Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Machine and the Pendulum Tag

Hey'a! A while ago, I discovered this really awesome tag on Hannah's blog. It seemed super fun- I love story tags- and since she said anyone who wanted to do it could, I decided to go for it. Writing it was slightly delayed by a family trip (to Busch Gardens, which was awesome), but it's finished now, so, enjoy!

1. Your brother (you know, the one whose a super genius and makes Einstein look like a toddler) has just created a fantabulous new invention: It can bring fictional characters to life!  While trying to come up with a practical use for this, he realizes your birthday is tomorrow.  So he tells you he will bring your favorite character from your favorite book/movie to life for one day.  Who is the character you'll pick, what they are from, and what do you plan to do with your day together?

Eeeeep! That is a ridiculously awesome present- and a ridiculously difficult choice. I suppose, though, that I'll choose Dame Imraldera from Tales of Goldstone Wood, specifically Dragonwitch. I could definitely spend an entire day with her! Of course, first I'd have to stop exclaiming over how excited I was to meet her, which could take a while. But once I was over that, I'd ask her about her adventures and about the Haven (and, of course, about Eanrin). And then we could probably spend quite a long time chatting about books and stories and such. 

 2. Things are going pretty well.  You leave the room for a minute, and when you return . . .  your guest is gone!  You begin searching for them, and while at that your brother comes running up.  He tells you that his machine has malfunctioned, bringing to life the villain from your favorite book/movie.  And, well, they kind of kidnapped your favorite character.

The Dragonwitch kidnapped Dame Imraldera? Oh no! This is terrible! By this point, the Dragonwitch is on her last life- as a Faerie queen, she has three- and she's kind of crazy. Not to mention a dragon. And she definitely has a grudge against Imraldera. 

3. Action must be taken.  You rack your brain, trying to figure out what to do, and then you remember -- your brother's machine!  You can materialize anyone you need to help you track the villain down!

Well, first of all, I'm calling on Bard Eanrin. As a Faerie and Knight of Farthestshore, I'm sure he'll be all kinds of help. Besides, this is Dame Imraldera we're rescuing, so I'm sure he'll want to be involved. Next, I'm choosing Gandalf, who I'm certain could handle the Dragonwitch, powerful as she is. (I strongly considered Akilun and Etanun, but decided that having Etanun and Eanrin on the same team could end badly.) Finally, I'd call Vin from the Mistborn series, just in case we needed backup against the Dragonwitch's people.

4. You set off, dragging your brother along behind you, and reach the villain's hiding place in record time.   When your group sneak in, you are met with a chilling sight: The villain is plotting world domination, making good progress, and your favorite character is strapped to a table with a pendulum swinging ever nearer to them.  (Talk about dramatic.)  What shall you do now?

The Dragonwitch really has gone crazy! A pendulum really isn't her style, but hey- it's giving us a chance, so I'm not complaining. Gandalf goes to confront the Dragonwitch and their battle begins. Meanwhile, Vin, Eanrin, and I will save Imraldera. Vin uses her Mistborn powers to stop the pendulum (I'm assuming it's made of metal, since they usually are). While she's holding it, Eanrin and I untie Imraldera from the table. 

Gandalf's battle with the Dragonwitch is getting intense by this point. He tells the rest of us to run, and we do. (There's a good chance of any of us catching on fire if we stay, and none of us can help Gandalf much.) Imraldera's probably in pretty bad shape, so Eanrin and I help her along, while Vin clears the way of anyone who tries to stop us. Once we're out, we head to our prearranged meeting place. Before long, Gandalf joins us, a bit singed but overall unharmed, and tells us that the Dragonwitch fled and he did not believe it was time yet for her end to come. Eanrin disagrees, but I know Gandalf is right. Not that it really matters at this point- all of us are much more interested in getting safely away than going back in after her.

 5. Huzzah!  You've got the bad guy and stopped the pendulam.  But now comes the time to say good-bye.  These lovely characters must return to their written life.  What do you say to them?  Thank them for their efforts?  Assure them that their stories end happily?

