Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Great Destiny

I'm linking up with Miss Melody's Quote Quest, where we write scenes based on quotes. This scene is one that may or not make it into Lady Dragon, Tela Du. In any case, it's a good introduction to the softer side of Petra, and a glimpse into her relationship with Laura, which is a bit of a big sisterly one at the moment due to the fact that Petra used to babysit her (during which time she went by "Alyce" for reasons I will not yet disclose), and the Laura in this portion of the book is pretty close to the beginning of her life, and isn't very sure of herself yet. And yes, they're in the Kastle at the moment, which would set this seen somewhere in part three, so, enjoy!

Via Pinterest
Petra stepped into the Heartroom to find Laura sitting on one of the stairs, legs hugged to her chest. The poor girl looked so forlorn, reminding Petra of a little, lost puppy.

Smiling slightly, Petra approached the girl and sat down next to her, wrapping an arm around her. "You okay, Alyce?"

Laura uncurled enough to lean into Petra. "Yeah, I think so."

"I'd suggest ice cream, but I'm not sure they have that here," Petra continued.

Laura shook her head. "No, they don't. But I wish they did. Ice cream sounds really good right now." She sighed. "That's one of the bad things about being the Doorkeeper. Every world is so very different."

Petra stood and tugged Laura up with her. "Come on, kid, you can't mope all day. Let's go to the kitchens and see if my title can conjure up any proper comfort foods."

Laura gripped Petra's hand tightly as they navigated the halls of the Kastle. The kitchens were found and soon the two secured some puddings that would have to do in lieu of ice cream, and they retreated to the empty ball room to enjoy the dessert.

"Better?" asked Petra, after Laura had consumed most of her bowl.

The girl nodded slightly. "As better as food can make it. Thank you, Petra."  Then she let out a huge sigh.
"So, what's on your mind?" Petra prompted. "Talking makes it better, you know."

Laura shook her head. "I can't tell you. Maybe if you were older, but you're too young to understand. I wish you were older. I wish..." she trailed off with another huge sigh. "I've never met you so young before - and all the Lauras you've met - including the Alyce you used to babysit, were much older. We're like two strangers and yet ... best friends at the same time, and it hurts."

Petra swallowed. "Well ... every friendship has to start somewhere, you know."

"Yeah, I guess so. Still, I wish I could have normal friendships, where I get to know people in the normal way, where I don't have to worry about saying the wrong thing and messing everything up. As it is ... I have so many friends, in so many worlds - and she told me that I'd only make more - but I still feel so lonely at times."


"Well, myself. My older self, and I suppose she would know. I'm the Doorkeeper, destined to be known by everyone, yet no one."

"Alyce ... you don't mind if I still call you that? Laura just doesn't feel right, too old, and you're too young."

"I don't mind," said Laura with a shake of her head. "It's ... what I introduced myself to you as, I guess. And you always have called me by that name."

"Well, Alyce, I think everyone feels that way sometimes," Petra continued. "Especially people who are important. It's so easy to feel like no one knows you. I can't begin to count the times..."

"But you have Reuben," Laura pointed out.

"Reuben does not know me," said Petra, firmly. "He thinks he does, but he's just fooling himself."

"But someday..."

"Someday may come, but we're not talking about him right now," said Petra firmly. "Everyone, especially people who are in any way important, feels lonely from time to time. And the more important you are, the more people expect of you without actually getting to know you, the lonelier you feel. Perhaps I have Reuben, and I do appreciate him, but that doesn't negate the fact that everyone - including you and Reuben - expect me to fight the Lady Dragon. No one consulted me on the issue, no one took into consideration what I would like to do, they just took one look at my face and decided that I'm the one to toss into the fire."

"But you..." Laura didn't finish the thought, instead glancing away self-consciously.

"Will win?" prompted Petra. "Come now, you're not supposed to be giving away the future, now aren't you."


"And I know you feel the same way," Petra continued. "You're still at the start of your life, and you're still not sure you actually want the role of Doorkeeper, and yet everyone you know - and people you barely know, but claim to know you - expect you to fill it. So, I guess it boils down to: are you going to fulfill the task set before you? Or are you going to run away at the first opportunity?"

"I don't think I can run - I tried. I ended up here." Laura stared thoughtfully at her bowl, then glanced back up at Petra. "What about you? Are you going to run?"

"I'd like to," said Petra. "But I suppose, like you, it won't matter what I do. If I'm destined to fight the Lady Dragon, then it's what I'm going to do, whether I run towards her or against her. And, just so you know - I'll always be your friend, or try to be."

Laura nodded. "I guess, for now, that will have to do."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cover Reveal - The Crossways

And I'm back for yet another cover reveal! The Crossways by Morgan Elizabeth Huneke.

This is another book that I'm extremely excited about. I've already had the opportunity to beta read it, having loved the first book of the trilogy, and having become great friends with the author. And let me just say, if you love portal fantasy, this is a series you don't want to miss, and if you loved the first book of the trilogy, you are going to adore this one. I know I did. (I also ripped it to shreds, but, um, Morgan asked me to do that, and once she puts it back together, it will be even more awesome.)

You'll probably be getting a full review from me later. Like, when it releases and I've had a chance to read a more final copy.

If you haven't had a chance to read the first book yet, it's free today only on Amazon. You can read my review for the lovely story here.

But, you guys know me, no cover just yet. First have a mini-interview with the author!

