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Snippets of The Prince's Pendant

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As an attempted cure for writer's block (or writer's laziness, more accurately), and because I think it sounds fun, here are ten snippets of my recently finished first draft of The Prince's Pendant. Enjoy!
****** She cocked her head again and called out: "Any special requests from my listeners?"
"I already asked you to kindly be quiet."
"Oh, no you didn't! You told me to shut up - which, by the way, is very rude. No gentleman would ever speak to a lady that way."
****** The Festerlonian gave Eldon a sly look. "How do I know you'll come back?"
Eldon drew himself up. "I give my word of honor, sir."
"An Erdanian's word of honor means little."
Eldon's temper rose, but he strove not to show it. "Not all Erdanians are like my brother."
****** Before Eldon could properly process what this meant, a panel slid into place over the opening - and the wall looked an ordinary wall again.
A secret pa…

In Defense of Fairy Tales

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Fairy tales seem to get a bad rap very often these days. "They're so cliche. Every single one has a beautiful princess and a handsome prince and a happily-ever-after ending." "They're positively ridiculous. Like anyone would believe a pumpkin could become a coach!" "I'm tired of princesses looking so perfect. Modern girls are so insecure about their looks already." "Everyone knows 'happily ever after' doesn't happen in real life, and it's dangerous to give kids the idea that it does." These statements might be true enough; but to my mind each is a very simplistic way to view the time-honored fairy tale. Let's take a closer look at this set of stories and see if we can find anything in them today's world might be missing.
First of all, fairy tales are not meant to be taken literally. This point is crucially important if we want to get at the heart of what fairy tales really mean. No one really believes that a …

Virgin Martyrs

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It's St. Lucy's feast day today! This is especially exciting for me because she's my Confirmation saint. (Also, there's a fun tradition in our house where I get to make scones and Irish soda bread on St. Lucy's day. So that's a plus.)



I get the feeling I've done a post on St. Lucy before. *sheepish smile* So instead of rambling on about her in particular, I'll ramble on about virgin martyrs in general, particularly the Roman ones.

Aren't they so cool? Ever since I was a little girl, I've been absolutely fascinated by these young ladies. First, they decide to give themselves entirely and completely to God. And then, they're so brave they stand up to these big scary Roman soldiers and prefects and say, "I don't care what you do to me. I belong to Christ, and I will until I die." And they do die. That is the epitome of courage!

And then there's the fact that they're usually portrayed as being perfectly lovely and very wel…

Saintly Societies

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Saints come in groups.
 Did you ever think about that?

Perhaps it can't really be used as a universal statement - but as a general rule, if you find a saint, chances are there's another one somewhere nearby.

Take the early Church, for example. It was a community practically built up of saints, and many if not all of these saints knew each other. Mary. The Apostles. Mary Magdalene. Joseph of Arimathea. Lazarus. Martha. Stephen. Paul. Barnabus. Titus. Timothy. And the list goes on. And on. And on.

That was very natural, of course. Christians were a small group back then, seen as an eccentric sect, and you kind of had to stick with like-minded people if you wanted any friends. When Christians left their saintly communities to travel into pagan ground, they made the pagans into Christians, and the Christians then became saints. Simple, right? Exactly what you'd expect to happen.

And it kept happening. Not only in the beginning but all throughout history, saints tend to come in…

Gareth Interview

Time for Gareth's interview! (What's that? It's about time? Nonsense, it hasn't been a long time at all...it's still the same month I posted the bio, anyway....haha, yeah, it's been a long time.) Here goes. I talk in black. Gareth talks in green.

Hey, Gareth. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?

Uh-uh. I'm just on my way out to feed the chickens, so I don't mind.

Why do you want to be a knight so much?

Well, who wouldn't want to be a knight? They're brave and noble and strong and heroic, and they get to do so many great and valorous things! It's much better than sitting at home doing chores or milking a cow. *grimaces*

How old are you?

Fifteen. I think that's old enough to be a knight, don't you? Gawain was already a squire in King Arthur's service at my age. So was Mordred.

What kind of adventures do you hope to have?

Why, great and glorious ones, of course. Like the ones Gawain talks about. I want to fight ogres and slay dra…

Strains of Patriotism - You're a Grand Old Flag

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Saturday! Time for another patriotic post!

