Current Interests

Is this not adorable?? It's so cute, I'm in love. I don't even like cats. 

There are things that will always be my current obsession. Things like Tolkien and Tea (that seems like a good name for someone to use for a're welcome) and Egypt ,and my dog. But here are a few things that I am not ALWAYS 'into'.

Hot Chocolate.
While I never dislike it, I don't really drink it during the summer, but 'tis the season for hot cocoa, and I am very happy.

I don't know what it is. I just REALLY like oatmeal and eat it constantly. I have had this problem for about a month now. I take mine with a little cinnamon, some cocoa powder, and frozen raspberries and blueberries. 

These Blogs. is loverly, and I have been VERY distracted by this one: 
I really want to go to the Penn Museum now....they do a lot of their work in front of people (with glass between, of course) and I can just see myself standing there for hours watching someone clean off an ancient egyptian artifact. I get lost scrolling through this blog....and forget to do anything and just sit there and bask in the general awesomeness of it. My friend even went so far as to call me a nerd (I embrace that title). 

Beren and Luthien.
I don't know if this counts as a 'current interest', since I haven't read it or even touched it yet, but I am currently interested in it so.... Recently, I innocently preordered a copy, thinking that it should come out soon, and then discovered that it is being released in the Spring. WHY???? And have you noticed that on a lot of these books, Christopher Tolkien does loads and loads of work, and then just says "edited by Christopher Tolkien". Which is technically true, but I feel like he never gets enough credit. For more about this book: The Tolkien Society: Beren and Luthien

Stephen King's On Writing.
This book was recommended by my mother, who says that she doesn't really like King's work, but that this particular book was fantastic. I glanced through some Stephen King at the library, and decided it wasn't to my taste, but I REALLY like his 'memoir on the craft'. I shall probably purchase it eventually. 

Barbara Mertz. 
I was innocently working my way through Barbara Mertz's Red Land, Black Land when I discovered that she had written a bunch of mysterious set in (unfortunately not ancient) Egypt, under a pseudonym. So now I have the first one of those...and have read about four pages. Yay. I have sadly little time to devote to the perusal of random little things like that. But I call it 'educational research for my novel' which justifies spending a few minutes on it here and there....when I just need a change of scenery, as it were. I would not call this an obsession, just an interest. When I eventually finish the mystery (it's title has something to do with crocodiles?? I don't remember) I shall post a review. Red Land, Black Land is fantastic though, and I love it and I want it and I shall have it. 

So there you go, a few things of interest to me. I didn't mention sweaters, because almost everyone likes sweaters when it's cold, but I usually go with hoodies over normal clothes, so this current love of sweaters isn't terribly normal for me.

 photo theauthor_zps8356b86b.png

Cartonnage cat head belongs to the Penn Museum Artifact Lab:
Pharaoh headress image thingy also belongs to the Penn Museum:
Beren and Luthien cover taken from:
The covers for Red Land, Black Land and On Writing belong to their respective publishers. 
The other images were randomly unearthed on google, and I don't really know who owns them, but I take no credit for them. If anyone wishes to claim them or have me take them down, just comment to let me know. 

Beautiful Books: Progress Report

First, Beautiful Books had me talk about my plot, and characters, and introduce you to my novel. Now it's time for a progress report. I haven't gotten much farther, but these questions aren't JUST for NaNoWriMo participants, which I'm grateful for, and I like them. 
So sit back and listen to me talk about my book again. In my life, and on my blog, I will never pretend it isn't hard, but no matter how much I complain and rant and despair about it, the following will always be true: I love my book; I love my characters; I love Egypt; I love writing; I love writing; I love this life that I have chosen for myself. I may never (probably won't ever) make money, I may never even be published, and I don't care. 
I'm happy.

Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
For starters, I'm not doing NaNoWriMo so I am not nearly as frazzled as I imagine the NaNo people to be. I'm inching along at a comfy pace, I'm happy with how things are going, I'm loving the research part of it. And I kind of fell in love with a 4,000 year old statue? 

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
For now: 

"Tiye could not remember having ever seen the courtyard empty, not even in the middle of the night. Her balcony provided an excellent view of the palace’s comings and goings, and it was arguably her favorite place to spend free afternoons." 

Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

What do you love about your novel so far?
Have I already mentioned the historical aspects of it? But also I am really really really really enjoying Reniseb and Nefru......their characters have changed (for the better) so much, and it's like watching my children grow up. It's fascinating. 

Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
hmmm, no. I'm rather meticulous, so while I'm sure I have typos and minor grammatical errors EVERYWHERE, nothing large or funny. 

What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
....I would imagine that the end would bring me great joy to write.

What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
I usually just sit on the floor, with a pillow behind me up against the side of my bed. I love my tea, I don't write while I eat (that is when I most love to read). I do listen to music: I find a song with lyrics that I like, but don't feel the need to sing along to (distracting) and that is fairly catchy, and I play it on repeat. This way I'm not focused on listening to music I love, but it is pleasing to my ears, and the repetition causes my mind to stop hearing it after a while, but it still drowns out other distractions. I am most productive in the evenings. 

