Trolls! – Part 2

Last week, I posted the first part of my OC Hobbit fanfiction based on the troll scene from the movie. In the last part, Nerissa, Bilbo, Kili, and Fili did some detective work and discovered what had taken the ponies: trolls! Read on to find out what happens next.

We dashed after the brothers, trying not to stumble over any of the underbrush or spill any soup. The light grew brighter, and I knew we were nearing the fire. The two brothers ducked behind a tree, and as Bilbo and I reached them, I saw what they were hiding from.

Even though he was as tall as the trees, I could smell the troll better than I could see him. The stench of decay and filth wafted over me as he lumbered by, a tattered garment wrapped around him, flapping as he moved. Under his arms, the screaming, terrified ponies wriggled to free themselves, but his huge, grimy hands held them tight. I could feel poor Myrtle and Minty’s fear from where I was standing. Bilbo quickly hid behind the twisted, vine-covered trunk of a nearby tree, but I stood there for a moment, paralyzed, unsure of where to go or what to do. Suddenly, I was pulled to the ground by Kili who hissed in my ear, “Get down!” The troll continued on, not seeing us. I guessed his mind was on his pony dinner. “We can’t let them eat the ponies!” I whispered.

“He’s got Myrtle and Minty! I think they’re going to eat them. We have to do something!” Bilbo was as desperate as I was to stop the pony feast.

“Yes; you should. Mountain trolls are slow and stupid, and you’re so small.” Kili jumped up from where he had been crouching by his brother. Pushing Bilbo to the side, he snatched the soup bowl from him.

“Me–me–me. No–no–no–” stammered Bilbo, waving his finger as if to emphasize the “no.”

“They’ll never see you,” Kili encouraged. “It’s perfectly safe! We’ll be right behind you.”

Poor Bilbo. I couldn’t let him face this alone. And the ponies – I couldn’t let them be eaten.  My fear welled up inside of me, but I pushed it down. There’s nothing to be worried about. Kili and Fili are right there, defending usI can be brave and do this, I encouraged myself. “I’ll go with you, Bilbo. We’ll be all right. We’ll get the ponies back, together.” I directed the reassurance towards Bilbo, but it was really for myself. “We can do this.” I tried to keep the hesitation and fear out of my voice.

I handed my soup bowl to Fili, who gave me an encouraging pat on the shoulder. “If you run into trouble, hoot twice like a barn owl, once like a brown owl.”

Before we could think about it any further, Bilbo and I were pushed forward onto the path the troll had taken. Bilbo kept repeating Fili’s instructions to himself under his breath, and I was wondering what a barn owl sounded like, and why I would have to hoot for help. Weren’t they going with us?

“Twice like a barn owl, twice like a brown – once like a brown?” Bilbo whispered. “Are you sure this a good idea?”

He turned back to Fili and Kili, only to find them gone. We looked at each other, and suddenly realized we were on our own. I felt for one of my arrows, and, not finding any, remembered where they were.

“What’s wrong?” Bilbo whispered.

“My bow. It’s back at camp.”

We were alone, weaponless, and facing trolls that could probably eat us whole.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: March 21 – 27

Welcome to my Weekly Writing Wrap-Up for this week!

Total Word Count for the Week: 4405

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Wednesday with 805 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on editing Homeland and writing the beginning of the sequel to Snow.

The Good News: Apparently I couldn’t let Snow’s world go, because I came up with an idea for a sequel last Friday and have been working on it all week.

The Bad News: I didn’t make my goal every day.

Lesson Learned: I was pretty convinced that Snow was going to be a single novel. My characters, on the other hand, had other plans! It all started when I wondered what a character who had control over lightning (Snow has control over, well, snow) would be like. Then I began searching for a name that meant “light,” and the idea grew and grew, and now I have the first 4,000 words written. So, my “lesson learned”  is to listen to my characters. They have good ideas. 😉

Goal for Next Week: As next week is Camp NaNo, my goal from April 1st onwards is 1,333 words every day. Let the  NaNo-ing begin! 😀

If you’d like to share your weekly wrap-up, go ahead and post it in the comments below!

