Shady Business

Do you ever have those days where you pretty much try on everything in your closet (and on your floor) before settling on a certain outfit, only to hate the way it was styled and redo everything again? I’m sure you do. (If you don’t, don’t tell me. I don’t want to feel alone.) Today was one of those days for me. I tried shorts with an oversized pink-and-white striped blouse, I tried that same blouse tied fifties-style with a skirt; I had my hair back in a severe bun, then softened with my bangs down; I had this dress with heels and a black belt and silver jewelry… and then, after having taken pictures of that last combination, I still didn’t like it.

I’m sure that’s fascinating to you.

But I was in the mood to be casual, and it just wasn’t working. And then, still in a mad dash because I needed to get pictures before the sun took over the yard, I decided to try belting myself with a scarf (ahaha! That can be read two ways) and finally I had something.

All that to say… I really need to clean my room, because most of my clothes are now on the floor and I can’t find anything. Also, I did something today that I rarely do: I blow-dried my hair. Well, half-dried, anyway. This makes two days in a row of doing stuff to my hair that I almost never do.

Details: Dress($8), scarf($0.99), and brooch($4.99, thrifted; ring, gift; Sandals, stolen (mom’s.).
Approximate outfit cost:  $13.98

And now, to completely change the subject: an editing update.

I’ve been somewhat successful in editing My Beloved over the last few days, and I thought you might like to see a little bit of how it’s changed. Remember that comparison thing I was talking about a while ago, where I shared the original prologue and the edited prologue? Well, it’s time to do that again.

Original first few paragraphs:

Anwen of Glien ducked under the branches of a weeping willow and sat on the bank of the stream. Dipping her fingers into the stream, she watched as the water swirled around her fingers, rippling over rocks, seeming to laugh as it rushed by. The quiet afternoon was broken only by the sound of birds, twittering, calling, singing to their hearts’ content. God, what a beautiful world You’ve made, she thought.

“Anwen?” The voice was the one that Anwen had been waiting for, and she answered quietly, smiling when the young man ducked into sight. He took a seat beside her and was silent, merely watching her face. Anwen was aware of his scrutiny as she turned back to watch the water.

Cadeyrn, son of Daimhin, loved Anwen. Her beauty was only a small factor in his love for her, her intelligence was another factor, but most of all, he loved her for who she was. She was caring, and was learning how to heal from the master. Though sometimes her concern for others took her away from him, Cadeyrn loved her all the more for it.

“Anwen, do you… do you mind that we might marry some day?” Cadeyrn almost didn’t want her answer for fear it would be yes. She swung her head around to look at him, her brown hair catching the breeze as her bright blue eyes studied his face. For a moment, he thought she might say what he feared. A small frown passed over her brows, and her blue eyes grew serious. She looked hesitant to answer. But then a smile played around the corners of her rosy lips, and she rocked sideways once before answering him.

“No.” Her answer was soft as her smile grew wider and confidence stronger. “I don’t mind at all.”

Her answer emboldened him, and he took her hand. A bit embarrassed, he took out a small leather pouch and gave it to her. Anwen shook the pouch curiously before turning it upside down to spill out a tangle of silver. A small gasp escaped her lips as she lifted the silver chain and gazed at the clear blue stone set on the pendant. Cadeyrn touched her hair and smiled at her.

“The blue reminds me of your eyes.”

He was pleased when she fastened the chain around her neck and squeezed his hand.

“Thank you.” She smiled gently and Cadeyrn, emboldened even more, kissed her forehead. Comfortable silence reigned as they sat together, watching the stream pass by.

You’ll forgive me if I cringe. I’ve never liked the first chapter, but I’m more okay with the edited version. MUCH more okay.

Anwen of Glien had been sitting beneath the gently waving branches of a weeping willow for some time, hidden from the rest of the world as she soaked in the peace that saturated this place. Knees drawn up to her chest, she rested against the firm trunk of the tree and let her eyes wander lazily over the dancing leaves, taking in each detail with a faint sense of longing. She wanted to capture this moment in her memories to draw out when life’s darker days overcame her.

Flowing at the edge of the cascading green walls that surrounded her, a stream added its laughter to the song of the birds and the whisper of the breeze. The melodies and harmonies of nature flooded Anwen’s soul, and she could almost forget the fears that disquieted her mind. She could breathe in the warm scent of earth without being reminded that this air might soon be sullied with fire, tainted with the stink of demolished flesh and blood.

Shaking away her morbid thoughts, Anwen turned her head as she heard the soft footfall of someone’s approach. She could not see the person who invaded her secret room, for he was behind her, but she did not need vision to reveal his identity. There was only one who knew she would be here. She had been waiting for him.

Cadeyrn of Glien stepped into view, a coy smile playing about his lips. “I have a gift for you,” he said, hands held mysteriously out of sight behind his back.

Anwen leaned forward, immediately curious. “What is it?”

With a gliding move, Cadeyrn knelt beside her. “Close your eyes,” he commanded her.

Frowning a little, Anwen did as she was told. Cadeyrn was occasionally mischievous, and though he had matured over the years, part of her still suspected he would drop a frog into her fingers as he had when they were young.

But the cold object that trickled into her palm was nothing like a frog, or any other sort of creature he might find to tease her with. It was smooth, metallic, and felt to be etched with some sort of pattern. Without waiting for his permission, Anwen opened her eyes and was awed to find a beautiful necklace pooled in her grasp. Its dark blue stone contrasted against the pristine silver, and a delicate knotted design was imprinted in its thick strands.

I have more, but there are things given away that I don’t want you to know until the chapter is complete.

I’m much happier with it now that it’s been rephrased and polished up– I think the first chapter will always be my least favorite chapter, but in order to stick with the original vein of things, I’m willing to settle with just polishing up what was already there. I think perhaps my biggest problem with… all of My Beloved right now is that the writing technique is SO… juvenile. Then again, I did start writing it when I was sixteen, so… I guess I should have expected that.

So there you have it. Original vs edited. Hopefully I’m not the only one who thinks the edit is much better.

I’m going to go sit outside and write.

Have a beautiful Friday!


  • Comy

    That happens to me all the time! And always when I’m in a hurry. And have approximately 2 minutes left to get presentable.
    As for original vs edited – now that you’ve mentioned it, the original writing does have a teenage feel to it. It was very YA. I didn’t mind it, but I do like the edited version better.

    Can I just mention how happy I am that you’re working on THIS story? 😀 I am your BIGGEST fan right now!

    Have a great week!

    • Mara

      Aw, just to let you know, this post is really old. I’m having to manually publish some old posts that didn’t make it over when I switched to the new site, so over the next week some of my super-old posts will be showing up. I can’t figure out how to turn off the email notifications. 

      I am thinking about working on this story again, though!

      • Comy


        I feel kind of dumb right now, especially because I red your post about old posts showing up. Oh well.

        Yes! 😀

        • Mara

          ahaha! I figured that would probably happen. I wish there was a way to disable the emails, because that would definitely lessen the confusion.