Blogs

Even More Book Events!

Right now, I'm negotiating the possibility of being an exhibitor/presenter at CHEACT, which is a home-school writer's conference...I think (not sure exactly what it is). The guy in charge of it said they'd love to have me, but were concerned that I had only one book to sell (Dude, I'm only 16. How many do you expect me to have? ;) ) and therefore would only use part of the booth they'd give me. But he said this 'nice lady' also has one book to sell and she'd asked him if she could share a booth with somebody, so he's suggesting that. We'd split the cost of the booth. God provides always, my friends! :) Hopefully this will work out. Please pray that it does!! Whew...this is going to be a busy spring o.O I also have to have a persuasive speech topic (ugh) by tomorrow, and I'm thinking I'll talk about the inadequacy of villains in current literature. I'm rather passionate about that ;) Anyway, I'll update you on the CHEACT thing (I always see 'cheat' when I look at that....) and let you know all the details. Have a great week! :)

Apparently I'm Indecisive...I Think...

So I wrote 5 pages on The Rat Race today and also edited some on Book Two. I give up deciding what I'm going to work on now; I'll just work on whatever I feel like working on. 
   Anyway. An update on Young Falcon: I'm going to be interviewed and do a book signing at an Austin school (Bannockburn Christian Academy) on the...16th, I think? Not entirely sure. And then I'm going to be attending a writer's conference-type thing in Salado in March. Young Falcon is also now available on the Australian Borders website...Hope they like it in Australia! ;) Looks like this are going well right now :)
    And for fun, here is a small snippet from Book Two, featuring a character based off of my good friend, G.C., who was adopted from China as a toddler. JiaQing, her real name, is used as this little girl's name. Elysia uses her gift of Instinctive Speech to converse with JiaQing. Enjoy! :)
 From the Chapter 'Mountains.'
    The moss felt delightful under my bare feet as I ran. The boots I had been wearing were so worn and tattered that they barely counted as shoes anymore, and they blistered my feet awfully; I was glad to be rid of them for a while.
    I smiled warmly as I stepped into the water. It rippled and splashed over my feet, running through its bed aimlessly, paying me no mind. I sat down on a broad stone and leaned back. The stars twinkled down at me brightly and cheered my spirits. I wish my sisters were here with me, I thought remorsefully and  I dipped my fingers into the brook.
    A soft rustle on the other side of the stream caught my attention, and my eyes instantly sped to the source. A small child was crouched on the opposite side of the river, garbed in what looked to be sheepskins and tan leather, holding a small shepherd’s staff. She had very long, black hair that was tied back in a braid, which fell past her waist, and strangely shaped eyes. They were shaped like almonds and were a very dark brown colour. It was a very pretty combination, but for the life of me, I could not figure out what race this child was.
    She blinked her big dark eyes, evidently as startled to see me as I was to see her. We stood stock-still for a moment, staring at each other. Her small hand was frozen around a waterskin that looked like it was made of some animal’s stomach. There was a water lily in her hair, one that I guessed came from the creek, because there were similar flowers floating along the bank. Finally, the little girl called, “Ni shì shuí, huo nu?”
    My brain scrambled frantically to understand her words. I had not heard any words in another language in a long time, especially such a different language than my own, and it took me a long moment to even figure out what her first word meant. And she spoke so fast! I translated in my head slowly: “W-who … are … you, fire … lady”? Fire lady? That can’t be right … Then I realised she was probably referring to my red hair. I struggled to answer her, and when I finally was able to piece together a response, I said, “Wo de míngzì shì Elysia. Wo de péngyou hé wo dū duì zhèxiē shānqū luyóu, yào Rielture. Ni shì shuí?” My name is Elysia. My friends and I are travelling over these mountains, to Rielture. Who are you?
    The little girl’s eyes lit up in astonishment when I replied to her. Continuing to speak in her fast, complicated language, she told me excitedly: “JiaQing! My name is JiaQing!” Then she cocked her head at me, dark eyes asking an unspoken question. “Are you lost? You look … confused,” she asked, studying me.
    A little taken aback, I stared at her for a moment. She was asking me if I was lost? Where on earth did this child come from? I shook my head. My brain was beginning to ache from the arduous process of translating all these words, back and forth…I had had little to no practise with Instinctive Speech, and to try and translate so many words back and forth so quickly … I answered JiaQing wearily, “No, JiaQing … I am … just tired.” I sat down wearily on my side of the river, the moss soft and cushioning beneath me. I listened to the comforting, soothing sounds of the river rushing by, and the sounds of the frogs and crickets singing. I was very tired, emotionally, physically, and especially mentally.
    JiaQing shifted into a sitting position, her large dark eyes bright with excitement, apparently convinced she had made a new friend. She really was tiny; she could have been no older than six years old. I smiled, remembering how Lillian was at that age. JiaQing asked then, “Why is your head on fire?”
    I laughed. “My hair … is naturally this colour, JiaQing; my head is not … on fire. I was … born like this, with red hair,” I answered slowly, stumbling a little over the unfamiliar words.
