I’ve just been really feeling this song lately. Ain’t it beautiful! Especially the lines “ Yesterday’s gone and / Tomorrow never comes s...

Monday's Melody: Into the Infinite by Nathan Wagner

I’ve just been really feeling this song lately.


Ain’t it beautiful! Especially the lines “Yesterday’s gone and / Tomorrow never comes still I’m / Living like they’re all that I’ve got.” Especially over the last year and a half, I keep returning to this yearning, this constant ache of wanting to go back to the past. Not just before Corona, but years before that. Before college, before adulthood, maybe all the way back to middle school. I have this idea that between the ages of 12 and 16, I lived the perfect life, or at least the perfect life for me. I had a lot of free time back then--though I didn't fully realize it--so after school, my days would be filled with reading, writing, drawing, whatever other artsy thing I was into at the time. Sprinkled in were a couple of social events a month: hanging out at the mall, going to see a movie, a bestie slumber party, or just plain youth group. In reality, I know that’s not even an accurate picture: my schedule was not that straightforward or stress-less most days and that part of my life came with 99 problems, lol, both self-inflicted and completely out of my control. Though there were many wonderful things I had then that I don’t have now, there are many wonderful things I have now that I didn’t have then. It really just depends on what parts I choose to focus on: the simple and the wonder-filled or the stinging pain and worry threaded through both then and now.

Seasons. Neither of them perfect, or even close to it. Just different, each with their own unique beauties, each with their own unique struggles.

To me, “Into the Infinite” is a song that speaks directly to that, to living here, in this season, breathing in this moment, whatever it has to offer. Tomorrow may not be the tomorrow I hoped for, and yesterday, for better or for worse, cannot be regained. Thus, all I can truly lay claim to is right now. And learning to live this moment to its best.

This is hard for me. I always used to know what came after, what I was going to do next. But lately, planning is hard and it’s just been one day at a time, with only more of the same at each crest of the horizon. As many others are, I’m kind of in a limbo stage, due partially to COVID but, for me at least, to many other things as well. You might say that, overall, it’s been an adjustment. ;)

But in other ways, it’s also been very sweet. When I manage to keep my eyes directly forward, my focus on what is here, each day grows long and meaningful. There is so much with which to fill each moment, and it doesn’t have to matter in the long run so long as it matters now. Minor things become marvelous: waking up to see snow coursing down in your slightly southern state; finding my favorite characters’ favorite ice cream at the grocery store and agreeing that it is the greatest dessert under the sun; going for a run in crisp, cold air and feeling the sweet sharpness of it coursing through the body, awakening every cell. These things, for a moment, become all that is, all that matters. Suddenly, right here, where I am, matters. Even if I’m not living in way back when or in whatever comes next.

For me that has been an important lesson to learn: right here. Right now. Still matters and still has something to give.


So it’s been 50 million years since I’ve posted a book review… but it’s also been 75 million since I read a book to   review. So. I feel lik...

The Beautiful Lost by Luanne Rice: Three Ways to Make a Non-Romance Reader Love a Teenage Romance

So it’s been 50 million years since I’ve posted a book review… but it’s also been 75 million since I read a book to review. So. I feel like my excuses here are pretty solid.



Description:

Here are three things to know about Maia:

1. Ever since her mother left, Maia’s struggled with depression—which once got so bad, she had to go to an institution for a while. She doesn’t want to go back.

2. Maia’s sure that if she finds her mother, if the two of them can talk about whale songs and constellations, then everything will be okay again.

3. She’s in love with Billy, the handsome, brooding boy who lives in the group home in town. He doesn’t seem to know that Maia exists…until now.

When Maia sets off on a road trip in search of her mom, Billy unexpectedly comes along. They drive up the East Coast, stopping along the way for lobster rolls and lighthouses. Maia learns that Billy has dark secrets of his own—and wants to outrun his past, too. But what will the future hold if they reach their destination?

