Regal Hearts Book Tour: Interview With Livy!

Good morning, everyone! Today I have a wonderful surprise-- I'm participating in the Regal Hearts book tour to promote this new mini-series! Now, usually don't do interviews, but I've read the first two episodes and absolutely loved it. It's really good. Here to join us on the blog today is Livy, the creator of the mini-series as well as the founder of Crown of Beauty Magazine, to give a bit more insight about the first ten episodes of the season.

L: Regal Hearts begins with the dramatic birth of our main characters - royal daughters who get whisked away in the middle of the night, just after the Queen of Bella Adar (their Mother) is murdered. The girls are then placed in the care of the URIA who finds secure homes for each of them. Fast forward sixteen-years, and each sister (who all live radically different lives from one another) discover secrets from their past, and embark on a roller-coaster ride of adventure and craziness in search of their true identity. 
L: The character I relate to the most is definitely Emma! She's much more introverted than I am, but I absolutely relate with her desire to lock herself up in her room, clam up at social situations, and stumble awkwardly through life. It's been really fun hearing reactions from the readers, discovering that Emma is a favorite character of others as well. Even though Emma is somewhat shy and reserved, she has very strong opinions about the things going on around her. The story which breaks out in her life is a little bit insane, but Emma would never imagine herself as a lead or a heroine. I think she's just so incredibly normal that most everyone can see a little bit of themselves in her.

Emma is one of my favorite characters, too-- she reads a whole ton and just watches the busy world around her.
L: Something that each of the sisters have in common, is their search for true identity. I'm so fascinated by the idea that they grew up their entire lives, sixteen years of thinking a certain thing about themselves and their world, when suddenly something crashes in and challenges everything they've ever known. All at once, their comfort zones and secure anchors are shattered. That intense confrontation between their old and new identity means that they now have a choice to make: are they going to continue to be the old person they always thought they were, or step out into the unknown and be the person that God is calling them to become?

In the first two episodes, we're introduced to three different sisters, each living drastically different lifestyles: one is in Europe, another is a famous Hollywood actress, and the last is an Amish girl living her life contently. Pictured above would be an interpretation of Aurora, the actress, donning a pair of shades.

L: I love playing around with this idea in a fictional sense, because in some small way, we are all dealing with this in our lives. There's a continuous struggle between the person we used to be, and the person God is calling us to become. We see this in the Bible over and over again! God called Gideon, Abraham, Sarah, Esther, and so many others to abandon everything they used to know about themselves, and step into their new identity. Just look at Saul to Paul! In Christ we are a new creation, and the old has passed away...but we have to choose to let go of the past. Like a caterpillar, we all need to go through the process of enduring the painful and uncomfortable cocoon before breaking out into the butterfly God wants us to be. And that's what each of these characters experience. The process of metamorphosis.     
L: The villain in this story can easily be labeled as the enemy of our souls. In the same way that Raymond attempts to steal, kill and destroy the Bella Adarian throne - the devil is trying to do the same thing with us. The devil is trying to do the same thing with us. He uses fear, intimidation, and lies to keep us as far away as possible from our royal identity in Christ. But in the same way that the girls are given an opportunity to reclaim their royal heritage: so are we. If we choose to embrace and believe what God says about us, we don't have to give the enemy any room to keep stealing from us.

There's a bunch of underlying motifs and symbolism lying around...
L: There are a total of 10 episodes in Season 1, and Season 2 is already in the works! Season 1 is all about introducing the characters, drawing you into their stories, and confronting them with important decisions to make...but Season 2 is where things get really intense, as you begin to see the results of some decisions that are being made. And trust me, it's powerful, crazy exciting stuff! So anyway, my hope is that after Season 1, readers will be super stoked and expectant for Season 2, because the story isn't finished yet. I believe that God is going to use this story to speak to hearts about a variety of things, but as I mentioned earlier, I really hope that everyone will be encouraged to fully embrace the person that God has called them to be. My prayer is that fear is shattered and we all step out in boldness into the new adventures God has for us. That we're able to let go of the past, abandon wrong ideas and patterns of thinking about ourselves and our lives, and make some HUGE waves for God's glory and His Kingdom!

Eeep, thank you so much Livy for this wonderful opportunity! Are you interested in reading the series? Out of the three characters listed so far (although I didn't list their names), which one sounds the most like you? Be sure to read the first episode and catch the second episode, out this Friday! That's in three days! 

How To Let Go of Regretted, Embarrassing Things

"There's only us, there's only this. Forget, regret, or life is yours to miss." –“Finale B,” Rent

Regret. Out of the cumulation of high school semesters, this is the one held with the most of it. Opportunities standing in front of life squabbled away like injured chickens, and when I arrived at the end of the corner, the chances of grasping cinched shut. My position squandered the floor with full force as life slammed fifty bags of past embarrassment slammed me further into the ground.

