These Are Among My Favorite Things…

These Are Among My Favorite Things…

…To buy, at least.

At the risk of making this a too materialistic, too consumeristic post, I WILL say, in my defense, that most girls could use a little retail therapy, especially if they’ve just wrapped up with a very stressful finals week. Now, I know what many of you are thinking,

What’s she talking about?! I thought she was already done with all her finals and everything!!

Well, yes. That I am. BUT (key word here), many of you guys (or rather, gals) are just wrapping up finals, and I’m sure you could appreciate all the retail therapy in the world right now, am I right?!

shoppinggif

So, in the instance of you having NOT heard, there is this lovely little store online called, “Etsy”. It’s basically a crafting, and/or fangirly version of eBay, if you will– and it has almost EVERYTHING you could hope or dream for on it. I’ll share with you guys some of my favorite items on there, then some of the specific Etsy stores that I simply ADORE.

DivergentNecklace

Divergent fans, look no further. Find it from this shop: https://www.etsy.com/listing/217954598/these-three-birds-necklace-ii-divergent

How ’bout an adorable bike basket for running errands in town, or for just carrying your water bottle (and may some snacks) as you hit the trails this summer?

Bikebasket

Find this baby here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/480024769/natural-wicker-bike-basket

Did you know you can actually buy professionally made foods from Etsy, too? (always check the reviews first, to be safe, though) I actually really like Turkish Delight, particularly rosewater-flavored. Reminds me of/gets me in the mood to read or watch the “Chronicles of Narnia”!

TurkishDelight

This shop makes all kinds of flavors too, so it doesn’t even have to be rosewater-flavored (if that’s not your thing): https://www.etsy.com/listing/103865681/rose-flavored-turkish-delight

This is probably one of my favorite things on Etsy: a semi-do-it-yourself-pearl-kit. You buy a vacuum-sealed oyster with a pearl in it, and pick which pearl cage for the necklace that you want– there’s lots of variety, from a Cinderella carriage, to a rose, to a seashell or even a skull! I loved that the pearl color was a surprise (I think mine’s cream), and plan on getting my little cousin one for her birthday, since she too is a June baby.

Pearlkit

Find out more here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/476060633/pick-a-pearl-oyster-kit-freshwater-pearl

Love bath bombs? I’ve just the thing:

bathbomb

There’s much, much more where that came from (RustyTiramisu specializes in them! Even Pokemon ones!! Squeeeeee): https://www.etsy.com/listing/287750863/passionfruit-rose-with-rose-petal-bath

Who doesn’t love fairies/pixies?

fairynecklace

Find it here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/240514564/fairy-necklace-fantasy-necklace-sterling

Now, this little guy is a bit pricey, but if you save up enough, I guarantee he’ll be worth your moola…

plushHobbes

Yes, that is a plush Hobbes. Yes, he is the childhood toy you’ve always wanted. And yes, he’s waiting for you to take him home (I actually chose the slightly more expensive one to put on here, because the slightly less expensive one– still $90– is made out of felt, and looks a LOT stiffer– less cuddly. But if  you’d like to look at that one, too: https://www.etsy.com/listing/159045516/stuffed-hobbes ). Find your favorite “fictional” tiger here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/58101500/hobbes-tiger-plush-doll-version

Now, for some of my all-time favorite Etsy stores!

My biggest weakness on Etsy, by far and wide, is all the crazy-awesome bookish-based stuff they have on there, based directly off stories and characters. Introducing…

Novelly Yours

These peeps actually have their own separate candle store online (surprise, surprise), but they also have an Etsy store. Bookish candles are VERY “in” right now, in the literacy world (I mean, I know of SEVERAL other stores that also do it, including Meraki Candles, FlicktheWick, BurningPagesCandles, Fictional Flames, etc, etc, etc.), but Novelly Yours is definitely considered one of the best. Just look at their “Lunar Chronicles” candles:

candles1

They also include a slew of non-series specific candles including, “Villainous,” “Currently Reading,” “Shipping It,” “Plot Twist,” “Book Boyfriend,” and so much more! Find this and more: https://www.etsy.com/listing/290928427/the-lunar-chronicles-collection-2oz-soy

Speaking of bookish candles…

candles2

Photo of Narnia candle

(BTW, can you SAY, #bookstagram?)

