Wednesday, July 30, 2014


In the past week, I've seen this I don't know how many times.

And I have a problem with it.

Below you'll find a decent representation of the knights code and the code of chivalry, as pertaining to a knight. If one wasn't a knight, the code of chivalry need not apply to you.

The Knights Code of Chivalry and the vows of Knighthood

  • To fear God and maintain His Church
  • To serve the liege lord in valor and faith
  • To protect the weak and defenseless
  • To give succor to widows and orphans
  • To refrain from the wanton giving of offense
  • To live by honor and for glory
  • To despise pecuniary reward
  • To fight for the welfare of all
  • To obey those placed in authority
  • To guard the honor of fellow knights
  • To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit
  • To keep faith
  • At all times to speak the truth
  • To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
  • To respect the honor of women
  • Never to refuse a challenge from an equal
  • Never to turn the back upon a foe

Yes, it's true, only one of those specifically deals with women. So yes, it's true, ladies, you've been using the term "chivalry" entirely incorrectly.

However, it's the ending of this comedic response with which I have taken issue.

You see, it breaks a few pieces of the code:

  • To refrain from the wanton giving of offense
  • To live by honor and for glory
  • To fight for the welfare of all

And just because I can:

  • At all times to speak truth

Brett Druck has broken each of these in his response to this woman.

He took offense at her remark about chivalry. No knight would ever have succumbed to this.
There was no honor found in challenging a lady to a dual. Never. No self-respecting knight would ever have done such a thing.
He jousted only for his own reputation, for his own purposes, not for the welfare of those around him.
Obviously, as this is a comedy sketch, none of it was true. *wink*

Chivalry isn't about women. It's about battle etiquette between knights. If you're not a knight, it does not apply to you. You're not expected to live by it. Ladies, if you're not hanging around knights all the time, don't expect the boys to open every door for you and joust for who gets to open the next one.

That would just be silly.

[I couldn't help myself]


Monday, July 28, 2014


It happened again. I finished reading another book. Hopefully it'll start happening more often so I'll be able to write more reviews for all of you.

This week my friend FRED (yes, FRED, in all caps) had me borrow I am Legend by Richard Matheson. If you've seen the movie but haven't read the book (like me, up until a few days ago), you're going to want to get your hands on the nearest copy.

A few differences between the movie and the book:

  • Robert Neville is a white man. No offense to Will Smith, but he's not white.
  • Robert Neville is not a scientist. Sure, he learns a lot through some books from the library, but he certainly doesn't match the character in the movie.
  • Sam, the dog, isn't technically in the book. There is a dog in the book, but it's not such a major character. (I'm guessing they made Sam a bigger character so Neville would have something to talk to)
  • The movie depicts the infected as more zombie-esque than vampire. In the book, the infected are purely vampiric in nature.
  • The ending of the book is radically different. I won't say more on that, don't worry. ;-)

We'll begin under the assumption that you haven't seen the movie.

The book is about a the last human on earth, and his struggle to survive in a world plagued by the infected (i.e. vampires).

That's the gist. It's horrifying in places, but I wouldn't characterize the book as being strictly horror. The writing is beautiful in it's own clunky unique way, a way that makes Neville more human than perfect flawless prose would've been able to do.

It's a story that's told a lot, these days. Last man standing, last human on earth: how will he survive? Or will he survive at all?

If you've seen the movie, you might know the answer to those questions. But if you've seen the movie and haven't read the book, you're missing out on a lot. Because Matheson did something brilliant with this book. He took it to a level that not many writers have the courage to do. He brought it to the brink of humanity, he showed the frailty of Neville and the true despair of being the last man on earth, and he did it with almost no dialogue to speak of.

I am Legend is a short read, so it won't take you long when you do decide to pick it up. As for myself, I borrowed the book Tuesday evening and had finished Friday night.

In short, I couldn't put the thing down. Five out of five stars, hands down.

