Showing posts with label World War I. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World War I. Show all posts

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Future was Theirs



{tea and thin mints... help this writer}

Hello lovely readers,

Please forgive me for being so long absent in sharing part of my story. In my previous post, What Happened to January, I wrote about how some things I was going through were mentally blocking me. The biggest way has been in my faith, but also in my writing (which is probably just as much as a part of me as my faith). I have been trying to push myself to write but I have not felt content with my writing. I know a lot of people say to keep writing even if it is not good but I feel I wrote my main character Mattie into a corner and I wasn't sure how to get her out... I am still not sure, but I am trying. Over last weekend I talked to my Grandpa and he reminded me that writing is a practice that must be done daily. So while I am mentally trying to figure out what is going to happen to Mattie I have some pages written that I need to type up. I have always found that when I am stuck if I get some typing done it helps me through the process.

Below is a scene of a party set in 1916 before Marcus returns to the front and Mattie is about to get a surprise... 
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She whipped around to see him as he entered when he came into the ball, she couldn't believe what she saw, he slowly made his way in the parlor. The deep chestnut eyes and brown hair that perfectly match, for which she had not seen in nearly six months. Was it really him? No it must be an illusion, but it was so life like. He finally stepped in front of her and she could smell the fresh scent of soap and shaving cream, it was him, he was in the flesh.
            "Mrs. Jenkinson, thank you for the invite," Marcus was the first to speak when they arrived. "I do so hope it is not an imposition that I invited my dear friend Corporal Kelby Foster along with me."
            "No, not at all— I do not think I have ever had a corporal in my house before," she teased with a gentle smile.
            "I assure you, he is better than most officers. He is in the medical corps and just returned from France."
            "You are most welcomed."
            "Thank you ma'am," Kelby bowed his head in gratitude.
            "Mrs. Jenkinson," Mattie was finally able to speak. "May I introduce my brother Marcus Harrington of the Royal Flying Corps and our friend Kelby James Foster."
            "Yes, it is always more pleasant to have more company than less, you are both welcomed here."
            Both men gave her their thanks.
            Mattie wanted to sat so much at the surprise of seeing Kelby, her Kelby, standing in front of her. He had written to say he would get leave but since then no word of his leave had come. Now he was standing front of her. Deep breath.
            "Well I thought Miss Mathilda had bloom about her before her brother appeared, now she has blossomed to be sure," Mrs. Jenkinson teased. "If I was more selfish young man I would sit you next to me and investigate you myself, however that would be unkind to my friend so I will arrange to have you sit next to her."
            Mattie eagerly, maybe a little too eagerly, thanked her. Then Mrs. Jenkinson left the threesome to their devices, Marcus was shortly to follow Mrs. Jenkinson's example stating that he would go and distract mother.
            "What are you doing here?" Mattie burst out when they were alone.
            "Surprising you clearly. I received leave and I wrote to Marcus to arrange a surprise. Has it worked?"
            "Very much so."
            "I am glad — I am only sorry we will have to wait for dinner to be over, until we can dance and I can hold the most beautiful girls in my arms." Mattie blushed at Kelby's sentiments. "I am glad I can see you blush my dearest Rose."
            "Perhaps you may escort me into dinner," Mattie suggested.
            "It would be my honor, though I fear Marcus will not be so happy I capture his favorite sister's attention."
            "Georgie will do him well," Mattie smiled. At that moment Mattie didn't care how selfish it appeared she wasn't going to let him go now that she had him. "How long will you be in town?"
            "A few days actually, Marcus got a room for us at a hotel, so we could have a little freedom in his last week before going to the front."
