October 2017 Adventures and Episodes

Adventures& Episodes

Good morning, dear Reader! It’s time for the monthly rodeo-roundup of all the doings around these here parts.

October was absolutely packed with fun!

Writing Adventures

I finished the major editing pass of Minstrel’s Call! I am so excited to have finished that round of edits. So much of the story got re-written and reorganized over the past several months. Now it is on to the polishing effort… which is a bit more tedious, but also easier in a lot of ways.

After finishing that round of edits, we went to Kinkos and printed and bound the manuscript so that I can read through it out loud and polish as I go. But before I started that, I used the remainder of October to write a short story for the Fellowship of Fantasy’s next anthology. The story takes place in the realm of Minstrel’s Song, but many years before King’s Warrior. It includes a dragon and a magical doorway… I am hoping that it is accepted into the anthology—which they are planning to release in March, but if it isn’t, I’ll publish it on my own… either way, I think you’ll enjoy it!

I made a pinterest board for it:

Bookwyrm Adventures

I finished reading Fairest and Stars Above by Marissa Meyer, finishing the Lunar Chronicles. Both were very good, and I am planning to write the series review shortly.

I read The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz for the FoF October Book club book and highly enjoyed it. You can find my review of the book HERE.

I also read The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens. It is a book that Leiana has listened to on audio book several times, and she recommended it to me. I enjoyed it. It was cute and fun and filled with adventure, and I am planning on reading the rest of the series.

I re-read Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones and enjoyed it every bit as much as I remembered.

Real-Life Adventures

Derek and I took the youngest hobbit with us down to Nashville, TN to meet up with my parents and siblings for my sister’s in-house concert at Z Music Room. We spent a long weekend in a cozy little log cabin and had an absolute blast! We played some games, explored Nashville and Franklin, enjoyed a wonderful concert by my sister, talked, relaxed, and dreamed together of the future of Stormcave.

IMG-3927

As a little aside/plug for my sister’s music… Brittany Jean’s third album is releasing soon, and on Friday she is releasing her first single! I’m hoping to be able to hop on back over here and tell you more about it. If you enjoy Americana music that is beautiful and has powerful lyrics that tell stories, then this is the new up-and-coming artist to keep an eye on! Her music is my absolute favorite.

Leiana turned NINE (I’m still a little in shock over that… I don’t know who authorized it… but it went and happened). We celebrated her birthday with a marvelous Bunny-Decorated Carrot cake, she got to choose the restaurant (Red Robin), and presents. I think she enjoyed it.

We also enjoyed trick-or-treating with our friends and the entire family dressed up as Star Wars characters for our annual Fall Family Photo. Princess Leia, Ashoka Tano, Jyn Erso, a Youngling, Darth Vader, and Anakin Skywalker!

Star Wars Family

We are 11 weeks into the 2017-2018 school year and still going strong. We’re even on track to be a week ahead of my plans by the end of this week… so that’s exciting!

Episodes on the Silver Screen

We went to see the My Little Pony movie in the theater for Leiana’s birthday. It was super fun and cute and quirky and all the things I’ve come to expect from this franchise. I loved it. The previews were less-than thrilling, and made my heart shrivel in despair at the offerings the film-industry wants to hand children of the current age…. but the feature itself was charming.

We rented quite a few movies in October.

The Mummy – kind of lacking in story/plot. Mostly just a lot of Tom Cruise running… which is apparently how we can solve all problems. This is a thing in action movies that kind of drives me crazy.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Talesthis one actually surprised me. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was definitely better than Pirates 4, and I think I’d probably put it ahead of Pirates 2 (though Pirates 2 does contain the BEST sword-fight out of all of them). Chatting with my sister, the one thing we both noticed was the absence of “Jack Sparrow” – oh, he’s in the movie, but he isn’t the ingenious, precocious, “how does he do that and get away with it?” pirate we’ve grown to know and love. He’s down and out… and he never really manages to get beyond that in the movie itself… though the end gives us a glimmer that he might be back. There were some moments of absolute brilliance in the story-telling, however, and a return to many of the things I loved about Pirates 1.

Transformers: The Last KnightAll I have to say about this movie can be summed up in 2 words: Incomprehensible Mess.

Spiderman: HomecomingLoved this every bit as much the second time through!

Derek and I have continued watching through “Hawaii Five-O,” which is fun. We’ve also watched some more “Little House on the Prairie” as a family, and Leiana gets to stay up “late” every Sunday night to watch an episode of “Girl Meets World” with Derek and me.

Online Episodes

I hosted #Drachtober over on Twitter/Facebook and had an absolute blast! I was so grateful to everyone who participated, either for part of the month or for the entirety of the game.

I participated in the October #WIPjoy and had fun chatting about Minstrel’s Call throughout the game.

I wrote a short spooky story for the blog, which you can read HERE if you missed it.

