Monday, May 30, 2011

Tuesday Night Word War: War II

It's that day of the week again.  Aye, 'tis Tuesday.  And there's more wars coming your way!

You know the drill. (Hopefully.)  But, in case you're like me (forgetful) or new to the Word Wars, here's the rules.

1) You must write only in the allotted time.  But, if you cannot do it in the time specified, feel free to participate (within the same amount of time, i.e. three hours) at a different time of day.

2) The War will take place from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM in the Central time zone.

3) To enter the Word War, post your starting word count in the comments section.  Then, once the War is over, post your end word count.  The writer with the greatest increase of words wins!

Like last time, I regret to say I will most likely not be able to participate in this Word War.  However, I wish you all the best of luck.  May your pen smoke and your keyboard smolder!

Write like the wind races; burn your words across the page!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tuesday Night Word War

Hail, everyone!  I have come to announce the beginning of weekly Tuesday Night Word Wars.

For those of you who don't know, Word Wars are a kind of writing challenge.  Basically, you write as much as you can in an allotted amount of time.  The writer who writes the most words wins the Word War.

This is not one of my previous word wars (Word War I, II, and III).  This is like a miniature version of those.   It is a little shorter, and there will be no button award for the winner. The stakes are a bit smaller, but the rules and writings are the same.

Here's the rules:

1) You must write only in the allotted time.  No going over, no going before!  Count only the words you wrote during the time.  If you can't write during the time that I will post below, write for the same amount at another time.

2) The Word War will last from 6:00 to 9:00 PM CST time.  Like I said above, if you can't write at that time, write for three hours some other time in the day.

3)  To enter the Word War, you must post your current word count in the comment section before the Word War.  After the Word War is done, you can then post your increased word count in the comment section.  The writer who writes the most wins!

I shall probably not participate in this one, but I wish all of you writers the best of luck!  Write well, write hard, and don't let Procrastination defeat you!

Let the Warring begin!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Where in the Name of Cheez-Its has Jake Gone?

Greetings and Hallucinations, Elves, Dwarves, Readers, and other strange characters!

It's been a while since I've been here.  Things have been hectic here in Kansas.  Between schoolwork and lots of other activities, I've barely had any time to write.  (And I assure you, for once, it's not Procrastination's fault.  This time it's Mathe.)

But a few new things are coming my way in the direction of writing.  If all goes well, most of my school will be finished on Friday.  But I have to do triple schoolwork everyday to do that. (OO)

Right now, I'm working on my One Year Adventure Novel.  It must be done before the middle of June (my goal), due to the fact that I am hopefully going to the OYAN Workshop at the end of June.  The famed EaglesWings will also be there.  Right now, I'm at 2,675 words, with a goal of at least 25K.  It's my first 'historical novel', but it's really very similar to my fantasy novels, taking place in 1100s England.  Some legends are being used, and I'm excited about it. :)

For those of you waiting with bated breath for the next segment of A Battle Fought at Midday, breathe.  It's coming sometime soon.  If not this week, then next weekend.

Some non-writing stuff has been happening as well.  Though the world didn't end yesterday, it got awfully close.  We were under a tornado warning for a while last night, and a bad thunderstorm.  No tornadoes touched down, but sirens were going off.

Also, my mom is having me read the Kansas Driving Handbook.  Beware, Kansas drivers, beware....

That's all I have time to write. :)  More posts coming within the week! (I think.  If I don't post, Mathe has eaten me.)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Review: 100 Cupboards

Twelve-year-old Henry York wakes up one night to find bits of plaster in his hair. Two knobs have broken through the wall above his bed and one of them is slowly turning . . .Henry scrapes the plaster off the wall and discovers cupboards of all different sizes and shapes. Through one he can hear the sound of falling rain. Through another he sees a glowing room–with a man pacing back and forth! Henry soon understands that these are not just cupboards, but portals to other worlds.  (Description from

As soon as I started reading this book, the writer got ahold of me, using the setting of the first chapter.  Any other placement, and I would have been neutral.

But no, it was the description of a small town in Kansas that did it for me.  What can I say?  I'm biased.  I love small towns. I love Kansas.  And both of my parents originated from small-town central Kansas.