About the Author
Morgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Her other interests include reading, playing the piano and violin, and politics. She is the author of Across the Stars and The Experiment.

You can connect with Morgan on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

1  1.       What was the inspiration for this particular story?
This particular story? Well, it was a continuation from the unspecified inspiration for Creighton Hill influenced by Narnia, Gone-Away Lake, Tuck Everlasting, and Ilyon Chronicles. It does have a little something extra, though. One day during lunch, my sisters were coming up with book titles and covers and having me decide the premise of the book. One was The Crossways and the cover was of a boy on a dragon flying over a mountain. I said the Crossways was a portal with people stuck inside it, and the boy was going to rescue them. Now, that’s not what The Crossways is about. But it does have a boy and a dragon and a place called The Crossways, even though that place is not a portal with people stuck inside it. I would like to play with that concept someday, though.

2.      What sets this book apart from other books?
It has a lot of things mixed together that usually are in separate books. Other books have stuff like the stereotypical ante-bellum South, gladiators, dragons, merfolk, evil rulers, pirates…but I put it all together in one story, woven together with its own story in a way that works. And I like to think that my characters are unique. Adriel, anyway. I think he sets this book apart.

3.      What's your favorite writing medium?

I’m not really sure at this point. I’m faster at typing, but a notebook is more portable. I get pretty equally distracted with both, though. Seriously, all it takes for me to get distracted is my brain. My thoughts can be just as distracting as Pinterest. I want an Alphasmart Neo2. I’m hoping it’ll be a Happy Medium.

All right, I'll let you see the cover.

Gorgeous, isn't it? Be sure to add it on Goodreads (meanwhile, take note of my own five star rating of the story)

About the Book
“M’lady, it has been fairly well confirmed that the Redona was hidden away by the merfolk at the conclusion of the Great War instead of destroyed as was commanded. My brother has confirmed to me Joseph’s belief that it was concealed at the Crossways.”
Toarna pressed her fingertips together in thought. “It must be recovered and destroyed as was at first intended.”

Emily, Allan, Jill, and Joey have been reunited with their long lost ancestors. But with that reunion comes the true beginning of their quest: free the rightful king of Calhortz so that he may be restored to his throne. The Redona, the only object that can free him from his long imprisonment, is rumored to be concealed in The Crossways, a mountain across the sea which cannot be entered.

A slave since birth, Adriel’s resentment and hatred towards the strytes only grows as his family is continually ripped from him. He longs for the freedom the Time Captives are prophesied to bring, but he doubts their existence, just as he doubts God’s love. Circumstances in Calhortz are so dire. How could they ever improve?

Who can enter The Crossways? Will the king ever be freed? Or will the slaves of Calhortz lose all hope of freedom before it is even offered to them?

The Crossways is the second book of the Time Captives trilogy, a tale of faith, family, fantasy, and a fight for truth and freedom.

Release Date

The Crossways, Time Captives book 2, will be released on October 19th, 2015. Stay tuned on Morgan’s blog and Facebook page for more information and sneak peeks.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Upity Datity

So I've been chipping my way at school these last few weeks, and I'm sure all of you are eager to hear how I'm doing.

I'm doing quite well, thank you. And your prayers have been very much appreciated.

For those of you who are my friends on Goodreads, you may have noticed that I've finished Biology and have moved onto Chemistry. Apologia is an interesting curriculum. On one hand, I enjoy how thorough, and Biblically based it is, but on the other hand, I frequently feel like I'm being talked down to. Not a fun feeling - I get that I'm doing this curriculum four years late, but do they seriously have to explain every little detail? I knew what Work was back in elementary school studying simple machines. And seriously, every book uses the "push the wall" analogy. Can't someone get creative and use Mjolnir instead? Just a thought?

History is coming, and I'm using Streams of Civilization . I actually only started it last Thursday, and I decided to back up to the start of the second volume, which meant back to the Renascence. It's slow reading, but I did read three chapters over the course of Thursday and Friday. Since this is the book that fits in my purse, (I ... have a big purse, though it's not quite big enough for my science books) this is the one I take with me places.

Algebra II is coming, though I've flow through everything I already knew and have necessarily slowed down. Also, taking expressions on and off graphs annoy me. I don't mind them so much if they're already on the graph and I merely have to answer questions about them, but, they're annoying. Don't get me wrong, I love math, but if equation graphs and theorems were to be excluded from my education, I wouldn't miss them. If you want to keep track of me on Khan Academy, you can check out my profile.

And finally, the research paper. No, I've not started it, but I have settled on a topic: The Printing Press. I need to get to the library before I can focus on it, though, so I'm hoping to get started next month. (And maybe have Chemistry out of the way. Possibly?)

I've also turned a hand towards cleaning my (incredibly messy) room, starting by going through my closet. I get a lot of my clothes second-hand and hand-me-around, so I've accumulated quite a bit. Including stuff that I've never actually worn and doesn't actually look good on me. So I'm getting rid of it. I have a french fry box and a half filled ... and I've still not made a dent. Ah, well, I'll keep chipping.

I've not worked on Bookania or Poison Kiss as much as I'd planned. I've not pulled up my Bookania documents, though I really need to work on "Gift Exchange" which is about a third of the way through. Also, and I've been meaning to bring this up, but I'm working on revising Sew, It's a Quest for the sake of the collection, so if you have any issues, be they plot/grammar/spelling/you name it, with the story, now is the time to let me know about them so I can see what I can do about fixing them. Let me know in a private email, however -

Poison Kiss is stuck on the introduction scene between Auralea and Edmund, who is the love interest. Also the apprentice to the court physician.

