June 30, 2011

The Genius of Dickens

I apologize for the lack of posts; this past week has been quite busy and I've not been on the computer much.

Dickens is the kind of writer who must either be loved or hated. Readers either see him as brilliant and witty or dull and tedious, and there are elements of his style which support both views; it doesn't help, for instance, that he was paid by the word and that he was in constant need of money. In addition to the length of his novels, they deal with very dismal themes - not the kind of light reading you want for a rainy day. In fact, until I began watching the Masterpiece Theatre adaptations of his works, I did not realize that Dickens' novels were concerned with anything but starving orphans, a misconception which I am sure is shared by many others. Dickens is simply not appreciated by the majority of readers nowadays.

A few weeks ago I finished reading Little Dorrit, one of Dickens' less familiar novels, although it has become more well known since the release of the BBC production starring Claire Foy and Matthew Macfadyen. Although we had long owned an older production of David Copperfield, the Little Dorrit mini-series was my family's introduction to the world of Dickens adaptations, and my introduction to Dickens as something more than a boring and dismal writer. It had intrigue. And romance. And wit. And - and color! I was startled and pleased, and began to take an interest in reading more of his books than I had hitherto.

I had read A Christmas Carol and The Pickwick Papers before, but though I enjoyed both, I did not fully appreciate them. After watching a slew of Dickens adaptations I picked up Martin Chuzzlewit, not being in the mood for one of his more popular and more dismal novels, like Oliver Twist, and learned to appreciate his writing. Then, as I already mentioned, I just recently completed Little Dorrit and found it fantastic.

I am no literary expert, and so I do not intend to go to great lengths to talk about the minutiae of Dickens' style and his expert use of adverbs or some such silliness. But I would like to do my bit to set aside the idea that Dickens oughtn't be a classic or that his stories have no life. While it is true that he tended toward wordiness, it is amazing how much wit and truth he put in those "useless" words - proving that, while less may be more, it does not necessarily follow that more is nothing. (Chew on that conundrum for a bit.)

Many, if not all, of Dickens' novels have a high moral tone and a heavy political criticism, but unlike most modern novels - and, no doubt, many of his own era - he succeeds in keeping the reader engaged even through long chapters on the Circumlocution Office by his tongue-in-cheek narration. Although he is essentially satirizing the British government and there is no action, he makes up for it with humor and shows a little later that some detail on the Circumlocution Office was necessary for the storyline. I do not suggest using this as license to run to great lengths with backstory and description, but I believe a little such spice would not go amiss. Writing gurus today are so adamant about chopping words and never having any sentence that does not move the plot along that, judging from the sizes of paragraphs in modern novels, writers seem afraid of exceeding three or four sentences in each. So the moral of this story is not to be flowery merely for the sake of being flowery (unless you're getting paid by the word, in which case, have at it), but not to be scared using too many words.

Another thing for which Dickens ought always to be regarded as a classic is his skill in crafting characters. I have seen many books around on "crafting characters" and "creating the perfect character" and "eliminating every cliche that ever existed from your main character"; but I really have no idea why such works are needed when we have Dickens novels. In his books he displays a variety of characters such as I have never seen in any other author's work, and characters who exemplify such extremes and yet also come across as unquestionably realistic. His main characters, indeed, are not so much this way as his supporting characters are; in Little Dorrit, the titular character narrated a relatively small proportion of the book. Throughout the novel she is a quiet, retiring young woman who hardly stands out at all, but is made remarkable in her silent virtue by the characters who surround her - her petulant father, her ne'er-do-well brother, her proud sister, and the hard and self-righteous Mrs. Clennam. Arthur Clennam, the narrator of most of the story, is a kindhearted man with a desire to do right, but again, he is not remarkable in the way the minor characters are.

