Monday, September 21, 2015

Doings at Drakenheath

Lumé love me, we're more than halfway through September already! Not sure how I feel about that . . . This year just keeps getting away from me. Not that it hasn't been a productive year, but I never quite feel that I make it through all the various tasks I have planned.

Anyway, the time has come for the newest Doings at Drakenheath post, and I hope all of you will enjoy seeing what we've been up to and what is currently on the horizon.

First of all . . . The Ridiculously Huge Project.

I introduced this project last month and have been working on it steadily ever since. I finished the rough draft of Book 1 in just 12 writing days, which pleased me, since my goal was 14.

However, the draft is VERY rough indeed, and I am already brewing such significant changes come the second draft that I rather doubt much of the original material will remain. Oh, well. At least there is a draft in existence.

I have moved on to Book 2 now and am making good progress on it. This draft is a little bit stronger than the draft of Book 1, though it is still much of it very rough. I had boasted some rather grandiose hopes of finishing this rough draft in the same amount of time it took me to do Book 1, but I'm already seeing that as highly unlikely. Because this draft is more polished than the last, it is by necessity bigger and more detailed, so it will take a bit more time.

Anyway, I plan to write up an actual post about The Ridiculously Huge Project sometime in the next week or so, so I'll save details about the project for that post. Though I did promise you monthly glimpses as the development, and I haven't forgotten!

Lights of the Alhambra
This month's glimpse is another research glimpse. I have been spending quite a lot of time researching the Alhambra in southern Spain as inspiration for a particular setting in Book 2. My own palace/city/fortification--called the Vanaruz--is not actually in southern Spain, but the influences are similar. I am even including a park of imported elm trees such as you see surrounding the Alhambra in this picture on the right. This elm park is said to be full of nightingales, so I am swiping that idea as well, particularly since its a detail that fits so neatly into the theme of this book.

Yesterday I spent time researching the Alhambra's four outer gates, their names, when they were built, for what purposes they were used. Details like this, when rearranged to suit one's own story, add a lot of authentic flavor to a world. Much of my concentration has been going to the actual world building at this stage, and while I do some research before beginning a project, I end up doing most of my research along the way as I encounter details that need expanding.

So that's enough about The Ridiculously Huge Project for now. Stay tuned for a more extensive post concerning this project, due to appear soonish on this blog . . .

Did you enjoy the September Show and Tell? I know I did. It was so exciting to see all those different variations on "Sleeping Beauty" currently in development. All of them looked intriguing, and there were several that particularly stood out to me as stories I can hardly wait to read (though I won't say which ones . . . assume it was yours, dear competitor!).

We are now beyond the halfway mark for this contest. Still PLENTY of time to finish up those stories. But its not too long now before the clock will start ticking . . .

Personally, I'm really looking forward to the END of the contest, since I don't get to read the submissions when the first come in (they go out to my team of readers first, and they pick their top five favorites to send to me). So I won't actually get to start reading Magic Spindles stories until January . . . though I may beg a peek or two early, if opportunity arises.

So, in un-bookish-related news . . . we have a new rescue kitty!

Meet Little Miss Muffet.

This pretty little girl was dumped in our neighborhood, I'm not sure how long ago. While my husband and I were out for a stroll a few weekends back, she came out of the woods and started meowing and flirting, trying to get our attention. She was very scared of Milly (my big black doggy), so I sent Rohan on ahead with her so that I could try to make friends with the poor kitty.

Little Miss was VERY ready to be rescued. She let me pick her right up and carry her all the way home. She had to live for the first two weeks on our screened-in back porch, as she was covered in fleas and had to get her vaccinations. But I have a great animal rescue group in the Raleigh area to work with, and they got me right into their program.

Evil Looks Down from Above
Now Little Miss is de-wormed, de-fleaed, up to date on all of her shots, and happily living in our home while we search for a perfect forever family for her. She's still not a fan of Milly, and my other kitties, despite being very used to having other cats in the house, are not particularly welcoming to a newcomer. Believe it or not, Minerva Louise (aka, The Evil One) is my most gentle cat when dealing with a newbie, so I let her and Little Miss hang out together in my office for a supervised period most mornings. I can't say they truly interact with one another. But sometimes that's a good thing where kitties are concerned . . .

Say a prayer that we'll find a good home for Little Miss, if you think of it. We love her and are happy to take care of her, but she will be MUCH happier in a home of her own where she can be the only princess.

Rohan and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary just a few days ago! Most of you probably saw that, as it was the previous post, but I'll share a picture of us on the actual day too. My sweet handsome guy took me to Raleigh's oldest (and fanciest) steakhouse, Sullivan's, to celebrate, so we had to dress up. Not really a hardship for us, since we both like fancy dressing and fancy dining! I thought you might particularly like seeing the necklace I wore, which was a gift from my brother and his wife. It's got a distinctly Goldstone Wood-esque vibe, I'm thinking!

