Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ten Questions! {blog hop}

Greetings and salutations, fabulous peoples! I hope y'all are having a blessed Sunday?
Well, a sweet writing friend of mine, Bethany, tagged me in a blog hop so here we go with another tag-post.
THIS time, it be about...mah fabulouso novel in progress! *grins*
On with the questions...

(a make-shift pretend book cover I made)

1: What is the working title of your book?

 "The Rebels of Florida: In the Presence of the Enemy" Long, I know. o.O

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

Oh my. Since I started the basic bones of the project about 5 years ago, and it has changed and evolved SOOO much since then, I can't exactly say where I got the first idea. However, over time, I've gotten most of my inspiration for this novel from the world around me and people I know/meet. 

3: What genre does your book come under?

Historical fiction. 

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmmm. That's a ways off. Butt, for starters: Emma. I would definitely play her. She is basically me in historical fiction form, anyways, so wouldn't that make sense? Not sure about the others yet. I suspect I will be very very particular on who plays my precious characters. ;) 

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

 Oh gosh. Please. You want me to describe this book in ONE sentence? *Much reluctant sigh* Okayyy, fine. If you really insist upon it. Lemme think.

"Five souls all caught up in the midst of their own battles...five souls caught in the presence of the enemy." 

How was that? :P

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

It ain't published yet. But I've got huge dreams for it. That's all I'll say.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Once again, it ain't finished yet. In progress, five years and counting.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

Hm. Tricky. Maybe "Cold Before Morning" by John Paul Jones, for the historical values. I can't think of anything else at the moment. 

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

 The people around me, and my own experiences with life. 

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

When I said that it is based of people I know and experiences in my life I didn't intend for that to be taken figuratively. I have literally had to spend hours thinking of ways to manipulate characters so that they don't too closely resemble their inspirations in real could end up being very awkward if certain people found out I was writing about them! :P

Besides that, well, if you're into the War between the States you should love this book. It's a war story as well as a domestic drama sprinkled with a powdering of romance and intrigue. It's factual yet fictional.

My goal is for you to not be able to tear your eyes from its pages until you are finished reading it! 

Learn more about it here. You can also see my make-shift Pinterest inspiration board.


 Now on to the tagging part....

Bah. Forget individual names. I'm tagging everybody on my GFC followers list. If you're subscribed to my blog, you're tagged!
Have fun!

Oh, and be sure to leave a link in the comments so I can see your post. Have a blessed new week!


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ze Fashion Tag...

Soooo, I wasn't "officially" tagged in this but I saw it on things the books forgot... and thought it looked fun, so here we go. I haven't ever done a fashion-related tag so this is kinda a new deal for me!

1) How would you describe your style?

Hmm. Describing my style...*thinks* Well, conservative/modest for sure. Putting into further description, ehh, unique/preppy/bright/boho/vintage/retro/classy?  A verrry small sampling in photo:

2)What are your wardrobe staples?

Jean skirt, cowboy boots, cognac faux leather jacket, skinny jeans and tunics. Also, I love scarves.  

3)Most expensive item you own?

I'm guessing this means clothing-wise? Hm, not really sure there. Most things in my closet were gifts from family or thrifted/yard sale items.

 4) Most wanted item?

 Right now? A nice, LONG (mid-calf to ankle length) maxi-dress which isn't a tube top or sleeveless, and is in a bright, summery color.  

5) Favorite Designer?

Well, as far as BRANDS go, I am not really picky. As long as it's made well and doesn't cost too much, I'm good! 

6)How much do you spend on clothing?

Not very much. I am a cheapskate when it comes to clothes and accessories and most of my wardrobe came from yard sales and thrift stores. Also, giftees from my awesome family. HOWEVER. I do occasionally splurge and buy myself a dress or skirt from a department store. 

7)Favorite places to shop?

THRIFT STORES and YARD SALES! As far as department stores go, Sears, JC Penny, and Belk, these days. I don't really get the chance to go out clothes shopping and when I do it's usually at one of these three.  

8) Favorite fragrance?

