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Posts Tagged ‘my inspiration’

For those of us involved in an art form, be it writing, drawing, painting, photography, music, etc., we are always perfecting our craft. I think that’s part of what entices us about these arts in the first place. We are always learning and always growing. There’s really no limitations to what we can achieve if we practice and work hard.

As an author, I can already see how much my writing style has changed over the years. I’ve made wonderful connections and good friends since I first published Prince of Light. Back then, I thought getting an agent and a publisher would be a snap. (Yes, I was that naive.) After getting nothing but rejections on all of my query letters for PoL, I felt pretty discouraged. That’s something I think we’ve all experienced: the rejection pile.

It’s a long, hard road to traditional publishing. While some small presses will allow for unsolicited queries to be sent, the major publishing houses (i.e. Random House, Scholastic, Penguin, etc.) require all of their “pitches” to come straight from a literary agent. So once you’ve written that super special awesome book and polished it to the best of your ability, you need to write and even more super special awesome query letter.

I’m pretty sure that the query letter is harder to write than the book itself. There are several amazing resources available to give you an idea of what agents are looking for in a query. Two of my favorite sites are Query Shark (written by an actual agent) and Agent Query Connect. Query Shark is a blog with multiple examples of both good and not-so-good queries. I found it extremely helpful in giving a lot of examples of what agents are looking for.

Agent Query Connect allows you to talk directly with other authors to get their feedback on your query, synopsis, first 250 words, etc. There are both published and non-published writers there, so you really get a broad spectrum of opinions. I had some great feedback when I was finishing up the query for my current standalone YA story. (Just a side note, AQC’s primary site, Agent Query, is a pretty good database of agents and publishers. You can search by genre to see which agents are interested in your specific story.)

The other day I went through a bunch of my original emails to agents, when I first tried to query Prince of Light. For some of them I literally wanted to crawl in a hole and die of embarrassment. For others, I just shook my head.

So just for fun, I decided to post one of my (not quite as humiliating) early query letters and critique it myself, based on what I’ve learned over the years. Not only can I give you a bit of a laugh, but hopefully this will give you a little inspiration and confidence in your own projects. At the time I couldn’t understand why no agent was interested. Now, I certainly do.

Here’s the original query I sent, italicized for better readability:

Dear Agent,

Celestyn: Master of every weapon he touches. Heir to the throne of the elven kingdom. Destroyer of any who dare get in his way. Alone for all eternity.

Seventeen-year-old Evanthe finds herself held prisoner in an unknown castle after an attack on her village renders her homeless. When the first living thing she meets is an imposing half-dragon, half-man beast, her only thoughts are how she can stay alive long enough to find her family. Strange and often frightening creatures seem to be around every corner (which actually makes having a dragon-man beast for a bodyguard come in rather handy). She is befriended by the handsome young mage, Delanor, knowing only that he is keeping her hidden from a dark presence that is shadowing her every movement. When she catches a glimpse of the man that is supposed to be so deadly to her, however, she finds her heart is full of conflict, for she is being sought after by the rogue elfin prince, Celestyn.

And he is by far the most beautiful being that she has ever laid eyes on.

Though she is frightened by his cold cruelty, Evanthe finds it very difficult to resist the ethereal, god-like prince. She will eventually have to choose between the two men that she has come to love and, even worse, between the few fellow humans that have also crossed into the land and the newly-made friends she has grown to care for.

PRINCE OF LIGHT is every fangirl’s dream book, containing everything from a hot elf and shapeshifters of every kind to battle scenes that would send even Percy Jackson into hiding. (Not to mention a love triangle worthy of any Twilight fan.) This medieval fantasy is complete at approximately 89,000 words in length.

