To Read...

A small portion of my 'to be read' pile...


1. Emily of New Moon, by L.M. Montgomery 

all photo credit goes to pinterest <3

 The Anne of Green Gables series is possibly one of my top three favorite series, and so I've been pondering giving this one a whirl forever. I'll have to put a hold on it...


2. Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke


I've been hearing about this series forever, but don't quite know whether or not to read it. I started the first chapter a while a go, and just couldn't get into it, however lately I've been thinking about giving it another try.


3. The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, by Trenton Lee Stewart


JUST GOT THIS BEAUTY FROM THE LIBRARY! 
*flails arms and accidentally knocks over lamp*
My emotions are mixed. I can't wait to read it, but also am sad that this is the last T.L.S. book out that I can read. 
Perhaps I shall write him a letter:

Dear Mr. Stewart,
I know you just published The Secret Keepers, but I really do need lots more books from you. Please try and publish a new book (or two or twenty) very soon. 
Your loyal and impatient fan,
Mira W.

4. Tuesdays at the Castle, by Jessica Day George


It says written for ages eight and up, but I don't care. This book sounds so interesting and sweet that I think a certain fifteen year old shall try it very soon. 

5. Enna Burning, by Shannon Hale


LOOK AT THAT COVER. 
OH MY G-O-S-H.
(If you didn't read that in Emmet's voice-well, shame on you)
I really need to finish this series, and I'm interested to learn more about Enna. 

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on them?

Hasta la pasta,
Mira 

Top 5-Christmas

What I've been listening to lately: 
(all links take you to Spotify) 


Ahhh, so beautiful! And I mean, it's Pentatonix, so, honestly, what's not to love? 



One of my all time favorite Christmas songs. 



Possibly the most relatable song I've ever heard. And, it's FREAKIN' OWL CITY.



Such a fun rhythm. Makes me wanna dance. 



I've never heard this song in this way before. Her style of music is so funky, it's great. 


I could go on and on with more favorites, but I'll stop there. 😉
Last year I would have listed Carol of the Bells, but we're learning it in choir right now, and so unfortunately I am growing a bit bored of it. 

What have you all been listening to this month? Anything to put you in the Christmas Spirit? 

Hasta la pasta, 
Mira 

For lack of a better title, this post shall be known as books by writers for writers

I just love writing advice books.
Especially when they're by an author I admire.
If I'm ever in a writing slump, I always am feeling more inspired after reading through them; usually I'm able to find some new ideas nestled between their pages. 
I thought today I'd share a few of my favorites with you...


Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly and Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink
 by Gail Carson Levine 

I love Gail's books (my favorite is The Two Princesses of Bamarre), so it comes as no surprise that as soon as I found out she had written two writing advice books, I bought them both. Although I rarely do them, I enjoy reading her clever writing prompts at the end of each chapter. 
I must say that out of the two, I liked Writer to Writer more, mainly because my inner poetry nerd gets super excited whenever I read her section on writing poetry. This book also has a great chapter on writing humor into your novel, which I'm trying to practice, since, as a thespian, my stories always tend to lean more toward the dramatic side of things.  


Spilling Ink, by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter

The first time I read this book I was about nine or ten, and was amazed that there were actually books on how to write good stories for kids like me. I checked it out of our little library countless times, until I finally received it for Christmas at age twelve. 
This book is written more towards a younger age, and although I still reread it once in a while, I find that I do not pour over its pages quite as ardently as I did as a ten year old. That being said, I would say it's a nice skim through, and a lovely thing to introduce to a younger writer friend. This past summer, my eleven year old sister read it, and she enjoyed it almost as much as I did at that age. 


Seize the Story, by Victoria Hanley

First of all, LOOK AT THAT COVER. So many writing prompts on just the front of a book. 
Anyways, I got this book for my birthday in September. Each chapter deals with a different subject, such as setting, dialogue, etc, and has tips and things to watch for when dealing with them while writing your novel. There is also a section that interviews different published, YA authors, which I enjoyed. 
I also liked how each chapter began with one or two quotes on writing.


