I first heard of Jonny Diaz about five years ago, when “More Beautiful You” came out. I loved it then, I love it now, and one day, maybe a ...

I first heard of Jonny Diaz about five years ago, when “More Beautiful You” came out. I loved it then, I love it now, and one day, maybe a year or so ago, I decided to check out more of Mr. Diaz’s music. I mean, he had to have other songs as good as that one, right? So I went to YouTube, clicked on a related video from the little sidetab, and there it was.

“Scars” is a lovely song illuminating the truth that we don’t have to hide our scars, our pasts, our various imperfections because Jesus’ wounds, His scars, cover ours. When God looks at us, He sees Jesus, so whatever we’ve done, or whatever’s been done to us, doesn’t matter. We don’t have to be ashamed of our scars because, as Mr. Diaz sings in the chorus, “They remind us of where we have been, but not who we are.”

Now that doesn’t mean that if you’re doing wrong, you can just keep doing it. Or that you should run around telling every sin you’ve ever committed to every person you ever meet.

What it does mean is that if you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you’re not defined by your past, by your scars. You’re defined by Him. By Jesus. By Christ alone. That’s it. The end. Drop the mic and walk away. Nothing else matters; only the fact that you love Jesus, you’re committed to Him, and most of all, that He loves you, has washed you, and made you whole.

As far as God’s concerned, your scars aren’t even there. Only grace, only love, only His Son, Jesus.

As you might’ve noticed, this is another song I’ve listened to while writing but am posting about because of it’s faith-based message. And because it rather ties into my Thursday post, so stay tuned for that. :)

Do you have any characters who are hiding scars? I have several, one of them Elliot Sharpe, who I’ll be talking about on Thursday.

I first heard of these books during summer camp when me and my friends saw them at the college bookstore. I thought it was quite possibly t...

I first heard of these books during summer camp when me and my friends saw them at the college bookstore. I thought it was quite possibly the coolest idea ever, but I didn’t buy them then because we still had a few days of camp left, and I thought I might have to use the money later.

Which I did – on $20 worth of junk food. But that’s another story for another time.

Anywho... Back to the point, I ended up getting the first book from the library instead. Ta-da!

Summary: It’s a Shakespearean retelling of the Sci-Fi/Space Opera classic A New Hope. What more can I say?

Review: 4 1/2 starships out of five.

This book was so much fun! A Shakespeare and Star Wars mashup is a pretty wild idea, but Mr. Doescher pulled it off with hilarity and finesse.

Being a total Star Wars geek, I already knew what was going to happen, yet my heart raced as I read like I’d never heard the story in my life. It was insane. I’m sitting there on my bed, clutching the book like a Jedi should his lightsaber, knowing exactly what’s going to happen. And at the same time I’m like, “Oh no! Are they gonna be okay?”

So, for that, my imaginary hat is off to you, Mr. Doescher.

The only things I didn’t like were, one, I felt the characters had too many “asides;” and two, I felt like some of the asides didn’t properly portray the characters thoughts and emotions in the first place.

To be fair, though, it is Shakespeare (or supposed to be), and I know Shakespearean plays have a lot of soliloquies. Plus, it’s been a while since I’ve seen A New Hope, and even so, the feelings and intentions of the characters could, at times, be open to interpretation. All that to say, the fact that my idea of a scene was sometimes different from Mr. Doescher’s doesn’t necessarily make either of us wrong. I suppose we’d have to ask George Lucas.

But I’m in no position to do that at the moment (someday, though), so for now I’ll end this review by saying I think Mr. Doescher did a brilliant job overall, and I certainly recommend you read Verily, A New Hope.

It’s from the Wicked soundtrack, so nuff said, right? Haha, not for me. The first time I really heard about Wicked was when one o...

It’s from the Wicked soundtrack, so nuff said, right?

Haha, not for me.

The first time I really heard about Wicked was when one of my friends (a total theater buff) described the entire plot to me one night during summer camp. I thought it sounded kinda crazy (and sad), so I didn’t think much about it until a couple months later, when I heard Haley Klinkhammer’s cover of Defying Gravity. I liked the way she sung it – girl’s got the most beautiful voice – and I remembered how much my friend adored the musical. So I decided to give the songs a try.

Seeing as I’m using one for my Melodic Mondays, I guess you can guess I enjoyed them.

Obviously, I haven’t seen the live show (someday, right?), but I have listened to several of the songs. For Good is one of my favorites because it has such a lovely melody swaying underneath the vocals. Perfect background for a bittersweet scene.

Do you listen to showtunes while you write? What are some of your favorites?

If you’re new, here’s a link to my first post explaining the linkup. And here's the link to the new linkup for this month. Inte...

