Friday, September 30, 2016

Fairy Tale Retellings That Need to Be a Thing

For those who don't know, I absolutely love fairy tales and fairy tale retellings. Recently, my roomie and I were chatting about the topic (because she loves them as much as I do, more or less), and as is wont to happen in such conversations, we temporarily wandered onto the idea of fairy tale retellings we'd love to see. We soon meandered on, but the thought stuck in my mind and so now I'm writing a post about it.

Fairy Tale Retellings That Need to Be a Thing

  1. King Thrushbeard. Anything King Thrushbeard. This is one of my favorite fairy tales, but no on ever retells it- which is sad, because there's so much potential in there, with the proud princess and the relationship between her and her beggar-husband . . . Honestly, that would be really fun to either read or write, with lots of snark on her part and teasing on his part that eventually becomes love on both sides.
  2. Hansel and Gretel crossed with Little Red Riding Hood. This was actually my roommate's idea of something I should write . . . and, hey, I might do it, if I can sort out the details and figure out setting and characters. I do like the idea, and both of these seem to be fairytales that aren't super-common in retellings.
  3. Steampunk Six Soldiers of Fortune or the Six Servants. So these fairy tales are really weird . . . but I feel like steampunk could make them work and actually make sense, with some of the different weird powers/modifications and such. (The runner who takes off his leg, for example, or the guy who makes everything freeze over by putting his hat on straight.) And given the current trend towards grey-and-grey morality, this book would fit in very well. My roomie also suggested that a post-apocalyptic retelling (or "post-retelling," focused on the characters' kids) would be cool, and I tend to agree.
  4. Not quite a fairy tale, but a mythology retelling, so close enough: The Odyssey . . . in Space! I think that The Odyssey would make a pretty cool sci-fi novel (or perhaps a series of short stories). Odysseus captains a spacecraft, he's on his way home from a war on some distant planet (and because of time-space concerns, though the war might not have been terribly long for him, it's been a long time on his home planet, of which he's the ruler), the islands at which he stops become other planets . . . seriously, can this be a thing? It obviously wouldn't be as beautiful as the original, but it would be amazing in a whole different way.
  5. The Six Swans or The Seven Ravens. I do know of one retelling of The Seven Swans, but it . . . wasn't my favorite book in the world, let's put it that way. I'd love to see a really good retelling- preferably one with a fair bit of emphasis on the sibling relationships. I mean, you've got seven or eight siblings in either story; you ought to be able to get some good interactions out of that.
What fairy tale retellings would you like to see? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)
P.S. For those who can't guess, September Doings will be delayed a bit due to the fact that I'm rather busy at the moment. I will do my best to have it up sometime in the next few days. Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Quotes Challenge Day 3

Hello, everyone! Today is the final day of the Quotes Challenge- and, coincidentally, it's also September 22, Bilbo Baggins' birthday. Anyone want to guess which author I'm quoting today? Yep, J.R.R. Tolkien, through Bilbo, who else? And, because I'm turning this into a mini-celebration of LOTR, you don't just get one quote . . . you get three.

“Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on,
Under cloud and under star.
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen,
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green,
And trees and hills they long have known.”
 -Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit
“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why.”
- Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings
"I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” 
-Faramir, The Lord of the Rings
 And my final three nominations are: Katie Grace, Ryebrynn, and (although she seems to have halfway disappeared) Ghost Ryter. To the nominees: as usual, you are free to do this or not do this as you please. If you do it, I look forward to seeing your quotes.

Noro go hul, bado go Eru, and hannon le for stopping by!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Quotes Challenge Day 2

Hello, everyone! In case you missed yesterday's post, I'm currently doing the Quotes Challenge- which isn't much of a challenge, but is fun all the same. Yesterday, I posted a quote by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, and today, continuing my theme of favorite authors, I'll be posting one from Brandon Sanderson.

