Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ink and Fairydust - April 2010

And here it is - a few days early!

You can view our past issues and get the embed code to share on your own site at www.issue.com/inkandfairydust

Friday, March 26, 2010

Want to be in a Movie?

Live in Minnesota and want to be part of a really cool film project?

Then check out the latest posts on www.theshadowofthebear.blogspot.com.

'Tis an opportunity of a lifetime!

(And feel free to repost this on your blog! We're trying very hard to get the word out!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cover for April's "Ink and Fairydust"

Take a look at the preview of the cover for April's "Ink and Fairydust."

Stay tuned for its release on April 1st! (No fooling about it!)

And while you're waiting, check out some of our back issues at www.issue.com/inkandfairydust

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How I Beat Writer's Block

Yes, it can be beaten. In fact, that's the first step for beating it. Acknowledging that writing is hard work, and sometimes you don't feel inspired, but that doesn't mean you cannot become inspired.

So here are differant methods I've used over the years. Some of them are good if you want to keep writing, but find your energy/interest/brain processes slowing.

On getting my brain to work (or focus):

Drink a full glass of water. The majority of our bodies consists of water, and dehydration can really slow your brain down. Drink a full glass before beginning to write, and never write for long periods without having some source of hydration nearby!

Go outside and take a five minute walk. The fresh air and physical exercise will invigorate your body and give your mind a major boost. Just don't walk too much and tire yourself out!

Drink caffiene. Even Jane Austen drank tea. While I don't advise drinking caffiene every day, it can be a beautiful kick when your mind is just working too slow and you desperately need to get some work done. Coffee of course is the biggest motivator, and if you don't like it straight, there are plenty of amazing flavors to add for extra zest. My personal favorites are vanilla, caramel, Irish cream, pumpkin and white chocolate. However if you hate coffee or don't want that much caffiene, tea is an excellent substitute. I love Irish Breakfast Tea, Jasmine Green Tea, any kind of White Tea, and Green Tea mixed with Pomegranate or Cranberry juice. The teas, of course, can be iced if you're writing on a hot summer day.

Pick up the computer and start typing. I may not be enthusiastic about it at first, but by the time I've worked steadily for ten minutes, I'm usually pretty into the story. If I'm not, then there is something wrong with my mind and it's probably physical (tired or sick) and needs to be addressed.

On getting inspired:

To be quite honest, I don't struggle with this as much anymore. When I have a book going, I'm always thinking about it and usually have my work planned out well in advance. I rarely sit down at the computer without already knowning where I'm going next. However, occasionally I do get stuck (especially on overarching plot!), and here are some things that have helped me.

Listening to music. I have a wide variety of music, and can pick songs that fit the tone of what I'm trying to write if I need to get into a specific mood.

Writing off of emotions. If I'm particularily mad, or sad or depressed, sometimes I'll use the high of those emotions to fuel my writing. My first five minutes or so are usually awful, but then I flow into something that works.

Watching a movie. Again, this is an emotion fueling thing, but it can also trigger thoughts. Watching how a story plays out can tip you off to why certain aspects of your own story aren't working.

Ditto for reading a book.

Talking with others about the story. Always make sure you have at least one person you can talk to about your story. I usually talk to myself first, but then run my thoughts and ideas by a trusted friend/editor/mentor who can give me solid honest feedback on those ideas. They can also help me when I'm stuck, tell me what isn't working, or give me random ideas that often flow out into entirely new plotlines I never thought of before.

Write backstory. If you can't write the novel itself, then write about your characters. Who are they? What makes them tick? Fill out biography sheets for them, or write sketches of what they were like as children, or what they might be like as adults.

Write something else. If I can't work on one story (and I have seriously been blocked on my current book for months at a time) then I don't give up writing. I usually turn to fanfiction, because I feel a lot of freedom there and I don't have to worry about the nitty-gritty pieces of developing characters. Fanfiction is easy for me to slip in and out of, and therefore is great for side projects when I need some time away from the main project.