Bath and Body Works' Black Amethyst. My all-time favorite body spray scent. Miss Dior from Sephora is really nice too but I haven't ever bought any of that....just got a little sample in the mail and liked it. *Teehee* 

9)Favorite way to have your hair?

My default hairstyle for every day excursions and life around the house/'farm' is a simple, messy topknot/bun thrown together in a scrunchie. Not very flattering, but it's the most practical since I have pretty long hair which can easily get in the way. 

For when I go out, however, I like it either down with a hairband, or in a side braid. 


(hair down with hairband)
(hair down)
(the crazy/messy bun look) 
(side braid)

10)What is your go-to outfit when you have no idea what to wear?

Depends on the mood I'm in and where I'm going. If I'm just staying home for the day I'll throw on yoga pants and a loose sweater or t-shirt. If I go out, it will likely be a skirt and blouse... with either Sperrys or cowboy boots. Or sandals.

11)Most prized possession?

Clothing wise? Maybe my jean my Ariat cowboy boots. :D Those things have lasted for years now and have gone through both blizzard and heat wave, mud and classy conference. I'm amazed at their durability!

FINALLY, the part where I tag some people....

Leave me a comment with your fashion tag post, I'd love to see it!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Inciting Incidents {WriterlyWednesday}


Quite a bit of time has passed since my last WriterlyWednesday post, right? *Sighs guiltily*  My apologies...I know you've probably heard that from me a gazillion times now, but hopefully I will be able to win back your favors with a post today on something very vital to story creation and screenwriting. 

Inciting Incidents.  

Have you ever heard of that term before?

Yes? No? Well, assuming you haven't, that's what the topic of discussion is today.

What exactly is an Inciting Incident? 

In story structure, it is the event from which the entire story stems from. The main event which throws your entire plot into existence. Without an Inciting Incident, a plot is lacking and dead. 

Inciting incidents, in film, can occur as late as 30 minutes into the film, or as early as the very second the screen lights up. In the screenplay I am currently working on, the I.I. is the very first scene, about a minute into the film. However, in my novel the Rebels of Florida, the I.I. is half-way into the book. 

The Inciting Incident is what happens when a character's life suddenly takes a change affecting him or her in a way which changes them positively or negatively from that moment on. An event occurs, which changes that person's life in some way which is irreversible. 

An example: In my screenplay, the Inciting Incident is when the MC's parents are arrested by the government for their beliefs., and the children must flee into the wilderness, hoping to find temporary refuge from the same capture their parents faced. This event, their parents' capture, forever changes their lives and opens a gap wherein the whole story of the film emerges from. If this event didn't occur, 80% of the film's story would be lost.

Whether the Inciting Incident is a father losing his job, or, a young man getting a job, it must be an event which propels change in either the character's environment, internal character, or the people around him. 

Things must not continue on the same way as they did before. If they do, you have no story.

It doesn't really matter when your I.I. happens, as long as it does not occur too late into the plot. If this happens, then you will have created a gulf requiring something to fill the gap, and chances are this will be a very boring, drab sequence without some sort of set-up in the plot. And, of course, the Inciting Incident is the ultimate set-up. However, if you throw in your I.I. too early, then the audience/reader may be left confused or disoriented about what is happening, and you'll have to go out of your way explaining what in the world is going on. 

Not all stories are the same, obviously. Some films and books have I.I.'s which emerge early, some late. Some right in between. But no matter where the Inciting Incident comes in on the film or book, it must be the propelling rift of initial conflict which pushes the entire plot forward and gives the story the energy it contains. 

It must literally change your character's life, so that there's no going back. 

What is your Inciting Incident? When does it occur in your story? Do you have any thoughts on Inciting Incidents? I'd love to hear about them! 

Happy Wednesday!

