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Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Writerly Notebook & Fine-Tip Pens // Giveaway

Howdy, Dragons! For the next few days, Katie, over at A Writer's Faith, is running an epic giveaway in celebration of her two year blogiversary. The prizes (two winners, one per item) include a writerly notebook and a pack of some of her favourite fine-tip pens. So skip on over to THIS LINK to check it out!



Thursday, August 25, 2016

Books I Read For School & Loved

Due to the fact that school starts in just a few days (*sniffles*), I thought I might list off some books I've read for school and thoroughly enjoyed. (*attempts a smile*) (*frowns at the thought of school*)

{Original image source. Edited using PicMonkey.}

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare


The Witch of Blackbird Pond is one of my favourite books of all time. Shortly after borrowing a copy from the library in eighth grade, I devoured it, and had it finished by the next class. BECAUSE IT WAS SO GOOD. IT WAS SO WELL-WRITTEN AND THE PLOT AND THE CHARACTERS AND OH MY STARS IT WAS SO WONDERFUL. (Sorry, I think the straightjacket on my fangirling heart broke. *winks*)

Chataine's Guardian by Robin Hardy


While Chataine's Guardian wasn't technically assigned, it was still a book I read for school, and I adored every moment of it (here's a brief review I wrote about a year after I read it). It was the first book I read in 2015, and... oh, it was marvelous. It was the sort of book that held me captive as I curled up by the heater (yes, sadly, apparently fireplaces are not in San Diego's fashion), and demanded my full attention, despite my half-hearted protests that I needed to go do my chores. It was a far cry from most historical Christian romance, and wow. Just wow. (*sighs dreamily*) I love that book.

The Monkey's Paw by W.W. Jacobs


The Monkey's Paw was spooky and not exactly pleasant for someone who dislikes monkeys (*shamefully raises hand*), but the writing style was delightfully old fashioned, and the twists and turns on the phrase "be careful what you wish for" were excellent.


There you have it! The list isn't any longer due to the fact that I haven't read many assigned books I enjoyed, and once I dive into a new book, I pretty much forget about the last one. :P

Are there any assigned books you've enjoyed?


Sunday, August 21, 2016

A New Name!

*A Sapphire Chamber* now has a new name! Welcome to Whispers on the Wind, home of all things... Well, you know it, and the list is rather long. ;)

I've updated the blog button -- which you can check out in the sidebar -- and the header -- which you can see above.

Have a lovely evening, everyone!!


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Guest Post: There's a Story Inside Me That's Waiting to Get Out

Hullo, Dragons! Today I'm thrilled to be introducing to ya'll Allister Reeves, from the Go Teen Writers Community, who's been kind enough to have typed up a lovely post about writing from the heart!

So read on, dear Dragons! And a huge thanks to Allister for guest posting! :)



