Monday, 28 November 2016

Beautiful Books: NaNoWriMo Update!!!


So I started writing this post in the first week of November. Now I've finally finished it. I also finished NaNoWriMo for the first time half an hour ago!!!

So I'm doing the Beautiful Books link up by Cait@Paper Fury and Skye@Further Up and Further In.



Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

My mental state is fine. (Read elated and hugging everyone now)I went into NaNo expecting to fail. On Day two I changed my mind. It hasn't changed back yet. I am almost there now and completely confident I can make it. Now I'm done!!! My novel on the other hand is a mess. The middle came together better than I expected at the start, but there are huge bits I haven't written and entire plot thread I've missed. It'll probably need to be rewritten in entirety. But I don't care. Keeping the story in my head is rather pointless.

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

I didn't start at the beginning, and the beginning I do have I'm not happy with.(and I've already written two versions) Further more I'm not 100% sure what bit I wrote first this month. so I'll share both. 
This month: The ambassador bowed, showing a bald patch in his greasy black hair.


Very beginning: However nice it is to be surrounded by sycophants, sometimes a girl just needs the presence of a good strong man. Natalia rose to the tips of her shoes and scanned the milling crowd.

Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

Early in the month, Natalia's half brother Alexos. he's kind of inspired by my brother and is very adventurous. there's also a couple of tertiary (I think. My secondary and tertiary characters like to get mixed up) characters, who are fun. A super enthusiastic, irrepressible maid and a mad sea captain.

Since then I've become rather fond of Luca and Lorenzo in particular, but all my character are working their way into my affections.

What do you love about your novel so far?

New ideas for what should happen keep coming. I never intended to have all my characters pretending to be someone else, but it happens. (a good number at least)

Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

Nataia, Natlai, Natali, Matali, Natatalai, Naltai, Nalatai; I can't type my main character's name, It's a bit of a nuisance. Natlai is the most common mistake. (When trying to type it wrong it came out right somehow.)

What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

I like it when things go really well and pull together in surprising ways, and that happens most in endings. but all of it can be fun.

What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

Shelves new yesterday!
I often, but not always listen to music. Getting a good bit of writing down in the morning is a goal, but I do it later in the day as well, including quite late.

How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone?

I don't tend to share much because my work is full of typos, but being able to talk about the joys and trials is important. And sometimes I just need someone to help me focus. Kendra E. Ardnek has been great with that. She does share it, and that also keeps me from getting too stuck in my own head. And when I felt like procrastinating she was great with that too.

What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

Determination and word sprints. Some with Kendra and Erika Mathews, a lot with the lovely people in the Realm Makers Consortium, and a couple with my little brother. I tried using Write or Die a bit, but if either my internet or computer is too slow it doesn't register my writing quick enough and dies instead.


What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

1. Write something you're enthusiastic about

2. Study the craft

3. Don't put too much pressure on yourself.

And here's the graph of my monthly wordcount:




And that is that. What have you all gotten done this month. Tell me, even if it's small. There's plenty of achievements other than writing a horrendous 50,124 words.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Five books I'm thankful for: Black Friday Book Sale!

Smiley

So it's the time of the year that people talk about giving thanks, we don't celebrate thanksgiving Day in Australia, it's not part of our history, but there is something to be thankful for everyday.
Among those things, great books make their way onto my list of blessings every year. It's hard to choose favorites and sometimes I have trouble remembering what I read when, but I went ahead and picked five books I read in 2016 or the end of 2015 and am thankful for.
  1. The Bible: Yes, not a knew book, and it's an easy answer. But it's true. This is the book I am forever thankful for. Without God's guidance in my my life I would be so lost. It's hard to even think about what I could be like if not for God's grace.
  2. Finding the Core of Your Story, by Jordan Smith: Non fiction, but as an author I'm realy grateful for this little book.
  3. Captive of Raven Castle, by Jessica Greyson: This book help me understand what it would be like to discover you'd been lied to all your life.
  4. Deny (also Dare), by Tricia Mingerink: A wonderful faith affirming book. Made me rethink my priorities and reminded me that the death of believers, isn't a tragedy for them.
  5. Lady Dragon Tela Du, by Kendra E. Ardnek: I'm thankful for the friends ships I made while beta reading it. Especially my friendship whit Kendra. Shes's a great, encouraging author friend.
I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to another great year of reading!

Speaking of more reading, here's one more thing to be grateful for. Books on sale! In honor of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a group of independent Christian authors banded together to offer over seventy discounted books on Nov 25-28. There's literally something for everyone. Every single book listed on Indie Christian Books is on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if you have a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you. Don't know what to pick? The fearless Indie Christian Books team created a quiz that will generate a book list perfect for you! Check it out!

