Baby Name Brackets Round 4

We are getting down to the wire here with these names. How are your picks looking?

So close… but which combination will it be? Only time will tell! The final name will be revealed when the Little Buddy makes his grand arrival!

This round was extremely difficult to narrow down. As I’ve said, every name on this list was actually considered, and so the process of elimination was rough. But in the end, Grayden won out over Taliesin because of pronunciation issues, and because we just liked the name Grayden better in the end, despite its meaning being not as cool “pleasant” or “gray haired”… which is sort of ho-hum in my opinion. Still a cool name. Declan’s meaning “man of prayer” won out over Marik’s “warrior of Mars” (just something about naming a son for a pagan god didn’t quite sit right with us… despite the fact that I’ve loved the name “Marik” forever… something about the movie “Shipwrecked” impacted my childhood greatly).

I have to say, I am quite impressed by how many people had Declan and Grayden down as their final picks! But only the next round will tell what the final winner will be!

As for the middle names… well, this was again a tough competition. However, with Grayden and Declan making it to this round, that pretty much disqualified any Tolkien name ending in a “n” sound. (Not that it wasn’t helped along a bit by my undying love for the character of Boromir – and the fact that “Aragorn” has no actual meaning, while “Boromir” means “steadfast jewel” – hey, meanings are important!) And while I love the story and character of Beren, and I realize Erebor is a bit different, as it’s not the name of a character, but we both really like the way it sounds. And the meaning, “mountain” is pretty cool, too.

Honestly, at this point, anyone’s guess is going to be close… as I love all possible combinations of the final four names! So I guess the winner, in the end, will be our son… whose name is gonna be epic!

What say you?

Round 4 Baby Bracket

~ jenelle

March Ishness 2017

What? A post on a Saturday?????

Nope, I’m not foolin’! I wanted to get an early start on letting you know the doings and happenings around here from this past month before we get too far into April.

Good morning, dear Reader! I hope you had a good March, mine was certainly filled with lots of fun and productive things.

Monthly Ishness is a blogging meme created by Deborah O’Carroll @ Road of a Writer, and I liked the whimsy of it and begged permission to use it way back when. It’s a fun way to keep you apprised of all the fun stuff going on around here!

Lifely Happenings

Towards the end of March, my 5 year old ditched her training wheels and is now an independent bike rider. Look out world! Guess this means we need to get a pull-behind trailer for some family bike rides this summer!


I listened to an eclectic mix of old school favorites such as Gordon Lightfoot and Anne Murray. Of course I listened to a ton of Brittany Jean – as her CDs are a constant fixture in at least one of our many and sundry CD players (yep, I still listen to music on CDs… though I have come to appreciate things like Pandora and Spotify, sometimes I just want to listen to MY CDs on “shuffle” without random songs I’ve never heard of thrown into the mix).

Then there were a ton of soundtracks I listened to as the story I was writing began to get more intense and wind down towards those climactic finales. The soundtracks were mostly comprised of these albums… which may or may not tell you anything about the book I’m working on (I DID actually choose them because they go with the story and the elements I was writing… so they aren’t random, despite my conversation last month about the randomness with which I often pick my writing music – apparently the random-levels drop as I get more serious).



Lots of good movies this month. We finally watched In the Heart of the Sea, which my sister had recommended. It is a movie based on the true story that inspired the fictional tale of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick… which I have never read. But I have seen various movie versions of it.

It was… an interesting movie. Very tough to watch for many reasons. We looked up the events and discovered that things did not end up quite so happily as the movie makes them appear for many of the characters. My favorite thing about the movie was Herman Melville himself, and the very last line of the movie, which is just a simple line of text, brought the very good kind of tears to my eyes… but it’s not one I’d ever be in a hurry to watch again.

Arrival, which I absolutely loved. The ending, unfortunately as is the case with many mind-bending movies like this, fell a little flat… and the philosophical questions that arise from it – while being fun mental gymnastics – completely shatter into a billion tiny fragments when viewed through the lens of a Christian world-view. However, it was an enjoyable ride, clean, and had one of the best AHA! moments I can remember experiencing in a movie in a long time. Also, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. I mean… worth it just for the two of them. If you ever saw the indie-sci-fi film Primer… it very much reminded me of that just with the way that the movie was shot and played out.

Because of Wynn-Dixie a rewatch, but still every bit as heartwarming as ever. The kids really enjoyed this one, probably because the story revolves around a dog.

Lots of Little House on the Prairie, we are now into season 2 and continuing to love watching these as a family. Such a beautiful series of television episodes, many of them make me cry (not that that’s hard to do), most of them make me laugh, and I love that they teach some good life lessons along the way. Also, my husband realized that my dad is basically Pa Ingalls, so that makes it fun to watch, as well!

Moana: I hope to do an actual review of this in the near future, but suffice to say… where was I when this was in theaters? I somehow totally missed the hype! Very fun, beautiful movie and fun for the whole family. More to come on that in a more comprehensive review later.

We rented Doctor Strange and watched it again and I loved it every bit as much as I did the first time.


Sorry the blog was so sparsely populated this month. I didn’t have a lot of extra or additional brain power to write blog posts… which I will explain later on in this post. I did manage to share a few helpful things and a review, so hopefully those were fun to read.


Dragonfriend by Marc Secchia for the Fellowship of Fantasy book club. Very good, a new favorite. Review has already been written and is coming soon.

The Journeyman by Elizabeth Yates was an interesting read about a young boy who gets apprenticed to an itinerant painter in the early 1800s America. We learned some things I hadn’t known before, and enjoyed the story.

That’s all I managed to read in March… mostly because…


My friends, I wrote a grand total of 23,000 words this month!!!! Which are no nano-wrimo numbers, but pretty good for me, nonetheless. I am definitely getting close to the end of this second book in the Turrim Archive, and I think I may even have a title figured out. I’m not sure yet, though, so I’m keeping it mum for now.

