Saturday, August 31, 2013

Rambo's Rambling - Cat Care

   Class! Today Professor Rambo will be teaching you all on the proper way to feed cats. This information is straight from a cat, so you can know it is right.
   1. Cats need four full meals a day. I prefer round meals over square meals, because my stomach is round. And when I say full meal, I mean a meal that makes my stomach full. So give your cats lots of food.
   2. Must you pet cats so much? I mean, we get bombarded by people as soon as we're spotted! The madness, the germs, the tickling! It's horrible. Basically, all I want is for you guys, and girls especially girls, to leave us alone. Maybe a stroke or two a day, but that's it. Give us food and leave us alone.
   3. The kittens are not superior to us. Perhaps this kind of contradicts the last point, but if you're going to snuggle the kittens, snuggle us too. We adult cats don't want to feel inferior to the little 'uns. So treat us all equal (and hopefully nicely).
   4. Let us sleep! When we are sleeping, don't wake us up. Unless its lunch time. Then please wake me up, but leave everyone else to sleep.
There you go. A four point list to taking care of me. I hope you learned a lot, there will be a test. Though, if you give me a free meal, I'll go easy on you. Hehe.
Note: this report was not sanctioned or approved by the CCA (Cat Caretakers of America).

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Case of the Missing Girl - Part 3

   Click for Part 1 and Part 2.
The Case of the Missing Girl
By Jesse Rice
Chapter Three
   I immediately stepped into action as Detective Rambo, Private Eyes. I jumped off the feed bags and glanced around. I stepped up to Jesse, the nearest human.
   "Where is the youngest girl?" I asked.
   Jesse leaned down. "How are you, Rambo? You doing okay?" He picked me up and put me on his shoulder. I could talk to him much easier up here.
   "Where is the girl?" I asked again.
   "Hush," Jesse hissed. "That's loud." He pulled me off his shoulder, much to my dislike, and put me on the ground.
   "Stay out of the way," Jesse ordered. I hissed at him. Jesse bopped me on the nose.
   "Stop hissing." He walked away.
   I was no closer to solving this case than I had been five minutes ago. Time to start sleuthing. I dashed as fast as I could to the house, partly because I wanted to solve this case and partly because Caesar was after me. I crawled into the cement blocks serving as a porch step and waited until Caesar left.
   "Come out, you little nuisance," Caesar roared.
   I wrinkled my nose. "You have bad breath."
   "What are you doing?" Caesar asked. "Spying on the humans?"
   "The littlest girl has disappeared," I replied. "I have decided to find her."
   Caesar barked with laughter and I ran away. I hurried over to the chicken coop and immediately saw a clue. It was the girl's pink hair bow. Detective Rambo turned to Agent 525 Rambo, spy extraordinaire.
   I crawled through the fence and looked at the chicken pecking at the hair bow.
   "Scram, chicken," I growled.
   The chicken looked at me and I knew I was dead meat: the chicken was Fry the Rooster.
Come back next time for Part 4: Chicken!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

'May the Odds Be Every in Your Favor'

   The Hunger Games. Probably one of the most controversial book series ever (other than Harry Potter). Some people think it's brilliant. Some people think its disgusting. I've decided to throw my pin into the ring of opinions.
   Heart-wrenching, gut-twisting, stomach-churning, disgusting, crazy Hunger Games. I've read the series twice. Both times I was shocked, disturbed, and drawn into this world of tributes, murder, and revolution. Why does it resonate with me? What could I possibly relate to in a world where everyone tries to kill one another?
   For one, there's Peeta. Good old Peeta, the only character that actually tries to think about others (to start). He's the character that wants to do right because it might be the right thing to do, not just because it'll save his own life. Yes, he's flawed (as is everyone), but
that's part of the beauty of it.
   Now, do I enjoy the series? Yes, and I dislike it. It is horrible, it makes me angry: and that's the point! The Hunger Games is much like The Grapes of Wrath or The Jungle. It's a series about social injustice (even if that society doesn't exist). It's a book that present tough questions and gives answer to them, not proclaiming that those answers are right. It's a series that tugs at your heartstrings as you follow after characters who live, die, fight, and bleed for those they love. Is that always right? No. But there definitely are qualities we can take from these characters that are biblically based and should be applied to our own lives.
   One more thing. When Katniss first goes into the games, she takes the place of someone else (no spoilers, don't worry). She puts her life in the place of another's, most likely going to lose it in the process. She's willing to lay down her life for her friend... Sound familiar?

