#FictFBFeb17 Day 1: Introducing Her Royal Highness Clara Winterburn

Fictional Flashback February 2017 – day 1 – introduce your character

Image from pixabay.com
Princess Clara Winterburn

When her parents are murdered by an insurgent intent on putting himself on the throne and enslaving her and the magical skills she will soon develop, Princess Clara Winterburn chooses to escape to another country, her mind altered so that she can escape both him and the painful memories. But as his grip tightens on her kingdom and she begins to come into her powers, the time comes for her to face her destiny and take her place as the rightful monarch.

She is helped along the way by members of a magical order known as the Aligarian Mages, who remain loyal to her even in the face of cruel punishment and risk of death. In particular, there is Max Drosslemeier, a Mage around her own age, with whom she forms a strong bond. She doesn’t know it, but he and his aunt provide her with utmost protection during her exile.

Thelidon is a small Kingdom and the reigning monarch’s magic is all the protection the people need. The monarch makes a pledge, known as the Vow of the People, to protect them. But the magic only passes to the first-born child, so when the previous King died with no heir, the throne passed to his brother, Clara’s father, who had no magic of his own. While the Aligarian Mages were able to provide some protection to the Kingdom, it was still vulnerable to attack, something General Josef Bauer took advantage of.

By the time she returns to Thelidon with her memories once again restored and in control of her magical abilities, Clara has become a hardened Queen, angry at Bauer for murdering her parents, at herself for running away, and for her people, who have had no one to fight for them. She’s more than ready to take her Kingdom back.


Clara is one of the protagonists in my current WIP, Operation Sugarplum, the title of which may soon be changing to something like With Magic and Memory. If you’re a regular on my WIPpet Wednesday posts, you would already be familiar with her and Max from the snippets I’ve shared over the past few months. Over February, I will be sharing little outtakes from Clara’s point of view, as part of the Fictional Flashback February challenge, designed by my friend, Faith Rivens. Some of them will take place before the actual story, while others will be “missing scene” type ficlets.

This is challenge in the vein of those 30 Day challenges, except it’s for February, so it’s only 28 days long. The idea of Fictional Flashback February is to use each of the prompts to create a memory for your character to reminisce on, thereby getting to know your character better. I haven’t really done one of these challenges before, but I wanted to give this one a go! As I said to Faith, I make no promises for consistency or quality of my contributions, as they will be written on the fly, but before uni really starts back would be the best time for me to try doing a challenge like this, so here I go!

Here are the rest of the prompts:

fictfbfeb17

*The image I’ve used for Clara is a portrait of Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, taken from pixabay.com and used under Creative Commons CC0.

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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 09 November, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

I was so busy last week that blogging completely slipped my mind, so my answers today reflect my last two weeks’ reading.

What have you recently finished reading?

Yikes. Two DNFs this week! At least it means I’m no longer behind on ARCs (#silverlining).

immortalwriterscoverNeither The Ill-Kept Oath by C. C. Aune nor Immortal Writers by Jill Bower managed to hold my interest. The Ill-Kept Oath had far less fantasy than the blurb promised, and the 25% that I read was just the two girls fussing over a few strange occurrences and the men they fancied. Immortal Writers spawned my first ever DNF review, as I felt I had enough to say about the first half of the book to warrant it. Basically, there were a few narrative choices that I didn’t like, and so the book just didn’t work for me.

infinityyoumecoverFortunately, The Infinity of You and Me by J. Q. Coyle proved far more enjoyable. It was one of those books where I read the first couple of paragraphs and was already thinking “Yesssssssss!” My review for that is here. If you like stories about them multiverse, I definitely recommend this one.

Today I finished Artie and the Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh, which was cute, though nothing spectacular. Even within the realms of MG, it’s not really something I would read and I really only bought it because I like Richard Roxburgh’s acting work and it was an excuse to get his autograph at a signing. Having said that, it was a quick enough read and the characters were quite vibrant. And I probably would have been pretty into it when I was 12.