I have to be honest, this isn’t the sort of book I would normally read. The road trip part is fine and the mental health rep sounded interesting… but a girl running away in her mom’s old car with a boy she barely knows? That screams the exact type of YA unintelligence that normally makes me roll my eyes, scoff an irritated laugh, and stroll away.

But I had a big project to do, I needed something to listen to, and something about the feeling of the cover and description drew me in despite my logical protests. Long story short, I got the audiobook from the library and finished the entire 8 and a half hours in less than a week. For the record, none of that was commute time and only a little over half of it was actually spent on the project.

So yeah, I kinda loved this book. I mean, the characters are silly, Maia’s attraction to Billy is—factually speaking—borderline obsessive, and sometimes they make decisions that made me roll my eyes, scoff an irritated laugh, and think about strolling away. But at the same time, there was just something very sweet, cute, and lovable about it all. The emotions were very powerful and authentic; and the ending just made me grin from ear to ear. 

So what else is a good reviewer going to do but analyze it?


First: Strong Characters

These two definitely fit the bill for favorite characters of mine! I really loved Maia! She’s inquisitive, very much a dreamer, and her affection for Billy was almost middle-school-ish in form; the reader’s giggly way of saying his name was just adorable. In ways I cant fully explain, I felt for her and I wanted to be there with her and for her on the trip; she was the sort of girl I would love to know and travel with and befriend. Also, I thought the treatment of mental illness was quite good: it is both a constant and prevalent issue throughout the story, yet it isn’t the whole story. It’s simply a part of who she is, an influence on and an extra consideration for all of her actions, but in and of itself, it doesn’t make up her. I thought the balance of that was done well.

On Billy’s side, he was kinda broody but also very boyish and clever, and his care for Maia was just so sweet; I loved that there was a running theme of them actively trying to take care of each other and do what was actually best for the other person. Their relationship wasn’t exclusively based on instalove or even long-nursed “romantic” feelings; they were both—Billy in particular—invested in the other person’s actual wellbeing, whether or not it had anything to do with a romantic relationship.

Second: Foreshadowing

Maia is, in a sense, an unreliable narrator: given both her depression and her closeness to the situation, there are a lot of events and people in her life that she struggles to understand accurately. Me being an older reader and farther from the situation, I could clearly see the tidbits of information that the author left out for the reader to find. It presented a mystery of a different sort: not a whodunnit or a what’s the real story? But a “when will Maia discover the real story and how will it launch her into her next choices”? I thought the sprinkling of small details throughout the book was really skillful: it didn’t tell me the whole story, but it did give me a strong inclination of how this road trip might end.

Third: Reader’s Voice

Technically, this only applies if you’re doing an audiobook, but it was still a major factor for me. The writing itself actually wasn’t my favorite, but the reader’s voice was so calming and sweet, plus she really accessed that innocent-teenage-girl headspace and believably embodied the person Maia seemed be. Bonus points for changing voices whenever new characters came on the scene! Her tone switches were so clear, I didn’t even need most of the ‘said’ tags to know who was speaking!

In a print novel, this could translate to the writing itself: if the writing is engaging and the voice of the main character is strong (not necessarily sassy or dark, or any other popular descriptor. Just unique and strong), then that can also become the defining factor that keeps a reader reading when they normally would not.

***

In conclusion… I don’t know that there’s anything specific you’re gonna get out of my analysis, lol. 😉 But I did find it super interesting how these three elements came together to make me adore a story I normally would have laughed at. Great characters, great plotting, and great writing just about always win out, I guess, even if the genre is a different sort.

What have you been reading lately? Any books out of your norm that you couldn’t help but fall in love with? Can’t wait to hear from you, and I will see you in the comment section!


At the end of 2020, probably November or December, I began curating a playlist for 2021. It’s not something I’ve ever done before, but it ca...

