Monday, November 23, 2015

NaNoWriMo... check in #2

Hello lovely readers,

In my previous post (link) I shared that I was stuck in a scene. I am happy to report that I was able to get through that scene and move it towards the ending I wanted to get to, so thank you for your support and encouragement. I also wanted to share that I got 25,000 words last week, which feels to be a huge accomplishment. In NaNoWriMo the goal is to get to 50,000 words, I am okay if I don't get to that. Writing wise this month has been more about my story taking shape and getting it to what I want it to be, sometimes that means rewriting scenes, reformatting my outline, or realizing I need to do more research. At heart I am writer and I totally believe in creative license, but I am also a historian so I want my story to be as accurate as possible which for me means going back and adjusting details and frequently staring at my story saying "how am I going to do this?"

Alicia Vikander portraying Vera Brittian
I knew when I started writing a WWI novel I was going to have to do some research, as much as I love the time period it is sadly not discussed much here in the United States, so I am kind of coming to my story with very little knowledge. There were somethings I knew I was going to have to research for example: major battles in WWI, trench life, women in WWI. Then after reading Testament of Youth  I knew I wanted Mattie to become a VAD nurse, and I was happy to add that to my list of research because it gave my story and character direction. Next I realized that I had made Marcus a pilot... okay so what did pilots do in WWI? WWI was the first war to have a new battlefield in the skies. So add that to my list of things to research. These are things I expected to research and embraced it for my stories sake. However, the more I write the more I realize there are factors I haven't thought about.

My copy of Testament of Youth, marking passages I liked

For example I have brought the Harrington family to London during WWI, guess what happens? Zeppelin Attacks. While the Blitz of London in WWII is way more infamous than the attacks London faced in WWI, it still happened and now I have to make sure my character's house doesn't get blown up. Thus far I have found no record of Eaton Square being attacked in WWI (though it is attacked in WWII).

Also I want a character to be in a major battle... for my time line it has to 1915. Big battle in 1915- the second battle of Ypres. Great! People shooting at each other, "I can write that" (I think). I have read a few books about WWI, in preparation for this. But then I had this thought "Oh look... Germans used chlorine gas for the first time in battle. Awesome" Add research on chlorine gas to my list of things to research. I will just say my "The War to End all Wars" board on Pinterest (link) is beginning to look a bit morbid with pictures of disfigured men... and part of me feels bad for posting graphic photos but then my roommate told me "half the population is watching Walking Dead I think they can handle it." Okay good point. I also think this actually happened and I want my story to be genuine and as historically accurate as possible. So I continue on with my research that may or may not make my stomach queasy. If I am feeling that way about reading it, I can't imagine what my character would feel living it... until WWI Mattie lived a pretty sheltered life and now she is thrown into the world.
So while I didn't expect this research I actually don't mind researching it... like I said I want my story to be as authentic as possible though as writer I know I am allowed creative licensing, which I plan to take advantage of with in reason of course. To me I know this is a fictional story and it may never get published to me it is important because real men and women served in this war and I want to make sure my work is a good tribute to their lives and sacrifice.

A review of the movie Testament of Youth
So while I may not get to 50,000 words in my story I think it is important that I make a first draft that I can be proud of and that will hopefully make a better second draft.

Good motivation to keep going {pic}

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Book Blurb... Love Does

Hello Lovely Readers,

Have you ever read a book that you loved so much and halfway through you knew you wanted to give it to everyone you know (yeah Christmas coming up) but yet when you sit down to describe it you can't put it into words?

Yeah that is how I feel about Bob Goff's Love Does.  My friend recommended it to me in the Spring (I believe) and told me how much she loved it and underlined a lot of passages in it... I quickly ordered it on Amazon and awaited for its arrival. It came and I added it to my stack of "to be read books." It is not that I didn't want to read it, it is just I had other books I wanted to read as well and so it kind of got buried.If you have been following my blog or my life you know I have gone through a stage of feeling stuck and kind of wondering what God's purpose for my life is. I told myself I couldn't keep reading novels and escaping realities, so pulled out Love Does. I will admit I wasn't really reading my Bible (as much as I know I should it wasn't appealing to me)* so I started reading this book in my quiet time.