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
– Wit, The Way of Kings
And as for my two nominees, I tag Merenwen and Allison. Feel free to do or not do as you please.
Thanks for stopping by!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Quotes Challenge Day 1

Hello, everyone! A few months ago, Emmarayn Redding nominated me for the Quotes Challenge. I've seen this tag/challenge floating around the interwebs for a while now, and I think it's pretty cool, so I'm happy to have been nominated. How it works:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you- Danke sehr, Emma!
  2. Nominate three people every day (except I'm going break this rule more than Lews Therin broke the world; sorry).
  3. Post a quote every day for three consecutive days.
Because I like a bit of a theme, I'll be posting one quote from each of my top three favorite authors. Today's author is Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

I don’t believe in chosen ones. In prophecies. In destinies.”

“Neither do I. On principle, I’m against them. Inconvenient, nonsensical things, and a cat does like to be master of his own fate, you know? But what I believe or don’t believe has little to do with the truth of the matter.”

- The Chronicler and Bard Eanrin, Dragonwitch
As for nominations . . . I lied. I'm not breaking this quite as much as Lews Therin broke the world. But instead of doing three per day, I'm doing one today, two tomorrow, and hopefully three the last day. Today's nominee is IDK323 of Writings in Panin.

Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to stop by tomorrow for the second quote!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Fall 2016 Reads

Hello, everyone! Fall is upon us (well, unless you live in the southern hemisphere, in which case, pretend I said spring or something like that). And, as always, that means it's time for a new set of books . . . though, sadly, there aren't a ton of new releases this fall that I'm excited about. But, since I'm still working on the Wheel of Time series- at least in theory- as well as reading a bunch of other new-to-me books that everyone else probably read ages ago, it works out. Not a ton doesn't mean none, though, so let's take a look at the to-be-read list.

Fall 2016 Reads!

1. The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron (September 13)
I actually just discovered this book on Goodreads today, and I'm not quite sure what I think about it, but it sounds pretty cool. I'm hoping that it doesn't turn out to be another cliche dystopian-type thing, which it also sounds like it might be, but it gets good reviews, so . . . I'll give it a try, if I get the chance.
2. The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud (September 13).
I am slightly terrified regarding this book- I love the characters (Lockwood particularly) and I want to see more of them, but it's going to be so very tense and Lucy does act like a bit of an eejit on occasion, and yeah. Much worrying. Which means I'll probably procrastinate on this book for ages even if I can get it sooner than that. But I will read it . . . I hope.  
3. Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson (September 27).
This is the second book in Rae Carson's Gold-Rush-era historical fantasy, and I'm pretty excited for it. I love that this series is set in an era so often overlooked by fantasy writers, and while there's not a strong amount of fantasy in it, the touch is just enough to make it more than just an ordinary historical fiction novel (which, to be honest, there's a good chance I'd ignore unless someone recommended it to me). I like the characters as well (most of them, anyway), and look forward to rejoining them. (Also, you know what else is glorious besides whatever river the title refers to? This cover. So pretty.)

4. The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd (October 11).
This book sounds rather odd in some ways, but interesting as well. I've a suspicion it'll be sad, but on the other hand, one of the reviews said it's like The Chronicles of Narnia meets The Secret Garden, and I love both of those books, so . . . we'll see. In any case, it should be something out of the norm for me.

5. Heartless by Marissa Meyer (November 8).
I'm not quite sure what to expect from Heartless- on one hand, it's by Marissa Meyer, and I love The Lunar Chronicles by that author, and a Wonderland retelling should be pretty cool. On the other hand, it's a Wonderland retelling and Wonderland is weird. Don't get me wrong; I like them. I'm just not sure how Marissa will handle the weird and it could be very hit-or-miss. Oh well- I'm looking forward to finding out all the same.

What books are you looking forward to this fall? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

August Doings!

Hello, everyone! August was another busy, change-filled month. That means this post might be pretty long . . . and I'm also going to do things a little out of order, so that things don't get out-of-context too much. So, to start out, Life!