Monday's Melody: You Have What It Takes by Christy Nockels

At the end of 2020, probably November or December, I began curating a playlist for 2021. It’s not something I’ve ever done before, but it came to me that, whatever happened in the new year, I wanted to be able to control what feelings I focused on, what themes and ideas I moved towards, and what I remembered to be true about life. Since my earbuds are in approximately 87% of all waking hours 😉 the obvious way to do this was to make a playlist.

I chose this tune as the first to share because I think it's a great way to enter not just a year but every day. Maybe even every hour, depending on how your day is going. No matter where or how hard last year hit you--or how hard life was hitting you before that--I think we each need the reminder that with Jesus on your side, you have everything you need, and you have all that it takes to face today.

One of my favorite lines in this song is Remember that your heart was made for surrender. That’s definitely part of what I was taught in 2020: my heart was not made to carry all that weight, all that fear. My heart was made for surrender, for loss of control, for trust in His knowledge and His plan for it all.

So, I hope you enjoyed this song and that it spoke to you in some way. Know that wherever you are, whatever you’re facing, dear heart, you have what it takes.


Fear. It’s this constant foreboding, this dread that wraps around your throat and digs into your soul and rejects even the notion of releasi...

A Letter to My Heart for 2021


Fear.

It’s this constant foreboding, this dread that wraps around your throat and digs into your soul and rejects even the notion of releasing you. There is always something to be afraid of. You tell yourself that you're safe in the Lord; you know that He will take care of you. You know God is with you, you know that He loves you, you know that He’s got you, and yet the fear is there too and it ROARS.

It roars.

Your throat is raw and burning with belting out every worship song; you've quoted every verse you know, over and over and over again: Do not fear; I am with you. Be strong and courageous; I go before you. Yet your heart still quakes with terror. You know that it’s going to turn out all right, and you know this because you know He is with you.

But fear cares about none of that.

Fear still haunts you. Dread still seizes you. Terror still whispers and shouts, hisses and cries out: you are not safe. You will never be safe. One day He will stop saving you, one day He's going to leave you and all that you fear will come crashing down and bury you. There goes your dreams. There goes your hopes. There goes your life, ruined, shambles, nothing. You will never achieve dreams. You will never reach your goals. You will never see your victory.

Fear. It shouts all these things all the time. You cover your ears and you scream to drown it out. But when the distraction finally ends, the fear remains.

But here is the thing about fear: fear is very loud. Fear is very constant. But fear is not very strong.

Fear has no power. Fear cannot force an outcome. Fear only features to waste your time. To keep you so cross-eyed over a could-be future that you cannot see the wonder in front of you or the way out of the danger that frightens you.

Do you know what you need to do next? Then do it. Move forward. Take that shaky step in the right direction and trust that the Lord will hold you even if the ground breaks under you. Believe.

Do you fear what is next? Face that truth that terrifies you. Recognize what you can and cannot do, what you can and cannot control, then do whatever is in your court. Offer the rest with shaky, weary hands, and trust that He can resolve it and redeem you.

Do you not know what your next step should be? Turn to Him. Ask for wisdom. James 1 promises that the way will be revealed if you believe. Trust that His timing is perfect and that when the time is right, your next right thing will be revealed to you.

Above all, above all, above all. Keep saying the verses. Keep praying the prayers. Keep singing the songs. Keep believing when it hurts. Keep coming back to your God and trusting that even when it looks like He’s not done a thing in your favor, EVERYTHING in the background is working out for your good and His glory. Choose to believe that His timing is saving you even when it aches.

Your reward is coming, weary soul. Even if it’s not till Heaven, your reward is coming. Grab onto that! Believe in that, my dear, darling, courageous heart! Believe! Believe! He is here and He loves you, always, He is taking care of you. Think back on every time He has rescued you! Yes, it’s scary that you can’t see the future. Yes, it’s scary that it’s not in your hands. Yes, it’s unfair and it’s not your fault and you couldn’t have known and you’re waiting on other humans as fallible as you.

Yes, yes, yes. All of that is valid. All of that is true. All of that you feel, and all of that He knows.

