Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Beautiful People March 2017: Ali

Hello, everyone! I'm doing the March Beautiful People meme, hosted by the lovely Cait @Paper Fury and Skye @Further Up and Further In! I know it's a little late in the month to be doing it, but oh, well. We can just call it Camp NaNo prep, right?
I'll be doing my character Ali Spencer from my April book-to-be. She's the main character, and she's one of the better MCs I've come up with in my several years of writing. At least, she is in my humble opinion. She's heavily based on me, but this novel is also shamelessly based on my own experiences, so I 'm not apologizing.
Without further ado....

What’s their favourite book/movie/play/etc.?

Ali loves movies in general. Most of the time, she's watching something old and classy, or something with lots of sci-fi in it. Probably very much like me. So Princess Bride or something like that. An old animated Disney like The Aristocats. Or, like, The Scarlet Pimpernel or something.
And favorite book would probably be Lord of the Rings.

    If they were sick or wounded, who would take care of them and how?

Um, this entire book is about surgery, so that's very easy to answer: Ali's mom! And the people at the Children's Hospital. Ali has a great family - her mom, her sister Robin, her brother Dennis, and her dad - and they all care about her. #AmendingYAFamilies

Is there an object they can’t bear to part with and why?

Yes. No. I actually have not figured this out yet. Probably her cell phone because she's a modern teenager, but I hadn't thought about this question until just now.

What are 5 ways to win their heart (or friendship)?

1 - Ali loves going to the movie theater, so... Movies. Lots of movies.
2- No bullying. She's been bullied throughout middle school, and so anyone who doesn't take part in it could at least be considered a potential friend.
3 - Liking the same kind of music. Read: alternative rock type stuff. 21 Pilots, Imagine Dragons, Fall Out Boy, etc.
4 - Being willing to just sit and listen. To hold her hand and tell her that it's going to be okay. Offering a shoulder to cry on.
5 - Not liking Disney channel, which the older sister Robin does. Obsessively.

Describe a typical outfit for them from top to bottom.

T-shirt (a big, bulky one; she's not proud of her body), probably with a cheesy slogan on it. And then a pair of jeans underneath and sneakers. She's not tall, but would not wear high heels to save her life - comfortable clothing is a given. And they live in Massachusetts, so during the winter she wears a very large ski jacket that reaches to the knees, a knitted hat, a pair of plastic mittens, and massive heavy snow boots. This is not a description of me in the winter in Maine, it is completely stereotypical of everyone in New England nine months out of the year.

What’s their favorite type of weather?

Rainy, because it's just beautiful. Rain isn't fun to play in, at least not in Boston, but one of Ali's favorite things to do is snuggle up and read books or watch a movie on a rainy day.

What’s the worst fight they’ve ever been in?

We'll just say... there's a lot of bullying at Ali's school. When she was in third grade, she stood up for one of the other girls who was getting bullied, and got a bloody nose and a black eye out of it. Nowadays, she's the target of the bullying, but it's mostly verbal and not particularly physical. There might be a fight in the story - but to tell more would be rife with spoilers.... ;P

What names or nicknames have they been called throughout their life?

Her real name is Alison, so Ali is a nickname for that. Robin (her sister) calls her various names, such as "little sister", "daisy", and "Batman" (don't ask.) Her parents call her the normal parental terms of endearment (sweetie, love, darling, etc.) And she's given some insulting names at school, like "Elephant". So.... Yeah.

What makes their heart feel alive?

Getting to spend a day just walking in the mountains. Living in the city as their family does, trips to the mountains are a rarity, and Ali always loves the opportunity to drive for a few hours and visit the world of nature.

Is there anything they regret doing?

The time when she went to the movies and didn't watch The Winter Soldier, even though she wanted to. Seriously.  So then she went home and watched clips on the internet until it came out on DVD.

Thanks for reading, guys! I hope you enjoyed getting to meet Ali! I will be posting more updates about my Camp NaNoWriMo novel throughout the month of April, so stay tuned for that!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Hamiltag: In Which I Rave About How Much I Love Hamilton (with gifs!)

So Laura over at An Odd Blog tagged me for the Hamilton tag (girl, you may just be my new best friend in the blogging world). If you don't want to hear me gush, you may want to run. Fast. Away. As far as you can get.

Or am I?

How did you discover Hamilton?

One of my wonderful friends came to visit me here in Maine last summer and brought it with her. My reaction was kind of like, "Ugh."
But then she was like "TRY IT" so I said, "Fine." Just to make her happy, of course. And now I'm like
I'm Jefferson. In the middle.
This is a very normal reaction, I can assure you. *may be a little bit insane*

Who is your favorite character?

