Sunday, November 27, 2016

Something About Prince Asherad

I'm sure some of you have heard me railing against the endless stream of love triangles in books these days. The truth is, I don't mind a love triangle every once in a while, as long as it's tasteful and well-written. But these days, there seems to be no end to them. Every main character needs one... Ugh.

Which brings me to Prince Asherad of Miamur.*

Both Asherad and Dejuday are in love with Zuryzel, so doesn't that count as a love triangle? Personally, I don't really think so, for two reasons. The first is that Zuryzel isn't ever particularly drawn to him at all - he's just a friend. She doesn't ever really face a decision between him and Dejuday, because she never really considered Asherad.

However, the second, more relevant one, has to do with the history of writing Darkwoods: originally, I meant for Zuryzel to end up with Asherad, not Dejuday. I was actually pretty determined on that for a while, I think until after the first few rounds of edits. I don't really remember when I changed my mind to Dejuday, but I remember pretty clearly that it just crossed my mind that Zuryzel could be with Dejuday instead, and I found the idea so good and, frankly, irresistible that I changed it for the future. However, during Darkwoods and Pasadagavra, there really wasn't much else for Asherad to do. He has some cool things to do in Arashna, and I like him too much to just get rid of the character completely, so I had to keep him in; but, I admit, I couldn't think of any other way to keep Asherad in the previous books.

So, that's the story behind Asherad. I like him very much, and I plan for him to have an exciting story arc in the future, but I never intended for him to be part of a love triangle, and, incidentally, I don't ever plan to have any in future books unless it sounds really, really good. Like I said, there are some good ones, but I don't think it's something that is necessary in my stories.

*I didn't post a **spoilers** tag because this doesn't really count as spoilers.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving - From Alabama

As always, I am thankful for my family, my country, my church, my schools, my friends, my writing, my jobs, and most of all for Christ and His sacrifice. This year, I have a couple of new things.

First, since I'm not working as a webmaster anymore (I still miss that job), I got another job to tide me through school. First, I'm carrying on my summer job at the insurance company, and I'm thankful as ever for that job. Secondly, I am also working in a school quite a drive from my house but a convenient way from SPU. I get a lovely drive three mornings a week across Lake Washington, usually right about sunrise. It's a wonderful experience.

Second, I'm thankful for the chance to live at home while I'm doing grad school and working. It means I get to save up extra money, at least some of which will go to publishing future books.

There's a third thing I'm thankful for that was last year. My mom and dad got my roommate and me tickets to see the Seahaws and Packers game in Green Bay last year! Unfortunately, the Seahawks lost, but it was still fun to be there. However, this came with some strings attached: I had to agree to go to an Alabama football game with my family.

If I haven't mentioned it before, my family are die hard Alabama fans. I'm not. But this Thanksgiving, we met up with family in Alabama, and since we're in the state, my mom decided to call in my promise. So, Saturday we'll be at the Alabama/Auburn game. It's a big rivalry, and if Bama wins, they'll probably be playing UW at some point in the future.

So, if you're watching the Alabama game tomorrow, look for me in the stands!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Thank You to Everyone At Holly Daze

I'm working on something I really don't want to do, so naturally, I have to take a break to do something I really want to do.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to everyone at Holly Daze, both the soroptimists hosting the event and the people who bought books there. The event ran wonderfully smoothly and the hosts were so accommodating. And that passport function, where people get prizes for visiting different booths - that was great for the vendors!

Most of all, though, thank you to the people who bought the books. I broke several records while I was there. First off, the number of people who bought books in one day - the first day there broke all my records. Second, the number of books I've sold at a single event - more books over this event than any other multiple-day setup. I sold the equivalent of nearly two whole boxes of books. Third - and this one is really the most important to me - the number of sets of booksI've sold in any event, single-day or otherwise.

