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Darkwoods by Marta Stahlfeld

There's another young author being published by Sheryn Hara, and she's a seventeen-year-old Christian named Marta Stahlfeld. Ms. Hara sent me a copy of Marta's book, Darkwoods, and I just received it. Here's a summary for those of you who are interested:
The death of the foxes' ruling oracle, Scythe, bodes ill for the Wraith Mice around Darkwoods and their allies near and far. With the change in leadership, all sides know their uncertain relationship with the foxes will, too soon, erupt into a vicious war. Possessing the ability to melt into the darkness and renowned in warfare, the Wraith Mice rally the squirrel tribes, Ranger Mice, and others to defend their territory--and their very lives. A young one among them, Princess Zuryzel understands the gravity of the situation and rises fearlessly to the challenges of the ruthless invaders. Possessing the traits of a natural leader and wise beyond her years, Zuryzel knows she must follow the difficult path before her. But can she overcome the challenges in time to defeat the hated foxes?

Finally!

I couldn't take my flashdrive with me on the mystery trip (see below post) and so I haven't been able to write this entire week. 
     AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH torture!!!!!!!!
    But now that I'm home again, I can write (YES!!!), which is such a relief! Whew, it's good to be home :)

My Busy Week

Every year since my brother and I were four, my grandparents have taken us on a mystery trip - meaning that they know where we're going, but we don't. We've gone to tons of different places over the years - including my favourite, the Lord of the Rings Film Exhibit in a museum when I was in third grade. 
       However, this year is the last time that we went on a mystery trip, because my grandparents are getting pretty old and I'm half-way through high school and Brother's at college. So it was a bittersweet trip, but still very fun.
      To start out, we got up at 5:00 A.M. on Tuesday morning and drove until 4:00 P.M. And yes, we did nothing but drive the entire time! It was SO monotonous; if I hadn't had my Robin Hood DVDs to watch, I think I would have killed somebody ;) But lucky my other grandmother had gotten a portable DVD player from my cousin for Christmas, and she let me take it with me so that I would also have something to do. Thank goodness for that. However, the DVD player soon ran out of battery, and so I had to resort to reading my book. Yes, that's how bored I was. It was kinda good, though; I found a few errors I had overlooked and was able to change them. 
     So we got to the hotel at 4, ate, and went to bed. We were exhausted and cranky, so sleep was very welcome. 
    The next morning, we got up, ate breakfast, and then headed out for exploration. The first place we went was this open-air art display, where this guy had stuck 10 Cadillac cars halfway into the ground. It was...strange, but cool. Brother decided he wanted to climb some of them, so we climbed one or two and got some pictures. It was actually a lot of fun, and we found some cool graffitti art on the cars (you could bring spray paint and spray/write on the cars). Here are some pictures:
 This was a lot of fun :) Then we went to a history museum, which was one of the best I've been to in a long time. It had some fantastic Native American exhibits, as well as some great pre-historic displays. I really love history, and so this was a wonderful place to spend a few hours.They had clothes from the early 1900s, which was very cool, and they had lots of stuffed wild animals and a whole room full of guns. (Yay!)
    After that, we ate and then went to another Native American museum, which was really disappointing. It had one room of stuff. Tiniest museum ever!! But I did get a cool necklace from the gift shop, so it wasn't a total waste going there. 
    We went back to the hotel and rested then. My grandparents and brother took a nap, but I watched the second season of Robin Hood (the 2006 BBC version) on my DVD player. This is an awesome show, by the way, and I recommend it!! After we were all rested, we headed out to a canyon, where we came to a state park place that was having a show. Here we ate really good chicken, salad, and peach cobbler. Brother and I climbed a giant pile of rocks whilst waiting for the show to begin, and got lots of pictures. After waiting an hour and a half, the show started. It was pretty good - it had lots of dancing, acting, waterworks, and special effects, and with the canyon as the backdrop, it was pretty epic. Never seen so many good-looking young men in all my life! ;) 
    We got back at around 11 and went to sleep. Then we woke up and headed back for home late the next morning. On the way back, I watched The Patriot, which is currently my favourite movie. It stars Mel Gibson (who I like as an actor, but not in real life) and Heath Ledger. Now, for those of you who don't know, I 'cast' Heath Ledger as one of my characters - my villain, actually. So, when he dies in the movie, it was pretty hard to watch, 'cause of course I see him more as my character than as the movie character. Now, of course he's dead in real life, but it was still hard to see one of my characters 'die', if you know what I mean. :) Then I also watched The Da Vinci Code, which was...ok. I don't agree with pretty much everything in the movie, but as a fiction tale, it was pretty good. Another of my favourite actors, Paul Bettany, was the bad guy (Silas) in The Da Vinci Code. He also dies, and as he is another of my characters, that was also hard to watch. Sheesh, why do they all keep dying? Haha! But it was an ok movie. 
     Then I went to the house of my second family, the home of PG13 and her parents and siblings. We went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 *pauses for breath* and it was really good. I'm not a huge HP fan or anything, but I've watched the movies once or twice and like them pretty well. They're entertaining. If you know me, it wouldn't be hard to guess who my two favourite characters are, but if you don't, I'll tell you: Snape and Draco. Yes, I always like either the bad guys or the ones who end up dying...or both. Refreshingly, however, Draco didn't die! Yay!! Snape did, though :( But I like Draco more anyway, so that's fine. My favourite part of the entire movie was the epilogue, when they show them all 19 years later. Draco had a beard! And it wasn't even the same colour as his hair! Hahaha that made me laugh so hard!
    We went to the lake, where I got sunburned! Yay. Mr. G took us out on the boat, and I watched PG13, N.G., and J.G. ski, which was awesome. PG13's boyfriend T.C. went too, and he skied some as well. We went tubing too, and N.G. and I had an awesome time falling off :) Mrs. G even tubed, and that was really funny, 'cause she called, 'Is that all you got?' to Mr. G, who was driving, and so he promptly tried to get her to fall off, but she stayed on until the very end. So funny! PG13 also had an epic ride, and she managed to stay on the entire time no matter how many big waves came her way. Go PG13!!!! It was amazingly fun :)
    Had an awesome week!!!!