I turn red whenever I "gracefully" ascend to the ground or sometimes accidentally say something without thinking. We have the capacity to laugh it off because we are human, not androids (although someone like Iko would be cool), and that's a part of life. Combine embarrassment with regret, however, and something lethal is born.

How do we deal with past regret or embarrassments we simply just can't get over?

I think the first step is to remember while we attempt our best to control everything that goes on in life, it doesn't always follow accordingly to our plan. We can control what many things in life. We can choose what we eat, drink, choose to hang out or visit, the little things. There are the events we wish to have control over: having a consistent creative outburst with a gusto rivaling Mozart’s is a great example for writers who simply are waiting for their muse to come back from vacationing in the tropics.

The world doesn't dictate life in our favor every day. We are all flawed human beans and it's been included since the day we embarked on this adventure called life. Something awry may go wrong and leave one in an undesired position. One person may have said something unretractable in the heat of an argument. Another person could have an embarrassing photo on Instagram, forgot about it, and now can't delete it because they forgot their old login.

It seems like the worst because this horrendous, ghastly thing pops up out of nowhere. On the exterior, you appear calm, with the only sign of slight distaste visible for a few seconds. Within the interior, your arms reach outstretched and multiple small versions frantically scatter across your brain, screaming, "Ahh!"

Reevaluation is important. Thinking with a clear mind is imperative-- but first pacify the flailing! Drink tea or coffee! Physically run around and flail. Dance dorkily around to super cheesy pop songs, just dance to whatever works best. The fast-paced movement will tire you. Sleep on the problem, and don't spend time before bed dwelling on it.

Talk it out!

Once your mind is clear, think: how bad is the situation, really? A huge reason we regret embarrassing things is because they poor of representation of who we are at the time of the incident. It may seem like the end of the world, but it's not... because the end of the world is the white border of the map you have. The paper was bound to run out of room soon. If you're still panicking, talk it out with friends. It's better to vent it out than keep it all in, anyways.

Tell yourself people change--and hopefully, for the better! One of the people I chatted heavily about a situation was Christina, and she said something wise while watching me gallop around in a frenzy storm was,

"I think most people understand that humans grow and change... like they do anywhere else."

I applaud her for this, because it's something that slapped hard in the tunnel-vision situation. Tunnel vision can be the scourge because in that moment, we are focused on ourselves and forget everything else around us. We need to step back and look, friends.

A small mishap that you're embarrassed of happened, and so it happened. Personally, I imagine life like a scale with good and bad on each side-- there's still plenty of changes for filling up the scales with good. The average person in the world lives up to seventy years! Small mistakes, mishaps, embarrassments, regrets-- they happen all the time, but what about the huge portion of the time remaining? More than likely it's been spent doing positive things. We need to remember the positives.

Forgetting seems easier, but if you wish to forget, step forward with the notion you are going to do better. It does take time and effort, but if you persevere and try, you're making progress.

Be willing to leave it in the past, resolved, and then-- let go. I've come to realize over the course of spring break that dwelling on negatives of past events is a corrosive that deteriorates someone meaning to move forward and progress in life. There's so much out there that we need to see, and we shouldn’t have this one moment define the entire being of your existence. Over a million things make up the sum of a person-- strive to make things better. The good that you do now, the changes you make, it's down to you. It's all up to you.

Look up, because as hopefully and dream-like as it may sound, life on the outside in cool.

The lyrics in Finale B are much more impactful, now that I look at it closer. There are two things but if one lurks in the past, the opportunities of life will bequest you. We need to be at peace with our past, accept it, and look back. As Oakstar said to me,

"I'd want to own up... and be proud of everything I've done that's brought me to this moment."

Are there things that you've regret in the past? Are there even more steps than the generalized in the post, or do you have another process you use? How do you personally let go? 

Stranger Things Happened This Past Month

 Art central, let's go! Most of my friends are artistic in drawing or painting.

High school pulled me back into the depths of the busy life, and luckily Spring Break has given a reprieve before the last fourth of the school year comes into play. Internally, you're all thinking, "Abby, where were your 'scheduled posts?'"

*cue cricket noises*

In short, the posts didn't schedule properly and so none of them posted the times I wanted them to. Enough excuses: let's talk about the pancake and doughnut-filled month I had!

// Blog Designing? My return to the blogging world would have been sooner, but I decided to help a "new" blogger converting from Wordpress by designing her blog. It's still a work in progress, but isn't her header pretty? I ended up lettering a lot of her decorative text. Go say hello to Allie Taylor, everyone!

