stephanie Meyer. Or maybe New Moon before Star Wars. Not sure.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A few things:

1. I miss my old book. I miss Dwalyn and North and Lance and Ebony and Dravidians and dark, foreboding forests, subtle science fiction trails. I miss all of that. But I'm still enjoying The Great Elation lots and lots; and its a good sign that I'm still attached to my book.

2. I'm rereading Twilight which is fun and rewatching the Star Trek episode: Mirror, Mirror, which is one of the best out of Season Two and this is also fun.

3. Firefly is absolutely awesome. I am completely creeped out by Revers. Ohmigosh. One of the reasons I must stay up late and READ. And then watch Star Trek: Mirror, Mirror.

4. I'm in Indiana, having a great time with my brother and sister -n - law and nephews and niece. It's Brian's fault that I'm lovin' Firefly.

5. I'm running out of random things to say, but lists are so fun that I don't want to stop.

6. NEW MOON COMES OUT THIS WEEKEND!!!!

7. NaNoWriMo is coming along really well; almost to 40,000 words, and today I discovered something that I had absolutely no idea about; turns out that Marty's unknown girlfriend is from a planet I haven't got a name for and THAT'S how he knows so much about my character Xarryn Shaa. :D

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chapter Eleven from The Great Elation

Chapter Eleven

The Wolf: Cody


Cody followed Dex around for half an hour before the ship was ready to go. Cody loved Dex. Dex was good. Cody could just tell. He was nice, he petted him just right. Not demeaning, or afraid. Just like they were friends, and Cody liked that. As great as Milo was, there was a very subtle fear; mostly awkwardness, but it made Cody feel awkward too, which was why he didn't let Milo pet him very often.

He also found Dex's voice easy to understand. The shapes just made more sense in his voice. And, even if he didn't know what they meant, he could always get an idea what they meant, because the way Dex said them was different than Milo, more bold, more happy, but not too happy; Dex had a very subtle hint of sad in his voice. Cody didn't think anybody else could hear it but him.

And Dex's smell! He smelled good. Not just that it was a pleasant smell, but that he was a good person. The scent just radiated off of him, like how nice he was. Nobody Cody had ever met smelled like that. The residue of thousands of winds clung to him; winds made on his motorcycle - a peculiar word, Cody had a difficult time even thinking it, it was so complicated, but Dex made it easier to understand. Winds from New York City, in all sorts of places. Dirty streets filled with garbage and exhaust fumes, mingled with the raw scent of people. Some of the scents were more delicate. Children. There was a heavy smell from streets like that. And then there was lots of clean wind; clean and icy. A sweet wind. The kind that Cody liked best. It reminded him of the winds back home, and the wonderful scents it has always brung.

And then there was the smell on Dex like he had gotten very close to leaving Earth. To touching the stars, mingling with the universe. It reminded Cody distinctly of Milo's smell; except that Milo's smell reminded Cody of minor things. It was different with Dex, because Cody thought he could smell that Dex hadn't actually gotten to touch the stars. He had almost gotten to, and that made a lot of difference.

Cody kept away from the tall one with dark hair...what shape had Milo used? Marty.

There was a lot of sad smell coming off of Marty, and even more sad sound in his voice. More than Cody had ever heard in anybody before. He felt as if Dex's sadness was hidden extremely well...Marty's, not so much. And the way he looked at Cody was nervous. Maybe even afraid. Cody watched him intently as they were getting ready to load up into the ship; occasionally Marty would throw a glance Cody's way, but he never tried to get close, but he didn't go out of his way to stay away either. Cody continued to watch everyone as he stayed close to Dex, who was wandering around and around the ship, whistling to himself, extremely impressed with it. The tall female with curly hair made Cody sneeze, because she had so much artificial smell on her. It smelled good, but Cody just couldn't get a good whiff without sneezing. She respectfully gave Cody his space and didn't attempt to touch him or talk to him, which Cody appreciated. Some people just didn't know how to talk to him, and this lady wouldn't have if she tried, he didn't much think.

The other girl...Cody thought of her as girl because she seemed younger than the other lady...was nice, and he liked her, almost as much as Dex. A few times he stopped by her and would watch her as she watched everyone else. The second time he sat down next to her, she lowered herself to the floor and talked to him. Her voice was about like Milo's...some of it was easy to make out, some of it he didn't understand, and some of it he just couldn't catch at all. Not as easy to listen to as Dex, but she had a pleasant voice, like she really did care about what she was saying, and like she really did care who she was talking to.

"You're a good boy, Cody," she said quietly. All of those were words Cody knew and liked. Dogs seemed to appreciate words like that more than he did; he didn't know why. He did like to hear them, though. They gave him a good feeling inside.

"I see that you like Dex pretty well," she went on. She smiled and started to reach her hand out to Cody, but then changed her mind. Cody pushed his nose under her...hand....odd names, the humans had for their paws. She was gentle when she touched him, and it felt good. She felt more comfortable touching him than even Milo did.

Cody whined too quietly for any of the humans to hear. He knew Milo wasn't a dog person. That's what the shapes sounded like that described someone that liked creatures like Cody. Her jacket was smooth and cool on the outside, like Dex's. It smelled of some creature Cody had never seen, but he liked the way it smelled. It made him want to chew on it, but he knew that might not be polite, so he didn't do it.

They were so odd. Why would they wear things that were once meant for eating? He knew her jacket couldn't be eaten now, but it just smelled so delicious. It would taste good to chew on.

"It looks as if I'll be the quiet one, as usual. Just as well. It's comfortable to be ignored, to some extent." Lots of shapes in her voice that Cody didn't understand, but a few he recognized anyway.