Little Dorrit alone provides a plethora of fantastic minor characters. There is Fanny Dorrit, the main character's proud sister who is given to outbursts of temper followed by outbursts of tears and cries of "I wish I was dead!" There is good-natured Mrs. Plornish, who believes she can speak Italian and always has to "translate" for the Italian Cavaletto (who can communicate in English). There is Maggy, the orphan girl who had a fever when she was ten and has never gotten any older since. There is the whole cast of characters who make up the Circumlocution Office, particularly Barnacle Junior with his eyeglass-woes. And then there is my personal favorite: Mr. Pancks, the grubby rent-collector who is disliked by the population of Bleeding Heart Yard, while his hypocritical employer is beloved by all. Pancks is described as the Tug - always puffing and snorting and going along at a great rate, chugging into 'dock', towing the 'ship' (his employer) around.

Those are just a few of the outrageous characters who populate Dickens' novels. Most writer's minor characters appear to serve a plot point and then slip into oblivion, but with Dickens, everyone is made to stand out no matter how slight his role is. Just about any of his stories will provide a writer with a lesson in minor characters and how they make a story move - and that is the genius of Dickens.

June 16, 2011

Beautiful People and...

...an update on The Soldier's Cross! For those of you who love those little technological gadgets that would make my eyes bleed out of my head, I'm here to announce that both The Soldier's Cross and The Shadow Things are now available for Kindle downloads from Amazon. Both are only $9.99. You can also read the first chapter of each for free on your computer by checking out the green Kindle gadget over on the right. Or is that a widget? Oh well, you get the idea. You can now cart our novels about on your Kindle, Android, Blackberry, iPod, iPhone, and iDon'tKnowWhatElse, so enjoy!

And now, because it's still June, and because I love these questionnaires, and because poor Scipio has been sadly neglected of late (seeing as I'm editing the beginning sections of White Sail's and he, unfortunately, doesn't arrive until Much Later), I'm doing another Beautiful People Post. These questions have been pulled together by Georgie Penn and Sky:

Once a month Sky and [Georgie] will be posting a list of 10 questions for you to answer about your characters. You can use the same character every month, or choose a new one for each set of questions. Your call. You can answer all the questions, just one, or however many you have the time and energy to answer. Just go for it and have fun.

As with Tip's questionnaire, this one will be a compilation of the questions to date. And so let me introduce you to Scipio, the Barbary macaque.

1. What is your character’s full name?

Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus Numantinus. Scipio the Younger.

2. Does his name have a special meaning?

With a name that long, you would think it had a special meaning...but it doesn’t.

3. Does your character have a methodical or disorganized personality?

Quite disorganized. Scipio’s favourite pastime is wreaking havoc.

4. Does he think inside himself more than he talks out loud to his friends? (more importantly, does he actually have friends?)

Scipio doesn’t speak, but I’m also not sure he thinks very much.

5. Is there something he is afraid of?

Blood. Scipio is terrified of the sight of blood.

6. Does he write, dream, dance, sing, or photograph?

None of the above, although I would love to see a monkey singing.

7. What is his favorite book? (or genre of book)

The ones that taste the best. He likes that particular dusty taste that old books get, and prefers leather covers to cloth ones. Cloth gets stuck in his throat.

8. Who is his favorite author and/or someone that inspires him?

Those that inspire him to keep going to the back cover.

9. Favorite flavor of ice cream?

Thank goodness, Scipio has never had it; if once he had tasted it, he would probably pine away for lack of it.

10. Favorite season of the year?

It’s all the same to Scipio.

11. How old is he?

Scipio is only a few months old when he comes into the story.

12. What does he do in his spare time?

Tries not to get into trouble, gets into trouble, and tries to look as though he didn’t get into trouble. Story of his life.

13. Does he see the big picture, or live in the moment?

Scipio definitely lives in the moment.

14. Is he a perfectionist?

Yes, he likes his world to be a certain way and gets quite confused when things change.

15. What does his handwriting look like? (round, slanted, curly, skinny, sloppy, neat, decorative, etc)

Well... I should think a monkey’s handwriting would be very sloppy indeed.

