Miss Alexandrina

The thinking-space of a not-quite novelist

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Sunday Thoughts

Since I created a Pinterest board for the faith and inspirational messages and quotes I keep coming across, I have been exposed to more spiritual thinking that I can do when I’m in company or on the computer. Because Pinterest is a good sounding-board for my writer’s visual eye, I go on it daily – meaning that I am coming across faith quotes on a frequent, daily basis.

I love this. In such busy and hastened lifestyles, we are given these little opportunities to remember that God is always with us, no matter what we’re doing. I could share here so many quotes I’ve found and pinned, but I’ll stick with the simplest:

this. everyday.

This special day of rest let us keep in mind that we have everything to thank our Lord for. It’s okay to forget, but He calls us back every day.

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7 Quick Takes about Scotland, Mostly

Friday 7 Quick Takes is hosted by ThisAintTheLyceum. Check out this weekly bloghop there. I’m a little late with this post – and have tried to clear up possible confusion – as I had a migraine yesterday, which prevented me finishing and posting this.

seven quick takes friday 2


I’ve been rather tired today (Friday), thanks to such a long day yesterday of travelling, and not getting to eat dinner until about 10.30. At the moment, my eating habits haven’t been the best, and it’s something I’m struggling to resume at the moment. Unfortunately, that sort of thing is a downward spiral.


In any freetime I can salvage from my holiday in Scotland, I’ve been editing/tweaking/polishing WTCB. I’m at that sad stage that I simultaneously love and hate what I’ve written. It just feels like I’m hitting wall after wall, and, in my current health (or lack of), it’s difficult to manage all these aims.


However, today (Saturday), I’ve had a mostly pleasant day, apart from the aforementioned eating anxiety, and we travelled to Ayr to look around the town, then to nearby Troon, to see the craft fayre, then an art exhibition. I forgot how much I enjoy looking at and discussing art…it’s a Steampunk activity, I guess.


On the other hand, we’re surrounded by such beautiful scenery (when it’s not raining, but God bless nature!) of a forest of trees behind us climbing the slope, and the sea and beach in front of us. The rock-island Ailsa Craig we can see when there is little mist, and the world stretches out along the horizon. We’ve even spotted two seals so far – that’s two more than live seals I’ve ever seen!


Coming up soon is our second boat trip – this one around said Ailsa Craig. The weather is said to be sunny, so one can only pray it will stay that way for Monday. Overall, the days are very full, and I don’t get home until about six or to eat until half eight-ish – on a good day. So, blogging and editing are still difficult to juggle.


Yesterday, we travelled to the isle of Arran, a beautiful and almost mystical Scottish island, on which is situated the castle Lochranza and its gardens.  I was enthralled by this sundial, and just had to take a bunch. Plus, symmetry. :)



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Theology of the Body in a Nutshell

Alexandrina Brant:

It is Natural Family Planning (NFP) awareness week, and writer (and NFP coach) Ellen Gable gives some information about the theology of the body and NFP marriage.

Originally posted on Plot Line and Sinker:

NFP Awareness WeekI’ll be posting articles and cartoons this week to celebrate NFP Week!

So why NFP (or Natural Family Planning)? NFP is safe, healthy and effective. Most importantly, it is a morally acceptable way to avoid and achieve pregnancy.

If we look at the four components of God’s love for us (free, total, faithful, fruitful) and compare God’s love to marital love, we can discover how to live the Sacrament of marriage as the ultimate expression of spousal love.

Free: We need to be able love our spouse freely. If we ask for conditions, that’s not love. If we force our spouse to do something, that’s not love. If we cannot say no to our sexual urges, then we are not free.

Total: The love for our spouse must be total. We can’t say, “Well, I’ll give you everything, honey, except for my fertility.” Total means total. (Re: CCC 1643).


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Photo of the Week: Beach

Yup, another Photo of the Week, but I haven’t had the time to think about Ready, Set, Write! or other options for today’s blog post. Hopefully, next week I can get back to some goals! But I’m on holiday holiday at the moment, away from the places I live, so my blogging reflects my lifestyle at the moment.



