The Adventures of Nick & Ginny (aka Mr & Mrs Claus)

Right. So  few years ago I took part in the “Countdown to 2015” Challenge on Absolute Write. For every day of December we were given a prompt and the challenge was to write a piece of flash fiction every day. Some of those prompts turned into a series about the (mis)adventures of Nick & Ginny (aka Mr & Mrs Claus) around the Christmas season.

Shenanigans, sarcasm, and silliness ensue. Enjoy 🙂

Being the Adventures of Nick & Ginny (aka, Mr & Mrs Claus)

(Shenanigans, sarcasm, and silliness ensue)

Anna F. Humphrey

nick

 

PRE-CHRISTMAS

1-The elves are building…

“What,” Nick growled, “is that infernal racket? Can’t a man have a little peace and quiet around here?”

“It’s the elves, dear,” Ginny answered, pouring the tea. “They’ve got it into their heads that they need to keep themselves in practice or they’ll fall behind on orders when Christmas gets here.”

Nick rubbed his forehead. “Why did I choose elves?”

“It was the ‘Help an Elf’ program, dear. You were saying you wanted to give back to the community.”
“How’s about I give them back to the community.”

“Oh, be nice. They’re building you a swimming pool.”

He lowered his glasses. “They do realize this is the Arctic, don’t they?”

Ginny shrugged. “I never said they were terribly bright.”

 

2-Not the usual office party

“Who,” Nick growled, “invited the bloody dragon? And don’t tell me it was the elves.”

Ginny looked at him over the rim of her punch. “For someone who gives gifts to children, you are a remarkably grumpy old man.”

“Did you see the naughty list this year?”
“Yes, well, it’s over now dear. Smile and enjoy the party.”

“There’s still a dragon. And someone brought gremlins. I can feel them waiting to make off with my best mittens.”

Ginny smiled and handed him the punch. “Here. Have some of this.”

He scowled. “Is it spiked?”

“Of course.”

Throwing back his head, he drained it.

“Has the dragon started to look cute?”

He held out the glass. “That’ll take at least two more, love.”

 

3-Something On the Roof

What the hell?

Nick forced his eyes open, now convinced that the incessant drumming was not just the after-effects of too much punch. How much had he drunk? Not enough for the bloody dragon to look cute, especially after it had torched the hall.

Dragging himself out of bed and over to the window, he threw up the sash and stuck his head out.

“Jack! I’m-hic-flying!”

“Rudolph, I really don’t think this is a good idea right now…”

Nick groaned and retreated back to bed.

“Nick, dear, what’s going on?”

He pulled the covers over his head. “Rudolph had too much eggnog, that’s what.”

“Oh.” Ginny rubbed her eyes. “Well. At least he knows how to fly.”

Nick snorted. “Tell him that.”

 

4-Wrapped

The elves were hard at work making toys. The painters were painting, the craftsmen were crafting, the sculptors were sculpting…all in all, Nick was forced to admit that when they had a focus, elves were good workers.

Not that he would ever say that.

He strode through the workshop, practicing his ho-ho-ing (couldn’t disappoint the kiddies, no matter how ridiculous he felt), until he came to the Wrapping Room.
“Ginny, what are you doing here?”

She rocked her chair, which was right in front of the door. “Knitting.”

“I can see that. Why?

“Because you can’t go in just yet.”

His stomach plummeted. “Why not?”

With a sigh, she set down her knitting and looked at him over the rim of her glasses. “Because one of them decided it was a good idea to wrap the boxes before they were filled. To save time afterwards.”

He stared at her. Then he let loose a long string of words that were very unsaintly.

“Nick!”

“Next year I’m hiring dwarves.”

 

5-The Solstice

Nick cracked his eye open and stared at the date on the clock: December 21, the winter solstice.

Well, damn.

With a groan he hid his head under the pillow. Maybe it would go away if he wished hard enough. Hell, wasn’t it time some fat man in a red suit brought him a present?

“Time to get up, dear,” Ginny said, gleefully pulling the blanket away. “The reindeer games won’t wait.”

He tugged on the blanket. “That’s what I’m counting on.”

