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The Queen that Hates High Society

I found this in my journal from a long time ago, when I worked in a job that wasn't quite a comfortable fit for me.

Lately I've been sucked, bit by bit, into a world different from my own -- sometimes in direct opposition to my culture.  I accept things, tolerate them, for peace' sake, rationalizing the lower value of culture in relation to the higher value of principle. But I underestimate how much I identify with my culture.  The pride and comfort I take in it.  The value I have for it.  It feels sacrificial to trade my jeans and workboots in for jewels and shiny flat shoes.  To take the things I've admired and heard praised by all who are dear to me and to trade them for the wardrobe bestowed upon me like a royal gift. It makes it harder, you know, because they view it as a rags to riches transformation for which I should be immeasurably grateful.  They poured money into me, trying to make me one of them.  I'm supposed to twirl in front of the mirror, eyes aglow…

Some Wedding Pictures

It's wedding picture time!!!!














REST

Rest. It's something that Garrett and I have been longing for. Life got pretty crazy in March, but we told ourselves that if we could just hang on until summer things would smooth out. That's just a few months, right? We can handle that, right?
But it didn't get easier in June. In fact, it got even harder. But don't worry, it will be better in November. In November, things will get simpler. And so, even though I'm maxed out and feeling like I'm about to lose my mind, I can hang on to this hope of November. It's going to be okay.
Well, November hit. And in case you couldn't foresee this coming, let me tell you that the last 8 days have been even more intense. And you know what Garrett and I said? "Don't worry. Next week is our honeymoon. We can rest then."
Ha.
There were two problems with this. One is that, while I might be slow sometimes, I'm not complete idiot and I was beginning to recognize a pattern here. And the second was th…

The old brown couch

A well-meaning friend offered me a couch this week. A very nice couch.
But I like Garrett's couch. It's soft and brown and cozy, and I've fallen asleep on it a couple times.
So I messaged Garrett to tell him of the couch offer. Maybe he won't like the new couch. Maybe it's too brightly colored for his cave-like den.
He liked the new couch.
Oh, dear, what do I do now?
This is the time when I split into two people - feelings and logic.
Feelings: I think...I don't know... But I don't want a new couch!
Logic: Why? Garrett has told you how his sinks down where the boys always sat. And you know this couch is a nice one.
Feelings: But I like his old couch.
Logic: Why?
Feelings (starting to get all panicky and weepy): Because everything is changing so fast. I'm moving out. I'm getting married. I'm changing everything. I JUST WANT THE COUCH TO STAY THE SAME. And it's brown and cozy and soft and snuggly and it makes a comforting cave. (wailin…

Just a Sketch

Garrett and Esther

will be married in less than 1 month

Appliqués

Having searched the world over, I have discovered that my wedding dress is not in existence, at least not in my price range. So I'm making it myself with a little help from friends.


Garrett: Are you sure you're up for making your own dress?
Me (having never done this before and therefore completely without experiential knowledge of my capabilities in this arena): Well, if I walk down the aisle in November wearing jeans and a t-shirt, you'll know I wasn't.

But so far it is going well. I'm embroidering my own appliqués to go on the dress, which is new for me.


Talking to Garrett about appliqués has been interesting. Apparently it's not a word he's terribly familiar with. But he doesn't need to know what it means because he can tell from the sound of the word that it is something fancy. He's amazing at voice impressions, and he sometimes pulls out this posh, snooty laugh such as you might expect from a British gentleman who delights in laughing over h…

Flaws and Appreciation

We all have flaws.  And sometimes courtship and marriage showcases them in a new light.  There have been multiple times over the past several months when I was shocked by my own imperfections.  Wow, I was really rude.  Wow, I sound incredibly arrogant.  Wow, I'm a wimp.  Wow, I've got a lot of weird defenses built up.  Wow, I most definitely fall short of the glory of God.  Every now and again, I wonder how on earth Garrett puts up with me, let alone still likes me.
      The showcasing of flaws goes both ways.  And my wonderful man is not perfect.  In fact, sometimes he's REALLY not perfect.  Ah-hem.  At the beginning of our relationship, I was a little surprised to find out that Prince Charming isn't as error-free as I imagined.  Oh, to be sure, I knew nobody was perfect...theoretically.  But somewhere in my subconscious, I expected all his imperfections to be irrelevant and minor -- you know, like he left his dirty clothes on the floor or he put the toilet pap…