Note: I don't own the rights to the picture.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Why I wrote The Missing Kitten

  Some of you may have wondered 'Why did you write The Missing Kitten?' This is a pretty simple question to answer.
   Writing books about cats all started on my little sister's 8th birthday. Now, my siblings are pretty talented with crafts. For birthdays they generally make crafts as presents. I wanted to do something of the sort, but I'm not patient enough or talented enough to make something worthy of gifting. Instead, I looked to what I was good at: writing.
   That's where I came up with the idea to write a story about my sister's cats. She loves cats and has many of them, so I came up with The Case of the Missing Girl.
   She liked the story. Then, being the crazy 12-year-old I was at the time, I decided I could do this for all my siblings. And not with short stories either, but with full length books! I could write a book for two siblings every Christmas. But, the best part, would be that I would write a series, so each year (if it was her year to get a book) my sister would get the next story in the kitten series.
   The Missing Kitten is the first book in the Kitten Mysteries series. I wrote it for my sister, because she loves cats. And that is why it is dedicated to her.
(Note about the schedule: School has started again, so I'm probably going to have to alter it a bit. Check out the new schedule here.)

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Case of the Missing Girl - Part 2

   Here's part two of The Case of the Missing Girl, the story which brought about the Kitten Mysteries series. The first part can be found here.
The Case of the Missing Girl
By Jesse Rice
Chapter Two
The Calf Monsters
   I crawled down, straight down, from the hay bales surrounding the calf pen. I wriggled under the gate and into the pen. I looked around. All the calves were looking at Butch, high up on the hay bales.
   "Hey, everybody!" Butch shouted. "Come 'n' get me!"
   I walked slowly up behind the biggest calf. Hopping Harry stared up at Butch. I glanced over at Seabert who was ready to pounce on Kratos, another big calf. I smiled smugly and leapt. Harry bawled as loud as he could as I yanked on his tail. He spun around and I flew into the hay bales. I fell into a small cave that the calves had eaten into the hay bales, then jumped out of it and dashed for the gate.
   A calf shoved his head in my way, but I jumped onto his head and leapt over the gate. I landed on the feed bags, and Butch jumped down beside me.
   "Was it totally awesome?" he asked.
   I nodded, breathless. Seabert crawled out of the milk feeder and grinned.
   "I'm wet," he complained, soaked with milk, "but I taste good!" He jumped onto the feed bags and rubbed his head against my side.
   "Thank you very much for your help, Deputy," I said, returning to my western voice.
   "Don't mention it, Partner," Seabert meowed, walking back toward the hay barn where his mother was waiting. I sighed and noticed that all the humans had come out to feed calves. All of them except the little girl. Where was she? I decided it was up to Sheriff Rambo to find out.
Come back next Monday for Part Three: Gone!

Friday, August 16, 2013


   Some of you may be wondering why I haven't been posting as much lately. Well, the answer to that is this: I got a schedule! I decided instead of a post a day (which is too much writing for me, and too much reading for you readers) I decided to go three posts (maybe four) a week.
   Now, why haven't I kept to the schedule? Well... I could claim I've been writing so much in Trapped that I haven't had time to blog, but that wouldn't be quite the truth. The truth is I was working on other stuff (more on that a bit later) and I have schoolwork now. That's right, it's that time of year again. The time of year kids shriek and adults 'Amen!'. And the time of year I have to start calculus. Blech.
   Anyway, the other reason I haven't kept to the schedule is this: I was working on getting The Missing Kitten to kindle format. And now it is! So those of you who have been hesitating, now you can get The Missing Kitten for only $2.99! Hurrah!
   That's all for today (and probably this week). Come back on Monday where I'll hopefully be back on schedule! Have a good day!

