Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Glove and the Lions, and a Reminder

I wanted to remind all you girls about the Spring Has Sprung Poetry Contest. There are still about 12 more days to enter! I would love to get more entries. Thanks to all of you who have entered! :)
For those of you who forgot the details, click here to read them. :)
I have always loved reading "Poems That Tell a Story", and this is one of my favorites. It's always fun to read something a piece where the story and moral fit into the rhyme pattern effortlessly. There is nothing worse than a story-poem where you feel like the poet pinched words to make them fit the story! And I love the rhythm of this poem. Anyway, enjoy it!

And yes, this is a real portrait of some King Francis or another! :D

"The Glove and the Lions"
James Henry Leigh Hunt
King Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport,
And one day as his lions fought, sat looking on the court;
The nobles filled the benches, and the ladies in their pride,
And 'mongst them sat the Count de Lorge, with one for whom he sighed:
And truly 'twas a gallant thing to see that crowning show,
Valour and love, and a king above, and the royal beasts below.

Ramped and roared the lions, with horrid laughing jaws;
They bit, they glared, gave blows like beams, a wind went with their paws;
With wallowing might and stifled roar they rolled on one another;
Till all the pit with sand and mane was in a thunderous smother;
The bloody foam above the bars came whisking through the air;
Said Francis then, "Faith, gentlemen, we're better here than there."

De Lorge's love o'erheard the King, a beauteous lively dame
With smiling lips and sharp bright eyes, which always seemed the same;
She thought, the Count my lover is brave as brave can be;
He surely would do wondrous things to show his love of me;
King, ladies, lovers, all look on; the occasion is divine;
I'll drop my glove, to prove his love; great glory will be mine.

She dropped her glove, to prove his love, then looked at him and smiled;
He bowed, and in a moment leaped among the lions wild:
The leap was quick, return was quick, he has regained his place,
Then threw the glove, but not with love, right in the lady's face.
"In truth!" said Francis, "rightly done!" and he rose from where he sat:
"No love," quoth he, "but vanity, sets love a task like that."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Opening Line: No Once-Upon-A-Times please :)

Elizabeth Gaskell 
I wish I was clever enough to write such captivating openings as I read in famous books! :)
Take the opening paragraph in Wives and Daughters: 
"To begin with the old rigmarole of childhood. In a country there was a shire, and in that shire there was a town, and in that town there was a house, and in that house there was a room, and in that room there was a bed, and in that bed there lay a little girl;"

Isn't that marvelous? It takes a simple opening, and by throwing in a bit of humor, lifts it to a higher plane of literature. I often find that writing opening lines is one of the hardest things of the book. As many authors will tell you, you may a gorgeous, brilliant line on page two, but if the reader isn't captivated from the time they open the book, they may never get to the second page. 
Readers are a most picky race of people. There is a saying "never judge a book by its cover", but even in my own experience I have found that if nothing catches my eye from flipping through the first few pages, I'm much less likely to read the book. 
But how to connect the reader with the principle character on the first page? You could take some notes from Charles Dicken's Great Expectations:
"My father's family name being Pirrip, and my christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. so, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip. 
      I gave Pirrip as my father's family name on the authority of his tombstone and my sister--Mrs. Joe Gargery, who married the blacksmith."

Already in that paragraph you have discovered a quaintness of character in little Pip, a rough concept of his age, the fact that his father is dead, and that his sister is married to a blacksmith. Truly remarkable a feat in only three sentences! :) 
There is, of course, always the style of barging into the story with dialog, like Louisa May Alcott does in her Little Women:
" 'Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,' grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.
'It's so dreadful to be poor," sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress. 
'I don't think it's fair for some girls to have lots of pretty things and others girls nothing at all,' added little Amy with an injured sniff. 
'We've got father and mother, and each other, anyhow,' said Beth, contentedly, from her corner."

