About Me

Thursday, June 30, 2011

100 Cupboards

So, I had been going to do a post on the winged horses of Belvia, but decided to do this one first.
100 Cupboards is a three book series (it doesn't seem like a trilogy for some reason, but that's what it really is) by N. D. Wilson. It is also the name of the first book in the series. The second book is Dandelion Fire, and the third is The Chestnut King.
I can't remember when I read them last; it wasn't too long ago. Probably some time last year. I just remembered about them being on my Kindle in the archives, so I pulled them out (along with Wilson's non-fantasy book, Leepike Ridge) and started re-reading them.
N. D. Wilson is not your run-of-the-mill author. He is a bit of C. S. Lewis; he has some really good statements to make that don't sound at all preachy, but are very insightful nonetheless.
I haven't finished Dandelion Fire yet, and don't remember enough about book three to write anything about it here, so this will be a review mostly of the first book.
It's about a boy named Henry York, 12 years of age. He has been babied all his life by his parents (although he hardly ever sees them); and is something of a weakling. When his parents are kidnapped and held for ransom in a different country, Henry is sent to stay with his Uncle Frank, Aunt Dotty, and three cousins: Penelope, Henrietta, and Anastasia, in a small town called Henry, Kansas. While sleeping in the attic, Henry finds ninety-nine small doors hidden behind the plaster above his bed and, with Henrietta, he discovers that there are different worlds through many of the cupboards. When Henrietta insists on opening a small door near the bottom, although Henry feels it is evil, things begin to go terribly wrong. And so the stage is set for the rest of the book and the rest of the series.

Most of the first book, in fact all of it except for a few parts, take place in Henry, Kansas. Henry York does things he's never done before: he drinks his first soda, owns his first pocketknife, and rides in the back of a truck for the first time. He begins to find out that the world is not such a boring place as he's always thought. There's a good chemistry between him and his cousins. I think perhaps my favorite cousin is nine year old Anastasia. Henrietta can get a bit annoying, because she just does some really dumb things (even more so in book 2), but I still like her.
I like how the characters (especially the main ones) each have their own personalities, and don't feel like carbon copies of each other, which isn't easy to do when dealing with three sisters who are close in age.
Wilson is a very good writer. I hope to be more like him in my own writing, because he is really good with description, and with those sort of philosophical statements which he scatters throughout these books. A lot of his sentences are almost like poetry.
There are a few things I didn't like; I thought they weren't very appropriate, and I hate it when books that I like a whole lot have these silly things in them. 100 Hundred Cupboards has a preoccupation with the toilet in Henry's uncle's house. It seems like a lot of flushing it and unclogging it goes on. There are a few other things, as well. If you can ignore these, then the book is all good.
There's also some good humor in here. And a raggant. What's a raggant? Well, I ought to let you read and find out for yourself, but I'll tell you just a bit: it's a small, gray animal, sort of like a tiny rhino, but with feathered wings.
So, I highly recommend these books. Just try to ignore the silly parts.
I also learned that they're being made into movies by Beloved Pictures. But the only updates I can find are from last year, so maybe it's been delayed or something. But I'll definitely want to watch them if they do make them.

Monday, June 27, 2011

All Hail to the Queen!

I thought I'd post some pictures of a beautiful dress my 14 yr. old sister, Emma, made. Lovely, isn't it?

