A Time for Everything. . .

Too many times, and all too often, we take for granted the little things in life.  But it's the little things that make life worth living.  :]

source

I thank my God for. . .

Warm water.
Fuzzy socks.
Laughter.
Dance.
Poetry.
A kitty in my lap.
Chai Tea Lattes.
Sisters.
My brother.
Mum and Dad.
Funny friends.
Far away friends.
My job.
BOOKS.
Fairytales.
My Saviour.
Faith.
Hope.
Love.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving, dearies!

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What's in a Name?

Welkom, mijn vrienden! Which means, "Welcome, my friends!" in Dutch.

So. . .

Can you guess where these set of names hail from?  :]


Braam
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Dutch, Limburgish
Pronunciation:  BRAHM

Meaning & History
Dutch and Limburgish short form of Abraham, which means "father of many."


Aleida
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Dutch, German
Pronunciation:  ah-LIE-dah (Dutch)

Meaning & History
Dutch and German short form of Adelaide, which is derived from the French form of the Germanic name Adalheidis, meaning (essentially) "kind, noble."


Gerard
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  English, Dutch, Catalan
Pronunciation:  ja-RAHRD (English), JER-ard (English), KHAY-rahrt (Dutch)

Meaning & History
Derived from the Germanic element ger "spear" and hard "brave, hardy." Introduced to Britain by the Normans, it was initially more common than the similar name Gerald, meaning "rule of the spear," with which is was often confused.

Esmé
Gender:  Feminine & Masculine
Usage:  English, Dutch
Pronunciation:  es-MAY (Dutch)

Meaning & History
Means "esteemed" or "loved" in Old French.











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Names and meanings via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

Beautiful Books #2 | A Link-Up

Hosted by Sky, from Further Up and Further In, and Cait, from The Notebook Sisters, (inventors of Beautiful People) it is designed with NaNoWriMo in mind.  But it is not required that you actually participate in NaNo in order to link-up.  While I do not take part in NaNo myself, I still look forward to these Beautiful Books questions every month!  Enjoy!


THE QUESTIONS

1.  Be honest: how is your writing going?
          Wellllll. . . Honestly?  So-so, I suppose.  I am taking part in the 100-4-100 word challenge hosted by Go Teen Writers and it has helped in the aspect of writing daily, 'cause, you know, life happens! and sometimes one doesn't take the time to actually sit down for at least 10 minutes and WRITE.  Alas, I feel as though I'm not getting anywhere.  But that is why I love doing these link-ups.  It aids indefinitely in getting the creative brain fluids flowing and always gives me inspiration to keep going.  :]

2.  What's your first sentence/paragraph?
         She awoke suddenly in the late hours of the night and lay still, quietly listening for what had aroused her.  The only sounds to touch her ears were the normalcy of a ship at sea: creaking boards groaning under the weight of a full cargo; the whisper of the ocean as it caressed the belly of her father's vessel; the whipping breath of canvas sails in the midnight wind.
          But something was wrong.

          This is the beginning paragraph originally, but there is a great possibility that it will be pushed to the second chapter.  At least I hope so.  I have yet to write the "first" chapter. . .

3.  Do you have a book cover and/or pictures that reflect your book?
          Why, yes, actually.

Credit for the lovely portrait (and the pictures below) goes to Pinterest (of course). What would we do without it, eh? ;D


left The ship, Crimson Bane, belongs to a notorious pirate--well-known for it's red sails.
center A peek at the great Castle of Gondoa, home of Rydan and his family.
right Safia's medallion, formerly her father's, plays a rather important part in her story. (Though I imagine a different design.)

4.  Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.)
        Click the caption links for their character spotlight pages.  I don't yet have one for Kenna. . .

Safia
Rydan, Crown Prince of Gondoa
Peder, member of the kingdom's Guard, and good friend of Rydan.
Princess Kenna, younger sister of Rydan, who becomes good friend of Safia when she needs one most. She has a sweet, compassionate personality.

5.  What scene are you most excited to write?
       Hmm.  Well, I really enjoyed writing the confrontation between Safia and her prejudiced grandmother.