"What about you, Cody? What role will you play in this story?"

Story? Cody pricked his ears. He had a very vague idea of what that word meant. It was an exciting word.

"I'm winging it with my book," she said. Cody couldn't quite place her tone...perhaps one of regret? Regret. He didn't recognize that word, exactly. Why had he thought it? Oh yes. It had something to do with being sorry. Sorry was a word he knew. Milo said it a lot.

"It'll be quite an adventure won't it? Only Milo knows what I'm really doing on this ship. The government is after me, you know. Some rubbish like that. Ugh. Too much Harry Potter, I think; I said rubbish." she giggled. Cody looked at her questioningly, tilting his head and turning his ears toward her. He wondered what she was laughing at.

"I think Dex will be the character everyone likes," she said. Cody completely understood and agreed with that sentence.

"Marlene will probably be comic relief." Hurley laughed. More laughter. It sounded nice. Milo didn't laugh very much. He smiled, often, but you couldn't hear a smile.

"Milo. Hmm. What about Milo? The driving force. The voice of wisdom. The reason we're all here. Something like that. Soothsayer! No, no, Milo doesn't seem like a soothsayer. Maybe he's just older than the rest of us. He did get all of us here; but we can't label him as anything, can we?"

She sighed.

"But I've just labeled everyone else," she muttered. She didn't seem to like whatever she was talking to herself about. "Put them in a box, of where I expect they'll go. Of course I'll be wrong. You can't box in a character, unless they're one-dimensional." She looked around and fixed her gaze on Marty.

"However," she continued, "as long as I'm doing it, I might as well make a character prediction for Marty, too. Silent hero, maybe? Doesn't say much. No, wait. Mmm. Hate to say it. He'll be the character that nobody likes and nobody understands. I like him well enough; but I'm the writer, I like every character."

Cody growled softly, cautiously. Humans didn't seem to understand that growls were used for more than bad things. He just wanted to ask her a question.

"Oh, a question," she said softly. She smiled and rubbed Cody's forehead gently. It felt nice. Cody wished more things felt like this. He felt...what was that shape? He couldn't think of it. He would have to listen hard for awhile so he could hear it. Once he heard it, he would know it.

"Me, I'll be the narrator. First person, because that's the most fun for a novel like this. I suppose it won't exactly be a novel. I'll make some things up, change the names a bit. Perhaps I'll be...Alyson. That's a pretty name. A little bit more sophisicated than Hurley. It'll be like Journey to the Centre of the Earth. It'll read like its true, but some of it I'll have to make up. I'm just going to draw heavily from everyday experience. And I don't know if my characters will be in a spaceship bound for a planet in danger."

A few seconds later she burst into laughter that Cody thought was quite unexplained, but he didn't really care. He liked how she laughed at unexplained things. "No pun intended," she gasped.

Oh well. He would probably never know exactly what she had found so funny. 'Pun' was a shape he didn't understand. She turned to look at Cody.

"What about you, Cody? Sweet boy. What part have you got in all of this? Will you bring us together? I mean - the characters? I think we're all broken, in some way, except you, maybe Marlene. I don't know. Are you the missing link?"

She rubbed the fur around his eyes thoughtfully and then scooted closer.

Cody liked that. It was so nice. Like she needed comfort too.

"I guess we'll see," she muttered. "After all, we're only beginning."

The Screwtape Letters Audio Drama...

I just found out that there is a Screwtape Letters Audio Drama, and guess who's doing Screwtape's voice?


Never mind, you'll never guess.

Andy Serkis, the remarkable actor who played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy by Peter Jackson, as well as King Kong and the mustached cook in another excellent movie by Peter Jackson.

Oh, and he was Capricorn in Inkheart, but that movie didn't do the book justice, so....*shrugs.*

Click on this link to see a 'making of' video, which features Serki's yelling in Screwtape's voice. Excellent.
Anna

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Randomness


When recovering from unreasonable depression, Dr. A. E. Hedges, M.D., prescribes two spoonfuls of undiluted Hershey's Chocolate Syrup and a glass of milk afterwards.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My most recent facebook status reads:

25,000 words!!!! YAHOOO!!!!!!!!!!! Ohmygoodness... and they are only just BARELY on the ship! And it still hasn't taken off. It's not even off the ground. OHMYGOODNESS!!!!!!!!


in case you can't tell, I'm pretty pumped. And...I don't usually do facebook statuses. I'm not a big fan of them. But this month, it's a lot of fun to post my word count on there. :D

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Na-No-Wri-Mo. Hmm. I'm going to get tired of saying that all month.

"It's NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo."

I've told lots of people that I"m doing it; maybe it's just me. I know it's taken some people more than once to get the whole name right.

I feel good right now; maybe because I'm done with my Nanoing for the day, or because that I'm listening to a good song, or about to go eat candy and watch something or another with Dad. All of that, probably. Today didn't come as easy as yesterday; this one character that I do not want to give me trouble is giving me trouble. Drat her! However, Dex is being extremely easy and compliant.

"Good boy, Dex."

-Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Anyway, I think she's shaping up some. I thought of an excellent background that makes a lot more sense...just an extra thread that gets her onto the spaceship in a more reasonable way. I just like it better. I had to wing it, though! Even though when I first came up with the character, she had this thread...in fact, it was a main thread...I forgot about it, until a few minutes ago when I was getting desperate. anyway. Yahoo for me, I made it work! and now I'm tired. :)

I watched most of Batman Forever....I'm watching the series backwards, apparently. I watched Batman and Robin... I think the last time I got sick. (Wonderful movie to watch when sick, because: it's full of weirdness, corniness, Tim Burton-ness and neon colors, and after sleeping all day, I was already in the Twilight Zone.)