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Case of the Missing Girl - Part 1

   How did the Kitten Mysteries come to be? That's a very good question, and one which I'll answer more in depth on Wednesday (that is the day for Kitten Mysteries related stuff. This is just the day for fiction!)
   Here's the original story that gave birth to the Kitten Mysteries series, The Missing Kitten in particular.

     The Case of the Missing Girl
By Jesse Rice
Chapter One
The Lion and the Panther
   I, the black panther, crept up on the giant lion. It was attacking a poor, helpless female tiger. I crept up behind the monster and leapt at him. I got him! I pulled him away from the tiger and swatted him in the face.
   "Ow!" Butch, the lion, yelped. "Rambo! Stop hitting me!" I stared at my brother. He was no longer a giant lion, now he was only a yellow kitten.
   "Oh, sorry," I replied. "I thought you were attacking a female tiger. No offense, Spot." Spot purred and licked her paw. Butch glared at me.
   "Stop letting your imagination run wild!" Butch growled, "Or I will be a giant lion and attack the puny, little panther!" He growled and scampered away. I sighed and turned back to Spot. She was still licking her front-right paw.
   I rolled my eyes and whispered: "Vanity." I walked away from the front of the cheese plant and walked into the parlor. I looked up at the bars where the cows were milked and saw Caesar growling at Barkley. I decided to put myself into action as Sheriff Rambo, Protector of ----- Farm. I ran up the hill and hissed at Caesar.
   Now look here, good sirs," I said in a western voice, "why don't you just come over here and talk about your argument for a moment."
   "Get out!" Caesar barked.
   "Careful, kid," Barkley growled at me, "This character's shady." Immediately I knew what to do. I jumped up into the feed trough and leapt down on Caesar.
   "Yee-haw, cowboy!" I meowed. "Yee-haw!" Caesar leapt into the air and I twisted away from his biting jaws.
   "Missed me, missed me!" I taunted.
   "I said get out!" Caesar roared and I flew off his back. I ran out the door and into the hay barn.
   "Hi, Rambo," Seabert squeaked. I looked at him, playfully stern.
   "That's 'Sheriff Rambo' to you," I giggled. Seabert grew serious.
   "Can I be depty?" he asked.
   "You mean 'deputy'?" I asked. He nodded.
   "Can I?" he asked again.
   "You may," I replied. "Let's go check out the calves!" Seabert and I ran up to the hay bales and climbed onto them. We looked down at the gigantic calves.
   "This is agent 525 Rambo," I whispered.
   "This is agent 697 Seabert," Seabert whispered.
   "This is agent 220 Butch," Butch whispered, appearing from nowhere. "I love playing spy." We crept up on the evil-calf monsters.
Come back next Monday to read the second of the five part series The Case of the Missing Girl.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Interview with Jessica Verve

Today I have the pleasure of giving you an interview with Jessica Verve, a brilliant writer from what I've read of her work.

Jesse (J): Hello Jessica Verve, welcome to The Writing Pen. It's a pleasure to have you here.

Jessica Verve (V): Hey Jesse! It's awesome to be a part of your blog.

J: Thank you! Now, first question: why did you start writing?

V: It's hard to say exactly. At first I wanted to fill the shelves of the bookstore with all of the stories that I loved to read but couldn't find. Shortly after that I began to write as a way to explore people and situations in life.

J: Are your stories more character-based, then?

V: Yes. In fact, some times I'll write 1/2 of the story and realize I spent so much time exploring the character that I have to go back and write in a stronger plot arc. My writing friends are constantly telling me to just write the plot arc first and fill in details later, however the first ideas that usually come to me are the characters and their surroundings. Recently I've been finding a nice balance between the two, thankfully.

