Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Doings at Drakenheath

Okay, it's time to liven up this blog once more with a Doings at Drakenheath post! So here we are, folks, with this month's doings, and I hope you find them entertaining.

For starters, we've got the Fan Fiction Contest bearing down upon us . . .

The deadline for this contest is coming up VERY SOON NOW. August 28. So be certain to check out the rules once more if you are interested in participating. I know many of you have been hard at work on submissions this last month, and I've had quite a few come in for posting! So far we've received lot more poetry this year than we've seen in previous years, and fewer prose pieces . . . though the prose pieces that have come in have been fantastic. And some of them quite epic! One clocked in at 11,000 words, which I thought would be our longest . . . until another came in at 30,000 words! So those of you looking for some entertaining Goldstone Wood reading will have some short novel-length works to delve into this September.

Submissions are to be emailed to me ( Don't be shy! We're all very friendly around here, and your story will get lots of nice feedback from readers.

I cannot let a Doings at Drakenheath post go by without mentioning the Five Enchanted Roses launch . . .

Seriously, it still feels surreal to me that this event has come and gone. That this mountainous project is actually published and behind me! While I won't say that Five Enchanted Roses was more difficult than Five Glass Slippers, I will say that so far, each year I've been surprised by just how much work goes into these launches. Lots of little, last-minute, scrambling details. And lots of large, last-minute scrambling details as well! But the project is OUT, and readers are buying and enjoying the five stories by these five wonderful novelists, and I could not be better pleased. All five authors gave wonderful interviews here on my blog for the launch week, and four of the five undertook the craziness that is a Facebook Chat Party . . . and did absolutely awesome jobs!

Of course, the work goes on with this project as well as Five Glass Slippers as my team and I continue to study the market and research new ways to get our product out to more and more readers. Currently Five Enchanted Roses is being recorded for audiobook by brilliant narrator Becky Doughty at BraveHeart Audiobooks. I have only heard one short clip so far and . . . oh, my! It's so gorgeous! Becky really does stunning work with her audiobooks and is the perfect voice for these fairy tales. I had the fun of selecting the music to go with this particular audio production as well, and I can hardly wait to hear how it all sounds together! It'll be many months yet before we launch for all of you, but be on the look out! It's coming . . .

Oh, and can I just take a moment to mention a small landmark for Five Glass Slippers? It's not a terribly big deal, but I was pleased to see that our bestselling collection has officially reached 100 reviews on Amazon. While not enormous by any means, it is quite a satisfyingly round number to see up there on our Amazon page.

"Okay, okay," you're saying. "It's one thing to hear about the Rooglewood Press Doings--they're all well and good. But what are you actually writing these days?"

Well, as most of you know, I've had to take a step back from Poison Crown for the time being. While not my preference and not a decision I came by lightly, it's the right decision. We decided this about a month ago (within a day or two after posted my last Doings at Drakenheath post, actually), and the moment I finally come to terms with this new course of action, I immediately jumped into a new project . . . a project which I am going to refer to for the time being as:

That's right. The Ridiculously Huge Project is commenced. It's a brand new series set in a brand new world, not even remotely connected to Goldstone Wood. It's bold and different and, simultaneously, classic and familiar. And it's huge.

By huge I mean ambitious. Ambitious in the writing goals I am setting for myself, the amount of work I am trying to produce in given time restraints. After approximately a month of planning and world-building, I  dived into the first manuscript last Wednesday and have produced 20,000 words. Which is actually a little shy of what I was aiming for by this time, but I am going to scramble to catch up the rest of this week. The goal is to finish a rough draft in another two weeks then let it sit for a while as I move on to the second manuscript.

I'm not going to give away much about this project just yet, especially while it's still in such early stages. However, I've decided to give you a little glimpse into the development of these stories in each of my Doings posts . . . a little something to heighten your curiosity, hopefully . . .