Ginny gave a violent yank and the blanket fled from his grasp. “If you don’t referee then Rudolph won’t play, and then he’ll sulk, and don’t you remember the last time that happened?”

“Rudolph is a diva.”

“But he’s a diva with clout, dear.”

 

6-Ancient Rites

There are many ancient rites surrounding Christmas and the winter solstice, many of which were so old no one could remember why they started or how.

This was one Nick bloody well wished they’d bloody well do away with. There were only so many cookies he could eat in one night without making himself sick. And giving them to the reindeer was out of the question, since sugar rendered them high and useless.

Just once, he wished someone would leave him a nice bottle of whisky – maybe a Scapa 16 – or a really old French red.

With a sigh, he stared down at the plate of chocolate chip cookies and glass of milk.

“Bottoms up, Nick.”

 

POST-CHRISTMAS

7-101 Easy Tricks You Can Teach Your Druid

“What,” said Nick, speaking very slowly so that the elf would understand him, “is this?” He held up the book.

“Oh,” said the elf, so brightly it hurt. “You weren’t supposed to see that.”

Nick smiled. It was the type of smile that would have sent a polar bear running, but the elf seemed not to have received the memo. “Why not?”

“Because I haven’t finished it yet. I’m in training to be your own personal druid!”

“And what makes you think I need a druid?”

“Sir, you fly a sleigh in the middle of winter. As your personal druid, I can control the weather to give you optimum flying conditions.”

Nick flipped to the table of contents. “They don’t list controlling the weather in here.”

“That’s because it’s in the second volume. Right here, sir: 101 MORE Easy Tricks You Can—

“I don’t need a druid.”

“But—”

“No. And if you even think about messing with the weather, I will replace you with a dwarf. Am I clear?”

“Yes sir.” The elf rose and leaned forward, lowering his voice confidentially. “Actually, sir, I’m glad you said that. It’s a lot of work.”

Nick pinched the bridge of his nose. “Dismissed. Go take a holiday.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you sir!”

And then the elf bounded out the door.

Nick picked up the phone. “Ginny, please tell me the bags are packed.”

“Ready and waiting,” she said, cheerfully. “Let me guess, you just had your yearly “I want to be a druid”?”

“Yes. Please tell me we’re going somewhere very far away.”

Ginny sniffed. “Of course, dear. I can’t wait to see you in your swimming trunks.”

Nick smiled. “Why Mrs. Claus, whatever are you planning?”

“Why don’t you come home and I’ll show you?”

Nick laughed. “On my way, love.”

And with that, he hung up. He reached for his coat, grabbed the druid books – leaving them in the open with a hundred silly elves running around the place was a bad idea. How did the damn thing keep turning up, anyway? – and headed for the door.

It was time for a holiday. Just him, Ginny, and a beach.

He couldn’t wait.

 

8-At the Bottom of the Stocking

The plane landed and Nick stared out the window, grinning at the heat waves that shimmered on the tarmac. Four weeks of sun, sand, and Ginny and no bloody elves or extended family knocking on the door.

The hotel was perfect – they’d stayed there last year – and they paused only long enough the dump off their bags before they wandered down to the beach, hand in hand.

“Why,” Ginny asked, “for the love of frost, are you wearing stockings? We’re on the beach, dear.”

His grin grew wider (he hadn’t stopped grinning since they’d landed and he was worried he might have pulled something). “Because, Ginny love, I love the feel of sand at the bottom of my stockings. It’s bloody irritating, but it reminds me we’re not at home.”

Ginny laughed. “You strange old man.”

“You married me.”

“Well, it was either you or the Easter Bunny.”

“Mrs. Claus!”

And with a roar that put his ­ho-hos to shame, he chased her down the beach.

 

9-Relative

Time slipped by rather too quickly and it was nearing the end of the third week when Nick began to worry.

“Let me get this straight,” Ginny said, sipping her martini. “Everything is going so well you’re sure the other shoe is about to drop.”

Nick glared into his scotch (a lovely Scapa 16. Damn but the Scots made a fine whisky). “Doesn’t it always?”

“Usually because you expect it,” Ginny answered, dryly.

“I—”

“Damn!” Ginny set down her glass. “Nick. Out. Now.”