But do you know what else He knows, love? He knows your future. Every moment of it, every second, every breath He knows. He knows how He’s going to put it perfectly together. He knows how He’s going to save you. He knows. And He is working it all together for your good.

I know you can’t see what lies ahead. It’s a dark chasm into each next day, and there could be such light at the end! But there could also be such darkness, such difficulty, such pain, such fear. And when you’ve been through so much already, it seems downright unjust that something else could come upon you.

Why isn’t it easy yet, Lord? Why isn’t it easy yet, Lord?

Because you are still in this world yet. And because His plan has not been fulfilled yet. And because a million other reasons that I don’t know and I won’t pretend to know. But I do know that He has seen it all, that He is walking you through it all, and that when you don’t have the strength, He will give it. When you can’t see the way, He will help you feel ahead your next step. When you don’t know what to do, when you can’t possibly win, have peace, love, for that God, the God Who is King of Kings; Lord of Hosts; the God of Angel Armies; Jehovah Jireh, our Provider; Jehovah Nissi, our banner; Jehovah Rophe, our healer; Abba, God our Father; and Jehovah Shalom, our peace and wholeness. That God. He is making the way for you. You don’t know and that’s scary as hell. But who defeated hell? Who has already won?

Courage, dear heart. There's no need to be afraid.


When I went for a walk around my block, just a couple of days after Halloween, I noticed that one of the houses on the street was already de...

To Christmas Early or Not to Christmas Early


When I went for a walk around my block, just a couple of days after Halloween, I noticed that one of the houses on the street was already decked out in full Christmas gear: lights, reindeer, trees, wreaths, you name it. As we've settled into November, I've noticed it more and more: houses with candles in the windows, reindeer on the front lawn, and wreaths on the doors. Stores are starting their holiday sales: Black Friday all month, they call, let's just skip to the end of 2020 please.

On the one hand, I totally get it. 2020 has been ROUGH. People have lost their jobs, others have lost their lives; the economy may never recover and the people who lost loved ones can never recover their friends and family. The time that we've lost either in pursuits put on hold or in utter isolation can never be regained. So much has slipped through our fingers or been violently torn away this year. We can't help but seek an end to the madness, to latch onto the feeling that if we can just make it till the end of 2020, maybe something better will be out there on the other side. 

Plus, Christmas is a time of hope and joy! Yes, I know it can become a very material thing, but I think even in those material things, just the Western cultural idea of Christmas gives people a warm, cozy, happy feeling. And we could definitely do with a little extra of that this year. Christmas also brings into focus those who are struggling financially, and with more of those than ever, it can never be too early to start giving.

On the other hand, I wonder if there's a light we're missing in all of this: tomorrow to be exact, Thanksgiving Day. Now more than ever, I think it is necessary not to skip to the end. Now more than ever, we have to remember what we already have that's good. Now more than ever, we have to find some way to find gratitude and hope, even when it seems impossible, because it's the only way we'll survive these crises with strength. That's not to say that I think everyone celebrating Christmas early is only searching for the material things or trying to skip ahead to the future, but I just wonder if it would do us good to focus on Thanksgiving first, and Christmas after.

I honestly am not sure, and it's possible that too much time spent analyzing texts in college has caused me to analyze everything a little too much. I'm curious about what you all think and how you might find the balance: do you think that Christmas has been pushed too much, too fast, in light of how much we need Thanksgiving in 2020? Or is Christmas joy exactly what we do need, especially when we're reminded that this hard life is not the end because of the hope of we have in Jesus? Let me know in the comments below! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

As a sidenote, one thing I've started doing to be grateful is to look for the moon every night, just to smile at the light, see how it shifts with the seasons, and to be grateful for the daily presence of something so glorious. When I can't see the moon, I look for stars, and I take a moment to smile at God for allowing me to see them. When I can't find either, I remember that they're there and I thank God that, like Him, they haven't left us yet. 




If ever there was a song for coronavirus, I feel like this is it. I first heard this song almost a year ago; one of my favorite Y...