I know I should probably post ONLY one bookish candle shop on here, but can’t help it– I love this shop, Bookworm Candles and Crafts, so much. They do ship specialty candles, candles based on specific characters, feelings in certain books, bookish monthly boxes, and even places/events. They do both candles and wax melts, sometimes simple jewelry and bookmarks (that you could probably make yourself), and used to even do body soap/butter (which I still have my Genya one… 😥 ). https://www.etsy.com/listing/533182225/book-vs-movie-candle-range-chronicles-of?ref=listing-shop-header-2

ReadandWonder specializes in bookish, well, bookmarks. BUT these are not just any bookmarks. They can be magnetic little characters from your fave stories, or fave book quotes. Behold the adorableness that is the chibi Grisha character cast:

readandwonder

Photo of ReadandWonder’s magnetic chibi bookmarks; left to right: Nikolai, Mal, Alina before Merzost, the Darkling, and Alina after Merzost. 

No, I am not squealing because of the adorableness of all the characters, except for Mal. Mal can go take a hike.

Next up, another personal fave, Bookish Sugar Scrubs! This 16 year old Etsier has a very good head for business, and, as you can probably guess by her title, she specializes in sugar scrubs based on bookish feels, characters, ships.  The specialty and regular scrubs are actually pretty affordable, usually only $6-7.

bookishsugarscrubs

Photo of “Dripping Moonlight”– “Caraval” inspired sugar scrub

Find ’em here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/bookishsugarscrubs?ref=l2-shopheader-name

Speaking of bookish spa and cosmetic items, look no further than “Stardust Cosmetics”. Originally set up under “PagesnPolish,” she changed it to include not only book-inspired nail polish, but also (VERY soon in the future, but not currently) eyeshadows! She’s currently having a special on nail polishes, a two for $12 special, when they’re normally $6.50 each!

stardustcos

Photo of “Heartrender,” a Grisha and Six of Crows inspired polish

Find ’em here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/StardustCos?ref=pr_faveshops

I am also a fan of the Etsy store Bookified, which legit sells you LETTERS FROM YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTERS (no, I am not making this up! You could get a letter from, say, Edmund Pevensie, Harry Potter, or even Peeta!).  She is fantastic; you won’t regret buying from her!(I’ve previously ordered a Darkling letter from her, and anxiously await my second.) Also, having recently returned from a huge Book Con, BEA, she has quite a few specialty letters left over– now on sale for only $4!!

bookified

Have your fave bookish character write to you from here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/498390481/custom-letter-from-a-book-character?ref=shop_home_active_3

Onto other shops that I absolutely love, they are mostly geekery– namely, Pokemon-based things. But still.

My first geeky shop is the Resinators. As their name implies, they can make plastic-y amulet-like jewelry– namely, Pokemon evolutionary stone jewelry. Including glow-in-the-dark thunderstone necklaces.

waterstone

Did I mention the glow-in-the-dark-thunderstone necklaces??

thunderstone

Find these babies here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Resinators?ref=listing-shop2-all-items-count#items

While most well-known for her Poke plushies, Renchanshop also does quality plush work on the likes of characters from “Steven Universe,” “Sword Art Online,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Ouran Host Club,” “Sailor Moon,” and much more in the anime/cosplay department. Known for quality work, Ren’s merch is a tad pricey, but the quality AND the large size of her products (which, depending on each said product, may or may not be posable and even 1-2 feet or so tall) make it worth it. Only real complaint is the sticker eyes, though got lucky with Karisse, my giant shiny plush Zoroark– hers are embroidered. Here are only a few objects of her impressive handiwork:

Did I mention… she also does SHINY Pokes? 😉

Renchan4

Take THAT, GameFreak and Pokemoncenter.com! Find these not-so-little beauties here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Renchanshop/items

Sew Me a River is a shop with a pretty similar concept to Ren, but slightly less expensive. The primary downside is that they limit shinies. But they often feature some Pokes that Ren doesn’t, and that the pokemoncenter.com will unlikely have in their store, such as Whimsicott:

SewMeARiver1

You obviously don’t have to be a genius to know good quality work when you see it, eh? Other elusive Pokemon plushies they sell: Goodra, Omanyte, Froslass, Furrett, Kabuto, Jumpluff, etc. They ALSO sell (and they should patent this idea, seriously):

SewMeARiver2

SLOWPOKE TAILS THEY’RE IN LEAGUE WITH TEAM ROCKET GUUUUYYYYSSSS….

JK, JK… But really, you can buy these things, as is or ON A KEYCHAIN (because everyone knows Slowpoke tails make driving in the rain to Slowpoke Well 100 x’s better 😉 ). Find it all here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SewMeARiver/items

If you’re still banking on the cash, and some of these prices still make you squirm, (especially with Poke plushies nowadays), tell ya what: Fluctorissia. That way, it won’t eat you out of house and home, and if you just want a cute, floppy, cuddly lil Poke buddy, well, that’s where I bought Evelette (I had Fluctorissia make the ears slightly shorter, though). She also does the occasional Digimon, too.