“What—oh.” He downed his scotch (no sense letting it go to waste) and ushered Ginny out the side door.

His cousin, Father Frost, had just entered the restaurant, complete with bodyguards.

A life in organized crime tended to require that of a person.

 

10-Friends

“Kolya! Cousin! What are you doing here?”

Nick groaned and Ginny made a face. “Better face the music, dear,” she muttered.

He snorted, watching as Father Frost – Boris – drew near. “The last time we met I almost did, or don’t you remember?”

“Of course I remember; you looked good in orange. But you’re not exactly low-profile. You can’t hide from him.”

“Wanna bet? Borya!” he cried, and plastered a huge grin on his face. Yep, he had definitely pulled something there. “What a surprise.”

“Konechno!” Boris gripped his hand in a bone-crushing handshake, then enveloped him in an equally bone-crushing hug. Ginny, he noted sourly, seemed to be having trouble not laughing.

“So what brings you and your…friends to this island?” Nick asked.

Boris looked up from kissing Ginny’s hand. “I heard you were in the neighbourhood.”

Well, damn. “What do you want, Borya?”

Boris nodded his head over at one of his bodyguards. One was tall and broad, his scalp plastered with Russian prison tattoos, and the other was smaller than Nick, muscular, and clearly grumpy behind his beard. “I need you take Igor with you to the North Pole.” He motioned at the shorter one.

Nick felt his heart sink. “Why?”

Boris coughed delicately. “Don’t ask questions, Kolya. You should know that. Besides, I think you’ll like him.”

Nick glared at him. “What makes you say that?”

Boris smiled. “He’s a dwarf.”

Ginny burst out laughing.

 

11-Home Again

Ah, yes. The North Pole. After a month’s vacation, Nick was almost ready to see the place again. “Well, Igor, what do you think?”

Igor sniffed and stepped outside the terminal. “Xolodno. Cold. Good. Very good.” He stomped on the ground with his boot. “There is good rock here. I can build. Very good.”

Ginny nudged Nick in the ribs, her mouth forming the word “elves”. Nick winced.

“So, Igor…did Kolya tell you I work with elves?”

Igor froze. “Elves? Why you work with elves? Elves silly. Elves—” He stopped, staring at the waiting sleigh.

Nick frowned and looked over. Rudolph was leading the team, and waiting outside were the less ridiculous members of his enterprise: Green, Everest, and…oh damn.

Ginger.

The pretty little elf with the red hair and rosy cheeks and a surprisingly sarcastic sense of humour.

“Elves pretty,” Igor murmured. Then he stepped forward, swept off his hood, and bowed low over Ginger’s hand. “Krasotka!*”

Nick groaned. Damn. And damn again.

Ginny took his arm, shaking with laughter. “Welcome home, love.”

 

*babe, lovely, cracker, bombshell, cutie, beautiful

 

Bonus-About those gremlins…

The Chief Gremlin set his Santa hat at a jaunty angle (‘twas the season, after all) and strode into the room.

“Task force!” he barked.

As one, the assembled gremlins jumped into formation and saluted. “Sir!”

He whipped his pointer stick against the map on the wall. “Tonight, we tackle the Upper West Side of the city. Shaggy’s Task Force has the Lower West.” He narrowed his eyes. “We are 2-0 and we’re keeping that lead.”

One gremlin raised his hand.

“What?”

“Sir, some of the humans have been investing in idiot-mittens.”

“What is this, training school? Snip them. Any other stupid questions? No? Good. I want a pile of mittens on my desk in the morning. Dismissed.”

 

 

 

 

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Til we have faces

::dons surgical mask::

::grabs dust mop::

DIE DUST BUNNIES!!!!!

::a cloud of dust erupts as the killer mutant monster dust bunnies are swept out of the blog::

Phew. I’m ba-ack! 🙂

 

moriarty

 

In my defense, it was a hell of a summer and I never promised to update regularly. 😛

The title for this post is from C.S. Lewis’ novel of the same name and it is brilliant. Read it, if you haven’t. The title seemed appropriate for this post. I have literally spent weeks trying to figure out how to put this into words as all the thoughts kept being a whirlwind in my head, refusing to coalesce into coherency. I finally found the key in the words of one of my friends (you know who you are):

 

Don’t let your passion and creativity take backseat to your image.