~ Kayla

Grammar Rule – Literally vs Figuratively

Right now, all over the world, someone is using “literally” when they should be using “figuratively.” And I’m afraid that I am as guilty as the rest of the world. I’ve probably misused the word “literally” literally (and I mean it here!) hundreds of times. Well, today it’s time to put me (and maybe a few of you) on the straight and narrow path of correct word usage. 😉

The trolls were literally going to eat the dwarves.

The funny thing about literally is that it means just that. If something literally happened, it means that the thing actually happened. The trolls were actually going to eat the dwarves, so literally is the best choice.

Legolas’s haircut was so bad that I literally died.

Now, if you really, truly died when you saw Legolas’s haircut, then yes, you may use literally. However, since you are alive to tell everyone that you literally died, the correct word should have been figuratively. Remember literally means whatever you said actually happened, happened.

Smaug had such a gorgeous voice, I figuratively cried.

While you might have wanted to cry over Smaug’s awesome voice, if you didn’t actually have tears streaming down your cheeks, then you should use the word figuratively. I would like to point out that while this sentence is grammatically correct, it’s probably not what you’d normally say in real life which is why some dictionaries (like Merriam-Webster) have added a second definition of literally: “in effect; virtually.”

I’ve literally seen An Unexpected Journey a gazillion times.

Even though figuratively might be the best grammatical option in this sentence, it’s probably okay to say literally. Your friends would understand that you have just watched the movie lots of times. Just don’t blame me if a certain superhero shows up to restore the balance.

Balance Restored! Thanks to Studio C for the grammar rule idea. 😉

~ Kayla




Quote of the Week

Today’s quote comes from C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve been a big Lewis fan since I first read the Narnia books, and recently, I’ve been reading some of his other books like Till We Have Faces and Out of the Silent Planet. I found this quote in a letter he had written to a child who had written to him.

“In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please will you do my job for me.” – C.S. Lewis

If you’d like to read the whole letter that C.S. Lewis sent, you can find it here:

~ Kayla

What I’ve Read This Month – The “Y”s Have It

It took a lot of digging and reading of reviews but I finally managed to get past the vampires and werewolves populating the “Y” section. It wasn’t easy because I was faced with overwhelming odds (they have quite an invasion force!), but I have found some great “Y” books. So, this month, I’m sharing this batch of amazing books that are certified vampire free from the “Y” section that I’ve enjoyed reading (with some “J”s  and regular fiction mixed in!).

The books I've read this month.

The books I’ve read this month.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I ordered this book after reading a review of it on And wow, I am glad I did! It’s on my favorite books of all time list now.  It’s a long book, and I finished it in two days. Cinder is the story of a sixteen year old girl who is a mechanic and a hated cyborg. When her stepsister falls ill with the plague, her evil stepmother drafts her for plague research. There, she learns a secret about herself that could kill her. I’ve already ordered the next two books in the series from my local library. Here’s to hoping they come in quickly before I go crazy wondering what happens to Cinder! 🙂

Red by Ted Dekker

As with Green and Black, Red was fantastic. In this book, Thomas tries to rescue Monique de Raison, the woman who created the vaccine that turned into the Raison Strain, a deadly virus that has infected the earth. In his dreams, however, he’s the general of the Forest Guard trying to protect the Forests from the Horde.

The Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman

Leo is playing a video game one day when a six-inch tall version of himself and a very pretty girl riding a time machine suddenly appear in his bedroom and tell him to read H.G. Well’s novel, The Time Machine. Now that he knows there’s a real time machine, he goes on a hunt to find it and ends up in the New-York Circulating Material Repository. This was a fantastic novel! I loved the characters, especially Jaya and her sense of humor. The book was humorous and had a touch of romance that made for a great wacky time-travelling adventure. I would say this is going on the favorite books of all time list as well.

