The Seven-Seven-Seven-Seven Challenge

Mary Kate at Sarcastic Scribblings tagged me in the 7777 Challenge, and seriously, this thing is so cool.

In a nutshell: you go to the seventh page of your WIP, go to the seventh line, copy the next seven paragraphs to post on the blog, and then tag seven other people.

So, first off, go to Mary Kate's post, because her snippet is absolutely hilarious.

And mine is below....

[Background:  A number of people have been captured by the enemy, and in order to rescue them, my characters need to get across the mountains.  However, only a few people know how to get across aforementioned mountains, and the paths are guarded by very large and fearsome tigers.  Most people don't even get close to them for fear of death.  So they are trying to find people who are brave enough to go with them and fight the tigers and all that.]

[Also remember this is a first draft...I haven't gone over this since I wrote this back in the beginning of November for's not my best work.]

“...He is the Prince of Ristor, and should not risk his life needlessly.” Rayn settled back in his chair, his fingers tracing the edge of the armrest.  “You should not grudge him of it, Marywyn.  He can't come.  As for your brother, he might have the skills, but he is one man.  We need more than one, for tigers can and will attack many at once.  We might be able to rally a number of the Silencers, but they are leaderless, and may not be willing to follow us.”

“Could I talk to them?”

“You could.  But you are not a warrior, Marywyn.  Warriors do not need words to put them at their bravest.  Warriors need their leader - the one they look up to.  That’s where they get their strength and their bravery.”

I closed my eyes, attempting to keep the still fresh tears away.  “What about you, Rayn?  You’re the Second in Command of the West Band.  You’re the Captain now, come to think of it.  You can lead them.  The Silencers will follow you, at least.”

“I’m not their Captain, and they know it.  The Silencers died when he did, Marywyn, and the West Band is nothing without their leader.  I can take the command, but not with the spirit and strong sword they need.”

We stared at the table in silence for a moment, and Rayn continued.  “A well-trained horse will always behave and perform well for any rider, but he will ride best with the one who rides him most - the one he bonds with.  We might be a strong force, but we are the strongest with our Captain.”

Redenah cleared his throat.  “You must learn to battle without your captain.  You must learn to lead them yourself, Rayn.”

There you have it!  Excited?  Want to hear more?  Let me know in the comments!!!

The Re-Tag

And, in return, I tag...

Sarah @ Pen of a Ready Writer (I love her writing...I really do)
Jem @ Jem Jones, Writer (because I desperately need more of her Three Sisters snark)
Evangeline @ I just Happened (payback time, bro)
True @ A True Writer (because she's new and we need to know more about her WIP)
Brianna @ No End of Books (again...I want to know more about the books)
Kalan @ Kalan Olivia (her WIP sounds pretty interesting, IMO)
Keturah @ Keturah's Korner (cause she's a writer and artist and everything)

*whew*  I'm glad I don't have to tag 7,777 people....

It's Over (In Which Julian Daventry Tries Her Very best Not to Cry)

It's over, guys.  It's done.
I have officially finished the first draft of Words of Peace.
From a journey that started early 2015, I have reached the next milestone.  Three finished first drafts to complete the trilogy.  Now it's on to the edits.
So much has changed in this trilogy since I first started writing, and I love every single new detail.  There is a lot that will have to be fixed in editing (*cough cough* the second book is in an entirely different POV *cough cough*) (and let me not mention the characters who were removed or added halfway in) (and tons of other discrepancies) but I'm really excited to start this next step in my journey.
For the record, this book is my longest yet, finishing off at a super 114K words.  I don't over-write scenes, but I'm not a bare-bones first drafter, either.  It mostly just depends on each scene and how I feel as I write - so some scenes will be trimmed, some added to, a few scenes removed, and others added.  So I'm not sure what the end word count will be.
*runs off to celebrate*

The Writer's Book Tag

Sarah at Pen of a Ready Writer tagged me on this a week or so ago.  I enjoyed reading her answers (she loaned me all her Kingdom Series books so I could read them), and can't wait to share my answers.
First Draft
A Book or Series You've NEVER Read Before

There are a TON of popular books/series out there that I haven't read.  Most of them are because I really don't read a lot of non-Christian authors (especially newer books/authors).  I read a lot of old stuff growing up (homeschool style!), and now that I've just discovering the realm of Christian-authors/Christian fantasy, it seems like I have less and less time and interest in reading fiction.

I'm just going to go with one I hear about a lot - the Percy Jackson books (I don't even know the title of the series??).  They sound like they're extremely funny, and have some really interesting characters but I just don't want to read a story about the Greek/Roman gods being real.  I have better things to do with my reading time.

Second Draft
A Book or Series You Didn't Like as Much the Second Time You Read It

I haven't done much re-reading lately, but about half a year ago I got a used copy of Book of a Thousand Days.  I had read it to my sister a while ago, and remembered liking it.  This second time, however, I didn't enjoy it as much.  I think I had forgotten how much Asian culture was in it (as in, praying to the gods, and such), and so on second reading I found her prayers a little annoying, as well as completely disliking the conclusion.

Final Draft
A Book or Series You've Liked for a Really Long Time

The Wilderking Trilogy.  Hands down.  I fell in love when Mom read them to us years and years ago, and still enjoy them now.  The covers are so cool, and there's nothing bad I have to say about these books.  They're funny and full of adventure, with cool characters and great Scriptural themes.  You'll find alligator wrestling, court intrigue, panthers, and examples of faith and friendship.  Plus, there are maps and poetry!!!  (Feechie poetry, anyone???)

Killing Off Your Characters
A Book or Series that Made You Cry
Don't laugh.  This one makes me cry every time.  You get attached to this cute little dog and her way of seeing the world, and the ending....oh, it's beautiful.

