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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!!!!

Happy New Year! Well, New Year's Eve, anyway...

*A Sapphire Chamber*, being started in October, doesn't have much to look back on (Unless you'd care to look back on the irritating issue of white highlights throughout my blog, but I don't think any of us would enjoy that...). However, there is something exciting to share!

Most of you know that Christian author Anne Elisabeth Stengl is one of my favorites, and when sharing my recent fan art with her, something rather magical -- or, I consider it magical, anyway -- happened.


You can see my fan art here (with the comments), or see it below...


Along with my Heartless fan art, I'd like to share about Christian musician Megan Rae's new album, In My Defense (which you can order from her by clicking here).

In My Defense: A Music Review

In My Defense is certainly a masterpiece! It is completed with fourteen tracks, adding up to a total of forty minutes.

My favorite song on this CD has to be "Fall from Stone", second-favorite being "Winter Will Be Over Soon". In fact, I love this CD so much that I think I should just rate the songs by favoritism:

I. "Fall from Stone"

II. "Winter Will Be Over Soon"

III. "Elizabeth"

IV. "In the Morning"

V. "Gold and Stone"

VI. "Hm"

VII. "Hoax"

VIII. "Sparrow's Secrets"

IX. "Weaved"

X. "The Soldier"

XI. "Have You"

XII. "Down the Road"

XIII. "Easier"

XIV. "In My Defense"

Farewell, 2014...

With this end-of-the-year surprise and music review, it seems only fitting to close off 2014 with four little words...:

See you next year!

~Olivia

Friday, December 12, 2014

Winter Readings

It's winter! And, thankfully, raining! So much to do over winter break -- read, write, paint, etc., etc. Originally in this post, I was going to suggest a certain saga to my readers, but I decided against it. Instead, I'm going to give you the list of the two books I'm reading. Enjoy! :)

Chime by Franny Billingsley


Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.

--goodreads.com

Muscle and a Shovel by Michael Shank



Muscle and a Shovel is a raw and gritty true story about a pair of young newly-weds who move to the city to chase the American dream. In the process they're befriended by a man who turns their belief about God, their church, and their faith upside down! Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, the Community Churches - none are spared when Truth is at stake and their new friend Randall isn't about to "candy coat" God's Word for the sake of "political correctness" or "religious tolerance." 

This story will grip you from opening to close and will stimulate your spirit on levels you didn't think possible. Get ready to fight or flee because Muscle and a Shovel is one of those rare books that will raise your heart-rate and your blood-pressure. You won't want to wait to share it with your friends or you'll want to dowse it in gasoline and set on fire! There'll be no middle ground.

Many Christian reviewers have said, "This book will turn our current religious world upside-down!"

--amazon.com


~Olivia

Sunday, November 30, 2014

DIY: Morgana's Healing Bracelet from MERLIN

The popular BBC program Merlin -- which sadly ended in December of 2012 -- consists of many elements. Love, hope, sorcery, hatred, destruction... There's plenty to choose from.

One of the main characters of this show -- Morgana -- owns a magical healing bracelet, given to her by her half-sister in order to help her sleep.

And most of us long for her beautiful black hair, strange olive eyes, and incredible sense of fashion. Some of us even long for her healing bracelet, which, thankfully, we can make ourselves...

DIY!!!!

Here is my step-by-step tutorial for creating Morgana's healing bracelet. :)



You'll need:

--1 metal bracelet



--1 bottle of sleep-enhancing lotion



Step I

Gently squeeze the bottle of sleep-enhancing lotion onto the bracelet until a small dab has appeared.



Step II

Gently rub the lotion onto the bracelet, spreading it out across the surface.




Step III

Flip the bracelet over and repeat steps one and two.



Step IV

Make sure that all of the lotion is rubbed in on the bracelet (if your lotion is the brand I was using, then the bracelet should lightly smell of lavender). Let sit for one hour before handling.



Note:

It is possible that, over time, the sleep-enhancing lotion will wear off. In case this happens, keep the lotion on hand.

Directions:

Sleep with the bracelet on, and you will soon find yourself sleeping longer and better.