Oh, and I listened to the audio book of Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle, which was interesting, though I think I probably lost out with not having the illustrations, even if I did have an atmospheric soundtrack to replace it.

I also reviewed Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the original book that came out in 2001, not the movie script) since my last WWW post.

What are you currently reading?

bigbanggenerationI started Doctor Who: Big Bang Generation by Gary Russel (Doctor Who in Australia! 😀 ). This is for the challenge item “a book you intended to read last year and didn’t”. It’s set on Christmas Day 2015, and my plan had been to read it on that day, but then I entirely forgot to buy it in time .

No movement on The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer, but it’s due back to the library next week, so really should get a wriggle-on. I was going to go back to it today, but I can’t deal with war and terroism after the election result, even if the book is about people doing awesome things in the face of it.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am aiming to read Mother of Dreams and Other Short Stories: Portrayals of Women in Modern Japanese Fiction, edited by Makota Ueda. This is another challenge itme, this time for “A book about a culture you are unfamiliar with”. I picked this up by chance recently, so I have no idea what it will be like.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wippetwednesdayThe other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

When I last shared from the new version of Operation Sugarplum that I’m currently working on, Clara was assuring herself that the runes stopping the lock on her bedroom door from being broken were still there, despite the threats from a stranger on the other side. She’s received rather a shock when the runes glow and then disappear, leaving her vulnerable to physical attack. I’ve got 9 sentences for the 9th of November. (btw, Hanna is Clara’s ladies’ maid/companion).

She spun around and grabbed Hanna’s hand, jumping as she heard the sound of something being smashed against the lock to break it. They both ran into Hanna’s room, and Clara signalled for Hanna to hide herself under the bed. She blew out the candle and ran to Hanna’s wardrobe, flinging the doors open and stepping inside. She pulled the doors closed behind her and held her breath.

She knew she was only delaying the inevitable. She had made the mistake of speaking to General Bauer, whoever he was, so even if he hadn’t been certain at first that he had the right room, he knew now. It was impossible to escape; the windows all opened onto a fifty-foot drop. In a few months’ time, and with the proper training, Clara might have been able to buffet herself and Hanna safely to the ground, but her powers weren’t developed enough for that yet. All she was capable of at this point was startling someone with a blast of heat or light at inopportune moments.

Oh yeah… that just reminded me I need to have some sort of training montage further along where she actually does learn how to use her powers… Should probably remember that… 😉

All right, that’s all from me! See you on your blogs.

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 26 October, 2016

Sorry for not getting around to blogs this week! I’ve had a lot going on. I’m hoping I’ll do better this week! 🙂

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I ftherookcoverinally finished The Rook! As I said in my review, I probably did myself and the book a disservice by taking so long with it and reading so many other books in between, but it is how it is.

I also read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which was, to be honest, kind of ordinary, though I felt bad about being so nit-picky about it! My review will go up on Friday.

I also finally wrote a review of The Pickpocket by Celine Jeanjean this week.

What are you currently reading?

illkeptoathcoverI am so behind on my ARCs so today I made a concerted effort to start The Ill-Kept Oath by C. C. Aune. It’s okay at the moment but it’s early days so I’m hoping that it picks up. There’s one character who’s a particular jerk, but he’s meant to be,  so that’s okay.

It’s been a very slow week and I’ve had all sorts of distractions, such as colouring books, so there’s been little to no movement on either The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer or Artie and the Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh. I’ll get back to these after powering through some ARCs.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Next are the other two ARCs I need to get read by early November: The Infinity of You and Me by J. Q. Coyle and Immortal Writers by Jill Bowers.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wippetwednesdayThe other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

So I concluded that it is silly to wait for arbritrary dates to start new projects, even if I am starting a mini NaNo challenge on November 1. Since the new version of Operation Sugarplum is pretty much ready to go, I went forth and started it! I didn’t outline all the way to the end, but in terms of getting the story from A to B, I know roughly what B is and I think I can wing it… and if not, I can do more brainstorming later. This is from the very first scene. Clara has started awake to find her palace under attack. Now a strange man is on the other side of her bedroom door.