That being said, 100 Cupboards started out well.  The writing was lighthearted and humorous, and, while the first few pages weren't the most exciting, the writing style kept me going.

As the story progressed and became more mysterious (and, as a whole, this is a very mysterious book), it grabbed my attention.  Weird things started happening.  And then the plot took off.

100 Cupboards was an easy read.  It took me around a day to get through it, and the pages went by fast.  Not a I-can't-stop-reading fast, but it was still engrossing.  The suspense level was high, mystery abounded, and there were several moments where the book sent a chill down my spine.  There were several surprising plot twists as well.

I found it very similar to the Dreamhouse Kings series, for younger readers.  Not as suspenseful, but the two series seem to have a lot of characteristics in common; portals, strange houses, unwanted people living in the house, etc.

For a novel targeted at teen/tween ages (the protagonist is twelve), it was surprisingly scary, and there was a lot of danger and intrigue.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, however.  There were, though, several edgy scenes that bordered on gory (like a description of an eyeless 'witch').

Now, if you were put off by my mention of a witch, let me warn you: there is some sort of dark magic thing going on in this story.  The main antagonist was  a twisted woman who uses some sort of magic to destroy places and cast spells (though they were not called such).  I was not bothered by it, as it was downplayed and I didn't really notice it.  (If I need to convince you, I strongly dislike the Harry Potter kind of magic, and this was not very similar at all.)

There were several downsides to this story.  While the characters were unique and well done, I didn't see as much development as I might have liked.  There were few difficult choices for the characters, and only a couple situations that revealed the good or bad aspects of their character.

There was also a lack of meaning in 100 Cupboards.  It was written to entertain, and not much more.  It's what I might call a "forgettable fantasy" that will just become another book I've read and liked.  It is a secular book, after all, though the writer is a Christian (as far as I know).

It ended well, with a hook at the end, indicating where the next book will lead.  I'll be reading the rest of the series for sure.

Overall, read it.  It's good enough to check out from the library, and you won't regret it.

Rated 8 out of 10. [Four stars]

Do Y'Really Want to Know the Winner?

Hello, readers!  Greetings!  Jake here. :)  I have come to announce the winner of the unbelievable Blood of Kings giveaway.  I have barely escaped death and chocolate rabbits to bring you this news.

But now that I'm here, I'm not entirely sure if you want to know.  I  mean, it's not like you entered or anything.  Or invested any time.  Or effort.  Or maybe you just don't want to win.

Well, I suppose I have to do it sometime.  Just remember: never put off 'til tomorrow what you can put off to the day after tomorrow.  And since it's the day after tomorrow...

First, I must put up the Blood of Kings banner.  Just for good measure.  After all, it is the indirect subject of this post.

So, are you ready?  Really ready?  I mean, ready to face a charging dragon-mouse hybrid bent on utter destruction and the oppression of cows?  That kind of ready?

All right, enough delay.  I present to thee, the winner of the Jill Williamson giveaway!

Congrats, Seth! Shoot me your address and choice of the books, and I'll send them on to Mrs. Williamson.  If you don't reply in three days, then I shall draw another winner.  Thanks so much to those who participated! You guys rock.  

And just to give you all a little reward, have some pie. :D

And some cheese!

Thanks again, readers.  Ta-ta!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Battle Fought at Midday, Part III

Sorry it took so long to get to this, all! But, as promised, here is the third installment of A Battle Fought at Midday.

If you have not yet read the first two installments in the story, please read them! You can find the first one here and the second one here.

Oh, and another shameless advertising blurb: my giveaway is still running wild, so if you want to enter or just check out the interview with Jill Williamson, just click here.

Enjoy. Don't let Procrastination win!

Part III

In Which I Battle Procrastination (and Ruin My Shoe)

I blocked the blow with the Pen, easily. I laughed in his face, our blades crossed. "That all you have, Big Pro?"

He growled. "I told you not to call me that!" Procrastination shoved my blade backwards, and stepped back, uncrossing the blades. He then feinted to the right, and swung wildly at my feet.