Lady Dragon, Tela Du has made a bit more progress, but Laura sent me off topic talking about some weird language and now I need her to put us back on topic.

I did make a mock cover for LDTD, so people have something to catch their eye on Goodreads. I rather like it. I'm not entirely certain what the importance of the four-pointed star is, but I also put them on the title reveal button, so maybe they'll play in as important? I don't know. As I've said, I keep a loose hand on my plot when I write.

And I've come up with an idea for the official cover that I really like. Obviously, I can't use the exact same theme as WPFP, but I have something similar and equally symbolic planned. Now just to see if I can pull it off.

For those of you who may be wondering how the release of WPFP went, oh, it was awesome. Let's just say, I've made more sales these last two weeks - including on some of my other books - than I usually make in six months. And SEVERAL people have read my stuff with the Kindle Unlimited stuff. At least eight or nine people read WPFP based on the page count report I'm receiving. Someone read Take and Kingdom yesterday.

And I recently realized that Christmastime this year will mark ten years of work on Rizkaland. I may have to throw a party. We'll see how it goes.

((And for fans of Ilyon, can we just squeal about the cover of Samara's Peril? I still love TKS's better, but this one is gorgeous, too. Dragons!))

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cover Reveal: Yorien's Hand

I'm incredibly excited about today's cover reveal. I read the first book in its series about two years ago, and rather enjoyed it, and then won the second book in it's release giveaway ... and proceeded to leave it on my shelf until this last summer where I read it for my personal "read all the books I own" challenge.

The second book, you see, was a prequel, focusing on the backstory of the guy who was one of my least favorite characters. (Sorry Brant fans, but I have trust issues with narrating characters who clearly know things that are important - essential to the plot, and then refuse to let the reader know about them. He's an awesome guy, I'll give him that, and I like him better after reading his backstory, but our relationship is strained.) I wanted to know more about Kamarie (because I love princesses who can be awesome and ladylike at the same time), Oraeyn (I want to see how he goes from the end of the first book), and Yole (because Yole is adorable and is a ... well, that's a spoiler). I wanted to travel forward in the plot.

Well, guess what? Book 3, Yorien's Hand, is the answer to my wish! So I'm naturally excited. I want this book now. Unfortunately, it's not out now. I'll have to be patient for a bit longer. In the meantime, I can stare at the cover and sigh. 

Maybe I'll show you a picture of it. Nah, have a picture of the author instead.

 Author Bio
Jenelle Schmidt grew up in the northern-midwest. She now resides with her husband and their three adorable children in North Carolina where the summers are too hot and there is never enough snow. Jenelle fell in love with reading at a young age during family storytimes. To this day she enjoys creating exciting adventure tales filled with poignant themes and compelling characters in the fantasy and sci-fi genres.

Book Description:
The years of Oraeyn’s short rule have been peaceful, but now ominous nightmares plague his sleep and cling to him during his waking hours. When two of his most trusted advisors disappear without a trace and not even the power of dragons can locate them, the fell promise of the king’s nightmares becomes reality.

From the furthest reaches of the world, an ancient enemy stirs. Stretching beyond his crumbling prison walls, this foe seeks to bring life to the darkest of shadows. His army marches towards Aom-igh with deadly intent, threatening all Oraeyn holds dear.

Aided by dragons, and with the warrior Brant and Princess Kamarie at his side, Oraeyn must journey into the wilds of a forgotten realm. Trusting in the wisdom and skill of the enigmatic minstrel, Kiernan Kane, the companions race against time in search of Yorien’s Hand, a relic that may hold the power to save them all.

Oh, all right, I won't hoard it to myself forever. Here it is!

I love the style of her covers, they're works of art, to be certain. I think this one may be my favorite - there's a dragon on it.

Be sure to add the book on Goodreads - I know I already have. If you haven't read the first two books,  I highly recommend them both.


And, before we go, Jenelle has kindly provided us with snippets. Unfortunately, we can only post one. Have one with Kamarie and Oraeyn.

  Finally, only Oraeyn, Brant, and Kiernan remained in the room. Brant laid a reassuring hand on Oraeyn’s shoulder and then turned to the story-teller.
  “That was quite the tale, minstrel. I suppose you’ll be staying behind, or perhaps disappearing... again?”
  A smile played across the minstrel’s face. “Oh, no, I think I shall be coming along on this adventure,” he replied. “I believe I will be able to offer some help, to you, Sir Brant, in particular.”

  Brant grimaced and glowered. But Kiernan continued, turning his attention to Oraeyn. “Sire, please do be sure to pack plenty of food for the journey, for I shall sorely miss the palace kitchen while we are away, but such is the lot of heroes, and it is unbecoming to complain.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Via Pinterest
Since Water Princess, Fire Prince has been officially released into the world I can now begin introducing you to the characters of book two. Because with the exception of Amber, Granite, Laura, and Alphego, it's a completely different cast. On the Rizkan end, it takes place a thousand years later, and predominately on the mainland, rather than on the island of Klarand. On Earth's end, I'm focusing on what I call the "Rizkan Group" rather than the "Klarand Group" that is the Water Princess, Fire Prince, and everyone else who has ruled over that island. (If you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about.)

