I’m afraid I didn’t realize until after I had pressed “publish” that I was debutingCheck Cover a story about a girl deciding to commit suicide on “Self-Injury Awareness Day” itself. The (sad) irony of the fact did not occur to me until I was lying in bed later and then I wasn’t sure if I should be glad of the coincidence or sorry for it.

But there you have it, I’ve begun posting a new novel! You may have noticed the slew of updates on Figment, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and maybe you’ve even checked it out. I’ve had this story stewing in my brain for…a year and a half maybe? It’s been a little while.  But I’m finally really giving it a go, and posting it publicly so I’ll be accountable not to let it fail. 😉

I’m also a little nervous about writing this story, for one major reason: it’s a completely new venture.  I haven’t written a book that a) is in third-person present-tense (ever), b) alternates between two viewpoints (ever), or c) is set in a modern, real-world place (with any success).  So there’s lots of newness going on.  But I’m excited.

CarouselBesides, Stella is a mystery to me. I don’t really know as much about her as I would like.  And I’m figuring Cal out as well.

So here’s The Plan!  I’m going to update Check. every other day, and the other every-other days I’m going to update Finding You! Sound good? I hope so. 😉 Basically there will be some sort of update every day. 🙂

Hopefully “Check” will make an enjoyable read for y’all- please know that you can always tell me a brutally honest opinion on it.  It’s a first draft, of course, so there are going to be problems. 😉



January is over, and with it my writing fast.

So here’s some closure for this whole situation, to let you know how it ended:

I did, despite all odds, survive.  I had a million, “Oh my gosh, what a brilliant idea I’ve had- I should go write that book this. very. second!” moments. But I jotted down the ideas and tried to focus elsewhere.  I think this was good for me.  For the first couple of days I felt like a total loser as I realized that I really didn’t have much of a life without my writing, in a way.  But my focus really changed, and there were several good changes I made:

1. I have a disciplined routine! Waking up by a certain time, spending time with the Lord, working out immediately, showering, juicing carrots, making a smoothie and then cleaning the house and getting to whatever the day held. It feels good.  This includes my renewed focus on getting healthier.

2. I realized I need direction for my life that sitting around writing all day has not given me, and I’m thinking that may begin with a long-term missions trip for a semester or so at some point, possibly to Haiti. I’m still looking around.  I also need a job, now that I’ve moved, and I need to stop procrastinating.

3. Most importantly I realized my need for a Savior more than ever.  Without my obsession to clog up my every thought, I realized at times just what a wretch I am, and what I need to focus on.  I started prioritizing my time in the morning spent reading the Word, and hopefully have become more focused in general.  And I plan on increasing that from here on.

So thanks for all of your prayers and the encouragement I found pouring into my inbox/figment page/blog from you, my lovely friends.

And now I need to wrap this up, because Isla and her plight are calling to me. 😉

(Oh, on a random/life-enriching note: you should check out “Jekyll and Hyde” the musical; the song “Confrontation” is my absolute favorite right now. It’s amazing. So…go listen to it.)



It’s MAJOR confession time, dears.

The verse in Luke 10 that says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind…” is terribly convicting to me.

I’ve heard so many times that whatever a person devotes their life to is what they worship.  It’s their god.  And as I examined my life this morning, following a really incredible church service, I realized that as much as I love Jesus, He is not the focus of my life.

Jesus is not first in my heart.

I am the first to admit that I’m a sinful wretch who deserves nothing but hell and damnation, but this confession isn’t necessarily easy.  I don’t really like being vulnerable, which is probably because I’m so insecure about myself.  But here’s the naked truth, dear readers: I made writing my god when I started thinking of it first thing in the morning, the last thing as I fall asleep, and at just about every free moment thought out the day.  Plotting my stories, planning my characters- writing occupies more of my thoughts than anything else.  I’ll always choose writing over  any alternative.  I’d like to think I could be better than I am one day, but in the meantime I just love creating and imagining.  I also think my love for it is probably a gift from God.

But God’s gifts aren’t not supposed to take the place of Him in my heart.  And that’s what has happened.

