NaNoWriMo: The Gentlemen Adventurers’ Society


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This November, ill-advised or not, I am participating in NaNoWriMo. Since I am currently waiting for my next class (6:30 to 9:10 pm, I am gonna die if I don’t get out early), I thought I might as well take the time to introduce you to my project and the two main characters.

The Gentlemen Adventurers’ Society is a historical fantasy (pssst, it’s steampunk) novel set in the later years of the Victorian era and follows the adventures of Maeghan LeClere and James Pennon as they try to avert the annexation of a small German princedom by the growing empire of Kaiser Wilhelm I (I haven’t technically fact-checked it yet, fact-checking can wait until the end of NaNo!), an event which might catapult the world with its growing system of alliances into a vicious war (as in, World War I, if it started early.)

Maeghan is a young American woman, orphaned and out to make her way in the world, even if it’s an ultimately unremarkable one. She’s very good at organization, but balks at the idea of being put in charge of things. (I think we already know how we’re going to force some character development, guys.) She’s never done anything notable in her life, but that’s about to change.

James is English nobility–a youngest son, insignificant by birth, practically penniless, and yet too determined a personality to fade into mediocrity or to take a minor government position. Intelligent (perhaps too intelligent for his own good) and with a startling streak of fire in his character, he’s never failed to get anything he’s ever fought for, but he doesn’t quite live in the real world; he’s been sheltered his entire life. He’s never been burned before, and while he knows on a cognitive level that he could get hurt, he hasn’t quite realized it on an emotional one. He’s also a bit oblivious to when people are hitting on him, and it’s a rather unpleasant shock for him to be reminded that some people consider him a marriage prospect. His worst fear–the secret fear that he himself isn’t even really aware of–is failure.

James is a member of the mysterious, prestigious organization known as “The Gentlemen Adventurers’ Society,” a group for upper-class people (men and with some restrictions, women) who don’t settle down easily. Occasionally, they will provide some services–guides, detectives, scientists, students and so forth–on the condition that whatever payment is made is made to the Society, in the place of dues (and the surplus goes to make up pensions for some members who, like James, are sophisticated enough to belong but who don’t have livings of their own.)

Maeghan is travelling to Europe, by coincidence aboard the same airship as James. Working together, they manage to save the airship, and James invites Maeghan to join the Society as his protege. (Don’t look at me like that. Read it and weep, romance fans–there’s not really going to be any in this book.)

However, that’s really only the beginning for the two of them.

Hopefully you all enjoy my recaps of their misadventures throughout the month.

(Rosalie, did I mention that James is redecorating the mind palace for Christmas? Already? And the Doctor is aiding and abetting. Those two are terrible. It was a bad idea to have the Doctor and Charley stand in for James and Maeghan, since they get up to twice as much trouble after discovering their sympathies.)


Why I Love “Daredevil”


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Lately, I’ve been watching Daredevil on a free trial of Netflix that I was forced to get in order to complete a different class. I might as well milk it for all it’s worth while I’ve got it.

It’s pretty different, watching Netflix shows. They tend to be written much more tightly and be more hard-hitting than TV shows. Since it’s sort of a “view at your own discretion” situation, they can also deal with things that most channels would shy away from discussing.

I love the way Daredevil is written. The dialogue is tight and loaded. Not a single word is wasted. Each character has a distinct voice, or even multiple voices–Matt has his “lawyer” voice, which is reasoned and comes across as almost stilted but very well put-together; his “informal” voice–his natural way of talking; and his “Daredevil” voice, which is much more terse than either of the others. The very choice of words builds into the characters.

At one point, Matt asks Karen if she believes; she replies that she doesn’t. In return, she asks him if he does. He replies “Catholic.” The reply is so textured, so many-faceted, not least because of his word choice.

It implies so much. Matt sees his faith as part of who he is, fundamentally; to him, it’s the thing that motivates him to take a stand and not back down; to get up again when he gets knocked down. It’s both a motivation and an example. For him, his faith is something concrete.

But it’s not just part of Matt’s identity that his word choice hints at.

It implies that Matt also believes that it doesn’t just matter that you believe; your exact beliefs matter too. That’s rather an unpopular opinion to hold in these days of watered-down Christianity, where hounded Christians greet any fellow Christian of any denomination as a friend in a world that seems to hate their guts. But that’s just a symptom–a welcome one, though–of a bigger problem.

