Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Matter of Magic by Patricia C. Wrede

A Matter of Magic (Mairelon, #1-2)
A Matter of Magic is two books actually.  I thought about getting the books separately, but decided the cover was prettier and I'd have to get the separate editions used and they may not have matched...  Anyway, I got the omnibus.

Because I suck at describing things, here's what they're about:

Mairelon the Magician, book 1:

Kim doesn't hesitate when a stranger offers her a small fortune to break into the travelling magician's wagon in search of a silver bowl. Kim isn't above a bit of breaking-and-entering. Having grown up a waif in the dirty streets of London-disguised as a boy!-has schooled her in one hard lesson: steal from them before they steal from you.

But there is something odd about this magician. He isn't like the other hucksters and swindlers that Kim is used to. When he catches her in the act, Kim thinks she's done for.  Until he suggests she become his apprentice. Kim wonders how tough it could be faking a bit of hocus pocus.

But Mairelon isn't an act. His magic is real.

The Magician's Ward, book 2:

Happy in her new life as an apprentice to the powerful magician Mairelon, Kim is horrified when a nosy relative determines to turn Kim - a former street urchin - into. . .a lady! But real trouble begins when several wizards of Kim's acquaintance disappear. Then Mairelon's magic disappears!

I love Regency romances. I love fantasy. This book (these books?) is a little of both, with some mystery thrown in, which I've recently gotten into. I can't begin to explain how much I loved and enjoyed it. Well, there's the geek way: SQUEEE!!

If you've read any books by Patricia C. Wrede, you've probably read the Enchanted Forest Chronicles; first books I read by her and I was a junior in high school, I think.  A Matter of Magic, Mairelon, whatever you want to call these books were for a bit older audience.

The Regency part is, from what I've read of other Regencies, pretty accurate.  She captured the world better than some romance writers, who dominate the Regency era.  Bow street runners, Drury Lane, the opera, Napoleon Bonaparte...  Not to mention the silliness of Polite Society!

The fantasy part is great.  Magic isn't a big secret in this world.  Wizards are supposed to be a little odd.  There's even a Ministry for Wizardry.  A Royal College.  Plenty of smart wizards, and a Frenchwoman wizard, a Russian prince wizard.  Magic is, well, magic.  It's enchanting, pun intended.  When spells go bad...  And never, ever say a spell in your native tongue.

I have rudimentary experience with mysteries, so I can't make an intelligent comment on it, other than saying, like the rest of it, was pretty interesting and surprising.

I've been useless the past two days.  I read Mairelon the Magician yesterday started it in the morning, finished it last night, and started The Magician's Ward this morning and finished it quickly.  Less than 12 hours, between classes and animal care.

I don't know when's the last time I read a book I just couldn't put down.  I mean, even with books I love, like a Stephen Lawhead or Nectar from a Stone, I can stop anytime.  It doesn't bother me to take breaks.  I stretch it out as long as I need to.

I didn't want to do anything the past two days.  Nothing.  I wanted to sit and read this book.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rewrites Don't Exist Right Now

I wrote a short story.  A vampire story, my first one.

I started it last night.  I finished it tonight.  So, it took me a little over 24 hours.  4,548 words, a little over 17 pages.

I got inspired last night.  I was itching to write.

Once I started, I was pretty useless.  I would do something, and then get right back to the computer.  For two days, my life revolved around this story.

It's probably a total load of crap, but I don't care.  I love it.  It's my baby.  For right now.

I'm really good at making a fool of myself.  Those of you who have been following my blog should know that better than anyone.  I've been jumping around and doing a happy dance.

Yeah, I'm going to attempt to edit.  But I was also supposed to rewrite "Callis."  I've started, but um, yeah...

Happy writing!  And dancing.  For someone who can't dance, I sure do love to.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Insanity Was Good While It Lasted

I turned in my entry to the creative writing contest.

I had the document on Zoho.  Did a quick spot-check, fell in love with the story all over again, printed it, stapled it to the entry form, and handed it to the creative writing instructor.

And then what little sanity I have returned.  I answered a few questions from the CWI with a sick feeling in my stomach, and I couldn't ask for it back.

The die is cast.

What I've Noticed

I've been writing since 2005.  There are some things I've just noticed about my writing.

1 - Parents are either (a) dead or (b) intolerable.  I think of all my characters, one had a good relationship with her parents, but even that was a little strained.  I can blame this on the fact that I write fantasy & fairy tale spoofs.

2 - I can't write a story in order to save my life.  I get an idea for a scene in my head.  I write it down in a Composition book, or start a WordPad document, name it "Draft" and write it there.

3 - In regards to #2, the scenes I write beforehand don't always make the rest of the story when it gets to that part.  However, things that I type up are more likely to make it than things I write out.

4 - November to about March are my good writing months.  The rest of the year, I don't typically write anything too significant.  And those months are iffy still.

5 - When in doubt about villains, trolls always work.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

14 Loves: Songs

So, in keeping with the 2-day, 14-things celebration of Valentine's Day, I decided to post a list of my favorite love songs.

Now, if any of these would be on a normal person's favorite love songs list, I don't know.  Yes, they are all country.  (The links go to Lyrics Box.*  They'll have the lyrics and a player for your listening pleasure for those that pique your curiosity.)

