Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Review- Knight's End

Sometimes choosing between love and family means choosing between life and death.

Aston Smith, Knight of Fridel, has been sent on a dangerous mission: catch The Rogue Royal, a notorious man who has been killing corrupt monarchs. When the mission goes wrong, the knight is sentenced to death. To escape his fate, he runs, planning to track down the murderer and clear his name.

Along the way, he meets and teams up with Jade du Halen, who he thinks is just another woman. Secretly, she is the runaway princess of Adion who denied her duties as a princess and refused to marry the man her father had chosen for her. Instead, she convinces Aston that she can clear his name, joining him on his hunt for justice.

Can these two individuals hide from their hunters, catch The Rogue Royal, and live happily ever after? Or will Jade’s secret tear them apart?

In a story told from the perspectives of five individuals, lives are changed forever, reputations are destroyed, love is found and lost, and betrayal is never far behind.


So my wonderful, awesome friend, Jami Montgomery self-published her book, Knight's End so I just had to buy a copy. And it was just as amazing as I expected it to be. And I'm not saying that just because she's my friend. 

First off, the characters were fairly realistic. Jade, the heroine, was a brave daring princess who didn't want to marry the first man her father pawned her off on. Jade was brave but reckless at times, smart but sometimes it didn't seem like she thought some things through the whole way. Our wonderful hero, Aston was brave, courageous, and intelligent. He was kind hearted and took his duties as a knight seriously. And the other characters were just as good as well. 

Plus not only that, but Jami's characters all developed nicely over the course of the story. At first I completely hated Talbot but in the end I came to understand him, even almost like him. And Ernst, oh wow, I don't even know where to begin. I think that Jami did a wonderful job on his character. He was the villain  but you understood why, almost even agreeing. He wasn't evil for the sake of being evil, no he had friends and family too, and an actual reason for doing what he did. He was sane and you could see kindness in him every once in while. And all the secondary characters were wonderful. Aston's friends were wonderful people. 

And the plot was good too. I finished the book in about a day and the whole time I was reading it, I kept wondering if Jade's scorned husband-wanna-be was going to get her or if Aston was going to clear his name or not. There was romance, but thankfully, no love triangles! And the romance wasn't super heavy but I think Jami did a good job on developing the romance and making it seem realistic. It wasn't real graphic, but it was nice. 

And the end! Oh my gosh! I cried! It was one of those I-love-it-but-I-hate-it-at-the-same-time endings. When I talked to her later that night, I yelled at her. And now not only do I have to wait for the next one, but now I'm trying to figure out who in the world could have done it. 

As for the writing and things like that, there was a few spelling mistakes here and there. But that's okay I think because she edited it herself. And for editing it herself, she did a very good job. But the writing was a little simple at times, but it worked I think. And at other times there were a few parts where I wondered if the characters would really have those kinds of things back in their time period, but other then that, nothing jumped out at me for being bad. 

On Goodreads: Knight's End
Website/facebook page: Jami Montgomery

Sincerely, 
Sareh

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In the News- Will Science Disprove God?

Sareh says no. 

Plain and simple. 

According to a Yahoo! news article I meant to talk about last week, some people think that eventually science will be able to prove that God doesn't exist. I have several problems with this issue. Not only is it because of my beliefs but that I don't think things like the Big Bang make any sense. (Feel free to disagree or agree with me in the comments below).
Although cosmic mysteries remain, Sean Carroll, a theoretical cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology, says there's good reason to think science will ultimately arrive at a complete understanding of the universe that leaves no grounds for God whatsoever.
Carroll argues that God's sphere of influence has shrunk drastically in modern times, as physics and cosmology have expanded in their ability to explain the origin and evolution of the universe. "As we learn more about the universe, there's less and less need to look outside it for help," he told Life's Little Mysteries.
 I would like to argue Mr. Carroll's point in saying that their ability to explain the "origin" of the universe is actually not all that much more convincing then say the ancient Roman's beliefs that their gods created the universe. In fact, although we know more about our universe, we can only present theories and beliefs on how the universe was created since we were not there. 

