“Tag!” or “Timeout to Catch Up”

Ah, Tag – when a young man’s fancy turns and flees… Back in the day when kids had nothing better to do than chase each other around all day, that’s what they did: Run to avoiding getting caught, in regular Tag. Run to avoid getting shot in Laser Tag. Run until a sorcerous touch from the almighty It rooted them to the spot in Freeze Tag. Run, run, as fast as they could, like so many gingerbread dudes. …Or, if you’d rather stay in your seat, there’s always Blog Tag.

            Here, according to my buddy Ben over at Storymultiverse, is how you play.

1. You must post the rules. (…which I now so do.)

2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create ten new questions to ask the people that you have tagged.

3. Tag eleven people and link to them on your post.

4. Let them know you’ve tagged them!

            Now, what Ben did (and I thought this was a neat way to go about it) was, instead of tagging a specific eleven people, he just said, “If you’re reading this, you can play!” Therefore, my fellow bloggers and blog-less readers alike, you are one and all invited to join in the “getting to know you” fun! By the power of It vested in me, I’ll start by answering the questions sent my way.

1. Who are some of the biggest influences on your writing and… 2. Why? (Can be authors, family members, your pet, etc.)

            I probably owe a great deal to my mother, whose certifiably-insane sense of humor seems to have proven somewhat genetic. And I’ve spent much of my life honing my quips, experimenting with complicated plot lines, and stretching the limits of my imagination in original role-playing games with my sister. Let’s see, who else can I blame?…

            On the Wilderhark side of things, I should probably give a shout-out to E.D. Baker, author of “The Frog Princess” and its subsequent series; I never so badly wanted to write a fairytale prince until after meeting her Eadric. Huge thanks to Robin McKinley’s “Outlaws of Sherwood” and the Bristol Renaissance Faire for driving me to create “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”. And Tirzah and Lute… you know what you’ve done.

3. What is one of the best blog posts that you’ve read?

            Oh, gosh – memory, are you up to this?… Well, okay, I’ll go easy on me and keep this recent. You don’t mind if I invoke the name of Rachel Aaron again, do you? Good. ‘Cause if you’ve got goals and shiny dreams, writerly or otherwise, then hey, you should read this.

            I also really enjoyed this piece about shape-shifters in fantasy by Fabulous Realms, the House of Happy’s tribute to summer, and a little snapshot of a short story from My Other Book is a Tolstoy (also a grand source of poetry), just to spread the kudos around.

4. Name five of your favorite movies. They don’t have to be the top five, just five that you would put on that list of favorites.

            “The Phantom of the Opera” (the one with Gerard Butler ‘n’ ‘em) – I love the music, it was visually stunning, and… I love the music. (For the sake of three, I justify. Plus I truly do love the music double. Bravo, Andrew Lloyd Webber.)

Gettin’ all ‘90s TV, up in here. That’s Steve/Aladdin’s voice in the upper-right corner.

            “Aladdin” (Disney, of course) – THE movie of my childhood. I watched all three movies and the TV series; I owned the action figures; D.J’s. boyfriend, Steve, on “Full House” got that much cooler once I realized he was Aladdin’s voice. I couldn’t decide who I wanted to be more: Jasmine, because she got Aladdin, or Aladdin himself, because he was da man. Given the choice today, it’d still be a toss-up.

            “Kung Fu Panda” – Hilarious, gorgeously animated, and Hans Zimmer did the music (‘nough said).

            “The Emperor’s New Groove” (Disney again; this list could have so easily become all Disney, all the time) – Silliness at its finest. Please ignore the sequel.

            “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” (Andrew Lloyd Webber again. Yay! – now my list is like a palindrome! *happy dance of symmetry*) – Donny Osmond as Joseph was a treat, and his brothers were so individualistically zany, and the whole thing was in song, so it was a breeze to memorize from start to finish. Cue me up – I’ll sing “Canaan Days” right now.

5. Name five of your favorite books. (Same as before.)

            I’ve made considerable mention of my recent obsession with Eli Monpress, so let’s just count the omnibus as “one” and move on from there. What books haven’t I ranted about, yet?…

            Well, in that same spirit of consolidation, we’ll count the “Bonemender” trilogy by Holly Bennett at “two”. She wrote some wonderful elves; some pretty cool humans, too.

            And there’s “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield. A bit creepier and more mature than I usually go for, but quite gripping.

            I’ll open a can of controversy by freely admitting that I like Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series. (I’ve always been Team Emmett, if that makes any difference to anyone.)