  •  Some of you (I hope most of you) may remember that last month's Doings post went up a little bit early, and that I proceeded to disappear for about two weeks after that. The reason? I was off in Rivendell, otherwise known as White Sulphur Springs. Like last year, I was part of the Support Staff, a group of teenage volunteers who basically help maintain the hotel and grounds. This year, my little sister came up with me, which was pretty awesome. Some other highlights and significant bits from our time up there:
    • A mini-retreat at the start of our volunteer session. I might've freaked out a little, because the couple in charge of said mini-retreat referred to it as a mini-camping trip/adventure. I, fairly naturally, jumped straight to the extreme of sleeping in a tent (or possibly just under the stars), possibly in a location that we had to hike an hour to get to, probably cooking our own food over a campfire, and undoubtedly getting a maximum of four hours' sleep that night. I was, naturally, wrong- we were in cabins, maybe ten minutes' walk from the hotel, eating food catered by the hotel, and generally having a pretty good time. And while there were some girls who got only about four hours of sleep, I was not one of them- I don't think I got a full eight hours, but I got enough.
    • I also got to see several of my friends from last year again, which was awesome! There was one person on Girls' Support Staff who'd been on it last year as well, two on Boys' Support Staff, and several people from both staffs who were serving in other positions. 
    • Plus I made quite a few new friends . . . quite a lot of whom were fellow bookworms/writers! Never in my life had I found so many people in one physical place who love the same sort of things I love, and, guys, it was SO AWESOME. There were so many book-chats over meals . . . and one of the Support Staff guys and I chatted for literally hours about our stories and characters and creating characters . . . and I got to chat about writing and books and life in general with the Fine Arts Coordinator (who is awesome, by the way), and I got a bunch of book recommendations (several of which I proceeded to devour as soon as I could get them from the library) and yeah. Much awesomeness. And one of those friends also introduced me to the game SuperFight, which is basically hilarious. I might've spent a few hours playing that too . . .
    • Oh, and square dance is still awesome. Though I did end sitting out a fair bit of dancing on the second night for various reason . . . but it was ok, because sometimes not dancing can be fun, depending on who you're doing it with. If that makes sense. 
    • Also, the Girls' Support Staff girls and supervisors were all absolutely awesome. Just saying. If any of them are reading this: Hi! Virtual hug for you- I only wish it could be in person!
    • This year was a lot busier than last year as well . . . particularly the final weekend. Oliver North was the speaker, which meant that both the new hotel (the one mostly used for conferences and such) and the old hotel (now mostly used as staff housing) were packed to the point that the speaker's own daughter was on the waiting list for a room, and in the dining hall- oh! Both Girls' and Boys' Support Staffs had to be on call for serving meals, and there was no time or space for us to eat dinner at the tables with the guests like usual. It was still good, though. And, miraculously, we got a block of a few hours on Saturday of simply free time, which helped a lot.
    • I probably could've made this its own post, but . . . oh well. It's a bit late for that now, I think. 
  •  After returning from White Sulphur Springs, we stopped at my grandpa's house for a few days, which was fun. Then we headed home for a week or so before the really big event of the month. That is . . .

  • I'm at college. What even.
    • We got here for orientation on the 19th, which was . . . slightly crazy, but not as bad as I feared. Everyone was very nice and welcoming, and my roommate and we got there early enough that I could get all my actual registration stuff done, plus go to all the talks I wanted to and get my room mostly organized that day. My family went to a local restaurant/ice cream place for dinner, and then we said goodbye . . . at which point the realness of college finally kicked in, and I had to go to bed quite quickly afterwards so that I didn't spend an hour or two either in shock or crying or both. 
    • But the next day was ok. And so was the day after. And the week after. And now I've been at college for almost two weeks, and I'm doing pretty well. So that's good. I'm enjoying most of my classes- most of them are pretty awesome, one way or another. (So are my professors. Particularly my New Testament Literature professor who references things like LOTR and Narnia in class when he's trying to make a point Yep. The last few class periods, I've actually been disappointed when they ended. Though my philosophy professor is great too- very smart, slightly sarcastic, very deadpan, and a bit intimidating because he's so very good at forcing us to think and think again and yeah.)
    • And I'm making quite a few new friends, I think, as well as meeting some who I'd known only online before now. (One of them is in my major, yay!) 
    • Oh, and my roommate is awesome too. She's a bookworm and a fantasy/sci-fi fan and very smart and incredibly sweet and pretty much just an amazing person. We get along well- we're both introverts, so we're cool with giving each other space when we need it, but we have enough common interests and opinions that we can enjoy hanging out with each other.
    • Also, the food is pretty good. I'm pretty sure my college is up there near the top on the list of Colleges With the Best Food. And if it's not, it should be. 
    • Plus the campus is gorgeous. I haven't visited a ton of college campuses, but I, in my biased opinion, will say that mine is the prettiest.
    • Basically, I'm enjoying college so far. And I'm writing all this so that in February, when it's freezing and snowing and I have a ton of homework, I can look back and say "Right. There's good things here, Sarah. Appreciate them. For five seconds before you go back to studying."
  • Um. Yeah. That basically sums up life for me this month. Not that I really need more . . .


