Tuesday, August 22, 2017

So, I Wrote a Thing . . .

For context: a few weeks ago, a few friends and I were discussing a book on Google Hangouts and one of the friends mentioned that she had, at one point, put a promise to make spaghetti whenever asked in a character's wedding vows, just to see if her coauthor would notice. This led to a challenge to come up with an awesome backstory for why the character would promise such a thing. And thus, this happened: 
Once, in a land much like our own only more magical, there was a girl who has never tasted spaghetti. Unfortunately, she lived in New Mexico, and all people of Hispanic descent had long ago sworn enmity against the Italians because of some betrayal in a long ago war. One day, this girl accidentally annoyed a sorcerer. Believing that overkill is always the best response, he cursed her to die before the year was out, unless she could taste that which she most desired but could not attain before that time. He also made her mute, so she couldn't just say, "Hey, my life depends on having a plate of spaghetti."

All her family and friends tried everything they could think of. They perfected all their best dishes, then they started buying rare foods from all over the world, hoping one of them would be the cure. None of them succeeded, because they didn't think of spaghetti, but a few went on to be world-famous chefs because of their efforts.

However, the girl's best friend since childhood, who happened to be in love her (and she with him, though neither would admit it) knew of her secret desire, for she'd told it to him one evening. Alone, without telling anyone for fear they should disbelieve and stop him, he set out to find spaghetti.
Along the way, he faced great opposition from the sorcerer's minions, but through wit and courage, escaped each time, though not always unharmed.
Then he reached New York State and found a town full of Italian people. But they were tired of the Mexicans and Spanish treating them like dirt because of something their ancestors did, so they refused to even speak with him. A few even beat him up and tossed him out of town.
However, as he sought to sneak back in, he encountered a girl of no more than ten and her even younger brothers. They asked him why he was so determined to get inside the town, and he told them about his friend and the sorcerer and the curse. The girl was thrilled to have encountered someone on an adventure and said that she'd help him. So she snuck him into her house and went to find her older brother, who she knew secretly wanted to try enchiladas.
After she convinced the brother to actually talk to our hero instead of throwing him out, the two young men agreed to teach each other their recipes while the little girl went to the grocery store down the street to pick up more spaghetti for the boy to take with him.
During the cooking lesson, the young men became friends. So our hero left with not only spaghetti, but homemade sauce and meatballs and directions to a nearby semi-friendly wizard so he could get home without the meatballs spoiling.
The wizard was willing to send him home, but only after making the boy clean out and replant his garden and promise to bring him some really spicy jalepeno peppers, for, though he was not Hispanic, he had lived in the Southwest in his youth and missed the cuisine greatly. Plus, as everyone knows, New York doesn't know the true meaning of spicy. The boy promised, and the wizard teleported him back to his hometown.
The boy arrived before dawn and snuck back into his house. As quickly and carefully as he could, he prepared a pot of spaghetti. All his clatter in the kitchen nonetheless woke his family, who all demanded to know what he was doing and where he'd been and what he was making, but he only said, "I'm saving my friend's life!" and they had to let him be because everyone was desperate at this point.
The boy finished making the spaghetti and rushed over to the girl's house. The girl's parents let him in and woke her up so she could try what he had brought (though they didn't know it was spaghetti). The girl was, by this time, pretty sick and had nearly given up hope, but her spirits rose when she saw her friend. They rose still more when she saw what it was he had brought.
After three bites of the spaghetti, her voice returned, and she thanked her friend with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. After half the plate, she looked nearly as good as new, and the boy had stopped worrying enough that he would answer everyone who kept asking where he'd been and what this food was.
They were all outraged that it had been Italian food, not good, honest Mexican food that saved her. But some of them were curious and asked to try the spaghetti and were quite impressed. They convinced their friends to try some too, and before long, nearly half the town learned to love spaghetti.
They reached out to the people of the New York town, humbly asking forgiveness and if perhaps they could have a new supply of spaghetti and meatballs and such. The people of that town, for their part, had fallen in love with the enchiladas made by the brother of the little girl (though they weren't crazy about the wizard's super spicy jalapenos) so they were willing to reconcile and even teach the New Mexico town how to make more yummy foods, like eggplant Parmesan and lasagna, if the New Mexico town would supply them with tortillas and taco sauce and queso and teach them to make burritos and taquiotos and such. So the two opposing towns became friends through the power of delicious food.
Meanwhile, the girl and the boy dated for a while and then got married. In their vows, the boy promised to make the girl spaghetti any time she asked, so long as they both lived. And they all lived happily ever after, except the sorcerer, who was so annoyed at how things worked out that he moved to California in search of the perfect avocado toast. 
The end.
I hope you enjoyed my little bit of fun. I should get back to regular posts, including Fight Song chapters, soon; the last few weeks have been pretty busy. Have a nice day!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Three Sleeping Beauties Blog Tour: Interview With Rachel Roden