A lot of people seem to think that it doesn’t matter what you believe, just that you do. Still more appear to be of the opinion that you can believe whatever you like, so long as you follow the nebulous call of “the right thing”–but no one seems to quite know what the right thing is.

But you see… people with all their beliefs laid out clearly on the table do.

The modern school of thought on “the right thing” grows out of a set of damaging beliefs from religions that people don’t dare to call out individually. And thus, they water down beliefs that common thought understands to be hurtful. Christianity gets watered down right along with them, even though it shouldn’t.

As a result, we get a series of feel-good philosophies that are, once you’ve lived them out for a while, hollow and dingy, and when they don’t feel fulfilled people just move on and try the next one, or they throw their hopes into exercise or yoga or things that have much more potential for harm.

That is not what religion is meant to be.

Let me repeat myself: that is not what religion is meant to be!

Religion is hard-hitting. It doesn’t pull its punches. As G.K. Chesterton once said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”

Either you believe it all, or you put your faith in nothing. It’s as simple as that.

Personally, I believe that there is God and the devil. I believe in Heaven and Hell; I believe in the Bible, and I believe in the Savior. I can’t compromise. This is, as it is for Matt Murdoch, part of who I am.

I won’t apologize (as in, say I’m sorry.) But I will apologize (as in, live out my faith for everyone to see, and defend it if it’s attacked.)

Another thing about the zeitgeist; anything is permissible as long as “it’s just who I am!” Well, this is just who I am. Are you offended?

If you are, I recommend that you look really closely at the reasons why.

(I also recommend that you watch Daredevil. There’s some language, and it’s very violent, graphic and even gory in parts, but it’s also a very good show, both writing and morality-wise.)

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!

Introducing Endless Horizons Designs!

I am proud to announce the launch of my new independent couture business, Endless Horizons Designs. The WordPress profile is still under construction, and the Etsy shop is yet to be launched, but everything is moving forward.

So far, I have added two items to the WordPress profile site: the Freedom Blue Jacket and the Clockwork Charm Bracelet. Please browse the site and tell me what you think!

(Sarah, you mentioned you were interested in buying one of the Clockwork Charm Bracelets. I’ll make sure you know immediately when the listing goes up on Etsy, because I’m going to have to mail them on a first-come first-served basis, and I only have two finished bracelets at the moment. If someone else wants the second one, please let me know so I can notify you as well. The speculative price for each bracelet is $17, before shipping and handling.)

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!

Archivist of Selay’uu’s Journal: Pillow Fort


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I was surprised, this morning, to see a mountain of pillows go walking past my study door. I ran to the door and peered out after the strange apparition.

It was not, in fact, a walking pillow mountain, but the Eighth Doctor, his arms full of pillows. The pile was higher than his head. “Doctor! What are you doing?” He turned around, losing control of the pillow pile, and stared at me, startled, knee deep in pillows.

I Have Loved the Stars Too Fondly


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Call this a tribute to all my favorite characters–I was thinking back on all my favorites and I noticed that my very favorite characters all tried and failed at some point, but kept on trying. Their victories were by no means constant, and their successes were not always total.

So here is my tribute to Horatio Hornblower, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Martin the Warrior, the Doctor (though this sounds much more like Eight than like Eleven), Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Charles Wallace Murray, Meg Murray, Sydney Cotton, and all my other favorite characters.


They all pity me. I can tell.

I’ve got all the scars and bruises and broken bones I earned by my trouble, I skirt the edge of madness, and sometimes I seem to be invisible.

Sometimes, they ask me why I’m like this.

“It couldn’t be helped,” I say.

After all, if I told them the full truth, they wouldn’t stop to listen.

Sometimes, when you reach out to touch the stars, you fall and fall hard. Not all your leaps of faith will be successes.

Of course, since they pity me, they’d never see the truth. The truth is this: I tried. I did my best and sometimes it just wasn’t enough. Reduced to this shell of a man as I am in their eyes, they would only see the futility of the struggle. Never its nobility.

The very core of the truth, condensed and concentrated, is that I do not regret one moment.

I do not grudge one bruise, one scar; not the shattered bones or the bleeding knuckles or broken skin. If I had my live to live all over, I’d do it all again. I’d risk it all. I’d step out without knowing if I had a safety net. I’d run farther and fight harder without knowing if I’d win or not. I would seize every chance, take every risk in hope.

