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Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab

Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Artwork: Isaiah Stephens' Halloween Costumes For Disney Princesses

I don't celebrate Halloween, but I've gotta admit, artwork like this makes wiccan/pagan holidays pretty damn cool. It's amazing artwork and the concept itself is such a fun idea. In a way it's inspired me to play around with the characters of yet another novel I thought of called Moon vs Lane (or Miss Moon, Miss Lane). It made me remember how many awesome female characters there are in fantasy.

So, Isaiah Stephens is awesome.

I originally found this artist from an article on The Mary Sue when they posted it for Halloween LAST year. Oh well.

And also... just because I really wanted to:

For more, visit Isaiah Stephens' Deviantart or Tumblr(And you really should, there's one of JAFAR as MICHAEL JACKSON O_O )
The Dragon Ladies image was by Mariana Moreno. For more, visit her Deviantart.

Ashana Lian .

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Author's Notes on [Imaginary Fiends]

Click here to read the short story.

Image: Flower Fairy -
Secret Agent -

Huey Freeman: What do you want with me?
The White Shadow: It's complicated, Huey. Uh... (pause.) I'm a secret agent sent to spy on you. (Pause. Grin.) Mmkay. Maybe it's not that complicated.
Huey: Do spies normally introduce themselves to people they spy on? What spy school did you go to?
Shadow: Eh. I'm too old to be sneaking around.
Huey: What if I tell someone right now?
Shadow: You tried that earlier, in the kitchen, remember? By the way, I wasn't really in the bathroom taking a dump, but, maaan. (laughs) Oh, that brother of yours is a hoot. And your grandfather? (quoting Huey) 'Those two need their own sitcom.'
Huey: (offended) Leave me alone.
Shadow: Look. Just because my job is to watch your every move and eavesdrop on every telephone call and monitor your every e-mail, doesn't mean we can't be friends..." 
The Boondocks Season 1 Episode 8 - The Real.
The idea for this short story came from the satirical comedy adult cartoon The Boondocks. The main character Huey Freeman is being stalked by an secret services agent who mostly patronises him, but often gives warnings or important information. It's never discovered whether the agent was really there or just in Huey's head.
It took me a while to get into writing this. The children were tricky to get right and their story didn't seem complete without an adult's point of view as well. But once I finished writing, I quite liked it. =]
In the future, I'd like to come back to this concept. I wrote a short story that had similar undertones - teens with phantom bodyguards - but I never finished it. I think I'll make it into a novella one day.

Ashana Lian .

Friday, 24 October 2014

Fiction Friday: Imaginary Fiends

Image: Flower Fairy -
Secret Agent -

Her name was Makayla, his name was Kamal, and their friendship was not a coincidence.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Author Notes on [Primadonna]

Click here to read the short story.

Image: Converse In The Rain b+w by JenniLaSuper
I hated this story.
Meg went from being quirky and assertive, to being an aggressive and spiteful, to being vulnerable and frantic, and finally to being... I don't even know what she is now. What started as an interesting character soon became a character I despised, which is why it was so hard to write this in the end.
The original idea, as always, was much more complex. It was about the eventual bond between Meg and the Glory League. But after I titled it Primadonna, things went pear-shaped. It became about Meg and about the emotional deficiencies she suffered by her mother's supernatural mollycoddling. Then all of a sudden, it became a revenge story against stupid Frankie! Urgh, I'm just, urgh. The disappointment.
... I don't even want to write any more notes. We've all established that this short story was awful and lacking. Let's move on.

SOOO, next week's Fiction Friday!!

Ashana Lian .

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Films for Thought on Thursday: The Maze Runner

This is part of Films For Thought On Thursday hosted by Charnell @ Reviews From A Bookworm blog. I won a preview ticket from some Amazon competition I entered. That was a pleasant surprise because I don't really win anything, which is probably because I don't enter anything. XD

First of all, this movie is based on the book The Maze Runner by James Dashner, and no I have not read said book.