"How can I possibly be a writer?"
"I'm not as good as others."
"I'm too young to write."
"My writing isn't going where I want it."
"Writer's block has me stuck."
"Should I just give up?"
"What's the point if I'll never be published?"
We've all thought or heard these before. Being a writer isn't easy, but even more so when you're a teen writer. I've been a writer ever since I could pick up a pencil. Trust me, one of the hardest parts is overcoming the negative view of being a teen/young writer. But I'm here to tell you that you're never too old or too young to write. Adult writers may seem intimidating and more knowledgeable about the world, which is only true because they've lived longer than us. But this by no means makes them a better writer. Being part of multiple writers groups, I talk to adult writers on a daily basis. Some are very good writers while some have only just started. Though I'm young, barely an adult, some of my writing can surpass that of an adult writer. The reason? I've been writing my whole life and working on my current work in progress, Queen of Light, for about seven years now.  It is by no means perfect, but my work ethic is that of an adult; that's all that matters.
Let's take a step back for a moment. You may be asking yourself: How can I overcome writer's block? How can I compete with other writers? What if I can't write very well? The solution: Write. It's that simple. A draft is a draft no matter the quality. Many writers can't find the motivation to write. And if you can get something down on the paper you're ahead of the game. As long as you can get your story out you're already doing better than some; there's always time for editing later. And if you absolutely can't think of what to write or how to start, just take your story and imagine hypothetical situations with the characters. It may not seem like much, but taking this time to explore your world is very important. If it is underdeveloped it adds to the frustration of not being able to write. But there's no rush. I know how you feel. How great would it be to be published before I'm eighteen? It's a nice thought and all, but the reality is some can do it and some can't. I've accepted that it won't be true for me, but I keep writing. Why? Because no matter what age I am I'm a writer. There's a story in me that needs to get out. And there's a story in each and every teen writer too, and they are just as meaningful and important as one inside an adult writer.
Believe it or not, being a teen writer is actually better than being an adult writer at times. Though we have less experience, we have more time and at this age our imaginations are one of the most active. I've found this to be true. Over the years my imagination has only expanded, allowing me to rework my story and add fix problems. So even if you're simply thinking about a story you're doing something right. You have all the time in the world to write. Don't stress about word count or publishing, they can sometimes be distracting.
Now, you may have an idea for a story, but you're not sure how to work it. What should you do? Ask for help of course! It's easy. If you have a close friend or teacher or parent ask them to look it over. Having unbiased eyes, eyes of someone who doesn’t write, is a big help. They won't nit-pick at the details, they'll be looking for how the story works as a whole. And if you have that you've already made the skeleton for your story; fleshing it out is easy from there. And if they tell you they don’t like it, don’t get discouraged. It might not be their cup of tea; they could prefer a different genre. But show more than one person so you get a more well rounded opinion. And if there's a similar point from all, you know what to fix. It’s very important to get opinions of potential readers, to see what people want to read. I'm not saying write to appease popular demand, but sometimes the opinions of the mass are important to think about when writing. The point isn’t to make them happy though, it’s to make yourself happy. But for those who want to be published, public opinion may weigh more heavily.
And what's the real goal here? Sure, it would be nice to be published and famous, but that's not why anyone should write. You should write because it's fun, because you want to. If writing becomes a chore you won't want to do it anymore. That's what I do. I write short stories and poetry in addition to my novels. Not for hopes of being published, but because it's fun to write. It can even be addicting at times. But fact of the matter is, you, yes you, can do it. You can write that novel. You can be amazing. It can be hard at times, and you might want to quit. Take it from someone who's thought about throwing their story away many times; it's hard to quit once you start. For me, I just couldn't abandon the world I created. Something about it pulled me back. And yours can do the same.
Writing isn't throwing words on paper hoping they'll all make sense. It's an art. Using the heart, mind, and soul to transport readers to another world. Writing is important to me, and I'm sure it is to many of you as well. It's been there for me when I was lonely and made me feel like I was good at something. So push through the struggles; you can do it. I'm still here, writing, and so will you. Never give up. Someone out there needs your story. Even if I only have one fan I will always write. So don't be so hard on yourself; don't compare yourself to older and more experienced writers. You can only be you. Work at your own pace. You will be truly great, but it takes time. You'll see yourself make progress. That's the best feeling in the world. Keep writing. If you're truly a writer your heart will know. It will never let you throw away something you've worked so hard on. So go out and share your story. The world needs it.

Image provided by Allister Reeves.
About the Author

Allister Reeves has been writing for as long as she remembers. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she creates unique stories with unusual events, trying to to re-invent the fantasy realm and its capabilities. The Mortal Instruments, Maximum Ride, and Harry Potter series are just a few that have inspired her creativity. She is currently working on the first book in the Harmony Series: Queen of Light -- a story that shows that not all demons are evil, and that everyone is destined for greatness no matter that hardships in life.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

BEN-HUR Movie Review

After five years of enslavement, the once-noble Judah Ben-Hur sets out to learn the fate of his family... and to seek vengeance on his adoptive brother -- a traitor. Determined to win a chariot race that could put an end to his brother's life, Judah seeks the counsel of the man who saved his life. But we must all pick and choose our battles.

Earlier this evening, my dad and I went to see a 3D screening of Ben-Hur... and it was amazing. Though I've never seen the original or read the book (so I had nothing to compare it to), I loved every bit of it. The filming, directing, and acting quality were all incredible. The characters and their motivations were raw and gripping, and the film itself captivating.

