Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks, Father!

[Slightly edited re-post from former blog]


Today I celebrated Thanksgiving like I’m sure many people in America do: my family had a pitch-in at my grandma’s house. Lots of good food and family time, eating too many baked beans and too much Sugar Cream pie, oh, and don’t forget the ham, rolls and pumpkin pie.

Parts of today weren’t very good at all. My autistic brother had a major melt-down, and while we were at my grandma’s house, all the little kids – my brothers and younger cousins – were nuts! Honestly!

And sometimes it’s a bit hard to feel very grateful, especially when trying to work and get things done while your brother is screaming. Or while slogging through a muddy barnyard when you just so happened to discover that your boot has a leak in it.

But then…

…I really do have so much to be thankful for, and so many people to be thankful to. Like…

~ Father YHWH and Yeshua Messiah. He is my Father, my Rock, my Pilot. I really am the daughter of the King.

~ Family. Even though family life can be rocky, God put us all together for a reason and I love them to death.

~ Friends. They are my second family. And sometimes they help me stay sane! They are a blessing and I love ‘em so much.

~ My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, especially those that I know personally, and the others whose testimonies I hear and lives I look up to, strengthening my faith as I read about how they stand firm in countries where being a follower of Christ is illegal.

~ My animals. They never verbally talk back to me and they’re always available when I’m having a bad day.

~ Books! For years they (and animals) were my friends when I only had one human friend that lived a long ways away.

~ Technology. From cameras to computers, I’m amazed at how many things people have been able to design. Even in a MP3 Player, I see God’s Mighty Hand. Because honestly, if we evolved from pond scum, how in the world could we have the genius to create such things?

~ The Great Outdoors. I’m a Country Girl. Give me woods, fields, gullies, trails, and streams. Butterflies, coyotes, hawks, dolphins and snakes. I love almost any creature, and love simply wandering through cornfields, woods, etc., especially when I have my camera with me.

~ The Constitution, our Founding Fathers, and the ideals and application of a Constitutional Republic. I’m an American who loves her nation. Yes, I am ofttimes frustrated (and sometimes downright mad) with the path she is taking and the men and women paving that path, but the ideal that our country was founded on was pure. A place where a people – under God – could live, worship, work, and live out their lives and dreams in a place where Justice, Morality, a strong local government and a small federal government, were put into place. Our Founding Fathers, even though not all of them were “Christian” per se, had the character and Biblical morals instrumental in creating a great country, and even the non-Christians realized that God must play a central part in any successful nation.

~ The Freedom to worship YHWH without fear of man. This is slowly being lost, I’m afraid. And it will take some radical steps to keep it from going further. But we can’t give up.

~ Coffee. Or, more correctly, good coffee. Yeah, lame, I know, but…I love it.

~ Wind. Except for when I hate it.

~ Music. Well, most music. Screamo, hard rock and rap are not up my alley. But there’s nothing like a thrilling movie score, an Irish dance, an upbeat pop or rock song to get you moving, a heart-cry or a praise to Father, or a put-you-to-sleep piano piece.

~ Writing. I. Love. To. Write. It’s one of my several “creative outlets”, and I love (almost) every aspect of it.

~ Reading. I’d go nuts if I couldn’t read!! Already this year I’ve finished 71 books…and a lot of them have been of the deep sort, lol.

~ A good job with awesome Christian bosses. I can’t even begin to say how much of a blessing this has been! Not only do I get to work with/around animals, but it’s close to home and the people I’m working for/with are great and a good influence.

~ My Church. Even though I don’t know many people, Pastor C is cool, the people are pretty nice, the sermons always make me think, and the worship time is wonderful.


…if I went on any further I could be here all night ^.^

So, thank You, Father.

And Happy Thanksgiving, everyone =D

4Him,

~Hannah


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quinn

[Slightly edited re-post from my former blog]

I haven’t done a character post for a while. So next up is Quinn!

He was Teague’s best friend, also a slave, the only person Teague trusted for about five years or so. They meet when Teague was 11 and Quinn was about 16. He is usually quiet and non-confrontational, unless something he really cares about/believes in is at stake. But he also has a good sense of humor, and around friends loosens up and is himself a lot more. Noble too, but you’ll see why in a moment. But first, some background on him:

He is a Kaeren, a nomadic people-group that travel in the area where the borders of England, Arindrae and Dakron meet. He has the typical blonde-brown hair of the Kaerens, and brown eyes. His hair isn’t as long as a lot of men wore it in the Middle Ages, but covers his forehead and tries to hang in his eyes, being just slightly too short to do so. Kind of like what a lot of guys wear their hair like today; almost sheep-doggish but not quite. He’s kind of average in height and weight, tanned, and strong.