It's about a boy who wakes up in the middle of nowhere, with no recollection of who he is or how he got there. There are dozens of other boys there who all had the same experience. They soon remember their name but nothing else. Our hero, Thomas, is incessantly curious about what's beyond the huge, high wall surrounding their little nowhere and is told they're all in the centre of a maze, and terrifying creatures called grievers roam the passages during the night. Despite this, Thomas's determination (ie. annoying cat-like curiosity) gets the better of him and as he strives to find a way out of there, things begin to change not just inside, but outside the wall.

SO FIRST OFF, there's really only two things of significance I want to say.

First. This script is the cringiest thing you have ever heard. If you are thirteen and naive, and by that I mean without an extra decade of film-going experience, then the melodramatic plot-fulfilling lines won't be as familiar to you as they were excruciatingly old to me. To the point where rolling my eyes became automatic.

But the ACTION was so, so awesomely amazing that in my opinion, it makes up for all other flaws. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I DO NOT dish these sort of compliments up and down the place so take me seriously, okay?! The action was fantastic; tense, wild, lots of freerunning and crazy jumping and fighting like hooligans.

Above all, the set was what sold me, and I think the movie poster boasts that all by itself. The maze looked incredible on-screen and I doubt I could imagine something so awe-inspiring and foreboding while reading the book. And I'm surprised to be saying this. Even beyond the maze, the set was great, so that's my big thumbs up.

SPOILER - I'm still not into the whole YA dystopian government - 'Ahh we need to ruin some kids' lives to solve our problems' thing and to my disappointment, the end explanation for the effort and the money spent building the maze (in the middle of a desert??!! What the hell!) seemed extremely poor. SPOILER OVER.)

The cast was okay, but I think it would be hard to be anything different with a script that bloody awful. I have to assume that's why the character of Thomas wasn't really 'sold' to me. So, I'm not going to ramble or get nitpicky as I normally do, I'll just say that the pros outweighed the cons. Ironically, this balances out my 'Good movie versus Bad movie adapted from YA books' tally. Thankfully, The Maze Runner (and Divergent, which I watched a couple of weeks ago (it wasn't awful! Damn, that was a surprise)) balanced out the scales. Okay YA. You get 1up.

The Verdict: ****
4 stars!

Even with it's flaws (just can't believe I'm saying this ...) I would see this again!!! Despite my apprehension beforehand, it was enjoyable to watch. (I was certain I'd have nightmares about the grievers and I escaped that as well. Awesome.)

I also liked The Maze Runner review from The Reading Hedgehog blog so check that outtt.

Ashana Lian .

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Beautiful Books #1

I'm sometimes distracted from the true purpose of this blog, to share my love of fantasy, motivate other fantasy writers and share progress on my fantasy novel. :3 So I am taking part in the Beautiful Books meme hosted by Cait at The Notebook Sisters and Sky at Further Up and Further In.

What is the Beautiful Books meme?

It's a meme for writers to help them prepare for NaNoWriMo, where you write a 50,000 novel in 30 days. =D The meme asks 15 questions to help inspire and motivate you to write. To take part, click either blog link above, answer the questions and add your link. And don't forget to support the other writers!

Which novel?
I have a lot (last count was 75) of unfinished works on my computer. =/ But my primary focus is the novel I mentioned in my first post, which I sometimes call Karalan's Legacy for ease, but for the sake of clarity, I'll refer to it as OOTD as I did at the start.

The Questions

1. What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Almost always the characters. For me, they are the core and drive the story. But OOTD was special - neither plot or character came first, setting came first. It's something I never do, so I had a feeling this story would be different to all of my other ideas.

2. Do you have a title and/or a “back-cover-blurb”? 
The original title was Out Of The Dust, and others have been She of Vengeance and The Daughter of The Man Who Defied Death (he really did O_O ). But when it's finished, the most important element will be clear and I can decide. I did write a 'fake blurb' to keep me focussed on what the story was meant to be about. (When I finally thought up some juicy and intriguing sub-plots it was tempting to get carried away. *sigh* I love fantasy.)