This is the beach outside our holiday home in Girvan, Scotland. This picture was the evening we drove up (after almost eight hours… *sigh*), when it wasn’t raining, and we could see the rock-island Ailsa Craig across the body of water. The big dark shape up middle-left. The sunset that evening was truly fantastic, but I was tired after being driven, and only had my phone camera within moving-car reach.


Beautiful People: Lady Chronaire

Beautiful People this month is focused on summery questions. Ahem. Which is apt for the pouring rain we’re having in Scotland today. Since I’ve just finished my novella for Camp NaNoWriMo (with its Pinterest board), I’m going to talk about my protagonist, somewhat ironically named Summer.


  1. What’s their favourite ice cream flavour?

Summer doesn’t tend to have the money to indulge in gelato, but if she did, she would have a lemon or melon sorbet, something light that also acts as a palette cleanser.

  1. Your character is getting ready for a night out. Where are they going? What are they wearing? Who will they be with?

10698716_10202724826224255_6284911300705838001_nIf Summer were invited to a socialite ball, she would happily accept regardless of the host, taking her lover if he were not already on a mission in the skies. Of course, the dress code is formal, and Summer has an array of formal gear, though she tends towards practical-formal rather than poofy dress and extended bustle dresses. Her style of outfit would be a dark green or emerald floor-length dress with a corset (underbust or overbust) in likely brown or silver, and her heirloom cairngorm around her neck. Paired with these would be a pair of kid-boots – and elbow-length gloves, depending on whose ball it would be. These kind of balls would be held in the centre of the New Berkshire city, where there is a city hall and a cathedral.

  1. Look at your character’s feet. Describe what you see there. Do they wear dress shoes, gym shoes, or none at all? Are they in socks that are ratty and full of holes? What do they consider comfortable and what do they consider agony?

Summer wears the typical kid-boots of the Victorian age with stockings, though you wouldn’t see that if you looked down to the layers. The kind of shoes she’d consider uncomfortable would be, hypothetically, the types of modern shoes, like trainers or Converses, which she’d find restrictive. In terms of Victorian shoes, whilst indoor heels are enough for hiding one’s ankles whilst indoors, they are not exactly practical outdoors.

Victorian Shoes:  Soft kid side-lace boots were worn outdoors. While indoors, Victorian ladies wore heeled flat shoes or slippers. These ivory kid boots, a style of Victorian shoes, have a Philadelphia label.


  1. Do they have any birthmark or scars? Where are they and how did they get them?

No, Summer has no birthmarks or scars (or tattoos) of note. She has other quirks of appearance.

  1. What kind of music do they listen to? Does it change depending on their mood or is it always consistent? (Feel free to share samples!)

Summer has no access to a gramophone, so when she hears music it is often from the same source However, her tastes in music tend to be pretty consistent – she likes the classical music, rather than alternative music sources. Though, she has said to have a secret liking for Steam Powered Giraffe. ;)

  1. Do they have any musical talent? Play an instrument? How’s their singing voice?

Whilst Summer does not actively play an instrument – simply because she has not the time due to work and social commitments – she suffered the chore of piano-forte lessons at the age of three. She persevered, but had little natural skill, and gave it up aged eight.

  1. What kind of book would you catch them reading?
Peaceful Reading by Fernand Toussaint (1873-1955)

Peaceful Reading by Fernand Toussaint (1873)

As much as Summer appreciates fictional books, she’s not a bookworm bookworm, and is more likely to be found with a parchment report in her hands from the library or her fellow Psychobiologists than a tome. On that front, the sorts of research she’d find from the further past (eg. Darwin’s Origin of the Species) she’d find in battered books and put on her reading goggles and spread the book across her dining room table.

  1. How would they spend their summers (or their holidays)?

Well, her current summer is spent in the Psychobiology lab on campus, researching and finishing her report for her Masters degree of Brain Study. However, in previous summers or holidays when she hasn’t been working in the department, Summer has taken to the skies with her beloved. She doesn’t love airships, but if she has The Sergeant holding her, she feels less sky-sick. She rarely returns to the town in which she grew up.