While I have never had any of my works formally published, my short story entitled “Range of Vision” won an honorable mention at the 2009 Nature of Words Writing Competition and is included in their anthology. I also worked at a public library for six years, primarily with teens, which allowed me to be immersed in young adult literary fiction. I feel that PRINCE OF LIGHT would be a great addition to any young adult publisher based on the feedback that I’ve already received from both teens and adults alike.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Yup. That was it. Now allow me to critique my own work, based on what I’ve since learned about the industry. My comments are in red:

Dear Agent,
(Just as a side note, always personalize your query letter. This is just an example, so I didn’t put an actual name, but in a real letter definitely use an agent’s name and make sure you spell it right. Also? Only send one letter per agent. Don’t group send several agents at once; they really don’t like that.)

Celestyn: Master of every weapon he touches. Heir to the throne of the elven kingdom. Destroyer of any who dare get in his way. Alone for all eternity.
Ooooookay, problems right from the get-go. This doesn’t really work as a hook for several reasons. For one, it’s super generic and a little cliché. Secondly, the story isn’t even written from Celestyn’s point of view, so none of this matters. Always start your query letter with a good hook, usually just one or two sentences, that will immediately grab the agent’s attention.

Seventeen-year-old Evanthe finds herself held prisoner in an unknown castle after an attack on her village renders her homeless. When the first living thing she meets is an imposing half-dragon, half-man beast, her only thoughts are how she can stay alive long enough to find her family. Strange and often frightening creatures seem to be around every corner (which actually makes having a dragon-man beast for a bodyguard come in rather handy). She is befriended by the handsome young mage, Delanor, knowing only that he is keeping her hidden from a dark presence that is shadowing her every movement. When she catches a glimpse of the man that is supposed to be so deadly to her, however, she finds her heart is full of conflict, for she is being sought after by the rogue elfin prince, Celestyn.
This is character soup. Only main characters need to be introduced, and even then it should be kept to a minimum. Who is the main character? What are her goals? What stands in her way? None of that is really answered with this paragraph. The voice isn’t necessarily horrible, but it’s certainly not as strong as it could be.

And he is by far the most beautiful being that she has ever laid eyes on.
While perhaps an interesting factoid, this doesn’t actually bring about a conflict, so it’s kind of pointless.

Though she is frightened by his cold cruelty, Evanthe finds it very difficult to resist the ethereal, god-like (Ugh, why so many adjectives?) prince. She will eventually have to choose between the two men that she has come to love and, even worse, between the few fellow humans that have also crossed into the land and the newly-made friends she has grown to care for.
Too much description, not enough plot. And again, there isn’t any conflict until it’s mentioned that there are other humans in this world.

PRINCE OF LIGHT is every fangirl’s dream book, containing everything from a hot elf and shapeshifters of every kind to battle scenes that would send even Percy Jackson into hiding. No. Just…no. (Not to mention a love triangle worthy of any Twilight fan.) SWEET BABYBACK RIBS, NO. I am truly ashamed that I sent this to agents. And that I thought it was good. This medieval fantasy is complete at approximately 89,000 words in length.
All the final line should say is “PRINCE OF LIGHT is a young adult medieval fantasy complete at 89,000.” If you have some comp titles, that’s fine, but it’s not a requirement. Also, always round up or down your word count when writing a query, and do capitalize the title for this part of the letter. At least I got that part…

While I have never had any of my works formally published, my short story entitled “Range of Vision” won an honorable mention at the 2009 Nature of Words Writing Competition and is included in their anthology. I also worked at a public library for six years, primarily with teens, which allowed me to be immersed in young adult literary fiction. I feel that PRINCE OF LIGHT would be a great addition to any young adult publisher based on the feedback that I’ve already received from both teens and adults alike.
Honestly, I didn’t include any of this information when I sent out the queries for my newest project because none of it matters. Unless you have a previously published work, and sorry, most self-published books don’t count, just leave out any credentials. (I’ve been told the exception to self-published books is if you’ve sold 100,000 copies or more. But that’s SOLD, not just downloads.) If you have a lot of short stories published or the like, that seems to be semi-okay to send along, but in that case it seems to depend on the agent and their personal preferences.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
I think this is pretty much the only line that I got halfway right.

