Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Psalm 95:1-6 "O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker."
Psalm 100 "Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."

               Psalm 107:1 "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."
          Psalm 145:7 "They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness." 
            1 Chronicles 29:11-13 "Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power
            and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name."
          Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

    Saturday, November 23, 2013

    Prisoners of the Sea

    Prisoners of the Sea was an action packed, high-seas adventure that had me turning pages in growing anticipation! 
    One very unique aspect that I loved about this story is that you don't find out the solution to the mystery until (literally) the last pages! I would never have guessed! It was so interesting and I really liked how things turned out.
    Being a lover of nautical things myself, I really enjoyed the major sections of this book that took place on board the different ships, and one of my favorite characters was Winters- the gruff old sailor. (I REALLY liked his follow-up at the end. :))
    I was happily surprised by this book- most novels that are a bit older and are nearly 400 pages seem to start dragging by the end (at least in my opinion); but Prisoners of the Sea didn't have a boring sentence between the front and back covers! 
    I would (and will) highly recommend this book to everyone!


    Interview: Sarah M. Eden

    I am so excited to be welcoming regency author Sarah Eden to my blog today! I just finished reading her charming novel, Courting Miss Lancaster, and I absolutely loved it! I can't wait to read all of Sarah's other works as well.

    What got you interested in writing?
    My pride. Okay, not really. But I did start writing in response to a dare. After bellyaching to my mother about not being able to find the kind of romances I love, she tossed out a challenge. “Why don’t you write your own?” So I gave it a shot, immersing myself in studying about writing and how to craft good stories. I had already been studying the Regency era for more than a decade, so naturally my first foray into the writing world was a story set in that time period. By the time I finished that first manuscript, I was hooked and have been writing ever since.

    What was your inspiration for the Lancaster series?
    I started with Seeking Persephone which is a Regency-era retelling of the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone. I fell so much in love with the Lancaster family and the other supporting characters in that book that I knew I couldn’t leave it with just that one story. So one by one, I’m letting each of the Lancaster siblings have their moment in the sun.
    Yay! I can't wait to read all the others' stories!!! :D

    What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy most?
    I love telling stories; I always have. I love the work of getting those stories out of my head, pouring my heart into them, even when the effort is overwhelming and frustrating. I love when that story turns out better than I expected it to. I adore hearing from readers who enjoyed a book or a story, who related to a character, who were touched by a particular moment in a story. To feel like I have made a difference for someone, even if it was nothing more than offering an afternoon’s respite from life, that is what I love most.
    Well, you definitely do a great job at storytelling! I was captivated from page one and your story never dragged- it was incredible. :)

    What do you find to be the most challenging part about being a writer?
    The hardest part for me is what author Malinda Lo described as walking into an ice storm. “The... more you put yourself out there... the more criticism is thrown at you, and the unending barrage can wear you down. It can feel like walking into an ice storm. No matter how good your cold weather gear is or how experienced you are at weathering the storm, you have to keep your eyes open so you can keep moving forward. It’s impossible to avoid every freezing barb of ice, and... it stings you in the eyes.”
    Writing involves so, so much rejection. From agents, from readers, from reviewers, from critics, often from other writers. Getting a book from idea to published book inevitably involves critiques, rewrites, rejections, nasty reviews. Walking through that storm can be discouraging and exhausting, but it has to be done. So while it is by far my least favorite part of being a writer, so far it’s worth it.

    What intrigues you most about the Regency era?
    The entire thing. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s the truth. History has always fascinated me. I love delving into an era and learning about the culture of the time, the events that shaped it, the history that influenced it, society’s rules and expectations and how they changed over time. I love the feeling that, by learning more about a place and time in history, I understand the people who lived in it better and, in so doing, understand better what connects us all. Even years and oceans and lifetimes apart, people are so very much the same. We all love and dream and hope.

    What were the most interesting things that you learned while writing and researching "Courting Miss Lancaster"?
    Just as Seeking Persephone is a retelling of the myth of Persephone, Courting Miss Lancaster, Athena Lancaster’s story, pulls heavily from the Greek myth of Athena. She was the goddess of war and intelligence. As such, so much of Athena’s character is based in that concept, a woman who plans and strategizes, who is intelligent and savvy. But leading with her head and not listening to her heart is what keeps her from realizing what she really wants. I thoroughly enjoyed studying Athena and the tales and myths attached to her.
    That is neat! I think it's interesting how you were able to convey a Greek myth into a novel about Regency social life- somehow the two don't seem to go together- but you did a great job and it came out super well! :D

    Which character did you enjoy writing about the most in "Courting Miss Lancaster"?
    Adam. Definitely Adam. I loved writing his character in Seeking Persephone, and being able to revisit him for this book was an absolute joy. He is so gruff and grumpy and has absolutely no sense of tact. When deciding on his dialog, I basically ask myself “If I had no filter and could get away with saying anything in that moment, what would I say?” Then I take it one step further. Adam can get away with it, and I love that about his character.
    Lol that's so awesome! I loved Adam as well! :) I laughed so hard watching him get away with saying so much to so many different people! ;) One of my favorite of his lines from Courting Miss Lancaster: "On your feet, maggot!" Idk why, I just loved it. ;)

    How long (on average) does it take you to write a novel?
    It really just depends on the novel. The fastest I ever wrote a first draft was six weeks. The longest was about six months. To get from the planning stages to the final rewrite is generally 1-2 years. And there are generally years between then and publication because the wheels just turn slowly in this industry.