His clan was attacked by raiders, and at that point in time, the Kaerens were not warrior-ly at all. Fighting back would have been suicide, so they gave into the demands of their attackers and turned over a group of young men and woman as captives. Picked by lot, Quinn’s sister was one of the chosen. But he found out before she did, and insisted that he be sent instead because he was worried over what could happen to her. He wound up in Runnelfield, Dakron. Having a way with animals, he was valued for his skill in working with the cattle and horses especially. When he was younger, before the attack, he was a promising horseman. But now he isn’t allowed to ride.

A scar splashed across his right cheek, and several others that run from his upper shoulder down his upper arm are a constant reminder of his strong sense of right and wrong; a fellow slave escaped, and Quinn refused to saddle the horses for Loran and his men to chase the escapee. He got punched for being defiant--even though he managed to stay respectful during all that-- and fell into a brazier of hot coals, subsequently getting burned.

Along with Teague, he made plans to someday escape, but has much more patience than his friend, and is willing to play the ‘game’ until Loran and his overseers think he’s cowed enough that he won’t try anything. His quiet faith in God keeps him going, and as he grows older he begins to wish more and more that he had paid attention when he had the chance to learn more about Him.

Keeping Teague in line is a full-time job, or so it seems, and Quinn is the only one that (through most of their story) Teague respects and will listen to. They are like brothers, and make quite a pair; balancing each other out.

Well, there you have it; an overview of the awesome Quinn ^.^ I can’t tell much more or it would give away *SPOILER REMOVED*!

4Him,

~Hannah

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Christian

[Slightly edited re-post from my former blog]

Christian Zafar is Tori’s brother, and her twin. He is the quiet sort, and rather deep. I haven’t quite figured him out yet. He doesn’t talk very much, but when he does have something to say, most of the time you want to sit up and take notice because it is normally well-thought-out, true, and worth listening to. Somehow he ended up noble and awesome and just plain cool without me even really planning it. He was supposed to be the wild card, but he had different ideas!
His faith in God is unshakable, and he didn’t struggle as much as his sister did with how their life changed. Or if he did, he hid it so well that I didn’t notice.
He looks a lot like Tori; very dark brown hair, intense blue eyes. He’s about 5’8″, at least at the moment– he’s not done growing yet. An expert hunter and archer, he is strong, fast, and quiet. Right now he’s 16, but in the sequel he is going to be about 20.I’m hoping he will be more talkative in the sequel. He mentioned the other day – when a friend and I were talking about that in an email – that he really does have a lot to say, he just has to find the exactly right words to use. Which should come easier with age? We shall see. I’m planning on putting him through a lot during the sequel, so if that doesn’t make him talk, nothing will!
He’s very much a leader, too, although you might not know it at first. He is the quiet, yet firm, sort of leader. One that people probably like being led by. And he’s protective of his sister. I like him a bunch. He’s rock-solid and steady and as trustworthy as they come.
See now? Isn’t he cool? Okay, so it’s not the greatest, but it’s decently close to what he looks like.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Victoria--or rather, Tori

[Slightly edited re-post from my former blog]

Okay, so I have a slew of awesome characters. And I had a lot of fun doing that post about Teague, so I'm going to make a thing out of it and try to do one a week. Except for next week unless I am lucky enough to beg, borrow, or otherwise gain access to a computer with internet because I'm going to be out of town.

Victoria is next up on my list. She is my MC in Called, and is also going to be in the sequel I am currently outlining.

And I love her. She's awesome.

She prefers to go by Tori, and is currently 16, although in the sequel she is going to be about 20. A Dakronite by birth but an Arindraen by destiny, she has grown up knowing what persecution means. In Dakron, Christianity is outlawed and her parents were two of the many that paid with their lives for breaking that law. Having grown up in the forest, she is an expert with a longbow, and during the course of her story, learns how to use a sword as well. She also has a basic knowledge of medicine and herbs.

With slightly wavy, dark brown hair that reaches the small of her back, intense blue eyes and slightly tanned skin, she is of average height and slender. Due to all of her hard work and use of the longbow, she is a lot stronger than she looks.