So this month's glimpse of The Ridiculously Huge Project is a tidbit of research I sniffed around after a few weeks ago. I found myself looking into the history of the Christmas hymn, "Lo, How a Rose Ere Blooming." Many of you probably already knew this, but I did not realize that the original hymn was a German piece called "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen," and first appeared in the 16th century. The English translation with which I am familiar didn't appear until the late 1800s and wasn't the only translation. A woman named Catherine Winkworth translated the first two verses into English in her version, "The Spotless Rose," which I had never before heard. And it is absolutely beautiful! While the original German version is closer to the time period in which I am writing, I currently plan to use "The Spotless Rose" or a variation of that hymn as an ongoing plot thread in The Ridiculously Huge Project.

Of course, this is all still early stages and subject to change! Anything I tell you about this project over the next several months could very easily alter within a few days or weeks. But one way or the other, this gives you the first hint of the direction this project is leaning . . .

 Last time someone commented that I hadn't mentioned any of my beasties in the Doings at Drakenheath post! So I wanted to make certain I gave special attention to all the beloved fluffies this time. Here is a picture of Monster and Makoose, fondly known hereabouts as the Fluffy Brothers.

While not true littermates, these two are very sweetly bonded. We sort of adopted Makoose because Rohan saw his picture and went, "He's looks like a gray version of Monster!" and felt the need for a bookend-kitty. That's not the ONLY reason we adopted him, of course! He's also quite the lunatic, which is endearing. And when not undergoing a lunatic spell, he can be sweet as pie.

Most of our kitties don't care for each other, so we were quite delighted when the Fluffy Brothers bonded. It allows for lots of photogenic moments like what you see above.

A rare moment of peace! These three usually spat something awful, so Rohan was quick to document this rare sighting of calm circular-sleeping. Don't they look adorable? Left to right, that's Magrat, Makoose, and Marmaduke.

I believe I have mentioned that Makoose and Milly have a bit of a Romeo and Juliet affair going on. They are completely in love with one another and won't let any star-crossed species differentiation get in the way of their passion. Here you see them curled up on the rug by our back door. Right before we took this picture, he was grooming her shoulder and face

Here's another angle on their romance.

Milly doesn't care for the other kitties at all. But she wuves her Makoosie-Moosie!

And here's a completely dignified picture of Marmaduke and the Evil One.

These two, while not exactly friends, are pretty good frenemies. They will often share a sunlit patch together. It will inevitably turn into a brawl, which both of them seem to enjoy tremendously. But for long stretches, there can be peace . . .

Yesterday, Minerva--my beloved Evil One--leaped into the water bowl. I mean, all four paws, KER-SPLASH, water flying everywhere. It's a pretty big water bowl, and she enjoys sitting by it for long periods at a time, staring at the ripples and occasionally batting it with her paw to make it move. (She also likes to dip her paw in the water then pat the wall so that she can chase the water droplets running down). I have never before seen her go four-feet-in, however. She seemed quite pleased with herself and traipsed about the house with little wet paw-prints until I caught her and wiped her down with a towel. To this she protested with loud squawkings. O! The indignity! Such a wretched Anne Elisabeth!

Sadly I have no new pictures of Mutti-Bear for you. She's actually quite frightened of the camera, so it's tough to snap a picture of her. But rest assured, she is doing well! Ever since her mouth surgery, she has been my sweetest little lap-baby, always ready for a cuddle session. She also likes to play headrest on the back of the couch for either me or Rohan. If we're sitting watching a movie, she'll pick one or the other of us to lie behind, her front paws on one shoulder, her back paws on the other. Technically her body is still on the back of the couch, but she turns herself into one of those wrap-around airline pillows. Such a sweet girlie-cat! We adore her and her fluffiness and her toothless gnawings on our fingers.

And, of course, I can't let a Doings post go by without at least mentioning the Five Magic Spindles contest.

