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I was so happy when I found this book in our library but now my heart is destroyed. It is written as a prequel to Alice in Wonderland. But it is not quite so mad, which I personally liked as Alice got too weird for me. 

It took me a while to really like the characters, other than Jest, and I did at times wonder why Cath couldn't just get over it and marry the king and be happy. But from the lovely ending (haha) on page 321 the book just tore me to pieces. So if you want a happy ending and all that, do. not. read. a. single. page. past 321.

I eventually realized that I like all the characters and yes I had guessed the plot twist, but it was still good, and well done, and I suspect quite a few people would be surprised by it. The ending was what I expected, except I never expected it to hurt so much. 

Even though I never really liked Alice in Wonderland that much I really enjoyed all the references to it. Now I know why they paint all the white roses red.. oh my heart. And why the Hatter is mad and the raven, and why the queen of hearts is heartless. It is all explained!

This was nothing like Marissa Meyers other books, at all, but it was a good book, still you will probably enjoy it more if you don't expect it to be like her other books. It is something else entirely. The first half of the book was a bit slow, but not the ending. I could not put it down as I read the last third. Also the dreaming stuff was really cool as was the baking. I was also pleased to have the jabberwocky and vorpal sword in there, because that is my favourite piece of Lewis Carroll's writing. 

Content wise, it centers on the romance, or lack thereof between two characters while another two romances go on through the story. (Can't say anymore because spoilers) There is no particularly descriptive violent bits and not that much violence. It is quite odd at times but no where near the level of Wonderland oddness. (a plus for me because that was too weird) There are also three sisters who tell prophecies that in some regards come true

Have you read Heartless or any other Marissa Meyer Books?
What did you think? Do you want to read this one?

I heard of the Snowflake method of plotting from some writer friends and wanted to try it, because before that my poor stories were very, extremely, highly un-plotted. The main one I have been working on for years is a mess. But then I read this book and it inspired me. 

So in case you have not heard of it let me introduce How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method.

This book is amazing. I have never read such a fun writing book before. Sure I have read other good ones but this one was so engaging. The first more than a half is written as a novel in which the main character is being taught how to outline using the Snowflake Method. It is kind of like you as the reader are also sitting in the class and you can go off to do your homework on your story as the main character does.  

To give you a bit of an idea the teacher is called Baby Bear and the main characters name is Goldilocks. There is a main plot line running through the book of Goldilocks wanting to write a story and a secondary plot line as well. I just wanted to keep on reading like it was a novel.

And yes the Snowflake Method, has made me write some kind of outline and I managed to get up to starting step 8.... after that I'm not so sure if all I have is a mess, but it is so much better than what I had before that. And so much less of a random mess, and I know what I am doing now. It was so fun to read through and helpful too, I highly recommend you give this a go and you may even find that is it just right.

See look how ordered does that look! I am so happy right now looking at that. It took me ages to make Scrivener do what I wanted but I knew it had to do it somehow I just had to find out how and an hour or so later I did. Yes I whited out the main parts because spoilers. 

And binary, because I have been looking at it for half the day. No I can't read it, but my sister needed a book cover and I don't use other people's graphics if I can help it (unless they happen to be in public domain or are book covers.) So I spent ages making some binary graphics up. And they look cool, but as far as I know the book covers are secret for now. So you only get to see the binary on the first picture of this post, which is comparison to the cover is quite un-epic. And has nothing to do with snowflakes or my own writing.

Anyone else plotting for camp NaNo?

If you have followed my blog for a while you may remember when I did some fan art for Gillian Bronte Adams fantasy story, and I'm glad to say that today she is guest posting here! In case you have never heard of her here is a little bio, then ill hand it over to Gillian.

Bio: GILLIAN BRONTE ADAMS is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas (America). During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist. She is the author of Orphan’s Song, book one of the Songkeeper Chronicles, and Out of Darkness Rising. Visit Gillian online at her blog, Twitter, or Facebook page.

Today, we’re looking at the letter G.
G is for Gundhrold
They were coming.
Gundhrold peered into the moonless dark, feathered wings ruffling in the breeze. Distant howls sounded to the beat of thundering hooves and clinking armor. Distant, but rapidly approaching. Foul murderers. His claws dug into the bark of the limb, and dark sap bubbled out of the scratches. A fresh scent hovered around him, strange amidst the eerie screams borne upon the wind, and he studied the russet sap staining his claws like blood.
Writing the prologue of Orphan’s Song (book one) from a non-human perspective was both challenging and fun. Gundhrold is a griffin, which in our world is considered a mythical creature with the body and tawny colored fur of a lion, crowned with the head of an eagle and russet feathered wings. At the opening of
Orphan’s Song, he is already long past his prime, though he would never admit it. Particularly not to the peddler, Amos McElhenny.
In the world of Leira, griffins served the Songkeepers and Songlings as Protectors, and as such, they were ever hunted by the Takhran. It fell to the council of griffins to determine which individuals had received a partial gifting (Songlings) and which had received the full gifting (Songkeepers). In Songkeeper, we learn that one such decision led an angry young man named Rav—brother of the Songling Zahar—to betray the griffins to the Takhran, a deed which led to a horrible tragedy. Now as the last of his kind, the task of protecting the Songkeeper falls to Gundhrold alone.
“For centuries, my kind have served as Protectors for the Songkeepers and for anyone who showed promise of possessing their abilities—Songlings, we called them.” – Songkeeper
By the time the story begins, Gundhrold has lived long enough, traveled wide enough, and endured hardship enough to not suffer fools kindly. He is the king of acerbic wit. Although he is far from human in matters of social niceties, sarcasm is one human habit that he has completely mastered.