16. Favorite animal?

Scipio is fond of the ship’s cat.

17. Does he have any pets?

At least two: Tip and Charlie.

18. Does he have any siblings, how many, and where does he fit in?

Scipio remembers nothing of his family (so touching, isn’t it? I love that angst aspect).

19. Does he have a "life verse" and if so what is it?

Proverbs 12:10—“A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”

20. Favorite writing utensil?

I refer you to number 15.

21. What type of laugh does he have?

Scipio shrieks when amused. It’s quite deafening.

22. Who is his best friend?

Tip Brighton.

23. What is his family like?

We’re sorry, the answer to this question is not available now. This page will redirect to number 18 in five (5) seconds.

24. Is he a Christian, or will he eventually find Jesus?

As he is an animal and has no need of salvation, this question is not applicable.

25. Does he believe in fairies?

I don’t think Scipio has ever heard of fairies, poor dear.

26. Does he like hedgehogs?

If he met one, I have a feeling Scipio would be scared out of his skin.

27. Favorite kind of weather?

Anything without rain. Scipio dislikes rain.

28. Does he have a good sense of humor? If so what kind? (Slapstick, wit, sarcasm, etc.?)

Scipio has a very good sense of humor. He probably has the best sense of humor of anyone in the book.

29. How did he do in school, or any kind of education he might have had?

Scipio is enrolled in the School of Hard Knocks.

30. Any strange hobbies?

Playing with or eating Charlie’s buttons; playing with or eating Charlie’s queue; playing with or eating bugs; playing with or—well, he doesn’t eat the ship’s cat. His life basically revolves around either playing or eating. Or sleeping. But mostly playing or eating.

June 13, 2011

Basking in Ink

Summer is usually the time when people first eye the tremendous stacks of books they have been meaning to read, then eye the calendar and the somewhat-less-hectic months, and set themselves reading goals. I don't have a set reading list, but I do hope to be able to bathe in ink this summer as much as possible - reading books, writing letters, and writing White Sail's. There will probably not be half as much ink this summer as I should like, but oh well! At least there will be some.

In honour of the ink-theme of summer, and because I don't have a list of all the books I hope to read in three months, I thought I would do a writeup of books I have already read - my top ten. It was a bit difficult limiting it to ten, but I managed it, and so here they are (in no particular order).

1. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. This is a rather surprising choice for a favourite, since it was a book assigned to me in American Literature and I have little to no love for the classic literature on this side of the Pond. I slogged through the first chapters, grumbling about it as I went, until I discovered a little ways in that the storyline and the characters are made of pure Awesome. Not, I admit, a highly sophisticated analysis, but true nonetheless.

This book has two people in it that made it onto my list of top twenty fictional characters - not Hawkeye, although I liked him, but Uncas and Cora. Uncas I adore, and if he is not my absolute favourite character, he at least makes it into the top five. I also love Cora's strength and faith (although I would not go so far as to call it a Christian novel).

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Who could not like Jane Austen's classic novel? I have read all of her works, but this one still takes the cake with its delicious wit and array of characters. It needs no explanation.

3. The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall. A children's book, to be sure, but one that can be enjoyed at any age. I love everything about it: the whimsical writing, the characters (particularly Muggles), the land of the Minnipins - oh, everything! It is just the thing to curl up with on a blue day when you want to read something cheery. The Gammage Cup is a classic, and ought to be better known than it is.

4. The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff. I'm not as big a fan of Rosemary Sutcliff as some people. Because of the emotion she elicits in her writing, I have to be in the right mood for Sutcliff's books; they aren't ones that I can pick up any rainy day. But I do enjoy many facets of her writing and am steadily pulling together a larger collection of her works, and this first book of her Dolphin Ring Cycle is absolutely fantastic. The setting, the quest, the "this is just the beginning" atmosphere all combine to give me a tight-throat feeling while I read it. But the characters are what I especially love. Marcus, Esca, Cub, Cottia, Uncle Aquila - they are all unique and wonderful.