Fluctorissia1

Find this cutie pie and more here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Fluctorissia?ref=pr_faveshops

Lastly, TadingCardValhalla: “Where Heroes are Reborn.” Their slogan says it all: They take trading cards of ANY kind (Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Digimon, Naruto, you name it), and make them into necklaces, bracelets, or keychains. It’s where I got my very lovely N heart necklace… ❤

TCV1

Beautiful, are they not? https://www.etsy.com/shop/TradingCardValhalla/items?ref=pr_faveshops&section_id=11656731

Honorable Etsy Mention That Is No Longer on Etsy, But has an Online Store of Their Own:

BehindthePages. Her motto is to go beyond the boundaries of keeping fictional friends (and boyfriends 😉 ) fictional. She has a range of products, bookmarks, posters, perfumes, body soaps, lotions, and lip balms. My ONLY problem with her products is that the wording advertises it to be a bit more sensual than should ACTUALLY be considered; me, I just like the idea of either smelling or smelling like my fave fictional characters (I’m a weirdo, I know), or, as in the case of the Darkling, kissing them. Her site is http://www.behindthepagesstore.com .

Do YOU have a favorite online store, either indie or on Etsy? What is it, and why do you love it?

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Image Credit: https://giphy.com/gifs/sassy-shaytards-shopping-4MK7g7Q27nzag

 

Correspondence from… Ginger

Correspondence from… Ginger

Greetings all,

I am Ginger, Olivia’s lovely Vulpix friend. As my good acquaintance whom I sometimes very much regard as a sister, Eikon, has previously stated, I will occasionally be filling in every once and a while on here, when necessary. And it would seem that my input is desperately needed.

Since Eikon has given a previous introduction about herself, and presumably told you a bit about me, I will spare most details, save for that I do not like getting wet– particularly in a body of water, or in the rain– and I utterly loathe getting dirty. I always make it a policy to clean myself, or to get Olivia to clean me, directly before and after every battle I partake in. Some may call it a weakness of mine; let them laugh. There was worse weaknesses and fears in the world; for instance, Olivia fears tornadoes and other comparably large natural disasters (tidal waves, etc), in addition to hypnosis and dating. I cannot say with full confidence that I fault her for any of these things; it’s her more minor fear of trying new foods that I find a little ludicrous. Certainly, I am picky about some foods and how they are prepared, but really? She is the pickiest human, when it comes to food, that I have ever met. But I’m not here to just discuss her, oh no.

In addition to being clean, there are actually quite a few things I am rather fond of, that I seriously doubt Eikon revealed to you. I love being brushed; the gentle strokes of the soft bristles themselves are like being caressed; I know Olivia feels the same way when someone she trusts washes, strokes, brushes, or does her hair. My favorite food is cream, melted ice cream is also lovely, although I have a fondness for some spicy foods and good country fried steak if I can get it. I refuse to eat beans, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, or carrots. I am not a rabbit, and am not an Eevee, like dear Evelette. I am not opposed to wearing ribbons around my neck, particularly if they are a pale gold, emerald green, sapphire blue, or turquoise.

While Eikon may tell you a lot of things, she certainly does not cover everything that has been happening in our lives lately– although, with some, I rather say I cannot blame her, as rough, boyish and uncivilized as she is. For instance, she neglected to mention that, shortly after our arrival home, Olivia, wonderful girl she is, set about preparing an “End of the School Year Mary Kay Spa Party” for her closest friends, and even her sweet cousin was invited. We had such a lovely time; the sugar scrubs and paw rubs in the nice, warm bath (and I normally do not like water) were quite comfortably relaxing. If I had been a human, I think I too should have been very thrilled to have tried some more cosmetics, but as a Vulpix, I do not think they would have gone very well with my rich, gingery fur. I think Olivia was initially worried about her cousin mingling with the rest, since she did not know them particularly well, but she blended in quite fabulously. Even I could have told her she had naught to worry about.

Another thing Eikon conveniently forgot to mention was that Olivia’s youngest brother is graduating from homeschool high school quite soon– he would have graduated much sooner, since he had accumulated so many credits already, but her parents held him back– and so he was forced to talk college credits from a local community college, similar to what Olivia did her first year, only he had more of a head start. Perhaps it was good that they did so; he has much yet to learn, and is really quite the arrogant one. One the other side, if he enters college officially with that much prior knowledge and skill, he will have the skills to perhaps back a few of his boasts. But, only time will tell what will occur…

Well, I must be off for now… Farewell!

Yours,

Ginger

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Image Credit: http://www.game-art-hq.com/103264/037-vulpix-used-fireblast-and-inferno/

Letters from Eikon: FREEDOM?

Letters from Eikon: FREEDOM?