14 - "Crazy Not To" by Danny Gokey

13 - "Without Love" by Mindy McCready

12 - "Forever Road" by Darius Rucker

11 - "Like I Am" by Rascal Flatts

10 - "Makin Plans" by Miranda Lambert

9 - "Livin' on Love" by Alan Jackson

8 - "I'm In" by Keith Urban

7 - "Fall into Me" by Emerson Drive

6 - "Deeper than the Holler" by Randy Travis

5 - "Love Don't Run" by Steve Holy (Sorry, this song, you have to watch the video.  It's why I love it so much:)

4 - "Heart of the World" by Lady Antebellum

3 - "You're the Love I Wanna Be In" by Jason Aldean

2 - "We Danced" by Brad Paisley

1 - "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This" by Toby Keith (I'm not comfortable posting the official video...)

*Lyrics Box is kind of like the Wikipedia of lyrics websites, it's all fan-added.  Some of the words may be wrong.

Monday, February 13, 2012

14 Loves: Books

In celebration of Valentine's Day, even though I'm single, today and tomorrow, I'm going to post 14 of my loves. Today, it'll be romances. So, without further ado:

14: The Perfect Blend by Allie Pleiter.  Christian contemporary.  See, I do like some Christian fiction, and this one's even a Love Inspired.

13.  Keeper of the Light by Janeen O'Kerry. Celtic, medieval, magic.

12.  Everlasting by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Medieval.

11.  What a Lady Wants (Last Man Standing #2) by Victoria Alexander.  Victorian.  You'll be seeing her again.  They say reformed rake makes best husband.  Nigel Cavendish was in dire need of reforming.

10.  Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist.  Christian historical.

9.  Beauty and the Baron by Deborah Hale.  Regency.  I read her fantasy books and loved those.  Checked out her others and loved this one!

8.  Her Highness, My Wife (Effington #5) by Victoria Alexander.  Regency. The title alone made me want to read it.  "Fifteen months, three weeks, and four days."

7.  Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist.  Christian historical.

6.  The Measure of a Lady by Deeanne Gist.  Christian historical.  My all-time favorite of Gist's.

5.  Miss Lacey's Last Fling by Candice Hern.  Regency.  This is the only one I don't have a print copy of.  It's on my Kindle.

4.  The Pursuit of Marriage (Effington #8) by Victoria Alexander.  Um, 1821.  Still considered Regency, I think.  I love this book.

3.  A Visit from Sir Nicholas (Effington #9) by Victoria Alexander.  Victorian.  Warm up for Christmas!

2.  The Wedding Bargain (Effington #1) by Victoria Alexander.  Regency.  Best.  Season.  Ever.  Pandora Effington was my first romance role model.

"You, my lord, are a rake and a rogue.  A scoundrel.  In short, sir, you are a beast."

1.  The Marriage Lesson (Effington #3) by Victoria Alexander.  Regency.  The hero and heroine are both writers.  Thomas writes bad poetry and Marianne secretly writes for the newspaper.  The Absolutely True Adventures of a Country Miss in London.  She became my other romance role model.  I want to be her!


"For good or ill the night has led us on this grave adventure.
With one so fair, the stars do pale in jealousy and censure.
Her hair gleams gold, her eyes glow brown with laughter and with life.
But stubborn wench, this country miss, will naught be any man's wife.
He taught her well, she taught him more, still love was never mentioned.
Till he found truth within his heart.  Tis called the marriage lesson."

Because guys who write bad poetry are so endearing.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Groan, Cringe

So, the College's creative writing contest is going on right now. The aspiring storytellers, poets, and essayists are all preparing their best work to submit to The Contest.

I don't typically enter contests.  This is how it works:  I get the information when it becomes available.  I read it over a billion times, contemplate a piece I could enter or consider writing a new piece.

And then the deadline comes and I have nothing to enter.


I enter something, but it's not my best work.

The past few things, I've just let the deadline go by and just brushed it off.  They'll be plenty of oppurtunities.

But, unless I put myself out there, I'll never be recognized for my awesome writerly talent (I can dream here, I'm visualizing).

I have a story that I wrote for Long Ridge that I really, really like.  It's funny and brilliant and I sound like a mother talking about her child...

If any story I wrote had a chance, it would be this one.  I talked to Mrs. Donna about it.  She was working in the library today.  She, of course, thinks I should go for it.  I gave her the story to read.

As I was waiting for my ride home, I cringed.  Mrs. Donna is very supportive of the whole writing thing, knows I have talent--or at least the passion, and everything, but the subject matter and some of the content...

I wanted to go back into the library and ask for my story back.  I didn't want her to read it, I just wanted to cuddle it and hold it like it was a baby and didn't want it to get judged, even though I know she'll just tell me it's great and I should enter it.  Of that, I am certain.

But getting my ego fluffed isn't the only reason I went to Mrs. Donna.  If I tell someone other than Lacey, I'll just let it go by.  But if someone else knew, maybe I'll actually live up to expectations.  Accountability and all that.  The story needs a little editing, but it's still a good story.  I like to think that if I hadn't written it myself, and somebody else showed it to me, I would still like it.

Showing Mrs. Donna was Step One.  Now, to get into editing and submitting before the 27th.

I can do this.  I can do this.  I can do this.

I might be able to do this...