Wednesday, December 31, 2014

“Each age has deemed the new-born year the fittest time for festal cheer.”

Well, would you look at that... the year's practically over.  Which means it's time for me to write a post commemorating the past year, and since I'm way too pretentious to just call this post "New Year's Tag," I had to quote Sir Walter Scott in the title line.  Because that's what I DO.

Um, anyway, let's get to it.

What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

Flew on a plane all by myself without any grown-ups or anything, got my driver's license, had my ears pierced and acted in a real professional play.  In that order.

Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make one this year?

I usually make resolutions at my birthday, not New Year's.  It's a new year for me in March. :D

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope. Sadly.  I feel the lack of small cute babies to hold... but I'm starting a second nannying job next week in which I will be taking care of a sweet three-month-old girl, so I'm quite excited about that!!

Did anyone close to you die?

Also nope, praise the Lord!

What countries/states did you visit?

Missouri was the big one this year. ;)

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

Ummmmm... stronger faith.  And a published book, maybe?

What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory?

Several of those! October 4th, the day my best friend showed up in my kitchen and practically gave me a heart attack, was a biggie. ;)

Did you move anywhere?

I did not! And coming from a girl who has moved six times, that's a nice thing.  We've been in one house for over four years now and I don't intend to leave anytime soon.

What was the best month?

Probably October.  ;)

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting my license at long last! And successfully parallel parking a 12-passenger van to do so.  (It took two tries, but hush.)

What was your biggest failure?

Not growing in character as much as I would like to have... but I prefer to look at that as Room For Improvement rather than failure.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

Had a nasty throat infection in January that lasted nearly a month.  Not fun at all.  ("My sore throats are always worse than anyone else's." :P)  But no injuries, thankfully!

What was the best thing you bought?

Airline tickets. :D  And this is going to sound dumb, but a white wooden bedside table with a cute shelf and drawer for my bedroom... it's the first piece of furniture I ever chose, paid for and took home all by myself.  Heehee.

Whose behavior merited celebration?

My darling friend Ally got herself the lead role in a musical this fall!  I was very proud. :D

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Um.  Eh, heh.  This is a public blog so I think I'll skip that one.  Suffice it to say, several people's.

Where did most of your money go?

Gas.  :P  Yay driving!  (Wish I was driving one of the cars in that picture, though... I have a weakness for 50's Cadillacs, preferably the pink and Tiffany blue kind.) And US Airways, haha.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Having Melody come for a visit, going to Ally's, and getting a new car!  Well, new in the new-to-us sense... it's a 1994 Toyota Camry which was no longer needed by some very dear friends of ours, and so now it sits in our driveway and saves me from having to drive the van.  WIN.

What was the best concert you’ve been to this year?

I didn't go to many concerts this year (unless recitals count) but I did get to see three different musicals live-- Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and Cinderella!  If I had to pick a favorite it would probably be Les Mis, simply because of the great affection and attachment I have to the story.  Plus, I went to see it with my sister and four of our friends, and we had a blast experiencing our all-time favorite musical. :D

What song/album will always remind you of 2014?

"Let It Go," because people won't. :P

Compared to this time last year, are you:
1. happier or sadder?  Ummmmm. About the same?
2. thinner or fatter?  Again, the same. Haha.
3. richer or poorer?  Somewhat richer because I've saved a little more, but not much. :P

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Reading.  I'd planned to read 50 books in 2014, a number I didn't think was unreasonable, but I only ended up finishing 35.  Heh.  I want to do better in 2015.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Wasting time on the Internet and worrying. :P

What was your greatest musical discovery?

Collabro!  Seriously, go listen.

How did you spend Christmas?

With my family.  We kids did our traditional sleepover-in-the-younger-girls'-room, listened to Adventures in Odyssey upon awakening, opened presents in the living room, had a fabulous breakfast and then spent the rest of the day at my maternal grandmother's with my mom's side of the family... it was a lovely quiet celebration.

How are you spending New Year’s?

We went to my aunt's house today to hang out with extended family and eat ham and macaroni and cheese, and tonight we're going to observe tradition again and stay up till midnight watching Anne of Green Gables with lots of unhealthy snacks. :D

Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

Melody. Surprise, surprise. :D

What was the best book you read?

Hard call.  Maybe Christy by Catherine Marshall?  Technically this was a re-read, but it had been several years since I picked it up and I appreciated it SO much more this second time around.  The Fault in Our Stars was also pretty amazing, though I had some issues with some of the content so I can't recommend it unreservedly.