[read it]


Thursday, July 24, 2014


Happy Friday everyone! As promised, today's post features my first guest blogger! Leave her lots of love, and don't forget you can drop a comment here or on Facebook and send me a message if you'd like to hear more. This is only part one of two for Deanna, so stay tuned for the second part, date TBA



Hello all you writers out there! This is your guest blogger – Deanna Leah!

Most writers have been writers their whole lives. Maybe they are casual writers like I was until two years ago or maybe they have worked to become disciples of their own souls and of the world around them. It is a lot of work to be always watching, feeling, and seeking to understand who you are in the world around you, but only the people who do can ever pen an award winning life changing work.

Have you ever written a work just to cope with a pain in your own life and it became your salvation?

I have and I have to tell you it is the best feeling. I had always written to change the lives of other people, but “my work in editing”, Mr. Arnold Brunch: Of Snowflakes In October, completely transformed what writing was to me. With every word I punched out on the keyboard, every tear I cried, and every character I created, I found myself taking on a new form.

By the day I wrote THE END at the bottom of my messy manuscript I couldn't look back at myself a month prior and say that I was the same person. I had never before experienced the polishing effect of a novel on the soul. I see the world and myself differently after Mr. Arnold Brunch came into my heart and did his cleaning. He showed me who I was and what I needed to do. I was molded like clay throughout the process, but it was only because I let it happen.

I hope you will let your writing shape you through your sleepless nights of lying awake and thinking of that next scene. I hope you will let your characters see through your eyes and change what you see there. I hope you will let the terrors and pains of your story become your own and therefore strengthen you.

It is the most beautiful thing to pour yourself out on the page and then watch it fly off.

It's so terrifying, but so freeing.

If you want to read more come back to Rani Divine soon as this is only part one of two connected posts! While you wait for my next post you should go to: and

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Trial and Error

I've been having great difficulty coming up with something to talk about today. My words seem to have run dry and all I want to do is lay in bed and watch Doctor Who in preparation of the new season.

Then it occurred to me that this would be the perfect thing to talk about.

Sometimes, writers don't want to write.

Sometimes, we'd rather do other things.

Occasionally, even our own characters don't want to talk to us.

Sometimes, we find ourselves with no inspiration whatsoever.

But still we find a way to sit down at our computers and write, because if we weren't writing, then what would we be?

I think like this a lot, because really, if I wasn't a writer then what would I be? In all honesty, I have no idea. In normal human terms (too much Doctor Who I think...) we tend to think of ourselves by what we do and not by who we are. That makes me a writer. But if I suddenly was unable to write, then I don't know what I would be. A cashew addict, I suppose.

Today is just one of those days where I don't feel like sitting down to write. I started a new story last week, and it's taking a bit for me to get into it. I know where I want the story to be, but I also know that I have to stall for time so the story doesn't end up being half as long as the others in the series.

And stalling for time is annoying. Why? Because it's not actually allowed. Stalling is boring to read and boring to write. So instead of stalling, I'm searching for other things that I can add into the story before it gets to the place I want it to be.

That means a lot of research, a lot of random writing, and a lot of premature edits, deletions, and trial and error.

I'll tell you, this isn't the fun part of writing.

But the part that comes after this, the part where we get into the heart of the story and start to fall in love with our creations, now that's reason enough to suffer through.



Monday, July 21, 2014


Last week, in my review of Bitten, I happened to mention my hatred of the word normalcy. Being that I mentioned it so recently and didn't explain, I thought this would be a good time to show you why you should never ever use this word.

Normalcy is not a word.

I'm adamant about that, even though it is technically in the dictionary and has been around for a very long time.

See, president Harding made this word far more popular than I believe it ever would've been in his presidential campaign after WWI, "a return to normalcy." Before that, the word wasn't used this much and was considered far lesser to its counterpart, normality.

If you Google normalcy, one of the first things that will pop up is Google's definition of normality (note: not a definition of normalcy), along with links to information on Harding's campaign.