Just a Pic

Just thought you guys might like to see a picture of me and my fiance.  :)

Don't Forget Me

My wedding is less than two months away. It's going to be beautiful and lovely.
Old, unfinished stories are stirring in my head, begging to be written.
And my blog sits here in near-silence, waiting for the day when I pick it up again.
And I would like to assure all of you that THAT day will come. I do not know when, but it will. Maybe this winter. Maybe next Spring.
But, until then, please forget me not for I have not forgotten you. <3

The Time is Flying and I Have a Wedding to Plan

Greetings, one and all.  I have a couple minutes to myself this evening, and I thought I would pop in to say I haven't forgotten about you.  But I have bank accounts to manage and business licenses to get and zoning to apply for and a marriage license to obtain and a million tiny wedding preparations to make.  Life has been really busy.  I should be filling out my zoning application for my business license right now, but that can wait 5 more minutes, can't it?      For me, the time is flying.  My wedding is less than 4 months away, and I still have so much to do.  It's a little overwhelming and the day will be here before I know it.      For my fiance, the time is dragging slower than time has ever gone before in the history of the world.  It's funny how time is so relative and variant in how people perceive it.      There's not a lot of time for self-reflection, which is a shame.  This is a great time to do that, especially as a writer.  Real-life experience …

Pieces

Lately, I've had pieces of a story stirring in my head.  I don't know what the story is or who the characters are.  I'm just driving down the road, minding my own business, and then some crossroads scene plays in my head.  Someone at the end of their rope having a conversation with somebody.  A warrior in the bustle of men setting up tents and preparing for a battle ahead.  A whispered plot carried out in a dark room.      I'm afraid to grab the scene (afraid that I will crush it if I try to commit it to memory) so I've just let it play in my head and hoped that somehow my subconscious will remember it and build it into a story.      Has anybody else had this happen?  And what do you do when it does?

Society Masks

"Where have you been?"  My aunt's accusing voice startled me and I missed my foothold on the balcony.  I plummeted downward, saved only by my grip on the railing.  Somewhere, mixed in with the distant strains of a waltz, I heard the sound of my dress ripping.       Strength surged through my body, brought on by the fear of falling and the fear of my aunt, and it pushed heartbreak from my mind.  I swung my legs, caught the edge of the balcony again, and pulled myself to safety.       My aunt stood in front of me, her anger evident even under that smooth facade.  "You told the butler that you were coming up here to your room because you had a headache."      That was true.  And it was the sort of headache best remedied by climbing down from my balcony and running to meet Ian.  But I had a feeling it would not be helpful to say that out loud.      "You are a disgrace, Ingrid Deschamps!"  From the look on my aunt's face, there were much stronger…

My fiance

Sooo...do you guys remember me telling you about my awesome boyfriend?  Well, I am pleased to announce that we are now engaged!  He took me on a hike this weekend and asked me to marry him.  And I said yes (after spouting out, "oh, my goodness!" about five times -- I was totally surprised even though I knew it was coming at some point).      The picture is from our hike (yes, he proposed at the top of a mountain).  The hike was full of adventures.  Mysterious fog.  Steep climbs.  Bears (yep, that's a great story).  Sunlight beaming down through the clouds.  Pretty cool stuff.      I'm not sure how normal people feel when they get engaged; but for me there is a huge churning of emotions, and my insides kind of resemble a washing machine.      I told my future-father-in-law that I was really excited and really happy and...just...a...little...bit...terrified.      He laughed and said he was pretty sure that was normal.  And then my future-mother-in-law told me abo…