 

Why is this so forefront in my mind right now? This semester I took a class on teaching and pedagogy. It was, I kid you not, the most valuable class I’ve taken in the course of this degree. It stretched my mind and gave me a vision for what I want my own teaching practice and classroom to look like, and gave me so much to think about.* But one of the major things it made me think about is who I am in the classroom. Not as a student, but as a teacher. And it’s not something I ever had to think about before because I just decided to be myself, and that seems to work. My first time teaching research methods I was new, nervous, though I thought the whole thing went reasonably well. The second time around, I decided to have fun with it. I geeked out my slides: every week was a different theme, ranging from Star Wars to Doctor Who to Lord of the Rings, which inevitably led to pre/post class discussions on why exactly the Witch King could NOT have broken Gandalf’s staff**, why Peter Capaldi is a bloody brilliant 12th Doctor***, why Thor: The Dark World was NOT the worst Marvel film ever****, etc.

And that one seemingly small change changed the entire atmosphere of the classroom. I was still the instructor, but I was human. Everything was more relaxed. We got the work done, but we had some laughs along the way as well. I loved that semester.

So bringing myself into the classroom with the things that make me me is not something I ever thought about. I learned to do it.

And then we started talking about image in the classroom and the problems in academia in that respect. Do a Google search for “university professor”. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

You see the problem? The image search results overwhelmingly favour older white men*****. While the situation is changing within academia, it’s far from changed over. One of the women panelists who came to class, a young woman in her thirties, gave a talk on how she felt she had to keep the “dancing” part of herself out of the classroom in order to be taken seriously.

STOP. RIGHT. THERE.

I am a dancer.******

I am a writer.

I need both these things like breathing. I was made to dance like I was made to write. They are part of what makes me a whole person, and when I bring the whole person into the classroom as opposed to the person I think I should be it gives me so much more confidence. And I’m a better teacher for it.

 

Point.

 

 

*Trust me, that’s another blog post. I’ll get to it. Eventually. Patience is a virtue, people.

**I have no other complaints about the films. They are gorgeous. Stunning. But I will nitpick on that one detail. Fight me.

***BLOODY. BRILLIANT. I LOVE HIM.

****I WILL FIGHT YOU ON THIS. DANCE OFF. NOW.

*****I’d have provided a screenshot but my computer is being stupid and won’t let me. Grr.

******And lemme just say, I spent the entire summer dealing with an injury it only served to make me go HELL YES I AM A DANCER AND I WILL DANCE.

If music be the food of love, play on

On the list of things I’m supposed to be doing…blogging is probably not one of them.

Pfft.

Oh captain, my captain!
Oh captain, my captain!

 

*cough*

 

As I’m getting ready to revise and submit IN SECRET KEPT I’m revisiting some of the musical inspiration for the novel. Because I write with a soundtrack. Sometimes it might be only a few songs that I have on continuous loop*. Sometimes it might be a playlist hours long. For SECRET I wanted lots of piano music since the piano is key to both main characters. I also looked for Celtic-style music since the world is very Saxon/Celtic/Norse inspired**. And the funny thing I learned in the early revisions is that music is literally embedded in the bones of this world, from its inception to its eventual end.

Stories have a way of surprising me that way.

So to that end, I’m sharing two tracks that are…central.

If I had to sum up IN SECRET KEPT in one piece of music, it would be this:

 

 

 

The other piece is this one (esp. the 2:16 mark):

 

This one was a late-comer to the party, but when it arrived it was one of those moments I just knew. And I wrote the scene in one go and it’s one of my favourite scenes in the book. (Some of you know may what I’m talking about…)

 

Aaaaaand….because why not? The following is the main theme for RHEDA, set several hundred years previously in the same world as SECRET.

 

And on that note***…

 

Waes hal!

 

 

*Don’t give me that look. Pbbt. 😛

**OLD NORSE FTW. *coughresearchbiascough*

***Pun maybe intended?

That’s the thing about grace… (an Easter post)

So, it’s Easter. Which means I’ve been thinking about grace a lot more than usual.