Interestingly enough, I came up with the beginning paragraph in church. We were doing praise and worship, I was rather near the drums, and that line just popped into my head.

I liked it, so I put it in my Random Sentences doc, where the words sat for a while, storyless but not forgotten. Around the beginning of the summer, I heard about a short story contest and decided to try expanding on the sentence. I didn’t end up submitting to the contest, but I did start this piece, and I must say I rather like it.

So without further ado, my story, Zephyra of the Wind.


Bum, bum, bum.

Each strike of the drum shoots straight to my heart, the sound pulsing in my stomach, and every instant of it makes me want to run more.

But when I flinch, the guards grip my arms tighter. Stabbing their fingers into my skin, they drag me to the man in the middle of the crowd, the man in front of the bonfire. In spite of this indignity, I force myself to stand straight, make myself look into his eyes. But they're as cold as this night, expressionless as the clouds over the stars, the only light coming from the flames between us.

I will receive no assistance from my uncle.

“Zephyra of the Wind,” he says, “you stand accused of betraying your home, your people, your family, the noble tribe Azani. How do you plead?”

I don't want to answer this question. I can't answer this question, so my eyes dart about to the former friends on my left, to the family on my right, as if one of them will tell me how to reply. Half of my tribe looks away, and I hear their cries hidden in fake coughs. The other half stares straight at me, eyes as cold and dead as my uncle's – my judge and executioner should I prove unable to validate my innocence.

But the twins, Emerich and Emeryn, they are not like the others. They do not turn away, but their eyes are not cold. The firelight dances in them and moisture glistens on their faces – but they do not attempt to hide their tears.

My love and my best friend. They should act like the others or they will end up like me.

“Zephyra,” my uncle says, a hint of emotion creeping into his voice. But it's not heartbreak – that would give me hope – or even anger – that would mean he is human. It is just impatience.

I clear my throat, try to force a sentence through it, though I've had nothing to drink all day. “I... I am not guilty.”

Whispers and murmurs surge through the crowd: “What did Zephyra say?”

“How can she lie in this fashion?”

“Did she just tell a falsehood to our leader?

“I am not guilty,” I say again, “of betrayal. What I did, I did for Azani and Azani alone.”

A bit more emotion from my uncle, this time incredulity. “You say you joined the enemy's side for our tribe?”

“If you had gone to war with the Koraks, there would have been slaughter,” I say, and my uncle's eye twitches. He knows it. “If I was in their compound, you would not attack. You would all...” I gasp, trying not to look at Emerich, as a sob burns my throat, “you would all be safe.”

He scoffs again. “So you claim your actions resulted from cowardice?”

Fury starts to simmer, usurping my fear, but what can I say? He will turn all of my words against me. Perhaps the rest of the tribe – my jury – will find me innocent.

“Even if I believed you,” my uncle continues. “Banishment would be the kindest punishment I could bestow.” He grabs my chin, jerking it up, and a strangled protest emits from the guard on my left – my uncle's brother. My father.

He cannot protect me now.

So I look into my uncle's eyes, burning with fury, burning with hatred, burning with the tiniest grain of hurt now that no one can see him but me. “There is no place for cowardice in the tribe Azani.”

He pushes me away again, and the mask falls back down. “Have you nothing left to say, Zephyra?” he asks, his eyes on the ground, his back to me.

I rack my brains for something, anything I can say in my defense. But they all know the details of my defection, my supposed betrayal, and now I have stated my reasons: my tribe would not attack the Koraks if they knew I was there. I stopped the slaughter of my friends, my family – and of the few companions I've found on the enemy's side.

Any further words would only hurt my cause, so I shake my head.

“Very well.” My uncle looks up, this time at all the people we have both spent our lives with. “The tribe will vote.”

My tears gone, I face my people with the pride that befits my family. Whether I live or not, I have saved all of them from certain death. The Koraks moved on yesterday; they will not return for centuries, maybe never. My loved ones will be safe.

“All who find Zephyra of the Wind guilty of treason against the Azani, give the affirmative.”

“Aye!” The shouts rise into the night. So, so many of the people I would die for clench their fists and slap their right hands over the left sides of their chests. But enough of them stay still to give me hope.

Until a few, straggling, quieter noises rise into the sky along with the dying sparks of the fire. Several more lay their hands gently against their chests, struggling as if an unseen force is pushing them down. But in the end, they too give the affirmative, sometimes shooting me an apologetic glance, other times refusing to meet my eyes.

I look over at Emerich and Emeryn. Their eyes are the same, though their cheeks are wetter than ever.

