Wednesday, January 28, 2015

“Not All Those Who Wander are Lost” {Lord of the Rings/Hobbit Tag}


“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.
You step onto the road,
and if you don't keep your feet,
there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

My sweet blogging friend Arwen (whose blog is private, so no links I fear) has put together an absolutely brilliant Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit tag and passed it my way. I may have squeed with excitement a teeny bit. Naturally. Thank you so much, Arwen!

Off we go then, to roads unknown and adventures grand! Erm. . .I mean to the tag. Yes.

Lord of the Rings Poster

~Rules~

-Link back to the blogger who nominated you
-Answer questions
-Tag some of your own fellow Tolkienknights!

Easy peasy!

~Questions~

1. How were you first introduced to LotR/TH and was it love at first sight/read?
One day I found my mom and brother settled into my brother’s room about to watch a movie. I asked if I could watch it with them and they said it’d probably be all right as long as I closed my eyes during some parts (I was 10 at the time). The movie turned out to be the newly released Fellowship of the Ring. Love at first sight? HA. I was so enthralled it literally changed my life. It introduced me to fantasy, to Tolkien, to everything I know and love today. I immediately read The Hobbit book and picked up Lord of the Rings right after. And I’ve never looked back to a non-Tolkien life since.

I left my heart in Middle Earth

2. If you could meet the actors who portray the characters in the movies, would you?
YEAH I WOULD. Well. . .I’m not big on actors. Actors are weird. . . I’m a “love the character not the actor” sort of person. But I’m exceedingly fond of a lot of those actors. Namely Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), Martin Freeman (Bilbo), Richard Armitage (Thorin), and Benedict Cumberbatch (who voices Smaug and happens to be one of my most favorite actors period). So yeah, if given the chance, I’d jump on it.

I mean, come on.

Skipping Hobbit GIF

Majestic Thorin GIF

BC Smaug

Aragorn in The Hobbit

3. What is your favorite credit song from LotR/TH?
Billy Boyd sang one, peoples! There really is no choice here. Billy Boyd’s The Last Goodbye at the end of Battle of the Five Armies. Just. . .yes.

4. The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit - which is your favorite?  *evil laugh*  (And no, you don't actually have to decide.  I'm merciful like that. *magnanimous smile*)
>.>
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Really, Arwen? Really? You had to go there? *siiiigh* FINE. You asked for it.

LotR Feelings

Let’s focus on the books first.

As obsessed as I am with the Lord of the Rings stories, they are a bit of a heavy read sometimes. I love the simplicity of The Hobbit. It’s easy to get through and the fun little tale just never gets old. I also read it first and it introduced me to Tolkien’s writing, so I’m probably most fond of it. I’ve also read it many more times than I have Lord of the Rings. But on the other hand, I like complicated stories. The bigger the better, in my opinion. I love humungo epic tales, and you just can’t get more epic than Lord of the Rings. But honestly, I don’t believe you can have one without the other. Choosing between one or the other feels wrong.

Now for the movies, I definitely prefer the Lord of the Rings movies over The Hobbit ones. Don’t get me wrong, I did immensely enjoy The Hobbit movies, the first and last especially, but they didn’t feel right to me. They didn’t capture the charm of The Hobbit book. While the Lord of the Rings movies had just that right element that made the books come to life on the screen. I think they were trying to keep that feel for The Hobbit movies, but that wasn’t right. The Hobbit is a much more lighthearted story than Lord of the Rings. I felt like the movie makers were focusing too much on copying the Lord of the Rings movies than the actual book. I don’t know. This might not even make sense, but there was something about The Hobbit movies that felt off to me. And while the Lord of the Rings movies definitely had parts that probably make our dear Tolkien roll over in his grave, they’re still my favorite movies of all time.

Well, you asked, Arwen. XD

5. Who is your favorite all-around character?
*writhes on floor groaning* These questions, Arwen! Really!

When I was little I adored Frodo, and I still adore him. Mainly the book version. Elijah Wood did a beautiful job portraying our brave little hobbit, but the script made him a bit. . .erm. . .whiny? And a jerk sometimes. Which was so not okay. Frodo, the real Frodo, is brave and noble and kind and. . .okay. I won’t get into that. Ahem.

