Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good-Bye, 2013

I loved this year.

I'm serious.  It was probably one of the best years of my young fourteen-year-old life.  (I realize that that sounds super cliche, but I totally mean it).  It was a really awesome year, and I feel like I grew more than I ever have before as a person.

This year.  *sentimental sigh*

Oh boy.  How can I ever explain this year to anybody?

One word: growth.

I think the thing that stands out to me the most this year was my growth as a person.  I was still kind of locked in a shell in seventh grade; eighth grade was a much better year--I began to be a little freer  (is that a word?).  More confident.  Ninth grade wasn't as hard a transition as I'd expected.  Why?

I guess I kind of know who I am and don't really care about what other people think of me.  I mean, I still do sometimes. If they're true issues--I know somebody from school who thinks I'm a messy eater (I am), so I try to work on it.  And sometimes I annoy people with my everlasting tapping (even though I grew out of the Cup song), so I try not to do so much tapping.  But in terms of objective things?  I don't care.

I know who I'm going to be: a writer.  I know who I am: a Christian blogger.  I know what I should be: a person with priorities.  One thing at high school I see is a lot of wandering.  I know some people who don't really do homework--they finish it in class and sometimes just plain old don't do it at all.  I'm going to try to keep my priorities straight: God, family, church, school, sports, career.

For the most part, I think, I know what direction my life is headed, and I'm not going to wander anymore.  I'm going to go out and get my goals.  And it gives me a great deal of peace.  I grew this year.  I'm showing my true colors.

The downside of that is, what does God have in store for me in 2014?  And can I handle it?

He does say in the Bible, though, that whatever He sends my way, He knows I can handle.  And He's with me all the way.  My big struggle is sometimes I have a hard time letting Him in.  Working in me.  Letting Him grow me.

But I did grow this year, guys.  I matured (slightly).  I got a little more socially skilled.  I loosened up.  People from my old school probably wouldn't recognize me too well.  I'm seeing things in perspective while getting my full-on fourteen-year-old-girl experience.  I'm struggling to stay afloat in my relationship with God, and the fact that I'm struggling encourages me.

So, *two-thumbs-up year, guys*

Sure I had my bumps.  I had my down moments, awkward moments, weird moments, in-between moments.  But the good thing is--those moments don't last.  (The moment never does).  And pretty soon, we can put the past--good and bad--behind us.  For the most part.  Sometimes the consequent effects drift into the present, and we have to deal with them.

This year was a positive moment in my life.  This year grew me as a person.  This year is going to have positive consequences in the successive years I live.

2013, you were great.

God, You are awesome.

Readers, thank you for reading xD

Everybody I know--thank you for making such an awesome overall impact in my life!

And guys--I'm adding a new page to this blog.  (Actually, two new pages).  The first is a page for the full-on copy of TRAPPED.  (How are you guys liking it so far?  Do Amber, Echo, Mr. Bored, and Slick interest you?)

The second is a letter I'm writing to my future self for the end of 2014.  I'm keeping it on this blog, and at the end of 2014, I'm going to read it and write back.  It might seem really dumb to you, but I think this is going to be fun.  Feel free to look on it and see if my 2014 life answers any questions my 2013 self asked.

Am I scared about what's going to happen in the future?  Absolutely.  Am I certain that God is in control?  Absolutely.  Whatever He plans for me will happen, and wherever I go, He is always there for me.  And best, I know that

...for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28, esvbible.org)

See y'all next year!


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Weird, Whacked-Out Updates From Yours Truly


Yes, it's me again ;)  On a bored stint, so I'm just writing a post about what's been happening with my life.  Just unimportant facts xD

A.  Purple Converse!  I'd decided that raggedy, year-old black Converse with too-long mismatched neon laces were officially out of Rcubed style.  Upon a trip to the Converse outlet nearby, I decided on PURPLE Converse!

Product Details
Something like this (from amazon.com)

B.  Reading.  An amazing thing happened to me this past week.  For privacy's sake, I can't reveal too much, but it involves me reading a book several months before it comes out.  Yes, months.  It's all I can do to not talk about it, but if you know me personally, shoot me a message from the contact form on the sidebar!