“All who find her not guilty,” my uncle shouts, a full minute after the last affirmative.

“Nay!” The rest of the tribe shouts it high and loud, slamming their left fists over their hearts with such force I'm sure they will all bruise later. Emerich and Emeryn are among the hardest hitters; across the fire, their eyes meet mine, and I see hope flickering along with the flames. My supporters' shouts were deafening, booming farther, roaring louder than my opponents'. Perhaps the Koraks even heard them, far as they must've traveled by now.

My father's fingers twitch, but he does not release me. My mother on my right is the same. Neither of them have given an answer either way. Do they think they will escape?

My uncle's eyes sweep over the crowd, then dart to us, noting his brother and sister-in-law's hesitance. For a second, I wonder if he will force them to choose.

But then his eyes return to roaming the crowd, counting in his head the right fists and the left. My stomach clenches, my heart racing faster than the deer when Emerich and I are on our hunts.

Will these be enough?

“With a count of fifty-six to fifty-five,” my uncle says, “Zephyra has been found guilty.”

So whaddya think? Feel free to be as honest as you like. Contrary to popular belief, constructive criticism is very good for you!

This Thursday, I’m doing something a little different. My thoughts on my own writing, you might say. I’ve been reading through my main...

This Thursday, I’m doing something a little different. My thoughts on my own writing, you might say.

I’ve been reading through my main manuscript this week and, since I haven’t touched it all summer, I’m kind of detached from it. In some ways, it’s almost like reading someone else’s work: I see it with new eyes, and these new eyes find numerous new problems. While it is horrifying to see all the stupid mistakes that slipped past my radar, it’s also kind of funny, mostly because I write little notes to myself as I edit.

Fun fact: I can be painfully sarcastic. While I’d never make these comments about anyone else’s writing, I’m free to be mean to myself because I’m the only one to hate me for it. Besides, it makes editing fun. Someday soon, when I am no longer detached, completely attached, and yet utterly loathe anything to do with the words Sketchy Moments (current title of my manuscript), I’ll read the notes, and they’ll make me smile. These good-natured ribs from my past self will help me endure the editing when I’d rather pick a callus than peek at another paragraph.

So for the actual “thoughts” part of my Thoughtful Thursday, I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts on my writing with you guys; let you in on the inside jokes before I dive into editing for real:

Beside some painfully awkward passages: “Cheese. So much cheese.” and “... really?”

I don’t even like batman, but I thought this one up anyway: “Why so cliché?”

Beside paragraphs where I told more than I showed: “Well, OBVIOUSLY. Be less tell-y about it, will you?,” “Telling again, *judgmental eyebrow* and “TELL LESS YOU DUNCEBUCKET. JUST SHOW HIM DOING IT AND THE READER WILL FIGURE IT OUT.”

And this one requires no explanation: “Your people do a lot of winking. Is there something in their eyes?”

Of course, I’ll eventually have to fix all these problems...

Oh well. Do you guys make funny comments like this during your editing process?

I have my mother to thank for this one: she introduced me to Yiruma several years ago by playing his music while my siblings and I did our ...

I have my mother to thank for this one: she introduced me to Yiruma several years ago by playing his music while my siblings and I did our schoolwork. At first, I wasn’t really into it; my musical tastes leaned more towards soft rock at the time, that and the occasional touch of country. But I gave it a try because Mommy made me, and whaddaya know? I liked it.

Since then, my love for Yiruma has grown quite a bit, but my favorite piece remains “Moonlight.” I’m not sure why. There’s just something so graceful in the lilting melody, some inspiration that tickles my muse as I listen. It’s one of the few songs that makes the perfect background for any writing, whatever the scene or genre.

Do you listen to piano music when you write? If so, what are your favorites?

Guess what, everybody? We have a guest! Yay! A friend of mine is joining us this Thoughtful Thursday to talk about Knowing Your Characters....

Guess what, everybody? We have a guest! Yay! A friend of mine is joining us this Thoughtful Thursday to talk about Knowing Your Characters. So without further ado, take it away Mariella!
Knowing Your Characters 
by Mariella Hunt
I've been editing and rewriting my novel Dissonance for three years now, and it's been a hard process. A lot has changed, but what I loved most about this project was seeing my characters evolve from mere words to people.
Characters should be developed enough that, if you let them out to play unsupervised, they’d take the story into their own hands – even if it didn't follow your preset outline. To give a story dimension, you should know it inside and out, from each character’s POV. And if they want to do something you didn't plan, maybe they deserve a chance.

There are some characters I intended to be wise who wound up weak and stupid. A couple were designed to be villains, and I ranted to no end about how malicious they'd be – until I started writing. When I actually put words to page, they became some of my deepest characters. What was supposed to be malice turned into torment that made them likable.