            "Can your mother spare you?"
            "I have written to her about my plans, I am sure she will understand."
            "Yes but if you have written me, I might have been able to request a few days off."
            "Have no on that account Miss Mathilda, your brother wrote to Sister Bennet to inform them your beloved aunt has passed away. So when you return act as solemn as you can."
            "You lied to Sister Bennet?" Mattie was actually surprised.                         
            "I did no such thing, Marcus did," Kelby was cheeky.
            The gong announced to dinner rung before Mattie could say anything else. Kelby gallantly held out his arm for her to take, he was taller than she remembered, or maybe it was the tuxedo he was wearing. She didn't know he had a tuxedo but she didn't doubt she that Kelby had ways to procure such an article. If she hadn't known otherwise, she would have assumed he was a gentleman. She wanted to take him all in and remember every detail about him from the way a loose strand fell across his brow, to his gentle smile that brought her reassurance, to the way he guided her through the parlor into the dining room. It was all perfect and when she was with him, it was like everything in the world faded away.
            The dinner went splendidly as Mattie sat in between her brother and Kelby. Only once did she notice her mother giving her cross looks but Mattie didn't care. No matter what her mother said to her later it would never take away the fact that Kelby was with her. Over dinner they discussed what they wanted to do in their days in London, Mattie talked of exhibits at the Victoria and Albert but Marcus said that sounded too stodgy and thought of going to Brighton for a bit, of fresh air. "It is October, the water will be frigid," Mattie reminded him.
            "If you are too weak you don't have to go in."
            "Perhaps our guest should decide," Mattie looked at Kelby.
            "I want to do it all, I have never been to London for that matter out of Derbyshire, I went right from Derbyshire to France without truly seeing England."
            "The Victoria and Albert it is," Mattie declared.
            "If you think you can see England in a museum you must be mad."
            After dinner Mrs. Jenkinson pulled Mattie aside, "my dear nephew is going to be jealous to know how much you gave your attention to this Kelby Foster."
            "Please Mrs. Jenkinson, do not say anything he is a long time friend."
            "Yes my dear, I have had many long time friends but none of them have looked at me like me like he looks at you. Do not fret my dear, I will say nothing. Now I have already heard the request for dancing, what do you say to that?" Mrs. Jenkinson gave her a wink.
            "That sounds very pleasant."
            "I thought so too. I will try to keep your mother at the card table."
            Mattie shyly thanked Mrs. Jenkinson.
            "You didn't tell me Kelby was going to come." Georgiana pounced on Mattie when Mrs. Jenkinson walked away.
            "I didn't know myself it was a surprise between Marcus and himself."
            "Now it truly is a shame Sir Brashware is not here. for a good duel would be so fascinating."
            "Georgi, do be serious—a duel would not be fascinating and I doubt it would happen as you know Brashware and I are just friendship as Kelby and I."
            "You are a terrible liar."
            "Georgi, please do not say anything to mother or father."
            "I promise, I am just surprised Daphne has not said anything."
            Mattie had not thought about Daphne, Daphne had no reason to protect. Mattie's secret but she had no reason not to give her younger sister up. As much as they did not see eye to eye, they had both fallen for Foster brother and Mattie hoped that fact would keep Daphne from ruining things for her. Though since Shane's death Daphne had run hot and cold, one day being as gentle as a lamb the next day being angry and hurtful toward Mattie. Daphne had never approved of Mattie becoming a volunteer and Mattie felt there was not much in her life Daphne would approve of.
            Once the gentlemen returned to the party Mrs. Jenkinson announced that she had given into the request for dancing. It was obvious there had been at least three other couple who had wanted to dance and were very pleased with the turn of events.
