Monday, April 26, 2010


I have discovered a giveway of The Victor by Maralyn Giron, but to qualify I must post about it on my blog.
Here is the Amazon summery:

A benevolant King...his sword of power...a ruthless traitor bent on revenge...and the faithful son who stands in his way with the woman destined to share his throne. Who shall emerge as the victor in this epic struggle between good and evil to govern the lives of hapless men?

I also have another cluster of giveaways: Bryan Davis's new book Starlighter has sparked several giveaways.

Go to and register to win an 8GB iPod touch from Zondervan.
Go to to register to win one of ten cloaks made by Bryan Davis's daughter.
for a chance to win a copy of Starlighter

And finally, be the first to answer Starlighter questions on Bryan Davis's blog
and enter to win a sword or cloak

Friday, April 23, 2010

What next?

What should I post next?

The 18" Mile
Confessions of a Wimpy Author
Something My Charries Taught Me...

Vote on the poll.

Called by Name: Of Myself

There are many other characters I could discuss, but more is not always better. I started this series with characters very close to me--my own characters--and so I will end with myself.
Readers of this blog will most likely know me as Galadriel, a name I chose upon joining my first book forum. Although I didn't really understand the character at the time, the name has grown--or perhaps shrunken--to fit. For Galadriel is a powerful lady, who remembers much others have forgetten, yet she herself is doomed to fade from a world that no longer recognizes her.
Related to Galadriel is the name Nenya_s Wings, which I chose for NaNoWriMo when "Galadriel" was already taken. For Nenya is the Ring of Adament that Galadriel weilds in secret against the One, while "Wings" reflects my flight-hunger, a desire to soar with the wings of a hawk in the sky.
For that reason, I chose Kestrel as my title on ApricotPie, a homeschool writing site. In Skye, the first story I posted there, the title character remembers her friend Kestrel who died attempting to free her imprisoned friends.
Another online title of mine is CrimsonWaters, which I use on Ted Dekker's Circle in honor of his Circle Trilogy, for the crimson lake in that world is a mark of redemption's sacrifice.
As for my birth name...I don't give that out online. While it may be easily used among face-to-face aquantences, giving it to someone online marks trust. It says, "I trust that you are who you claim to be, and therefore I will tell you who I am offline."
But the name I long for is in Revelations 2:17
And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who recieves it.
God has a special name waiting for all who accept him, one only he and you will understand. And no matter how well other names--Galadriel, Nenya, or Kestrel--may seem to fit, only that name will reveal our true self.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Called by Name: Of Turambar

A Turin Tuambar turun ambartanen: Master of doom by doom mastered! Oh happy to be dead!