            As for number five… arrgh, this is killing me. I don’t know which to choose!

            “When in doubt,” Lute advises, “pick a book with me in it.”

            Um, I wasn’t aware that was the rule, but okay. “Ballad”s sequel, then.

* * *

            Phew! That last question just took it out of me (the stress on readers asked to pick their fave reads is substantial!), and this blog post is running long enough as it is. So tell you what, folks: We’ll cut my end of the Q+A off here, and pick it back up another time. In the meanwhile, here are my first five questions for you!

1. What is the best or most horrifying dream you can remember having ever had, and what made it so great or awful?

2. Name a [humanly possible] talent you don’t have, but wish you did.

3. If you couldn’t have the name you’ve got, what would you like to be called?

4. Which musical instrument(s) do you most enjoy listening to?

5. If you were shipwrecked on a desert island, what would you most lament?

            What say you?! You can leave your response as a comment, or link to them on your blog or what have you; answer any or all, but not none! …Unless you call “olly olly oxen free”.

“Versatile 2 and 3” or “They Like Me! They Still Really Like Me!”

Remember this little graffito*?

            *Noun: “A drawing or inscription made on a wall or other surface, usually so as to be seen by the public. Often used in the plural [graffiti].” I had “Remember this little” all typed up, and was coming up blank for an end of the sentence. A glance through the dictionary revealed this gem not often heard (at least in my experience), and come on, this is Ever On Word, of course I had to share it with you.

            In any event, I am twice honored to announce that Ben of Story Multiverse and Ashley Mackler Paternostro of La Bella Novella have nominated me for my second and third Versatile Blogger Awards! The pair of them also gave very nice reasons as to why, which doubtless would have made me blush if my face was actually prone to reddening.

            For those whose minds are blanking on what this entails, let me dust off the rules from last time:

1. Add a picture of the award. (Check!)

2. Thank your nominator. (This I have done, and now do so again: Thank you, Ben and Ashley!)

3. Tell your readers 7 things about yourself.

4. Give this award to 15 fellow bloggers and inform them the joyous tidings.

            Alas, I pretty much cleaned out the list of blogs I follow during my last award ceremony. So tell you what I’m going to do, folks: In honor of the magic inherent in the number 3 (and so as to leave myself a little wriggle room, just in case I’m versatile again before I’ve had a chance to pad my blogroll), this number of nominees shall I here set forth. And because 3 is but one-fifth of 15, I shall likewise share one-fifth of the 7 things about myself. (That’s right – 1.4 things. I’ll make it work.)

            So, firstly, tonight’s nominees. Envelope please

            For his comedic monologues on writing – and, in particular, fantasy… Rewen Tremethick, The Hyperteller. (Applause!)

            For her bold, colorful paintings that are gorgeous enough to hang on one’s wall (seriously, I’m the proud owner of her 2012 calendar)… Reina Cottier NZ Artist. (Huzzahs!)

            And for her fun, writerly spins on fables and general awesomeness (there’s a good chance you’ll hear more about her, eventually; I’m reading her books)… Catherine Austen’s Blog. (Hip-hip-hurrahs!)

            And now, 7 divided by 5 things about me:

            1 = When I get my first book published, I’m going to celebrate by purchasing a lute. I’d determined this some while before writing “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”, although if “Ballad” does become my first novel to hit the shelves, the commemoration will be that much more appropriate.

            0.4 = If I had to pick my Top Ten Favorite (Non-Animated) Movies of All Time (or At Least if You Ask Me Today), they would be (in no particular order):

            “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” – the music is excellent, the villains delight me, and I cannot help but be impressed by the piratical mythology those writers came up with over coffee at some unholy hour.

            “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” – the whole trilogy, really, but that felt like cheating. I settled on the first third to rep for the whole by virtue of favorite bits like the Council of Elrond, the Balrog, and the valiant death of… um, a certain person towards the end. (On the off-chance you don’t know who, I refuse to be responsible for spoilers.)

            “National Treasure” – history! Adventure! A certain actor who both plays an awesome antagonist and doesn’t get killed like he does at the end of “Fellowship”! (Who can ask for more?)

            “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” – mostly to do with the villain again (referring specifically to Victor, not Stryker, in case you wondered), but c’mon, I gotta give props to Hugh Jackman, too. (Because he’s Hugh Jackman, I explain.)

            …

            What, you expected the rest of the list? I told you I’d only give forty percent.