Anyways, as I got older Aragorn grew on me more and more, until one day I realized he had pushed himself right into first place in my heart. Very rude of him, I know. But really, Aragorn is AMAZING. He’s brave and has such a willingness to do anything to help his friends, and I mean anything, and just all around NICE and yeah. Aragorn is great.

Aragorn GIF

For FrodoProbably my favorite part of all the movies put together.

6. What is your opinion on Boromir?
Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a little girl who didn’t know much about the world and people. She took everything as it was and didn’t think deeply about anything. This girl, in her naivet√©, witnessed a man named Boromir make a few mistakes and thought that meant he was a bad person. Sadly, she had no regrets upon his death.

But this girl grew up, and through the years she learned many things about people. About good characters and flaws and what makes a person human. Slowly but surely, understanding, regret even, seeped into her heart, and she realized that the man named Boromir was not a bad man at all. He made mistakes, yes, but all mankind has. In reality, Boromir was good. He was loyal, so deeply loyal to his people he took foolish actions in hopes of helping them. He was loyal to his brother, his father, his home. Maybe his actions hurt others, but that was never his intent. He thought he was doing what was right. He was a man to be pitied.

Boromir taught the girl much about people. And for that she is grateful.

The End

Boromir

7. How many times have you watched the movies/read the books?
HAHAHAHAHAhahahahahaHAHAHaHA. . .ha. . .ha. . . *chokes*

Ahem.

I’ve watched the Lord of the Rings movies over and over and over again since they came into existence. I’m not sure I know how to count that high. But I have only seen the first two Hobbit movies twice and the last one once.

Watch LotR Chart

As for The Hobbit book, I’ve reread it more than any other book I own. I think I’ve read it around 12 times, but I sort of lost count around 10. Yeeeah, I have problems. I’ve read the Lord of the Rings trilogy 3 or 4 times, but I shamefully can’t remember exactly. I think only 3 though.

8. What book is your favorite?
I’m pretty sure I answered this in question #4. XD But if I had to choose only one, probably The Hobbit. Ugh. Maybe. Choosing is HARD. Out of the three Lord of the Rings ones though Return of the King is my favorite. The story just gets more and more epic as it goes on.

9. Who is your favorite female character (other than your answer to question #5)?
√Čowyn, without a doubt. She sacrificed so much for her family, even in the midst of her own losses. Her courage and selflessness is unmatched. And while she knows how to fight and desires to do so, she doesn’t try to be “one of the boys” like so, so many female characters do. She kept her femininity even while fighting for her loved ones. She’s an inspiration.

Eowyn

Smiling Eowyn GIF

And don’t even get me started on her and Faramir or I’ll be fangirling and gushing all day.

Faramir and Eowyn GIF

10. Who is your favorite male character (other than your answer to question #5)?
*more groaning noises*

All right, all right. After warring a battle as gruesome as that at Helm’s Deep inside my mind, I think I’ve come to a conclusion.

Bilbo Baggins. I know, you probably thought I was going to say Frodo. Those who knew me in my young days would be shocked. My Frodo obsession was strong, I’ll be honest. But I guess it’s okay for one’s taste to change in the span of 12 years.

I feel as though Bilbo was the first person I ever went on a real adventure with. He was the first to be read about, to spend countless hours at night with a flashlight turning page after page with far too much anticipation to bother about going to bed. Who I woke up with in the morning and immediately picked up his book to pour over before I had to drag myself away for lunch. You just don’t forget your first adventuring companion.

But nostalgia aside, Bilbo is just an amazing character in general. He stuck by Thorin and co. time and time again despite his desire to return to his chair and books in the Shire. He got them out of countless jams, and did exactly what he thought he needed to do to save them from their own selfishness. He didn’t have to stick with these dwarves and their suicidal quest. But he did anyway. All the way to the very end.

Bilbo GIF3

Bilbo GIF

And let’s not forget his dry wit. I’ll love anybody with a good sense of dry humor.

