Favorite Literary Couples

While working on edits for Betrayal and Bravery, one of the plot threads I dutifully need to, well, edit, is the romance (or should I say, romances, as there are a couple of them, some prominent, others not so).  Which got me thinking (and the thinking was helped by Olivia’s post) about romances and couples and such in books.  And as I continued to ponder this, I wondered, which ones are some of my favorites?

Jace and Kyrin from The Ilyon Chronicles

Jace and Kyrin have such a lovely story.  They’ve been through a lot, but they help each other out and push each other to become better people.  I love reading their interactions and conversations and it's so cute.  :)  Kyrin tried to become friends with Jace, even when other people pushed him away, and Jace will do anything for Kyrin, and they're just adorable together!

Farimir and Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings

I grew up with the extended editions of the movies, so I knew from the very beginning that they got married at the end (thanks to a cute extended version scene).  But when I read The Return of the King, it made their story more much lovely... how they met in the Houses of Healing, and how Eowyn realizes that she doesn’t need to be a Queen and be looked up to by all the people to be happy.  And it’s about time Farimir had a happy ending...

Henri and Eglantine in How They Kept the Faith

Granted, this entire book made my heart ache, and not just the romance in it.  At first I was a little disappointed in Eglantine marrying Henri instead of Rene, but as the book went on…they ripped my heart out!  Their regrets, their struggles, their decisions (good and bad), their love, everything about this story was masterfully written.

Eben and Lily from The Firethrown Chronicles

I expected not to like Lily (it can be hard for me to like main female characters, for some reason), but I really enjoyed reading about it, and I instantly liked Eben.  Their relationship was just very entertaining, and I just knew they would be perfect together.  And especially when her father, the King, agreed with me.  Instead of all "no, you need to find some rich prince to make better ties with the kingdom" he was just "yeah, you two are a great pair, you have my blessing."  :D

Finn and Enna in The Books of Bayern

From the moment he appeared in Forest Born, I loved Finn.  And when he married Enna, I was quite happy.  But then I read the other books in the correct order and saw all the stuff that these two had gone through to get to that marriage in the last book...and I loved their tale.  (Because I’m such a confused person I read the last book in the series first, and then read The Goose Girl, and the other two.)  Enna gets on my nerves, but I still love her as a character, because she reminds me of myself sometimes, and Finn is just so kind-hearted and heroic.
(Also, it’s just briefly touched on, but I think there is a bit of romance between Conrad and Rinna??  And I personally think those two should get a happy ending together.  They’d make a nice pair, amiright?)

Garrett and Annie in The Herbalist’s War

I fell head over heels in love with this story, despite expectations that it wouldn't be "quite my genre."  I loved the characters and the plot, but especially I loved Annie and Garret.  Watching them care for each other, build each other up, be there for each other (and their friends), and giving praise to God through all the pain they go through...it pulled on my heartstrings.  *cries*

Timothy and Leetra in the Ilyon Chronicles

These two... I think they are my ultimate favorite literary couple.  I especially love their story, and how Leetra slowly came around to realize she loved Timothy, and how Timothy was there for her from the beginning, and they ever so slowly grew closer and closer...my heart just about melted.  As soon as they first looked at each other, I knew: I wanted them to be together.  Leetra herself is a fairly interesting character to read about, and Timothy is just golden.

Has anyone else read these books?  Love these couples?  Disagree?  (Fight me!)  This isn't an all-inclusive list; just the ones that came up in my head first.

I’m also following up sometime next month with a favorite fictional friendships (non-romantic).  Maybe even make a series out of this, and talk about other things in books I love?

Invite Yourself to Tea

I'm sure we all have had it happen before (maybe many times).  You get the news that company is coming, and your mom whips into action.  The floor must be swept, carpets vacuumed, lawn mowed, toys put away, horses brushed, garage organized, bedding washed, and meals prepared.

Or maybe the company is someone who comes over so many times, you barely feel the need to cook a fancy meal.  They are practically part of the family, so you might clean up the floor a bit, and make an extra cup of tea.  And that's it.

And what do you do with your company?  Do you sit in the living room for an hour and catch up on all the latest news?  Maybe show them around the house?  Take them somewhere interesting?  Maybe play a game?

My family usually takes guests to the local state park or the historic settlement closer to town.  If hiking isn't their thing, we might just give them a quick tour of our farm and then sit around and talk.  If the weather is nice, maybe play some Frisbee, or some Daventry-style Croquet.  Maybe we'll ride the horses, or even ask for some help with a farm chore.  It mostly just depends on the people who visit, and what they like to do.  (One family that visits us a couple times a year is really into Dominion, and so we often play some pretty competitive rounds with them when they come.)

