Monday, December 23, 2013

"Harvest of Hope: Living Victoriously Through Adversity" by Dana Arcuri

Hi everybody!
I just wanted to put this out there for all you readers who love inspirationals and memoirs. New author Dana Arcuri released her e-book, "Harvest of Hope: Living Victoriously Through Adversity," on Amazon.com . For TODAY ONLY, Dana is giving her book away for FREE. Here is the link for those of you chomping at the bit for some amazing testimonies this season.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HEQH6E6

Now, a little bit on Dana: She has been a regular attendee at Pittsburgh East Scribes, a writers group that meets in Monroeville once a month. She self-published her book (see: above for title) and for that alone she deserves a round of applause. *Applause, applause, thunderous applause* Dana is an absolute joy to be around, for she spreads happiness wherever she goes, and her smile is really contagious. Hearing her testimony is always something that makes me feel so unworthy of God's attention, but I consider Dana a good friend.
Enjoy her e-book. You can't beat free, but remember, that deal is for today only.
Enjoy the holidays!

-Grace

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Baking


My hands smell like peanut butter as I pull them from the dough. Sticky, savory deliciousness clings to my fingers as I wipe them on the side of the bowl while resisting the urge to eat the dough right off my fingers. Peanut Blossoms are my favorite cookie, although we only have them a few times a year. It’s mostly by my account; I prefer to have an excuse to bake things, like an occasion or holiday, whereas my brothers would be only too happy to partake in the consumption of chocolate and peanut buttery goodness. I fill the baking sheet with balls of dough rolled in sugar, and wait until two sheets are prepared before I stick them in the oven. Immediately set to unwrapping the Hershey Kisses, my mind begins to wander to years past, where I stand in the kitchen alone, as I do now, carefully unwrapping the foil to reveal the little pyramid-drops inside. In a house with six people, nothing is ever quiet, but it is peaceful… kinda. My brother’s footsteps are hard to miss. They are more accurately footfalls. I always wonder if he does this on purpose or if the likeness to an elephant is a natural pace for him. Down the stairs he stampedes, rattling pictures on the wall and making Hades look up and ask, “What the heck is going on up there?” Instinctively I huddle the Hershey Kisses closer to the bowl, knowing it is the first thing Jesse will go for. His sweet tooth would have made Willy Wonka proud. That in combination with weighing, like, a buck forty annoyed the living daylights out of me. He swaggers into the kitchen and his eyes don’t even glance at me as they zero in on the chocolate just waiting to be devoured.

            “No!” I say, throwing my arm out to protect my ingredients, as if that would stop him.

            Jesse looks mockingly crestfallen. “Why not?” he demands, his voice breaking in that way that it does when he’s particularly exasperated.

            “They’re for the cookies!”

            “I’m only taking one.”

            “No, you’ll take, like, three.” I glare at him and he grins because we both know it’s true.

            He sighs and gives a dramatic eye roll. “Fine.”

            The oven clicks mechanically at that moment, and I check on the cookies. When I turn around, I notice at least five Hershey Kisses are missing.

            JESSE!” I yell. His laughter comes from upstairs. Sneaky little punk.

            I laugh at the memory, coming back to myself. Those incidents had led me to arranging the Hershey Kisses in a two-dimensional pyramid, so I would know if any were missing. Three on the bottom, two in the middle, one on top. I don’t do it now. Jesse isn’t home anymore to snitch from the holiday goodies. But even if he was, I probably wouldn’t stop him. For one thing, his sweet tooth isn’t nearly as ravenous anymore. BOOT Camp took care of that. For another, I would just be so happy to see him that he could eat the whole bag and I wouldn’t mind… although I would insist he go out and buy me a new one. Being family only gets you so far. I’m excited to be tweaking my peanut blossom recipe. Instead of regular Kisses, I use the truffle ones. They stay soft and melty on the inside. I’d like to see Jesse try and pull the Hershey Kisses off these. Hah! I probably will, provided the cookies last that long. He’s coming home in a few days. Merely the thought makes me realize how much I’ve missed him while he’s been in the military. Those few days of the year where he gets to come home are precious to me, and I’m so thankful God has kept him safe these past years as Jesse has had to conquer numerous challenges by himself. It’s funny… Jesse is the one who joined the military, the one who always enjoyed playing Army Men, yet I find myself wanting to protect him, or at least to stand beside him, so he wouldn’t have to face anything alone. I know I can’t do that physically, but I pray he will never feel alone, that he knows me and my family are constantly thinking about him and praying for him. I hope he stays safe no matter where he is. And I hope he has a Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

"Ursula's Tale" Parts 1 & 2

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! RUMPLESTILTSKIN!!!!!!!!! After tonight's mid-season finale of Once Upon a Time, I have decided to finally post a little piece of fan-fiction known merely as, "Ursula's Tale." It's respective parts, ("Part 1," "Part 2" etc.) are separated by the asterisks (*). As we wait for March 9th to roll around, I hope you can enjoy the story as we discover new characters and the bonds they share with characters we already know. Please keep in mind that this is the first draft, so typos and whatnot should be expected.
All rights go to their respective owners. There is no infringement intended. Please don't sue me!

