Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Announcements!!! We should have Balloons... :D

First of all, I would like to announce that I have now received an entry for the "First Chapter" contest and have posted it on the new page dedicated to this contest titled "The Amazing First Chapter Contest!"  So go check it out if you  haven't already.  This first entry is under the title "Children of the Song", and it's pretty good... if I do say so myself. *grin*  But it's not mine, so go check it out!  :)

The second announcement I have is that Jake is having a Fantastic Flaming Give-away over at his blog "Teenage Writer".

 He's giving away Wayne Thomas Batson's second pirate book "Isle of Fire".  It should be really good; I've been hearing all types of praise about this one. :)

So go ahead and check it out.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Dusty Glory of the Unedited

So in honor of Banned Book Week, I have decided to participate in The Rejectionist's little Uncontest thing.  In order to do this I must post a piece of unedited work from my journal, but in my journal's absence, (I have no idea where I put the stupid thing), I've decided to post parts of the original draft of Eldrei instead.

It was very interesting going back through this, I can tell you!  I just shake my head... I've learned so much since that first draft.  So without further ado, (and for your humorous enjoyment), I give you the original prologue of Eldrei in all its unedited, very purple raweness.


The night was chilled, the sky clear and dark cobalt with stars that glistened like studded jewels. A cold wind howled over the mountains; its many voices echoed through the crags and caverns in eerie moans. High above the mountains the single figure of a Pegasus flew silhouetted against the stars. Its silver-white color was muted in the darkness, the light of the moon dimly visible through its translucent wings. The wing feathers glistened like starlit rain beneath the silver light. If one listened, a strange song could be heard coming forth from its inhuman lips:

Eldrëi os Enin ûrn melnorë dest vaenr

Melnorë shïahn lïr ev im fïunr

Lïr esten rêdant os lïr esten vansrï

Ïnd im eliath ahstal lïr oglah ëahsrï

Esten ëahsrï ûrn shlenga ev eliath

Hwitr im ôlandrë; valla im fïunr cahlath

Cahlath tërh im myûrn tûr trahs emrï im fïun

Esten trûr ahstal drassa ûartahm lathëûn

Yërh ûrn ceiron trahs vahl ahsr ahtanï?(1)

The song continued, rising into the night: a heartrending lament, grieving the wrongs of the land. Below, the earth trembled, awakening to remember all of its loss, all the sorrows it had faced. Those who could understand the words cried unashamedly.

Higher than the Pegasus, up in the dome of the heavens themselves, stood a woman looking down on the earth far below. She was so fair that the brightest and most perfect sapphire ever mined was shamed at the sight of her deep blue eyes. Her hair fell in near liquid torrents of gold, shining like the sun itself with just the slightest gleam of moon rays woven in. Her lips, deep red, set against a fair and queenly complexion, might have been what inspired the rose to don such an elegant gown. Her robes, sparkling silver and aqua, shimmered with the light of stars. Indeed, the Lady was herself a star, the Queen of the stars no less, but her beauty was marred with worry that night as she looked down anxiously past her unshod feet to the land of Midgard far in the west, where a band of wanderers stumbled through an uninhabited, adverse wasteland. The only comfort to be drawn from the hostile earth came from the presence of a wide but shallow river slowly snaking its way across the land in a shimmering, meandering ribbon. But the presence of water had no visible affect on the land around.

Her intense gaze followed two small figures struggling to keep up at the end of the caravan. As the boy stumbled, the girl helped him to his feet. “Em hithrar valstor, esten frëar,”(2) she whispered into the darkness, nervously grasping the silver pendant strung about her neck.

As she gazed ceaselessly down on the land below, the sun crept up in the east, splaying his golden fingers to grasp the land in his embrace as the stars and moon began to fade away. And as the dawn crept over the hills in hues of peach and gold, the Pegasus flew east and disappeared from view in the rays of the rising sun.


Down on the ground, not far from Ithin Renue — a large pillar of grey stone jutting up from the ground like a finger frozen in rock — there waited impatiently a coal-black horse. Its dark coat stood out against the bright sun like the shaded, clinging remnants of night, and its eyes glowed red like a dying flame. The rider on its back had a look that could send chills down even the bravest’s back. He held the reins tightly in a thin hand. Covered from head to toe in a cloak as black as death, the only thing that was quite visible was the sheath of a sword and the sword’s hilt sticking out of the cloak, both of which were the color of the darkest midnight. The sword blade, though hidden at the time, was a cruel and twisted thing, made of black steel like its owner. The blood drain was colored crimson, stained by the blood it’d spilt so many times before.