I have to say goodbye? Aw . . . I'd probably hug all of them, whether they liked it or not, and thank them each about a million times. I'd tell each of them just how awesome I think they are, and depending where they are in their stories, try to give each of them a little encouragement. And if there was time, I think I'd ask Eanrin to sing one of his songs for me- maybe the Ballad of Shadow Hand. Then I'd thank them all again and sadly bid farewell. 

Whew! That was fun! Now to tag someone else- I choose Rayne Speryll of Writing in Rivendell. And if you're reading this and you want to do it too, go for it! (But please link me to your posts so I can read them!)
Thanks for reading!
 -Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Liebster Award (Once Again)

As you can probably tell, I've been nominated by the Liebster Award once again, this time by Rayne Speryll of Writing in Rivendell. Thanks, Rayne! I almost didn't do this one, since answering these so many times makes me feel kind of like I'm bragging. Or self-centered. Or something like that. (I'm not trying to come off that way, I promise.) Buuuuut . . . I love answering the award questions. And Rayne's questions are really fun. So, yep, I'm answering.

Recap of how the Liebster Award works:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. List 11 facts about yourself
  3. Answer the 11 questions from the person who nominated you
  4. Write 11 questions for the next person
  5. Tag people.
The facts come first, so we'll start there.
  1. I'm assistant photographer for my church's VBS this week. 
  2. The "assistant" part of that title is mostly there because I didn't actually sign up to be photographer and am tagging along with my dad, who is one of three official VBS photographers.
  3. I recently discovered that I really, really, really like alternate universe fanfictions. 
  4. I'm listening to Owl City.
  5. I like sarcastic characters. 
  6. I raised my Camp NaNoWriMo goal twice (once to 45K, then to 50K) because I kept beating it. I would've raised it again today, but I can't because winning started.
  7. I do not play any instruments, though I have been recently told that I should learn to play something. Whether or not I will take this advice remains to be seen.
  8. I'm currently reading The Hero of Ages. It's my celebration for finishing my Heartless fanfiction, which I've been working on all week.
  9. No matter how much I sometimes like to pretend otherwise, I cannot draw. Or paint. Or do much of anything artsy that does not involve a camera and/or Photoshop.
  10. Speaking of Photoshop, I'm behind on editing photos, because I have about two hundred pictures from the beginning of the month which I need to go through and pick ones to edit. Photo editing does not happen during NaNo events, if you can't guess.
  11. I cannot speak with an accent, no matter how much I'd like to.
Now for the part I'm looking forward to: the questions!
1.  Why do you blog?  How did you start blogging?
Why do I blog? Because it's fun, and I like sharing my life, thoughts, and creative stuff with other people. How did I start blogging? Well, I noticed that a lot of Underground members had blogs (this was before I joined the UG, by the way), and it looked like fun. So I asked my dad about it, mentioned it would be a good way to share my writing with other people, and a while later, he helped me set up Dreams and Dragons.

2.  What is your favorite type of singing voice?  Male?  Female?  Alto, Soprano, Tenor, Base?  (Mine is tenor)
I don't think I have a favorite.

3.  How character crushes have you had, and on whom?  (If you're too shy to answer this, I understand.  Instead, explain to us how you feel about elephants in pajamas.)
I'll take the crush question; I don't mind. How many crushes? A lot. Too many to count. (Keep in mind, I'm a hopeless romantic, at least with characters.) I have no idea who the earliest was on, but some of my more recent ones have been:
Several characters from The Lord of the Rings (Legolas, by the way, is not among them.) 
Two characters from Tales of Goldstone Wood. One is Bard Eanrin. The other I will leave you to guess at. (Though I'm fairly certain you won't get his identity right.)
Howl from Howl's Moving Castle
Wolf and Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles

4.  Which type of animation do you prefer?  Traditional hand-drawn, CGI, or Clamation?
The type of animation used in Tangled, which is apparently a combination of traditional hand-drawn and CGI, is my favorite. 

