Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Pen Right Through - Poem

The last stanza of this poem is one of my all-time favourites!

Photo by János Fehér

A Pen Right Through
by Grace Pringle

In my heart they drove a pen,
An act of iteration
To reach a desired end.

Straight through, they struck my heart.
A fire did consume my mind,
Tearing my chest, a flaming dart.

The ink injected,
Coursed through my veins
Controlling and infected.

A damaged passion did ensue,
With a wounded heart,
And a pen right through.

Still the command did call,
And forced me to write,
The story of everything and all.

With pen strokes uncertain,
A wavering mind,
Closed a word-ridden curtain.

Pulling that pen from my chest,
I wrote with that weapon,
A story that will never rest.

Other poems by me:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Book-Themed Wedding + Cake

The other day when I posted this blog on Christmas cookies I realized that I have never posted any pictures of my awesome wedding cake.
It was a book-lovers dream come true and I owe it to a friend of mine who made it as a wedding gift. Since my husband and I both love to read and write it fit our personalities perfectly!

Book Cake Wedding Theme Sabriel Lord of the Rings Jane Eyre
Book Cake Wedding Theme Sabriel Lord of the Rings Jane Eyre

Book Cake Wedding Theme Sabriel Lord of the Rings Jane Eyre

We chose three of our favourite books with the Bible open on top:
Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkienthe
Sabriel - Garth Nix
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

Book Cake Wedding Theme Sabriel Lord of the Rings Jane Eyre
 It was a butter pecan cake with cream cheese icing ^_^

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Baking - Easy Sugar Cookie Recipe

What have I been doing besides slacking off on my blogging duties and being boring? I've been baking! Lots and lots of cookies...

They are plain sugar cookies decorated with lemon icing. Very easy and yummy! I plan to give some as gifts to friends for Christmas.

Sugar Cookies

2/3 Cup Butter
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla or Almond Extract
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 3/4 Cups Flour

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer. Add the eggs, mix, then add the other ingredients.

Roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to make shapes. Cook at 375 for 7 to 8 minutes. It makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

For the icing it's simply a matter of mixing lemon juice and icing sugar together to the right consistency (liquidy without being runny)

What kinds of recipes do you make for Christmas?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Pros of Being a Writer

There are many reasons why I decided to become a writer; here is a list of some of them.
I'd love to know your reasons for doing what you do, too!

Photo by: Kiuko

- I get to work from home.
Writing is something that I can do and still be a stay at-home Mom and house-wife. I have to balance those roles but it's awesome to be all three.

- I make my own hours.
This is a good and bad one. Sometimes when I answer only to myself it becomes easy to take a day off, or several in a row... But, on the plus side it means I am not confined like I would be if I had to go to work at a certain time everyday. Though making work hours for myself does help me get things done. But I get to choose those work hours!

-The creative side.
Of course this is a big one. It's thrilling to see a world you thought up come alive on paper. I love being able to entertain myself and let my mind run wild and be able to say that "I'm working!" The secret is not giving up when you don't feel creative.

-Writer's make awesome friends.
Because of writing I have met inspirational and amazing  people. When you meet another writer there is an automatic connection and hours and hours of interesting and wholesome conversation can be created. Also, knowing other writers has created a support for me. They encourage me.

-It keeps my mind active.
I find that writing keeps me from going numb mentally. It keeps the gears going in my head. When I haven't done any writing or attempted to stretch myself creatively I do not think half as clearly as I should.

-Good literature.
One personal reason I want to write books is to create young adult literature that's both entertaining and thought provoking. I am not impressed by pointless and empty "fluff" in books. I will admit that every now and then I want to read something mindless and easy but, on the whole, I crave books with substance.

Tips on staying Motivated when you are writing.

Monday, September 3, 2012

1,000 Page views!