This week's song is an extremely fun one - short and sweet, with a fast tempo, which means it's really tempting to just sing over...and over...and over again. Listen to it on Youtube and sing it and sing it and sing it!

You're A Grand Old Flag
By George M. Cohan

You're a grand old flag,
You're a high-flying flag,
And forever in peace may you wave.
You're the emblem of the land I love,
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev'ry heart beats true
'Neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where there's never a boast or brag.
But should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

Gareth Bio

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Gareth
Now on the threshold of manhood, all Gareth wants is to be a knight. He's pretty sure he knows exactly what knighthood means, too. After all, there has never been a time in his life when he was not surrounded by tales of heroic deeds and examples of chivalrous behavior. His father was a knight, his brothers are knights, and his uncle Arthur is not only a knight but the best of all knights, King Arthur himself. The way Gareth sees it, he ought to be a knight, too. However, there is one problem: Gareth's mother. Now, please do not misunderstand. Gareth loves his mother dearly and admires her for her unswerving devotion to her family. After all, she has spent her entire life caring for an invalid husband and bringing up three wild boys all on her own - not to mention all the housework. But he does get aggravated with her at times, for she will not hear of him leaving the farm to join his brothers at Camelot. And if he can't ever go to Camelot...how will he ever be a knig…

Curios for Writers - Tools for Spinning

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It's an established fact: writers are curious people. Curious, meaning each one is a curiosity, but also curious, meaning they want to know things.

Now that I'm starting to dabble in historical fiction, I've realized that the more serious I am with my stories, the more trivial knowledge I'm going to have to store up. Hardly a page into my Arthurian legend retelling, I mentioned a spinning wheel...and in another paragraph, found myself asking just exactly what a spinning wheel was. As I progress in my writing journey, I thought it'd be cool to keep track of what I learn, not just in my head where it will surely get lost, but filed away somewhere. And what better place to document such things than in a blog?

So here it is: my list of writer's curios, which I intend to add onto in the days and months ahead. Enjoy!

Curio #1: The Spinning Wheel

What is it?
It's a tool used for making fleece into yarn. (Not into cloth, as I had some vague idea of its doing before …

St. Francis of Assisi

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Today is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi! Hooray! This holy man is quite possibly one of the most popular saints ever. Usually, when we think of him, we might imagine him surrounded by animals or talking to the birds. This is because St. Francis had a great love for God's creation and is a beautiful and fitting way to think of him. However, St. Francis was more than just a man who loved nature. He was devoted, first and foremost, to God, and it is out of this love that all his other loves sprang.
Including his love for Lady Poverty.  Who was Lady Poverty? Lady Poverty was St. Francis' way of seeing the virtue of detachment from worldly goods - dependence on God, and not on earthly riches. When he was a young man and still rather attached to the things of earth, like riches and parties and raucous young friends, he had a vision of this beautiful lady and fell desperately in love with her. As a result of this vision, he gave up everything he owned and followed Christ withou…

Strains of Patriotism - The Star-Spangled Banner

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I love this country. Granted, it's got some problems. Make that a lot of problems. But every time the Fourth of July comes around, every time I see Old Glory waving in all her majestic splendor on high, and every time I hear a strain of patriotic music, I'm seized with a fit of patriotism that makes me want to wear red, white, and blue every day.

Is there anything wrong with this? Of course not! Just because our country is sick does not mean we should abandon her. Indeed, this is the time when we should most steadfastly stand by her - not by her flaws and imperfections, but by America herself, the true America which our founding fathers envisioned, the land of the free and the home of the brave. For it is only through the fire of virtuous patriotism that we can ever hope to burn away the many ugly blots which stain our country's flag and make it into the nation we owe our allegiance to.

With that said, I've decided to encourage this little flame of enthusiasm to grow a…

Christina's Interview

Here is my interview of my character Christina Tenth. (News flash: on September 30, I finished my beloved scatterbrained concoction of a book, The Prince's Pendant! It's over 250 pages long, illustrated with pictures from some dear younger siblings, and very, very messy. I'm ecstatic.) Enjoy!

*setting: a dingy little shop, illuminated by one weak light bulb, and smelling of polished metal and oily rags. I stand in one corner, looking about awkwardly. Enter Christina, her hands on her hips, her face smeared with black, and wisps of her red hair, having escaped from her pony tail, hanging loosely about her face. I walk forward to greet her.*

Me: Christina! Thank you for taking the time to see me. I -

Christina: I don't have much time. What do you want?