5. The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. I seem to be especially fond of books with "of the" in the title. This work on the attributes, or perfections, of God has more meat between its covers than you would expect from so thin a book, but it is also written in a style easy to follow and understand (as easy to understand as such a subject can be) and should be a part of any Christian's library. A simply splendid book.

6. Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace. Positively the best book set in the time of Christ's life on earth. I cannot express adequately how wonderful this novel is - strong, profound, rich, thrilling, satisfying... This book is all of the above and more. It has a fantastic hero, a fantastic villain, and a fantastic heroine, too, and treats with reverence the true Hero of the story: Christ.

7. The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis. Yes, yes, I do realize this is three books and that I'm cheating, but how am I expected to choose a favourite? Many people have only read Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, but while that is an excellent series, stopping there will leave you with the mere milk of his writing. Though he was by his own admission no theologian, his fiction and nonfiction are brilliant with truth. Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength are his contributions to the realm of science fiction, but as with most of Lewis' writing, he delves into the glory of Light and Goodness and the truth of fairytales.

8. The Iliad by Homer. Crazy choice, I know. But I happen to have a soft spot for Achilles (not shared by many) and I always experience a thrill when I read about him. And the opening line is one of my favourites: "Sing, O goddess, the wrath of Achilles, son of Peleus..." I have no other excuse to offer.

9. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis. Because, in case I haven't mentioned it before, Lewis is awesome. This novel was his last and his favourite, and though many people struggle with it, it has just as many riches to be mined as any of his other works. He takes the Greek myth of Psyche and Cupid and retells it in a vastly different light; it is an allegory, but not after the style of Bunyan. It is so deep and so thought-provoking and so evocative that, as with Rosemary Sutcliff's novels (and more so), I can't just pick it up any old day and read it. But that doesn't make it any less fantastic.

10. The Life of God in the Soul of Man by Henry Scougal. I have only read this little book once so far, but it is so rich with truths that I expect to return to it many times. Written in the 1600s, it was originally a letter of encouragement and edification to a friend; that friend was so blessed by it that he subsequently published it. Like The Knowledge of the Holy, it is a must-read. This is perhaps my favourite quote from it: "They know by experience that true religion is a union of the soul with God, a real participation of the Divine nature, the very image of God drawn upon the soul, or, in the apostle's phrase, 'it is Christ formed within us.'"

I have many other books that I love, but these, despite being a motley collection, are the cream of the crop. These are the ones at the mention of which I either go shaky with happiness or become warm and content. These are my favourite sources of Inklight to bask in.

June 8, 2011

Words in Time

I don't know about you, but a stranger looking at the search engine history of this computer on a day that I can devote to writing would probably be (to understate the point) befuddled. In case you don't believe me, take a look at some of the things I researched yesterday alone.

Dutchman's breeches - Not to be confused with the saying that when there's enough blue in the sky to make a Dutchman a pair of breeches, it won't rain. Don't ask me who came up with that anyhow.

Richard Valentine Morris - One of the commodores sent to the Mediterranean during the First Barbary War. This one at least makes sense.

Mangelwurzel - I blame Jenny entirely for that one; it had nothing to do with The White Sail's Shaking.

Lunch - I needed to know when the term came into use in America as the midday meal.

American Naval Register - This is me trying to find a decent collection of records for American ships in the 1800s.

Raincoat - Yes, I looked up raincoats. I couldn't think of the word I wanted, which turned out to be "slicker."

Bulldog - How does one describe a man who looks like a bulldog?

Buck up - When did this phrase come into use?

Dark horse - When did this phrase come into use?