Melodic... uh... Tuesday: We Made It by Mozi

If ever there was a song for coronavirus, I feel like this is it.


I first heard this song almost a year ago; one of my favorite YouTubers played it in the birth video for their long-awaited baby boy. It was just the most perfect, beautiful song to go along with their story--and also, my story, because of the amount of anxiety I was dealing with at the time. Thanks to a number of factors, I've actually learned a lot about dealing with anxiety these past couple months, but this song is still one I absolutely adore. Even as things are reopening and people are trying to normalize, we’re constantly reminded that there’s DANGER EVERYWHERE and IT’S NOT OVER YET (or am I the only one who keeps seeing messages like that?), so I thought it might help someone else to hear this song. There's still a lot of uncertainty, and everyone wants you to know it, but today, I’d like to encourage you to take joy in your victories. Well done, dear heart. In this midst of this madness, you made it another day. 😊

What have you been listening to lately? Anyone else building a solid pandemic playlist? Can't wait to hear from you all, and I will see you in the comment section!

There have been some great tags going around this year and I plan to systematically steal them as a way to motivate myself to get back into...

Would You Rather...? Tag: Fandom Edition!!!

There have been some great tags going around this year and I plan to systematically steal them as a way to motivate myself to get back into blogging (why, yes, committing crime is one of the most powerful motivators, I find. 😉 ). This first one, I got from the splendid Victoria at Wanderer’s Pen. It’s such a genius set of questions, and I loved Victoria's answers, so even though many of mine are the same, I figured I’d do a version of my own.

Ze Rules:
1.      Include the graphic Madeline made.
2.      Answer the Questions 
3.      Tag some other people, if you want

Question 1: Would you rather train with demigods for the summer at Camp Half-Blood or attend Hogwarts to learn some spells for a semester?
Absolutely choosing Camp Half-Blood. Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus series are among my favorite fandoms of all time, containing some of my all-time loves in fictional people. Assuming I made it across the barrier, the Half-Bloods would probably have to label me with some kind of warning to keep anyone from giving me nectar or ambrosia… and another label to go easy on me in fight training, so I don’t die on my first day. But it would be totally worth it.

Question 2: Would you rather go on an epic quest through the lands of Middle Earth or be crowned a king or queen for your bravery in Narnia?
Okay, I love Middle Earth, I do. But NARNIA 100% ALL THE WAY. Especially if I’m going to be crowned a queen. Joining the ranks of the Pevensie kids and Prince Caspian? Yes, please!
Plus, finding Narnia has basically been my dream since I was about 8? So yeah. Have to go with Narnia.

Question 3: Fly with Peter and his Lost Boys in Neverland OR have a crazy tea party with the Mad Hatter?
Honestly, I enjoy Peter Pan, but I was never an enormous fan of the movies, nor have I ever read the book. However, I have read Alice in Wonderland and watched several film versions… and frankly the Mad Hatter is a little freaky. Amusing, true, maybe sometimes wise, but honestly, I don't know what he puts in that tea. So I’ll just take Neverland and see how it goes. Might be fun.

Question 4: Get trapped in Jumanji OR be forced to dress up and attend a party in Panem?
Absolutely Panem. If I go to Jumanji, I might never get back out. At least the Panem party will eventually end, and I might even enjoy the dressing up and the food while I’m there.

Question 5: Sample all the candy you want at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory OR have a nice stroll with Pooh and his friends in the Hundred-Acre Wood?
Okay, out of all the questions, this has to be the hardest for me, just because I’d really like to do both of these! On the one hand, I LOVE CHOCOLATE, and, by all reports, Willy Wonka makes the best and I really need to taste it. On the other, a stroll with Pooh and his friends would just be so fun and so lovely and the fulfillment of just about every childhood dream besides the aforementioned Narnia one. And Wonka’s candy has been known to have the occasional nasty side effect…

Still, I think I’ll have to risk it. Willy Wonka’s chocolate, HERE I COME!

