The "Unexpected Inspiration" Characters

Feb 26, 2014

Book Review - Every Day

I just finished reading Every Day by David Levithan, so it's time for a book review! (This review had previously been posted here.)



Here's the description from Amazon:
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

First I want to say that I absolutely loved this book. I was a little iffy at first about something written in first person since those can be kind of hit-or-miss, but in this case it worked incredibly well. With a protagonist who switches bodies on a daily basis, third person narration would have just made for unnecessary confusion. With a character who essentially only exists as thought, getting inside A's head in first person felt right.

This book was recommended by a close friend who knows well the types of books I enjoy and she was correct in guessing that I'd love this one! I love when books have a LGBTQ spin to them and when that's combined with an interesting fantastical premise, I'm sold. I found the protagonist to be charming and sympathetic- heck, I just plain enjoyed reading a story told from A's point of view. The story is thought-provoking and emotional. I'm not always a big fan of love stories, but I found this one enjoyable and genuine. Yes, A fell in love quickly, but it didn't feel forced or creepy or anything like that. It just felt like a teenager falling in love. (How fast the relationship started is something I've seen people comment about in other reviews.) I'm finding it hard to put into words what I liked about this book since it managed to pull at my heart in all the right ways. I think I'm too infatuated to be coherent.

I actually spent the first twenty pages or so wondering if I was going to like it or not, largely because the style was rather more poetic then I'm used to reading and I came into it a little leery of first person narration. I'm glad that I stuck with it because once I got into the story the rest of the book was amazing! I finished it in less than two days (rare for me when I normally get distracted by other books and hobbies so it take much longer than this to finish a book despite being a fast reader) because I kept saying to myself "just another chapter, then I'll put the book down". The next chapter would come and go and I'd keep reading because I wanted to find out what life A would end up in next.

The only thing I can say about this book that is anything less than positive is that the ending felt somewhat rushed or unfinished and I will admit that it left me just a little disappointed. (Although that could be because I didn't want the book to end!) When I talked to the friend who recommended it to me, she told me that the author is going to be writing a sequel. In that case, I don't mind the ending nearly as much and I will gladly read this as soon as it comes out. (2015? That's too long from now!) The subplots could have been fleshed out a little better, but overall, this was a great read.

I'm giving this book 4 1/2 stars. It's not quite at five because there were a few flaws, but the great outshines the few flaws in this book. I'll definitely be reading more by this author.

Feb 20, 2014

A title has dropped into my lap...

This picture fed through in my Facebook feed earlier today and hit me with an epiphany:



I now have a title for the Camp NaNoWriMo novel I'll be writing later this year! Super excited about that because I'm usually scrambling for a title, but now I'll at least have a working one. It's apt because while my current project has some secondary characters that do actually fight/control shadows (and are shadows at times... Etri, would you get back here and solidify?), that's going to be the main theme of the next story.

I'm still chugging along with my current '13 novel Unexpected Inspiration and have been filling in the last quarter of it or so, but even if I don't finish that one by July, I'll put it aside for a bit to work on the next one. Three months late and I'm still wondering how anyone can get to "the end" in thirty days. I'm nearing 80,000 words, well past the NaNo 50k I reached in November, but the ending scenes are still taunting me from a great many chapters away. As the story takes shape, however, I'm starting to eye an earlier point as a potential split into two books. I do love all of these carnival performers, so I wouldn't mind writing a series about them. That's such a relief after having to force myself to get even a quarter of the way through my (currently abandoned) '12 novel!

I'm already starting to jot down ideas for "Sciamachy" (which Firefox refuses to acknowledge is a word) and have two characters so far; one's a secondary character from "Unexpected Inspiration" and the other is the daughter of characters from that same story. It'll be a challenge to write a mute mime as a protagonist, particularly when he's been stuck outside of time and reality for a decade, but I'm willing to try! (It can't be any harder than writing a blind protagonist...) It's possible that the other main character flirting with disaster from the magic she wants crossing with the magic she has will be easier to write. Light and shadow really shouldn't be mixed in one person, but I think she's going to have to risk that in order to free the weird shadow-boy who keeps leaving invisible objects where she can find them. Plot subject to change between now and July, of course. (Unless I hold this back until November's NaNo.)