So there you have it. And as I mentioned, this is my so-called “improved” version. It’s just so…bad. Not because the writing is bad, because structurally it’s pretty sound, but because I didn’t know the business. Agents receive literally hundreds of query letters a day, so it is absolutely vital that you make your story stand out from the slush pile.

It’s helped to see how far I’ve come, which is why I sometimes go back and view my earlier writings. As I continue to work on book two in the Prince of Light series, I already have an idea for the description, which is light years ahead of where I was when I finished book one. (And yes, that book really will get finished at some point. I promise.)

To my fellow writers, I have to encourage you to NEVER GIVE UP. Your first book may never get published, traditionally or indie. That’s okay. Keep writing and keep reading. If this is your passion and it’s what you know you want to do, learn all that you can and just keep going. You will improve.

Best of luck!

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Just a tad bit past nearly forever ago, a friend of mine tagged me on Facebook with a fun meme. I thought it sounded great and started it…and then I became distracted and only recently discovered the half-finished product. Whatever the case, I have since completed my answers and thought it might make for an interesting blog post. These are the authors and books that inspired my own writing.

10 Books That Stayed With Me:

1.) The Bible – It may not be obvious to all, but this book has been the number one thing that has changed my life and my perspective over the years. I have indeed read it cover to cover and various translations, and every time that I read its passages I get something new from it.

2.) Beverly Cleary series – I’m kind fudging on this one, because it’s way too hard to narrow down which specific Cleary books spoke to me most. I grew up reading about Beezus and Ramona, Ralph S. Mouse and all the rest. They were instrumental in cultivating my passion for the written word, even in grade school.

3.) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain – One of my best memories is the year that my mother read the story of Tom Sawyer to me while I ate breakfast every morning. I’ll confess that I was really hesitant to this at first, but Mom insisted and I am very glad she did. I got so caught up in the story that I quickly forgot why I hadn’t wanted to hear it in the first place.

4.) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – I read this one while I was in high school for a book report. Basically I just needed to choose something from the list that the teacher gave us. I picked it at random, thinking that the title sounded interesting, and discovered an amazing world. This story was part of what really piqued my interest in the fantasy genre as a whole. It opened up a whole different set of doors, as far as reading went.

5.) The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis – Probably not much surprise here either, but this is another series that I’ve always adored. I read The Silver Chair in high school (another book report project that turned out very well for me). While The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has probably remained my favorite of the series, The Silver Chair and The Last Battle are right up there.

6.) Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer – This still remains one of my all-time favorite YA series. I loved Colfer’s twist to both modern and ancient fairy tales, and the storyline, while not always what I expected, was fantastic. Great character development, great villains…in fact it’s been long enough that I’m probably due for a re-read.

7.) Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson – Sanderson is a semi-new author to me, but so far I have loved each book that I’ve tried. This was the first story that I read of his, which also happened to be his first attempt at YA, and it’s difficult to pinpoint just why it stuck with me so much. I tend to be very character driven when it comes to movies and books, so all I can figure is that I loved the character of Steelheart so much it wedged in my brain and wouldn’t let go. Whatever the case, this was one of my favorite books of the year. And so far, the rest of the series hasn’t disappointed either.

8.) The Oath by Frank Peretti – It’s been a looooong time since I last read this one, but it was another book that always stuck with me. I originally read it in high school and loved it. This was the first book of Peretti’s that I had read, and while it was a little slow in the middle, the primary storyline kept a quick pace and kept my attention through it all. Not your typical dragon story, but still a well-crafted plot for an author of his particular genre. As a “Christian author,” he pushed boundaries with this book and might have even made people a little uncomfortable. Not necessarily a bad thing, in this case.