“I’m waiting,” came the voice again. “You can let me in peaceably or I will force my way in.”

Clara held the candle up to the lock on her door, assuring herself that the runes that protected it from destruction were still in place. They would struggle to destroy it without help from a member of the order of Mages that set it there to begin with.

Now if you were paying attention the last couple of weeks, you might know why the lock is not such an issue… 😉

All right, that’s all from me! See you on your blogs.

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 19 October, 2016

A quick announcement, before I get onto today’s blog hops. The Kindle edition of my novel, A More Complicated Fairytale, will be free this weekend. The GoodReads page is here, if you feel inclined to add it to your TBR, and I’ll do another post here when the promo goes live, as well as remind you on my Facebook page. Just so’s you know. 😉 And now, on with the show!

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

realbookthiefcoverIt’s been a terrible reading week for me this week, and unfortunately, the only thing I finished was The Real Book Thief: (How To Steal an Author’s Work and Nearly Get Away With It) by Ingrid Black, which is the story of how the duo behind Ingrid Black discovered that their books were being plagiarised and published on Kindle under another author’s name. It was interesting also reading the reviews from people who had been friends with Joanne Clancy (the name the plagiarist published under) through social media and had reviewed the books, and seeing how betrayed they felt when this all came out.

I also posted my review of Mara Wilson’s memoir, Where Am I Now: Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame this week.

What are you currently reading?

therookcoverStill going with The Rook! But I’m on the downhill run now. It’s got a bit more interesting again. I am kind of tempted to ignore all responsibiliities for tonight and finish it, but if I do that, I will have no curry to take for lunch tomorrow, and that would make me sad.

badasslibrarianscoverI’ll include these as well, even though I’m only up to about page 6 on each of them: The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, which is about some archivists who protected priceless manuscripts from destruction by Al Quaeda, and Artie and the Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh (yes, the actor). Richard did a talk at work last night and I got my book signed. We stood in line for an hour so I started reading the book in the queue.

I’m also beta reading for two members of my writing group, which is fun!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Ifantasticbeastscover picked up Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by Newt Scamander/J. K. Rowling from the library today. I’ve realised that I need to get a bit of a wriggle on with some of my reading challenges this year, and this is nice and short and fits the “a book that’s becoming a movie this year” prompt. And evne though it’s not like it’s the type of book where you read the book first to know the plot going into the movie, the movie does come out soon, so it’ll be good to have this under my belt.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

The other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up. This scene follows on from last week’s. General Bauer is the he in question at the start of this.  Nine sentences, which I got by adding the digits of 2016 together.

He looks down at me and he’s all smugness and smarm. I feel sick. But I don’t look away.

“We’ve got a surprise for you, haven’t we, gentlemen?”

I look around, and realise there are two men standing at his shoulders. They aren’t soldiers. They’re not his minions. They’re wearing the robes of the Aligar Mages, a group of magicians who swore to protect my family until I came of age and was trained in my powers. They look guilty.

That’s all from me! See you on your blogs.

~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday and #WIPpet Wednesday – 11 November, 2015

Hello and Happy Wednesday! I apologise for not making any rounds last week, but once I got my final essay handed in, I just sat on the couch and read books when I should have been doing other things, like cleaning the house, or cooking, or blogging. I’ll try to be better this week!

wednesdaybannerFirst up on today’s post is WIPpet Wednesday. This is a blog hop wherein writers share a snippet from their WIP that somehow relates to the date. We have a linky, which you can find by clicking on the little blue guy just to the right. WIPpet Wednesday has been graciously hosted for some time by K. L. Schwengel, however starting next week, I’m going to be taking over the reigns, with a couple of other WIPpeteers acting as backup when I am detained. I apologise now if I manage to muck it up.

This week’s WIPpet takes place a little while after last week’s. Clara has managed to escape her house, and has been chased by the Creelans. Max was conveniently driving by, and has picked her up. Now they’re driving around while they try to work out their next plan. I have 11 paragraphs for the 11th of November. Don’t worry, they’re all nice and short.

Max frowned again. “The King is here?”