5.  If you and the entire student body of your school (or homeschool group if you're homeschooled) suddenly found themselves transported into a fantasy realm, who would become the leader?  
My homeschool group consists of myself and my sister, with my mom as the teacher. So, I'm going to go with my youth group instead. I think that one of the guys, probably Connor (who seems like he'd be good at keeping his head in a crisis), would end up as the leader. Of course, there's also a chance that I'd end up the leader, by virtue of having the most knowledge of fantasy realms out of anyone in our group. And if I'm in a situation where I think I know the answers, I tend to get a bit bossy.

6.  What role would you take, and why?
As I said above, I might end up as the leader myself. If I didn't, however (which is fairly likely and also probably a fairly good idea), I'd be . . . hmm. Maybe a sort of adviser-guide, since (as I said), I know a lot about fantasy worlds. Or I could be the strategist/planner, since I'm pretty good at that sort of thing. (I think it comes from writing.)

7.  Which of these teenagers seems most likely to be a superhero to you?
Actually, almost all of them have superpowers, and those that don't make for it in other ways (like Hawkeye does). But the only one who's a certified superhero at the moment is the guy fourth from the right (who's the boyfriend of the girl on his left and the brother of the girl on his right).

8.  What superpower would they have?
Telekinesis. Or possibly gravity manipulation. Both have somewhat similar effects.

9.  What would their code name be?
Well, he wanted it to be Jedi or Starwalker (he's also a Star Wars fan), but the people in charge of certifying superheros nixed both those ideas (along with a few others that would also be copyright infringement). They finally allowed Knight Force (which still gives him a Star Wars reference, but is misunderstood by most people as "Night Force").

10.  Which one seems most likely to be a super villain, and the hero's arch-nemesis?
That would be the third person from the left, the girl. No one knows she's a super-villain yet, of course; they just think she's the girl who seems to have a extremely intense rivalry with Knight Force. But oh, are they wrong.

11.  What's the villain's power and code name?
Her power is illusions, and her code name is The Shadow.

See what I meant about fun questions? Hopefully I'll be able to make mine almost as fun, though I'm not sure how well I'll succeed.

1. Do you like walking in the rain?
2. Have you ever been to a country other than the one you are born in?
3. Would you rather go to Narnia during the reign of the White Witch or go with Frodo and Sam on the journey to Mordor?
4. You've been offered a full meal of whatever fantasy-esque foods you like! What do you choose?
5. Guess what! You just found out that you've won a two-week trip to wherever you want to go! Where are you headed?
6. You get to the place and have been there for a few days when you accidentally fall into a portal and end up in the headquarters of your favorite book or movie villain. Where are you, and who's the villain?
7. Most importantly, how do you escape, and what do you do once you've gotten out?
8. What's your favorite movie soundtrack? 
9. Would you rather go to Rivendell or Erebor? (Erebor is the Lonely Mountain, for anyone unsure.)
10. What would you do first in whichever place you chose for #9?
11. If you had to rename yourself, what name would you choose?

And finally to tag people. AKA the hardest part of answering tags. I shall tag:
Sarah Faulkner
Jag Swiftstorm

