Thursday, November 16, 2017

War of Loyalties {invisible friends}


For the past several years, I like to call the War of Loyalties characters "my invisible friends". When you come to know me, sooner or later it's inevitable that you'll be introduced to them as well. I've hung out with them so long, we're kind of a package deal.

I taught a class on characterization recently, and one of the things I told the kids was that they should think of their character as a real person. Ben and Jaeryn and Charlotte are about as real as fiction gets. They're the invisible coworkers, showing up, shifting, changing, as my maturity or life experience shifts and change. They've never quit. We have rough days sometimes where the writer's block shows up and everyone's lazy, but overall, we have the biggest fun on the planet.

It's not surprising that they've gradually showed up more and more on the blog, and for the next couple of weeks I want you to be able to meet the process of War of Loyalties for yourself. I want to introduce you to a blonde-haired young woman with a tenacious dream of humble obscurity.  I want to tell you about some of the dreams that have come true with this story. I want to tell you how the Lord has answered prayer.

Living life with these characters stands out as the most golden experience of my post-highschool path.

The moment when one of your introverts finally decides to open up to a character interview on a Saturday morning.

That year you make a random run for apple pie and sporks to celebrate a character's birthday.

That year you finally find a song that encompasses two characters falling in love.

That moment when you watch a performance of Handel's Messiah, imagining a character sitting down there as concertmaster.

That year when your character changes from a philanthropic American medical student to an Irish doctor with crooked fingers.

The beautiful thing about a first book is that it's an unmatchable experience. You can take time to work it out. You can get to know the characters in an intimate, lengthy way that you might never have time for in later books. Seven years has been a long time, but I saw a meme on Facebook the other day that said after seven years a friend becomes family, and that really honestly feels like the truth.

I love all the things about the characters that would never fit into the book. My blackmailer with the streak of nobility in his soul. The way Jaeryn has a favorite sweater he reaches for that makes him think of memories and childhood. The way Ben runs his fingers through his wife's hair. The way Terry rolls up his sleeves when he's out in cold weather instead of putting a jacket on.

Some of them dream of freedom, and some of them dream of stability. Some of them dream of home, or marriage or living out a life of loyal service. Some of them dream of money or position or the supremacy of Britain. They've lived together so long they can rub each other wrong in big and little ways, and come together when it matters.

This is a celebration. After seven years, they deserve a celebration. We've lived so much life together, and we're almost at the end of the road.

For book one, that is.

We still have a lot of life left to live together--and I couldn't think of anyone I'd rather live it with.

Come back Saturday to meet on of the characters for yourself. I can't wait to introduce you, and you can meet all of them in official book form on November 30, 2017!

Friday, November 10, 2017

{how it feels to be near the finish line} + pray for War of Loyalties?

via Pixabay
In every story, there is an inciting incident, a middle part, and a climax. In the publishing of every story, it seems that there are all those things too. This spring, making the prayerful decision to start a Kickstarter campaign was the inciting incident. The weeks of editing have been the middle. And now, we are gearing up for the climax.

If you see me right now, I'm probably in part brain fog. Slowly, the brain is gearing up into laser-focused concentration for the final stretch.

I honestly don't remember the last time I picked up the clothes in my room. I have cried once this week wondering how everything is going to work out. I have no idea what I'm forgetting, but if you ask my family, they'd probably be able to tell you.

chores, schuyler, chores 

But it's a wonderful, happy time. This morning I just ordered my first proof copy of War of Loyalties, and I expect to get it sometime next week. God has given above and beyond anything I could have imagined for strength and inspiration for this book's edits. I'm so grateful for the people who have given ideas on how to make it better, along with their time, encouragement, and loads of love. We're so close.

For the next couple of weeks, we're going to kick off the partying with some War of Loyalties themed posts on the blog which I think you'll really enjoy. We have character spotlights, heart ponderings, and little tidbits on the publishing process. There will be even more partying to come after that--you are all cordially invited to enter the Folkestone world!

While we gear up, would you consider partnering with this process through your prayers? I would be so grateful. Here's what's most on my heart right now:

-Good health for the final stretch.
-Keen eyes for anything that needs to be fixed.
-A heart fixed on the Lord throughout the process, and that he would be glorified.
-The ability to make wise decisions in a tight timeframe.
-Fast turn-around times on Createspace with high-quality printing for the book deliveries.

Thank-you friends. Love to you all! I will see you on Tuesday with some War of Loyalties thoughts you won't want to miss.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Cinderella 2015 {positive role models and parent relationships}

via Pixabay

My first interaction with 2015 Cinderella was watching the trailer on Facebook some months before it released.

My first impression: Not getting into a Disney Princess movie after all these years. Kit's eyes are way too blue.

But then, I can't remember if it was my sister who watched the trailer, which inveigled me into seeing it a second time. And this time, instead of hating on Kit's blue eyes, I heard Cinderella's mother speaking with a sweet, breathless earnestness: "Have courage and be kind. Where there is kindness, there is goodness, and where there is goodness, there is magic."

Those two lines tugged at my heartstrings.

On the night of my twenty-first birthday, we watched Cinderella. We haven't stopped watching it since. And there was so much for my heart to love about this movie adaptation.

Cinderella is about as pure as it gets. There's a wonder, an emphasis on good moral character, and an overall theme of endurance in affliction that uplift while they entertain. As Cinderella faces life without her beloved father and with the cruelty of her step-family, her actions emphasize again and again that kindness is a choice, not a feeling. We see her feel hurt, even anger sometimes. Cinderella knows when to confront her stepmother with troubled eyes and ask, "Why are you so cruel?" But she also knows when to smile and serve with a gentle voice, holding on to the courage and kindness that her dying mother encouraged her to cling to. Pursuing love and unity as a follower of Christ take incredible courage. And while Cinderella isn't out there to teach Scripture, you can see the practical application of what the fruit of the Spirit should look like in the life of a Christian.

The other part I really loved about this movie was how well Kit and Ella get along with their parents. There is a celebration of life with strong family relationships: From a child, Ella is used to love and bedtime stories from her mother. Even when her father wants to marry again, the bond between Ella and her father isn't shaken. She fully supports him moving forward, and they love and understand each other on a heart-level.

Kit, even when he wants to marry the girl in the forest instead of a rich princess, still maintains the maturity of a man and a prince. He and his father disagree, but they don't fall overboard into anger, and when Kit gives his final refusal, he begins it with, "I love and respect you."

Kit and Ella may have a fairytale romance with fairytale colors. But they were shaped by their closeness with their parents so well that when the time came for both of them to step out and be adults, they had the maturity and grace to do so. And in that, I think they can be wonderful role-models.

There are a few sentences that spill into Disney morals and don't enhance the overall theme picture. Following your heart, believing in everything, and being taken care of by fairy godmothers aren't exactly the stuff that solid faith is made of. But they're very brief blips on a beautiful script and beautiful cinematography.

Those are the serious thoughts. But one should not always be serious when watching Disney films. Here's a rapid series of what I loved:

  • Gus-Gus is the cutest mouse on the planet. We have a serious Gus-Gus fandom around here. 
  • Ask us about the torn butterfly sometime in Cinderella's treasure box. 
  • I just love the lizard footmen with their green hues. 
  • The captain js the. best. sidekick. in the history of ever. 
  • And if you ever want to know, we can point out just where to find the animals on the day of Cinderella's wedding.

Oops. I just told you the ending.

schuyler how could you i didn't know 

Parent Guide:
Sexual: Low-necked dresses. Cinderella and Kit share a kiss.
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