Saturday, January 16, 2016
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Good morning, readers! Or good evening, or afternoon, or night- depending on where you are. I just wanted to stop by quickly to announce that Rachelle of The Ink Loft is hosting another Flash Fiction event, and I'll be taking part once again. :D
If you've never heard of Flash Fiction, let me explain. Using a prompt that someone provides, you must create a short story under 1000 words- sometimes less- in a rather short amount of time. It's loads of fun! Here's some examples from my own work-
If you're interested in giving this a try, there's still time to join! Head over to Rachelle's blog and tell her you want in, and make sure to read the more specific details on the event in her post.
I'm so excited for this event to begin! XD
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(DISCLAIMER: Image #1 is the property of Rachelle O'Neil, taken from her blog in order to promote the event. Image #2 is taken from the public domain)
Thursday, January 14, 2016
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GrrrrEETINGS, Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome back to Rayne's Comedy Hour, our first episode since the true-name reveal back in Post 100.
Since "Emmarayn's Comedy Hour" just doesn't have the same ring to it, your host has decided to keep the original name for this tradition. So coming back for today's entertainment and all future episodes...
... Heeeeeere's Rayne Speryll!
Hello, Everyone! It's good to be back. But I know very well why you've all come today, and it's certainly not to see my plagiarized face- it's for the comedy! So without further ado, let's get those memes and jokes rolling!
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(The following is a homeschool section. No offense is meant to either homeschoolers or public schoolers.)
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(DISCLAIMER: None of the images used in this post belong to me. All credit goes to those who created them)
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
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Hey there, readers! I'm here today with an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Madman of Elkriahl and Other Fairy Tales.
The end of the publishing process is in sight- but there is still a ways to go. A few illustrations have yet to be finished, as well as the cover. No release date as of yet, but that's coming soon.
In the mean time, enjoy this sneak peak!
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THICK CLOUDS covered the moon, and a chilling mist drifted across the land, making Gretta shiver as she trekked down the road to her home. Pulling her shawl tighter around her shoulders, she shook her head and quickened her pace. If she kept herself at a brisk walk, she could keep herself warm and make it home in a little more than an hour. Determined not to be put off by the surrounding darkness, Gretta straightened her shoulders and began humming a tune.
Presently, the sound of a horse's hooves reached her ears. A rider approached swiftly from behind. Curious, she turned and raised the lantern, straining to see the stranger.
Soon, the rider came into view. He had his hat pulled low over his face, so that she could not make out any of his features. His cloak flapped in the wind, and as he drew close to her, he leaned over, stretching his hand out in her direction.
Gretta became suddenly alarmed, and turned and began running. The horse slowed slightly, and a gloved hand grasped her shoulder roughly. Gretta screamed and struggled, kicking her feet out and wrenching her body away. Her lantern went out and clattered to the ground, rolling away down the ditch.
In a moment, Gretta felt her basket torn from her hands, and skein of cloth was lifted from her shoulders. The next thing she knew she was thrown to the ground. Her chin slammed into the dirt, causing her to curl in pain. Having achieved what he wanted, the rider spurred his horse and disappeared into the darkness.
Gretta remained, hunched on the ground, trembling from head to toe. Her breath came in short gasps, for a few moments she couldn't move.
Gradually, her body calmed, and she was able to breath easier again. It was then that she realized her terrible predicament. She was alone on a moonless night, surrounded by thick fog, and without a lantern. Carefully, she rose, remaining close to the ground, and crawled about, searching for the lantern. After what seemed like an hour, she had found nothing, and her knees were bruised from kneeling.
Pulling herself to her feet, she took a cautious step forward. As near as she could tell, she was still on the road, but there was no knowing for sure. She was wandering completely blind.
For what seemed like hours, Gretta inched her way forward, hands in front of her face. All around her the mist swirled, though her eyes could not see it. As time crawled by, she found herself growing more and more jittery, her nerves becoming more frayed. Every noise startled her, and her skin crawled, as though someone were creeping up behind her. At any moment, she expected to be assailed by – but she didn't know what. She only knew that she wanted to get out of this accursed darkness as soon as possible.
A faint sound echoed toward her from somewhere out in the endless blackness. Gretta froze, listening carefully. Soon enough, it sounded again; a long, spectral wail that sent chills up her spine. Reaching her hands out in front of her, her fingers came to rest on a jagged rocky surface.
The Madman... she thought, recognizing the tortured voice. I'm in Elkriahl!
Feeling the panic rise with in her, Gretta attempted to calm herself. Slowly, she walked forward, clutching at the rock formation at her side. It was not only the Madman that frightened her, but Elkriahl itself. It was a perilous landscape, riddled with sharp stones, large boulders, rocky spires, and deep crevices that dropped so low that no one had yet found the bottom. The northern and western edges of Elkriahl were bordered by sheer cliffs that dropped straight down to the sea. Many a soul had fallen from those heights, and the legends said that their spirits still lingered near the rocks at the bottom.