I hope you enjoyed reading this! I have another tag, this one a story tag like the Best. Tag. Ever. coming soon, and I'm really excited to do it, so keep an eye out for that.
Thanks for reading!
 -Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesdays: Deserted Island
Hi, everyone! I love this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: Characters I Would Want With Me on a Deserted Island. Doesn't that sound like it could inspire some awesome fanfiction? Good thing this is write-whatever-you-want week for me in Camp NaNoWriMo, because I might be in trouble otherwise. Anyway, let's get started!
  1. Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings. If I'm going to have to survive in any situation away from civilization, Aragorn would always be my first choice. As a Dunadain Ranger, he'd certainly know how to make sure we both survived until help arrived. Plus, he's awesome. 
  2. Bard Eanrin from Tales of Goldstone Wood. As a faerie and a Knight of Farthestshore, I feel fairly certain that Bard Eanrin could find a way off the island without much trouble at all. Even if he couldn't, at least I'd have excellent company while we waited for help.
  3. Kale from The DragonKeeper Chronicles. Kale and her minor dragons would definitely be a lot of help on a deserted island! Even if she couldn't make a gateway to get us out of there, her hollows are stocked with all sorts of useful things, and she is a fairly talented wizard. Also, she seems like she'd be a lot of fun to be around, so she and I could help each other keep our spirits up.
  4. Finnick from The Hunger Games trilogy. THG characters do not make a lot of my Top Ten Tuesdays lists, but in this case? Finnick would be an excellent person to have around. Being from District 4, he knows plenty about the sea and fishing and stuff, and as a Hunger Games victor, he obviously knows how to handle himself against danger. Plus, he's one of my favorite characters from THG. 
  5. Howl Pendragon from Howl's Moving Castle. Howl could, potentially, be very useful to have around in a crisis- after all, he is a very powerful wizard. On the other hand, he might be rather less than useful, considering that he tends towards laziness and unwillingness to be pinned down to anything (like taking me with him once he finds a way off the island). Either way, alternately fangirling and arguing with him would certainly keep me too occupied for me to freak out! 
  6. Dame Imraldera from Tales of Goldstone Wood. I tend to forget about her past, but all things considered, she would quite possibly know a good bit about how to stay alive. And she's awesome- I would love to meet her and talk to her, even if I had to get stuck on a deserted island to do it. And as long as she's with me, I know Bard Eanrin will be trying to find a way to rescue us. 
  7. Hadyn from Legends of Karac Tor. I don't know how much help Hadyn would actually be, but I like him, and I think he'd be good company if I were trapped just about anywhere.
  8. Ewan from Legends of Karac Tor. For pretty much the same reasons as Hadyn. Any chance I could be stuck with both brothers so I don't have to choose? 
  9. Vrell Sparrow from the Blood of Kings Trilogy. So we'd both be pretty much useless in this situation. We'd figure it out. And Vrell can bloodvoice, so we'd at least have some help. In general, though, my main reason is that I think she and I would get along pretty well.
  10. Jason Silver from my novels. Ok, this is kind of cheating because I'm pretty sure these are supposed to be from published books, but I currently don't care because Jason's one of my favorite characters I've ever written. He'd probably drive me crazy within a few days- but I'd drive him crazy right back, because I'm his author and I know his secrets and it would probably end with him trying to deny everything I said and I'd just be silently laughing at him. Or maybe not so silently. But yeah. And at least as long as Jason was around, I'd be certain help was coming. He has certain connections that make that a certainty.
Well, there are my picks. (Should I be concerned about the fact that my list is mostly guys?) What about you? Who would you choose? Please tell me in the comments, or make your own blog post! Thanks for reading!
Garo arad vaer!
 -Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Random Fridays: Literary Kindred Spirits
Hello, all! This week's Random Friday topic is one that I think is really cool: literary kindred spirits, or the book characters that remind you of yourself, or who you'd be best friends with if they were real. Fun, right?

