NaNoWriMo Again!

I’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) again. The last time I tried was in 2017 and I’m afraid I didn’t get very far. However, now that I’m out of college, I should have more time to actually finish my novel in a month! I’ve also learned that planning things in advance is vital if you want to get things done quickly, so I’m spending October planning for NaNoWriMo. That’s why I haven’t been as active on this blog lately. There’s simply not enough time to do everything.

That being said, I plan to be much more active come December. In the meantime, I hope everyone enjoys their fall!

20 Weird Things I’ve Googled For Stories I’ve Written/Am Writing

I am a writer. And if you’re also a writer, I’m sure you know and understand the trials I’ve gone through while researching things for the stories I write. And if you’re not a writer, then you might not understand what I mean.

See, when writing stories sometimes a bit of research is needed. Your research could be about anything (depending on what kind of story you are writing). Sometimes this research is painfully average. Like, checking the spelling of a certain word or making sure you are using a word correctly. Other times your research devolves into the strange and weird.

So with that prefix, here is a list of some of the strange things I’ve Googled (taken straight from my search history itself!):

  1. How to serve divorce papers in Maine
  2. Handing someone divorce papers Maine
  3. Preppy names/WASP names
  4. Misbehaving medieval monks
  5. Diapers in medieval times
  6. Do protestants have statues of Jesus
  7. Protestant Palm Sunday
  8. Forthwind name
  9. Glasgow smile recovery time
  10. Leaving the priesthood
  11. Board games psychiatric patients
  12. Lock in lake
  13. Viking human sacrifice
  14. Monks priests middle ages
  15. Old English interjections
  16. Werewolf knight
  17. Strange last names
  18. “Husband” in Latin
  19. Giving kid to monastery medieval
  20. Demonic creatures

 

These results are for several different stories, but as you can probably tell, there are a few recurring themes.

My Art: Myke, A Dungeons and Dragons NPC

My DM’s birthday was back in August, so I drew her her favorite NPC: a tabaxi merchant named Myke. And again, I drew in an art nouveau style.

For Myke I went with a different color scheme than I did with Persephone. Myke is a merchant with a tendency to eat candles, so I focused on warm colors like reds, oranges, and yellows as well as a few metallic colors. The warm colors represent Myke’s love of candles as well as his firey personality. Meanwhile, the metallic colors represent his status as a traveling merchant. (So, coins/money.)

I’ve also never actually drawn a furry before, so I did my best!

 

D&D Myke

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Room by Emma Donoghue is a fantastic book. It’s about a woman who was kidnapped and has been held as a prisoner in a shed for seven years. The story is narrated by her five-year-old son, Jack. I will let you figure out the horrific implications of this.

While Room’s subject matter is extremely difficult, it is both easier to swallow and all the more horrifying purely because Jack doesn’t quite understand what’s going on at times. That being said, when the reader thinks about what Jack is saying, we know exactly what is happening/what has happened. This adds to the horror of the text.

Room is full of suspense and it certainly was one of those rare books that I had difficulty putting down. While reading it, I was on the edge of my seat (both literally and figuratively). If you’re looking for a thriller/horror story, this is the book for you.

Overall, Room was a fantastic book and you should read it.

Book Review: The Clan of The Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

Honestly, I’m kind of sick of The Clan of The Cave Bear, so this will be a really short review. But I read it and have feelings about it, so here we are.

This was an okay book. It took me over a month to read and usually, it only takes me a week to finish a book. The Clan of The Cave Bear had an interesting plot, but my God, was the writing dry. The book is basically about this Cro-Magnon girl who is adopted by a Neanderthal clan.

The main character, Ayla, was a total Mary Sue (and I don’t mind Mary Sues! Especially in romances! But The Clan of The Cave Bear is not a romance and Ayla’s Sue-ness was excessive). She really should have been thrown out of the clan sooner for literally violating every single one of their cultural taboos. However, for really dumb reasons, Ayla is allowed to stay.

Also, there is one character Broud, who absolutely hates Ayla. We know this because literally every fifteen pages, when the narration skips to Broud’s point of view, he spends paragraphs thinking about how much he really hates Ayla. It’s annoying.

After spending a month on this book, this is literally all the energy I have to spend on writing a book review on it.

Don’t bother reading The Clan of The Cave Bear. 

Musings: A Full Time Job

Wow! After a whole month of updating every day, in August I’ve been a touch lazy with my blog. This is partially to do with the fact I have written a good chunk of content in July and partially because I scored a full time job! Having a full time job means less time to write. That being said, my plans for September include being more active on this blog. (Not as active as in July, but more active anyway.) I’m planning to do one post a week in September. Hopefully I’ll be able to stick to that plan!

The Fourth List of 30 Flowers and The Strange Things They Symbolize

In three previous posts, I’ve listed thirty flowers and the strange things they symbolized. As previously stated, there is an abundance of flowers (as well as strange meanings!), so I’ve created one more list!