I don’t know what the secret is, except time: Every month of work helps you know the story a little better. Some information may be irrelevant to your actual project, but helps you as the author. It's worth the effort because readers notice if you're not familiar with your character.

If you discover a formula for this I would love to know it! For me it was the rewriting, and this took a lot of time. Now I understand the characters I meant to be villains, and sometimes even root for them. A good story needs these characters to be human and realistic. Nice villains or obnoxious heroes will both work if you make the effort to do it right.
Mariella Hunt is 20 years old and lives in the Treasure Valley, where she writes Fantasy novels. Other favorite pastimes include travel, coffee tasting, and reading books by dead authors.

After four years of obsessive rewriting, her novel Dissonance will be published on December 2014. To follow this journey, visit her blog or connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Some great advice there, Mariella. Thanks so much for guest-posting!

This song hasn’t inspired any story in particular, but it’s one of my new favorites, so I wanted to share it with you. I’ve loved Plumb’s “...

This song hasn’t inspired any story in particular, but it’s one of my new favorites, so I wanted to share it with you. I’ve loved Plumb’s “In My Arms” for years, and while listening to it over the weekend, I saw “Boys Don’t Cry” in YouTube’s related videos. I’ve found lots of great songs through that little sidebar, so I went ahead and took a listen.

The first time, I liked it, but didn’t love it. The second time, I started to get feels. By the third, I knew I had another Plumb favorite, and sometime around the tenth replay, I decided to post about it. It’s a great song, and every time I listen to it, I love it a little more.

Like I said above, this one hasn’t inspired anything in particular for my stories yet but it’s another sweet and sad one (which apparently, I really enjoy) and I love the longing you can hear in her voice.

Do you have a character who fits this song? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear about them.

Random thing I just noticed when I hit publish, this is my 50th post! Hurray, I have survived in the blogworld this long! Haha, have a great day everyone, and don’t forget to comment and follow!

First Saturday of the month means a Shipping Saturday! Hurrah! Just so you know, this is going to be the most hardcore fangirling post yet...

First Saturday of the month means a Shipping Saturday! Hurrah! Just so you know, this is going to be the most hardcore fangirling post yet. So hold on to your keyboards; it’s gonna be a crazy pod-ride.

And 3... 2... 1...


Seriously, I adore it. It’s my favorite fandom ever. Which is honestly kind of funny, because until I was ten, I didn’t know Star Wars from Star Trek. The only characters I could name were Yoda, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker; and for some reason, I thought Luke turned to the Dark Side.

Yes, I know. I was painfully misinformed.

Then one weekend, my dad got A New Hope from the library. I didn’t plan to watch it, but the next day, I mentioned it to a friend (though, I was actually more interested in the princess movie I’d just picked up). She totally flipped into fangirl mode, attempting to explain the entire story and why it was awesome in all of twenty minutes. I was thoroughly confused, but since she was one of my best friends (and still is), I decided to try it out.

Boy, am I glad I did.

For those of you classic Star Wars lovers, I actually did watch all the old ones before I saw all the new ones, (though I think I did see Phantom between Empire and Return). Still..., don’t hate me, but I like the new trilogy better.

*runs and hides from flying projectiles* *peeks head out a moment later*

If you’re done throwing things, hear me out...

Okay, so I don’t actually have a reason; I just like the prequels better. Not sure why, but I do. 

And yes, I know the great and awesome Han Solo is in the old movies; and yes, I know Anakin’s actors were terrible. Well, I know people said that anyway. I thought they were pretty good. They had weak points here and there, but Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen both did beautifully overall.


I just like the new trilogy better. *shrug* Always have, and always will.

All right, I’m finished with the history of our relationship. Time to fangirl!

I just LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE these two together. They are my favorite fictional couple ever. Theres never been another who should’ve been together more, never been another that I adored so much, and never been another that I am more UPSET ABOUT HOW THEY ENDED.

WHY, LUCAS???!!! WHY?!!!

All right, technically, I know why. I know they’d already made the old movies, so the prequels had to follow that plot but... it just isn’t fair. Why make them so darn lovable then? Why tread all over my freaking feels when she’s just going to die and he’s just going to turn to the Dark Side and kill younglings?

*sighs* It’s just not right.

Admittedly, Anakin and Padme had their problems. They were both impulsive and they did dumb every once in a while. But they loved each other and they were so sweet together. They were the most perfectest... most beautiful...

And... cue the hyperventilation.
Okay. Deep breaths. I told you this would be hardcore fangirling. Perhaps I’ll talk about something else – like individual characters.