Bob Goff has lead what I would say a pretty amazing full of adventure life. He is the founder of Restoration International, a non-profit injustices committed against children in Uganda and India. He calls himself a part time lawyer and he is also an Honorary Consul for the Republic of Uganda to the United States. I am not listing his credentials because they are impressive (even though they are) it helps put his story into focus.

The book is full of stories from his college days, to stories about his kids, and all the in between.  Many times his story state "we jumped on a plane to (insert foreign county)" as if it was a spare moment decision. Sometimes it is hard to believe all the adventures one person can take but that was kind of the point of the book...

One reviewer wrote-
'Every once in a while someone like Bob Goff shows up to remind us that some things matter a lot more than others.  Love Does has a kind of 'north star' effect that will push you to refocus your life and energy on what is most significant. It doesn't just invite you to respond with your God-given potential, it invites you to become a part of what God can do beyond your potential.' (Amazon)

The Love, Goff's book is about is the Love of Jesus and how it doesn't just ask us to sit by and let moments pass. "Love Does" allows us to jump into having adventurous, whimsy, engaging, and honest relationship with God. There were so many stories in the book but they all started off with saying "yes" to life. I don't want that to sound too "new age-y" because it wasn't like that at all. It was just saying "yes" to Jesus and God even without knowing all the details but just embracing what God wants you to do in life. Overall: I found the book really motivating and after I finished it I prayed and thanked God for people like Bob Goff who dedicate their lives to following Him. It made me think "Does my life reflect following Jesus?"
I feel like I haven't done justice to this amazing book... basically if you are walking through a store and see this book, buy it, read it and pass it on to others.

*- Since starting and finishing this book I have gone to reading the Bible, read the book of Esther,which is another good book to read if you don't know what the purpose of your life to be.

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Innocently Optimistic"

Hello lovely readers,

I had a blog post all ready for today but with the actions happening in Paris, Beirut and really around the world it felt hard to act like nothing had happened. I know changing my Facebook profile picture will not change the world and I know that even writing this post will not change the world. But something has to right?

I have always considered myself a positive person, some people might call me "innocently optimistic" and I am okay with that... I rather be that than thinking the world is a dark and scary place. But sadly sometimes the world sends messages that it is a dark and scary place. Sometimes the world feels like it won't ever make sense. And as I sit here in the comfort of my desk still enjoying the warmth from my cup of coffee I have to believe there is still good and there is still hope in this world.

On Sunday my pastor, gave a really hard message about putting on the "Armor of God". We have been going through the book of Ephesians and for the first four chapters it is all about diversity and unity, then Paul gets into some hard things like "submission" and "obeying our masters" and sometimes we rather not talk about or read about that stuff. This message on putting on the "Armor of God" I have always felt is not about looking for a fight or going out to fight just because you can. But knowing that this world and this life is hard. We are going to fight, argue, hurt each other and destruct other people's lives... its what happens because we live in a world of sin.

The passage we discussed:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:10-19 (ESV)

And I will admit this is a hard passage to understand because we are called to be peace makers and we are called to submit to one another... so how can we be peace makers and still be in the armor of God? I don't have an answer and I might never have one. 

But I know this world is not what God intended. In his sermon my pastor pointed back to Genesis and the story of creation and how in those passage when it says "God saw that it was good" the word "good" means Shalom- peace, rightness, and completeness . And here "peace" is not the absence of conflict but they way the world should be with a fullness in God. I think rather you are a Christian or not that you can look around and see that this world is not peaceful, right, or complete. If it were we wouldn't hold grudges, we wouldn't kill innocent people, we wouldn't have starving children, or tears of pain, and the feeling of hopelessness. This world is not complete. 

I am not a Lord of the Rings fan but I liked when my pastor pointed out this line:
I think that makes sense. I do not think we should go out fighting with guns, swords or bow and arrows but I do believe there is good in this world and we have to protect it. We have to hold on to it and defend it. To me the only way to do this is to have your focus on God and the salvation, love, and hope we have in His son Jesus Christ. 

