June 29, 2015

Spring

Hey all! I know that it's summer now, but I'm only now finally getting around to sharing some photos that I took this spring. I can't tell you how amazingly fun it was to take these pictures! My yard was just brimming over in color and glowing flower petals.
One night, just as the sun was starting to set, I went outside and was pretty much squealing and jumping around a bush I was photographing because the golden hour was just SO magical. I tried to get as many angles and shots before the glorious golden hour disappeared.
I just really love flowers and golden hour. :)

Oh, and please don't use my photos in any way without permission.  Just go take some photos of flowers yourself. heehee ;)
















And this is one of my dogs. :)

June 22, 2015

Sisterhood of the Blogger World Award!

Both Emma and Miss March tagged me for the ....



Thank you both!! :)  (I won't be tagging anyone today......sorry!)

Emma's questions:

#1 Do you like county fairs?
Welll.....yes and no. I went to a big one awhile back on a hot, dry day and had a very bad experience...I vowed never to go to one again, But just recently I did a 5k run and afterwards there was a (smaller) fair in the town park. It was a beautiful evening (the sun was sinking gloriously behind the pine trees and I wished desperately that I had my camera with me!) and we went on one ride and it was a really fun day. So, I guess it depends on the fair. :)


#2 Were you ever in some sort of club as a kid?
Ha! Yes! I had a group of friends and we made up this club called "The Fairy Club". We all had our respective fairy characters with super powers and we played as them and made up stories about them, It was fun. I can't even remember how we came up with the idea.

#3 What's one of the first movies you remember seeing?
Mmm...probably a classic Disney movie like Cinderella.

#4 Which would you rather do: hop in your old pickup truck and go for an unexpected adventure, or sit on the back porch with a good novel on a warm summer evening?
Can I say both?!?! If I can't I might have to go with the unexpected adventure in the pickup truck. :)


#5 Do you enjoy live concerts?
Never been to one, but I'm sure I would enjoy it. :)

#6 Which do you read more of: historical fiction or contemporary fiction?
Historical!

#7 Do you like country music?
Yes!

#8 If you could play any role in a musical, who would you chose?
Any role? As in, I had the talent and voice to do so? Hmm....I have so many roles I'd love to play...Christine from Phantom, Katharine from Newsies, Eponine from Les Mis....shall I continue?


#9 Do you ever put your feet up on the dashboard when riding in a car?
Yup. But I usually take them down if someone is going to pass us, haha.

#10 Can you tell us a funny story of something that happened to you in the last week/month/ever? A little girl at church wanted to "play house" and dubbed my friend the "mom" and me the "dad". hahahaha We persuaded her I could be the aunt. ;)


Thanks Emma!



Miss March's questions:

1.  Do you tend to stay up late or go to bed early?
Stay up late.

2.  What is one of your favorite TV shows?
Hallmark's When Calls the Heart. Even though season 2 wasn't as good as the first season....and the ending was cruel and unjust and terrible and I can't believe they did that to us.

3.  Did you have a special blankie or toy that you loved very much as a kid?
A stuffed bunny in a ballerina dress that I named (uncreatively haha) Ballerina Bunny.

4.  What's your favorite birthday dessert?
I think carrot cake is my favorite.

5.  What's one movie you would really like to own?
Only one? Perhaps Little Dorrit.

6.  Are you a confident person or a less than confident person?
Less confident...but I'm working on it.

7.  What is one book that you would like to see made into a movie?
Only one??? Fine. I'd like to see The Betsy Tacy books made into a movie.
I saw the picture below of Trini Alvarado (Meg March) and thought she'd be perfect as Betsy. I put a picture of the real Betsy (with Tacy and Tib on either side of her) alongside...what do you think? Of course, she's too old now....


8.  Does it take you a long time to write a blog post?
Yes. :(

9.  If you could visit any country in the world, which would it be?
England!

10. What's one flavor of ice cream that you do not like?
Hmm....I actually don't care for chocolate ice cream that much. It's okay, but I'd rather have vanilla. :)

Thanks Miss March!