Go Teen Writers, by  Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson

By the lovely ladies who have the incredible blog of the same name (linkedy link link) comes this fantastic book. Although it is mainly about how to edit and prepare your novel to send to publishers, I find it simply fun to read, and then incorporate those tips into my WIPs. 
Also, their plotting outline is a life saver. I doubt I would be as far along in my WIP as I am without it. 


Storyworld First, by Jill Williamson

By the same Jill Williamson as the book above, Storyworld First is one of the most interesting writing advice books I've ever had the honor of reading. All about how to design a one of a kind fantasy land, their were so many useful tips, from naming places to developing creatures to creating your own original government systems, religions, and types of magic. Not to mention the handy dandy worksheets to keep everything on track. If I could only recommend one writing book, this would be a very probable choice.

Have you read any of these books? What are your favorite writing advice books? Let me know, I'm always looking out for new ones!
How was y'alls Thanksgiving?

S'long,
Mira 


November Selection

Well alrighty, this month is mostly sequels to old favorites of mine, or new books by a beloved author (I accidentally wrote party instead of author??? *giggles nervously*)
On we go...


The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase, by Wendy Mass

The Candymakers was my favorite book as an eleven year old, and finally, four years since I first read it, there is a sequel!!!! I'm pretty skeptical about sequels, but I thought this was a well executed book. 
And Wendy Mass made references to Princess Bride, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and her other books!
IF YOU DIDN'T HEAR ME CORRECTLY, SHE REFERENCED NARNIA GAAAAAHHH.
Sooo...
I hope there will be another book. 
I felt there were some rather loose ends in parts, and that it needs another book to wrap it up. 
Otherwise, the book was fantastic during the reading, but leaves you with questions. 
There should be another Candymakers book. 


By Darkness Hid, by Jill Williamson 

I MUST READ THE REST OF THIS SERIES. Which means I need to wait until Christmas, as my library doesn't carry this series. Or until my wallet magically sprouts money. 
I started this book and couldn't put it down. Jill Williamson (one of  the creators of Go Teen Writers) invented such a unique magic system. It also inspired me more for my own WIP, as they are both in the same genre (heroic fantasy). 
And Vrell is awesome.
Just saying. 


The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale 

I did like it. I did, I did. However, although most people like this book better, I enjoyed Princess Academy more than The Goose Girl. (Just saying, there's a reason Princess Academy won a Newbery Honor Medal and Goose Girl didn't.)  
I am going to finish the series, but it is not my top priority at the moment. 


Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters, by Shannon Hale 

Heh, heh, I bought it. Whoops. Sorry? (Not really.)
IT'S OVER IT CAN'T BE OVER NOT YET. 
The final book in the Princess Academy trilogy, I don't know what to say.
It wasn't as good as the first book. Or the second. That being said, I still enjoyed it. 
Immensely.
So read the series for me. 
OH AND THE MC IS NAMED MIRI AND THAT IS PRACTICALLY MY NAME. 
ALMOST.  

photo credit goes to pinterest for this one 
The Secret Keepers, by Trenton Lee Stewart 

Aaahhh, the cover. I would buy it just for that. 
But it was also suspenseful, thrilling, and amazing (for the most part). 
While I was reading it, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. 
But then I got to the ending.
It ended so quickly! All that intense suspense and it ends *snaps fingers* like that. 
Hmmm. 
Also, after reading it, I realized it was basically the plot of LotR thrown into another world. 
But the first 3/4 were spectacular, and I didn't really mind the LotR resemblance. 
So yes, I would recommend it. 

What do you think? Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? 

S'long,
Mira
XX 

OC: Fable Elisae


Hello there friends! 
Today, I thought I would share with you one of my characters from my WIP Heroes, Princess Fable Elisae. A most spirited young lady, she is rather unconventional in many ways, although she still keeps a dignified and imperial authority about her. 
Her hair is not as red as the top center picture, nor as brown as top left, but more the shade and thickness of the bottom right photo. 
Anyways:

Name: Princess Fable Elisae, heiress to the throne of Ava
Age: 14 1/2 
Best friend: Rem (the narrator of the novel) 
 Dreamer. Kind. Regal. Brave. 