Bilbo Birthday Quote

I also could probably do an entire post on how perfect Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Bilbo was, but I’ll spare you.

Martin Freeman Bilbo GIF

11. Which of the movies, in your opinion, has the best ending?
That’s a tough question, because I think they all ended well (even if The Desolation of Smaug was awfully cruel). But, really, the way I see it there’s only one ending and that’s Return of the King. Even at the end of Battle of the Five Armies we know there’s much, much more to come. But Return of the King pulls it all together and gives us a satisfying, if not tear inducing (okay, more like a sobbing fest) finale. It’s all wrapped up beautifully, with a touch of bittersweetness yet full of hope. What more could you ask for in an ending?

Your story will go on

This was an absolute blast letting my Tolkienknight self geek out for a while. I probably could have spent an hour on each question, but I tried to behave. Thank you again, Arwen!

So let’s pass this thing on to more Tolkienknights.

~Tagging~

Deborah/Celti @ The Road of a Writer

Mirriam @ Wishful Thinking

Sarah @ Sarah Plain and Average

Jack @ However Improbable

Melody @ The Splendor Falls on Castle Walls

“Anyways, you need people of intelligence on this sort of. . .mission. . .quest. . .thing.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

THAW Series Launch {Wintry Fairytale Retellings}


To me, nothing compares to a wintry day snuggled under the blankets with a good book. There’s something special about overcast skies and foggy windows coupled with a warm drink and book in hand.

We still have a few frosty days left this winter. And guess what? A new book series that goes perfectly hand in hand with these frigid, cozy days has entered the world just in time. Exciting, I know!

Thaw Graphic

Author E. Kaiser Writes has just released the first 3 books in her THAW series, and do these books ever sound scrumptious! I’m aching to get my hands on them. This brand new series are wintry fairytale retelling, inspired by the classic fairytales such as Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. I adore fairytale retellings and am extremely fond of The Snow Queen myself, so I got quite excited when I heard about these delicious looking books.

The first two of the series came out earlier this month and the third has released TODAY. So check these stories out and get yourself a copy.

The Books
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Thaw-Winter's Child Book CoverBook One: Winter's Child

A barren king and queen pray for a child, and when in their loneliness, they make one out of snow, their prayers are answered in a special, and unusual way.

Sometimes, when we get what we wish for, we don't know what to do with it.

Combining elements from the Snow Maiden, Schneekind, Snegurochka tales with those of the Snow Queen; Winter's Child introduces a new series: THAW.

[Buy on Amazon]

[Check out its Pinterest Board]

 

Thaw-Winter Queen Book CoverBook Two: Winter Queen

A slightly pampered girl allows her avoidance behavior to isolate her from the world... and it's only when she takes the final step that she realizes the wall she's built in the name of safety is also the one that will hold her prisoner forever... unless she discovers how to destroy it.

The only one who can break a neurosis... is the one who has it.

Combining elements from the Snow Maiden, Schneekind, Snegurochka tales with those of the Snow Queen; Winter Queen continues a new series: THAW.

[Buy on Amazon]

[Check out its Pinterest Board]

 

Thaw-Prince of Demargen Book CoverBook Three: Prince of Demargen

The whole world knows his guilt, and is absolutely correct about it, but how far can a man go to regain respect so swiftly lost?

Or is an honorable death the best a fallen star can hope for?

The only person who can help him... is the one he most deeply wronged.

Prince of Demargen is third in a new series: THAW.

[Buy on Amazon]

[Check out its Pinterest Board]

 

The Author
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

E. Kaiser Author PhotoE. Kaiser Writes credits her nearly nomadic childhood for the vast reach of her fictional worlds; she has lived (and gotten to known the locals) in the Rocky Mtns, the Smoky Mtns, the plains, the deep forest, the searing Texas summer and frozen Minnesota north.

She wears many hats: writer and editor of ad copy, web copy, office correspondence & fiction; a cowgirl, animal trainer, seamstress, jeweler, artist and... authoress!