Why I don't agree with the Big Bang theory. 
Gobs of evidence have been collected in favor of the Big Bang model of cosmology, or the notion that the universe expanded from a hot, infinitely dense state to its current cooler, more expansive state over the course of 13.7 billion years. Cosmologists can model what happened from 10^-43 seconds after the Big Bang until now, but the split-second before that remains murky. Some theologians have tried to equate the moment of the Big Bang with the description of the creation of the world found in the Bible and other religious texts; they argue that something — i.e., God — must have initiated the explosive event
Yes, "gobs" of evidence have been collected, but maybe they can't prove what happened because it didn't happen? And I know that others have said that God created the Big Bang, and I guess while that could make sense:
(Genesis 1: 1-3)  1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  
As we can see in verse three, all God has to do is say something is bam,  it happens. So I guess, I could see that argument, but according to the Big Bang the universe didn't really happen all at once. It took "billions" of years.  
(Genesis 1: 31) 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
But according to the Bible, God created the world in the space of six "days". I put days there in quotations because some people aren't quite sure if when they say "days" if they mean it in the same way we see time (despite the fact that it says "there was evening and there was morning"). But anyways, since I believe that God created everything in six days, the world could not have taken several "billion" years to form. 
(Genesis 1: 20-25)  20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”  21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.  22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”  23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.  24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.  25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 
These verses, I think, proves that evolution could not have taken place because God created all of the creatures over a period of six days. There was no little amoeba that all the creatures came from, no, God created all of the creatures as they were suppose to be.

Anyways, I'll save the rest of my "Creation Science" behind for another day and get back to the article. 
Some versions of quantum gravity theory that have been proposed by cosmologists predict that the Big Bang, rather than being the starting point of time, was just "a transitional stage in an eternal universe," in Carroll's words. For example, one model holds that the universe acts like a balloon that inflates and deflates over and over under its own steam. If, in fact, time had no beginning, this shuts the book on Genesis. 
I'm not exactly sure what all of this quote means, but the last sentence I do get. See, according to the Bible, God is eternal. He is without beginning and without end:
(1 Timothy 1:17) 17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 
 God was here before the creation of the universe (which bring the questions, what did He do before He created the universe? And I'm not even going to try and ask how long it was before He created the universe). And God will be here for the rest of forever. So technically, the article is right in a way. Time has no beginning. Time only "began" when God created the universe. And actually, time is a human concept.
(2 Peter 3: 8) But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Other Passages and Theories 
So basically the rest of the article talks about parallel universes (a fun concept, but I don't believe it. Not for one moment.) as a way to disprove the theory that the universe is so "fine tuned" that there is no other reason for it but God. Which I think is a valid point.

And this is one of the reasons I don't believe in the Big Bang theory. According to the theory, everything came from nothing. But technically, nothing can do nothing. So then, if there was nothing before the Big Bang theory, how did the universe come about?

Now if someone was to bring in the parallel universe theory, I'd like to argue, well then where did all those other universes come from? And how could multiple universes even prove that God isn't real? That the article isn't clear enough about, I think.

The chances of everything being just so, enough to support life, coming from chance is nearly impossible. I'm not saying it is impossible, but the chances of that happening so so slim that I highly doubt that our world just randomly was perfect enough to support life as we know it.

Anyways, onto my passages!
(Hebrews 11:3) By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. 
(2 Peter 3:5-6) For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,  6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 
(1 Timothy 6: 20-21)  O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”  21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.
I especially like the 1 Timothy verse, "falsely called "knowledge" for by professing it some have swerved from the faith." How many people have stopped believing or have not believed because they decided to listen to evolutionary science?

But not only am I trying to make the argument here that evolution just doesn't make sense (which I'll make a case for creation science in another post) but I believe that the universe proves that God does exist. God makes Himself known in three ways. ( taken from Luther's Small Catechism with Explanation):

  1. Through the existence of the world (Natural knowledge of God). 
    1. Psalm 19: 1   The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
    2. Romans 1:19-20  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 
    3. Hebrews 3:4  (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) 
  2. Through conscience (natural knowledge of God):
    1. Romans 2:15  They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.
  3. Especially through the Holy Scriptures in which God clearly reveals Himself and His gift of salvation in Christ (revealed knowledge of God)
    1. John 20:21  but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
    2. 2 Timothy 3:15   and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  
    3. Hebrews 1:1-2  Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,  2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Enough with the passages, now onto me rambling a bit more. 
For those of you who also read over the yahoo comments, I think they're very interesting. I know that one of the points that people often make is that if God is real, why doesn't He show Himself to us today?

Which is a very good question, but here's the thing. These people want physical miracles. They want to see God in the flesh. But what they fail to take into account is that God has already come to us as a man. And that was Jesus. He was both God and man, fully God and fully human at the same time. He performed miracles and walked among the people.