Sir, I don't know what you heard, but whatever it is, Jefferson started it. Not that Jefferson is my favorite character.
I can't even decide. Like, I love Burr's big numbers (they're some of my favorites in the musical), but I wouldn't say he's my favorite character.
Maybe Eliza? I love Angelica. And I love Hamilton himself. Even though he's such a messed-up human and makes so many bad choices.
Okay, fine. I think at the moment (this will have changed by tomorrow) I have to go with Lafayette/Jefferson. (They're played by the same actor, for any who don't know.)
I mean, you can't not love him. Lafayette is the guy on the left.

What's Your Absolute Favorite Song?

I am going to do another post at some point on my Top Ten Songs from Hamilton (I have literally been planning this for months. Is this the reason I started a blog in the first place? You will never know.)
But right now:
AAAHHHHHHH!!!!!! Who wrote these questions??????
Me at whoever wrote these questions

At the moment I'm very much enjoying Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down) and The Room Where it Happens. Just because they're awesome and historical and SOMEONE NEEDS TO WRITE A MUSICAL THAT'S ALL ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR WITH LEE AND LONGSTREET AND CHAMBERLAIN BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE AWESOME #UnashamedCivilWarBuff
I was actually able to find a video of Yorktown on YouTube from the Tonys and that may or may not be one of the reasons I love it right now.
The world turned upside down...

Music wise, which is better, Act 1 or Act 2?

Um. Well , Jefferson is in Act 2 and gets to sing his awesome stuff I like Act 2. Not because of Jefferson or anything. But The Room Where it Happens is in Act 2, and so is It's Quiet Uptown *sobs* and Stay Alive (Reprise) *sobs even harder* and The World Was Wide Enough *ugly crying for a year*
I think I like Act 2 better. For the feels. And Jefferson. And Hurricane. And....
Yeah, I like Act 2 better.

What's your dream role?

Eliza. Hands down. For one thing I can actually sing her part and she doesn't really rap at all but also because she's my favorite female character in the musical and Burn burns me. I practice her part every day when I put my baby sister to bed. I may or may not be obsessed.
But then, you already knew that, right?
The feels. :(

What's your favorite quote?

But there are so many of them!
Pretty much all of Stay Alive (I'm A General! Wheeeeee!!!!!). And most of the Reynolds Pamphlet, and Aaron Burr's motto.
Yes. Jefferon is me.

Describe what Hamilton means to you using only 3 words.

Don't do this to me.
I'll cheat. Four words: I'm a general! WHEEEEEE!!!!!
Just kidding.
Actions have consequences.

Who do you consider your “Hamilton Buddy” (someone who you can ramble, fangirl, or sing Hamilton with)? 

My friend Cat, who first introduced me to it. And I may have to get Laura to do that with me because now I know that she likes Hamilton too.
I'm talking to you.

How has Hamilton impacted your life?

It's helping me appreciate the history of the early colonies. I've always loved history, but it's become more of an obsession now that I've begun listening to Hamilton.
And it's also showing just how human and fallible our founding fathers actually were. Nobody notices that - we idolize them, talk about how much we wish the politicians of today were like the Founders. The thing is - they are.
Hamilton shows that blackmail, bribery, campaigns, endorsements, and dirty tricks in the government have been a part of politics from the beginning. I mean, all you have to do is listen to The Reynolds Pamphlet and see how much people's past reputations can hurt their political careers. And we thought that was fresh to the twenty-first century.
And I also obsess over it and know most of the words and...
I kind of like hip-hop/rap now. Sort of. Not all of it.
Just because I can't do a post about Hamilton without mentioning You'll Be Back.

And I don't really have anyone to tag for this, but if you want to do it, then feel free.
I hope you liked reading about my minor obsession co-favorite musical. The other one is Les Miserables, with Wicked vying for that spot, but at the moment it's easy to admit that Hamilton is one of my favorites.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Brave Enough

One of my favorite musicians at the moment is Lindsey Stirling. If you haven't heard of her, you need to listen to her stuff now. RIGHT NOW. She is a self-described "classically trained violinist gone rogue", meaning she plays violin to a dubstep/electronic backing track. Electronic violin. It sounds weird, and it is, but once you've listened to her you will understand. She is so talented and so ADDICTING.
Her album Brave Enough is the one I'm reviewing. This is her most recent - 2015 - and tends to sound a little more like mainstream music than her previous two efforts. The biggest reason for this is that on Brave Enough, she has 14 tracks, 8 of them with guest vocalists. The other albums have had about eleven each, and out of those 22 or so, two have vocals. She really does have something for everyone, so if you're big into electronic music, check out her earlier albums, Lindsey Stirling and Shatter Me. Brave Enough is my absolute favorite album right now, and hopefully you'll see why as I go into it.
On to a track by track review of this album!

Track 1: Lost Girls

This is an instrumental song, and just heartbreaking. Lindsey's voice sings in the background, "Lost girls find a way", and you realize just how soul-baring this album will end up being.