I have lived more fully than any of them. The path of least resistance is not one that is by any means enviable. It’s safe, certainly—but it is not satisfying. Not to me, in any case.

I would not give up one second of this. I do not regret one moment of this.

Some things are worth failing for.

A Few Updates and Current Projects


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Hey, everyone! It’s been a while since I posted, so I thought I’d give you all a sneak peak of what I’ve been working on! 😉

The hatch that sealed off the bridge was locked. Meghan was a little bit shocked to see Pennon take out a series of lock picks and try them on the lock, then select one and proceed to work on the lock more intently. He nodded to Meghan, who readied her strikers. Pennon threw open the door and rushed into the room.

It was a fairly typical bridge with a cluster of instruments and controls. However, at the far end of the room, grouped around the wheel, stood a group of strange figures with their backs to them. They somehow struck Meghan as strange and unnatural, their bearing awkward and stiff. Pennon somehow didn’t seem fazed. He walked forward and whirled one of the strange figures around. “Excuse me…”

Meghan cried out in fear and surprise. The face was distorted, immobile. A moment later, she realized it was a mask. She swallowed hard. Clockwork automatons. Pennon frowned.

The automatons turned around slowly, gears clicking. One of them stepped forward, the movement bizarre and unnatural. Pennon unsheathed his rigging knife and held it in one hand, his strikers in the other. Long, jagged blades, whirling gears rolling their centers, jutted away from the automatons’ hands. Pennon dropped into a crouch, beckoning with the blade. Meghan swallowed. The automatons stepped forward, hesitantly, their cogs grinding. “Use your knife to keep them away from you, and your strikers to disable them,” Pennon instructed. “Aim for the head, neck, joints. If you can hit them square in the center of the chest, that disables the spring mechanism, but you have to be quick and hit hard.”

“Right,” Meghan said, her voice high, frightened. Pennon glanced halfway round and gave her a quick smile.

“I didn’t intend to drop you into the deep quite so soon. I’m sorry.” Meghan swallowed.

“Right. Okay.”

“I’ll do my best to keep them away from you.” With that, Pennon leaped forward, dealing the first automaton a rapid uppercut that sent it staggering back without coordination.

In other news, classes start on Monday and I feel not at all ready. *sigh* It’s hard to believe that summer is over already.

The Ones We Leave Behind Us


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In honor of Father’s day: The Doctor goes to keep an old tryst. (Note: Cross-posted to Fanfiction and my Tumblr blog.) The author is not responsible for any excess of feels.


The Doctor appeared on Susan’s doorstep five hours and forty years late, though when she invited him inside she expected it had been longer for him. He took off his hat, awkwardly, looking as if he wanted to roll the brim between his long, slender fingers. “You look lovely, Susan,” he said, stumbling awkwardly over the words. Susan half-smiled.

“Good to see you too, Grandfather.”

His tie was askew and his hair was wild, as if he’d taken a dive through the vortex before getting dressed and hadn’t found the time to tame it again. Carefully, Susan replaced the long, soft curls into something resembling order and took his hand. “Shall we?”

The TARDIS was different from how it had been; instead of gleaming white, the walls honeycombed with roundels, there was an ancient cathedral-like room, lined with books and candles and clocks. “You’ve redecorated,” Susan murmured, brushing her hand along the edge of the wood and brass console. The TARDIS chimed a faint greeting. The Doctor ducked his head, shyly.

“Yes,” he said quietly. “It seemed like time for a change.” He stood there, leaning against the door frame, a slight figure all but lost in the gloom, the shadows at the edges of the enormous space. Susan felt an ache in her chest that could not be explained by her recent cold. The Doctor walked briskly across the open space and leaned the elegant cane against the console, throwing levers and pressing knobs.

They materialized in a broom closet and joined the party as inconspicuously as they could. “We’re overdressed,” Susan said in an undertone. A half-smile pulled at the corners of the Doctor’s mouth.

“Just a little.” He held out a hand. “Would you care to dance, Mrs. Campbell?” She didn’t say anything–she just gave him a little, sad half-smile.

They had one misstep–the Doctor tripped over a floorboard during a complicated step and almost dropped her, but caught her at the last moment. “Sorry,” he whispered. “Out of practice.”