So I’m ashamed, dear readers.  I’m ashamed that something that was a gift from above could make me forget so much- like the fact that I should use my passion to glorify God in some way.  And the fact that nothing I could ever accomplish or create will a) last into eternity, and b) come close to meaning as much as the truth that Jesus Christ died for my sin and I owe Him my whole being.

So I’ve made a hard decision: for the month of January (at least), I’m fasting from writing.  I’ll jot down whatever ideas I get, but nothing more.  I’m giving up my stories. Because as much as I want to be a writer, I want to be a child of God more, and I cannot “serve two masters”.  So here’s to what might be a really rough month for me.

“Oh, to grace, how great a debtor, daily ‘m constrained to be-

Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wand’ring heart to thee.

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it; prone to leave the God I love.

Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it- seal it for thy courts above.”



Also, “blog, revamped”!  What do you think? But on to the important stuff.

I’ve already mentioned that Proxy is returning, so here are a few updates:

Roe: I’m gonna let y’all see her great big personality changes for yourselves, but I’ve altered her appearance as well.  Instead of a kind of Saoirse Ronan look, she’s more of a slightly plainer Katie McGrath, pictured below.






The Messenger.  Calder (Jude Law-like in appearance, but younger) is going to be quite different from my original intentions, mostly because I didn’t have all that much personality planned for him.  One of the many reasons that I restarted this book: realizing it was laaaaame.  I’ve done extensive “interviewing”, background describing, and personality delving, and I finally feel like I’ve got a real, breathing person to work with.  Now if only I can convey him (and the others) onto the page.


And Jude is still Jude, but I’m deepening his character as well, with lots of character profiles and fake interviews .  He’s also still Liam Hemsworth with dark hair.



So anyways, I’m excited, and I’m so happy that some of you are willing to give this another shot and struggle through it once more with me. 🙂  I’m planning on posting the first prologue (which seems as if it’s unchanged, but is, in fact, much altered) tomorrow.  See you then!  (And I’m using a new cover- let me know what you think!)




114k words.

11 months.

A stupid first draft.

Many facepalms and “head-to-desks”.

And I finally finished Esmeralda.


“The End.”

I’m not gonna lie, it was super exciting to type out those two words.  I wrote Esmeralda’s first draft in 100 days exactly (350+ pages) and am quite proud of the fact.  A few of you read that original ending, and can attest to just how dreadful it was.  To be honest, I don’t know that I have the greatest ending now, but I think it’s better.  And for now – since this rewrite took me eleven months – I’m more than willing to just let it sit for a bit.

I felt like a whole chunk of my life was gone when I finished this time.  It was kinda weird, like empty-nesting.  But a good-weird.  I’ll kinda miss my characters, but Finding You is really taking off in my mind and I can’t wait to turn my attention there now.

I wish I had the time / patience to write a drawn out “author’s note” of a post here, but I don’t.  I am so incredibly grateful for all of you who read Esmeralda- especially for the comments and reviews that told me what you were thinking.  You are all so kind and encouraging, and when I’d read that you cared about what happened to the characters, it gave me this giddy feeling in my stomach.  I felt like a real writer, and I don’t know what would have happened to my poor book if I’d never gotten feedback.  There were definitely times when I felt like it wasn’t worth saving, and then I’d find a new comment asking for more.  And that always spurred me on.

I know there are several issues left to work out.  Someday I’ll write a third draft, after I have some understanding of the Russian language, perhaps, and can make Evy’s world into a Russian one.  I’ll fix the inconsistencies, maybe deepen the characters, and work out a few of the issues that Evy would have had after eight years a prison cell.  And amidst all that, I’ll manage to cut it down about 25,000 words.  Yeeaahhh.

(Screenshot of my title page in the word document. ^^  I’m totally laughing at the whole “short novel” thing.  That was a dream that passed quickly.)

There’s much teasing debate at my house as to who I’ll “dedicate” the book to- my little brother insists that he has always been there for me (though he mocks any hint of romance, so…), most of my family is saying that I’d “better not dedicate it to ‘some friend’ because they’ve always supported me”, and my sister Em says I should dedicate it to “Matthew, Marilla, and ‘Gil’” and give it to said “Gil” as he’s dying of scarlet fever.  I  think I like her suggestion best.  😉

My biggest thanks goes to my God, though- without His strength I would be a mess and a shoddy writer, and it’s only by His grace that I’ve gotten as far as I have.