P.S. Help me get to 50 subscribers on Apassionata and maaaaaaaaybe I'll have a giveaway! *big grin* 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Natural Deodorants {FabHealthFriday}

Hola amigos! After a much delayed gap in posting for FabHealthFriday.....I have returned. *muahahah*
After receiving a question about what natural deodorants I used/recommended, I 
decided to focus on that for today's post.
In case you may not have thought of this before, most deodorants available in your grocery store or shopping center are terribly bad for you. What are some of the killer ingredients found in the leading deodorant brands these days? For starters, aluminum and parabens.
"Aluminum is the most abundant metal and the third most abundant element, after oxygen and silicon, in the earth's crust. It is widely distributed and constitutes approximately 8 percent of the earth's surface layer. However, aluminum is a very reactive element and is never found as the free metal in nature. It is found combined with other elements, most commonly with oxygen, silicon, and fluorine. These "chemical compounds" are commonly found in soil, minerals (e.g., sapphires, rubies, turquoise), rocks (especially igneous rocks), and clays. These are the natural forms of aluminum, rather than the silvery metal. The metal is obtained from aluminum-containing minerals, primarily bauxite. Small amounts of aluminum are even found in water in dissolved or ionic form. Ions are atoms, collections of atoms, or molecules possessing either a positive or a negative electric charge. The most commonly found ionic forms of aluminum are complexes formed with hydroxy (hydrogen attached to oxygen) ions."  (Source)
Sooo, doesn't sound horrible, right? Well, just because aluminum may be a natural compound found here on earth doesn't mean it's good for us humans.
Aluminum was first recognized as a human neurotoxin in 1886, before being used as an antiperspirant. A neurotoxin is a substance that causes damage to nerves or nerve tissue.
Post-mortem analysis of Alzheimer’s infected brains has shown increased levels of aluminum compared to people that did not die from Alzheimer’s.
Breast cancer in women has been linked to the aluminum and parabens found in a lot of deodorants.
I could go on about aluminum but then I wouldn't have enough time to tell you about the actual natural deodorants which was after all the point of today's post. If you want to learn more about aluminum, google "health effects of aluminum." It's always best to do your own research. 
So. Moving on.
I don't know about you, but I tend to perspire VERY easily. I also tend to get very stinky very fast, even with deodorant on. This is the straight up truth concerning my under arms. :P
I've always envied the girls who didn't have to check every 20 minutes to see if they smelled or not. But envying doesn't get anything done, does it?
So,I have tried a longgg list of different natural deodorants. Since I need something with a lot of gumption and heavy strength/durability, it hasn't been easy to find the right product which actually works for me.
Here are a few natural deodorants I have used and recommend.
Tom's of Maine: I usually need to get a scented one because unscented just doesn't seem to be strong enough for me personally. These are very gentle on the skin and the scents aren't too horrible smelling. My favorites are lavender, and apricot.
Personally, I have to REALLY slather this on for it to work. But it does work. And that's all that matters. You can find Tom's deodorants at Wal-mart.
Jason: I think this one is a little more expensive than Tom's but it is my favorite at the moment. Like with Tom's, I have to really slather it on, but it works decently and I don't mind the smell. Actually I think I like the smell better than Tom's. My favorite scent of Jason's is Aloe Vera. You can find this line in Sweetbay supermarkets and probably at the health food store too.
Crystal: Now, while I don't personally recommend this one if you are like me and need something heavy duty, I thought I'd mention it for you lucky ladies who may be able to get off with something more mild. Crystal deodorants are roll on, and a clear liquid. The main negative I think, besides the fact it doesn't work for me, is how messy it can be. It makes your underarms feel VERY wet. I doubt most people like this kind of feeling, I certainly don't!
You can find Crystals at Wal-mart if you want to give them a try.
Go the home-made route! At one point, I got reallyyyyy desperate and looked up how to make your own natural deodorant, online. I found a simple recipe which only required baking soda and eucalyptus oil, as I recall. It was MESSSSSSSY. Messy, messy, messy. It kinda sorta worked, but the main problem was not getting white powder all over myself and my surroundings, in the process.
Also, it didn't keep very well and got kinda...icky, after a week or so.
This was just my personal experience with making home-made deodorants, I know there are other recipes out there which might work better. I just detest powder deodorants in general.
Do you have a favorite natural deodorant? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Friday y'all!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Gil Hibben Throwing Knives Review

I got this set of beauties the other day, and let me tell you, it was a much anticipated arrival.
I get all ridiculously excited about getting the mail on normal days, as it is. But if I'm expecting a package? You can expect obsessiveness when it comes to checking the mail. Obsessing with a capitol "O".

