About Me

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Twice Tagged

Ok, so Lostariel tagged me the other day, and now I've been tagged by Ithilwen, so I'll combine both tags into one massive post. Fear for your lives, friends. You will be deluged by random and probably pointless facts about my life and personality, but it will be FUN. I hope. So, on to the tags! First, since each tag requires I post eleven facts about myself, I'll post TWENTY-TWO facts. After that, I'll answer the questions they gave me, which will be twenty-two questions. BUT I'll only give eleven questions to the people I tag, by combining both tags into one, since both are for the same tag game. If that made sense (which it probably didn't).

Twenty-two facts about myself which I've never shared with another living soul. Feel honored.

1. I love Julie Fowlis' voice. You are really missing out if you don't know who she is (and I listened to her way before Brave came out).
2. Karen Matheson's 'Fear a Bhata' and 'Ailein Duinn' are two of the most beautiful Gaelic songs I've ever heard.
3. I watched 'The Patriot' for the first time about two months ago. I didn't like all the blood :-/
4. I have lived in Jacksonville Florida since July 1st of this year.
5. I follow 42 blogs.
6. I met my dear online friend Kate in real life in June.
7. My favorite scene of all three Lord of the Rings movies is when the Rohirrim come to the top of the hill overlooking Minas Tirith, Theoden rides in front, and they charge down the hill to THE BEST music ever written.
8. My mom's favorite scene is Gandalf and the Balrog in the Mines of Moria. 'You shall not pass' and all that. Which I admit is an epic scene. Probably my second favorite :D
9. My brother William and I are the only ones in our family who like onions on our hamburgers.
10. There is no beverage replacement for iced sweet tea.
11. I dislike superheroes in general, but find some parts of the first spiderman movie to be funny (actually, I've only watched parts of it). Maybe someday I'll write a post about why I don't like superheroes.
12. This was my first year participating in the Narnia Fic Exchange. I panicked last month because I thought the entries were supposed to be finished on June 28th, three days after I'd received the prompt. Of course, it was actually July 28th. That happens to me a lot.
13. I am soon to be a member of a Primitive Baptist Church.
14. I finished reading the unabridged Ivanhoe about a week or two ago, and really enjoyed it.
15. I read the Lord of the Rings when I was ten.
16. I don't like the new movie versions of Prince Caspian or The Voyage of the Dawn Treader at all. I think they are a disgrace to the name of Narnia.
17. My sister Emma can sew a dress in a day and a half (or less).
18. My favorite meal would probably be roast beef (really tender, where it falls apart) with gravy, biscuits (my great-aunt Mildred's recipe), corn, sweet tea, rice, and carrots-and-onions cooked in roast beef gravy.
19. I've been to Seaworld several times in my life.
20. I would like to stay on a mountain in the Swiss Alps during the spring some day, maybe for my honeymoon. Well, that's what dreams are for!
21. We have a cat who reminds me of a tiger: it is always attacking us, it never sits still, and it's been like that since we brought it home when it was just a tiny kitten. It doesn't like me. The feeling is mutual.
22. I find it very difficult to sleep when there is any light at all in the room.

Twenty-two answers to twenty-two questions.
Lostariel's questions:
1. If you could meet your death at the hand of any fictional character, who would be your worthy opponent? Well, that's kind of hard, since I don't really want to die at the hand of a good guy because that would mean I was a bad guy, and none of the bad guys are worthy opponents (in my humble opinion). Reepicheep, I guess (this answer suggested to me by a sister). But of course he would kill me because he thinks I'm an enemy, not because I really was one.
2. What kind of character would you be in a science fiction epic? I would be the amazing person who saved the world singlehandedly and... oh, wait, that was someone else. I would be the person trying to avoid trouble as much as possible but still resisting the bad guys when I could; I might fly a rescue spaceship or work as a nurse if there was a war. (My sister says she would be a droid.)
3. If you decided to be a super villain, would you win? Why or why not? No, of course not. Evil always loses in the end. But of course, I don't want to be a super villain anyways, or even a minor one.
4. Pick a plant - tree, flower, herb, or something else flora. Now character sketch: What is his/her personality as a human? Oak. He would be venerable with a gray beard and make wise statements to all his grandchildren. He would be the one everyone looked up to.
5. What's an unpopular opinion you hold about music? Uh oh. I hate Contemporary Christian Music with a passion. I hate rock music, and rap music, and most country music. <hides>
6. What do you do with notebooks/sketchpads/journals/diaries/similar once you've filled them up? I save them and read through them at times. But I haven't written on paper for who knows how long. I'm definitely a child of technology ;D
7. Your doorbell rings. Surprise! It's me! What is your first thought/action? How'd you know my address?!? OR Hi! Nice to meet you!
8. What book/movie/show do you love that you wouldn't recommend to anyone else? None.
9. You offer a shivering eight-year-old stranger your coat. She smiles at you, and you're not sure if it's a nice smile or a cruel smile, and runs away. You stick your hands in your pockets only to find something in them that wasn't there before. What is it? A ticking time bomb that is magical, so the police and even top scientists can't defuse it. When it blows up, I am sent to another world.
10. What is the loveliest voice to fall asleep to? Meav ni Mhaolchatha's 'The Waves of Tory' or Karen Matheson singing 'Fear a Bhata'. Or maybe boy choirs singing in Latin.
11. Did you ever get excited when you found out two people you know (or know of) know each other? If so, who? I'm sure I did/would have if it ever happened, but at the moment I can't think of an instance like that.