The rider’s hood was pulled far over his face to hide it from the light of the sun; what could be seen of his hands was but a shadow. The horse grunted impatiently and stamped a hoof to the ground. The rider turned and looked into the west where his sharp eyes saw, far off, the shimmering leaves of the golden tree as the early rays of the sun hit them—and farther than that, over the border of Nerovell, he saw the mountain rift of Kreshin rising up against the western horizon from the lands of Midgard like great ominous walls of some ancient time when the land was ruled by giants.

They stood and waited until midday, horse and rider, and finally a small figure could be seen coming toward them from the west. It was a sickly green, brownish-gray color and wore no clothes, nor had it fur or plumage of any kind. Its horrible, stretched-taut skin revealed its gaunt skeleton in a most grotesque manner. Its long tail, vaguely resembling a snake, flicked back and forth as it approached, just as a cat’s might. The creature walked on all fours with its extraordinarily long limbs moving it forward quickly. Its back was twisted and misshapen; its hands and feet, disproportionately large. Approaching the black horse, it fell beneath the gaze of the cloaked figure, wretchedly groveling at the horse’s hooves.

“They are now on their way easht to the Mountain Rift of Kreshin,” it said in a thin and tortured voice, hissing through its teeth. “It will not be long and you will have them in your grashp.”

The cloaked figure looked out over the western plain; a sneer of satisfaction escaped from its throat. In a hollow voice as cold as ice it spoke, clear loathe of the creature evident in its every word. “You're sure they're unaware of you?”

“They know not that we follow.”

“Good. Go then and keep track of their progress. I want to be notified as soon as they cross the border. They shall not get far.”

The scrawny being bowed its head low and touched it to the ground. Then it turned and raced westward as fast as it could go. The black horse grunted and the rider tightened his grip on the reins, letting out an evil chuckle as he thought of how easy his task was to be. Two small children were all that he was required to capture… two children and then the task was done. It seemed almost a joke. Surely his master couldn’t think this a difficult undertaking!

He drew out the sword and stared at the coal-black blade as he spoke absently to his horse. “This shall be effortless. All I need do is capture two witless, worthless babes and I shall be done—but what would he want with children?” He shrugged and resheathed his sword. That was not something he needed to be concerned about; let his master keep his reasons. He need only do as commanded.

Laughing darkly, he turned the horse east, galloping over the plains toward a forest some days’ ride away. It would take him only a matter of hours.

Wow... talk about "NOT NEEDED"!  Pretty much all of this has been completely taken out and worked into the story in some other way, and that poem thing has been completely redone as a prophesy.  Yeah... old and a bit embaressing... oh, but believe me; it gets better.  I just can't post this wonderful awfulness right now because of a contest I'm in... because, it has my character names in it, and that would mean people would know which entry is mine, which is forbidden... XD

Monday, September 27, 2010

Raven's Ladder -- A Review

Well, I told you I would get around to posting a review of "Raven's Ladder" and here it is at last!

 There is unrest among the survivors of House Abascar.  Winter approaches, and with few provisions the House has little chance of survival.  New quakes shake the foundations of stone that shelter them, turning the Black Caves into a place of fear, pain, and sometimes death.  The time draws near for Cal-Raven's meeting with his old mentor, and now a new problem weighs on the young king's shoulders: assassins from within who wish for his life.

Yet these he puts aside.  He must meet with his mentor; Shar Ben Fray will know what to do.  And so Cal-Raven sets out on a journey - following Auralia's colors and the footsteps of a mysterious dream creature - that will bring him to the edge of myth, and draw him back again humbled and determined.

But while he is gone, a blackness settles over the caves at Barnushum, and Cal-Raven's faithful body guard must decide to leave the cave to preserve the safety of the House.  Out alone in the wild, without walls to protect them or a king to follow, the remains of House Abascar are routed by the fortune hunters of Bel-Amica, a more powerful danger than the prowling beastmen.  And to make matters worse, Bel-Amica has discovered the wonder of Auralia's colors, twisting the truth behind its beauty into a symbol of a dark and tortured religion.  While Cynder, daughter to Bel-Amica's Queen, and Jordam, a beastman changed by the wonder of Aralia's colors, team up with Cal-Raven and the mysterious, fiery Ale-boy of House Abascar,  striving to learn the real truth behind the colors and to rescue those humans still enslaved by the beastmen underground, the survivors of House Abascar slowly begin to succumb to the pagan wonders of the House on the edge of the Mystery Sea.