A Hard Goodbye

"You're more poet than anything." I folded my arms and glared at Ian.  He sat perched on the edge of the roof, dressed like an adventurer.  I coveted every part of his outfit -- the breezy shirt made of course cloth, the sturdy breeches, the leather boots that laced up to his calves, the dagger on his hip.  Tomorrow he would set sail to a life I craved more than anything.  But did he appreciate his opportunities?  No. And I hated him for it.      "Do you despise poets, Ingrid?"  His voice was sad, but a grin twisted at the corners of his mouth as he finished his question.  Those blue eyes of his cut in my direction with a teasing flash.       "They don't DO anything."  My thoughts and emotions ran in torrents, but I could see his flowing smoothly and quietly.  Even in his uneasiness about the morrow, his face was a peaceful as a child falling asleep in his own bed.      "You don't always have to 'do'.  Sometimes it is just a…

Calling Out to Our Shared Inner Adventures

Jenny Freitag posted on her blog about the value of putting yourself into your stories.  And it's true.        You probably have seen stories that were too much of a playground of one self-absorbed author-hero.  You shook your head over it and told your mother it was written by an amateur.       But you have also seen stories wherein the author bares his soul and it speaks to something deep within your own soul.      There are parts inside of us, no matter where we are from, that are the same.  That's why we write stories that we would like to read -- because others will want to read it, too.  That's why we write stories from our hearts -- because we give voice to someone else's heart at the same time.  The same amount of your true self that you put into a story will call out the same amount of true self from a reader's heart.

Black Sheep

     You might not be proud of me.  I think I've always been the black sheep of the family, and I'm probably a little blacker now by your standards.  It's been eating at me a little more than I've been willing to admit.      I knew you were annoyed with me my last year back home.  You thought I was hanging out with the wrong friends.  To be honest, I was pretty irritated with the rules you were always trying to tie me down with.  Things just don't come as easy for me as they do for Harry or Frank or Thomas, and I hated that you wanted me to be exactly like them.      But that look in your eyes when I signed up with our nation's armed forces -- that's what got me.  There was hope in your eyes.  Not just a surface hope, but a deep, desperate hope.  That's when I realized how much pain I caused you every day.  And I vowed I was going to be a good boy from then on.  I could tell that you figured the military would reform me, and I started to believe it myself…

The Mountains. The Wind. The Sun.

The mountains.  The wind.  The sun.

     They make me feel strong.

     The stone walls of the castle hem me in and make feel as fragile as a bird in a cage.  There, I am trapped by generations of traditions and protocol --- caught in a game ordered by rules that no one fully understands.  The bars and posts at every turn remind me of the expectations placed upon me by an entire nation.  And the whispers caught in the tapestries haunt the throne room that changed hands many times through the intrigue of those who play by a darker set of laws.

      But when I feel myself succumbing to the pressures, I come up here.  The castle looks small and distant, and I realize how big the world is in comparison.  Why would I let myself be forced into such a tiny cage?  From here, I can laugh at its traps.  From here, I can see who I am meant to be -- and it is not what any of them expected.

     The horizon is broad and beautiful.  I can almost feel the pulse of the earth beneath my feet.  …

Why We Don't "Pants" in Public

The Mental Ward came to a close this past weekend.  I very much enjoyed writing this story and discovering it along with you all.  Your encouragement made a world of different to me, in helping me finish.  And it was kind of fun to just write without worrying about anything.  There were definitely some motivation-and-pleasure advantages to writing and sharing a story as you create it.

     That being said, there are reasons we plan our stories before releasing them to the public.  If you read over The Mental Ward, from beginning to end, you will find multiple errors, some people speaking or acting out of character, several overused gestures or expressions, a few plot holes or unresolved threads, and so forth.  That's because stories are not perfect the first time through.  Remember, we edit for a reason.