My blog has reached 1,000 page views!!! (1,004 to be precise)
Maybe this is a silly thing to celebrate, I know there are some blogs that recieve more views than that in a day. But I am celebrating because of all those 1,004 people who viewed my blog, perhaps I have, in some small way, affected some of their lives.
So, I shall now do the happy dance in my bubble of joy! (The baby is joining in too, though that might just be in response to the music I'm listening to)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Books and Babies

 I have some big news! I'm 16 weeks pregnant! (The baby is 13 weeks in this picture)
My husband and I want the gender to be a surprise so we are trying to come up with girls and boys names we like. It's a lot more difficult than I would have thought. I like names that have meaning and when you think about naming a human being it makes the responsibility a serious one. The baby is due February 8th so I am hoping to get my book Silver Blood all polished up and sent off to publishers before then.

For the past month or so I have been working with my sister in-law who is expecting a baby this December. She has a Masters in English and has been extremely helpful with editing. In fact, she's been doing most of the work. I recommend her skills! We will be finishing up soon. I had hoped this to be the last big over-haul before sending out query letters to publishers but I recently read a chapter on editing in the book "From Inspiration to Publication." put out by Writer's Institute Publications. It mentioned some things to look out for in a manuscript that I had not thought of before. So I fear I shall have to tackle my book with editing one more time.

There's a quote from a friend of mine that makes me laugh and sums up how I feel about editing:

"Writing is the fun part, editing makes you wonder what was wrong with you when you wrote it..." - Karoline Bondyra

Editing is not my favourite part of writing. However, in the past few months I've slowly enjoyed watching my story get better and better. I have learned to love thinking of new ways to improve it. I've learned that there's fun in improving, not just creating.

Is there any part of writing that you did not like but have learned to enjoy?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Writer's Market Books

Back when I first decided I wanted to be a writer all I thought about were writing books. Since then I've learned a lot about the writing world. I still think about writing books but I have also discovered that there are a lot of opportunities for new writers. One of them being magazines.
There are many magazines looking for freelancers to do articles for them. It doesn't matter if you're 12 or 20, it is very likely a magazine out there is interested in what you have to say.

 One of the best ways to find these magazines is to buy a writer's market book. If you do a search for them you'll find ones with lists and lists of topics for you to write on. I'd say it's a fundamental tool for any freelance writer. You could also do a Google Search for magazines but a writer's market book will give you more choices and over-all information than you'd be able to get in a full day of internet surfing.

You might be thinking "I don't know what to write about." Well, I thought the same thing a couple years ago but I learned something since then that has given me confidence: write about what you know.

When someone approached me about writing for her homeschooling magazine my first thought was: "But my Mom's the one who homeschooled!" Then my friend reminded me "You might not have been the one doing the homeschooling but you are on the other end, the one who was homeschooled." And since then writing for the magazine from a graduated homeschooler's perspective has given me all kinds of ideas for articles!

If you're alive than you've had life experiences, write about those. If you've had trouble with something chances are that someone else has too and would like to know how you dealt with it.

It's important to do research on the magazine before you query them with your article/short story/poem so you know what age group and what topics they publish, if they like what you show them they might even ask you for more!

Monday, July 9, 2012

One Heart - Poem

One Heart

When you held me close and we said not a word,
The pounding of one heart is what I heard.
I could not decide if it was yours or mine,
It must have been our hearts combined.

- Grace R. Pringle

True Story.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Short Story: We Did.

This is a short story I wrote on the idea of growing up and losing the innocence of childhood.