June 15, 2015

A Grand Book Giveaway!

Book Giveaway

Hey, everyone! Just a real quick note to tell you (and to get more entries heehee) that Hamlette at The Edge of the Precipice is hosting a FABULOUS book giveaway--and many other blogs are doing the same! Here's the link to her giveaway post and go HERE to see all the other blogs participating in the giveaway! Free books, everyone! What could be better, right? ;)

June 12, 2015

Catrin in Wales

Once in awhile I read a really good book that I just need to tell everyone about-especially if it's a lesser known book that needs to be known! This is the case with my latest read, published in 1961, called Catrin in Wales by Mabel Esther Allan.

I picked up this book at a church rummage sale. Actually, it was my mom who found it for me, and I'm SO glad she did! I was immediately attracted to the cover. It's light green and cream and the girl on the front wore a pretty pink jacket with matching lipstick. (So, in the book her jacket is scarlet, but I don't mind. I like the pink better. It goes so well with the green. :))

The book is even more beautiful on the inside. Written from first person, Catrin, deciding to set out on her own, tells of her decision to visit her Welsh aunt, the sister of her deceased mother. Catrin is a town girl through and through, and when an accident forces her to stay in the country and care for the historical priory that her aunt is the keeper of, she longs to get back to London, away from boring rural life.

Of course, Catrin soon finds that the countryside is not boring in the slightest-as she comes to love the people, the beautiful scenery, and even the priory. When the opportunities to leave finally start to arise, she finds herself hesitating about whether she truly wants to leave or not!

In the story, there is a romance that-well, you see it coming right from the get-go, but it nevertheless retains its suspense and sweetness.  *Spoilers ahead*  Catrin and Ifor were so perfect together. At first, she thinks him a rude, ignorant farmer-once she finds out how terribly wrong she was in her assumption (and that he is the brother of her her new friend!), she is sure he would never want to speak to her again after the rude way she treated him in their two chance encounters. They soon become friends though, and I love how their romance starts out as just that-friendship. And oh my, the proposal at the end was sooo sweet. :) They are definitely one of my favorite fictional couples now!  *End of spoilers*

I love how you get everything directly from Catrin's perspective-her fright at staying in the priory overnight, her determination to get home to London, the slowly growing love she has for the village-and the love she has for one of its handsome and surprising inhabitants.

I loved all the characters in the book-they were all so interesting and fresh. And they have beautiful names I've never heard of-names like Gwenfron, Ifor, Olwen...
The descriptions of the town and scenery and-well, everything was just beautiful. I can't really explain how perfect I found this book-it just clicked with me in such a way that I know I'll never forget it! Please read it, because my review doesn't do justice to how absolutely lovely it is!

June 5, 2015

What the king put his foot down on and other snippets of my novel....

I am SO excited (and nervous) to be sharing with you all (my lovely blogging friends!!) some unedited snippets of my current work-in-progress novel. It's a very loose retelling of The Princess and the Pea, set in a make-believe land in medieval/Tudor times.

*wrings hands in anticipation*

I don't usually like to share my writing until it's done, but....guys, I'm about half way through!!! HALF WAY THROUGH. I've never stuck with one of my stories for so long!!!


The first snippet I'm going to share is part of the very first scene in the book. :) When I was interviewed on Naomi's blog she asked us interviewees to share the first line of our current WIP. I did, and promised her I would eventually share "what Harold put his foot down on". haha So, Naomi dear, this is for you!

"I put my foot down on this!" King Harold pounded the table for emphasis. "You're nearing twenty-one years. If you don't choose for yourself we will choose for you."
Henry watched the dark oak table slowly cease trembling. If only things could stop as easily as that table. 
"Henry, look at me when I'm speaking to you. " Henry clenched his jaw and looked into the stormy face opposite his. His father's eyes softened and he seemed to deflate. "Oh, son. You know I don't want to be unjust towards you. I just wish...it's just..." he sighed, rubbing his temples with a care-worn hand. "I'm getting on in years-"
"Father, you're not-"
"I'm sitxty-two, Henry. Men younger than I die every day. The point is, I want....I need...to see you happily married and...providing an heir...before I die."