            "May I have this dance?" Kelby was quick to ask.
            "I don't know as you said earlier my brother may not like losing all my attention towards home."
            "I am sure Miss Georgiana can take care of him."
            "As long as you don't mind Marcus?" Mattie turned to him.
            "No not at all, I have had my sister all to myself for almost eight months."
            "Then I am all yours," Mattie told Kelby.
            The music started a slow waltz and as they took each other's hands Mattie felt a bit of a shock between them.
            "Are you all right?"
            Mattie was puzzled why he asked, she wondered if he felt the shock too. She simply nodded though as to not let her puzzlement known. "No terrified this time?"
            "No, why do you ask?"
            "I remember the last time I hold you like this you were terrified about making a mistake."
            Then it all came back to her, how they had danced in the woods before she first came to London. "Has it really been that long since we have danced together?"
            "Feels like longer. Oh Miss Mathilda how I have missed you."
            "Not now Kelby, I feel the whole room is watching us."
            "You maybe, you are beautiful and I am just a simple man in tux."
            "No you are not, not to me." Mattie looked into his eyes, she saw the same thing she did a year and a half ago , their long future.
            His touch was warm and gentle and the way he  held her during the dance it felt as if their bodies were always meant to be together. "Come out with me to the terrace," he asked as the music stopped.
            Mattie anxiously glanced around the room. She felt a light graze as he let his finger caress her arm, it made her dizzy to feel his touch against her. "No one will know," he whispered and as the couple dispersed off the floor they snuck out to the little terrace garden.
            She had a little shiver.
            "Are you cold?" He generously took of his jacket off from the excitement of seeing you and having you so close.
             "I don't think I am cold so much as shivering from the excitement of seeing you and having you so close."
            He stepped closer to her and she felt he towered over her. "I am glad the surprise was not wasted."
            "No it is wonderful."
            "Good," he brushed her cheek, leaned down, and gave her a kiss. It was soft and gentle, just as they always were, it felt tender and hopeful. Then she felt his fingers stroll down the front of her dress between her bosoms and over her waist, it made every part of her tingle. No one had ever touched her in such a way, and she didn't know if she was entirely comfortable with it.
            "Please Kelby—" she didn't mean to sound as hesitant as she did.
             "What? Do you not like it?" He whispered in her ear."
            She stepped back a bit, "It is not that, but I don't know if it is proper."
            "You are my girl, I am your solider returning from war, it is just a little touching."
            "Please Kelby, we have not seen each other in months, let's not rush things."
            "We have not rushed things for so long. I just want to hold the woman I love."
            "What if we get caught?" Mattie whispered.
            "Caught by who, your mother? Daphne or that Sir Brashware character? I know this is his aunt's house."
            "I have already told you we are just friends." Mattie was on the verge of tears. They were having such a marvelous time together and yet one simple mention of Leopold had ruined it. "I love you, Kelby James Foster. I love you more than anyone else. Is that not enough?"
            "No , of course it's not, he gets to see you every day and I don't. You could be as open as you want with him and yet we have to hide away. It's not fair."
            "That’s not fair, but we will be together forever after this war, nothing with stop us." Mattie was now holding Kelby's face in between her hands to make sure he looked her in the eyes.
            "You promise?"
            "Promise."
            He took her hand and kissed  the inside of her palm. He didn't say he was sorry for his stupid jealousy, he didn't have to. They had been together for years even if not always romantically and they would be together for years to come. War was just separating them for a time, but the future was theirs. 