~Olivia

Monday, November 10, 2014

GOLDEN DAUGHTER -- A Quick Post

So the Golden Daughter Chat Party (hosted by its lovely author, Anne Elisabeth Stengl) starts tonight! For those of you who haven't read Tales of Goldstone Wood (an AMAZING book series!), yet, here's a little bit of info:



Masayi Sairu was raised to be dainty, delicate, demure... and deadly. She is one of the emperor’s Golden Daughters, as much a legend as she is a commodity. One day, Sairu will be contracted in marriage to a patron, whom she will secretly guard for the rest of her life.
But when she learns that a sacred Dream Walker of the temple seeks the protection of a Golden Daughter, Sairu forgoes marriage in favor of this role. Her skills are stretched to the limit, for assassins hunt in the shadows, and phantoms haunt in dreams. With only a mysterious Faerie cat and a handsome slave -- possessed of his own strange abilities -- to help her, can Sairu shield her new mistress from evils she can neither see nor touch?
For the Dragon is building an army of fire. And soon the heavens will burn.


This outstanding tale is now available on Amazon! You can find it here. In closing, a quick reminder -- the Golden Daughter chat party is open for about three more hours! You can join in here.

~Olivia

P.S. I know that the description is highlighted. I am so sorry that this has happened! I don't know how to fix it, but you can find the full description here.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Let's Talk Sources!

It took me quite a while to start using sources. Before, I couldn't see a point to it at all. But, writing mostly about medieval times, I have found a constant need for them, and I've decided to share a few of my favorites with you.

The Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter by Allan Zola Kronzek & Elizabeth Kronzek

I just happened to stumble across a very used copy of this at a thrift store. Though The Sorcerer's Companion sounds like a collection of fan fictions about J.K. Rowling's hit fantasy, it is actually the opposite. This book focuses on many mythical topics, their origins, and why modern authors still use them. A few of my favorite topics in this consist of banshees, charms, hippogriffs, Morgana, and mermaids.

(Find The Sorcerer's Companion here.)

Irish & Celtic Baby Names

Separate websites, these four links are extremely helpful in my writing (especially considering that most of my novels take place in Ireland). I've been using babynamesofireland.com for a longer period of time than amethyst-night.com/names, but I find both equally helpful.

Amethyst-night.com/names certainly has a more peaceful layout than babynamesofireland, but the latter provides names with more definitions and pronunciations. I recommend both, but tend to use amethyst-night.com/names more.

(Find Irish boy names here, Irish girl names here, Celtic male names here, & Celtic female names here.)

Medieval People, Titles, Positions, Trades, & Classes PDF

This twenty-page document is definitely the most helpful towards my writing. I tend to skip past the Catholic church's positions, but aim more towards the titles of nobility. (And yet I still haven't scanned throughout this entire file.)

An example of just how helpful this PDF is is this: Have you ever heard of a viceroy before? I haven't. Maybe most people have and I'm one of the few that hasn't, but I didn't even know that there were varying positions of dukes and duchesses.

(Find Medieval People, Titles, Positions, Trades, & Classes here.)

Beasts & Myths of the Middle Ages PDF

This PDF is twenty-three pages and much like The Sorcerer's Companion, but a bit more brief yet explanatory than that. I rarely use it, but it is still nice to have amongst my many other bookmarks.

According to Beasts & Myths of the Middle Ages, stags used to be simple bedtime stories that did not actually exist. (That makes me wonder how people reacted when they went for a walk in the woods and discovered an actual male deer standing in front of them...) Also, unicorns were described as evil and rabid other than sweet and tender. They apparently resembled a mixture of a goat and a small horse with a long, sharp horn in its forehead. (Isn't it strange how myths have changed?)

(Find Beasts & Myths of the Middle Ages here.)

Fantasy Name Generator

I meant to post this earlier in this list, but oh well. And, just so we're clear, this site is AWESOME. It provides millions of names in hundreds of different genres, and is extraordinary. (Five stars to this site!)

Just to show off a little of how well this site works, let me demonstrate: Petaled Agaricus. Hmm... Not quite sure what that is, yet, but it is most likely magical. (I found this phrase under the "fungus" generator... Yes, there is even a generator for types of fungi.)

I have used the generator much in my latest novel, and even have at least two kingdoms named using phrases from this site. (Hint! Ibraura and Blight Tassel.)

(Find the fantasy name generator here.)

Medieval Names of the Months of the Year

This site I use considerably less than the sites above, but I still thought I'd post it. I have forgotten to use months from the middle ages and the Renaissance in my current tale, but it is likely that this page will be used more for the next draft.

(Find the medieval names of the months of the year here.)

Conclusion

I use many more sources than the ones listed above (Google and Wikipedia are some pretty reliable places, after all), including a never-used link to a chart of the Roman numerals (for those few occasions when I actually don't remember what they are).