Though the beginning was good yet somewhat slow, the moment Judah entered a life of slavery changed the whole direction of the story, and as it advanced, the tale got better and better. When it neared the end, however, I became afraid that it would end on the bitter note of vengeance, but... Well, no spoilers, but the ending was moving. I may have teared up, a teensy bit. :)

You may want to know: Ben-Hur was not entirely biblically accurate (characters in certain closed events and healing immediately after Jesus's crucifixion that the Bible holds no record of). There was also violence and a bit of blood (though not enough that I would mark it as "gorey"), along with the very brief and undescriptive mentioning of a character's relative being violated.


Do you have plans to see Ben-Hur? Have you seen the original or read the book?


Christian Supernatural/Suspense Novels // Giveaway

Author Rachel Starr Thomson is running yet another epic giveaway! She is giving away several books by authors Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti, and Wayne Thomas Batson, as well as some of her own stories. Hop on over to THIS LINK to check it out!!



Saturday, August 13, 2016


My this-is-why-I'm-not-a-professional-photographer picture of me, The Cursed Child, and my mismatched socks.

The Cursed Child was definitely not as good as its predecessors, but it was still quite an adventure. I did feel that far too many liberties were taken (for example, the trolley witch... I mean, there was zero foreshadowing of that in any of the stories!), and when time travel got involved, it was pretty weird (even though we've experienced time turners before, the laws seemed different from those in The Prisoner of Azkaban). So it wasn't until the third act's sixteenth scene that I really got into it (plot twist!). But overall, I'd say to go ahead and give The Cursed Child a read (I mean, it's Harry Potter, so...).

You may want to know: There is a majority of magical content, as well as the (thankfully rare) usage of a swear word or two.


Have you read Harry Potter & the Cursed Child, yet? What did you think?


Thursday, August 11, 2016

New Pursuits

Today, I made a super huge decision regarding When the Sky Cries, as well as a side short story. Seeing as the opportunity has arisen to pursue a project that I believe is best to work on at the present time, When the Sky Cries (as well as my entry for the annual Goldstone Wood Fan Fiction Contest... *sighs* It seems as if every year, something arises that commands my complete attention) will be put off. If the Lord is willing, I will return to my projects as soon as possible (perhaps my Goldstone Wood fan fiction will be entered in future contests!). But for now, my somewhat secret project will be my main focus. Prayers will be much appreciated!

I hope you Dragons have a lovely weekend!!


HARRY POTTER, Sorcery, & the Bible

Harry Potter was the first "grown up" series I ever read, and since that eventful day in the third grade when my dad cracked the books open and began to read it with me, I've been a complete and utter nerd, who can recite a majority of the Harry Potter history. However, as I've gotten older, it seems to have become a rather loud controversy as to whether or not reading the series is alright.

For me and my family, it has been (and likely will always be) recognized as fantasy -- a work of fiction. But the questions have still nagged at me: Why do so many people hate on Harry Potter? Yes, the Bible clearly states different forms of magic are wrong, but is it okay to read about it if it's fictional?

About four months ago, I started following author Mirriam Neal's blog, Wishful Thinking, and it wasn't long before I found an answer that made sense, settled well with me, and, most importantly, fit God's word.

The post is titled Harry, Magic, & the Bible, and I recommend ya'll give it a read (even if you're completely neutral to the "sides" of the Harry Potter "battle"). You can find it at this link.

I hope you Dragons have a great day!


Monday, August 8, 2016

SONG OF THE SWORD // Blog Tour, Sneak Peek, & Giveaway

Image provided by Hope Ann.

About the Book

Welcome to the launch of Song of the Sword, the second novella in the Legends of Light series! Although the history of Aslaria and the conflict between the Prince and the rebel, Tauscher, flows chronologically though the series, each novella is a stand-alone retelling of a favorite fairytale. Each story in this series of nine novellas focuses on one of the nine aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit while also retelling popular fairytales in a clean, exciting, and inspirational manner.
A glittering sword.
An ancient oath.
A blackened rose.
And a melody which ties it all together.
Evrard and Roinette, twins separated at birth, are caught in a battle beyond their own limited powers. With their ability to walk in the melody realm, catching glimpses of the light and darkness underlying Aslaria, comes even more danger.
Deadly mistbenders. Writhing walls of blankness. Hateful drumbeats. As a warrior in the Melody, Evrard has seen it all. But his own ability in the melody realm pales in comparison to the Prince’s melody, the legendary prowess of past Wingmasters, and even the depth of his sister’s song.
To rescue Roinette and evade the trap almost certainly set for him by those who want his power, Evrard knows he’ll have to be careful. Even if he can find the Wingmaster’s sword, there’s no assurance he’ll be able to defeat a mistbender on his own. In the end, will his and Roinette’s efforts matter if the Prince brings an ancient oath to fulfillment, shaking the very foundation of Aslaria?