9.) The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – Yes, he gets to be on my list twice because he’s just that amazing. I won’t lie, The Way of Kings is definitely a commitment at nearly 400,000 words, but I can’t recommend it highly enough for those who love epic fantasy. The worldbuilding, the characters…all of it is just too amazing for words. It has become one of my all-time favorite stories ever. (It was one of the few books where I literally read the last sentence and wanted to go right back to the beginning and read it again because I loved it so much.) And Words of Radiance, the sequel, is just as fantastic as the first.

10.) The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis – This was the first non-fiction work of Lewis that I read, again while in high school, but it’s always stuck with me. Lewis really stepped outside the box of his time by writing this book, and it made you really think about your prayer life and the spiritual battles that continuously rage on everywhere. While definitely an older book, I can still recommend it. (Actually, it’s another one I need to re-read…)

So there you have it. This is a basic glimpse of my all-time favorite books and authors, and though many others have made impressions with me, these are the ones that I will never forget.

What are your top ten faves?

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As every good older sister will tell you, part of your job requirement as the eldest is to toughen up your younger siblings to prepare them for the ways of the world. Personally, I like to think of it as both a duty and a perk. I’m extremely fortunate that my younger brother is probably the best one that I could have ever asked for, especially thanks to my consistent torment guidance. Okay, okay, so he’s just an awesome brother even without my help. As he started to become interested in the same things as me (hard rock, manga, video games, etc.), I found a companion who actually understood me. We could sob together over the death of a beloved character in Naruto, beat each other to a pulp on Smash Bros., or squee over the latest Nightwish album. Yup. He’s that cool. Though we’re almost eight years apart, the older we get, the stronger our friendship is.

So now a confession must come from me. (I do that a lot, don’t I?) Anyone who knows me knows first-hand that I love the Zelda franchise with a passion. Or, as Brother would say, a flaming purple passion. (Don’t ask, ‘cause I don’t know where he got that.) The characters, the storylines, the gameplay, everything. I have LoZ decals on my car, a wallet, even a lanyard for my key card at work. So here’s my confession:

I’ve never actually really played or beaten a Zelda game. Ever.

Yeah, I played the original NES one, but I didn’t really understand it. (I was kid, okay? What do you want from me?) The sad fact is, I rather suck at them. I tried desperately when the N64 was released, and even managed to go a little ways in Ocarina of Time. But as it got harder and harder, I found that I just didn’t possess the skills to master such amazing awesomeness. I was great at Mario Kart, Smash Bros., even Mario 64, not to mention that I was a pro at most NES games. So what was I to do? I wanted to see what the heck happened. (Okay, so I really just wanted to see Link as an adult. Pervy elf fancier, remember?) Low and behold, I discovered that my little brother, who was probably about eleven when Ocarina of Time came out, was surprisingly talented at just about any video game handed to him. He started playing OoT, so I started watching. New discovery – we were actually a pretty sweet team together. When he couldn’t figure out a puzzle or couldn’t find an object, I could often point out something that he’d missed. Yes, it was the beginning of something beautiful.

From that point on, I just pretty much let him play every game while I watched. It was like seeing a movie for me. Not a bad deal in the long run. We’d grab some lunch/dinner and spend countless hours poring over the next dungeon or puzzle, oohing and ahhing as the storylines unfolded. Legend of Zelda and Fire Emblem were the top two on our “must-play” list.

OoT. Best Zelda game ever.

OoT. Best Zelda game ever.


That brings me to my favorite gaming memory of all time. The Shadow Temple in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Let’s just start out by saying that it’s not for the faint of heart. The Nintendo 64 was stretching all of the boundaries gaming-wise at that time, and OoT was at the forefront of the revolution. It changed the way games were played. It had killer graphics for its time. It pushed the 64’s capabilities to the limit. It. Was. Awesome.