“That’s what they said. He certainly behaves like a royal jerk.”

Max didn’t respond to Clara’s joke. “As soon as we arrived in Thelidon, we started hearing reports that the Creelans had found a way to open the portal, but no one mentioned the King.”

“He made it sound like he only came through today. And besides, he was probably in disguise.”

“Hmm.”

“Hey, can I ask a question?”

“Sure.”

“This thing.” Clara held up the stone pendant. “The King was pretty angry about me having it. He said it was stolen from a dead Creelan soldier.”

Max shrugged. “It probably was. They wear them in battle.”

“Isn’t that kind of… disrespectful?”

“Isn’t invading an unprotected country due to some stupid dispute generations ago kind of disrespectful?” Clara flinched away. Max didn’t raise his voice very often, but she supposed this was a bit of a sore point for him. She decided not to press the point any further. The car was silent for what felt like an eternity.

Next up is WWW Wednesday, which is hosted by Sam over at A World of Words. You can join in over there by leaving a link to your own WWW Wednesday on today’s post. All you need to do is answer the three questions.

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  • What are you currently reading?

Winter just came out! I actually probably should have re-read Cress before this, as there are a lot of things being referred to that I’d totally forgotten. As with the other books in the Lunar Chronicles, even though it’s long (nearly twice as long as Cinder was), it’s very readable, so I’ll get through it quite quickly. Thorne and Cress still hold the keys to my heart. I still could not care less about Scarlet and Wolf. Cinder and Kai are somewhere in between those two extremes, as are Winter and Jacin.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

So many things! As I said, I just stayed on the couch and read books all weekend.

First, there was another Doctor Who audio, The Empty House. It was pretty good though I wasn’t a fan of the narrator. I’ve been rather spoiled with the narrators on the first three I listened to, so I suppose I had to run into one I didn’t like so much eventually.

I finished How To Write A Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermason. I really liked it and am really looking forward to trying this out. The book is actually in the form of an allegorical novel (with a easy-access list of all the steps at the end) and he also includes an appendix with the snowflake method planning for the book itself, which helped clear up a few questions I had about some of the later steps.

Then there was 5000 Words Per Hour and Lifelong Writing Habit by Chris Fox (these were both quite short). These had a lot of really good advice, but the tone put me off. I felt like he was saying “Unless you do exactly as I say, you’re not serious about your writing.” =\

After that, I finished Chasing Nonconformity by Michelle Proulx. This was a fun sequel, though I still think Varrin needs a good punch to the nose sometimes.

I polished off Mothers Grimm by Danielle Woods in one afternoon, even though I didn’t really like it. I’m all for deconstructing the “good mother” trope, but her way of doing that seemed to be to say “Motherhood is a godawful experience that simply ruins your life and why would you do it?” Surely you can still have some positive aspects without going into “good mother” territory. I don’t know if I would feel differently about it if I was a mother, and had experienced the sleepless nights and all of that, but as it was, it just felt like she set out to write four fairly depressing stories. Oh, and the links to the fairytales were so tenuous they might as well have not been there.

And I finally finished The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker. I recommend reading this in as few sittings as possible, as I think it was the fact that I was only managing dribs and drabs that made me take so long to get into it. Once I was able to really sit down and read 100 or pages at a time, I actually got really into it. It’s definitely one of those books where the characters stay with you for a while afterwards and you just want to go back to their world rather than doing the housework, as I had to do when I finished.

I also posted my review of The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl in the last week. Since I’m reading so much lately, I’ve decided to post two reviews a week for a little while (Fridays and Saturdays), rather than one per fortnight. It was getting to the point where I was scheduling reviews for three months after I’d read the book. So watch out for those!

I’m going to head off now and get another review or two lined up. See you later!

~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday and WIPpet Wednesday- 04 November, 2015

This has been one of those weeks where I can barely believe it’s only Wednesday, and yet Wednesday it is. On the upside, that means fun blog hops! First up we have WWW Wednesday, which is hosted by Sam over at A World of Words. You can join in over there by leaving a link to your own WWW Wednesday on today’s post. All you need to do is answer the three questions.