All photo credit goes to Pinterest :) 
Descriptions of Fable from my WIP (as narrated by MC Rem): 

'While filling some blank spaces in on the parchment, Ringmar spoke. “You realize it is quite abnormal for companions of the Princess to be boys.” She spoke the word as if it tasted like soap on her tongue. “But, the Princess claims she is tired of the simpering girls I find for her, and of gossiping and embroidering and having tea in fancy skirts. She loves to ride, but says her companions ride only gentle mares and don’t wish to gallop and jump as she likes to do. And then she is always reading those books of hers, quite unladylike, and scowls fiercely when people interrupt her, as her companions tend to do. And though it is improper, the King has agreed that she might have boy companions instead of the usual girls.”'

'She looked just like one of the girls from Sand Squallows, except in a gray velvet dress, and a sapphire necklace. Although she looked of noble birth, there was nothing about her that might identify her as a princess, the Princess. Her hair was long and brown, with coppery streaks in it. Her face was long, and her expression was curious. I could not tell whether her eyes were green or gray, although there were hints of brown as well.' 

 '“First thing,” Her voice took on a regal, listen-to-me tone of voice, “I will not have you calling me ‘your Highness’ or ‘Princess’ or ‘my lady’. Everyone does, except for my Uncle, the King, of course, and I will not have it. You must call me Fable, as- as my friends do.” There was a wistfulness in her voice, and I expected she did not have any friends who called her Fable.'

Fable sighed. “My mother died in childbirth, you know. Having me. There were some things I never got to ask. How she dressed her hair, if she had any siblings, what her favorite food was.” Fable gave a half hearted laugh. “You must think I’m crazy.”

"I find it (court) tiresome, especially since everyone is always watching me. They have to make sure the future queen is competent, you know.”

 “I am becoming quite proficient in the ancient languages, and have been studying the customs of our partners in trade as of late. However, I keep telling Master Reef that we need to work more on mathematics, but he simply does not spend much time on the subject.” Lowering her voice, she added “Master Reef is a good man, but I do not believe he is quite as talented in that area of knowledge.”

"Books don't ask questions. They don't laugh at you, or give you unwanted sympathy. They don't tell you that you have to be strong, and put up a brave front for the kingdom. Books are just always there for you." Fable gave a sad smile. "Inside of a book is the only place I don't have to be a princess." 


Until next time, 
Mira 
XX 



The Ghosts


An old house made of memories,
All empty save a string; 
The walls sag at attention
Just to hear the ghosts sing.

An old house full of memories, 
But no one left to see
Or hear the music sung by ghosts
Of antiquity.

An old house full of memories, 
Abandoned now at last,
To echo through the music of 
The ghosts of ancient past. 

An old house full of memories,
No more passing to and fro; 
Yet one still can hear the music of 
The ghosts of long ago. 



I Stood

A rather dark poem, but I was at school listening to a lecture on 'Effects of American Agriculture in Everyday Life,' so yeah. 

Note: The first line is not mine, but a writing prompt thrown out to anyone who wants to use it. 

I stood where gifts were showered on men from heaven, 
And while angel's golden voices float, 
I remain there desolate. 

For whilst the sun's red rays remained barely trod upon the world,
A single figure with no name cast a shadow, blotting the earth's pure surface. 

A single blot
-Hardly a thing to deface a crystal world-
Yet dark it's spreading shadows, ominous it grows, 
Encroaching on a place where no one ever knows 
What is coming. 

The sun's red rays remained and demon's darkened voices cry out a wail of terror. 
For I stood where curses were thrust on men from Sheol.  

pinterest is an artist's haven...

Hi!
So, um, Pinterest. 
It is quite a lovely (and addictive) place to discover all sorts of wonderful things. 
Today, I would like to show you some of my Pinterest inspired drawings,
All of which I found on said website, copied the basic outline of the drawing, and then changed colors, hair styles, and such to make it my own. 
Here they are... 


Underneath this girl, I wrote
"Her name was Esther Boardman, and she knew what magic was."
I should like to put her in a story...


Oh, this lovely lady.
I'd imagine she is a princess, although where from, I do not know. 
Her dress looks a bit like a kimono, but her face and hair is more European. 


