So long, farewell! (November Writing Challenge)

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

So, November is almost here! Wow, is there any one who is excited? Apprehensive? I know I am! For many writers, this is the advent of a month filled with frenzied scribbling as they join up on NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month, a website any writer can sign up with, that challenges them to write a 50,000 word novel in the space of one month.) Since the beginning of the year, I have been looking forward to the month of November. I didn't have it in my plans to join NaNoWriMo this year because I didn't want to start a new novel while The Crown of Life lay untouched slowly collecting layers of dust--"pickling" as my dad would say. I had another little plan though. This is the plan! Throughout the month of November, I am challenging myself to work extra hard in my work-in-progress, The Crown of Life, and try (remember, I said simply try!) to finish the first draft of the novel before December 1. 

Considering that I have schoolwork, family activities and choir-practice to juggle with as well (for us Southern-Hemisphereians November is not such a perfect writing month like most of you up north with summer so close and all!), I have my doubts that I will be able to finish it as I'd like. However, that does not mean I will not attempt it, and at the least my main goal is to progress as much as I can in the story and cross as much ground in the tale, so that even if I do not complete The Crown of Life this coming month, I will be significantly near the finish line. Knowing that officially NaNo demands that you start a new novel for the project, I had been planning on not joining in this year. But when I found out that others (i.e Jenny and Emily) are going to bend the rules a bit and work on their novels-in-progress without cheating, the idea appealed to me. So, I have signed up with the name "Joy C." (you can find me among Jenny or Abigail's buddies). Feel free to buddy me if you like! But my reasons in joining are not in winning or writing 50,000 words (though I plan on writing as much as I can!!), but rather to keep connected with other writers who are, like me, challenging themselves to a MOUNTAIN of writing during the month of November. So what do you think?

To be able to accomplish my goal, though, I am going to take a month's break from using the internet (that includes e-mails, fb, pinterest, blogging etc.). This means you won't see me around here on Fullness of Joy for a while while I am away scribbling. It will be mighty hard to pull myself away from you all for a full month, but I do believe that the break will be good for me (besides of course being necessary if I want to remove unneeded distractions for me to be able to write). Lately I have been a little overwhelmed with how much I've been on the internet, so much so that it often has taken time away from more important things in life: God, family, school... and obviously writing. So, despite the fact that I don't want to say bye to you all for this long,  I am glad. 
Lord willing, when I come back to Fullness of Joy in December, I hope to meet you with a big chunk of writing from The Crown of Life under my arm, and hopefully feel refreshed by the break as well.

But! I have no intention of abandoning you cruelly without any posts for a whole month--goodness, what a horrible thought! Throughout the month of November, Lord willing, some lovely young ladies and sisters in Christ will be guest-posting on Fullness of Joy and will keep it well-cared for and busy while I am away. I sure do hope you enjoy all their posts (I know I am/have!) and please do feel free to share your own thoughts and encouragements with them through comments!. And lastly, I just want to say thank you all who are contributing and helping me through those posts; it is such an honour to have you on Fullness of Joy!!

So, I am really excited about this, but a bit panicky too, of course. 
But I shall do my best, and try not to worry, but rather enjoy the ride and pray and trust the Lord to help me with this challenge. I hope you enjoy the ride too and are blessed!

Until next month then, dear sisters. Au revoir! 
And God bless.

P.S. my apologizes for this hastily written post with all the incorrect punctuation and grammar and all. It is November in only a very few hours after all and I guess the panic of it is creeping on me somewhat. But, here is a wonderful verse that encouraged me this morning that I hope will bless you too. Oh, let us give thanks to the Lord; for He IS good and His mercies endure forever!

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so...
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness." 
Psalm 107: 1-2 and 8-9 (NKJV)

Iridescent Gleams

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Like the iridescent gleam of silver-white stars in the night sky, or the many-coloured spectrums of a prism blazing green, scarlet, purple and gold in the sunlight is the love a writer has for his craft. 

I love to write. 

It is more than a hobby too, for hobbies come and go, vary in degree and are not something that usually define you or make you YOU. But with me, it does. I can honestly say there is nothing like the feeling inspired by the rush, the blinding twirl and swirl of words flowing from the nib of a writer’s pen, the ink-stained marks on the crisp white paper that, if looked at carelessly will seem but a bunch of letters clustered together, but if gazed at with care, can be seen as vivid flashes of beauty.... of lands, places, thoughts, peoples, truths and things made up of one’s deepest heart-felt imaginations, emotions and feelings.

For me, writing is a reflection, a pouring-out of my heart unto something tangible... and that tangibleness almost feels like it becomes a part of me as I write, so much so that it hurts at times, makes me grind my teeth and feel like bursting into tears. This world involves weary nights agonizing over one quarrelsome sentence, a choice of words to describe the image in one’s mind, the struggle to capture the perfect mood for a scene, the emotion or thought of a character and getting to know them and understand them, time spent tearing up a ‘worthless’ page in agony of thought and rewriting it until it shines, spending sleepless nights thinking of solutions to plot-holes and deciding with almost a terrifying godlike sovereignty the fate and destiny of the beloved (and not-so-beloved) characters created in one’s literary world. Such is the sheer weight of words, the beauty of the written word. Such is the life of a writer.

