Book Review: Sparrowind and The Tale of Ugly Knight

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I have another review of my book, The Ugly Knight. 🙂

Book Review: Sparrowind and The Tale of Ugly Knight.

Also, a four star review on Amazon.

I’m starting to enjoy getting these reviews. 🙂

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I’ve taken the plunge

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I’ve put my first novel (written over 20 years ago) out on Amazon, blurbless, coverless as it may be. That’s a generic cover, made with Amazon’s Cover Creator. It isn’t too bad looking, but I’m going to see if I can’t find/make etc., a better one in the next couple of weeks. This is the story of a young knight going out to fight a dragon (and that’s part of the reason I haven’t written a blurb yet. What else is there to say? 😕 )

This isn’t the novel about An & Mattan which still has the first draft linked in the sidebar, and which I’m still working on with Barb, my editor friend. I was trying to make Mattan like a rock, but according to most of my alpha readers, I missed, and turned him into a doormat instead. There still is an implied inertness, but one that comes from weakness instead of strength.

Barb, bless her, thinks that he really is a rock, and he’s just so reserved that no one can get to know him until we draw him out some more. She has me working on various pieces of the book, and swears that it’s getting much better. All I can see at the moment, though, are pieces of the book strewn all over, like the time my parents refinished the piano.

Anyway, I plan to get back into blogging regularly soon. I keep getting distracted, by real life, by my characters An & Mattan, and by books I’m reading.

Reflections on a cool week in summer

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Cool summer weather,
Is welcome, though strange.
We open the windows,
The air off, for a change.

The pool is quite cold,
The crowd is quite small.
We shiver, but swim.
Is this summer or fall?

The dog loves the weather,
He’s at home in the cold.
The rest of us dread
The weather of old.

Next week will be warmer,
The heat will renew.
Enjoy this small break
Before our summer ensues.

Psalm 7, Versified

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The Lord is my refuge,
My place to hide.
They chase and pursue me,
But there I am safe inside.

They would tear me apart,
Lord, keep. me safe.
I have no ransom,
Except by your grace.

I’ve done no evil,
No wrong in their sight.
I’ve harmed no one,
Why must I take flight?

Stand up, Lord! Get angry!
Face the wrath of my foes.
Wake up, Lord, Show fury!
Let them face what they chose.

If I’ve done wrong,
If a friend I’ve hurt,
Then let them catch me,
And turn my name to dirt.

The peoples come to you,
You reign on high.
Rule, justly and strongly,
Let them know you are nigh.

And give me my justice,
For you know I am right.
I’m innocent know,
I did not cause the fight.

Let the evil be gone,
The righteous in charge,
And the Lord over all,
With justice writ large.

The Lord is the shield,
For the upright in heart.
He is the pure judge,
Let no evil take part.

His anger is swift,
His bow is strong,
His weapons are deadly,
His reach is long.

Men conceive of evil,
They labor for pain.
They give birth to trouble,
Then do it again.

They set a trap,
And then they fall in.
Trouble circles around,
Their attack hits them.

Thanks to the Lord,
Who is ever right.
I will sing his praises,
Both day and night.

Psalm 6, Versified

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For the choir director. With stringed instruments. According to sheminith. A psalm of David.

Lord, keep me safe from your anger,
Don’t punish me in your wrath.
God, hold me up in your mercy,
For I’m too weak to follow your path.

My bones quake in agony,
I cry out to be healed.
My soul burns in anguish,
How long must I wait afield?

Lord, you are my salvation.
Turn and deliver me.
Your love unfailing I long for,
And your merciful face to see.

Among the dead no one praises.
No corpse can call on your name.
No songs are heard from the casket.
The graveyard is ever the same.

I am grown weak from moaning,
I flood my pillow with tears,
My eyes grow weary from sorrow,
I cannot face all of my fears.

The Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has accepted my prayers.
Flee, you evildoers,
I follow the Lord who cares.

My enemies are in anguish,
The all are put to shame.
They turn back in their fear,
But I will praise your name.

Mugshots of characters

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I still owe a few people book reviews, which I’ll try to get out in the next week, but I thought today I’d do something else today, once I finish battling with WordPress, which has changed its posting interface without notice. (Going through the Dashboard to create a post brings us back to the old posting interface).

Some time ago I Simmed all the main characters in my An & Mattan story (currently available unedited under “Writing” in the sidebar, if you can get through it). So, just for kicks, I’m going to show what the characters look like. Since I’m not one for making custom content, I’ve been stuck using whatever hair I can find, and sometimes I’m not too happy with what I come up with.
But anyway:

  1. An
    Screenshot-451Her picture turns out pretty well. She’s almost smiling (unlike most of the rest of the pictures, where my characters are scowling at me). At least you can see her green eyes, freckles, and red/brown hair. I’m not sure what’s going on with the shine in the mirror, though.
  2. Mattan
    Screenshot-459 Mattan’s hair is wrong in this picture. It should be pulled off his forehead, not over it, and everything below the band (which should be more of a flat clasp or barrette) should be blue. (His hair also should be slightly shorter in the back.)
    Screenshot-444 Mattan with short hair. I forgot to have him wear his leather jacket when I posed him for this picture. He pretty much always wears it. When he’s working in his workshop, he also wears a baseball cap turned backwards, but I decided not to post it this time.

  3. Jasin
    Screenshot-439Jasin turned out almost too cute (he’s better looking when he smiles), though once again I’m not sure what’s going on with the shine in the mirror. He has the same red/brown hair as An. I tried to make his hair redder, and An’s browner, but I couldn’t give them quite distinguished the way  I wanted without going  too obvious.