So, if I continue watching backwards, I should watch Batman Returns.
I liked Batman Forever, except that some of the humor was annoying, it was extremely corny (although entertaining) and Robin could have been a little more of a...hero? I like the ones that suffer a little bit. He just didn't seem to suffer enough. *Shrugs*

It was still fun to see him introduced to the story and see Jim Carrey as the Riddler. That may have been the best part. Heh heh. Enough of this rambling. G'Night!
Anna

An Excerpt from The Great Elation

He didn't like going to his destination. It was always painful. But it was only fair. Sometimes you just had to do things. And it wouldn't be right for no one to know that he was leaving. He would just have to suck it up.

It took him about thirty minutes to walk there. The streets were pretty calm, nearly empty. A few late walkers like himself strolled by; a few of them looked homeless, but one or two had briefcases and nice clothes, keys clinking together in their pockets. Lucky beasts.

A few cars drove past. The headlights made Dex happy. It reminded him of Christmas time. It wasn't that far off, Christmas. Just a few months, but he wouldn't be on Earth. He would be up in space somewhere, with billions of lights surrounding him constantly. Stars!

Dex turned off a brightly lit street into a dark alley that most other people would have veered away from. It didn't bother Dex. This was his world. He had never mugged anyone, or hid in an alley waiting to attack anybody, but he had hid in an alley so that he wouldn't be attacked. Or caught. Dark alleys didn't bother him. Besides, this alley wasn't the greatest for people to be hiding in, waiting to snag an innocent pedestrian. There weren't any dumpsters in it, and it was right next to an active home, that was always in and out, dumping garbage into trash barrels. Trash barrels, not dumpsters. He shivered a little. He was walking into the wind now; and tiny ice-cold drops of water were in the air, hitting him in the face. It felt like minuscule needles, the wind was blowing so hard, but it felt good, too. Why did anybody ever where scarves over their ears and noses?

It was just silly. You couldn't feel the wind and the icy gusts of wind that way. Of course, this made his nose run worse, and even made it a little red, but he didn't care. It felt like spearmint gum washing over him, without the taste or smell. Just the ice.

He turned onto another street, and then jogged down two alleys, and then onto a street again. There was an apartment building there, the windows and door shining with bright lights from within. He took a deep breath.

Now or never, he thought.

Ugh! He didn't want to do this. Jamie was always nice, but Dad? Ugh. No. It would just be torture to go in...it would hurt both of them, that he was leaving the planet. Neither would appreciate it. Dex recapped. No, Dad wouldn't care. Dad didn't miss him when he was gone, and he wouldn't miss him when he was gone for good either. Jamie might care though, and it was only fair that he give her an explanation for his sudden disappearance. He took a deep breath and climbed the seven steps to the door and knocked loudly, wincing as his dry knuckles cracked.

He heard Jamie say something, and then, "I've got it, dear."

He waited patiently, enjoying the cold, and then Jamie opened the door. Her face lit up.

"Dex! What are you doing here? Come in, come inside before you make yourself sick!"

You had to love Jamie.

"Hey, Jamie," Dex said, smiling.

"It is so good to see you! Oh, gosh, you have grown. I thought you quit doing that."

"Guess not," said Dex.

"No, no, guess not, guess not. What brings you this way?"

"I just came to...visit some," said Dex, turning serious.

Jamie's face fell and grew dark.

"You're okay, aren't you?" she asked, her voice wavering a little. "You're not - "

"No," said Dex quickly.

"Oh, good. Don't scare me like that Dex. I nearly had a heart attack. Mercy, your face is so cold!"

Dex realized that Jamie was holding his face between her hands. She's the sweetest person I know, Dex thought. She had wide, green eyes and dark brown hair that was loosely curled. She didn't seem old enough to be Dex's stepmother. But she was; she was the same age as his father. She was one of those people that just didn't age much. The kind that looked fifteen years younger than they actually were.

Dex smiled to reassure her and then looked beyond the dark hall.

"Um...is Dad here?"

She nodded. "Yeah!"

"Mmm. I might go talk to him a minute. But - I would like to talk to you too and have a brownie before I leave."

She smiled. "Definitely! Take your time. He's in there listening to the radio and reading the newspaper."

That is so typical Dad. Dex thought.

"Okay." Dex walked down the dark entryway until he reached a door and then he turned into it, bumping into the wall with his shoulder as he passed.

His Dad was sitting there, his thinning light brown hair glowing in the soft lamp light. He turned when he heard Dex enter the room. He had light gray eyes, the same color as Dex's.

Awkwardly, Dex walked around the old recliner and sat down on the couch opposite it. "Hey Dad."

"Son," said Ray Marshall, coolly. The thing about Ray; he tried to be warm. He really did. He just couldn't do it. Dex rolled his eyes.

Same 'ole, same 'ole.

"Dad..."

"I don't know what's wrong with calling you 'son.' Fathers say that to their sons, and you are my son."

Dex sighed and looked away from those piercing gray eyes. Same color, different story. One of Dex's greatest fears was that he had that same hard look on his face. He never wanted to look that way.

"You're alright, then? I thought I heard Jamie say something about it in the hall."

"Yeah, Dad, I'm fine. I just came by to talk."

"Well, that's a first," said Ray, folding up his newspaper and setting it on the floor next to his chair.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Title, Genre and Summary

I've decided on a working title and summary for my NaNoWriMo novel. (Drumroll, please...)