6.  Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.
       I posted a snippet of the afore-mentioned scene, but here it is again:

      "What she saw?"  The woman's face contorted into anger. "What was there to see?  Nothing!  He was a brute, a monster.  Headstrong, stubborn, violent--unfit for my daughter!"
      "He had changed!" Safia's voice rose a notch in volume.  "He discovered a future, a new life.  Because of your daughter!  He forsook his past and pursued a life of honesty.  We--"
      "Honesty!" Meline scoffed.
      "Mother," Aunt Gabriella began, obviously distressed and wary about the direction in which this conversation was headed.
      "Silence, daughter!" The mistress snapped and turned back to her granddaughter, hands shaking, though Safia believed it wasn't from age. "He was a pirate, they do not know the meaning of such a word.  A pirate will speak boldly before you of honesty while lying in their teeth!  They always know the right thing to say, the best way to make the most profit--all without a single care for the others to whom their deeds may harm.  Blackhearted fools, that's what they are.  He--your father--was just like them.  He had no heart!"
      "YOU DIDN'T KNOW HIM!"
      At the outburst, the older woman sat abruptly in her chair, wide-eyed, as if pushed by the strength and passion of the girl's voice.  The parlor room was quiet as the last echo of Safia's words died away.  She, herself, stood rigid, feet apart and hands clenched with her face down-turned, allowing her hair to fall as a shield before her eyes.
      It was deathly silent.  The air thick with tension.
      Then she heard her own soft voice as it broke through the dark quiet.
      "You did not take the time to know him." Squeezing her eyes shut, she willed away the coming tears, but openly welcomed the good memories now playing in her weary mind. "You were not the one to be swallowed up in his arms as a little girl and feel that nothing in the world could harm you.  You never heard his laughter, rich and full, and join in even though you did not know the reason.  You didn't watch him sweep her off her feet to dance on the white sands in the moonlight or hear the deep, baritone of his voice as he sang you to sleep." Her breath caught as a deep pain began to build in her heart.  She forced herself to press on.
      "You did not hear the screams that night.  You were not present to watch as he bore the limp body of his wife to shore.  Nor were you there to hear as he cried to Eliadan for mercy, to take his life instead of hers. . .  You didn't watch helplessly from a distance as he cradled her in his arms or witness as he laid her beneath those beautiful white sands."  Safia paused, aware of the tears running down her face, yet unashamed. 
      "You call him a pirate," she challenged, holding the bitter woman's gaze. "Well, at one time that was true.  But no longer.  He died a cherished father, a brave captain, a worthy friend, a hero.  

      "You think of me as his daughter, but forget that I am also the daughter of your own precious girl.  A pirate?  Maybe.  But as for my mother, Faina Belle Rouseau Leifson--she was his greatest treasure."

7.  Now that you're writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?
       So far, so good.  But because I am more of a pantser than a plotter, I always struggle with a good plot.  And, alas, that is definitely the case here. . .  As to what I do have planned, some characters' personalities and roles are changing somewhat different than what I'd originally imagined.  But I think for the best.

8.  Is there a character or aspect of your plot that's difficult to write?
          Heheh. Right now, I am experiencing difficulties regarding my villain, the Nameless Evil.  He has a goal, I just don't know what it is yet.  Or do I?  Maybe that is what'll make him a great villain. . ?
          That, and the fact my characters seem to blend together.  Still working on making them more unique to themselves. (Does that make sense?)

9.  What's your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?
         The world-building.  I've dubbed my fantasy world, Everon.  The countries that make up Everon are loosely based on the countries and nations of our own world.  For example, Gondoa resembles a medieval America (if that makes sense) in its modernity and people variety.  Ardos, sister kingdom to Gondoa, is based on England; Emiraldi was inspired by the Emerald Isle of Ireland; Makar resembles Africa; Ishadi, the Arabic nations; and Aijan, China.
          Oh dear.  Well, I love Safia, as she and I have known each other for quite some time now.  But I might have to say that Jaron Wandersong is my favorite.  He is an Elf, and if you remember my short story from way back when, he is the mentor/partner of Peder.  He has such a fantastic background, I may have to write his own story someday.  :]

10.  Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel or characters?
       I suppose my answer to question 9 could also be put here, although I'd never thought of it that way before.  As to basing my characters to real people, I'm not sure.  There may be some similarities, but none that really stick out to me.  I do tend to base my main girls off of my own personality and am currently attempting to span out more on that.

11.  Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?
       I hardly ever listen to music while writing, but if/when I do it is nearly always instrumentals and/or soundtrack scores.  Lately, I've been leaning on John Powell's score for the awesome film, How to Train Your Dragon 2.