What do I mean by grace? The simplest explanation I can give for it is this:

God’s grace looks at what we deserve, and offers us what we don’t.

Grace isn’t pretty.

It isn’t neat.

It costs.

Grace is uncomfortable. Grace isn’t afraid to get its hands dirty. It reaches down into the muck, gets all the dirt under its fingernails, and hauls you up again. Grace is God saying, “The world wants nothing to do with you. But I do.”

King David in the Old Testament: had his captain Uriah murdered so he could marry Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba. He repented and God redeemed him.

The Apostle Paul: ordered Christians tortured and executed. Redeemed and became one of the greatest apostles.

And the list goes on. Seriously, the Bible is full of really sketchy characters. Sketchy characters and broken people who were granted grace and went on to flip their lives right around.

This is the grace I believe in. The grace I have seen. This is the grace I write about.

BC_Easter

Happy Easter.

She’s beauty, she’s grace (she’ll punch you in the face)

Disclaimer: my thesis is about women in Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse texts and how awesome they are. So yes, I’m biased. What follows is the ramblings of a grad student in love with her subject matter and Agent Peggy Carter.

 

In my thesising today, I was examining the Old English poem Judith which is based on the apocryphal Latin Vulgate text. For those who don’t know the story, the Jewish city of Bethulia is being besieged by the evil general Holofernes. Long story short, the city is saved by Judith who uses her femininity to seduce* the general and subsequently cut off his head. He gets drunk and passes out in her presence.

An interesting variation on this tale is found in The Saga of Hrolf Kraki. Queen Olof pretends to go along with her evil suitor, only to stab him with a sleep thorn when he passes out, drunk, in her chamber. She then tars and feathers him and sends him off packed up in a burlap sack. I kid you not.

Then there’s Jael and Sisera. In the book of Judges, Sisera is a general attacking the Israelites. The judge at the time, Deborah, leads Barak and the Hebrew army to victory, but Sisera escapes. He arrives at Jael’s tent and she offers him hospitality, though he doesn’t know she’s a Hebrew. When he’s asleep, she drives a tent peg through his skull.

And I started noticing a trend. You’d think they’d learn. If you’re an evil general/king/person, do not pass out in the presence of a woman. It will not end well for you. I guarantee it.

Which brings me, perhaps in a not-so-round-about-way to Agent Peggy Carter**. This character means a lot to me***. Not only is Hayley Atwell a dream (I had the ridiculously amazing pleasure of meeting her at Comiccon last summer in a brief 10 second photoshoot, and it remains the HIGHLIGHT of my Comiccon experience), but the character is unashamedly feminine while still kicking ass. She knows her value and retains her moral compass despite all the war took from her. And I love that. And I love that the writers of the show understand that love and romance and happily ever after do not undermine that. With so much media in the atmosphere, it’s hard to escape the still-present message that a woman is incomplete without a man, or that she needs to look or act a certain way, etc. And here we have the brilliant Peggy Carter putting her fist through it all and saying You are enough. And when love does come calling****, she reaches for it as a whole person which makes it so much more beautiful*****.

And this is something I love about the heroines I’m studying, some of whom I’ve mentioned. They say loudly through their actions that They are enough and that they, as women, will get the job done. Any job.

As Shakespeare put it so eloquently, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

beauty

grace

face

(all gifs from: http://ctgraphy.tumblr.com/post/109153691032/fitzwich-inspired-guess-what-i-started)

 

Peace out.

 

 

*the OE text is rather uneasy with Judith’s sexuality in this regard and downplays it to a certain extent while the Vulgate makes no bones about it. Just fyi.

**If you’re not watching Agent Carter then what are you even doing with your life?

***As in, she’s up there with Eowyn and Jane Eyre, but those are whole other blog posts and I’ll get to them eventually. 😛

****In the form of the delightful Daniel Sousa. Talk about a beautiful love story. *melts*married

*****I was totally grinning and cheering like an idiot during the final moments of the season finale (um…sorry Jack). NOW I NEED SEASON 3 DAMMIT.

Bump in the Night: Thoughts on the new novel

New project time!