I will be the first to admit that I am still figuring all this out and I don't have all the answers but I there is one who does and depend on His control, His peace, His righteousness, and love.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Frivolous Friday... More Historical Drama

Hello Lovely Readers,

Okay I have another guilty pleasure to share... well its not really a guilty pleasure more of an obscure reference that I keep my thoughts about it quiet, but I am here to finally introduce you all to it.
 I highly recommend it if you like historical drama especially from the Edwardian time period, a mystery that keeps you guessing, and you want to brush up on your Spanish. Yep that's right... it is a Spanish (set in Spain) basically prime-time soap opera mystery. It is on Netflix that provides subtitles or else I would have no idea what was happening. I watched a few episodes over the summer and was intrigued with it but because it was in Spanish I knew I would have to fully pay attention to it.
The series starts off in 1905 with Julio coming to the Gran Hotel to visit his sister only to learn his sister has mysteriously disappeared so he pretends to be a waiter to investigate his sister's disappearance. We also meet Alicia the daughter of the owner of the hotel. Her father has recently passed away her mother and Diego (manager) are running the show and covering up some intriguing plot points along the way. The romantic tension between Julio and Alicia is clear from the first episode even though she is supposed to be engaged to Diego. The tension and the mystery keep this show going.
There is also a great supporting cast like Andres who is an awesome and loyal friend to Julio. There is also Javier (Alicia's brother) who I can't decide if I want to slap him or go out for a drink with him. Javier is basically a womanizing, drunk, who makes a 1,001 mistakes (which is why I want to slap him) but yet his one liners are great and he actually is very loyal to Alicia (which is why I would want to have a drink with him). Heads up: There are some sex scenes that might make some people uncomfortable.
Javier, Julio, Alicia. Diego
I am in the 2nd of 3 seasons and I can't wait to see how it all works out. (Spoiler Alert) At the end of the first season Alicia marries Diego... which is crushing because it is clear she and Julio love each other but their class separation divides them. And when she returns from her honey moon it is clear she will not cheat on her husband (which I am happy about) but I want Julio and Alicia to end up together. So is that hoping for Diego's death? I mean while there is plenty of intrigue in this show, it does take place in Spain (a good Catholic country) and divorce can't just happen... so Diego will have to die for anything to truly happen between Julio and Alicia. I mean Julio has his shady sides but overall he is a good guy so I don't want Alicia and Diego to just be a cheating scandal. I mean just look at him:


Looking pics for this post has given a way some plot spoilers... but I don't even care. I know the drama and mystery of this show will keep me on the edge of my toes guessing what is going to happen next.

If you are like me you will spend the whole time saying: "Just kiss already", "What?" or "Don't trust Diego?"

Outside of the drama the thing I probably love most about this show is Alicia's hair... In the first season it is pulled up but she lets some strains show, which I think shows she still has an adventurous side and is not completely prim and proper. At least so far in the second season her hair is always perfectly pinned up showing (spoiler alert) now that she is married she cannot as adventurous as she used to be... however just watching her you can see she doesn't want to be all prim and proper as she has to be. I know probably no one else notices this detail but I thought it was good to show character change.
Once again recommend this show if you love Edwardian Drama, want to be on the edge of your seat guessing what is going to happen next, and want to brush up on your Spanish (don't worry there are subtitles on Netflix) but I find it fun to recognize words I learned in Spanish class in High School.


It doesn't hurt that the scenery is beautiful and captivating

Monday, November 9, 2015

NaNoWriMo... Check in

Hello Lovely Readers,

Okay I will admit I am kind of cheating on NaNoWriMo as I am using this time to continue work on my story and type up parts I haven't or maybe write scenes I need to get through. I know this chunk of the story will not make sense but this is the scene where I keep getting stuck.  I know what I want to happen by the end of this scene... I want Leopold to surprise her by visiting her and then somehow on impulse just kiss her. I want Kelby to catch them and he calls Mattie on it but she admit that she loves Kelby. But I don't know how to transition to it. Please read and if you have any suggestions let me know. I really want to get this scene done (at least mentally) and be able to move on.