  • What are you currently reading?

wwwwednesdayI started Chasing Nonconformity by indie author Michelle Proulx yesterday. This is the sequel to Imminent Danger (And How to Fly Straight into It), which I reviewed back in February. This is a really fun YA/sci-fi/romance series with some really entertaining characters and strong world-building. After reading a whole slew of things that only got three stars, I wanted to read something that I’m pretty sure I’ll give at least four to.

Still going with The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker. The pace is very slow, but the writing is good, and I am interested in the characters. They’ve only just met where I’m up to, and I really want to see how their relationship develops.

I’m also reading How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson. I’ve been interested in this method for a while, so I’m going to give it a go with my next WIP.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

I read the first two volumes of Jim Henson’s Return to Labyrinth. They were fun, and I’m thinking about making my rating 3.5 rather than 3. They gave Jareth a tragic romantic backstory, though, which I have mixed feelings about, because really, can you imagine the man who sang “Dance, Magic, Dance” having a tragic backstory? And even though this is set 13 years after the movie, he seems to have been mooning over Sarah all that time. Now don’t get me wrong, I am totally a Jareth/Sarah shipper, but I’ve read fanfiction that depicted this relationship better (The Goblin Market is a good one, if you’re interested).

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Mothers Grimm by Danielle Wood is my November Pick for me read, and it arrived for me at the library today, so probably that. I’m actually not sure what to expect with it.

In other news, I hand in my final assignment for the year on Friday, and I’ve got to say, after the best part of ten months spent studying straight, I am so looking forward to the break. Nothing to get up for on the weekends! No feeling guilty for doing fun things! Yay!

On that note, since I now have free time on my weekends, I decided it was time to re-join WIPpet Wednesdays. I missed sharing my writing with you guys, though on the upside, sitting out for a few weeks does mean I’ve got lots of new stuff to share from. I’m actually pretty excited, as I may end up finishing the first draft of Operation Sugarplum tonight or tomorrow! I plotted out the last few scenes at the end of my lunch break yesterday. I’ve also got a lot of notes for things to be improved upon in the second draft, as well as some glaring inconsistencies that need patching up, but I will be putting this aside for a little while and picking up something else. Probably Lessons Learned, which I have shared from before. It’s the one with Grace and Frederick.

wednesdaybannerAnyway, WIPpet Wednesday. It’s a blog hop where we share some of our current WIP that somehow relates to the date. Our linkup is here. K. L. Schwengel is our host and she is awesome. This week, I’ve four paragraphs for the 4th of November. Not long after the last excerpt, in which the Creelan King was threatening Clara that she’d better do as she’s told, he notices that she’s wearing a familiar pendant. Max gave it to Clara earlier, promising it would guard her against Creelan magic. The King wants to know why she has it and if she knows where it would have come from.

“I can tell you where it came from. Either your Max, or someone else who could then pass it on, stole it from the body of a Creelan soldier. When there is magic flying blindly in the heat of battle, it can be easy to miss our intended target. These stones ensure we cannot be hurt by our own magic.” Again, he reached out his hand, though this time it was with the palm held upwards. “I would be grateful if you would hand it back, so it could be returned to the man’s family.”

Clara had to admit he was good. She nearly took the pendant off and handed it over, but common sense kicked in at the last second. “Do you think I’m that stupid?” she asked. “Give up my one means of protection while you’re keeping me a prisoner in my own house?”

“You think I’d need to rely on magic to hurt you?” the King countered, his voice rising. “Give it to me!” He lunged towards Clara, grabbing both the pendant and a handful of her shirt in his fist. Clara wrenched herself away.

“No!” she screamed. “Do you think I’m going to believe a single word you say to me? When you’ve already tried to kill me once, and now you’re taking me hostage? Leave me alone.”

Clara then flings herself off to her bedroom and the King lets her go because honestly, he’s got plenty of time to wrestle pendants from around her throat.

I have to dash now, as I need to be somewhere in half an hour or so, but I will catch up on your blogs soon!