Hey'a, all! Welcome back to another day of the Three Sleeping Beauties Blog Tour! Today, I'm doing another interview, this time with Rachel Roden, author of Rosette Thornbriar. But before we get started on that, a little about Rachel and her book:

About the Book
Once upon a time, way out west...
Back when they were young'uns, Fleur Guardstone proposed to Rosette Thornbriar with a cigar band ring. However, not long after, she disappeared back into the forest and hadn't been heard from since. However, when Fleur hears reports of smoke coming from that woods, he's determined to find out if it is, indeed, his dear Rosette. If he can get past all of the briars.

Find Rosette Thornbriar on: Amazon || Goodreads

About the Author
Rachel Roden is a natural story teller, capable of weaving the most hilarious of fairy tales. She fell in love with the Lone Ranger in her teens, but ended up with a basketball referee instead. Together, she and the Ref homeschool their four children in the Piney Woods of East Texas, as well as any other odd kid who ends up in their house. She might also be the sole human who still uses math after college.

You can connect with Rachel on her blog, twitter, and Pinterest.

And now for the interview!

Hi, Rachel! Welcome to the blog! To start off, can you tell us a little about yourself? Who you are, hobbies, favorite books (other than your own), anything else you'd like to share?

Let's see, well, first, I'm the mother to the famous author, Kendra E. Ardnek.  ::wink:: ...  after that, I'm a little dull.  I'm also the mother to 3 others, two of whom are still shorter than I am.   I've got a whole "Meet Us" on my homeschooling blog. Hobbies?  I read in the few spare minutes I have each week.  But I can polish a 300 page book off in under 4.5 hours. I collect sheep.  I teach 4 kids in homeschool and sometimes create my own curriculum from a mash up of other curriculum, books, youtube videos, and such.   Do I even have hobbies anymore? I collect lamb pictures (because there is no more room on my shelves for more stuffies or figurines). And I collect fancy pens and pencils.  I have drawers full of them. Lately, I've been drooling over these ... https://www.facebook.com/gideon.penturner/  ....  amazing!!! But they are in Australia. Anything else interesting? Well, I do have a degree in Math!

Favorite books? I answered this for somebody else, so I'll give you a different answer. Just depends on my mood. Currently, I'm into Historical Fiction. But the book I'm reading on my Kindle is a high action fantasy mystic kind of a ninja on steroids type story, Warriors of the Way or similar - 5 books.  I've always gone for high action movies and books. But I mostly stick to the fantasy and Sci-Fi.  LOVED the Dune Series, and I loved the Norby books, I think by Isaac Asimov and would love to get my hands on them again. A better question, what do I dislike reading? I don't like murder or mystery, horror, crime or law. Surprising for someone who likes action to NOT like suspense I suppose. I try to not read anything morally objectionable, but when you devour books like I do, sometimes you end up in one by accident. I'm also not a fan of books written in the here and now in our world, unless there is some weirdness to it. I read to escape into other worlds mostly. BUT the two authors I love the most, Tolkien and Dickens.

Rosette Thornbriar is also your debut in the writing world. Can you share a little bit about what led to this moment and how you decided that this was the story with which to introduce yourself?

It's not exactly my debut. Kendra published me as Rachel Lamb in one of her other books. When she redoes it, I'll be Rachel Roden instead. I've actually been writing novel's since I was in Jr. High.  Kendra keeps threatening to publish Rosanna. Not that it's bad, but I was just a kid! I've been a story teller as long as I can remember, but it was only recently that I discovered it might be a unique talent.  As the oldest, I was frequently left in charge of 4 to 6 (more if we were babysitting) kids younger than myself, in days when there was not always TV to amuse a child and sometimes it was just too hot outside to actually play. Reading to them was not always effective, so I took to making up huge parts of the story to go with the pictures. When in high school, I started teaching preschoolers, and soon found myself in charge of teaching the lesson. Looking back, I must have been pretty good getting the kids involved with the Cubbie puppet and the lessons, because they always listened.  Teaching school, the principal commented several times that he'd never heard anyone tell a story to explain Algebra. I dabbled with writing when I had time, poetry and novels and short stories.  I even took a class in College!   But eventually life got in the way. And now I've got this 22 year old kid who did so much of what I wanted to do - publish a book! And now she's managed to get me to sit down and write an entire story for her.