Anyway, thanks for reading my blog and giving me the time to share. :)

~Olivia

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

TALES OF GOLDSTONE WOOD Allegorical Theories

As some of you may know, I am a HUGE Anne Elisabeth Stengl fan. Her outstanding series, Tales of Goldstone Wood, is a Christian fantasy that readers of all ages enjoy. Though I'm only on her fifth book, and I may be forgetting some of my recent ideas, here is my collection of allegorical theories towards her books:



~Olivia

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sheep, Sheep, & Crossover Sheep

"Counting sheep is a mental exercise used in some cultures as a means of lulling oneself to sleep. In most depictions of the activity, the practitioner envisions an endless series of identical white sheep jumping over a fence, while counting them as they do so."
--Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counting_sheep)

"Crossover - A fan fiction which incorporates characters, events, places, ideas, etc from another fandom. ... Crossovers are also denoted sometimes with the word: 'xover', the X standing for cross."
--A Fanspeak Dictionary (http://expressions.populli.net/dictionary.html)

Introduction

The purpose of this blog post is to discuss how we get to sleep. Most people suggest counting sheep, but it never works. Not even trying this magical way (by Country Living) can guarantee it:

Yawn, how dreamy... :)

See? We tried, and we failed.

Anyway, the point of this post is to tell how I get to sleep. Hopefully it can help you out. :)

Crossover Sheep!!!!

I'm a huge Doctor Who fan, and I don't mind reading The Heroes of Olympus, either. I know what you're thinking. David Tennant as a sheep? Things just got awkward.

(áI'm sorry, I just had to do this.á)

...Actually, Octavian Augur might make a better sheep.

(Actually, no, David Tennant is better.)

Ahem, sorry, getting a little off track, there.


The way I tend to get to sleep is by placing myself in a fictional story (usually a crossover -- maybe something like Merlin meets Doctor Who). Recently, I've been setting it up where I'm the Doctor's companion and I (...um...) fell out of his TARDIS. But, the secret is that I have ice powers (enter... Frozen!), and if I reveal that to anyone (the Doctor already knows, by the way), then extreme danger could be involved (typical DW life). Nico di Angelo is helping to keep my secret as I've ended up at Camp Jupiter, where Reyna is gone (and has so rapidly made the mistake of leaving Octavian in charge). Of course, Octavian's favorite activity is execution, so we all know where the story goes from there... (I should write a fan fiction on this. Hmm...)

Anyway, my tip in this not-written-very-well blog post is to create a crossover situation in your mind if you're having trouble getting to sleep. Hope it helps. :)

~Olivia

FIVE ENCHANTED ROSES Entry Sneak Peak!!

It's hard not be overwhelmed (but excited!) for the release of the winning authors of Five Enchanted Roses. It's just so... amazing! What if I got in? That would be outstanding! Even if I didn't get a place inside this magical contest however, I would still be very enthusiastic to discover the authors who will be taking my place.


I doubt I will get in, though (If I don't, I will probably reward all of you wonderful blog readers with the tale.). Here's a (what shall I call it?) "cover plot" for my story, which is titled Duchess, Prince, Manor:

Duchess Phoenix is worried. Her father, a viceroy, is about to lose his position, which would mean horrible things for her: marrying a man she does not love, losing her father, and, most importantly, losing hope. But when invited to the crown prince's ball, everything begins to change...

Phoenix meets a remarkable young man who will not reveal his true identity. That is, until he's rescued her from a rabid dog. Taken in by this man -- Prince Draven Strap -- and his many servants who were turned into objects, Phoenix learns what is hiding behind that arrogant, charming mask -- a handsome young man, just waiting to burst forth.

But Draven was once part of a group of evil followers, and the leader has come back to hunt him down with a weapon more deadly than he can imagine -- a rose. When this rose loses all of its petals, Draven will die, leaving his new wife a widow.

The magical household prepares as Draven comes face-to-face with his father and worst enemy -- fear itself. Will Draven be able to save himself, or will Phoenix be left alone, forever...?

I'm so excited to discover the results of this novella series! :) Luv you! <3

~Olivia

Friday, October 24, 2014

THE BLOOD OF OLYMPUS -- A Book Review

The time has come for me to review The Blood of Olympus by mythology writer Rick Riordan. This book came out on October 7th (2014), and I started it the day after (October 8th, 2014), eventually finishing it a week later (October 14th, 2014). Now it's time to review it.


Warning: content may contain spoilers.