  4. Belinda
    Screenshot-449Belinda’s hair is fine, but I don’t like the way her face turned out as much. (She’s dressed for working in the restaurant.) She should be prettier, without losing the strength in her face. She has a bit too much jaw/chin, or something. More than I’d like anyway.

  5. Tolly
    Screenshot-447Tolly suffers a little because all Sims of the same age group are exactly the same height. (If you give Sims high heels, it doesn’t make them taller, it shortens their legs.) Tolly is supposed to be considerably taller than the other characters, so this doesn’t come off well. I’ve tried to make his shoulders as broad as I could, but I’m not sure it helped much. But his orange, slightly rumpled hair came through just fine.

  6. Glorina

Screenshot-453Similar problem to Tolly, Glorina is supposed to be smaller than nearly everyone else. I settled for giving her narrow shoulders.

 

 

  1. Jelana

Screenshot-457 Jelana is the one I wish most I could find the right hair for.

In the first picture, the hair is much too curly, in the second, it is a little too long, and in the third, it is much too smooth.

Screenshot-456If I had the skills to combine the three hairstyles, I’d probably be able to figure out something.

I made her a teen, rather than an adult, because she’s supposed to look very young. This also makes her shorter than the others (though it  doesn’t usually work  that way in real life.

Screenshot-455 I also gave her slightly alien eyes, which did seem to work out better for displaying her not-quite- human status.

I didn’t even try to Sim Daved. I don’t think I could give him enough of an “Uncanny Valley” enough of an appearance. Especially since the Sims are quite Uncanny Valley on their own.

Psalm 5 (Versified)

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Hear my words, Oh Lord!
I weep, for help I cry.
Oh Lord, my God, My King,
Hear my voice and draw nigh.

In the morning I call,
At dawn I offer my prayer.
I wait and wait for your help,
For I know that you are there.

You hate all evil.
Wicked men run in fear.
The proud kneel before you,
Humbled when you are near.

Those who lie and do wrong,
Those who cheat and steal and kill,
You hate with a burning fire,
Destroying them as you will.

But by your great love I come.
In reverence I bow down,
In your temple, your house,
Wherever you may be found.

Lead me, Lord, I pray.
You know what is right.
My enemies pursue me,
But I walk in the light.

They breathe out lies,
Their heart is filled with hate.
Declare them guilty, O God!
Banish them to their fate.

Rejoice, those who take refuge,
Singing ever in praise.
Hide them under your wings,
Let them sing your name always.

Surely you bless the pure,
Around them put a force field.
They sing for joy to you,
With your favor for a shield.

The King of the Earth and the Sea

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(To be sung to the tune of Ada. That is the other tune for the song “Redeemed”.)

The King of the earth and the sea,
The Lord of the wind and the rain,
Who rules o’er all that might be,
Is now and forever the same.

He reigns, he reigns,
He reigns in heaven on high.
The world he holds in his fingers,
He reigns over ocean and sky.

He came to the world in a manger.
He lived, learned, he laughed and he grew.
To mankind no longer a stranger.
His word will make everything new.

He came, he came,
He came to dwell on the earth
His presence will light up the darkness,
And give to us all a new birth.

He died that the world might be free,
No longer to sin be a slave.
Open in your eyes and you’ll see,
The price of the gift that he gave.

He died, he died.
He died to bring life ever more.
His blood shed to ransom your pardon,
That your soul in heaven might soar.

He rose that world might behold him,
To see him in glory and light.
To show that the grave could not hold him,
And, like him, our souls can take flight.

He rose, he rose,
Death no longer can win.
The grave no more may conquer,
Our hearts are now free from sin.

In heaven, the Lord waits the hour
When back to the earth he will come.
The world waits to see him in power,
The summer we worship the Son.

He comes, he comes,
The world no longer need fear.
He comes, shouting out in his triumph
As we will forever draw near.

Contemplations on Confirmation

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Young men and women
Come forth to take their stand.
Their turn now coming
To serve the Lord in the land.

Have we taught them everything
That they will need to know?
Have we taught them always
What seeds that they should sow?

Every generation
Must set their children free,
To serve, to stand, to follow,
To learn, to love, to be.

Have we given them the gifts
That they will need each day?
Have we given them the love
To support them on their way?

Looking back and forward,
In a never-ending line,
Father, Son, and Spirit,
Support us though all time.

Have we shown our children
That on God they must rely?
Earthly friends may fail them,
But He will hear their cry.

Young men and women
Must hold the torch aloft.
They must lead into tomorrow
And never mind the cost.

We must send them forth,
They must stand and be aware
That God will love them always.
He is always there.

Psalm 4, versified

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When I call, the Lord will answer,
He hears me in distress.
He sends me hope for my prayers
And his mercy is never less.

How long, how long, will men hate me?
And turn my glory into shame?
How long, how long, will they flee you?
Choosing illusions over your name?

The Lord has chosen me,
So I must follow Him.
He listens when I call,
And makes me free from sin.

In your anger, chose not sin.
Always search both heart and soul.
Offer Him gifts from a righteous heart.
Trust in the One who makes you whole.

Many, many, seek for riches,
But I will always seek Your face.
While they rejoice in wine and grain,
I will revel in your grace.

I will sleep and be assured
That I will rise to serve again
For with You I dwell securely,
Fearing nothing that comes from men.