Ithilwen's questions:
1. If you could create a mythical creature using different elements from a dragon, a wherewolf, a phoenix, a gorgon, and a hydra, what would it be like? It would be a long, lithe wolf-bodied creature, with two dragon heads, two phoenix heads, two gorgon heads, and one wolf's head. All heads would be able to breathe fire, and if you looked any of them in the eyes, you would be instantly turned to stone.
2. You are walking down a road, it is deserted, and a storm comes out of nowhere. The rain is pouring up and the lightning is coming from the buildings. What is causing this, and what do you do? A powerful sorcerer is trying to kill me; fortunately, I was given a cloak of invincibility in return for a kindness done to an old woman.
3. Would you rather watch the movie, or read the book? In most cases, I'd rather read the book first and then, maybe, watch the movie.
4. You look out you window one day and are completely shocked and overjoyed to see someone standing on your lawn. Who is it, and why are you so excited? My online friend Kate, whom I've only seen in person one time, and who lives over a thousand miles away. I'm so excited because, well, it's Kate :D :D Oh, wait, you mean she's not really there? <goes into weeks-long depression>
5. Your best friend has to move to another country, but you will be able to see each other once every year. What would you  think about this? Well, at the moment it's not much different, since we live so far away, but I would be extremely sad that we'd definitely only be able to see each other once a year. But at least there's email and Skype!
6. What is your opinion about the hopelessness of the Hunger Games series? Or do you not think it hopeless? I think it's hopeless because there is no God in it. None at all. No mention of Him, even in swearing (that I know of). He is just completely absent. And so even if 'good things' happen, without God it's all empty and vain and death is the ultimate end.
7. You can only watch one movie for the rest of your life, but you can choose. What movie would you pick? Oh, dear... hmmm. Well, does Lord of the Rings count as one movie? If it does, then LotR all the way! If not, I honestly can't think of a movie I wouldn't be able to live without. I mean, I could live without Lord of the Rings, but it would be hard ;) Sorry, but my brain is shutting down in the area of awesome-movies-I-have-to-have.
8. Which would you rather, having your life saved by a super villain, or your death brought about by a super hero? I would rather have my life saved by a super villain so that I could go on to bring about his defeat, even if I just played a small part.
9. If you could choose one super power, what would it be? To be invisible at will.
10. If you could be best friends with a mythical creature from any book or movie, who/what would it be? A winged horse, definitely. Like, Fledge from the Magician's Nephew.
11. If your answers to all of these questions were erased and you had to rewrite them, and you couldn't remember your original answers, do you think your rewrite would be completely different, somewhat similar, or the exact same as before? Why? Probably about the same as before. I'm not just randomly choosing answers :D

Now, for the eleven questions that I am supposed to ask my victims the people I tag.
1. What do you think about R. L. Dabney? Have you ever heard of him before this question was asked?
2. Which is your favorite: The Children of Hurin or The Hobbit?
3. If you had to name one of your children after a fictional character, who would you name him/her after?
4. What is the first 'big book' you remember reading?
5. Have you read The Silmarillion? What did you think of it?
6. Have you ever read any of C. S. Lewis' non-fictional works, such as Mere Christianity?
7. At what age were you saved?
8. Do you keep a journal? How regularly do you make an entry?
9. Would you rather fight a zombie or an orc?
10. Look in a mirror or take a picture of yourself. How would you describe yourself to someone who had never seen you before so that they would recognize you?
11. Do you find notes in a Bible to be helpful or a distraction?