Hey y’all,

Hey, don’t look at me funny. I know, I know, it’s been a while– AGAIN– but in my defense, Livva was too busy with finals to keep on MY bushy lil tail, so here we are. A couple weeks late, as per usual. (Hey, I go late with STYLE. A female Zorua’s gotta have class and sass, y’know what I’m sayin’?)

Anyways, so much has happened since last time I chattered your ears off. Livva was super-duper stressed a couple weeks ago, with school and everything else (and I sometimes still wonder if it keeps haunting her, but hey), but we made good time of it, and she got everything she needed done, I guess.

Oh oh oh and the weekend before we went to the zoo!!! THE FREAKING, FLIPPING ZOO!!! (To which I have never been.) I was kinda sad to see all those poor, unlucky little creatures all caged up instead of roaming free like Yours Truly, but not just anyone can be in my fur, hehehe… Anyways, I was really, really tempted to go and even let some animals loose, including a clouded leopard and even a lion (What? The poor guy looked so BORED, can’t say I’d blame him, with nothing to do all day but lounge around a cage watching ignorant little upstarts making faces at you… It’d get under MY fur, too…), but Livva found out and stopped me last minute. Reminded me of my promise to behave if I came along. To which I very reluctantly sighed and gave in. But hey, at least I got to hit the background tour with her. I got to lick a giraffe’s nose, up close and personal, snuck some of the fish that they were feeding the polar bears (don’t tell Livva, though), and even got to bump noses/paws with the latters (Livva could’ve throttled me by that point. Hehehe…). They’re pretty chill creatures, if ya catch ma drift. 😉

Livva says that even though we’re home now, she doesn’t want to completely STAY at home 24/7, or she’d go mad. I’m in complete agreement; I’d go loony too if I was shut up in an asylum all day long with practically nothing to do, no where to go, nothing to see. So she’s made it her mission that, every once a week, she’s gonna get outta the house to go someplace, and take us with her (thank heavens.).

Anyways, now that we’re back home, Livva says both she and I have no excuse NOT to write. Humph. As if. SHE can write all she wants for her blog thingy on here, for her internship thingy, and even for her study thingy with her adviser, but she is NOT making me do all the dirty work this summer. No sirree, three whole months is just too DANG FREAKING LOOOONNNGGG.

Cue me buttering up to Ginger, Karisse, and even Evvy, asking if they could swap out for me occasionally. They’re all my teammates, my Poke-sisters, after all, couldn’t they help out a sister? But nope, Karisse said I needed to learn how to be responsible, even for a Zorua; I reminded her that she too was once so, but her reply was something stupid like, “Blah, blah… I know, and that’s why I want you to do this… blah, blah…” Made almost no sense whatsoever, but clearly she wasn’t gonna go for it. So I turned to sweet, endearing, naive lil Evvy. Don’t get me wrong, I like Evvy… she’s just too sweet and almost too easy to prank. Plus, she’s even more sensitive than Livva, which is saying something, so I can’t really get away with pranking her unless I want that dam to burst. But, knowing how sweet and upbeat she could be, I politely asked if she could fill in for me. Her answer, “I don’t know… I mean, I really don’t…”

Me: “Whaddya mean, you don’t know?! How can you not know if you can do something?!”

Her: “Well, it’s not that I don’t wanna help… it’s that I CAN’T; I dunno how to write…” *licks front paw nervously, then looks up at me anxiously through one floppy ear*

Me: *sighs and pawpalms* “Well, that’s fine. Just fine. Forget I asked.”

Her: “Sowwee….”

Welp, you can clearly see how THAT turned out. So, instead, I turned to my last resort Poke-sista: Ginger. Ging and I have been known to butt heads on numerous occasions; I like to get down and messy, she’s a Miss Prim, Neat and Proper; Imma tomboy, she’s girly and into fashion and stuff; I’d bite Livva if she’d try to put a ribbon on me, Ging fusses if she’s not “properly” groomed and brushed and “ribbonified”. Good grief, she was the LAST Poke I wanted to ask. But I did, outta desperation. And I was shocked almost outta my fur when she said,

“Good, I knew you’d see reason enough to ask me eventually.”

What the heck’s THAT supposed to mean?! But whatever. I’ve found a sometimes substitute; that’s ALL that matters now. And she can yap about whatever girly, prissy things she wants; I could really care less. Just as long as Livva doesn’t find out, and she doesn’t make ME look bad. But anywhooo…

Sayanara, people!