It was also extremely complicated, which is why die-hard Zelda fans love it still to this day. But by far, the creepiest aspect of it was the Shadow Temple. You knew it was going to be difficult. You didn’t know it was going to be mind-scarring. Remember that Brother was only about eleven or so when we played this, and I was around seventeen. It’s late at night, on a weekend, if I remember correctly. All the lights are off in the house because Mom and Dad are already in bed and it’s just cooler that way. Creepy music is playing in the background of the game. Brother enters a chamber of the Shadow Temple, unsure of where to go next. Suddenly, we both see this strange, black spot on the top of Link’s head. We stare at it, perplexed as it slowly grows bigger and bigger. The next thing we know, a giant severed hand jumps out and brings Link to an instant, untimely demise.

I’m pretty sure we both screamed like little girls.

My heart actually tried to jump out through my throat. Brother kept whomping on buttons like crazy screeching, “Get it off! Get it off! Get it off!” But alas, it was to no avail. That was just one of many difficult temples, but it’s the one that sticks out in my mind the most. Actually, I don’t think I could forget it if I tried. Between the dead hands and the long-necked zombies (I forget their proper name)…yeah. Those gave us both nightmares.

However, it’s still one of my favorite games, and it was the one that sparked both of our interests in LoZ. To this day, I still make Brother play games for me. Yes, I have my Mario Kart and Smash Bros., but when it comes to complicated games that I don’t stand a chance on, he’s awesome and plays for me.

I tell ya, that’s a good little brother.

http://memebase.cheezburger.com/

See? Mind-scarring.

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Boy, does it really rock it!

Yeah, kinda crappy quality, I know. I only had my phone and it’s not the best at indoor lighting, sadly.

It had been years since I’d been to a real, honest-to-goodness, hard rock concert, and I’d really missed it. The last few rockin’ concerts I’d been to were even smaller than this, and no one really did anything but stand there. And they were comprised of mostly teenagers, too. Seriously, people? IT’S A ROCK CONCERT. Your parents probably rocked it harder back in the seventies than you are right now.

But thankfully, none of those people showed up last night. Everyone that attended was there to just have fun and enjoy the bands. I know it was a much smaller venue than Nightwish would normally do, but they really did put on one of the best concerts I’ve yet seen. I was ever so slightly disappointed that they didn’t stick around longer, but I know they have multiple other places to go to. I’m sure they had another show in another town the very next day, but still. I hope they come back, because I would gladly go again.

We started the night off with Kamelot, who I always enjoy.

Stood a little further away for these guys. I don’t have a fangirl crush on any of them, sorry.

I didn’t care for their casual tossing around of the f-bomb, but that’s just my personal opinion. Honestly, I knew that if that was the worst it got, it was probably considered a mild rock concert, ha! 😉 Kamelot did several good songs, including my all-time favorite of theirs, “March of Mephisto.” They also did “Ghost Opera,” which was pretty sweet.

Then it was time for the good stuff. I had read a press release prior to the concert that Anette would not be finishing the tour due to conflicts that they couldn’t resolve. I enjoyed her voice and felt that she did well enough considering the shoes she had to fill, but I wasn’t necessarily heartbroken that she wasn’t there. (No one can really replace Tarja, so why bother trying?) They ended pulling in another gal named Floor Jansen, who apparently used to sing in After Forever and ReVamp. Actually, I’d never heard of either of those bands, but I felt she did a really great job, especially since she’d probably only been practicing the songs for a few days.

I seriously wanted her shirt. It was amazing. Of course you can’t see it here, but you can trust me that it was gorgeous.

I was especially glad that they put together a variety of songs, including some older ones. They played two of my absolute favorites from when Tarja was with them, “Dark Chest of Wonders” and “Nemo.” Plus they did “Amaranth” and several of my favorites from their new album.

Yay for being on the side of the stage closest to Tuomas! The man’s talent is seemingly endless. Three different keyboards, and he bounced back and forth between them all with little to no effort.

OMG look at his hat! Love, love, love!