All is still pretty quiet here as far as the contest is concerned. Submission forms keep trickling in, and I keep hearing whispers and rumors of stories in the works. I am thinking about hosting a little Show-and-Tell here on my blog in mid-September, inviting participating authors to send in 2-5 sentence summaries and working titles of their "Sleeping Beauty" stories in progress. Do you think YOU might like to participate in something like that? If I get enough interest in the comments, I'll go ahead and launch it . . .

Other than that, the Doings are pretty quiet this month. I am enjoying an opportunity to focus almost exclusively on my own writing. And while it's strange to be writing something other than Goldstone Wood, I have to say, it's been awesome to stretch my imagination in new and fascinating directions.

How about YOU? What have your Doings been this last month? I'm sure many of you are gearing up for school again or have already begun. Some of the rest of you are working hard at jobs and projects and just daily life. Do tell! Particularly if you're working on any cool creative projects . . .


Savannah P. said...

The Five Magic Spindles thing sounds fun! Don't know if I would participate in it or not ... mostly because I don't really have a title yet :).
And I had a question about the fan fiction contest. I've never entered before, and I'm thinking about doing it this year. Is there a certain type of document that your entry needs to be sent in? I don't think you ever mentioned that, and I just wanted to know :).
The picture of Milly and Makoose is just adorable! They're so cute!
Good luck with The Ridiculously Huge Project! ~Savannah P.

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

@Savannah P. -- Good question! I prefer to receive documents as Word. files. If necessary, you can copy and paste your text to the body of an email. This is not my preference, but I can make that work. Other files don't tend to work . . . so no PDFs, etc.

Thank you! Looking forward to reading your story if you choose to submit! :)

Becky said...

Anne Elisabeth, I always enjoy hearing how you, Rohan and your fluffy beasties are doing. Your beautiful writing shines through each post.

The Ridiculously Huge Project sounds so intriguing! When I get a chance I will check out those versions of the Christmas hymn. Christmas hymns have such hope and promise to them. What can be more hopeful then songs declaring the Savior's birth? Honestly, they are probably my favorite music.

It sounds like you're doing well with the big writing change, and I'm glad to hear it. I'll keep you in my prayers. God bless you both, and all within the hall of Drakenheath.

Unknown said...

Kitties. So fluffy! *Contented sigh*

I'm fighting to finish and edit my fanfiction, but I shall get it in, I know it!
The synopsis idea for Five Magic Spindles sounds great! I would love to participate if it comes about.
The RH Project is intriguing...

Unknown said...

I am so excited about your writing prjoect! I would definitely be interesting in sending in a couple of sentences of my sleeping beauty project!

Right now I am in the process of moving with my family! A very long process....

Hannah said...

EEEEP!!! You always make me so excited!!!! This project...oh, oh, OH!

All the lovely little fluffies!

Unknown said...

I had something to say about writing and books and something, but I'm so floored and distracted by the soloist in A Spotless Rose that I've totally forgotten what I was going to say. But yeah. It would've been memorable.

This post made me laugh! : ) I'm glad to hear about the new project and hope you're having an amazing time with it. May your pen flow freely! : ) (Also, the show and tell sounds like a great idea.)

Liv Hammonds said...

I might possibly be interested in this show-and-tell Sleeping Beauty thing... ;)

Hannah said...

Oh my heavens! I am so very excited about the Ridiculously Huge Project!
The Five Magic Spindles show and tell thing sounds very interesting. :)

Unknown said...

I love doings posts! :D
<3 kitties, Ridiculously Huge Project, five something somethings <3
all those things are awesome :)
The show and tell sounds fun.
Some creative projects I've been doing are finishing the longest story I've ever written (3,000 words) and starting a blog :)

Jenelle Leanne said...

I am not entering the Sleeping Beauty contest... but I sure would love reading little snippets of everyone's stories!!! :)

I am so excited about the Ridiculously Huge Project. :)

And your kittens are adorable as ever. I want to pet them.

I'm so glad you're getting excited about this new project! New projects are awesome! And intimidating and overwhelming, but Fresh! and New! and Exciting! I'm so excited for you!

Deborah O'Carroll said...