Title: The Great Elation
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Summary:

It's the year 2033, five years after the worst stock market crash in the history of the United States, topping even the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Computers are nearly impossible to find, internet even harder. Half of the once secure world has plunged into a lifestyle almost identical to the lifestyle of the First Great Depression's victims. With the whole world starving and scavenging for clothes, the talents of a writer, a greaser, an aviator, a special agent, a wolf, and a book publisher aren't very well appreciated. Extraordinary circumstances bring all of them together when they accept positions on a ship bound for another world...another land....it could almost be another time. Friendships will be built, enemies made, but most of all, each of the members aboard the ship Danger will go on an adventure that changes their very core...the way they view the world...it might even change their lives.


My comments:

On the title:

I'm sorry, I can't tell you anything about the title. It would completely give away important parts of the novel.

On the genre and summary:

This I can tell you about. It's science fiction because I'm taking some liberties with science (like science fiction does) and it's fantasy because there are lots of things in this book that couldn't actually happen. Probably. I'm sort of introducing you to an alternate reality, but you have to accept it as the reality in the book. You never know what might happen in the future. ;) You probably picked up from the summary that it is a futuristic novel, and you might have also noticed something about the greatest stock market crash ever. The book is futuristic because it takes place in the future, but it's historical because a lot of things in the future have changed to resemble the past, including lifestyle, fashion, and entertainment forms.

On the cast of characters and the ship, you'll just have to wait. Thanks for reading!
Anna

More NaNoWriMo Stuff:

Okay, so in case no one has figured it out yet, I'm offering up lots of stuff that I think is interesting or cool or helpful about NaNoWriMo this year.

I was messing around some on the website today (I even updated my Novel Information...finally) and a few minutes ago I went to find the Young Writer's Program.

Wow.

I still count as a Young Writer, but I wasn't aware that the Young Writer's sight was so much cooler than the regular one, so I just signed up on the main site. Those of you who are going to do NaNoWriMo and haven't signed up yet (and are 17 or younger) should totally sign up on the Young Writer's sight. It has a bunch of cool stuff (including help books you can read for free online from elementary to high school age ...I was looking at the high school one, and even if you're past high school, it has a lot of helpful stuff in it. Some of it even seems more fun and interesting than the more professional No Plot? No Problem! Handbook.) and a Dare Machine which dares you to do something or other in your book when you get stuck. It even has a game, which I can't play because I'm signed up on the main site. :( anyway, it is definitely worth checking out. Explore it! Enjoy it, even if you're not signed up there. The free handbooks are a goodie that should be taken advantage of!
Anna

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fast and Furious

November is approaching. Which mean NaNoWriMo is speeding toward us participating writers, fast and furiously. Ooooh. *shivers of anticipation*

I'm very excited! But I am beginning to wonder if I have my mind set...am I ready for 2000 words a day on a novel I hardly know for thirty days? A very busy thirty days, I might add. Let's hope so. This fall stuff just keeps piling on. My art bug is back. My writing bug is always around (plus I have writing classes now) and would you believe it? My music bug showed up! How dare it! But it did, and now I have to deal with it. I bought new strings for Teddy (that's my violin. Theodore. :D ) and I need to get him restrung...unfortunately I don't know how to do that, but I know people that do, or I can go have it restrung by professionals, or my brothers might could help me figure it out.

I'm reading Chris Baty's NaNoWriMo help book (No Plot? No Problem!) but it's about to be shoved aside for the weekend, because I'm going to start Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer later this afternoon after I finish school. :D Soon I'll post book and movie reviews, possibly music reviews, and during November you may get writing snippets and/or excerpts from the products of Writing Workshop, my NaNoWriMo Novel, or Rhetoric Assignments. No promises, though. I've never posted anything on this blog....and I really don't know how many people actually read it. Not many, I don't think, at least, not any more. No one comments much, these days!
Anna

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Setting a Timer

I cannot remember the name of the lady that suggested setting a timer for fifteen minutes and cleaning until it went off. But it's a good idea. You can get a whole lot done in fifteen minutes - more than you would probably think. Just setting aside time is the trick.

I've thought about how useful this would be for short writing increments during the day. Even five minutes. This blog post from Write A Better Novel is really helpful.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Short Sentence

Reading Twilight, Harry Potter, The Circle Trilogy, and A Writer Writes...Sometimes makes me realize that a short sentence can be extremely powerful when I'm writing. Not that I never use them...it's just something to think about. I write a lot of sentences to get my point across, often wordy. I don't think they're too bad, but a lot of the time, I'll say the same thing several times in a row to make sure I get the point across the way I want it to be taken, (even though most people don't get to see much of my book while I'm working on it...I've only shared a few pages thus far) I'm writing like it's going to be read, sometime. Of course, long sentences can be useful to. Are all you NaNoWriMo participants getting pumped? Cause I am!

Friday, October 9, 2009

NaNoWriMo

Write a Better Novel

Fiction Matters


For writers that are participating in NaNoWriMo this year, these blog posts are worth checking out.

The Fiction Matters post discusses making writing a habit, and how much to write, and stuff like that. For myself, I have to say that I set myself I high goal (which I have not been doing the past few weeks, but I'm starting to try to get back into it. Over about two weeks or so, maybe two and a half, I reached five completed chapters. I know, that doesn't sound like a whole lot, but I also got about three quarters or two thirds of an extremely long chapter done. Granted, some of those days I would copy and past some material from my previous draft that I still wanted in there, but I felt like I was doing pretty well, with that resource and just with rewriting so much.