But now there is a new mystery to be solved, and one that's familiarity is both strange and beautiful like a wistful dream just out of reach of memory.  Who is this young glass-worker whose childish ways and wondrous creativity reflect those seen in Auralia before Abascar's fall?  And, perhaps more importantly, who is this girl's silent woman guardian who so fervently protects the child's right to play, whose past is a mystery even to herself, and whose small fingers bare the signet ring of King Cal-Raven?

My Thoughts:

Pros:  "Raven's Ladder" is the third book in the Auralia Thread.  As with his other books, Mr. Overstreet approaches this one with a wonderful sense of originality and a story-telling ability that (in my opinion) rivals many well-known authors of this day.  The story is crisp and clean, well balanced with action and underlying meaning.  There were many places where I held my breath in wait for what would happen next, or stopped to reread a passage when my mind caught a hidden meaning that my eyes had accidentally missed. 

Cons: Actually, I didn't have any problems with this book.  It was clean all the way through, completely well done, and left me on the edge of my seat even to the very end... where I sighed in frustration because the fourth book in the Auralia Strand isn't out yet.

I give this five stars out of five.  If you love The Chronicles of Narnia, then for heaven's sake don't miss out on the Auralia Strand!  :D

(On a completely different note, please don't forget that submissions for the "First Chapter" Contest on my blog is now open, and that I'm also considering throwing in a third place prize. XD)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Songs!!! :D Now you can listen if you Want!!!

Ok, so I realize that this is my second post today, and usually I don't do this sort of thing, but I just found a place where I can upload songs that I've written and recorded.  Now, admittedly I only have two of my songs proffesionally recorded, and that was done several years ago... so the voices sound rather young. 

The first song is called "Good Morning My Songbirds", and the second is titled "Summer Tales".  They are sung by me and my younger sister.  Usually I sing the first verse or so and then fall into harmony while she carries on with the melody. 

I must say now, I'm not as excited with how "Summer Tales" turned out as I am with  "Good Morning My Songbirds".  I feel like "Summer Tales" is slightly under pitch, and it bothers me.  But until I can get my hands on a remix, it's all I have so... *shrug*

If you would like to listen to my songs, you can play them here.  Then please, please, please let me know what you think of them!!! :D

For those Horse-Lovers out there :D

Going through my old documents the other day, I came across a poem that I wrote years ago and then forgot about.  I wrote it when I was 16, so that was ages ago considering that I'll turn 22 on Sunday.  But 16 was a very, very special year.  It wasn't the year that I got my driver's liscence, oh no!  I didn't do that until I was 18.  But it was about a week after my 16th birthday that I started writing the RD for "Eldrei".  Yes, it's been that long!  And I'm happy to say that Eldrei's rewrite is going extremely well.  :)

So anyway, I've written well over a hundred poems in my short life, mostly because of the fact that I didn't try to write a novel until I was 16.   I completely forgot I had written this poem, but finding it in my old documents and dusting it off, here is a poem for you Horse-Lovers out there.  :D

"Still Run the Phantom Horses"

By Nichole White

Can you  hear them beating on the wind?
The hooves of those long gone...
When once they tramped the ground with pride
Ran neck to neck, and side by side
And carried swiftly on
The Spirit of the Wilderness.
But now that they are gone,
How dimly to our eyes yet see
The portrait of what used to be.

When once they roamed the land all free
And under no man's rule -
No whip to break and scourge their backs;
No reins to keep thier feet on track,
And they were no one's tool -
They roamed the land all fair and free
Away from masters cruel,
Or wise and kind...
They ran upon their own design.

But long now have they faded off,
And yet there is running still
The heirs to all the western lands
Away from weather-beaten hands
And farther from the till,
Or leather straps that strain and hold.
There, running with them still,
Thier sires of old to keep their courses:
Still run the Phantom Horses.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

“The Theme of the Thing”: Elements of the Story, part 1

It is interesting to consciously try to think about a theme as you are reading a book. Or, for that matter, while you are writing one. If you have never tried this before, you might want to sometime.

First, one needs to ask oneself, "What is a Theme?"


Theme is a/an…


subject of discussion or composition:

the subject of a discourse, discussion, piece of writing, or artistic composition




distinct and unifying idea: a distinct, recurring, and unifying quality or idea


Essay or written exercise: a short essay or written exercise for a student


6. With distinct subject: with one distinct and recurring subject, principle, or idea

For writers, a theme tends to lean more towards #2: "A distinct, unifying, often recurring idea" that we usually don't even know is in our writings until someone else points it out to us.

