Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Break

NOT our Christmas tree
    It’s finally here!
    So far I've eaten about two dollars in chocolate coins, watched two movies (Nanny McPhee 1 & 2), finished two books (Every Breath and Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing With Fire), and worked  a (very little) bit on developing some story ideas. Our tree is finally up, and even though there’re no presents under it yet things are starting to feel a lot more Christmassy. 
    Summer was my dry season in terms of writing inspiration, but since autumn I've been bombarded with ideas. I’m trying to let the good ones develop as organically as possible (read: I’m hoping they’ll magically fall into place with the bare minimum of effort). Outlines and character sketches don’t work for me if I don’t already have a good sense of the story; my characters almost always become paper dolls, stuck with whatever traits I assign them but no real personalities of their own. Still, I’m hoping to get some actual planning--however loose--done during break. We’ll see how that goes. What I’d really like to do is sit back and relax. Finish more books. Eat more chocolate. Watch as many movies as I can before my brain rots. 
    So, what are you guys planning for your breaks? Are there projects to be tackled or naps to be taken? Most likely I won’t be posting again before January. Until then, merry Christmas!  

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas/New Year Playlist

     Nine of my favorites this year (you can listen to them here.) Do you have any favorite Christmas songs? 

Monday, December 15, 2014

My Writing Wish List

   Christmas is coming! Since I love everything about the holidays except doing any actual work, I thought now would be the perfect time to share my writing wish list. These are some ideas/concepts I’d like to turn into stories one day…so if you love scatterbrained, super-vague ramblings, read on! (And if you’d like to see the post that inspired this one, check out Kara's post at Diary of a Teen Writer.) 

1. A Christmas story 
    Because of this tradition, which I first read about in The Tailor of Gloucester: “But it is in the old story that all the beasts can talk, in the night between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the morning (though there are very few folk that can hear them, or know what it is that they say).” This screams magic and strangeness and I NEED to write about it. I’d also love to sneak in a A-Christmas-Carol-like vibe. Something along these lines…
Because A Muppet Christmas Carol is the BEST version. Ever.

2. A funny story
It doesn't get much vaguer than this, but I love wacky plots and outrageous characters. I hope there’s an element of both in most of my stories, but I’d love to write something where I can give humor free rein.   

3. A story with a Dear Frankie-ish vibe
This movie is lovely--almost like a modern day fairy tale. There’s something about the mood and aesthetic of it that's incredibly inspiring.  

4. A mystery/crime story
Born of my undying love for three TV shows--Sherlock (of course), Criminal Minds, and Liquidation (a Russian miniseries set in the Ukrainian city of Odessa after World War II). 

5. A story with pirates
Because I love sea stories in general and pirate stories in particular. Also, I will never tire of this song: 

6. A Neil Gaiman rip-off 
I’ll never stop being influenced by this guy. His books are full of strangeness--a sense that magic and danger lurk just beneath the surface of ordinary life. I would really, really like to replicate it (in my own way, of course). 

7. A story inspired by Greek mythology
Rick Riordan has pretty much cornered the market on all things mythology-related…for now. Any story I write would actually be inspired by a few things: actual Greek myths, Percy Jackson, and Disney’s Hercules (both the movie and the Disney Channel TV show). 

8. A story about sisters  
  I live with three of them, so I have PLENTY of experiences to draw on. I don’t think they’re enough books out there with realistic sister relationships--the kind where they’re as likely to do your makeup and say you look gorgeous as to tell you that you look like the Elephant Woman while kicking you off their bed. 
9. A fairy tale
Do I even need to explain this? I’d especially love to write something inspired by British folktales--"Tam Lin", "A Fine Field of Flax", "Mossycoat".  