Ursula churned the sandpit with a tentacle, watching in morbid fascination as it curled and bubbled like a swamp. She imagined living creatures in the concoction, reaching up and gurgling, choking on the mush. The thought was oddly entertaining, like observing a first-time bass and swordfish encounter.
Just then, a loud crack echoed through the Black Castle, and Ursula looked up from the sandpit, eyes narrowing. CRACK, Crack, crack it went, off the walls, the ceiling, even the black waters trembled a whisper.
Suddenly Ursula's tentacle, of its' own accord, sloshed out of the sandpit, spattering her with wet sand as it slapped the ground. Ursula hissed and would have kicked the tentacle if it would have done any good.
CRACK, Crack, crack. Ursula's indigo eyes scanned the darkness that was not dark to her. A shadow stretched across the wall of another room alight with the afternoon hour, visible through a gaping doorway connecting the corridors. Ursula froze. His shadow? She wondered. Just his shadow? The thought made her blood run cold.
Voices, like string, wove in and out of the darkness, and more shadows crowded the wall, looming closer. "Don't be frightened," said one. His voice was deep and gentle, reassuring. "Here, step on the rocks like this. That's it. Come on, follow the leader." The figures belonging to the voices emerged, but they did not see her. Glaring, Ursula crept silently up the wall behind her, into a corner so dark that even the white of her hair would be camouflaged. She watched from on high as several boys explored the cave, peeking behind rocks and pretending to overthrow a certain hook-handed pirate. She noticed they avoided disturbing the water, as if doing so would awaken a dreadful sea monster. A smile slid across her lips at the coincidence; she continued to watch them closely. The tallest one appeared the most curious, or perhaps determined was the right word. No nook or cranny went unexplored, no corner escaped investigation. If Ursula didn't know any better, she would have sworn he was looking for something. And not with just the mild excitement of a child thrown into a treasure cove, but some inner fire drove this boy.
"Avast, ye scurvy dog!" shouted a small boy to another, both of them holding sticks as if they were swords.
"En guard," the other challenged.
"Take that! Arrg! And that!" They parried for a moment until one of them stretched too far, the other lithely stepping aside, and the former lost his balance, his momentum throwing him forward.
"Bae, watch out!" cried the lithe one.
But too late! The unbalanced boy tumbled into the tall, fire-driven one, sending them both splashing into an inky pool.
"Bae! Charlie!" A fourth tike with curly ginger hair stood just under Ursula, crouched by the pool, his hand extended in service. The small boy clambered out of the water first.
"Thanks," said the boy called Bae. But as he reached up to take the other lad's hand, he caught sight of Ursula plastered to the corner like a bat. His face paled along with the others' as they, too, realized the company they kept.
Slowly, eerily, Ursula crept down the wall with just her tentacles, surveying the boys with a cold stare as effective as any weapon. Finally her eyes rested on Bae, who had hoisted himself out of the water, and lingered there. Whatever trace of fear had been present a moment ago was masked by a level gaze, as if he were daring her to do them harm. She was impressed by his blunt courage, matching her stare every bit as brazenly as if she were a child and he the overbearing guardian.
"Greetings," said Ursula with a twist of a smile. She moved farther into the light, her actions slow and slithering. "Come now, it's rude to stare."
The company dropped their gazes, all but Bae. With practiced speed Ursula curled one tentacle around his shoulders and drew him nearer. If he thought his feeble boy-strength was anything in comparison with Ursula's lean muscle, he was quickly put to right. "I don't suppose you're here for the view," she said softly.
Bae glared defiantly. "Not quite." And suddenly he plunged a knife into her abdomen.
Ursula gasped and her tentacle flailed. She collapsed onto the cold stone floor, sharp breaths seizing her. Vaguely she heard those boys escaping, their shouts muddling into one great noise, reminiscent of an echo: loud at first but fading fast.
*****
Awakening at the bottom of the ocean, beneath the Black Castle, only the prawns accompanied her, wriggling into her skin and cleaning the damaged tissue where the knife still remained. Groaning, Ursula wrapped her hand around the hilt, sucked in a sharp breath, and then pulled.
The knife's crude edge bothered torn tissue, forcing Ursula to stop long enough to gather her courage again.
Once more, she willed herself. No more than that. Come now, grab the bloody hilt. Grab it! Now pull. Pull! Her cries were barely stifled by the water which went in and out of her body like a filter, bypassing her lungs. Every creature of the water for miles would have felt that cry. Even the prawns scurried out of view.
It was done. She unclenched the knife as her arm fell beside her, and just lay staring at the port hole leading to the Black Castle.
"Little buggers," she cursed. The words sent bubbles ascending. At that moment something dropped into the pool and landed near her head. Her first thought was that those boys had lingered after she had rolled into the water. Nevertheless, Ursula reached up and examined the curio, turning it this way and that.
It as a coin. Gold. A rare commodity here in Neverland. Most of the islands didn't have them, for they were not of this realm. But this was a calling card, as in he was calling.
Ursula considered leaving the pirate to his own devices, but she could never really refuse him. Not him. Summoning all her strength, Ursula flipped onto her hands and used the rock foundation to climb up, up, up towards the surface. When at last she reached the top, there he stood in all his unholy pillaging glory.
"Ursula," he greeted with a half-smile. One eyebrow arched suggestively. "You know, from this angle, you could even put a siren to shame."
"Killian." She rested her elbows on the floor's edge, too sore and --curse those boys-- weak to move any farther. Ursula flicked the gold coin up to Killian and he caught it reflexively with his good hand, slipping it into his pocket.
"What do you want?"
"I need a favor."
A favor for a pilfering charmer. "Of what kind?" she asked carefully.
"The magical kind."
"Killian, darling, if you wanted my heart, you had only ask."
That provoked a laugh from him. "Alas, my lady, yours is not the treasure I seek. Is there a way to communicate with someone over great distances, without actually having to meet face to face or send a letter?"
Ursula's eyebrows furrowed and she rested her chin atop her hands, thinking. "Mirrors can often be enchanted for such things. As long as each participant has one, it would be like talking to them through a window. Mermaids can carry messages, if you ask nicely. They're better than carrier pigeons."
"I'd rather not entrust a mermaid with this kind of information. And besides, if we can't discuss this like gentlemen, it will never be resolved."
"So meet him in person. Isn't it a bit juvenile to go through all these channels?"
Killian shrugged indifferently. "He trusts me about as much as I trust him. It'd best if we can converse without the... temptation of outright betrayal."
"Wouldn't want to tempt a pirate."
"Not when my ship hangs in the balance," he laughed.
But Ursula's mouth popped open. "You gambled your ship..." she said in disbelief.
Killian made a gesture of pause. "It's not so much a gamble as a... sign of good faith."
"Bloody hell," muttered Ursula.
"You needn't worry, love. Once I have what I need, the Jolly Roger will be as safe in my hands as the day I named her."
Ursula shook her head. There was a time when Captain Hook would have given anything to find the man who killed his love, Mila. From long conversations, she knew how hot that murderous desire burned in Killian's heart. Neverland had granted him little other than misery. That time had been put to rest, though it slumbered with the wariness of a cat, poised to awaken at the first sign of danger. There was also a time when Ursula would have made a similar sacrifice to have her revenge on the man who cursed her. Gambling the Jolly Roger was a risk too great to fathom, especially for the pirate, whose resolve to leave Neverland and kill Rumplestiltskin was so fixed and sure.
"Who in this world could possibly persuade you to put up your own ship?"
"Someone with the ability to cripple it with a single thought."
At first she could only stare, and then intuition shocked her brain into reaction. "No," she breathed. "Tell me you didn't. Tell me you're not putting your faith in that man."
Hook sighed, withdrawing near the wall Ursula had climbed earlier. "I haven't got much of a choice, love. We find ourselves in the unfortunate circumstance of needing one another."
"Whatever you need, I can get it for you."
"Not from where I stand. The mermaids are free to come and go through realms as they please, but they take their lead from him. I need something from another world, and the mermaids can get it for me."
"And in return, what have you promised him?" Ursula demanded, though she was almost afraid of the answer. As far as trinkets went, the pirate harbored many. Fallen victims, pillaged towns, and rich nobles had surrendered many an item to the rapscallion, but Ursula could not think of any thing that would be of much value.
Hook hesitated. "Nothing you need concern yourself with." When she didn't respond, he drew closer and knelt so they were eye to eye. "Please, Ursula," he said quietly.
Ursula locked her jaw and refused to betray emotion. She knew any attempt to dissuade Killian would be pointless, and in actuality, she ought not to be so concerned with the actions of the pirate. But it was the pirate's interaction with the one person in the entire mass of Neverland that she trusted less than Pan himself that caused her to fret.
The man who had cursed her.
Her father.
King Triton.
Still, despite how much she wanted to keep the two men apart, Hook was not hers to protect. "Come back tomorrow," she said at last. "I will have something ready by then."
Hook's smile was genuine, and he stood and bowed his head to her. Without another word, he left the Black Castle, his footsteps echoing softly into oblivion.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Regina Character Embodiment

Hello again! So, I've been thinking about who I would want to play certain characters if my stories were adapted for the silver screen. Just for the heck of it because, let's face it, the probability of my writing being that good is pretty slim. But anyway, I was thinking about this one girl, Regina, who is in a story that, for copyright purposes, I will refer to as "Story E." Actually, Regina is the fraternal twin sister of Stag, the character I wanted William Moseley to play. It would take too long to describe all the wonderful things about Regina, so I will just show you who I believe would make the perfect Regina. Ladies and gents, I give you... Meghan Ory!


For those of you who don't know about the stunning Miss Ory, she plays Ruby/Red Riding Hood on the ABC television show, Once Upon a Time.