An odd assortment, indeed. Quite interesting, but definitely odd. Such is the case with many authors' fields of research; my friend likes to tell about the time she asked her mother how long it would take someone to die who had been stabbed through the chest with a spear. It is particularly so, however, with those who write historical fiction, since with contemporary novels the writer does not have to worry about the use of idioms and the dates of invention of various articles. Unfortunately, this business can seem very tedious to writers and is often skipped or forgotten, which is sad in the days of fast information-finding via the internet. But accurate speech is just as important to provide depth to a story as solid facts; it's hard to stay with an author whose pre-1800s character uses "Okay" and other modern slang. Glaring mistakes like that will ruin the historical feel of any story.

The process of phrase- and word-checking varies, however, from era to era. Several people who had not yet read The Soldier's Cross asked me how I tried to maintain an authentic feel in the speech, and whether I used the language of Shakespeare. The answer to the latter is no, I certainly did not, because people in the early fifteenth century had regretfully not heard of Elizabeth I and therefore didn't speak in the Queen's English. In fact, they all spoke French. Henry V was the king who re-introduced the English language to the English court; prior to that, the upper classes (being Norman themselves) spoke French. Naturally, I couldn't write the story in French, and even if I could have it wouldn't have been the same French that they spoke in the 1400s. I had to stick to English - modern English.

This necessity gave me more freedom than I have in The White Sail's Shaking, since the very fact that the novel is written in English requires a suspension of disbelief on the reader's part, and one which I don't think anyone has trouble making. I therefore didn't spend time looking up phrases like "buck up" and searching for raincoats. I also didn't eliminate all contractions and whatnot, since that gets quite irritating for the modern reader. I simply kept the dialogue slightly formal, free of slang, and included oaths or phrases that were popular at the time, which is enough for a novel set in the Middle Ages.

But with The White Sail's Shaking, being accurate to the speech of the period is a little more taxing. (Not surprising, since it seems that everything about White Sail's is more taxing than my two previous novels!) They did speak English, and they spoke it a certain way and without certain idioms. One of my characters used the expression "a dark horse" and I was preparing to move on, happy with the sentence, when it occurred to me that maybe that phrase wasn't around in 1803. I anxiously checked and found that I was right - it's a racing term that came about in the 1820s and 30s. Granted, few people would notice if I left it in. In fact, it's likely that no one would notice at all. And yet it would not be in keeping with the era I'm portraying, and if anyone did happen to be a horse-racing connoisseur, they would notice the slip. I regretfully cut it and rewrote the sentence.

Minute research isn't always an easy task, even with the internet (although Dictionary.com is an excellent resource). On the other hand, if you want to find the silver lining on the dark cloud, checking the etymology of idioms and slang is an interesting business and provides the searcher with a collection of strange and possibly useful facts. For instance, I now know about when "lunch" came to be used in reference to a midday meal. I also know what mangelwurzel is, and that's not something you get to lord over people everyday. So even paying attention to the little things has its rewards.

June 3, 2011

The Truth of a Fairytale

Several days ago Liz on Awake posted her thoughts on the "knight in shining armor" versus the underdog antihero, and it got me thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know) about the concept of the true-hearted knight in fairytales. The knight on the white charger was a recurring character in the stories of the Western world for centuries - the Knights of the Round Table, the Lone Ranger, and the heroes of the old Disney princess movies, to name a few. Nowadays they are not so popular in literature; writers focus more on the psychological and spiritual aspect of their heroes in order to make them true to life. The structure of a story has developed so that the main character must now have a clear character arc and must change throughout the course of the novel, until the climax shows him to be a hero at last. And, to steal one of Liz's examples, it is certainly true that a character like Rick from Casablanca demands more empathy than a Prince Charming or one of King Arthur's knights. The reader or movie-viewer feels a sense of growth as a Rick Blaine walks off into the fog at the end of Casablanca that cannot be felt while Prince Philip cuts through the thorns to the enchanted castle and kisses Aurora in Sleeping Beauty.