And one I treasure...
I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions-  James A. Michener

Beautiful People - Anthea

Monday, 15 October 2012

"And though she be but little, she is fierce." 
- Shakespeare

Some of you may remember with a chuckle the rather idiotic post one of my Crown of Life characters wrote on my blog a while back. This character has been a bit of a puzzle to figure out, hone in on and work with, but on the whole she's given me very little trouble and has become a spunky, if not vain close little friend of mine. Sometimes I've thought her to be very much like me. At times I think she is nothing like me at all. Sometimes I love her something fierce and at times I hate her to a loathing, but at all times I feel for her, sympathize with her and seem to understand her and her deepest thoughts, fancies and dreams like she really is me. This is a supreme blessing for any writer because I know I could easily have had a lot of trouble with a character like her! And since she keeps popping up in my story every other chapter, I thought I may as well do a proper Beautiful People for her. What say you? So, my dear folks, let me introduce you to Valerius' little sister...

Anthea Gallus

1. What does she look like?
Anthea is not tall (a reality she bemoans), has a curly cascade of hair, inky black in colour, that always falls in dark ringlets across her cheeks and brow. Her eyes are sea-grey with flecks of copper in them, but when they burn with an intensity (usually of anger) her irises can sparkle almost emerald in hue. 
2.  What is her favourite type of shoes? 
She prizes her beaded sandals dearly, as the normal leather tongs that the Romans wear are too plain for her tastes. But if she were living in modern times, she'd mostly definitely wear shoes with high heels and of bright, tawny colours varying from shades of orange, yellow, pink, or silver...
3. How old is she? 
The story begins in A.D. 59, when Anthea is fourteen
4. What kind of personality does she have?  Introverted or extroverted?  Cheerful or morose?
Anthea would be described as extroverted, with interesting streaks in her that don't fit quite in the box; she has the capability of being extremely cheerful, fun-loving and frolicsome, but as a down side she is of a temperamental nature and can get into horribly morose, sulky moods and fierce tempers on a whim. She is a ray of golden sunshine when pleased and a grey thundercloud of storm when displeased. However, she is very sociable, loves hanging out with her friends and is on most terms a jolly little daisy of a maiden.
6. Is she married or does she have a sweetheart? 
Upon meeting Anthea at the story's start, you find her a precocious girl of nearly fifteen summers tied by a family betrothal to a man almost a dozen years older then her, and who perhaps is not all she dreams of in a man: Flavius Apicius. However, she does love him fiercely and looks up to him with something akin between respect and fear. She's often torn between her dreams, fancies and the memories of her childhood, parents and brother, and her duty as his betrothed wife and the love she bears for him.
7. Does she journal? 
Goodness, what?! In normal circumstances, Anthea's vibrant, vivacious personality and way of life has no place for quiet contemplation. She thinks it altogether silly that her brother chronicles his thoughts on parchment with such scrupulous care, "like a mother hen brooding over her little eggs", she'd joke; the meditative medium of journaling is one of many things that Anthea considers "positively boring".  But it is often that what we think to be of no importance becomes centre-stage in our lives. So it is with Anthea, when through a storm of internal as well as outward trouble, she is forced to pen her sea of emotions and the events of her life on paper. 
8. What’s her favorite animal? 
It is without doubt her brother's white Prussian cat, Martina, who happens to be the sorest trial of Valerius at home besides the pestering of his sister, but to Anthea is pure delight.
9. What does her average day look like? Night owl or morning person? 
Perhaps you'd be surprised that Anthea is an early bird. Except for her father, and occasionally Valerius, she is usually the first to get out of bed in the morning at dawn to watch the sun rise over the Palatine Hills as she plans her day. It is probably the only time ever where she can afford a measure of solitude and quiet, but that is limited and her brain remains an active beehive. But after a 'light' breakfast consisting of salted bread, milk, a cluster of dried fruit, two eggs and a slice of cheese, she becomes so sleepy she goes back to bed and wakes up at about noon when her day really starts.  She first has a midday meal and then goes off and lounges either in the peristyle or in her bedroom chambers with her personal slave following closely at her heels. She does at this time nothing in particular except pathetically strum her little harp, breeze through a literary classic, or spend some time with her mother in lethargic chit-chat. By late afternoon, she then takes to her comfortable chair and gets her personal slave to attend to her luxuriant, thick black hair and general makeup. After that, she takes about half an hour selecting her outfit for the evening and afterwards her slave helps her into it. Sometimes, on occasion she rides out with one of her friends to the Baths, the markets or to the theater for a few hours of recreation and entertainment.  It is then, a light supper and off to the main entertainment of the day (generally a social banquet or a party with some of her girlfriends). And then it is off to bed.
10. Does she have a sweet tooth? 
In as much as she loves honey cakes, sugar dates, plums, figs and anything sugary, how can she not have a sweet tooth?
11. What colors are her bedroom? 
The colours denominating her bedroom chamber vary on occasion but usually are lilac lavenders, gentle pinks and/or creamy whites
12. Can she cook? 
She has never tried but even if it were befitting her social status, she'd not have the energy or desire. She is a pathetically lazy creature when it comes to practical domestic affairs.
13. What is her favorite household chore? 
It is to Anthea's great advantage that women of the social ranking she belongs to, do not lift a finger in household chores, except to do the most dignified and easy tasks, such as needlework, taking care that the household runs efficiently etc. But it would be ordering the slaves about their duties that would be Anthea's favourite... and no, she is so sweet and charming (most times anyhow) that the servants hardly hold any grudge against their young mistress. 
14. Is she naturally curious? 
Quite! Little details, little wisps of gossip can arouse her deepest curiosities  However, she is too comfortable to really pursue her curiosity to any great heights, especially if it endangers her secure little world.
15. If she had a song, what would it be? 
Two songs, one is "To Believe" by Jackie Evancho and the other "May it Be" by Enya. Below are snippets of the lyrics from both songs that especially are suited to Anthea and her life's journey, from a flighty little maiden, to a burdened young woman with a charge and call she's not sure she is ready to accept. And if you are left curious by that last remark, I will annoy you further by saying I will not divulge any more specifics ;).