{Catherine Morland}
The whole dinner was in silence Lord Welford felt no need to ask any of them any questions and without any direct questions Daphne and Mattie had no opportunity to speak. Mattie wondered during the meal if she would be ordered to leave in the middle of the night similar to Catherine Morland had been in Northanger Abbey. If anyone was General Tilney in this narrative it would be Lord Welford, tight, rigid, and border line obsessive. Lord Welford did look down on the Harrington by not being of noble birth or heiresses such as his own wife and he not condone his wife's friendship with that child, that child who bore a marking resemblance to Aurora if Aurora had had the chance to grow into maturity.  It pained him to see the same hazel eyes with a sparkle of emerald in them to look at him, and while some would soften with that pain Lord Welford only grew more severe. The matter only grew worse as Parker discussed the many attributes of Miss Daphne, the eldest daughter, and Lord Parker feared his son would make a horrible match with a woman who only had pleasing looks to recommend her.

            "I am sorry for my father's rude  behavior," Parker softly spoke to Daphne after dinner.
            "It is all right Lord Parker. I understand, I am sure it was a shock for him to have us here, we are practically strangers to him."
            "Still there is no excuse."
            "We will leave tomorrow," Daphne lowered her gaze.
            "I wish that wasn't the best option. I know my mother's desire to have your sister be with her, and I swear as soon as he leaves I will welcome you both to this house."
            "You are so considerate Lord Parker."
            Parker took her hands "I wish you didn't feel the need to be so formal with me."
            Daphne stepped back removing her hands from his grip "Please we are not in London. I cannot do this her, what if someone sees us."

            "You mean what if he sees us. Don't look at me so puzzled. I know Daphne, I know all about you and Shane Foster. He can give you nothing. My father won't let me dismiss him as his family has served us well for years, but he is a servant none the less. He can give you nothing, I can give you everything."

            Daphne would never be sure what triggered her or how she even did it but she suddenly felt her hand slap Parker's face. Then she took off running down the hall. He did not come after her. 

            Mattie was sitting by the window when Daphne came in still shaken from what she had just done. In a swift movement Mattie crossed the floor seeing Daphne look so ill. Mattie asked if she was all right and Daphne just trembled in answer. Mattie would never know what transpired that evening, nevertheless, she wrapped Daphne into her arms and guided her to the bed. Finally Daphne cried out "We have to leave."

            "What tonight?"
            "Yes if we can."
            "What happened Daphne? Did Lord Parker say anything?"
            Daphne just repeated that they should leave tonight. 

            After a little while of Daphne crying Mattie got Daphne into bed, still in her dinner gown but trembling far less and her tears had turned into a whimper. Mattie then snuck out to the stable. Kelby was right where he was suppose to be, reading the thickest book had seen besides the family Bible and studying it intensely. He hadn't seen her come in and did not even she was there until she was nearly upon him.

            "Miss Mattie, what is it?" He could tell she was distressed.
            "Daphne thinks it is best we leave tonight."

            He didn't ask her why, he knew if she wanted to say she would have. He simply said "It is not very safe at night.  I do not think Lady Welford would be at ease knowing her guest had left in the middle of the night. Come calm yourself with a cup of tea."
            "Thank you, no. I have to tend to my sister."
            "Is she ill?" 

            Mattie just shook her head not knowing how to truly respond. Something had happened that night though she didn't know what? She worried that Lord Welford had dismissed them in the night as she feared and Daphne was too kind to say. However, she didn't want to question Daphne as  Mattie feared that would only distress Daphne so Mattie didn't know what had happened. Mattie wondered if Daphne had seen Shane since they arrived, it seemed unlikely as she spent most of her time indoors and with Lord Parke around so much she would certainly not seek Shane out. Perhaps she had run into Shane and they had an argument. Mattie didn’t know much about their relationship and how much they had seen of each other and the strain that must be caused by hiding their relationship, and Mattie wondered if this had grown to alter their love. Love is not love with alterations find, no it is an ever fixed mark.  Mattie pushed these thoughts out of her mind, Shakespeare was hardly needed now. 