The people I tag are (I'll warn you beforehand that it won't be eleven):
1. Ezra @ Shadow and Glory because everyone tags James but doesn't remember he has a brother ;)
2. Kate @ A Room of My Own because I don't think she's ever been tagged, and she deserves it :D
3. Bernadette @ Mundburg and Ink because not enough people follow her very fun and funny blog.
4. Trav @ Musings of a Strange in a Strange Land because she doesn't post often enough.
5. Heather @ Magical Ink because if she's been tagged before, I don't remember it.
6. Nichole @ Pen and Parchment because she writes some really thought-provoking posts.

Aaaaand, I'm going to change the rules a bit (it's the new thing to do when you've been tagged!).
1. If you are tagged, you can either write eleven facts about yourself and answer the eleven questions on your own blog, or you can just answer the questions here in a comment.
2. If you do decide to make a blog post of your own, you don't have to tag anyone else if you don't want to.
3. Have fun :D

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Fall

I wrote this a while back, and thought ya'll might enjoy a look at the Fall in my world of Heszeret-Alacta and the beginning of the races of men and dwarves.
Tell me what you think!

And after these things Enderel took of the mountain stone and carved out of it giantish men and giantish women, and breathed life into them. And he set some of them in Enderellia, to tend the gardens and fields there. And the rest he commanded to multiply and bear children on earth. He set also a stairway by which they might come unto Enderellia and rest there at times from their labor upon the earth.
And it came to pass that the giants multiplied, and were increased in riches and in pride. And they spake unto their brethren in Enderellia of all that was in their wicked hearts to do, even to assail the Great City and to cast Enderel from his throne. And at a set time they approached the City, but it was fast shut and they could not enter. And as they beset the gates to force their way, a wind came up from the east and the west and tare asunder the cloud, dividing that part on which the City stood from that on which the giants stood.
And they cursed Enderel and were greatly angered that their devices had thus been thwarted; and while they were so doing, a great storm came up, and lightning struck around them and they were thrown out of Enderellia to the ground.
And many of them repented of their wickedness, and pled with Enderel that they might return to the City, but he forbade them.
And the giants in whose heart was still rebellion came to the stair and climbed. But, lo, five hundred steps were rent from the midst of the stair, and they could go no higher. Therefore the giants departed, and sought out dark arts of magic to repair the stair that they might again assail the Great City.
And from thenceforth the children whom the giantish women bore unto their husbands were small in stature, and none surpassed the height of seven feet, although formerly the least among them was of twelve feet.
And there was great mourning among the giants who repented, for the broken stair, and for the wrath of Enderel.
And the giants were no longer as brothers, but were divided into clans, each clan warring against the other. And they were scattered over the face of the land; and there was no more peace.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Happy Birthday to a Wonderful Friend!

My dear and very good friend, Kate, is seventeen today, so I thought I would write a bit about her and my friendship with her :)
We met through FanFiction.net, which at first thought might not seem a very likely place for a friendship to spring up. But, if you think about it, it's actually a very good place. If you can find just one person who writes well, and shares your interests (in this case, everything to do with Narnia), and also happens to be homeschooled and near your age, and Christian, then you have the makings of a friendship.
Which is exactly what happened with Kate and myself.
I don't remember if she read and reviewed a story of mine first, or if it was the other way around, but we started PMing each other on FF, and I was soon beta-reading for one of her stories, at which time we began to email back and forth, and then IM on Gmail and Skype.
Before I met Kate, I'd never had a friend who shared my keen love of Narnia. But from Narnia it branched out into discussions on Bible versions, Moby Dick and the definition of worship, and a bit about feminism, and a whole lot of other things. I've learned a lot about Arthur and some about ancient Britain from her, and I've even read a bit of Herodotus.
We've done huge amounts of brainstorming, ranted about the new Narnia movies, discussed our favorite fanfictions and edited each other's stories. We've been serious and silly; talked in LOLkitteh and told stories in high courtly speech, and generally had really wonderful times. We even got to visit each other last week for a few hours, and we had a great deal of fun just talking and laughing in a Barnes & Noble the whole time.
So, dear Kate, I hope you have a wonderful and very happy birthday, and I hope you have many more as well. Thank you for being my friend. I love you!
Philippians 1:3
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I am outlining for a novel (something I've never done before with any success) and it's set mostly in the country of Rinadrion, a very warlike country. Part of the plot has to do with a small percentage of the country's inhabitants who are deridingly called Kriones by their fellow countrymen. So, what exactly are Kriones?
If you'll remember from my post about Rinadrion, there is a small, mostly isolated group that have gone to the opposite extreme of trying to invade and take over every other country in the world, and are pacifists, shunned and ostracized by their countrymen. Krione is taken from Kriona, the goddess of peace, prosperity, and comfort. Basically, they're being called cowards.
The character in my novel who is a Krione is not a full pacifist. He is conflicted about what role violence should play in a man's life; whether it is fine to kill in self-defense or to defend one's country if it is invaded.
As you can see, something like this has the potential to be really interesting if explored. If you'd grown up in a country like Rinadrion, yet realized there was something wrong with their constant warmongering, would you go to the opposite extreme and become a pacifist? Or would you be really conflicted, not knowing if you should kill, or what the right reasons for killing were?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Customs of Arvindia, as Observed by a Rinadrion (Part One)

