Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Quote of the Month ~ September 2015

(click to enlarge)

I might paraphrase this and make it "sometimes doubt" (as you can't get very far in a state of perpetual indecision), but as finite creators we definitely do have our doubts. Altogether, do you think those uncertainties are part of maintaining humility in the genuine creative process? 

Thoughts anyone?

For more great Quotes of the Month click here!

Heidi Peterson is a lover of wide-spreading land, summer dust, white pounding waterfalls, and mountain tops; also of good dark coffee and rich stories. Most of all she's a lover of the One who is the Word, the Word made flesh. You can visit her additional blog (where she shares more about books, movies, and further marvels of life) at: Along the Brandywine.

Visit and contact at: Sharing the Journey // Along the Brandywine // ladyofanorien(at)gmail(dot)com

Friday, September 25, 2015

An Interview with Annie Hawthorne

Today I'm delighted to be interviewing fellow writer and blogger Annie Hawthorne!

Annie Hawthorne is a twenty-something young woman who has an avid love for her Saviour and for Story. She writes in multiple genres of fantasy, but particularly high fantasy, urban, and anthropomorphic. She indulges her fondness for speculative fiction and children's literature by scribbling in those genres also. She is pursuing a path of traditional publishing for her novel I am Juliette, a light sci-fi re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. Whimsy, vividry, and pathos are her trademark, and she longs to touch people's hearts and show them the deeper, more beautiful side of life. 

Annie reads books like they're going out of style. She adores the work of many authors, but her current absolute favorites are P.G. Wodehouse, Rosemary Sutcliff, and Mirriam Neal. When she's not reading or writing scenes that make her beta-readers cry, she can be found interacting with her family as one of its more lively members or discussing Important Subjects with enthusiasm and vehemence. People-watching, long road-trips, dissecting books and films, Doctor Who and LOTR marathons, wearing red heels, and collecting mugs are always on her To-Do list. She chases beauty, and is a Child of God. 

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1. (Heidi) Some differences and similarities you see between the three major forms of storytelling—literature, music, and film? 
(Annie) Oh, goodness, this question is fascinating and surprisingly difficult to answer. Some obvious similarities between film vrs. literature would be they both involve characters, emotion, and some semblance of a plot. But simultaneously they tell their stories in very different ways. 

A book drops you inside the minds and thoughts of its characters. Reading requires imagination and it fosters that imagination by teaching you to create worlds and people and lives from a simple page of text. Because books require so much thought over an extended period of time, and because those thoughts become engraved in our minds I think that is why -- for me, at least -- books have been more life-changing than movies. 

Unlike books, in film the story plays out in front of your eyes, instead of in your mind. A movie gives you a fly-on-the-wall perspective into someone's life, and because of that vivid immediacy it can be much easier for people to become attached to the characters and invested in the story. Humor and tragedy often translate better on-screen than in written form, which is why I cry more easily while watching a movie than when reading a book. Vice versus, I tend to love book charries longer and more deeply than movie characters -- because I have been them. That in itself is a major difference between literature and film. 

During a movie the characters become like our dear friends. 

During a book we become the characters. 

Music, on the other hand, conveys everything through emotion (I'm thinking instrumental here since I rarely listen to lyrical). I can hear a song and feel like spinning in wild circles or curling up to sleep purely based on the emotion it's infused with, ergo, why music is incredibly inspiring for Story. 

2. How have you seen those three mesh together in your own creative process? 
My stories play out in my mind like a film, complete with sweeping camera angles, lighting effects, etc. The trick then is to transfer that fluidly to paper so others can see it in their imaginations as vividly as I do. 

Music helps me tremendously. Sometimes if I'm on a deadline, I listen to a fast-paced playlist, and when I write scenes taut with emotion or fear or tragedy I pick specific movie scores to help create the mood. 

3. When and how did you first begin writing? 
Because my Mum read books like The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Anne of Green Gables to my siblings and I when we were tiny, I grew up with a love of literature ingrained in me. At a very young age I started a nightly routine of telling stories to my little sisters about mice and hedgehogs; also an anthropomorphic fanfiction of Star Wars. My ritual of bedtime stories morphed into writing bits and pieces of story here and there, and when I was about fourteen or fifteen I started to seriously write. I’ve always intended to be an authoress and, somehow I acquired the idea when I was little that writers were rare creatures nowadays. So I considered it a noble pursuit along the lines of reviving a lost art. As I grew older I realized how many of us there actually are, and I couldn’t be happier to be proven wrong. 

4. What are you currently working on? 
It's very hush-hush right now. But I'm writing a shortish piece of fantasy with a steampunk setting. It stars a snarky cat named Tarquin who's a bit full of it, and adorable as all get out (well, I think he is). He and his bird friend Prism get up to all sorts of dangerous shenanigans in the city they haunt, all while trying to keep a wild, little girl from being killed by a vengeful personage before she even has the chance to grow up. It's told in third person which I haven't done in awhile, so that's been fun. 