What awesome reads of 2016 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?
A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as "Sold Out." This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks. Also, some of the authors this year chose to not sell their paperbacks directly through the site. Those books are also marked "Sold Out" but if you click them open, you'll find a link to the site where they are on sale and a discount code for you to use at check out.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good and Kendra E. Ardnek for their work organizing this sale, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Birthday Bash: Interview with Faith Blum


It’s a birthday party! November 19th was the third birthday of Faith Blums debut novel, A Mighty Fortress. To celebrate, she has all sorts of fun going on. First, she’s released a newly revised version of A Mighty Fortress. Second, she has most of her published books on sale. Third, she’s releasing the box set of all five of her novels for a special discounted price. And fourth, but not least, she now has the audiobook of A Mighty Fortress! I’m not sure exactly when it will be available, but if you sign up for her New Releases newsletter, you will get an email with the announcement.



“Stay back!” Joshua ordered. He kept his eyes on the scene below while waving his arm in Ruth's direction. “Get deeper into the woods and stay down low to the ground.”Joshua hazarded a glance behind him. He could no longer see Ruth and breathed a sigh of relief. In one swift move, he grabbed his rifle and lay flat to the ground. Extending the rifle, he aimed at the shorter man whose gun was pointed at Bradshaw.

Joshua and Ruth Brookings are traveling by stagecoach to finally join their parents in Montana. Attacked by murderous outlaws, the teens barely escape with their lives and must survive in the barren Wyoming and Montana territories and escape the man who's hunting them.

Seven years ago, Jed Stuart ran away from home and joined Tom's gang. Jed is tired of the lawlessness and wants out. The only problem? He is the boss's right-hand man and will never be able to leave. And what's one more stagecoach robbery, anyway?

Can Joshua lean on God's strength to keep himself and his sister alive until they find a town? Will Jed be able to face his anger or will it consume him completely? All three are running--the hunter and hunted. What will happen when they meet?


About the Author 

Faith Blum started writing at an early age. She started even before she could read! She even thought she could write better than Dr. Seuss. (The picture doesn’t show it well, but there are scribblings on the page of Green Eggs and Ham). Now that she has grown up a little more, she knows she will probably never reach the success of Dr. Seuss, but that doesn’t stop her from trying.
When she isn’t writing, Faith enjoys doing many right-brained activities such as reading, crafting, playing piano, and playing games with her family. One of her dreams is to visit Castle City, Montana, someday to see the ghost town she chose for her characters to live in. She currently lives on a hobby farm with her family in Wisconsin.

Faith can be found on parts of the internet. The best place to go is her website: http://FaithBlum.com There you can find links to her various social media sites and both of her blogs.


Interview

Hello Faith and welcome to my blog. As is customary, I'll dive straight into the question without any further introductions.
What made you decide to become a writer? And what drew you to writing westerns?

I loved writing, so it was an easy decision once I heard about self-publishing. Ever since finding Dad’s stash of Louis L’Amour books, I’ve been in love with Westerns. Before that, my favorite time period was the Civil War, so the jump to the Old West wasn’t hard. I also liked to read Janette Oke books, but hers were a bit too mushy and Louis L’Amour’s were too gritty, so I tried to even them out a little.

I can see that in them. Westerns aren't really my things, but I've always had the impression that Janette Oke's books were on the mushy side.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you growing up?

The Bible was the biggest influence in my life growing up. Without the Bible and the teaching in it, I would not be the person I am today.

Great answer. That's the best book for certain.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?

That depends on the story. I usually have a little bit of an outline or at least an idea of where I want the story to go, but I don’t always have everything figured out before I write. My last project, a novella I wrote as part of my NaNoWriMo project, I did actually have the most full outline I’ve ever had. And I loved it! I’ll probably be doing it for my next book.

In between is about where I'm at. Sometimes I wish I had things more planned out, but it never happens.
What is your favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

I love writing the rough draft of the story. Well, with the novella I just finished, I think my favorite part was actually doing the character backstories, interviews, and then the outline.

Mmm, the stage where everything looks perfect in your head. Then you get to writing it down the execution doesn't always do your wonderful story justice.
Of all your books, which was the most fun to write?

Probably The Solid Rock (Hymns of the West #5). I wrote the whole novel in 32 days by hand. It was intense, but fun.

That is intense. Extremely rewarding too, I would think.
What fictional character is most like you?

Probably Ruth Brookings from my own books. She’s very similar in a lot of ways, but not all.

What is something big you want to accomplish in your life?

I want to get married, have kids, maybe adopt and/or foster some kids, and homeschool my children. I think those are pretty big things to accomplish. Now I just have to wait for Prince Charming to come around. :)

That sounds rather like me. And good on you for saying it straight out. Us young ladies often have a tendency to hedge around that question.
It was great to have you here, Faith.

Giveaway


Faith is offering three prizes!