3. What word count are you aiming for when your novel is finished?
Apparently, many epic fantasy books are between 110,000 and 150,000 words. That's more than the 80k of general fiction but obviously less than the staggering 300k to 500k range of George R.R. Martin (!!!).
A pressing thought of mine is how so many people are turned off just by the size of fantasy books, which is why they don't bother. I shouldn't care, but I kinda don't want anybody to look at my novel and faint. Can I write this story in 100,000 words? I think so, but I have to stop adding chapters, dammit.

4. Sum up your novel in 3 sentences.
Three long sentences...? c:

After seven years, the corpse of a girl comes back to life with knowledge she didn't possess when she died - like how to prevent the threat of human extinction. But those powerful enough to help have their own worries; Nuor Priests are teaching dangerous sorcery to the masses, the fairies ignore politics while waiting for their princess to become a queen, the Pharaoh is trying to pacify a frantic empire, and the angels, by all measures, do not exist. And soon Karalan discovers that something murderous is on the loose, something that she pulled into existence because she defied death.

... thats the gist of it. Not to mention the martial arts, dysfunctional family, the Tea Lady (I lub her.), school drama and towers that touch the sky. Yay!

5. Sum up your characters in one word each.
(Oh my God why are you making me do this?!! You know it's not cool to fangirl over your own characters, right?!) Karalan - merciless. Jory - haunted. Cassie - electric. Dim - ...deviant. That's the core of what I call the Kaia Gang but then you have the tag-alongs later in the story; Prince Of Pearls - cunning. Enny - virtuous... or maybe altruistic. The Skull Princess - enduring.

6. Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about them! 
All of them??! Okay, Karalan I used to dislike but we're okay now. The character I was excited to write was (out of the boys) Prince of Pearls, because he is by no means perfect but understands what he is supposed to do to get the result he wants. He understand how LIFE works (which makes him more informed than me). And (for the girls) the Maia, also called Saffron. Daughter of a goddess, the only immortal on earth, and emotionally tied to every life form. How is that not remotely exciting to write about!

7. What about your villain? Who is he, what is his goal?
I didn't actually create 'villains' but naturally some characters have goals directly in opposition with Karalan's. Because of that she has many 'opposers' but I don't think they are all bad people. I can't say what their goals are though because they're spoilers. =O

8. What is your protagonist’s goal? And what stands in the way?
Karalan is resurrected after seven years of what can't quite be called death or slumber, but something in between. Her goal is to create 'energy points' on earth, but they would need to be so big to stop human extinction, that she would need a powerful authority to order it done. What stands in her way is that she is a nobody from nowhere, with excellent anti-social skills and a body that isn't as strong as it used to be. In addition, some wraith-grievers-weeping angels-dementor-reavers-xenomorph-like creatures are coming to eff her life up, so, yeah.

9. What inciting incident begins your protagonist’s journey?
The Nuor Priests come a'knockin. Karalan believes wholeheartedly that if she gets taken, they'll kill her. So she makes a run for it, and it begins.

10. Where is your novel set?
In a fictional world that is called Aura Earth. There are six continents and five primary life forms, of which 'human' isn't really considered the highest. Karalan lives on the continent that is always depicted gold on a map, and her journey takes her all over it.

11. What are three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely?
... this is a hard one. I would say each time the creepy creatures catch up with the Kaia Gang. Every time they attack, everybody had to stop what they're doing and fight. Usually, in the aftermath, Karalan has to change her plan.

12. What is the most dynamic relationship your character has? Who else do they come in contact with or become close to during the story?
There are many, but the most dynamic I think would be with Karalan and the Prince of Pearls (tempting to say Cassie, but no). I hoped to use their loyal friendship to show that when you strip away the empty words, the facade of happiness and fancy titles, it's surprising and humbling (distressing?) to discover that everybody is just as damaged and as vulnerable as everybody else.
In different degrees, of course.

13. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Hm. I think the above realisation ^ humbling Karalan, and also the feeling of regret, makes her strive to make a difference before it's too late.

14. Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens?
I knew how this story would end before I knew anything else about it. It's the reason why I didn't like Karalan at the start; as a means to an end, she made a great character but a crappy person. (Kinda like Tedros from TSFGAE.)

15. What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself?
I'm not sure. I suppose portraying my culture in fantasy - I don't see many people of colour as protagonists in fantasy. But also about how a realistic hero or heroine is unlikely to be as physically/emotionally strong as many fantasy epics portray. Frodo doesn't mentally recover when he gets back to the Shire, and most people would crack under much less, but Harry Potter seemed to be A-okay, which is a bit dodgy to me. Now I'm a sufferer myself, I'm starting to realise how portraying mental conditions as comic relief only - because its the only way a reader can supposedly handle it - might be negative.

I guess I'd like my readers to consider possibilities beyond what we are regularly subjected to in fiction. Fiction provides an escape when we need it, but it also inadvertently gives us views on the world that don't exist, which leads to narrow-minded, stereotypes and all sorts of things. I want my novel to provide another view.

Image: Lingering in the Golden Gleam by ArthurBlue

Click to read more posts about Karalan's Legacy (OOTD)
or my writing progress; Writing Now.

Click the link to read Chapter 6 of this novel.

Now you can read BEAUTIFUL BOOKS #2,

and the last part, Beautiful Books #3Woot!

Ashana Lian .

Monday, 13 October 2014

Author's Notes on [The Paradox Of Flying]

I got stuck before I wrote this. I've been stuck in my novel for such a while, it took a little while to fall back to when I was turning out a new concept every day. (Secondary school. Loads of time.)
The image above is the same one I used for 2014's Fantasy Challenge. So it wasn't a far stretch to consider using it for this weeks short story.
TYPOS! So embarrassing, so hilarious.

  • 'Hartney'
  • 'Next thing we knew, we were all standing in front of Professor Leon' - Um, no. That was meant to be Prof. JET, because it would be his concern to deal with rebel students in his division. No idea why I typed Leon. Maybe because he was my favourite.
  • 'until I laterally had to strip' - LMFAO! What?!! *literally!!
  • 'You will no doubt be in pain, but this will pain.' - Oh God. That was meant to be *fade.
  • 'aviation' and 'Aviation' - couldn't make my mind up about capitalisation.
  • ' “You don’t look evil.” Roxy said challengingly.' - WHO THE HELL IS ROXY?! (That was Jayda's name before I culture-bent her from Caucasian goth to Caribbean nerd. But no word-space for unnecessary descriptions so you wouldn't really know either way.)

Inspiration for Anne engineering her wings came from - that steampunk image from my post of Anne Stokes fantasy art.

The Aviator - Anne Stokes

Oh, and this. Steampunk Angel Poster - Anne Stokes
It was a LOT easier to curb my word limit than last week's King Of Dreams fic. (Still double the word count though.)
Forgot to mention the vapourised wall/books again. I'm sure that would've had repercussions like - the library being cold, Anne noticing shelf x and x+1 was missing, and so on. But oh well.
I named her after Anne Neville from The Kingmaker's Daughter, even though her appearance in the picture is more like Elizabeth Woodville. (I didn't want to name her Elizabeth.) I always love my heroines - it's a bit of a challenge to write about them if I don't - but I was surprised how much I adored Anne. And Anne's not a saint, she's tricky! Watch that!
I REALLY got into this idea. I wanted to go the whole hog and make up all the divisions and everything but had to reign myself back in. NOVEL FIRST. Then the 75 stories I began writing between 2006 and now - THEN the barely formulated idea I thought up last week. c:

Ashana Lian .