Hi, everyone! I know it's been ever so long since I last posted, and I'm sorry for that. I decided I'd start a new series on worldbuilding, inspired by Aubrey Hansen, who makes the best worldbuilding posts I've ever read. Seriously, the things she comes up with are amazing! I hope I can match up a little bit to her creativity.
I figured that instead of a dry dissertation on my world, I could write 'essays' of a sort, written by an outsider who observes the country through foreign eyes. This one is written by a Rinadrion (you can read about the country of Rinadrion here.), and part one is concerned mostly with celebrations. I hope ya'll enjoy this, and you can be looking forward to more posts soon! As always, questions are welcome :D

I have noted many interesting customs of the Arvindians in my travels through their land. One is the celebrating of birthdays every year. For most, who have many children, not to mention a great deal of kin, a simple wishing of good fortune throughout the coming year is customary. Like my own countrymen, they celebrate the coming of age with a gift and, if the family is wealthy enough they will give a celebration feast, but this is rare except among the nobility. In Arvindia, the age when a male child becomes a man is between fourteen and fifteen, while for a female the age is thirteen. I find this ludicrous, given that our own boys become men at thirteen, at the same age as our girls. But, however that may be, their celebrations are mostly simple, even among the nobility, and not such a great occasion as in my own land.
One of their oddest celebrations is the giving of a gift to any child under the age of twelve born on the crown prince’s birthday. In all my travels, I have come across only five such children, and none of them knew each other. How this practice came into being I have not yet found out.
The Arvindians also celebrate the coming of their forefathers to this land, escaping (as legend has it) from a mighty and malicious Sorcerer. On this occasion, all superfluous work is put aside and there is feasting and song. I will note here that the Arvindians are a people singularly blessed with beautiful voices; and their music is a thing not to be missed. They are a simple people, and sing songs on every subject under the sun, and rarely is even such a mundane thing as the baking of bread made tiresome by being put into verse.
They are a plain and hardy people, most of them living in small villages and fending for themselves. Their feasts tend (save in the great cities) to be of those things which our Rinadrions doctors would find coarse and bad for the heath. Nevertheless, the thick brown bread, rice, strong cheese, apples, and mutton which they eat seem not to affect their health, for they are robust and have great, hearty laughs.
At the Founding celebration which I attended, a farmer was asked to give a speech, which he promptly did. It was very bad grammar, and our orators would have been horrified had they heard it, but it was a good speech, in its own way: full of musings on good soil (which they have in abundance) and on the king (whom they admire for staying out of their business for the most part) and eliciting a cheer when, breathless, he stopped and downed a glass of ale.
The Arvindians hold another celebration at the beginning of harvest, during which any man with sons to spare sends them to his neighbor to join in the reaping. At these times, the whole village will dine together in the market, and there is a great joviality of spirit, especially if the year has been a good one (as it was when I traveled through).
Besides these, there are many festivities which go on among them to varying degrees.
If a child is born, it is customary to send a large cheese or a loaf of bread to the mother. If twins are delivered, the father will in some places bring his new children out into the middle of the village or city to have them blessed by his neighbors (as well as being given gifts).
The marriage celebration goes thusly:
When a man is to take a wife, he and she will go into the center of their village or city, where the father and mother of the woman are already waiting. After this, the man’s parents also come. All are dressed in their best. The man takes a white rose, or another flower if roses are not in season) and breaks off the thorns with his own hands. He then puts it in her hair. After this, they kneel down, facing one another, and the magistrate takes the right hand of the woman and puts it in the right hand of the man. They are then pronounced husband and wife in the sight of Enderel and their families, and congratulations are given. After this, the woman takes the white rose from her hair and gives it to the man, who places it in his tunic or shirt by his heart.
The festivities are joyous; though only the parents and the magistrate are present at the wedding, all the village is invited to the feast. There the man and his wife take a place of honor, but are not allowed to be spoken to by anyone but each other for the first half hour. It is then customary for the husband to give a speech, in which he recounts the tale from when he first saw his wife until their marriage.
Gifts are sent to the home of the newlywed couple anonymously. When I asked why the gifts had no labels or anything to signify who had sent it, I was given this reply, “It prevents them being worried about searching out the giver and thanking him. They wouldn’t want to be troubled about that when they are only thinking of each other.”

