Monday, February 29, 2016

Subplots and Storylines - February 2016

This month was a whirlwind from start to finish! I hardly know where to begin.

Life happenings

Well, for starters, I have an absolutely wonderful family . . . a family that takes every opportunity to celebrate each other and enjoy holidays together. So Valentine's Day is actually a thing in our house.

We all make or buy cards for each other, my mom does her magic in the kitchen, and we enjoy said magic by candle-light. This year, dessert was candle-lit rather than supper, simply because the supper table was so full of food that attempting to eat in semi-darkness would've been unwise. We had one of my grandmas over for the special dinner, and afterwards we exchanged cards.

Okay, I don't normally do this, but I feel inclined to give you a peek into the Valentine's evening at the Dyck household:
[from Mom to me] . . . God rejoices over you with singing! He carries you close to His heart! He has a picture of you tattooed on the palm of His hand. You are not forgotten!
[from Dad to me] . . . Look back to see how far you have come. Now look forward to see how far you will go. Now look at the present and see who walks with you. He has always been with you, He will always be with you, and He is with you.
[my brother Josiah is not into crafts--nevertheless, he made one card to give to all of us. sweet guy.] 
[from Miss C to me] . . . You have a great writing voice; you are caring and helpful; you still know how to have fun even if you're an adult . . .
[from Miss K to me] . . . Thanks for hanging out with me. I love how goofy and sweet you are.
And then a few words between other family members:
[from Miss C to Dad] . . . Some of the things I love about you are . . . your warm chuckles . . . your wisdom; your courage; and your wonderfully safe hugs . . .
[from Miss K to Dad] . . . Thanks for being there for me and being my hero. You are awesome!
[from Miss C to Mom] . . . Here's a few things I love about you . . . your wonderful little quirks; your gentle touch; your caring personality; your encouraging words; and your prayers . . .
[from Miss K to Mom] . . . You always have a hug for me, right words for me, and you always are ready to help me . . . You are the GREATEST mom ever!! 
[from me to Mom and Dad] . . . Thank you for living out the meaning of love, for treating it as a verb and not just a noun . . . Home is still--and will always be--a safe harbor. Thank you for teaching me both how to trim the sails and venture forth, and how to sail home again . . .
[from Dad to Josiah] . . . You remind me of a superhero, an all-around nice guy who comes to the defense of those who can't defend themselves, who does good to others even when he isn't noticed . . .
[from Miss K to Josiah] . . . I love hanging out with you and laughing with you. Thanks for playing Wii with me, which is very fun! 
[from Mom to Miss C] . . . You are such a beautiful young lady--inside and out! You have eyes that shine with the love of Jesus! God has great plans for you and your future . . . Thanks for adding such sweetness to my life!
[from me to Miss C] . . . Keep discovering the immeasurable height, depth, and width of God's love for you! It will blow your mind.
[from Miss C to Miss K] . . . I love the way you smile and laugh; your beautiful big brown eyes . . . the way you encourage me with kind words and hugs when I'm sad . . .
 [from Dad to Miss K] . . . When God made the world, He knew that one thing was missing--joy and laughter. It took Him many years to perfect it, and when He did, He made you!
See what I mean? Families like this are rare, and I absolutely don't say that in any haughty way. But I am proud of these special people and the bonds we've forged. We're not perfect. Far from it. I hope I don't present us in a cleaned-up light, because the truth of the matter is, we're messy humans who sometimes snap at each other or say unkind things. But we love each other fiercely.

My sisters went all out this Valentine's--they spent hours holed up in their room, making art for all of us. On a whim, I decided to present my siblings with sketches too.
Miss K's drawings--aren't they completely adorable? The otter on the left was for me.

Miss C's drawings, which are so very lovely. Especially *cough* the Captain America she drew for me.

I drew pop star Ross Lynch for Miss K.

And Once Upon a Time's Peter Pan for Miss C.
(Though the more I look at it, the less convinced I am that
he turned out right.)

And lastly, I drew Ultron for my brother.