I FREAKIN' LOVE THIS FAERIE. 
Not because of how she looks, but because she definitely belongs in a book I've yet to write. 
Name suggestions?

NOW FOR THE FAN ART.
(If you dare proceed...)


This Belle originally began as the new Cinderella, but in my mind's eye, her hair kept turning brown, and this scene kept replaying over and over. 


And here is Aravis, from CS Lewis' The Horse and His Boy. 
Aravis is most likely my favorite Narnia character. 


What art post of mine would be complete without some Percy Jackson fan art?
And thus, I present to thee
Reyna. 



Any suggestions on characters I should draw? 
I do believe I need to do some Kylo Ren and/or Rey art...

Fredricksborg Castle

This past June, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the country of Denmark, of which I'm 1/4 a native. We visited several castles, and I thought I might do a photo series of sorts on each of them, as I found all of them very inspiring for novels, and hope that they might inspire you as well! 
This first castle, Fredricksborg Castle, is the inspiration for the castle in my WIP, Heroes, and is honestly the most beautiful place I've ever been. If you ever visit Denmark, do visit this lovely castle of olden times. 

Is this not the most beautiful place ever? 





There was some restoration going on there, hence the scaffolding and such like. 






The garden was so peaceful, with fountains trickling and birds chirping. <3




I must go back there someday...

What do you think of this new series?
 What sort of stories do you think have happened in this castle?
Wishing you the loveliest of days,

~Mira

My Current WIP

I am rather fickle when it comes to starting a story and finishing it. Hence, so far I have no completed novels, a fact that sorrows me greatly. However, my current WIP has just recently passed the largest word count I've had on any novel, and to celebrate, I decided to share with you this inspiration poster I made on Collageable! 

*note: I got all these pictures off of Pinterest, and none belong to me. If you own any of them, please tell me and I will either link back credit or remove them from my blog.* 



My temporary (key word temporary) title is Heroes, and as soon as I have a synopsis written, I will post it. 
Until then, my MC, a fifteen year old orphan boy named Rem, lives with his young brother, Emet, under a bridge in a small village, until they are hired by an enchantress trying to take over the kingdom. In their new role as spies, they are sent to the capitol to become companions of the Princess, Lady Fable. However, Rem and Emet find themselves becoming friends of the Princess, and when disaster strikes, Rem must decide what matters most to him: promises of great wealth and a magnificent future, or the trust of a friend. 

Well, hopefully posting about my WIP will give me more accountability to work on it, so expect some Heroes posts in the future! 
Until next time, 

~Mira 

September Selection

G'day! 

I've decided that at the beginning of every month, I will do a post featuring my favorite things I have read in the past month. 

So here we go, with my September Selection! 


The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart 

Okay, maybe this is written for a younger audience than me, but I had been hearing about it forever, and finally gave into checking it out of the library. I bought it of days after finishing it, which I suppose says a lot about it. 
Ah, I just loved the characters, the unique plot, and everything about it's interesting and delicious self. 
My favorite read of the month, definitely. 


The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan 

Only one book left! What will I do with myself when I finish the series?!?! 
I definitely felt that this book was the one that had the highest stakes for all the characters. 
And it started it with such a cliff hanger. (Anybody catch that?) 
I also really, really, REALLY liked Hazel in this book. 
And Leo, as always. 


Do Hard Things, by Alex and Brett Harris 

So usually I only read fiction, but they were giving away free books at youth group, so...
If you are looking for an inspiring Christian read, wow. This book is so good, and encouraging! 



 The Book of the King, by Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry 

Very exciting and fast paced, with a great plot! CAN'T WAIT to read the rest of this series. 


Emma, by Jane Austen 

You will probably hate the MC, but love the book. That's how it was with me and everybody else I've talked to who's read it. But I enjoyed it immensely, and after reading each chapter, temporarily adopted a regency era dialect. 

If you want me to do a report/review on any of these, let me know!
Have you read any of these? What were your favorite books that you read in September?
Wishing you a lovely day,

~Mira 

The Outskirts of Elysium

Hello there!
Please visit me on my new blog, The Outskirts of Elysium, where I will be chronicling my daily life and practicing my photography. 
I will be there!