Background

For those of you who have never read any of Rick Riordan's books, they are very similar to this:

A group of kids loose their parents/have a bad relationship with them, then find out that they have magical powers and that the fate of the world is resting in their hands.

That's the typical outline for his novels. Rick Riordan has written outstanding stories (such as the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series), but, like every writer, he as also written his share of failures (for example, The Kane Chronicles).

Plot

Ever since the rebirth of Rick Riordan's hit series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, seven half-mortal-half-Olympians have been journeying across the world, trying to reach Greece in time to put Gaea back to sleep and save the Olympians from suffering of their Greek/Roman personality disorders.

In the meantime, two other mortal-Olympian hybrids (also known as demigods) and a satyr have been traveling back to New York with some pretty heavy luggage -- a.k.a. a forty-foot-tall statue modeled after the Olympian of weaving and wisdom, Athena.

With a deadly hunter on the trio's trail and a gathering of giants planning to sacrifice two of the seven demigods, there is no time to waste.

Rating

Two-and-a-half out of five stars on this one, folks.

Review

Though I do love a good Rick Riordan book, The Blood of Olympus was not his best. Here's why:

1) The beginning was pretty un-explanatory. At first, it didn't reach down into the characters and pull out their feelings. Perhaps the first chapter being told from Piper McLean's point of view would've been best (considering that she's the most emotional of the seven).

2) We know some of the characters' feelings, but not all of them. Of course I enjoyed learning more about Nico and Reyna! But two of our old pals (Percy and Annabeth) would be nice to hear from, once and a while.

3) There were too many secrets. For example, through most of (or what seemed like most of) the book, Leo, Hazel, and Frank never gave any hints away about their secret plan for the physician's cure (I believe that's what the potion was called). The element of surprise is fun and exciting, but a little more info would be much appreciated.

4) The ending was not, er, epic enough. I had no idea what on earth was going on with the Greeks and Romans being surrounded by monsters, about to face Gaea... What was going on? And when Octavian died, it was impossible to know what was going on until Rick Riordan actually explained his death.

5) Last but not least, Caleo shippers sighed. Um, what I mean is that the reuniting of Leo and Calypso was not romantic enough. Leo has been spending most of his time trying to reach his long lost love, and Calypso has been stranded on an island falling in love with every man who steps foot on it. Also, how was it possible for Leo to reach Ogygia? The place was literally impossible to find! I guess we'll never know.

Overall, The Blood of Olympus was certainly not Rick Riordan's best Greek/Roman novel. Still, the arrival of his two books (Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes and The Sword of Summer) of 2015 is much anticipated.

~Olivia

Blog Change, or...?

As some of you may have noticed, the site address and title have been changed. Thankfully, though, I was able to keep all of my blogs here. :) So, it's still the same site, just a different address, title, and setup. Just wanted to let ya'll know. <3

~Olivia

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Elements of the Perfect Saturday

Oh, Saturday! How I love thee! ...Of course, the ideal Saturday never really comes. There's always something blocking that perfect day (Most likely a trip to the orthodontist. {#FrownyFace}). For your entertainment, here's what my perfect Saturday would look like...

The ~Perfect~ Saturday Schedule

7:30 a.m. -- wake up
Even though Saturday would be the most perfect day for sleeping in, if I want to do something progressive during the day, I tend to want to get up earlier. Say, seven-thirty? Eight?

7:45 a.m. -- shower & get ready
Though Saturday would probably be spent entirely at home, I'd still (probably) do my makeup. What if the perfect chance for a low-budget-camera-selfie comes up?!

8:00 a.m. -- breakfast
Breakfast time -- food!! Hmm... Since we're talking about the impossible, -- the perfect Saturday -- why not come to something delicious? Perhaps blackberry jam on sourdough bread with a nice cup of hot cocoa?

8:30 a.m. -- write
Time to get crackin'! Cleaning my room? Well, it is the perfect Saturday, so, naturally, the cleaning fairies would be zooming around the house at this time, as I put a new scent in the wax burner and plop down at my computer, ready to write...

11:45 a.m. -- pack lunch
I changed my mind. I am going out. I pack a kindly-vegetarian lunch and leash up the dogs, about to drive to the park (Because we all know that thirteen-year-olds can drive. {wink, wink}).

12:00 p.m. -- picnic lunch
Lunchtime! Let's see what's inside this basket... Ooo! A cheese pizza, iceburg salad, and a blackberry pie? Kitchen fairies, you shouldn't have!

1:00 p.m. -- write
After spending some fun time at the park with my two precious puppies, it's time to head home and start writing, again.