On a side note, from here on out, Random Fridays are only going to be every other week (at most) because Emma, who hosts them, isn't going to have as much time for blogging. This has actually been going on for a while, but this is the first time I've done a Random Friday since the change. Just wanted to let you know. Anyway, back to my literary kindred spirits!
  1. Una from Heartless. Personality-wise, she and I are practically twins. We're both romantics with a tendency to daydream about adventure (or at least a change from the ordinary). We both enjoy writing (poetry in particular). And while I like to think I'm not quite as silly as Una is sometimes, we both have a tendency to get flustered easily and say things not quite how we intended to. 
  2. Cress from The Lunar Chronicles. Cress is another daydreamer, and she's about as close to a homeschooler as one can generally get in sci-fi novels. (At least the ones I've read.) We're both smart (though not in all the same areas- I know next to nothing about technology), as well as sheltered, a bit clueless at times, and not very comfortable in social situations. 
  3. Jo March from Little Women. The most obvious similarity between Jo and I is that we're both writers, and that we both enjoy reading as well. We both also struggle with our patience, though I'm a good bit more reserved than Jo. Another similarity is that, like me, Jo is quite proud of her hair- or was, before a certain plot point.
  4. Jane Penderwick from The Penderwicks series. Jane is another writer, bookworm, and daydreamer like me. We both tend to be dramatic, and both have had crushes that left us feeling ridiculous afterwards. (As a note, though, I didn't make quite such a fuss about the crush or the aftermath as Jane- I suspect that very few people even guessed I had the crush at all.)
  5. Daryl from Echoes from the Edge. Ok, so I'm not a genius, but geek girls for the win, right? She's a movie geek; I'm a fantasy geek branching out into movies- we're not as similar as some of the people we'd mention, but I'm pretty sure we'd get along great if she were real. She'd definitely be someone I'd hang out with, in any case.
There might be some others, but these are all I can think of right now. What about you? What book characters remind you of yourself, or would you be best friends with? Please tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesdays: Favorite Movies
Hello, everyone! I'm finally getting back into Top Ten Tuesdays just in time for the one Top Ten Tuesday that isn't about books: Favorite Movies or TV Shows. Since I don't really watch TV, I'm going with my favorite movies.
  1. The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Best. Movies. Ever. (Especially if you watch the extended editions like I do.) They did an amazing job of capturing the books' epicness, even if they did leave out or change a few things. The actors, the scenery, everything is absolutely incredible. I could rave about them almost as much as I do the books!
  2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Another amazing movie- not quite as good as the LOTR trilogy but still great. I wasn't all that crazy about the addition of Azog and all that, but the other stuff they added in with the White Council and Thorin's backstory and such? I loved it. Also, I've mentioned this before, but I love how the movie turns the Indistinguishable Background Dwarves (basically everyone except Thorin, Balin, and Bombur) into unique characters, each with their own story and personality. 
  3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Smaug. Oh. My. Pumpernickel. He pretty much made this movie for me. And considering that it takes a lot to impress me with movie dragons (mostly because I'm rather particular about how I think they should look), that's saying something. The action scenes were pretty intense too, especially the battle between the dwarves and Smaug. However, there were certain things things that disappointed me- like how quickly they passed over Beorn and Mirkwood- and others that just made me mad (*cough*Kiliel*cough). 
  4. The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This is another great book-to-movie adaptations; it's probably the best of the Narnia movies (though it can't measure up to LOTR). I like that they stayed fairly true to the book, and the casting was great- all the characters looked exactly like I imagined them! Not even LOTR accomplished that, though it did accomplish the opposite (after a while, I started picturing all the LOTR characters the way they looked in the movies). 
  5. Tangled. "Frying pans! Who knew, right?" Flynn cracks me up, and he has a ton of great quotes- he's
    pretty much one of the fallbacks for my sister and I when we play the Quote Game. (That's a game where we take turns quoting a book or movie and the other person has to guess where the quote is from.) Besides how hilarious Flynn and the movie in general are, I really like the character development of both Flynn and Rapunzel. Plus, it's a retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales. Awesome, no?
  6. The Avengers. I haven't watched a lot of superhero movies (mostly because I didn't realize I was interested in them until last summer), but I love The Avengers. The dynamic between the characters is great, and Loki? I'm not a fangirl, but he's super cool. (No pun intended.)
  7. The Chonicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I kind of have a love-hate relationship with this movie. On one hand, Voyage of the Dawn Treader used to be my favorite Narnia book (until I decided that I preferred The Silver Chair), so I was kind of upset when the movie changed the story so much. On the other hand, looking at Dawn Treader as a movie in its own right? It's pretty awesome. And unlike certain other movies I could mention, they didn't make the characters act like idiots for the sake of more excitement. (Not that Dawn Treader needs more excitement . . .)
  8. Beauty and the Beast. Beauty is another of my favorite fairytales, and the Disney version is just wonderful. I love everything about it, pretty much. One of my favorite parts, though, is the music. The songs from Beauty and the Beast often seem to get forgotten amidst songs from newer movies (like Frozen), but they're still lovely.
  9. Frozen. It was kind of overhyped, but Frozen is still a great movie. I love that the biggest relationship-related plotline isn't a romace; it's the sister relationship between Elsa and Anna. The characters are great, and, of course, the music is awesome. 
  10. Howl's Moving Castle. This is another book-retelling that's vastly different than the original story. I still love it, though. It kind of reminds me of a Beauty and the Beast type story in a lot of ways. Also, Howl. Howl is awesome. Just sayin'.
Honorable mentions go to Brave, Wreck-It Ralph, and The Princess Bride, which are also awesome movies but didn't quite make the list. What about you? What are your favorite movies?
Garo arad vaer!
 -Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Camp NaNoWriMo: Rebel Month