One of my favorite parts of writing is when you get to pit vastly different characters together in tough circumstances and see what hilarities ensue. As an author, it’s like having front row seats to a cage match—albeit, generally a comedic one. It’s time to kick back, settle in with a bowl of popcorn, and wait for the fists to fly.
Gundhrold was such a strong personality in and of himself that he needed an equally strong personality to butt heads with, and Amos … well, Amos was the perfect candidate. If you haven’t met Amos McElhenny yet, he’s a traveling peddler with a fierce temper and tongue to match. So—SPOILER ALERT—at the end of Orphan’s Song, throwing Amos and Gundhrold into a do or die mission together was just too good an opportunity to pass up. *evil chuckle*
Gundhrold’s head lowered until his massive beak was only inches away from Amos’s nose. “I am a son of the desert. This was once my home—the home of all my kind. I know every crag, every slope, every crick and hollow—”
Amos rolled his eyes. “Every blatherin’ speck o’ sand?”
“I know where I’m going. Don’t interfere.” The griffin padded off, broken wing still trailing the ground, leaving Amos racking his brain for a suitable insult for the … the … insufferable beast.
Needless to say, much hilarity (and fist throwing) ensued …
Gundhrold is fierce in battle. Not at all the sort to trifle with. But beneath his ferocity and rigid exterior, he hides a heart that beats with the truest affection for those under his care. He will fight to the death for those that he seeks to protect.
Gundhrold bared his teeth. This was death. This was the end. And he would meet it with all the fury in his soul and wake in Emhran’s land to greet the dawn.

Songkeeper Blurb: War ravages Leira and the Song has fallen silent.
Freed from the hold of a slave ship, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, and Ky, a street-wise thief, emerge to a world at war. Hordes of dark soldiers march across Leira, shadowed by whispers of plague and massacres, prompting Ky to return to his besieged home city in hopes of leading his fellow runners to safety.
Desperate to end the fighting, Birdie embarks on a dangerous mission into the heart of the Takhran’s fortress. Legend speaks of a mythical spring buried within and the Songkeeper who will one day unleash it to achieve victory. Everyone believes Birdie is the one, but the elusive nature of the Song and rumors of other gifted individuals lead her to doubt her role. Unleashing the spring could defeat the Takhran once and for all, but can she truly be the Songkeeper when the Song no longer answers her call?

Check out the links below for a place to purchase the books.
Barnes and Nobles: Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper

And before you leave, don’t forget to enter the giveaway! One lucky winner will take home a copy of Orphan’s Song,  Songkeeper, and a gorgeous handmade mug. Two lucky winners will take home copies of Songkeeper! Enter through the Rafflecopter below and be sure to visit to continue following the blog tour. You can earn new entries for each post that you visit along the way. Winners will be announced after April 15th.

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Have you encountered a griffin in a fantasy book/movie before? What is your favorite type of mythological creature?

It has been requested of me to share some more of my blackout art. So here it is, these got  a lot more arty than the first one I did. The umbrella design is one I found another place and copied the idea but what the picture says is of course of my own creation. 

Yes I have a bible that I rescued at the book fair from going to the tip and yes I do use it for craft, and yes I do feel terrible every time I cut a piece out of it and yes it was even worse cutting a page out it it, but also very effective!

I really like how you can add so much by taking away. It is so fun to change what the paper says into something completely different. 

These other pictures that contain people were first sketched from a photos of people I found online but I generally looked at a page and then knew just what picture I needed to find and put on it. 

 The wind idea also came off another persons blackout poetry art piece. I liked it, so I flicked through the pages of the falling apart poetry book I have used for some of these pieces until I found a page with the word 'wind' on it. It turned into this. 

This one was fun. My parents thought I might die from the smell of the permanent markers. It was quite different removing everything else and making the white/blank parts what was there. I also did not intend to make the lady quite so thin, but I forgot that the outline was more like an inline since not the outside of the line but the inside would become the outside. (Sorry if that confused you)

This last one is my favourite though. I saw the words "THE ELDERLY GENTLEMAN" and some of the other words on the page that I have brought out in the image, and I knew instantly what I wanted it too look like. The problem was I couldn't find a photo of an old man with a stick in the position I imagined. Eventually I found one that I could flip and then sketch from. Resulting in this. 

 Do you sketch?
Do you like playing with words?
Have you ever tried any blackout poetry?
I saw this idea a while back but decided to finally do it the other day. It's quite simple all you need is a page or words a pencil and a black marker. I looked over the page finding interesting words and then beginning from the start I circled words to make sentences. The one of these I had seen before had only one sentence, but mine got a lot longer. It is hard sometimes but really fun to change a page of words completely and make it say something that does not even relate to what it originally did. 