5. Particular author/s who have influenced you? 
A few from my earliest memory would be J.R.R. Tolkien, Beatrix Potter, and L.M. Montgomery. Tolkien taught me a love for fantasy, unlikely heros, and adorable charries. Potter gave me a love for anthropomorphic fantasy stories, and Montgomery taught me the importance of the simple things, the vividry of description, and unforgettable characters. Other inspirational authors are C.S. Lewis, Dickens, Kenneth Graham, Charlotte Brontë, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. More recently, Eric Nylund, Rachel Heffington, Rosemary Sutcliff, Harper Lee, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, and Mirriam Neal. 

6. Is there a “non-writing” activity that shapes your writing? 
Everything I do shapes my writing in some way -- whether in gleaming inspiration or honing my knowledge of people and life, but one thing in particular would be, as Agatha Christie mentioned, the washing of dishes. I can't tell you how often the muse strikes when I'm doing the daily scrubbing up.

7. Your opinion on the advantages and disadvantages of digital books? 
Digital copies are wonderful for reading books at little cost if you don't mind not owning a tangible copy. They also make it simpler for anyone to read whatever they want -- both a good and a bad thing. I like the conveniences of one's kindle, and the fact that there are so many free classics available. 

But. Nothing, nothing ever, will compare with holding a crisp, shiny, new, gorgeous novel in your hands or cradling a well-worn tome, its pages soft and yellow with age. Tangible books don't hurt one's eyes like staring at a phone screen does, they don't lose their charge, and we're bookworms: we love our gloriously stacked bookshelves. 

8. Do you ever do graphic design to help with your writing? 
I love story collages with all the love. I create them for inspiration, or just because they're so pretty.

9. Do you outline? If so, in a general way or very detailed? 
I do. I'm a hybrid writer which means I'm neither a pantser or a plotser, but a conglomeration of the two (plantser). In a nutshell, I do a rough outline of the story with all the major plot points charted out. Then I trot merrily along from point to point and all sorts of delightful shenanigans happen along the way. But, inevitably, I end up stuck with no idea how to get to Point B. Then I outline scene by scene. So far this method works well for me. 

10. Do you work on multiple projects at once? 
I don't generally work on more than two at once. I like to edit one project whilst I write the other, which is what I'm doing with I am Juliette and my steampunk fantasy. 

11. Do you edit as you write? 
I used to edit intensively, so much so that I rarely wrote more than 500 words a day. July Camp NaNo 2015 broke me of that habit and I couldn't be happier. I would rather finish manuscripts faster and edit them more than take ages to write the first draft. I still edit slightly as I write, but not to the extent I used to. 

12. Certain themes you see surfacing and resurfacing in your work? 
My books tend to have generous servings of broken people finding hope and whole-ness,multiple charries stuck with each other (oh, the dynamics), adorable creatures, wry humor, assassins/clever people doing epic things whilst I gnaw my fingernails in worry, the themes of forgiveness and thankfulness, a focus on relationships between siblings/best friends,and bringing darkness into light which means testing characters' souls. 

13. A particular aspect of writing you struggle with or a challenge you’ve overcome? 
I struggle with writing strong description. I never used to, but within the last year that changed. No idea why. As for challenges I've overcome? Writing more than 1,000 words per day, and writing in 2nd person POV. 

14. How do you deal with feedback—particularly negative feedback? 
Positive feedback is a wonderful thing, and normally I can take it without letting it go to my head. I've never actually received out-right negative feedback on my work. With constructive criticism I bluster to myself and get any sting out of my system (which doesn't usually take too long) and then I look at the feedback objectively and see what can be learned from it. 

15. One thing you’ve learned from other writers? 
Give. Read their work. Encourage, encourage, encourage. Be honest. Remember what goes around, comes around. 

16. A helpful nonfiction book or website? 
Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon is one of the most inspiring, encouraging books I've ever read. As for sites, here are a few of my favorites: 

17. What do you consider one of the single most important things to remember (i.e. an attitude or technique)? 
Don't quit. Don't ever, ever quit. Perseverance is vital (I'm planning a blog article about this). Also, adverbs? They can be used in moderation, not avoided like the plague. 

18. A word of encouragement for fellow writers? 
No one can write books exactly like you can. You are an unique human with an unique take on the world. Don't give up. It's hard, this writing thing, but everything worth having is hard in the getting. Keep going and hang onto everything that makes you love Story so much. 

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Note from Heidi: Thank you so much for visiting today, Annie -- I so enjoyed having you!
And everyone, be sure to visit Annie's brand new blog The Curious Wren!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Flame Shall Spring // Show and Tell

Hi everyone, I hope you've all been having a lovely week! I've been out all day, but I had to pop on this evening for a quick post.

As aforementioned, I've been working away on a retelling for the upcoming Sleeping Beauty story competition at Rooglewood Press. And today Anne Elisabeth Stengl hosted a huge show-and-tell on her blog for any contestants who wanted to share teaser tastes, story ideas, etc., so you can hop over and see my current summary for A Flame Shall Spring from the Embers on her blog here!

(Whew. And now the pressure's on.... :P There are so many intriguing stories in the works! But have no fear, if A Flame Shall Spring doesn't end up being a finalist, I'm planning to release it all for you on Kindle, and possibly also in paperback if it ends up running to enough pages. :))

And now ('cause I'm so excited) I'm sharing the current summary and opening paragraphs over here as well:


Love, loyalty, and revenge. A long-awaited princess lies in a death-sleep, and, in a land of ancient stone and green running hills, two houses are locked in mortal combat. The given words have promised a great king, but--even if the king should appear--how can there be any covering for the blood of the slain?


"King Llwellyn sat weak and thin on his hard throne, his right arm--bony yet sinewed--resting uncomfortably against the smooth polished, wide grained wood. Slowly clenching and unclenching his hand, he ran it over his face and short cropped beard. Brushing his fingers across his eyes, he dropped his hand and raised his head. "Rhiannon."

His sister turned from the window, the green of her gown shimmering before it fell black in the shadows. Her strange eyes--slanted and dark--were startling beneath her mass of gold hair, bound in place with its thin twining circlet of paler gold."

And you can visit my Pinterest inspiration board for it here. (I'm super excited about it as it turned out perfectly!)

So there you have it! What do you all think?

Heidi Peterson is a lover of wide-spreading land, summer dust, white pounding waterfalls, and mountain tops; also of good dark coffee and rich stories. Most of all she's a lover of the One who is the Word, the Word made flesh. You can visit her additional blog (where she shares more about books, movies, and further marvels of life) at: Along the Brandywine.

Visit and contact at: Sharing the Journey // Along the Brandywine // ladyofanorien(at)gmail(dot)com

Monday, September 14, 2015

3 Things I Love in a Good Story // Jenelle Schmidt

from Jenelle Schmidt

1. Heroic characters

This is the first thing I look for in a good book or movie. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that the characters have to be adventuring-type heroes or gladiators. I just mean that the characters have to be worth rooting for. They may have flaws and faults, but I have to see them overcoming those flaws in some way, and not making the same mistakes again and again. It’s not so much that I have to be able to relate to the characters, but I need to care about them, they have to be likable to some degree. I’m not sure how to explain it, I guess it’s a little like an “X-Factor.” I just need to be able to root for someone in the story. I cannot stand books and movies where I walk away feeling as though I wouldn’t have cared if all the characters died.

2. A mystery

I like the intrigue of having to figure something out when I’m watching a movie or reading a book. That doesn’t mean the story has to be a mystery, or a “whodunit,” but I like that flavor. It’s what puts me on the edge of my seat, wondering what’s going to happen next and how everything is going to be resolved. I like the mental gymnastics of trying to figure out how the story will end before it does. It doesn’t bother me if I figure it out before the writer gets there; I enjoy that triumphant feeling of success. But I also enjoy it when a story completely surprises me with the end. This is probably why I enjoy crime shows so much.

3. Family friendly

The best stories are the ones you can enjoy with your entire family with no feelings of guilt or worry.

Note from Heidi: Thanks so much for sharing today, Jenelle! :)

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Would you like to share three of your favorite things in a guest post? You don’t have to be a writer to qualify! This series is by story lovers for story lovers.
For post specifics/guidelines you can see the initial post here, then send Heidi a quick email at ladyofanorien(at)gmail(dot)com. Don’t be shy. I’d love to have you!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Inkling Explorations Link-Up // September 2015

It's time for our September Inklings!

And our topic for this month is: A Funny Story Opening in Literature

September specific notes: literary entries only this month

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My selection comes from that lovely story Damsel in Distress by P.G. Wodehouse. (One of his earlier works, it's also one of my top favorites, oft times the top favorite.... depending on how recently I've read it. ;))

"Inasmuch as the scene of this story is that historic pile, Belpher Castle, in the county of Hampshire, it would be an agreeable task to open it with a leisurely description of the place, followed by some notes on the history of the Earls of Marshmoreton, who have owned it since the fifteenth century. Unfortunately, in these days of rush and hurry, a novelist works at a disadvantage. He must leap into the middle of his tale with as little delay as he would employ in boarding a moving tramcar. He must get off the mark with the smooth swiftness of a jack-rabbit surprised while lunching. Otherwise, people throw him aside and go out to picture palaces..."

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As always, entries are open through the end of the month and I can’t wait to see your selections. Remember, you can write as little or as much as you like!

Naomi @ Wonderland Creek
"Gambit" by Rex Stout (Hamlette @ The Edge of the Precipice)
Olivia @ Meanwhile in Rivendell
Rose @ An Old Fashioned Girl


1. Post the Inklings button on your sidebar.
2. Do a post on your own blog relating to the month's selection/subject (a literary excerpt as short or as long as you like AND/OR—if specified that month—a screencap from a film with an explanation of how the scene builds/develops the story). Link back here somewhere in your post.
3. Come back here and paste your link in the comments box and I'll add it to the post. Then enjoy visiting and reading everyone else's contributions!

That's all there is to it!

(And note: you can visit here for buttons and links for previous months. :))

Up next month: A gypsy scene in literature or film

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