A bridal shower!

A very dear friend of mine is getting married next month, and I'm one of her bridesmaids, which is incredibly exciting! So for about two weeks this month, my brain has been in bridal shower mode, with little room for anything else. From invitations to food, activities, decor, and supplies, the four of us bridesmaids brainstormed and made it all happen on a short deadline. It turned out beautifully, and I couldn't be happier for my friend.

Miscellaneous life stuff:

  • The long weekend (February 15) was a welcome breather in the middle of the month. We went sledding with friends and had a lovely day.
  • My mom slipped on the ice while running errands, but thankfully she's fine now!
  • Inventory happened at the store. Lots of work involved. And counting. So much counting . . .
  • There have been some health issues with a relative, but she seems to be doing better. We continue to pray for her.

On a lighter note, I fell into the behavior of the stereotypical, clueless-about-cars kind of girl. I've had my license for over two years now, okay, and I've been a working woman for about a year. And yet until recently, I'd never filled up with gas by myself. So I pull up to the pump and ask the guy to fill it with mid-grade. "Can you open your gas cap, please?" he asks.

I freeze. Because oh my goodness, where is the switch for that?! I shoot my sister a panicky look. She smirks. (Thank you, C.) I flutter my hands over the dashboard and steering wheel area. I pop the trunk. Then the hood. Finally I call out, "Um, this is embarrassing, but I'm having a blonde moment and forget where the switch for that is." The guy didn't know, either. Or wouldn't tell me. I asked him to hold on, then called my dad.

"Tracey, we've been over this," he says.

"I know!" I wail. "But I forgot!"

So he tells me where it is--it's a silly little switch down on the floor, on the left side; and I'll probably never forget that again. When I climbed out to go pay, I apologized again to the guy, who said, "No problem. Happens all the time . . ." Except his voice trailed off uncertainly, telling me that no, it doesn't actually happen all the time, I'm just trying to make you feel better.

Screen happenings

  • Finished Once Upon a Time Season 2 and started Season 3. My sisters and I adore Peter Pan, in case you didn't catch that with my portrait. All this Neverland stuff is quite fun, and I am ever so conflicted over certain things!
  • I SAW THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME. Oh stars, it was amazing. I can't believe I went this long without watching it! Being the extended edition, my brother and I watched it in three sittings over the long weekend (in between family activities, you understand). We were blown away. It was perfect. Soon after the final credits, I was ready to watch the movie all over again. I went from feeling cozy and comfortable to laughing uproariously at the four hobbits, to feeling chilled (Black Riders!!), to being gripped with the excitement of the quest, to-- Oh, I don't even know. It's glorious. That's all I can say. (Also, Aragorn.) And the Shire musical theme makes me stop and smile wistfully into the distance every single time I hear it.

Book happenings

The Invaders by John Flanagan

I love the Ranger's Apprentice series, so of course I'm reading his newer series, Brotherband Chronicles. In this second Brotherband book, I found myself enjoying all the usual Flanagan trademarks: smart protagonist, clever battle/weaponry tactics, and wry humor. Plus lots of sailing stuff. A good read, for sure.

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

If you've been reading Adventure Awaits for a while now, you might remember way back in summer when my siblings and I picked out library books for each other to read. It gets us out of our usual ruts and gives us something new to try. We just did it again this month, and A Snicker of Magic was Miss K's pick for me. And this book is now one of my all-time favorite middle-grade novels! Seriously, Natalie Lloyd's voice is just crackling with magic. The story has a Southern, small town, whimsical, hilarious, heartwarming, spindiddly flavor to it. Felicity, the protagonist, catches the words she sees hovering over people and places. Along with her mom and little sister, she arrives in the little mysterious town of Midnight Gulch. What ensues are new friendships, old legends about the Brothers Threadbare, an upcoming talent show that scares Felicity right out of her word-covered sneakers, and buckets of ice cream. The supporting cast is delightfully quirky, and my heart ached for poor Felicity as her mom longs to uproot and move the family for the hundred-millionth time.

