Saturday, April 23, 2011

Stepping Back

Hello friends. :D  You're probably wondering where on earth I've been for the past few weeks, and with good reason: I mean, even I admit that I've practically disappeared from the blogosphere.  I don't like the fact, but it's happened. *sigh*

And this is why I am writing this post.  School is almost out... I only have two weeks left and then finals... and I really need to concentrate on homework.  So I've decided to cut back on blogging.  Actually, the decision was made several weeks ago, thus my lack of posts, but now it is official.  Until school is over, you won't be seeing very much of me.

I know I've been promising posts for a while: There's one on Content and Presentation, one on Prayer in Christian Writing, and of course the one about last week's Home School Convention and meeting Mr. Appleton (which was indeed amazing! :D)  I've planned these posts of weeks, but just don't have time to write them yet.

And so I'm going to say goodbye now.  I won't disappear completely: you'll probably see me floating around the blogosphere and maybe I'll post one or two things here at the P&P to help me relieve the stress that comes with the end of semester, but until school is over I'm stepping back.  It's a hard decision to make -- I do love my social networking! ;) -- but I think it's necessary for me to pass these classes.

So that's all for now.  Just thought you guys deserved an explanation.


Thursday, April 14, 2011


Well, it's here people!  At long last, and I'm so excited!

Today Scott Appleton, author of the books "Swords of the Six" and "By Sword, By Right" and owner of the publishing company "Flaming Pen Press" will be in Peoria Illinois this evening 5pm -8pm at Berean Bookstore just off Sheridan Road to sign books and meet with fans.

And hopefully meet new fans.  ;)  I've been spreading the word like crazy, reminding friends and other people over and over again.  I've been posting posters, telling classmates and teachers, and updating my Facebook. Even my mother has jumped in, braved the dangerous waters of FB, and has been posting reminders and updates.  She's also posting all over our APACHE group's page, and has been contacting homeschooling families in our Co-op.

If anyone out there following this blog lives anywhere near Peoria Illinois, you should come by tonight.  This promises to be an epic event!

Mr. Appleton will also have a booth set up at the Central Illinois Home Schooler's Apache Convention, held tomorrow and Saturday (April 15th and 16th) at the Peoria Civic Center.  He will be selling books, signing books, and meeting with fans during the convention, so if any of you home schoolers out there have families that attend the convention, be sure to check out his booth!

I can hardly wait for this evening!  And tomorrow.  And Saturday for that matter.  :D

I have also reviewed Mr. Appleton's book here on The Pen and Parchment, and he was kind enough to allow me to interview him here as well.

You can read my review of his book here:

And you can read the interview here:

Hope to see some of you there!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Happy Belated Blogaversary!!!

Woa... I just realized that my 1rst  year blogaversary was April 1rst.  And it's already April 6th.  Yep.  I'm out of it. O_o 

But hey; happy blogaversary to the Pen and Parchment, I guess.  :D  It's neat to think that it's already been a year.  Where on earth did a whole year disappear to?  It snuck away when I wasn't looking and I'll never be able to get it back... how tragic.  Or exciting.  Depends on how you look at it. ;)

And looking back, I'm happy to announce that I met some of the goals I laid down in my full profile. Even took a step beyond them.  One of my goals was to get my manuscript, Song of the Daystar, on an editor's desk before Christmas.

Well, that happened.

And not only did it happen, but now I've decided to announce the other exciting news that I've been holding off on since the beginning of March: the publisher contacted me again with a revision request and an invitation to resubmit. 

I said before that I wouldn't name the publisher until I heard back from him: well, now that I've heard back from him, I will tell you the company's name. 

Flaming Pen Press.

Yep!  Me excited!

Now, nothing is certain yet.  I started rewriting the manuscript before I'd heard back from Mr. Appleton.  However, when I explained this to him, he kindly invited me to send him the first 20 pages of the rewrite.  A few days later he contacted me through email saying that he really liked the direction the new version was going, and told me to go ahead and finish the rewrite, then resubmit the manuscript when I'm finished.  (If you head on over to the "Read an Excerpt" page, you can read the new blurb and the new first chapter of the rewrite.)