And Jesus is going to come again when the world ends (and no, the world is not going to end this year because the Bible very clearly states that no one knows when the world is going to end but God. And besides, every single other end of the world prophecy has been wrong.) so you know what, we all will see Him again on Judgement day. So if you want to see Him that badly, just wait, you'll see Him yourself.

But not only that, God does come to us. All the time. He's everywhere at once and comes to us spiritually. Whenever I read the Bible, I know that God is with me. He's speaking to me through His Word. And the Bible isn't the only way that God comes to us. He also comes to us through prayer and He always listens and talks to us that way (another post once again).

The third way is that God talks to us all the time. But the thing is that some people choose to ignore Him. That or they don't realize He's talking to them. God talk to us through other people, and through pretty much anything He wants. But to hear Him, you have to be open to hearing Him. If you constantly deny Him, chances are, you're not listening. (If that doesn't make sense, just ask me to clarify it more).

God won't force you to listen to Him either. That choice is up to you because of free will. Yes, God could force us to believe in Him, but where would the love in that be? No one wants to be forced into anything. And because He loves us, He gives us the choice of free will. Does God want us to believe in Him? Of course? Is He saddened when people don't believe, of course. God wants everyone to come and believe in Him because He loves you and me so much.

In Conclusion...
So since I realize that I'm just rambling kinda here and I'm pretty much only backing up my views right now with Bible verses, I know that some people don't believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and that it is without error (any error like spelling mistakes or whatever is human error). I'll get into creation science in another post (Friday perhaps?). Personally, I think creation science is really interesting, especially when they start to talk about dinosaurs and why Adam and the ancient OT people lived for so long.

But in all honestly, I believe this by faith. And I realize that these scientists believe by faith basically the opposite of me. Am I saying that they're wrong? Yeah (that science will prove that God doesn't exist), but is science bad? No, it isn't. Science proves that God is real. But what bugs me is when people (including myself!) start trying to prove each other wrong and end up making people mad (which I'm sure I'm going to make some people who read this mad).

What I mean is that when people say things in a way that is disrespectful to others or is in an uneducated way. I believe in learning about the other's side before defending your own (hear the other side of the story). Not only that, but before even that, know yourself what you truly believe in (for example, if you're going to say well the Bible says this and this without actually reading it, well I don't think that's the smartest choice. If you're going to use the Bible to defend your beliefs, actually take the time to read the scripture and understand it first.)

Everyone has a right to defend what they believe in, and everyone has a right to what they believe. No one should force anyone to believe anything. But what we also shouldn't do is come straight out and bash people just because they believe something different from us. These scientists out there are very intelligent people, and I respect them for being as intelligent as they are and accomplishing things and understanding things I don't. But I just believe that they are misguided in some of their beliefs.

So anyways, what I'm trying to say here is that I hope I've at least given you something to think about. And I hope its positive. As always, and like I said in the beginning, feel free to agree or disagree with me. I love hearing other people's opinions, especially those who differ from mine. And as long as you respect my opinion, I'll respect yours. Simple, no?

Sincerely,
Sareh

Monday, September 17, 2012

Writing Prompt- disABILITY

That was actually a line I read in a magazine once about a girl who had a disability and she turned it into an ability. Anyways, so I saw an article eariler about a girl who was born without arms and how she's able to do pretty much everything with her feet. It was really inspiring. And now I'm following her youtube channel, (http://www.youtube.com/user/tishaunarmed?feature=g-all-c)

Anyways, so tonight's prompt is to write a short story or a story/scene about someone with a disability who learns how to turn it into an "ability". For example, it could even mean something interesting like a woman who can't talk on her own (actually oney of the ladies in my writer's group has this. I think its quite interesting so I'm turning it into a story), or someone who doesn't have any limbs at all (like Nick Vujicic).

Of course it doesn't have to be that extreme. It can even be something like having back problems or breaking an arm or having only partial vision or feeling (actually one of the guys in my grade lost his ability to feel when he was little. I actually never knew about it until last year and I've going to school with him for four years now).

Sincerely,
Sareh


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Is it better to work on multiple projects or stick to one?

So its the epic question.

Do you write one book at a time, or do you work on multiple at once?