— Eikon

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Image Credit:

http://generalcirno.deviantart.com/art/Shiny-Zoura-Pixel-Art-188847712

The Incident

The Incident

This is a part of a story idea I’m test-running currently. I’ve decided against actually putting the full story on here– at least, for now– since I want to actually publish it, eventually. BUT I did want to give you guys a taste, just a little teaser of the prologue, before asking what you think of it, if it’s any good or anything. This story is entirely unrelated to my “Junk Collector” series, or my special aforementioned pet series that I will also not be posting on here. It is a part of an entirely different story, a story all of its own– a couple of ideas I’d like to play with. In short, I want to plan a sort of story that is similar to, in some ways, Marissa Meyer’s “Lunar Chronicles,” albeit NOT with fairy tales, but with something else, yet staying true to the truths in that “something else”. My own neat little twist on a classic, and this is only the prologue. Feel free to tell me what you think!

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“You can do it, can’t you?”

The young boy froze as the man’s equally icy tone came within hearing range. He knelt, further curling into a ball at the base of his father’s desk, hoping to remain hidden. Secret. Safe. Sneaking inside had been no easy feat; he’d nearly been caught one time too many, but he was silent, stealthy as a shadow. All the boys at the academy he went to knew where their fathers worked, were often proud of that fact. His best friend even had a grandfather that was a world-renown researcher. His had been the odd one out. He was lucky his father, who was currently seated at said desk, had not acknowledged his presence; the boy knew one thing, and one thing only: He was not supposed to be here.

The question of why was a complete mystery to him. But, perhaps now…

Shifting ever so slightly, the small boy managed to snag a glimpse of another lab coat clad scientist, back to them, talking with the man. The man with the stone-cold voice. The latter was tall, with a black suit and neatly combed dark brown hair, with coffee eyes that were as dark as his voice, his demeanor.

“It-It’s not that we can’t do it,” the boy heard the scientist say, and with a slight jolt he realized it was someone he knew: Dr. Isaiah Maple. “It’s more of a question of… of ethics, rather than ability or scien–”

“Ethics?” The black-suited man gave out a cold chuckle. “Are you saying you believe we’re paying you for the research on simple-minded ethics? Or do you not realize what’s at stake, here?” The boy heard a soft click, and he knew. He knew that sound, had heard it all too many times at the academy, during practice sessions.

It was the sound of a poke ball being dislodged from a belt.

The black suited man’s fingers encircled an orb half white, half red, about the size of a golf ball, but the boy knew that one click of the singular button in the orb’s center would enlarge it to the size of an orange. Two would release the deadly power it contained inside, enough to seriously harm or even kill. The man’s fingers lightly stroked the orb’s surface. “I am a fairly tolerant man, Dr. Maple, but the one thing I will not, and cannot, under any circumstances, tolerate is insubordination. Surely you were aware of that when you agreed to be a part of this pivotal project?” The man raised an eyebrow, regarding his companion carefully, as if he were a chess opponent, and was waiting for his next move. One click echoed faintly around the room. The boy sat stiller than the statues that adorned the lab. Why doesn’t father do anything? His father, above him, seemed only occupied by his computer monitor in front of him, completely ignoring the nearby scenario.

Dr. Maple gasped, backing slightly away. “I- I meant no disrespect, sir,” he stammered. “I only meant…”

“Can you do it or not?” The man’s cold and calculating voice had suddenly gone more lax, cooler. But it had not lost its dangerous edge. “One simple question that requires one simple answer, doctor.”

The boy saw Dr. Maple suddenly stiffen, as if a rod had been shoved down his narrow back. He couldn’t read the scientist’s face due to his position, but the he appeared more confident suddenly. “It’s not that I can’t do it– that would be the easy way out. It’s more of… I won’t do it. It is one thing to collect samples for research, to do fieldwork and collect information for you. What you’re talking about now is corrupting and mutating that research– literally– to create something else entirely. Something beyond our comprehension, beyond what any man should be allowed to create. You’ve passed the boundaries of ethics and science into an unknown and forbidden realm, and for what? Profit? Or something else?” Dr. Maple’s body quivered as he spoke, and the boy wondered if it was from defiance of orders, or fear– or both. “So, my answer is no. I will collect data, certainly. I will analyze results of that data. But I refuse to corrupt and mutate what is beyond human limitations. It is unnatural, inhuman, and immoral.” He folded his arms firmly across his chest, and the boy saw him wait with baited breath for this intimidating man’s response.

The man’s cold, dark eyes narrowed, appraising him; in one instant, his index finger lowered so rapidly the boy was certain that it would hit the ball’s button faster than he could blink. But then, it stopped. Hovering only slightly less than a millimeter above the button’s surface. Dr. Maple tensed, as if waiting for rebuke, punishment, a beating. The man slowly reattached the poke ball to his belt, beneath his suit coat. “I will give you one last warning, Maple: Do not defy me again, or you will pay the price. Do as you are ordered, and this incident will be conveniently… forgotten.” Then the man smiled, a cruel, casual little smile, like the kind the boy had only seen in his worst nightmares. The kind that suggested you were about to be ripped to pieces, no matter what you did. “That is all, doctor.” The man in the black suit calmly turned and walked out the door.