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book Giveaway!

A fellow Christian fantasy author, Brian, is giving away a hardcover trilogy by Stephen Lawhead!

To enter is simple:

1. Start inviting people through Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc...
2. Repost this blog post to your own blog
3. Follow it yourself!

God bless!

Brian's blog-- http://jointhestarcrafters.blogspot.com/

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Story for Good Friday

My dear friend Kate has written a wonderful short story, told from the perspective of a Roman girl on the day of Christ's death. If you'd like to read it, you can go here or here.
I'll let you form your own opinions of it without my comments, but I have a feeling that you will really enjoy it, as I did :D
Have a wonderful Resurrection Day!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Interview-Lee Duigon

Today I'm interviewing an actual, published author! Lee Duigon is the author of a series of Christian fantasy books. While I haven't read his books, I would love to; they sound very good :)

So, without further delay, the interview :)

How long have you been writing?
My friends and I were telling each other made-up monster stories by the time I was 10. I wrote my first novel (in composition notebooks) when I was 13 or 14. So let’s say 50 years, at least.

What was your first (written) story about?
Back in grade school, we were assigned to write stories in class. This would be second or third grade. The teacher would tell us what to write about and how to write it. The earliest one I can remember was “The Adventures of a Dime.” I rebelled against writing what the teacher wanted me to write, so in my store, a stray cat swallowed George the Dime; and he would’ve been stuck down there, only he met a character named Mr. Vomit who was on his way out and offered George a lift. I got into a tremendous amount of trouble for that! But to my amazement, my mother sided with me. Not an elegant story, I admit: but at least it showed a little flash of creativity.

When did you start writing Christian fantasy? What inspired you to do so?
“Bell Mountain” was my first Christian fantasy. It came along as a response to one of the officers of the Chalcedon Foundation saying, “What we really need is novels.” That remark got back to me, and I wondered if I could write the kind of novel Chalcedon needed. I should add that my editor, Susan Burns, who knew about my earlier books, made sure that remark got back to me.

Do you remember how you first got the idea for Bell Mountain?
In “Bell Mountain,” the boy, Jack, dreams he can hear the mountain singing. Well, I had that dream first! And quickly on its heels followed the image of a bell standing on the summit of a mountain, in the snow. That was all I needed to start writing the story—a radical departure from my usual procedure of thoroughly doping out a novel before I began to write it.

Who are the main characters in Bell Mountain?
In the land of Obann—once a kingdom, once a powerful and wealthy empire, now a medieval oligarchy—live my two protagonists, Jack and Ellayne, a poor boy and a rich girl. These two children believe God has commanded them to climb Bell Mountain and ring the bell on the summit. Their quest is based on a powerful dream Jack had, and some scriptural teachings by an old man who never intended for Jack to take them literally.
    Obst is an elderly hermit in Lintum Forest, who believes God will end the world once the bell is rung. His first impulse is to stop the children, but he winds up being their guide and helper.
    Lord Reesh, the First Prester of the Temple, heads the institutional church in Obann. A thoroughgoing humanist with a gift for making the ends justify the means, Lord Reesh tries to ensure that the bell on Bell Mountain—if it really does exist—is not touched except on his orders. Reesh will take over as the dominant villain in the sequels.
    So Reesh sends his assassin and secret agent, Martis, to follow the children up Bell Mountain, find out whether there really is a bell up there, and stop Jack and Ellayne from ringing it, either by killing them or capturing them and bringing them back to Reesh as prisoners.
    Wytt—a little, hairy, manlike creature no bigger than a squirrel—appoints himself the children’s guardian on their travels. He is one of the “hairy ones” mentioned in the scriptures as inheriting the shapeless ruins that once were the great cities of Obann.
    Helki the Rod, the wild and highly eccentric woodsman, will play a much-expanded role in the sequels.

How much development have you done for your world, such as maps, cultures, different religions, etc.?
I do have a map—it gives me pleasure to begin a fantasy with a map—and I did start with a kind of vision of what kind of book I wanted to write. But in contrast to my usual procedure, I “discovered” the world of Obann as I wrote about it. This is funny—some reviewers have praised my description of the various peoples and cultures of my fantasy world, as if I’d spent years inventing them. Not so! This world’s history, geography, and natural history reveals itself to me as it unfolds. To me it seems to have an independent existence. Some of the details, as they emerged, surprised me. I know that seems a strange thing for a writer to say, but I can’t think of any better way to say it.