Well, it’s been that time for a while now, but whatever.

This is a project that was, I kid you not, inspired by a single image I saw on Pinterest. This one:

Originally found on http://haufsbeautifulcreatures.tumblr.com/
Originally found on    http://haufsbeautifulcreatures.tumblr.com/

And once I started thinking about it I couldn’t stop and it just snowballed from there. In fact, it snowballed so much it’s grown to be two books because there’s too much story. Its working title is The Midnight Hour and is…as different from In Secret Kept as it’s possible to be. And I love it. I knew I wanted to write something completely opposite and so I find myself writing “penny dreadful meets steampunk” (always for adults). It’s dark and twisted and my characters are seriously messed up*: thieves and assassins and smugglers. Anti-heros all.

I love them so.

 

Ok. Maybe my characters should start running....
Ok. Maybe my characters should start running….

 

And by “penny dreadful” I’m not referring to the TV series (I haven’t seen it yet but I want to, because Timothy Dalton, hello), but the 19th century serial publications that were, in many cases, horror. Think Dracula, Dorian Gray, etc. And the thing with Victorian horror is it was never (or not usually) just about the horror – much of it was their way of exploring the taboo. If you’ve read Dracula** it’s fairly obvious what major themes are going on in there: sex and death. Frankenstein*** deals with life and death and the relationship of science and God.

So I’m thinking about all this as I’m writing. And the writing is coming, though it’s painfully slow. Academia is taking up much of my time, but the characters and the story are straining, trying to break free. It’s time to tell their story.

On that note, I’m going to go and heed their voices. But first, here’s some of the musical inspiration:

 

SINISTER KID by The Black Keys

 

WHO WILL SAVE YOU NOW? by Les Friction

 

 

Ciao!

 

 

*They also really, really, really hate me.

** Which is amazing and Mina Harker FTW.

***Also excellent. And recognized as the first science fiction novel. Mary Shelley FTW.

Confessions of a Writer Tag

Alrighty then. I was tagged by the lovely Nicole Wilson, so here you go…

 

When did you first start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to be?

I started writing when I was five. All of my elementary school teachers thought that writing stories was a good project (it was), so starting in kindergarden we would make these little story books. As I got older, the stories kind of got longer and longer. And by the time I was in high school, I decided that being a writer was what I wanted. Though it wasn’t until 2013 that I started to realize that it was what I really wanted. And I have Bethany Morrow to thank for shoving me off the deep end. 😀

 

What genre do you write?

I write high fantasy and sci-fi, generally. Though the fantasy may end up with touches of the gothic and/or horror. I occasionally write historical, but only short and not often. SFF is my happy place.

 

Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress? When did you start working on this project?

Oook. I have two that are WiPs (ish). The first one is entitled In Secret Kept and this one has an…interesting and slightly convoluted genesis.

Back when I was 9 or 10 (or something), Darby O’Gill and the Little People aired on Disney around Halloween. There’s one scene where the old man’s daughter has fallen off a cliff and the Banshee is coming to collect her, because the girl is nearly dead. The father stands over her, shouting “Take me instead”. In my head, I flipped this and I saw, instead, a man who had once been cold and cruel standing over the body of the woman he’d come to love. Fast forward to me at age 16 and I wrote the novel. And it was a blatant homage to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (my fave Disney movie OF ALL TIME and fave fairy tale, to boot). And that was fine. Then.

Fast forward to me now, at 32. After a trip to Scotland which inspired me to finish the novella I was writing at the time (Rheda), I realized where I wanted to take Secret. So I started plotting it out again, changing things, and then I realized it was set in a world I’ve been slowly building since I was 14. A world that has been (recently) very influenced by my graduate research in Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse.

And the thing exploded. It’s taken on a life of its own and it is so much better than it ever was before. And that makes me happy 🙂

The second WiP is still in development, but it currently titled Haven and is a fantasy-steampunk-horror about brothers, family, friends and lovers, and the criminal underbelly of a prosperous city. I started working on this one over the summer while I was letting the draft of Secret rest. And this time, all it took was a single pin on Pinterest to make me wonder…

 

What was your first piece that you can remember writing? What was it about?