I refuse to count my chickens before they hatch... but it's hard not to feel a little giddy. :)  I really don't want to assume too much, or get my hopes too high before I know anything for certain; it all feels a bit sureal and I've got a long way to go before I know for sure if Mr. Appleton's company will actually decide to publish SOTD.  I guess I will leave it up to God; He's knows what He's doing.  I just need to sit back and enjoy the ride... and continue writing. :D

Speaking of which, this blog post was originally going to be called "In the Slum" which is where I've been for the past couple of weeks.  The Writer's Slum, that is.  It's not a very fun place to be.  But I just wanted to send a shout out to Mr. Wayne Thomas Batson and thank him for his awesome books: I'm almost half way through reading Sword in the Stars, Mr. Batson's latest epic achievement, and I find it very inspiring.  The world in SITS is slightly reminiscent of J.R.R. Tolkien's world, Middle Earth - complete with histories, languages, different races, etc... - and yet it is completely different.  Reading through the book, it keeps reviving old ideas I had thought near death, and suddenly I understood how I could continue my story!

So thank you, Mr. Batson.

I think I shall go write now.  :D

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Day Feels Untitled...

Hello peoples! *waves happily as proof that she's not actually dead in the blogging world*

As most of you have probably noticed, I haven't been posting anything for a good long time.  In fact, the last time I wrote anything for my blog was... let's see... *flips through blog date ledger*... March 25th.  So ten days ago. I think that's definitely long enough.  O_o  Oh, and I haven't commented on anyone else's blog in such a long time that I can't even remember exactly how long it has been.  But please don't feel like I don't love you because of it... believe me, I still read other blogs... I just never get around to posting comments anymore.  Must try to remedy this; perhaps it will get better after school gets out in a another month. :)

I wish I could say, "Don't blame me for my lack of time.  It's the nasty school's fault!  It wasn't my idea for all of my teachers to insist that homework is more important than blogging!"  But the fact is that homework is, indeed, much more important than blogging.  As is writing, which still hasn't been coming very easy for me lately... (I'm trying hard not to feel discouraged).

So Homework.  And I've just been negligent.

If there is one thing I'm most certainly good at, it's procrastinating.  It seems like my favorite pass-time.  Thus, when I sat down to do homework last night, I ended up in my word program trying to work on the rewrite of my novel... and when I found I was stuck, I ended up pulling out one of the books from my "not read yet" pile and reading the whole thing in one sitting.

Which leads me to the real reason for this post.  I've decided to review the book I read last night. :D  I actually have a list of other books that should be reviewed first, but I figured they could wait.  (just like my homework... for now. *wince*)

So the book I read last night was called The Shifter and it is the first book in the Healing Wars series by Janice Hardy.

15-year-old Nya and her younger sister, Tali, who were orphaned during the recent war that nearly destroyed their city, both have the gift of healing. Unlike Tali, though, Nya can't harmlessly shift the pain she takes from the sick and wounded into enchanted pynvium metal. Instead, she must shift it from person to person, a dangerous talent that she keeps hidden from the ruling Baseeri and from the Healer's League where Tali is an apprentice. Scrounging to make ends meet, Nya resorts to odd jobs and the occasional theft to stay alive. When a young soldier discovers her secret and implores her to save his dying father, Nya is forced to choose between protecting herself and acknowledging her ability to save others and perhaps her entire city.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed reading this book.  Really, I did.  I picked it up and simply could not put it down... which is why I stayed up until I finished reading the very last page at 4:30 in the morning.  

The action of this book was fast paced and it felt real.  I thought the character of Nya was well written (even though it seemed like her inner conflicting thoughts were always rather similar... family, or friends, or self; however, this was relevant to the story, so I really don't have anything else to pick at.)

I absolutely love the thought put behind the magical abilities and qualities of Nya's world.  It's almost familiar... but so different that it's exotic.  Much like the rest of the book: the whole thing was exotic.  Some of the scenes where Nya was running from one building to the next - one part of the city to the next - reminded me vaguely of Tamora Pierce's books set in the land of Tortall... and I absolutely ADORE Tamora Pierce's books (though, as a warning to some of the younger Christian readers on this site, Mrs. Pierce's books usually do have some slightly  more mature content in them... she never goes "all the way", but there are some slightly edgy moments that I've skipped over in the past.)

What threw me for a loop at first while reading The Shifter is the fact that the setting is more exotic than I'm used to reading about in fantasy books.  When I hear the word "Forest", I think of soft green light and trees I'm familiar with... like Oak, Ash, Maple, Dogwood and so on... It took me a few chapters to get used to the fact that the forests in this book were more muggy and marshy rain forests with monkey's flying through the branches and colorful birds flitting here and there, than they were the forests of Illinois or Michigan.  I guess one might say it was a fresh setting... one reminiscent of the setting in Arabian Nights (which I think could be used more often). 

I give this book a 4 1/2 stars out of 5.  All together, it really was an amazing read, and I can't wait to get my hands on the second book in the series, Blue Fire, now in bookstores.  Right now the third book in the series, Darkfall, is being prepared for publication.  

To learn more about Mrs. Hardy and her books, you can visit her blog at