    “That’s so weird!” JiaQing exclaimed, staring at me with new interest, her large dark eyes alight with excitement. I smiled at her. I knew subconsciously, though I had no idea how, that she was Chinese. But I had never heard of the Chinese, nor their language, nor anything to do with them before tonight, and yet, here I was, speaking fluent Chinese. Though my brain was aching with a massive headache from the intense work required of it, I was enjoying and marvelling at my odd ability. Who would ever have guessed that I could understand and reply to a language I had never even heard of, without any schooling or teaching at all? I smiled at the peculiar workings of the world.
    JiaQing filled up her waterskin and tied it to her belt, humming happily. She laid the small shepherd’s staff down beside her. I supposed she must be part of a nomadic tribe in these mountains or down on the plains, though I had seen no other people besides Brandyn’s company. Fascinated by this possibility, I asked her, “Where … do you live, JiaQing? In the mountains?”
    JiaQing held out her small staff as evidence, eyes bright. “Wěi!” she said. Yes! “My family herds goats and sheep in these mountains; our tribe has been here for hundreds of years. My brother and I were trying to find a lost lamb, and I stopped to get more water.”
    “You were looking … for the lamb … during the night?” I asked, absently massaging my aching forehead. I wondered how much more of this strenuous translation my unpractised brain could take.
    “Wěi,” JiaQing affirmed. “He probably won’t wander around during the night, since he’s away from his mother and the herd. It’ll be easier to find him because he’ll probably hide somewhere, and my brother and I will find him.” She was suddenly distracted by the sight of a small winged insect flying past. JiaQing sat stock-still, watching it. Then, in a lightning-fast move, she snatched it out of the air. She opened her hand to gaze at it and let out a squeal of enthusiasm before releasing it.
    I smiled again. I had forgotten it, but I now remembered Lillian doing the same when she was younger. Lillian had always been captivated by animals, no matter how big or small. With these memories came a strong ache of homesickness, however, and I asked JiaQing a question to get my mind off of my home: “Where is your brother now, JiaQing? Shouldn’t you be with him?”
    JiaQing laughed. “Why? He can find the lamb without me!” Something in the river caught her eye and she leaned forward, studying the rushing water curiously. Then she looked up at me, cocked her head, and said, “I smell smoke from fire. You said there were other people with you. Are they nearby?”
    “Wěi,” I agreed. “They are … over the crest there.” I pointed back at the direction I had come from, where Efroy and the others were sleeping.
    JiaQing looked interestedly at the direction I pointed and said, “Are there others with fire-hair there? I’d like to see them! My little sister’d like to hear about the fire-people.”
    I laughed. “There are no more … that I know of, JiaQing. I’m sorry. But I could take you … to see the camp … if you want.” My headache was beginning to lessen a little as I continued to speak in Chinese, though I knew it would be a long time before I could speak with the speed and fluency of JiaQing.
    JiaQing’s dark eyes widened with excitement. “Wěi!” she exclaimed. “I’ve never seen a camp of other people before! My brother’ll be so jealous when I tell him!” And after hiding her staff in a bush on the bank, she hopped into the river and paddled across, swimming surprisingly strongly and more confidence than I would have expected of such a tiny girl. The current did little to move her from her course, and she jumped to the bank only a few feet farther down from where I was.
    She shook off what water there was on her—her sheepskin and leather clothes seemed rather water-resistant—and wrung out her long black braid. JiaQing darted up the slope, and I stood, leaving the rock I had been seated on, to follow her with a smile.
    At the edge of the camp, JiaQing hid behind one of the boulders and slowly peeked around it to peer at the campsite. I stood behind her, watching her with amusement.
    One of the men stirred, and JiaQing gasped and pressed herself flat against the boulder. But when the man was quite again, she instantly moved back to where she could see the camp. She giggled after a moment. “What funny clothes they wear!” she said in a whisper that was none too quiet.
    “Wěi, they are very … different than you,” I agreed, kneeling beside her and watching the camp as well with amusement.
   “Who is he? He is very beautiful,” JiaQing asked me, tugging on my sleeve, and pointed.
I blushed when I realised it was Efroy she was referring to. “That is my good friend … Efroy,” I told her.
   “He is your friend?” JiaQing asked in awe. “Oh, you’re really xìngyùn! Really lucky!”
   I smiled. “Yes,” I said, looking at Efroy fondly. “Wěi, I am very lucky.”
   JiaQing whirled around then, flat against the rock, and asked, “Where did you say you and your friends are going?” Her big eyes were full of curiosity.
   “To Rielture,” I answered.
   JiaQing cocked her head. “The eagle-city? If you’re going there, why aren’t you on the right path?”
   Confused, I said, “I didn’t know that … we weren’t on the right path. Where is the right path?”
    JiaQing darted away from the rock and stood down on the bank, craning her neck to search for something. She stood on tip-toes for a while and then ran back to me, saying, “The road to the eagle-city isn’t far from here. If you keep going this way, you’ll run into a big pile of rocks that will make you have to come back. I can show you the road, fire-lady, if you want.” With her huge, innocent eyes she looked at me pleadingly.
   “Why … would you do that for us?” I asked, unsure.
    JiaQing looked surprised. “Because you’re my friend! You’re lost, and I can help you get back to the right road. Please let me help you.” She looked up at me beseechingly.
Let me know if you see any grammatical errors or think something sounds awkward or whatever! :)