As to her personality? I see parts of myself in her too! She isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in, even when it hurts. Having loved her former life, she struggles with trading it for a future that is at best shaky and at worst life-threatening. She can be a bit headstrong and outspoken at times, but usually knows when to keep her mouth shut and simply follow those older and wiser than herself. One of her biggest struggles that she has to face is being underground. When she was younger, a tunnel collapsed on top of her, and ever since, being underground turns her into a panicked, claustrophobic mess. And of course, being the authoress that I am...I make sure I put her in that situation at least once. For some reason she wasn't very happy with me during that scene. Imagine that. But she loves people and will try to be almost anybody's friend, and is a rather good listener. Originally, she was going to be the quiet, reserved one and her brother (who shall also get his own post) was going to be more outgoing, et cetera. However, it didn't turn out that way! She is the much more friendly and easy-to-get-to-know of the two, as well as much more impulsive and talkative. How odd...I think they like to throw me for loops.

Sadly I don't have a good drawing of her. Yet. And boy have I tried. I think the problem is that I see what she looks like so clearly -and actually she kind of looks like one of my friends in some ways- that I get frustrated when my hand and mind won't work together to create a perfect likeness. Grr.

I think that's it? Oh yeah, and she's reminding me: in the sequel, she and Teague wind up a couple. And that she loves horses and wants to try hawking (she does? Since when?). And that she dislikes dressing up and sometimes wishes she could leave Arindrae and the palace and the whole life of being a Zafar (Arindrae's royal family) and simply go back to being Victoria of Parridon and see Shael and all her friends again.

Okay. Now I think that's it. If not, well...she'll have to just pipe down and deal with it. Or I'll just be nice and come back and edit this post.

4Him

~Hannah

Monday, August 23, 2010

Teague and his novel(la), Plague of Darkness

[Slightly edited re-posting from my former blog]

Well, tonight I started the fourth revision of Plague of Darkness. The main character, Teague, is in three of the four books in the series I am currently working on.

I love this guy to death. He is definitely one of my favorite characters and I can see a lot of myself in him. Is that a good thing? I'm not so sure. But it is what it is.

Why am I writing about him, you may ask?

Because he's awesome.

Plain and simple.

And he's denying it. But I know it's true, and my other writer-friends know it's true. And his friends know it's true. So he should just stop protesting it and enjoy it. Although I think that the fact that he doesn't think he's all that great is one of the things that makes him special.

So just who exactly is Teague? And what is his story?

He has defined himself before as "A somebody who was once a nobody because somebody saved me, the nobody."

Yes, he has a sense of humor. And yep, it showed in that description he made about himself.

Currently, he is a 17 y/o Dakronite squire, who now lives in Arindrae (Dakron and Arindrae are two countries connected to England. Aye, I made them up.). But in part of his book he is as young as 11, and in the sequel to Called that I am currently outlining, he is in his early 20's.

With short red hair, a quick grin, and brown eyes that are smiling one instant and throwing sparks the next, he is tall, and strong from years of hard manual labor. Many scars from a whip lace his back and shoulders, criss-crossing and leaving very few areas on his back that are unmarred from numerous floggings. From Southern Dakron, he says "to" like "t'". And even though his name, which is of Irish origin, may mean Poet, he is not a poet at all (He finds that a continual source of amusement, I might add)! He does posses a rather quick temper, and has quite a knack for getting himself into trouble. Finding ironic humor in egging on those set against him, he often makes offhand, aggravating comments. Which of course lands him in even deeper trouble. Due to his rough past, trust does not come easily to him, but once he trusts someone completely, he would do anything in the world for them without holding back, even if it meant sacrificing himself. He is fiercely attached to his younger sisters and makes a great big brother. Even with all his problems with his temper, etc., he has a big heart and compassion, especially for "underdogs". And lately, a teasing, fun-loving streak has been showing as well. Which is quite fun, I must say. He has passion, too. No matter what he is doing. And sometimes has this most annoyingly amusing little smirk. He also loves swords and riding horseback. Sparing is one of his favorite pastimes. As is reading. Well, that's stretching things a bit. He's still learning how, and gets frustrated at how long it is taking. But he'll get there.

I have tried to draw him several times (and even did a drawing of him with his best friend), but couldn't get it exactly right. But...

Teague

...this is him. Well, mostly him. 'Tisn't perfect, but 'tis decent.