    What is your goal or mission as a writer?
    I have goals in a lot of different areas. There are specific steps I’d like to take in my publishing journey: markets I’d like to reach, publishers I would love to publish with. I have more personal goals for my writing itself: to continue growing as a writer, to tackle more challenging projects, to expand my repertoire into new subgenres. I want to look back and know that I’ve improved over time. And, of course, every writer has those dreams they hope will come about but know they can’t do much to guarantee: a book that sells better than they’d hoped, winning awards, movie deals, etc. For now, I’m focusing on improving my writing and moving forward.
    Ooh, wow- I'd love to see the "Lancaster" BBC drama! lol :D

    Coffee or tea?
    I love honey-lemon herbal tea, especially during the frigid winter months.

    What is your favorite time of year and why?
    I love the autumn, when the leaves are changing and the mountains all around me turn auburn and gold and russet. The colors are so lush and varying and nothing looks quite like it.

    Where would you go on vacation if you could go anywhere in the world?
    I would go back to Ireland. I’ve been once before and fell irrevocably in love with the people and the country. If I could manage it, I’d love to go back for a long, leisurely stay, wandering the countryside and exploring the winding streets and historical districts of its cities, walking through ancient ruins, climbing the spiraling stairs of its castles, absorbing the wonderful traditional music, and happily falling into a colcannon coma.

    What is your favorite Period Drama film?
    Wait? I have to choose just one? That is cruel. I love North and South, especially the final scene in the train station. I grow giddy just thinking of Pride and Prejudice--Colin Firth version, of course--and have been known to watch the entire 5+ hours in one sitting. My first taste of period dramas was an outing with my mother and sister to watch Sense and Sensibility (Emma Thompson), so I will always be particularly attached to that one. Chances are, if there’s a period drama on, I’ll happily watch it.
    North and South is definitely one of my favorites- but I know what you mean, I love so many of them!!

    What is one thing most people don't know about you?
    I have had 14 teeth pulled. Every time I am seen by a new dental hygienist, we have the inevitable moment when my teeth get counted, then counted again, then generally one more time. I always laugh and explain that I have regular-sized teeth in a teeny, tiny mouth and there just wasn’t room for them all. I probably should just explain upfront, by I kind of enjoy the look of confused shock I get.
    That was a lame “things you don’t know about me,” but everything I thought of was lame. Maybe my answer should have been “Most people don’t know that I’m really lame.”
    That wasn't lame- I'm sure most people didn't know it! lol ;D
    Thanks so much for stopping by and chatting, Sarah! :)


    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    Courting Miss Lancaster

    Amazing. I knew "Courting Miss Lancaster" was one of my new favorite Regencies by the end of chapter 1! It had me laughing from the first page right to the very end! The characters were perfect, witty, charming, intriguing, and hilarious! Harry Windover reminded me of Johnny Lee Miller's portrayal of Mr. Knightley, and Athena reminded me of an odd mix of Emma Woodhouse and Catherine Moorland. I loved both of them so much! Adam and Persephone were incredible too, and SO funny! (I'm really looking forward to going back and reading their story!)
    Sarah Eden has a charmingly captivating and lively style of writing, similar to Julianne Donaldson, Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and Heidi Ashworth (all favorite authors of mine!).
    "Courting Miss Lancaster" is one of those novels that you finish, lovingly put back on the shelf in it's place of honor, and then sit and stare at and think about it for a few minutes before continuing on with your now-improved-day- remembering how amazing you felt when you were reading it, re-living your favorite parts, and feeling a little sad knowing you'll never read it for the first time again... But! Miss Eden writes on! :D I am so excited about reading her other works of genius and wit! :)
    There are just no adequate words...and far too few stars for my rating! 


    Quote-A-Day: Courting Miss Lancaster

    I've laughed SO hard SO many times reading this book!!! Definitely a new favorite...

    “I have no desire to spend every night of the next few months at balls and soirees or drowning in tea with morning callers.” 

    “I believe that your lack of partners had everything to do with the fact that the Duke of Kielder was standing at your shoulder with his hand resting rather ominously on the hilt of his dress sword."
    "He scared them off," Athena surmised.

    “(Athena)"You must have an opinion, then, of who shares with you the distinction of being 'nearly flawless.'"
    "There are many," he replied, "who come close."
    "But do not equal your level of..." Athena searched for the right word.

    "Perfection," Mr. Peterbrook supplied without a hint of hesitation.”

    “After a moment of stunned silence had passed, Persephone spoke. "Adam will be so pleased to know he is considered 'well-togged.” 

    “I have found that sometimes a person is the last to know when she is in love. One's heart does not always share it's secrets with one's mind.” 

    Coming up:
    -"Courting Miss Lancaster (Review)"
    -"Sarah M. Eden (Interview)"


    Sunday, November 17, 2013

    An Elegant Solution

    An Elegant Solution was boring...quite bluntly. I really just couldn't get into it. The entire book seemed to be written in a monotone way that made it hard to discern whether what you just read was vital to the story, or simply commonplace narration and conversation. 
    As far as narration goes, there were too many words. As far as conversation goes, it was really nondescript (almost to the point of confusing at times) and dry. I kept getting lost. 
    I read the entire first half and then for the second half I had to skim parts- I didn't really feel like spending another week and a half dragging myself through words I couldn't make a story out of. :/ Skimming actually helped though, cause when I skipped past some of the over-done paragraphs I could pay attention more easily to the actual story- which I'm still not quite certain I fully grasped. :P
    I did, however, like the underlying lesson of humility I was able to pick out from the second half of the story, with the election of the Chairs and all. :)

    As a side- I loved the title and how it played into the book. :)


    Saturday, November 16, 2013

    Words and Wanderings

    Hello everyone! I hope you're all having a great weekend! I didn't have an interview today, and I'm still working on my current read, so I was thinking I'd just post a few verses I'd found throughout the week, and also a few pictures from around the world I found that I just love! Enjoy!




    Have a blessed Sunday!! :)