Again, with only a short paragraph, you are sympathetic towards the girls in this story, know a little about their family, and their personalities. 
Take stock of your own opening lines sometime, and see if you can't harness the words to work harder for you. If you play around with them long enough, you could very well end up with a glittering opening that will captivate the reader. :) ~Rachel

Monday, March 21, 2011

Inkpen Poetry Day: "Lament for Anna's...Mouseling"

Hee-hee! I found this poem in the annals of the blog I share with my sister, Sarah. I am in the habit of writing poems for all sorts of family occasions, and this occasion in particular demanded an apology poem, because my cat ate some of my sister Anna's baby mice! :( But it was funny at the same time! ;) So without further ado, here is my "Lament for Anna's...Mouseling"! :)

"Lament For Anna's...Mouseling"
By Rachel Heffington

"Your protege- a little mouse
Was not safe- even in your house.
A dark, designing beast (my cat)
Has killed your pet and that is that.
I blushed, I sighed, I dropped a tear
When first I did this story hear-
It cuts my heart like sharpest knife
To think my cat just took a life!
I did not do it, (this I know)
But I am sorry even so.
I do not know psychology ;)
So please take my apology.
And I will give a freezing shoulder
To my cat- least she grow bolder."

-Your humble sister: Rachel Heffington

What do you think? Is it a sufficient apology for the tragedy? ;)

Friday, March 18, 2011


The Winning of Mrs. Bly- It's the newest production from my Writing Fit! :) The storyline came to me while I was out doing lawns with Daniel and Leah, and wrestling the Big Green walk-behind mower. Not a romantic setting in the slightest, but hey, ideas come when they come! :)
I describe it below:
Mrs. Bly, a bitter, crabbed woman, has hated men for twenty years and has done her best to instill the same opinions in her three grown daughters. But despite living in a secluded cottage and seldom socializing, the three beautiful daughters soon fall in love.
The trouble begins with the dreamy, romantic Evangeline who meets a rough, unlearned woodsman with a good heart (Josiah Tarleton) while picking berries for Mrs. Bly's supper.
It continues when Evangeline returns to her home only to find a charming circuit-riding preacher (Cameron North) braving the glares of Mrs. Bly and falling in love with the frail, sweet Priscilla.
Mrs. Bly panics as she realizes that her daughters are not following in her footsteps of Men-hatred, so she allows the girls to attend a May Day dance, hoping that they will be disgusted with all of manhood and return to the cottage with hearts purposed on remaining single all their days.
But the plans backfire. The oldest, and last daughter to fall in love, Diana, meets a friendly carpenter with a slow smile (William Thrushwood) and finds his wisdom is more than a match for her quick wit.
The young men propose to their sweethearts soon after, but all the girls love and honor their mother too much to leave home without her blessing.
So it's up to the men to win over Mrs. Bly. Will her heart toward the young men change, or will the daughters live until the end of their lives alone in the little cottage in the forest?

That's as far as I've gotten. :) I've only written up to Evangeline coming home from meeting Josiah Tarleton, but I'm excited! It will be relatively short story, or a novelette. What do you think?I'm writing it as a comedy, highlighting the girls' absolute fear and horror of men at first as it changes into love. :) I would never undertake to write a romance, since I know I know nothing of the subject, but as this is a comedy, I thought the setting would have some funny moments :) ~The Inkpen Authoress

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Inkpen Poetry Day: "Before a Storm"

Sometimes I try to make up new rhyme patterns to use in my poetry. I don't always fall in love with the particular pattern, but it's fun writing in a different style now and then. Here's the latest one! :)

"Before a Storm"
By Rachel Heffington

The thunderheads are mustering
In ranks across the fields
With iron-colored shields
And oft the wind is blustering.

A wild gust, like battle-cry
Without a voice, is tossed
And in the tempest lost.
Roars forth and shakes the low'ring sky.

The poplars bend in flutt'ring dread
Of dancing to the psalm
Writ in the fearful calm
By minstrel-clouds with pens of lead.