Themes like to slip in quietly and take over, but even though the writer isn't usually conscious of their existence until later in the process, they do add a whole new level of depth to the writing.

Consider Shakespeare. If you've ever taken a Shakespearian Literature class, then you might know what I'm talking about. People read themes right into his work without pausing to wonder if he meant to put them there or not: Hamlet = contemplating death, Taming of the Shrew = gender differences (somewhat), Romeo and Juliet = consequences and the question of "what is actual true love?"…

And the list goes on.

Does this mean that Shakespeare knowingly put these themes into his works? Probably not. It is my opinion that most writers have no idea themes are slipping into their works and seamlessly taking over. But then one needs to ask oneself "how does this happen?" After all, we as writers don't MEAN for it to happen. Half the time we don't think our stories have anything to do with the themes that people read into them, so just how do these important little tid-bits worm there way in?

The answer is quite simple: it's subliminal. Ah yes, the mysteries of the mind! There are probably thousands of "hows" and "whys" and "what fors"that we can answer on this subject, but my own personal opinion is that everything has to do with Character. Writers care about their characters. We want to know what our characters feel, how they act, how they react, and what their thoughts really are. We want to immerse ourselves in their personas so deeply that it's as if we are actually a part of them – as much a part of them, in fact, as they are of us. We want to live out their lives at the same time that they live out their lives. And while we study and contemplate who and what our characters really are, the subliminal themes of their personal world slip into place and we DON'T EVEN KNOW IT!

How do they do that?!

Well, themes in a story are usually based on the writer's thoughts, ideas, morals, and outlook on the world in general. For example, if you are a Christian (as I am) and you decide to write a fantasy book (which I have) where the rules of this world and time don't necessarily apply in that one, you might still make your protagonist believe the things that you believe, or apply your morals to their actions.


  1. A warrior princess wouldn't wear provocative clothing: perhaps instead she prefers long skirts and turtlenecks. *what?* :D


  2. Your Hero doesn't just kill somebody because he likes blood and killing: instead he might fight with himself internally about the justice of the act. Would he kill anyway? Depends on the situation.

See what I mean? When we write or tell stories, we are trying to find a type of organization in the world (yes, even if we write fiction). To do that, we start with what makes sense to us. In applying what we know to make sense in our lives to our writing, we unintentionally apply our own understanding of things to the world we are creating. Because we probably relate best with our protagonists, we tend to make the protagonists' morals similar to ours. Note that I don't say we make the Protagonists' beliefs similar to ours, because a lot of times in Christian Spec-fic the point that drives the plot along is the protagonist discovering or even changing his or her beliefs. :D

Now let's go back and take a look at the definition of the word "theme". We find that a theme is a "distinct unifying quality, principle, or idea". We may not consciously put themes into our writings, but we sure as vanilla ice-cream had better not take them out!

Yes, themes are important. They take all the little elements of the story – the minute details, the small and seemingly insignificant scenes – and tie them together so that at the end your story makes sense. If, when told by a reader about a certain theme in your story, you decided to go in and completely dissect the writing in order to take that theme out, not only would you have to completely rewrite the entire story, but you probably wouldn't do a very good job at getting rid of the theme entirely and when you finished your story might not make any sense at all.

In short, themes are unifying. They make all the quirky-ness make sense. :D

I doubt that a writer can actually pin point all of the little themes included in their story. There might be one or two main ones, but if you ask 100 people who've read the same book to name 10 of its themes, odds are 8 out of 10 of those themes will differ from person to person. But a theme is something that a story absolutely can't do without. Even if they are unintentional, themes are an important element to any good story; in some tales they are more evident and in some tales they are less so, but they are always important.

Now, go take a look at some of your writings, really think about what themes might be included, and tell me what they are. I'll get you all started. One of the themes in "Song of the Daystar" is divine revelation. Another is discovering a true purpose… and those are just the easy ones (you know, the ones my mother had to point out to me. :D)

What are some of yours?


Announcements: Yeah!

Eldrei Word count: 25,740

Hello blogging friends. I have a couple of announcements to make. The first is that the new “First Chapter” Contest/give-away on my blog is now open for submissions! So dust off those old first chapters and send them in. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone has out there. Another thing is that it would be absolutely amazing if other writerly-type people found out about this contest, so if any of you would like to blog about it, go right on ahead.