J: Yes, balance is important. What is your favorite genre to write? Since you're a more character driven author, does that mean it is easier for you to write in different genres?

V: My favorite stories to write are mysteries. Over the years I've tested out a lot of the genres, mainly Lit Fic, Young Adult, and Sci Fi. I'd love to try Thrillers and Ruritanian once I finish my current Sci Fi novel.
What makes an interesting story to me are the characters. Genre is sort of like a setting or circumstance. It's sort of fun to think "Okay, this sort of person would usually be depicted in this sort of genre, but what if I mixed things up and put them some place no one would expect them to be?" Perhaps that's just my way of avoiding cliches, but I think it's a fun way to go at a story.

J: Yep it is. I like stories with a good twist. Speaking of stories, what are some of your favorite stories (whether TV, novels, or movies)?

V: I have the weirdest taste in books. Many of my favorites I've gotten from library book sales and are pretty unknown. Looking at my favorites shelf right now, I have Anne of Green Gables, Red Rain by Aubrey Hansen, a ton of Newbery winning authors, and The Wednesday Wars/Okay for Now by Gary D Schmidt (The Wednesday Wars is a total riot and one of the best YA novels I've read). As for visual media, pretty much the only fiction TV show I watch is Doctor Who. Movie titles are eluding me at the moment.
Oh! And I love the Supervillain of the Day series by Katie Daniels. I'm reading my way though those right now.
J: Doctor Who and Supervillain of the Day, I knew I liked you for some reason.
V: *laughs*
J: What authors do you look up to?
V: Gary Schmidt and Patricia Reilly Giff. Ms. Giff writes really fun historical fiction, and she just sort of... knows the characters. Mr. Schmidt I met at an author lecture/book signing earlier this year. I appreciate how much work and thought he puts into each novel. He's not afraid of asking the really tough questions, and he does it through the eyes of a kid.
J: One last question, then we can both get back to our busy lives. Are you published? If so, can you give the title and a brief description of the story? If not, can you give the title and a brief description of your work in progress?
V: Unfortunately, I have not been published. The W.I.P. I'm currently making headway on is a Biothriller (and here I said I haven't tried the genre yet =p) with a working title of The Cloud. It’s about a young man who grew up on a space station and gets trapped on a distant-future Earth. He must find his sense of humanity while battling nomadic groups and mutant animals to reach a safe city before his superiors from space catch him. It's rather rough around the edges at the moment. Now that I have a small break from school I plan on refining the plot and finishing it up.
J: Sounds intriguing. I look forward to the day when one of your books is on my shelf. Jessica, thank you for being on the blog, I hope you have a great day.
V: Thank you so much for interviewing me! It was a pleasure.
Jessica Verve is a writer of many talents, writing in various genres. You can find her on twitter @Jessverve.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Developing Plot

   Plot is the most important part of a story. The story can have good morals, good characters, good special effects, but all that is wasted if there isn't a good plot. Plot is what pulls people into a story (sure, the other stuff helps too, but plot is the main basis of a story and, therefore, the driving point). Without a good plot, the story falls flat.
   The Missing Kitten had a satisfactory plot. I came up with an original idea and molded a story out of it. Unfortunately, it was such a good idea that, it seems, I used it again for the first draft of Trapped. Thankfully, my readers (thanks siblings!) told me so. Back to the drawing board I went.
   The second draft of Trapped had a more original plot. Thankfully, it is finished. However, because of its altered plot, my second draft was very rough. I have characters appearing and disappearing without for seemingly no reason. That is why I'm going to write a third draft, which will (hopefully) be my final draft.
   The good part is that Trapped will hopefully be much better than it was originally or is now. The bad part is that it's going to take some time for me to write that third draft. Which means a longer wait until it can be released.
   Hopefully you can stand the wait. In the meantime, look forward to the Kindle edition of The Missing Kitten coming out as soon as I can get it done. Which means hopefully by the end of August.
   Until then, I hope you are having a great time and keep returning to this blog, or check me out on Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My Siblings