We Did

“I want to go up there.” Kate told Jimmy who was lying on his back next to her in the grass.
“You can’t,” he informed her with a sigh “you need wings and it is very cold in the sky. The clouds are mushy and wet too.”
“I’ll ask for wings and a raincoat for Christmas.” was her even reply.
“How are you going to ask for those when you have no one to ask?”
“I don’t know, but I’ll think of some way.” Kate closed her eyes and drank in the sunlight that penetrated her eyelids,
“I’ll learn to fly and you will too.”
 “Jimmy,” Kate stood in the backyard, watching him throw a ball at the fence with all his might: BAM! Catching it again when it came back to him: THUNK.
“Jimmy,” Kate repeated “why are you doing that?”
“I’m mad.” He told her and threw the ball again. BAM!
“Why are you mad Jimmy?” THUNK. Jimmy caught the ball and gripped it until his knuckles turned white.
“I’m mad because I’m sad. Everyone is gone away and no one is coming back.” BAM! THUNK.
‘What about your brother and mother?”
“They’re gone.”
“And your father?”
“He can’t come back. He would want to if he could but they put him in the ground.” BAM! THUNK.
“Why did they do that Jimmy?”
“They won’t tell me,” BAM! THUNK “they tell me I’ll understand when I’m older but I want to understand NOW.” BAM! THUNK. BAM! THUNK. Kate put her small hand on his arm.
“It’s okay, Jimmy, I don’t understand it either. I’m not going to go though, I’ll stay here.”
“I know,” Jimmy dropped the ball at his feet and his shoulders sagged “But I don’t know how long you will be here before you go too.”
“Kate,” Jimmy tilted his head back to look up at the night sky above them “do you want to visit the stars with me one day?”
“Yes, Kate nodded “one day I would.”
“Why do the stars make me sad Kate?”
“Because they remember all the things we have forgotten.”
“What have we forgotten, Kate?”
“If I knew that, the stars wouldn’t be sad.”
“Do you think we will remember one day, Kate?”
“Maybe, but I think that every time we remembered what we forgot a star falls down. So, perhaps it is a good thing we forget, if we didn’t, there would be no stars.”
“If we visit the stars I am sure there are some things we will not help but remember. Do you still want to go with me, Kate?” Kate was quiet for a long moment and then she nodded and whispered,
“I will because it is worth the risk.”
 “Jimmy,” Kate was confused “Jimmy, Why can’t we? I don’t understand.”
“I have to go, Kate, I have to go away.”
“But why, Jimmy? You said we were going to visit the stars.” Jimmy shook his head.
“They are too far away, Kate.”
“But what about learning to fly and understanding all those things we don’t know?”
“Kate, no one can learn to fly, and I understand those things now. And Kate… I don’t want you to understand them. You need to stay the way you are. I WANT you to stay the way you are.”
“And what way is that, Jimmy?”
“Innocent, Kate, believing you can fly and that you can visit the stars.”
“We CAN do those things, Jimmy!” Jimmy closed his eyes and shook his head again.
“This is why I have to go, Kate. If I stay you’ll change, I’LL change you and I don’t want to. I love you the way you are, Kate, I don’t want you to become like me.”
“What is the matter with being like you, Jimmy?”
“You would not understand, Kate.” Kate’s voice dropped to a lower note,
“Because you won’t let me, Jimmy.”
“The Jimmy you know no longer exists, Kate.” Jimmy hung his head.
 “What are we, Jimmy?”
“I don’t know, Kate.”
“I know, Jimmy. We are halves, halves of a whole. So, you see it is you who do not understand. If you did you would understand you and you would understand me and you wouldn’t go.”
“If we are halves, Kate, who split us apart?”
“We did, Jimmy. We did.”

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chinese Curry Noodles

My husband and I live only a three minute walk away from a Chinese grocery store and so have found ourselves trying all kinds of new dishes. I have had a request for this recipe so I am posting it here for you!
The recipe is one I've come up with so there aren't definite measurements.

You will need:
-Chinese style instant noodles (the Wai Wai brand)

-Shrimp (the tails removed) or pieces of chicken.
-Garlic cloves
-Sesame or Vegetable Oil
-Soy Sauce
-Red Pepper Flakes
-Honey/Brown Sugar
-Lemon Juice
-Chicken stock
-Vegetables (I like to use onions, carrots and celery but you can choose your own)
-Curry Powder
-Salt to taste

Add whatever else you would like. Egg and water chestnuts are good Chinese ingredients.

First, fill a medium sized bowl or pot with the hottest water from your tap. Take about half a package of noodles and let sit in water until needed.

-Put some butter in a frying pan on high. Cut the garlic and add to the melted butter. Add shrimp.

At this point you can add the sesame oil,  soy sauce, red pepper flakes, honey and lemon juice. However, these are not mandatory and you may skip out on them if you like.

