February 28, 2014

February Snippets

pinterest: wordcrafter
If my labels are accurate, it's been a full year since I did one of Katie's snippets posts.  Several reasons for that, I suppose: most of last year was full of Tempus Regina, and after a certain point it became difficult to share from that without spilling lots of beans.  I and my characters were in Scotland at that point (I mean story-wise, not myself physically).  Interestingly, we are now in Scotland again, only about fifteen hundred years removed from Regina's time.  Do I have some special love for Scotland...?

Second reason for the lack of snippets posts is simply that I haven't had anything to share, unless you want to read papers on Anabaptist martyrs and 17th Century anti-papist polemics.  This is, naturally, sometimes discouraging and frustrating, although of course absolutely necessary.  So to keep the creative juices flowing - and not go beserk and kill anyone - I've pulled out Wordcrafter and begun rewriting it from the ground up.  This is a dabbling kind of thing and I don't know how serious I am yet, but at 10,000 words, I figured I could scrape together a few things to post.

snippets for february

“You never mentioned your name, did you?” 

Still I felt him looking at me; his face flashed by in the tea, there and then broken, there and then broken. One second. Two seconds. Three seconds. “…Ethan. Ethan Prince.” 

“Ironic,” I said, without looking up. “My name is Justin King.”

- wordcrafter

The chain of the tea-ball still hung over the edge of my own mug and when I prodded it, the dregs rose up strong and dark and forbidding from the bottom. Nnh. There was not enough hot water in the kettle for a second mug, and barely enough leaves in the tin. I could make my guest his cup, but it was coffee-strong Ceylon or nothing for me. 

Well, then, I would take it coffee-strong.


Fortunately I had flour and eggs and the last of a carton of milk, so that with some imagination and fudging—and altogether too much tripping over Ethan, who seemed not to know how to get out of the way—I threw together something like toad-in-the-hole. 

“Heavy on the flour,” I said ungraciously, dumping his steaming plateful at Ethan’s chair— “light on the bangers. I’m running low. Eat up.”


“The—tattoos,” I managed, while Ethan got a glass and fiddled with the sink. “Where did you get them? Last time I saw something like that was in a book on the Celts.” 

 He jolted the handle round and the water spat out with a bang against the metal side, spraying him liberally; he hissed and gentled it back to a more reasonable stream, though it still overflowed his tumbler. Then, shutting off the tap and shaking the water off his hands, he answered, “Maybe I got them from the Celts, then.”


There were very few things in this world for which a brandy and soda could not atone.


The sprawling gravel drive was full and guests had begun to park in odd out-of-the-way corners; holding my breath as though it would make the car smaller, I squeezed between a sleek black Jaguar and a sporty thing I only afterward realized was a Lotus. 

 “Scratch one of those,” I remarked, “and we’re both dead.”


...But in the Fairbairn’s foyer, with the black velvet of his tunic melting into the shadows and the chandelier caught in the dash of gold brocade, he looked like a matador sprung out of the ring. And there was, too, something remarkably Castilian in the cold arrogance with which he surveyed Fairbairn: lips drawn, upper canine balanced light and sharp on lower, eyelids low and flickering. He did not like what he saw, and—my heart took a tumble into my cramped and empty stomach—he was making no bones about it. 


"Someone must have told you it was a masquerade, Mr Prince."


February 16, 2014

Fly Away Home Birthday Bash

Look what's finally arrived!  Having made us wait a month after revealing the cover of her debut novel, Fly Away Home, Rachel Heffington is celebrating its release with a blog party.  Toddle around to her own blog and other participating venues to learn more about 1950s New York, get tips on retro makeup, and read some reviews - and then go pick up the book from Amazon or the authoress' site.  (Note: you get an autograph if you buy from her, but you boost her sales rank if you buy from Amazon.)

For today, Rachel is putting in an appearance here at Scribbles to answer questions and tell a little more about the historical romance Fly Away Home.  (No spoilers - pinky promise.)

two thumbs way, way up for our leading lady - 
rachel heffington

1.) Hallo-allo-allo! Many here are already acquainted with you and Fly Away Home, but do tell us briefly what this here story is about.