And then, following the theme of “Contests”, there is a “Green Give-away” over at Squeak’s blog.  What you need to enter is to send an excerpt from your story to squeaks via email, OR you can write a few paragraphs about one of the elements and send that it.  The excerpt or your paragraphs have to be 600 words long or under, and it also has to have the word "green" worked into it somewhere, but it can't sound forced.  Go check it out! :)

And last but not least, I'm thinking about starting a blog series on the Elements of the Story.  I'll probably be posting the first part of it later today, so stay tuned.

And that's all for now.  Have a nice day! :D

Friday, September 17, 2010


Eldrei Wordcount: pretty much where it was before...

Hi all!

I was tagged by Eldra over at A Day on Daremo. So here we go. I haven’t been tagged in ages. :)

Top 5 favorite songs:

1. All Souls Night – Lareena Mackennit

2. May it be – Celtic Woman

3. Heaven is the Face – Steven Curtis Chapman

4. Wonder-kind – Narnia

5. Jesus Freak – DC Talk

Top 5 favorite colors:

1. Blood red

2. Gold

3. Silver

4. black

5. Cobalt or royal purple

Top 5 favorite animals: (Ok… animals? I’m going to cheat here and name my some of my favorite “creatures” :D)

1. Gryphons

2. Dragons

3. horses

4. Cats – especially lions like Aslan. :D

5. My Doggies!!!!

Top 5 favorite horse breeds:

1. Arabians

2. Friesians

3. draft

4. shire

5. Tennessee Walkers

Top 5 favorite books:

1. “The Ink Trilogy” by Cornelia Funke – yes, the whole trilogy! Those books are amazing!

2. Lord of the Rings

3. The Chronicles of Narnia

4. Watership Down

5. The Dragon Keeper series by Donita K. Paul.

And there are lots more… way too many to name. In fact, I think this question is a bit unfair as I have many, many favorite books! :( And they’re all so good, I don’t know that I can really choose a favorite, for say.

And… Yeah, that’s it. Those are my favorite things. Now it’s my turn to tag people. And I tag Jake, Storyteller, and Brandi_fay.

Monday, September 13, 2010


But it's not mine; it's over this way...

And it's a really great book too!  "A Star Curiously Singing"  published through Marcher Lord Press.  So if you like to read good Christian Sci-Fi, then check this one out! :D

Book Review – “Sword of the Six” by Scott Appleton

Eldrei Word Count:  25,404

Well, originally I meant for my next book review to be about "Raven's Ladder", the third thread in the Auralia strand, but a few weeks back I ordered a copy of "Sword of the Six" from and I when I got it in the mail, I practically devoured the book. So this review is going to be about "Sword of the Six" and hopefully my next review will be about "Raven's Ladder". As with all of my reviews, I warn readers now that there will probably be a few spoilers ahead. :D

 A thousand years ago the land of Subterran was riddled with war, and in the hands of six chosen warriors was placed the ability to change the dark future that brewed. But of the six, only one remained faithful to the Great White Dragon, Albino, and the other five betrayed the one for the promise of dark power. Yet even as their swords slid free of the one's flesh and with his own blood dripping upon him as he lay slain, the Great White Dragon landed among the five and their swords instantly rusted, cursed by the innocent blood they had shed. Of the five, only three of them escaped.

Now, a thousand years later, Albino puts in motion a plan to restore that which was utterly sullied. From dragon eggs he hatches six human daughters – his offspring all – and unto them he bestows the rusted blades of his six warriors, five of whom betrayed him, and three who yet have to pay the penalty of their crimes. Unto his daughters he bequeaths this task; seek out the remaining traitors, and if they do not repent of their past deeds and turn from their wickedness, kill them with the blades they used to commit their crimes.

And so sets in motion a great tale of magic, intrigue, and justice, with an allegorical flare that readers will be able to recognize, and a quest for truth that will leave them breathless.

Scott Appleton, the author of "Sword of the Six" and the rest of the upcoming books in "The Sword of the Dragon" series, was homeschooled right through high school during which time he developed a love of reading and writing from his mother, and a love for science from his father. Upon graduating high school, he traveled to Thailand as a student missionary and stayed for three months, journeying into the Kingdom of Cambodia and through the People's Republic of Laos. Upon returning to the states he studied Math and English at a community college, and later obtained a certificate in Creative Editing through an online course. He wrote "Sword of the Six" and went on to create his own publishing company, "Flaming Pen Press", currently the publisher for several books including "Sword of the Six" which is the first book in "The Sword of the Dragon" series, "The Fairy's Ruby Cage", and "Kestrel's Midnight Song" newly released in September. A future book to be released around Christmas is an anthology of short stories written by Mr. Appleton. Also, "Sword of the Six" is no longer available through Flaming Pen Press as Mr. Appleton went on to sign a book deal with AMG publishers, the company who published the "Dragons in our Midst" series, and the publisher of Wayne Thomas Batson's new book, "Sword in the Stars". "Sword of the Six" will eventually be re-released through AMG. Scott currently works as a freelance reporter, editor, and a fiction writer.