Future Adventures

October was full, and November promises to be a little less hectic. I made up my mind and decided to ignore the siren song of NaNoWriMo this year, instead focusing all my auth-ing efforts for the rest of the year on 1) polishing and submitting my doorway story to the anthology and 2) the final polishing rounds of editing Minstrel’s Call. I have some books still on my nightstand, but I haven’t added anything new to the stack, which is why I don’t really have a Nightstand Books post for this month. Mostly, we just plan to enjoy the month as a family and relax a bit…

And that’s all I’ve got for now! How was your October, dear Reader? Are you participating in NaNo? Do you have any Holiday Plans? I’d love to hear from you!

~ jenelle

I Am Silently Correcting Your Grammar

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post titled “I am not silently correcting your grammar.” You can find it HERE. In the post, I talk about how I am not constantly on the lookout for typos and errors in emails, spoken conversation, facebook posts, or comments. Everything I wrote in that post is still true. I truly do not sit at my computer searching for typos and gloating about them when I do find them.

I do notice them, however.

Sometimes these typos simply amuse me, because they vastly alter the intended meaning of a sentence. Most of the time, however, I just skim on over them, because I know how easy it is to mis-type something on my phone or for my voice-to-text to mis-under-hear what I said and not notice that it has written out something rather different than what I meant.

But then there are the ones I come across in (cue somber music) published BOOKS. And here, dear Writer, is where I must admit… that I am silently correcting your grammar!

I am not looking for them! I do not sit down to read any book intent on searching for typos or missing punctuation. When I sit down to read a book, it is generally (and by that I mean ALMOST ALWAYS, unless I am being specifically asked to search for typos) because I just want to READ a BOOK! I never curl up with a good book, a red pen, and a pile of sticky notes. I don’t want to be an editor. I prefer to read books for fun.

But I cannot NOT notice them. They pop out at me. And then I get to the point where I realize that I’ve seen a handful of errors and that if I could pinpoint where they are, maybe the author would like to know so that they could be fixed. But at this point, I’m halfway through the book, having inwardly catalogued a dozen typos or various mechanical errors (missing words, punctuation issues, etc)… but by this time I’m also invested in the story and have no interest in going back and re-reading the book up to this point to take note of specific errors. A dozen typos is not a big deal in the grand scheme of fifty-to-sixty-thousand words… but it is more than most authors would like to have in their books (for comparison, the BIG publishers generally still have 1-5 mechanical errors per 100,000 word book). If I find these errors in a traditionally published book, I take gleeful note and move on. For example: Brandon Sanderson has no need for me to tell him that I found at least TWELVE typos in Mistborn… he has an enormous publishing house and team of editors behind his name and if they are cool with twelve typos in their product, then everyone else will be, as well. Nobody is going to stop reading Sanderson because there are 12 typos in his book (despite the fact that an indie author can only get away with 2-3 before the multitudes start screaming). It’s not fair, but that’s how it is.

However, if the book in question is one written by a fellow indie publisher, then things get a bit more difficult. Remember, I’m halfway through the book by now… so at this point, I might have an inner struggle about whether or not I should do anything to take note of any further typos I find. (The answer is always “no.”) Ultimately, I finish the book, while finding another handful or two of typos in the process, and then the conundrum presents itself:

What on earth am I supposed to do with these handfuls of typos I’ve acquired? I have no place to PUT them!

I usually start by having an argument with myself. It goes something like this:

“I can’t just ignore them. A dozen or more typos are too many to ignore in a review. If I don’t mention them, I feel like it detracts from my credibility as a reliable book reviewer.”

“But if I do mention them, it might hurt an author whose story I just highly enjoyed. I don’t want that to happen! I want to recommend this book, but the typos… what do I do with them?”

“Do I really want to say anything in a review anyway, I’m an author, and I know I don’t want to find out about typos in a review… I’d rather someone privately email or message me to let me know they are there. Maybe give me a couple of examples, and I’ll go find them and fix them. I know how easy it is to miss a typo, I’ve done it myself thousands of times… possibly millions of times! Writing is hard! I don’t want to depress anyone!”

“But not everyone is me, or thinks like me… what if the author gets mad at me for trying to be helpful? I don’t want that to happen. Besides, it’s not like I have a friendship with every author whose book I read… so contacting them privately isn’t always an option.”

“And what if they want to know where all the typos are? I can’t tell them that! I didn’t make notes of them or anything, I just saw them. I don’t have time to be an editor for every book I read.”

Do you see the difficulty? What am I supposed to do? It’s a curse, I tell you!

(I wish that meme said “All the thyme” – it would be funnier, and more believable… because it’s a word spell-check wouldn’t flag. (See? I can’t help it…)

Ultimately, I almost always decide to forego doing anything at all. No review, no conundrum.

But it’s really hard when there’s a book I REALLY liked and want to recommend, but it had a few more than the standard acceptable amount of typos.

What would you do, dear Reader? Do you notice or care about typos? How many errors are you willing to overlook in a book you are reading for fun? 

~ jenelle

The 25 Days of Christmas Blog Tour

Today I am pleased to host Ruth O’Neil here on a stop along her blog tour for her new Advent devotional, The 25 Days of Christmas.