Basically, you have to set yourself a goal every day, a goal that you think you can reach, or know you can reach. I know that I can reach 2000 words a day, even though I'm going to sweat a little on the days when I have cough all that up fresh without anything from an old draft. It's not really easy though. It's a challenge to do that, but I still can, and this way my book grows a whole lot faster than just writing randomly whenever I feel like it. If I force myself, I get in the mood, and even if what I write is really awful, I still have it there. I can refine or rewrite or cut it later; there might be a few golden lines of dialogue. And I don't always write a bunch of junk, a lot of the time, I get stuff I'm really pleased with! But I think I'll get lots of junk when I do NaNoWriMo, because there's no way I can know the characters as well as the ones from my current book, which I've been working on and changing and rewriting for three or four years. The point of NaNoWriMo isn't to write Pulitzer Prize winning stuff though. It's just to write 50,000 words, no matter how bad they are. It'll still make your writing better. Writing every day makes your writing better, which is why I need to go back to my 2000 words a day on my book until November gets here, and then I'll do 2000 words a day on the NaNoWriMo book.

Sorry, these thoughts are random, scattered, and unorganized. Just pretend like it's good stuff that helps! :D
Anna

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial



My sister-in-law encouraged me to put this up on my blog when I posted it in an art folder on facebook...so I thought I would go ahead and share this one picture, for now. Maybe more stuff soon. I took two pictures of this....not sure which one is better. You guys can be the judge!
Anna

Monday, September 14, 2009

Recommended Movies for this Month


Hello cyber friends!

I know I've been bad about updating the past few months. Hopefully I'll stop that. I'll try to start posting book reviews more often, and writing updates, and music reviews too. All that good stuff.

I thought I would write some quick notes about the recommended movies for this month:

#1
This is a great movie. For several reasons: I really like both actors Matt Damon and Will Smith, and I thought it was a nice story. I mean, not the best golf movie (that would probably be Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius) but Dad and I both enjoyed this one a lot and even got it and watched it again!

#2
This was a fantastic movie! I had wanted to see it for a long time, and, being a Johnny Depp fan, it intrigued me a lot. Not to mention it just looked interesting. It's a very creative idea! When you first look at Edward, you have to wonder what kind of character it's going to be. Is he some disturbed mental nut? A psychopath serial killer? What role is he going to play? How is this story going to play out if the title character has hands like that?
It was a very sweet story, and actually it really wasn't dark, like you might think. It was just an aleatoric bedtime story, or lullaby, with some teenage/adult themes in it. And the soundtrack was excellent. :)

#3
I watched All the Pretty Horses for the first time yesterday with Dad, and I enjoyed it a lot! It's really different from any westerns I've seen before. Matt Damon was also in this one, and I really liked his performance.
I wasn't as psyched about Penelope Cruz's acting in this; probably because she just wasn't in it a whole lot. The whole romance thread of the movie was kind of played down a lot, I think. That's my only criticism of it as far as plot and characters go. By the time I believed they were in love, they were separated, for the last time! I also really enjoyed getting to see Henry Thomas act as a grown up. :) For those of you out there who aren't E.T. freaks like me, Henry Thomas played Elliot, the main character from the Steven Spielberg movie. I thought that he did well as a cowboy. :D
Billy Bob Thornton directed, which I didn't know until I saw his name in the credits. And it took me a long time to figure out that it was Henry Thomas. (It shouldn't, I know that face by name...but it still took awhile to put it together. I've never seen him act in anything accept E.T., when he was like, twelve.)


So anyway. Those were all good, and worth seeing! Thanks for reading. :)
Anna

Sunday, August 16, 2009

NaNoWriMo Ideas


Well, I'm at home by myself, which is nice. It feels good for the house to be quiet except for whatever I'm doing. Good down time. Normally, I would be on my way to church with my Dad, but I am recovering from a savage cold, and I don't want a relapse. Thankfully, everything seems to be toning down and healing up. I have my 'old self' back, less sore throat, less ear ache. And all of that helps tremendously.

It was a nice week though...I took my time reading a really wonderful book. New favorite, can't wait to read the sequels...I'll post a review or something soon. :)

I was just thinking about what I'm going to do for NaNoWriMo this year...and this is also my first year participating, and I'm anticipating a difficult but rewarding writing month. I do, fortunately have a few ideas, but I'm having trouble deciding which one to go with. The two I am considering most at the moment are my "Indrego Prince" and "Sammie Other" idea. Indrego Prince was inspired by a weird dream I had, Sammie Other is a character that I randomly invented yesterday when I was working on another character's history. Apparently Sammie cursed this poor guy....and nobody has any idea. (Don't get the wrong idea, Sammie didn't mean to do it.) So anyway, right now it's a toss up between those.

But there's also my "Extinct Dog" idea, monsters in the closet idea, and an idea that's ALWAYS there and probably always will be, my "Poison Street" idea. The whole idea for that came from playing with word magnets.

I'm having fun thinking about it. And I'm getting very excited. But which idea should I use, I wonder? I think I should try to decide soon so I can write down some character and plot notes to help me along a bit. Maybe. Or should I wait until November 1st to decide? To be fair, each story has its merits. And each has progressed a little in different directions (even though Sammie was only born yesterday). Indrego Prince has a better handle on the plot, I think, Sammie Other's character is fleshed out a bit more. I'm not sure how I'll pull of 50,000 words in 30 days....too bad they didn't pick a month with 31 days. I have figured out, though, that 1, 000 words a day isn't enough. 2,000 a day would put me at 60,000 words. And I've been wondering if I can DO 2,000 words a day? Can I pull that off? With school? Yes, probably. Maybe.