...And Back to Sons and Daughters...

This doesn't really surprise me much, but I've decided to focus solely on Sons and Daughters and not try to simultaneously write another story; I'm too involved in this series, and I don't think I'd be able to give another story enough attention - and therefore depth - whilst also working on Book Four. I liked the idea for The Rat Race, but I'll need to work on its plot quite a bit; it's pretty similar to The Hunger Games, apparently... *irked look* If you have any suggestions, please let me know! :) So yeah...back to Sons and Daughters, I guess. I may still write a little on The Rat Race if I'm bored or something, but it's not going to be a major project. Hope you all have a great weekend, and God bless!! :)

Sosha

Sosha Grace, my guinea pig, has died. For the past few days, she'd plainly been feeling terrible, and had had diarrhea and hadn't been eating or drinking, so we knew something was wrong. We took her to the vet today, and they did an ultrasound. We discovered that she had a 7" tumour in her abdomen. They said there was nothing they could do, since it was already so big, so we had her put down. But she lived 8 years (which is a long life for a piggie; they usually live about 6 0r 7), so she had a good, long life. She was a great pet, and though I shall miss her, I still have lots of pictures to remember her by. R.I.P Sosha - February 4th, 2004-January 26th, 2012.

Short Blurb for the Rat Race

This is a very quick blurb for The Rat Race; I don't have all the details hammered out yet, but enjoy!
A 3,000 mile race. 24,000 contestants. A track full of dangers: arctic wastelands, deep canyons, lightless caverns, raging rivers, a valley of thorns, hungry sabre-tooth tigers, vast mountain ranges … And every other competitor is determined that you will never reach the finish line … 
       This is the race I must run.
       The prize? My life, and hers. If I fail, we both die.
       There is only one way to run—forward. 