The word bothers me more than any other in the English language, probably even more than the use of literally to describe something that is figurative.

Why? Just look at it. Normalcy. Now compare it to its high class brother: Normality.

Which one sounds better to you? Which would you prefer to use in your writing?



p.s. If you use normalcy in your everyday vocabulary, don't worry, we can still be friends. I'll just cringe and bear it.

p.p.s. Don't forget! Guest blogger Deanna will be premiering on this page this coming Friday, July 25! I've already read her post, and it's pretty darn amazing. You won't want to miss it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pft, amateurs.

The wonderful Friday series returns! Seriously. I've had so much fun with these.

Mr. Bach, you're a brilliant man.

In the levels of "true" out there, this sentence couldn't have been higher.

Why? Because that's what we all are, deep deep down. We're all amateurs who didn't give up on our dreams. We're the ones who fought it out and kept writing even when everyone said it wasn't going to work out.

Realistically, this is true of every profession in the world. You're only truly a professional if you don't quit, if you got back on the horse after every time you've fallen off.

And believe me, we all have to fall off once or twice just to figure out where we're going. I don't like to say that, because I don't like to think of failing as an option, but in reality failure is always an option. It's something we should strive to avoid, yes, but when it does happen, we all need to learn to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off so we can get going again.

There were a lot of people who didn't believe that my writing would amount to anything, or that I wouldn't be able to stick it out and work with the thing that I love. Many people thought this was a huge failure just waiting to happen.

But I showed them all that I'm a professional, because even in my little failures, I got back up and I published my book. (Have you read it yet, by the way?)

A word of encouragement to you all:

It doesn't take much to become a professional writer. It takes time, yes. Tears, sometimes blood, lots of energy. But you can be a professional writer and a professional something else at the same time. Lots of people do it, and they do it very well.

Of course, if you want to go fully pro like me, you'll need to get a job in the publishing world... But that's a whole different quote and an entirely different blog post. ;-)

Don't forget, I'll have a guest writer on here next week, July 25! She'll be writing on an amazing quote by Orson Scott Card, and I know you're all going to like it.



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Readings

All right everyone, I can't decide what book I should read next. As you all know, I finished Bitten over the weekend... Therefore, I should pick something else up by the end of next week.

Here's what I have on hand that I haven't taken the time to read:

  • Illusion by Frank Peretti 
  • Valley of Bones by Eric Wilson (the third of the Jerusalem's Undead Trilogy, which I highly recommend based on the first two alone)
  • Redeeming Love by Francene Rivers
  • Doctor Who: The Story of Martha by Dan Abnett
  • Enders Game by Orson Scott Card 
  • Havah by Tosca Lee
  • Sphere by Michael Crichton

Post your votes in the comments here or on my facebook page! I'll do my best to read your favorites within the next couple of months, and I promise as soon as I finish the book I'll post a review on here to let you know whether or not I think it'll be worth your time to read. ;-)



Monday, July 14, 2014

Bite me, Coombs.

Recently, a friend had me read Bitten by Kelley Armstrong. I finally finished it, and I thought I'd write up a little review.

In all honesty, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. Armstrong has tendency to overwrite and give information that the reader doesn't need in order to understand simple conversations that are about to happen. There was a lot of information that could have easily been inferred through dialogue that Armstrong somehow felt was better put in page-long-paragraph exposition.

We all know how I feel about page long paragraphs. Don't use them, please. It only makes your work harder for your readers to follow.

As for the story, it was simple and a little flat. The main character, Elena, was supposed to have deep character flaws rooted in an unfortunate childhood, but almost none of those flaws played out in the story. The main bulk of the novel was focused on the relationship between Clay and Elena, and even after so many pages devoted to the two of them I couldn't bring myself to care what happened.

The novel poses some intriguing ideas about werewolves and their living in the real world, but for me there simply wasn't enough done with it.

