• The Writer


    Hello! My name is Laura, welcome to my blog! I write weird stories, collect dragon plushies and stay up too late with my nose in a book. I am a wife, mom and child saved by grace. My hope is that you find encouragement here or at least a smile or too.
    God bless!

  • “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book that it may be for the time to come forever and ever.”
    ~Isaiah 30:8.

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  • Quotes

    We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "The only just literary critic," he concluded, "is Christ, who admires more than does any man the gifts He Himself has bestowed."
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures."
    ~Flannery O'Connor

    You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.
    ~Arthur Polotnik

    Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
    ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

    "There are forms of insanity that condemn people to hear voices against their will, but as writers we invite ourselves to hear voices without relinquishing our hold on reality or our right to control."
    ~Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway

    Christians have sometimes been suspicious of stories, because they really can influence you. If you read the Twilight novels once a month for a year, I think you'd be a different human afterward—and not a sparkly one.
    ~Nate Wilson

Reading Journal Entry #1

In my Fiction Writing class the professor is having us keep “Reading Journals”, a.k.a., journals we write in about stuff we’re reading.  For this same class we are reading a novel called, “The Financial Lives of The Poets”, by Jess Walker.  (I DO NOT suggest you read it.)  Since this book was the first new reading I had done since beginning the class, I wrote about it in my first RJ entry.

Here it is for you all to read.  My honesty opinion on this book.

One word comes to my mind after reading the first two chapters of Jess Walker’s “The Financial Lives of the Poets”; empty. I don’t know Mr. Walker, and I have a lot of respect for someone who has taken the time to painstakingly write a novel and get it published, but whatever happened to writing something with substance? Something that made you want to stay up all night to read it, that gave you something more than just modern words printed in black letters on a white page. Though this story does have a theme, an idea your everyday reader can relate to – the threat of foreclosure, a struggling marriage, worries for family and the future – it does nothing. It doesn’t pull at me or draw me in. A small part of me wants to care about what happens to these people because of their situation, but that’s it. The first chapter was enough to make me want to stop reading. Call me old fashion, but reading a novel filled with dialogue where the F-bomb is dropped after every other word, is not something I personally, want to be spending my time in.

It’s hard to put into words what I got out of these first two chapters or lack of. There was no hope, the feeling of depravity seemed to bleed from the pages, but maybe that’s what the author wanted. If so, he did it. For me, that’s not what fiction is. Sure it’s only the first two chapters, and things are bound to get much worse before they can get better, but fiction should give the reader hope. It’s an escape, a sanctuary, a place to be reminded that no matter how bad things are, there’s always hope for better days to come. It should give you a sense of fulfillment, not emptiness. I might be the only person reading this book who thinks this way, but it’s the truth.

Maybe it’s my Christian belief that brings this idea, but even so, who wants to read a story devoid of hope and empty of anything worth filling your mind with?

Christian beliefs aside, fiction, a story worth reading needs to have substance. A good theme or good characters won’t give you substance or meaning, even giving your audience something to relate too won’t. Substance is more than words; it’s the foundation the story is built on.

I guess in a nut shell, chapters one and two of “The Financial Lives of the Poets”, left me feeling sad and drained instead of fulfilled.

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

Story:  The year is 119 A.D., location: Britain.  Marcus is a young centurion and new to the wilds beyond Agricola’s Wall.  The disappearance of his father’s legion fifteen years earlier looms over his head like a bad omen.  He embarks on a perilous hunt to recover the lost legion’s eagle standard, a symbol of the legion’s – and Marcus’ family’s – honor.

Strengths:  This story had very strong characters and an exciting plot.  Rosemary Sutcliff did an amazing job with her historic accuracy, putting you in ancient Britain right along with Marcus.  Marcus had a very strong sense of honor, courage and compassion.  He is a very relatable character, one (I think) that was very easy to like.

Weaknesses:  I wouldn’t call this a weakness, but to today’s modern young readers this book might feel a little slow.  No, it doesn’t open with a bang and race full speed ahead, but it is still a very engaging read and a good story.

Note:  This book does deal somewhat with Druid worship and culture, but Rosemary Sutcliff does a beautiful job presenting it and it is in no way “inappropriate content”, quite the opposite.   It’s more G/PG, then PG-13.  

Recommendation:   If you are like me and ancient Britain is one of your favorite periods in history, or you just like history tagged with an awesome adventure then I would highly recommend this book.  It’s not that long – 291 pages – and can be read in a matter of days.  Looking for a good historical read?  Pick up Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff.

Other Info:

Published in 1954 by Oxford University Press.

First American edition published by Henry Z. Walk in 1954.

First Sunburst edition published in 1993.

 Number of chapters – 21

 Movie:   Focus Features made a movie basted in the book that is coming out February 11th.  The film is simply called “The Eagle”.  Here is a trailer.   