And yet I think perhaps we have lost sight of the truth behind a simple fairytale like Sleeping Beauty. It has become so cliche that we look at it as nothing more than a story for children who have not yet learned How the World Really Is, who still view things in stark black and white. They aren't stories that fit with our perception of the world, and so they aren't considered "real" or "accurate" or "true." At the risk of sounding too allegorical, however, the parallels that can be drawn between these childhood tales and the Greatest Story argue that perhaps these fairytales are more True than even the most intricate Dickens novel - or, rather, True on a higher level.

"Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." (G.K. Chesterton)

The basic plot of the classic fairytale mirrors - in a small and necessarily incomplete way - God's redemptive history. Take, for instance, the tale of Saint George and the Dragon, in which you find all the components: the dragon, the damsel, the knight. The venomous dragon lived in a lake outside a city and was given presents of great worth by the townspeople in order to placate him and keep him from destroying them all; then the people began also to give the dragon their own children for it to devour. In time the king's daughter was chosen to be sacrificed, and she was taken out to the lake and left there for the dragon. At this time, of course, Saint George was riding past the lake and, on seeing the maiden, stopped to see what the matter was. He fought the dragon and eventually killed it, rescuing the maid from being eaten.

This is hardly the first legend involving the slaying of a dragon. The Greeks had the story of Perseus rescuing Andromeda, which has obvious parallels to the legend of Saint George, and there were many similar myths in the Middle Eastern empires. This common thread suggests that it is a story based on fact, though I cannot say whether it flows from the history of a man killing some legendary beast or from a spiritual truth.

Regardless, it does bear a striking resemblance to the history of God's people that can hardly be missed. The dragon, Satan, has held Mankind in captivity since the Fall, while Man blindly and willingly serves him out of the depravity of his own heart. Such has been the state of Man and such it would continue to be but for Christ. It is He who comes to rescue His chosen Bride, and He alone who could do so. It is all there - the dragon, the maiden, the knight. A fairytale paints in muted colors the glory of redemption and of the work of Christ. It is otherworldly, and that is why it is so different from what we experience day to day. It looks to what lies beyond; it looks to the Truth behind it all.

"You're watching how the story finds a way.
And you've seen it all before, but still you love to see the hero save the day.
It's a window in the world, a little glimpse of all the goodness getting through.
And all along the way the days are made of little moments of truth."
(Andrew Peterson - Windows in the World)

June 1, 2011

Beautiful People - Tip Brighton

Hurrah, it's June! Not that I'm fond of summer, but I am very fond of summer break and am glad to have term papers and exams behind me. In honor of that, I am (finally) posting one of the Beautiful People sessions that Georgie Penn and Sky have been putting together.

Once a month Sky and [Georgie] will be posting a list of 10 questions for you to answer about your characters. You can use the same character every month, or choose a new one for each set of questions. Your call. You can answer all the questions, just one, or however many you have the time and energy to answer. Just go for it and have fun.

This is a collaboration of all the sessions up to now instead of just the May/June edition, and I'm letting Tip Brighton, who has been behaving remarkably well recently, take the limelight. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce the main character of The White Sail's Shaking.

1. What is your character’s full name?

Edward “Tip” Brighton

2. Does his name have a special meaning?


3. Does your character have a methodical or disorganized personality?

Disorganized, although living on a ship doesn’t afford him much room for this.

4. Does he think inside themselves more than they talk out loud to their friends? (more importantly, does he/she actually have friends?)

He has no friends at the start of the novel, and even as friendships develop, he is more comfortable with thinking inside himself than talking aloud.

5. Is there something he is afraid of?

Scorn and rejection. Branches of his family were Loyalist during the American Revolution, and he fears having that tarnish his reputation.

6. Does he write, dream, dance, sing, or photograph?

None of the above. He is a very practical sort.

7. What is his favorite book? (or genre of book)

Tip is not fond of reading, and was more than pleased to get out of it when he left school.

8. Who is his favorite author and/or someone that inspires him/her?

No favourite author; he looks up to Stephen Decatur, the lieutenant who commands the Argus and the Enterprize, and is also influenced by Darkwood, a fellow midshipman.