How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?
I'm not super private, but I don't send my friends everything either. If there is something I'm proud of, I send it. If there is something I just can't figure out, I get advice. If there is a toss up between two courses of action, I get someone else to decide. If I'm not sure if something works, makes sense, or is coming out the way I want it to, I get help. But I usually like to keep to myself.

What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?
Love. Writing, to me, is eerily similar to the way that parents are with children. Kids can be a huge pain, they're exhausting, they can tear you apart physically and emotionally, sometimes you just want them to go away, sometimes you REALLY dislike them, but you still love them. You always love them. And everything you do, you do for love. Even when you feel like you can't possibly go on, you do. 

What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?
Read your work aloud. 

Set believable goals when you sit down to write. Too large and you will feel overwhelmed; too small and it's ineffective. "Believable goals" really depends on you. And they aren't the same whenever I sit down. Sometimes I set a goal of a thousand words, for some fairly quick productivity, sometimes longer. And sometimes, when I am feeling really down on being able to write, I set a teeny tiny goal of a few hundred words, and if I can't write more, at least I did something. But usually, once I've forced myself to write a paragraph or two, I find myself going on. 

Take a break. You know how if you say a word too many times in a row, it loses all meaning? Well a similar thing happens (at least to me) if I'm struggling with a scene, and I just stare at my computer and write a sentence and delete it, and write it, and delete it. And say "I have to do it I can't leave" and just force myself to sit there being bored because I'm not doing anything. I tend to be more productive if I mix brain work with physical work. My favorite thing to do is alternate between cleaning and writing/reading. When I'm having trouble writing, I clean for a bit or do some other physical activity, or just write/read something else for five to ten minutes. When I come back, I usually find that, even if I didn't 'figure it out' I'm feeling fresher and it makes it less tedious. 

By the way, I was talking about Hounds and Jackals this whole time, in case you didn't already know. If you want to know more about the book, I introduced it here:

A Few of my Favorite Things: Again (I was tagged back)

Once upon a time, a strange waif-like creature created a tag, and nominated someone else, and that someone else answered all the questions, and nominated the waif back again.

Rules rules rules:
Add the above picture to your post.
Acknowledge the person who tagged you.
Answer the questions.
Tag a person, multiple persons, or no persons.

*drumroll please* Attention. Lady Awdur, I hereby declare you to be formally acknowledged by myself.

Ha, I am a wise old lady, and I didn't make any rules that would get in my way. I'm not tagging anyone!
I have to admit, when I wrote these questions I thought up answers for most of them, but some were random. Also I think 90% of these have two answers....sorry?

Favorite book:
Lord of the Rings

Favorite animal:
Okay, well my favorite animal is my dog/best-friend. But my favorite type of animal is either a horse or a Liger. Probably liger. I've been rather obsessed with ligers lately, specifically the white ones. So cute. I mean...this perfect. I don't even like cats, and I love these things.

I could look at pictures of these for hours. Look at this!
Favorite color:
Black. It is a color. Also really dark blues, but not Navy. 

Favorite flower:
I love primroses, and pretty much all wildflowers. Like weird things that grow in fields, not the things at the florist shop labelled "wild flowers". I also adore lilacs and yellow-pink roses. 

Favorite language:
Sindarin, Latin is gorgeous, and Gaelic (I know about three words in the first one, maybe 30 or so in the second, and nothing in the third, but I love them anyway. Trust me to love languages that no one speaks. Vatican, here I come!) 

Favorite country:
Middle-earth? Um, the United Kingdom as a whole counts as a country, right???? Fine, Ireland/England. 

Favorite time period:
Medieval Europe, or 1800s England. 

Favorite historical ruler:
Amenhotep III; Charlemagne

Favorite number:
(s) 24 and 19

Favorite beverage:
REALLY bitter English Breakfast still my heart. I've also been into plain, unsweetened, un-diluted cranberry juice lately.

Favorite finger:
Pinky fingers on other people, right pointer on myself. 

Favorite snack:
I have a strange weakness for Chexmix, I also love anything that I baked. That sounds a little arrogant, but I don't think there is anything wrong with preferring one's own cooking. 

Favorite season:
Autumn, it's the only one that suits me. The colors and the weather and the sky and the late flowers and the cold, crisp air. The fact that my clothing finally matches the season....

Favorite kind of clothing:
Old clothing? Like all old clothing before the 60s. I'm trying to think of a style that I particularly hate...nope. I like it. Like Awdur, I love 1950s cocktail dresses, and am always looking for stuff like that to wear in these unfashionable days. In modern times: layering, scarves, flannel button-downs, and jeans. (Also useless shoes).