Add caption

Did you fall in love in 2014?

Fictional characters count, right?

What was your favorite TV show?

...Take a wild guess.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

*didactic voice* Hate is a very strong word.
I do dislike a few people that I didn't this time last year, tbh.  But let's try and dwell on the positive, shall we?  Happy thoughts, Wanda!

What did you want and get?

My driver's license! (yes, I know I keep harping on this one, but SERIOUSLY do you know how COOL it is to DRIVE MYSELF PLACES WITHOUT AN ADULT IN THE FRONT SEAT??)

(basically me)
What did you want and not get?

A cat, haha.  (I'm not planning to get a cat.  But I was reminded many times this year of how much I like cats and how much I want one someday.)

What were your favorite films of this year?

If we're taking this to mean favorite films that came out this year, the only one I've actually seen is Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.  As for films I saw for the first time this year, David Copperfield (okay, it's a miniseries-- hush), Newsies, Frozen,  and of course Saving Mr. Banks.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

Vintage-inspired librarian chic, with not-infrequent interjections of Whatever's Handy.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 19 on March 16th, and spent the weekend celebrating in various quiet ways-- cake and presents with my family and seeing a local production of Pride and Prejudice with my sister and a dear friend!

What kept you sane?

Melody. Haha.  She puts up with a lot, pooooooooooor deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeear.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Shrinking the USA so I could live closer to some of my dear, faraway friends.  ;)

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Ummmm... probably Benedict Cumberbatch.  Heehee.

What political issue stirred you the most?

Heh... I try to stay out of politics on my blog.  Most of the time.  I will say that I experienced a lot of confusion and battling opinions over the Ferguson trial, but farther than that I will not go, so as to keep the comment box civil.  Heh.

Who did you miss?

Duh?  And, um?  Also, obviously?

Who was the best new person you met?

I actually didn't meet very many new people in 2014... although I have had the opportunity to interact with quite a few new blog followers and commentators, all of whom I am very grateful to have "met"!  (Wow. Weird phrasing there.)

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But because I knew you, I have been changed for good."

Five things I want to do in 2015:

~Go see Melody
~Publish a book
~See Masked air on YouTube :D
~Start my new nannying job!
~Read more books than I did in 2014, haha

Five people I’d like to know better in 2015:

All of you!

*random pretty picture of tea to close this post*

How was your 2014?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Wouldn't It Be Loverly? (A Watch-Along, That Is)

(Merry Christmas to all, a bit late!)

An anniversary has just rolled around, folks, whether you were aware of it or not.  An icon turned 50 on December 25th, and in celebration my best friend Melody and I are throwing a party, of sorts.

Backstory first, though.  On December 25th, 1964, the Audrey Hepburn classic My Fair Lady premiered in theaters and went on to become a worldwide musical sensation.  Now it's 2014 and MFL is 50 years old.  (Wut.)

Okay, now the personal backstory. In 2012 Melody and I were still just getting to know each other/starting to call each other best friends (it all happened rather fast and I have never looked back once :D), and as the newfound friends that we were, we were in a frenzy of recommending books and movies to one another.  I suggested that she watch My Fair Lady, though she had previously stated that she "generally felt rather annoyed at musicals."  But she had had other friends tell her that MFL was worth watching, so she got it from the library and gave it a try... and fell in love.  (Because who WOULDN'T.)  And all of a sudden it became Our Thing.  Our special musical, which we loved to pieces and defended to the death and made fun of (well, certain characters-- and certain outfits) and sang along to at any chance we got.  In July 2013 I went to her house and we had our very first visit in real life-- which of course had to be celebrated with an exuberant and somewhat loud viewing of the film.  (Her brother joined us for most of the viewing, though we threatened to kick him out if he made too much noise or made fun.  He did both things, but we did them both more, so it all worked out in the end.)

And a year and a half went by and now My Fair Lady has turned 50, and we think a celebration is in order.  So Melody and I are going to host a blogging watch-along of My Fair Lady next week, and we hope you will all join us for this auspicious event.

The details are as follows.

Where: Yet Another Period Drama Blog *insert big red arrow that says You Are Here* and Regency Delight
When: January 7th and January 8th at 8 PM CST
What to Do: Visit my blog (You Are Here) on January 7th and Melody's (Regency Delight) on January 8th to watch the first and second acts of My Fair Lady, respectively, and enjoy an interactive viewing experience!
What That Means:  We'll have blog posts running with open comments at both those times, and we'll all start watching the film in our own homes at the same time.  As we watch, we'll offer commentary and chat and giggle and have ourselves a grand old time!
What's Expected of You: Please comment either on this post or over at Melody's blog to let us know if you'll be coming, and then on the 7th and 8th, make sure you have a video copy of the film handy and pop it in at the right time!