Available on Kindle, iTunes, and Smashwords!

Sneak Peek

(Roinette is roaming the melody realm in the middle of the night, searching for the figure who appeared in her dream and swallowing back her disappointment at the return of the mist.)

She'd completed nearly half the circle when a low voice, smooth as a serpent through the swamp's muck, echoed through the silence.
"You're sure he will come?" The cadence of the voice matched the drumbeat.
Roinette froze, her heart pounding in her throat, her grip on the light slipping.
No! That voice had seeped through her nightmares for months. How could it be back?
Cyrillen had assured her they were safe in the Shadowfen. Safe from the rebels and the ruin of battle.
"Aye, he'll come." The second voice was low too. Low and gravelly. "And soon, or I've misjudged him greatly."
This voice she didn't recognize. But only Cyrillen and herself came to this fen island, and only she had access to the Melody. A moment more and she realized that the two shadowy figures probably weren't even present in the Tangible, assuming their physical bodies, like hers, stayed in one place when they walked in the Melody. The thought brought little comfort.
"And the girl?"
They were talking about her. They had to be.
He'd come back for her.
Panicked heat flashed through Roinette's chest.
"She doesn't know. There's no danger."
"Even though she believes in him?" the first voice spoke the word with distaste. "Was that really necessary?"
In him? In the Prince? It was through Roesia she knew about the Prince. What did these men have to do with it? Roesia was the one who'd told her legends of the Separation, the King's oath, and the promise of the Prince. At least until that one afternoon, when Tauscher's soldiers appeared.
"It was unavoidable," the second voice retorted. "A flaw we rectified. You've given me this game to play, let me play it."
"The game is long over." A darkness crept into the first voice. "Be sure you don't lose the battle."
The figures shifted. Ice coursed through Roinette as the mist spread its tendrils towards her. The shadows were approaching, looming closer. At the last moment Roinette forced herself to focus, and her eyes flew open back in the tower.

Image provided by Hope Ann.

About the Author

Image provided by Hope Ann.

Hope Ann is a Christian authoress who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She was homeschooled and now helps teach several of her eight younger siblings.
She has been writing for over five years, and has so many story ideas that she doubts she will ever stop. Her favorite genre to write is high fantasy with a touch of the allegorical. A close second is futuristic suspense. Her goal is to not only entertain with her stories, but to provide inspirational fiction for young adults.
Predictably, she loves reading fantasy, fairy tales, mythology, and futuristic suspense. Her favorite authors include J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens, Frank Peretti, Mark Twain, and Serena Chase.
Her hobbies include photography, movie making, knitting, tree climbing, writing e-mails to friends, listening to Celtic music, and collecting shiny trinkets for story inspiration.
You can visit Hope’s blog at authorhopeann.com, or follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.


Hope is giving away a beautiful, one-of-a-kind mug with the Legends of Light logo emblazoned on its side, along with a Song of the Sword bookmark! Due to shipping costs, at this time the mug giveaway is limited to the USA. However, she does have a second giveaway of a ten-dollar Amazon gift card, along with another Song of the Sword bookmark, for international readers! Please only enter one of the giveaways.

Image provided by Hope Ann.

Image provided by Hope Ann.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

August 2

August 3

August 4

August 5

August 6

August 7

August 8


Ooo, doesn't Song of the Sword look exciting?! And that sneak peek? A Rapunzel retelling with allegorical elements thrown in? Yes, please!

Don't forget to add Song of the Sword to Goodreads, and you can pick it up on Kindle, iTunes, and Smashwords!


Thursday, August 4, 2016

How to Write a Tragic Scene

Last year, I sat at my desk and stared at the blinking cursor on my computer screen. I gritted my teeth. I was about to write a scene I believed (and still believe) I wasn't ready for, at the time. I was about to write several lengthy chapters about the protagonist's near-death experience.