  • So I'm still working on Fight Song. I've been keeping up with an average of about 150 words per day, which comes out to about 7.7K this month. Which, no, isn't a ton. But it's not bad either. And I swear that I am going to finish this novella eventually. Maybe Labor Day weekend I'll get super motivated and have a writing marathon day or something like that. Or I'll get way ahead in half my classes and so have more time for writing later. Or maybe a portal will open to Narnia and I'll go off there, have a great many adventures, and come back knowing exactly how to finish this book.
  • Basically, yeah, I'm in a writing slump. Part of me wants to just go back to editing- but I also want to finish this story so I can share it because I really, really like it. In theory. It's just the actual writing that's getting me down right now.


There is lots of it and it is glorious.
  • So, yeah. I basically was trying to make up for July, when I read next to nothing. Plus I had a few 8-10-hour car trips and a week without any real responsibilities, which meant plenty of time for reading. And thus I managed to get in 20 whole books in the month of August! (Plus one week of July, which I mostly spent on The Shadow Rising. It counts.)
  • So. Let's see. I usually start with highlights . . . which are really hard to pick. I've read a lot of really fun books this month, y'all. It's awesome. But it might mean that I just run through all the different books/series in some kind of non-preferential order. If that makes sense.
  • The month started with finally finishing The Shadow Rising, which was definitely a highlight. The end of the book was . . . interesting, as were the revelations about the Aiel. My feelings on characters haven't changed much from what I said in July, with a few exceptions. Namely, I love Perrin and Faile, and I'm very interested to see how Perrin reacts once he realizes what he's actually done here. I think I'm slightly less annoyed with Egwene than I was in July, though I could be wrong. And I have been informed that she becomes pretty awesome in future books, so we'll see how that goes. And I rather do not like Aviendhra- while I suppose I might sulk if I were in her position, I don't think I'd do it quite so much- and I also predict that she and Rand will end up married. Which, as I mostly ship Rand with Elayne, poses a bit of a problem. Oh well.
  • After finishing The Shadow Rising, I was ready for a long, long break from heavy fantasy, so I started in on the Fablehaven series, which was enthusiastically recommended and (in the case of the first two books) lent to me by a friend at WSS. I very much enjoyed the series- it wasn't amazing, but it was solid and had some pretty good storylines and characters. It also got surprisingly dark in bits . . . but it wasn't a bad type of dark, I don't think. I enjoyed the Beyonders series, another series by the same author that I read later in the month, much more; while the basic concept was slightly less unique than that of Fablehaven, I liked the characters and storyline more. 
  • Another series recommended to me by a WSS friend was the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, the first of which was Dealing With Dragons. It's a sort of fairy-tale-parody series, though I'm not sure if "parody" is the right word- it's not so much that it retells fairy tales as it takes place in a world where the fairy tales are the normal and accepted thing and basically determine how the world works. On the whole, it's a highly amusing series, and if some things occasionally seem to work out a bit conveniently, well, fairy tales tend to be that way. The first two books in the series were my favorites, but the second two aren't bad either.
  • Finally, a smattering of miscellaneous books: The Girl From Everywhere was delightful and time-travel-y and mysterious and I wouldn't mind sailing with Nyx and the crew for a while if that's all right? Enchanted Glass is a Diana Wynne Jones book which I've been meaning to read for a while, happened to see in the college library (there's an awesome section of classics, Middle Grade, and Young Adult fiction on the lower level; it's one of my favorite places on campus), and thought sounded like a good way to spend the second-to-last afternoon before classes started- and, happily, I was right. And, on the topic of books I happened to see in the college library: I also reread the second and third books in the Wilderking Trilogy, as well as the first two books in the Fairyland series- that's the series starting with The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. It was slightly weird, rather Lewis-Carroll-ish, but on the whole a decent read. (The second book isn't pictured above, for the record, because I only read about half of it in August- the rest I read this morning while I was on the exercise bike.)
  • Not pictured above is the book I'm currently reading for Western Literature: The Odyssey, which has been much more enjoyable and easier to get through than I expected. If I didn't have to answer questions about it every third section (not to mention do other schoolwork), I probably would have just read it straight through by now. If anyone's interested in reading a bit of Greek mythology, I definitely recommend it. (Do get the Robert Fitzgerald translation, though. I can't speak for any of the others.)