The Romeo and Juliet Code by Phoebe Stone

Miss C picked this middle-grade book for me. It took me a little while to get into it, but I soon realized how great the author is at setting the mood. The book starts off feeling kind of hollow and gloomy as the main character (another Felicity) leaves England at the beginning of WWII to stay with her relatives in Maine. Without her parents, so far from home, the poor girl is without an anchor. Her uncle receives strange letters written in code from her parents, and refuses to let Felicity read them. But things begin to look up when she meets Derek, a boy with a paralyzed arm. Together they strive to crack the code, and in the process, begin infusing the gloomy old house with a little bit of life.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Josiah's pick. It's a very unusual sort of book, I must say. Artemis himself is a veritable villain, so you're left to cheer for a handful of exceedingly strange fairy creatures. There's Holly Short, a rebellious LEP-Recon officer (haha, get it?) . . . Captain Root, her boss, a guy with anger issues . . . Foaly, a technologically brilliant centaur who's paranoid that the humans (disdainfully referred to as Mud People) can read his mind, and thus wears a tinfoil hat at all times . . . and Mulch, a dwarf who, ah . . . Well. Let's just say that these dwarves can unhinge their jaws and chew through dirt at a rapid pace. And their metabolism is extremely fast. Hence, their digging pants are equipped with a back flap. Yeah. You see where this is going. This book is written with young guys in mind, but nevertheless, I found much to snicker at, and I give Mr. Colfer points for the unusual fairy elements. I'll likely keep going with this series.

You Have a Brain: A Teen's Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. by Ben Carson, MD

The first half of the book tells how Dr. Carson was born into poverty, and through his mother's guidance, God's help, and his desire to learn, became a neurosurgeon. There are some amazing anecdotes from his career, such as the time he removed half of a little girl's brain in order to stop the hundreds of seizures she was having every day. And she survived. And went on to graduate from college and live a fulfilling life.

The second half goes over some principles for thinking big, specifically in regards to the future. He covers Talent, Honesty, Insight, Niceness, Knowledge, Books, In-Depth Learning, and God (T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G.).

Blog Happenings

On a whim, I started a month-long linkup called Lovely Books, in which we discussed:
I have had such a great time celebrating books and characters with all of you! Many thanks to all who have participated--you've made my first linkup a success. And it's been so fun to hear about your favorite bookish things! There's still time to join, if you so desire. You have until March 5th.

Oh, and you may have noticed my embarrassing mistake . . . Whilst drafting the quotes post in the middle of last week, I accidentally hit publish. I noticed it less than half an hour later, and hurried to revert the post to draft form before anybody could read my half-formed jumble of words. To my dismay, however, the post remained on my dashboard--and the dashboards of everyone else who follow me. Clicking the link led to nowhere, of course, but still! It looked as if I had posted it half a week early. Of all the times to do such a thing, it had to be for something I'd hoped to keep secret until Saturday! And then when I did publish the post, it didn't appear at the top of the dashboard like normal new posts--it remained waaaaay down with the other 'four days ago' posts on my feed.

Ah, well. Lesson learned. Keep the cursor far, far away from the publish button until ready.

Anyway, thanks again, all you lovely bookworms! We'll have to do something like this again someday.

Written Happenings

I made a game plan for my 2016 writing goals, if you'll remember from January's Beautiful People post. I planned for February to be my research month, so it's harder to gauge whether I reached those goals.

I started out by taking a deep breath and diving into the murky waters of . . . gasp . . . querying agents. No, I haven't actually sent out any queries yet. But I did begin researching, looking online for agents who represent my kind of work, reading some articles on how to query and what agents look for, etc. The amount of information, ambiguity, and general unknown-ness of it all is daunting, but I'm excited to rise to the challenge.

After reading Jenelle Schmidt's comment on Christine's BP post, I spontaneously chose to purchase a book Jenelle recommended: Guide to Literary Agents 2016! The things I've learned from even just the beginning articles are so, so helpful. I haven't yet delved into the listings of a thousand agents, but I know it will be an invaluable tool in the coming months. Thanks, Jenelle!

I did a little bit of research on different locations featured in my fantasy book 2, which I plan to start redrafting next month. This is where I didn't get far at all, so I foresee much more Googling and librarying in the future. I want to look into British Columbia, Ireland, Greenland or Iceland, Russia, and Australia. Yes indeed, this book includes a fair bit of globe trotting on our world, followed by daring escapades in the other world!

And I felt rather officially author-ish this month, questers, because I actually interviewed someone for book research. A certain character in book 2 gets diagnosed with a mental illness--which is a complete error, because the wild tales he tells are 100% true--so I needed to know how this process would work. What would he be labelled as? What would treatment look like? How would others respond? How would the family be advised to act around him? Would he be medicated, counselled, taken out of school?

All these questions and more were answered by a fellow my dad knows through work. As a Christian working in the field of mental health, and as someone with a big enough imagination to accommodate my fictional situation, he was the perfect person to talk to. So we chatted over coffee one Saturday, and I scribbled three pages of notes and wound up borrowing four books from his office. Armed with all this information to make my character's life miserable (and believable), I am most excited to start writing next month.

And that, my friends, was February.

Like I said, it was a whirlwind! There was so much happening, at least in my brain, that I found myself identifying with this amazing song:

March looks like it will be full speed ahead as well, but I hope to catch up on your Lovely Books posts--and blogging in general.

So many things to look forward to in the next thirty-one days! My friend's wedding, delving into book 2, more agent research, and who knows what else? Actually, there is one thing pressing rather insistently at my mind tonight, and that is . . .


For all of you who entered along with me, I hope your hearts are prepared for whatever the results may be. Know that you accomplished something crazy awesome with your novella(s). You crafted a story, a living, breathing tale of wonder. You finished it; you got all the way to the end and most probably edited it many times over. And no words written are ever a waste. You learned something with this novella. Maybe how to retell a fairytale, or how to write a better plot twist, or how to be concise (looking at myself over here!). Maybe you refined your dialogue skills, or fell in love with a genre you've never written before. Maybe you discovered the camaraderie of fellow writers through this contest. Maybe you conquered the fear of letting others see your work. Well done, I say! Well done!

How were your February quests? Was your month a hurricane too, or more like a quiet breeze? What do you think of the Lord of the Rings movies? Have you ever sought people out for research purposes? And do you think you'll survive till tomorrow morning?!


  1. So much awesomeness in this post! I adore your Subplots and Storylines posts! ^_^

    Awww, you have the sweetest family! I almost cried when I read what all your family members had to say about each other. (Hehe, I'm a very emotional person.) And that artwork!! I must say, those animal drawings your sister did are the cutest things to ever grace this planet! I about died of the cuteness! And all the rest of the artwork is amazing, obviously. It sounds like you had a splendiferous Valentine's Day!

    Eeeep, bridesmaid things! My inner romantic is flailing right now because WEDDINGS! You MUST show us some pictures from the wedding!

    Oh my gracious, girl, do you even KNOW how hard I laughed at your gas-tank incident?? So. Hilarious. XDDD I will hopefully be getting my permit soon (not actually sure if that should be a hopefully or an unfortunately), and I can imagine myself doing the exact same thing. Except...worse. XD mean you haven't seen The Lord of the Rings films yet?? *gasps* BUT YOU WATCHED THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. OH MY HEART, I AM SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW. I'm thrilled to pieces that you liked it! All three of the movies are ranked about the same in my mind. They're just my favorite movies of ALL TIME. I kid you not. I adore those films.

    Ooh, all the books! I did better this month than January (I only read 1 book last month...) and actually finished three. Still not the greatest, but hey, it's better than nothing.

    AAHHHH YOU DID ALL THE RESEARCHING THINGS!!!! Eeeep, I'm just ecstatic right now because my Tracey is getting her proverbial foot in the door! (Or book. Or whatever you want to say. I dunno, it's proverbial. It doesn't matter. XD) I cannot wait until I see your name on a cover in a bookstore. It will happen--I'm sure of it!

    Also, good luckkkk!!!! Even if you didn't win the contest, I know that you poured your heart into your novella and that it was amazing. And I totally want to read it! (You know, once I actually read your other novella and the gazillion other books that are begging me to open them.)

    SO MUCH HAPPINESS. I CAN'T EVEN HANDLE IT. (Also, I will be commenting on your previous post. Time wriggled its way out of my grasp so I didn't get around to it yet. Heh.)

    1. That's a relief--sometimes I wonder if these exceedingly long posts about regular life are boring or unprofessional. I'm so glad you like them!

      Aww! Not that I'm *happy*, necessarily, to cause tears...but they're good tears, so... <3 I told Miss K what you thought of her drawings--she's absolutely tickled!

      I plan to!

      Haha, you just have to laugh at yourself sometimes . . . and then tell everyone else so they can laugh with you. XD Ooh, you're getting your permit soon! Fun, fun! It's so nice to have the freedom to drive yourself places. I'm sure you'll do great (and if not, I shall have a good laugh with you about it).

      I know! I received the trilogy for Christmas a few YEARS ago and only started watching now. TFOTR is spectacular! An instant favorite, for sure.

      Woohoo! Three books is awesome. The only reason I finished more than one or two is because most of them were fairly short. 300 pages, larger print, y'know.

      Awww, you're just the sweetest, Mary! <333

      Thank you, girl--I was absolutely blown away to discover that I was a finalist. ^_^

      Time is a very wriggly thing. I'm convinced it is a fish.

  2. Wow, two months into 2016 already. These posts always make me think of how quickly the months go by, but they also make me appreciate what happened in that fleeting time. This February I discovered a new food allergy (which, and finally received the three books I ordered in the mail. I love looking back on little highlights like that. (I had a gas-station misadventure, also. heh heh.)
    That's so encouraging, what your family does with the St. Valentine's Day cards. I also admire Miss K's drawing of the llama, I love llamas!
    Ah, I need to watch Lord of the Rings again! It's been too long. Far too long!
    I have sought out someone for research, actually. Research is half the fun, when it comes to writing!

    Tomorrow...the moment of truth...

    1. I know, right? How is it MARCH already?!

      Ugh, a food allergy does not sound the least bit pleasant. I hope it's at least a food that you don't eat often (or better yet, don't like)! You had a misadventure too? Oh, do tell! That is, if you're alright embarrassing yourself thusly in public. XD

      They're the best; I love them dearly. Yes, that llama is adorbs!

      It's only been a couple of weeks since seeing the first one, and I feel the same way--far too long! XD

      It can be a lot of fun. I used to not enjoy research much at all, but it's growing on me. Especially when I look up fascinating topics. :)

    2. Yes, thankfully it was something I'm not too fond of.
      My misadventure wasn't quite the same. The gas pump didn't like me. When I finally gave up and moved to one that did, I found that I misjudged the amount. I had payed $20 at the counter, but only needed $15 worth of gas. I thought that the poor kid at the counter was sick of me coming in, so I called it a tip and got out of there as quickly as I could. It was a hard lesson in patience and economics.
      The other day I wanted to know how one might survive an escape pod crash. Along the way I somehow picked up random information on gravitational fields in spaceships and how to fly a plane.
      Congratulations on making the Rooglewood top ten list, by the way!

    3. Well, that's good. :)

      Haha, I've definitely done things like that too--going back and forth and finally just deciding, you know what, fine. If I lose $5 (or whatever), who cares. XD I guess gas stations work differently where you live. Here, we fill up first and then go inside to pay for it. (Or maybe I completely misread your comment.)

      Ooh, a pod crash. I smell a sci-fi! It's neat how one thing leads to another when researching.

      Thank you, Blue! I'm pretty excited!

  3. Wowzy! What a busy month you had!

    I am just melting all over the place reading the notes your family made for each other. You guys are the SWEETEST. <333333 It is definitely a blessing to have a family like that!

    And the drawings!! So much talent. I totally want that Pinkie Pie and Link one. Just fabulous.
    And my word, Tracey, your own drawings!!! The Peter Pan one is spot. on. Seriously, I recognized it was him the second I saw it, before reading the caption. It's perfect! They're all perfect!!
    (I'm also all giddy you like the OUAT Peter Pan. He's amazing.)

    I'm so happy to hear the bridal shower went well. Also, I've never pumped gas myself... And I don't think I could tell how to open my gas cap either. I totally feel you!


    I remember really being amused by the quotes you put from A Snicker of Magic in your last post. Now I'm realizing I totally need to try this book!
    I read Artemis Fowl a few years ago and...meh. I kind of liked it, it was amusing and had an awesome premise. But it definitely was meant more for younger boys. Heh. Still, I wouldn't mind continuing the series one day.

    That is so awesome you got to interview somebody for your book! Look at you. So professional and dedicated. You're an inspiration!

    Whew, what a month! Here's to a fabulous March! *raises...erm pen? laptop? sword?* Let's just raise everything!

    1. Haha, I'm still reeling a little...

      Thank you! I agree, they're a pretty sweet bunch. ^_^ I count myself very blessed.

      Miss C did SUCH a good job on those! I was astounded by Link. And klsdfjals, thanks, dear! I'm glad Pan was recognizable. XD (He isssss, oh my word. I watched another episode today. That devious little imp...)

      *high fives fellow clueless driver* XD

      I DIIIIID AND IT WAS AMAZING!!!!!!!! I was just blown away by it all. (And Bilbo's sudden Gollum-like moment in Rivendell made me jump. Wasn't expecting that.) My brother and I want to watch The Two Towers sometimes this month. :D

      You do! Christine, I've a feeling you'd LOVE "A Snicker of Magic!" It's so whimsical and sweet.
      It does have a great premise, and a lot of unique ideas. Plus, I smell a redemptive character arc for Artemis... I'll likely pick up book 2 sometime. :)

      *beams* I don't know that I felt professional actually DOING the interview, but the fact that I was doing one at all felt pretty spiffy. XD And I learned so many fascinating things!

      LOLzy, raise it all! I hope you have a perfectly wonderful March!

  4. Wow - your family sounds wonderful :) and I really like that Valentine tradition. Maybe I should try to implement it at some point in the future :P

    1. Aw, thank you! I sure love them to bits.
      Hey, that'd be cool. :) I think most of us in our family have "encouraging words" pretty high on the list of love languages. (Are you familiar with that book, btw?)

  5. Wow so much awesome in February! That's so sweet that your family does that. I want to do that when I have a family. I had the nicest Valentine's Day ever this year. I stayed in Canada with a friend and her mom made us a sweet Valentine's Day breakfast then my friend and I went out to Elk Island for a photoshoot. It was so fun. ^ ^ I loooooove all of the LOTR movies. They're some of my favorite movies of all time! I'm glad you had a happy February and have a happy March! Best wishes with querying!

    My February:

    1. I love that tradition. ^_^ Sounds like you had a wonderful Valentine's! I saw the photoshoot pics on your blog--they turned out great. I'm sure the whole LOTR trilogy will secure a spot on my favorites list too, once I've watched them all!

      Thanks! I hope your March is fantastic too. :D (I'm woefully behind on reading/commenting on blogs, but I'll definitely make a stop at yours yet!)

  6. AAAAHHH YOU WATCHED THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING! :D I have extremely fond memories of seeing that for the first time, watching it on a rare visit to cousins; incidentally, I came in a bit late and so missed the lovely hobbity beginning, and then the next day I got to watch the hobbity beginning all by myself with the remote and everything and it was just lovely. XD I'm sooo glad you enjoyed it! I can complain a bit about the changes to the various movies they made (mostly to the second and third...) because the books are my favorite and all, but the fact remains that the movies are still pretty much my favorite movies ever too. :D ...Now I want a rewatch! (And yay for extended edition! It's all I watch anymore. :P) ARAGORN AND SHIRE MUSIC YES. You'll definitely have to let us know what you think of the other two movies if/when you get to watching them. :D

    1. *flails* I DID AND NOW MY LIFE HAS PURPOSE. (Just kidding. XD But it was awesome.) The hobbity beginning is one my favorite parts! It's been a while since I read the books, so I don't know what they all changed... but I AM due for a reread one of these days. :)

      Oh, you'll all hear about it when I watch the other two! I doubt I could keep my happiness inside. XD

  7. UM. OKAY. SO THIS WAS 100% AMAZING!!! I don't even know where to start my comment...omg, wait. I DO. Your family is clearly amazing and so so sweet!! I've never heard of anyone going all out for Valentine's like that but omgggg, that is the NICEST OF EVER. ANd you are all such good artists. That Ultron, Tracey. THAT ULTRON.

    Also your gas-station story had me laughing. XD That would be me! I'm clueless about cars (and have legit never filled up before) but I'm like doubly clueless whenever someone asks me a question. The other day someone asked me what my favourite hobby was and I said reading. And they said "Oh what was the last book you read?" And I was..."" I HONEST TO GOODNESS COULD NOT REMEMBER AND IT WAS TERRIFYING. Yeah, sure am a bookworm...#fail XDXD

    Also that is awesome you interviewed someone for writing research! *applauds wildly*

    Good luck for the contest!! *crosses fingers and hopes hard for you*

    1. ACK, THANK YOU! I adore my family and thus, had to brag a little. ;)
      I left Ultron for last, thinking, "Oh, it'll be so much easier to draw a robot than a complex human face!" UM, NO. It's kind of harder. That one was a bit outside my artsy comfort zone, but I was quite happy with the result. ^_^

      Haha, I'm not the only one! Those questions, man, they mess us up sometimes... XD That's hilarious you forgot what you had read. But then again, you read a bajillion books a month, so that's understandable! (The worst, though, is when someone finds out you're a writer and asks, "Oh, what do you write?" or "What's your book about?")

      It was a lot of fun to do that interview. :)

      Thanks, Cait! The results came in on March 1st. I didn't win, BUT I found out that I placed in the Top Ten, which makes me wildly happy! :D

  8. I loved reading your subplots and storylines posts :).
    YOU WATCHED THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING?! Good for you, Tracey! My dad just bought that movie, so hopefully I'll be watching it soon :D. I watched all three of the Hobbit movies, and I absolutely NEED more Middle-earth XD.

    1. Also, CONGRATULATIONS on making it into the top ten! I was so happy when I saw your name on there, you worked so hard on your story! HOORAY FOR YOU, TRACEY!!!

    2. I'm glad you enjoy them! They're rather fun to write, and I'm usually amazed at what a single month can hold. :)

      AHH, YES, YOU MUST WATCH IT! 'Tis glorious indeed. The Hobbit movies are awesome...but it remains to be seen if the LotR movies move higher on my favorites list. ;) Which of the three Hobbit ones was your favorite?

      Aww, thank you, Savannah! *hugs* It's a pretty amazing feeling!

    3. Nope, nope, nope, can't pick one favorite :D. Trust me, I've tried XD. You?

    4. It's nigh impossible to choose. I might venture to say the first one, because I love the beginning (I just want to live in the Shire, okay?), but I really like the other two as well... Smaug. Epic battles. Certain feelsy things. Yeah, you're right, we just can't pick. XD