Piano Cover of Ed Sheeran- Thinking out loud
Link 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A long book blurb... part 2

Hello Lovely Readers,

I know I don't usually post two days in a row but I want to finish up the details of my "26 book challenge" before 2016 (tomorrow). In my previous post I wrote about books I highly enjoyed and books I pulled at my heart strings... but there are other books I read and I wanted to let you know about them.

For the love of history...

I love history so much that not only did I get my bachelor's degree but also got my master's in history, though I will admit sometimes I have a hard time reading historical books because they are rather dry and so I usually turn to historical fiction. If historical fiction is good the author will make you feel as if the past is a live for you. In my previous post I shared a lot of historical fictions I loved reading this year but I am also pleased to announce I found some nonfiction I enjoyed.

1. A Season of Splendor: The Court of Mrs. Astor by Greg King- I picked this book up a couple of years ago when I visited Newport, RI and was swept away in the Gilded Age and I wanted to read anything about that era. A Season of Splendor is a wide view of the time period focusing on different prominent families, their wealth, their culture including balls, clothing and mansions and what brought about the end of the era. I underlined and tabbed many of the pages in order to go back and use as a reference in future writing projects.

2.  Testament of Youth by Vera Brittian- is the memoir of Vera Brittian who left her studies at Oxford in 1915 to enlist as a nurse in WWI. She served in London, in Malta and on the Western Front and sadly by the end of the war she had almost everyone she loved. I will admit the writing is a bit dry as I think she is trying to sound like an educated woman and to be taken seriously and not to be seen as a frivolous emotional author. I recommend this book with the companion read Chronicle of Youth which is selected pieces of her diary (selected by editor) she kept during the war... I think these two together give a better insight into her life, her experiences, her emotions and the impact World War I had on people. However, if you cannot get around to reading both books I recommend the movie Testament of Youth as I think it blends together both these works.
Link 

3. Mary Queen Scots by Anotonia Fraser - I will admit that I got intrigued to read this book because I enjoyed the historical fiction version portrayed on the CW and I honestly wanted to know how much was fact and how much was fictionalized. This book also has a special spot in my heart as I bought it in Paris at the Shakespeare and Company. Though it is thick do not let it intimate you as Fraser is a great writer and tells the history in a capturing way... I found myself tearing through it. 

Books I am glad I crossed off my literary list...

1. Charlotte's Web by E.B White- Though I love reading now I did not read much as a child and sometimes I feel I missed out on childhood classics one being Charlotte's Web. 

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury-Is not in my typical genre of reading but I really enjoyed it and made me think about the future and the progress of society. 

General reccomendations...

1. The Chance by Karen Kingsbury- Looking for something light, maybe a beach read or a vacation read... this is a good book. It centers around Ellie and Nolan who years ago buried letters to each other (telling the other one how they felt). Now eleven years later (2013) they are to meet up and dig up the buried letters and read them. In those eleven years their lives have changed differently. Ellie no longer has the faith she once had and lives as a single mom in California and trying to make ends meet. Nolan is an NBA star but has had his own personal tragedies that has only fueled his faith and his athletic drive. Can they go back to the days of their innocent childhood and rekindle their feeling they had for each other as teenagers? Can they forgive past hurts and pains? 

2. The Storied Life of A.J Frikry by Gabrielle Zevin- This was a simple book and reminded me of a good update of Silas Marner by George Elliot. A.J Frikry lives a quiet life owning a bookstore until he meets a publishing book seller and has his treasured possession stolen. Both these actions leave him to create a new life for himself and open his heart to a girl left in his book store. I did not like reading Silas Marner in high school but I enjoyed this update. 

3.The Blue Castle by L.M Montgomery- looking for a little bit of lighthearted frivolousness, look to The Blue Castle, Valancy Stirling as always lived at the service and mockery of her relatives and yet she yearns for a place all her own. When she finally thinks that her life is going to end she decides to live the life she always wants speaking her mind and pursuing love. I think Valancy is a great character for giving courage of those wanting to seek out a place to belong.

To see other books I read for this challenge click on this "26 book challenge" page (link)

I have already seen some book challenges on Pinterest for 2016 (link) and while I liked this challenge as it kept me motivated to read post grad-school, I won't be doing another challenge. I have lots of books I want to read or re-read on my list and I think I will be making my way through those. Though through some encouragement of my sister, I will try to be better in 2016 and in the future of having a page of books I like. I currently have "Books to get Lost In" (link) but it is not very up to date and I want to share more books I have read. I will working on compiling a list of books I love and recommend for you all... will keep you updated when that is officially published. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

For the love of reading... A long book blurb

Hello Lovely Readers,

I am back in Boston. I have been away seeing part of my family in Houston where it was hot, humid, and felt more like September than Christmas, but being with my niece and nephews, and my family was more important than the weather and that made it feel like Christmas.
The kiddos and I with their books
From the pic above, you can see that I spread my love of reading to another generation... I sure hope they never tire of me giving books. I gave books to a few people this Christmas some of them were books I had read in my 26 book challenge (link) that I really liked and thought other people would like and now that I have finished the challenge (link) I wanted to go through the books I read, focusing on the books I really enjoyed, pulled on my heart strings, or other various thoughts