At one point, when the Doctor momentarily left her to get some punch for both of them, one of the older gentlemen attending came across to speak to Susan. “Pleasant-spoken young man,” he said. “Is he your father?”

“My grandfather, actually,” Susan corrected him. The older man paled.

“Good lord.”

When it was time to go home, the Doctor landed at the end of the street and walked Susan to her front door. She paused in the doorway.

“Thank you for tonight,” she said, quietly. The Doctor ducked his head abashedly.

“I tend to forget a lot of things in this life,” he said, softly. “I thought it was time to… give you some closure. I’m not getting any younger.” Susan smiled sadly.

“Come here.” His coat smelled faintly of old books, lavender and honey. She pressed her face gratefully against it.

“I missed you,” he confessed.

“I know.”

Of Obscure And Underrated Characters: Elwin Ransom


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Okay, so not as obscure as some I could’ve picked, but it counts as obscure, since everyone seems to have forgotten that Lewis didn’t just write for children. *glares at stereotypes in general*

Disclaimer: I don’t think that all atheists write depressing things. As a Christian, however, I tend to find atheistic beliefs very depressing. I don’t intend to offend; this is simply how I read it.

Okay, so first for some background.

Dr. Elwin Ransom is the central or viewpoint character in C.S. Lewis’ novels Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra, and an important character (though no longer a viewpoint character) in That Hideous Strength. He was also featured in the unfinished story The Dark Tower. These novels were written as part of a dare between Lewis and fellow Inkling J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis was supposed to write a science-fiction story, while Tolkien was going to try a time-travel novel. (Tolkien’s side of the dare is sadly incomplete.) From the three completed books and parts of The Dark Tower, you can gather some important information about the hero’s personal history.

  1. Dr. Elwin Ransom is a philologist. Basically, he studies languages, probably those of the British Isles especially, given that he understands that his name isn’t actually anything to do with the act of ransoming, but is a corruption of the Scandanavian “Ranulf’s Son” (Perelandra.)
  2. He fought in the First World War. I don’t recall where he was in action or if it was even mentioned which unit he was in, but he did see action.
  3. He teaches at a university (I don’t remember, but I think it was Cambridge.) I wish he was my teacher.

Ransom is a pretty likeable character to begin with. He feels frustration with himself and his somewhat-impulsive side, much like Horatio Hornblower (in the books, not so much the movies), but he is very generous all the same, even when it makes things awkward (ahh, awkwardness… Lewis took the chance to poke fun at it… I can’t even come close to telling you how hilarious it is. Seriously, read the book. X-D)

But the truly ironic thing about Ransom is that he’s one of the Lost Generation.

The Lost Generation is a term used to refer to the men who fought in the First World War and came home disillusioned, with war, with themselves, and with the values of the previous generation.

Lewis, along with F. Scott Fitzgerald and Earnest Hemingway (and Ransom!), was a member of the Lost Generation and fought in the First World War.

While some people lost their way, Lewis is a good example of how bad things can either press people to disillusionment or to hope.

Ransom’s character arc is very unique compared to many fantasy and science fiction heroes. Instead of being a high-fantasy hero or a wizard or an Asgardian or whatever, he’s a human with human doubts and human struggles. These books aren’t man against nature or man against his fellow man: they are man against himself, and have perhaps the most powerful conflict of any books I have ever read as a result (with the exception of The Lord of the Rings, which similarly deals with the protagonist fighting with himself.)

The only other characters I can think of at the moment who have the same struggle (in a visible and vital capacity; sorry, Obi-Wan, Lucas really shortchanged us all when he decided to give you less screen time!) are Horatio Hornblower (written by an atheist and therefore depressing) and the Doctor (who is a telepathic, possibly immortal, time-travelling alien, for goodness’ sake.)

The thing about Lewis, however, is that, while he powerfully conveys the agony that is doubt and interior struggle, he is also absolutely brilliant at writing that moment of clarity that ends all doubt and pours new life into the soul. When the reader reaches that moment of resolution, it is a cleansing and rejuvenating experience for him or her as well as for Ransom.

Reading C.S. Lewis is like doing spring-cleaning in your head. C.S. Lewis is a whole new level of metafiction.

Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength are essentially metafiction on the Bible. Seriously, do you need any more reasons why you should go and read them?!

(Afterword: Stick with That Hideous Strength, no matter how hard it gets. There’s discourse on the Arthurian legends, so it is so worth the time.)

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!