What to Remember: It is advisable to show up about 15 minutes early to each viewing session so we can all get set up.  About a quarter to eight, Central time.  (Figure out for yourself what that means for your time zone. :D)
What Else: We'll be posting a recap of our adventure on January 9th, so don't forget to come back to our blogs for that!  There may be a trivia quiz to see how much you were paying attention to the movie :), possibly even some prizes... wait and see.
How to Share the News:  Take one of our handy-dandy little grab buttons below and post it on your blog or other social media outlet to spread the word!

Yet Another Period Drama Blog

Regency Delight

Yet Another Period Drama Blog

Regency Delight

Hope to see you there!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Author Interview: Ashley Elliott

Today I'd like to welcome to the stage blog post a dear friend of mine, Ashley Elliott (formerly known in the blogosphere as Eowyn), who has just recently become a PUBLISHED AUTHOR!  To celebrate her success, I'm participating in the blog tour for her debut novel, Becoming Nikki... and Ashley is here today for an interview!  Without further ado, my questions and her answers.  (Probably you could have figured that out for yourself...)
  1. Where'd the idea for Becoming Nikki first originate?  
    Well, it all started when I discovered ice dancing while watching it during the 2010 Winter Olympics.  Meryl Davis and Charlie White were instantly my favorite and I started thinking about how much it would take to get to the Olympics.  I also had come up with the idea of a broken sister-sister relationship (which slowly turned into a brother-sister relationship) around the same time, and, as I started developing the plot of that novel, the ice dancing part eventually fused with it.
  1. I know you had to do a lot of research to write the ice dancing scenes-- have you ever tried it personally? Did you enjoy it?  
    Oh, my stars, it took SO much research. So, SO much research. I watched video after video – to the point where I could actually critique the dancers for myself – and I even got on an ice skating forum! I've ice skated before, but I'm not very good. At all. When I was little, I used to want to be an Olympic ice skater – HA. Now I can safely say that it'll never happen because whenever I do venture out onto the ice, I develop a close bond to the outer railing. But, like Joss Whedon once said, "I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of."
  1. Was there a particular soundtrack or song that helped you write on your bad days?  (If you don't use music while you write, what do you prefer to listen to?)  
    *shakes fist* CURSE YOU, WRITER'S BLOCK.

    I didn't have very many days of writer's block when I was actually writing Nikki – the first draft, that is – but it took me almost two years to edit the stupid thing, so I guess you could say I had editor's block. On those days, I'd listen to empowering music ('Best Day of My Life,' 'Top of the World,' and a lot of Josh Groban, Hunter Hayes, and Jackie Evancho) and take a research break (meaning watch a few videos of my ice-dancing-OTP, Meryl and Charlie). I didn't start listening to themed music (or develop a soundtrack for my novel) 'til two projects later, The Art of Letting Go. (More on that later.)
  1. Which character in your story do you identify with most (OTHER than Nikki? :D)
    Heehee... Other than Nikki, I identify the most with Natalie. She's got a bubbly personality – like me – and talks a lot when she's nervous – also like me. However, she's a lot funnier than I am, and also a little more confident than I am. But I feel like we'd be best friends if she was real. (*sigh* One of the invisible trials of being a writer...)
  1. What was your favorite scene to write?
    Well, without spoiling much, there's a scene about two-thirds into the book where Nikki and Alec are in the car and they're talking about stuff they used to do when they were younger – before Alec turned into Grumpy Cat, that is. Nikki mentions that they used to sing a lot together, and, before either of them know it, they're singing 'All I Ask of You' from Phantom of the Opera. It's an absolutely magical scene that aaaaalmost didn't make it into the book. See, I had written for earlier on in the novel, but it didn't feel right at all, so I took it out and posted it on my blog as a 'deleted scene.' I got so many comments from people – I'm pretty sure you were one of them, Amy! – who said they were going to basically build a barricade if I didn't keep the scene in the book. I relented, partially because I loved the scene so much, and hid it away until the perfect time. I really like how it turned out, too.
  1. Which would you say are three of the wittiest quotes/lines from the book?
    Oh, gracious... I wouldn't say I'm a very witty writer (at least, not hilariously witty like you, Amy), but here are a few lines that I think are funny.