Hi! It's Rambo again. I stole Jesse's laptop. He was playing on his new one, leaving me access to the old one! Did I mention he bought a new computer? Imagine spending money on technology when he should be spending it on buying me treats! He muttered some excuse about his old one freezing up a lot (which is true, it took me six hours just to type this and that's not because I'm a slow typist) and that a new computer would allow him to write books more easily. I offered him to use a stick and the dirt, or a stone tablet and chisel, but he claims he can't upload those files to the internet (he's so picky).
   Anyway, I'm here to tell you about my siblings: Spot and Butch. They're not really my siblings (I feel as if I've said this before...), we were just raised together.
Butch is a nice cat. He's golden with short hair and he's cool. He's close friends with Spot while I'm kind of a loner. Butch spends most of his time with Spot, actually, which can lead him into trouble. Here's why:
Spot is headstrong. She's brindle colored with a golden spot on her forehead, hence her name. She likes to boss people around, which means tell them what to do. Sometimes she gets carried away and ends up in trouble (like when she accidentally sent a kitten to its death, but that's another story). Most of the time she's nice, and if she does mess up she always tries to make up her mistakes.
Me? I'm just crazy. I like to imagine stuff, I like to make up stuff, but I'm loyal and willing to give my life for my friends. Last spring I had trouble with that, (I nearly died!). This fall was worse, but that's another story. In fact, Jesse's in the process of typing it up (since his handwriting is terrible, another reason he needs a computer...). I'll tell him he needs to type faster, because some people are complaining.
Oh! He wants me to mention that the reason he hasn't made many blog posts is because of such typing. I guess that's supposed to make things better, eh?
Well, that's all! Over 'n out!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

"Why I write Series" or "Kitten Mysteries Information"

   Have you ever read a series that made you shiver at how good it was? Not just a single book (though those can be hard to find), but a series as a whole that made you want to tell everyone about it? A series made up of books which themselves told a story, but also told one, long, continuous story?
   I love books like that. I like a book that feels finished, but there is something else coming along. A book that, while it is satisfying, makes me beg for more. Those are the kind of books, TV shows, and movies that I love. And those are the kind of stories that I want to write.
   See, The Missing Kitten isn't a standalone story. No. It could be, I suppose, and it could be consumed as such. But it was never meant to be a single. It is a part of a whole (which is why it says Kitten Mysteries|Book 1). Though, of course, that might cause you to ask some questions: "What are the other books about? What are the other books called? How many are there?" Those are all very good questions and I hope to have some very good answers.
   (Note: All answers are subject to change, but these are my plans for now.)

   Kitten Mysteries|Book 1:
   The Missing Kitten
   Synopsis: Missing In Action! When imaginative Rambo discovers his kitten friend Seabert has vanished, he isn't immediately worried. However, once he starts looking, he finds himself drawn into a plot involving a catnapping and a scheme to destroy the farm. Can Rambo rescue his friend from the forest, or will Seabert be lost forever?

   Kitten Mysteries|Book 2:
   Brief synopsis: When a kitten runs away from the farm, the rest of the cats must band together to save him from a cave-in and the danger that lie beyond.

   Kitten Mysteries|Book 3:
   The Kyge in the Mist
   Brief synopsis: When a kitten falls sick, Musketeer and Seabert band together to find the only cure. Their only problem: the only animal who knew about it is now dead.

   Kitten Mysteries|Book 4:
   The Found Kitten
   Brief Synopsis: After (spoiler) vanishes, Rambo sets out to find her, save her, and learns a dark secret about what happened years before.