Selling sets of books is wonderful, and it gives me so much encouragement to keep writing. Long story short, thanks to you, I had a wonderful weekend and fresh energy to keep on writing. (I would have anyway, since I really do love writing, but a few more weekends like that might just knock a month or two off when Arashna is finally released. Or they might mean that fifth book in the series will be a reality after all.)

I cannot say it enough, but I will say it once more - thank you!!!

If you couldn't make it over to Port Orchard, I will be in Auburn this Saturday at the Federal Way United Methodist Craft Show. Please come, and bring your friends!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Kaitie Wade's First Album

I meant to make this post a while ago, but completely forgot.

Remember a while ago I posted about an old school friend of mine who had released her own song? I heard from her again, and she is working on releasing her first album! As it turns out, however, releasing original work in the music industry is also a very expensive endeavor.

In order to help balance the costs of the album, Kaitie set up a funding project here and is asking for donations. At that link is a list of featured donations and everything the money is needed for. So, after you've picked up one or more of my three books for Christmas for yourself or someone else, stop at the funding project and at Kaitie's website and see what she's all about!

Incidentally, the Christmas craft show season begins this weekend. I will be at the two-day Holly Daze bazaar in Port Orchard.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Another Excuse to Re-Post My Favorite Picture

I actually didn't forget about Columbus Day this year. At my job in Seattle, it's my task to take the daily mail to the mail slot or the post office, but on Columbus Day there was no mail. Since nobody was sending any mail, I didn't have to take it down, so I remembered pretty well.

I don't really have anything to say about Columbus Day that I didn't say last year. I posted this picture last year too, but as you probably know, I really like it, so here it is again:

No, Columbus is not in this picture. That's Prince Henry the Navigator.

Happy Columbus Day! 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Christmas Craft Shows!

The craft shows are starting really early this year, so you'll have lots of chances to get books for yourself or for anyone who needs a good present!

October 28-29 - Holly Daze: This one's for two days in Port Orchard, from 9 AM to 4 PM. Details at the link. Since it's Halloween weekend, I will be wearing a costume!

November 5 - United Methodist Craft Show: This one's in Auburn. That link goes to a Facebook picture of the flyer, but the Facebook page that posted it is the church's official page.

November 12 - Shorewood Holiday Bazaar: This one's in Shorewood, near Burien and White Center, and it opens at 10 AM.

November 19 - My Friends and More: This one's in Bothell from 10 AM to 5 PM, so it's a little later than some of the others. Details at the link.

November 19 - Silver Bells: This one's in Puyallup. Again, more details to come. I may or may not be at this one personally (I may be at the one in Bothell, which is the same day), but if I'm not, either my mom or my friend will be there selling books. I will let you know which one I will be at as we get closer.

December 3 - Hawks Happening: In Lacey. This is the last one, and it goes from 9-4.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

My Olympic Peninsula Adventure

The Olympic Peninsula is that big one reaching toward Vancouver Island on the west.
Image result for washington olympic peninsula
Here it is up close

In spite of living in Washington my entire life, I've spent barely any time on the Olympic Peninsula. So this summer, my cousins Emily and Jenny and I decided that while they were visiting Washington, we were going to set a day aside and have an adventure on the Peninsula. We left the house at 6:45 AM and got back to the house at 1:45 AM - so let's just say we had a really full day!

Road trips can be a lot of fun, and you can see a lot of stuff. We wound up driving through some beautiful scenery and visiting four places filled with the glory of God's creation.

(Oh - and I'm pretty sure I broke my toe a couple of days before we did this. At least, on the day of, it was the brightest blue bruise I've ever had. The trip was still fun.)

When we left, we started by taking the ferry from near my house to a place called Southworth (not on the map, but I think it's right around Winslow). This was kind of a big deal for us, because we had been taking this same ferry to its first stop, Vashon Island (the long one right above Tacoma but stopping short of Seattle) since we were little to visit our grandpa, but we had never taken it to the second stop before.