First of all, let me apologize for the length of the last post. I didn’t recognize how long it really was until I posted it, but there was no good place to break it up into two shorter ones. I will also apologize in advance for this one; it will be just as long, if not longer.
I said in my previous post that Turin’s last names are the saddest, though they may not appear so. For Nargothrond marks the peak of Turin’s achievement, and the brink of his fall.
While in Nargothrond, Turin wielded Beleg’s blade, which gave him the name of Mormegil, the Black Sword. As a valiant captain, he became chief advisor to the king, essentially ruling Nargothrond in all but name.
Another name Turin receives in Nargothrond is Adanedhel, the Elf-Man. His upbringing in Doriath and his fair appearance led even the Elves to think of him as one of the Noldor, and even his temperament was as rash and foolhardy as the proud sons of Fëanor.
Finduilas, the King’s daughter, called Turin “Thurin,” the Secret, for through the sorrows he shared with her, she sensed deeper grief underneath his fair words. And she knew that though she loved him, he would not allow her entry into his heart.
But Morgoth’s curse fell like a hammer on Nargothrond. He sends hosts of orcs and the dragon Glauring to ransack the city. Glauring also bewitched Turin to think of his mother Morwen and his sister Nienor (whom he has never seen) living as thralls in his childhood home while Turin dwelt in splendor. Ignoring the pleas of the orcs’ captives, Turin departs for Dor-lomin
Unknown to Turin, though, Morwen and Nienor had fled to Doriath while Turin led his men in Dor-Cuathol. When rumors of the Black Sword’s fall in Nargothrond reached them, Morwen and Nienor rashly rode out to seek further tidings. Yet their errand failed, for Glauring came upon them, driving Morwen into the wild and laying a spell of forgetfulness upon Nienor.
In Dor-lomin, Turin learned that Morwen and Nienor had fled to Doriath, but he decided not to go and find them, for he believed they were safe. Instead, he joined a humble band of woodsman, where he took the name Turambar, Master of Doom, for he hoped to overcome Morgoth’s curse by living a quiet life.
Nienor came to the Crossings of Teiglin, where Turin found her and cared for her. He named her “Niniel,” Tear-Maiden, for she could not remember her name, nor her past, nor any words of language. Yet something in her stirred at the sight of Turin. After a time, they were married.
When Niniel was two months pregnant, Glauring marched on Brethil. Turin went forth and killed the dragon while it was still a ways off. But the death-cries of the dragon filled men with fear.
Niniel found Turin lying by Glauring, apparently dead. But Glauring spoke for the last time, and his words struck her like a blow.
Hail, Nienor, daughter of Hurin. We met again before the end. I give thee joy that thou hast found thy brother at last. And now thou shalt know him: a stabber in the dark, treacherous to foes, faithless to friends, and a curse unto his kin, Turin son of Hurin. But the worst of all his deeds thou shalt feel in thyself.
Glauring died, and Nienor remembered everything. In horror, she cast herself over a waterfall. But Turin was not dead, but merely swooned. When he woke, men told him all Glauring had said and the death of Nienor. Upon realizing the truth, Turin fell upon his own sword.
A Turin Tuambar turun ambartanen. Though I have only given a brief overview of the tragic tale of Turin here, it raises many questions. All of Turin’s names may be seen as attempts to ward off his fate, but as Gwindor said, “The doom lies in yourself, not in your name.”
Doom. What will we do with the doom that lies in our own names? For the doom of Christians is a free-dom, the weight of our own choices. A doom both lighter and heavier than any curse of Morgoth.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Called by Name: Of Turin

“The doom lies in yourself, not in your name.”
After several false starts on this essay, I have decided the solution lies in what Wayne Thomas Batson would call “Chapter Mitosis”—the splitting of one section into two. This particular essay will therefore deal with Turin’s life up to his arrival at Nargothrond, while the second half, “Of Turambar,” will stretch from Nargothrond to his death.
The tale of Turin, unlike the story of Aragorn, emphasizes names that mark an incident in his life, especially tragic ones. And Turin’s life is full of tragedy.
Turin’s father, Hurin, is captured by Morgoth, the Dark Lord, in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad ("Battle of Unnumbered Tears"). When Hurin will not give Morgoth the information he demands, Morgoth sets a curse upon his bloodline.
Thus, though Turin is a great warrior and of the bloodline of great heroes, everything he does turns to ill. Whether this is the result of Morgoth's curse or Turin own headstrong recklessness is left to the reader to determine.

(Summery courtesy of Tolkien Online)
Because of the invading Eastlings, Turin’s mother Morwen sends him to Doriath, under the protection of Thingol and Melian. While Turin is still on his way, Morwen, who remained behind in Dorlómin, gives birth to Turin’s sister Nienor.
Turin lives in Doriath until age eighteen, when he asks for weapons and goes out to join the struggle against Morgoth. Three years later, he is in Doriath to repair his weapons when an Elf named Saeros taunted Turin and his family. The next day, Saeros attempts to kill Turin, but Turin overpowers him and …set him to run naked…then Saeros fleeing in terror before him fell into the chasm of a stream. In fear for his life, Turin flees Doriath and joins a band of outlaws, where he takes the name Neithan.
Neithan, the Wronged, is the first chosen name of Turin. But as the Elf Beleg says later, it “is a name unjust,” for Thingol judged Turin innocent of wrongdoing. Yet Turin refuses to return to Doriath and be pitied. Instead, he leads the band of outlaws against orcs, and later, with Beleg’s aid, claims the land as “Dor-Cuathol,” the Land of Bow and Helm. He therefore names himself “Gorthol,” the Dread Helm, in honor of the Dragonhelm his father once wore.
But as the Lay of the Children of Hurin says,
“Morgoth was a king more strong/
then all the world has since in song
And if all the Elf-Kingdoms were powerless against Morgoth, what hope would a band of outlaws have? Eventually, Turin is betrayed and his men slain, but Beleg escapes. With the aid of an Elf named Gwindor, Beleg rescues Turin from the orcs who captured him.
But as Beleg cuts Turin free, his blade pokes Turin in the foot. In the darkness of night, Turin leaps free and slays Beleg Cúthalion thinking him a foe…there came a great flash of lightening above them, and in its light he looked down on Beleg’s face.
After Turin recognizes what he’s done, he retreats into silent madness for a time, but Gwindor leads him to Nargothrond. On the way, Turin is healed of his illness by the waters of Eithel Ivrin. When Turin and Gwindor reach Nargothrond, Turin stops Gwindor from telling his name, calling himself Agarwaen son of Úmarth; the Bloodstained, son of Ill-Fate.
Agarwaen son of Úmarth. Indeed, Turin is stained with blood—Saeros, Beleg and many orcs. And his father Hurin might well be deemed Ill-fate, for Morgoth’s curse of doom lay heavy on all his kin.
Turin’s names—Neithan, Gorthol, Argarwaen—are a list of sorrows. Yet his latter names—Adanedhel, Thurin, Mormegil, and Turamber, are interwovern with worse griefs. Well does Tolkien say this is called “the Tale of Grief, for it is sorrowful.’

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Called by Name: Of Aragorn

“You certainty seem to have a lot of names.”
~Frodo to Aragorn

I said in the last post that Elven names tell stories. Aragorn is an excellent example of this. His given name, ‘Aragorn,’ means ‘kingly valor,’ and his courage is indeed legendary.
But when Aragorn was only two years old, his father died on an orc-hunt, so Aragorn’s mother Gilrean took him to Rivendell for safekeeping. There he was given the name ‘Estel’ to conceal his true identity as the heir of Isildur. In the Lord of the Rings Appendices, Tolkien states that ‘Estel’ is Sindarin for ‘Hope.’ However, while reading Morgoth’s Ring, I stumbled across a quote that gave a deeper insight into the meaning of this word.
“If we are indeed the Eruhin, the children of the One, then He will not suffer Himself to be deprived of His own, not by any enemy, not even by ourselves. This is the last foundation of Estel, which we have even when we contemplate the End; of all His designs, the issue must be for His Children’s joy.” Whether or not this concept was present during the writing of Lord of the Rings, it gives a richer significance to the name.
Another name Aragorn carried in his youth was ‘Thorongil,’ ‘Eagle of the Star,’ under which he traveled in Gondor and Rohan some fifty or sixty years before the War of the Ring. Readers of The Silmarillion will remember how the Eagles of Manwë often came to the rescue of the Noldor when things appeared hopeless. The name also might remind one of Earëndil, the Half-Elven who pleaded for the Children of Ilúvatar before the Lords of the West, who is actually Aragorn’s distant forefather.
But Frodo first meets Aragorn as ‘Strider’ in Bree, a name referring to his long journeys. Bill Ferny also calls Aragorn ‘Longshanks,’ which is used by Sam in the movie adaptation. While ‘Strider’ may seem mocking, Aragorn uses the Quenyan translation “Telecontar,” as the name of his royal house. Another name relating to Aragorn’s travels is “Wingfoot,’ given by Éomer after discovering Aragorn’s speed in hunting the orcs.
On the other hand, Bilbo refers to Aragorn as “the Dúnadan,” which translates to ‘Man of the West,’ referring to the isle of Numenor which the Valar gave to faithful men at the end of the First Age. But the men of Numenor eventually grew envious of Elven immortality, and their last King went to war against the Valar. The Valar responded by calling upon Eru, who drowned Numenor in the sea. The name thus refers to a wise, but arrogant people, warning of an error Aragorn must avoid.
The final two names of Aragorn are closely related: Elessar, the Elf-Stone; and Envinyatar, the Renewer. Both names appear in “The Houses of Healing,” a chapter in The Return of the King. As Envinyatar, Aragorn renews the line of kings and restores Gondor to glory. The name ‘Elessar,’, although foretold at his birth, was given to him in honor of the eagle-brooch Galadriel gave Aragorn. It combines the concepts of strength and power--stone—with beauty and love—elf.
The names people choose to call us show us what they think of us. What about you? What do the names people call you—or the names you call them—reveal about them?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Called by Names: Of Choosing

“Real names tell you the story of the things they belong to in my language”

Most fans of Lord of the Rings—even those who read The Silmarillion—would be unable to identify the bearer of these names, while ‘Galadriel’ is much easier to identify. Yet Artanis,
Nerwen, and Galadriel are the same person.
How can this be? The answer lies in the complexities of Elvish names as described in Morgoth’s Ring, Volume X of The History of Middle-Earth.
When a child was born, the father chose the child’s name. That name was regarded as the individual’s true name and came first among any names the individual received therafter.
However, when a child was old enough to take pleasure in language, he or she chose his own name. This chosen name, although regarded as a true name, was used by friends and family, not mere acquaintances
Also regarded as true name were the mother names. Unlike the father-names, mother-names were markers of insight of foresight. Fëanor—spirit of fire—is the most famous example of an insight-name.
Nicknames were not considered “true names,” although widespread ones, like Aragorn’s nickname ‘Strider,’ were sometimes acknowledged after the true name. In some cases, the nickname replaces the others in everyday speech, such as “Galadriel”—a nickname given her by Celeborn.

While all this information may be helpful in navigating the sea of Elvish names, what lesson can I pluck from this essay and give to you?

Names in today’s world rarely come with their own meaning. A name means what you make of it. However, the Elven naming system reveals part of a person’s history. Names tell you more about the person then just what to call them. They tell stories.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Called by Name: Of Characters

This post marks the beginning of a series on the importance of names.

"I collect names for characters. Names are valuable; they can be your first source of insight into a character."
~Spike Lee

Naming a character is very important. Can you imagine reading a book where the main character remains nameless? I have; in The Bridge by Jeri Massi, one character remains “the woman” throughout the story. While I still enjoyed the story, I feel Massi missed an opportunity to make his character real when he didn’t name her.
And choosing a poor name can cause just as much, if not more, damage. Can you imagine a meeting between Bungo and Trotter in Bree, instead of Frodo and Strider? For Tolkien did use these names in an early draft of the story. On the other hand, the use of Sindarin and Quenya in formatting names—and the tradition of giving multiple names—provide many fine examples of naming, especially in the cases of Turin and Aragorn, both of whom I will discuss later in this essay series.
I will use one of my own stories, Fettered Wings, to expound upon the difficulties caused by poor naming. When I began writing Fettered Wings almost three years ago, I unabashedly stole the main characters’ names from The Silmarillion’s list of Valar: Lorien and Aule. Eventually I changed “Lorien” to “Loren,” because I was already pronouncing it that way, and because as a variant of ‘Lauren’, it has no prior connotations. Aule’s name, on the other hand, provided far more difficult to tweak, mostly because of the scarcity of names beginning with Au--. I went through Audie, Aurel, and Aulie, finally settling on Aurel…for the time being.
On the other hand, sometimes the name arrives with the character, especially if the story is sparked by a dream. For Sakuntala, I had dreamt of a man named ‘Dayvid,’ and Laia seemed to connect so naturally that I cannot recall if I dreamt her name or not.
Along similar lines, my story—now a novella through NaNoWriMo—Three Dark Roses came from a dream about a man, ‘Joel’s father.’ The part I played in the dream—a girl who needed healing— quickly became Abigail, and with two Old Testament names, ‘Micah’ seemed a natural choice for Joel’s father. While some names in that story are still being refined, I chose all names of Hebrew or Biblical origin to give the story unity.

In my stories where names did not come easily, I tried to choose a name that hinted at the character’s personality. My story Skye focuses on half-human, half-avian, children who were imprisoned for many years. Their names—Hawk, Finch, Cardinal and Swallow—echo the world they’ve never seen and hint at the rough nature of their speech.
On the other hand, my concept Olympus Rising required research for names. I chose the names of fourteen obscure gods and goddesses –Tanara, a Siberian sky spirit; Ajalamo, a Nigerian god of unborn children; and Nuada, a Celtic god (in my version, a goddess) with a silver hand. The story focuses on fourteen ‘gods’ who are discovering their powers, but are also being trained as pawns of two dubious men.
If a character has more than one name, each name marks something significant about the person. For example, my Sheltering Wings girls go by false names because of their mother’s fear of dragon slayers. Another example is Joel from Three Dark Roses. One character calls him ‘Blight,’ for a disease tearing away at a plant unseen, (he) had the ability to destroy the King’s followers from the inside. Later, Joel rejects his given name in favor of “Sha’av,” a Hebrew word for ‘turning away,’ because he turned away from righteousness.