Some books I really enjoyed..
1. First Impressions by Charlie Lovett- it is an intriguing literary mystery to keep you guessing who actually wrote Pride and Prejudice. I picked up this book because I love Jane Austen and looking for good fan-fiction about the author or her works. I also liked reading a book written by a guy that actually felt to be written by a woman. I don't usually read books written by men, I don't know why, but I am not usually drawn into male author's works... so I was pleased by this book.
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2. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson- was a historical fiction novel with a sort of time traveling novel that made you think... "What if you could live life over and over again, till you got it right?" Ursula Todd keeps being able to live her life over and over to fix the mistakes she has made till she gets it right, but what will she do with that power? I will admit it took me a bit to get into it because the first couple chapters were a bit repetitive but over all the story was interesting and I loved the concept of the story.

3. Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller- I can't really even put into words my love for this book. Just read it!


4. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley- This book was given to me by a friend and I have already passed it along to others. It also introduced me to the plot twisting, historical and modern day writings of Susanna Kearsley and I cheated a few times on this challenge to read more of her books. Half of the book is set in present day where author Carrie Maclelland is searching for the inspiration for her newest novel, the other half is set in 1708 and the story of a Jacobite uprising. I love reading multi-generational stories and I loved both the present and past story lines weave together and both kept me wanting to see what happens next.

5. The Lake House by Kate Morton.- This is another multi generational novel, told from many different perspectives and shows how a secret from the past can still impact our present. Kate Morton is one of my favorite authors and one reason is that she blends the past and present together wonderfully. I feel as I have just written about this book I don't want to be too repetitive... so go read my post "Book blurb...The Lake House" ( link).

For more info on this books go to my "26 Book Challenge" (link)

Books that pulled at my heart strings...

1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah- I am not a huge WWII fan when choosing historical fiction, once again don't know why. So I think it is interesting that the two books that pulled at my heart strings the most are set in WWII. This book is set in German occupied France during the war and is about two sisters who must chose different paths in trying to protect their homes and lives around them. The eldest, Vivanne, tries to keep her head down and just tries to survive and to keep her family farm going. The younger one, Isabelle, joins the French Resistance and helps pilots who have crashed sneak into Spain. Though they chose different paths they both make ripples in the war effort.

2. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult- is yet another multi-generational story and weaves together Nazis Germany and the concentration camps with a small town in New England. I found this story very powerful and had to take deep breaths after reading some parts because of the descriptions of how the Nazis treated the Jews was very powerful and I couldn't push it aside and think "well that is all in the past" as I know it happened and it was horrific. In present day, Sage who is part Jewish, has hidden away from the world after a horrible accident that killed her mom and she is left with many scars. Her life is changed when a new acquaintance, Josef, confesses that he is a former Nazis officer. This story nicely weaves Sage, her grandmother's story, and Josef's story together.

3. Light between Oceans by M.L. Stedman- is about Tom Sherbourne, who returns to his home, Australia, after fighting in the trenches on the Western Front (WWI) and takes a job as light house keeper on a island. He likes the solitude of it all until he meets Isabel who is young, bold and beautiful. They go through many heartaches with a few miscarriages and stillborn deaths (this is the part that made me cry) and they kind of believe life is hopeless until there is a boat crash on the island and baby girl is left helpless on the shore. Though they live a happy life together when they return to the main land they see their choices have made impacts on other people's lives and now they must decide what to do. I held my breath for many moments in this novel.

These three I would recommend but would suggest keeping a pack of tissues with you when you read. 