From there, we drove about two hours, mostly along the water and through some beautiful farmland, to a place called Dungeness Spit. In the map above, it's that bit of land sticking out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca just above Sequim. Dungeness Spit is basically a long spit of sand going out into the water. Supposedly it has tons of birds, but we didn't see many. 

Looking back toward land. 

This is going out toward the Strait

This is probably the best picture of that stripe of clouds going across the mountains. In real life, the colors were much more vivid, especially the mountains.

Jenny really wanted to see snow - that was her big request for our adventure. One of my coworkers had told me there was snow at Hurricane Ridge, so we made for there next. Hurricane Ridge is part of the Olympic National Park (both marked up there on the map). Along the way, we found a beautiful place to stop and take some pictures:

The deer aren't that afraid of people. :)

When we got to the entrance, we asked the Ranger at the entrance if she knew of any snow, and she said there was a place called Obstruction Point that still had snow. We found it on the map near Hurricane Ridge, but ended up driving right past it because we couldn't find the road to it. So we stopped at the visitor's center while Jenny (the youngest of us) ran in to ask a Ranger for directions. He told her that we couldn't see the road from the way we drove in - we had to start driving back along the way we came, and we'd see it. 

Well, we saw the sign first, but we barely saw the road, because it was a very narrow gravel road. There were no railings at all along the way, and at times a really sharp drop-off to the right, down the mountainside. At one point, there was even a mini-rockfall we had to go around. 

We could see another hilltop not too far in the distance, so we figured that had to be Obstruction Point. We were wrong. And wrong about the hill after that. And the one after that. At one point, Emily exclaimed, "How long is this road?"

Jenny replied, "The Ranger said it was six to seven miles long."

You can see pictures of the road here.

We kept going! After a while, Jenny suddenly said she thought she saw a beaver, so we stopped (no one was behind us) to see if we could get pictures:

Obviously it's not a beaver, but we weren't quite sure what it was, so for the time being, we decided it was a groundhog. 

We went a little further, and then we got to a place where the view made the entire drive worthwhile. We could actually look down from the mountain and see the water. (Oh, and there was snow, too!)

This was facing the other way. The colors don't show up, but I thought the mountains looked like those brownies that people drizzle melted marshmallows all over.
Anyway, after stopping here for a good half an hour, we decided we'd come that far and wanted to make it all the way to Obstruction Point. When we got there, we saw a sign in the parking lot with a picture of the animal we had seen earlier. It was called an Olympic marmot, and the sign warned visitors to be sure to check their engines before they left, as these animals liked to crawl into engines and chew on radiator hoses. Fortunately, our engine remained marmot-free.

From there, we went hiking a little ways. We didn't go far, because the hill was rough and my toe hurt, but Emily and Jenny did more exploring while I rested. The best part was that the trail here was still covered with snow!

What I really wanted to see was the old growth rain forests, and one of the places we could do that was in the Hoh Rain Forest. Since it's part of the Olympic National Park, our pass for Hurricane Ridge let us in there, too. Along the way there, we found a beautiful drive along the shores of Lake Crescent (on the map above, it's that lake along Highway 101 west of Port Angeles). 

But of course, on the way there, we drove through a rather famous small town:

I think Twilight is okay. They really like it. Either way, it was pretty cool to be there!
The Hoh Rain Forest was further south of Forks, but once we got there, we were thrilled to learn the park stays open 24/7! (Which was good because we got there about 6:45 at night, if I remember correctly.) We picked the trail called the Hall of Mosses, where you get a ton of moss hanging down from the tree branches.

Again, the colors aren't well-captured.

From here, we drove back to Forks and had a nice PNW dinner at one of the diners.

If I'm remembering correctly, we got done with dinner about 10 PM. Then we just drove straight home. This time, instead of catching a ferry, we drove across the bridge down by Tacoma and then straight up home. 

By the way, Emily did her own study abroad trip in Italy, and she has a blog for it.