  9. Aw, Tracey you and your family are all so sweet! My family used to do valentines cards and a meal together, but we haven't for the past few years now that we're all moved out. I kind of miss the days when everyone around me made valentines about telling the people closest to them that they loved them, and not just about romantic relationships. (One of the downsides about university residence, I guess...)
    YAY YOU WATCHED THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING!!!!! Isn't it so fabulous? The acting, the cinematography, the SCORE (Howard Shore is a genius), and of course how they managed to capture the heart of the story in film form. You need to watch the other ones so we can properly fangirl without me spoiling you for what happens in the movies vs the books. Also because the Return of the King is my favourite of the three movies. You will cry and it will be amazing. :D
    I can relate to your story about buying gas. The first time I had to buy gas alone it took me like five minutes to figure it out and eventually one of the workers had to come over and help me. I too felt like the stereotypical blonde girl who can't figure out how to fill up the car with gas. :P
    My February has also been a whirlwind. It's crazy to think that the semester is half over! Where did the time go?
    Hope you have a great March. :)

    1. Thanks, Sarah! ^_^ I love our holiday traditions. Sounds like you have/had very similar ones too. I guess that's what happens when you grow up, bittersweet as it is... :')

      It is COMPLETELY fabulous, oh my word! I'm going through the movie scores for the second or third time right now--they're amazing. There are so many musical themes (like those for the Fellowship, for the Shire, for the Black Riders) that evoke such emotion. And yes, I am 99% certain that I will cry in TRofK. (I almost cried in TFotR...)

      Haha, that's hilarious. Blondes for the win! XD

      Your semester is half over! Wow, it feels like not that long ago you were on Christmas break... Soon you'll be home for the summer. ^_^

      Same to you! I hope your studies go swimmingly!

  10. Your family is awesome, love all the notes and pictures. Especially the Link and Ultron one. Once and Lord of the Rings good choices.
    That song is really nice.

    1. D'aww, thanks! I love Miss C's Link drawing too. Once Upon a Time continues to wreak havoc on my heart, and LotR is such a classic. ;D

      Isn't it? I love how the chorus slows down to emphasize the message.

  11. Wow, such a long post! I'm not sure what to say to all that.
    I enjoyed reading it! :) I liked seeing the Valentine's stuff. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside again! :D
    Miss K, you did a fabulous job! I love the Animal Jam aniamls! You did a really good job on the eyes and the animals colors! ;)
    And Tracey, you did a great on (eek!) Peter Pan and (omyword he is so cute) Ross Lynch! <3 Seriously, both boys are adorbs! In real life and in pencil! :)
    Tracey, can't wait to read your book when it's published! The character you talked about in this post is going to be perfectly miserable for awhile!! Love it!

    1. Heheh, it's not like you have to comment on EVERYTHING. ;) Glad you liked it, though! All those warm fuzzies, yes! <333

      Miss K's drawings are wonderful--and so are yours! LOL, you funny girl. I'm happy you both enjoy your sketches.

      Aww, you're the sweetest! *huggles* Making characters miserable is such fun...

  12. Aww, I love your family! (I don't know them, but I can tell I'd love them if I did)

    I had a space-out moment, because I know I opened this post to read it at one point, and then I'm guessing one of my rambunctious children distracted me, because I think I only read the Valentine's part before. So many happenings! Sounds like a good month! I'm glad that my recommendation has been useful to you!

    (as an aside, I'm just glad to know I'm not the only one who sometimes hits "publish" on my blog a bit early and accidentally! Back in December I scheduled a post for January 1st... but neglected to change the year to 2016... so... yeah... that published a bit early and I had to go fix it... but all my subscribers had already received it in their emails. Sigh)

    And, if I've not said it already, congrats on being a finalist in the Five Magic Spindles contest! That is just so cool.

    1. Haha, that's so sweet! ^_^ (From what I've read on your blog, your kids sound adorable too.)

      I've definitely done that before, but seeing as I have no rambunctious children begging for my attention, it must be something else keeping me from blog posts. XD

      (It's relieving to know I'm not the only one either! *gasp* So if you schedule a post for a date earlier in the year, it goes up right away?? Ugh.)

      Thank you so much! I was really blown away. :D Maybe one day I'll expand my story and pursue some sort of publication with it. We'll see. ;)