Fable Weaver by Carlie Gernhart

Synopsis: 

 Words have Power.  Especially for Linnet Fairweather, a fable weaver whose words have more influence over storybook characters then she realizes…..  

Story:  Enter the world of books, literally.  From our world to the fictional Tierra Fabula, (the place characters go when their stories are over,) Fable Weaver is filled with interesting characters, new and old, fantastic creatures and hard to forget storybook scenery.  Join Linnet and her three changeling guardians as they fight a villain who has inhabited the imagination for centuries, and learn how much damage one little white lie can create. 

Strengths:  I’m a huge fan of old fair tales re-told in new and interesting ways, and Fable Weaver is just that.  Though it’s a story all its own, sprinkled into the mix is Arthurian elements along with classic fair tale characters.  The story is very well paced and has all the right stuff to keep you turning the pages long into the night.  I loved the main characters.  I’m all for fun and witty dialogue between characters and I wasn’t disappointed.  The characters are funny, making you laugh on nearly every page,  but deep enough that you feel a connection with them, and unpredictable enough that they keep surprising you.  

Weaknesses:  There’s no sequel. 😛 

Recommendation:  This book can be read by anyone of any age and enjoyed.  Better yet, read it as a whole family.  Carlie Gernhart does a wonderful job creating an exciting world with believable and loveable characters and a story you won’t want to put down untill it’s over.

Fable Weaver is published by Clear Water Press. 
www.clearwaterpress.com
www.fableweaver.com

P.S. For those of you who don’t know… this is a One Year Adventure Novel (OYAN), novel!  Hurray for Carlie! . 😀

The King Raven Trilogy by Stephen Lawhead.

I felt inspired a few weeks ago and wrote this review.  I’m itching to make a blog post but I don’t have anything interesting to blog about, (yet) that wouldn’t take up a ton of time.  So here is the first in hopefully a long line of book reviews.  Enjoy! 

P.S. (1,021 words done on chapter 11 today!)

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The Story:  This trilogy is Robin Hood like you’ve never seen him before!  Filled with Celtic mysteries, action and romance this story is perfect for fantasy and history readers alike!              

Book One: Hood 

Bran ap Brychan, hair to the Welsh throne of Elfael, suddenly finds himself an outlaw in his own land.  Hunted by the Norman invaders Bran is forced into the Coed Cadw, an ancient forest of the Welsh borderlands seeped in mystery.  Joined by an old comrade, a wise sage, and a band of outcasts, Bran fights the injustice cased by the harsh Normans, fueling the people’s hopes for freedom and beginning his forest reign as King Raven.   

Book Two: Scarlet 

As the Normans slowly take control of Wales, Will Scarlet of Nottingham sets out to find none other than the famed archer, King Raven.  

Deep in the forest King Raven and his band of followers form a desperate plan to free themselves from the ruthless barons ruling their Welsh land.

  

Book Three: Tuck 

Friar Tuck, the faithful supporter and guiding hand behind King Raven joins Bran once again in his efforts to push the Norman’s out of Elfael.   As one last attempt to free Wales, Bran ignites a rebellion that quickly spreads like wild fire through the Welsh valleys.  Now, forced to marshal his own army in defense, King William the Red marches on Elfael.  What will be the outcome?

 

 Strengths:  From the very beginning you feel part of the characters and what they fight for.  Bran is a very interesting hero in many ways; you care and relate to him on a human level, but yet he is rather unpredictable and therefore quite intriguing.  The way Stephen Lawhead incorporates the Robin Hood legend in the stories is very well done.  What he has created is so believable you can’t help but think, “This is the real Robin Hood.”

Weaknesses:   As for weaknesses, I would say there isn’t any.

Spiritual Elements:   Bran’s mentor, a Welsh oracle (or Banfaith,) named Angharad, sings songs to the “Creator” and often meditates to determine or “see” what the future may hold.  In some ways, her “talents” hint to magic, but her songs of praise and longing to the “Redeemer”, “Son of Glory” and “Jesu”, speak of a different power.  (I will note that her role as Banfaith is of Druid ancestry and she does have special “powers” of healing and foresight, but whether or not they originate from magic or are divine gifts is questionable.)       

FYIs: (There are a few uses of the “B” word.)   This book is not for young readers.  There are a few bloody parts and Bran, when in King Raven guise, is quite frightening.   

Recommendation:   Personally, I loved these books and even own them.  All in all they are great action adventure novels, the characters pull you into the tale with them and the story keeps you turning page after page.  If you love Robin Hood, you will love these books, if you love fantasy, you will loves these books, if you love Historical Fiction, you will love these books, or, if you just love a great read, pick of the King Raven Trilogy by Stephen Lawhead.

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