But I got to thinking...what would happen if you visited your characters?
Would they clean their house up, or are they comfortable with you seeing the every day dirt and stuff lying around (or is their house always spotlessly clean)?  What would they serve you?  What special places in their town would they want to show you?  Anything important to them (like their favorite bookstore)?

For example, in Words of Peace, Marywyn visits Nahale and Ondore's home.  The visit is fairly unannounced, so their mom doesn't have lots of time to clean up (since it's winter, there's lots of half-melted snow and bark from the firewood by the door, and extra fur coats and blankets piled in the corner).  But she readily welcomes Marywyn (and the other guests), gets her a hot drink, and they all sit down for a warm meal.  Their father reads the Edicts aloud afterward, and everyone is given a comfortable place to sleep.  In the morning, Nahale wants to take everyone to see the museum, even though it's a bit run-down and forgotten.  They end up having a snowball fight on the way, but don't get to see much of the museum, as an important incident happens...

Scenes like this may seem simple and even a little ordinary, but this does two very important things: they give a hint at the world the characters live in, and also tell the readers something about the characters themselves.

In this example, you can learn that Nahale's town has a museum (and likely events in their history worth telling), yet not many find it exciting in the current day.  And since Nahale thought it was worth showing, you can see he has different interests than the general populace, and apparently enjoys history (and snowball fights, lol).  Their parents are not frazzled by much, and readily accept a bunch of newcomers into their home.  They also are not ashamed of being Chosen, but hold family worship as normal, with the addition of their guests.
The trip to the museum could be a bit of an info dump, if some pretty important stuff didn't happen there.  Since I needed them to be doing something when the news hits, I thought, "Why not throw in a touch of world and character building while I'm at it?"

If you can sneak tiny little bits like this into your writing, it will make the characters, the world, that much more real - with the added bonus of not bogging down the story too much.

The Comp Title Challenge

So I was reading Lisa's post and couldn't help but think how exciting the tag was, and how it would be cool if I could do it....and then she tagged me at the end and I was super excited!!!  I couldn't wait to start comparing my stories to other books out there!

And then....I ran into problems.

What books are my stories like???

We all try so very hard to stop from being rip-offs of other stories, so we all try to not write them with already published works in mind, right?

So after some (extremely long) consideration, this is what I have for y'all today.

Here goes....

The Betrayal and Bravery Trilogy

Forest Born meets Common

When I first read Forest Born, I instantly fell in love with Hale's writing, and I just remember thinking, I want to write a series just like this one!  And while I promise I'm not intentionally copying stuff here (or writing fanfiction), there are similarities: A simple village (or forest born!) girl ends up going on adventures with some heroes (sort of by accident), where she meets people who have a powerful way with words.
And I have not read Common yet, but when I was reading the blurb for it, my first reaction was "This is a lot like Betrayal and Bravery!!!"  A red-haired girl who works in the castle and stumbles upon a secret and has to save the day with some underdogs and gets banished and needs to gather her courage."  So yeah, this book is on my TBR...partly because I want to make sure our books aren't too similar, and also because it sounds really cool!
(Hey, a book review - consider that as a bonus)
(Also, can you review a book before you read it??)


I really struggled over this one, and finally turned to Sarah for help.  She usually does a wonderful job helping me with things like this, because she knows my stories well, yet is able to look at them from different angles. 

This is what she suggested, and I'm going to go with it:

The Wilderking Trilogy meets The Lord of the Rings meets The DragonKeeper Chronicles

I agree with the Wilderking Trilogy part, as a lot of this book takes place in the trees.  There are wild people in the darkest parts of the forest.  However, Havendenara is much more creepy, in my opinion, then the Feechiefen (and a little less muddy and alligator infested).

The Lord of the Rings, in the sense that the MC, Raul, is born to become a leader, yet he is hesitant to take his place (this goes more in line with the movie Aragorn, rather than the books).  And there is an epic journey, and fights with creatures in dark, underground tunnels, and great companionship.

And The DragonKeeper Chronicles because there are bands of different races joining together.  Now, that's what Sarah said - I read the first book years ago and remember nothing.  So I'm just repeating what she said.

Stars of Darkness

Y'all may or may not have heard about this trilogy, and the summary below should explain why I don't talk about it much, lol...

Your typical horse story meets the Avengers

Yeah, I know.  That's...yeah...*crickets*  I don't have any other words to describe it.