   Interested yet? I hope so! Now that I have you angry or curious (or both), all that remains is for me to write the stories! And, to keep those who are angry happy, I've almost completed the second draft of Trapped. No excerpt yet, I'm afraid, but be prepared. Some stuff is going to happen, some stuff is not, but one thing is for sure: the kittens are going to get into a lot of trouble!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Interview with Theodora Ashcraft

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Theodora Ashcraft, author of Of Whispers and Wanderings and Sangre: The Phantom's Lair.

Jesse (J): Hello Theodora! Welcome to The Writing Pen, it's a pleasure to have you here today.

Theodora Ashcraft (T): Thanks, it's a pleasure to be here.

J: When did you first start writing?

T: Around when I was five. Obviously what I wrote wasn't very good back then. I didn't really decide I wanted to be a writer for a living until I was about eleven or twelve.

J: Do you still write the same genre as back then?

T: Oh, definitely not. Back then were random knock-offs of stories I had read and Dragon Tales knock-offs. I tend to stick to fantasy nowadays.

J: So you enjoyed Fan-Fiction? Do you still like it?

T: Yes, to both. I don't write it very often anymore, but I still enjoy a good, well-written Fan-Fiction story now and then.

J: As do I. I hear you recently published a collection of short stories. What inspired you to do that instead of publishing a novel?

T: Well, my mom and several friends had been asking when I was going to self-publish something again. I was just starting college classes, and was going through some other things that sapped me of my energy. I decided that putting a bunch of short stories and poems together would take less energy and be easier than writing a novel to self-publish. A silly reason, I know, but it got me to finish another project at least.

J: What is that collection called?

T: Of Whispers and Wanderings

J: Obviously, as a writer, you aren't content with just finishing one project. Are you working on another story you care to talk about?

T: I'm dabbling with several projects at the moment, but the one that has most of my interest and what little energy I have invested into it is a novel called Tomorrow's Bones.

J: Care to give a short description of it?

T: It might be a secret, or I might just not have it all planned out yet. *smiles* I can tell you, however, that it is a science-fiction mystery, where a group of men and women band together to discover secrets surrounding the death of a millionaire starship owner.

J: Sounds cool! Now, when you write, do you prefer writing with a pen and paper? Or would you rather have a keyboard in front of you?

T: I definitely prefer the keyboard. My hands get tired much too easily when I write by hand. Plus, all of my information and inspirational pictures are saved on my laptop.

J: Sounds a lot like me. Though, I generally type because my handwriting is illegible. *grins* Time for some standard interview questions: Favorite book(s)?

T: Oh, so hard to chose. My top three favorites at the moment are Firmament: Radialloy by J. Grace Pennington, Angel Fall by Coleman Luck, and the Elsewhere Chronicles by Jacqueline West.

J: Favorite author(s)?

T: Now that's an unfair question! I'd have to say my top current three are Aubrey Hansen, J. Grace Pennington, and Wayne Thomas Batson.

J: It's my job to ask unfair questions. If only I could get paid for it...

T: *laughs* True!

J: Favorite genre to write?

T: Fantasy, hands-down. Though I'm trying to branch out into other genres.

J: Similar question: favorite genre to read?

T: Hmm... I like reading all genres, really. I don't like much nonfiction though.

J: One more question, then both of us can get back to our busy lives.

T: All right.

J: What as encouraged you as a writer? What kept you going when you felt like giving up?

T: Two things have. The first and most prominent one is reading good stories, especially those written by friends of mine. For some reason, reading their works inspires me to go back to my own writing. The second thing is when I get good feedback on something I write. Yes, honest feedback - even if it's not 'warm and fuzzy - is good, but there's nothing quite like hearing from someone that they genuinely liked something you wrote.

J: Thank you, Theodora, for being here.

Once again, you can find Theodora Ashcraft at her website: Whispers of Wind and Song. I hope you enjoyed your time on this blog and I hope you come back soon!

Note: I don't own the picture to Of Whispers and Wanderings, nor do I agree with all the posts on the links. Click at your own risk. I'm just providing you with information if you wish to learn more about Miss Ashcraft's favorite authors.