(I especially love how the author manages to write Squirrel as a realistic dog.  The things that happen to her, the way she reacts and thinks, are all fairly realistic.)

Plot Holes
A Book or Series that Disappointed You

I know...everyone is startled to see an Andrew Peterson book under that heading.  But I have a good reason: I was hoping this book would have a little more about the characters I had come to know and love during the Saga.  And while this book was adorable and fun and entertaining, it was not what I had hoped for (save for a few cameos, which were great!).  Once I realized I wasn't going to find out what happened after the ending of The Warden and the Wolf King, I was able to do re-read and enjoy it a lot more.  But my first reading was quite disappointing.

Writer's Block
A Book or Series You Haven't Finished

I started off with high hopes for the 100 Cupboards trilogy.  Orphaned boy finds cupboards in an attic that lead to other worlds???  So cool!!!   But then....I didn't get into the story, and didn't like the characters (at all), and there was more magic than I like in books, and there is not as much cupboard exploring as I had hoped for (things even got super confusing in the second book; I never really knew what was going on).  If I ever come across a used (cheap) copy of the third book, I might grab it up, if only to finish the trilogy and find out what happens to the only character that I liked.  But I'm not dying to find out.

A Book or Series That You Would Recommend to Anyone

The Ilyon Chronicles!!  They are quickly becoming a favorite.  Great characters, no magic, epic adventures...  My brother just read them all as well and is even considering re-reading... (and he doesn't read a lot of books like these, so that's saying something).  Only downside is the series isn't finished yet....and the next book might be a while....  *goes to sit in a corner and cry*

I tag....

~Anyone who has read at least one of these books I mentioned and make sure you mention which one on your post
~Anyone who has (or had) a dog and talk about your dog in the post
~Anyone who has recently gone on a run (how long should it be to actually qualify as a run is up to you) and explain what you were running from or where you were running to on your post

But these are the rules:

1.  Shout out to the blogger who tagged you
2.  Tag three people
3.  Use the graphic

As an additional note, I'm hoping to post once a week (on Wednesdays) for the next few months.  I'm trying to work on making my posts better as well as have them prepared at least a week beforehand, and so I'm going to make it a little easier on myself.  :)  I'm doing a big writing push to get my WIP done, and it's taken a lot of my blogging time.  I was going to post this on the 7th, but ran into technical difficulties at the last minute...

January Highlights

One month down, eleven more to go!  And then we can repeat all over again...and again...and again...

Really, I spent most of this month shivering indoors.  But the good news is, that means I was able to get some indoor stuff done (such as writing, cleaning, and such like).

Writing Updates

Words of Peace  //  I am so close to finishing the first draft!  My current word count is 96,849, and I suspect it will definitely get over 100K, and probably end around 110K or so.  I just have a few things to sort out, namely, the ending battle, and then giving everyone their happy (or not so happy) endings.  And it'll be done.

Songwriting  //  I had a song I wrote (it's actually sung in Words of Song, and again Words of Peace) but while I liked the tune, I personally has trouble singing it.  So I wrote a different tune that I'm able to sing, which makes me happy.

Reading Updates

The Rise of Aredor  //  I had been considering reading this book when it went on sale, so I snatched it up then and there, mostly because I like buying things at really low prices.  XD  I read it earlier in the month (on the way to my Ultra, actually) and it was everything I like in a story.  Very clean, no magic, some Scottish accents, and great characters and adventures!  I would call it a Narnia retelling, mixed with some Ivanhoe, as written by G. A. Henty.

Bound: Two Broken Souls. One Journey.  //  This was a very cute little story about two children running away from abusive homes, and going into a foster care family and coming to the Lord (bonus points for the foster parents reading the Bible every evening!!), but the story lacked a little something.  A few places were rough, and I felt as if the author was just slapping some emotions on the characters without making sure they would really be going through them.  But overall, very cute.  :)

Gospel Conversation  //  I started reading this about a week or two ago, originally under the assumption that it was about how to keep your speech as becoming the Gospel (cause I'm super awesome and didn't read anything else about the book before grabbing it).  Well, I had forgotten that "conversation" can mean not just your words, but your whole lifestyle.  So I am reading about how to keep your conduct as becoming this Gospel.  I haven't finished it yet, but when I do, I'm going to find a book on actual conversation to read.  But I am certainly getting quite convicted as to my conduct, and that is always a good thing!

General Update

I haven't been running much since my crazy 33 mile run.  Just two 4ish mile runs on the last two Saturdays.  But that's mostly because the weather is cold, and I don't like to be outside when it's cold.

I traded one of my horses for a cow and some goats.  (Yeah, I live in a super rural county, and it's awesome.)

I got a different notebook for my bullet journal.  Once I get it looking halfway decent, I'll maybe do a photo tour post on it.

I froze multiple times.  We got a fair bit of snow recently....and yes, I did go sledding in it.  But I also hid inside and drank hot chocolate on the first day.

In the Blogging World

The Order of the Pen member Ella created an author platform!  So, very excited for that!
Lila changed to a new blog.  I mean, it's beautiful.  Check it out!

Snaps joined the blogging community.  So go pop in and say hello while you're at it....

Savannah started a cool new series - flipping clich├ęs!  The first post is about mentors.  :)

Ivie guest posted for Rebellious Writing.

Melissa posted some questions for creating fictional monarchies, which is super helpful!

Sarah did a mini series (part one and part two) on meal prep bowls, which are super cool.  (And Julian happens to like food...)

Lisa blogged about why you need to read aloud to your family, which was great!

A bunch of other posts happened, but I can't link to every single one of them, or this post would be super long and so full of amazingness it would explode into I just picked a few things....

Bring it on, February!!  (But no more snow, please.  I'm ready for some short-sleeve weather!)