My thoughts on the book:

PROS: "Sword of the Six" is a book of high adventure that fantasy readers will certainly appreciate… especially Christian Fantasy readers. I recognized the allegory behind the tale right away, and there are other, more subtle allegorical themes laced throughout. Many of the characters are intriguing and easy to follow, especially the character of Dantress whose utter purity would mistakenly denote her as naïve, yet whose unreserved quest for justice and truth mark her as a true epic heroin. There is a healthy love and a slight conflicting feel between the sisters' personalities, which I believe is always good to show; it proves that, though they are sisters, they are still different from each other with their own personalities. The book is engaging and the writing is done well. The scenes are vivid and fast paced; so much so, that I couldn't help but cry during several scenes, and found myself with pent breath while reading others. As I was reading, I could actually see the scenes play out in all their glory and color, and several times I stopped to sketch out what I saw, so vivid were they written. Also, the world in which this all takes place seems well fleshed out, and the characters of Albino, the mysterious shepherd called Patient, and the man named Specter with a past shrouded in obscurity have got to be my most favorite characters of all. This is a good story; I believe that young readers who follow this genre will thoroughly enjoy it, and will eagerly await the following books on the edge of their seats.

CONS: There were a few places in the story where I felt the writing was a little under-done, leaving the scene feeling slightly "dry". In these parts I would have loved some more detailed descriptions – but then, I enjoy writing out details, so perhaps that is only my preference. Also, in the first part of the book, the sisters often came across as much younger than their sixteen years, but again, that might only be my opinion. Personally, my favorite parts of the book are split between the prologue and the second half of the story where Dantress meets someone and falls in love; I believe the writing is a bit more solid in those parts, and the characters seem deeper – more flesh and bone, if that makes any sense.

Altogether this is an excellent read. Other than what is mentioned above, I really have nothing to pick at. I am looking forward to reading the next book, "Offspring" when it comes out from AMG. If this book is anything to go by, "Offspring" promises to hold even greater adventure and magic between its covers. I can hardly wait! I recommend "Swords of the Six" to any who love classical fantasy, and also to those who enjoy a good allegory. Those who love "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Door Within" trilogy will absolutely devour this read.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Questions, Answers, and the Prizes!!!

This post is in answer to a few questions about the "First Chapter" contest I am hosting on my blog. If you would like to know more about it, please read this post. The questions aren't in the same order as they were received, but that's ok. :)

Q: Will you keep the names of the authors to yourself until after the contest is judged?

A: Yes. As before, I will not be posting who wrote what until after the contest is judged; that way no one can be bias – unless you and a bunch of your close friends are all entering at the same time, but that just might get confusing. :D  However, I will need either the title of your book in progress, or the title of the first chapter that you send me in order for readers (and myself) to distinguish what is what. 

Also, just like before, the contest will be judged by my readers.  A poll will be put up on October 30th, which should give everyone enough time to read all the entries.  The poll will remain open until November 15th, so if you want friends and family to vote, let them know that they need to do so before the 11/15 or their votes might not count!  Also, please be fair to the other participants and try to read at least a few of the other chapters... this will make it fun, entertaining, and fair for all.  :D

Q: Can I submit just my prologue or do I have to submit the real first chapter too?

A: Well... this is a "First Chapter" contest. I know what it's like to have a bad first chapter, but don't worry so much about it. For one thing ALL FIRST CHAPTERS ARE BAD ONES until the publisher deems them otherwise. And the writer is always their own worst critic. We are picky by nature; I'm still picking on SOTD, and I just sent the manuscript off! So, even if you believe that your chapter isn't good enough, I ask that you please note that I've given everyone until the 25th of October before anything really needs to be submitted. That's a whole month away! I appreciate early submissions of course, but I know what it's like to be a finicky writer... and YOU KNOW what you want your first chapter to be like. If you think you will drastically change the first chapter later, then fine -- if you think you can't send it in because it's still just concept, that's ok; we don't have to know all that. But we would still like to read your chapter. So yes, please send in your first chapter with your prologue, and try not to worry too much about it. While there will be prizes at the end, this contest is mostly just for FUN! :D

Q: What are the prizes? Will they be the same as last time?