C.  We Ate Chinese on Christmas.  Yes, that's right.  My family ate out on Christmas.  My mom originally was planning on making a rib roast, but I think we were all just too pooped to do anything (we even skipped lunch).  Instead, we hopped on over to a somewhat local Chinese restaurant known for its dim sum.  It didn't turn out to be the most pleasant experience.  I had a particularly nasty scrape involving mustard-that-may-or-may-not-have-been-spiked-with-wasabi, and our food was really slow coming out (think forty-minute-slow).  What's more, the food was dished out into small portions that left me feeling just a little bit hungry afterwards.  (I stuffed myself with those Peppermint-White-Chocolate Hershey's Kisses to make up for it, however).

But it was a really good Christmas, overall.  Even though I didn't get a, like, say, dozen iPhones or a hundred shares of Google or something (not that I'd want a hundred shares of Google, really), it was a happy Christmas.  I think my favorite present didn't even belong to me--my dad got one of those candy dispensers that have the little hand-motion-sensors.  So we officially have one of those sitting in our living room full of peanut M&Ms.  
SnackMan  Motion Activated Treat and Candy Dispenser

Like that, except red and filled with candy!!  Image from brookstone.com

D.  Trying To Write But Not Really.  I think I'm a little SJ'd out right now.  I really, really want to write but I don't want to write...if you get my drift.  I really like my story, but I just don't want to write it right now.  Know what I'm saying?  So I might not do the short stories after all.  I'm not sure.  I'm still debating.  I kind of wrote the first one, but it's only three pages.  Can I fully develop characters like that with just three pages?

Actually, I don't really think it's my main character I need to write about.  I think it's mostly her two best friends, who are both super cool but need a little more development, and her other two best friends, who need even more development, and her nemesis, who needs some development.  Am I boring you right now?  I hope not.  

I also got a couple different ideas, but I WANT TO WRITE BUT I DON'T WANT TO WRITE.  

My goal with all this character development?  Making my character do something I'm surprised they actually do.  (They talked about it here).  Right now, my character is molding and folding under my many-times-overbearing hand.  *gughgughgughgughgughgughgughgugh*

E.  I've been eating a lot of treats.

But then #yolo.  (I'm trying not to become like one of those people, who say it right before they flunk a test, but honestly, the "yolo" is coming out in terms of treats).  If you want a list of what I've been eating, here goes:
  • White chocolate peppermint Hershey's Kisses
  • Peanut butter cups
  • Cookies
  • Cake 
  • Oreos (I had a strawberry one and it was totally disgusting)
  • Chocolate-covered pretzels
  • Mini-cupcake-thingamajiggers
  • Peanut M&M's
  • Toffee
^^Look at that list!  I don't eat it all in one day, of course.  But it's been building up.  I've been doing pushups to work all those calories off.  

But then, I'm 14.  I don't need to worry about flat tires just yet.

F.  Is Inheritors a word?  My parents have been watching this Korean drama called the Inheritors.  They started laughing because apparently it isn't a word.  (Actually, IT IS A WORD!  GOOGLE IT!).

G.  I've been facing the fact that break really is halfway over.  Ughhghghghgh.
H.  I've been embracing that video game Minion Rush.  I feel like it's the perfect game--it's addicting, but I can get off of it if I really force myself to.
I.  YAAAY!  I'm going to party up this week with Elise K., my friend who runs her own Hearts to Hooks blog and co-partners with the Entertaining Reads blog!  It's almost New Year's, and I'm gearing up for an awesome partying week!

happy new year's!  make some worthwhile resolutions :)