Take time away from the project. I said this in the previous paragraph, but it is really important enough to state again here. Sometimes you do need to take time away from a project. Sometimes this just means you need to stop writing it for awhile, but continue to brainstorm/pray about it/research, etc. Other times, though, especially if you are really, really stuck, you need to take time, live more of life, and come back to it and revisit it with fresh eyes months or sometimes years later. (You need to take time away in between edits anyhow)

Research. Ah yes. Research can help. Even modern day books or fantasy books can require some kind of research. So if you can't write - fill your time with the subject matter anyhow.

Keep writing on something else. If you are a writer you must always write. If it is not your major project, then work on a short story, or a description sketch, or a differant novel, or a fan fic, or post well-thought out posts on a forum or correspond with friends or write in a journel or update a blog. The important thing is to try your best to write every single day, in some way or another (and yes, that is part of why I keep this blog). This keeps your writing skills sharp and your mind strong! (not to mention your fingers...)

Sit down at your keyboard and write. Yes. I'm repeating this. It's a temptation to get so wrapped up on these other "inspirations" that you put off your original project and it never gets finished. Don't fall into that trap. Keep working at it. Keep sitting down at your keyboard and trying to write for ten minutes. Don't give up. Not this week? Then make sure you sit down and try next Monday.

Pray. The ability to write and create is a gift from God, and if you are a Christain you will want to use your abilities in a manner that is pleasing to him. He is the one who gives us our inspiration, and it is he who holds the fate of our work in his hands. Nothing can be done without him, but in him all things are possible.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Missing Theatricals of Hogwarts

It's been a pet peeve of mine for awhile... where are all the artists at Hogwarts? Other than mention of a few musical groups, and the fact that Dean likes to draw and Luna paints, we see almost no mention of any artistic tendancies amongst the young witches and wizards.

Today, however, I finally got around to reading "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" and found to my delight that there is actually a "Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts" and the absance of theatrical performances at Hogwarts is entirely due to a disasterous production that occured when Professor Dumbledore was young.

Thank you, Jo Rowlings! My faith in you is restored.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Peacock and the Blacks

I'm not the world's best artist, but I do have fun sketching sometimes. And digitally coloring. Here's two brief bits I did for fun (and for the amusement of my friends who are in on the joke. ;) )

(If you're a HP fan, you should know who these characters are, if you're not, then the names aren't going to mean anything)

I&F on Regina's website!

Hey friends!

Cool bit of news today - "Ink and Fairydust" now has its own page on Regina Doman's Fairy Tale Novel website! Check it out here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dear Miss Jane

(I know a good many of you read "Ink and Fairydust" but just in case you don't, I wanted to make sure you got a chance to see my editorial from this month. I think it'll bring you a laugh or two. ;) )

Dear Miss Jane,

My sister is wondering if you have ever time traveled.

Yes, I know it seems an outlandish suggestion for a proper vicar's daughter like yourself to go waltzing through time, defying who knows what laws of science and physics. Yet really, how else could your books be just as relevant today as they were when you wrote them?

You see, I'm quite certain you met Marianne Dashwood in the 21st century. Of course, living in the 1800's as you do, you couldn't write her as a goth with dark make-up and a tenancy to cut herself after Willoughby left. But, really, are you sure you didn't meet her in the high school group I grew up in?

I also can't believe you didn't meet Catherine Morland now as well. For I have a sneaking suspicion that she is not reading "Udolpho" but rather "Twilight" and that only the absence of "Dracula" on the printing presses of your day kept you from clarifying that what Catherine really believed was that Northanger Abbey was actually a vampire's lair.

And what of Anne Elliot? Even with the shortage of men caused by the Napoleanic wars in your own times, how could you possibly know that the marriageable age for women would rise into the mid-twenties and beyond, so that "Persuasion" has become an increasingly beloved book for the twenty-five and older young women who spend their years increasingly frustrated over their mishaps and mistakes in love?

Some of us even have a sneaking suspicion that you based Emma Woodhouse on myself, for I too love to improve and control the lives of others (with the best intentions, I assure you!) and find the most important men in my life taking on the role of the wise and patient Mr. Knightley.