'Rapunzel', a German fairy tale in the collection assembled by the Brothers Grimm was first published in 1812.  The Grimm Brothers' story is an adaptation of the fairy tale 'Persinette' by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force originally published in 1698.  This painting of Rapunzel is by Emma Florence Harrison

Friday, December 5, 2014

An Award (or Three)

   First of all, a huge THANK YOU to Christina over at fairy skeletons for nominating me for these awards! Before we go any further, hop on over and visit her blog--it’s always funny, fantastic, and interesting. (Besides, if the name 'fairy skeletons' doesn't make you want to check it out, I don’t know what will.) 

The Rules:
  •  Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  •   List the rules and display the award.
  •   Add 7 facts about yourself.
  •   Nominate 15 other bloggers.
  •   Follow on blogger the person who nominated you.

My Facts: 

1. Occasionally, I drink my coffee black. I always regret it.
2. I love spiral bound notebooks.
3. Or any kind of notebook. I have a major stationary addiction. 
4. As you've probably deduced from this blog’s title, Peter Pan is one of my favorite books. If I could live anywhere in Neverland, I’d pick the Mermaids’ Lagoon.
5. I’ve eaten more than my fair share of Turkish Delight. 
6. I love a movie with a good soundtrack. Some of my favorites are Gladiator (Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard), Peter Pan (James Newton Howard), Braveheart (James Horner), Labyrinth (Trevor Jones and David Bowie), Treasure Planet (again, James Newton Howard) and The Secret of Roan Inish (Mason Daring). 
7. My favorite mythical creature is the selkie

Best Blogging Buddies Award

The Rules:

  • You must make a post to show your award on your main blog.
  • You must tag the person who nominated you in your post.
  • You must nominate all of your best buddies, and those whom you want to become best buddies with, who, to your knowledge, have not been nominated for this award.
  • You must ask your buddies at least 15 questions in your post.
  • You must answer all of the questions your buddies ask you on your post.

1. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do that you managed to finally get done this year? 

   Last month The Teacup Trail accepted two of my flash fiction stories, “Fox Sister” and “The Girl Who Swallowed the Sea” for publication. I’ve wanted to publish a story for years, and finally reaching that goal felt almost unreal--I still can’t quite believe it.   

2. Name five things you genuinely and wholeheartedly like about yourself.

   I have very thick, extremely curly hair which I love when I’m not trying to style it. My teeth are straight, thanks to braces and retainers. I have a pretty good sense of humor. My taste in books, movies, and music is obviously impeccable. And I happen to own two sets of gorgeous toes. 

3. What’s your favorite part of blogging?

  I love coming up with ideas for new posts. I love playing with the formatting to make sure everything looks just right. I love clicking ‘Publish’! The actual writing is usually the hardest part, but it’s what makes everything else worth it. Seriously.  

4. Describe your writing style (in blog posts or creative writing, your choice!) in three sentences. 

   My writing is (I hope) very character-centered. My ideas begin as concepts with characters attached. I love a sense of strangeness or otherworldliness, and hope that comes across in my own stories. 

5. Is there a song that’s currently stuck in your head? If so, what is it?

    "Aisling" by Shane McGowan & the Popes. I replay my favorite songs until I’m absolutely sick of them, and I’m not done with this one yet. Give it a listen; the tune is addictive. 

6. If you could only eat one kind of fruit for the rest of your life, what would it be?

  Raspberries. Or strawberries. Or pomegranates…

7. What language(s)--real or fictional--would you love to learn?

  I took Russian lessons for three years (my Mom’s family is from Russia) but never applied myself enough to actually learn more than a couple of words and phrases. I still love the sound of the language, though, and if I could do it over again I’d try harder.

8. What is your opinion of silence--that all encompassing, thick-as-a-blanket kind?

  It depends. If I’m on my own, I love it. If it falls in the middle of a conversation, I’ll do anything I can to start the conversation back up again--or escape. 
9. Without using the Internet or the news, predict the weather for tomorrow (be as far-fetched or practical as you want). 
   Snow. Ten feet of snow. 

10. In the movie Rise of the Guardians (which I personally love), each guardian has his or her own “center”, or a single value that makes them who they are. For example, Santa Claus’s center is “wonder”.  What do you think your center would be?