4:00 -- walk
Need to take a break from that computer screen! The fairies leash up the dogs as I get my coat, and we head out for a nice autumn walk.

5:00 -- write
We're back from our walk! The kitchen fairies begin preparing a lovely meal as I settle down with a cup of gingerbread tea and start writing, again...

6:00 -- dinner
My sweet little fairies are amazing! A candlelit dinner with mint chip ice cream for dessert!

6:30 -- write
The kitchen fairies tidy up from our meal and I go back into my room (or study, as I prefer to call it) to write, again (you may have noticed that I particularly enjoy this activity). Of course, there have been absolutely no writer's blocks today, and so far I have accomplished two-thousand words, today!

8:30 -- nightly Bible study
I cuddle up with the dogs and my Bible as the fairies all gather around to listen. Tonight, we will be reading Proverbs 31...

9:00 -- read
I draw the blanket tighter around me and pick up one of my favorite books, Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

9:30 -- bedtime
I turn out all the lights and take the dogs out for one last disposal. After that, it's off to bed with a few more minutes left for reading. Thankfully, the house fairies have gotten all the dishes ready for me to help cook for potluck, tomorrow.


~Olivia

How To Overcome Writer's Block

Uhg, it's happened again. Fifth time, today. You've gotten stuck at another writer's block, and you're not quite sure how to get past it. You have three-thousand words to write, today -- you need to get past it! What to do?

How To Overcome Writer's Block (My Complete Guide)

The Tricks

There's a trick that few authors know about. The secret? Tea. Or hot chocolate. A hot drink (coffee does not work -- trust me on this one) helps warm up your throat and, as approved by my at-home testing, clear your mind. Suddenly you are completely focused on your novel.

...It Helps, But What If It Doesn't Work?

Now it's time to get seriously tricky. You still can't focus. This next step is Netflix. Is there maybe a TV show with the same genre or setting as your book? Maybe, if you're writing something that takes place during the middle ages, you'll want to try BBC's Merlin. Sci-fi? I recommend Doctor Who.

But, whatever you do, do NOT watch an episode you have not seen before. Suddenly, you'll be hooked onto one of those TV dramas. Watch an episode you haven't seen before? This is a BAD idea. You're trying to write! Just watch part of an episode that you've seen before, and once you know that you've gotten your fill, return to writing (you can always watch the next episode of OUaT later {winky face}).

The End Of This Post [Comes Rather Abruptly]

...And that's all. Just a little morning dose of quick-and-simple. Maybe I got too "into depth", or maybe I didn't plunge deep enough in telling you about how to overcome writer's block. Whatever the case, I hope these two tricks help! :)

~Olivia

Monday, October 6, 2014

An Awkward Hello

Well, things didn't really turn out the way they were supposed to. I guess you could just call this an "awkward hello". Why? Well, it kind of is.

First off, I create a blog. Backfire alert -- my very private, very personal email address is showing! How long did it take? Maybe, say, five minutes to fix it? Oh, joy -- it felt like ten. Fixed! But... wait. I can't post, now! Hashtag sigh. (*Creates new blog, calls it Novels Are My Life.*) Done. One quest completed!

Now that all that drama's over with...

Hello!


Hi! I'm a writer. Well, not yet, at least. But I do write. I'm estimating at least, say, around a hundred semi-working novels on my computer? Sadly, the farthest I've ever gotten is ninety pages... before I decided that tale was getting a little too violent.

But, still -- the farthest? Well, I guess I could do better... ;)

Twenty-three pages of my utter glory (or failure!) have been sent to a publisher for a novella contest called Five Enchanted Roses, which is at least partly hosted by one of my most favorite authors of all time -- Anne Elisabeth Stengl!

So, what exactly do I write? Fiction. What do I focus on? Fairytales, as you may have noticed by the title Five Enchanted Roses...

Da... Quizmaster!

What else do I do? I make quizzes, for one. Going by the false name of Keva Maher, I use PlayBuzz for posting them.

I also have a page on Facebook, in case you're interested -- a few recipes and jokes, but mostly concept art and mystical places.

Conclusion

So that was basically an introduction. A very badly written one. Enjoy it. Also, you may have noticed that I went a little, hee hee hee, "link crazy". Apologies, I tried to do it only where it was absolutely necessary (because blogs are so necessary, these days).

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my first blog post! <3

~Olivia

Notice

As of September sixteenth, 2015, this blog has been reformatted. However, all posts before that date have not been updated to fit the new format, and may not be as simple to read.

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