Then with a final howling blast
The gale-solider bends
And from his hand sends
Fleet rain-fledged arrows at last.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Feel A Writing Fit Coming On :)

There is nothing quite so deliciously elusive as the presentiment of a writing fit coming on. It begins with wishing yourself as accomplished a writer as whoever you are reading at present. It is followed by a strange sensation of thinking of everything that happens in book form, and how you would describe it, how you'd love to get a pen and jot it down...*sigh* I have a writing fit coming upon me very strongly at present. It's lurking down there right now, about to surface.
What comes from these writing fits of mine? One or two good poems, often a new story idea, and something like that. I'm blessed with this writing fit just at a time when I need to turn my pen to writing the finishing chapters of "A Mother for the Seasonings". The tender moments needed more poignancy, and the tying up of loose ends needed a more masterly, artistic hand. Thankfully this bout of inspiration comes in a timely manner, though I have very little time to indulge myself in the delights of writing! :) I'll keep you posted on progress of this writing fit! Thank you to everyone who has entered the Spring Has Sprung poetry contest, and to Faith and Angela for joining this blog! :) Here are a few quotes on writing to help encourage one of your own fits of inspiration! ;)

"I never exactly made a book. It's rather like taking dictation. I was given things to say. " -C.S. Lewis

"Write what you care about and understand. Writers should never try to outguess the marketplace in search of a salable idea; the simple truth is that all good books will eventually find a publisher if the writer tries hard enough, and a central secret to writing a good book is to write on that people like you will enjoy."
-Richard North Patterson

"Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire." -Napoleon Hill

""Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon." E.L. Doctorow

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Has Sprung Poetry Contest

You may remember the Autumn Writing Contest I hosted here on this blog! :) It was a lot of fun for me, and I hope for all you young ladies who entered! :) I think you'd all agree that Spring is a season of renovation! :) And a season of promise, excitement, and beauty. Whether it's the sight of an orchard in full bloom, or the very first daffodil, or a grove of redbud bursting into riotous colors, Spring has never failed to inspire authors through the centuries. In keeping with my reputation as "An-apologizer-of-not-posting-often" I will apologize, and then reform. ;) To kick off the reformation of this blog I decided I'd have another contest :) Let's call it Spring Has Sprung poetry contest. It'll be hosted right here on The Inkpen Authoress Blog, sponsored by Inkpen Poetry Day and there will be a prize! :) Ready for the unveiling of the reward? ;) I'm afraid it's only a humble reward for your participation, but I will personally do an original watercolor painting for you, illustrating your poem, if you are the winner! :) Send me your best Spring-inspired poem! ;) Here are the rules:

1.) All work must be your own

2.) Each entry will be sent to

3.) Each person may enter multiple poems, and each poem will be counted as one entry, so the more you enter, the more chance you'll have of winning! :)

4.) The Inkpen Authoress (that's me! :) reserves the rights of publishing your poem on this blog, but on this blog only. As soon as the contest is over, all rights revert to the author, and I'll leave you alone! :P (I'm not out to steal anyone's poem, you know! :D )

So there you have it! :) Please enter! And take the button to share on your own blog! Let others know about this contest please! :) ~Rachel a.k.a. The Inkpen Authoress

Friday, March 4, 2011

Check Out the Delving Into Dickens Blog Party! :)

I am hosting a Delving Into Dickens Blog Party on the blog I share with my sister. There are lots of fun ideas over there, so stop on by and please join the party if you are a Dickens Admirer! :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"Smells" Kathryn Worth

Kathryn Worth
"Through all the frozen winter
My nose has grown most lonely
For lovely, lovely, colored smells
That come in springtime only.

The purple smell of lilacs,
The yellow smell that blows
Across the air of meadows
Where bright forsythia grows.

The tall pink smell of peach trees,
The low white smell of clover,
And everywhere the great green smell
Of grass the whole world over."