  1. It’s Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details. Ex. If they’re eating breakfast, what’s on the menu? Are they hiking, shopping, lazing around?

Saturday would most likely be a day off for Summer, so she would be spending time watering the plants at the Horticulture building. If not, she would be expecting her Sergeant at the docking bay or drinking sherry with him in a variety of locals. She doesn’t advocate lazing, but it is nice to not have immediate reports and research to complete.

  1. Is there anything your character wants to be free of?

Her past. Cliché, I know, but Summer never got along with her stepmother or her blunt father, so thinking of her childhood often leaves her in shadow. Although it may help her, she is desperate to forget that she comes from a family of non-academics, by which she is embarrassed.


So, that was my Beautiful People post for this month. I had written a bio for Summer a while ago, but have never got around to posting it, so this is a little snippet of how she would act in certain circumstances. What about you? Have you ever written an extended bio for a character? Why?

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Quick Takes Friday about New Houses, New Story Triumphs, and Newsish

I’m returning this Friday to Seven Quick Takes, hosted by thisainttheLyceum, as I’ve got a bit of time to spare for blogging for once.

seven quick takes friday 2


I’m off to Scotland tomorrow, woo! Two more weeks of not knowing if I can post on a regular schedule or have the ideas. Seriously, though, I’m looking forward to my holiday and taking a bit of a break from the stress I’ve had recently. I’m still finding writing quite emotionally difficult at the moment.


For that matter, I’ve had access to WiFi for the last couple of days, but I have to say, I’ve got into the practise of jumping straight into writing, rather than I am hoping to, after this, do some necessary editing to the background of Abney Park. It’s certainly nice to have Spotify at my disposal again. ;)


It was enjoyable to see The Boyfriend’s family over last weekend. With one of my best friends getting married in November (and me being one of her bridesmaids), lately I have come to remember how important family is – and has always been to me. Before I became a Catholic, I already had a notion that I’ve been called to be a wife and mother and teach others about God and Faith through my example. It’s difficult sometimes – often – but with Family, I don’t feel as much anxiety to share my faith as with, say, the internet or the university community. I feel God’s Love so strongly when interacting with the microcosm of family, and I so want to share in that.


I’ve spent in total about three weeks at the new house. At the moment, it’s only me and one of the three housemates, and we won’t be resuming our Chapter House Christianity duties until the new academic term starts at the end of September. However, as our tenancy is a July – July one, I thought I’d spend some time ‘acclimatising’ to the place. I love cooking for myself, and my housemate is the epitome of the generous Christian cook. ;) Her cookies, and other puddings, are delicious.


I was lucky to escape the Tube strikes by a few days. My trip up North takes me down via London first, and sometimes I think I can deal with the journey, but other times it’s just a slog through so many people, gates, and trainways. So, I am grateful that my recent journeys (minus one, where two trains back were cancelled) haven’t been too delayed.


I finished my CampNaNoWriMo novella about a Steampunk campus, monster, and MRI machine. I have a lot of favourite extracts, but below is a piece from one of the final chapters where, though the final fight is over, Summer is in despair at what she has lost, and a circus-traveller offers her consolations.


Taking her eyes from Summer’s for a blinding second, the RingLady removed the medal above her heart, five old cogs wrought into the symbol covering all of the circus banners and here attached to a badge displaying the word RingLady, and turned it down-facing. With short fingernails smudged with cobalt paint, she dug into the medal, into the pentagon of cogs, and lifted out a stone, bright purple in colour with veins of pink tarnished so they were almost silver. It was barely longer than one of Summer’s nails.


Photo of the Week: Lone Rose

There is one surviving rose left from the dozen my boyfriend gave me two weeks ago. Amusingly enough, a white rose. I have the others, dried, in my room, but this one was too unfurled for me to give up on it yet. Photo taken this morning by the window of my new house’s kitchen with our shed in the background.



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