            One last time for the road, thank you, Ben and Ashley. And congrats to my nominee shortlist. Stay versatile, everyone!

“Reminiscence”

The last days of December are upon us; once more, we approach the annual threshold: Old year’s end, new year’s beginning.

            The end of a thing often breeds nostalgia; we turn to stare at the footprints stretching out behind us through rose-colored lenses (or perhaps a black-and-white lens would be better, so everything looks all Old Hollywood glamorous), romanticizing memories our minds have generously half-forgotten. Less sentimental types may observe the footprints from the bird’s-eye view of hindsight, discerning patterns in the movement that, before, they were to close to see. And those who are neither sentimental nor analytical may simply glance back with a “Yeah – good times, good times…”, then give their attention to their present or immediate future.

            On a typical day, I’ll probably end up being all three. Whether wistfully, critically, or just for fun, I enjoy “the act or process of recollecting past experiences or events”. So I figured now is as good a time as any to look back at the kind of year 2011 has been for me. With the help of my rosy hindsight glasses, I’ve been able to break it up into three roughly chronological categories. My 2011 has been:

A Year of Inspired Creation

            …Which I could just as easily rename “The Year of the Minstrels”.

            January was hot on the heels of my first NaNoWriMo, and Gant-o’-the-Lute, having once been released from my inner-brain’s confines to assist in the writing of “Ballad”, had only just played his prelude with a symphony to go. With his one-Tirzah cheerleading squad backing him up, Lute demanded the transcription of his early years, which resulted in a song-studded novella.

            While I was in Wilderhark mode, I finally finished the closing installment of the series, which had been languishing somewhere around page thirty for about a year. (As Lute would say, “Triumph!”)

            And in the meantime, I interrogated various characters through the infamous Anything and Everything Character Questionnaire and played with them in our immaterial Sherwood, which led to more stories, more songs, drawings galore, yet another minstrel protagonist, and – pulled straight from the mire of mental shenanigans – a full-length “Ballad” sequel. (Just goes to show how productive a so-called waste of time can be! The creative process is a curious thing.)

My minstrels and tailor, reimagined as alternate-universe superheroes. You never know how far a collection of inside jokes will take you...

A Year of Nerdy Entertainment

            My parents really went above and beyond in hooking up their fantasy-geek daughter, this past summer.

            My dearest mother made me my very own minstrel outfit – tunic, feathered beret, and that piece worn over the shoulders that Allyn-a-Dale tells me shall be known as a “swag”, all in blue. (I felt so Gant!) Mother and Father both took me to the Evenstar Faerie Festival, where magical fun was had by all, and visually chronicled here.

            Think that can’t be topped? Think again, for Daddy and I got to watch a screening of “The Fellowship of the Ring”, complete with the score played live by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra! (A minstrel outfit wouldn’t have been quite appropriate. Fortunately, that’s what hooded brown cloaks are for.)

            And then, of course, there was the whole family’s traditional romp at the Bristol Renaissance Faire… where Robin Hood kissed my hand… thereby ending the summer on a note that really couldn’t be topped!

This shot was taken just before the kiss. I wouldn’t have had the wits to pose, after.

 

A Year of Unexpected Blessings

            Then came the autumn, and the birth of Ever On Word.

            I was initially leery of starting this blog, unsure whether I would find it at all enjoyable, or just another reputedly necessary writing-related chore. Well, readers, you probably haven’t been able to tell, given how remarkably subtle I am, but I’ve been having fun with you guys. I’ve traded words with some great folks, since September – read some grand posts, received some priceless encouragement… Yeah, I’d say this has most def been less than a total waste of time. (:

            Many of you will have been here for my NaNoWriMo-turned-PerGoSeeMo. I sure didn’t see that coming; but then, God is kind of a master of surprise. We had some special times, my Author and I, and we mean for it to be only the beginning.

            Speaking of the beginning, this month has set my personal publication ball rolling in a way that knocked me breathless. I’m giddy with excitement over where my words have gone, and am giddier still as I look with eager expectation to where I’ll go from here.

            After all, as lovely as a few moments spent in reminiscence can be, the future’s made of epic memories waiting to happen.

            And what of yourselves, readers mine? What were the highlights of your 2011?

“Versatile”

Another surprise on me, readers: I have been gifted with the Versatile Blogger award!

Isn't it purty?