The only character I found myself liking was one who was kept offscreen the entire time before being found dead. I won't tell you who that was, in case you decide to read it after all.

I know I'm probably going to get a lot of grief for bashing this book so much, but I honestly can't see why this story appeals to so many people. It had a lot of potential, but Armstrong simply neglected to see any of it through.

That and her constant use of the word "normalcy", which I still insist is not an actual word.

Now, in all fairness, this book is supposed to be an opener to Elena's story, so there was a lot of information that needed to be given, however, Armstrong didn't use her words so neatly. She has tendency to use twenty words where she could've used four, and I noticed after a while that I could skip whole segments of backstory and still completely understand what was going on.

Like I've said in my posts before, if your reader can figure out the backstory without you having to give it to them, it's best not to give it at all. Backstory is often better information for the writer to know and imply and for the reader to infer.

All in all, I would give this novel one out of five stars, even though I was hoping to no end that I would find a way to like it. Armstrong, I'll likely never read you again.



Friday, July 11, 2014

Grow Up

Friday's quote series returns! ...because, as you well know, it's Friday.

Today I'll be discussing one of my favorite Gaiman quotes:

Authors are not grown ups. I'm not sure where the misconception came from, that authors are actually adult people, because really, we're not.

And I'll tell you why!

Most adults have the imagination beaten out of them with the back cover of a textbook by the time they're out of college. High school teachers and college professors batter us all into writing the same, thinking the same, and not being creative. So by the time most people reach adulthood, they've lost all semblance of creativity and have much more difficulty writing. (I have too much fun with my hyperbole, don't I?)


Those of us who survive college with our creative genes intact are usually (you guessed it) not highly considered "adults". Oh, we're good people, many of us. We know our stuff, and we'll talk you're ear off.

But we're also those crazy silly whack-a-doodles who no one in their right mind would ever consider to be a "grown up".

So really, Mr. Gaiman here is very right.

You want to be an author?

Then don't grow up. Retain your imagination, think outside the box, believe in the humanly impossible, and write to your heart's content.



p.s. Don't forget! My good friend Deanna will be featured in this series very soon! Keep your eyes peeled for more news on that front. I'll likely bring in a few more guest writers in the coming months, so don't forget to check back in and do so often!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014



As some of you know, yesterday was my birthday. It was a fabulous day of fun and eating and Russian lessons.

Yes, you heard me right. Russian lessons.

It's the first of a few foreign languages that I want to learn, and it's also the hardest. I figured if I started with the most difficult, I could work my way down.

But, as most of you well know, learning Russian takes a lot of time.

This means it'll take time out of my day, time that I used to spend working or writing, or talking to all of you. :-(

I'll still do my best to post often and respond to your messages within a day at the most, don't worry. I'm actually hoping to up my posting and start doing upwards of two or three times per day (including my usual three blog posts a week), so you'll likely be hearing more of me. I may even start posting Russian words of the week, if that would interest any of you.

I know, I know, we're a mostly English-based community, but who says we can't bring in some other languages to make things more interesting?

Who knows, maybe you'll all end up learning Russian right alongside me. *wink*



Monday, July 7, 2014


Warning: the post was entirely inspired by watching the fireworks. I'm not sure why I'm warning you about this.

Explosions are one of those things that you really don't want to write in a hurry. 


Because they usually happen so fast that we don't get to experience them long enough to really know what's going on.

So when you're writing an explosion, it's better to take your time with it. You want to really feel it out, to show us every facet of that explosion and how it affects your characters.

Of course, this is only for explosions that are directly related to your narrative. Minor explosions that don't make a difference to anything can be exploded in high speed as with all normal everyday explosions. (...when an explosion becomes commonplace, you know you watch too much Mythbusters)

My suggestions are to ask yourselves questions like...

What does the character involved hear? 

A boom, yes, but what before that? Do they hear crickets? Birds? Is there a ringing in their ears afterward? How do they feel about this? Does this disorient them, and if so, how disoriented are they?