12.  Let's have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book's world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?
       Oo.  Most likely Peder.  He's a fun, optimistic kind of guy.  A Guard of Gondoa, which in my mind is similar to John Flanagan's Rangers in his Ranger's Apprentice series.  Because of his personality, you wouldn't think he could make a career out of the serious, life/death work that is required as a member of the Guard, but he's perfect for it.  He's the eldest of a rather large family and, since the death of his father a little over a year ago, he's taken full responsibility for his mother and little siblings.  I love his character and friendship with Rydan and Safia.

13.  How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)
       Pinterest, definitely.  Link-ups like this always serve to help my creativity as well.  My writing usually comes at the end of the day, when I can curl up in bed with my notebook and flashlight.  Sometimes this happens really late, and even when I don't think I can do it, I'll force myself to write something, whether it'll be used in my novel or not.
          I love dark chocolate, by the way.  ^__^

14.  What's your favorite writing quote or piece of writing advice?
     




15.  How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?
       Haha!  All of the above.  And the picture below, describes me and my story process EXACTLY.


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Thanks for reading, dearies!  Have a lovely weekend!

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A + A Friday!

This post is a compilation of two weeks. . . Heheh.  :]


AWKWARD

  • When two horses and a goat randomly run in view of the kitchen window.  O_o (They had been missing from a neighboring farm; don't worry, the owner found them!)
  • Locking eyes with a stranger in another car and holding their gaze as you drive by. . .
  • Starting to draw water to wash dishes, so you turn faucet on and squirt in the soap--then realize that the stopper isn't there.  *_*  You promptly begin again. . .
  • You've been working in glitter all day long, creating lovely little snow tiaras for a dance recital (that you aren't participating in, your dance instructor friend simply needed help).  Friends come over that evening to watch the awesome, bamboozling TV show SHIELD, and someone says you have glitter all over your face.  Heheh. . . What? It's kinda purty! And I like glitter. :]
  • When a pen you are expecting to have black ink turns out to be blue and you are so disappointed.
  • Laughing and/or sneezing, then groaning afterward because your abs are SOOOO sore from exercising that week.
  • This GIF below--'cause it woulda been me!! xD



AWESOME
  • BIG HERO 6.  In theaters.  It was AMAZING!  A must see!!
  • My sisters turned 21!  Ah!  Fun little party with family and friends. 
  • An abundance of blessings this year.  We've been given a new car (for Jenny and Julia), a new TV and Blu-ray player, Julia got the puppy of her dreams, and I was hired at LifeWay!  Yes, material things, but blessings nonetheless.
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 came to DVD last week!! (I've now seen it maybe four times.)
  • Walking into your own room and your sister Julia is sitting on her bed reading a book.  You walk by her to put some clothes in the closet and she looks at you funny with a big smile while trying to hide the book she's reading.  Come to find out: it's actually one of your Christmas presents from her!! WUT??!? Haha! Too funny! And she had to read it before you. xD
  • The fact you are nearly done with your Christmas shopping!
  • This: 
source


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Poetry! (from the Giveaway entries)

Hello, peeps!  I've been thinking of this since my giveaway ended, and out of all the entries, four precious ladies added their own poetry.  I've requested and attained their permission to share them with you here.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I!

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source

hopelessness and dark surround me
crushing waves that seek to drown me
light is floundering
I can tread these deeps no more


in the darkness can you hear Me?
in these waters I would heal thee
hope is sounding
rest My child, fight no more


feel His mercy-Spirit within me
let His waters overwhelm me
darkness foundering
cease my striving, fear no more


springs of water well within me
grace around me, in me, through me
grace resounding
streams of life forevermore 

-Nightingale-


-----------------------------------------------------------

No wrong that you could do
Would take away my love
I will always wait for you
To turn your heart above

Yes, you've gone astray my dear
You've sinned and smeared My name
But there is nothing for you to fear
You can come home again

I'm waiting at the door
Ready to open it wide
You can come home again
There is no need to run and hide

My arms are outstretched now
Ready for a fond embrace
There will be such a joyous time
When you come back into My grace

-Heather-

-----------------------------------------------------------
THIS IS GRACE 
A tide of red
Mercy o’erwhelming
Raised from the dead
I’m lost in this ocean
My heart must govern my head
Because this doesn’t make sense
But I’ll go where You led
Down a road of grace
Oh, Your tide of red

This is grace

Every new day
Though I fail and I fall
And my edges are frayed
Still You love me the same
Because this is Your way
When You see me You see Your Son
Sometimes I don’t know how to pray
But You lead me on
In Your love I stay

This is grace

Your ocean tides
Are calling me
My stubborn pride
Crumbles beneath Your grace
I can’t earn, won’t even try
To win Your love
On the cross You cried
“Grace”
And every shadow died

Favor unearned
Your righteousness mine
All dross is burned
I’m a beggar turned queen
And the stone that was spurned
Is the rock beneath my feet
The world’s somehow turned
And all is set right in Your love
The prodigal’s returned

This is grace
-Michelle-

-----------------------------------------------------------
We were once so close,
 But now we are far,
Our hearts were once warm but now they've been harmed,
What is it, Lord, what makes us so lone?