TRAPPED Sunday Serial: Part Four

Part Four
Amber Talina Sharpina Harttmin has captured two more people, two boys this time.  One of them is about fourteen, our age, who looks slightly familiar.  The other is six.
The one who’s fourteen has brown hair and gray eyes, and right now he’s leaning against the wall with a smirk on his face.  I think I’ve seen him before, but I can’t place it.  School?  Random family friend?  I finally give up.
The six-year-old has Amber’s phone and is playing Angry Birds on it.
The fourteen-year-old kid is proving to be a tough customer.
The moment Amber tries to talk to him, he laughs in her face.  I wince as I see the spit spewing from his mouth.  There’s nothing that annoys me more than a person who spits when he talks.  Oh, and a person who backwashes when they drink water.  It’s quite ironic, actually, because I do both those things.  
“You’re telling me that you’re part of a colony who’s in a mountain and you’re part of a rebellion who’s trying to prevent a conspiracy from robbing the park,” he says after Amber’s done with her segmented spiel.  “Man, do I look dumb to you?”
“Actually, yes, because you’re not believing us,” I say him.
He puts his hands up.  “Oooh, nice one by the ten-year-old.”
“I’m fourteen!”
“Oooh, nice one by the fourteen-year-old.”  The guy smiles.  “I wasn’t born yesterday.”
“Neither was I, and I believe her.  You don’t even believe the phone?” I say.
He yawns.  “This theme park is more interesting than I expected.  Girls who persuade you to join a rebellion?  Never would’ve expected it.”
I shoot him a dirty look.  
He just dishes one right back at me.  “Stop trying to persuade me; I’ll never believe you.”
“All right,” Amber says, sounding as upbeat as if she’d never heard what he’d said.  Then she grabs her phone.  
“Hey!” the six-year-old says.
“Hey!” Amber replies.  “Do you want to join the rebellion or not?”
“Um, Amber, do we want a six-year-old in our rebellion?”  I can’t believe I’m doing this.  
“Yeah, do we?” echoes the teenager.
I give him my best Glare Stare.  “You can go now,” I tell him, making sure my annoyance shows in my voice.  “You can go.”
“I think I’ll stick around.”
“I think I’ll unstick you around,” I reply in a fluty voice.
Amber says, “Let him stay, or else we won’t get anywhere.”
“We’re not getting anywhere already!”  My patience is running thin.  I consider going back to the coaster and telling everybody I see about the conspiracy and the rebellion.  Or maybe just keeping my mouth shut.  I wish I had never fallen into this mess.
Amber puts her hands on her hips, by now a familiar gesture.  “Are you going to stick around or not?” she asks Mr. Bored.
Mr. Bored replies, “I’ll stick around,” but he’s grinning like the Cheshire Cat.  
The six-year-old says, “Can I stay, too?  This place is boring.”
I sigh.  “Is this the Babysitters’ Club?”
Amber throws me a look.  “We need as many people as possible for the rebellion, Echo!”
Mr. Bored guffaws.  “Echo?”
“It’s Emily,” I tell him with as much fire as I can muster under the circumstances.
“I’m calling you Echo.”  Great, I think.  Then I ask, in a slightly politer tone, “What are your names?”
“Call me Kenneth,” says Mr. Bored.
“Too late, Mr. Bored,” I snap at him.
He cracks up even more at that.  “Mr. Bored?  That’s all you can come up with?”
“What, like Kenneth is much better,” I shoot back.  
Mr. Bored pretends to look injured.  “I kinda like my name, thank you very much.”  
Amber asks the little kid, “What’s your name?”
“Call me Slick,” says the six-year-old, with the assurance of a twenty-two-year-old.

Great.  Amber, Echo, Mr. Bored, and Slick.  

Some rebellion.

“They’re code names,” Amber explains, as if that were the obvious reason.
“That’s one way to put it,” I remark, sitting in a corner.
“So if my parents sue us, they won’t know our real names,” she goes on.
“I suppose so,” I agree dully.
Mr. Bored starts snickering.
“Be quiet,” I tell him, deciding to stay with Amber just to spite him.  “What are we going to do first?”
Amber thinks and taps at her phone.  “Well, the first step in the plan is to get divert the police from here.”
“So how do we get them to not divert the police?” I ask.
Amber shrugs.  (It’s starting to get on my nerves.)
Mr. Bored speaks up.  “We need to draw attention to ourselves before they do.”
Amber looks at her watch.  “Too late,” she tells us.  “They just did.”
We hear sirens in the distance.
Slick begins to whine.  “It’s dark,” he whimpers.  “I’m scared.”
“We should go out,” I tell Amber.  “Blend in with the crowd.”

The sounds of a roller coaster car rumble through the tunnel.  Then suddenly, it’s all lights and wheels and fragments of wall as the connected cars bursts into our little hiding place.  I have a vision of Mr. Bored running towards me, and then everything goes black.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

My Next Step

Hey, everybody!

Let me kick this post off by saying that I feel kindasortamaybe lost right now.

Ever since finishing the novel on Tuesday, I've felt...weird.  Like, I have nothing to work towards now.  I'm done with the bulk of the writing.  Now all I have to do is revise, revise, revise.

(I learned recently that "editing" is when a honest-to-goodness editor looks through the manuscript.  "Revising" is when an author goes through it.)