What is your main theme in these books? Do you have a certain point that you try to make throughout the whole series?
It took me quite some time to realize what my theme was. At first, one of my intentions in these stories was to “re-normalize religion.” You know, in almost every piece of fiction we read or watch (movies, TV), the characters in it live in a complete absence of religious belief and practice. No such world as that has ever existed, in real life; I pray it never will. I wanted to write a fantasy tale—I’ve always loved fantasy, but had never had one of my fantasies published—based on something like this: “What if God—our God, the God of the Bible, Jehovah—created a world other than this one that we live in? A world for other people who would live following a completely different arc of history from our own?” This world would have the same God as we have, but it would be very different from ours in all sorts of interesting ways. In my “Bell Mountain” books, I have set out to explore this world and tell its story.
   It was only after the first three novels were published that I understood I had a theme common to all the books that are and will be in this series. They are about people who have lost God reconnecting with Him—learning how to speak to Him, learning how to hear His voice, learning how to seek Him with all their hearts. It is, of course, the power of God that calls them to Him. So I believe I can say my books are about redemption.

What role, if any, does feminism play in your books?
One of the truly wonderful things about writing fantasy is that you can leave all those “isms” behind, as if they didn’t exist. So I am happy to say feminism plays no role whatsoever in my books—although I do enjoy writing about strong and interesting female characters. After all, I want girls and women to enjoy reading them as much as boys and men.

How supportive is your family of your writing?
My wife, Pat, has always believed in me as a writer, and never wavered—not even during those long years when I was cranking out story after story, book after book, and getting nothing but rejections. As for the rest of my family... well, just try impressing anybody who knew you while you were in diapers.

Have you ever met a famous author, or one that you admire (whether famous or not)?
I met Arthur C. Clark once, at a science fiction convention (just to shake hands with), and Isaac Asimov even more briefly. I never met T.E.D. Klein in the flesh, but we corresponded back and forth for several years and talked together on the phone sometimes. Maybe you haven’t heard of him, but he was a truly gifted and original horror writer—had a New York Times best-seller once, “The Ceremonies.” As editor of the old Twilight Zone Magazine, he published one of my best short stories, “The Last Voyage of Sinbad.” Mr. Klein was always very encouraging to me, never failing to offer helpful suggestions. Unfortunately for readers, his own output was always a trickle when we would have loved a steady stream. As true an artist as he was, I learned that he much preferred editing to writing; and I think he prefers his privacy to his editing. God bless you, Ted, wherever you are.

How many books will there end up being in your series?
I’m thinking seven (there are five written), but who knows? I have a whole world to explore. If I write about it for the rest of my life, I still won’t be able to write everything there is to tell.

It's difficult to portray Christianity in a fantasy setting without making it sound stiff or 'preachy'; can you give us any tips on how you do it?
You’re right—it’s very difficult. Or at least it seems it should be. My habit is to read 5 chapters of the Bible every day, so as to steep myself in it, and to pray, asking the Lord to give me the story He wants me to tell.
   Taking a cue from C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia,” I don’t try to portray Christianity per se. After all, I’m not writing about our world, but a completely different one. Its history is different. The people in my fantasy world have not yet met their Savior. He has not yet been revealed to them—except in a few prophecies that they are a long way from understanding.
    Instead, I have tried to infuse my fantasy world with a Biblical spirit—hopefully, prayerfully, with the Spirit of God. I am happy to say that a number of readers have told me that in this I have succeeded. One reader has said she finds it very hard to believe that the “scriptures” quoted in my novels are not actually hidden somewhere in the Bible, where’s she’s overlooked them. Comments like that tell me I’m on the right track.

Who is your favorite author?
I have a lot of favorites. C.S. Lewis excels in refreshing for me the image of Jesus Christ, and reminding me how much I love Him. I turn to Agatha Christie for insights into character; to Edgar Rice Burroughs as the master when it comes to juggling a complicated plot and keeping up the pace of the action; to Walter R. Brooks (“Freddy the Pig”) for gentle and unexpected humor; to Sir Walter Scott for confirmation that good really can triumph over evil, even in this fallen world; to J.R.R. Tolkien for simply igniting my imagination; and to other writers for other things. But the one book I read from every day, without fail, is the Bible. It’s the one book that can never get stale—positive proof it’s not an ordinary book! There’s always something new to discover, some fresh insight, in the Bible.