The sun is out,
The sky is blue,
But our friendship, dear Lord, may forever be doomed.

But after the rain always comes the bow,
I must pray and the Lord will once again bestow.

-Amy Kathleen-

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Are they not beautiful?  :]  Thank you, ladies!

Fairfarren, for now, my friends.  Check back for an A+A post later today!

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What's in a Name?

Ethan
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  English, Jewish, French, Biblical, Biblical Latin
Pronunciation:  EE-than (English)

Meaning & History
Means "solid, enduring" in Hebrew.  This was the given name of a wise man in the Old Testament.  After the Protestant Reformation it was occasionally used as a given name in the English-speaking world, and became somewhat popular in America thanks to the fame of the revolutionary Ethan Allen (1738-1789).






Alessi
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English, Italian
Pronunciation:  a-LESS-ee

Meaning & History
Possible diminutive of Alessandro or Alessandra, which in turn are derived from Alexander, which is the Latinized form of the Greek Alexandros, meaning "defending men."









Oran
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Irish
Pronunciation:  O-ran

Meaning & History
Anglicized form of Odhrán, which means "little, pale green one."  [O_o] 






Haven
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  English
Pronunciation:  HAY-vǝn

Meaning & History
From the English word for a safe place, ultimately derived from the Old English word hæfen.










Have a request for a meaning or wish to know a set of names with a certain theme? Leave a comment!

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Names and meanings via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

"Man has blood enough to power his brain or his brawn, not often both at once."

Woohoo! 

I have survived the week, guys!  Yes, sirree.  And my first day of work.  :]  But alas, I've missed yet another A+A post.  Tut, tut, oh dear. . . 

However, good news (for me): I am officially an employee of LifeWay Christian Bookstores! And my first official day was today--and a busy Saturday, no less!  But I made it, and now believe I can conquer the world.  Haha. . . Not really.

So. . . I guess this post is just me aaaaaaannnnd my RANDOMNESS.  Quick update, too, I suppose.  Our Winter weather is closing in as well.  I've woken up to the upper 20s (F), people! And I don't do well in the cold.  I could very well hibernate all Winter.

How was your week?  Do tell, I'm curious.


By the way, title quote comes from 
Jennifer Freitag's Plenilune.
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Book Review | Secrets of Sloane House

Secrets of Sloane House
Chicago World's Fair Mystery #1
Shelley Gray

Publisher:  Zondervan
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Christian, Romance
Released:  July 2014

{Goodreads}
One woman's search for the truth of her sister's disappearance leads her to deceit and danger in 1893 Chicago.

Rosalind Perry has left her family's rural farm in Wisconsin to work as a housemaid at Sloane House, one of the most elegant mansions in Gilded Age Chicago. However, Rosalind is not there just to earn a living and support her family-she's at Sloane House determined to discover the truth about her sister's mysterious disappearance.

Reid Armstrong is the handsome heir to a silver fortune. However, his family is on the periphery of Chicago's elite because their wealth comes from "new money" obtained from successful mining. Marriage to Veronica Sloane would secure his family's position in society-the lifelong dream of his ailing father.

When Reid begins to realize that Rosalind's life may be in danger, he stops thinking of marriage prospects and concentrates on helping Rosalind. Dark things are afoot in Chicago and, he fears, in Sloane House. If he's not vigilant, Rosalind could pay the price.

Set against the backdrop of Chicago's Gilded Age and the 1893 World's Fair, Secrets of Sloane House takes us on a whirlwind journey of romance and mystery.


--------------------------------------------------
WARNING: Possible Spoilers

{The Basics}
Rosalind is a young, naive country girl from Wisconsin who sets out to do the impossible: travel to the big city of Chicago and learn the secrets behind her older sister's disappearance.  Where her sister Miranda is strong and confident, Rosalind is frightened of most everything, but pushes through her comfortable boundaries to do what needs done.  Towards the end, she realizes how much she has grown and the true friends she's gathered along the way, and presses all the more to her end goal.  The truth must be known.