Blindly Gretta stumbled through the narrow passages, desperately trying to find her way out. All the while, her nerves grew steadily more frantic, and the howling laughter of the Madman echoed off of the rocks, making it impossible to determine the direction they were coming from.
Suddenly, her foot turned, and her ankle bent painfully. With a cry, she fell sideways, and found herself tumbling down a steep incline, scraping across the pebbles painfully. Shrieking, she clawed at the ground, attempting to stop her fall, but it was useless. Bouncing about as she rolled, she struck her head one rock after another. Suddenly, she felt the ground beneath her simply drop away, and in a desperate move she grabbed at a rock, stopping her descent just in time. She was dangling from the chest over an abyss.
Her fingers were wet with blood, and slowly she felt her grip slipping. Throwing her other arm up, she clutched at the rock, which thankfully stayed rooted in the ground. Even still, her strength was waning and she knew that she could not hold on for much longer.
“Help! Help me, please!” she called, knowing no one would hear her. She strained her arms as she tried to lift herself from the crevice, and her feet scraped against the rocky wall.
Just then, two hands took hold of her wrists, catching her just as she lost her grip. She gasped as she felt herself dragged upward. Against all odds, someone had come to her aid. With relief she tightened her grip on her rescuer's hands, and when she had risen high enough, she moved her knee back onto solid ground and crawled forward. She felt herself gathered into her rescuer's arms and pulled away from the edge of the crevice.
Gretta lay there, trembling, too frightened to speak, to shaken to move. With a struggle, she lifted her head just enough to see if she could catch a glimpse of her savior. As she raised her eyes, the clouds parted for just a moment, allowing the moonlight to shine down and illuminate the night. And, in that moment, she recognized the features of the Madman. He was looming over her and staring with wide eyes, his lips parted. Gretta's eyelids fluttered, and her vision grew dark. She felt herself fading away... her world melted into blackness, and she knew no more.
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Let me know what you think in the comments below! I'd love to hear your thoughts!
(Copyright 2016: All text and images within this post are the property of Emmarayn Redding and Family, and may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.
Moonlight Sky photo was taken by Amy and Bree Redding.)
Moonlight Sky photo was taken by Amy and Bree Redding.)
Monday, January 11, 2016
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*Rubs hands together with delight*
*Begins snickering with excitement*
Ooh, boy... Where to begin?
When I first heard that Disney had undertaken a new Star Wars trilogy, my honest first thought was, "I have a bad feeling about this."
But then, I found out that J.J. Abrams would be the mastermind behind this new movie, and I found a new hope.
See, I was quite impressed by his Star Trek reboot films, regardless of whatever criticism they may have received. Watching them, I realized that he had the ability to put a new spin on an old and beloved series without ruining the theme, feel, or sentiment attached to it. SO from that point on, I settled back to wait for the newest installment in the Star Wars universe.
I actively avoided all speculation about the new story line, and refrained from forming my own theories about it when I watched each new trailer with my family. I wanted everything to be a surprise.
Star Wars has always been a favorite in my family. I don't remember watching the movies for the first time, but they were always a part of the lore. As such, revelations like **OBVIOUS SPOILER** Vader being Luke's father **END SPOILER** were common knowledge. I can't tell you how much I wish I could forget that so that I could be wowed by it for the first time.
Now, with a new series coming out, I had that chance, and I was so excited! Even Nani, my spoiler-addicted sister, refrained from finding any juicy tidbits and leaked details.
And let me tell you, when the time came to see the film, it did not disappoint. So now, I move on to the actual review. I'll try to keep it spoiler-free, for the most part.
Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren and the First Order. When a defector named Finn crash-lands on a desert planet, he meets Rey, a tough scavenger whose droid contains a top-secret map. Together, the young duo joins forces with Han Solo to make sure the Resistance receives the intelligence concerning the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker, the last of the Jedi Knights.
First of all, I have to say how I absolutely loved the fact that they went back to using a lot of practical effects for this movie. Even if the mouth movements of Admiral Ackbar don't quite match up with what he's saying, I've always thought it gives sci-fi fantasy movies a whimsical touch. It brings the tone of the movie right back to original trilogy, which is great. I actually don't hate the prequels, as so many do. There's a lot about them that I actually enjoy- but they definitely don't have the same feel as the originals, and I think that's what George Lucas intended.
Storywise, I found this movie very interesting. There were many similarities to the first three episodes, but it still managed to be its own story. There was nothing about it that made me think, "This is just stupid...", which is great because most new shows that I've watched these days have made me do that. This story, from beginning to end, made me want to know more, more, MORE! What happens next? Why is he doing this? Where did she come from? Are they gonna fall in love??