Cook shrimp until liquid in pan has all but disappeared. Remove from heat and put in bowl.

-Put chopped up veggies and, in pan, fry with a minimal amount of oil. Add about 2 teaspoons of honey. Fry until onions are translucent or until veggies are JUST tender. Not too much or else they become too limp.

Add shrimp back into the pan of veggies.
-Pick noodles up from out of the water and hold above the sink until drained. Add the noodles to the pan along with the chicken stock, curry and salt. I like to put a lot of curry in but decide how much you want by tasting it. (if the spices don't mix in well with the noodles add water) Fry just long enough to heat noodles. Make sure the noddles are not too dry. Half a package of noodles will make enough for about five people.

Remove from the heat and enjoy!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Spinach Fritters

A writer has to be healthy, right? Well, I don't know about you but spinach isn't one of my favourite vitamin-packed foods. So I was pleasantly surprised when I tried this recipe - and actually liked it! It's slightly spicy (but not overly-so) and makes a fairly easy side-dish. I have my own small twist on the recipe.

Lentil Spinach Fritters

3/4 of a cup cooked lentils - drained (You can use a can of lentils if you want to make things easier)
3 1/2 cups spinach - chopped
3 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons green onions
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon cilantro - chopped
3 Tablespoons Flour (or more)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 garlic clove

Directions below.

1st you want to process the lentils in a food processor with about 3 tablespoons of water. I don't have one so I use a blender.

Chop the spinach into small bits and add it to the lentils.

 Next, add the  green onions, cilantro and other ingredients.
Now, this is where I add my own twist. In the original recipe you do not process the other ingredients, you just mix them with the lentils. I, however, found that the fritters did not cook as well when that was done. You can just mix the other ingredients in if you like but I prefer to blend them so the batter looks like this:
 Add extra flour or water until you are satisfied with the batter's consistency.
Next, add oil to a heated pan and fry the batter like pancakes until they are light brown.
I am sorry that this picture is so low quality, it makes the fritter look burnt, but it is actually dark green.
Serve them warm with sour cream. 
If you opt for the un-processed spinach it'll look like this:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Editing, You Plague Me

*Gasps for breath* Well, I've been running a marathon! An editing one, that is.

Yesterday I realized, to my despair, that I had to do some major editing in certain areas of my book Silver Blood. Cutting, pasting, fitting, dissecting, ect. Or, as I told my husband "I am going to preform surgery!"

It is very difficult to completely remove an element from a book. In my case I had to remove a character (minor but scattered throughout the book) and move information from the middle of the book to the back.

Airith, one of my main characters, falls in love with X-Sayda, the wild daughter of an Outland chieftain. She encourages Airith but then betrays him by marrying someone else for power. After her husband is poisoned (suspicious, anyone?) she decides that she wants Airith after all. By then he has realized what sort of person she really is and refuses her. Though the Witch Queen encourages Airith to marry her to gain power and influence.
Originally X-Sayda is only met or mentioned a few times in the book, her and Airith's past relationship is only hinted at.
I decided: "I should add more of their relationship to the book." So I did.
Then I realized: "By adding all these extra parts I am making my word count higher than I want. And how am I supposed to make this all time-consistent?"
So I said: "I'll just take her out completely!" Then I realized she was involved intricately in a major part of the book. So....I made her a minor part again. Sigh.

Have you ever had to remove parts from your book/writing or add parts that gave you grief?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ode to the Crow - Poem

This is one of my poems that I am pleased with. It's about how I feel when I hear a crow's call in the early morning. It's an eery sound and hauntingly beautiful feeling.

Ode to the Crow
by Grace Pringle

Ode to the crow in her sturdy nest,
Ode to the morning’s peace and rest.

Ye be a bird of dark intent,
You are the silence’s torment.
Yours is a lonely lament,
A call to shake, rip and rent,
The dawn’s slumbering calm.

Early light in the waking night,
The morning and darkness unite.
Stirring softly and glowing bright,
The peace takes flight,
Shattered by a harsh bird’s cry.