Anakin is dumb sometimes. I will be the first to admit that. But he’s so adorably reckless and – yes – seriously hot, that until he turned to the Dark Side, you could kind of forgive him for it. Now don’t just stop here, thinking I’m one of those girls who only likes boys for their pretty faces or other aesthetic qualities (I mean, come on, which one of those girls would use a word like aesthetic?), but it is a factor in Anakin’s awesomeness. *shrug* Sorry. That’s just the truth.

However to prove myself not at all shallow but deep as the Marianas Trench, here are some other reasons why I like him:

1. He was a skilled swordsman.

When Anakin would stop and think instead of sprinting thoughtlessly for the unfortunate individual ticking him off, he was actually very good with his lightsaber. Think of such epic fights as Anakin vs Obi-Wan (even though he lost that one); his second conflict with Count Dooku; and any number of battles during The Clone Wars (which I haven’t seen all of, so no spoilers, please). This guy was seriously boss.

2. His Force skills were phenomenal.

I couldn't find one of him using the Force that I liked, but this one's still kind of epic.
We see Anakins skill with the Force multiple times, from the podracing at nine-years-old to the original movies where he freaking Force-Chokes a guy through a screen. THROUGH A SCREEN, I TELL YOU. You can’t tell me this man wasn’t powerful.

3. As Anakin, he genuinely cared about people.

Anakin would go to the ends of the Galaxy to protect those he loved, even to help people he didn’t know at all. For a while there, he had a good heart, filled to the brim with care and compassion.

Of course that is why he became Darth Vader in the first place, and inadvertently killed the one he loved most... But until he let that get out of hand, it was one of his best qualities.

Last, but certainly not least, 4. His voice.

Hayden’s voice is nice, and Jake’s was cute as a kid. But none of that compares to James Earl Jones as Darth Vader, delivering lines like, “Apology accepted, Captain Needa,” “I hope so, Admiral, for your sake,” and of course, the much-loved (and misquoted), “I am your father.” His iconic breathing hand-in-hand with that voice made Darth Vader one of the most epic villains ever created.

And I’d just like to point out that you can’t see his face as Darth Vader because he wears that mask all the time.

So there.

Now for Padme.

I always loved her because she wasn’t one of those kick-butt heroines (who are awesome in their own way). But Padme was different. She was a politician. A ruler. A queen. From the age of fourteen (even younger, if you follow the expanded universe), Padme held her own in the Senate, carried herself with regality and poise, and her people loved her for it; they even wanted to revise their constitution so she could stay in office. Now obviously she’s fictional, but seriously, how many politicians (real or imagined) can say that?

None, that’s how many.

So in my opinion, Padme was the perfect heroine: fierce, fearless, and always fighting for what she believed in.

Plus, she was pretty handy with that blaster. After all, a girl’s gotta know how to defend herself.

The only time I didn’t like Padme was at the end of Revenge. Call me heartless, but I thought losing the will to live was a sad way to die, especially for a character like her. Padme always seemed like this super-strong woman; she could stand alone, didn’t truly need anyone. But Ani turns to the Dark Side, and suddenly there’s nothing to live for. Now I totally get being heartbroken (I was too) but how about, I don’t know, LIVING TO BRING HIM BACK????

But I read in the expanded universe that she actually died because Anakin crushed her larynx. So I’m going with that explanation.

As for other characters, I can’t talk about everyone, so let’s just go over my favorites:

Everyone knows Obi-Wan was amazing. He was one of only four characters to appear in every movie, was as good at fighting and as skilled with the Force as Anakin (if not more so), and he had his own wry sense of humor that popped up from time to time.

Overall, I think Leia was pretty cool, though I did find her annoying at points, and (up until the latters death) I liked her mom much better. Still, this princess was lightyears from useless: she fought fiercely for the resistance, she wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, and she, like her mother, carried herself with pride whatever the situation.

Luke, in my opinion, was too good for his own good. It’s why he got his hand cut off. All the same, who can not love the teenage boy from Tatooine who became one of the most powerful Jedi ever and saved the Galaxy?

Han Solo. Just say the name and you start to smile. He was indisputably the funniest character of all six movies, and I love how he turned from scoundrel to hero. Luke couldn’t have saved the worlds without him.
So I could keep going about everything else I love, but this post is pretty long already and my blood pressure is rising from excessive fangirling. So I’mma go ahead and stop here, leaving you guys with one last reminder:


All right. I’m done.

So what do you think about it? Please, be honest. I don’t expect everyone to love it with the fervor that I possess.

Although everyone should.

Okay, seriously, I’m done now. Comment away!
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