Now back to working on the current story. That daughter's entire existence hinges on me finding a way to bring her father back to life in a way that isn't contrived or asinine. I'd rather not have the ghost of a goth teenager following me around from story to story, bemoaning sarcastically my shortcomings as a writer. ;)

~Meri

Feb 11, 2014

Character-inspired accessories

When I was looking back at the previous post of my Seph and Meren dolls, I remembered that last summer I made costume-y things related to both of those characters.

First up is the headband inspired by Seph's blindfold. My husband sketched out the design for me, then I embroidered it onto a strip of fabric and sewed it into a headband in the shape of said blindfold. I wanted something with a stylized heart because Seph is a priest of the god of love and I think he did a good job creating that pattern without making it look too girly. This is supposed to be the design a twenty-three year old guy wears. Every time I poked myself with the needle and complained about wonky stitches, my husband pointed out that the blind guy managed to make one of these. Dang, outdone by my own fictional creation.

Here's a closeup:

Gold and white embroidered headband


And see? It's a headband:
Embroidered headband
(Actually, this picture is apt because it works for Meren, too. On my arms were the tattoos for my Meren cosplay! Err.. and ignore the fact that it's a terrible picture of me.)

For Meren, I mixed together bits and pieces to create something that looks like the magical amulet from Hidden Magic:
Amulet for my elf costume

Originally I tried clay, like I made for my Raff costume, but I couldn't get it to look right, so I dug through my pile of stray pendants that I collect and found this gold-colored one that used to belong to one of my grandmothers. That design didn't work, but I realized that it's hollow/concave, and that would work! So I glued in a circle of green felt and glued a green glass stone on top of that, and tada! The back of the pendant is now the front. The glass doesn't quite line up with the shape of the pendant so there's a bit of a gap, but it isn't as noticeable in person. It's not quite what I picture the amulet to look like, but since that was made by a wizard, I figured I could only do so much with glue. ;)

Here's what the other side of it looks like:
Amulet front and back


I also feathered up my simple wooden walking stick to make a staff to go with that costume. Here's what the top looks like:
Quarterstaff - finished


Once the weather warms up, I'm planning on doing another costume photoshoot as Meren since my costume has changed a little since last time. I've also been putting together a costume for Blythe, so expect another costume post in a few months. I swear, half the fun of writing is getting to make things related to the characters.

I can sort of make this post more writing-related, though! This week I wrote character biographies for Blythe and Adair, so Drake's the only one still blank. I'll get to him later- if he promises to behave in my writing and stop causing trouble. ;)

~Meri

Feb 4, 2014

Seph and Meren as plushies

I finally got around to finishing the plushies I made of Seph and Meren... geez, one and two and a half years ago, respectively. Meren was missing her quiver and bow and Seph was missing his facial hair; tiny details, but details that got pushed to the wayside.

Seph is my healer-priest of Eros, the protagonist of my on-hold '12 NaNo.
Seph D&D Plushie (Healer Priest)
Seph D&D Plushie (Healer Priest)


These eyes are a pain to photograph, but they're actually pupil-less ones. Seph's eyes are a blank red-violet thanks to his god taking away his vision, so I was very glad when I found these that I could paint! They don't quite look blank once in the doll, which would normally drive me nuts, but usually Seph wears his blindfold, so it probably doesn't matter.

That's supposed to be an arrow-shaped medallion around his neck (that's the holy symbol of his order) and he's carrying a satchel (which he uses to hold his herbs and healing supplies). I tried to get the sleeves to be passably billowy under the white wraps, but crochet doesn't really billow. For a random factoid, this character hates those stupid sleeves on his uniform.

And here's Meren, my wood elfling mage.
Meren D&D Plushie (Wood Elf)
Meren D&D Plushie (Wood Elf)


I decided on a slightly different outfit than she has in her character art and went with her summer clothing. Basically I wanted to have an excuse to use strips of leather on a doll for clothing.

Here's a slightly better picture of her shirt (such as it is) and her quiver:
Meren D&D Plushie (Wood Elf)


I have the amulet around her neck that she and Phillip spend most of Hidden Magic fighting over, so I'm expecting to one day find it around the neck of my Phillip plushie. I love how many tattoos this girl has! Most of her body is covered in green vines and swirls, so that was fun to paint on the doll. The bracers, little pouches, and bow and quiver were fun to make, too.

One of these days I'll get around to making more dolls, so I'll share those when I do. :)

~Meri