I have been unsuccessful in roping anyone into doing this with me...which is kind of sad, but it's still going to be loads of fun!
You should check out the website. It's in my links too.
Anna

Monday, August 10, 2009

July - August Reads


Wow, it's been over a month since I've posted! That feels like awhile...and July wasn't super busy. Or maybe it was....I'm recovering from a very bad day yesterday. My minor cold turned severe, and I had to spend the whole day in bed. I feel a lot better today. I still feel a bit weak and my throat is still sore, but I can walk around and sit up. :) Which is an improvement from yesterday. I only got up twice, I think.

So, anyway, I'm here to update on my July reads, and the two books I've read since August started. Pitiful, considering I have twenty more I NEED to read this month to be completely caught up, which is very unlikely to happen, but you never know. I've pulled some good reading months before...June I suppose. Fourteen books, I think, but that's six shy of twenty. :) Oh well....

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Oh! This was excellent. It was fun to read, but a bit challenging. Still, I loved reading it! All the characters were wonderful, the writing original...I mean, I knew that already, I had heard lots of good things about the book, and seen the movie, which I watched again shortly after finishing the book. And the story was superb. (French accent..separb!)

2. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
Pretty good. I don't think I'll be going back for more...I almost didn't finish this one, but some good plot twists kept me reading. Good stuff for younger readers, and the idea is creative.

3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
This was good! I enjoyed reading this a lot, even though it was a bit more challenging than To Kill a Mockingbird. And it was a serious read, too...futeristic and depressing. I'd like to read more books like this (1984, Brave New World, The Giver, Animal Farm.)

4. Dinotopia by James Gurney
Disappointing, honestly. The illustrations were really good, and the story could have been good too, but I mostly felt that it was a bit silly, and boring. I expected something entirely different....something more like another world where there were dinosaurs rather than horses and cows, or maybe some kind of Star Wars flavoring, without all the cool stuff and fewer creatures. I won't be returning for more.

5. Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke
Loads of fun to read, creative, and some of it was very beautiful. The very last chapter was disappointing, and I'm not sure how I feel about Meggie ending up with Doria rather than Farid...I mean, I thought Doria was very sweet. And Dustfinger's role, while fascinating, left out a crucial element to his character for most of the book that made him the fire-eater he was before. There really wasn't any fear in him...and there didn't need to be, not with all of his new powers. I also felt that some of it went back and forth to much...Mo is captured one minute, and escaped the next. Or should I say the 'Bluejay?' Dustfinger wasn't the only one that stepped out of the skin of his original character. Mo did as well...I never would have seen him becoming the almost bloodthirsty robber that he became in Inkdeath. Still, other than all of those things, the characters were still wonderful. It was a great read, but probably not my favorite of the series. It's a toss up between the first two. :)

6. New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
This was fun to read too, and much faster than Inkdeath. I think it took me two days? The writing is less literary than Inkdeath was, much faster paced. I always have fun reading the Twilight books, although Edward can be extremely annoying. I like him, but I think I would still have to say that I'm on Team Jacob. Although I'm pretty annoyed with both sides right now.

7. Renegade by Ted Dekker
This was good too! One of my favorite features of each book concerning the Circle is the Roush. I would love to meet one! This probably isn't my favorite, because it heavily featured Darsal and Billos, my two least favorite characters of the four featured. (Not including characters such as Thomas and Rachelle) However, by the end of the book, Billos and Darsal had redeemed some of their worse characteristics by heroics. And one part I did enjoy was the villain, Marsuvees Black...much more colorful in this book than in Showdown.

8. Faerie Gold edited by Lindskoog and Hunsicker
I received this as a Christmas present....shameful that it took me so long to get to it, I know...and there were some very good stories in it! Saying that most of them take after Tolkien and Lewis is a bit generous, I think, but the very best ones were the ones that took after traditional fairy tales. The others were a bit preachy. I'm very glad I read it though, for the few really good ones in it! I think one was by George Macdonald....and I don't remember the authors of the other ones, although one was about a boy that was turned into a fish for awhile. That one was fun!

9. Heavan by Randy Alcorn
This I read all month...or to be more specific, I read quite a bit at the beginning of the month and quite a bit at the end. I'm glad I read it. It had a few very good points in it, and I felt like the middle was the best part. The beginning was a bit boring, then it got interesting, and by the time the end floated around, it got boring again. Most of it was just speculation, but it was well worth the read.

10. I Am Spock by Leanard Nimoy
I've been looking for this book for awhile. I looked in biography sections at bookstores, and never found it, which was extremely annoying. I finally asked the library to see if they could order it from another libary in Lubbock for me, and they got it in! I also asked for his first biography, I Am Not Spock, but they never got it in, so I went ahead and read this one. It's full of conversations between Nimoy and Spock (very entertaining!) and Star Trek memories, which were the most fun to read about. Definitely worth reading if you're a Star Trek fan, and particularly if you're a Spock fan. I would like to read his other biography sometime, and also some William Shatner biographies. Shatner has quite a few more than Nimoy does....four or five, I think? Loads of fun for Trekkies.

August Reads:

1. Phantastes by George MacDonald
Honestly, it wasn't as good as I expected. It was one of C.S. Lewis's favorites...and I may enjoy it more when I get older, I dunno...but it really didn't have an interesting plot. It had lots of good passages in it, and it was poetic. I'm still really glad that I read it. I would like to read more of MacDonald's stuff sometime. Maybe Lilith. The main character takes a trip through Faerie Land...which, in the time of his own world, lasted about a month. He's twenty-one, and encounters various friends, beauties and enemies. Some of these encounters were quite interesting, fascinating to read about.