So I set to work. I attempted to capture the emotions that coursed through her body, and how suddenly the world seemed stuffy and boring and blurry.

When the first day of editing came, I winced. Those chapters were really hard to read. It seemed that, for no reason at all, I began to hate my protagonist. Sure, it was sad what she was going through, but I really didn't care. In my own fifteen years of life, I've experienced plenty of days that seemed "stuffy", "boring", and "blurry", so I could sympathize. But I didn't want to read about it.

Photo by P. L. Meskill.

A few months ago, I read a post on the blog Helping Writers Become Authors that stuck with me. K.M. Weiland explained a battle scene from Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, and how the author was able to strike a chord with the reader. She wrote about how Hugo mentioned a beautiful, simple, white butterfly that drifted through the battleground. He didn't talk about the blood and gore of the fight; instead, he talked about that small moment of beauty. Were it merely a normal day of life, the butterfly would be a moment that far too many people would take for granted.

K.M. closed off the article with this:

A smart author doesn’t need to write reams of description about, say, a family massacred in a bombing. All he needs to squeeze his readers' hearts is the infinitesimal detail of a child's empty shoe in the middle of the street.

Upon recently reading Jaye L. Knight's The Ilyon Chronicles, there was a scene in which a few of the main characters learned of a loved one's execution. The novel spoke of the consuming emotions that ripped their lives apart, and while I normally would not care to read several pages about a couple characters' lasting reactions to their loss, there was beauty -- a beauty about it all that kept me turning the pages. The days in which the reactions took place were not towards the end of winter, when the sun starts to shine in such a way that brings with it a blurry sort of sorrow, which closes off the hope of spring's return; when the days are blurry and you long for them to pass. Instead, the reactions took place at the start of winter, when the snow has freshly fallen and there is a sort of glimmer to it -- there is hope.

I don't know why this works, but it does. Perhaps that's why funeral scenes are so often described as taking place on stormy days. (Or maybe it's just I'm biased because I'm a pluviophile who hates the sunlight. I don't know.)

Have you ever tried this method before? Did it work for you?


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Mini Reviews (Edition #2)

July 2016

James & Sirius by J.K. Rowling


James & Sirius was a pleasant little story that briefly told of an incident between the two Marauders and a couple of policemen. Definetly fun and short enough to give a read. :)

You may want to know: The story surrounds an incident in which two boys are regarded as being disrespectful to a handful of policemen. There is also some spell-casting, though to a reader unfamiliar with Harry Potter, it is not evident.

Resistance by Jaye L. Knight


Though Resistance started off and ended rather slowly, I think I can safely say it's one of my favourite YA spekkie books. I adored how much -- unlike so many YA spekkie books that are being published, today -- it truly centered around faith, courage, and loyalty.

The writing style was engaging and well done, yet simple and brief, not unlike John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series. Overall, I think it was the plot and character development that truly won my heart. :)

You may want to know: While there are not gory details, there are several scenes in which characters are tortured and sometimes even executed due to their Christian faith. There are also brief mentionings of human-like monsters (ryriks) and the inappropriate acts they are known to inflict upon human women.

The King's Scrolls by Jaye L. Knight


I think I enjoyed The King's Scrolls even more than Resistance.

There were, however, a few things I noticed about this story that I noticed in Resistance, as well, that just seemed rather unnatural and kinda bothered me (such as how willing people were to tell near strangers about their loved ones' pasts; completely different characters' dialogue sounded similar; some characters, such as Trask and Talas, were hard to tell apart because of their similar names; and how the novel stated that Jace and Rayad were still close, but there was no evidence of it like there was at the beginning of Resistance).

But I truly loved The King's Scrolls! It was exciting, and, oh, I ship Jayrin!! (*fangirls*) (*sighs dreamily*) (*whispers*) They belong together... FOREVER...

So, yeah, The King's Scrolls was great. As soon as you've read Half-Blood and Resistance, go pick it up. Immediately. Because it's completely awesome. And I can't wait to start finish Samara's Peril.

You may want to know: There is some undescriptive violence, as well as the execution and fatal wounding of several characters. (The violence was quite a bit less than that of Resistance, however.)



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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