Visit her: Blog | Author Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Pinterest

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Beautiful People - It’s a Writer’s Life for Me {January 2015}


Greetings and salutations! (Wait, aren’t those the same things?) For a little over a week I’ve been off at lands afar, partaking in grand adventures. And by that I mean I’ve been out of town staying with my bestie, but it is always an adventure when we’re together. But all good things must come to an end; goodbyes were said and I have returned. Though the comfort of home is never unwelcome.

But I digress.

Now that I am back and settling into things once more, I’m excitedly (or excitedingly like I accidentally first typed up. . .I think I like that better) I’m excitedingly taking part of this month’s BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE. *confetti* Yes, Beautiful People is back after its 3 month hiatus where our benevolent hosts, Sky and Cait, put up a NaNoWriMo themed linkup called Beautiful Books instead. (Which was FABULOUS. Thanks so much, you two!) Oh, but it gets better. This is a special edition of BP. Instead of answering questions about our choice of character, all questions are centered on. . .the AUTHOR. Yes, us. Pretty awesome, right? Obviously you don’t want to miss this one. I know you don’t. So head on over to Sky's post or Cait's, snag the questions, and link up. Our characters don’t always have to take the spotlight. . .even if they think they do.

Beautiful People Blog Button

So off we go to answer questions about. . .me. *winces* Scary thought, I know. Hopefully everyone’s sanity will still be intact by the end. (But is sanity all that important anyway?)

1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’?
I first started writing 13 years ago when I was a wee thing of 9, with nary a clue of what I was doing. (Okay, I still don’t know. Living life obliviously is how I roll.) Since then I always claimed I loved to write, but I guess I didn’t really make it my life until after my first NaNoWriMo in 2010. That’s when I realized how passionate I really was about the writing life and from then on started taking it seriously.

2. How/why did you start writing?Tolkien Fantasy Quote
Stories have always been a part of me. I was reading books since I was four and imagined fairies dancing in the trees out my window every night. But it never occurred to me that I could write out my own stories until someone in my homeschool group passed out sheets for a contest to write a short story. I have no memory what that contest was for, but when I saw it I knew I wanted to write something.

I snagged a notebook and pencil, headed outside, settled barefoot in the grass, and started writing. What was supposed to be a short story became much longer, but I didn’t care. The contest went far from my mind. I had discovered something. I was creating. And I couldn’t stop, I didn’t want to. And so I didn’t.

A year later when I discovered the world of Tolkien, I knew that the life of a fantasy writer was the one for me. I’ve since delved into some other genres, but whatever I write always holds some element of the unrealistic. Whether it be fantasy, time travel, or people who can read memories or have wings—realistic fiction isn’t the one for me.

Because I still like to think fairies dance out my window each night.

3. What’s your favorite part of writing?
THE CHARACTERS. Without a doubt. And that covers all aspects of character. Whether it’s creating them, fleshing them out, writing about them, listening to them argue in my head (what? I know I’m not the only one), or anything in between. I write because there are people in my head demanding I tell their story. I love people. I love studying different personality types. Learning how people tick. Thinking up silly quirks. I just love the characters.

Why I Write

4. What’s your biggest writing struggle?
Oh goodness, there’s just so many! XD I guess keeping my stories at an acceptable length. Good gravy, do I write ridiculously long novels! Condensing my stories is something I’m really trying to work on here lately. Short stories and I just never seem to get on. . .

5. Do you write best at night or day?
Definitely at night. Although I actually do most of my writing during the day. I like to have my nights to read or watch TV and just not worry about working on anything. But when I do take the time to write at night, I get my best stuff out. Which means I should do that more. . . There’s something about the darkness and the house being quiet that really gets my muse flowing.

6. What does your writing space look like? (Feel free to show us pictures!)

IMG_0005

Behold! My writing chair. It’s quite comfy actually and angled where I can prop my feet up on the edge of my bed. I also pull from the creative energy of my bookshelves behind me, and there’s another hanging on the wall. I feel so much more inspired being surrounded by books. If I write at night I’ll usually lounge in my bed. But the majority of my computer time is in that chair.