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – October 07, 2015

Wednesday has somehow already rolled around again, and I have to apologise for visiting very few of your blogs last week. First up this week, I’m doing WWW Wednesday, a weekly book meme in which we answer three questions starting with W. This meme is hosted by Sam over at A World of Words and you can join in by leaving a link to your own post on today’s post.
wwwwednesday

  • What are you currently reading?

I’m still going on The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway. I’m nearly at page 100! Of 531! It’s a very slow read, this one, but I do like it. It’s a lot denser than anything I usually read, though.

No movement on Evensong by Krista Walsh so far this week.

I started Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. It’s a historical adaptation of Rapunzel, and was recommended to me by a colleague. I’m only about 20 pages in so far. It was one of the two picked for me on the Pick for Me community on LiveJournal (a community where you are paired up with a buddy who chooses two books from your TBR for you to read during the month).

I’ve also started listening to the audio of Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. The audio is quite long, though; I’m wondering if it might be quicker to grab a copy of the physical book.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

I listened to the audio of Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay, which is a bit of an Australian classic. I thought it was interesting, and it definitely had some beautiful descriptions of the Australian landscape, but overall, I wasn’t that fussed. Probably partially because I’m not really the type who enjoys things labelled “classic”.

I also finished to The Crawling Terror, a Doctor Who novel read by Neve McIntosh, who plays Madame Vastra in the show. It may have had the 12th Doctor and Clara, but it felt like a Third Doctor adventure. Giant insects from outer space and top secret Nazi technology. Fun stuff.

And then there was another Doctor Who story, The Day of the Cockroach, which was read by Arthur Darvill, who played Rory. He had Amy and the 11th Doctor’s voices down perfectly. It was awesome. Also, it had nuclear bombs and giant cockroaches. Also awesome. Other cool thing about Doctor Who audios is that they put sound effects and stuff through them as well. When the Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver, you get the sound effect underneath the narration. Ditto the TARDIS. There was a scene in this one where they were all banging on the walls with pots and pans and those sounds were used, too.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I still haven’t started Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and I also picked up The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker up from the library (it’s the second of the two Pick for Me books), so probably one of those.

Lol, this post has already taken up a whole page in the Word document I’m typing it in. Sorry guys. I do go on sometimes.

wednesdaybannerNext up is WIPpet Wednesday, in which writers share exerpts from their WIP that somehow relate to the date. You can join in on this one, too; our linky is over here. Many thanks to K. L. Schwengel for being an awesome host.

Scrivener is currently downloading updates, so I can’t access my typed up Operation Sugarplum file. In the meantime, I give you ten lines from my notebook for the 10th of the month. It’s handwritten, so it is quite short. Clara has been taken hostage in her own house by the Creelan King and his minions.

“Max will come for me. And he will beat you.” Clara was pleased to note she sounded far more confident than she felt.

“We expect him to come, Clara. That’s the entire point.” The other creatures sniggered. The King continued, “In the meantime, you will do everything I say, to the letter, or I will kill you on the spot and let him come to us with revenge in mind instead. Is that understood?”

For once I have managed to get my Wednesday blog post out of the way well before my evening sport match (soccer tonight, bleergh), so I really feel like I should also go and write my book review for this week before I have to leave. On that note, I will leave you, and see you on your own blogs soon!

~ Emily

 

 

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 16 September, 2015

wednesdaybannerSo… potentially exciting news for anyone who has been following this blog for a good couple of years. Remember Operation: Sugarplum, that modern-day version of The Nutcracker that I was working on for a while, and then suddenly never mentioned again (February 2014 appears to be my final post about it). The reason it faded into obscurity is because I got stuck. But! I was thinking about it in the shower last night (that best of all thinking places), and I’ve decided to return to it. I think the reason I got stuck was I was overthinking the amount of detail that I needed. This is only a short piece. I don’t need to explain the entire geo-political situation between Max’s kingdom and its neighbour. I can just say “there’s a war going on”.

