January 28, 2014

Just Because You Have to See My Amazing Wit...

Hey y'll. Just real quick I wanted to post and tell you that I was featured on Sink Me! - the lovely and hilarious blog run by Miss Amy Dashwood that has all sorts of funny period drama images created by her readers (like me!). So hop on over and check out my creation. ;)

I used screencaps from this website, just FYI.

Interview with Author Jean Archambault-White

 I mentioned before that awhile back I reviewed Jean Archambault-White's book, Eloise of Westhaven: Not Just a Kid , and she was kind enough to send me two free copies of her books (squee!). After asking her tentatively if she'd like to be interviewed for my blog she said yes, and here I am with an interview from one of my favorite authors! (I feel pretty darn special that my little blog of 12 followers already has an interview of a real-live author on it! :D) So the following is my questions and her answers. Hope you find her answers as interesting as I did!

1) What inspired you to write the Eloise of Westhaven books?
I wrote a novelette called "Not Just a Kid"--which, as you know--is from dialogue from what happened to Eloise when she encountered the ruffians. The story came to me as a dream, and when I submitted it to my publisher, they were so excited about it, but wanted it expanded into a full-length novel. But, the more involved I got with the characters, the more I realized that this story had a longer journey than just one volume. I have thought of writing it out to quite a number of volumes, following the family into the 1920's or 30's, through the great depression and as the children grow up--but I don't know. I'm having a hard time deciding how to get started on volume 3, so don't be sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for it. It will get written, but, in case you didn't know, I am an invalid and don't have a lot of "up" time to write. 

2) How old were you when you first started writing or knew you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 14, our teacher assigned us a fantasy piece to write in English class, and I came up with this ridiculous beast that was all legs and claws and all different colors, and had many great talents. It was so much fun and so easy, I though, "Hey! This is something I can really do well!" After that, all I wanted to do was write, even though I aspired to be an artist as well, but I haven't the patience for artwork--too painstaking and detail-oriented. I want to do something that just flows right out of me.

3) How do you hope your books help or inspire your readers?
I hope that my books will prove to not only readers, but to other authors that you can have a great story without having sex, profanity, and witchcraft, and that history is fascinating, especially the history of our great nation. I never, as a kid, would have imagined myself writing historical fiction, as I thought history was boring. Now I can't get enough of it!

4) If the Eloise books were made into a movie, who would you love to be cast in the roles? Or do you "see" any particular people/actors as what your characters look like?
I can see exactly what the characters look like, but I can't tell you who I'd like to see cast, as I don't really know any actors. I am more of a book person. I am on such intimate terms with my characters, in fact, that I know how they will act or react what they say or do in a given situation. When I have been told that something was "out-of-character" that I have written for someone, I reply, "We all do things that are out-of character. That's what makes us unique and multi-faceted."

5) What do you do when you get writer's block?
Fret. Then walk away and think it over. It doesn't take long to "get back in the groove" if I'm happy about what I'm writing. 

6) What would you tell to aspiring writers? Any warnings? Advice?
Writing a book is hard work, but making it right is even harder--making sure all your edits come out right (as you have seen). Selling the books is the hardest of all as you have to put yourself out there, get people's attention and convince them that what you have is worth reading. 

7) Besides writing, what are some things you enjoy doing?
 Reading, painting, playing piano, walking on the beach and swimming, fishing, and playing with children. (Not that I do much of anything right now...)

8) Do you have a favorite part from one of your Eloise books?
I like the stories Eloise tells the children, especially the one evening she spends with them making a party in her room and telling them the dragon story. I like all her adventure tales too, as I can imagine how she would feel in each situation. Then, the stories demonstrate God and His love, so that's a nice way to slip Him in.  

9) What makes a book a "good book" to you?
One that keeps me turning the pages.

10) Where do you draw inspiration from for your writing?
A lot of my stories just come to me as a whole, many of them when I'm just waking up or going off to sleep. I have to spend a lot of time in bed sometimes, and my mind just works and works at what I could be writing. I usually keep a notebook and pencil next to the bed so I can jot down things at night. You'd be surprised how I can take notes in the dark! My book "Lazy Legs" came to me all at once, one line rhyming after another, as I woke up one morning. I ran to my computer and started typing, so excited that I didn't even stop to find my glasses--and I could barely see! Then my husband and I went out of town that day, and I took it along, and we talked and laughed about it all weekend. I tried using a handheld recorder once after that, but I find that my brain is connected directly to my fingers, and the words go smoothly onto a tablet or the keyboard. I'm learning to use Dragon speech recognition, but I use it mostly for editing, so I can read back what I've written, then look at it and see if I actually wrote what I thought I did (like I said, editing is very tedious).

 A ton of thanks to Jean Archambault-White for writing such great books and answering my questions! :)  Her website is down right now, but here's her Google+ page if you want to read more about her. And you can find her Eloise books on Amazon. Here are the links if you're interested!

January 12, 2014

What All Girls Need to Know

Ever since I started my blog I knew that I'd want to post about modesty. Modesty was never really an issue in my family until I was 10 years old or so, and my mom would start saying "no" to certain outfits. Let's just say I didn't like not getting to wear what "every" other girl gets to wear. :) I obeyed, but still didn't like the idea very much. Slowly, through talks with my mom and the discovery of great modest fashion blogs, I grew to understand WHY modesty is so important.

What made me bring up this topic is that I really want to share this, The Rebelution's Modesty Survey, with you. I recently discovered it from the blog Fresh Modesty and it is amazing! For any girls out there who are confused as to why it's important to dress modestly around guys and what to wear if they want to be modest, the survey is great. It's an extensive list of statements (or "questions" if you will) made by girls and answered by boys. It's not a list of rules. It simply gives so much insight as to what GUYS think of girls' clothing.

Here's some of the things guys have said on the site:

It {modesty} is the first thing I notice when I see a girl. If a girl is dressed immodestly, I am less likely to talk to her. -22 years old

I ALWAYS notice when a girl dresses modestly and am much more impressed by her than the girl that wants to show me her body. -16 years old

I don't have to drop my eyes when I see a modestly dressed girl. I can look at her and say. "Wow, she looks nice." Instead of having to look at the ground or the ceiling. -13 years old

It's incredibly refreshing, comforting, and just safe to be in an environment of modestly dressed people. It's like coming off of the front lines into the safe zone. -20 years old

It means SO MUCH! It's not just that we respect you more, there is even an attraction to girls who dress modestly. I don't want to marry someone who is dressed immodestly all the time. I want to marry someone who I've noticed dresses modestly and has a concern for modesty. Don't ever think that it goes unnoticed. Guys notice, and guys are so grateful.  -17 years old

Dearest sister: God made you a thing of beauty. A thing to be admired and respected. When you dress or act in a way that draws attention to your body, you make it easy for the guys around you to reduce you to the level of a disgusting toy - using you to mentally satisfy their fantasies. They stop thinking about your Godly qualities and immerse themselves in sinful thought. By dressing and acting modestly, you draw attention to your face instead of your body. Your body may be alluring, but your face - those deep, mysterious eyes and smiling mouth - is infinitely more beautiful than any amount of revealing dress. Would you rather be the tool by which guys satisfy themselves or the beautiful thing God created you to be, pure for your husband? My flesh prefers the former, but my heart pleads for the latter.  -17 years old

Ultimately it is a guy's responsibility whether or not he is going to keep himself pure. No one can be forced to sin. However, a lot of girls don't realize how very difficult it is for even the most godly guy to resist temptation in this area. It is so easy to let your eyes go to the wrong places, especially with the way our culture is today. It is the guy's decision whether he is going to sin or not, but a girl can make it a lot easier, or a girl can make it incredibly difficult.-15 years old

Modesty is not just an issue of clothes, it also has to do with the heart and the woman's walk with God. A girl who dresses modestly is showing that her heart is right, and that is the kind of woman I intend to marry someday. -15 years old

As that last statement said, modesty isn't just what you wear. True modesty starts in the heart. True modesty doesn't crave attention, especially inappropriate attention. A girl with true modesty thinks of others before herself.

Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on jewelry, or beautiful clothes, or hair arrangements. Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to God. 1 Peter 3:3-4

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30

I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. 1 Timothy 2:9-10

Standards of modesty are going to vary from family to family, person to person. Some Christians allow skinny jeans, some won't allow a skirt above the ankles. There's no list of rules in the Bible saying how many inches a skirt has to be or how low your shirt can be. But with the above Bible verses in mind, and knowing how some clothing affects guys, it's really not that hard to see what's modest and what's not.

I hope this post helped you out and that you found the survey as encouraging and helpful as I did! I think for Christian girls who ARE striving to dress modestly, it's encouraging to read that guys DO appreciate our efforts. It's not easy to find modest clothing. It's not always easy to be set apart from the world. But it's worth it, because we're doing it for Jesus.

If you have any questions or comments about modesty and what my opinions are, please leave a comment! I love them! ;)

More helpful blogs and posts on modesty:
Fresh Modesty
Dressing Like Royalty from All Things Bright and Beautiful
Guidelines from All Things Bright and Beautiful
Calico Clodhoppers
Bramblewood Fashion

(I did have some cute and funny images to include with this post, but blogger is being temperamental.....not a surprise. There always seems to be some error or another going on. :P)