So thanks so much for sticking with me, folks.  I love you all (and I mean that, really- my Figgie friends are some of my dearest).



Emphasis on “may”…the first one.

I’m just going to get right to the point: I’ve got writing issues.  I can’t go three months without something new on my plate, or I get stir-crazy and frantic, like my world is closing in.  It’s sad, people.  Pity me.

Thanksgiving night (after eating far too much food, playing thanksgiving-themed games, singing in a talent show, tying for first place in said talent show, and then eating far too much dessert)I had a dream.  It was so epic I think it might have tied with Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream.  I’m not even joking.

It was set in the 1890s, in the alleys of London, carrying the feel of Newsies and themes from The Thief Lord, and woven with romance, jealousy, oppressive family ties, secret background-stories, betrayal, and adventure.  My favorite “character” in the dream was a carbon-copy of Alistair Brammer as he appears in the new Les Misérables film, and was consequently named Alistair.  (I’m more than happy to have him feature in my book since he’s rather a favorite of mine in the musical theater world.  If you don’t know his work, look him up!)

I definitely overslept, though it didn’t matter since I always do at Gramma’s house.  People kept trying to wake me up and I’d shove them away, because even mid-dream I could tell this would make a fantastic novel.  My consequence was that most of the Thanksgiving dinner left-overs had been eaten by the time I finally got up at almost noon.

But I think it was worth it.

I’d love to promise that I’ll be unveiling this new book soon (since the dream covered all the major plot points, and since I wrote it all down the second I woke up, I only have to write it now! cha-ching.) but I’m afraid I have to finish at least Esmeralda before I can conscience that.  If it sounds at all interesting to you, though, never fear! It will appear soon enough.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with a temporary cover image, since even before I post it I must have a cover (oh yes, I’m calling it simply “Dream” for now, since that’s what it was, even though that has nothing to do with the story).

(And I think that “Ava” looks something along the lines of the girl in this picture, though I’m not positive yet.)



Perhaps you’re familiar with the musical  Rent.  (Now before my fellow-homeschooler friends stop reading this and disown me, hear me out.)  It’s a tragic story, made more tragic by the fact that Jonathan Larson died the night before it opened.  I don’t support many of the themes of the story, and I don’t agree with much of Larson’s philosophy.  As a parody of La Bohème, I think it’s a piece of genius.  All moral quandaries aside, the show itself has some definite moments of brilliance and others of…insipidity.  (“Finale A”, for instance makes me want to cry, while “Light My Candle” is crude and just…awkward.)  My favorite character is definitely “Roger”, partially because he’s one that any aspiring writer can relate to.

Perhaps the best known song from the show is the famous, “One Song, Glory”, sung by “Roger” (originally Adam Pascal) as he worries that he will never make his mark musically on the world before he dies of AIDS.  The words speak to a writer like myself who hopes to make her mark somehow, someday (though I don’t believe I’m dying yet).  And the song is made more beautiful by the fact that it’s sung by Adam Pascal (who I have a major crush on) in his lovely, raspy, rocker-like voice (which I have another separate crush on).

While the entire song is SO applicable to my dreams as a writer, there’s a bit that I especially love:

“Glory, in a song that rings true
Truth like a blazing fire
An eternal flame
Find one song- a song about love
Glory, from the soul of a young man
A young man…”

I don’t need to be the next Suzanne Collins, Shannon Hale, or Veronica Roth.  I don’t think I ever could be, by any means.  But I want to accomplish something, and to know that I have.  The theme quotation for my life is one by Franz Kafka.  He says, “I want to escape the unrest, to shut out the voices around me and within me, and so I write.”  My soul needs to write.  I can’t survive without stories.

In all humility, I don’t think I’m without talent, at least.  There’s a line in Aida (another favorite Adam Pascal musical) in the reprise of “My Strongest Suit” where Amneris and Aida lament that, “a life of great potential is dismissed, inconsequential”.  I’d like to believe that I have potential, at least, as a writer.  And I don’t want whatever gifts God has deigned to bless me with to go to waste, for my life to be inconsequential.  In one sense I would be happy just sitting at home writing for the rest of my life, but at the same time, I don’t want only that.

I need to do something.