(I know the whole "you-must-marry" thing is cliche, but it really worked for my story, so....yeah)


Lying in her bed, Alethea watched the yellow curtains at her windows flutter in the breeze. She imagined they were a banner waving in the wind. She saw the crest of Linden embroidered on it, a red tree atop a hill. She then saw it torn and stained, fluttering alone in the middle of a still and lifeless battlefield. She cringed and bit her lip. She'd never experienced war in her lifetime, but she knew of the devastating effects it had-especially on families. She suddenly bit back a sob as the thought struck her that her brothers would fight.  The thought that one of them may not return was even worse.

Beautiful


The sun was still low in the sky and dewy cobwebs glittered in the tall grass. Gray morning mist limited her view, casting the sun into a hazy glow amid the pink clouds. To the west the sky was dim blue and she spotted a few lone stars still twinkling. At last she felt free and a bit more peaceful. She was completely alone and yet felt less lonely than she did in the crowded ball room last night. Out here she could pretend her family was back at the castle. In the castle, she could only feel like an outsider. 
The wet grass brushed her skirt and dampened her shoes. She breathed the cool air in deeply, but the sun was quickly warming her shiny gold head and turquoise covered shoulders. It is going to be a warm day. 
Alethea found herself heading for the beech tree she and Henry had raced for the other day. As she approached, she noticed a shape sitting beneath its branches. A few more steps and she realized it was a man. She paused, unsure if she should continue. The thought hit her that it could be Neven and she quickly turned around. She had no desire to be alone with him in an empty field. She didn't want to admit it to herself, but something about him frightened her.

so perfect!!!


"So you're telling me-" the clash of swords interrupted Arthur's sentence, "That your parents-" clang! "are holding a week long party-good thrust!- just to find you a wife? Oof!"  Arthur held up his hand for a pause as he fell to the ground. 
Henry snorted and grinned down at his friend. Beads of perspiration trickled down his forehead. "Well, they didn't describe it quite like that. More as..." he leaned against a rain barrel. " 'A chance for you to meet more people your age and to have fun.' " 
"You mean more women your age!" said Arthur with a grin. 
These two look NOTHING like my characters, but the picture is perfect for the above scene.

Arthur sat silently for a moment after Letha had gone, his mind brooding over how to tell his mother of his dilemma. He jumped, startled, when he felt a touch on his shoulder. Mary looked down at him quietly. "What's troubling you, son? I knew the moment I saw you something was on your mind." Arthur exhaled and leaned forward, elbows on the worn wood table. 
"Oh, mother. I asked Letha to give me a few moments to tell you but now that it's just us I can't find the words." 
"Just tell me."
Arthur shook his head ruefully. "Mother, I'm in love."
"Well! What's so terrible about that?" 
"I'm in love with the woman Henry has chosen to be his future wife."



I hope you all liked it! I really hope I can finish the first draft this year. It's just so incredibly exhilarating to be this far with a book....it's definitely the best I've ever written so far, even though I know I have SO MUCH room for improvement.

 I'd like to share more about some of my characters sometime....pick someone from the snippets and I'll do a post on them! :) 

June 1, 2015

Top 10 (Vintage) Screen Characters

Thanks to my darling friends Olivia and Heidi, I was tagged for the fun "10 Favorite Screen Characters" recently. You're supposed to list 10 of your favorite characters from movies.
Well, since I have absolutely waaaaayyyy too many favorite movie characters, I decided to put my own spin on it (in order to make it easier on myself for narrowing it down haha)and name ten of my favorite vintage screen characters. As in, characters from old black and white (or simply any movie before the 1960s or so) movies.

Without further ado, here are ten (when I could easily list 100 but that's beside the point), in no particular order.