As to his story? I love it. Honestly. Love. It.

And I'm all excited about working on it again. It is getting bigger (Hooray!), and better, and I'm having fun with it. Although he isn't. Ah well. Such is the life of a character; we authors give them a rough time.

Here is the synopsis of his story:

Plague of Darkness

Torn away from everything and everyone familiar in the darkest hour of his young life, Teague wanted nothing more than to give up. But when a new friend provides a promise, his tenacious spirit clings to it and refuses to give in, to be trampled.

Oppressed into illegal slavery, he dreams of regaining his freedom. And his family. He wants one more chance, wants to be rid of this downtrodden existence, yet he fears the chance won't come.

Several years later his life is once again overshadowed with darkness. A darkness that nearly crushes him.

With nothing left to lose and everything to gain, will he give in, or will he accept help from an unlikely source that requires him to set aside his mistrust and doubt, placing him at the mercy of a stranger?

Did I mention that I love this story and its protagonist?

4Him,

- Hannah

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

[Short Story] The Ride

[Slightly edited re-post from my former blog]

I had a little misadventure on Saturday, and decided to turn it into a short
story.
This is copyrighted (c) to Hannah Mills and SwordOfInk.com, and may not be copied for any reason or in any form without direct permission. Thank you, and enjoy!


The Ride


After enlisting my brother’s help in wrestling with the utterly uncooperative spurs and leather straps for upwards of fifteen minutes, and after finding out that the pair with the straps
attached don’t fit and that we then have to wrest the straps off that pair and worm them onto the larger pair, I finally walk out the door, the spurs making a very cowboyish clinking sound with each stride I take.

A grin spreads across my face. They sound cool, but the straps need another hole punched in them; the spurs keep jiggling around, bouncing up and down. I don’t have time to do that today. I only have so much time to ride; tonight Dad is giving a presentation
at church, and I am going early with him to help set up. So I need to get out
there and ride soon, otherwise I will not have time to get ready to help Dad.

Grab the tack out of the garage. Round Becky up, give her a quick brush-down, clean
her hooves and spritz her with bug spray. Slide the bit into her mouth. Cinch up the girth strap.

All set, with my helmet in place, the foam inserts pressing a little too snugly
against the sides of my head. The sun is warm, pelting my head and shoulders, glistening off Becky’s dark coat and making the leather of the saddle shine. Hot, but not as oppressive as yesterday. Or the day before, when temperatures climbed up to 105F.

I mount up and head off, trying to figure out exactly where my spurs are in space, and how close is too close when I am not wanting her to go anywhere but straight and at the same evenly paced walk. We head to the orchard, and I rub my left heel against her flank, trying not to poke her with the rowel. Her tail swishes in slight annoyance; she doesn’t want to turn. I press the spur against her with a bit more pressure, and lay the left rein firmly across her neck. She turns, her ears flicking back and forth.

We head down between the rows of trees to the open space of land beyond; it is about the size of some show rings, or a small arena. She dislikes the spurs already as we walk and trot across that strip of land. She prances and sidesteps, quite a lot of spunk for a twenty-two year old horse! But then, she has always had spunk.

Oops, we just found that doggone hole, the one that I couldn’t locate because the grass is too thick and high. Thank You, God, that she didn’t break her leg! She wants to go faster. Fine with me, but is she warmed up enough? I think she needs more time before we can canter or gallop, we’ve only been going for about five minutes. I guess we’ll just fast-trot. We turn around, and she snorts again and starts acting up as the spurs jingle about. I think they must be bumping her sides, even though I am trying to keep my heels turned out a bit. Stupid stirrups, they are still too long! It is hard to keep a good seat and keep my feet in the right position at the same time. Maybe I should have used my English saddle today? That one fits right. Oh well. I haven’t ridden Western for a while anyways.

She’s tugging on the reins. Faster still? She’s already eating up the ground at a spankin’ trot. If I let her go faster when she’s in this mood, she will try to get her head and take us toward the barn. Again. She throws up her head, then ducks it down, and kicks up her heels.

“Easy, girl,” I say, trying to keep her head up.

Stupid stirrups! I need them to be the right length! I can ride out bucks so much better when my feet are firmly where they need to be. The spurs must be hitting her again. Oh blast, she’s getting out of control! She’s bucking harder, faster, speeding near some saplings. Steer her away, you say? I can’t! We’ll smash into that other row of trees if I do!