7. How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft?
That’s changed a lot through the years. Used to I’d take eternity (aka a few years) to finish anything. But ever since I began taking my writing seriously. . .erm. . .4 to 6 months maybe? But that’s why I love NaNoWriMo so much because it makes me finish something in just a month or two.

8. How many projects do you work on at once?
I usually can only focus on one thing at a time. If I try to do multiple things I end up favoring one and abandoning the other. I always have so many idea and things I want to work on, but I know if I just jumped from one project to the next I’d never finish any of them. It’s quite sad. So instead I force myself to finish one before I can start another. That way I get it done and it keeps me motivated to actually do it.

But I have worked on a couple of projects at once before. One year I was writing the first draft of one story while rewriting another. And this year I did NaNo while polishing up my Beauty and the Beast novella (that was a bit chaotic. . .). But for all other projects I kept them each my sole focus.

9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between?
I’ve always been a firm believer in happy endings. You can torture characters left and right at beginnings and middles, but I want endings to make me smile. All that said though, I have become more open minded. I’d rather not super heartbreaking endings, but the bittersweet ones can really make an impact. After all, life isn’t all about happily ever afters. A touch of sadness can be laced into the ending as long as the reader is left with satisfaction for the most part. Overall, I love writing happy endings, but on occasion I’ll end it on a bittersweet note.

Happily Ever After
10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey.
J.R.R. Tolkien is absolutely the biggest influence of writing I’ve ever had. I write what I do because of him. But there have definitely been countless others that have helped shape my style and stories. C. S. Lewis, Bryan Davis, Jill Williamson, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Donita K. Paul, Diana Wynne Jones—just to name a few.

Creative Enemy11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not?
For years and years and years I never let anyone take a peek at my writing. The idea terrified my beyond belief. I mean, someone seeing one of my silly stories? *crawls under blanket* The self-conscious problems were strong. Not to mention everything I had were first drafts, and my first drafts are akin to pigsties. But just a couple of years ago when I finally took the initiative to actually edit something and I befriended some wonderful writing buddies in the land of the internets, I tentatively allowed mortal eyes to see my creations. And. . .it wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was almost nice. I still get a bit nervous, but I’ve gotten more used to it and am learning to be brave. I also loooove having feedback because I’m always on a quest to make my stories better, so having suggestions is a wonderful thing!

12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream?
As any writer, it has always been my dream to have my stories out in the published world. But my ultimate goal is to use the gift and passion God has given me to glorify His kingdom. Whether that be by touching the lives of a few close friends or having my stories out in the world, I want it all for Him.

13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do?
Don’t. . .don’t write? *sputtering noises* Cannot. . .compute. I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question. This is a joke, right?

All right, all right. I have always had a heart for troubled girls. Ever since I was pretty young, I had a longing to be a part of or found my own home for girls who need help and have nowhere else to go. Or even just on a smaller scale by lending an ear to those in need. I don’t know where God wants me to go with this longing really, but I’ve always felt as if He’s preparing me for something. It’s definitely something I want to pursue. Or who knows, maybe my stories can help me connect with girls in need. I don’t know. Basically I want to follow whatever is God’s plan for me.
Taking Time to Live
14. Do you have a book you’d like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet?
I do have one story idea that I really love. It came to me probably a year ago and stays in the back of my mind. It’s an Arthurian Legend story that switches back and forth from King Arthur’s time to modern day, connecting the two stories. But I want it set in England, and to really have that England feel. To have real places and real streets and the real culture of England. But, ya know, I’ve never been in England. I know people write stories set in places they’ve never been to all the time, that’s what research (and Google maps) is for after all. But. . .I don’t know. It doesn’t feel like it’s the right time for this story. I’d love more than anything to visit England myself and then write the story. Who knows if that will ever happen, but happen or not, I just know now isn’t the time for this story. It’s going to be far bigger a project than anything I’ve ever written and I really want to make it right.

Someday, hopefully.