I have talked a bit about Petra, admittedly, but as she was one of my first characters, it was something I couldn't really resist.

So to start with, I'm going to talk about Ashna, one of the most adorable young ladies who has ever barged into my writing and demanded I include her story.

Okay, so she didn't demand, that really isn't her style. She just smiled very sweetly and bribed me with interesting tidbits about her life.

Ashna has been in the story since the very first draft, and her role and story has actually changed very little in her overarching development. However, she wasn't a character I planned to be in the story. If you'll remember, Lady Dragon, Tela Du was an attempt to rewrite the LWW movie at the time, and I was trying to limit the cast to accommodate our supply of actors/actresses.

GWTT (abbrivieated form of the play's original title), was set on an orphanage for some reason - something that hasn't changed, though in LDTD, Arden orphanage was closed down about twenty years before, and is now just a house again - and so naturally, there were a lot of orphans running around. And I was stuck. Petra (who was at the time a very enthusiastic cross between Peter and Lucy), had just gotten back from Arcaland, but her younger siblings weren't believing her that there was a world inside a tunnel tube, and out of the blue, this girl just runs up to Petra and declared "I believe you."

I didn't know her name at the time - in fact, I called her "Noname" for a while. (Please keep in mind that I was eleven and didn't know what I was doing at the time.) But I took her back to Arcaland with Petra, where the Tumnus character, an elf then-called I-is, (don't ask), claimed her as his daughter, and finally told me her name.

Her largest change occurred when I rearranged the characters to accommodate love interests. In that draft, she became the girl that Petra's parents adopted after Petra's sister, Sarah, disappeared. As such, she was no longer the girl to provide validation out of the blue, but a source of strife. I'll let you know now, because it's still true, but Petra hates Ashna - who is now called Ashley while in the human world - with a passion.

Ashna is a Bookdaughter. She's only eighteen when we're introduced to her in Part 1, (and by elvish aging, that's equivalent to fourteen or fifteen), so she hasn't taken on the full responsibilities of a Bookdaughter, and she can't Speak prophecies yet. She does have a Bookdaughter's amazing memory, and has not only memorized the short version of nearly three hundred legends, but the long versions of both Alphego's Hill and Water Princess, Fire Prince. WPFP happens to be her favorite legend of all time, as she's a bit of a hopeless romantic. She also has a strong mischief side, mostly in conjunction with her gift - color changing.

She's an only child. Which is an interesting situation because it means she has no brothers for her father (who is now named Ritis, instead of I-is, thankfully) to hand down the Book to when he retires. Her mother is an interesting character to work with, as she seems to be great friends with Laura.

All said, Ashna is a fun character to work with, and I look forward to sharing her story.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Sob Story of My Life: Or, The Reason I haven't Graduated Yet

Or, The Reason Why I'm About To Take an Internet Hiatus.

Blog interviews this last year or so have gotten increasingly harder. Why? The first question, the almost certain "Tell me a bit about yourself." Why? Because I want to put down the fact that I'm homeschooled, and that I'm 20 ... and then it gets embarrassing. You may have noticed my clever wording of "20 and homeschooled my whole life" that I used throughout the blog tour.

Because I can't say homeschool graduate, and people expect that of a 20-year-old.

It's difficult in real life, too. People ask me if I've graduated, and I answer "It's complicated," because no, I haven't dropped out, but I'm not technically in school either. I quickly tack on a "but I've published six books" and they're usually more impressed after that, but still. That underlying "I haven't graduated yet - what kind of author doesn't finish high school?" hangs awkward in the air.

And honestly, I wonder what my younger self, say eleven or twelve years old, would think if she were to meet me. You see, I had big plans for my education. I was going to be done with "school" by sixteen, and then use my Timothy Award that I was going to win in AWANA to help pay for college. And I was on track for it, too. I started school a year and a half early, so eager was I to learn new things, and I was crunching through my AWANA handbooks every Wednesday. I was smart enough for it, that's an undeniable fact.

But somewhere about twelve, I began to let my study get away from me, and by the time I was sixteen, I could barely focus on it.

I don't have much school left to do: A research paper for English (I have no idea what I'm going to write about), two half-credits in Science (Chemistry and Biology, I've gotten about halfway through each), a half-credit in math (Algebra II), and modern history. (Post Revolutionary war - present.)

I'm not here to ask for pity, make excuses, or anything like that, I'm just going to tell my story - to stand before you guys as human instead of the perfect authoress I try to pretend to be. Because I'm not perfect, and neither has been my life.

Until I was five, my life was pretty normal. As I said, I even started school a year or so early. There were bumps in my life, I'm sure (such as my sister being in and out of the hospital with Asthma), but for the most part, the bumps didn't faze me. It was the adventure of life. But that year, my dad, a computer programmer, lost his job. He got a second, even better one quickly enough, but it only lasted six months.

And so, that year and a half was spent with a LOT of moving - first from our house in Colorado, down to Texas to stay a few weeks/months with my grandparents, then back to Colorado because dad had a new job, and then back down to Texas "temporarily" which became a permanent state of flux for the next two and a half years where we went back and forth between my two grandparents.

Divorce is one thing that I've never had to live through, thank the Lord, but these few years was close to it. We spent Saturday through Wednesday with my dad's parents, and the rest of the week with my mom's. My dad stayed permanently with his parents, because we had two and half rooms in their house, and only one with my mom's parents (toward the end, they were also housing my aunt and her family).  Mom was trying to not be in the way and give both sets of parents time to spend with us, since this was "temporary" and we were suppose to move far away again.