I know Jane Bennets, sweet and kind and forgiving; and Elinor Dashwoods, practical and prudent; and have seen many girls that are reminiscent of your dear, charming Lizzie Bennet, whom you declared the most delightful creature to ever enter a book. I quite agree.

Even your men are still around today, though somewhat harder to find. I think perhaps we tend to love them too dearly, and not, perhaps, notice as you do that Edward Ferrers is struggling with finding his purpose in life, and that Mr. Darcy would still require an endless amount of patience (and a very sanguine temperament!) to live with, or that Edmund Bertram is really the most oblivious man in existence!

No, I cannot believe that you are a citizen of only one time and place. Surely you must have visited us, at least, and walked among my friends and talked to the many people who influenced my life. Then you must have returned to your quiet writing table in your little cottage in Hampshire and pulled all of us into your stories - having enormous fun renaming us in the process.

I think I can only thank you for treating us as kindly as you have, and showing us how we may improve those faults which to use seem to grievous, and entertain us greatly in the meanwhile.

Miss Jane - I salute you. And I keep my eyes open, hoping that someday I'll see you watching me from around the corner, determining the end of that unfinished "Sandition" or "The Watsons" and creating a new story for us to love.

Most Sincerely,


(Yes, "Miss Jane" is the correct terminology here. The eldest daughter of the family was always the "Miss Last-Name" and the younger daughters were "Miss First-Name". So Jane would have been "Miss Jane" and her elder sister Cassandra would have been "Miss Austen.")

Friday, March 12, 2010

Novel Teaser

I needed a Jane Austen quote for my Time Travel novel I'm writing... and this one happened to fit perfectly. Now I can't share actual book quotes with ya'll, but I can show you this teaser. ;)

Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken.
~Jane Austen, Emma.

P.s. None of you happen to be lute players, do you?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What to think about "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"

Oh what a roller coaster ride of emotions and expectations this new Walden Narnia franchise has proven to be.

First - thrills of excitement to learn that all seven movies were projected to be made for the big screen - with a correspondingly big budget.

Second - How can I find out more about this production? oooh... there's this cool place called Narniaweb...

Third - NARNIAWEB.COM absolutely ROCKS! Awesome people, all fans like me, nitpicking and theorizing over the little stuff... oh it's so cool...

Fourth - countdown to opening night, complete with midnight showing and costumes!

Fifth - Let down. LWW was so far off from the book for me that I couldn't believe what they'd done to it.

Sixth - acceptance. They're not going to get it right, so I'm just going to enjoy whatever they do change.

Seventh - A Black-haired 25-year-old Prince Caspian? Are you kidding? Such an Orlando Bloom wanna-be.

Eighth - Rising anticipation. The changes for "Prince Caspian" actually look rather cool...and okay, this Ben Barnes guy does look kinda cute.

Nineth - cool down, guys. How could you not expect all these changes? It looks like it'll be interesting and entertaining and - wow, those costumes are pretty...

Tenth - PRETTY COSTUMES! I'm going to make one...

Eleventh - I'm going to make THREE, and we're going to see it close-captioned at the Midnight Opening.

Twelfth - MIDNIGHT OPENING ROCKS! Totally in love with this movie... (no, nothing like the book, but I expected that, you know? And they kept more lines from the book than LWW did! Come on...yeah, and Prince Caspian is even cuter now. ;) )

Thirteenth - So - VotDT - greenlit! Boy... I don't know if I can stand changes on this one... it's so perfect...

Fourteenth - Michael Apted looks like a decent director. Good call. (Yay! Adamson "Shrekman" is GONE!)

Fifteenth - So... where's the VotDT news?

Sixteenth - Okay, Disney is out of the picture... now what???

Seventeenth - Well Fox is dedicated to making family friendly movies...

Eighteenth - ...news?

Nineteenth - Will Poulter looks great for Eustace!

Twentieth - ...NEWS?!?

Twenty-first - Watched "Son of Rambow." EXCELLENT film. Will Poulter is going to make an AMAZING Eustace!... come on Walden/Fox... when are you going to start filming???