Speeches and a New Story

I have another book signing coming up on the 24th of February, so I've enlisted my Speech teacher's help for that, as I'm not very skilled at talking to people...especially about myself o.O So that should be interesting ;) I'm also brainstorming on a new story, one that I might try to write when I finish Sons and Daughters, and yes, I know that will be years from now, so who knows? I like it right now, though :) Here is a teaser cover I made; not very good, but I like it :)
Definition of rat race: an endless, pointless, competitive activity. I'm redefining 'rat race' with this story...sort of ;) It's a very fun story so far, and I have 12 pages written upon it thus far. I may release further info if this interests any of you. I may do so even if it doesn't ;) Anyway. Hope you are all having a great 2012 so far! :D And if you haven't voted on the favourite character poll yet, please do so!!! :)

Young Falcon is Taking Over Austin!

My mum told me today that two more Barnes and Nobles in Austin are ordering Young Falcon for their shelves! :D The newspapers in Dripping Springs and in Salado are also featuring articles about me and the book, and those should be out sometime soon! I'm going to be doing a signing at a B&N in February and going to a writers' convention in March. Ahhhh!!! So excited that I'm getting to get the word out about my book! God is SO good!! I'm so thankful He's allowing Young Falcon to be placed in so many stores and that so many people will be exposed to it! This year is going to be AMAZING!!!!