I think what surprised me the most was the band’s humility despite their enormous success. Their bassist, Marco, had a great personality and was so much fun. And every time Tuomas happened to look up and see a camera phone pointed in his direction, he just smiled and shook his head, nodding over to one of the other bandmates or the lead singer. Like, “Nah, you don’t really want to take a picture of me.” (Dude, why do you think I really came here??)

Bro and I eventually managed to get about two or three rows back, so I got an awesome view of all the band. (Of course that was only after staring at a guy’s shoulder blades for the first part. Stupid tall people. The upside of being only 5’2″ and fairly small is that I can usually squeeze into the front and no one minds because they can still totally see over me. The downside is that I’m at armpit height. Not so bad unless you’re in a crowd of teenagers. We’re lucky I survived the night.)

But, all in all, it was an awesome concert and I hope they come back to Oregon again in the near future.

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Why We Love Fantasy

This pretty much sums up how I feel about myself every day.

I know I’ve mentioned before my absolute love of the band Nightwish. [OMG – Fangirl squee!] I have yet to find another band that has captivated me so completely as they have. Their music has inspired countless battle scenes and epic moments in my writing and imagination. I can write a tragic and moving scene between two lovers while listening to the instrumental version of “Creek Mary’s Blood,” or picture Link fighting Ganandorf when I hear the instrumental version of “The Poet and the Pendulum.” (Go ahead. Listen to even just a sample of it and then visualize the absolute awesomeness of a scene like that. Oh yeah. I suppose, you’d have to listen to the full song to get the emotion from it, but still.) I can find a Nightwish song for pretty much any mood, especially thanks to their latest album.

Hence I’ve already decided that if my book ever gets a contract to become a movie, I want to have two clauses that are set in stone before I sign over anything. 1.) That Orlando Bloom and Robert Pattinson aren’t allowed to even try out for any roles. Period. 2.) That Tuomas Holopainen

Tuomas appeals to my pervy pirate/rocker fancier. He would look most fetching in a pirate costume, yes?

is offered the chance to write the score for the movie first. If he turns it down, then they can hire whomever they want. (Nothing really personal against Mr. Bloom or Mr. Pattinson, they’re just not at all what I picture for any characters. And I really can’t stand either of them. So sue me.)

But my current squee of the moment is because I hath purchased tickets to see the one and only Nightwish (and therefore the amazing and talented Tuomas) here in Oregon for this coming October. They’re playing in Portland, which is a good three hours from where I live, but it is well worth the drive. To make things even better, Kamelot is going to be opening for them! It’s like a fiesta in my brain. Yes, Husband took some convincing to let me purchase the tickets. (It’s what credit cards are for, okay?) But once I pleaded with him and told him it was – quite literally – the chance of a lifetime due to the fact that the band lives in Finland, he relented and agreed to let it be a late birthday present for me. (My birthday’s actually in August, but I shall gladly forgo any other presents for this one.) Younger Brother’s birthday actually is in October, so it’s a good way to combine them. I am so freaking ecstatic I can’t hardly stand it.

I must find a good rock concert outfit. I don’t think I even own one. Hmm. We shall rectify that post-haste.

I think it is most fitting that I get to attend this concert in October, as I’ve finally decided to release my first ever book that same month. I think if I give myself a definite deadline, I’ll be more apt to really get on the ball with the final details. I even came up with an advertisement:

Looks enticing, doesn’t it? 😉 Betcha can’t wait for October now! As more details are available, I’ll add to it. I’m getting butterflies in my stomach just thinking about finally getting this out to the general public. My thoughts keep jumping back and forth:

What if people don’t like it? What if they do? What if they absolutely HATE it? What if they don’t care about the character development? Maybe they don’t like the idea of shapeshifters and elves in the same story. Do frogs really give you warts? How DO porcupines mate? AAUUUUGHHHH!!

You get the idea. I have the feeling these thoughts will continue to become more and more frequent the closer I get to the release date. I will have the concert to look forward to, which will help curb my excitement. Or make it worse.