My first piece was a story about a lost cat. I wrote when I was five, for school.

 

What’s the best part about writing?

Seeing my stories take shape and grow wings.

 

What’s the worst part about writing?

The writing. Seriously. It’s HARD. But the end result is so worth it.

 

What’s the name of your favorite character and why?

Wait. What. I CAN’T DO THIS. But if I had to pick one, I’d pick Alodia from In Secret Kept. I love the way she’s evolved over the years. *resists the urge to name more*

 

How much time a day/week do you get to write? When is the best time for you to write (morning or night)?

Ha. Hahahaha. *cough* Sorry. This question is just really ironic since I’m supposed to be thesising right now. Whoops.

That being said…three times a week, ish. It depends on my school work load and how tired I am. As to what time…it depends on the state of my brain, though night is usually best. By that point I’ve finished with the day and can just work uninterrupted.

 

Did you go to college for writing?

Nope. I’ve learned a lot from hanging out on Absolute Write and chatting on twitter and/or skype with other authors. And by reading.

 

What bothers you more: spelling errors, punctuation errors or grammar errors?

All of it. Next question?

threatenproperly

 

What is the best writing advice that anyone has given you?

Stop agonizing. It will come. (you know who you are <3)

 

What advice would you give to another writer?

Give yourself permission to suck. That’s what drafts are for. Write. Edit. Repeat. OH. And find a beta reader who is NOT a family member. Someone you trust for solid crit.

 

What are your favorite writing sites or blogs that you turn to for help, tips or encouragement?

Absolute Write. Fabulous community.

Cathleen Townsend posts a lot of really helpful writing tips.

Nathan Bransford is fabulous, and has really great advice on query letters (*shudder*)

 

Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies?

Reading. D’oh. Playing piano. Gym. Tearing my hair out over 2000 piece puzzles. Being in as much sunshine as humanly possible.

 

What’s the best thing you’re watching on television?

I’m going to go with Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter. Also watching Castle Season 8, and while the episodes are solid and the characters are more center-stage this season, I’m not quite buying this whole “separation” between Beckett and Castle.

 

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

Sorry, can’t pick just one. Also, since I’ve read a lot this year I’m going to limit this to those I’ve read for the first time:

Vicious by Victoria Schwab. Creation of supervillains.

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge. High fantasy.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Tsar-punk heist novel. GAH.

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley. Historical suspense/romance.

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston. Shimmering retelling of Sheherazade.

All five of these are fantastic and have stayed with me long after I closed the cover.

 

What is the best movie you’ve seen this year?

I’m going to say…Age of Ultron.

 

What is your favorite book or series of all time?

LORD OF THE RINGS. AND YES ALL CAPS IS NECESSARY.

 

Who is your favorite author?

Tolkien.

C.S. Lewis

Rosamund Hodge.

Leigh Bardugo.

Robin McKinley.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

(yes, I cheated. Sue me. 😛 )

 

What are your plans for the rest of the year in terms of your writing?

Finishing this draft of Secret and beginning to write Haven while my lovely beta readers read and crit Secret.

 

Where else can we find you online?

You can tweet me here: @afhumphrey

Still working on the rest!

 

Tagging:

@CathleenTowns

@wanderingquille

@abnersenires

@ShunterNi

@out_ofthe_fog

 

To make life easier, here are the questions:

When did you first start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to be?
What genre do you write?
Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress? When did you start working on this project?
What was your first piece that you can remember writing? What was it about?
What’s the best part about writing?
What’s the worst part about writing?
What’s the name of your favorite character and why?
How much time a day/week do you get to write? When is the best time for you to write (morning or night)?
Did you go to college for writing?
What bothers you more: spelling errors, punctuation errors or grammar errors?
What is the best writing advice that anyone has given you?
What advice would you give to another writer?
What are your favorite writing sites or blogs that you turn to for help, tips or encouragement?
Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies?
What’s the best thing you’re watching on television?
What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
What is the best movie you’ve seen this year?
What is your favorite book or series of all time?
Who is your favorite author?
What are your plans for the rest of the year in terms of your writing?
Where else can we find you online?

Far vel!