Theodore Boone: The Abduction by John Grisham

Last month, I read the first book in the series, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer. I loved that book so much, I ordered the next three! In this story, Theo’s best friend April is abducted. Theo is determined to find her before it’s too late. Just like the first book, I loved this one. Theo was respectful and honest with his parents, and I really like that about the Theodore Boone books.

Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham

Just like the other two Theo books I read, this one was another great mystery I couldn’t put down. When Theodore Boone is accused of robbing an electronics store, he can’t seem to persuade the detectives that he didn’t do it. Will he be able to clear his name in time?

The Fire of Ares, Birth of a Warrior, Legacy of Blood by Michael Ford

I first read this series when we studied ancient Greece in school a few years back. I read them again a year or two after that. Recently when I was ordering books from the library, I suddenly remembered this series and decided to reread it again. The Spartan Quest series is about a young man named Lysander. He starts life as Helot slave in ancient Sparta in The Fire of Ares and learns about his destiny as a Spartan warrior. In Birth of a Warrior, he goes through the Ordeal and fights his first battle. In Legacy of Blood, he discovers the truth about his family and earns back the Fire of Ares. The books are excellent. They are a little violent, but realistic to the time period of the Spartans. It’s such a cool way to look back in history and see what it took to be a Spartan warrior.

Black Ice by Andrew Lane

I wrote a book review on this one. If you’d like to read it, you can find it here:

Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

This is the first book in the teen Sherlock Holmes series. This one, I thought, was even better than Black Ice. While Sherlock is staying with his aunt and uncle over the summer holiday, two men in the town drop dead with boils on their skin. When Sherlock finds a clue to their deaths, he finds himself caught up in a mystery that could cost him his life.

Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia lives in a society where everything is regulated – what you eat, where you work, even who you marry. On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia is Matched with a boy who she will one day marry, her best friend, Xander. Something is wrong, though, because when Cassia goes home, the microchip card she received that’s supposed to be about Xander shows another boy as her Match. This was an amazing book. I finished it in a day, it was so good. I loved it! I was quickly rooting for Cassia and wondering what was going to happen to Ky and Xander. I was thrilled to learn that there’s two more books in the series, and I ordered them from the library the night I finished Matched. This is definitely going on the beloved book list.

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

I read this book for school. It was excellent! I’ve only read The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and while I enjoyed those, I was blown away at how good Till We Have Faces is. It is the retelling of the classic myth of Cupid and Psyche told from the perspective of Psyche’s older sister, Orual.

The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This was another classic I read for school. This is the story of a reporter who travels with two scientists and a hunter to an unknown land in South America full of prehistoric creatures. I really enjoyed this one. I love Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, and it was really neat to read a book by him that wasn’t about Holmes.

Have you ever read any of these books? What did you think of them? Do you have any book recommendations for me? Comment below! 🙂

~ Kayla


Trolls! – Part 1

It’s been a while since I posted my Hobbit fanfiction, The Adventure Begins. Nerissa, my OC, first joined the adventure back in Bag End when she signed the contract. Then in The Adventure Begins, she learned that adventures aren’t all fun and games and saved Kili and Fili from drowning in the river. Today, I’m picking back up where I left off and introducing Nerissa to some trolls.

For some reason Thorin had chosen an old abandoned farmhouse for our camp. I agreed with Gandalf, who had left us in a huff, that it did not feel safe. In fact the darkening night had such an ominous feel that chills were running up and down my back. I went to stand in front of the fire where tonight’s soup dinner was busily boiling, hoping the heat and smell of food would settle my nerves. As soon as I stepped up though, Bofur handed me a bowl of soup. Bilbo, standing at the fire already, received a bowl, too.

“Here, do us a favor. Take this to the lads,” Bofur said. Without a word, Bilbo started walking towards where Kili and Fili were guarding the ponies.

I hadn’t even begun to warm up yet, and, as I looked out beyond the camp, my foreboding increased. Still, Kili and Fili had to be quite hungry by now. I took my bowl and attempted to catch up to Bilbo, trying hard not to spill hot soup all down my dress. Still, a few burning drops splashed out and landed on my wrist. “Nîdh!” I cried. “That is hot!” As soon as I said the word, I bit my lip, realizing that I’d spoken Elvish.