            Apparently, one of my buddies here in BlogLand, Amy Lee Bell of “Full Circle Homeschooling” considers me “capable of doing many things competently”, or perhaps thinks of me as “having varied uses or serving many functions”. Or maybe Ever On Word merely adds a bright spot to her day, in which case, I am grateful, honored, and performing an internal happy dance. Thank you, Amy!

            Here, I am told, is how the award works:

Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.

Tell your readers 7 things about yourself.

Give this award to 15 recently discovered bloggers.

Contact those bloggers and let them in on the news.

            Righteo – 7 things about Deshipley that you didn’t even know how much you wanted to know until I told you:

1) My earliest memory involves a book. It also involves my first little sister being born, but come on – the infant in that very high hospital bed, or the shiny picture book with the pig in a dress balancing on a big circus ball: Which one’s gonna be more important to a not-quite-3-year-old?

2) I sing tenor in my church’s young-adult choir. I can’t project loudly enough in falsetto to sing soprano, as my youngest sister does. I could put up with alto like my other sister (the one who came in second to the circus pig), but they’ve got more than enough girls over there as is, and I like to sing low. (I’ll never forget that time I got laryngitis and was actaully able to force my half-lost voice down to notes I’d never been able to hit before in that Barry Manilow song. I felt like a bass man!). So I joined the dudes in the tenor section. Yay for being one of the guys!

3) I’m frustrated because I had to take ten minutes out from writing this blog piece to clean up the mess my geriatric dog made on our brand new carpet. Incidentally, we adopted our oversized, mostly black Shetland sheepdog ten years ago today. Happy anniversary, Max! He’s gone from being painfully shy (we believe he’d been abused), to sweet and happy (but still quiet; he’s barked maybe all of three times since we’ve known him), to a senile coot with major attitude and minor bladder control (again, still quiet, though the looks he gives us speak volumes). He sheds enough to make a brand new carpet, and I guess he’s holding out to die until he’s killed one of us by slipping silently underfoot while we’re holding a knife or something. Gotta love that dog.

4) I’d earned a 3rd-kyu brown belt in Shotokan karate before my father finally let me quit. Dad’s a martial arts enthusiast. His daughters aren’t, but that didn’t save us. I was continually surprised when I advanced in the ranks at our old dojo; I guess my lack of true dedication only held my skill back so much. Along the way, I picked up all sorts of Japanese words and phrases that I’ve since forgotten, got covered in sweat that wasn’t always my own, and had the image of a decapitated head in a water pitcher seared into my brain thanks to having watched “The Mask of Zorro” during the summer camp in which I earned my green belt (as big a shock as the brown belt that followed). Maybe I developed a bit of discipline, too, but that’s not the part I play up to Dad.

5) Before I knew I wanted to be an author, I wanted to be a nanny (because I love babies). Or a farmer (because I was obsessed with animals). Or an actress (because I’m a ham). Or a librarian (because I thought a love of books was all one needed to be perfectly happy in such a position. I’ve been wrong before). Or an architect, interior designer, or landscaper (because it was so much fun with Legos and “Sims” computer games). Or Aladdin (because… he’s Aladdin). Part of me kinda wants to be an animator (ideally, one that exists back in time, during the Disney Renaissance kicked off by “The Little Mermaid”; I could’ve at least drawn Aladdin!), but there are only so many hours in a day, and I want the lion’s share of those hours to be spent writing. (See “Passion”.) Author it is, then!

6) I love making lists like this. Mostly to do with the orderliness of it, I think. Order in words makes me happy. And doesn’t everything just look more legitimate if you’ve got it all lined up and numbered? Whipping out a list is power, bwa-ha-ha-ha! (Insert thunderclap here.)

7) My best friend is flying in today to spend the week with me!!! She’ll be here before the evening’s out! It’ll be the first time we’ve ever seen each other face-to-face! (Skype doesn’t count.) I’m so excited! My characters are giddy! My Tirzah is coming, hooray!

            And now, for the fifteen blogs with creators on whom I would like to confer the Versatile Blogger award. (If you’ve already earned one from somewhere… yay, more than one for you!) In alpha order:

1 — A Most Singular Adventure

2 — arielkprice

3 — Butterflies and Dragons

4 — Emerald Barnes’ Dreaming Awake Blog

5 — Get Published (Or Cry Trying)

6 — Her Ink-lings

7 — House of Happy

8 — La Bella Novella

9 — My other book is a Tolstoy

10 — Seven & a Half First Drafts

11 — Sonya Scribbles

12 — Tamara Paulin – Writer and Author

13 — the kate that i know…

14 — …

15 — …

            Drat! I’ve run dry on new blogs to showcase. (“New” in the sense that they’ve never received an award through Ever On Word before.) Well, I’m bound to add a couple more blogs to my roster of favorites eventually. In the meantime, congrats to today’s winners for their versatility and/or day-brightening words. Let’s all keep it comin’, friends. (:

“Surprise!”