Camp Stats at a Glance:
My goal: 40,000 words
Words written: 19,089 words
Projects completed: Almost two
Current writing music: My Celtic playlist (so Riverdance, Celtic Thunder, Capercaillie, and Celtic Spirit).

Last year, I did something different for July Camp NaNoWriMo: I worked on multiple projects throughout the month. I made the move out of necessity; it was the only way to do both Camp NaNoWriMo and the TPS Summer Creative Writing class. I never expected to repeat the experience. Then this summer rolled around, and I found myself in the middle of two projects (both of which desperately needed to be worked on) with many more in my head. I couldn't pick just one, so I decided to find a way to balance all of them.

And that's where I got my challenge for the month: four weeks, four projects, forty-thousand words.

For week one, I continued work on Destinies and Decisions, which I also worked on this past April and November. The week went splendiferously, since all the scenes I had to work on were really fun to write. There was one small problem near the end of the week when my characters weren't all cooperating, but I solved it with the help of some of my friends. (The fact that it's very hard to argue with a dragon also helped quite a bit. And then I got to scare a bard half out of his wits. It was very amusing.)

Week two, which I'm finishing up today, was Monster in the Castle. Yes, I've been working on it since April, and no, I haven't finished it yet. I think I'm getting close; I just keep getting distracted by Destinies and Decisions. Monster started out slightly less well than Destinies, mostly due to the fact that while I love Prince Hayden of Aldurna, he can be really boring to write sometimes. But once I brought in another character- one who very much gets on Hayden's nerves (he gets on everyone's nerves except mine, really), poof! Monster became fun too!

Tomorrow begins my third week of Camp NaNo, and I'm really excited for the projects I'll be working on: Goldstone Wood fanfiction. I have a bunch of ideas that have been in my head for ages but I haven't had time to write, so I'm sure it'll be super fun. I'm hoping that once Camp is over, I'll be able to edit some of the stories I wrote and enter them in the Goldstone Wood fanfiction contest. We'll see how that turns out.

Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo this year? What's your project? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Back! . . . again

First of all, I apologize for disappearing without a word of warning for the second time in one month. Very bad form on my part; I'll have to work on not doing that again. Apparently June was not a good month for internet activity. Second of all, those people who keep up with regular blogs even though they're a lot busier than I am? They're a lot better at managing their time than I am. (Either that or blogging is their form of procrastination . . . which is still better than my usual form, which consists of playing games on the internet until I get too frustrated or run out of music.)

Anyway, my last three weeks were pretty exciting and pretty busy, thus my lack of blogging. What was I doing? Well, from the 12th to the 26th, I was at college. Kinda. A college that my friend goes to offers a summer dual enrollment program in which you take a college class in two weeks, during which time you live on campus. It was an awesome experience, both in and out of class. It was also a lot of being around people- if I wasn't in class or studying, I was generally socializing or participating in the activities planned for the Summer Studies students (and there was an activity almost every day).

One of the best parts of the two weeks was the people I was with. I already knew Mandy, my roommate (we go to the same Bible study), and that helped a lot. I think that if I'd been with almost-total-strangers the whole time, I wouldn't have enjoyed the time as much, but since I knew someone already, it was a little easier to step out and get to know other people too. There were quite a few other homeschoolers there (thought not as many as I expected), and several others who loved LOTR, Star Wars, and other geekish things of that sort. (Two, Jenn and Luke, actually know Elvish. And Jenn, on our third day there, memorized Gandalf's "good morning" speech from The Hobbit and occasionally quoted it at me or Jimmy- another LOTR fan- throughout the rest of the two weeks. If you can't tell, she's awesome.)