Multiple At Once- Pros

  • More possible writing time. 
  • Less chance of dealing with Writer's Block. Because every time you get stuck with one story, you can just flip to the next one. 
  • There's always choices, you'll never get sick of working on just one thing. 
  • You may get inspiration from one story for another. 
  • It might be easier to deal with all the voices in your head, it might make more of them leave you alone. 
Multiple At Once- Cons
  • You may end up favoring one more over another (which could turn into working on just one till its finished). 
  • You may start too many books and not finish anything. 
  • Less focus on one story because you may have a stronger feeling for wandering to another story. 
  • You may get stories confused. 
  • You might end up spending too much time away from a novel and lose your spark (your enthusiasm) for it. 

One At a Time- Pros
  • There's more of a focus on that story. 
  • Less chance of getting distracted. 
  • More determination to succeed in order to work on another idea. 
  • Faster time at finishing a book (possibly). 
  • You might realize that all those ideas you thought of aren't as cool as you originally thought. 
One At a Time- Cons
  • A stronger chance off getting stuck on Writer's Block. 
  • You might end up getting plagued by ideas and get frustrated when you can never work on them. 
  • You might get bored of one story faster. 
  • You might feel bad if you suddenly realize that you hate your current project and you step away from it. 
Tips for Multiple At Once Writers
I'm one of these writers, so I might be able to give more advice here. See, I once was an Once At a Time author, where I wrote only one book before starting the other. It was a long and hard process but I finished it. (Techinally, because it was a series and I had reached 80k and then I decided to stop...and it was my first novel.) 

Anyways, one of the problems with this type of writing process is that you risk that chance of starting too many novels and never finishing anything. My advice if you're facing this problem is to pick your favorite three out of all your ideas. If you can't decide, think of the three books that have the most potential or the most ideas with them. If neither of that works, start with each book and start trying to think of more ideas for  stories or find a way to get your self excited about three of them. 

And once you have your three, keep one as a back up but focus primarily on the two other ones. If all goes smoothly you should have ideas for each story. And its okay to focus on just one of others. If you're worried about losing inspiration, take a day once a week or whatever and work on that other book. Or write down ideas for the other stories. As long as you're getting something finished or close to it, that's good. 

My last tip really for this one is for getting confused. I've done this before when I've been working on The Cursing (written in first person present tense) and then switch to Night Lies (third person past tense; you can imagine the confusion). My tip for this is to take a bit of a break before you switch. You may want to work on that other book just as you're finishing a scene for the other, but take a minute to let your brain snap out of the other story first. 

Go read a book written in the tense and pov the story you're about to work on is written in. Take a moment to imagine your story and let yourself mentally transition to the new book. You may be itching to write, but it helps to take a little break. 

Tips for Once at a Time writers. 
If you're writing a novel one at a time, congrats because you're way more determined then I am. My brain couldn't handle being forced to stick to one idea for so long. Granted I often focus on one story for a period, but I couldn't write a whole novel to the end without working on something else. 

That being said, if you're being plagued with ideas that are begging for your attention (and this applies to Multiple writers too), my suggestion is to write the pitch, maybe a basic outline if you're that kind of writer, and maybe start on the first chapter if you're dying to start. After that file them away for later and go back to your current project. This is also a good idea to see for later on when you come back to your ideas, you'll have a fresher look at what you like and what you don't like anymore. 

If you're getting bored by your current story or getting stuck, my advice is to take a break for a little bit (also applies to Multiple novelists). Do the dishes, go for a run, watch a move, read a book, just something to get your mind off the current story for a bit. If that doesn't help, try figuring out what's bothering you. And hey, maybe you are just stuck with the story or you hate it, that's okay. 

Its okay to put something away if you're totally bored or stuck and you don't know why. Or if you hate it. You don't want to be writing a book you don't want to write. Because if you hate it, your readers will too. And don't try to force yourself. Sometimes it is good to force yourself to work on something, but other times it'll just make you upset. So save yourself a little sanity. 

So, which kind of novelist are you? Have you tried both or do you only stick to one type? Which works best?

Sincerely,
Sareh

Monday, September 3, 2012

Writing Prompt- Your Backstory

So for tonight's writing prompt, let's pretend that our lives are exciting and worthy enough to be put into a book. Anyways, if you were going to be put into a book, what would your back story be? If you could change anything about your past, what would it be?

After that, try creating back stories (a past) for multiple people.

For example:

  1. A gas station clerk who recently comes into work more happy then usual. Why is he so happy?
  2. A teacher who suddenly disappears from the school without reason. Why did he disappear? What could have happened in the past that made it so?
  3. A girl who was adopted and then ended up disappearing. Why did she disappear, what happened to her family, and where did she go?
Sincerely,
Sareh

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