With shipping combined, I paid about 50 bucks for these Gil Hibben tanto-style throwing knives, on I can tell already that they were worth the price.

I'm no expert knife thrower by any means, but I can usually tell a quality knife when I see one. These came with razor sharp tips, and well-balanced. They are SOLID. Heaviest throwers I have yet acquired. My other set is cool too, and there a lot more of them, but they are really small in comparison and not balanced as well.

As you can see, they are fairly large knives in general. I am confident I could use them as weapons or for utilitarian purposes even if I wasn't throwing them.

Nonetheless, they were made for throwing. I tried them for the first time today outside and used several big pine trees as targets. The knives came with a thin tarp-material practice target which was an added benefit but I just need to find a place to put it up sensibly. The knife blades stuck into the tree effortlessly, and stuck deep. It took a little exertion to get them un-stuck from the bark/outer layer of the tree.
This might sound kind of odd, but I find an interesting sort of pleasure in listening to the knife whiz through the air and sinking into the target. With my other, smaller throwers, I couldn't hear them whistling as much. And the "thud" was smaller. With these Hibbens? Boy, they whistle as they fly. And the thud is realllyyy satisfactory. ^_^ Random note, there, but hey, I just figured it was an added benefit you should know about.

I'll admit, once again, I'm no authority on the sport of knife-throwing. I have been doing it for about two years now on and off, but not very seriously. I haven't practiced lately in a lonnnng was the first time in months actually. My brothers can tell you, I'm pretty lousy. I agree with them.
Right now. Give me another several weeks and that will hopefully change.
There is an art to knife throwing and it ain't easy in many regards. I am still trying to figure out the perfect balance of how to throw to align one's body in preparation to throw, how to position your throwing arm and how to actually throw. How to hold the knife when you throw. Sounds basic, right? Eh, not really. At least, not until you figure out what you're doing and develop a rhythm/pattern which you follow each time. I am so inconsistent right now. One time, I'll stick all 3 knives in the target area without any trouble, the next, I throw and all 3 bounce off the tree in 3 different, unpredicted directions. O_O
You definitely need patience with this. But, with well-made knives like these Hibbens, it should make it a heck of a lot easier for you. I purposely chose the "large" size because I have tended to overestimate sizes of knives in the past and with knife throwing especially, I think it's important to get a good, big knife. They are way easier to handle than little throwers, in my opinion.
Want some Hibben tanto throwing knives of your own? You can find some here.
I hope you enjoyed this review!  Do any of y'all throw? What are your favorite knives to use? I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Seven Billion {WriterlyWednesday}

{this is an abbreviated version of a song I wrote two days ago}
"Seven Billion"
By Leah K. Oxendine
Coffee brown skies, and coal black sidewalks,
Yellow taxi-cabs racing down the street.
Millions of people brushing past me,
And I forget whether I’m coming or going.
Welcome to New York City, welcome to a hurting land.
The neon lights are burning bright, but
They can’t hide the darkness thriving here.

Seven billion people on planet earth,
Seven billion lives of incredible worth
Seven billion souls in this world, and how many of seven billion have truly heard?
How many lives have been touched?
By hands reaching out, spreading God’s Holy Word?
How many souls have been told the Good News?
And how they can be saved from hell and what Jesus can do?
Seven billion, that’s a pretty huge number,
 but the Lord made us all incredibly unique and special.
As children of God, we’ve been given a task,
to spread the gospel to as many as we can.
Towering pine trees and fields of green,
prettiest landscape that I ever did see.
Horse farms scattered all across the county,
rolling down the road, pick-up trucks and dualees.
Welcome to Fairfield Florida, welcome to a needy land
The stars, they shine in the clear night sky, but they can’t hide the darkness dwelling here.
What are we doing, sitting here;
drowning in the waters of our own fears?
Why do we worry, what others think?
Why do we let that worry stop us from witnessing?
Why do we worry about others’ thoughts?
When we step outside our comfort zones we step into God’s.
I stayed up till' 4 in the morning to write that. O_O Scary, right? Well, when God gives you inspiration, you can't just dump it because of what time of day it is.
I'm pretty pleased with it. Maybe one of these days I'll stop being lazy and try to record it somehow so you can hear it. I wrote it mainly with intentions of using it in our church band, so if you REALLY wanna hear it you just need to come to our church sometime! XD
Apologies for not posting anything lately. Life is hectic as always and I've been trying to cut how much time I spend on the computer so I can spend more time with my family, God, and instruments. :D I am planning to post something for FabHealthFriday this week however, about natural deodorants! How exciting, no? Heheh.
Have a blessed day! What's new with y'all this week? I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Adventures Up North {nyc 2013}