I love your Doings posts! Such sweetling kitties. ^_^ I'm very very curious about the Ridiculously Huge Project! And very amazed at your incredible progress on it so far. Go you!

One question about the Five Magic Spindles. If I were to submit a story, it wouldn't even HAVE a spindle in it; she pricks herself on something else, which is a very important part of the story idea. Would that automatically disqualify it or does it just depend how good of a story it is? I'm just curious if it would even be worth my entering at all. :) Because... the title and all. :P Thank you!

Good luck on your Ridiculously Huge Project!

Esther Brooksmith (wisdomcreates) said...

I love, love, love hearing about your beasties. The Fluffy Brothers, the interspecies affection, and especially Minerva's water adventures (I laughed out loud). :D
Also, I would be fascinated to hear about everyone's Sleeping Beauty projects, as well as share my own. One of the things I enjoy about your contests is the community of writers encouraging each other.

Tracey Dyck said...

All the fluffiness! It's too much! *faints from cuteness* They're adorable.

That Ridiculously Huge Project sounds amazing... But what ginormous writing venture could merit that label, considering how big Goldstone Wood is? Curiouser and curiouser...

The only reason I haven't sent in a Spindles submission form is because I don't have a title yet. But the first draft nears completion and after that will come extensive editing (or, ahem, cutting...because I've already exceeded the word limit). But the show and tell sounds like delicious fun!

Love your doings posts! :D

Tracey Dyck said...

(Oh, and Deb--you should totally enter! :D That would be so fun!)

Sarah Pennington said...

YESSSS KITTIES! *wants to hug all the cute fluffies* I missed your kitties last time . . . and I needed the cuteness today for stress relief!

Anyway. I just now read your blog post about Poison Crown, having been away from the internet for several weeks. I'm sorry to hear that it's being pushed back again, but I know you're doing what's best, and I look forward to finding out more about your RHP.

As for contests . . . I have one poetry entry ready to go for fanfiction, and the first draft of my Five Magic Spindles story is done as well. I was planning to start editing FMS tomorrow-ish, assuming unpacking from a recent move doesn't eat me alive, but now I'm thinking of rush-editing a story I wrote last year, shortly after the contest ended. And I have one or two short story ideas I do want to write . . . augh, so many decisions, so little time!

Meredith said...

As always, your doings posts are so fantastic. Thank you for sharing those beautiful hymns! Like Ms. Alison, I must say that that soloist was incredible! I am so very intrigued by your new project. Will Rooglewood Press publish these books, or are you searching for a new publisher? Best wishes. You are in my prayers.

I am so eager to read the submissions for the Fan Fiction contest. A 30,000 word piece? That's amazing!

Thank you for these posts. I loved hearing about the beasties. Their antics always make me laugh.

Therru Ghibli said...

I am so excited for the Ridiculously Huge Project!!!!
Right now I'm working on gathering beta readers for a short story of mine and writing in my Spindles in Time story. Those being my major goals right now! I would love to participate in a show and tell! I really enjoy getting a taste of all the amazing creativity that shows in these contests!!

Emily Ann Putzke said...

I love the "show and tell" idea! Count me in! =)

Unknown said...

OMG your kitties are adorable! My fur babies were cuddling with me as I read your post - this fall-like weather has them in very cuddly moods. I LOVE the pictures with Makoose and Milly - adorable!

I'm very sorry that you've had to postpone working on Poison Crown, but I wish you the best with your new project! (I love your stand-in name, btw. "The Ridiculously Huge Project.") And it sounds really intriguing!

Synopses are definitely NOT my strong suit, but the "show and tell" sounds fun. I might have to get over my aversion to writing synopses and participate if you host it!

I'm getting ready to go back to school - at a brand new school. I graduated from community college and am now headed to a 4-year university to finish my education; I'm both excited and nervous! My creative "doings" have mostly focused on my 5 Magic Spindles entry (just submitted today!), but I've been toying around with a couple ideas for some new projects. Time will tell how they end up...