But there is more to the story.  After checking out the website Go Teen Writers, I decided that I will take a break.  Not quite like the six-week break they talk about, since I don't write full-time, but maybe three-four weeks.

And in those three weeks, I'm going to spend time getting acquainted with my characters.  Prior to writing, I never really just free-wrote about my main people.  I mean, I knew what they were like, but I never really explored the facets of their personalities.  In the three weeks before revising, I'm going to write short stories about each of my six main-est characters.  (There are, like, three or four main main characters, and about two-three lesser main characters).  My main character, Kasie Jordan's, will be about her history before the time of Snow in July; her best friends' will be about their limited-unique family situations (not really that unique); one of her friends' will be about adjusting to America; and the main antagonist's will be about his really--er, interesting--history.  

I'm not sure if I can finish that in just three weeks.  I'm going to make a rough plan, but I'm just going to play it by ear xD

Hopefully, I'll come out of the short-story writing stint, take a week off, and then get into the nitty-gritty of it all.

It doesn't help that I have almost absolutely NO idea what I'm doing, but my dad bought me the Go Teen Writers book, by Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson, and so I'm going to let that guide me.  

And of course, in SJ, I left a lot of open-ended questions.  And I'm starting to get some ideas for a possible sequel...

It's been really, really fun.  I can't wait to get started!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013


I wasn't planning on posting today, but ^^ look at the title.


I have to admit.  I wasn't planning on writing today, it being Christmas Day and all.  And right now I have my priorities mixed up.  So I should probably get them straightened out.

But I did finish my novel.

Final count:
-In 12-point Times New Roman, it was 96 pages.
-It was over 42000 words  (I was aiming for 50000, but I'm just not going to think about that now...)

I Finished My Novel.

*thank you, God*

I got it done on Jesus' birthday!

It's my 2.5th draft of Snow in July.  I'm going to crank in and start working on revising it, but after I allow myself a breath of fresh air.

*breathes deeply*



Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Hello again, people of the world!

Please excuse me if my last posts have seemed rushed/not quality/really bad.  I'm trying to finish Snow in July by the end of December, and I'm ahead of schedule.  (Yay!)  I'm proud to say that I only have a couple more chapters to go, and they'll be pretty quick ones, so I should be done with the 2.5th draft by the end of this year!

*sings with joy*

Anyway, I'm going to take the time to just write about my Christmas season.

My true Christmas season truly started when I began Christmas break.  It's kind of a short Christmas season, considering Saturday was the beginning of break.  (Technically yesterday, but who's counting?)  I managed to cram in a ton of stuff beginning Friday night, and right now I'm having absolutely a ball.

And I have pictures to prove it!

On Thursday, my brothers had a Christmas concert at their school.  Considering their school is, like, only fifty students, it was a pretty good concert.  They sang some songs and had snacks and all that good stuff xD
When I came home from school before the concert, however, I found that somebody from my brothers' school had made this really good toffee-chocolate treat.  They took saltine crackers and coated each side with either chocolate or a caramely mixture.  It was really good :)

Sugar-free ornaments, anyone?

After a sugar-high day at school, my brother and I went to our youth group gathering.  It was, like, the best Christmas function ever.  We made pizza and constructed gingerbread houses out of graham crackers.  I made mine two stories high and even insulated it so my imaginary graham-cracker people wouldn't be cold :)
It was an interesting time of it, because most of us had never made graham-cracker houses before and properly constructing the roofs spent a lot of energy, time, and laughter.  (I went the easy way out and did a flat roof.  Mine is the second row, second to the right).  In case you're wondering what on earth that thing to the far left, front row is, it's the remains of a very valiant graham-cracker house that bravely attempted to withstand a series of "earthquake tests" its owner forced it to undergo.  (Go back and reread that sentence.)  I forced that same person (and my brother) to do the "Call Me Maybe" version of Just Dance 4.  (I considered posting the video I took of them but decided not to humiliate them further than mentioning them on my blog.)

On Saturday, my uncle and aunt visited from afar (We two kings of orient are/bearing gifts like Amazon gift cards/Field and fountain, moor and mountain/Traveling in wonderful car)   <<apologies for horrible poem>> We had Wood Ranch and Haagen-Dazs-on-a-stick.  That same night, our church small group came over and we had a bunch of unhealthy stuff, further adding to my glorious waistline.