Favorite music (particular songs, artists, or just in general):
I don't really have a taste in music. I just like what I like. Sometimes it's classical, sometimes it's the fact that once upon a time my brothers made me watch Bushels of Love, which is a Bad Lip Reading of star wars, put into a song. It was wonderful. I tend to like soundtracks of movies. Lord of the Rings, Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera, that sort of thing. I'm also rather fond of stuff from the 70s and 80s, like the Beatles or Simon and Garfunkel or Neil Diamond. And Hooked on Feeling ahemguardiansofthegalaxy. I'm so good at picking favorites. 

Favorite time of day:
I love sunsets, and cool evenings. 

Favorite school(-ish) subject:
I don't tend to like generalized subjects. I don't really enjoy math in general, though I'm not bad at it, but I loved Geometry. I don't really like history or geography, because I don't particularly care about most of it, but I like studying specific times/places (18th dynasty Egypt, for instance). I have developed a healthy appreciation for algebra though. And I really want to take Trig. 

Favorite spice:
Cinnamon in oatmeal, and garlic in EVERYTHING (but maybe not in oatmeal...that sounds kind of gross. To each their own.)

Favorite superhero:
Batman, then Tony Stark, then Iron Man (because I think Tony is better as Tony than as Iron Man), and then Loki, who isn't a superhero, but is far more interesting and amusing than the other superheros, and turns out to be slightly less evil than you thought *spoilers*. 

Favorite anything of your choice:
Favorite holiday:
Christmas! In the original religious sense, not in the "put up decorations three months early and give people candy-canes" sense. Also in the 'it's a holy day of obligation sense' (if you'll forgive me using the word a third time in a row).

 photo theauthor_zps8356b86b.png


   The day that we've all not been waiting for: H&J snippets! I am probably the slowest writer I have ever met in my entire life. Well, I haven't personally met THAT many, but I am friends with several, and I follow the blogs of a lot more. Anyway, the point is, I am very slow. Let's see, I finally figured out the plot for Hounds and Jackals in....August, and I've written all of 7000 words since then. BUT, I have spent at least 96 hours (not really exaggerating here) doing research, and plotting, and working things out and figuring out the structure of the book. 
   So....I've not been idle, I just don't have much to show for my time. Which is kind of the way writing is. I mean, eventually, you come out with some cheap little paperback of mediocre quality, and no one notices that that little wad of paper represents 15 years of your life, or 1 year, or 3, or 50. But it is really all you have to show for a lot of hard work and time, and hand cramps, and all those feelings of despair and failure. All the times you wanted to give up but you didn't. If you can write a good book in a year, I respect that, I'm jealous, also I hate you. WHY CAN YOU DO THAT??? It's not fair. 
   I digress. What I'm trying to say is that a book is only the tip of the iceberg. So now, I finally have some snippets for you. Some people worry that their work will be stolen, but I would actually be kind of honored if someone thought my snippets were worth stealing. You actually WANT to take credit for this bilge? Wow. And if someone plans to steal my ideas and write a book of their own... I'd actually be kind of interested to see what someone else would do with my what would they look like taken out of the context of my mind?? It's intriguing. 
   On to the promised snippets. These are unedited, and filled with horrors, but it's near halloween after all:

[A]n annoyed looking man strode into the room. He was unfairly tall in Tiye’s opinion, with a very handsome face that concealed a very ugly mind. He looked uncomfortable in his fine clothes, and she thought it likely that Lord Nefru was responsible for the oppressively thick material.
“Well, I’ve finally arrived after being dragged about the unceasing hallways of this repugnant place by that thickheaded woman of yours. Was there something you needed, or do you just enjoy summoning people?”


She would have what she wanted. A cheating scoundrel hunting for information vital to Egypt’s welfare, who would be just as likely to misinform them as to tell the truth. And if he thought he could profit from providing the Kushites with every last detail concerning Egypt’s military….but she would have her way.


“He is not a man of Egypt,” Nefru said, struggling to remain calm. “He does not respect our laws, he does not respect our gods, he does not respect you, Horus.” He bowed his head, and there was a bitterness in his voice that had nothing to do with his brother’s questionable beliefs.


Reniseb had investigated her new home the moment she had arrived earlier that afternoon. To be sure, this room was larger than her old one, but she disliked it all the same. The chamber’s pretentious furnishings seemed to laugh at the humble nature of her few possessions; seemed to be annoyed at their intrusion upon it’s elegant demeanor. She felt that the place disliked her. The rugs resented her bare feet, and the bed held nothing but contempt for her thin body.


The Rhuntaara was a gloomy, sprawling inn, occupying as much space as one of the city’s finer houses, but with only one level. The accommodations were decent, but the food was repugnant, and the society even worse. On principle, the place catered to travelers coming through Memphis, but at least half of it’s inhabitants lived there permanently, and many were in some way related to the quarrelsome landlady and her inebriate husband.

Provide backstory to these snippets? Tell you who is speaking? Explain? Ha!

 photo theauthor_zps8356b86b.png