_____________________________

Image Credit:

http://www.hermanmiller.com/solutions/healthcare/applications/laboratory.html

The Cameraman Can: A Junk Collector Prequel Story

He was underwater.

He must have been, because all of the voices he heard above him were muffled. Low. Barely audible, and quite unintelligible. 

The boy felt numb. Numb to the world around him, numb to himself, numb to the talkers, numb to his own identity. Who was he? Where was he? Why couldn’t he see? He felt as though thousands of tiny needles had sewn and pinched his lids tightly shut, and the thought of attempting to wrench them open, even a crack, was mortifying. What if he tore off tissue, damaged nerves and veins, and then was unable to shut his eyes, ever again? What then?

These thoughts drove the boy deeper into seclusion, all the more a recluse from the dark and distant outside world.

“Hey, HEY!” A strong, masculine voice filled his ear suddenly; it had the effect of a megaphone.

Hey, yourself.

The boy flinched, ears practically twitching with sensitivity. Whoever yelled must have seen, because the boy sensed hesitation, then a quieter, “Sorry. It’s just… you okay? Can you try opening your eyes?” Strong arms were lifting him up into a sitting position– he was lying down?–and another equally worried-sounding, deeper male voice said, “Can– Can you open your eyes?”

What?

“You don’t appear to be blind,” said the first voice; the boy detected a hint of amusement in the tone. “So why don’t you open those peepers, and…”

“NO!” The boy thrashed blindly, flailing his limbs about. He couldn’t see, but he could hear, could feel, and perhaps that was enough…

“Hey, hey, hey! Calm, down, kid, I’m not trying to hurt you! We just found you lying in the middle of our woods unconscious, and thought–”

The flailing stopped. The boy’s curiosity overtook his fear, and all in a single abrupt motion yanked open his eyelids.

They were not stitched together, after all.

Light nearly blinded him; he fell back onto earthy, leaf-ridden ground, shielding his face from the novel, unwelcome intruder. The one voice’s owner stood over him, half blocking the sun’s vicious torrent of pinpricking needles. He looked not much older than the boy, mid to late teens, perhaps? He was broad shouldered, hair shaved off the sides of his head, topped with a mop of straight dark brown hair. He had a small, rather short goatee, which he now stroked, crouching low to the boy’s level, as if to better inspect him, bright blue eyes locking his in almost a challenge.

The voice that had come from the boy’s side, the one belonging to the man who had helped him sit, was a much older man with graying dark brown hair; the physical similarities made the boy instantly realize the twosome were related– most likely parent and child.

“How did you get here?” the man asked him. “Why were you out? What happened?”

“Easy, Dad. Give the kid some space. He looks like he’s been out for a while.” When the other boy spoke, his tone was brotherly, bantering.

The boy squinted. “I don’t recall asking either of you for help. And anyways…” he shrugged, “I don’t remember.”

They both jolted in alarm. “Your– Your parents?” asked the man. “They must be worried sick. Do you remember their faces? Names? Where you live, what your house looks like– anything at all?” The boy clenched his eyes tightly shut, starting to wish they’d never been opened. Anything better than interrogation. The only thing ingrained into his mind, into his memory and being, was the forest, the vague shapes of trees, the faint memory of being carried, the scent of… blackberries. Blackberries, rosewater, and pine. He clearly recalled being near something that smelled like that, that it couldn’t have been the forest’s scent, but everything was all blurred; a picture his mind refused to clear, a language it couldn’t– no, refused to– interpret. “Nothing but blurs and shapes of blurs. Then… dark. Lots and lots of black darkness.”

Eyes still closed, his arms encircled his legs, drawing them in tightly, close to his chest. He ducked his head, pinning it downward, towards his stomach. “I was lost in the black, felt like I WAS the darkness, but I– I was drowning in it. Terrified of it. I can’t explain it. I know I had to get out, to get away, but each time I tried…” He fought down a sob in his throat.

“Hey, hey… Chin up, it’ll be okay.” He felt a hand on his shoulder, and risked a brief peek. The other boy was eyeing him sympathetically. “Do you.. remember at least your name? Something we can call you?”

The boy lifted his head, slowly, defiantly, chin out firmly. He scanned his surroundings, taking in everything the way a dehydrated body soaks up every last drop of moisture. He closed his eyes, trying to recall, to remember. Something. Anything.