Besides being drop dead gorgeous, I believe Miss Ory has the emotional range necessary to bring Regina to life. Someone remind me in the future to post some scene or excerpt featuring Regina so you can get a better idea of who I'm talking about. I do realize that Meghan looks nothing like William Moseley, but this is just a fantasy. Sometimes when I'm not writing, dancing, singing, cooking, baking, babysitting, or doing homework, I think about this kind of stuff.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy your weekend. College students, good luck with your finals and enjoy Christmas break and all that.
Cheers!

-Grace

Photos courtesy of seat42f.com and thetvwatchtower.wordpress.com

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thankful For Speed Round + Character Embodiment

Yes, I know it's Friday and I missed, like, a week's worth of "Thankful For"s, but since my blog does not revolve around memes, I'm gonna do a "Thankful Fir" Speed Round, where I list something I'm grateful for to stand for each day I missed. Ready? Here we go.
Monday: Sleep. Good Lord, was I ever thankful for sleep.
Tuesday: Lebanese food. I had a leftover spicy salmon wrap from a Lebanese restaurant and it was sooooooooooo good!
Wednesday: Honestly I was feeling kind of depressed on Wednesday because Thanksgiving vacation was half over, but I was happy to get some reading in.
Thursday: Pie. Turkey. The crunchy part of the stuffing. Ice cream. Ice cream on pie. Oh yeah. :-)
Friday: Well I'm glad I'm finally getting some writing done. Let me tell you, writer's block sucks ROCKS. But I'm better now. And what's even more exciting is that I found an actor who could play one of my characters to flawless perfection.
Ladies and gents, may I present to you William Moseley as Shenninias "Stag" O'Ruadhain (pronounced O'Rowan).

For those of you who have been living under a rock, William Moseley played Peter Pevensie in "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and its sequel, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian."

A little background on this "Stag" person... Stag is obviously a nickname. I tried to change it, but nothing else fit. Anyway, Stag and his twin sister Regina were separated from the rest of their family at the age of six, and placed into the care of an innkeeper and his wife. Fifteen years later, Regina is kidnapped, and Stag must team up with a less-than-trustworthy ally in order to get her back. I believe William is a great pick for this character because, as is evident in "The Chronicles of Narnia," he portrays such a wonderfully protective older brother. You can see it in his posture, his eyes. (In real life, he actually is the eldest of three children. As much as I hate to type-cast him, I'm just saying that he would make a great Stag.)
Well, with that all out in the open, I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. Keep warm and, you know, carry on and all that.

-Grace

Photos courtesy of imdb.com and gameofkings.wikidot.com

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thankful for Sunday

Tonight at my church, we had a wonderful Worship Night service. It's a fairly new development, about once every other month, where everyone just engages in a great time of worship. You can just feel the presence of God in those walls as you sing your heart out, everyone else completely forgotten. For an hour, it is just you and Him. What a wonderful blessing!
So today I am thankful for being blessed with a voice. I can't imagine not being able to glorify him in this way. I love singing. For me, it is a way to express what I cannot say directly. And it helps me uncover certain emotions when I sing the words, as if I couldn't understand their true meaning and context until I sang it myself.
I hope you all have a wonderful week.
Goodnight.

-Grace

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thankful for Saturday

Have you seen people today? Geez! They run in twos, threes, and small packs of one hundred, drifting from one store to the next like a swarm of bees.
Christmas shopping the Saturday before Thanksgiving... what was I thinking?
By the time my mom and I actually started home, the parking lot was beginning to look glassy and the snow began to lay. Do you want to know what I'm thankful for today? I'm thankful for my mom. If it were me driving, I most certainly would have crashed the car, but Mom has this unshakeable calm that I envy constantly. Maybe it's that she knows how to maneuver snowy roads better than I do, but in everything else she remains a serene presence, a rock for my family. With words of wisdom she guides me, and with a kind and supportive hand she teaches me. I'm so glad to have my mom.

-Grace

Thankful for Friday

Belated post for Friday. For all you students out there, Happy Thanksgiving vacation!
I am thankful for the very concept of a vacation. Until I got out of class, I hadn't realized how much running around I do until I caught myself checking the time... again. Always pressed for time, that's what we are. Usually it's for a good purpose, and unavoidable, but when we do get some down-time, MAAAAAANNNN does it feel GOOOD!
I'm glad I have the opportunity to put my mind at rest. I don't even want to look at my backpack for the next week.
Cheers to a nice vacation.

-Grace

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful for Thursday

Howdy! Today I am thankful for imagination. I know that sounds very new-agey, but seriously, where would we be without it? I love the fact that I can retreat into the recesses of my mind late at night, and tell myself stories until I fall asleep. Sometimes there are narrations that go along with these stories, but most of the time they are spin-offs of books, movies, or television shows. I imagine different scenarios, different characters, characters I would love to portray. It's interesting to imagine the reactions, the dialogue, and the emotions.
I had a dream the other night. I was in the backseat of a small car with my family, and it was 1945, although how I knew this latter fact I could not explain. I suppose it is just one of those instances in a dream where you simply know something, like you know the sky is red for a reason, or that gravity does not affect you when you jump. In my dream, the sky was pale grey but mostly hidden by mocha-colored clouds. We were driving on a bridge very high up, supported by cement beams. And... I knew something... something was going to happen in a moment. From my window I could see over the railing to the dark grey waters below, the crests of the waves turning white and frothy. Someone, my father or my brother, was speaking, when suddenly the car swerved, as if we were trying to avoid hitting something in the middle of the road. I remember this next part quite vaguely, but one thing that stands out is that I was not afraid when the car went over the ledge, plummeting toward the ocean below. The impact did not hurt, surprisingly, and no one was injured, although my mom was a bit rattled. Since the windows had been down, the four of us were able to shimmy out. Now, the next part is cloudy; I don't really recall how it happened, but suffice to say we somehow ended up in this tunnel that descended deep into the water. It led to a kind of submarine, and when we were at the door, someone opened it from the inside and we all went spilling in, water rushing behind us. We were in this large, metal room, and I seriously thought of a submarine, or maybe Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, only less pretty, more industrial looking. It was made of dark metal, that was the most prominent detail. There were some people around, up above on a ramp that led to the "dumping area," where we were, or on higher levels with railings. I realized then that people must have been allowed in here all the time, because the ones milling about paid us no mind, although the ones on the ramp showed a little interest. No one came to greet us, but I instantly felt that we were welcome, like this was our home as much as anyone else's. Pulling myself out of the dumping area, I was fascinated with all the portholes and staircases that led to places unknown. Choosing one at random, I ducked in, temporarily forgetting my family but knowing in my heart they would be safe. Inside the door I had chosen, the entire room was pink, and it wasn't an ordinary room. It reminded me of the play areas you see in McDonald's and Chick-fil-a, where you climb one platform after the other in a kind of spiral pattern. But even though the platforms were halfway up the wall, the ceilings were quite low, so I almost had to crawl on my stomach to reach the next one. Everything was carpeted... pink carpet. But it was nice a soft. As I climbed I noticed certain things, like how each platform was almost its own room; some had dressers, others had mirrors and toy chests and closets. I kept climbing. Eventually I stumbled into a much larger room, still decked out in pink walls, but the d├ęcor deviated from the color. There was a small bathroom (only a shower occupied the space) and a queen-size bed took up the rest of it. A boy was asleep there, his blankets tangled up in his legs as if he'd been running in his dreams. He woke up when I drew near, and for a moment his eyes widened in panic. They were blue and familiar, golden brown hair tousled carelessly atop an angular face. But when I quickly darted for the next platform, he didn't try and stop me, or cry for help, but merely laid back down, watching until I was out of sight. Suddenly an alarm went off, exactly like what you would hear during WWII if an airstrike were spotted. We had been discovered. That could be the only meaning of the alarm. All around I could hear the panic rising, feet stumbling over each other like an uneven drumroll. As I climbed, I came to another bedroom, this one harboring two sleeping girls. I hated to wake them, but we had been discovered. There was nothing else to do. They awoke pleasantly enough, and regarded the alarm as if it were their mother calling that breakfast was ready. There was a large metal door on the one wall. I opened it and found myself on the ramp overlooking the dumping area. People were scrambling, but for what I could not decipher. The hatch keeping the water out swung open and a flood of water rushed in, carrying on its waves a few bewildered people. I didn't know where my family was, but I knew the Nazis were coming for us; they had somehow discovered our Nautilus.
What would become of the ship and its passengers can only be theorized. My dream ended in the dumping area. But what a dream it was!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thankful For Wednesday