2. The Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein (a.k.a. Space Family Stone)
I had fun reading this! (Quite a lot of fun, this post, I know!) The Stone twins remind me of the Weasley Twins (perhaps not quite as fun-loving as money-loving) right down to the red hair.
The flat cats featured in the book are incredibly similar to Star Trek's Tribbles...and this book came out about fifteen years before Star Trek ever aired. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? David Gerrold, the write of that particular episode, may have read this book. What science fiction write wouldn't have read Heinlein? There are a few differences, but the similiarities are almost identical. Fluffy, cooing, purring things, that reproduce INCREDIBLY fast if fed a lot...difference wise, the flat cats are flat, not round, like tribbles, and they have three visible eyes, unlike Tribbles, who have no visible eyes. Flatcats also have one color, while Tribbles have lots. Hazel, or Grandma Stone, was an excellent character, my favorite, as good as the twins (Castor and Pollux). I like Heinlein for a relaxing, but interesting sci-fi read. I'm sure I'll read more of him!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June Reads


I've been reading LOTS lately, but I fortunately didn't have to do much frantic reading to finish up my 14 books for June. I can't believe that it's already July!
So here are this months' reads, and a short 'review' for each of them:

1. Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent

This book was good. I don't have a whole lot to say about it. It was a biography...and the writing was pretty good, and it was easy to read. I guess I read it in two days (I was trying to finish up fast..maybe I did more frantic reading than I thought). Technically it was three, because there was one day I didn't read at all, but I read half of it on Saturday, the other half on a Monday, so it's kind of like two days.

2. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

This was very easy to read after the biography, even though I actually took longer to read it. I have read it once before, and liked it. It's not as good as everyone thinks it is. I've also read part of the third book, but never finished it. I'm planning to read that in a few months, after I read the second one, which I borrowed from Mikaela. My take: The movie is good, the book is good, the soundtracks to the movie are good. It's original, very different, and the characters are written well. I just can't work up enthusiam for this like I can for Harry Potter...Edward gets on my nerves too easily. After seeing the movie, I was on Team Edward for awhile (Twilight fans will know what I'm talking about) but after reading the book again, I prefer Jacob. So, I'm on Team Jacob again.

3. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
This was very good. I read it one day, 2-3 sittings, and I thought it was interesting. Still, not my favorite Lewis book...

4. Ben-Hur, A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace
I started this book over a year ago and finally finished it Sunday. It felt so good to be done! It was a good book. Not one I would want to read straight through, like some other books (it's not an easy read) but the prose was rich and there were several scenes concerning Christ that were very vivid. Those were my favorites. It's very different from the movie...but bookworms that are fans of it will enjoy the book. The only quote I have copied out so far is very long (I usually bookmark really good passages with long books like this to copy down later) so I won't try to put one it, but it feels so good to have read it!

5. The Iliad by Homer
Jason and I started this....sometime. I don't remember when. I read about half of it a few years ago, a different translation, and liked it pretty well, but got bored. I enjoyed it a lot this time, and again, it feels great to be finished with it. I'm pretty excited about the Odyssey, I think it'll be better, and probably more interesting to read. (The Iliad includes endless lists of names.....that are difficult to pronounce, and many of them are impossible to remember, as they are only mentioned a few times.)

6. The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

I ordered this book several months ago, and have been meaning to read it ever since. I didn't enjoy it as well as I thought I would. I think some of the later books in the series will be better. I liked all the characters pretty well...except for Taran. Too bad he's the main character. It's reminiscent of Narnia, but nowhere near as good. The Book of Three was published fourteen years after The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I know Lloyd Alexander was a Narnia fan. My favorite characters were probably Gurgi, Eilonwy, and Fflewddur Fflam, Taran's companions for most of the book. Lloyd Alexander may have been influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien, as well...Gurgi and Gollum have lots of similiarities. Overall, a good book, but it's not a new favorite.

7. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

Ah. This was good. Great. Excellent. I've read it once before, but I enjoyed it this time more than I remembered enjoying it the first time, and it was so much fun to read it again...here, Lewis is at his best in his Space Trilogy. The philosophy and psycological occurances within Ransom's brain are so mind-boggering....what I especially liked about this one was that Lewis subtly pointed out some of the reasons for human behavior, which seems incredibly obvious after he's done it. The landscaping is genius, the inhabitants of Malacandra vivid. I'm looking forward to reading Perelandra now!

8. Holes by Louis Sachar

Overall good, but fans of the movie won't be getting anything that they didn't see in the movie, except for a few minor differences. I pretty much knew everything that was going on, what was gonna happen next, and how the book ended. Read the book before you watch the movie if you haven't seen the movie. I don't know if I've ever seen the movie all the way through all at once, but I ordered it from Netflix so I could get the full experience after reading the book, which won a Newberry Medal. On the other hand, the world of the book and the movie is vivid, stifling, and original. You can almost taste the muddy water, the onions, the spicy peaches, when they're fresh or when they're sploosh. Or feel the heat, the grimy dirt. I'm glad I took yesterday evening to read it. (50 chapters, but so easy I had no trouble finishing it in about 2 very long sittings, although I was occiasionally interrupted by phone calls. :D )



It seemed to Ransom that he had never looked out on such a frosty night. Pulsing with brightness as with some unbearable pain or pleasure, clustered in pathless and countless multitudes, dreamlike in clarity, blazing in perfect blackness, the stars seized all his attention, troubled him, excited him, and drew him up to a sitting position.
-C. S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Very, very happy

I am very, very happy because I managed to finish my pre-determined quota of fourteen books on the last day of June. :D
Now to get started on next month's fifteen......which includes additional reading of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and possibly a massive theology book. :D

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Inkheart: The Movie




I watched the Inkheart movie last night. UGH.
They picked lots of great people for the cast, especially Dustfinger, Mo and Farid. Some of the other cast was really awful, either in character type or acting or both. The setting wasn't quite right, and the story was a mess. It's like it crashed, flew into a million pieces, and was put back together by someone who had never seen it and had a bad instruction manual, with a few substitute pieces of their own. The movie captured the gist of the book, but the complexity of some of the more minor characters was brushed aside and replaced with a shallow, stereotypical character (particularly Basta.)