Well, last weekend Daddy and I flew up north to the biggest city in the USA.
New York City.
This was my...let's see...sixth time I've been to the Big Apple. Kinda hard to believe, but I've been going with my dad since 2009, once every year for his ASGA conference. (See me working there at this album here) These are all business trips, I help Daddy by assisting with conference set-up and tear down, as well as running the ASGA store and registration process.
But it usually doesn't end just with work. On our last day, before we catch a flight home, we usually spend a few hours sightseeing.  Here are some of the photos I snapped throughout the trip.
This was the view from six floors up at our hotel in Brooklyn.

I know it may seem odd that I decided to snap photos of ruins...but in case y'all didn't already know, I am slightly obessed with abandonded buildings. This particular was was being torn down while we were there.

I found this rather interesting, and haunting at the same time.

Don't you wonder what's inside that door?!

Okay, enough with the pictures of a condemned building. xP Here is what our hotel room looked like. Daddy was just getting up from his chair...hehe.

Moi snapping a photo of the bathroom/closet/mini-kitchen area. This room was pretty small and everything was compact and the space utilized to maximum effeciency. Typical for NYC style.

On Sunday, (our last day- also the day we came home) we got to take a tour of the Radio City Music Hall. This was the main stairway in the lobby. I thought it was pretty neat. The ceiling was HIGH.

On the actual stage of the music hall!

Music Hall seating.

Me on the stage! Pretty neat view.

Bad, bad, bad hair day. Actually, the whole weekend my hair was behaving terribly. I think it was because of the change in atmosphere, temprature and humidity. My hair is used to 100% humidity and apparently NYC doesn't have that. XP Oh well, what are cute newsboy caps for? *grins*


Moi again, snapping a photo of myself in the mirror of a column in another lobby a floor below the stage. I though the architecture here was interesting. And even the color scheme. It was all chosen for specific reasons...e.g., the designer thought that black paint on the walls would simulate a calm atmosphere and encourage people in the room to be quieter for the audiences upstairs who might've been watching a production.

From the highest level of seating in the music hall. Whew, this is pretty high up. The acoustics were amazing however.

Another classy stairway, with cool abstract-musical instrument carpeting.

Side-walk POV! Love the retro signs.

I kinda really like this. ^^

Times Square!

One of my dreams is to one day return here with a group of other people and hand out tracts on the sidewalk, and do street evangelism. I would love to organize a mission trip up here...this is a spiritually starved city and there is so much darkness and sin amidst all the bright lights and crowds of people!

Daddy again!

I personally think this is a horrid picture of me. -_-

We ate at a cute little restaurant underneath Grand Central Station. The french toast there was delish. Mmm. Got to have some really good, deep conversations with Padre. This is one of my favorite things about getting to travel on these business trips with him.

Leaving Midtown, on the way to the JFK airport.

I thought this bridge was cool. Sorry for the quality of the picture, it was shot out a cab window.
That concludes the photos from the trip, but I hope you enjoyed them! It was a great trip and I really enjoyed it. The conference went well, I got to meet and talk to interesting people,  enjoy the cold weather, see some neat sights, spend quality time with my dad, and eat yummy food. ^_^ And the flights, both up there and back, were smooth as peanut butter.
It can't get much better than that, can it?
I love being home schooled. And I love having a dad who is awesome enough to take me with him on his business travels. God is good!
None the less, as much as I enjoyed this trip, I am glad to be back in the south where I belong.
If even my hair seems to protest, I guess that should say something...
I'm a country, Florida girl and that's who I'll always be.