Friday, 10 October 2014

Fiction Friday: The Paradox Of Flying


This is the paradox of flying.
       To learn how to fly, you must read the books on the top shelf of the library, which teach you precisely how. But the library is miles high and there are no stairs, or lifts, or ladders – meaning to reach the top shelf... you must be able to fly.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Bookshelf Tag

I'm joining in with Charnell's open tag on Reviews From A Bookworm. She wrote "I tag anyone and everyone reading this who feels like doing it. You really should, it's a lot of fun!" I'm looking forward to this one. I haven't thought about how much my book collection has grown this year, and it has grown MASSIVELY. I've bought more books than I've ever bought in my life.

... I won't be doing that shit again! |It SUCKS to be broke, even for books! (Damn. That's what a library is for.) Alright, here we go.

I can't actually fit them all on the makeshift "bookshelf", so at the moment they're 1 on the shelf, 2 on top of the wardrobe, 3 stacked on a chest of drawers. Everywhere, basically.

As you can see, plush toys guard my books when I'm away. (e_e)

The books you can't see are my 97 SUPER HAUL books (whooo!) which are in bags in awkward places in my room, and also my Terry Pratchett set (which I plan to finally read over Christmas). So, the questions.

1. Is there a book that you really want to read but haven't because you know it'll make you cry?

I don't know why, but I think Kindred by Octavia E. Butler is going to make me cry. I've really wanted to read it for ages because it's been recommended again and again, but man I'm nervous.
2. Pick one book that helped introduce you to a new genre.

Fantasy is my literary "home" of sorts, ie. my genre of choice, so let's pick The Kingmaker's Daughter. This book introduced me to Historical Fiction, which is a genre I'd never heard of before let alone read before. I fell in LOVE with that book. The feels, the feels. =O
3. Find a book that you want to reread.

A book I want to reread that I've already read loads of times would be Magician by Raymond E. Feist, which is my favourite fantasy book ever. Ever ever.

4. Is there a book series you read but wish you hadn't?

This one made me pause. I assume I have to have read the whole series... I can think of a few, all for different reasons. Some because (a) they were too good and made me crazy, or (b) they began well and ended badly, or (c) they weren't that great but something kept driving me forward. For the sake of the question I'll omit (a).

I can think of about 3 (b)'s (House Of Night, King Of Hell, Kingdom series by Garth Nix) but the only (c) I can think of was the Twilight series. Like Throne Of Glass, it wasn't point blank awful but it wasn't good enough to made me care about the plot or characters. It didn't add any great insight or positive development as a reader/writer to my life, so for that reason I wish I'd made a start on The Hobbit instead, back when I was 15 with a world of time.

5. If your house were burning down and all your family and pets were safe, which book would you go back in and save?

.... to be honest, I wouldn't save my READING BOOKS; they're replaceable. And frankly if I couldn't save them all I've rather save none, harsh but true. (e_e) I would try to save this little booklet of songs my dearest secondary school friends made for me, along with their handmade memories cards I got for my teen birthdays.

But my number one priority would be my NOTEBOOKS, the most important being my Book Of Ideas. That, I doubt I could ever recreate. All my fantasy novel ideas are in there, over a decades' worth plus plans, maps, symbols, character pans, impromptu insp, doodles, further research fantasy references, and weird fantasy words and names for later use. After that, I would save the rest of my novel planning notebooks and my book of lyrics.

I'm fairly certain I would have passed out from smoke inhalation by this time.

6. Is there one book on your shelf that brings back fond memories?

YES! Confessions Of A Backup Dancer by "Anonymous, as told to by Tucker Shaw". It makes me cringe and 'aww' at the same time.

My friend says that everybody has to have a book that they know (in it's own way) is kinda silly, but because it has nostalgic value and lets you read without the whole upturned nose, fancy prose thing, you have to love it. For her, that book is The It Girl. For me, it's this book.
7. Find a book that has inspired you the most.

I'd have to say Magician by Raymond E. Feist - it's one fo the reasons its my favourite. I read it, I embark on an emotional rollercoaster, but I always end up feeling elated and inspired.

Another book acquired this status very recently; A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin.