Advent is a time of year that I love, and I always try to do quite a few things each year with my kids to celebrate the season and prepare our hearts for celebrating Christmas and the True reason for the season. I probably always attempt to do too much, if truth be told, and yet, it is so important to teach my kids—and remind myself—that Christmas is about more than family and fireplaces and decorations and carols and snow and presents.

Christmas ebook coverMany of us get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas. One way to prevent that is to focus on the reason for the season. Taking a few minutes each day with this different kind of devotional book will help your family think of others. Each day focuses on one word and includes a story from Daniel and Holly’s family, a Scripture reading with the devotional, the YouTube link to a Christmas Carol, and an activity that the entire family can be involved in.

Excerpt

“I have a surprise for you kids,” Mom said as soon as Daniel and Holly walked in the door after school.

“What?” They both wanted to know.

“Follow me,” Mom requested as she walked toward the family room.

Two-year-old Evie followed along behind, clapping her hands and giggling.

“She must know what the secret is,” Daniel commented to Holly.

Holly laughed when Evie shouted, “Sec-et! Sec-et!”

Mom smiled as well. “That’s her new word for the day.”

Then Mom held up a box that had a bunch of what looked like little doors. Twenty-five of them to be exact. They each had a number.

“What’s that?” Daniel asked.

“It’s an Advent calendar. Each day we’ll open one. Behind each door is a treat for each of you and a word we can talk about to help us prepare for Christmas.”

“Can we open one now?” Holly wanted to know.

“You may.” Mom pointed to the first door.

“Advent,” Holy read after she took out three small candies and handed one to Daniel and Evie.

“Advent is all about the days leading up to Christmas. We can talk about what Christmas really means and prepare our hearts to worship Christ.”

“Why did Jesus have to come to earth as a baby? Why couldn’t He come as a grown-up?” Daniel wondered as he picked up the baby Jesus from the Nativity set.

“Well, Jesus needed time to prepare, too. He needed to experience all the things we experience. He experienced what it was like to grow up, have a family and friends, and be tempted by sin just like the rest of us. No matter what problems we face in life, Jesus truly understands.”

“But I thought Jesus was perfect and never sinned?” Holly questioned.

Mom nodded her head. “He was perfect. He didn’t ever sin, but He still went through a lot of the same things we do. Because He lived a perfect and sinless life, that’s what made Him a suitable sacrifice for our sins. Only a perfect Man could pay the price for us.”

Daniel and Holly didn’t say anything. For a few moments, the only sound heard was Evie slurping her candy and quietly repeating, “Sec-et.”

Mom continued. “God had to prepare the world for Salvation to come in the form of His Son, Jesus. It wouldn’t happen overnight. It would take Jesus’ entire life time here on earth.”

Daniel, always the one who wanted to learn more, said, “I think this will be interesting.”

“I think this will be fun,” Holly gave her opinion.

“I think it will help prepare us all and help us to understand Christmas just a little bit better.”

Devotion

Read Matthew 25:1-13

This man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Luke 2:25b-26

Advent is a time of preparation. The Christmas Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. Many families, especially those with young children, have Advent calendars. Each day the children get to open a door, receive a little gift, or remove an object in the countdown for and in anticipation of Christmas.

Children, for the most part, look forward to Christmas because of the gifts they will receive. That’s not a bad thing, but we as adults, should have a much deeper anticipation of Christmas. We take the time to buy and wrap gifts, prepare food, clean the house for guests, buy new outfits, attend parties, etc. But how much time do we put into meditating on the actual birth of Christ and worshipping Him?

Many years, at least in our household, we spend time putting up the tree and decorating it, only to ignore it. We more often than not, sit in the room with the TV. Unfortunately, that’s often the way we are with God as well. We accept Him as Savior. We attend church on Sundays. Other than that, we pretty much ignore Him, too.

This Christmas, in anticipation of the celebration of His birth, let’s focus on Him a little more throughout the month. Let’s prepare our hearts by reflecting on why He came to earth.

Christmas will be that much more special when we focus on the true Reason for the Season. 

Activity

This activity will take some extra planning. Get together as a family; you can even invite your extended family members to take part in this one as well. Choose a family that is in need; try to find a specific need if possible. Gather together money to give to that family for the specific need that they have. If possible, try not to let them know where their Christmas gift is coming from. That makes it all the more exciting for both them and you.

Song – The Twelve Days of Christmas (How I Want to Sing)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZmyxUHWQm0


Ruth-O'Neil-3Ruth O’Neil has been a freelance writer for 20-plus years. She sees everything as a writing opportunity in disguise, whether it is an interesting character, setting, or situation. You can find her book series “What a Difference a Year Makes” on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or her website. You can also visit her on her blog. When she’s not writing or homeschooling her kids, Ruth spends her time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping and hiking with her family. 

Find out more about Ruth O’Neil:

WEBSITE

BLOG

FACEBOOK

AMAZON

~ jenelle