Friday, June 24, 2011


Warning: LONG post
I stated a few days ago that Arvindia was my favorite country I've made up. I'm going to have to revise that statement a little: Arvindia used to be my favorite. I still like it a lot, but as I've been developing Belvia beyond what it used to be (basically, not much more than a carbon copy of all my other countries), it may be my favorite, or at least tie with Arvindia.
The name comes from the winged horse named Belvi (Bell-vye). If you will remember, Erasthinian was invaded by a sorcerer, and the people were forced to flee. After being blown off course, they found Arvindia. Well, in Erasthinia during the invasion dwarves lived in the mountains. They were a very secluded race, and rarely had any dealings with the people of that country. When the sorcerer had driven away most of the humans, he began capturing dwarves and forcing them to make things for him. If they refused, they were killed or thrown into the dungeons. Finally, in desperation and in fear for their lives, the dwarves built small ships and set out onto the ocean. Very few of them knew anything of the sea, and none of them had any idea where they were going. All they knew was that they had to get out of Erasthinia.
After a long, long time at sea, they finally saw land, and made for it.
When they had landed, they were overjoyed to see that there were many mountains, and they sent a party of about fifteen dwarves to find out what they could about the land they were on.
But the party never came back, and at last, another group was sent out to look for them.
They came upon a valley, and saw at once that the ground was scorched. Then, after looking about a little longer, they found a pile of burnt bones. In terror, they turned and began to run, but it was too late.
Three dragons were hurtling from the sky towards them. The dwarves gave themselves up for lost, and fell to the ground, not knowing what to do. As the dragons neared, however, they heard a fierce neighing and whinnying, and several winged horses collided with the dragons in a terrible aerial combat. As the dwarves watched, the horses fought valiantly, kicking and stomping and beating with their wings on the dragons, until the terrible creatures had fallen senseless to the ground. The horses then came down and finished off their enemies.
The dwarves rushed to thank their deliverers, but found that they did not speak the same language.
Over the next several months, the dwarves began to learn the language of the flying horses, and soon knew enough to converse a bit. They learned that the dragons and the winged horses had been at war for many years, and that it had been chance that the horses had come to the rescue of the dwarves.
A friendship sprang up between the two races, and they pledged to help each other against the dragons.
It took many more years before the dragons were destroyed from the island, but in the end, there was peace. The leader of the horses, named Belvi, was killed in one of the very last battles, after many heroic deeds, and in honor of him, the dwarves called the island Belvia.
Belvia is made up of two land masses, anchored together by a narrow, eight mile long peninsula. The western part is home to most of the dwarves, while the south-eastern part is home to humans (who came later) and the winged horses for the most part. There are many large cities in both parts, some of them hewn out of the rock.
Here is a little bit about Belvia from my notes:
There is a dwarvish royal family and a human royal family. The dwarven king is known as the Cortid and his wife as the Cortiva, while their children go by no official title except 'sir' and 'ma`am'. The human king and queen are both called 'Stanir', but they follow the dwarven custom of having the prince and princess being known as 'sir' and 'ma`am'.
The Belvians are most known for their fine works of art, such as beautiful, exotic rugs, sculptures, and paintings. They must import much of their food, (such as wheat, fruit, and many vegetables) from Bynthybria.
Many of the dwarves are stone-masters, architects, and glass crafters; some of the humans are these as well. The human families of Cosivar and Alentas have made the Belvian rugs famous, but others make them also. The dwarves usually do not craft rugs, but many of them are wonderful painters. Laborers, such as stone and wood cutters, errand runners, messengers, bakers, and weavers, make up only about twenty percent of the populations, as many of the craftsmen double in these duties, cutting their own wood and stone, for example.
Many of the Belvians worship the winged horses, descended from Belvi, for whom the country is named. A few are worshippers of Enderel, while others believe that the mountains are home to spirits. To kill a winged horse is one of the greatest evils that can be committed, and is punished by instant death.
Usually the Belvians paint landscapes and large murals inside their grand buildings. There are not hardly any paintings of people, but  winged horses are prominent in many works of art, including sculpture. It is considered strange and unnecessary to paint humans or dwarves or most animals because of the predominant belief that the winged horses are to be worshipped, and part of that worship is to make works of art depicting them. Therefore, a picture of a living thing besides a winged horse is considered almost blasphemous by most Belvians.
The Belvians, being inventors, have developed many of the instruments used in that part of the world, including lutes, wind instruments, and small harps. They are lovers of fine music and the royal families often have music playing at all times of the day and night. Musician are regarded very highly in Belvia. Those who are commissioned to write music for the Winged Horse Ceremony are highly honored by this, and go down in history.
There are a lot of mountains in Belvia, as well as open plains. Most of the plains are almost impossible to farm, but are wonderful places for finding precious stones. The farmable land is worked by the kings' laborers, and the king's steward sells what the royal families do not need. The dwarven palace is built into the side of the huge Hasilva Mountain, and the human palace and fortress are built at the foot of the Rezell Mountain Range. Much of the royal city is actually in the mountains themselves, as it is shelter from the unpredictable and violent storms which batter that part of Belvia.
Because of where Belvia is situated, there is very little snow or cold weather. Snow is seen as a bad omen, and it is thought that the next year will be cursed if there is snow more than seven days a year.
The Belvians mostly employ their soldiers as guards against thieves from other countries, who are always looking to get their hands on the famed wealth. There have been two wars between the western (dwarven) and south-eastern (human) parts of the country, but for the most part they have lived peacefully and traded together, and often fight together against invading enemies.
The Winged Horse Ceremony is a time when all the winged horses between ten and twenty-five years old come to the human palace to bless the land and predict what the year will hold. It occurs in the second month of the year, on a varying day of the month, and everyone from both sections try to come.
Birthdays are celebrated by the humans only on the first year, and then every fifth year afterwards; usually money or food is given. The dwarves do not celebrate birthdays.
The first week of harvest is celebrated, and gifts are given.
When an apprentice finishes learning his trade (it usually takes five years) his village or city makes a feast in his honor, and the tools of his trade are ceremonially presented to him. In the large cities, it is customary to wait until the end of the year and then hold a celebration for all of the apprentices.