      Writers are often categorized as plotters or pantsers.  Plotters have their novel planned out before they start writing.  Pantsers do like I did with Mental Ward -- we …

The Mental Ward - When the Old Chapter Closes (42)

Mr. Carlisle shifted his gaze hastily to the gardener and back to Emery.  For a moment, he looked defensive and angry.  But then that faded away, leaving a weary, defeated resignation.  "I had hoped that name would never come back to haunt me."  He shrugged his shoulders, a flicker of evasiveness reappearing in his eyes.  "How much do you know?"       The gardener raised his chin defiantly.  "I know that Clayton was the best gardener you ever had.  I know that he had a wife and children depending on him.  I know that he was the sort of person you could trust.  And I know that you got rid of him the morning after your daughter supposedly died."  His voice grew louder.  "I know that he couldn't find a job anywhere after you fired him.  I know that his family fell into hard times that just grew harder and harder.  Last I heard, he was far away, looking for a job outside of your influence, and his family lived in the city on the brink of starv…

How Boyfriends Affect Your Writing

Because, as it turns out, people don't touch your life without causing ripples.

Or cannonball splashes.

So, last fall, an awesome, one-of-a-kind man waltzed into my life.  And it turned my writing world upside-down.

First of all, I was distracted.  Ah-hem.  Yep, that probably doesn't need to be explained.  He was on my brain almost all the time, and I didn't really want to think about much else.
Secondly, I was busier.  Normal writing times were replaced with long phone calls.  My life focus shifted from writing "the best story ever" to building a relationship that would potentially last for the rest of my earth-based existence.
Of course, when I did get a minute to write, I wanted to spend it journaling about him.  Because real life was suddenly more important to me than my imaginary one. Go figure.
So that resulted in several months of very little creative writing.  Which sounds bad.  But really isn't. Because...

...it made me take a break from pouring out …

The Mental Ward - Just Let Her Wake Up (41)

"Hush, just let her wake up.  She'll be alright."  The gardner gave his advice in hushed tones and then drew back into the shadows with Emery.        Emery covered her mouth with her hand and tried not to cry as the scene soaked into her very soul.       They were upstairs, in the nursery where Beth had played as a little girl.  The opulance was overwhelming, with it's soft carpets, lacy curtains, and fine furniture.  Lady Carlisle sat in an overstuffed chair, cradling Beth.  Her rich gowns and elaborate hairstyle contrasted with Beth's white hospital shift, bare feet, and short-cropped hair.  But the look on Lady Carlisle's face was tender and teary-eyed, and she clutched her little girl as if she would never let her go again.      Beth's eyes blinked and then slowly opened.  Every one in the room held their breath.  Beth's eyes roved over her mother's face, up to the ceiling, around the room, and back to her mother.  Slowly she lifted her…

The Mental Ward - But You're Wanted at Home (40)

Andrew felt like a shadow of a man.  A body with no spirit left.  For hours he sat across the street from the asylum, staring at the force amassing against his daughter.  And he felt his life crumpling away from him.
      The team outside suddenly moved, rushing toward the asylum with their weapons drawn.  Someone brought him word that a maid on the inside had finally been able to open the doors.  It wouldn't be much longer.  Andrew hated that maid.
     Life was very confusing.  How had it come to this?  What had he done to deserve a lunatic daughter?  To lose his baby girl?  To be forced to hide her away to protect his family name?  And now to have her taken away from him all over again?  No one could ever know -- the disgrace of this night surpassed any he imagined over the last seven years.  It was one more burden he would have to bear alone, in secrecy.
      He tried not to think of the rescue team, shooting his daughter.  Every time he did, he could only see her as a…

Time-Traveler Letter from 2015

Greetings, one and all!  I am writing this letter in 2015, and it will be posted on my blog one year later.  Which means that you are likely reading this on May 1st, 2016.  It's great fun to write something that you will read so much later.  I almost feel that you might could hear me, across this great gulf of time, if I yelled really, really loud.

HELLO! HELLO! HELLO!  GREETINGS, O FUTURE ONES!  I CALL TO YOU FROM THE NOT-SO-DISTANT PAST OF 2014! Enough nonsense, now.  I thought I would start by responding to some of the things in my last letter.