Fly Away Home is basically the story of a hurting young woman who thinks becoming rich and famous will satisfy the aching inside. She gets the chance of a lifetime when hired to work with Wade Barnett, but this famous journalist is a Christian and his ideas of success and worth are far different than her own. She begins to fall in love with him but her past comes screaming up the road behind her and poses two frightening choices: betray herself, or betray the man she loves.

2.) Now tell us what this story’s about from the perspective of Nickleby. (For those of you who are unaware, Nickleby is the heroine’s cat.) 

“This book is the story of why my human is acting weird, eating too much chocolate, and lecturing the potted fern in our apartment. It is also the story of why I had to spend at least six or seven days with Jerry Atwood, the lobby-man, and why the song “Beyond the Sea” still makes my fur stand on edge. In short, it’s the story of how my human changed from a cold, sassy mess to a warm, sassy mess all because of some man named Wade Barnett.”

3.) What prompted you to write Fly Away Home? Was there any one moment when you were hit with an urgent need to invest your time in this particular work? What kept you going through the tough bits? 

Originally, I set out to write a book about coming home...about a young woman who thinks she wants a career but returns to a simpler life for things of richer value. That was when I was quite young and a bit naive and had none of the book written. As I wrote the story and matured spiritually and emotionally in my own life, it became a book about a woman jaded by life who still has a lot of girlishness inside and who is trying to fix her howling ache with glamour and glitz...and it is still a story about coming home, but Home, now, is Christ. Callie is a journalist working with a world-famous guy and she’s definitely got a career. I like that and I see nothing wrong with it; but her measure of success had to change, and that is the crux of the story.

I think many young women will identify with Callie. Sure, we don’t all have her past, but it can be hard to see through the baubles the world offers and to reconcile our dreams with God’s plans...I think the sensation that I was exploring my own heart kept me pushing through. I really am much like Callie.

 4.) I know Gregory Peck is Mr. Barnett. Who would you cast in the roles of the other characters if you could? 

Since this is entirely a hypothetical cast, may I pretty please make no sense at all and pick actors who are dead or alive and construct their ages just so, that it might work? Yes? Thankee. Okay:

Wade Barnett = Gregory Peck (duh)
Callie Harper = I always waffle on this. Currently, Nina Dobrev or Zooey Deschanel. Let me add a disclaimer saying that I haven’t seen either’s acting skills and Callie’s eyes are darker than Zooey’s.
Nalia Crosticinni = Nigella Lawson (can she even act? She’s a cooking show judge)
Jerry Atwood = A 30 year old Sean Astin
Jules Cameron = Theo James or Joseph Gordon Levitt
Moffat = Rosamund Pike. Hands down.

Yeah. I would love to see this film. It would probably be a disaster. ;)

5.) In one word each, how would you describe each of your main characters? 

Callie: Broken
Mr. Barnett: Earnest (Please, no Jack & Algie puns)
Jerry: Loyal
Nalia: Sultry
Jules: Manipulative

 6.) Fly Away Home is fairly unique in today’s market: it’s light and cosy, though of course it has its fair share of drama. What are some similar books that you can think of off the top of your head? 

This is a pretty difficult question for me. It’s the oddest mash-up of the pathos in The Magic of Ordinary Days, the banter of Emma & Mr. Knightley, and the all-round feel of Dead as a Scone -- without it centering around a murder. Or wait.

...Moving ON: If you like old movies like "Roman Holiday" and "My Favorite Wife" and you like books like Emma and P.G. Wodehouse, and you’re not against a bit of heart-break and blackmail, you’ll probably like Fly Away Home.

7.) If you had to choose one thing, what would you say is your favorite aspect of Fly Away Home? 