The basic summary is: Charlotte gets her first horse at an auction, finds out the horse is specially trained for galactic warfare, and begins training with PASS (Planetary Assistance and Surveillance Services).  She joins a team of other horse-riding warriors and fights the bad guy who's trying to take over the universe.  They fight on horseback, teleporting to the rescue of other planets.  But can Charlotte become a team with her horse, who might have been sold at the auction for a reason? 

Char ne Rayft

The Ilyon Chronicles meets The Silmarillion

*cues evil genius laugh*
When I first started reading Resistance, the first thing that popped into my head was, "I feel like I'm reading Char ne Rayft."  (Hopefully this is a good thing.)  Something about Jaye's writing style and characters really reminded me of some portions of this long series of mine.  The world, the peoples, the characters, everything just has a Char ne Rayft vibe to it (at least in my opinion).
And did I mention that Char ne Rayft is a "history series" that goes along with Heritage of Kings, a series I'm co-authoring with Evangeline??  That's where The Silmarillion bit comes in.  Following the rise and fall of heroes, villains, bloodlines, hatred, and love, the series sets up some very important events that take place in the other series, Heritage of Kings, but can also be read as a stand-alone.
"Char ne Rayft.  You know what that means?  It's the Kaltish words for bird and wolf.  That's what's got the Santer riled up.  The green bird sword and the wolf arm band - the emblems of two fierce houses.  The people they stand for will never bow to the rule of the Tyrant, they will never give in, the hatred remaining in their blood, and try as they will, the Santer can never stamp that out."
I'm getting shivers down my spine just thinking about this series.  (Should be getting to those edits after I'm finished with Betrayal and Bravery and Rauladin.)
And I believe this might be the first time I've talked about this series on this blog?
Also, I tag:

Have fun and I can't wait to see your posts!!  (And please don't kill me Evangeline, I know you're going to hate doing this!!!!)

Liebster Award 2018

Whew!  Only a few months into the year and I've gotten around to being tagged again for the Liebster Award....and this time there are questions to answer (and ask) and facts to give...guess it gets fancier every time, hmmm?

Special thanks to True for tagging me!  Go check out her blog ---> A True Writer <--- 'cause it's awesome!

The Rules

Thank the person who tagged you
Answer the 11 questions they gave you
Give 11 facts about yourself
Nominate 11 other bloggers
Give them 11 questions to answer
(What's with all the 11's??)

The Questions

What's your favorite flower?

I think Hydrangeas are really cool.  I mean, they change color depending on the soil they are planted in!!  Is that not really interesting or what??

If you could be any character for a day, who would you chose? (And what would you do in that day?)

Oy.  I'm really happy being me, y'know?  But I do think it would be fun to be someone with skills that I don't have, just so I could do something different than normal...like plant a garden or use the Force or throw a battle axe or sing opera.

Favorite part about blogging?

Meeting other bloggers and making friendships and just chatting with other, like-minded writing folks!  I've met some pretty epic people in this blogging world, and I love getting to know them, learning about the WIPs, and encouraging them!

Cats or dogs?

Horses all the way!!!  (Or cats.  Cats are good, too.)

What song always puts you in a good mood?

Jack O' Lantern
I admittedly play this on repeat while driving in my car...it's relaxing and motivating and beautiful and everything I love in a mandolin song.

And I can't help but add Knob Creek, another old favorite that I recently remembered and have been listening to on repeat as well...

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Somewhere I can trail ride with my horses.

Or are you talking about like "fly across the ocean to Europe" kind of "go anywhere" question?  Because if so, I'd kinda like to go to Iceland...and ride some Icelandic ponies.

(I can practically hear Sarah and Evan groaning in despair.)

Favorite ice cream flavor?

Anything with "stuff" in it (besides nuts, I'm not a fun of nuts in my ice cream or cookies).  Like Moose Tracks, or ice cream with fudge or M&Ms.  Even plain flavors with oreo crumbs or stuff sprinkled on it.

What's your favorite quote?

"Nothing might happen, anything is possible."
Basically the motto of my family.

What is one achievement that you are really proud of but might seem weird to other people?

Running a 33-Mile Race.

What book would you always recommend?

 The Wingfeather Saga, by Andrew Peterson

Who is your biggest source of inspiration?


I write at the same time, every day.  My brain is used to this, and starts kicking into creative mode at 10:00 every night.  (Is this why I can be yawning my head off at 9, and then wide awake at 10:30??)