We have a lot of fun together, and our anniversary was no exception. We had hoped to do a little trip to celebrate the milestone of five years, but . . . well, we might have a much BIGGER trip coming up in another month or so, which means we need to save our vacation days! I won't say too much now (I'll save it for the next Doings post), but it looks like Rohan and I might be jumping "over the pond" very soon. Waaaaaay over the pond . . . (And we're getting seriously excited about it!)

 Oh, and I got a new haircut, which you can also see making its debut in these pictures. Just some layers and bangs, which is a fun change for me. It was getting reeeeeeeally long, and while I love long hair in theory, it tends to start looking heavy around my face. This cut gives my hair a little more bounce, and I feel prettier than I have in a long while. Ah! The restorative power of a good haircut . . .

Progress is still being made on both the Draven's Light audiobook and the Five Enchanted Roses audiobook. I hope to see both of them launched before the end of the year, though I'm not ABSOLUTELY certain this will be possible. It all depends on whether or not I get a chance to sit down and listen through both of them the several times necessary before hitting the "approve" button. Well over 20 hours worth of listening, not always easy to find time for. But one way or the other, both of these products are in the works and sounding awesome, so we'll be sharing them eventually.

And, believe it or not, I am actually in the very beginning stages of planning another little story. Not sure if anything will come of it, but I've been brainstorming both with Rohan and with my mother, (award-winning and bestelling novelist Jill Stengl, who knows a thing or two about brainstorming!), and they are both very keen for me to pursue it. I won't say too much about it just now, save that it's a children's book, so MUCH shorter than anything else I've ever done. And it's not a fantasy. I'll see if it goes anywhere before I reveal too much more about it, but it's definitely a Doing that is taking up some of my mental processes.

My plan is to finish drafting Book 2 in The Ridiculously Huge Project, and then take a week off from that to see if I can't rough up a quick draft of this children's book idea. I've got an outline that I like a ton, and while it will probably take me more than a week to write, I hope to get most of it done very quickly indeed. So we'll see. If that week goes well, I MIGHT be introducing this little story to all of you sooner rather than later. If it doesn't go well, I might scrap the whole thing, so we will see . . .

But, one way or the other, I'm only going to take a week to play with it, because I CANNOT SLOW DOWN on The Ridiculously Huge Project. Not and make my goals. (But more on that later.)

Wow, things look much calmer in this Doings post than they have in many of my other posts! Not quite so many irons in the fire at once, which is nice. Gives me time to really focus, at least for this period, on my writing itself. Sometimes, with ALL of the things I'm juggling, I begin to feel as though the Writer in me gets a little buried. So I really have to take advantage of clearer space when I get it!

So what has your September been like, dear Imps? Are you working away on your Five Magic Spindles stories? I'm sure many of you are back in school full throttle now, both as students and as teachers. Any specific plans for things you hope to accomplish in the next month? Do tell! I am all ears . . .


Unknown said...

Goodness! That's a lot of stuff. : ) It's always exciting to hear about your work, and can I just say, Miss Muffet is the PRETTIEST little kitty!

I'm finishing the first draft of my second Five Magic Spindles entry, and hopefully (hopefully?) writing a second draft of the first... I hate first drafts sometimes. : ( They're always so darn different from one another. I'm also working on my college application essays, which is so very exciting. : )

Jenelle Leanne said...

And this is you with less irons in the fire! LOL

I cannot wait to hear more about the RHP. All the research sounds very intriguing. Also, I am in awe of your ability to write that many words in such a short amount of time! Congrats! That's awesome!!! :)

Happy belated 5th anniversary! :) (I know I've heard of Sullivans, we may have to try that out sometime, I didn't realize it was Raleigh's oldest steakhouse! Usually we stick to Ruth's Chris for our "fancy" date nights)

Little Miss Muffet is adorable. Sigh. I want a kitty.

I'm so ridiculously excited about the Five Enchanted Roses audio book. I have several family members who only have time for "reading" via audio book and I'm loving that they will get a chance to hear these wonderful stories soon!!!!

Hm, let's see, my September has been extremely eventful, but not so much on the writing side. Yorien's Hand is getting its second coat of polish (so lots of editing going on there - working steadily on that), had the big cover reveal last week, doing some beta reading, and celebrating Brant's first birthday today, starting up our first "official" year of homeschooling, as well as all of our fall events (dance classes for Leiana, morning Bible study for me, AWANA...) yeah, we've been pretty busy.

Sarah Pennington said...

Glad to hear the RHP is going well! And Miss Muffet is an absolutely adorable kitty; I hope you can find a home for her soon.

Also, if you end up going to Germany (or the UK or just about anywhere in Europe, but especially the places I named), I will be ridiculously jealous and also ridiculously happy for you because that would be AWESOME.