Finally, an uncle died, and his wife decided to gift us with her trailer home, and we spent the next six weeks or so fixing it up so we could live in it, during which time, we practically forgot about school. However, once that was done, we had a stable home, and we didn't have to be moving twice a week.

About 18 months later, when I was ten, I gained my younger brother, which meant a major rearranging so we had room for him.

However, aside from that, this was probably the most stable period of my life for some time.

Then, when I was twelve, our Dad lost his job again. This set in motion several years where our family literally dreaded spring as:

When I was thirteen, our mother suffered a nasty miscarriage. Miscarriages were nothing new in our family - but this one occurred later in the pregnancy than the others - in what she had previously considered the safe zone. This miscarriage was so bad, they had to take her to the hospital - where she was given a painkiller which she was allergic to. We almost lost her. She spent the next several months in a deep depression, during which time V and I basically had to run the household on our own.

But the year I turned fourteen was probably the worst. In February, mom discovered she was pregnant again - which meant she had to take things easy again - V and I took over the household once more, my Grammy was going to help. But just a week or so later, my grandparents (to whom we still lived next door to, mind you), gained custody of a two-year-old to whom the word "no" was a foreign language.

And then, the day before Mother's day, my Grammy collapsed. We rushed her to the hospital, but God took her home within twenty-four hours. This sent our whole family into a tailspin. Grammy was one of those special women who managed to have her whole world revolving around her as she took care of everyone, and without her, it took us a bit of time to find our equilibrium again, especially for one aunt.

My baby sister was born, and then just six weeks later, we nearly lost her, my brother, and mom in a car accident. They all survived, miraculously, but the repercussions continue to this day.

The next spring, a family friend had complications following the birth of her youngest, so for the next eight weeks, we added four extra kids to our household during the week, one of whom is special needs.

Please note that during this time, my Dad was, for the most part, unemployed. He reffed during basketball and volleyball seasons, and he had a few temporary jobs, but nothing full-time.

The spring I was sixteen, Dad had a heart attack. Fortunately, basketball season had just ended, and he survived it, but we went into yet another tailspin. It was months before he was back on his feet.  Mom doesn't drive, and we did without a lot that summer.

During this time, I always turned to writing as a form of escape, as a way to control something in a life that was way out of my control. This was the year I discovered NaNo, and in specific, the NaNo forums, the roleplays in particular. And, well, let's just say that I got a bit addicted. Mom thought I was doing school, but I would be there instead. This lasted at least six or seven months, while my parents tried to find a way to keep me off of the site, but I worked around it until my dad put a block on the term "NaNoWriMo" on our internet. Said block exists to this day, which means that if a URL contains that term, I can't pull it up. Mere "NaNo" is fine, which is why it's what I use when blogging.

I've said before that I published Sew rather on a whim, and this is the reason why: I felt desperate. I wanted a way to help bring in a bit of an income, and I really wanted to start my journey to fame and fortune.

With publication came a shift in my own attitude. I began to think of myself as an author rather than a student, and I'd fallen so far out of the habit of school, it was almost impossible for me to focus. I made progress, and I'd devour the subjects I was interested in, like History (until modern times) and English.  (I was really on a roll when it came to math too, until I was introduced to theorems in Geometry.)

When I was seventeen, we housed the whole family of our family friends, while they were going through a rather crazy move, for about six months.

Just as my life was evening out and I was gaining more time to work on things, I got my job, which ate up all my time. You guys know most of the rest of the story.

So, long story short, I'm not graduated, though I'm nearly there. And it's not because I'm stupid, but because I'm easily distracted or hyper focused, and I often use that as an excuse for laziness. That's why I'm going to disappear from the internet for the next few months. Because I've been dividing my time too much. I'll post from time to time here on my blog - such as posting the research paper for you guys to grade. (BTW, I have no idea what I'm going to write it on, so any ideas? I'm considering the ear, because my last research paper was the eye.) And I'll probably keep up with Goodreads, and some Facebook. But if you see me anywhere else (or you see me posting too much on Goodreads or Facebook) you have my full permission to ask me how I'm doing on graduation, and quietly guilt me back to work (because I am easily distracted).

And I do plan to devote exactly thirty minutes a day to writing - ten minutes each to LDTD, Poison Kiss, and the Bookania collection (because I have books 3.5 and one and half a short stories left to write). Because each of those projects have a looming deadline I still need to meet, so I need to continue to be making progress. I'll be using a timer on these projects, and I tend to write faster if I'm going against a timer, so hopefully I'll get some good words.

So farewell! I hope you guys won't miss me too much - I know I'm going to miss all of you. I intend to be graduated by NaNo, so hopefully I'll be back by then. If I'm not, I'll have to reevaluate my life.

Monday, September 7, 2015


Well, the general consensus is clear - Andrew is a more likable character than Clara from the start, she goes through wonderful character development, and together they make an adorable couple. Also, I'm a brilliant worldbuilder. Just sayin'.

And now comes the day you all were looking forward to - when you find out who gets that shiny copy of Water Princess, Fire Prince, and that bottle of Citrus Bliss.

Now I could hold it over your head and torment you guys for a while, but no, I don't feel like doing that today. It's ....

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations Erika! I'll be emailing you later today.