A: Yes… mostly. The First Place Winner will have a page completely dedicated to showcasing their work on “The Pen and Parchment”, AND they will also have a choice between two books (which I will talk about in a minute). The Second Place Winner will receive the book that wasn’t chosen by the first.

When I posted before, I wasn’t sure which books I would have up for grabs, but I have decided now and they are both amazing!  The pictures I have aren't the greatest, but here...

The First one is "Submerged" by Alton Gansky:

As senior project manager for his father's construction firm, Perry Sachs has helped build top secret military installations around the world.  Now he learns a secret beyond his imagination - one on which his father's life depends.

Forty years before, Henry Sachs and a small group of scientists had studied a mysterious underground base not built by the U.S. government - nor any other country, as far as the experts could tell.  Concerned by the unexplainable complex on American soil, authorities flooded the site to prevent its creators from ever returning.

Now, Henry and members of his team are falling, one by one, to a strange, deadly illness.  When Perry hears his father whisper the name "Lake Lloyd," he and his team begin a desperate search - for the exact location of Henry's secret mission, for the cause and cure of his condition, and for answers to the decades-old questions Henry has kept hidden inside. 

Will Perry's faith carry him through this quest - or will the realities of Lake Lloyd prove to be his undoing?

This is a book you will read all the way through.  I couldn't even put it down!  It was amazing to the very end.  Alton Gansky has written a numerous amount of Christian suspense novels and "Submerged" is no exception.  I have no doubt that whoever gets this book will love it!

The second book is "Dragon Rider" by Cornelia Funke, author of the "Ink trilogy" the first of which, "Inkheart" was turned into a motion picture.  She is also the author of "The Thief Lord" and quite a few other books.

Fire Drake, Ben, and their fury friend, Sorrel are in search of the mythical place where dragons can live in peace forever.  Together they embark on a journey that takes them to magical lands where they meet marvelous creatures - and one ruthless villain.  Along the way they will discovers allies in odd places, courage they didn't know they had, and a hidden destiny that changes everything.

"Dragon Rider" is fast paced and filled with action and fun.  It's pretty thick, but the reading is relatively easy and you certainly won't regret picking it up!  I have read several of Mrs. Funke's books: the Ink Trilogy is, by far, some of my favorite books ever, but "Dragon Rider" and "The Thief Lord" are not far behind.  While this isn't necessarily a Christian book, Mrs. Funke definitely knows who she's writing for: all of her books are written extremely well and are very fun, very clean reads.  If you haven't already, you WILL fall in love with her writing!

So those are the prizes: you could hardly ask for better!  Both copies have been read before, but they are in EXTREMELY GOOD condition -- practically like new.

So tell your writing friends about it, AND DON'T MISS OUT ON THIS OPPORTUNITY!  Send in your first chapter, even if you're not sure about it.  At least you'll have a chance.  And who knows, you might win!  :D 

In Honor Of...

Eldrei Word Count: 24,649 (yes, it is moving… slowly. :D)

Well it is official: yesterday I mailed out a hard copy of "Song of the Daystar" in reply to a request for the full manuscript. I'm so excited! This request is not a guarantee for publication, but it's still a big step. By complete coincidence and a miracle I was given permission from the publisher to take an extra week to check for typos before I sent it off for them to review. I finished the final run-through on Friday evening, but unfortunately my postal service is closed after 11:00am on Saturday, and (of course) Monday was Labor Day. Thus I had to wait patiently (very impatiently!) for Tuesday morning to arrive and for the postal service to open.

So, in honor of this very exciting moment of my life, I have decided to host another contest!

Yes, another chance to have a page completely dedicated to showcasing your work on "The Pen and Parchment". Such an honor! (Actually, I don't know how "honored" the winner might feel… it just sounded cool to say it that way. :D)

However, this contest is slightly different than the last one.