    Um, Natalie? You'll never believe who just opened the door for me.”
    Chris Pine? David Tennant? Aaron Tveit?”
    (Insert Pinterest meme here: MENTION ALL THE FANDOMS!!!!)

    Bennett's eyebrows shot up. “No wonder you guys got first place. You guys are amazing!”
    I smiled, feeling my cheeks redden and wishing they hadn't. “Thanks.”
    I mean, I think you dropped something. My jaw.” He stopped and his eyes widened, then he continued, gaining momentum as he spoke, “I mean, not both of you... Just you. 'Cause you're amazing. Well, that's not to say that Alec isn't a good skater, it's just...” He frowned. “Forget I said anything.”(Behold: The reason why I looooove Bennett. He's so adorably awkward!)

    Natalie shook her head, staring behind me. “Dost mine eyes deceive me...?”
    (This is the beginning of a short scene where Natalie has seen Nikki talking to Dylan, the most popular guy in school, and is her usual, obsessed-with-boys self. The scene is too long to put here, but I smile whenever I read it.)
  1. Would you ever consider writing a sequel?
    I've considered it, but I don't think I'd be able to come up with enough material to constitute an entire novel. I have ideas about what happens after Nikki ends, but nothing more than who eventually marries who, which I won’t share here because of spoilers.  ; )
  1. What authors/books would you compare Becoming Nikki to, in terms of style?
    Hmm... I think I'd say Nikki is striving to be like an Elizabeth Enright book, but I'm not sure I accomplished that. HA! I guess I'll have to wait and see what my readers think.
  1. What other projects are you currently working on?
    My next novel, The Art of Letting Go, which I started in July for Camp NaNo, and had very little to go on, plot-wise, but a lot to go on, inspiration-wise. I got the idea a few weeks before NaNo and immediately thought, Oh, my stars – I have to write this. Basically, it's about this girl who has to learn how to move on after her boyfriend is killed in a high school shooting. It's the saddest, most depressing thing I've ever written. It makes me cry on a weekly basis, and I really think it's going to be better than Nikki. (But don't tell Nikki I told you that. ; ) )
  2. Where can we buy Becoming Nikki? :D
     will be available on Kindle on December 8th, and in paperback through CreateSpace and Amazon a few days after that. (I've hit a slight bump in the road with some pesky typos that I can't have edited 'til Monday, so I've had to change the date at the last minute. Disappointing, but c'est la vie.)

What would you do if you were given the opportunity to rebuild a broken relationship? 
Alec and Nikki Scott are the perfect ice dancing duo, executing flawless technique and brilliant performance abilities each time they compete. No one doubts their camaraderie, not even their closest friends.
But looks can be deceiving. Off the ice, their relationship is in shambles. Ice dancing is the only thing they have in common anymore... and Alec wants to quit.
Just as Nikki feels like their relationship can't get any worse, an unexpected tragedy crashes into her life. She's left struggling with a difficult choice as her opinion of her brother slowly starts to change.
Whatever she decides, she knows her life will never be the same.
If that synopsis intrigues you... go order Becoming Nikki on Kindle or CreateSpace!  And don't forget to follow Ashley's blog over at Inklings Press. ;)

Ashley Elliott is a writer, reader, musician, photographer, tree-climber, and Leaguette. She speaks fluently in movie quotes and spends most of her time fangirling over her latest obsession. In her free time, she enjoys laughing with her friends, laughing over Christian indie films (but secretly loving them), and laughing with her five crazy siblings. Ashley is a homeschool graduate and is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Humanities through CollegePlus. She lives in Georgia with her parents and siblings, and doesn't have any pets.

(And hey, there's a giveaway on Goodreads! Check it out!)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I'd Like to Share: December 2014

Well, this is a tad bit late.  Heh.
...It's the holiday season.  Shush.

We didn't have very many nominations this month but that may have partly been because I forgot to remind everybody.  *cough*

In the Inspirational category...

Hamlette nominated Heidi for Wit, Truth-Telling and Virtue in Austen
The Elf nominated Matthew Westerholm for Worship on a Bad Day
Naomi nominated Emma Larson for How to Stay Motivated and Achieve Your Goals
Miss Dashwood nominated Rachel Heffington for Advent: The Paradox

In the Informative category...

Hanna nominated Suzanna Rowntree for Technical Excellence is Good In Itself

The October/November quote (which no one identified! how sad! how shocking!) was from a Poirot episode, namely, The ABC Murders.  :D

For this month...

"Pop, I think you're a great guy."
"Did you hear that, _____?"
"I heard it... 'bout time one of you lunkheads said it!"