Ode to the crow, ode to the morn,
One cries out in scorn,
The other, to be born.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Nature Museum

Where does the inspiration that fuels your writing come from?
Movies? Other books? Dreams? Conversations?

Mine can come from all of those, inspiration seems to hit when you least expect it. Today I went somewhere I never thought to go for inspiration - a nature museum.
 In my family it used to be tradition on birthdays to go to the museums here in Ottawa (Science and Tecnology Museum, Nature Museum or the Aviation Museum) Of all of those my favourite was the Nature Museum or "The Castle Museum" as we liked to call it.

Can you guess why?

I, however, had not been there in years. So, I made a point to visit it since I now live in Ottawa. Today was National Museum day so my husband and I got to visit for free!

To put all your fears at rest, that was not a REAL dinosaur, despite what you may think...

At one point I was looking intently into a display case and saw some vesuvianite (the green crystal). I though my husband was standing behind me so I cried out excitedly: "I have some of that at home!" as I turned towards him. Then I realized that it was not my husband behind me as I had thought. It was a woman who ran off rather quickly O_O

They had some of my favourite kinds of birds; loons, falcons and hawks!
One of my characters is named Falcon :)
I also saw a kestrel for the first time and was imediately reminded of Lloyd Alexander's book: "The Kestrel."
He was a favorite author of mine when I was younger.

Have you ever visted somewhere and unexpectedly found inspiration? If so, where? 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke - Review

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke- my all-time favourite book! And here is why:

The Covers for the whole series are amazing. I was the first thing to attract me to it. It captures the feel of the books without giving anything away.

The Quotes at the beginning of each chapter pertain to the plot. I enjoyed studying the quotes and trying to guess what would happen next.

The Plot was brilliant: Mo, Maggie's father can read characters out of books! He accidentally reads a particularly evil one out and reads his own wife in! He spends years trying to get her back. Maggie discovers she has her father's gift and they both find themselves on an adventure that usually only happens in books.

What reader hasn't fantasized about meeting their favourite fictional characters?

The Descriptions, next to the plot, were my favourite part of the books. Cornelia Funke has a wonderful gift for description, some times I would re-read parts just because I loved the way she made words come alive.

The Characters were 3D, you really fall in love with their quirks and even though Dustfinger, the fire-dancer, can frustrate the reader, the story would not be the same without him.

I Disliked the swearing. Mild swearwords though they were, I was shocked to find them in a children's book.
The plot was wonderful but the story's pacing was not very good. In the first book Mo, Maggie and Dustfinger get captured and escape too many times. The book felt dis-jointed at some parts.

The Verdict: well, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Inkheart is my favourite book. So, I absolutely love the series!

Friday, March 2, 2012

"Incarnate" by Jodi Meadows - Review

Where have I been?
I'm not entirely sure. See, I've been working and editing... and... well that's all I can remember O_O Oh! Yes! I've also been reading!

I started a fantasy book that I decided 3/4's of the way through - sucked. So, while I was looking for a birthday present for my husband at Chapters the other day (where else would I look?), I glanced around for a book to read. To my dismay, all I saw were.... fairy, vampire and werewolf books. *Sigh* I think my generation doesn't have good taste in books. Not that I have anything against paranormal books, but the obsession that goes along with them doesn't sit well with me.
Then! I remembered... "What was that book...? That one I read about on the author's blog...?... Ah-ha!"

And that, my friends, is how I bought "Incarnate" by Jodi Meadows.

Ana is the first "newsoul" to be born in Range. For thousands of years people have lived, died, and been born again while keeping the memories from their previous lives. Ana, however, replaced someone. She was never supposed to be born. Her mother hates her and many are afraid there will be more like her that will replace old souls.
At 18 she travels to Heart, the city where most of the population of Range lives. Along the way she is rescued from drowning by Sam, a music composer. His body is around the same ages as hers but he has lived and died hundreds of times.
He watches out for her and takes her to Heart with him. There, Ana searches for the reason for her existence.
The counsel, however, isn't as eager as Sam is to receive her and she is subjected to their rules. They claim it is for her safety and benefit. But she asks too many questions about things others think she shouldn't. She finds herself in danger of being killed. Ana and Sam form a strong attachment through music which quickly becomes much more.