To see other books I read for challenge click this link

Monday, December 21, 2015

Book Blurb... The Lake House

Hello lovely readers,

I know it has been awhile since I posted about the "26 book challenge" I have been going through this year...the last book on my list was to read "A Book set Somewhere you've Always Wanted to Visit" at first I thought this book would be about Africa or India or someplace exotic. I decided then after read the The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley and watching Poldark over the summer, both set in Cornwall I began to fall the idea of wanting to go to Cornwall, England. And while I have been to London and Bath. I still really, really want to go to the English country side.
In Kensington Park
Thankfully I found the book that satisfies my love of the English country side and yet makes my desire to visit to grow even so more so.  That book is The Lake House by Kate Morton.
Meeting Kate Morton
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In May (with some of my birthday money) I pre-ordered the book and anxiously awaited the book to come in the mail and it was worth the wait. I have loved Kate Morton's writing for years, she has a brilliant way of tying the past and present together to figure out a mysterious secret, and while she lives in Australia she writes mostly about England. Half the book takes place in 1930s and in 2003 to solve the case of a baby boy who has disappeared into thin air...





Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…
One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone...yet more present than ever. 



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The story was gripping and I loved the different perspectives between Sadie, Alice and Eleanor Edevanes (Alice's mother) keep the story going and trying to figure out what happened to Theo. Not only did it touch on the 1930s, it also went into 1910s and World War I, which is my favorite era. So not only is this book set in a place I want to visit it is also is set in a era I would love to visit (if I could).

As part of the story is set in the 1930s I loved imagining the character Eleanor in great gown (left). And Kate Morton wrote great passages of details about London in the past that I underlined or tabbed so I can refer back them. For example, "London had a distinctive smell, the unpleasant mingled of manure with exhaust fumes, of old and new, and she was glad when she turned into Hyde Park and caught the scent of roses." And one quote that caught me was, "Eleanor, wondered sometimes whether hope, that awesome, awful habit, ever died; better still, whether it could be killed. Things would be so much easier if it could, if it were simple as flicking a switch. But, alas, it seemed hope's glimmer always hovered in the distance, no matter how long one journeyed towards it without it."    

I loved this book and highly recommend it if you like to mysterious secret historical novel. I also recommend if you like the English country side.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

NaNoWriMo... check in #3

Hello Lovely Readers,

Frequently how my writing looked
I just wanted to let you know I did not get to 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo and I am okay with that. Before I started this challenge I read some bloggers about how they survived NaNoWriMo and it seemed to me they had no social life and were hanging on to sanity by a thread (okay I might be exaggerating) but I didn't want that to be me so I told myself "what ever I get done, I get done." I said this because I just wanted to focus on my writing this month and it was my first time doing this challenge. Also I still wanted to keep a life...though I'm sure my roommate felt a bit neglected sometimes (sorry).

For this month I set myself little goals, one to type up whatever I have already written out and two to work through some scenes that I was struggling with. I am happy to say I accomplished those goals.

Working through some scenes was hard because I felt mentally blocked and sometimes I would have to tear pages out of my notebook and try again. My mom once told me "crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I think I went crazy sometimes because I would try over and over rewriting and reworking scenes and even though the words were the same I expected the outcome to be different. I might be a naive writer but I think as a writer you have to do this.

The following scene (set in 1915 between Mattie and Kelby) I think took me five tries to write out before I felt the flow fit into my story:

"Why do men think they can only prove their worth by fighting. I do not think there is a woman alive who thinks in such a way."
"It is is is in our blood, it comes from being cavemen and hunters and gatherers, always fighting to protect our loved ones and resources,"
"Do you really think this war is about resources?"
"No but it is to protect the ones we love," he discreetly rubbed his thumb over the top of her hand.
"You are not going to go are you?"
"Not yet," he pulled back at truth of that statement. He didn't want to go, first he couldn't leave his mother alone with Shane already fighting and second he had no interest in killing men when he was more interested in healing them. However, he knew if war went on much longer he might be recruited, he was of age and in good health.

{Mattie}
"Promise me Kelby, promise me you won't go until its absolutely necessary." Mattie had just read Marcus was going to training camp to lose Kelby would be to much.
 "Absolutely necessary, I promise," he took her hand in hers and kissed the inside palm.