Today I'm thankful for my beautiful nieces. I love babysitting them, even if they do wake me up at six-thirty sometimes. It gives me a sense of joy and pride whenever I see them reading books or listening to music. Even if we do it a thousand times (a day) I still love acting out parts of movies with my oldest niece. I love that she follows me around because it reminds me I have to be a role model for her, so it's a small sacrifice to get off my butt, put down a book, and play Barbies or whatever strikes her fancy that day. I'm so thankful I get to be a part of raising them, because they have changed me in ways I can't even describe. I would do anything for them. And I'm glad I can say that about someone.
What are you thankful for today?

-Grace

"Thankful For..." Memes

I'm back! Sorry for the long absence. I'm sure after reading my last post most of you were expecting the next part of "Ursula's Tale." I'm working on it, I promise. I would rather post something of good quality than be rushed by a time constraint. It is this very preference which makes me one of the more peculiar writers, I think. At any rate, I've been thinking about Thanksgiving and last night wondered why I hadn't done something on my blog to kind of commemorate the occasion. Not that this will be my last Thanksgiving or anything, but why not? So everyday leading up to Thanksgiving, I'm going to post something I'm thankful for, and hopefully a little story to go with it.
Hope you all enjoy. :-)

-Grace

Monday, October 28, 2013

In Preparation

So I'm a little upset right now. After watching Once Upon a Time last night, I saw that next week they are airing an episode featuring Ariel. Consequently, they go into her background, it looks like, and it will feature Ursula. The reason I'm so upset is because I was writing fan fiction for Ursula for the Once Upon a Time world. I even posted the first part on here a while back. I meant to follow it up -because it was just too fun not to- but just never got around to it. Well, this is me getting to it. Even if Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis wrote their version of Ursula, I haven't written mine, and that is just not jive. Either tonight or tomorrow, then, I am going to post the next part of Ursula's Tale, beginning with part one and transitioning into part two in case people have forgotten or missed the first part or don't know what the heck I'm talking about. All are valid possibilities. Anywho, just wanted to get that out in the open. To the writers of Once Upon a Time, I am a huge fan and I respect you more than you know, but I am writing this because this is what I do. I hope everyone enjoys them.
Later!

-Grace

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sand Pits and Rabbit Holes

My mind and body feel as if they've fallen into a pit of sand. I move slowly, the sand oppressing every undertaking, and still it's almost as if I have made no progress at all. My eyes hurt from staring at my computer (and really, one should never stare at his or her computer) and right now my curser is blinking because I left my computer on during the night. School follows the sunrise, but not before coffee, thank goodness. I wonder if it will be an easy day tomorrow? I enjoyed the reading for school. We moved on from poetry to fantasy, and we had to read excerpts from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass". How curious that Lewis Carroll was able to write two entire books out of unpredictable events. I got dizzy reading of Alice's constant change from too tall to too small, and still she left the key on the glass table. Nevertheless, it does not solve my sand-pit predicament. Why does my mind move so sluggishly when the urgency of every next activity is palpable? I don't know. It's like I've been stuck in the "real world" for far too long, and am in great need of some fantastical liberation. Where is a rabbit hole when you need one?
Gotta go. Almost midnight. Good night.

-Grace

Friday, October 18, 2013

"Whispers From Forbidden Earth"

 


Well it's about bloody time! At long last, the amazingly talented and supremely devoted fantasy writer Mark Venturini released his first novel yesterday on Amazon.com for only $4.99! It's available for Kindle right now, but I'm pretty sure it should be up for Nook soon. Please check it out. It's wonderfully creative and Mark has a gift for imagery. You'll be hooked by "crimson leaves".
Happy reading!

http://www.amazon.com/Whispers-From-Forbidden-Earth-Venturini-ebook/dp/B00FZVDIKI/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1382128679&sr=8-7&keywords=mark+venturini

-Grace

Monday, October 14, 2013

"Origin" Review

They have Katy. After all the planning, the training, the trust they'd extended, Daemon should have seen this coming. And maybe he had... in his nightmares. But now those nightmares were a reality. They had Katy. He would get her back even if he had to burn down the world to do it. They would pay for their actions.
In the latest installment of the Lux series, Daemon fights tooth and nail any being who stands between him and Katy. For want of not revealing spoilers, all I can say is that this book was full of surprises and it kept me at the edge of my seat while retaining the essences of Katy and Daemon I have grown so fond of. One of my favorite new characters was Archer. He was the kind of person I could picture talking about with my brothers and them saying, "Yeah, Archer's awesome." High standard, that. Miss Armentrout weaves a brilliant story combining lots of action, suspense, and romance in addition to making Daemon's perspective a regular contributor. This hinders it none. If anything, changing between Daemon and Katy's points of view propels the story into new and exciting territory. I would give this story a rating of PG-16. In "star rating" language? Five. Definitely five stars. My only complaint is, why can't the next book be out sooner? But I'd rather Jennifer Armentrout take her time with the quality of the story than be rushed into finishing something that felt incomplete. Well done, Armentrout. Well done, indeed.

"Opal" Review

Tensions arise and friendships are tested in the thrilling third installment of the Lux series.
Apparently the impossible is possible: good is evil, aliens exist... and Dawson is alive. But despite being just reunited with his family after a year of captivity, Dawson is determined to go back and rescue the only other person he cares about: Bethany. Nothing will stop him, though perhaps they can delay him. But in order to do so, they must team up with an old enemy, and in this game of shadows, nothing is as it seems. Can the Luxen and Katy break Bethany out? And will she be the same person as she was before?
This book had me so drawn in that I literally sacrificed certain necessities like sleep and... well, mostly sleep. I read snippets wherever I could get them, while my nieces watched "The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That," in between classes, at two o'clock in the morning.... Something that captivated me was seeing Dawson in the aftermath of all things Department of Defense-related and comparing it with the images we received from his siblings of what he was like before he disappeared. The change was almost confounding. But I also enjoyed his friendship with Katy. Somehow, it made sense. Jennifer Armentrout keeps you captivated until the very last page. Thankfully the fourth book is available. As far as ratings go, I would put this at PG-16, but that's only n the assumption that if I'd read this when I was fifteen, I would have thought it was too adult for me. Thoroughly enjoyable, nonetheless, and I look forward to more from Miss Armentrout.