Twenty-second - HORRIBLE leaked script. WHAT THE HECK ARE THEY THINKING??? *cries - depression - despair*

Twenty-third - apology over leaked script. Skepticism.

Twenty-Fourth - yeah, NOW they start filming. I guess the pictures are okay. But what on earth is going on with this mysterious little girl named "Gael"? Doesn't VotDT have enough going on with it without adding more subplots?

Twenty-fifth - You know, the marketing on this film really isn't any better than it was for PC... are you SURE you learned from your mistakes? because I'm thinking not.

Twenty-sixth - http://www.narniaweb.com/2010/03/dawn-treader-plot-details/ Ahha! So you acknowledge you made mistakes in PC... but not LWW? Well, you seem to be working AWFULLY hard to gain our trust back. I'm a little impressed, I guess. (Okay, very, but that doesn't mean you actually HAVE my trust back). No witch? Okay, that's good, but I still see that little girl Gael falling into the ocean. Seems like you're dedicated to getting the spiritual truths in there though... well, I'm waiting. I will see it in theatres. But you've got a LOT to live up to. A LOT.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Small things I'm thankful for

In a world full of disasterous happenings, it's worthwhile taking a few minutes to look at the small but wonderful parts of life.

Things I'm thankful for from today:

Walking out in the sunshine with the children and seeing the ducks on the lake.

Getting dandelions from the neighbor girls.

Getting to read the proofs for artist Ben Hatke's new comic book. It's totally awesome and I will be posting a review of it when it's available to order.

Writing by the quiet waters of the pond.

Making ice tea, corn cakes, pork, green beans and fried potatoes for supper. Oh, and eating them too!

Working on the girls Easter dresses after supper with the children gathered around.

Reading "Mother Goose" to the little ones.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

"Here Burns My Candle" Promo Video

I posted an interview with author Liz Curtis Higgs last week. Today I found the promo trailer for her upcoming book - which I've only been anticipating for three years! Check it out!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Weekly Musings

There is a used bookstore in town that displays a daily countdown to spring. Yesterday we drove by and the sign said "16 Days Until Spring!"

Oh beautiful spring!

Spring is, without doubt, my favorite season of the year. I love the smell of fresh grass and flowers popping out of clean earth and of new rain falling. I love the sight of a new baby animal tottering across the barnyard and the flush of color that creeps across the land. I love the sound of water melting, dripping and trickling, and the boom and crack of the first thunderstorms of the year.

The world comes to life again, and so do I.

This week has, as usual, been a busy one. Monday was of course the release of March's issue of "Ink and Fairydust." Tuesday we celebrated the birthday of my friend, Doctor Bowman, with many friends and much cheesecake. The rest of the time has been filled with ordinary parts of life that somehow work together to make a marvelous whole. What are they?

Teaching the Children. Right now the structure of my life is based around working with the kids. Leading the older ones to love history, and the middle one to love writing, and the six year old to discover mathematics and good handwriting, the sounds of the alphabet and the fact that panda bears come from China and Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492 while sailing the ocean blue.

Art. I'm never happy to be too long away from some form of artwork. This week I spent several hours working on some digital coloring projects for our gaming group. I love working with colors and shadows, and the drawings I'm working off of are simply beautiful! (Thank you, Alicia!)

Reading. Last week I discovered the library and carried a gigantic pile of books home with me. I've discovered that I really do like Shannon Hale, and that Orson Scott Card is a good writer, but has some differant views on biblical accuracy than I do. I've also been reading my own copy of a biography of Queen Elizabeth II. I have so much respect for that woman. She really has been what a Queen should be, and I think that is largely due to the fact that she is one of the only English Monarchs to grow up in anything like a normal loving and supportive family.

Revising. So there's this novel I've been working on for three and a half years now. It's a tricky thing, but with characters and now a premise that I and several others whom I trust think are worth pursuing. If I can get it into good shape this month, I may start looking for an agent this very summer. God willing. And speaking of God...

Growing in God. I visited a new church this week, and plan to go back again on Sunday. Plus God's been taking me through a school about patience and humility... *sigh*...