Track 2: Brave Enough (feat. Christina Perri)

This album came about when Stirling lost her keyboardist/best friend Jason Gaviati (who went by Gavi) to cancer. She states that Gavi was the most loving person she knew, and in this song she states her wish for the courage to love as much as he did. Christina Perri's vocals are vulnerable, but still strong at the same time, and it's heartbreaking.

Track 3: The Arena

Music video above.
This song is entirely instrumental and ridiculously good. I probably listen to tis track more than any other on the album. It's empowering, and beautiful, and there is so much emotion and strength involved that I can't breathe.

Track 4: The Phoenix

This song is also instrumental, like "The Arena". It's not as good, but is still a powerful song that puts into music the idea of rising from the ashes. This one hearkens back to Lindsey's electronic roots, so if you like her earlier albums for the electronic/dubstep feel, this may be one of your favorite songs on this album.

Track 5: Where Do We Go (feat. Carah Faye)

The best songs on this album are the ones that deal with grief, loss, and recovering from that. Where Do We Go is one that attempts to put the emotion that loss creates into words and music. And in my opinion, it does pretty well.

Track 6: Those Days (feat. Dan + Shay)

This song is absolutely beautiful. We can all relate to that feeling of losing a friend - whether it's by moving or death or something else - and only wanting to think about the good parts of the friendship, but getting stuck on the missing and longing. I think that this is my third favorite on this album.

Track 7: Prism

This is another instrumental, and it's one of my least favorites on the album. Maybe it sounds too different from the norm for Lindsey. You may like it, but I usually end up skipping this one.

Track 8: Hold My Heart (feat. ZZ Ward)

Some of my friends have complained of this song having feminist themes, and I can see where they get that. But this is a song that I think is mostly about being strong, and independent, but still needing love. No matter how strong you are, you still need love.

Track 9: Mirage (feat. Raja Kumani)

I don't love this song either. It's not bad, just not my style - it has a very Eastern feel to it with a lot of Arabic sounding themes. However, Lindsey does get to show off her ridiculous talent and ability to do whatever she feels like with the violin, so I'll listen to it occasionally.

Track 10: Don't Let This Feeling Fade (feat. Rivers Cuomo and LeCrae)

This song features Lecrae - rapping - which is very strange for a Lindsey Stirling album. This song isn't the strongest - most of the time you can't even hear the violin - but it's still fine.

Track 11: First Light

This is an instrumental that sounds very much like an older Lindsey song, but more lyrical than electronic. It's a soft, gentle song, which is rare for Lindsey, and I'd love to have this one as my wake-up alarm (the pun is in the title.)

Track 12: Love's Just a Feeling (feat. Rooty)

There is a music video for this song which is absolutely beautiful. The title of this song is a little problematic. As Christians, we know that love is more than just a feeling. It's action and grit and dirt under your fingernails. However, Rooty has a wonderful voice, and the music video for this song, which I could not find when searching YouTube a moment ago, makes the song worth it, because you can see the story behind it. I very much like this song.

Track 13: Something Wild (feat. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness)

This song is all about living life to the fullest, which I think is a good message for Christians: you don't know how long you have, so fight to make the days count and leave a legacy behind for God.

Track 14: Gavi's Song

The grand finale of the album is an instrumental piece that attempts to put into music Lindsey's feelings about Gavi's death. And it is absolutely gorgeously, breathtakingly heartbreaking. This is a very acoustic song for Lindsey - consisting only of a violin and the keyboard - and is her tribute to Gavi, who I think helped to write it. The song is a sweeping, epic masterpiece, and is so perfect that it makes me cry just to think about it.

Sorry about the length of this post, everybody! But now you have my first full album review of my favorite CD in the world right now! I hope that I've interested you in Lindsey and also that my review does her justice... Her music is truly art!


Monday, March 20, 2017

TAG: The Sunshine Blogger Award

The lovely Tracey Dyck over at Adventure Awaits tagged me for the Sunshine Blogger Award, meaning I have to answer 11 questions from her, then tag 11 other bloggers, and ask them 11 new questions. You can see this as a "Get to Know Me" tag if you want....
So, here we go.
11 (Semi-Random) Facts About Me!

1. What's the most addicting app on your phone?

Well, I will admit that I'm still firmly grounded in the aughties and do not yet have a smart phone. Therefore, the most addicting web page for me is (gasp!) YouTube.
Seriously, though! The comedy (when it's clean) is so good. Studio C, for example.
Or some of the stupid ones. Like this one.
It's not the original, I don't think, but you can find that easily enough. Addicting? Noooooo....

2. What's a Song That Speaks to Your Life Right Now?

*quickly checks Spotify*
Centuries by Fall Out Boy is one of my favorites right now. I also love It's Not Over Yet by For King and Country, Fight Song by Rachel Platten, and The Calling by TheFatRat.
If you can't tell, I think of life as a battle, and I need anthems.