reNew 2012

I just got back from my first-ever church retreat. I went with G.C.'s church, HCBC, to a camp in East Texas. On Friday, I went home with her and we spent the night trying to figure out our chemistry homework (which involved a whodunit that did NOT make sense), geometry/algebra homework, and watching Tangled in Spanish (that was epic). Then we went to sleep at around 11. The next morning, we woke up and headed to her church, whereupon I first met her junior and senior guy friends (and I don't know their last names, so I'll just refer to them by their first names) James, Michael, Daniel, Jeremy, and Zane. We hung out for a little and then set about finding a car in which to ride. There was no room left in any of the cars, so G.C., Michael, and I ended up in a van full of....middle schoolers (and Zane and one or two other high schoolers). UGH. Not only do middle schoolers smell bad, but they are extremely loud and hyper! It may not have been so bad if we hadn't had to sit in the parking lot for an hour because our ReNew booklets had to print, but still. I heard some rather inappropriate things and some rather bad language in that hour...not fun o.O But Michael entertained us and kept the chaos controlled, so that was good.
    We finally got started and quickly discovered that Michael and Zane are huge fans of metal and techno music. Soooo we listened to LOTS and LOTS of death metal, techno, electronic, and even some Swedish metal whilst driving in the van. I absolutely do not understand how metal is even considered music....
     Our driver (who I think is named Matt) made us play a 'get to know each other game,' where we would introduce ourselves and then everyone else would take turns asking us a question about ourselves. This was a very long game, as there were 13 of us (not including Matt), and we all had to ask everyone a question. It was sort of entertaining when Michael asked his questions, though, because he would do it in his 'formal voice,' which is a deep, gentlemanly voice that sounds more like a 30-year-old's. And it's awesome, because he's a huge physics nerd, but he's still so hilarious and friendly :D 
     So after 3 long hours, we arrived, whereupon we headed to the mess hall for the welcoming message and all that stuff. Then we headed outside, where we could start all the activities. We watched some people attempt the Junkyard Climb. This is a ropes course where you climb a ladder made of intermittent thin logs and then onto a tire and then on a net rope and then onto a 2 x 4 box, whereupon you jump and grab a trapeze that's seven feet from the box. Fun stuff! I actually wouldn't have minded trying, but it was pretty crowded, so I didn't.
   And then came Hexball. G.C. noticed some people in the gym, so we left the Junkyard Climb to see what they were doing. They were playing Hexball (it's actually called Gaga, but that's a stupid name, so I'm calling it Hexball), which is absolutely the most amazing game I have ever played. You and a bunch of other people stand inside a large hexagon and one person has a volleyball (or any other ball). The volleyball has to hit three walls of the hexagon before it's considered 'live' (meaning the game can now commence). Then you can push and roll the volleyball at other people in an attempt to hit them anywhere below the waist, in which case they'd be out. Your foot can't touch the ball at any time, or you're out. You can only block with one hand. The last person that hasn't been hit wins. When you're playing with six or seven high school boys, this game gets extremely intense. Michael was standing outside the hexagon and got hit very hard by a stray ball that one of the boys had thrown, and he dropped to the ground immediately like he'd been shot; he wasn't hurt, so it was completely hilarious. I've never seen anyone fall to the ground that quickly :D Anyway, G.C. and I are going to try to convince our P.E. coach to add Hexball to our curriculum; that'd be so freakin' awesome!!!
     So after several games of Hexball, G.C. and I sat at a fire that one of the kids had coaxed from an ember for a while. That was relaxing...and rather smoky, because people kept putting leaves on the fire. Then we and the rest of the kids went to Session, which is where one of the youth pastors gives us a sermon. We also sang with the band. After this, we went back to our cabins for small groups, and then we went looking for the boys, but couldn't find them. Eventually, we were told by somebody that they were at the bonfire, so we got a ride with some other kids out to the bonfire, which was out in a wide-open field surrounded by pine trees. You could see so many stars out there! It was epically beautiful :) Michael and James and Daniel entertained us with all their different accents (Michael specialises in Russian) and that was so funny! Best bonfire I've ever been to :D
    At 11:30, we went back to our cabins and went to bed. We woke up at 7 the next morning and went to breakfast and then to Session. After that, we played more Hexball until lunch. After lunch, we signed up for various activities such as trail rides, tomahawk throwing, the giant swing, the high ropes course, etc. G.C., James, and I went to the trail rides first. I rode a palomino horse that was really sweet. We rode through the woods and through a creek, and that was epic. I loved the trail ride, but I'm so sore from it! Ugh.
   After that, G.C. did the high ropes course (you climb a pole, shimmy across a rope, and finish with a zipline) and then we went to the rifle range. I watched while she, Jeremy, and a few other guys shot at the targets. The counsellor for that, Nate, had a pink rifle. Hmmm....
    Then we wandered around for a very long time, looking for Michael and the boys. We eventually found them and proceeded to play many games of Hexball. IT'S SO FUN!!!! Then we hit the tomahawk range. G.C. did okay; I didn't try and was content to watch. More Hexball came next :D Then I went back to the fire with James while Grace headed off somewhere with Michael, and I stayed there for a while. There was a boy there (a senior, I think) named Trent who was stoking the fire, and he looks like Jakob from my book! :O I was so excited but didn't show it because that would be perceived as creepy, I'm sure o.O Anyway, I took lots of mental pictures so I hopefully don't forget what he looks like. Then, after creeping on Trent, I hit the camp store and bought some buttons for my Army satchel, along with a Powerade (yum!). Then I watched G.C. throw more tomahawks, and then we had supper and afterwards played more Hexball with Michael and Daniel (I broke Michael's winning streak! Success!) and then went to Session. Small groups came after, and then I took a shower and all that while G.C. checked out the blacklight dodgeball. She said it wasn't very good, so I didn't go back with her. We went to bed. 
     This morning, I was incredibly (and still am) sore, so much so that I honestly could hardly get out bed. My legs, arms, backside, and abs were/are so sore!!! G.C. and I feel like little old ladies hobbling about o.O I guess I got lots of good exercise, though ;) Anyway, we went to the last Session and then loaded everything up to go home. There was some confusion with the seating, because everyone decided to ride in a different car than the one in which they came, but somehow, Michael, G.C., and I still ended up in the van with the middle schoolers :| So we listened to lots of metal and techno (and Michael Raved, which is when you put your hands up and 'dance' vigourously in your seat, and that was...interesting...) We all kinda feel asleep after that.
   All in all, a very enjoyable (and extremely exhausting) weekend! :D I will definitely want to go back next year!! :D :D

Harry Potter Movies!

I recently purchased the first six Harry Potter movies from Amazon.com and got all 6 of them for a grand total of *drum roll* $15.00. I love Amazon so much :D I now intend to have a Harry Potter movie marathon sometime soon, which will be a very long but fun marathon :) The cover for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is actually holographic (which I wasn't expecting), and on one side it has Harry and Dumbledore, and on the other, it has Draco and Snape. YESSSSS!!! I LOVE Draco and Snape; they're my two favourites!! o.O That's officially my favourite cover :D Whooo!!!

Pages