Honestly, sometimes I feel like a child again.
Let's talk about the characters- because I think pretty much all of you know that characters are my favorite part of a story.
Rey, a young woman who has grown up alone on a desert planet, is our new central character. Readers, I don't care if she might qualify as a Mary Sue, she's a good one! It's been a long time since I've said "I wanna be her!", but this girl definitely inspires that feeling for me.
She isn't the whining, pathetic, angry jerkette that has become so popular in television these days, nor is she the dramatic, controlling, angry archtype of action women. I have one name for those kinds of characters- and I think you'll like it:
Because the writers milk them for all they're worth.
*Dies laughing at her own joke*
Anyway, back to the subject at hand- Rey isn't one of those. She is innocent, sweet, lonely, and hopeful. Her actions and reactions are believable. And I just have to say, she's a total natural with the Force. I look forward to seeing where her character arc will take her.
Finn, a deserting storm trooper, is unlike anyone we've come across in Star Wars so far. He has a unique perspective on events due to his background, and his personality is sweet and caring despite his harsh upbringing. I love the way that he instantly connected with Rey, becoming protective of her, yet also quite respectful of her abilities.
At times, Finn is clumbsy, mostly because of his limited knowledge- but once he's in his element, i.e. in a battle with a blaster in his hands, he proves he's worth his salt.
**SORT OF SPOILER**(By the way, I totally ship Finn with Rey. They're so cute together!)**END SPOILER**
And now we come to Kylo Ren, the main antagonist. Definitely not the Big Bad, but the antagonist for sure. I was surprised by his character- he wasn't at all what I was expecting. I'm very glad he wasn't! His status as a highly emotional, unstable warrior desperate to prove his worth makes for an interesting story. Furthermore, the fact that he admits that he is frequently "tempted by the Light" provides some new depth to the normally pure evil villains of the sci-fi world.
Don't get me wrong- I do love to hate the purely despicable villains like Darth Sidious and (for the most part until Episode VI) Darth Vader. But I think the choice to have Kylo be perpetually in conflict with himself over his actions and desires was a very good one. It doesn't make him any less despicable, but it does open up possibilities in his character arc. The way I see it, he could either be redeemed (miraculously) or become a horrible, bloodthirsty monster. Who can tell?
There is one particular scene where he is interrogating Rey, and I found the dynamics between them fascinating. I very much look forward to seeing where the next movie takes this.
And of course, we have the characters we know and love- Han, Leia, Luke, Chewbacca, Artoo, and Threepio. I felt that their character development since the previous films was believable, given the events that are revealed to have happened during the 30-year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.
Now that I've raved about the movie for a while, let's take a closer look at the pros and cons.
A) It's awesome! B) It's Star Wars! C) It made me want to watch it again right away.
The effects are great, the story is compelling, the characters are a breath of fresh air. The movie doesn't bog itself down trying to explain the impossible technology, it just tells the story and assumes you'll follow along. This is helpful both to viewers who are not scientifically minded and would get confused trying to keep up with tech-talk, and also to those critical thinkers who realize that nothing in Star Wars is realistic. By making it more like a fantasy, where things just are the way they are, the story is much more effective.
Morality-wise, there isn't much to worry about in this show. I don't specifically remember any swear words, but I could be wrong. I've only seen it once.
There is one scene where some of the main characters are in a bar/space club, where an alien woman with minimal clothing is sitting on the lap of a large alien dude, who is looking at her intensely.
Toward the beginning of a movie, the First Order, led by Kylo Ren, attacks a small village and begins murdering its inhabitants. Laser blasts fill the air and both soldiers and civilians are killed. One storm trooper leaves a bloody hand print on the helmet of his friend. There is no graphic violence, but sensitive children may be disturbed by the idea that all of those villagers died.
A young pilot for the rebellion is questioned by his enemy, and interrogated by a form of telepathy, which appears to cause him great pain. Young children may find this frightening or disturbing.
There is one sequence where one-eyed tentacled aliens run amuck aboard a ship, devouring anyone who comes too close, and tossing men around like rag-dolls. This is probably the most intense scene in the movie, and will likely frighten young children. My seven-year-old brother seemed to handle it well, though. It really depends on the child.
Numerous fight scenes, mostly fantasy-style violence with no graphic images.
This movie is a fun, interesting adventure for anybody who loves sci-fi, Star Wars, or good stories in general. I would recommend it for ages ten and up, but as I mentioned before, my seven-year-old brother watched it and was just fine. I applaud the writers and filmmakers for this newest work of art. Well done!
To quote my uncle...
To quote my uncle...
"Stupid Star Wars, now you've sucked us back in!"
And thank goodness you did.
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(DISCLAIMER: Clearly, I do not own the images in this post. If I did, I would be a really, really good artist. All credit goes where it is due. :)