I merely stepped back a bit, and then stamped my foot down on the sword. He jerked it back, slicing my shoe.

"I was going to throw them away anyhow," I said. "I have a newer pair by the door."

He said nothing to this, and we fought for a little bit longer, bantering.

"So, Big Pro, how's your assignment to Sir Batson coming along?" I taunted, knowing very well that Sir Batson was doing just fine with Procrastination. After all, he had dragons and sea monsters on his side—not to mention Alastair Coldhollow.

His face reddened, so I added a barb to an already salty wound. "Your silence speaks volumes."

"You are a thrice-accursed son of a pigdog!" he fumed. "You don't deserve to wield a pen, thy stupid, foul, four-eyed writer from the dirt pile!" Procrastination spat at me. Literally. Never the good aim, he missed me by several inches, hitting the tan, oval clock on the wall behind me instead.

"Such language!" I said. "If your mother could hear you."

He shouted incoherently and stabbed at me. I sidestepped, and he viciously stabbed the clock instead.

"Oops! Missed me again, you butterfingers you. And look what you did to my dear mum's clock."

"Always one to butcher the accents," Procrastination said, tugging at his sword. I struck a Basil Stag Hare pose while a waited, one foot gracefully positioned on the mutilated red couch.

"On the contrary," I told him, holding my sword loosely at my side to complete the effect.

He finally tugged his sword free, and turned to face me. "Then come and face me!"

"I'm already facing you," I said. "Do you want me to get any more face? I can go and borrow another one, if you wish."

"Keep the one you have," he snorted. "I'm tired of your games. Let us get this over with." He took a swing at me.

"I'm enjoying it, actually," I said, parrying. "We could stop and do a mind duel, if you wish. I can go and get my shampoo."

"No," Procrastination said flatly, blocking a blow from me. "I already took a shower today."

"It doesn't smell like it," I said. I ducked under one of his slashes. What was meant to slash me slashed my poor couch, and couch stuffing went everywhere, making me sneeze.

"This is going to be really hard to explain," I said dryly, tripping Procrastination. He rolled to one side as I stabbed at him, and stood up. He hit his head on an old lamp near the window, and it fell over. Glass shattered, and tinkled all over the ground outside. (Which, to quote The Book of the King, is not to say it went to the bathroom, but that it made a ringing sound.)

He shook himself off, and I waited near the now unstuffed couch. Procrastination charged back at me, trying to use what little weight he had to his advantage. (Procrastination looked like a Wisp, I'm tellin' you—he was all skin and bones. Which was strange, considering he was actually an embodiment of a feeling/action.)

I merely sidestepped (again) and then ran out the window, breaking the rest of the window and tumbling out into the front lawn.

Procrastination recovered and ran out after me. "That sidestep is getting annoying," he said, smushing one of the recently trimmed bushes in the landscaping.

"Hey, I worked hard on that trimming!" I said, ducking behind the giant oak in our front yard.

He followed me around, and we went in circles for a little bit, running around and around the giant oak. After a bit, I stopped and turned, dropping my sword. I tackled Procrastination football-style.

Procrastination grunted, dropping his sword and scrabbling at me with his long fingernails. We tumbled across the lawn for a bit. The guy was like Gollum or something—he might be small, but he can pack a wallop with his wiry body.

I managed to free myself (realizing that tackling him wasn't such a good idea after all), and ran for my sword. I snatched it from the grass and stood behind the tire swing (which hung from a branch in the oak).

Procrastination stood on the other side of the tire swing, a scowl on his face. "This has gone long enough," he said. Holding his sword with one hand, he cut at the chain of the tire swing. It thumped to the ground. Procrastination stepped over it to swing at me.

And promptly tripped, falling on his face.


Enjoyed it? I hope so.  See some mistakes?  I always need editing!  Comment and tell me what you think of this latest installment in the story.  It was rather difficult to write, being 'the middle' of the story.  I promise you, though, the next installment will be the best yet.  Talking swords (er...pens?), the return of turkey spies, and a massive cleanup job.  Hopefully.  I might have to split it into two more installments. O_o

Well, cheerio, folks! (and other breakfast cereals!)