On Sunday, we went to church and then, with some of my brothers' church friends, went to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (see previous post).  

The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug theatrical poster.jpg
After eating dinner, my mom and I went on a shopping spree to Stein Mart and Target.  I think I've made it my own little tradition to buy my brothers and sisters gifts from Target's splendid dollar section.  I was shopping on an extremely tight budget (thirteen dollars or so), and I'm very pleased to say that I made it!  I got four out of five gifts at the dollar section, and splurged (a whopping 4 dollars!) for my mother, who deserves it :D

After that, I watched Pitch Perfect with my parents.  
Promotional poster for film "Pitch Perfect".jpg
At exacty 12:06 a.m., I went upstairs to go to bed :)

On MONDAY...I did...like, nothing.  Actually, I played a little bit of tennis.  (And failed epically).  And watched my brother play tennis very epically.  ("Epic" is out, btw).  Then I went home and typed up Snow in July.  I ate a very good lunch of leftover Wood Ranch, and then typed some more.  I was just getting to THE MOST EXCITING PART in the story when my dad decided to take us to the local baseball fields.  *GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR*  So I played soccer with my little sister, and tried to listen to music while I swung on the swings (that didn't work out too well) and went back home.  And typed up the most exciting part of the entire book, and then some.  And then ate dinner.  And then did some stuff (like reenacting Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, to see if I was a good actor for the character of Stargirl--I wasn't) and looked at Instagram and a bunch of really incredibly exciting stuff like that until I went to bed.

Today I woke up and played Minion Rush Christmas Edition (whatever you call it) until I decided I wanted to have breakfast.  I ate chicken and cheese toasted over a piece of bread.  My mom kindasortamaybe half-yelled at me, so I whirled into "productive mode" and went upstairs, got ready for the day, folded laundry, and **last picture** WRAPPED THE PRESENTS!  I made it go in "ascending bow order," which basically means that the gift with the smallest bow is my youngest sibling's, and the one with the biggest bow in my dad's.  

Later, we're heading to church for our Christmas Eve service/potluck.  And tomorrow--CHRISTMAS!

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYBODY!  Let's not forget the reason for the season!