With God’s grace, hopefully I will.



How many of you have read even a bit of Esmeralda?  A few hands?  Okay, that’s good. I just need a couple of opinions.

I am nearly finished with my first draft (nearing that dreadful ending I have to somehow rewrite to work in with new elements of the plot) and I am starting the exciting/tedious process of setting it into book form, in the Blurb BookSmart editor, so I can send in the files and have a real live book-version of my story sent to me. *claps hands* Yay!!

I have this little love affair with witty/profound/poetic quotations (my “Wilkommen” about me page is proof of this) and I want to put a relevant quotation right before the title page.  I have scrutinized my “favorite quotations” Listhings board, and have narrowed the list of candidates to the five listed below.  Would you let me know which you think is/are best fitting for the story?

Here they are:

1. “We owe it to each other to tell stories.” ~Neil Gaiman

2. “Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark.” ~Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Desperaux

3. “In the light, we read the inventions of others; in the darkness we invent our own stories. ” ~ Alberto Manguel

4. “Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.” ~Ben Okri

5. “All stories are lies. But good stories are lies made from light and fire. And they lift our hearts out of the dust, and out of the grave.” ~Mike Carey

And then, with the “book” version of Esmeralda comes a new cover…ish.  The image I’ve been using on Figment is too low in quality for a full-sized book cover, so I’ve done my best to enhance the stock image, and print the title as best as I can.  The font is new, but the picture is the same. Don’t be mad. 😉

Read Esmeralda Here!



It’s kinda awkward when you have a crush on one of your own characters.

It is not, however, infrequent among writers, I’ve surmised.  And this is certainly not the first time it has happened to me.

Des (Despard) Morrisay is my most recent “crush”, though that sounds mind-blowingly vain and conceited and arrogant, since I did think him up, after all.  But….he’s kind of adorable.  Trust me, whether or not it works out on the page, he’s basically perfect in my mind.  In an entirely different way than Tam is perfect.  Because…*River Song voice*…”Spoilers!” sadly, most of this book is about Isla learning to be strong without Tam, so there isn’t as much character development as I’d like for him.

Oh! Before I forget, Finding You is on Pinterest! Check out the board I’ve created here (I’ll be adding to it fairly often)!

But anyway.  I mentioned when I first announced Finding You in this post that I had a cast of supporting characters that I was excited about, and now you’ve met some of them- so here they are.

Des, my personal favorite, is imagined quite a bit after Dominic Cooper in appearance, with a bit of Peter Pan’s personality thrown in (my impression of Peter Pan from reading it as an 11-year-old, when I fell in love with him).  I haven’t honestly seen Dominic Cooper in many movies (for Sense and Sensibility I prefer Greg Wise as Wickham) but there’s something about him in Mamma Mia! that I really love.  My impression of his personality showing through in the role definitely impacted the character in my mind who later became Des.  Here are a couple of images to give you an idea.


Quite the charmer, huh?  I think so.

I’ve also been introducing y’all to the other girls in the cell, one-by-one.  Here are two of them, who play larger parts than the others:


The first is how I imagine Valentina looking- I don’t know who the picture is off, but the second I saw it I knew who Valentina was. She’s a bit more upfront of a character than some of the cast- at least, I think she’s a little more open.  You can tell who she is right off by what she does in a crisis situation, how she tries to be strong/put others first, etc.  At least I hope that’s obvious.  Even still she surprises me at times.  I hadn’t planned the bit about her brother getting shot until I was writing it and thought, “Of course she had a little brother.”

The second image is Abbie Cornish, in Sucker Punch.  That movie….oh man, it rocked my world.  I watch it whenever I can get my hands on it, and blast the soundtrack like nobody’s business.  It’s…oh man. I don’t even know. It’s epic.  One of my favorite movies ever, and the opening scene is by far the greatest opening scene in the history of film.  Anyway.  The character of Sweetpea, played by Abbie Cornish, is strong-willed and kinda kick-*ahem*-butt, but aside from appearance, that’s where the similarities end.  Sweetpea is protective and, when it comes to her sister, selfless.  She’s also not one to take risks that have little-to-no chance of paying out.  My Phoebe is very different, as I hope I’ll be able to portray.  Escape, and not the people around her, is what she cares about.  She also dresses a little differently. 😉

I’m nearly ready to introduce y’all to Oliver, who I am super excited about, and Josiah Boyne, who is also….um, exciting.  He’s a character at least.  Though I’ve already let you briefly meet Zachariah Curram, I’m holding off from giving you my thoughts on him, and any pictures for the time being because I want his character to speak for itself.  There’s a scene with him coming up that I am really excited about writing.  I’ll post a second wave of character introductions a little later. 🙂

Thanks for reading!  Comment and let me know what you think of the way I’ve imagined the characters, and let me know how your imagination differs!