As for the winner of the commenting contest, that would be Amanda Beguerie with 88 comments. Woooh!! You were busy,

So as your prize, you get to read Lady Dragon, Tela Du as I write it. As in, each time I finish a part, I will email it to you. Whether or not you return me feedback is entirely optional, though I would appreciate it. (Also, would you like the 9,000 words I have written now, or would you rather wait until I have part 1 finished?)

I also had two amazing runnerups - Sarah Taleweaver at 74 and Erika at 73. Each of you will be getting a special top-secret prize within the week.

Thank all of you for taking part in in the blog tour. It was amazing, and I'm glad to hear that you all enjoyed the book, and to hear your excitement and wanting to read it. It meas a lot to me, it really does.

A bit of a heads up though - I'm about to take an internet/writing hiatus. I'll be posting details on the why tomorrow, but basically, I have a chapter of my life that I need to square away, but once I have it taken care of, I should have more writing time.

And, to close out - a snippet!

  “May I help?” Amber asked at length.
  Both mother and daughter turned to Amber with startled surprise.
  “But, your highness!” the mother breathed. “You’re a queen!”
  “Should that prevent me from doing honest work?” Amber shook her head. “Where I come from, queens are expected to get their own meals the same as peasants, and to share when they are able. I just ask that you clear the table.”
  The mother nodded for the daughter to do as Amber bid, and within moments, the long table was bare – for there had been little on it to begin with.
  Amber drew a long bit of dark blue cloth out of her pocket, and unfolded it until it was large enough to cover the table. Winking at the girl, she clapped her hands, and muttered a word under her breath. The silver embroidery swirled around a moment, and then all sorts of exquisite meats, pastries, soups and salads appeared. When Amber felt there was quite enough, she clapped her hands again.
  She waved her hand over the spread. “This is how royalty eat where I come from.”
- Lady Dragon, Tela Du.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Rizkaland: A Writing Journey

I've been working on Rizkaland in some form or fashion for nearly ten years now. That's longer than any of my other worlds, with the exception of the Rowa, which isn't nearly as developed. Though, to be honest, the Rowa is part of the Rizkaland mulitverse.

In other words, I've been working on Rizkaland for a very long time, and it pretty much represents most of my writing journey.

So, looking back, some things that this world has taught me about writing:

1. How to stick with a story.
Previously, the longest thing I wrote was maybe a thousand words long, and usually unfinished. Working on the play that became book two not only taught me to finish a draft, but to come back and rewrite it, make it better.

2. How to write when I'm not sure what to say next.
I was just reading through the one unfinished draft of Lady Dragon, Tela Du that I still have, and ran across this line.
A. Jane: You may call me Aunt Jane, even though my name is Sarah.
Now, apart from banging my head against the wall from the sheer idiocy of this statement (because I never mentioned it again, or explained why she wanted to be called Jane), I have to admire this line, because, to be honest, I wasn't sure what to write next, so I just wrote something. And sometimes, a writer just has do do that.

3. How to write weird stuff and then edit it back out.
Have I mentioned Nerissa? Well, basically, she was a doll that I gave Clara in lieu of the sword she has now. Nerissa was a magic doll. Clara could, um, basically use her as a second body and eyes and go and spy on people. It was weird, though I wouldn't say it was the worst idea I ever had, just not one well suited to Rizkaland. But I didn't know this until I tried it, and now Nerissa is gone. I may resurrect her into a completely different book someday, I don't know.

4. How to write a guy.
I am not a guy. I have very few guys in my life. (At least, not since I graduated from AWANA's Truth and Training, which was about the time I started writing). I find a guy's brain to be a very foreign place. However, when I sat down to write Water Princess, Fire Prince, I was determined to write the best guy I could. And, with the help of a lot of reading (books by male authors - oh, and marriage counselling books.), I finally figured it out.

5. How to steal like an artist.
And how to blend all the little bits I collect until it's something all my own.

6. How to write romance.
Have I told you about the first proposal scene I ever wrote? Basically, I lined up the young men on one side, young ladies on the other, had the boys each ask one of the girls, got their answer, and once they were all paired up, called it good. I'm serious! In fact, I had multiple scenes like that all throughout the Rizkaland series.
But then I got to Clara and Andrew. and I knew I had to do them different. They were the only two pulled through from our world in their book, and it allowed me to focus on them more. And it allowed me to build them a relationship.

7. And last but not least, how to write an allegory.
How to filter God's Truths through fiction, so to speak. I don't pretend to write anything near the perfection of Jesus' parables, but I'm learning.

And so we conclude the final day of the official tour! Thank you so much to everyone who participated! You do have until Sunday night to finish entering all the giveaways, by the way, so hurry along and do that. I'll be posting the winners on Monday!

Dolls, Books, and Things that Matter - Abraham
Dreams and Dragons - Me
writinganyone - Me
Lianne Taimenlore
Flights from Aerie - Dual Review with the Blogger's Younger Brother!
Elvish Pens, Fantastical Writings.

Free Books! Currently, the following books are free:

Saffron’s Big Plan:

Giveaways! I have two. The first is a rafflecopter giveaway with the prize being a signed physical copy of Water Princess, Fire Prince and a bottle of Citrus Bliss, which is a essential oil blend of about seven citruses and vanilla extract - and as readers of Water Princess, Fire Prince know, that's the smell of warm bathwater in Rizkaland.