The relationship between Callie and Mr. Barnett. Yes, it has a thread of romance, but more than that it’s a friendship. I really do feel like Mr. Barnett is a friend of mine (don’t laugh. It’s true.) and even if Callie and Mr. Barnett don’t end up together (would I tell you?), their friendship is something that lingers in the minds of readers as a darn good job.

8.) Every author has some reason for writing. What is your philosophy of the craft? How do you approach the business of story-telling? 

I wish I could write heart-shattering lyrics like Andrew Peterson and bone-crushing, soul-wrenching prose like C.S. Lewis, and heavy, red-gloried novels like Jenny, and clever allegories like G.K. Chesterton. I really do. Those stories resonate within me but my particular reason for writing is a bit simpler:

I want to write books that defy the world’s strictures of the OSS (obligatory sex scene). I want to write books that are a lark to read but slip in an unobtrusive but unashamed Christian worldview. I want readers--especially unsaved ones--to read my books and find something attractive in them that they can’t quite pin down and then someday realize it was Christ. That’s my mission. I want to reflect His principles and His stories in such a way that they meet some crying need for worthwhile reading material and maybe even give the reader the impression of coming away refreshed and restored in spirit. I don’t want to be like everyone else. I want to be me: whimsical, fresh, sassy, and saved.

9.) Tea comes with brewing instructions for maximum enjoyment. What are your brewing instructions for Fly Away Home? 

 Best enjoyed on a day when: A.) You are needing to be cheered up B.) You are needing a silver-screen-glamour fix C.) You are in search for book with a flavor all its own D.) You want a read that you will come out of, looking for a cup of tea and a cat to cuddle because it was just that cozy. Or, you know, any old day when you feel like falling in love with a fictional man. 

Thank you, Rachel, and congratulations all over again! For everyone else, purchase a copy at Amazon or get an autographed copy from her blog The Inkpen Authoress - or both, if you want to be doubly awesome.  Also, don't forget to post a review on Goodreads or Amazon when you're done! 

February 12, 2014

All Who Are Wise-Hearted

I finished reading Exodus several evenings back.  Several weeks back, actually.  It's one of those deceptive books of the Bible that start out easy enough and then BOOM! you hit the instructions for the tabernacle and immediately slow to a crawl.  I confess to occasionally wondering why and wherefore as I moved through the minutiae, but from time to time something would spring out at me - often something more or less tangential.

"And I, indeed I, have appointed with him Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded you..."
exodus 31:6

The context, of course, is the construction and ornamentation of the sanctuary.  In the chapters preceding we see God laying out for Moses the blueprint of the tabernacle, then calling for "all who are wise-hearted" to participate in the actual building.  Two men were called out in particular and given special insight - Bezaleel and Aholiab - but it was the blanket description of all the craftsmen that struck me.  In other translations they're just "skilled artisans," but in this case I think the King James has hit on something.

all who are wise-hearted

That is probably the best description of real artists I've ever read.  You could argue that these men were wise-hearted because God especially blessed them, or that they were wise-hearted because they were the people of God, but I think it's far more basic than that.  These artisans were already wise-hearted; their work was the manifestation of it.  We've all read authors and found them unbelievably good - books where we reach the end and cannot fathom how a single mind could have held in all that complexity, let alone articulated it.  We've read poems that captured so much in so few lines.  We've seen paintings and statues and been left speechless by something.  

This isn't restricted to believing artists: we'd be foolish and bigoted to suppose it is.  Dickens very probably wasn't a Christian and I doubt Rosemary Sutcliff was.  I recently finished Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and that author gave me that wonderfully horrible feeling of inadequacy  every really great book should.  In the art field, I know very little about Bernini and want to know even less, but his "David" is one of the most amazing statues I've ever seen.  There's something in the heart of man that has this amazing capacity for beauty, even for glory, and I think that something is the wisdom of the artist.  It has little or nothing to do with form and rules, except perhaps in knowing how to break them.  I'm not sure I can put my finger on what it is, but I think that if you have some of it yourself, you know it when you see it in others.

wisdom is vindicated by her children.

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.
currently writing

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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