First order of business: inspiring blogs.
     Rachel Heffington and Anne-girl continue to be inspirational to me, and their blogs will always hold a special place in my heart.  However, I have been especially helped recently by goteenwriters.blogspot.com .  K.M.Weiland's blog and http://thepenslayer.blogspot.com/ have also been influential for me this year.  And I am just started to watch http://anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com/.

The Mental Ward - Wake the House (39)

"Alive? Yes, but maybe not for long unless you save her." Emery felt the officer's grip on her arm loosen, and she shook herself free.  "She'll die if they put her in that Box again."      Lady Carlysle stared at Emery and tears spilled over on her cheeks.  "Alive?  My baby is alive?"      "Lady Carlysle, if you don't mind me interrupting, this is the Clayton girl.  You remember your old gardener?  Clayton?" the gardener shook his hands by his sides, as if stirring his lady's memory.      The butler, Antrin, shifted his weight and looked highly uncomfortable.  "Oh, yes, mmm, Clayton," he stammered.      But Lady Carlysle didn't seem to hear.  "Where is she?" Her voice was soft, almost pleading.      "At this moment, she lies just outside your gardens, knocked unconscious by the hands of these officers." Emery felt her voice quivering.  "She was on her way home to you, but they are taki…

The Mental Ward - You are Her Mother! (38)

Voices swirled, and Emery felt herself being yanked to her feet.  Puffy grayness clouded her vision as she tried to clear her head.  "No," she murmured.  She pulled in vain against the hands the held and tried again.  "No!"      "Good heavens, officer!" The cultured woman's voice spoke again, and, through the fog in her own mind, Emery caught sight of satins and pearls.  "Is such violence really necessary on the steps of the Carlysle Mansion?"  The woman waved her hand.  "Antrin, fetch my husband."      "Elizabeth!" Emery shouted the word like a plea or a password.  Her vision cleared and she locked her gaze with the woman in satins just in time to see the woman turn deathly pale.  Emery lowered her voice.  "Elizabeth Carlysle.  Or Beth, as she prefers."      The satin woman backed away, retreating into her house.  "Take her away," she said, her voice croaking.  "Antrin, close the door."…

wait til next week

Thursday was my day to write the next installment of The Mental Ward. Then I got called into work on Thursday. And now it is Saturday, and I'm tapping out this pitiful excuse on a phone so you guys know I haven't forgotten you. I'm out of town at the moment, but I'll be home next week. And I'll work on the next piece of the story then. I can hardly wait to share the finale with you!!!

The Mental Ward - Let Her Go (37)

Beth went completely limp, her short hair sweeping across her forehead.  Emery screamed and flung herself at the officers.  Fingernails, elbows, teeth -- she fought like a madman.  But then two strong hands grasped her shoulders and held her at arms' length.  She looked up into the angry face of Thompson.       "Don't care who you are, but if you assault an officer that is cause for punishment."  He cocked his head at her.  "Spend a night in my jail and you'll never try a stunt like this again."      "Let her go." Emery lowered her eyebrows, putting all the authority possible into her gaze as she met the officer's eyes.      He stared into Emery's face until Emery could feel her ears turning red.  Then he grinned.  "No."      Emery flung herself backward and lifted both feet, thrusting them against Thompson's stomach with all her might.  Some sound between a grunt and a gasp erupted from his mouth, and his grip loo…

Inspiration from Author Emily Ann Putzke

Hi everyone! I’m Emily Ann Putzke, author ofIt Took a War,Ain’t We Got Fun, and my newest novelResist which released this week. Today I’m going to share five of my favorite writing websites.


The Online Etymology Dictionaryis a wonderful resource for historical writers. If you find your characters saying things you’re not sure are historically accurate, this site is your friend. It will tell you the year the word was first used.


Helping Writers Become Authorsis a great website chocked full of advice. Peruse their site for advice on both the writing and publishing process. The author, K.M. Weiland, also posts daily writing quotes on her Facebook page that are either encouraging or downright funny.


I love the layout of She’s Novel. I especially liked her post on