The class itself, Politics and American Culture, was also excellent. A lot of the class focused on our government and how it's developed, as well as the development of things like civil liberties and civil rights, and I found it really interesting! Some members of our class had a tendency to ask questions that got us off on rabbit trails or into debates. In my opinion, though, that just made the class better, since we weren't just listening to the professor talk the whole time and we could actually interact somewhat. The homework load wasn't too bad, mostly just a few things to read for the next day's classes and one paper that was due at the beginning of the second week. Even though I more or less doubled the amount of work I did out of class by typing up my notes so I could study them more easily, I still had plenty of time to hang out with the others and do the activities. (I also managed to not procrastinate on the paper, something I'm very proud of myself for, since papers during the regular school year tend to get pushed off.)

And, of course, there were the activities. As I mentioned, there was one almost every evening. They ranged from small groups (Wednesday nights), to various things off-campus (like ice cream, bowling, and canoeing), to- on the 21st- King's Island. They were all really fun. One of my favorites was canoeing, something I haven't done in a long time. It was really relaxing (until we started racing two of the boys), and I now want to use canoes in a book sometime.

The biggest and most exciting event was, of course, King's Island. I'd never been there before, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. And before anyone asks, no, I didn't ride any roller coasters. Jenn, Abby (the only other girl there my age- the others were all a year older), and I decided the day before that we'd stick together at King's Island, since everyone else was like "YAY ROLLER COASTERS!" and none of us were all that keen on, well, pretty much any thrill rides. (Of the three of us, I was the only one remotely interested, and I won't go on anything that goes upside down. Even then, I have to be with people who, like my family, really enjoy that sort of thing.) Even without thrill rides, though, we had a great time. In the morning, we did some of the non-thrill rides, like the Scrambler (one of those spinning rides) and bumper cars (which I never get to go on because I'm the only one in my family with any interest in them).

Then, in the afternoon, we headed over to the waterpark to get thoroughly soaked. The waterpark was originally Jenn's idea, and I'm very glad she suggested it. We only had time to do two slides before we needed to go meet the others, but those two were awesome. If I'd had time, I would've done both of them over again. Then, after we met up with the others and decided to stay longer, Mandy joined our group and we went to do some of the wet rides outside the waterpark. Mandy, Jenn, and Abby went on the log flume, which I skipped to watch bags and get ice cream. (I'd been wanting ice cream all day, but no one else was all that interested.) Then we went on the Whitewater Canyon ride, which is similar to one of my favorite rides at Busch Gardens, the Roman Rapids. I think I may have gotten as wet on Whitewater Canyon as I did on any of the water slides, to be honest. It was absolutely awesome.

The final highlight of the two weeks? Risk. I've wanted to learn how to play it for a while now, but didn't have the opportunity- until now. My first game was over very quickly; it only took about an hour. My second game, on the other hand, was over four hours and the longest game played by anyone in the two weeks of Summer Studies. It was epic. (Also, after several very long and drawn out battles, I won. I was very happy.)

Eventually, though, it was the 26th and everyone had to leave. There was much hugging, much trying not to cry- and also a bit of freaking out, particularly on my part. See, while I was packing that morning, I made a discovery: there was a very large rhinocerous beetle living in Mandie's and my room. How did I find this out? The worst possible way: it tried to climb on my leg. That's when I screamed (apparently loud enough that I got the attention of most of the girls' dorm) and fled the room. The rest of the day, though, went smoothly, and I got home around eight that night.

Since then, what've I been up to? Not much. I'm doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month (I can tell you more about that later if you want), and I've been reading a lot. My current obsession is Mistborn, since I just read the first book two days ago and it was ah-mazing. I've also been trying to cut back on computer time. So far, I've been successful- though it's part of the reason I didn't get this up sooner. (The rest was all procrastination, I'm sorry to say.)

Anyway, that was my three weeks. What about you? What've you been up to? Have you done anything fun this summer, or are you planning anything fun? Please tell me in the comments!
Garo arad vaer!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)