3.  Do you have a book or movie that's your "happy place"--a fictional world into which you retreat when you need a breather? What is it?

I love to travel to the world of Aerwiar that exists within the Wingfeather Saga. The first book is nothing but laughs, while the other ones are dark and heavy and make you cry and long to go there. I have never wanted to live in a fictional world like I do Aerwiar.

4. What's a book you were (or are) looking forward to so much you're scared to read it, for fear it won't live up to your expectations?

Trolls vs. Humans by Jasper Fforde. It's the fourth book in the Chronicles of Kazam series, and because the first three have been amazing, I'm sure this one will too, but it hasn't come out yet and won't for years probably and the wait is killing me.

5. If you had to have all of your past memories wiped except for one day, which day would you choose to remember?

The day I met Gail Carson Levine, who is one of my favorite authors. My family spent the day at a little science museum in New Hampshire, with lots of family bonding time and laughter, and then we got to go meet my favorite author and get her to sign about forty of our books... Hands down one of the best days of my life.

6. What question would you like to ask one of your favorite authors?

I'd ask: What's your favorite fast food chain?
Weird, I know. But I don't usually think of good questions when I'm starstruck, so..... *babbles incoherently*

7. If you had to describe yourself as one of the four seasons, which would it be?

Fall. I can be moody, but I am beautiful (And humble, too, my dad says from the background.)

8. What's your personality type? (Myers Briggs, DISC, whichever test you prefer.)

INFJ. Without a doubt. It's so obvious. I read the list and I know that they are stalking me.

9. An envelope containing $500 shows up on your doorstep. On what do you spend it?

Ice cream.
Just kidding. If I were spending it on myself, I'd buy all those books I've been longing to get for years and years months now and get ice cream afterwards. If I were to give it away, I would donate to Abort73.com, the best pro-life organization I know.

10. Would you rather be trapped in a lamp, a tower, or an enchanted sleep?

A tower. At least then you have something to do. I mean, a lamp? Ugh. And an enchanted sleep? No magical kisses for me, thank you very much. I'll stay in a tower and go crazy. Just please make sure there's Wi-Fi and a laptop for me so I can keep writing and blogging.

11. Which Disney villain(ess) do you find the most scary?

Ursula from the Little Mermaid. Basically hands down. Although since seeing the Lion King, I'm thinking Scar is a serious contender for this position.

And there you have it! The lovely questions from the equally lovely Tracey that will hopefully give you a couple of extra little random factoids about me.

And now for my eleven questions:
1. What is your favorite fast food place?
2. If you could learn any foreign language, which would it be?
3. What is your personal favorite animated film of all time?
4. If you could go to a national conference, what would it be about?
5. If you could go to a concert, whose would it be?
6. Would you rather be stranded on a deserted island, Antarctica (with supplies to stay warm), or a rugged mountain?
7. What is your favorite episode of Star Wars?
8. What is your favorite school subject?
9. If you could spend the rest of your life doing any career you want, what would it be and why?
10. What is your favorite book that no one has ever heard of?
11. Which do you prefer: spaghetti or Chinese food?

And I tag: (There will not be eleven of these, I don't know enough bloggers who Tracey didn't tag :P)
Laura @An Odd Blog
Lilly @ A Lilly In God's Garden
Christine @Musings of An Elf
Jenelle @Jenelle Schmidt
And, if you want to answer these questions, feel free to do so!


Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Writer's Song is Born

Hi, everyone. This is Faith, who you may see commenting on things as the Florid Sword. I would totally recommend that you look up the Wingfeather Saga and read it, so that you know what that name is a reference to, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
I do that a lot. But, this being my blog, I can do whatever I want. *rubs hands together gleefully*
First things first.

I'm a Christian, first and foremost. That's very important, and that's going to influence much (read: most) of what I write.
Secondly: I am a writer and a musician. The two go hand in hand, I think, and those two topics (and my life, and other things) will be the main focus of this blog. So if you're at all curious about my writing or you want to hear my opinions about music (and my life, and other things) you might like my blog.
I'm a little nervous. I mean, another blog? There are already so many blogs out there! You're saying, "What makes your blog different, Faith?"
Well, I'm not sure yet. We'll figure that out as we go along. :) But I need a place to write and talk about me (because I'm SPECIAL!!!! *bites fingernails* Sorry) and from which to promote my writing and to be myself. And to be controversial.
I will be posting about my (politically incorrect) opinions every so often, including my pro-life beliefs, and other such things in the culture, so be prepared for that. I just want to warn you ahead of time so you won't freak out when it happens.
So, that's me. I hope you'll read my blog, and I hope that it will be an encouragement and that you'll like me *bats eyelids hopefully*
Thank you for reading my blog!

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