8. Do you have any autographed books?

About a year ago, I could only say one. This year I went to loads of fantasy Events in August and got looads of fantasy books signed!! (Nine is a lot for me, okay? =P )

My Ben Aaronovitch book isn't here, my sister's borrowing it... now that I've remembered that, I want it back at once (e_e)

9. Find the book that you've owned the longest?

... woooooooow, I actually had to get up for this one. I think it would have to be The Orchard Book of Fairy Tales. Man I love that book. Haven't read it in years, but still.

10. Is there a book by an author you never imagined you'd read and enjoy?

Hell yeah, The Hunger Games. The synopsis sounded ridiculous to me. I was like, 'I'm sure there are other ways to ensure the obedience of the population without having to spend billions of apocalyptic-america-n dollars to host a game where children die. It's not even sadistic, it's just dumb.' But Suzanne Collins really made me believe in her story. Kudos to thee.

Although every blog I've stumbled across has done this tag (it's that awesome,) I tag anybody who wants to take part in it. Peacee.

Ashana Lian .

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Liebster Award

Thank you to Carla from The Carla Diaries for this award!

Liebster Award Rules:

- Link back and thanks the person who nominated you
- Post 11 facts about yourself.
- Answer the 11 questions set by your nominator
- Nominate 11 other bloggers with under 200 followers (you can't nominate the person who nominated you)
- Set 11 questions for your nominees to answer
- Let your nominees know you've nominated them.

My 11 Facts:

1. In my 'Fiction' folder, I have 75 distinct original and fanfiction stories I wrote between 13 and 17 years old. Most are unfinished, and there are only about 10 that I'm not ashamed to share.

2. I care a lot about my health, but despite paying a lot of attention to my diet, exercise is the bane of my life. GAH.

3. I would HATE to be famous.

4. I have too many Legend Of Zelda, Disney princess, and Sailor Moon images on my computer. My Fantasy images folder is almost too big to navigate through.

5. Depression sucks. Either that, or I suck at life in general.

6. I aim to be fluent in Japanese and French by 2020. It. Has. To. Happen.

7. If ever I should get a compliment, it is always about a) my eyebrows (I didn't even KNOW that people plucked them! Like whaaat?!) b) my legs (urgh, please.) c) my dreadlocks (... I don't take care of my locks like I should, so uhhh I don't get this one.)

8. Days when the sun shines make me SOOO HAPPY. If the sun is out and I'm stuck inside, I get into such a bad mood.

9. My university degree, which in a perfect world I would have finished this year, will now take me a further THREE YEARS to complete. Woe life.

10. I love blogs, but I dislike almost every other type of social media. I also don't have a smartphone because I feel like it's asking for trouble.

11. I'm always very flattered when people support this blog, so once again thanks to EVERYBODY for reading. It really means so much.

My 11 Answers:

1. Why did you start blogging?
When I started BLOGGING blogging, it was because my friend started one and I thought it would be a good idea to keep track of my writing progress. When I started this blog, it was because I'd become serious about expanding my knowledge of the fantasy genre and wanted to express my love of it.

2. What is your favorite book ever?
It's Magician by Raymond E. Feist (which ironically Carla, who nominated me for this review, hated!)

3. Which book character do you wish was your husband?
No idea. I don't make a habit of getting attached to guys who don't exist (at school, the whole Team Edward, Team Jacob thing was weird to me. I was like, 'But they're not real'.) If I had to pick one, I'd pick a character that a friend of my mine wrote in her book-to-be, but as it's not published yet, it technically doesn't count. =P

4. Who is your favorite book character ever?
I cannot even begin to attempt to answer this question I mean just why why would you ask this that is cruel.

5. Which city do you dream to visit?
I don't know. I stopped dreaming about travelling when my OCD and irrational fears got out of hand. Tokyo, I guess.

6. Are you a fast or slow reader?
When my aim was to read one book a week, I met the target with days to spare. But when I don't feel like reading, it takes me ages to get through anything. So, medium, I guess? It depends.