            "I am sorry we did not get our ride in," she breathed.
            "I will always be here waiting."
            "Thank you Kelby."

           With that she turned and returned to Daphne who had managed to change out of her own dress and into her night gown and was fast asleep. Mattie stayed up waiting staring out the window to watch when Kelby turned out his lantern in the stable.

           The girls left Cranston just after breakfast. Lord Welford did not come to see them off. Mattie felt she had done something horrible wrong and worried if she would ever be back at Cranston Court again. Daphne hardly made eye contact with anyone that morning and felt to be holding her breath until they were in the carriage. "Well I am glad we have left, I have never felt a place so altered as Cranston has become," Daphne said stoically but in truth it was just an act in front of Mattie. She would never let her younger sister know what had passed the previous night and how she felt the weight of that press on her chest.

             Mattie did not question Daphne's act as she was lost in her own thoughts of why Lord Welford had responded so harshly to her friendship with Lady Adelaide. Last night Parker said it was not for him to understand the thoughts and words, but he must have known something. Mattie had seen him discuss things with Daphne maybe he had told her the reasons Lord Welford had acted the way he did and that made her nervous.

           "Thank you Kelby," Mattie said taking his hand as he assisted her from the carriage.
            "My pleasure Miss Mathilda."
            Daphne was already inside and they held hands a little longer than necessary but both did not want to let go.
            "Please write to me if Lady Welford gets worse."
            "I will come for you the moment I can."

            Mattie shook her head "no don't, I know I am not welcomed while Lord Welford is at Cranston."

            Kelby didn't understand what she meant, he let her hand go after that and her walk. It had barely been a week since she returned and already he felt the distance between her.

            Two weeks passed before Mattie heard any word from Cranston, it did not come from Kelby or Mrs. Banks as she suspected but from Lord Parker. He wrote briefly to Daphne saying his mother's health was on the mend and Lord Welford continues is residence. It was not much news, Mattie replied when Daphne concluded the not though she was happy to hear that Lord Parker was paying so much care to his mother's health. By the time Lord Parker had written  Leopold Brashware had already wrote to Mrs. Harrington and she passed his letter onto Mattie.

Miss Mathilda,
            How has it only been three weeks since I have seen you, it feels such an age ago. The memories of our brief time in London keep me going as I have to handle business here. I long to see you and talk to you again. I know you must be out of sorts with your dear friend ill, but I have faith she will be well soon. I have only met Lady Welford a handful of times in my time of knowing Parker but I recognized a certain strength in her that tells me she is a fighter. The same strength I see in you, though you try to hide it.
            I am promised daily by my father's managers that business should wrap up shortly. I pray for it more than believe their words. Managers are paid whether the work hands show up or not and without the workers they have less stress, so it might be in their best interest to keep the strike going. However, it is not in ours and I can tell the delay in work stresses my father.
            I do hope though that work will resume again and I might be so bold as to make a detour to Derbyshire on my way back to London. I will wait for your approval on that notion.
Your friend,

            It wasn't overly affectionate,  probably because Leopold knew this letter would be read by Mrs. Harrington and all things must remain in check under the rules of propriety. Of course this was good since Mattie only asked for friendship from him. She had been silly in London, to think he could care for her in any such ways, she thought it had been the London air that got to her. Life in London had been quite fast pace almost dizzying. She was certain because of it she had lost focus on any true reality.

            She had not replied to his letter until after she heard from Lord Parker. Mattie told him how Lord Parker believed Lady Welford's health was on the mend, although she couldn't confirm  or deny it. She stopped herself from reporting to him what had happened in their short stay at Cranston Court. She advised Brashware that a trip at this moment would be fruitless. Even with Lady Welford being on the mend she was hardly healthy enough to have guest. With the news she heard from Kelby about Dr. Gibson believing it was Lady Adelaide's heart and how she should go to a specialist Mattie didn't think Cranston would not likely host anyone for another year. Mattie did not write that part, fearing that if she expressed those words would make them come true, and it pained her to think of Lady Adelaide so ill. Daphne was right Cranston had altered dramatically, Lady Adelaide was the heart and soul of Cranston and Cranston reflected her ill health.
{Leopold Brashware}