 I lose interest when it comes to painting, thus this piece being dubbed, "The Collection of Miscellaneous Thoughts (With a Five-Year-Old Aesthetic)"

One of my friends was teaching how to draw out something using this circle, but what it was, I can't remember exactly.

// I am overcoming my fear of horror films (slowly). Scary movies became a fear of mine at the age of ten. I can't go into specific details, but the generalization is this: my eldest cousins decided to put on an incredibly intense and mature movie, driving ten-year-old me to play Lego Harry Potter on my pink Nintendo DS in the kitchen an hour past my bed time. For future reference, focusing on moving around the Dursley household to forget the terrifying images from hours before is a very healthy way to cope with the aftershocks.

We have the essentials... we should have gotten a bigger bag of Swedish fish. We need more protein to deal with our anxiousness and jumpiness at midnight!

Several weeks ago, my small friend group planned to binge watch all eight episodes of Stranger Things in one night. Swedish fish and chocolate pudding became energy for our venture. The show was grounded enough with fleshed characters to make its storyline less intimidating. The first episode played. Poor Will Byers disappeared eight minutes in. This plan backfired to a small degree because when my friend's three other siblings were all streaming Netflix at eleven o'clock (what a coincidence) and it kept buffering at the ending of Episode One to where the wifi in the house was turned off. "Want to watch Breaking Dawn: Part Two?" asked my friend's eight-year-old brother when he exited Netflix. Another friend was up for it. I shook my head, turned towards the bedroom, and collapsed asleep.

What's more terrifying than a film adaptation of majority-voted Mary Sues? Waking up to the alarm clock going off at five in the morning and the Breaking Dawn screen selection lighting the wall on a Saturday.

I'm sorry I keep posting food items! They're just really good, though...

// Declamation for Spanish Poetry. I received first at the regional level, yay! Sadly, I didn't get anything at the state level, but there's always next year.

I sketch rather lightly, but it's a portrait of one of my characters when she dresses in everyday attire. The hat came before the "Wot in Tarnation" meme popularity. 

// One small detail change causes ripple effects-- in a novel! I'm still editing and rewriting Hidden in the Shadows for critique in the fourth quarter and to prep from the second novel of the series, tentatively scheduled for writing over the summer. The stakes will be higher with the conflict. All I can say is this: the most docile character of the quartet will slowly destroy the team. This is going to be a ton of fun. A formal post about it will go up in July, if it becomes my Camp NaNoWriMo novel.
Several weeks ago, I reexamined the series fixed plot points and realized Sam needed to become aware of one aspect that in previous drafts he was oblivious of to help the growth of his relationships. His growth comes into play to pacify the silent destruction one of the four makes.

The internal groans cannot be loud enough already, but again, if one would like to protect their novel, it's essential to take care of your characters. In short, certain dialogue will be scrapped and replaced. His featured chapters will be edited and scattered in with a more cohesive plot line, and the obscurity of his backstory will be clarified. I am ready to put my characters in a world of turmoil-- oh, wait, right. Authors shouldn't take joy in destroying their characters, but a tiny fraction of them do to allow their growth.

Now that I think about it, the sketches kind of also look like the Wolverine. Hmm...

A huge aspect of my time is also spent drawing characters. Guy hair is hard to draw; I doodled some perfectly in between class periods, but when it comes down to the actual drawing? Both male protagonists look like Mr. Darcy.

// I'm super pumped for Beauty and the Beast and Anne: the Series! They're some of the strong independent fictional heroes I looked up to as a kid, and my friends have been fangirling over Gaston's high tenor voice.

These books are ALL. SO. GOOD.

// Speaking of writing, I applied for writing scholarships for summer camps and now I've been waiting anxiously for the results. It's been forever since an opportunity to the writing craft became available. Old clubs shut down, budgets got cut, and the only way to receive actual critique is to sign up for the adult clubs which require a hefty membership fee.

WAITING FOR THIS IS TWICE AS HARD AS WAITING FOR CAST LISTS. This is something I really want. I want to learn and improve while meeting like-minded people all at the same time. The best way to pacify the wait is studying for AP Calculus and reading novels.

The room as we watched Woman in Gold-- it's a good movie involving art and history, based on a true story!

What posts are coming up? A rant about college, an interview, and far off into the depths of April, a post about party planning involving mascara, five dollars, and hugging, but that's a story for another time. I'm also really excited for my school year wrap up post(s) because, if it's anything like the previous two years, I have some good content to share!

Have you seen Stranger Things? Would you like to enter a foreign language declamation contest? What's been going on in your life?