Why, yes, I have already posted a blog piece today; an inspirational little number about why one ought to love to read. Particularly observant readers may have noticed that I’ve thus far allowed a two-day space between my blog posts, and this double-post day will doubtless “cause [them] to feel wonder, astonishment, or amazement, as at something unanticipated”. Well, it’s a cause of wonder etc. on me, too, and all due to yet another surprise of the super wonderful variety:

            I have been given an award!



            Yes, ‘tis true! I learned of it not a quarter-hour ago (later, by the time this post is up)! Fellow blogger Andrea S. Michaels has conferred upon me a Liebster Award, which a blog piece of her own explains as follows:

            “[The Liebster Award] was created to draw attention to small blogs with less than 200 followers. Here are the rules:

  • Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  • Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Post the award on your blog.
  • Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the Internet.”

            Check, check, and check for items one, three, and four. Now it’s time to spread the big, goofy grins that result when one finds out that one has won a Liebster! I wish I could throw awards at everyone whose blogs I have enjoyed, but there can only be five. Therefore, my top picks go to (drumroll, please…):

  • Tirzah Duncan the Ink Caster, because I respected her as a writer even before we became stranger-than-true sisters.
  • Jenna Mathews, who demonstrates that age has naught to do with getting your start in wordsmithery.
  • The Ink-Compentent Writer, who likes to make his point with a dash of entertaining schizophrenia.
  • Undiscovered author Stephen A. Watkins, whose thoughtful posts spark some great discussions via blog comments.
  • Rebecca Monaco, because I love her trademark exit line.

            Enjoy your “unexpected encounter, event, or gift that surprises”, fortunate five, and keep the big, goofy grins going! (And thanks again for mine, Andrea, the Academy, the little people, God, Mom and Dad, my minstrels and tailor…)

“Blog”

People have been saying that I need a blog. Not so much saying it to me directly, in more cases than not, but to me as one unknown writer among the many with loftier aims. It seems everyone in the writing industry recommends it – the publishers, the literary agents, the writers themselves, all hammering home the same idea: “Have a blog!”

            So eventually, I get this random thought: Maybe I should have a blog…

            I recall the first time I ever heard the word “blog”. It was at the end of an episode of “Postcards from Buster” (a spin-off of the “Arthur” PBS series, one of the TV shows of my childhood, based off of the children’s books by Marc Brown). The anthropomorphous rabbit star of the cartoon invited the kids watching at home to check out his blog via the station’s website. Since the show’s premise involved Buster flying all around the country with his pilot father, I initially assumed that the word “blog” was meant to be something like “Buster’s Travel Log”, cleverly abbreviated. How my mind works in a nutshell, folks.

            Some five years after the rest of the world, I became aware of the fact that you don’t need to be a globetrotting bunny to have a blog (abbreviated form of “web log”, so you see, I was sorta-kinda-on-the-right-track-ish). That’s a relief; imagine the stress of aspiring to be both that and a reasonably-popular author of YA fantasy. I continued to drag my feet about starting a blog, though, primarily out of fear of my arch nemesis, affectionately called the Technology Fiend. You’ve met him: That glitch that spontaneously pretends not to recognize the password for your email (right when you really, really want-slash-need to check your email), or that freezes your YouTube videos mid-view, and then refuses to acknowledge your efforts to refresh the page (or even to try to restart the whole computer), or that lets everyone in your family create a Facebook account without mishap, but gives you three days’ worth of trouble before finally allowing you to join the fun…. That Technology Fiend. He hates us all, but I truly feel like his perverted favorite. I really didn’t want to have to deal with a blog when there was already a war on just trying to maintain an internet connection.

            But the industry has spoken: Writers with blogs have a better shot. It offers them increased visibility, and a following, and a platform, as well as demonstrating that they’re capable of stringing a few lucid paragraphs together. All good things.

            In the interest of good things, then, here I am, adding “blogger” to a list of appellatives which includes “author”, “artist”, and “minstrel wannabe”. The characterization I intend to milk the most in this forum? Wordsmith.

            Tech Fiends and itinerant hares, watch out.