Thank you so much, Mr. Duigon. This has been a very enjoyable and informative interview :) God bless!

For more about Mr. Duigon, you can visit his blog/website at leeduigon.com
You can find his Amazon page here and an archive of his articles here and by searching his name here.
I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I did. I think interviews are a lot of fun. Now, go and check out his books!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I've Been Tagged!

So, I didn't get around to following up on Lostariel's tagging, and now I've been tagged by Heather!
So I'll do Lostariel's first, and in a few days I'll do Heather's :D

The Rules Are:
1. You must post the rules.
2. Post eleven fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you've tagged.
4. Tag eleven bloggers, however, you can break the rules and tag fewer people if you want. Make sure you hyperlink their names/blogs.
5. Let them know you've tagged them!
6. Have fun!

Eleven fun facts about myself:
1. I am the eldest of ten children.
2. I watched the BBC version of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe long before I ever knew it was based on a book.
3. The first 'big books' I ever read were The Little House on the Prairie series, when I was seven.
4. I have three brothers and six sisters.
5. I acted in a film version of Prince Caspian several years ago, as a Dryad.
6. I memorized all of Psalm 91 mostly by accident.
7. My nickname is Lala (pronounced 'Lah lah') and my name is pronounced 'Lar-uh', not Lor-uh.
8. I'm teaching myself the violin.
9. I have two cats (Sprite and Charkey) and two dogs (Tornado and Twister).
10. I rode a restored, late 19th century sidesaddle for a wedding carriage when I was 13.
11. I can catch a football, but I can't throw it evenly.

Answers to the questions of the blogger who tagged me
1. If you were a jar, what would you be filled with? Hmmm, interesting question. Probably... a cinnamon apple scented candle. The best smell in the world, in my humble opinion. Especially in the fall and winter.
2. What is your favorite version of your favorite fairy tale? (My definition of fairy tale is not only Grimms, btdubs.) This is a tough one, since I haven't read any alternate versions of fairy tales that I can remember. I really like The Master Thief, from one of Andrew Lang's colored fairy books (the Blue one, I think). It's a riot.
3. What song are you most likely to burst into when you're alone? Endearing Young Charms, or The Minstrel Boy, or My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose. Either of those three, or all three, one right after the other.
4. How do you react when people photograph you? I don't really like being photographed, unless I'm in it with at least one other person. Which has resulted in not many pictures of me in the last few years. I get annoyed if someone tries to take a picture of me without asking me.
5. If you could change either your name or an aspect of your appearance, what would you do? (Include the changed name/aspect.) I don't know. I'm generally pretty happy with how I look, and I think (in my not-so-humble-opinion) that I have a really pretty name :)
6. What do you think is the best death scene in a children's movie? Aslan's death (and, of course, subsequent resurrection). No question about it.
7. A hawt vampire is stalking you! How do you react? How do you kill a vampire? *quickly researches* Ah, yes. I would react by throwing garlic in its face. If that didn't work, I think I would scream and run. Especially, especially if it sparkled in the sunlight.
8. Dr. Seuss or Jim Henson? I despise Dr. Seuss books, and I despise the Muppets, so... can I skip them both?
9. Finish this sentence: 'If I ran Disneyland...' I would turn it into Narnialand. It would have Cair Paravel, the Professor's house, the Wood between the worlds, and other things. The entrances to Narnialand would be wardrobes that you would have to walk through. There would also be people dressed as all the canon Narnia characters, and all sorts of interactive fun stuff. It would be great!
10. What is your favorite book to read aloud? Narnia, hands down. When I'm reading it, I'll sometimes randomly read a few sentences out loud to whoever is nearby.
11. Who is your favorite villain? Does Gollum count?

Create eleven new questions for the bloggers I'm going to tag
1. How many states have you lived in?
2. What was the first genre you ever wrote in?
3. Who is your favorite movie character?
4. If you could fall into a book and experience what actually happens in it, which book would it be?
5. John Dowland or Antonio Vivaldi?
6. What was the most heart-wrenching scene you ever read? Ever wrote?
7. Which villain would you least like to meet up with in real life?
8. Which email provider do you use?
9. Would you rather be stranded in the desert or in the Antarctic?
10. Are you most creative at night or in the morning?
11. What is your favorite book of the Bible, the one that you tend to read more than any other?

The Bloggers that I tag
Hmm, this might be a tad tough. Most of the bloggers that I know are already tagged, some more than once. So...