Catherine from A Man Called Peter (a wonderful movie based on the book of the same name by Catherine Marshall-who also wrote the Christy book!)
Catherine is a sweet, lovely woman and her love for Peter throughout the movie is beautiful and touching. She is strong and brave, but feminine, graceful, and kind. I also love her speech towards the beginning at the youth rally about how women have "lost" their feminism.


Oh, Blythe.....this man is such a quiet, gentle character in The Great Escape. He never should have been in the war. He's an avid bird watcher and tea-drinker. He's so sweet, and I really love his character. Anyone who's seen the movie will know why I get sad thinking of him. 


One of my favorite actresses is Teresa Wright, and she plays the simply lovely Peggy in The Best Years of Our Lives. Still living with her parents after World War 2, she works in a hospital and is confident, caring, and capable. (I didn't mean to use all c's, I promise!) Now, her resolve to break up Fred's marriage may have been wrong, but she was right in seeing he didn't love his wife-or she him. Happily, she gives up the idea, but still ends up with who she's meant to be with. (As a side note, Fred and Homer are right up there with Peggy-3 of my very very favorite characters!!!)

Just one more picture because....well, she and Dana Andrews are way too adorable together.


Ginger Rogers in The Major and the Minor is absolutely hilarious as she tries to pass herself off as a young girl in order to get a train ticket for half price. She is taken under the wing of an army major, and trouble ensues-especially when she falls in love with him!
This movie is just so funny and cute and I really need to see it again.






Judah Ben-Hur in (need I really say?) Ben-Hur, is amazing and courageous and his story is absolutely thrilling and inspiring! I really admire his character and all the growth and change it goes through. You really need to see this movie if you haven't. ;)


I love The Pride of the Yankees with Gary Cooper and (guess who?) Teresa Wright. Except this time I'm focusing on Gary cooper's character-Lou is so sweet and down-to-earth (like all of Gary Cooper's characters!). His journey into baseball and his marriage makes such a sweet story-sad ending or not. His speech-and Teresa's bravery- at the end makes me tear up. :(


Jean Arthur and Cary Grant are two other favorite actors of mine in this adorably funny but also dramatic movie called Only Angels Have Wings. I saw it when I was around 10 or 11 and it was kind of my very favorite movie for awhile. I still love it but I haven't seen it in so long-a situation I desperately need to remedy!
Cary Grant is charming in the role of daring Geoff Carter, a courageous (perhaps too courageous?) pilot. His romance with Bonnie is so sweet and adorable and the story is so exciting.


The Hasty Heart is such a sweet, tear-jerking movie centering around Lachlan MacLachlan, a proud and stubborn Scot who rejects all the offers of friendship he receives from the men he is forced to reside with while recovering in a makeshift military hospital.
Lachie is just such a great character and the ending.....oh my. I won't say anymore.




I love the 1940 film of Rebecca and Joan Fontaine is soooo lovely and sweet in it. She plays a shy, slightly naive girl who marries the mysterious master of Manderly. I just love the story and Joan plays such a sweet, befuddled heroine. And I absolutely ADORE her dress (and hair and hat...) in the above scene. Don't you??  (Although I do realize the neckline could be just a trifle higher...)



My family has recently watched the first season of McHale's Navy, a h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s show from the 1960's--my absolute favorite character from the show in Captain Binghamton. Although he is the antagonist of the the story, he is soooooooo funny and I do feel bad for him-he may be self-centered and unreasonable at times, but if I had a crew like McHale's I'd probably get EXCESSIVELY annoyed as well.

Plus, this guy is ridiculously quotable.
"What? Whatwhatwhatwhatwhat?"
"I could just scream."
"Nobody likes a smart Lieutenant."
"Where? Wherewherewherewherewhere?"
"What in the blue Pacific..."
"This is the absolute Saturday end."


Aaaannnd that's ten, ladies (and gentlemen??)! This tag was quite fun, although difficult to narrow down to only ten! I tried to mention films I haven't talked about before on my blog, so hopefully you enjoyed it!


Thanks for tagging me, Heidi and Olivia!! :D