I’m going to get hit in the face with the branches. I just lost my left stirrup. She’s still bucking. Give and take on the reins. Grip the saddle horn with my other hand. Gotta stay on. Gotta stay on.

I’m going, I know it. I can’t keep on, not with these trees in the way, not with the way she is freaking out.

Has she ever bucked this hard before?! She’s acting like a three-year-old in a rodeo. Wow, this is a lot from such an old horse!

I’m going. Going. Going.

I’m flying off. Make sure my right foot gets out of the stirrup! I can’t be dragged! I’m sailing through the air.

Thud.

I hit the ground hard. I can’t breathe. The wind is knocked clean out of me. I
hurt. Why am I grunting? I sound like Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker. I roll onto my side, then onto my stomach. Why am I making these weird noises? I can’t
stop! Every time my body tries to take a hitching breath, all that happens
is a strange, garbled sound. I can’t stop them, even though I try.

It feels like something is squeezing my chest. I roll onto my back again, staring up at the walnut tree leaves above me. I can finally breathe again.

Did I land on my back or my stomach? I can’t remember. My chest hurts with each breath. Somehow, my glasses didn’t go flying off. That’s good. Where’d Becky go? Oh, please not to the
W----‘s, or down to the road. I hold still, waiting.

After a few moments I slowly sit up. Nothing broken, that’s good. How stupid of me; if only I’d taken the few extra moments to punch another hole in the spur straps. I pull myself to my feet.
Where should I start looking for Beck? I trudge through the knee-high grasses. I still hurt. But I’m intact. I see Becky standing in front of the barn, swishing her tail and grabbing at some weeds. Thank You, God.

I unfasten the spurs and leave them on the sidewalk, thinking that I just might keep them for photography and aesthetic purposes only, retiring them from active duty.

I mosey over and start sweet-talking in a sing-songy voice to my ornery horse. I can’t get mad
at her, well, not too mad. It was rather my fault she threw me. She’d been telling me before she started to buck that the spurs were driving her batty. I pick up the reins, thankful that she didn’t step on one of them and hurt her mouth. I tell her I’m sorry, that I shouldn’t have ignored her. And I can’t help but make mention that even though I didn’t listen, she didn’t have to throw such a fit.

I lead her back over to the grass, out of the rocks. If I don’t get back on now, it’ll be harder the next time. Yeah, my back hurts. Yeah, I still have a funny hurt in my chest when I breathe. But
I have a ride to finish. Without spurs, I assure her, and rub my feet against her barrel to prove it. I make her go back the way we came, and retrace part of our route at the same speed, minus
the bucking.

Now? Now I have a need for speed. Even if she bucks again, which she often will out of the sheer fun of it. So we head off to the neighbor’s apple orchard to see if the apples are ready to pick, stopping along the way to talk to my grandma, who is out pulling weeds in her yard. I try to make light of my incident as we chat, but she worries and fusses. I assure her I’m fine.

After sharing a couple of apples, Becky and I are careening around the front of the
neighbor’s property. She eyes an overhanging pine branch, almost as though she is thinking about swerving me into it. But she doesn’t, with a little help from me.

I ignore the nagging, annoying, weird feeling in my chest and just enjoy the speed. I could ride at this gait for an hour, it is so amazing. But she’s getting sweaty; her coat under the saddle blanket is wet. I need to get ready for church anyway.

So we head home, stopping on the way to say hi to Dad and my youngest brother, who
are leaving our driveway to run an errand.

I un-tack Becky, clean her up and feed her, and lug the tack back to the garage. I feel really tired now, like when you crash after running on adrenaline. I probably was on an adrenaline high, from the way my heart rate skyrocketed while I was getting thrown, I think.

Mom nearly panics when I tell her of my misadventure. Teasingly, she says that I should just quite riding.

“But that would be like saying to quit doing everything!”

She laughs. “Then quit doing everything!”

“Okay. I’m not doing the dishes any more, because that’s doing something!” I say with a
smirking grin, pointing out that while yes, I could have been badly hurt or killed today, she could drop dead just standing there talking to me. No matter what we’re doing, when it’s our time, we are going to go. So I just don’t worry about it.

She rolls her eyes, making some comment or other about me being a smart-aleck or something like that.

I can’t help but grin. Boy, am I going to be sore tomorrow. But hey, I learned something. And I might even try those spurs again-- once the straps are fixed.