-Grace

Friday, September 27, 2013

"Onyx" Review

In the aftermath of Katy, Daemon, and Dee's encounter with the Arum -a being of darkness who survives on the essence of another- no one is aware of Katy and Daemon's connection, and the two are determined to keep it that way. What's more, Katy refuses to believe that Daemon's attraction to her is real or substantial. Nothing short of the love her parents had for each other will suffice. But something greater is at work. The two are constantly at odds, but when the tables are forever overturned, tempers and abilities will rise, and new foes will be recognized. In the midst of so much turmoil, not everyone can survive a betrayal of this magnitude.
Jennifer L. Armentrout delivers a fantastic sequel to the New York Times bestseller, "Obsidian." Although it starts out a little slow, "Onyx" was worth every hour into the night. Thoroughly enjoyable, I found myself having to stop in the middle of a scene to let my pulse recede from "uncharted territory." One thing I really appreciated was Kat's unrelenting resistance to Daemon. She has values and holds to them, not simply tossing them aside for a pretty face. She does not want to change because Daemon thinks she's too trusting or a friend thinks she needs to take more risks. Katy knows who she is, and that was refreshing.
The story retains the voice of the first book in all of its interesting, mysterious, dark-humored glory. I would like to make a note regarding the entire series, though, and that is that the profanity is common (meaning it's how the characters are used to talking). However I'm not usually one to snuggle with excessive language and I was fine with it. Don't read it out loud, is all I'm saying. And as far as sensuality, eh, PG-13. Actually, since about 85% of movies are PG-13 nowadays, let's go with PG-15.
I really liked this book. I thought it was well-written and it held my attention until the very last word. But if you're like me and the last word just isn't enough, then enclosed at the end of the book, as with the first one, is a chapter in Daemon's point of view. That in and of itself is a great experience. I highly recommend "Onyx" for those who enjoyed "Obsidian," because believe me, you won't be able to put it down.

-Grace

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Merciful Tomorrow

At 12:30 in the morning, I don't want to write. I don't want to do anything work-related, but more importantly, I don't want to sleep. Not sure how that's more important than being lazy at crest-of-the-day o'clock, but it feels like it overshadows everything else, including the knowledge that either a cat or a toddler will probably be wandering in here in a little bit to rouse me from my slumber. But at the same time, I want to write. I want to get lost in a world all my own with characters that sometimes feel too real to be just characters. Part of my dread stems from needing to rise early tomorrow... er, I mean today, later. I do my best work late at night, I believe, when all is dark and quiet and it's almost as tranquil as reading a book under a shady maple tree, with nothing but the lazy days of summer to look forward to. But I don't want to be a zombie in the morning, either, and coffee can only get you so far. I hate having to choose between sleep and writing. But maybe God will show favor on me tomorrow. Maybe it will just be one of those days where you can sit and watch a movie or read books about a cat and his four groovy buttons. No, that's not that late-night talk creeping in. We seriously have a book about a cat with "four, big, colorful, round, groovy buttons." I can quote it word for word. :-) Yes, hopefully tomorrow will be merciful. I guess there's only one way to find out.
Night.

-Grace

Friday, September 20, 2013

Official "Obsidian" Review

Wow. I can't even read my last post it was so bizarrely horrific. I mean, come on, who only posts the book jacket and, like, nothing else? No review, nothing? I was so anxious to start the second book I guess I wimped out on you, huh? Sorry about that. I'm making up for it now, though. Here is my official review of "Obsidian," by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Lately I've found it difficult to find a book or series I can really dive into, get totally lost in, like I did when I read the Twilight series. (Don't judge me.) Oh, sure, there are tons of great books out there, but I honestly didn't think a series could possibly capture my attention as ravenously as those books had. Well, I'm here to tell you that the Lux series captured my attention, is holding it hostage, and we are currently negotiating the release of my heart, which feels like it's been lodged in my throat the last several days.
I heard about the Lux series via Coffeeshopreader's (visit her amazing blog at www.coffeeshopreader.worpress.com) glowing review of the latest installment, "Origin." Personally I think the girl has good taste and a great way with words because she immediately had me interested. The words "snarky... viewpoint" played a role in that. Of course she was reviewing the fourth book, so I was thinking, Where did this all start? Who's Katy? What the heck is a Luxen? Another thing that caught my attention: aliens. I hadn't read a thing about aliens since "The Rise of Nine" by Pittacus Lore. Onto Amazon.com I went, anticipation making my heart stutter in a dormant but familiar way.
It's a little dizzying when you jump into a novel without knowing what to expect (besides what you read in the description). It was thrilling! I felt like I'd embarked on an adventure, into the unknown, with nothing but a glass of water and one page of Goodreads quotes to go on.
I will say this once: "Obsidian" left me breathless. I couldn't get enough of Katy and Daemon's snarky banter, their arguments, just their... how did they put it... hate-hate relationship. It was surprisingly addictive and entertaining. Yeah, I mean the addictive part in a good way. Katy is funny. Her internal monologue cracked my up time and time again, and I could not help but adore Daemon's remarks, though sometimes inappropriate. I feel like this book was fresh and vibrant, a break away from the entertaining-but-usual.
On that note, I would like to make a point about something. Giving the reviews for "Obsidian" a cursory glance, I noticed someone remarking how it was a good story but the plot wasn't original. Let's get this out of the way now. There is really no story that is completely original. With the exception of Scott Westerfeld (Uglies, Midnighters, and Leviathan series), every story is borrowed from some other story and written either to reflect a different aspect or take the concept in a totally different direction. Either way, plotlines are like roots: You have the bigger ones stemming directly from the flower, but then you have these tiny little spidery arms branching out from those roots, reaching, growing. I read because I enjoy reading, not because I'm looking for something totally and completely original. It's not always the plotline that makes the book good, but the writing.
Now that we have that all settled, back to "Obsidian." Great book, I liked the writing style, and I didn't even mind the language. Honestly, if you can get through "Game of Thrones," you should be just fine with this. However, there were some scenes that were a bit... steamy. Don't worry, I would call this book PG-13, but just for the record....
If you like paranormal fantasy mixed with romance, action, and dark humor, you will probably enjoy "Obsidian" immensely, because here's the thing with these books... once you start reading, you can't put them down.

-Grace

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Obsidian

I have a confession: I've done that thing, that thing any true book lover has done at least once and is always craving to do again. Reading into the wee small hours of the morning, and then not being able to fall asleep right away because you're body is like a live wire from the thrill of the last page. I love it! Recently reviewed by Coffeeshopreader (to catch up on her amazing blog, click here : http://coffeeshopreader.wordpress.com/ ) was the fourth installment of the Lux series, "Origin." I don't want to give any spoilers and I don't think I could do the description justice, so I'll just put the book jacket here.

Starting over sucks.When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.


Are you interested yet? You should be. I certainly was. 400 pages and I devoured it in two days! And yes, I'm quite proud of myself, thank you. If you like fast-paced, adventure, paranormal romance, and the always-entertaining snarky remarks, you will really enjoy this book.
Hope everyone has a lovely week. :-)

-Grace

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ursula's Tale (Part 1)

No copyright or infringement intended. This is a work of fan fiction. I do not own any of these characters, though I dare say they might own me. Please enjoy! Also, this is the "Rough Draft," also known as the "Terrible Draft," and in later terms will probably be referred to as the "Hide From Sight So As Not To Shame Myself Draft."