Names have power in stories.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cry, the Beloved Country

This the first, and perhaps the only, book that I first read in high school English and thoroughly enjoyed. This story of a South African black preacher, a white farmer and their sons tugged at my heart with its mournful, lyrical prose.
The pastor, or umfundisi, Stephan Kumalo, watches with resignation as his relatives leave their valley for the great city of Johannesburg. When a letter arrives telling of his sister's illness, Kumalo leaves for Johannesburg. Overwelmed by its noise and the massive crowds, he is shocked to find his sister had lived as a prostitute. But a deeper sorrow is yet to come when he learns of what his son, Absalom, has done.
From the first time I read of Kumalo's son, the name seemed to foreshadow some tragedy and death. Without spoiling the ending, I will say that Stephan's heart cries the refrain of David in II Samuel 18, "Oh, my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you--oh Absalom, my son, my son!"
While I perfer fantasy books, this story carried the fantasy quality of transporting me to another place. I forgot about the classroom and my runny nose, caught up in the grief of two fathers over the loss of their sons. This is a book that could be placed in a time capsule for the 1940s.
Although the story highlights the unjustice of South Africa at the time, one phrase from Kumalo's prayer summerizes the cry of the story, "Forgive us all, for we all have trespasses."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Week in Wonderland

Storyteller tagged me to name eight books I'd like to live in for a week. Off the top of my head, I'd say
1. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S Lewis--an ocean cruise with Lucy? What could be better?
2. Auralia's Colors by Jeffery Overstreet-- starting a day or two before the Rites of Privilage, because I want to see her cloak
3. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, Lothlorien...paradise
4. At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald I want to see what that country is really like.
5. Abarat by Cliff Barker...Probably the island of 3 pm, the Nonce.
6.Perelandra by C.S. Lewis...a floating paradise
7. Second Touch by Brock and Bodie Thoene...biblical fiction with Jesus
8. The Silmarillion, by Tolkien...Visit Doriath and see Beren and Luthien

I also came up with my own tweak: Chose seven stories, one for each day of the week. You can spend only twenty-four hours in each .
Sunday: Sheltered Wings, my DioM fanfic, so I can learn how Chris becomes solid again.
Monday: The Bones of Maikados, Bryan Davis (spoiler the triple wedding) because it contains most of the characters
Tuesday: Return of the King, Tolkien: Wedding of Aragorn and Arwen
Wednesday: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Aslan's resurrection
Thursday: All My Holy Mountain, L.B. Graham; Benjaih's sacrifice on Avalione
Friday: My Three Dark Roses...probably the ending scene or Elizabeth's death
Saturday: Green by Dekker; Elyon's return

I tag:
Maiden of Emmanuel
You can do one or both

Sunday, April 4, 2010

…Then We Won’t Die for Nothing

It’s a sobering word.
None of us know exactly where, when, or how we’ll die. To most of my peers, it seems an eternity away. But in the end, eternity is exactly what we’ll have. Today, Easter Sunday, I have been thinking more about death.
In many of my favorite books—Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Binding of the Blade, The Circle Trilogy—main characters die. Even in my own novella, death comes often. But characters don’t die without a purpose. Their deaths accomplish something.
Boromir dies attempting to save Pippin and Merry. Though he fails, he redeems his own soul from the lust of the Ring.
Aslan dies on the Stone Table to redeem Edmund.
Justin, in the Circle, drowned to cure the Horde’s disease once and for all.What’s worth dying for?

If We All Live for Something…

Why do we live our lives in the way we do? On the most elementary level, the answers are easy: we eat because we’re hungry, study so we can get good grades, watch TV because we’re bored…the list goes on and on.
But what about the deeper reasons? Why do we make friends with one person and not another? Why do we even bother crawling out of bed in the morning—besides the alarm clock? Why does life have meaning?
My church youth group recently completed a study called “Underground Reality—Vietnam” put out by Voice of the Martyrs. The theme song of the study was “Look to Love,” by SonicFlood. The chorus starts out with the lines “if we all live for something…”
Some people—even some Christians—have no purpose for life. They just shuffle through the world aimlessly.What are you living for?