In the meanwhile, you can picture me squealing like the little fangirl that I am until this milestone has been completed. *squee!*

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It’s a commonly known fact that Husband and I don’t really want children of our own. That certainly may change someday, but for right now we’re content to look after our furry friends and call it good. While even that has some down sides, like having to change litter boxes and deal with some extra drool, the lovin’s are worth it. (Although my so-called “clumping action” kitty litter has failed to actually be “clumpable.” We are not amused. After meticulously scooping what felt like every single soaked grain of kitty litter individually into a plastic bag, I lifted it up only to discover that there was a hole in the bottom of it. That left a nice trail of … um, stuff on the floor. *grrrrhulksmash*)

Sorry, random tangent. The real reason for this post was to state that if I ever change my mind about having a kid, it’s bedroom is going to be decorated … like this! OMG, cuteness overload. And no, I don’t care if it was for a boy or a girl, that is freaking awesome. Although I might have to mix and match with this. I love the name Chewbacca. I still want to have a dog named that someday.

Of course, if it was up to me, my entire house would be decorated in video game/fantasy decor. Husband is the one who says it has to look all “grown-up.” Puh. How could he not love to see people setting their drinks on awesome Zelda coasters? (I do actually have some Lord of the Rings coasters, but they’re part of my collection, so I don’t tend to use them much. And yes, I collect random LOTR stuff. Someday, my collection shall be on display for all to see! Or at least all who come in my house. Provided Husband actually finishes the game room downstairs.)

I would make my entire house look like it came out of Lord of the Rings if I thought I could get away with it. I still love re-watching those movies. I remember the first time I saw Fellowship of the Ring and how utterly entranced I was. That simply fueled my already established elf fetish, which began the first time I saw Link in Ocarina of Time. Link has been hugely inspiring for me. In fact, he’s one of the few characters that I’ve actually done fan-art of:

They’re not perfect, but they were fun projects to do. I’ve been feeling the itch to start drawing again. These two drawings were done nearly three years ago. Sadly, I must give the usual lament, “If only I had enough time in the day!” Perhaps with the changing of seasons and the new opportunities coming my way, this will be something I can do once again. I haven’t tried to draw Twilight Princess Link yet. I think I sense my next art adventure. 😀

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nightwishimaginaerum-vi

Oh. My. Gosh.

I have been anxiously waiting for months, poised and ready, for the newest album by Nightwish to be released here in the USA. As the time for its release approached, I began vainly counting down the hours, my fingers hovering above my mouse, prepared to click the very nanosecond it became available. It was worth the wait.

Very, very worth it.

I know that power metal isn’t for everyone. But this album is so amazingly epic that I can already picture the scenes in my next book thanks to it’s achingly beautiful, powerful score. A gorgeous blend of both instrumental and lyrical songs, it contains some of the most hauntingly wonderful music they have yet produced, in my humble opinion. After being blown away by the power and exquisite work of Dark Passion Play, I honestly wasn’t sure that they would be able to outdo themselves.

I am exceedingly happy that they proved me wrong. Yes, I know that their lyrics sometimes border on the overly dramatic, but that’s part of the fun. I certainly hope that they release an instrumental version of this album, just like Dark Passion Play. I have been refueled to start writing again, inspired by their symphonic/orchestral metal. Or, as my brother and I like to call it, “rockestra.”

I honestly can’t decide which song is my favorite at this point. As I continue to listen to it, there are elements in all of the songs that I like. Even the song “Slow, Love, Slow,” which has a very jazzy feel to it. I don’t normally care for jazz, but I appreciate the broad spectrum that it brings to this album. It shows that the musicians aren’t limited in their talents, that they can literally play just about anything.

I have yet to find another band that has captivated me like Nightwish has. I’ve searched for similar artists, but as far as I’m concerned, Imaginaerum just proves once again that Nightwish is in a league of their own.

And if my book is ever made into a movie, I’m going to beg Tuomas to write the score for it, plain and simple. It’s going in the contract.

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