"Please Lord don't take him from me as well." Mattie looked into Kelby's eyes and she saw them living a long life together, but maybe that is just what she had wanted to see.

"Now it is a beautiful day, the first in a long while let us not waste it by worrying about a future we cannot know. Do you care for a ride? We can get a nice long one in before sunset, besides we must keep these horses in full form in case they are called for active duty." Kelby tried to make light of the situation but anyone who truly knew him know how it had tore his hear to lose a horse. Last month the army came for Clemson, a horse he had raised since a colt, and that had left Kelby a bit distraught.

Mattie eagerly agreed to the ride, she couldn't remember the last she had been on a horse. The country had been at war for eight months and while the paper was full of half truths and inaccurate numbers, the truth from the front lines were slowly being felt. Everyday they were told they had to make sacrifices for some that meant sugar and for others that meant sons. Any moment that felt similar to the past was a glorious feeling. The sun was so bright and welcoming, it warmed her cheeks and brightened her spirits. She was happy to put away any thoughts of Shane at the front, soon Marcus going to war, and she wanted to believe Kelby would never join them. The felicity of the ride and the beauty of the day made it hard to imagine men were being killed by the hundred in an area of Ypres, not more than six hundred kilometers away.

No one between Cranston and Southerton could imagine the horrors that the Germans were releasing on allied men. The men were praying that their day of battle would soon be over with the setting sun only had new weapon to face. A poison gas floated through the air over no mans land sinking into the trenches that were suppose to protect them from bullets and artillery was now the death of them. The pale yellow toxin burned their eyes, stung their throats, and left them suffocating for air. If they lived through that they suffered severe headaches and feeling lightheaded making them seek comfort on the ground only to breath in more gas. The men who could breath at all was jerky and shallow at best and they would climb out of the trenches against orders but in instinct to survive only to be gunned down by awaiting machine guns. "Its a death trap!" the men yelled as they retreated to a better spot. 
{Poisonous Gas}
I know this scene will need to be edited more but I was so proud of myself for writing a battle scene especially since I have not been battle or in a trench.

So while I did not get to 50,000 words... my last word count was just over 35,000 words I am proud of myself so spending so much time and energy on my story. The work I did makes me feel invigorated to keep going instead of being burned out (as I got the impression from the bloggers). As much I want to keep writing and I spent so much time working away that I didn't give myself much reading time so I for December I now want to find a better balance. AH! it is December! 

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.
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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.

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Good motivation to keep going {pic}

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Quick Little Update

Hello lovely readers,

Since it has been a while since I have updated this I thought I would give a fun update on my life...

Visiting 

The biggest news is my life is that my mom and step-dad have moved up to Burlington, VT!
My step-dad has a new job up in Burlington which is awesome because we haven't been physically close to each other in ten years. I don't know if I expressed this but over the summer I was feeling a major amount of homesickness and a major urge to be close to my family (even thought they are spread out)... I even thought about moving away from Boston that I love to be close to them. While, that may happen one day I am so happy for now I can stay up here. 
Any way the weekend was lots of fun... We went to Stowe, VT which is a picturesque New England town and we experienced the first snow of the season, and yes at this point it was exciting. 
Snow up in the mountains over Smuggles Notch Junction

A very picturesque church
Trying to get a picture with the church sadly the power lines got in too
Event though seeing Burlington and Stowe was fun, I liked seeing my parents and it is nice to know they are so close. 