15. Which story has your heart and won’t let go?
There’s a special place in my heart for every single story I’ve ever written. Each time I write one I think it’s my favorite story. Asking this is like asking a mother to choose a favorite of her children. With each story I’ve smiled, I’ve struggled. I’ve laughed and had the time of my life and learned something new. They’re each an adventure I’d never want to let go of or forget. Even the ones I’ll never revise. With each book I write I grow more and more. So, to answer your question, they all have my heart.

The Breatings of Your Heart

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

“To Live Will Be an Awfully Big Adventure”


Here we are, with fresh and empty calendars in hand, and a new number claiming hold of the year.

2015

Sailing DreamsI quite like that number. It promises adventure, maybe even hardships, heartbreaks, but with it growth. Newness. Awaiting that first step of the journey.

The beginning of a new year almost excites me as much as Christmas morning. It’s like staring at that fresh word document just before starting a new story. The possibilities are endless, and though I know I’ll struggle along the way, it’ll end in an adventure I’ll never regret taking. Right now I can only wonder what journey God will lead me on for 2015, but every journey takes the first step and an effort along the way.

I want this to be a good year, one to grow, to learn, to strive to be who God wants me to be. But that can’t happen unless *I* take the initiative and make that first step. Just dreaming won’t lead me anywhere. Dreams are beautiful things, but they only end in an empty longing unless you take the initiative to turn them into realities.

This year I don’t want to just dream, I want to DO.

Today, with pencil and notebook in hand, and prayers in my heart, I listed the dreams I want to turn into realities for 2015. The goals to reach for. The things that will stretch and test me into the vessel God created me to be.

Four words leapt from my messy pencil scratches to my heart. Four words I want to strive for, to grown in, to live by.

Brave. Productive. Balanced. Encourage.

Brave
This is something God has laid on my heart for the past couple of years, and it’s something I forget to embrace. Too often I get comfortable, unwilling to step out and try new things due to fear of failure. But God calls His people to bravery every day. He equips us with just what we need, whether we think so or not. With Him, there should be no fear. After all, through Him all things are possible. So this year I want to take His hand, draw courage from His touch, and walk boldly wherever He leads. To be brave.

Productive but Balanced
There’s a fine line between productivity and being balanced, a line I make crooked and indiscernible in my life. I tend to either be too productive or far too lazy, there never seems to be an in between. God wants us to be productive, certainly, but if all our work is interfering with family time or stressing us, there’s probably something wrong. I’m constantly spending so much time emailing or writing or cleaning and such that I forget my family is far more important, and those emails or that scene in a book can wait. But then I’ll turn around and spend an entire day marathoning a TV show when I have a thousand and one things I should be doing. I think a good mix of productivity and rest is a healthy lifestyle, but I’ve yet to find that balance. And that’s something I want to really search for. I don’t want to waste a minute of this year. I want to stay busy but know when to stop and sniff the roses. To remember that watching a movie with my family can be just as meaningful as getting that certain email answered. I want to straighten out my line of productivity and balance and stand right in the middle.

Encourage
I’m one of those people that never lives by that oh so important “think before you speak” rule. If something pops in my head, I spout it out, and more than half the time it’s something that should never have left my tongue. Words are one of the most powerful things on this earth, and as a writer, I know their power, I live off them. Words of Affirmation is my own Love Language. Encouragement of words is what I thrive on. So shouldn’t I do the same for others? Shouldn’t my words lift up those around me, not tear them down? I want to THINK before I speak. I want the words from my mouth to shine God’s light and refresh His people. I want my very life to be an encouragement. My words, my actions, my being. I want to reflect the Greatest Encourager.

This year I want to beam with God’s light. To face life bravely, to not waste a day of this short life but always be balanced, to encourage all those I come in contact with. I want to smile a lot and laugh more and LIVE.

But, most importantly, I want to remember that it’s all for the glory of God and I should be THANKFUL and JOYFUL whether 2015’s adventure is a smooth trail through the forest or a messy climb up a mountain.

This life is short. I feel as though time is a sleek rope slipping far too fast through my fingers. And so I want to be joyful every moment I have here, and use it all for HIM.

HAPPY 2015!
I pray every step of your journey this year blooms with light and love and life.

Off to Neverland

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