I do need some suggestions, though. In the original story, the Mouse King threatens that he will bite the Nutcracker to pieces if Marie/Clara doesn’t give him her sweets and her dolls. But my Clara is in her early twenties, so I’m trying to think what to translate that to. Blood seems a bit too drastic and dark for the tone of the story (it’s pretty light-hearted) and money makes no sense since the insurgents are from a different world. Any thoughts on what my Clara can trade in exchange for Max’s safety?

In the meantime, here is a WIPpet from it. I’ve added the 1 and the 6 from today’s date and have 7 paragraphs. Clara’s been attacked by enemies of Max’s kingdom and learned that he is in fact a prince all in a very short space of time.

Clara thought about this, and then decided to focus on the small things rather than the huge. “Is he really your uncle?”

“No, but I’ve been calling him that all my life so it’s sort of second nature now. Really, that’s the question you have at this point?”

“Fine, why do you have to save the Kingdom, then?”

Max finished bandaging up Clara’s arm, and sat back. “Because only the firstborn child of the reigning monarch is ever born with magic, and without it, we’re pretty useless.”

“Well, what about your parents, then? Doesn’t one of them have magic?”

“That’s the problem… my father had an older brother who died young. There was nothing anyone could do, but it left the Kingdom virtually defenceless. Thelidon’s small; there’s barely even an army. It relies on the monarch for protection.”

“Wow. That must suck for your dad, then.”

To join in on WIPpet Wednesday, simply post an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date, and link up with us here. Many thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting.

wwwwednesdayOnto WWW Wednesday, which is a bookish blog hop run by Sam. Join in by leaving a comment on today’s post on her blog!

  • What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud, which is the third in the Lockwood & Co. series. It’s still fun, though the Lucy/Lockwood potential romance is a bit more heavy-handed in this than in the previous two books, and so far Lucy (the narrator) has spent an awful lot of time being passive-aggressively bitchy about a new team member. As the series is going to be at least four, possibly five books, maybe this is the equivalent of middle book syndrome for trilogies.

  • What have you recently finished reading?

Lots of things! It’s amazing what a weekend away can do!

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab – loved this one! I didn’t really want to leave Kell and Lila. The next book isn’t out until February, though, so I guess I’ll have to be patient.

The Amazing Adventures of Acacia Carlisle by fellow ROW80 participant and blogger, Cate Morgan. This was a short but sweet steampunkish story that made me smile.

The Bright Court and The Twilight Kingdom, books 2 and 3 in the Feyland series by Anthea Sharp. I read the first book about nine months ago and finally got around to these two. This is a really fun YA series that blends sci-fi with fey mythology.

I also rage-quit Insanity by Cameron Jace. After I disliked Splintered so much, I was hoping for an Alice in Wonderland adaptation that I would actually like. This was not it. You can read my ranty remarks about the first 17% of the book here.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I still need to start The Gone-Away World, which I have on loan from a colleague so I should probably get onto that. I also ended up not listening to any audio books while I was travelling, so I’ve still got several of those to get through.

I’m going to head off now and read a bit more of Lockwood before bed! See you all soon!

~ Emily

 

#WIPpet Wednesday – Now, now…

I once again haven’t written too much this week; my weekend was rather busy and I have only had a few nights at home, on which I’ve been stupidly tired. I think I finally did combat this last night by going to bed at 8:30ish and apart from a couple of incidents, basically sleeping though until my alarm went off at 6 this morning. It was glorious. I’m blaming the exhaustion on the fact that Crucible rehearsals have now started and there’s basically no way to play Abigail Williams without being exhausted at the end of it… Last Thursday we were doing the part where Abigail is threatening the other girls into keeping quiet about their potentially witchcraft-y activities, which requires a lot of simmering fear and hysteria under the surface, which we’ve got to convey. And then on Monday we were doing the scene with Abigail and John Proctor, which required me to go from flirtatious to pleading to angry to mocking to passionate to devastated all within about three pages of script. And we ran it many times. Sleep was difficult on Monday night because it actually took me quite a while to relax afterwards. On the upside, since they kept running through my head, I now know ALL my lines for that scene.