Reading 
I feel I have not read much lately... I have been using my usual reading time (my commute to work) to get some writing done. It has been beneficial to my writing life but not to my reading. However I have finished my 25th book in my reading challenge... A book about "A lion, witch or Wardrobe" 
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I don't usually read "magic realism" novels... so I thought if I am going to read a novel about witches, Halloween season would be a good time. Besides I found a book about the Edwardian/WWI time period so I felt it would fit nicely into my repertoire. For more about the book, click here.
 I was reading the book Fever Tree about a girl who goes to South Africa in 1890, for the requirement a book about a place you have always wanted to go. However, I found parts of the book too sexual and I thought it best to move on. 
I am on the waiting list at the BPL for the book Circling the Sun about Kenya in the 1930s. I have wanted to go to Africa (well South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, and maybe Morocco) but I understand they are unstable and I cannot afford to pay for that yet. So I am reading about it. 
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While I am waiting for this book... I just picked up Chronicle of Youth at the library and can already tell I want to buy a copy as there are so many passages I want to underline. 
Over the winter I read Vera Brittan's Testament of Youth, her autobiography of her time in WWI. And while the book was great for facts and  some thoughts it is not very feeling. I think she was trying to sound like a scholar and not like an emotional woman. So reading her diary will be an interesting view of her life.
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Writing
My work in progress cover

As I said above I have been getting a lot of writing in, but I am gearing up for National Novel Writing Month... where you try to write 50,000 words in a month. This is my first time that I am not in school since I first learned of this. I am going to bend a rule that I want to continue working on my current story. I really feel my story is coming into focus and shape so I want to continue writing it. I have read some blog post about this and it seems really intense... so I don't know if I will actually be able to write 50,000 words but as this my first time trying I am going to do the best I can but won't beat myself up if I don't get there. 
Getting my November calendar ready

Watching
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Before I went up to visit my parents I went through a major binge watch of Glee. When the show was on I watched the first season, half of the second season, and then just watched episodes occasionally of the 3rd and 4th season but nothing really of the 5th season (minus The Quarterback episode) and none of the 6th season. But YouTube clearly tracking my interest (cheesy musical numbers) kept suggesting videos... finally I got hooked and decided to go through the show on Netflix. 
Song: "Don't Go Breaking my Heart" 
Link 
 Okay I will admit that sometimes the performances are a little cheesy and maybe a little over the top (I noticed this more in the 4th season) but hey who doesn't want to go to school where you get to perform a music video walking down the hall...
Song: "Wanna be Starting Something"
And not only did they cover classic songs they had a few original songs 
 Song: "Loser like me" 

Yes there were moments of annoyance where I couldn't stand Rachel and her need to popular, and there were moments when I thought "come on let them be happy," and thought "this is so not logical" but over all I liked it. They fought, they sometimes had pointless breakups, but they still came together as a team to support each other, and they embraced their differences.
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 The only thing that made me truly upset is they way they acted like everyone in high school was having sex and if a character didn't have sex it was a fault of theirs. 
And even though I knew it was going to happen I did cry during The Quarterback episode, where they deal with the death of Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) because it wasn't just them writing off a character he actually died and as a cast they had to deal with that pain. 
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 Recently I started re-watching Gilmore Girls. Yes I am excited for the revamp of it on Netflix (whenever that happens) but lately I have been feeling like life is not going the way I want and I have been trying to decide what to do with my life. And whenever get in this mood Gilmore Girls always cheers me up. Because this is just great life advice:
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Right now the only show I am watching in real time is Reign. 
(Historical Spoiler):
Sadly, they have already announced that Francis is going to die this season, though I don' t know what episode. I mean I know in history Francis died a year after becoming King, but last season took place almost entirely in the winter, and they have changed so many historical things why do they have to stick with this. Also (Season 2 Spoiler) last season Mary and Francis spent so much time apart that now they are together and happy it hurts to know soon they will be forever apart. 
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Other Things in My Life
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 I have been actively volunteering with Horizons for Homeless Children. It is probably my saving grace every week as being able to play and interact with the children is my biggest stress reliever. I can't take photos of the kids but they are some of the cutest kids.

Looking Forward To
I know it might be silly but one thing I am really looking forward to is Mockingjay part 2 coming out.

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Okay I think this was a good update on my life but before I go just wanted to share one more song from Glee... there were so many good performances but this was probably one of my favorites. 
Song- Mashup: "Rumor Has It/Someone Like You"
The last 30 seconds probably won't make sense unless you have seen the show.