Bilbo didn’t seem to notice. “What did you expect, running with a full bowl of hot soup?” he teased good-naturedly. “Though, my second-cousin’s wife on my father’s side works at the local inn, the Green Dragon, and she could carry five bowls of soup all at the same time and not spill a drop! Two bowls on each arm and one on her head!”

“Wow,” I said, truly impressed. “I once tried to serve drinks to some dinner guests and managed to spill one on the table and the other in the lap of our friend. My mother was not happy.”

Bilbo chuckled at my story and shook his head. “I’m guessing you won’t be taking a job at the Green Dragon then!”

We left the grassy field and entered the woods, and the night grew a bit darker as the trees blocked what little moonlight there was. We found the two Dwarven brothers standing by a fallen log. We walked up to them, and I held out my bowl. Neither dwarf twitched. I’d never seen any dwarf (much less Kili and Fili) pass up an opportunity to eat. That meant something must be very, very wrong.

“What’s the matter?” Bilbo and I asked at the same time.

Kili looked troubled. “We’re supposed to be looking after the ponies.”

“Only we’ve encountered a slight problem,” said Fili.

“We had 16,” explained Kili.

“And now’s there’s 14,” finished Fili.

My thoughts immediately flew to my own silver horse. “Gildin?” I asked Kili.

“Gildin is here,” assured Kili. “But Daisy and Bungle are missing.”

“Well, that’s not good. That is not good at all. Shouldn’t we tell Thorin?” a concerned Bilbo asked.

“Uhh, no. Let’s not worry him. As our official burglar, we thought you might like to look into it,” Fili said quickly.

“Well, uh…look, some–something big uprooted these trees,” Bilbo concluded.

“That was our thinking,” Kili commented.

“Something very big, and possibly quite dangerous,” Bilbo said.

“What could be that big and do that?” My imagination was running away with me, and I could picture a huge monster striding out of the woods and attacking us.

Before anyone could answer, Fili turned towards us and said. “Hey! There’s a light. Over here! Stay down.”

I followed the brothers ducking under one uprooted tree and crouching behind another. I could hear harsh laughter, and I shivered in response. Peering through the woods, I saw a flickering fire.

“What is it?” asked Bilbo, beating me to the question.

“Trolls,” responded Kili, as he and Fili jumped to their feet and ran towards the flames.

“Trolls?” I didn’t like the sound of that. I’d read many scary stories in my family’s library that involved trolls. The trolls always ended up eating someone. Bilbo and I looked at one another, and I knew what we were about to do. Soup in hand, we followed after the brothers.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: March 14 – 20

Welcome to my Weekly Writing Wrap-Up for this week!

Total Word Count for the Week: 4468

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Wednesday with 958 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on editing Homeland and writing Hobbit fanfiction.

The Good News: I have all my characters named for my upcoming NaNo novel!

The Bad News: I didn’t make my goal everyday nor have I been editing as much as I’m supposed to.

Lesson Learned: I read a really good article this week about how to pace the “big reveal” in your novel from Go Teen Writers which you can find here: In my novels I tend to drop a huge bombshell instead of subtle hints along the way. I’m hoping to apply this lesson to my NaNo novel.

Goal for Next Week: My goal for next week is 600 words each day again.

If you’d like to share your weekly wrap-up, go ahead and post it in the comments below!

~ Kayla

Character Names – Alvar and Elva

It’s only 11 days until Camp NaNoWriMo which means I’m busily plotting out my book, deciding on main characters, and, my favorite part, naming the main characters. I’ve been searching for the perfect character names all week. Unfortunately, not every cool name I dug up was “the one” for my characters. Today, I’m sharing two names I loved that I had to sadly scratch off the possible name list. Feel free to use these in your writing, but there’s no guarantee that my next NaNo novel won’t feature a character bearing one of these names! 🙂