Anyway, what writing I have done in the past week has mostly involved combining bits and pieces from the two versions of Operation: Sugarplum that I had sitting there. In the first one, Max and Clara were complete strangers, in the second they’d known each other all their lives. In this combined version, they’ve known each other a month or so, and I think I’ve finally struck the right balance. I still don’t really know where to take the story after what I’ve already got written, though I did find some notes I made back when I first started which might help…

For WIPpet Wednesday, I’m giving you 26 words because today is the 26th.  Max is pretty sure that if they took Clara to see their own kingdom and ran into some of the bad guys, he and Drosselmeier would be able to handle it. Drosselmeier is not so convinced.

“Don’t start getting ahead of yourself, Max. You only defeated one of them last night, and from what you tell me, it was with Clara’s help.”

And now I am going to set up my new bedside lamp on my bedside chest and read for a little while before having another nice, early night. I’ll catch you all later! Check back here on Friday, though, as my post in Shah Wharton‘s Finding Esta will be going up. There are ten copies up for grabs! 😀

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#WIPpet Wednesday and #ROW80 Update – In which we get a little bit meta

wednesdaybannerHello! It’s Wednesday and I’m so determined for my WIPpet Wednesday post to go up on time this week that I started writing it last night. Since I posted late and missed the linky, some of you might have missed the news that I figured out a lot of stuff in Operation: Nutcracker and have been working on it again! There is still a lot that needs working out, but I feel like I’m getting somewhere with it again and it’s been really exciting visiting Max and Clara again. Though I did have a moment while I had my Nutcracker on Ice DVD on (my neighbours were blaring techno all weekend, so I figured blaring Tchaikovsky back at them was only fair) and I realised I kept referring to the Nutcracker Prince in that as Max. So that’s a thing.

Anyway, for this week’s WIPpet, I have four lines (2 + 2 for the 22nd of January). I didn’t even actually think about what I was writing when I wrote this, and it wasn’t until I sat back and read it and went, “Wait…”

“So now everyone is waiting for their long lost Prince to return home and save them,” Clara summarised, though Max heard the skepticism still in her voice. “I can’t decide whether your life is the plot of a fantasy novel or a Disney movie.”

“Disney movie, definitely,” Max declared seriously.

Silly Max. If only you knew.

Also, on the subject of meta, I found out a thing the other day and it kind of broke my brain a little. The actress who plays Cait in my dream AMCF cast was in a workshop for a musical version of the movie Ever After: A Cinderella Story. Which might seem like not too major a thing, until I add that the character of Prince Felipe is very, very inspired by the character of Prince Henry in that very movie. So I had a bit of a moment then, though now that I’ve written it down, it’s probably not as mind-blowing for anyone else as it was for me. 😛

row80-2As for writing goals, well, I wrote about a page and a half of Operation Sugarplum on my breaks at work on Monday. When added up, said breaks work out at about an hour. Today I took my print out of the current version of AMCF in with me and have really started working on the edits and the Post-It-Noting. I have green ones for where entire scenes need to be moved or changed, orange ones for timeline-related stuff because I’m reasonably sure my timeline isn’t entirely straight, and pink ones for random little changes, including spelling/grammar/”is this even a sentence?!” issues. Though a lot of those are just being written straight in, in pink pen. So that’s my two hours for the week up already, and I plan on doing more editing this evening if I have some time.

I’ve also met my blogging schedule for the last couple of weeks, so that’s pretty awesome.

If you would like to join in on WIPpet Wednesday, simply post an excerpt from your current WIP that somehow correlates to the date (we encourage creativity with the dates) and then link up with us here and check out others’ offerings. As always, thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting us. 🙂 If you are more into the A Round of Words in 80 Days, check it out here.

On that note, I’m going to sign off and go back to drinking the tea I bought from the actual Twinings shop in London and listening to an album of the St Paul’s Cathedral Choir singing Christmas carols and pretending I’m back there for the Christmas concert I attended. Catch you all later. 🙂

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