Featured Writer: Samantha Chaffin

I think first Sam started reading Esmeralda, and then I read her then contest entry “Death Touch”, and from there we told each other what excellent writers each other were (she has probably been lying to me all along, but I like her praise so I don’t mind) and have been “writing buds” ever since. She’s even one of the few I knew would be honest enough with me to be allowed to read my horrid original ending to “Esmeralda”.

You’ll just have to accustom yourself to the knowledge that she’s way more awesome than the rest of us.  It’s the truth.  And her writing? Holy. Moly. Quit now, is my advice. Because she’s monopolizing the market on epic.  Her current Pirate novel, Privateer, has me in its clutches; I’m Team Benjamin. 😉

Here’s a bit about Sam, taken from her blog:

“I love me some Jesus Christ. He’s my All in All.  I’m a student at the University of Southern California, working toward a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and English (Creative Writing). Class of 2014.  I base characters on especially bizarre people that I meet (so beware), and I have a deep and undying love for historical fiction and fairytales.  When I watch movies, I usually end up rooting for the villain, especially if the villain is Alan Rickman or Zachary Quinto.  I quote the movie “The Princess Bride” like a lunatic.  I have an almost fanatical devotion to Paris, France. Jk, it’s totally fanatical.  I never learned to walk in high heels without tripping/falling/causing catastrophic damage.  Last but never least, I love books. Real, honest-to-goodness books that have covers and paper and ink.”

From all the way over in ‘Sunny California’ she answered a couple of questions for me:

What inspired you to write Privateer?

In general, I can only begin a story when I hear the voice of a character so clearly in my head that I just can’t ignore the urge to put him or her on paper (or on Word Document!). In the case of Privateer, I had actually had the protagonist Charmaine Trenton in mind for months. I saw in my head exactly what she looked like, how she talked, and essentially all of the personality traits that made her who she was. The only thing she was lacking was a name and a plot to live in. Big problems, right? So I let Charmaine kind of brew in my head for a while, until the summer of 2011 when I went to see the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie with a friend. I ended up placing all of my hopes for the quality of the movie onto the single most interesting character—the woman pirate Angelica Teach (played by Penelope Cruz) who is first introduced as impersonating a man (Jack Sparrow). By the end of the movie, I was sorely disappointed; I thought Angelica had so much potential as a character, but she was almost immediately cast into the Hollywood female character archetype, depicted as subtly subordinate to the male protagonist. When I got home, I was still fuming over it. Then I thought about Charmaine. And I thought some more about pirates and how I have always wanted to write a pirate story. And I thought to myself, “Self. It’s got to be done.”

Would you describe the book a little?

“A little” being the key phrase there. Sure! Privateer is set in the 16th century during the reign of Elizabeth I, and the book opens with the discovery of Queen Elizabeth’s bastard son, who has been hidden away from the world. Meanwhile, Captain Charmaine Trenton, a pirate turned “privateer,” has been blackmailed into doing the bidding of a power-hungry English lord, as he is holding her sister hostage. The only way Charmaine can save her sister is if she kidnaps the bastard prince and uses him as a bargaining chip for her sister’s life, and so she sails off to do just that, but along the way, unplanned adventures and romance and mass chaos ensue. Sometimes all at the same time. Most times, in fact.

What is your favorite thing you ever wrote / are writing?

Usually, my most current project is the thing that I am most in love with. I’m very fickle in that sense… feel free to judge me. But even though I do love Privateer, I think that the novella I wrote over this past summer—“How, Ever”—is probably the piece that I am most proud of (so far in my writing life). “How, Ever” was the story that scared me the most to write, because the issues it addresses are both controversial and very near and dear to my heart, and I was terrified of portraying them in the wrong light. But I am very happy with the result of my decision to plow ahead with it anyway.