The other prize is for the person who leaves the MOST comments during this tour, be they here on my blog, on my posts for the tour - including the countdown posts I was doing last week - or on the interviews and reviews and such on other blogs. (And yes, you can comment multiple times on the same post, but there must be someone else commenting between your comments, or you must be replying. And constructive comments, please. Don't be commenting just to be commenting, or I won't count it.) I'm not entirely certain what this giveaway's prize will be, but I'm kinda leaning towards a chance to Alpha read book two. If so, if there's a tie, then I'll award the prize to both people who tie.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Initiation

First of all, thank you to everyone who attended the Facebook party last night! It was a ton of fun. The giveaways are still open until tonight, so if you missed it, but have facebook, you can go read what went on. I'll be posting the winners tomorrow morning.

Clara and Andrew paused at the doorway and shared a glance. She sighed.

"Do we have to do this?"

"Kendra's orders," said Andrew, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Come on, I don't think it'll be that bad."

"Don't speak too soon." She shoved open the door and marched in, he a step behind her. They were confronted by a round table, around which six people sat: Robin, Robert, Arthur, Madeleine, Eric, and Jen.

"It's about time you two showed up," said Robin, rolling her eyes, earning a backhand from her brother.

"As though you're always timely," said Clara, as she and Andrew sat down in the two remaining empty seats. "So what do you want with the two of us, because we're rather busy with the whole get-rid-of-the-Dragon business."

"This won't take any of your time," said Jen, leaning forward. "Kendra has pulled all of us out of our stories and when you get back, you'll find that no time at all passed."

"Fair enough," said Andrew.

Clara narrowed her eyes at Jen. "You don't know you're a character. You think you're the author of your book."

Jen drew back and shrugged. "Well, she's informed me otherwise for the purpose of this post. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the information, to be honest, but since she'll be wiping my memory as soon as we leave, I don't think I have to do anything."

"O-kay." Clara shook her head. "So what does Kendra want you guys to talk to Andrew about? She's got my reckless rip-off and her family, and miss I-think-I-can-play-both-sides-of-the-fence. Look, Andrew and I are older characters than any of you."

Arthur shifted in his seat, casting a side-wise glance towards his cousin. "Uh, yeah, but we all somehow got published before you did."

"Oh," said Clara, leaning back in her seat and folding her arms over her chest. "So that's what this is all about."

"Yes," said Madeleine. "Kendra wants us, the main characters of her previously published works, to give you a few words of advice."

"What about the main characters from the short stories?" asked Clara, being difficult.

"Kendra decided to leave them out for simplicity's sake," explained Jen. "Just the six of us who had the greatest amount of POV in her four longer books."

"Okay, fine," said Clara. "What do we need to know about being published characters? How is it any different from being unpublished, aside from the fact that Kendra can't bother us anymore."

"At least until book three ," Andrew pointed out.

"I'm ignoring that fact for the moment," said Clara, waving him off. "Kendra's trying to negotiate me into a cameo for book two, but that is not in my contract. That aside, how is it different?"

"Believe me," said Eric, "it's very different."

"First of all," said Jen, "perhaps it has left Kendra's hands, but now you're in the hands of the readers - and perhaps you noticed it with the beta readers, but now it's going to be complete strangers. They're going to be bringing their own stories to your story, and it may change things, little things, mostly, but they'll be changes nonetheless."

"I get that, I read," said Clara, shaking her head. "It's the price of publication."

"Indeed," said Madeleine. "But the thing is, you've got to handle yourself with dignity - even when they're passing nasty judgement."

"Does dignity include paint on the nose?" Clara asked, innocently.

"CLARA!" Andrew kicked her under the table.

Madeleine waved her off. "Don't worry, I'm used to it from Samson. No, unless you're an artist, it does not include paint. It means don't make snide comments all the time and be nice. Something that Robin here is only just now figuring out."

"Actually, I think it's more Eric than anything else," said Robert, grinning. "He's been a good influence on her."

"Eric is a good character," said Jen, nodding. "No wonder he's the general favorite in Bookania."

"And that reminds me," said Eric, "for you, Andrew. Kendra wants me to warn you specifically about the fangirls."

Andrew's face paled under the freckles. "Fangirls?"

"Apparently, you've already picked up a few through the beta reading process," Eric explained, "and you're likely to only gather more. Now fangirls are are rather ... special creatures. Um, basically, be nice to them and hope they leave you alone."

"That sounds like girls in general," Andrew observed.

"Yes, but in this case, they think they have more liberties since you're fictional," said Eric. "They probably won't leave you alone."

"Looking forward to it," said Andrew, sighing.

"So why does he get fangirls and I don't?" asked Clara.

"Because female characters don't seem to get as many fangirls," said Robin, shrugging. "Unless you're part of an adorable couple, so I guess you'll get some second hand from Andrew. Like I have to pick up the leavings from Eric and Robert."

"Sounds fun. Now are we done?"

"I'll declare it so," said Jen. "I'm ready to forget this happened."

"Same here." Clara stood up and swept out of the room.

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke - Amber
The Splendor Falls on Castle Walls - Jill Anna
A Heart Redeemed - Me
Jaye L. Knight - Me
Dolls, Books, and Things That Matter
Sutori no Hana
Overactive Imagination - Group review with the Blogger's Younger sisters!

