Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NaNo '11 ("True") Excerpt

Another, more serious one this time. They're in a network of dungeons, trying to break out my main character's cousin.

They met their first prisoner a few dozen paces beyond the staircase. As the light of the lantern glanced along another set of bars, a scrap of shadow shifted, scrambling up. Knobby knees stuck out under the remains of what might have once been trousers, a dirty shirt hanging off the top of his body. A massive beard twisted on his cheeks, falling halfway down his tunic. A thin hand came up, shaking as it tried to ward the light from its owners eyes, but at the same time, the man tried to catch a glimpse of the light.

In the next cell, there was another unfortunate, and another in the next with a few more beyond, all crowded into one cell. A woman was in the next one, her face thin in the light of the lantern. She squinted against the light, just as her fellow prisoners had done. Jakov stopped dead, staring at her.

Her hair was dark and tangled, her face pointed and, perhaps pretty once, her skin perhaps once darker. She extended a hand through the bars, a hand that had known privation before the prison. She was Yahafin. Jakov took a step toward her, hand fumbling for the key, hoping to find it, hoping to let her free, but a heavy hand landed on the back of his coat and pulled him back around.

“Ya can’t go lettin’ ‘em all out, boy.” Till growled. “We’re on a mission, ain’t we?”

Kojnebi,” the woman called out as loudly as she could. It came out as little more than a whisper between her cracked lips. Her hand trembled as it stretched towards him, begging, pleading with him. “Kojnebi.”

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” he murmured back as Till put him back on the path and gave him a none-too-gentle shove forward. He glanced back once, just as the light fell away—she had sunk down to the ground, her dark eyes still looking after him, pleading.

Jakov’s body felt empty as he walked through the dungeon. People looked up at him from their cells. Some had torches burning on the walls opposite, evidence of the guards they’d not yet seen. Some seemed newer to the prison, not yet completely broken, with enough energy to scramble up and try to attract the newcomers’ attention. Most just lay on the floor, managing to lift their heads or open their eyes. Some could summon only a weary twitch of their fingers.

Some lay still and cold, the pallor of their skin and the unnatural stillness of their forms evidence that they would never rise again.

You can read more here, on Figment.com.

~Liberty (紫涵)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Official NaNo '11 Winner!

Yes, I am an official winner of NaNoWriMo 2011! See, see? It's been a very...interesting ride, as always. But it's well worth it, of course, and I have...1/3...of a new novel to celebrate over!

True will be going on hold in a few days so I can finish Valiant. I'm looking to claim my CreateSpace winner goodie and using it to get another proof copy of my first-ever novel, which I'm rewriting at the moment. Then I'll probably launch back into True, get it finished up...

And maybe edit last year's NaNovel. Hey, hope springs eternal.

~Liberty (紫涵)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Day of Thanksgiving

Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.
Psalm 18:49
So today is Thanksgiving for those of us in the US. As of this moment, we've gotten the turkey in the roasting, the yams are ready to go in the oven, the potatoes are baking with the pecan pies, the greenbean casserole is mixed up...and we've only had to make two Walmart runs. That just might be a record, but I can't remember. I usually block the whole cooking part of Thanksgiving out because it gets messy, real quick.

However, since it is Thanksgiving day, I thought I'd offer up my top ten list of things I'm most thankful for this year. And then state my declaration to remember to be thankful more often. Because that's always a good thing.
Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.
Psalm 75:1
So here, in no particular order:
  1. Books. This goes without saying. But it's true. And it deserves to be number one. Yes, yes it does.
  2. Jesus. So maybe this should be number one. Oh well, it's over and done now. I'm thankful for Christ's sacrifice, what he did though I didn't deserve it, and could never deserve it. Also, I'm thankful for books that tell me about him. So see? Number one really was number two all along, you just didn't realize it until just now...
  3. Movies. Now I'm just being shallow. Know what? I don't care.
  4. Freedom. Freedom to do so many things. To complain. To leave. To write uncomplimentary things about the government no matter what other people think about it.
  5. The ability to get up in the morning and not hurt. Except, sometimes, this one isn't really applicable. Like one morning last week.
  6. Food. Very, very obvious, I know. Hey, I can't help what I'm most thankful for!
  7. Family. Another very obvious one. Yes, sometimes they drive me completely nutty. But I still love them.
  8. Crazy, absolutely bonkers friends. Like Cassie and Mirriam. Or any number of the friends who live nearer me. You're all amazingly insane, and I love it, and I love you. Never change.
  9. Generous people. Generous people who are willing to send a silly teenage girl halfway around the world with their hard-earned money. You guys are awesome.
  10. The internet. Because without it, I couldn't have met so many amazing people or learned so many wacky things.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Thank all of you for being there, for reading my blog, and for just being yourselves.