What book(s) are you reading now?

I am currently reading an Alexander Pushkin novel in verse, called Eugene Onegin. It’s the first piece of Russian literature I have ever read, and it is absolutely wonderful! It’s about a man who loses his wealth and is forced to move to the countryside. There, a young lady falls in love with him and tries everything to woo him. Mostly, I’m just reveling in the fact that it’s translated from Russian, and all of the lines still somehow rhyme. Brain explosion.

Do you have favorite “noveling music”?

Do I ever. I make entire playlists for each of my stories, because I am just that neurotic. But in general, I listen to film scores. Songs with words tend to distract me while writing. I also start typing out the lyrics without realizing I’m doing it, which is really fun when I go back to reread what I’ve written. Some of my favorite scores are those for Pride & Prejudice (Dario Marianelli), Stardust (Ilan Eshkeri), Peter Pan (James Newton Howard), the first two The Chronicles of Narnia (Harry Gregson-Williams) soundtracks, and of course, Pirates of the Caribbean (Klaus Badelt).

Is there a cliché that turns up in more than one of your stories?

Nope. I’m perfect. No, actually, I don’t know if this is a cliché, per say, but whenever one of my characters realizes that he or she has been lied to, there will be a confrontation, and at some point, I promise you that someone will burst out, “YOU LIED TO ME” (sans caps lock… sometimes). Oh yes. And there are more ridiculous/awful one-liners that I use without fail in my first drafts. I constantly have to remind myself to tone down the drama.

Ever cried over killing your own character?

I’ve never cried, but I’ve definitely had to fight myself on it. Like any writer, I get way too attached to my characters way too quickly, and even if I’ve planned their deaths from the beginning, I always find it hard to kill them off. Even if they’re villains! I have to get up and take a walk or eat a carton of ice cream after I write a death scene. Which is why I will never write an apocalypse story.

If you could go on a date with any literary character, who would it be?

Ooo, okay, I have three. Can I have three? James Sterling from Jade Parker’s To Catch a Pirate (I know, I know, I’m on the pirate thing), because we’d probably go on some crazy adventure to commandeer a ship or something, which would be basically awesome. Geric from Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl, because when he’s not being princely he’s really easygoing and adorable, and I could totes go for a picnic. And Etienne St. Clair from Stephanie Perkin’s Anna and the French Kiss, because swoon. So many emotions.

Do your books ever change drastically from your initial idea?

That’d be a yes to the power of fifteen billion. I outline because I have to, but even then, I will inevitably stray from it and come up with “brilliant” new plot twists that conflict with the rest of my story, and my draft will end up in knots. But they’re usually the good kind of knots, the kind you can pick apart eventually with a little poking and prodding and smoothing out. If I didn’t ever change my initial ideas, I would have a whole slew of boring stories on my hands.

Favorite snack while writing? (I’m a nutella girl.)

I have three words for you. Cheddar. Cheese. Twists. These things… your taste buds will sing the Hallelujah Chorus. I can’t even.

Have you ever shamelessly plagiarized a storyline, phrase, character, setting?

Besides taking the idea of Angelica in POTC4 and messing with her so that she came out how I wanted her to (i.e. a completely different and mostly unrelated character)? Usually, I draw my inspiration from real life experiences, so I don’t usually have that problem… but if you count using things I’ve overheard in everyday life as plagiarism, then yes, I am so incredibly guilty it’s not even funny. Seriously, my friends have learned to watch their mouths around me. I keep a list of all of the crazy things my little brother says, just so I can use them for a character someday. Don’t tell him.

And finally, have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? If so, who was it?

Is this similar to the date question? Can I use those three again? I also have a major fictional character crush on a certain awesome prince from a certain awesome book that’s yet to be published, written by a certain awesome lady who happens to be conducting this

interview. His name is Leopold and the book is Esmeralda, and I am certifiably head-over-heels for him because he’s practically perfect in every way, except for his flaws, which make me love him more. True facts.


Ain’t she fantastic?  Check her out on Figment here, and drop whatever you’re doing this moment to read Privateer here.

And lastly, check out her fantastic and often hilarious blog here.