The Facts (all 11 of them)

1.  I am ambidextrous. This is good, because I have weak wrists, and it makes it easier for me to switch back and forth when I'm writing for a long time.
This is bad, because whenever I learn a new thing (like tennis), I honestly have no idea which hand to use and end up switching back and forth and not do really well with either.

2.  I can back a diesel truck and a four-horse trailer all the way down my driveway and around trees, and frequently do so when I go on horse trips (because it's easier to load things right at the house than further up the driveway, where the trailers are kept).

3.  I have a long (2 inch) scar on my hand, and I have no idea how I got it.  I was farm-sitting for a friend, and after taking care of all the animals, I got back in my car and noticed I was bleeding.  *raises eyebrows*

4.  I've been to Belarus, Germany, England, and traveled all over the US.  I like to say I'm a homebody, and I kind of am, but I also really enjoy adventures (as in, going to new places).

5.  I love bumper stickers, and am slowly starting to build a collection on the back of my car.  When I run out of room, I'm going to start putting them on the back ramp of my horse trailer.

6.  My entire family loves books, and we have five bookshelves in the den, four in the kid's toy room, 2 in the dining room, as well as three of us have a bookshelf in our own room.  (You should see us when we go to used book stores...it's like a child in a candy store.)  We frequently buy extra copies of books just so we can give them away to friends (or just have extras).

7.  I currently have three horses.   

Cord, a Paso Fino, is my first horse.  We had been looking for "that special first horse" for a short amount of time, and learned about him from a friend.  We tried him out, and decided to discuss it.  A few days later, my family was hiking in our woods, when my Dad got a phone call.  He then told us that we all needed to go home.  Well, we get back to the house, and guess who's running around in the pasture??  Cord.  :)  Daddy had bought him and made it a surprise!  (Right now, Cord is 30 years old, retired, and ridden by little kids only.)

 Pepper, a Friesian, is my go-to horse.  I got him four years ago, after selling my crazy previous horse.  I went to an auction, hoping to get another Paso, like Cord.  Something small, fast, and gaited.  The fell beast I came home with was huge, slow, and prone to bucking.  I have put blood, sweat, and tears into this horse, and he has finally become a dependable trail mount that I can trust with my life.  This guy will do anything - pull a cart, carry the kids, Ride and Ties, obstacle courses, you name it!

Bree is my newest horse (as in, I just bought him March 17th), and he's a Quarter Horse (a breed I never thought I'd own, tbh).  I went to the local horse auction with no intention of buying anything, even going so far as to say, "I couldn't buy anything even if I wanted to, as I don't know how to bid at an auction."

Well, I rode this little horse around, liked him pretty well, and thought, "He's going to go way over my price limit, so let me just try bidding.  It'll be good practice for me, after all.  I'll just stay in for a couple bids and jump out."

Well, after a couple bids, the other person jumped out.

Me:  Welp, looks like I have another horse.

8.  I love Beta Fish, and at one point in time had over 10 of them, all in separate tanks on my desk.  Now I only have one at work, and his name is Chalmers (though Evan insists that his name is Urple).

9.  I really like baking cookies.  :)  Thankfully, my family likes eating cookies.

10.  I believe in Exclusive-Psalmody.  That means we sing only Psalms in Worship (because there is no clear warrant for singing Hymns).  Hymns are fine for singing throughout the day, but when we come before God in public and private worship, let us only sing what He had commanded and given us to sing instead of make up our own songs.

11.  I don't have an accent at all, which makes it easy for me copy other accents when I'm in foreign countries (I got mistaken for being Russian numerous times while in Belarus, and came home from English with a Brittish accent which lasted quite a while).

The Re-Tag

And anyone who has or has had a Beta fish.

Their Questions

1.  Would you rather never eat a taco again, or never eat pizza again?
2.  If you had to completely remove a character from one of your books, who would it be and why?
3.  What sounds more fun to learn - sign language or braille?
4.  Who is your least favorite fictional character? (Feel free to unleash a rant!)
5.  How did you pick your blogging name (what made you pick a penname or go with your real name)?
6.  What song could you listen to on repeat and never grow tired of?
7.  What song have you listened to on repeat and actually grown tired of?
8.  Favorite horse breed?  (Or color, if you're not a horsey person.)
9.  First Bible verse you ever memorized?
10.  What's a game you would play anytime?
11.  Provide a link to your favorite post on your blog.

Please forgive any re-tags, and I can't wait to see your answers!!

Now that the Special is over, I'll be back to posting every Wednesday, and hopefully I'll be able to keep up with replying to other posts.  :)