In other news, at the moment, this is how I feel:

"Running on caffeine and a prayer, baby"

~Liberty (紫涵)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Heart Sore...

"At one of the Graveyards here in [my hometown], the officials in charge were asked by a group of Muslims, that they demanded a section just for Muslims. The officials told the Muzzies NO."
"Why don't they demand a free ride back to their country where they can get the respect they deserve."
"shudda told em for christains only"
"‎the christian graveyard would be decapitated heads and nothing else. We just need to NUKE THE SONSABITCHES."
My heart hurts right now. The above conversation was carried out by one of my friends on Facebook and several of his friends. They all claim to be Christian. And they make me weep for what Christ's Church has become. They make me weep for all it was meant to be. They make me weep, because this is not what it is supposed to be.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you...
The person who said that was killed. He was forcibly dragged from his private prayer meeting in a private garden, betrayed by a man he had spent every moment with for the past three years--training, teaching, loving. He was dragged to a place where the most important people in the religion that had worshiped his Father for so many centuries accused him, beat him, and called him the foulest names in the book. Then they sent him to the despised Romans, the people who had wrested control of his people's homeland from them, just to add a veneer of legality to the whole proceeding. He was beaten, his back torn open, his life's blood poured upon the ground. He was mocked and humiliated by the people he had come to save. And then they put him upon the most sophisticated, yet most brutal, torture device known to man, and let him hang there to die. Through his blood, we find remission. He came back to life for us, so we could find freedom. He's building a beautiful place for us, where there will be no more pain.

That is what someone did for us, someone so very important.

And yet, somehow, people still think that their words are okay. That somehow, they have no bad repercussions. That somehow, they're still being good ambassadors for Christ.

The annals of the past are filled with stories that seem quite frightening. Pioneer missionaries, first making inroads into Africa, bringing the light of the Gospel. Their stories are filled with dangers, fears of the unknown. Cannibals, plague, wild animals, tribes that worshiped strange spirits and listened to the every whim of medicine men. These missionaries could be killed at a moment's notice. And, very often, they were. They gave their lives for the one who meant everything, who had sacrificed so much and given his all for them--and they gave their lives for much the same reason. Yet it never made them stop, never made them wonder whether there was a different way. They died, and others filled their place.

Disease. Victory. Famine. Joy. Death. Life.

Where is the love that would do that? Where is the love that sent these people to those places to die? More than that...where's the love that sent the most important One of all to die? Where is the love that would say "not my will, but thine be done?" Where is that today? Where is the love that would say, "You know what, you're trying to kill me. You're in bondage, enslaved to this idea. Let me tell you about my Savior. You don't want to hear it--that's fine. There will be others, with the same sort of love, the same undying passion for you, a sinner who has murdered and lied and stolen. They will come to tell you of a man, who was so, so much more than a man, who died for you."

Where is the Christian love that will look at dead Christians overseas and see it as a reason to send yet more missionaries? Where is the Christian love that will spend hours every night on its knees for lost men who know no other way? Where is the Christian love that will cry out, from the depths of a bleeding heart and will say, "God, send me! These are your children, your precious creations, each one unique and beautiful and wonderful in your sight! Send me to change them through you, to make them new creations, to show them the beauty and wonder that can only be found in you!"

Where is the Christian love that will look up into the eyes of an executioner and say, "I forgive you." Where is the Christian love that will give up its own salvation for the sake of its lost and dying brethren?

Where is the simple, earth-shattering idea that there is something stronger than hate and lies, and that it is truth and love?

Where is the love and desire that turned the world upside down with a handful of poor, illiterate men and women?

Somehow, people think that because they're not like us, because their rhetoric is as hateful as ours, because they've insulted us, Christ's words don't matter anymore. Love can't possibly conquer that, they say. Roadside bombs and enemy armies and conspiracies--when have they ever stopped Christ's message?

Those same people would call me idealistic. We have to fight, because they're trying to kill us. Jesus never said anything about not defending yourself. I have my head in the clouds, because we need to fight back: they're a threat!

And we can turn the world upside down. Let's not return hate with hate. Let's not respond to the killing with more killing. Let's reach out to these people, Christians, run the risks, spread the Word. Let's do something a little foolish and utterly, wonderfully mad, like inviting a bunch of Muslims and Christians over to our house for a hamburger cookout. Let's find out why people are being radicalized and do something to stop it. Let's realize that our rhetoric only feeds theirs, and stop running our mouths.