All in all, I enjoyed seeing it, but by the time it was halfway over, I could see that they had butchered the story beyond hope. If it weren't for some of the excellent actors, the movie would have been truly awful. The magic of the book just wasn't.....there. Maybe a trace of it. But not all of it. It was still fun to see, and worth seeing by Inkheart fans if only to see Dustfinger and Mo. I'm annoyed; it's damaged my Inkheart mood just a little, but there's still hope. I think it'll be mended by the time I get holt of Inkdeath...although I've heard more than once that it was a disappointing end to the series. Oh well.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Reads: May-June


Hullo!

Okay, I'm gonna catch up on reads, quotes, thoughts on reads, and recommended books for this month.

1. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
This was the last book I read in May, which was a puny reading month. (Only four out of a required ten. :( ) Anyway, I think this was either the second or third time that I read it through all the way, and each time, I am awed by the poetic, descriptive prose of Funke. While it requires thought and time to read, it's still easy and not tiring. The first time I picked up Inkheart, I was intrigued by the dedication at the front. It said something like, "For Anna, who put even The Lord of the Rings aside to read this..."
So I had to check it out from the library. Even the first time I began reading Inkheart, I recognized a beautifully written book. It may have the been the first book I bothered to write quotes down from. It was several years ago when I discovered it for the first time, but I don't remember when.....

2. Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
I had borrowed this from Mikaela (I actually gave it to her for Christmas one year, and this isn't the first time I've borrowed it...) on my trip to San Antonia with my brother and sister-in-law and their kids. I started it immediately after Inkheart, but didn't plow through it quite as quickly...probably because it is much longer, and I had just read Inkheart, I wasn't as eager to finish it, so far a few days I just piddled and read it whenever I felt like it. Later, though, I started reading it more regular, and then reading it hungrily. The Inkworld is so vivid...the books are just incredible. I can't wait to read Inkdeath. I cried when my favorite character died, even though I had already read the book before...and even though I know this character is safe and comes back, it was still a devastating thing to do. Loved it the second time. I'm in a big Cornelia Funke mood right now, after reading both of those. :)

3. Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein
Also a book I borrowed from Mikaela, I've had this one for quite a long time now, and she said it was good, but I was never in a hurry to read it, even though it looked like a reasonably good book. After watching all this Star Trek lately, I was in a science fiction mood, so I decided to read it. If I remember correctly, I finished it in two days, vigorously, and loved it. Heinlein has lots of other novels, many of them his 'juveniles' and I'm looking forward to reading more. It was written in great, flowing prose that wasn't really poetic, but very vivid. I could see Mars. The characters were well-rounded and the dialogue was great. I know I at least chuckled inwardly when I read the following:

"Quit squirming!" commanded the doctor.
"That stuff stings," protested Francis.
"I meant it to. Shut up."


4. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield
I confess I wasn't very impressed by this one. I wanted to be, and I was going to read Dancing Shoes (both of which I borrowed from Mikaela...again) but I just didn't want to read another Shoe book. I've heard lots of good things about them, but Ballet Shoes was enough. It was still cute, and probably engaging, if you like that sort of thing, but it was just very hard to be impressed after reading a string of such good books (J.K. Rowling, Will James, Cornelia Funke and Robert A. Heinlein) that I couldn't wait to finish it so I could get started on something else.

5. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
This one I liked, and I'm pretty sure I read this in two or three days. Not long. It was an easy book to read, written for a younger audience, and actually pretty good. The story was original, written in an engaging voice, and full of references to Greek mythology (that's probably putting it lightly. The whole book centers around the son of Poseidon, and features many well known Greek characters, including Medusa, Zeus, Ares, Hades, Chiron, and a satyr) and I thought it was really pretty good. I kept thinking I had read a book similar; easy to read, and lots of fun, and then I realized it was probably Warriors. So, these are similar to those in literary quality and easeness of reading, if that helps any.

6. Rattlesnakes by J. Frank Dobie
I have wanted to read this book for a very long time. A friend gave the book to us for awhile, and I started it, but never finished, and I think my Mom read quite a bit of it. It was loads of fun! Lots of lore, legends, tall tales, facts, and other things, all about rattlesnakes. :D

7. The Reason for God by Timothy Keller
This is the first theology book I have read in three days. It was great; I finished a while ago, collected lots of quotes from it, and it forced me to think. Not that I wasn't trying to; but you can't read the book and not think seriously about what he's saying. Let me try summing up in one word: Awesome. I don't mean like, "Cool!" I mean like "I just touched a living dolphin" awesome. You know. Actually awesome.

So, my two recommended books for this month are Red Planet and The Reason for God. Of course I loved Inkheart and Inkspell...but I'll probably recommend those in July, when I read Inkdeath, if I decide to recommend Inkdeath as a book of the month. :) So there you have it! Happy reading.
Anna