  • Yeah. So. This is going to be a thing now. My roommate is much more into TV and movies than I am- which is to say, she's spent more time watching them than I have. And, conveniently, we have fairly similar tastes in movies. So, yeah, movie/TV nights are hopefully going to be a regular thing when we're not too busy.
  • All this to say: if you can't guess from the image up top, I watched the first episode of Firefly, which is sort of a space-western thing! It's sort of odd and I don't quite have a good feel for the world yet, or how the characters got from where they are when the episode started (apparently in the middle of a battle for . . . somewhere? some planet? which didn't work out so well) to where they spent most of the episode (six years later, in space, smugglers, though I don't think they exactly want to be). But I like the characters and I like the plot and I'm not so confused that I can't keep up, and I hope that my roomie and I can find time to watch the next episode sometime soon. 
  • Then we had another movie night Sunday and watched GalaxyQuest, which is sort of a Star Trek-spoof thing . . . with a surprisingly good plot once you get through the painfully embarrassing beginning and the rather campy everything. Essentially, it's about six actors who played characters in a Star Trek-type show years ago . . . but somehow this show got discovered by aliens across the galaxy who assumed it was real. And so when the aliens find themselves in a mess, they go looking for the actors, thinking they're heroes . . . you can probably guess the rest, but the basic plotline is of a type that makes me very happy.

September Plans!

  • Obviously, now that school's started up, my life pretty much revolves around that. I expect that the amount of work will be increasing as the months go on, but I'm hoping to use Labor Day weekend to get a bit ahead in my work for some of the classes. (Since that'll mean reading a great deal of The Odyssey, as well as a historical fiction novel about the early church, I'm rather looking forward to that.) One nice thing about my schedule (that I didn't expect to be as nice as it is): I don't have any early classes, though a lot of my friends do. That means that I can often get a lot done before classes and then I'm mostly free in the evenings. (It also means that I don't have to lug more than the absolute minimum of textbooks across campus- very useful.) There are exceptions, yes, but I can almost always get the tiresome stuff out of the way early.
  • And I still want to finish Fight Song. Somehow. I keep thinking that "Oh, there's just one or two scenes more before the climax," but no, there's more like three or four or five. But it needs to be done by November and that's that.
  • And there will hopefully be a fair bit of reading-for-fun; since I try to get to classes early, I generally have five or ten minutes there where I don't have enough time to work on schoolwork but I do have time for a chapter or two. I'm going to finish the Fairyland series, and hopefully reread Reapers so I can finally get to Beyond the Gateway, and I keep telling my roommate that I'm going to read the Shatter Me series . . . Yeah. I won't be lacking reading material, despite having left most of my personal library at home.
  • And I'm trying to find a church in the area, which is an interesting process. I know where I'm going this Sunday, more or less, but the Sunday after- no idea. (If you know where I am and have a suggestion of a good church, please leave it in the comments!)
How was your August? What are your plans for September? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)