Brief images flooded his mind’s eye, but he had no idea what they were, what they meant. It was like trying to put together a puzzle with several pieces from several different puzzles. Nothing made sense. Woods. Running. Birds. Sky. Muscles flexing. Falling. A feather. A golden bracelet with pink fingernails. Dim light, accompanied by that same scent. Leaves. Then dark. Dark, dark, dark…

His eyes flashed open, images fresh in his mind, without any understanding or meaning. But still there– a mystery waiting to be unraveling. His mind not giving him any answers, but clues. Little snapshots.

Like a camera. 

Like a Kodiac camera.

The boy shook his head, small dreads swishing around his skull. “Kodi.”

“What?”

“I want you to call me Kodi. Like the Kodiac camera.”

The man glanced worriedly over at the other boy, then back at “Kodi”: “Are you sure you can’t remember your name, son?”

“I can’t,” snapped Kodi, suddenly bristling, “and I’m not your son, old man.”

“Easy, there,” chuckled the other boy, finally extending a hand to help Kodi to his feet. “My old man’s technically the one who FOUND you, after all. I’m Guy, by the way. Nice to meet you.”

Kodi at last recognized the other boy for who he was– not a threat, but a friend. Equal. Brother, even. “Same.” He taking Guy’s hand, Guy hauled him to his feet.

“C’mon, let’s get you outta here– the woods isn’t always safe at night.”

“You’re telling me. 

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Image Credit:

http://keywordsuggest.org/gallery/374917.html

“Fine, Make Me Your Villain”: The Lowdown on Villains, Monsters, and Criminal Masterminds

“Fine, Make Me Your Villain”: The Lowdown on Villains, Monsters, and Criminal Masterminds

As many a character has stated and even questioned, “Are villains really bad? Are they even born bad– or just MADE that way?”

I’ve already gone into antags a bit; now I’m going to elaborate a little on a few specific kinds.

While I won’t bore you to tears with my little rave on the Darkling ( see, In Defense of the Darkling, for those interested), I will say it is a very interesting question to pose in general. After all, what’s a bad guy without character? Would Voldemort be Voldemort if he had a loving wizarding family? Was Sauron always that bad, and why? What would have become of the faction system, and more specifically, the Erudite, if Jeanine Matthews hadn’t taken it over?

As mentioned many, many times before, there are exceptions to humanizing or making sympathetic villains or antagonists: motiveless maligniters and traditional villains being the two primary candidates. Sauron, for instance, is a traditional villain. He’s simply oozing evil out his pores, because, well, just because (I mean, does he REALLY need to have a reason? He IS Sauron, after all…). Similarly, motiveless maligniters are essentially the same thing: their motives are either well-concealed, non-existent, or extremely muddied– so muddied you can’t quite piece together why it is that they do things. It’s so confusing, so perplexing, that there’s little chance you’ll feel for them.

Another kind of antagonist I am particularly fond of is the “Seems like a Good Guy at the Time, But Turns out to Be a Cruel, Villainous Jerk” guy (or girl). (For all you “Frozen” fans, think of Hans…) You may not think it, but these are actually fun to write up; you never know what they may do, and it’s a joy ride for both you and the reader– in fact, if you end up surprising yourself in writing a dramatic bad guy reveal towards the climax or end, there’s probably a pretty high chance you’ve surprised your readers, as well. If you want to write this character, be CONVINCING. This is one villain you want to play the sympathy card with (at the very least, temporarily), so they’ll expect it even less. Make them human. Relatable. Friendly, even sweet, unsuspecting, Machiavellian. Then, when the reader’s and other characters’ guard is lowered… BAM!

plottwistmeme

The only real danger with these villains is, however, that they may seem so completely sincere, so devoted to their cause, so human and kind at first, that even when the villainous reveal comes, you may have the readers defending their bad actions in favor of their pasts, and their personas, rather than simply be just shocked and horrified. If you were to write this kind of villain, I’d recommend doing so CAREFULLY (it depends what kind of reaction YOU want from your readers, too.).

Then there’s monsters. No, I’m not talking what you call a cruel but cunning and intelligent villain, though they may seem like it. I’m talking CREATURES. Maybe the antagonist isn’t even human, but a beast– a savage, heartless, mindless beast that thinks of nothing but destruction, its hunger unsatisfied, or even manipulation. Of course, if you wanted an interesting creature as a monster-antag, you could always take a leaf out of Mary Shelley’s book, in Frankenstein. The creature, as he is often called (Victor Frankenstein did not even bother giving him a name. Pathetic.), is very much human, and just wants companionship. The loneliness practically drives him to insanity, and certainly drives him to desperation, and soon he is killing with a vengeance, simply because Victor made him.