            After Mattie sent off her reply to Leopold she thought life could return to normal. Deep down she thought he would forget her, she felt that she had written a clear but respectful letter of rejection. She didn't state that she wanted to see him and paid no mind to his longing to see her. Mattie wrote wishing him the best in business and in life and stated that she did not know when they would see him again. Though she had little familiarity of how to write to a gentleman she felt her knowledge with literature gave her inspiration enough to write her letter of refusal. Though as she wandered back to Southerton from the post office she examined herself and thought she had been too harsh and she didn't want to reject his friendship and maybe he would read her letter and think that. No he must not think that, but if friendship is all he wanted then he would certainly read it that way. She wondered if she should follow up her letter with a note stating that she was thankful for his friendship. Why does mind go to such thoughts?  When it came to Leopold Brashware Mattie recognized she questioned herself far more than she did with other people. With others she knew where she stood but with him she felt oddly confused by his words and his actions and as much as she didn't want to admit it, it intrigued her, just a bit.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Frivolous Friday... Disney Princes Hot to Not

Hello my lovely readers,

I thought after my last post... this blog needed some lightheartedness, last week I was having a random conversation about Disney Princes with a friend and we started ranking them and I joked this would be a fun blog post so here I am writing it (feel free to disagree with me).

First, he is not a Disney Prince but I must say Dimitri from Anastasia (made by 21st Century Fox) probably takes the cake for one of the hottest cartoon characters... I mean Buzzfeed even has "23 Reasons why Dimitri from 'Anastaia' was a Major Heart Throb" (link) So he gets a special shout out.

Now on to Disney Princes (I will be sticking to actual Princes either by birth or marry a Princess):

1. Flynn Ryder... I don't know if I love him more because he is voiced Zachary Levi
or if it is because of his wonderful one liners.
Either way he is pretty awesome. 

2. Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty
He gets major props because he didn't want to be forced to marry someone he hasn't even met even though she was a Princess.
Also there is a great scene where his father brings up his upcoming marriage (the one he doesn't want) where he has some sass..
I like a Prince (even in cartoon form) who stands up for himself.
Plus he fights a scary dragon for the woman he loves. 
It also doesn't hurt that Buzzfeed has cast him to be played by Ryan Reynolds in real life. 

3. Aladdin
I think Aladdin gets props because he is the only Prince who changes to get the Princess.
Disney Princess get a lot of bad talk because people think that the girls have to change to get the guy (which I don't see as true) but in that vain I think it cute Aladdin changes for Jasmine.
Besides he has a magic carpet that can travel the you would save lots of money on plane tickets.

4. Prince Eric
Sometimes Prince Eric gets on my nerves because he seems like an idiot for searching for a girl with a voice when he clearly likes Ariel. Of course my feminist side does say he only likes her for her looks. Though when he thinks he will lose Ariel he does go and fight for her.
Let's just say his eyes and hair are both awesome.

On the not hot side...
5. Prince Charming from Cinderella
The only reason I don't think he is not hot is because you don't really get to know him as a character.
I mean he barely speaks and talk about a guy falling for a girl just for her looks.
When I was younger I loved Cinderella but after seeing Ever After I liked that twist on the classic story and Dougary Scott made a great Prince Charming.

6. Prince Adam from Beauty and the Beast
I know my friend that I was discussing this post with disagreed with me on views of Prince Adam, I just personally did not find him that attractive.
As I looking for pictures for this post I came across this:
So maybe I need to reevaluate my thinking.
Though I am excited to see Dan Stevens play the Beast...whenever that film comes out
 Before I finish this post I have to give a shout out to Robert Phillip (played by Patrick Dempsey) in Enchanted. I know he is not technically a "Prince" but he does dress like a prince and for a man who says he doesn't dance he actually dances quite well.
Video: "Enchanted (So Close) with Lyrics"

I know this list is a little bias, as it really only talks about the films I like. So if you want more information most of these pictures come BuzzFeed (link) and they have their own ranking. 

Hope you have a nice weekend.