Me: *smiles uncomfortably* The interview?

Christina: Oh. Yeah. Well, go ahead and hurry up, the shop's busy as anything today.

Me: Alright, I'll try. How many people are in your family?

Christina: Seven. My mom, my…

Honoring Mary

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While praying the rosary today, I was thinking about how we Catholics honor Mary. And I had one of those doubts - as I assume most Catholics once in a while do - that asked if we didn't give Mary too much honor.  It's kind of easy to think that. I mean, if you look at all the beautiful paintings and sculptures and architecture dedicated to Mary - if you think of all the reams and reams of paper dedicated to honoring her - if you reflect on all the lovely songs and hymns and poetry written her honor - it's simply dazzling. Through the ages, Mary has been given so much attention that it's easy to wonder - wouldn't that glory have been better if it had been given directly to God? Of course, the Catholic answer to that is, this glory is given to God. That might sound a little weak until we realize that Mary is God's masterpiece. She is the most perfect and beautiful thing He has ever created. And that's saying a lot. Now, when human artists - Michelangelo, …

Christina's Bio

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The youngest in a family of brothers, twenty-two-year-old Christina Tenth has never been treated as a lady, nor does she much care to be. She spends most of her time in her father's garage crawling in and out of broken engines, helping to keep up the family business. Since the streets where she lives are in a rather rough part of town, the matter-of-fact redhead has learned to take care of herself, if the need should arise. Her crisp, business-like manner, coupled with the occasional smart or sarcastic remark, warn strangers she is not to be trifled with...and succeeds in annoying and puzzling Jude.

Post any questions you have for Christina, and I'll have her answer them in an interview.

Character Quirks

So, what makes a great character?
It's an extremely interesting question, and books upon books could be written on the subject. Of course, I'm not going to try to answer it completely in one little blog post. But, I am going to discuss one of the many things which I think can make a character interesting.
The thing is character quirks. I say "quirks" for lack of a better word; by it, I mean any little thing which makes a character stick out from anyone else in literature, or at least in their book. Maybe it's something they carry around with them at all times. Maybe it's a certain interest. Maybe it's a distinctive flaw. Or maybe it's how they dress, or a phrase they use continually, or part of their appearance that sticks out like a sore thumb.
Here are some examples of popular book characters and a list of quirks that makes them memorable.

Anne Shirley, Lucy Maude Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables

1. She hates her red hair (as well as her freckl…

Lament for the Lost Innocents of Abortion

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Innocence! Innocence! No cause for you to die;
You are not to blame for all
The evils men devise.
You alone are innocent
Among this culture's breed;
Why should you, then, pay the price
For all our wicked deeds? I shouted this in anguish
To the millions we have lost;
And at once I was reminded
Of a Man upon a Cross.

Alphonse's Interview

Here's Alphonse's interview. I talk in blue. Alphonse talks in red. It's taken me an incredibly long time to post this one, but I've come up with a brilliant excuse: the prince is a very busy person, and you wouldn't believe how hard it is to schedule an appointment with him.

Thanks for letting me interview you, your highness. Although, I suppose you're used to such things by now, aren't you?

*laughs* I suppose. What is it you wanted to ask me?

Well, first of all - Pippin asks what your talent is.

Heavens, I don't know if I ever thought about that extensively. *thinks for a moment* There are many things I take pleasure in, but of course, each hobby is not necessarily a talent. I enjoy fencing, hunting, horsemanship, archery, swimming, hiking, exploring, and the like.  *pauses, then shrugs* I suppose I'm most skilled in horsemanship.

What is your favorite color?

How is one to choose? *sighs* Each hue of the rainbow has its own place in creation. The smoot…

The Lost Sense of Wonder: What Modern Science is Missing

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Long ago, man looked at the world and wondered. He gazed up at the stars and found them beautiful. He watched the change of the seasons and marveled. He heard the chirping of the birds and was held spellbound. Where had all this splendor come from? Man pondered this question for long days and nights. He had no telescope to observe the stars at closer range, no microscope to explore the basic components of living things; but he did have a brain which was more complex than the most wondrous of modern computers. So, he thought; and he arrived at the conclusion that, somehow, there was a Higher Being in charge of it all. Somehow, there was a Creator responsible for all this creation.