*throws confetti and cupcakes at anyone willing to come celebrate with me*

I might have to do some extra celebrating when I finish this rough draft… before I dive headlong into the edits for Minstrel’s Call. What might be an appropriate way to celebrate completing a rough draft? It’s been a while….

Looking forward to April…

April is, of course, going to bring a new baby into our home, so we are all anxiously looking forward to that. I hope to finish up the rough draft of Turrim 2. Various Spring-related activities such as going to parks, riding bikes, etc. Family visiting to meet said newest member of the family… lots of fun times there! And finishing up our homeschool curriculum for the year, that’s always a nice feeling.

I have a couple of character interviews and a few more book reviews coming this month, so be on the lookout for those!

Spring Flowers

And that’s all I’ve got for March. I hope you had a lovely month. What did you get up to in March? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Now we head into the meat of Spring, and I hope that wherever you are the weather is beautiful and go-outside-worthy.

~ jenelle

Interview With a Raindrop

I’ve never done an interview with quite such a unique sort of character before, so when InterFiction informed me that they were sending me to Rainland to interview a raindrop, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had never encountered a raindrop before, I mean, other that the ones that fall from the sky in my world. The experience was wholly different than anything I could have imagined.

Rainland_KINDLERainland by Sarah Allerding

When Thomas gets caught in a summer storm, he is sucked into the world of raindrops through a tornado. He learns he will not be allowed to return until he can defeat the lightning, which has been hurling raindrops from the clouds. Many adventures await him in this strange land. Is everything just as the raindrops say it will be? Is it the lightning they need to defend themselves against, or is there a much greater foe behind the disturbing disappearances?

As the blue glow from my InterFiction badge begins to fade, I open my eyes and find that I am in a wholly other sort of place. Though everything I know screams that the clouds are just mist, they are solid beneath my feet as I begin to pick my way across the alien terrain. Directly ahead of me, I see the character I am supposed to interview, a Droplet (raindrop child).

“Drip?” I call out, hoping that my badge didn’t set me down in the wrong place. “I’m here with the InterFiction Gazette. Did they tell you I was coming to interview you?”

He stops what he is doing and looks up at me. It is a rather strange experience. He is a child, but he is also most definitely a raindrop.

No, they didn’t but it is nice to meet you. Welcome to our country. You probably never imagined that there were raindrops running around and playing when you looked down at the clouds from an airplane. “

I grin. “I never did imagine that! Speaking of which, I’m sure my readers would love to know… what’s it like being a raindrop?”

He scrunches up his face in thought. “I never really thought about that. I definitely like it! Except when the lightning strikes and knocks us over the edge. That is scary.”

“That sounds terrifying,” I agree. “So I’m guessing that’s something you don’t like about being a raindrop. Is there anything else you don’t like about being a raindrop?”

Well, I don’t like the fact that I can’t explore any other lands. If I were to leave Rainland, I would lose my ability to talk, walk, think, or anything else like that until I return. That is why you never see raindrops walking and talking after a storm,” he smiles.

I lean forward over my pad of paper (which is getting a bit soggy, thankfully my pen keeps working, but I’m not sure all my notes will be legible when I arrive home). “Until you return? So, when your people fall to the ground, they can come back?”

He looks at me oddly. “Well, yes, we can. It all depends on the water cycle. That’s what my brother told me. Some raindrops could be gone for hundreds of years if they end up on the bottom of an ocean.”

“I see, so that is similar to in my world.” I glance down at my notes. “I hear that in your book you meet a human boy named Thomas. Can you tell me a bit about him and how he reacted to you?”

Drip nods. “When I first met Thomas I was terrified of him. I thought he was a monster. It was the first time I had ever seen a human. He assured me that he wasn’t a monster. Now, I have grown to like him.”

I smile. “It’s interesting how first impressions can go. Can you describe your life here in Rainland? Is it very different from cities or kingdoms on earth?”

He gives me a quizzical look. “I really don’t know much about cities on the ground since I have never been there. None of the raindrops who have been there could tell me since they can’t hear or see when they are there. We do have a little in our textbooks about a man named Benjamin Franklin and his work with the lightning, but that is about it.”

I hastily write down what he said and then look up. “Just a few more questions, if you don’t mind. Speaking of lightning, I hear that plays a big role in your world and your story. Can you tell me a bit more about it and why it is so dangerous to raindrops like yourself?”

He kind of shudders. “It is dangerous because it knocks us out of the clouds. I am an orphan because of it.”

“Oh,” I feel very badly for bringing it up. “I am so sorry to hear that about your parents. But why would that make you an orphan? I thought you said your people could come back if they fall to the ground. Is it different, getting knocked down by lightning versus choosing to leave Rainland?”

He looks up at me with a strange expression. “Thank you. When we choose to leave we still have to depend on the water cycle. We don’t know when or if we will come back. The difference is that only those who volunteer for this job leave. We do have to volunteer or you would have a lot of dry plants without rain. We don’t have a choice with the lightning knocking us down. We lose those who are needed here like parents and the king.”

“I see.” I finish jotting down my notes. “Well, I’ve taken up enough of your time, I’m sure you have a story to get back to. Thank you for letting me interview you, Drip.”

He smiles shyly. “You’re welcome.”

And with that I press my thumb to my InterFiction badge. The clouds grow even more foggy around me until the world sharpens back into perspective and I am home. That was definitely a different experience!

MeIf you would like to learn more about Sarah Allerding’s book Rainland you can purchase the Kindle version HERE.

You can also connect with Sarah on her Website and at Goodreads

Do you have any questions for Sarah about her book or the world of Rainland? Please leave them in the comments!

~ jenelle