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

-Luke 2:10-14

Sunday, December 22, 2013

TRAPPED Sunday Serial: Part Three

Part Three
Before I can scream, a small but callused hand claps over my mouth, thrusting a gag into it.  After landing on the floor with a soft thump, I’m dragged through a secret passageway and into a small, empty room floored with linoleum and lit by a single fluorescent bulb.
The bulb lights up the room just enough so I can see who was imprisoning me.
It’s the girl I’d seen in line, dressed in all pink!
She yanks the gag out.  I almost vomit when I see that it was an oily rag, formerly white but now gray.  
“Whatever you do, don’t scream,” she says sharply--I think I hear a tinge of unknown accent in her voice--“or they’ll find us.”
Who’ll find us?” I retort, thinking about calling for help.
She shoves the rag back in, and I choke on the oil.  It tastes like gasoline--damp and earthy and GROSS with all caps.
“I’m Amber Talina Sharpina Harttmin,” she says, putting her hands on her hips.  “And I’ve saved you from almost destruction.”  Her voice is low, guarded.
I want to say, How have you saved me from almost destruction? but naturally, I can’t.  So I just bite on the gag and breathe through my nose.
“Nod yes or shake no to my questions.  Have you noticed a lot of people dressed in one color?” she asks.
I nod yes.
“Are you wondering why I’m dressed in all pink?” she asks.
I nod.
She yanks the rag out.  “Tell me your theory.”  She sits down next to me.
Once again, I deliberate screaming.  But I find that I’m curious.  Too curious to pass this opportunity up.
“I said I thought it was a flash mob, but I don’t think so,” I tell her.  “Bill Myrey looked like he was about to rob a bank.”
She snorts through her nose.  “My dad told him he could just wear his jumpsuit, but, oh no, poor Mr. Myrey thought it would look better if he wore all black.  As a result, an innocent civilian gets in the way.”
“What are you talking about?” I ask Amber.
She looks at me, surprised.  “A conspiracy, of course.  I’m the ringleader’s daughter, and I want you to be my copartner in rebellion.”
She says this as matter-of-factly as if she were announcing she was going to do her math homework or something.  
“What are you talking about?” I ask, once it’s all sunk in.  “A conspiracy?  The ringleader’s daughter?  Copartner in rebellion?  First I have to know what this conspiracy is.”
Amber Talina Sharpina Harttman takes out a nail file and starts filing her perfectly polished pink nails, as if inviting a person to be part of a rebellion is no big deal.  “My dad’s planning to trap all the tourists in the park with his army of men, robbing all the money here, and getting back to our country.”
The accent.  I shake my head, undoing the weirded-out cobwebs that have been growing in it.  “Your country?”
“Nobody knows we exist.  We’re more like a colony.  We live under the Rocky Mountains,” Amber tells me.  “My ancestors came up the mountain during the pioneer days because they didn’t want to use new inventions.  And we’ve just been living there ever since.”
Her accent is slightly British.  Barely perceptible, but still, you can hear it in certain words.
“So…” I say, looking at her pink jogging outfit that’s clearly been bought from Pink.  “You don’t have, like, cell phones up there?”
“Oh, we do,” she tells me.  “We’ve reformed.  We realized that it was useless to run away from change.  We have our own cell phone tower and Wifi and stuff like that.  We never got around to moving back down there, and lately we’ve been having...financial problems.  Hence, the conspiracy.”  
I still can’t get over the fact she’s acting like it’s no big deal.  “Financial problems?” I repeat.
She just looks at me.  “What are you, an echo?  Yes, financial problems.  We need money, too.  What, you think we just, like, stole the materials for the tower and our houses?”
I’m not really quite sure what to think.
After a short reflective pause, Amber says, “Well, actually, we did.  But there are stuff that’s hard to rob.  Like bamboo.  And computer chips.  So we have to buy.”
“Um, you know that stealing’s against the law, right?” I decide right then and there that I don’t want to be part of Amber Harttmin’s rebellion.  I’m not sure if it’ll be much better than just joining the conspiracy.
“Of course.  And I’m really sad about it too.”  She doesn’t look that sad to me.
Then Amber tosses aside the nail file and stands up.  “You’ll be my copartner in the rebellion.  We’d foil my parents’ plans and save everybody in Phantom FunPark.  Not too difficult, right?”
“Um, sure, not too difficult.”  I say this with as much sarcasm as possible.
She interprets it differently.  “Great!  We’ll snap this up in no time, I’m sure.”
“No, what I meant was, Amber, we can’t do this.”  My mind is whirling.
Tilting her head, she puts her hands on her hips again.  “Why?”
“We don’t even know what your parents’ plans are--” I begin, but she pulls a gigantic phone--at least, I think it’s a phone--from her pocket and taps on the gigantic screen.  “Voila,” she announces calmly, handing it to me.
The phone must weigh ten pounds.  I hang onto it with both hands, trying to keep from dropping it.  There’s a map of PFP on it, with a bunch of blue squiggly marks and symbols that I don’t recognize.  “Do you know what those mean?” I ask her.
Amber just shrugs.  “Yeah, sure.  They’re basically going to surround the entire park with their cars, use their Phone Disabling satellite to disable all electronics, make a distraction for the police, and get away with the money and credit card info, which is being acquired with a special virus.  Problem solved.”
“Um.”  When you put it that way, I think to myself, it actually sounds easy.
“Do you know what we’re going to do?” I ask.
Amber shrugs again.  “Sure.  Press the green button.”
“Um, which one?” There are about a dozen of them on the sides.
“The one on the middle left.”  I press it.  The screen changes to another map of the park, this time with red squiggly arrows and symbols.  I stare at it.  “That’s our plan of counterattack?”
She shrugs, for a third time.  “Yep.”
This one’s not much for words.  “Amber, how many people is your dad bringing?”
Amber says, “I think about two thousand.”
Two thousand?”
“Echoing again.”
“Sorry.  But Amber, how many other people are in this rebellion?”
She grins.  “Just you and me, Echo. And then some.”
“My name’s Emily.”
“I’m calling you Echo.”
I shrug.  It’s not the worst nickname I’ve ever received.  “Um, Amber, how are we going to defeat an army of two thousand with an army of two or so?”
She leans in close.  “It’s called recruiting.”
Then she claps her hands together.  “Let’s go get some more people to join our cause, now shall we?”
“Wait--” I begin to say, but she’s already out the door.

What on earth have I gotten myself into?