Lee Duigon

I have a few more, but I'll tag them on my next post. Tata!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Realistic Fantasy?

Wow, it's been well over a month since I last posted. My only excuse is that I had two or three ideas for posts in the last month but when I started to write them, I realized that they would take a lot longer and be much more involved and complex than I first thought. I may still write them, but it will definitely take time and probably they would be in a series of posts.
So today I'm going to be talking about an aspect of fantasy that really bugs me. It is the idea that fantasy has to be 'realistic'. That is, that because governments in our world are almost always corrupt, and that good monarchies always go bad after a generation or two, and so on and etcetera. Apparently, according to somebody in a review that I read, Tolkien didn't understand economic issues and that it's painfully obvious in his writings. Well, not really. What's painfully obvious is that Tolkien knew how to write a tale that stirred the imagination and was full of beauty, courage, hope and just plain ol' good adventure. So what if the people of Minas Tirith, if this was 'our world', would have looked at Aragorn with skepticism and not welcomed him with open arms? Who cares if, in real life, Faramir would have been corrupted by the Ring? The beauty of fantasy, to me, is that it tells a tale with elements of reality in it but with more beauty than could be put into a more 'realistic' story.
I don't want to write stories where my protagonist is 'medieval' or 'Celtic', in the sense that he's dirty, barbaric, lives in a drafty castle, takes mistresses, wears no shirt half the time, and has long, unkempt hair. If I want my protagonist to live in a beautiful palace where each of his children has their own bedroom, the pillars are made of ivory, there are warm fires and glass windows in every room, the peasants are well taken care of, and his hair is nicely kept, then why can't I? If I want to write about the other, then I can write historical fiction.
I write fantasy because in it there is a way to have a different 'reality'. Not an escape, but an adventure. I like swords and kings and queens and noblemen and journeys and magic and heroism and the wicked getting their due. Lately, I've felt rather constrained by this idea of 'realistic fantasy' that I seem to see everywhere. But I realized that Tolkien and Lewis most likely would never have become so popular and their fantasies so beloved if they had stuck to what would be 'realistic'. There's no joy in about ninety-five percent of the fantasy stories written today. There's very little beauty, because fantasy has become so 'gritty and real' as a rule. And I'm not even against a little bit of 'gritty realism' showing through once in a while. But when that's all we judge fantasy by, and when that's all we write, I think we've gone from fantasy to alternate reality.
That's why I'm not interested in The Wheel of Time series, or the Game of Thrones series. That's why I dislike the Auralia Thread series (you may have a rant on those books some day).
Now, you may be thinking, "Aw, you're just a sissy. You like pink unicorns and fairies and Prince Charmings . That's what you think fantasy is. We like the gritty, hard, dark stuff."
Which brings me to another point: I'm not against dark, as long as there's light. In the Auralia Thread series, I didn't get a sense of prevailing light in a huge amount of it. And obviously there were things that were supposed to be hopeful and bright, but it was the amount of... I don't know. There was something wrong with those books. But what I mean by fantasy is Narnia and Lord of the Rings. Good overcoming evil, beauty overcoming ugliness. If you want a beautiful princess, then write one (so long as she isn't a Mary Sue :D ). If you want a handsome knight, or a moderately comfortable castle, or peasants that love and respect their king (who also loves his people), then write them. Tolkien and Lewis did it (of course, far more skilfully than we could ever hope to do, but still...), and they infused a light and a hope into their stories. Which of course was mostly due to their Christian (or Christian influenced) views.
So, since I am a Christian, and I believe in hope and valor and beauty, then I am going to write those things in. And maybe my heroes won't be as 'morally conflicted' as some people might like (thought they won't be perfect, of course). And maybe my princess will have long, beautiful, shining hair. And maybe the castle won't be drafty. And maybe, just maybe, the story will be good.
One thing that has always captivated me in The Return of the King, and that has influenced my idea of soldiers and knights in my own fantasy tales, is Prince Imrahil and his tall men with grey eyes and silver armor, bearing a banner that flutters in the wind.
So, what are your thoughts on 'realistic fantasy'? Do you feel constrained in your pursuit of it by all the little things that everyone says you have to do? Do you think that your story will be hampered by your ignorance of medieval serfdom or your sketchy knowledge of the freedoms afforded women in the 12th century? Research is good, and people (myself included) appreciate it when you don't write motorcycle horses (i.e., horses that can run for miles and hardly tire, and require very little care), but some things you can invent or change to your own specifications (providing, of course, that you aren't overstepping bounds of Biblical morality). Well, this is getting long, so I'll end it here. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts!