In need of a good read? I know I am!

Here in the Midwest, the last couple of days have been a nightmare, at least at our house (well, part of the time was a lot of fun, but the storms have definitely taken their toll), so I’m glad to have another Summer Reads Blog Tour post to share today. Let’s have a look at the books that fellow Worldbuilder Andrea Baker has chosen, shall we? That oughtta keep my mind off the river forming outside my door, at least for a little while…

Summer Reads Blog Tour – Week Five
Andrea Baker

It’s week five already, and it’s time to welcome Andrea Baker. I had the privilege of meeting Andrea a number of years ago on a forum, we became fast friends and have watched each other’s work develop over the years. It’s always amazing for me to look back and see all the changes we’ve been through. Take a peek at not only Andrea’s reads list, but also her books. You won’t be disappointed!

Andrea Baker has had ideas for stories, and poems all of her life, and as a child and teenager, many of these were written in one shape or another.  

As she grew older, and graduated University, she convinced herself that writing was a childhood adventure, and something that she should have grown out of – that these daydreams belonged in the realms of childhood.  For many years she stopped herself writing – although her mind continued creating these worlds and stories, she refused to write them down.

Over the last decade, however…


The mysteries of the English language

Today, I’m happy to host Vyas Muralidharan, who I met through WordPress’s Blogging 201 challenge back in April.  A member of the Literature Blogging Buddy Circle and the Writer’s Guild: By LBSquared, he sent me a post on the history of English that I found quite intriguing.  I hope you’ll enjoy it!

I’m not going to bother introducing myself.  I live where there are mountains, I like to write, and you should go visit my site.  Now, to the topic at hand: English, the dialect of the Anglo people, and what some Republicans call the most American language.  (Actually, that would probably be Inuktitut, but whatever.)

The history of this great language begins at the fall of the Roman Empire (or at least, the end of the Roman presence in Britannia), when they left behind all their roads, but not much of their Latin language.  In 450 AD, the Germanic tribes of Angles and the Saxons (who became Anglo-Saxons) arrived in Britannia.  Anglo-Saxons spoke what we know as Old English.

Anglo-Saxon was a Germanic language from the Indo-European family, meaning it can trace its roots back to Sanskrit and Greek.  When the Romans left, they didn’t leave much of their language.  Old English to the rescue!  It had words that we still use today.   But don’t let that fool you.  The common people of today wouldn’t be able to decipher the language.  This is what Old English looked like:

Five more fun facts!

Lipei serves as a source of much consternation to her beloved big brother Artwork by Hazel Butler

Lipei serves as a source of much consternation to her beloved big brother
Artwork by Hazel Butler

My good friend and fellow Worldbuilder, Andrea Baker, tagged me in the five facts game, and since I’d already considered doing this again for other characters, I was tickled to see I’d been tagged again. 🙂

With that in mind, let’s meet Vegin’s antagonist, shall we?

Fun Facts About Balil Tolhana

  1. Balil is Vegin’s brother-in-law.
  2. He’s a devout priest of the Tolathan order, dedicated to following the teachings of Kiala.
  3. He loathes the royal family and is infuriated when his sister (Lipei) marries the Crown Prince of Lokana (Vegin).
  4. He shares a desire to transform society with his brother-in-law, but goes about it in a much different way.
  5. A complex man, his character is shaped by the loss of his younger brother.

Once again, if you’d like to participate, have at it, and have fun!  Happy Friday!

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.

Seven more lines

Anná Artwork by Hazel Butler

Artwork by Hazel Butler

The wonderful Sammy HK Smith re-tagged me in the 7/7 challenge, so I decided to share a bit more from The Lokana Chronicles, this time from the second book, tentatively titled Fog of War.

Anna stumbled on a tree root.  Her backpack flew from her shoulder and landed somewhere behind her as she went sprawling forward and landed on her stomach.  Groaning, she pushed herself up slowly, rising to her feet from a squat.  She brushed the dirt and leaves from her clothes as she looked for her backpack, but it was nowhere to be found.

With no flashlight to help her see in the dark woods, she gave up on finding her backpack and took a step forward, causing her leg to throb.  She explored her leg with her fingers till she felt something sticky on her right calf – blood.  The sickly metallic scent was unmistakable.

If you’d like to join in the fun, have at it!  I can’t wait to read more excerpts. 🙂

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.

Photo Friday guilt

So, today’s theme is guilty pleasures.  Since I’ve been über busy this week and didn’t have time to appropriately photograph my guilty pleasure, please enjoy this alternate shot:


I’ll admit it: I love the Backstreet Boys (see top left tape).  I love ‘N SYNC.  I love 98°.  And I retroactively love the Spice Girls (meaning I hated them when they were popular and I love them now).  I don’t care how cheesy the music is or how awful their music videos are (“Backstreet’s Back,” anybody?), I can’t help but smile whenever these songs start to play.  And since these tunes influenced so many of my stories in high school, they will always have a soft spot in my heart.

How about you – what are your guilty pleasures?

Don’t forget to visit Charnele’s blog to find out what her guilty pleasure is!

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.

I am enough

MNO_OfficialPoster_HighRemember a while back when I reviewed Moms’ Night Out?  I went to see it again, this time with my mother-in-law, who’d had a very stressful day and needed a good laugh.  I’m so glad she went with me, because we don’t see each other as often as I’d like and we had a ton of fun.  We definitely need to do things like this more often.

Anyway, as we watched the movie, I got to thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know) about why I related so much to Allyson.  I mean, I’ve been there – I stayed home with Bubbles till he was two and now that I only work part-time, I’m home alone with Cricket and Thumper two or three days a week.

It’s hard!  It’s so hard.  Like Allyson, I wanted to be a mom.  Of course, I also wanted to be a world-famous author, but let’s just take this one dream at a time.  Her reasons for wanting to be a mom are never mentioned – it’s simply her dream, and she’s lucky enough to be living it.

As for me…

Another writing challenge

Lipei, the woman for whom Vegin defied his parents Artwork by Hazel Butler

Lipei, the woman for whom Vegin defied his parents
Artwork by Hazel Butler

Yes, I’m doing this on my blog again instead of on Facebook like I’m supposed to.  That’s just the way I roll.

I’m a rebel, see. 😉

Okay, no I’m not – this will make its way to Facebook, probably a couple times over, even.

I was tagged by the lovely AFE Smith for this challenge, which is to share five facts about the main character of your book.  Then, of course, you have to tag five more people, and so it goes.

Fun Facts About Vegin Martoka

  1. Despite all spelling similarities to the word “vegan,” his name is pronounced differently.  It rhymes with “bacon.”
  2. Vegin is an idealist, but feels powerless to fix anything in his kingdom.
  3. His love life, however, is another story.  He fights for the right to marry the woman he loves instead of the woman his parents have chosen, and learns in the process that he’s more capable than he thinks.
  4. He shares the same desire for change as his brother-in-law, but disagrees on how to accomplish that change.  While Balil wants revolution, Vegin hopes for peaceful progress.
  5. Though he counts himself a follower of Kiala (the deity worshipped in Lokana as the Great Mother), he remains skeptical of the truth he discovers in his father’s bequest.

I’m going to make this an open tag – if you’d like to participate, have at it!  Then let me know so that I can read all about your characters. 🙂

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.

Facing fear

100_2329Once again, a Writing 101 challenge.  Today’s topic: My worst fear.

I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but my worst fear is that I’ll die before my kids are grown up.  My memories of my mom are fragmented; sometimes I remember things that don’t seem possible, and other times I recall things with crystal clarity.

But mostly, I don’t remember.  I don’t remember very much about my childhood before my mom died.  I would really, really hate for my kids to say the same.  I’ve always worried about it, which is why I stayed at home with Bubbles the first two years of his life.

The only problem is that…

Love rocks

IMG_20140624_153931We’ve been doing a lot of work on houses lately.  Last weekend (not this past weekend, but the one before it, the weekend of Father’s Day) we painted our old house because our deal fell through and people who’d looked at it before thought it was too much work to fix (although what’s so hard about hiring someone to side it once you’ve bought it is beyond me).

Anyway, it’s a three-story house.  We painted it in a single day.

Now you know why I’ve been so tired lately and so behind on so many things.  I have a whole post (complete with pictures!) that I want to write on the topic, and maybe I’ll get it done in the next couple of days.  But this isn’t about that.

This is actually about all the work we’ve been doing on our new house.

We haven’t done as much to the new place as we’d hoped to have done by now, primarily because we haven’t sold our old house yet.  So far, we’ve connected to rural water (No more smelly well water!  Yay!), we’ve replaced the water heater that crapped out on us at the end of April, we’ve installed a new washer and dryer, and Seymour has built a new bathroom down in our basement.  It’s not quite functional yet, but we’ve been so busy that he hasn’t had time to finish working on it.

We also filled in an old well and two cisterns last fall, something we thought was a great idea.  Now the kids can play in the yard without us worrying that they’ll fall through rotting boards and drown (seriously, that well was so deep that it took three full dump trucks full of sand to fill it up, and even then there was a dip in the yard that we had to fill with dirt).

There’s just one problem.

The 7/7/7 challenge!

Vegin Artwork by Hazel Butler

Artwork by Hazel Butler

The ever-lovely Will Macmillan Jones tagged me in the 7/7 challenge (or the 7/7/7 challenge – I’ve seen it both ways).  It’s a new thing going around Facebook, where you go to the seventh page (or the seventeenth page or the seventy-seventh page) of your current WIP and share seven lines (or seven sentences, whichever you choose).  Once finished, you tag seven others to complete the challenge.

Give you one guess which WIP I’m going to quote from. 😀

From the newly-revised page seven, here’s a snippet from The Lokana Chronicles, in which the prince, Vegin, receives a history lesson from his tutor, Surat:

“Garedon was a widower early in life,” Surat began.  “The loss of his wife devastated him, for they’d been very much in love.  But when the pain of losing her began to fade, loneliness replaced it, and he sought companionship in the less reputable quarters of the city.

“One day, Misranna caught his eye.  Garedon was immediately infatuated, and soon he was sneaking off to see her at all hours of the day and night.  His father threatened to imprison him for disregarding his responsibilities, but the young prince ignored him.”

Vegin found himself wishing he’d known his great-grandfather.  It took guts to stand up to one’s parents so publicly, and he wasn’t sure he’d have had the stomach for it.  “So what happened?”

Okay, so this is nine sentences, but I couldn’t very well stop after the first line of that paragraph, and nine lines isn’t so much, is it?  Actually, I guess it’s only eight lines (but nine sentences).  So see?  It’s okay.

And now for the tagging bit!  I’ll tag AFE Smith, Kate Jack, MT McGuire, Tricia Drammeh, and Emily McKeon.  I know this is a Facebook thing, but I couldn’t resist sharing this with you, too. 🙂

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.