Question 6: Head out on a gold-hunting expedition to El Dorado OR hop in a submarine and explore the Lost City of Atlantis?
I know I’ve seen El Dorado, but I literally don’t remember anything about it. I could watch it right now and have no idea what was going on. But Atlantis is another childhood favorite, so, as long as they take down the Leviathan so I can make it safely through, definitely going to Atlantis.

Question 7: Skip through the merry town of Oz OR have a nice walk through the kingdom of Camelot?
YOU HAVE TO ASK??!! I’M GOING TO MEET (BBC’S) ARTHUR AND MERLIN AND GWAINE AND BE FRIENDS WITH CERTAIN CHARACTERS SO I CAN CONVINCE THEM THAT THEY DON’T NEED TO BE EVIL. CAMELOT, HERE I COME!



Question 8: Get sucked into the world of Fantastia and go on an epic journey with Bastian OR get sucked into the Inkworld and travel the land with Meggie and her friends?
Granted, The Neverending Story was one of my favorite movies for at least the last year or two of elementary school… BUT INKHEART THOUGH. As deadly as actually living in the Inkworld might prove to be, I would get to meet Dustfinger and Farid if I entered at the right time and that would be worth it.
***
And that’s the tag! I’m going to tag Emily, Faith, and Skye, but if you’ve already done this or just plain don’t want to, feel absolutely free to ignore. 😉 Also, if anyone desires to follow me down my path of crime and steal the tag, please do so and leave a link below so I can see your answers!

To make it easy for you to snag, here’s a list of all the questions:
1.) Train with demigods for the summer at Camp Halfblood OR attend Hogwarts to learn some spells for a semester?
2.) Go on an epic quest through the lands of Middle Earth OR be crowned a king or queen for your bravery in Narnia?
3.) Fly with Peter and his Lost Boys in Neverland OR have a crazy tea party with the Mad Hatter in Wonderland?
4.) Get trapped in the world of Jumanji OR be forced to dress up and attend a party at the Capitol of Panem?
5.) Sample all of the candy you’d like at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory OR have a nice stroll with Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood?
6.) Head out on a gold-hunting expedition to El Dorado OR hop in a submarine and explore the lost city of Atlantis?
7.) Skip through the merry town of Oz OR have a nice walk through the kingdom of Camelot?
8.) Get sucked into the world of Fantastia and go on an epic journey with Bastian OR get sucked into the Inkworld and travel the land with Meggie and her friends?
What are some of your favorite tags that have been going around? How would you answer some of these questions? Can’t wait to hear from you, and I’ll see you in the comment section!


x

Wow. It seems absolutely insane for me to think that we’re heading into summer! To me, it doesn’t seem like we should be anywhere near that...

Spring 2019

Wow. It seems absolutely insane for me to think that we’re heading into summer! To me, it doesn’t seem like we should be anywhere near that yet (it’s literally still February, you guys). And yet… here we are. School is out for most people, the air is one of sweet vacations and changing weather, later nights and fuller days.

Speaking of, what has been filling my days?

I wish I could say something different than what I’ve said in every other life update since 2017, but I’m in a stage in life where you just keep doing the same thing over and over, because you know that what you’re doing isn’t repetitive, it is building, it will get you somewhere, and eventually you’ll look down and see that you’ve created an incredible skyscraper. But right now, it feels like you just pasted that same stupid brick into place two seconds ago, and why in all of Heaven and Earth am I doing it again? You can’t look down, because you know how far you’ve come isn’t as far as you’d like to be; and you can’t look up because there’s still so far to go.

But progress is happening, slowly but surely: I finished one semester and began another for the summer. For those who may not know, I go to college only part-time, so I’ve been trying to take a few classes in the summer to help make up the difference. I’m more than halfway through getting my Associate Degree (WHICH WAS INCREDIBLY EXCITING TO REALIZE) and could finish with that part within the next year to 18 months, depending on how many classes I take in upcoming semesters. It will be incredibly exciting to have my whole life back and determine whether or not I’m going to take this school thing further, and—if I am—where I go with it.