Once I chose all my words I drew boxes around them with the marker, even as I did that I changed a few. I then began filling in all the other words leaving the little boxes.

It took a long time, and I changed my mind again a few times adding another word and drawing over a box I no longer wanted visible.

Eventually I got it all filled in and finished. Since I finished this one I have made a lot more, and most of them are way more arty, with less words and more pictures instead of just black. I may even get around to photographing them and sharing some photo later on.

What do you think? Want to try it?

Yesterday we broke the highest temperature on record for February in the place we live. It got up to 45℃ which google tell me is also (113℉). Needless to say we did out best to keep cool by staying inside. But I got all inspired, inspired enough to go get my tripod from the car, so I could get photos I needed to play around with. 

My sister was kind enough to let me photograph her eye, which took a while as we both kept falling onto the bed in giggles. Then I needed a person. Who was wiling to dress up in black, me. My other sister did what I told her to do with the camera, (she is really good at that) and We managed to get some photos I was happy with. I used both these shots and another of Jane's eye, so I had one focused on her lashes and one on her iris. 

 And finally it all came together with lots of photoshop layers, experimentation, and fun. I think it looks book cover-ish, or like some story inspiration. Anyway I was quite pleased with the final result. I have called it "Trapped in my Mind."

Retreat is actually the name of the farm my uncle owns. 

We went over there a week ago to celebrate my granny’s 80th, while wandering the farm I discovered a ladder leaning against the main shed. It did not actually occur to me to climb up there until my other uncle (not the one who owns the farm) suggested we could, he also offered to hold the ladder while I went up. It was slightly terrifying, but I got good photos, which is what matters right. There are a lot of chooks at the homestead too so of course I took a lot of pictures of them as well. So without further ado, here are a very few of the hundreds of photos I took at the farm. 

The chook pen is beside the Homestead but you have to go through this really cool gate and vine covered arch to get there. It makes me think of portals to other times and book covers, but it is terribly hard to get a photo of it that looks any good. This one turned out okay though, thanks to the chook. 

 The old homestead at Retreat has recently been done up and is a lovely place to stay, all our family actually fit, with rooms to spare! Which is just not possible anywhere else, because there are so many of us.

Said ladder, that I was not going to climb.... because it was way too high.... but I did anyway.

 The photo below is probably  my favourite shots I took, well today anyway.

And from on the shed roof...

 I was very pleased with how this panorama worked out it is a 180 degree, shot from the corner of the roof.

 even solar panels make nice photos.

 The morning we left I walked out to the hay shed and got some photos there, before hurrying back for breakfast and to help pack up. 

Where have you gone for recent holidays?
Do you have a favourite photo?

My sisters and I have been waiting expectantly for the day Rogue One: A Star Wars Story released, of course we did not go during the middle of the night, we do kind of like sleep. But we went today. Naturally we decided that cosplay was necessary, Even my mum joined in, wearing my Jedi cloak that we made last year. 
Alice and I went full out though. 

I present to you Jyn and Rey. I was a bit disappointed that Jyn has such a boring hair style, but for once all my short fly away hair came in handy. The colours are off, but I thought I did pretty well.

Alice, AKA Rey had a much more interesting hair style I had not even noticed it much before I was wondering what to do with Alice's hair, but I watched a tutorial and then did it up for her.

 I could not find any finger less gloves, but I made some, it was quite hard.... to cut through that thick leather. They are not brown but the worked.

But onto the movie. I promise I won't spoil anything even though I kinda want to. Overall I loved it. I must say though that I was a bit disappointed that the movie did not begin with the scroll of words like every other Star Wars movie does, but I'll forgive that.  It also did not begin with Star Wars music. which was sad, just a big bang of sound and space, stars and a planet. 

I do think that this movie managed to add to the previous ones, mostly in how it gave a good reason for the Death Star, having the fault in it that could be exploited in a way to cause the whole thing to blow up. It made so much sense and was another whole new story.

K-2SO (the black droid) was actually funny, or at least more so, Then C-3PO, as much as I love C-3PO he is sometimes too stupid and too silly, like he is trying too hard to be the funny comic relief. K-2SO made some really good comments that were funny, and not forced, or added to what was going on in a good way. SO I really liked that.

There was lots of cool action, explosions, and fast moving things. My personal preference may have been to have a bit less of that, but it is Star WARS after all. The characters were pretty cool too and they were all quite different. Though there was one that did not seem to have much purpose other than in being there, and carrying a really big gun. Well he had purpose but he did not seem to have any goal other than to protect the blind dude, (who did not need much protecting) and to shoot things with his big gun.

The music did not quite have that same feel to it, because it was not the same composer, but it was still good, I don't actually remember thinking much about it while watching except for some parts missing the right music, like the very start and a Darth Vader scene.

But I enjoyed it quite a lot, and the cosplay made it even better.

Are you going to see Rogue One?
Have you even gone to a movie in cosplay?