                Ursula churned the sandpit with a tentacle, watching in morbid fascination as it curled and bubbled like a swamp. She imagined living creatures in the concoction, reaching up and gurgling, choking on the mush. The thought was oddly entertaining, like observing a first-time bass and swordfish encounter.
                A loud crack echoed through the Black Castle, and Ursula looked up from the sandpit, eyes narrowing. CRACK, Crack, crack, it went, off the walls, the ceiling, even the black waters trembled a whisper.
Suddenly Ursula’s tentacle sloshed out of the pit, spattering her with sand as it slapped the ground. Ursula hissed and would have kicked the tentacle if it would have done any good.
CRACK, Crack, crack. Ursula’s indigo eyes scanned the darkness that was not dark to her. A shadow stretched across the wall of another room visible through a gaping hole connecting the corridors. Ursula froze. His shadow? She wondered. Just his shadow? The thought made her blood run cold.
                Voices, like string, wove in and out of the darkness, and more shadows crowded the wall, looming closer. “Don’t be frightened,” said one. His voice was deep and gentle, reassuring. “Here, step on the rocks like this. That’s it. Come on, follow the leader.” The figures belonging to the voices emerged, but they did not see her. Glaring, Ursula crept silently up the wall behind her, into a corner so dark that even the white of her hair would be camouflaged. She watched from on high as several boys explored the cave, peeking behind rocks and pretending to overthrow a certain hook-handed pirate. She noticed they avoided disturbing the water, as if doing so would awaken a dreadful sea monster. A smile slid across her lips at the coincidence; she continued to watch them closely. The tallest one seemed the most curious, or perhaps determined was the right word. No nook or cranny remained unexplored by him, no corner escaped investigation. If Ursula didn’t know any better, she would have sworn he was looking for something. And not just with the mild excitement of a child thrown into a treasure cove, but something particular drove this boy, a fire inside him.
                “Avast, ye scurvy dog!” a small boy shouted at another, both of them holding sticks as if they were swords.
                “En guard,” the other challenged.
                “Take that! Arrg! Bae, watch out!”
                One of the boys stumbled into the tall one, and he went sprawling into the black pools of the haunted castle.
                “Bae!” Another tike with curl orange hair stood just under Ursula, crouching by the pool, hand extended in service.
                “Thanks,” said the boy called Bae, but as he reached up to take the other lad’s hand, he caught sight of Ursula plastered to the corner like a bat. His face paled along with the others’ as they, too, realized the company they kept.
                Slowly, eerily, Ursula scaled down the wall with just her tentacles, surveying the boys with a cold stare as effective as any weapon. Finally her eyes rested on Bae, and lingered there. She was impressed by his blunt courage, for he matched her stare every bit as brazenly as if she were a child and he the overbearing guardian.
                “Greetings,” said she with a twist of a smile. Ursula moved farther into the light, her movements slow and slithering. “Come now, it’s rude to stare.”
                All at once they dropped their gazes, all but Bae. With practiced speed Ursula curled one tentacle across his shoulders and drew him nearer. If he thought his feeble boy-strength was anything in comparison to her lean muscle, he was quickly put to right. “I don’t suppose you’re here for the view,” she said softly.
                He glared defiantly. “Not in my life.” And suddenly he plunged a knife into her abdomen.
                Ursula gasped and her tentacles flexed automatically. She collapsed onto the cold stone floor, sharp breaths seizing her. Vaguely she heard those boys escaping, their shouts muddling into one great noise reminiscent of an echo: loud at first but fading fast.
 
 
-Grace

Friday, August 16, 2013

Not the Blogging Paragraphs

So, for those of you keeping up with my posts, I know I hinted at blogging paragraphs, just as something fun. Well... this isn't it. HOWEVER... a wonderful writer and dear friend of mine, Karen Malena, has just had her latest collection of stories published into a paperback novel! I'm so proud of her. Please, take the time to read her stuff. It's absolutely wonderful. You can purchase the paperback through Amazon, or, if you just want to dip your toes in, see if it's your thing, you can purchase each story individually through Amazon and Barnes and Noble Nook for $0.99. Her series is entitled "My Mother's Kitchen" with the volume numbers and subtitles respectively. As I said, these stories are definitely worth the read. I encourage you read at least the first two. I promise you'll be in for a treat.

Here is the Amazon link for the paperback: http://www.amazon.com/My-Mothers-Kitchen-Karen-Malena/dp/1622084098/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_imgnr_2
The Amazon link for the complete series for Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/My-Mothers-Kitchen-Complete-ebook/dp/B00DLFPOZM/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1376663332&sr=1-4&keywords=karen+malena
And the Barnes and Noble link for Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/my-mothers-kitchen-the-complete-series-karen-malena/1115812801?ean=2940016712536

Happy reading!


-Grace

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New Gadget: Google Translate

Hello, hello, hello. How are things out in the 'verse? Just an update, I've added Google Translate to my blog, so now you can see my grammatical errors in hundreds of languages instead of just one. :-) By the by, yes, I do know that these last few posts have been pitifully short, but for the record, I find it difficult to write when you don't have anything to say. From this point, I'm just praying the Lord gives me the words to speak.
Have a good night.

-Grace

PS: Oh! And just to be on the lookout... my next post may or may not be the beginnings of a new story. Suspense!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Living With Freckles and Words

Here's another blog worth checking out.

http://www.livingwithfrecklesandwords.blogspot.com/

Here there are lots of topics for discussion, food for thought, and stimulating pictures from your favorite movie characters and more. Enjoy!

-Grace

Monday, July 29, 2013

CoffeeShopReader

Hello all.

I just discovered this blog last week, and already I'm hooked! Coffeeshopreader has some great insights into topics and stories discussed in various posts. From book reviews to discussions on characters and time, this is a great place to hear from an avid reader (and writer!). Check it out:

http://coffeeshopreader.wordpress.com/

She's also on Twitter and Facebook.

-Grace

Monday, July 22, 2013

Blogging Paragraphs

I'm having a thought here. I'm wondering if I should post stories on my blog directly. Not big stories, obviously, but maybe a paragraph or two. What do you like to read? What plotlines intrigue you? For me, I have a soft spot for the medieval period. Something about castles and knights and regal princesses speak to me. It's a wonder I prefer classics to modern literature, though admittedly I do enjoy Emily the Strange.
Anyway, I just wanted to get some opinions. Blogging stories occasionally: Yes, no, maybe so?

-Grace

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Shared Language

My sister is amazing! With one word she can brighten my day, give me a boost when I need it most. I love that we share this relationship that goes so beyond sisterhood. Sometimes I look back and gawk at what a brat I was. But my sister? She baked cookies for my brother and me when our parents went out on a date. On our way to church, the four of us would do "quote-offs". Someone would quote something from a movie -"This ain't exactly the Mississippi. I'm on one side, I'm on the other side. I'm on the east bank, I'm on the west back. This is not that critical!"- and we would all rattle off different quotes from that movie until someone changed it up. But as we grew older, those games fell out of fashion with us, at least in the car.
This past week has been... one of *those* weeks. Stuff just goes wrong, you're tired all the time, every minute feels like two. I woke up this morning just feeling... blah. I figured today would accentuate the long week with its mere tediousness. Then, as I sat in the chair, staring at a T.V. that wasn't even turned on, my phone buzzed next to me. It was from my sister. Anyone seen "The Big Bang Theory"? If you haven't, you won't get this reference. But if you have... remember that one word I mentioned in the beginning? Here was the one word:
"Kripkee!"
I swear I laughed for, like, five minutes.
While the rest of the day was not silky smooth sailing, it was great to share in this private joke with my sister. It really got me through the day.
I guess I'm just thankful to have my sister, because no matter what, she always knows how to put a smile on my face.