I’ve been working on developing an actual writing schedule, so I can write regularly again. I didn’t have one of those when I started writing seriously (there was always time back then), but writing has really fallen by the wayside since I started college and a regular working schedule, and I desperately need that to change. I’m still plugging away on the foster care story, Low Expectations, which I’ve been working on since I was 14, but it’s not my main main focus right now. I’ll definitely publish it one day—I have not given up on it!—but I’m letting it simmer for now. For a long time, I felt like there was something I was waiting for, something I needed before I could work on it again, but I wasn’t sure what it was (don’t I sound like a real artist. :p). I’m still not sure what it is I was waiting for, but I think I’m close, and once I’ve got it, this project will be ready. I just have to be patient. :p

In the meantime of being patient, I’ve started working on a new project. New projects haven’t been a consistent thing for me in years, so I’m very excited about it: it’s a retelling of Cinderella, and I recently had a breakthrough that means I’m almost finished with the first draft! I’m in love with these characters, and I’m not ashamed to say that I really think they’ll be something amazing.

Here’s a funny snippet with no context whatsoever, so as to avoid spoilers.

“This is an awful idea.”

Sirion threw a glance over his shoulder, eyeing his brother’s downcast gaze. “Gideon, the time to say that would have been two or three days ago.”

“I did say it then.”

“But you still came.”

“Only because I knew you would go without me.”

Sirion snorted. “I would not have, and you know it. You came because you are as curious as I, yet you want the privilege of being able to say, ‘I told you so!’ when this inevitably goes wrong.”

“So you admit that it will go wrong?”

Sirion shrugged, for the first time in what felt like years, readopting his little brother swagger. “I admit that it is very likely, considering our activities and their consequences if we are caught. But… we are not guaranteed to be caught.”

And a little later in the story:

Sirion wiped his sweaty palms on his doublet as he rounded the corner to his parents’ quarters. Gideon was already standing at the opening of the wide, white corridor, as though waiting for him.

In one hand, Gideon gripped his sword; the other, he reached out for Sirion. Sirion returned the gesture, gripping his brother’s forearm tightly. “Whatever we face,” Gideon said, “we do it together.”

Sirion swallowed the guilt in his throat and forced out a croaking. “Agreed.”

Gideon’s mouth twitched, but then the boys both turned to face the foreboding, velvet curtain that descended from the ceiling. It was meant to be intimidating, to curtain off the the king and the queen, to separate the royals from the rest of the public, from even their children.

Their left hands gripped the swords at their hilts, their right hands swept the curtains apart, and together they swept through.

They found their parents in full royal gear. King and Queen looked their sons up and down, nodded once. “Good,” their mother said. “You came prepared.”

Oh, these brothers! Gideon is the classic Cinderella prince; Sirion is the actual main character of my story. Or one of two. Everyone knows Cinderella and the prince’s story, so I’m not focusing so much on them. I’ve had this idea of some different perspectives simmering in my head for a few years now, so I’m glad to finally flesh them out and see what they’ll show me.

Despite Sirion’s freer attitude in the first snippet, this song is probably more descriptive of his generally mental state.



He’s a complex boy and he—and the other main character, Laelia—are set to learn a lot throughout the story. It’s going to be fun! For me anyway.


I’ve also started taking pictures of myself. I haven’t been able to keep up with it everyday, as I’d originally planned, but I’ve gotten at least one or two a week, since I started the challenge on May 16th. On May 26th, I got a picture that I actually liked, and it’s been fairly enjoyable since then. I’ve never particularly liked pictures of myself, but through this semi-challenge, I think I’m at least growing accustomed to me looking like me, lol. Eventually, I may even enjoy it. 😉 Here’s one I took earlier this week.


That's all for me lately! What have you all been up to? How's writing coming? Any big plans for the summer? Can't wait to hear from you, and I will see you in the comment section!


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