7. If you had to go on a desert island and could only bring only three items with you, which one would you choose?
Infinity-iPod, being an ipod with infinite battery and infinite songs. Then of course headphones to listen to them, and... can my Mum be an item?

8. High heels or flat?
Flat. I can't be bothered.

9. What is your current favorite item in your wardrobe?
Haha, my dressing gown! I could just lounge in it all day, eat junk and deny the need to get a life.

10. What is your favorite animated sitcom?
AVATAR: THE LEGEND OF AANG! (And after that, The Simpsons.)

11. What are your hobbies?
Drawing, songwriting, and singing are all hobbies of mine. I love the arts, but not theatre because every experience I've had has been self-esteem destroying, and I gave up Dance about three-years ago for a similar reason.

My Nominations:

I can't keep track of who's done this and who hasn't, so instead this is an open nominations to anyone who would like to do the Liebster Tag. Please paste the link of your post in the comments! Have fun.

My Questions:

1. Who is(/are) your favourite author(s)?
2. What is your most recent fandom (something you're obsessed with)?
3. What's your favourite time of the year?
4. Is there something particular you need to have or do while reading?
5. Not to depress you, but how many books on your TBR?
6. What advice would you give to someone new to (book) blogging?
7. Who is your favourite antagonist/villian?
8. What is your favourite ship/pairing, or if you're not into romance, your general favourite protagonist?
9. What is a talent that you're proud of?
10. What's your dream job?
11. And finally, what the kindest thing that's ever been said to you? c:

Thanks for reading. Happy Tuesday! Peaceee.

Ashana Lian .

Monday, 6 October 2014

Autumn Tag

I wasn't quite 'tagged' by Alma from Journey Through Fiction, more like, I joined in an open tag: Alma wrote, "If you are reading this and would like to take part, consider yourself tagged :D", so I am taking her up on the offer.

1. Ok we're talking coffee's - What's your favourite seasonal drink from Starbucks/Costa/Cafe Nero etc?
It's weird how this question came up, because lately my insomnia's gotten worse again... I've had to have a cup of instant coffee first thing to get me through the day. =/ Usually I don't drink it, so if I'm out and it's autumn, it's hot chocolate. Without fail. As a matter of fact, I had one this evening.

2. Accessories - What do you opt for, scarf, boots, gloves?
In autumn, I never bother with gloves. I need my fingertips free for my beloved 5th gen iPod. And scarves get annoying. But I always wear my knitted hat and ankle boots, if I have a pair at the time. I usually wear them out. c:

3. Music - What's your favourite music to listen to during Autumn?
Music is not seasonal for me. I listen to whatever I feel like listening to at that exact moment, and that's usually influenced by the story I'm writing at the time. Last week I listened to Dance and Electronica. The week before that, I'd ONLY play Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. This week I've had 'My Sharona' on repeat, and I've been listening to rock and alt rock. So... yeah.

4. Perfume - What's your favourite scent for this time of year?
I don't wear perfume, (but I want to - and) if I did I would wear warm cinnamon-y smells. =]

5. Candles - What scents will you be burning this season?
Same type as ^.

6. What do you love most about Autumn?
I feel like Autumn is the most peaceful season. I like being peaceful myself with a book and a lovely cup of tea. And taking long walks.

7. Favourite make-up look?
I like to go natural. (I'm lazy.)

8. What are you looking forward to most in Autumn?
Right, first thing's first - in Alma's post she mentioned all of this delicious food. I NEED TO LEARN HOW TO BAKE SOMETHING TASTY THIS AUTUMN! Also a lot of awesome books will be released about this time. (Diary Of A Wimpy Kid always makes me laugh so I can't wait for The Long Haul.)

Also, fingers croooossed, my novel will finally be finished...??!! I have been looking forward to THAT for about forever.

I tag Carla from The Carla Diaries, but anybody else is welcome to take part as well!

Ashana Lian .