This is a really long post, so I'll cut it short there. If anyone has any questions, please ask them. I'm always looking for something to give me ideas for making a fuller, more realistic world!
The next post will probably be a short one on the winged horses. Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pictures from The Hobbit

The first official pictures from The Hobbit! The one of Bilbo is especially nice, and is now my computer desktop background.

I may just have to put one of these as my blog background :)
I wonder what Bilbo is reading. Hmmm, any suggestions? I think it's rather too long for the note that the dwarves left on his mantelpiece. I have a feeling that the Bilbo picture is actually made up of two scenes.
I've come to the conclusion that I don't care a fig if they make anymore Narnia movies, but I'm really looking forward to The Hobbit!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Today we are going to learn about Rinadrion, students. Please turn to page 342 in your 'Civilizations of the World' textbook...
Ha ha! Anyways, Rinadrion can basically be described in one word: warlike. Their whole culture is centered around war, and their main gods are: Rinard (this is where the country gets its name); Kelvessus; and Hirdoff. Rinard is basically the main god, and he's depicted as a warrior. Kelvessus is the god of the wounded soldiers, and Hirdoff is the god of the soldiers who have fallen in battle. They also have a very important goddess of healing named Thelaya.
The lesser gods and goddesses are for planting and prosperity.
From the time that a boy is old enough to hold a fairly hefty stick, his father begins teaching him how to fight. By the time he is fourteen, he is ready to enter the army. All the fourteen year old boys go to the palace, and the commander of the army chooses a number of them to serve in the army for five years.
There are dwarves that live in the mountains, and are paid by the king to make things for the palace. They basically have their own society, and are not obligated to send any of their sons to join the army. However, in the even of an invasion, they must help defend the land.
Girls are raised to run farms by themselves, since often their father and/or brother(s) will be in the army.

Rinadrion is well known for its war-singing; it is a proven fact that it keeps the soldiers’ morale up. War-singing begins low and deep, and goes on, rising until it reaches a thrilling and uplifting conclusion. It is usually sung to keep time with the marching. There are no instrumental accompaniments, so that every man's hands will be free.

Rinard, the greatest of the gods, is honored every four months by a huge military procession through the streets of Cavaris, the royal city. As each column of soldiers passes under the great statue of Rinard, they lift their weapons in salute.
When a boy reaches twelve years of age, he is given a sword by his father. On a girl’s twelfth birthday she is given a young workhorse colt, or a calf. Birthdays are usually not celebrated, only marked on the calendar.
Great Rinadrion victories against the enemy are celebrated with feasts and dancing.
Rinadrion is almost always at war. There are certain factions within the country which take the extreme opposite, and are pacifists. They are despised by most of the Rinadrions, and tend to live in small, close knit, isolated groups.
If anyone has any questions about Rinadrion, please feel free to ask them! I hope you've enjoyed this section. Belvia will be up next.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Arvindia is probably my favorite country I've made up. I don't know why. Maybe I like the name a lot, or, something... anyways, this post will be about the origin of Arvindia and things like that.
Arvindia was discovered when the Erasthinians fled from a sorcerer who had conquered their land. They had been headed for Lecartin when they were blown off course, and they found themselves on a beautiful island. At first they built near the coast, and after a while they made Rollendin (who had been the commander of the Royal Fleet in Erasthinia) king of the new land, which they named Arvindia.
They thought that they were the only ones on the island besides animals, but they soon found out differently. A group of men went out to climb three mountains which stood together about one hundred and fifty miles from the towns, and they never came back. Another party went out to learn what had happened, and they did not come back either. When a third group went out, it was soon discovered what was wrong: the three mountains were infested with goblins. The mountains became known as the Goblingulf Mountains, and the goblins, seeing the Arvindians as invaders, began to attack their towns and villages.
A long war was started, with intervals of peace, for several hundred years, until the time of King Rinlar the Second, when it was ended. At this point, the tale of Red Sea Rising begins.
The Arvindians value advice very highly, and the most powerful nobleman in the kingdom is one whom the king has appointed as his chief counselor. Also, because of their ancestors fleeing from a sorcerer, they tend to view all magic with suspicion, even magic which is not, of itself, evil.
Arvindia imports very little besides gold (which is found only in small quantities in that land), as they are able to grow and produce most of what they need. Their chief exports are several kinds of wine which they are well known for, wheat, and silver.
If anyone has any questions about Arvindia, please ask me!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm going to deviate a little bit...