-Grace

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mark Venturini talks "Whispers from Forbidden Earth"

Hey everybody!

Remember that quasi-new writer I mentioned about two posts ago? Well, here he is in an online interview with Giovanni Gelati, talking about his new e-book "Whispers from Forbidden Earth," being released through Helping Hands Press. In the interview Mark talks a lot about his inspiration, the genesis of his story, where he's wanting to go with it, and entering the busy world of social media. And stay tuned for a surprise "appearance" from the always wonderful and forever-giggly Karen Anna Vogel, author of several Amish Fiction works.
Here's the link to the interview:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gelatisscoop/2013/06/24/mark-venturiniauthor-of-whispers-from-forbidden-earth
And this link is to Mark's blog, where he talks about his writing and other things he's interested in.
http://www.markventurinijourney.blogspot.com/

Mark has been writing for years now, having several short stories published through magazines, but this is his first book, and he's very proud of it. Enjoy the interview!

-Grace

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The High Heel

I often wonder if the inspiration for stiletto heels came from medieval torture devices. I wonder if someone was reading some Burton-esque version of Robin Hood where the Sheriff of Nottingham was questioning a suspect about the whereabouts of a certain outlaw. Imagine it:
"The Sheriff circled his victim much like a wolf 'round an injured doe, shoulders tensed and brow creased in equal parts agitation and anxiety. He placed the (insert name of particularly cruel device here) on a small separate table, and retrieved the instrument next to it. The Sheriff admired the instrument's weight in his hand momentarily, the slant of it against his palm, the way it jutted out at both ends. On one end wresting an atypical grasp upon the back of the Sheriff's hand was a spike wrought of a curious metal. One would think it were hollow should they examine it as the Sheriff did, yet in experienced hands the tool could incur both chronic and permanent pain, their levels of severity entirely dependent upon the recipient. The other end was rather like a hill meeting a plateau, with the end rounded off like a corner. For some reason he imagined the butt of an axe, balancing its bladed counterpart. It was almost the same here, though the spike could never be an axe, and the jutted corner was too flat to balance anything. The whole things was odd to look at, like an unfinished 'N.' The Sheriff felt the prisoner's eyes on the instrument, and he put it down and reached for another."
Voila! An early version of a modern-day fashion staple. By the by, I personally have nothing against high heels, owning a pair or two myself. But I was shopping the other day and just gawking at these five thousand different pairs of high heels, and all I could think was, "Dang! That looks like it would hurt." Truly, though, hats off to whoever came up with the engineering where anyone over 85 lbs can walk around on this three inch spike and not have it snap like a twig. And some credit has to go to the people wearing the darn things. You are braver than me.

-Grace

Monday, May 6, 2013

Quasi-New Writer Mark Venturini

I'm baaaaack!
I just wanted to inform you all of a new blog by a wonderful writer, Mark Venturini. He is the founder of Pittsburgh East Scribes, a writing/critique group, and is in the process of getting his first novel published through Helping Hands Press.
Check out his blog, and be on the look-out for his new book, "Whispers from Forbidden Earth".
www.markventuinihourney.blogspot.com
Ciao!

-Grace

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Each Chapter in Context

Morning.

So as I'm sitting here writing the last chapter of "The Woman in Scarlet," I can't help but reflect on the different characters she's met, and the impact she's had on their lives, and vice versa. In "Where Snow May Fall," Sacha really learned what wishing can get you, and it certainly was not what he expected. But then there's the question at the end of that story... I'll let you figure it out, since I don't want to give anything away. In "Last Spring," Lily really does see the Woman in Scarlet (or WiS as I affectionately refer to her in my notebooks) as this kind of angel. Her juvenile perspective paints a different picture. She knows she made a wish, and her only beef is how long WiS is taking to grant it. I think there is a moral in this story. Perhaps one day I'll share my thoughts on the matter. In "Checkmate," Joey's got this sagacious perspective, he can almost see the heart of every matter despite all the big words and comely faces the adults hid behind. I'm not nagging on adults in general, I'm just saying, in his particular situation, Joey had a better sense of coincidence and reality than the other characters. Boy, did Anastasia get a rude awakening in "Tried and Treacherous." I'm not gonna talk to much about that one. It's one of my favorites, but there are just too many spoilers. :-) You get to "City of Coal and Steel," and I think by then you've kind of given up on finding the moral. If you look hard enough, I'm sure you can find one, but I doubt it will be as obvious as the previous ones. I do like how this one was more about the story and less about WiS. WiS was just a contributing factor to a larger part of history unfortunately common in those days and in that field of work. As for this last one, which I've entitled "The Red Angel," we will see the impact WiS has for a young girl growing up in 1980s China. I can't wait to see how it turns out.
So, in closing, I just really hope you've all enjoyed "The Woman in Scarlet," for those of you who've read it. The last chapter will be out soon. And what's to come after that well... let's just say the ocean is deeper than you think.
Cheers.

-Grace

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Rain with No Rainbow

After what's had to have been two week of network silence, here I am, back on the Web.
Today I'm writing the last installment of "The Woman in Scarlet" series. This one has by far been the toughest to write, and it's taken me an entire month to figure out why. While writing all these tales, one of the most challenging parts for me was getting to know the characters and liking or disliking them in the thirty-some pages I had. The character to be quick, the foreshadowing almost immediate. There wasn't much time to ease into things, it was all very fast-moving. The process, not the actual reading. But in every single one of these stories there have been two succinct... no, specific themes which have played in every story. The first is the obvious: The Woman in Scarlet. She is the only person we really depend on in all of these because she is familiar. The second is more personal for me: each story is something I would read, if I weren't the writer. Speaking exclusively of creative writing, I always wrote things I would want to read. The stories were for me. I've said this before, that I was my own audience, but it's true. But now with this last story... it is not something I would want to read. I've never liked unhappy endings, and poetic justice had little appeal to me when I was a kid. If you've ever read the story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, then rest assured I was not at all pleased with the outcome. My mom thinks I can still change the outcome of this story, but I am not so optimistic. She said there has to be a rainbow. But I think the rainbow was gone even before the rain.
I think this is going to be a shorter story, much like the first one. By the end of the week, hopefully things will be looking up, for one of us. Until then, enjoy this beautiful weather, and may the Lord bless you.
Faithfully,

-Grace

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"Piggy, The Not So Ordinary Cat -Volume 1 -The Claw"

Hello again!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter and, if you celebrate it, a blessed Passover.
I just wanted to give you guys the heads up on my friend Karen Malena's new series, "Piggy, The Not So Ordinary Cat." Trust me, it's just the thing for an afternoon with nothing to do, when you need a few laughs.
Karen's son Matt is actually a Youtube sensation. He does tutorials on how to win those Claw Machines, both with old models and the new ones. In a few of his videos is his camera-shy cat, Piggy. Yes, a cat named Piggy. This series is a branch-off of those videos, showing people what the portly feline is up to when her master is not around.
Like I said, it's a great little story, appropriate for children and adults alike.
Happy reading. :-)

http://www.amazon.com/Piggy-The-Not-Ordinary-ebook/dp/B00C3L3GO6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364918250&sr=8-1&keywords=piggy+the+not+so+ordinary+cat

-Grace

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"The Woman in Scarlet -Volume 5 -City of Coal and Steel"

Hola. Hope everyone's having a good day so far. I just wanted to pass some of my own news along. The fifth installment/episode of "The Woman in Scarlet" is now available on Amazon for $0.99 for Kindle. It should also be available for Nook and Kobo as well, the same with all the others. This particular story is set in Pittsburgh during the Great Depression. I definitely enjoyed writing it, though I don't know how the kids survived without role models like Ant-Man, Superman, the X-Men and G.I. Joe. Anyway, I hope you like this one. Only one more story left to the series.
Here's the link on Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Women-Scarlet-Volume-ebook/dp/B00BWBOQHE/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1363808168&sr=8-8&keywords=grace+yee
And here's one for Nook, though I guess "City of Coal and Steel" isn't up yet. Oh well. Check back in a couple days, hopefully I'll have something.
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/grace-yee?keyword=grace+yee&store=nookstore
Adios.