A Good Reminder

"God poured out the Holy Spirit abundantly on us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that by his grace we might be put right with God and come into possession of the eternal life we hope for." - Titus 3:6-7
Don't forget to thank our heavenly Father for his mighty power and grace in our lives, and pass on the truth of Jesus to a friend or loved one in need! God bless you all!

And So It Begins!

All right, we wrapped up the final family meeting before giving the go-ahead to Sheryn Hara, and literally less than a minute after Mum and I went to go compose an email to her, she called! It was really freaky. She asked us if we had any more questions, and so Mum was able to give her all the questions she and Dad had left, and Ms. Hara answered them all over the phone. My brother and I listened nearby. They talked for a little while, and so now all we need to do is deposit the initial payment for the editing, cover design, and layout - which will be done tomorrow. And then.....it begins! The official publishing process will commence tomorrow, July 11, 2011!!! 
      Today = best day ever :)

Wow

BEST. SUNDAY SCHOOL. EVER. We did something a little bit different today - which was kind of a relief. Instead of just going up into the high school room and listening to our youth pastor talk (well, ok, we did that too), we got to get into small groups and listen to each other tell about the things that were on our hearts that we could all pray for. So much cooler than sitting and listening! I had five girls (including a teacher) and a guy in my group, and they were all really cool, especially the girl who sat next to me. I don't know her name, however...I need to learn it! We shared briefly about some things for which we needed prayer, and then we got to pray for the person sitting to the right of us. I really loved the closer interaction that the small group brought, and it was a good way to get to know people a little better. Awesomeness!!!!! :D Especially for me, as I get very shy and slightly terrified around people I don't know very well, because all of the people in my group were friendly and reassuring, which was nice. Made me feel not so nervous, even though my heart was still beating pretty fast when I had to share. But that's ok; one small step forward is better than staying in one spot!  So yeah - I feel like God really blessed me today because I got to be with those great kids and learn a little bit more about them. :)

Never Mind!

Just heard back from Ms. Hara! Thank goodness - and God! I was getting pretty antsy there :) The only sad thing was that I'm not close enough to Bothell, Washington to work with her two other young writers who are doing a presentation called Teens Writing Novels in the Northwest Book Fest 2011. So bummed! I really, REALLY want to meet them someday, and hopefully, I'll get to work with them on some more projects. It would be so fun to have some friends who were also authors!
     Basically, Ms. Hara and her team are ready to start working on Young Falcon the moment Dad gives the go-ahead - which I hope will be soon. It's just all the preliminary questions that are weighing us down, but I think we're just about to get them all cleared up. Ms. Hara said that the holiday season is - obviously - the best time to sell books, so my book is going to be completed by then, at least. She just answered some of my dad's questions about shipping, distribution, eBooks, etc. 
      It's almost time!! Pray for me, guys! :)

Casey Anthony Trial

Ok, I know everyone's talking about it, so I will too. Honestly, I'm glad Ms. Anthony didn't have to die, for two reasons. 1) She's a human being. She has a soul that God made, and I will never willingly or gladly agree with the death of a human. 2) I've heard dozens of stories about criminals who have found God whilst in jail or after they've been freed, and I pray that Ms. Anthony will find Him too. No soul in irredeemable! What she did was wrong and terrible, yes, but she's still a child of God and therefore I want to see her in Heaven when the Lord takes us home. However, I do think that she should have received a slightly harsher punishment, even if only a few more years in prison. While there was no solid, 100% proof that she killed Caylee, I don't know who else would have. Like Linda Drane Burdick said in the closing arguments, Whose life would have been better without Caylee? I just don't know, but I trust that this is what God has allowed to happen, for whatever reason, and I know, therefore, that He still has a purpose for Casey Anthony. Just remember - Casey is a child of God. He made her, and He doesn't love her any less for what she did! Little Caylee is in Heaven with Him, and He will care for her. Pray for Casey, friends; pray that she finds her way home to her loving Father!

Hmm...

I'm guessing that since it was Fourth of July weekend, Ms. Hara was either very busy or just chilling with her family, so I'm confident that she'll reply soon. But oh, waiting is hard! God's been teachin' me a good lesson in patience these past few months, that's for sure! 
    Mum suggested I get a booth at either the Gathering of the Scottish Clans (since I'm Scottish) or at a Renaissance fair at which I could sell my books. I quite like this idea; I think it would be so fun, and a great way to sell some books! I'll probably be hitting a few of my friends' schools, too, especially the big ones that have, like, 200 kids in a single grade! 
     I'll keep you posted, and let me know if you have any questions or comments! Happy (late) Fourth of July! God bless America, our home sweet home! :)

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