What I liked:
It was unique. I'd never read a fantasy book about reincarnation before. The book kept me engaged all the way through.
I liked that Ana accepted help from Sam. Most female characters tend to try to be too tough and it's hard for me to relate to them when I am frustrated with them every time they get into a conversation with their romantic interest. Ana, however, had a nice balance of independence while still relying on others. Her character development was well paced.
The imagery in the book was also quite good. Imagery is something that I have always found hard to write but Jodi Meadows had enough description to give me a vivid picture in my head without overwhelming with details.
The book is well written.

What I Didn't Like:
I appreciated the idea that a soul isn't defined by it's gender but I wasn't a fan of the idea that people's souls were reincarnated into both male and female bodies, depending on the life-time.
Sam and Ana make some suggestive comments to each other near in the latter half of the book. In my opinion, books for teens have far too much of that these days. “Intimate” scenes are uncalled for, especially in books for teen girls (I ought to know, I'm still one myself). I prefer to read and suggest a book to friends without being uncomfortable about parts in it. I returned "The Graceling" by Kristin Cashore to Chapters for that very reason and ranted to my friends about how annoyed I was.

Over-all, I liked “Incarnate” and look forward to the sequel!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thinking too Much

Back when I first met my husband he sent me a story that he wrote using only dialogue, which inspired me to write one of my own. This is what I came up with:

Thinking too Much  
by Grace R. Pringle 

“What have you been doing?”
“You, what have you been doing.”
“Yeah, YOU.”
“I’ve been thinking.”
“For the past hour? The whole time? What in the world could be so important to think about so much?”
“That’s the thing, there is nothing important anymore. I was thinking about how there should be more important things to think about.”
“What are you talking about? There are plenty of important things.”
“For YOU maybe, not for me.”
“Come on, there must be something, at one time or another, which you thought was important.”
“Sure, but that was before, I’m talking about now, what’s important now.”
“That’s easy, it’s all still important, just because time has passed doesn’t mean the importance of important things has changed.”
“That’s because you think important things are important, see, I just think unimportant things should be important because they aren’t.”
“Alright, fine. As long as you still acknowledge that there are important things to think about.”
“Do you think thinking is important?”
“Of course, why wouldn’t it be?”
“I dunno, it just seems that there are other, more important things to think about instead of thinking.”
“I think that all depends on what degree of importance thinking is on.”
“But if something is important (whether or not it is very important or just slightly important) isn’t it all still important and should be treated as important even if the other thing is more important?”
“You stopped.”
“Stopped what?”
“The flow of conversation. We were talking and then you said ‘yeah’ and you stopped.”
“I couldn’t think of anything else to say, you were going in circles. At least… I think you were.”
“Why didn’t you just say; ‘you’re going in circles” then?”
“I thought it would be rude.”
“Then you should have said “I don’t mean to be rude (or do mean to be) but either way, you’re going in circles.’”
“That would be your statement, not mine.”
“Well, it would have been yours if you had said it first.”
“I would not have thought of it because it was meant to be your thought, not mine.”
“How do you know it was meant to be mine if you had said it first?”
“That’s stupid, there isn’t such thing as “what could have been” it happens the way it happens or is thought the way it is thought and there are no exceptions because there was no other way to go about it even if there appears to have been.”
“That’s what you think, it isn’t what I think.”
“Doesn’t one of us have to be right? I don’t think there can be two rights about a one, don’t you?”
“I have not thought about it. Mostly because I wasn’t sure if thinking was important enough to think about thinking it.”
“Let’s just say it is all true and leave it at that.”
“But it has to be solved; if we say there are two rights but each of us is convinced there is only ‘one’ doesn’t that create a paradox and collapse time and space and thought and all that is important about there being “one right?”
“I don’t know… maybe we should think about it.”
“I was before you asked me what I was doing.”
“… And you only spent an hour thinking about it?”