   Honestly? My center would probably be stubbornness--and not always in a good way. I tend to get stuck in one way of doing things and resist any kind of change. 

11. If a movie was made about your life, which actors/actresses would you put in the cast?

   A fabulously talented and as yet unknown actress to play me, and Benedict Cumberbatch to play…somebody. Anybody. 

12. How do you like your eggs cooked (or do you not like eggs at all)?

  Fried, with plenty of salt and pepper.

13. How would you describe your fashion sense?

   Casual. I love jeans, sweaters, and T-shirts. I like jewelry but usually wear only earrings. And I love painting my nails, even though I have never owned more than one bottle of nail polish at a time. 

14. Do you have an “aesthetic”? If so, describe it for us!

   Since a picture’s worth a thousand words…
♠ clock is counting down | via Tumblr
Vine Climbed Coat
bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils

  15. Absolute favorite poem?
   The Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

The Lake Isle of Innisfree 

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made: 
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade. 

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings. 

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.  

  •  Thank the person who nominated you.
  •  Leave a link to their page.
  •  Give a brief story about how you started blogging, and share some tips.
  •  Nominate 15 other bloggers
  •  Notify your nominees by email or comment

How I Started: 

   'Third Star to the Right' is actually my fourth attempt at blogging. Since I’d never met with much success before, I dragged my feet for months before starting it. I’m glad I did, though; I had plenty of time to figure out what I wanted my blog to be about. 


 1. Have fun! 

 2. Before starting, read as many other blogs as you can. Get a feel for what you like and what you don’t. 
 3. Tinker with your template to get a nice design, but don’t stress over it too much. 
 4. Don’t worry if your first posts sound uncertain or awkward--that’s part of finding your voice. And don’t wait to compose ‘the perfect post’. Write your best post, publish it, and start another one. 
 5. Don’t edit your post after you’ve published it. Move on. Write a new one. Just don’t spend the rest of your day fiddling with commas and quotation marks. 

  This is the part where I should list my own nominations. Unfortunately, I don’t know many other bloggers yet (and most of the bloggers I do know have already been nominated). Lame excuse, I know. So, if anyone would like to participate in this tag, let me know in the comments and I’ll come up with 15 questions for you! In the meantime, you can check out Christina’s answers here.  

Photos via The Forest Marketplace, Pinterest, and We Heart It 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November Reading Recap: Pirates & Road Trips

   Confession time--I actually finished a few of these books (very) late in October. I have no idea why I didn't read more this November. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I've grown into my computer.

Second Star – Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
“Here is the story of Peter Pan recast as a love triangle set in the endless summer of the modern-day California coast.” 
Lost boys run away to Neverland Kensington, an abandoned beach community,  to get hooked on fairy dust and surf. The love triangle resolves itself after a few chapters and the rest of the story oozes the same surreal, wonderfully sad vibe that I loved in Peter Pan.

The Girl With All the Gifts

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Girl With All the Gifts is my second zombie book, and I enjoyed it much more than I did my first (The End Games). My opinion may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I pictured Ms. Justineau looking exactly like Martha Jones.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney
Hilarious, as usual.

Spook School by Sue Purkiss
I've had a thing for funny chapter books ever since I discovered the Time Warp Trio years and years and years ago. Spook School is right up my alley--despite the menacing In-Spectres and his horribly old-fashioned teacher, Sir Rupert, Spooker Batt must try his best to pass his Practical Haunting exam. I received this book in a giveaway hosted by Sue Purkiss at her fantastic blog, A fool on a hill....

Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly - Kindle edition by Gail Carson Levine

Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine
This is a book I always meant to read as a kid (10-11ish) but never did. If I had (and if I’d actually taken its advice, which, considering my 11-year-old self, I HIGHLY doubt) I’d have become a much better writer much faster. This book has some great exercises, plus fun extras like the original beginning of The Two Princesses of Bamarre. 