  1. This is a "First Chapter" contest. Which means those who enter will have to get brave and post a piece of their novel in progress. If you have a prologue, then please include it along with your first chapter; prologues are important parts too! :D If you are not writing a novel but you would still like to enter the contest, you may enter one (1) short story of about 6k words. OR. You may enter up to 6k of any novella you are writing. This should make it fair for just about everybody.
    2.   There may be a second place prize this time. I just have to figure out what it is first. ;)
    Here are the rules:

    1. Entries must be sent either as:
            a)  A Microsoft Word file
            b)  An RTF file.
            c) In the body of the email.
                        I would prefer they be sent as an MS Word document, or in the body of the email please.
    1.  To enter, you must provide me with either a name or pseudonym in the body of the email. NO BLANK EMAILS! If you are sending your files in an attachment, please write SOMETHING in the body of the email... introduce yourself to me; that will help me keep track of all the entries.
    2.  As before, I will not be posting who wrote what until after the contest is judged; that way no one can be bias – unless you and a bunch of your close friends are all entering at the same time, but that just might get confusing. :D
    3.  If you edit after you have already sent me your submission, you may send the edited version to me to replace your first submission ONLY 2 TIMES. I will be keeping track. This wasn't a very big problem last time, but it will save a lot of updating that I don't have time for (what with school and all).
    4.  Submissions open September 20th. That should give you all some time to edit and change anything you feel needs to be changed. The submission deadline will be set for October 25th.

    PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD! This should be a really awesome contest, and one that it would be a shame to miss. After all, this is your chance to show other writers what you're made of and to get them sitting on the edge of their seats for your next chapter! :D

    I already can't wait!

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    My Guest Post -- Paper VS. Digital

    Eldrei Word Count: same as last time.  :D

    This is just a quick post to let my readers know that I wrote an article on Paper VS. Digital that is now posted on Squeaks' blog, Hidden Doorways.  You can find my article here.  I hope you enjoy it!  :)

    Nichole White

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    When Your Brain Goes on the Frits... Sing a Christmas Song!!!

    Eldrei Word Count: (not at my home computer at the moment… somewhere roughly around 24,000)

    When I write a blog post, I usually try to make it meaningful and have some useful piece of information attached to it somehow. But that is not today. Today, for some reason, my mind has decided to take a vacation and I just can't concentrate. So if this post starts to go off in some random direction, I apologize in advance.

    A subject I have been meaning to approach for some time is that of random poetry or song writing/singing. Now, I am a novelist through and through, but every once in awhile (much like today) my brain decides to go bananas and starts spouting of random lines of rhyming poetry and adding music to them. What can you expect when your brain does this? Well, it's quite simple: the result is that you start singing a funny Christmas Song that you wrote a year ago in September!

    Let me elaborate:

    White Christmas [OR] Letter to Santa (the product of Nichole's brain on the frits)

    Green Christmases are stupid,
    They are not Right; they're wrong
    And that is why I'm singing
    This "no Green Christmas" song
    I'm tired of green grasses
    When Christmas time is near
    'Cause all I've ever wanted
    Is one White Christmas year

    Please, Please, Please oh Santa
    If there's one thing you could bring
    Could it be a good White Christmas?
    That is all I'm asking!
    Take all the Green Christmases
    Throw them all away
    I'm sure no one would want them
    As presents Christmas day!

    Green Christmases are boring
    They're never any fun
    Instead of ice and snowmen
    We only get more sun
    I'd like to see ice crystals
    Before they melt away
    But most of all I'd like them
    To play with Christmas day!

    Please, please, please oh Santa
    If there's one thing you could bring
    Could it be a good White Christmas?
    That is all I'm asking!
    Take all the Green Christmases
    Throw them in the trash
    They're old and they are dirty
    And not worth any cash!

    Green Christmas is old fashioned;
    It's very out-of-date
    And Santa, if you're listening
    I'd like some new ice skates
    But this is more important
    What winter's all about;
    I'd like some ice to skate on
    Before I throw them out!

    Please, please, please oh Santa
    If there's one thing you could bring
    Could it be a good White Christmas?
    That is all I'm asking!
    Take all the Green Christmases
    Grind them into dust
    I promise I won't miss them;
    I'd never make a fuss!

    I know that Santa heard me
    My letter it was read
    And it was snowing Christmas Eve
    The hour I went to bed
    But when I woke next morning
    What did my tired eyes see?
    The ground was green outside
    But it was white beneath our tree!!!

    Please, please, please oh Santa
    If there's one thing you could bring
    Could it be a good White Christmas?
    That is all I'm asking!
    But next time when I write you
    This secret I'll confide…
    The present that I'm asking for
    Is better left OUTSIDE!!!

    And there you have it. I really did write this song a year ago while driving home from work. My brothers and sisters love it! I honestly don't know where it came from... however, I do remember that here in Illinois we've been having more and more Green Christmases and I really wanted a white one.  Funny, it started to snow afterward...  But then today, when checking for typos in SOTD, this song started to float through my head. Strange… it's not even close to Christmas Time yet…

    Has this ever happened to you?

    Oh well! :D