Lastly, the criminal masterminds. These are fairly easy to write up, namely because their primary objective is typically to either rule the world, or riches, or both (think Giovanni of Team Rocket.). Criminal masterminds are often wealthy, but not always. You don’t have to have the wealth or manners of a gentleman to be a genius, and you don’t need either to be a criminal. Genius is partly what separates the common thug from the brilliant, extraordinary masterminds. These are the people orchestrating oh so elegantly the conspiracies and grand heists of the century. And getting away with it… until YOUR protagonist steps out onto the scene to halt them dead in their tracks.

Of course, you could always pull an Artemis Fowl, too…

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Image Credit:

http://memeguy.com/photo/75830/misunderstood-disney-villain

https://memesuper.com/categories/view/74deb09ddf50c10eeed212fb0a3654da5e25269e/plot-twist-memes.html

Blog Updates: Summer Plans, Blog Post Ideas, General News

Blog Updates: Summer Plans, Blog Post Ideas, General News

This is just a post to let you guys know what’s going on this summer, and ask for any ideas/ recommendations you’d like me to blog about.

Sadly, these next couple of weeks the most writing I will be doing will be academic (cough… finals… cough…), but until then, ideas will continue to stir and simmer beneath my brain’s surface– a bubbling cauldron of opportunity and potential. Which is why I ask now: What would YOU like to see me blog about? More spiritual/Scriptural/mini sermon-type things? Fangirly blog posts, fan theories, etc.? Life stories that are inspirational? Letters from Eikon, as well as the rest of the gang? More reviews? More blogging stories similar to “The Junk Collector,” and “The Deceiver”? A Q &A, or even an advice column? Be sure to sound off what you think in the comments; I welcome all constructively critical comments, suggestions, new ideas, and advice. 🙂 I don’t have a particular preference on what to write, as long as I’m not forced to write something dull, ultra-romantic, or super-academic… (academic papers should be limited to the school year, period. That’s what I say, anyhow.)

On ANOTHER note… Yes, I will have more free time on my hands this summer than during this semester, but will still be fairly busy. This is due to me having an internship with an indie publishing company as an editor (YAY for experience and credits!!!), an independent study class with my adviser/brilliant Writing professor, Dr. Williams (it’s called, “Building a Novel,” class… AND I get credits for it. 😉 Couldn’t ask for a better deal!), and working for a summer camp within walking distance of my place, as kitchen help (I need money for an Israel trip I’ll be taking with a class over this Christmas break). On top of all that, I’ve already gotten a request from a former piano teacher of mine to help look over and edit one of HER books (I’M GETTING REQUESTS ALREADY, GUYS!!! SO EXCITED!!), chilling with friends, etc. But I am certain I’ll be able to make time to blog at least a couple times a week, so no worries. You haven’t seen the last of me… Bwahahaaaa…

That aside, not much else is happening, except the usual stressing about finals, when I’m going to take books back to the bookstore, and so forth. But hey, that’s the typical college student for you. (Only, I don’t go get coffee or alcohol to drown my woes in.) Other than that, I’ve been super-hyped for several of my personal favorite Etsy stores, as well as the bookish store, “Behind the Pages”. These people are seriously talented. They make beautiful bookmarks. They make candles, perfumes, body lotions, body soaps, sugar scrubs, and lip balms that SMELL like your favorite characters. (I almost literally kissed the Darkling. Several times. #Ihaveproblems) I kid you not. Bookified from Etsy specializes in writing you letters from all your favorite fictional characters IN THEIR OWN VOICES (and trust me, she is GOOD at it). PagesnPolish is an Etsy store that has been on break for a while, but will be opening up again in a week or so, and she does NAIL POLISHES BASED OFF BOOKS AND BOOK CHARACTERS!!! AND she’s coming out with new ones the instant she reopens!!

…You ought to have gotten the gist by now of why I’m a poor college kid.

Oh, and since I’ve been blabbing about it for a while now– and I apologize fervently for not giving you guys the link sooner– our book, “The Oddities of Room 34,” is now available on Amazon for buyers. It’s relatively cheap at the moment, only a little over $3, so hurry and get your copies now while supplies last… or before we jack up the price. 😉

Trust me, it’s a good deal, though. I’ve read and helped workshop all the stories, they’re all fabulous. Sure, there’s a creeper story in there, but for the most part you will be wonder-struck, amazed, and glued to your cozy reading chair, hankering for more.

https://www.amazon.com/Oddities-Room-34-ENG-344/dp/1545273448/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492803886&sr=8-1&keywords=the+oddities+of+room+34

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Image Credit:

http://www.pokemonpets.com/Shiny-Vulpix-Pokemon-Pokedex-2037