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Author's Notes on [King Of Dreams]

Inspired by this image;
The Measure Of All Things, by Anndr Kusuriuri
Oh boy, this was HARDDD. And it turned out to be a long one too - 2000 words when I first checked, then I reached my 3000 word limit. Before I knew it I was pushing 5000 words. I really couldn't figure out any logical way to cut it down while keeping the story intact. After three edits, that became 6000 words. Oh well.
This Friday, I was meant to post a different piece called Recover The Fairy but the ending wouldn't sit right. I didn't want to share until I'd figured it out so I jumped on the inspiration I had for this picture, called The Measure Of All Things. I weaved it together with inspiration from two other images and viola. A story.
I kinda ran away with the drow idea. I understand that 'drow' and 'dungeons and dragons' go hand in hand but that's about it. I wanted to explore the idea of whether a dark elf would be evil by nature or nature, or if they had to be 'evil' at all, but I didn't really have the time in this story. I'm not sure if I liked my final concept of this fantasy creature or not.
One thing that bugged me hugely was how much the lexis kept changing. I could hear his voice but I just couldn't get the narrative quite right. One minute it's archaic and the next, colloquial. I can't, I just CAN'T stop cringing at my own work. I thought I'd figured out my style but I guess not.
URGH I HATE SHORT STORIES! There's so much I want to explain but I just can't. Like how the town behind the castle is safe but the Andles army have the castle "surrounded". About the Seer people. About precisely how he leaves the castle at the end. Drawing the line was really difficult.
The queen was SUCH a weird character. I couldn't really "see" her.

Image: Unconquered Castle by Anndr Kusuriuri

This plot came to me in a snapshot, which is unusual for me for short stories. I knew the beginning, middle and end at once, but then I had to write it and make it logical. But then the story twisted and turned in ways I'm not sure I liked.
For example, I didn't actually want the king to die, I DON'T KNOW why my mind puked that up. If it was premeditated, it makes Asher creepy and just really vengeful; but killing the king in a fit of rage would take away the collectedness of Asher's character. But for some reason, leaving the king alive and/or unharmed at the end of the story didn't feel right to me once I'd figured out the nature of his betrayal. I didn't believe that Asher would leave without being like "Nyyyahhh."
Writing the drow wasn't as fun as I expected her to be. Once I'd figured out her motives, she stopped being mysterious and started being boring.
Boy. He was my favourite character! It would've been cool if he lived but not killing him off ould have been weird for the purposes of the story.
The secret corridor was so dumb, but the thought of removing it from the story actually made my head hurt.

Drow Portrait by Carrie Best

Phew. That was a toughie. Well, until next time. Hey, NaNoWriMo in a month.

Ashana Lian .

Friday, 3 October 2014

Fiction Friday: King Of Dreams

Inspired by this image; The Measure Of All Things, by Anndr Kusuriuri

They call me the King of Dreams but that does not make it so. They have no right to call me anything; they know nothing about my power, about the sheer extent of it.
       The real King, the King of Buillaird, came to see me in my chamber as he does every so often. He’d stand over my shoulder and watch me paint, and I would slow down on purpose to spite him. Art is the language of the divine. Such a thing is an art, it cannot and should not be rushed. Especially when what I paint changes the course of the future.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Artwork: Anndr Kusuriuri's Fantasy Deviations

Deviantart is a great place to find fantasy art. It's such a broad community of both professional and novice artists, painters, doodlers and illustrators that I know every time I visit I'll discover something that fills me with awe. It's also great that all over the world, people come together for the love of art.

Today I picked the artist Anndr Kusuriuri. A lot of the fantasy landscapes are wide and sweeping settings that exaggerate the multitude of colours something can have - for example, the clouds in Unconquered Castle aren't just white - they're white and purple and yellow as well. I felt like this creates the effect of the entire picture hitting you at once, and you feel that sense of wonder, then you have to stop and take in all the little details. I adore the paintings from this artist.



To find out more, visit anndr's deviantart.

Ashana Lian .

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