June tenth is my little brother's birthday, and I wrote an essay for ApricotePie.com about him. So, I thought I would put up some pictures of him on my blog. Hope ya'll enjoy!

I'm sorry they aren't of the best quality; they were all taken with my webcam.
Isn't he a darling?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Erasthinia and the Carthelim

Pronunciation- EER-us-theen-yuh
Erasthinia is, I think, the first country I made up for the world I've been writing about for the last four years. I wrote a book called The War for Erasthinia, which, although I realize now that it wasn't that great of a book (in parts rather embarrassing, in fact), it did lay the foundation for the rest of the stories I've written, especially about Arvindia. In that book, a war takes place between the Erasthinians and an invading sorcerer. At the end, after a terrible battle in which the sorcerer is wounded, and many Erasthinian soldiers killed, the remaining soldiers and their families, and many other people from that country, board ships and sail away, abandoning their land to the sorcerer. Meaning to go to Lecartin, they are blown off course and arrive in an uninhabited land, which they call Arvindia.
So, The War for Erasthinia may have been rather juvenile, but it did lay the groundwork for the rest of my stories about that world.
In 'Red Sea Rising', the fact that the Erasthinians fled from a sorcerer is a theme which runs throughout.
Not a lot is known about Erasthinia, because now that the sorcerer rules it, and has for hundreds of years, no trade takes place between it and the other countries. Many people believe that the sorcerer is one of the Carthelim, five extremely powerful and evil sorcerers. If/when one of them is killed, the remaining four will take another magician and train him to be a Carthelim.
Perhaps one of the reasons that the Erasthinians lost the war is because a jealous nobleman's son, Keldrin, betrayed the king's favorite captain, a young man named Kinlar, to the sorcerer. Kinlar eventually escaped, after killing Keldrin in single combat, but the absence of a brilliant captain probably contributed to the downfall of the Erasthinian kingdom.

Which country would ya'll like to see next: Arvindia, Rinadrion, Belvia, or Bynthybria?

Sunday, June 5, 2011


So... I know I've been gone for a really long time (a really, really long time :), but hopefully I'll be making more regular posts from now on. As you know, I'm working on a fantasy (though I prefer the term faerie tale) called at  present Red Sea Rising. I'm on a Christian fantasy forum called Holy Worlds, and it's challenged me to really develop my 'world'. So, I'm thinking about posting about the countries I have so far. This first one is Enderellia. The others are: Arvindia, Belvia, Bynthybria, Erasthinia, Lecartin, Rinadrion and the Three Countries of Relastin, Tareth and Anarth.
So, Enderel is the Creator. His name took me forever to come up with. I was writing The War for Erasthinia and  couldn't think of a name. The only ones I was able to think of didn't sound right. Finally, I remembered a character that had an extremely minor role in the story (he was later cut out of it altogether). His name was Sir Enderel. I realized I had had the name right in front of me all the time, so I took that and have used it ever since.
Enderellia is Enderel's country (basically, Heaven).
The idea for it came some weeks ago, while looking up at the clouds and wondering what it would be like if they were actually lands, not just made up of water vapor but countries that were always changing shape but could be lived on. Then I thought, what if that is where Enderel's followers go when they die? So came the name Enderellia. There isn't a whole lot of information about this place, since people only go there after death, so I can't really tell you much about it at the moment. But rest assured, many of the other countries have a lot more detail. So be watching for the posts about them!
If anyone has any ideas on how I could expand on Enderellia, I'd love to hear them :)