-Grace

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Words of Encouragement #8

Hi everybody. I hope this little series has lifted your spirits a bit, put a smile on your face. This is the last entry. It's from my sister, reminiscing about us as kids.

"G.
I can't believe at this park we all used to play in the creek and get our pictures taken in cheesy sundresses. Now we are celebrating your victorious end of Elementary, Middle and High School and I feel as if this calls for a moment of page silence.......               .......                   ...               ....
....                                ....                   .....                       ...                                    Shh!               ...
...                  ....                 ...                             ....             ...                 ....                    ...               ...
....          ..                  ...               ...                ...                     ...                  ...              ....                 ...
Still going....            ..                     ....                ...                   ....                            ....               ...
....                ...                                  yawn.....          .. CONGRATULATIONS!
XOXOXO"

I still love reading this one. It always makes me smile. :-)

-Grace

Monday, March 18, 2013

Words of Encouragement #7

"Congratulations on making it to your next BIGGEST STEP in your life. Pick your studies based on what you long to do and you enjoy going to work everyday. Put your trust in the Lord and continue to keep Him first in your life.
May God Bless you always."

-Grace

Words of Encouragement #6

"Congratulations on your accomplishments and all those hours of homework you have done. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and I pray for this for you. Thank you for your devotion and sharing of the Lord in your music, writing, and living -God's grace be upon you in all you do! Thank you for reflecting His joy in your beautiful smile and life. Blessings!"

-Grace

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Words of Encouragement #5

"May God always give you direction and wisdom wherever you go, whatever you do. May you always feel his love and protection. May Christ live in you and through you so that everyone you know and meet in this life will see Jesus.
Grace and Peace & Love..."

-Grace

Friday, March 15, 2013

Words of Encouragement #4

Alright, alright, so I missed a day or two. Don't judge me. Hahaha! Here's another snippet of encouragement to brighten your day.

"The Lord bless you abundantly... exceedingly abundantly! I pray that your life... your words... spoken, written and sung will bring glory to God. May your words be words of wisdom, insight, hope, and love that turn hearts to the Father."

-Grace

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Words of Encouragement #3

"God has given you many gifts and talents. As you pursue Him with all of your heart, those gifts and talents will develop to the fullness. Keep the Lord as your center and blessings will come your way. It has been a privilege watching you grow up and become a godly young woman. Live your life with passion and a pure heart for Jesus!
Love in Christ..."

-Grace

Monday, March 11, 2013

Words of Encouragement #2

Yes, I'm actually sticking with this. Someone shoot me off a comment if I forget tomorrow.

"Blessed by the Lord in abundance! That is you *insert name here*! May His Spirit reign in your life every moment of every day. May He take you into the Holiest Place showing you and revealing to you His plan! Seek His heart, seek His face, seek His way, seek His Word. You can NEVER have too much of him! I pray His guidance in your life and that His favor will be upon you."

-Grace

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Words of Encouragement #1

I've decided to start a little series on my blog here, nothing fancy, just words of encouragement. I have this notebook I got for my graduation party where people wrote little things, words of wisdom, things like that, and I wanted to share them with you (whoever "you" may be).
This one is probably the one that has stuck with me the most, and I hope it helps you, too.

"Dear Grace,
Thinking back on the time that has passed since my high school graduation, I want to offer this:
Don't wait until tomorrow!
Obey the Lord and then follow your dreams with relentless vigor and passion. Do not let obstacles deter you. Don't wait for the 'perfect timing' to occur. Make it happen with prayer and persistence. If you delay, time is lost. And you can't get it back. (At least this side of Heaven!)
Congratulations!"

-Grace

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Research

I have a whole new respect for historical fiction writers, especially those who prefer the 1930s. Geez! The other day I found myself looking up the history of ice cream, ice cream sundaes, hot fudge, milkshakes, cars, radios, meals, Little Red Riding Hood, all surmounting to my fifth story which I am desperate to come out in the next couple weeks. Otherwise I've been crunching my time to finish this story THIS WEEK for nothing. Did you know that DC Comics, Inc. wasn't founded until 1934 (four years after my timeline) and Marvel Worldwide, Inc. aka Marvel Comics didn't start until 1939 (you do the math)? And even then it wasn't "Marvel." It was something like Timely Publications or something, went through a name change or two, and it wasn't until, like, the 60s that it actually became Marvel Comics. None of this is crucial to my story, of course, but I did want maybe Ant-Man to be a role model for these kids, but no, Ant-Man didn't appear until 1962, I think. Even G.I. Joes didn't come into play until the 60s. Bottom line: I couldn't find any action figures for these kids to play with or look up to. All they had was reality and books. Granted, a healthy dose of reality is good for a kid to aspire to; I'm just saying it was a real wake-up call. These kids had to depend on their own imagination, something that I think was lost in the generations that followed. When I watch kids, they want to listen to music or watch t.v. or play on a cell phone. Yeah, it's not even a computer anymore. Smartphones are the new computers. The other day I forbid myself to go on Youtube for one whole day. I did it. Felt pretty good. It felt... refreshing. That's not to say I wasn't on my computer, because the whole point was to stay off Youtube so I could get some writing in. Which I did, I'm proud to say.
Crap. I forgot my point. It had something to do with researching ice cream. Oh yeah!
You know I don't think I had to be this careful when I wrote my last story, and that was written in a foreign country before 1920! Perhaps it was because I was so in-tune with the time, character, and country. How sad is that? I'm not even in-tune with my own home.
I really want to get this done. It's hard for me to concentrate on one thing for so long, or maybe my attention-span has shortened. I remember in high school I could spend hours upon hours just writing stories. I wanted to spend the whole day doing it, but I knew I might get tired of it, plus I had other school work to do. Writing was my escape. It got me out of my head for a few hours. Now that it's all I'm doing, I'M the one who needs a healthy dose of reality. Kathryn Miller Haines, author of the Rosie Winter books, said when she writes, it feels like this forbidden thing. She'll be at her day job and a flash of inspiration will hit her. She'll bring up a new window and start writing, even though she's technically on the clock. I guess I'm just hung up on getting this series done, but I'm trying to stay on the positive side. It's almost done (both the story and the series) and then I can move onto something else. In the meantime I'm becoming a master procrastinator.
Anyway, look for my next story, whose title I will think of eventually. In the meantime here's a link to "Tried and Treacherous." It's only $0.99 and a sure pleaser for Russian diehards, fiction-lovers, conspiracy theorists, and Disney addicts. Okay, 50/50 on the Disney thing, but still. Enjoy!
http://www.amazon.com/The-Woman-Scarlet-Treacherous-ebook/dp/B00BC7B9FK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362272866&sr=8-1&keywords=tried+and+treacherous

Later!

-Grace