Jackaby by William Ritter
Fun, funny, and a little bit spooky. It does have a bit of a Sherlock/Doctor Who feel, but stands on its own just as well.
“ ‘Well, if we didn't sail together, how did you ever--ah, you must have snuck a peek at my luggage labels.’
‘I did nothing of the sort. That would be an impolite invasion of privacy,’ the man stated flatly as he picked a bit of lint from my sleeve, tasted it, and tucked it somewhere inside his baggy coat.” 

Silver: Return to Treasure Island

Silver: Return to Treasure Island by Andrew Motion
You could say Treasure Island and I have a rocky relationship. When my Mom tried to read it to out loud my sisters and I made her stop after the first few chapters. (Two words: Blind Pew) A few years later I read it for school and hated it. A few more years later I watched two very good and very faithful movie adaptations (Muppet Treasure Island and Treasure Planet) and decided to give it another try. I adored Treasure Island the third time around. Silver, aside from not having as much of the title character as I was expecting, is a much grimmer and more philosophical story. Honestly, I’m not sure what I think of it.

Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant Series #1)

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
I checked this one out based on Cait’s recommendation over at The Book Chewers, and I adored it. Talking skeletons, secret names, dry humor, wax museums…it’s a glorious cocktail of weirdness that you need to try. Now.

  So, what did you read this November? And do you have any recommendations?

Monday, November 24, 2014

How Writers Get Ideas


     Me: *watches new Cinderella trailer*
Me: I wish Helena Bonham Carter was my fairy godmother. 
Me: I wish Johnny Depp was my fairy godfather. 
Me: Ooooooooo….

   This is how I get 99.9% of my ideas and I can’t believe myself am not afraid to admit it. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Publication News: "Fox Sister"

    So…I nearly drove myself crazy trying to find a snappy way to say this. Then I realized there’s nothing snappier than--

   I’m getting published!

   My flash fiction story, "Fox Sister", will be appearing in The Teacup Trail on November 30th. 

   Yes, I have milk in mine, at least if it's black. And look at the animated image at the linked source. :)
    The Teacup Trail is an online lit and art magazine dedicated to all things speculative. I've wanted to publish something with them for ages (read: I bombarded them with submissions) and am beyond honored that they accepted this story. I planned to write up a nice little post about how I wrote "Fox Sister", and the inspiration behind it…but honestly I’m so stupefied I don’t know what to say, besides that if you've always longed for a (very) short story about a girl and her fox, this might be your cup of tea (heh). It started out as a horrible draft that moldered in my freewrites file for months before I rewrote it from scratch, and I’m very happy with how it turned out. I can’t wait for you to read it. 

   EDIT: "Fox Sister" is up! You can check it out here.  
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Sunday, November 16, 2014


   Blogs have never ended well for me. 

   Still, what better time to try again? Autumn is my favorite season--the season where I have more inspiration, more ideas, and no free time. 

    Some things you should know--

  About me:

   I love to read. Fantasy and realistic fiction are my genres of choice, but I’ll try just about anything. I can’t get enough of myths, legends, and fairy tales. I love fantastical worlds, humor, heroes, antiheroes, family drama, high adventure, and the adventures of everyday life. My favorite books usually mix at least one of these with a healthy dose of weirdness. Some of my favorite authors are J.M. Barrie, Neil Gaiman, S.E. Hinton,  Heather Dixon, Gill Lewis, Emily Murdoch and Ursula K. Le Guin.

    I love to write. Again, my favorite genres are fantasy and realistic fiction, though I've written a ton of fantasy and very little realistic fiction. I've written many, many horrible stories and a few good ones. Humor is pretty much a requirement, along with that healthy dose of weirdness. Inspiration-wise I’m influenced by everything from The Lord of the Rings to Disney movies.

   About the blog:

    I have no idea where this is going. I’d love to use Third Star to the Right as a place to share my writing process, current projects, favorite books…or anything I can work up the energy to type up a post about. I’m nothing if not flexible. Whatever happens, I can’t wait to see how this turns out.