In your story, you put a Western twist on a classic fairy tale. Can you tell us about how you came up with this idea?

Would you believe it was a silly fluke of an idea to cheer up Vannan about 2 years ago, while eating supper and cleaning up the kitchen. We do a lot of brainstorming in the kitchen, or on walks. But the ideas would not leave me along .... so I wrote a Cinderella story, and half of a Frog Prince story. I'm actually quite fond of western prairie books, the whole "going west" part of history.

Ok, we've had several big, tough questions, so how about something a little more fun? If you could spend a day with one of your characters in his or her world and time, who would you pick and what would you do?

Shasta maybe? You have no idea how many half done works I've got tucked into corners. But Shasta is the main character in the story.   Kendra published the first chapter a few years ago on her blog. I like her because the world was uniquely me and my imagination. I'm not giving you the title, because Kendra has changed it a few times. I wrote this when she was a baby. Or maybe the Sci-fi I started to write about the same time. That is another one that I might finish someday.

What was the hardest part of writing this story? The best part?

Hardest part is finding time. Best part is losing myself in the process.

On that topic, do you get attacked by writer's block often? If so, how do you deal with it?

Writer's block is not a big problem for me. The teacher I had in college told me that I had so many ideas in my head from the millions of books that I've read, that there is always something rising to the surface to give me an idea. BUT if I'm having trouble working out a scene or idea, my best tactic is to walk or talk or both.

Besides the obvious, what books (or movies or such; we all know that stories and inspiration come in many forms) influenced Rosette Thornbriar?

Influenced it?  I don't know. Vannan in her cowgirl hat bopping around the library is sort of the image of one of my characters. The woods is from a movie I watched as a child, it just floated into view, and I don't know where or when I obtained the picture. Fleur climbing trees is from a picture of a girl climbing the mast of a boat and looking out over the ocean. There is a bit of Little House on the Prairie in there, a dozen or so borrowed ideas from books and stories and history about moving West.  And I borrowed heavily from the Cinderella book that I had written 2 years ago. Oh yes, and there was a Festus in some show I use to watch, and he's the guy I pictured when I wrote about the peddler.

Do you listen to music when you write? Or are you more of a silent writer?

White noise. Sometimes music. But usually it's white noise that I write too, otherwise the tinnitus bothers me. My brain spends too much time listening if I put on music. During the 70's they mostly used classical music when they made the cartoon shows - like Fantasia. And too many of them have moving pictures when I listen to the music now.

Finally, can you share anything about your future writing plans? I happen to know you're the mother of another amazing writer; are you two possibly considering a collaboration at some point?

Well, we collaborate a lot. I've been the source of her "worst ideas" and "best ideas" and many of those are still in notebooks. She wants me to keep churning out my westerns. And it is likely as I get the 7 and 12 year old grown up a bit more, that she'll get me to sit down and write more. I would love to publish a whole stack of kids books. My westerns will make great bedtime stories... I can see every page of the picture book that should go with this! Someday maybe. My plan right now is to teach the younger siblings, and school started on July 31 for this year. We start early so we can have 6 weeks off at Christmas. Besides, who wants to be outside when it's topping 100 nearly every day?

Thank you for hosting the questions for us.   Have a great day!

Thanks for being here, Rachel! I can't wait to read your book!

Don't forget, both giveaways that I mentioned on Thursday are still running! So if you haven't entered the Rafflecopter giveaway, make sure you do that, and keep commenting on the other blog stops for a chance to pre-read The Seven Drawers and Cindy Ellen!  

Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)  

Other Blog Stops Today
Knitted By God’s Plan - Retellings I’d Like To Write Someday
Morgan Elizabeth Huneke - Something About the SSS
Dreams and Dragons - Rachel- you are here
Sutori no Hana - Twisted Dreams