{Positives}
Though Rosalind doesn't put much store in herself, she does whatever she can to uncover the truth about her sister's disappearance.  Even putting herself at risk in doing so.  She is warned numerous times to let well enough alone, but she's made a promise to her family, who put full faith into her, and she'll not let them down.

From low society classes (housemaids and below) to the highest (nobles, wealthy, etc), each person knows his/her place, but there are some who see past the rankings and see it's on the inside that counts.  Definitely not the outside appearances with all the frills and plastic faces, but the heart, be it harsh and cold, or compassionate and generous.

{Negatives}
As mentioned above, the various classes of society was vastly important during the late 1800's, in which era this little novel takes place.  The Sloane family, in particular, never hesitate to let one know where they stand.  They see their servants as merely servants, not actually human beings.  And while there is a degree of kindness, they care not what happens, only in keeping the family name pure and untainted.

Men make lewd suggestions to Rosalind, and/or other women.  A maid runs off with a peddler.  Another becomes pregnant and is given funds to leave.

Deception runs rampant.

{Spiritual Content}
This is a Christian fiction novel, and Rosalind is faithful in calling upon her God in need or thanks.  Even at her lowest point in the most difficult of situations, when she feels the most alone, she realizes God is--and will always be--with her.

Reid Armstrong is a Christian and states so (as is his sweet family).  He, too, prays, often, and attends choir practice at a local church, despite his rank in society.

One minor point I dislike to see in novels such as this (and it's trivial, I know, but. . .), when God is mentioned by use of pronoun, etc. (i.e. He, His, Him), it's not capitalized.  And I believe it should be.  (Actually, this was also an issue--in my opinion--in the book Plenilune. . .)

{Violence}
Murder is involved (This is a mystery, guys.  Remember?).  Women disappear, usually without a trace or word.  A brawl breaks out in a street, starting with two men, then escalating to include a dozen.

A girl's hand is cut deeply by shards of porcelain, requiring stitches.  Another is seen, after a willing encounter with a certain man, as having swollen eyes (from crying) and lips, tousled hair and rumpled clothes.

A woman is assaulted.  We hear she was hit, and bruises are found on her arms and neck.  [SPOILER] Another is struck on the head (killing her) and dumped into the lake.

{Language, Alcohol & Drugs}
No language.

Brandy is mentioned as being used for medical purposes.  A man pours himself a shot of alcohol (wine? scotch?) and downs it.  Other such stuff is present at parties, etc.

{Love-y Content}
As a maid, Rosalind, can't allow feelings for a man of the upper class.  But despite that, she can't help falling in love with the man who befriends her and helps in her sleuthing.  (And [SPOILER] of course, he finds he loves her as well.)  They embrace a time or two.  He cradles her head after she faints.  He kisses the nape of her neck and runs his fingertips down her arms, but stops himself before going too far.  He desires to kiss her at other times, but remembers his place and kinda gets a nudge from God not to go down that road just yet.  :]

[SPOILER]  He proposes! And they kiss (for the first time).  I love their relationship; it's so sweet.

{Conclusion}
Ok, I gave this FIVE stars, people!  I love a good mystery and this was a good one.  At times, I couldn't put it down, I had to figure out what happened.  And while the action, itself, is not super intense, there is still a level of the thrill you like to find in mysteries.  And this one is pretty clean! regarding language and such.  But due to the sensual content, I still recommend for ages at least 16 and up.

If you are looking for a good, clean mystery laced with Faith, here's one for you!

--------------------------------------------------
Recommended ages:  16+

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I was provided a copy of this book thanks to BookLookBloggers.com
in exchange for my honest review.

What's in a Name?

Here are some names of the Elvish sort, dearies!

Enjoy.

Thalion
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Elvish
Pronunciation:  THAHL-ee-on

Meaning & History
Elvish name for Bijan, meaning "hero."

Erudessa
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Elvish
Pronunciation:  air-oo-DESS-sah

Meaning & History
Elvish name for Gabrielle, which is the feminine form of Gabriel, meaning "strong man of God."  Erudessa means "woman of God."









Feredir
Gender:  Masculine
Usage:  Elvish
Pronunciation:  fair-eh-dear

Meaning & History
Elvish name for Hunter, of the same meaning.

Lothlithiel
Gender:  Feminine
Usage:  Elvish
Pronunciation:  loth-EAR-ee-ell

Meaning & History
Elvish name for Heather, which essentially means "blossom."





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Names & meanings via behindthename.com and 
arwen-undomiel.com, respectively.
Photos via Pinterest.