~Mira

Current Obsessions #2

This past month I've been loving:


  • vintage maps
  • the Greek alphabet (if you're a nerd and you know it, clap your hands) 
  • my Camp Halfblood shirt that cameeeeee 
  • fiery orange trees
  • the word swag app (pure amazingness) 
  • words like 'swell' and 'jeepers' (too much teen beach movie, people) 
  • peppermint scented hand lotion (I'm just too ready for Christmas people. Not that that's a thing, being 'too ready for Christmas') 
  • covers by Jasmine Thompson (I like 'i see fire' best myself) 
  • ooooh, red pens. Nice, red pens that usually mean mistakes. but mine glides across the page so lovely that I can't help but adore it. 
  • chocolate covered, frozen bananas (need I say more?) 

What have you been enjoying this month? 

~Mira 

dedications

Part of the fun of reading a new book is the dedications. 
Yeah, usually they're all like
'For my mother and father'
'For Bill, Alessandra, and Penelope'
and
'For Mrs. Smith, the best high school English teacher, and for Luke',
but sometimes, you stumble across some quite interesting ones. 
So, here are a couple dedications I have found that go past 'For my brother Bob'. 

1. From The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan 


RICK YOU DID NOT. 
I don't know whether to laugh or cry or scream or hunt him down with my ball point pen. (Anybody catch that reference?)


2. From The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis


Aw, this is the sweetest dedication ever. EVER.
(But then I'm a huge C.S. Lewis nerd, so...) 


3. From Anne of the Island, by L.M. Montgomery


Ummm, so basically this was dedicated to me. 


4. From The Candymakers, by Wendy Mass


Bwah ha ha ha, I've never heard such a realistic dedication. 


5. From Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink


This makes me want to write a story based off of this. Can't you see it? A little girl, crouched at her grandmother's feet, listening to her stories of the days when there were pioneers.


6. From Storyworld First, by Jill Williamson 


Because which of us nerds and geeks and fangirls hasn't felt this way at least once?
Honestly though. 

What books are your favorite dedications from?  

~Mira 

some attempts at fan art



Hello lovelies.
I fan arted today. 
I guess that is pretty explanatory for this post, so yeah. 
Anyhoo, here we go:


Here is an attempt at drawing the main characters of Jeanne Birdsall's book, The Penderwicks. Wonderful book, as is the series, about four sisters and their adventures together. 
If you've been looking for a new book to read, this is the sign you've been waiting for. 
Read it, and then we can discuss it. 
And fan girl over it.
Cause honestly, this series needs a bigger fandom then then the one it has. 
So let's create one. 
Okay, enough of that, moving on:


A scene from the second Penderwick book, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street. 

I really like the Hunters of Artemis in Rick Riordan's series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and The Heroes of Olympus. They are so, excuse the expression, swag. From their french braided hair, to their shiny silver ski jackets, all the way down to their combat boots, are killin' it. 
Bringing us to the next few drawings...


Thalia Grace. 
She did not turn out as nearly as sarcastic and sassy looking as I was hoping. Maybe this picture is of her in a rare tender moment, like when she saw Jason for the first time since... 
But no spoilers. 
Sorry. 


Hmmm.
Zoe's hair is not as dark as I would have liked. I was trying to go for a sort of Sicilian vibe here, but I don't think I quite made it. 
Oh well. 
Zoe's a cool character.


AAAANNDDDDD 
I PRESENT TO THEE MY BABY, THE CHARACTER I TOOK UNDER MY WING THE MOMENT I READ HER NAME.
You know when you're reading a book, and you have this one character you want to protect and care for at all costs? Could be the villain, could be the MC, could be a random background person without a name?
For some reason unbeknownst to me, one of mine was Bianca Di Angelo. 
Not a clue why. 
(Needless to say, if you've read the book, you know my feels now. If you'd like, I'll can give you a box of online tissues so you can feel with me.)
This picture of her is my favorite of my three huntresses. 



And now, since you are most likely bored to death by fan art, here is a picture of a character from my current novel. Her name is Lady Fable, she is a princess, and she is my MC's best friend. 

So, that was that! 
Do you like to make fan art? If so, what is your favorite book/series to make it for?

~Mira XX