Most of all, let us live like our Savior did. Let us be willing to die for him, as he was for us.

~Liberty (紫涵)

Friday, November 11, 2011

NaNoWriMo, 50k, and Dallas

Yes sir! My 50,000th word was 'that'. Quite anticlimactic, I know. But hey, it is what it is. Last night I hit 50,000 words on NaNoWriMo, an accomplishment that I am quite proud of. 10 days! That's how long it took me to write 50,000 words on a novel.

Unfortunately, I'm only about one quarter through the events that I had planned for this novel. That's less exciting, just because that means I probably have another 150,000 words before I can be done and get back to Valiant. Either that, or True is going to end up like Ravaged Time, and I'll be scrambling in September and October to finish it before NaNoWriMo.

Of course, I might not even be in the US come September 2012! Hopefully, as you know, I'll be heading to Zambia, Africa. As a sidenote, one of my good friends Chelsea (who is currently on the World Race and will be back in the US in approximately 9 days, and back to my house in the beginning of December), is considering coming with me! We'll probably make a quick, month-long detour by China if everything works out, so...yeah. I'll keep you posted! :D

In other news, my mom and I are going to be driving with some friends to Dallas, Texas today. There's a Students for Liberty conference we're going to be attending. We're gonna get free books. So yeah. That's pretty exciting.

~Liberty (紫涵)

Thursday, November 3, 2011


So NaNoWriMo began on Tuesday. After writing over 7,000 words that day, I wrote only 4,000 yesterday, bringing me up to 11,000. But all is well in the world of NaNoWriMo, for I am projected to finish on November 10th-13th, provided I keep up this level of writing! It makes me happy, because I have three days where I have nothing scheduled but writing!

Now, just to display what my characters are getting up to this month, here's an excerpt of my third chapter, as Sonakali and Jakob prepare to leave Environ and head to the Valley of the Kali:
Sona didn’t speak to him again until they reached a small hut on the edge of the village. It, unlike most of the other houses they’d passed, was much like the little house Jakob had woken up in: small, drafty, barely holding itself together, and what was sticking together was mainly there through some complicated combination of wind angle and prayer.
Sona stepped up to the door and gave a little knock. It promptly flew open, to reveal a rather wild-haired older woman. She glared first at Sona, then at Jakob, then grunted. “You’re the Princeling and his Warden, I suppose? Yes, o’ course ye are. I’ve known Jakob Isriel since he was a boy.” She narrowly stared at Jakob for a second, then extended one bony hand and crooked a finger at him. “Come ‘ere boy.”
Glancing at Sona, a bit surprised, Jakob stepped forward to stand before the old woman. She glared up at him, then lightly slapped him on the face. “She tells me you don’t remember who you are, nor where you came from. How careless, boy, to leave your whole life behind you. Useful, I’ll grant ye that, but careless. Look at ye, standin’ there starin’ at me. You and your cousin used ta’ look at me jus’ thataway. Poor Jakov. I figure he’s dead then?”
“We’re not sure where Jakov Isriel is, madam,” Sona said, speaking up for Jakob. “But the Kali are working as hard as they can to find him.”
“They’d better be,” the old woman grunted, then stepped backwards into her hut. “Come inside here. I’ve got your packs, those ones you wanted me to get you. They’re safe. Like I told you. No one ever bothers to come down and see Aunt Yutil. She’s just an old woman, they say…”
Jakob stepped into the hut behind Sona. It was dark inside, except for the beam of light coming in through the door. There were no windows, and he couldn’t see anything but the dim glowing of ashes that were the only remains of a fire in the corner. He could hear Aunt Yutil rooting about somewhere inside the room. Did she need light to see, or was there some sort of magical, mystical process that she used?
Finally, she reappeared in the beam of light, holding two rather old, dirty canvas packs. She thrust one at each of them. “There’s enough provisions and water here to get you to the boundary. No farther. I’m trusting you, Warden, to get him there safely. Watch out for birds. Goodbye.”
She practically shoved them out the doorway, and the wooden plank that served her for a door slammed against its frame. Jakob heard something slam down behind it, along with the rasp of a metal latch.
“She is somewhat paranoid,” Sona explained, throwing the pack over her shoulders.
If you'd like to read more, I'm posting it on Figment as I write! Feel free to tell me here what you think or create an account over at Figment. We love new people, and we don't bite. ;)

Off to reach new heights of word count,

~Liberty (紫涵)