9. Favorite flavor of ice cream?

He has never had it.

10. Favorite season of the year?


11. How old is he?

Seventeen at the start of the novel.

12. What does he do in his spare time?

Spare time? What’s that? When he can get any privacy, he likes to sit alone and think. On land, he is fond of touring market places and, on occasion, ancient ruins.

13. Does he see the big picture, or live in the moment?

He lives in the moment. Seeing the big picture is an effort.

14. Is he a perfectionist?

No, it makes little difference to him whether something is perfect or not.

15. What does his handwriting look like? (round, slanted, curly, skinny, sloppy, neat, decorative, etc)

He dislikes writing, but when he does it, he usually labours to make it look half-decent. His letters have a tendency to be too thin.

16. Favourite animal?


17. Does he have any pets?

A Barbary macaque named Scipio, picked up in Gibraltar.

18. Does he have any siblings, how many, and where does he fit in?

He is the youngest of four sons, and the least important.

19. Does he have a "life verse" and if so what is it?

Life is too variant to pick a single verse for the whole of it.

20. Favourite writing utensil?

Since “favourite” implies that he likes it, none. He generally writes with a quill.

21. What type of laugh does he have?

Tip has a sudden laugh, like a cork being pulled out of a champagne bottle.

22. Who is his best friend?

He makes no claims on having a ‘best’ friend; at the beginning of the story, he doesn’t have any friends at all.

23. What is his family like?

His father is good-natured but negligent and his mother is of what one would call a ‘weak constitution,’ prone to fretting. Tip has three older brothers; the eldest, William, is a steady, unremarkable chap and the second oldest, Charles, is good-natured and idle like his father. James, Tip’s closest in age (they are three or four years apart), is termed ‘a bit of a genius’ and outshines all his brothers.

24. Is he a Christian, or will he eventually find Jesus?

This is a bit of a troublesome question, as I’m not sure how much of a redemptive thread will get into the story.

25. Does he believe in fairies?

I would have to say no, he does not.

26. Does he like hedgehogs?

Tip has a soft spot for most small animals, though he would deny it, but he has never met a hedgehog.

27. Favorite kind of weather?

Cool, clear weather. He hates hot summer days and has an aversion to fog.

28. Does he have a good sense of humor? If so what kind? (Slapstick, wit, sarcasm, etc.?)

Tip’s sense of humour is still developing; right now it tends to be a little dark.

29. How did he do in school, or any kind of education he might have had?

Poorly. Being overshadowed by his older brother James, Tip saw no reason to try hard in his academics. If he tried he would probably do well, but the first time he has ever really tried is on the Argus.

30. Any strange hobbies?


And there is Tip Brighton. A rather unlikeable-sounding fellow, isn't he? But I suppose I shouldn't say that; he's been so good the past few weeks, and I would like him to stay that way. He's a decent chap, once you get to know him.
meet the authoress
I am a writer of historical fiction and fantasy, scribbling from my home in the United States. More importantly, I am a Christian, which flavors everything I write. My debut novel, "The Soldier's Cross," was published by Ambassador Intl. in 2010.
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published writings

The Soldier's Cross: Set in the early 15th Century, this is the story of an English girl's journey to find her brother's cross pendant, lost at the Battle of Agincourt, and of her search for peace in the chaotic world of the Middle Ages.
finished writings

Tempus Regina:Hurled back in time and caught in the worlds of ages past, a Victorian woman finds herself called out with the title of the time queen. The death of one legend and the birth of another rest on her shoulders - but far weightier than both is her duty to the brother she left alone in her own era. Querying.
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Wordcrafter: "One man in a thousand, Solomon says / will stick more close than a brother. / And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days / if you find him before the other." Justin King unwittingly plunges into one such friendship the day he lets a stranger come in from the cold. Wordcount: 124,000 words

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