My first list covered flowers whose names started with As until Cs. The second list covered C through H. My third list covered H to M. This list will include flowers from M to P.

As always, I used Kate Greenway’s 1884 book The Language of Flowers as my reference guide.

 

1. Michaelmas Daisy

Afterthought.

 

2. Mignionette

Your Qualities Surpass Your Charms.

 

3. Milfoil

War.

 

4. Milkvetch

Your Presence Softens My Pains.

 

5. Milkwort

Hermitage.

 

6. Mistletoe

I Surmount Difficulties.

 

7. Mock Orange

Counterfeit.

 

8. Mosses

Ennui.

 

9. Mourning Bride

Unfortunate Attachment. I Have Lost All.

 

10. Mouse-Eared Chickweed

Ingenious Simplicity.

 

11. Mulberry Tree, Black

I Shall Not Survive You.

 

12. Mushroom

Suspicion.

 

13. Nettle, Burning

Slander.

 

14. Night-Blooming Cereus

Transient Beauty.

 

15. Oats

The Witching Soul Of Music.

 

16. Oleander

Beware.

 

17. Orange Blossoms

Your Purity Equals Your Loveliness.

 

18. Orange Flowers

Chastity. Bridal Festivities.

 

19. Pasque Flower

You Have No Claims.

 

20. Passion Flower

Religious Superstition.

 

21. Pea, Everlasting

An Appointed Meeting. Lasting Pleasure.

 

22. Peach

Your Qualities, Like Your Charms, Are Unequalled.

 

23. Peach Blossom

I Am Your Captive.

 

24. Pennyroyal

Flee Away.

 

25. Peony

Shame. Bashfulness.

 

26. Persimmon

Bury Me Amid Nature’s Beauties.

 

27. Pine-Apple

You Are Perfect.

 

28. Pine, Spruce

Hope In Adversity.

 

29. Poppy, Scarlet

Fantastic Extravagance.

 

30. Poppy, White

Sleep. My Bane. My Antidote.

Another List of 30 Flowers and The Strange Things They Symbolize

In two previous posts, I listed thirty flowers and the strange things they symbolized. There is an abundance of flowers (as well as strange meanings!), so I’ve created another list!

My first list covered flowers whose names started with As until Cs. The second list covered C through H. This list will include flowers from H to M.

As always, I used Kate Greenway’s 1884 book The Language of Flowers as my reference guide.

 

1. Hortensia

You Are Cold.

 

2. Hoya

Sculpture.

 

3. Hydrangea

A Boaster. Heartlessness.

 

4. Indian Cress

Warlike Trophy.

 

5. Ivy, Sprig of, with tendrils

Assiduous To Please.

 

6. Jacob’s Ladder

Come Down.

 

7. Jasmine, Indian

I Attach Myself To You.

 

8. Jonquil

I Desire A Return Of Affection.

 

9. Justicia

The Perfection Of Female Loveliness.

 

10. Kennedia

Mental Beauty.

 

11. King-Cups

Desire Of Riches.

 

12. Lady’s Slipper

Capricious Beauty. Win Me And Wear Me.

 

13. Larkspur, Purple

Haughtiness.

 

14. Laurestina

A Token. I Die If Neglected.

 

15. Lavender

Distrust.

 

16. Lettuce

Cold-Heartedness.

 

17. Lint

I Feel My Obligations.

 

18. Licorice, Wild

I Declare Against You.

 

19. Locust Tree, Green

Affection Beyond The Grave.

 

20. Lotus Flower

Estranged Love.

 

21. Love Lies Bleeding

Hopeless, Not Heartless.

 

22. Madder

Calumny.

 

23. Magnolia

Love Of Nature.

 

24. Mallow, Venetian

Delicate Beauty.

 

25. Mandrake

Horror.

 

26. Marigold, African

Vulgar Minds.

 

27. Marjoram

Blushes.

 

28. Meadow Saffron

My Best Days Are Past.

 

29. Meadowsweet

Uselessness.

 

30. Mesembryanthemum

Idleness.

7 Interesting Things I Learned From the Book Modern Manners: Tools to Take You to the Top by Dorothea Johnson and Liv Tyler

Usually, I write book reviews about the books I read. However, after reading Modern Manners: Tools to Take You to the Top by Dorothea Johnson and Liv Tyler, I decided to do something a bit different with this post. Instead of my typical review, I’m going to make a list of seven interesting things I learned from Modern Manners. (After all, it’s a bit difficult to do my typical book review when the book I’m covering is about etiquette.)

 

1. You should write thank you notes after a job interview.

That’s certainly not something they teach you in high school or college! Or at the very least, they didn’t teach us that in the high school and the college I went to. (And in high school I took a class on how to act during job interviews!)