Once Upon a Dream is coming along nicely. I'm nearly done with the first round of edits. I think this is the fastest I've worked on a story in years; usually the editing process takes months, if not more. And after this round of edits comes . . . I don't even know. Probably a second round of edits, and then asking my parents to do a third round and who knows what after that. Honestly, I've never gotten that far on a major project, so the whole thing is rather new to me.

Bookishqueen said...

I am in my last year of college, so I am super busy with life planning, though I am sure next semester will be the hardest yet. I'm trying to push myself to finish my second draft of my WIP by the end of this semester so that I do not have to worry about it later, but it is rather difficult to find time for!

Esther Brooksmith (wisdomcreates) said...

I am so inspired to hear you working on your RHP. It expands my notion of a full week's work. Obviously, I could push myself a little bit harder.
Little Miss Muffet is a pretty girl, and I'm glad you could rescue her. I hope she finds a forever home!
You and Rohan look amazing. I love your necklace.
The children's book sounds intriguing. I think that will be fun for you, too. :)
Excited for future puddle-jumping. ;)
I am working on my 5MS stories, trying to fit them around my study times. I have an 8-hour exam coming up next month, and it's very important that I pass on first try. Soooo...I'm cramming.
It was great to hear about your doings!!!

ghost ryter said...

I'm this close to begging my mom to let us adopt Little Miss Muffet. (Alas, we live in different state than you, and it would take a miracle to convince her to get another indoor cat.)

I can't wait to hear more about the RHP! And a children's book? Ooh!

Your necklace is beautiful! It reminds me of something an Etalpallian would wear. :D

Becky said...

I always enjoy your posts and hearing about all the projects you are planning and accomplishing. I'm looking forward to the post about The Ridiculously Huge Project. Your research on the Alhambra, its gates, elms and nightingales makes it even more intriguing! (That is a beautiful picture!)

I do hope your children's book works out. I've imagined one by you for some time. Though this one is most likely a different one, I think you will do an amazing job!

Ooooo, you must be so excited about your upcoming trip! Enjoy every planning moment, then beyond!

Little Miss Muffet is a pretty girl. I know someone in the Raleigh area will find her irresistible.

And I must say that the Five Magic Spindles contest did inspire a creative thought...a Sleeping Beauty story with a strong influence from Cyrano de Bergerac...well, I'm fairly certain that's as far as that one is going, but at least it was there. Haha! Just so you know, it would have had a happy ending.

Happy Anniversary to you and Rohan! Your photo is wonderful. God bless your hearts!

Meredith said...

I always love your doings posts! Am praying that Little Miss Muffet finds a good home. She sounds so very precious! Hope that you and Rohan had a wonderful anniversary. Have a fantastic and safe trip.
Oh, this huge, secret project! The insights into your research are so very intriguing! I'm also thrilled that you're contemplating writing a children's book! Now, Lord willing, I can introduce my young nieces to your writing. Aliya is four and Tristyn is seven. I'll be praying for this project as well, that the Lord will inspire you.

Oh, I'm so very, very excited for Five Enchanted Roses and Draven's Light audiobooks! Ms. Becky Doughty did such a phenomenal job with Five Glass Slippers, I know she'll amaze me with FIR. I'm particularly excited to hear her character portrayals in The Wulver's Rose and Esprit de la Rose. The Scottish accents and French accent of Captain Pepin will be so neat to hear.

September's always pretty busy. I have some speaking and singing programs coming up. It was a fast summer, and now school has begun!

Thanks as always for these posts. God bless you.

E.F.B. said...

Another fun Doings post! Yay!

I love the research glimpses you've been giving us. Along with it being fun to see the things that are inspiring the RHP, I like learning about things that I probably wouldn't have had a reason to know about before. Alhambra looks like an especially good source of inspiration.

I did enjoy the September show and tell. I actually read all of the different story variations to my mom and we both thought that there were a lot of really interesting ideas there! I look forward to finding how who the winners are when it comes time for that.

What a pretty kitty Little Miss Muffet is! (Btw, I love how you call her "Little Miss" for short. It reminds me of how Jovann called Sairu "Little Miss" in Golden Daughter. :D ) If only my kitty wasn't such an attention hog, I'd be tempted to adopt her myself! However, I will gladly pray for her to find a good, loving home.

Whenever the Draven's Light audiobook comes out, I'll definitely be getting it! My mom and I listened to the audiobook for Goddess Tithle together and we loved it, so I'm sure Draven's Light will be just as good. Now I just have to decide if I can be patient enough to wait to read Draven's Light until after I've heard the audiobook, or if I should just go ahead an read it. Hmmm...This could be a tough choice!

Thank you for keeping us up to date, Anne Elisabeth! May God's blessing be on you and Rohan and your furry children. :)