Alvar is a boy’s name. Its German meaning is “fair, white” according to Its Finnish or Swedish meaning of “elf army”  comes from the Old Norse name Alfarr, according to The most famous bearer of this name was a Finnish architect named Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto. I originally had chosen this name for my evil nobleman who was planning on taking the throne. I had to change his name, however, when I realized that I had four characters who had names starting with “Al” or “El.” I think Alvar would make a great villain’s name, whether he’s a nobleman or some other profession. 🙂

Elva is an anglicized Irish girl’s name. The original Irish name was Ailbhe. Elva means “leader of the elves” according to or just “elfin” according to many other sites. It used to be a very popular name about a century ago but has become more and more rare. Now, it’s an almost unheard of name. I had picked Elva to be the name of one of the queen’s servants. Alas, like Alvar, it was one “Al” or “El” too many, and I was forced to cut it. Elva would make a great name for a historical fiction piece since it was a popular name in times past.

What do you think of these two names? Would you use them for your characters?

~ Kayla

Quote of the Week

Today’s quote comes from Anne McCaffrey, author of the Dragonriders of Pern series.

“James Blish told me I had the worst case of ‘said bookism’ (that is, using every word except said to indicate dialogue).  He told me to limit the verbs to said, replied, asked, and answered and only when absolutely necessary.” – Anne McCaffrey

I’m afraid that I have a case of “said bookism” as well. If I’m not overusing and torturing the word “said” then I’m using words like “whispered,” “hissed,” “growled,” and “cackled” just to name a few. It’s something I’m working on improving.

~ Kayla

Book Review – Black Ice by Andrew Lane

Black Ice by Andrew Lane

Black Ice by Andrew Lane

“Why isn’t there someone who can investigate things that the police won’t or can’t investigate? Some kind of independent consulting force of detectives who can set things straight …” So questions a teenage Sherlock Holmes as he tries to free his brother from jail. With references like this and a solid mystery that can only be solved through deductive reasoning, it is apparent why Black Ice by Andrew Lane is the first teen series endorsed by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Estate. Black Ice is impressive and enjoyable with a well-researched and well-developed young Sherlock Holmes.

In Black Ice, a teenage Sherlock Holmes travels to London with his friend and tutor, Amyus Crowe, to visit his brother. Unfortunately, instead of having lunch with Mycroft, they find him locked in a room with a dead body and holding a knife. Mycroft claims he’s innocent, and Sherlock knows his brother didn’t do anything wrong. Together with Crowe, Sherlock must solve the mystery to clear his brother’s name. Along the way Amyus Crowe teaches Sherlock how to make correct observations and deductions.

Bad things can happen to characters when people try to recreate them as children or teens. It can really detract from their future adult character. Anakin Skywalker is a good example, in my opinion. Darth Vader was a lot less impressive and scary to me after seeing whiny Anakin. So I was hesitant when I picked this book off the library shelf. Would this change the way I viewed the adult Sherlock? Well, it did but in a good way. It actually made me understand Doyle’s detective a bit more. I was very appreciative of Andrew Lane’s efforts to maintain the Sherlock Holmes canon and character.

I thought the book was slow in the beginning, and it took a bit for me to get into it. After Sherlock travelled to London and found the knife-wielding Mycroft, the book definitely picked up, and from then on, it was non-stop action. I really loved Mr. Lane’s teenage Sherlock. The Sherlock of this story wasn’t a genius at solving mysteries. While he obviously had a leaning towards the detailed observation and mystery solving skills of his adult self, he made mistakes in his deductions. He was also less logical and in control and more emotional than the adult Sherlock.  I could really see this character growing up to be the Mr. Sherlock Holmes of 221B Baker Street.

This book is the third in Mr. Lane’s series, which I didn’t know at the time I chose it. Black Ice made a few references to previous adventures Sherlock had, leaving me rather confused since I hadn’t read the other books. I ordered them from the library, and now they’re waiting to be read. I suggest reading them in order: Death Cloud, Rebel Fire, Black Ice, Fire Storm 😉

Overall, Black Ice was a great mystery and story that allowed me to see what the world’s only consulting detective was like when he was my age. 🙂

~ Kayla