 

2. There are actual, concrete rules on how you should enter a door.

I think deep down most of us know that there’s a polite way to open doors and a rude way (ex. holding open a door for someone verse letting it slam in the other person’s face). That being said, I never knew how complicated etiquette regarding opening doors for people could be. Now according to the book, these rules are for the business world/if you are hosting something. Apparently, for push doors “the host leads the way” (109), for pull doors “the host holds the door open (109), and for revolving doors “the host leads the way” (109) as well.

 

3. There are different ways to hold drinking glasses.

In the book, they teach you how to hold different types of glasses, which are as follows: a water goblet, a red wine glass, a white wine glass, and a champagne glass. When drinking from a water goblet, you are supposed to “hold a tumbler-type glass near the bottom” (131). You are supposed to “hold red wine glasses by the bottom of the bowl” (131). Finally, for white wine glasses and champagne glasses you “hold [them] by the stem” (131).

 

4. A white wine glass is different from a red wine glass.

A red wine glass is bigger and rounder while a white wine glass is slightly smaller and thinner. (At least that’s how the illustrations in the book looked. I don’t know why each glass is a different shape.)

 

5. There’s such a thing as a sherry glass.

That’s really all I have to say about this one.

 

6. You have to wait until your host picks up their napkin before you can.

I’m not one hundred percent sure why this is a rule. Maybe it’s because when the host picks up their napkin they are finally seated and won’t get up again? Again, I’m not sure. Modern Manners also says if there is no host, then you wait until “two or three people in your group are seated, then pick up your napkin” (132).

 

7. Europeans have a different way of holding their silverware than Americans.

So, I already knew this, but it’s still something interesting to know. (Especially if you are an American tourist and want to try to fit in!) While eating with a fork and knife, Americans put their knife down on their plate after cutting a bite of food. On the other hand, Europeans always hold their knife instead of putting it down while chewing.

 

Book Review: The Inquisitor’s Tale Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz

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My Copy of The Inquisitor’s Tale (Front Cover)

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!

Now, I know I said I planned to only read books by women this year unless they were assigned to me for a class. But when I saw The Inquisitor’s Tale Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz I absolutely had to read it. This is a really good book.

Written in the same format as The Canterbury Tales, The Inquisitor’s Tale takes place in the year 1242 in France. The story follows three children (and their holy dog!) who are gifted with miraculous abilities. There’s Jeanne, a peasant girl who has visions of the future, William, a biracial monk with super-strength, and Jacob, a Jewish boy who can heal any wound with plants and the power of prayer. With the help of a monk named Michelangelo di Bologna, they must stop King Louis IX and his mother from burning every single Talmud in France. This is all while avoiding being killed for their miraculous powers.

The story begins at an inn and our narrator, Etienne d’Arles (whom we only learn the name of in the last eighth of the book), is trying to find out more about the children. Each chapter is told from the point of view of someone who knew them (or a very mysterious nun who should not know all the things she knows), so The Inquisitor’s Tale is very episodic in nature. We learn about each child individually and their separate adventures until they finally all meet up. Some of these adventures include (but are not limited to) Jeanne’s visions, William killing fiends in a forest, Jacob’s village being set on fire, running away from knights, battling an evil monk, curing a lactose intolerant dragon, and of course, meeting the king of France. Each “episode” is completely captivating.

While the book is written for young readers, it’s safe to say that older readers will enjoy the story as well. The Inquisitor’s Tale is clever, well written, and fun to read. One thing I particularly enjoy is the illuminations. The majority of the pages have illustrations, furthering the medieval feel of the book. (There is also a note at the beginning of the story explaining that is exactly what the author and illustrator were going for.)

Another thing I liked was how Gidwitz incorporated medieval ideas and beliefs into the text. When I read historical fiction, having the characters have modern beliefs right off the bat can be a little off-putting. It’s something that takes me out of the story, especially when the setting is supposed to be a real place instead of a fantasy world. That being said, I do like it when characters learn and grow into more accepting people. And that’s exactly what happens in The Inquisitor’s Tale. 

Each of the three children is a minority in some way and must face prejudices coming from the world around them. Over the course of the text, the children learn that “Hey, maybe my preconceived notions about people who are different than me are wrong and the people I’ve been taught to fear and hate are like me too.” (Of course, this lesson isn’t as obvious as I’ve written out here, but you get the point.)

The Inquisitor’s Tale also incorporates a lot of real medieval legends in the main narrative. There are dragons, holy dogs that come back from the dead, fiends in the forest, tales of ghosts coming back from Hell to warn evildoers of their evil ways, etc. These are all done very well. However, there was one fantasy aspect of the book that was a little thrown off by:

Michelangelo di Bologna turns out to be the archangel, Michael.

I’m not sure why I’m so thrown off by this. After all, there are a lot of other fantasy elements in The Inquisitor’s Tale that I believed. Perhaps it’s because this reveal made the ending feel very deus ex machina (literally!). I might have to reread the book and see if I missed any clues hinting towards Michelangelo’s divine state.

Overall, The Inquisitor’s Tale was a fantastic book and you need to read it.

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My Copy of The Inquisitor’s Tale (Back Cover)