Free Books! Currently, the following books are free:

Do You Take This Quest?
Saffron’s Big Plan:

Giveaways! I have two. The first is a rafflecopter giveaway with the prize being a signed physical copy of Water Princess, Fire Prince and a bottle of Citrus Bliss, which is a essential oil blend of about seven citruses and vanilla extract - and as readers of Water Princess, Fire Prince know, that's the smell of warm bathwater in Rizkaland.

The other prize is for the person who leaves the MOST comments during this tour, be they here on my blog, on my posts for the tour - including the countdown posts I was doing last week - or on the interviews and reviews and such on other blogs. (And yes, you can comment multiple times on the same post, but there must be someone else commenting between your comments, or you must be replying. And constructive comments, please. Don't be commenting just to be commenting, or I won't count it.) I'm not entirely certain what this giveaway's prize will be, but I'm kinda leaning towards a chance to Alpha read book two. If so, if there's a tie, then I'll award the prize to both people who tie.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Ships I Ship Because of Clarand

Just a quick reminder, but the Facebook party is today, so I'll see all of you tonight!

For all of you older people who may not be familiar with the term "shipping" it basically means that I think that two people should have a relationship. It can be a platonic relationship, but most often, it is meant as a Romantic Ship, which shall be the sort that I'll be featuring here. Frequently, fans of such ships will give them cute names - such as Clara and Andrew being Clarand. (Not to be confused with Klarand, the name of the island they've been asked to rule.)

Clarand was my first "real" couple. Sure, there was Rueben and Petra ... but the most romantic scene I wrote with those two was when he asked her to marry him when they were five and seven. So as a result, they've kinda become my measuring stick when it comes to fictional romances that I find in other books. Basically, if a couple reminds me of Clara and Andrew for any reason, I'll ship 'em.

So, I'm going to share with you a few of the lovely ships that I've collected over the years. please be aware that there may be spoilers among them. I shall try to limit them.

Percy and Annabeth. 
From the Percy Jackson Series.
She's been a fighter her whole life. He hasn't, but picks it up quickly enough. She has blonde hair, he has green eyes.

Wanda and Arnold
From the Magic School Bus
Yes, they're a couple - if you want proof, I'll point you to the Digestion episode, the frog episode, and the Christmas Special. Anyway, he's the cautious, yet at times, confident redhead. She's the gung-ho, yet slightly insecure girl of Chinese descent.

Leetra and Timothy
From the Ilyon Chronicles 
She's stubborn. Timothy is Andrew's middle name. So maybe all we've had of Leeothy has been eye admiration and the grinding of teeth, but I'm still shipping them.

Shasta and Aravis
From the Chronicles of Narnia
By this point, you may be sensing a pattern. Confident, firecracker girl and laid-back, heart on his sleeve guy.

Bastille and Alcatraz
From the Alcatraz series
They're a new ship of mine, but again, rules apply, though Alcatraz is a bit more reckless than Andrew. Then again, so is Percy.

Elizabeth and Darcy
From Pride and Prejudice
Oh yay! I managed to spell Prejudice on the first try!!
Ahem. Moving on. This is mostly because Clara and Andrew have a bit of a spitfire relationship. This is the other quantifying factor of these ships.

Peter and ______
From Haphazardly Implausible
I'm sorry, but her name is confidential. Anyway, I had the privilege of beta reading the second book of the series, and I left several notes were it was just me comparing this couple (who I've given an AWESOME ship name to, but since her name is confidential, I can't share it) to Clarand. Clara threw a shoe at me at one point.

Luxa and Gregor
From the Underland Chronicles
Spitfire, she's more experienced than he is.

Katnis and Peeta
From the Hunger Games
Even though I knew the ending before I read the books, I think I still would have shipped Everlark from the first. The being forced together against their will. The fact that she's a fighter and he's a baker. They just remind me of Clarand.

Vrell and Achan
From the Blood of Kings Trilogy
I also tend to pick on couples where the guy thinks she's a boy for some period of time. I don't know why.

Sairu and ... I forgot his name
From the Goldstone Woods
Again, Chinese, again, she's an experienced fighter, and he's not so much. The only reason Golden Daughter didn't top Shadowhand as my favorite Goldstone Novel is that I love the time travel element of SH. 

And there are more, but I'm not calling them to mind at the moment. But I think you guys get the pattern, yes?

Flights from the Aerie - Andrew
Written Rest - Kiona
Lianne Taimenlore - me
AWriter's Heart
Dreams and Dragons
Keturah's Korner - Review and Interview

Free Books! Currently, the following books are free:

Do You Take This Quest?
Saffron’s Big Plan:

Giveaways! I have two. The first is a rafflecopter giveaway with the prize being a signed physical copy of Water Princess, Fire Prince and a bottle of Citrus Bliss, which is a essential oil blend of about seven citruses and vanilla extract - and as readers of Water Princess, Fire Prince know, that's the smell of warm bathwater in Rizkaland.

The other prize is for the person who leaves the MOST comments during this tour, be they here on my blog, on my posts for the tour - including the countdown posts I was doing last week - or on the interviews and reviews and such on other blogs. (And yes, you can comment multiple times on the same post, but there must be someone else commenting between your comments, or you must be replying. And constructive comments, please. Don't be commenting just to be commenting, or I won't count it.) I'm not entirely certain what this giveaway's prize will be, but I'm kinda leaning towards a chance to Alpha read book two. If so, if there's a tie, then I'll award the prize to both people who tie.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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