To Believe
"...To believe in a day
When hunger and war will pass away
To have the hope amidst despair
That every sparrow's counted
That You hear each cry and listen to each prayer

Father, as you see, I'm just a child
And there's so much to understand
But if Your Grace should surround me
Then I'll do the best I can
I promise, I'll do the very best I can..."
- Jackie Evancho 
May it Be"May it be an evening star shines down upon you
May it be when darkness falls your heart will be true
You walk a lonely road
Oh how far you are from home...

May it be the shadow's call will fly away
May it be you journey on to light their day
When the night is overcome
You may rise to find the sun

Mornie utulie
Believe and you will find your way
Mornie utulie
A promise lives within you now"
- Enya

A Birthday Party -of a sort

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

 Dear friends and viewers!
I am here to make a Bilbo Baggins style of...
(or rather a shout-out post because it has been announced already)

Literary sisters Jenny Freitag and Abigail J. Hartman will be celebrating the second anniversaries or birthdays of their debut novels, The Shadow Things and The Soldier's Cross

in November.
This November, folks!

And in celebration of it, they are planning on hosting a blog party during the month of November!   A blog party!! Isn't that just splendid? Birthday cake, cream in' cherry icing, cellophane wrappings with delightful mystery gifts inside and everything! I suppose I might as well tell you from now that I am pretty excited. On their blogs they'll be having giveaways and posts on what influenced their novels, their writing process, the ideas they had while writing, what's it like being published authors, and best of all, they will be having a question-and-answer series as well!

So, in the days leading up to this exciting blog-party, Jenny and Abigail would appreciate and love to receive questions we may have regarding their books... and they encourage any and all questions. If interested, you can send them questions via their Facebook pages, e-mail them at (Jenny) and jeanne@squeakycleanreviews (Abigail), or post the question(s) on their respective blogs: The Penslayer and Scribbles and Ink Stains  

I am really looking forward to this, because since discovering these two lovely girls at the beginning of the year, I have been so blessed getting to know them more. I have heartily enjoyed reading Jenny and Abigail's historical fiction novels. Even more, it is a joy and I always look forward to any posts from their lovely blogs and enjoy keeping in contact via e-mail, messages, and blogging with these sweet young ladies. They have a brilliant literary talent and intellectual maturity for their young age, and most important of all are really committed Christians who love and fear the Lord. Besides, they have helped me immensely in my writing journey, for which I am so thankful.

To me it seems that this is going to be a grand party with lots of fun and delights for everyone involved, as in Abigail's own words "It's going to be big, folks!"

So come and join in the fun!
“Though he slay me, yet I will praise him," he began softly, his voice a little tremulous at first. "I will rise up in the morning with the dew and praise his name. He has given me a place to serve him, a name with which to be known. He has called me forth and made my heart race with the wind on the Downs, made me soar with the blackbird in the evening. So though he slay me, yet I will praise him. Though sorrows be my lot, yet I will sing. When my last tear has fallen I will take up my song again, I will praise his most glorious exalted name.” 
― Jennifer FreitagThe Shadow Things

“God has arranged strange ways for some of us to find him. Sometimes He brings us on long physical journeys; sometimes He leaves us at home and makes the journey internal. Yours has been both. You have gone a long way and struggled a great deal, but I can see from your eyes that it was not for nothing.” 
― Abigail J. HartmanThe Soldier's Cross

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