What do they smell? 

Singed hair, smoke, chemicals, etc. If your character is brainy you'll want to know some scientific terminology for those smells.

What affect will this explosion have on what your character is trying to do? 

Were they trying to go somewhere when it happened? Were they expecting the boom? For that matter, did they cause it?

You'll want to consider things on both the inside and the outside, external interests and internal ones. It's the best way to make your explosion more real, by making your readers feel as though they've been through it themselves.

Boom goes the dynamite.



Friday, July 4, 2014

Soul Bearers

Welcome back to our Friday series! Quotes quotes quotes galore!

That's the best name I've been able to come up with. I trust you won't judge me.

I have no idea who said this, but whoever said it is brilliant. Why? Well I'll tell you why.

See, writing isn't just something that you do, in my opinion. Writing is a part of you, it's a very significant chunk of who you are, of your very heart. So when you write, you're not just writing down whatever words you happen to think of: you're giving out a little piece of yourself.

This is also the only way I'm able to explain why people frequently don't finish their works, or refuse to share them with the public:

They're a piece of who we are, and it's hard to show that to the world.

I can't even count the number of people I know who have stories inside them, people who want to write those stories down but can't bring themselves to do it.

And still there are people who have written the work, who've shown that they have promise and talent when it comes to the act of writing, but sharing their work with anyone is beyond their capability.

It can be debilitating, to be sure. I had a difficult time sharing this part of me with anyone for quite a long time, but as soon as I did, let me tell you now, it was the biggest release I've ever felt.

In truth, these pieces of us, these parts of our souls that we bear upon the page, are the parts that want to be seen by the world. They're the pieces that are begging to be let out in the open, that want more than anything to be read by someone, anyone, as long as it isn't you, the writer.


Because it's your work, and you already know what it says.

Writing it down is the first step. Letting it out, sharing it with the world, is the next and hardest thing to do.

But believe me, when you do it, when you're able to let that little piece of you go and be free, you'll truly know what it is to be a writer, and what it is to live this life of creativity.

You're going to love it.



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Oh, Essays...

Looky here, I got another request for a blog post!

Today we're talking about essays, and how to get them started. I know, they're a pain a lot of the time, but we all have to write them at some point (or had to, depending on your education status).

My best advice to you is to never start in the beginning.

Here's my method for writing essays (and yes, I was very good at writing essays ;-P):

1. Write down all the things you know about your topic.

No, that doesn't mean write an outline. In fact, I highly discourage outlines, because they severely limit what you can do with your essay. Start out by seeing what you have, what data you can find, and what knowledge you already have in your noggin.

2. Organize those ideas, coupling together those that play off each other.

No, that doesn't mean write an outline. ;-)
Based off the information from step 1, you now know what you have the most data on and can write the best argument for (assuming you're writing an argument, as this is what most teachers these days are looking for in solid essays).

After this, we'll get into the meat of the matter.

3. Start in the middle.

Never write your intro first. I almost always recommend writing the intro after you've written the main bulk of your data, so you can customize your intro to match what you've already written.

Many teachers will tell you that this is a bad idea, but I can't even tell you how many essays I wrote in high school where I ended up rewriting the entire intro paragraph because it didn't match the rest of anything that I'd written. 

4. Once you've finished the body of the essay, write the intro.

I think I've already covered that fairly neatly... 

5. After you've written the intro, write the conclusion.

Yes, I do generally save the conclusion for last. I do this because generally the conclusion is the same thing as the intro, just with more answers and less questions. So once you have your intro in place, writing the "outro" is simple enough to do.

I know, it's a little convoluted and sometimes hard to follow, but it's the best advice I have.

I do not, however, recommend writing like this when you're working with short stories or novels. In those, you generally want to start with the beginning and end with the end.

I hope that this helps! If you have any more questions on my method, let me know and I'll answer your question or write another blog to elaborate.


{Ardy... get it?}