Grand Prize:
·         Audiobook of A Mighty Fortress (MP3 download)—Could be a short delay
·         The Solid Rock Notebook
1st Prize:
·         Feather Quill Necklace

2nd Prize:
·         eBook set of Hymns of the West: The Complete Series


Faith also just released her first box set, the complete Hymns of the West series. It’s available for a special discounted pre-order price until November 26th and will stay at that price until November 30th.

About the Series


Two Families…
The Brookings family move from Illinois to Montana to start a horse ranch. Their journey to Montana has hazards of its own, as does their life in Castle City, affecting each of them in various ways.
The Stuarts have been living a secluded life in Tennessee since the matriarch of the family died. When Jed runs away, they seclude themselves even more until a letter arrives that changes their lives—one at a time—forever.

Two Worldviews…
One family has believes in God with their whole hearts, living out their lives to the glory of God. The other family believes in God in a general sense, but they have no commitment toward Him or His ways.



One Providential God.

A stagecoach robbery instigates their meeting. Two years later, they meet again. Another year and their lives cross paths again. What happens when God's providence brings two families with two different worldviews together in ways only He could have planned?

Mega-Sale


Every eBook in the Hymns of the West series is on sale. A Mighty Fortress is permafree, and the other eBooks in the series are $0.99. In addition, the spin-off novella series has a book on sale as well.

And they're good books. I haven't read the latest ones, but I've enjoyed what I have read. Not my favourite books, but I'm not into westerns very much.

Links:

Life and Salvation: Hymns of the West Novellas 1-3


Faith also has the paperbacks on sale if you buy them from Createspace with the discount codes.
$2.00 off (8.99) with code: MBJB3XSY
$2.00 off (6.99) with code: GQ3KTJYY
$1.50 off (9.49) with code:93LQLRJ8
$2.00 off (11.99) with code: TJXAYXD2
$1.50 off (10.49) with code: 7626YZAK
$2.00 (6.99) with code: V4Y5K46D

Tour Schedule

November 19
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Introduction
Author Franky A Brown-Book Spotlight

November 21
Writing Dreams-Author Interview
God's Peculiar Treasure Rae-Character Spotlight-Joshua
Zerina Blossom's Books-Author Interview

November 22
The Overactive Imagination-Review of Be Thou My Vision

November 23
Frances Hoelsema- Book Spotlight
Thought of Anna S. Brie-Author Interview

November 25
Bookish Orchestrations-Candid Author Interview
Firethorn Blog-Author Spotlight

November 26
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections-Character Interview with Ruth
Ladies in Defiance-Guest Post

November 28
Once Upon an Ordinary- Author Interview
Written Rest-Character Spotlight -Anna

November 29
The Overactive Imagination-Review of A Mighty Fortress
Jaye L. Knight- Character Spotlight-Caleb

November 30

Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Wrap-up and winner

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

11 Things I love about Lady Dragon, Tela Du : Book Review

I'm back again with a review of Lady Dragon, Tela Du. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, head over to this post. Otherwise keep reading.

You may wonder why I have eleven thing in my list. There's no particular reason, I could easily group into more or less. In fact I did have nine.


It's as good as the first book

Or better. It doesn't suffer from any common second book problems. But then it's not exactly a second book, since Kendra has been working on it much longer. 

It touched on many of the same things, but in a fresh way. The relationships were handled differently, the pace was different and many locations were different. The world building wasn't repetitive of the first book. In fact it worked better because Kendra wasn't trying to explain everything. Anything necessary just came up naturally.

I certainly wasn't disappointed by the different characters. I may have liked a few in book one better than their counterparts, but overall they were better.

The Plot Twists

This book had at least 6 plot twist of significance and numerous smaller ones. I saw less than half of them coming. And I like that. I felt smart for what I did figure out, but the ones I didn’t is what made it really brilliant. Because they are telegraphed way back, in very subtle ways. Kendra is brilliant at this.

I also made the mistake of trying to make guesses based of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Yes, this book was inspired by that. But I knew there had been many major changes. Yet still I tried to use it as a pattern. Take my advice, don’t bother making too many predictions. You will never figure it out.

The Emotional Depth

You know how some books seem to change how you feel and you get so full of emotions that you almost burst. The books that you must talk about in some form. This is one of those books. I felt the situations almost as if I was there. It got me pondering deep things. What would it be like if someone else knew what I was thinking, what I have locked away in my heart? What would it be like to have great things asked of me? Things I almost certainly couldn’t do, but felt I couldn’t avoid. What if my life spun completely out of control? Would I still be able to trust God to help me through each day? Am I really trusting him to help me through life now?

Reuben

This is actually a kind of odd one, because though I can’t help liking him, the intensity of his feelings for Petra makes me a bit uncomfortable. an enthusiastic, irrepressible optimist. This often annoys Petra which makes me either annoyed or amused. He can be ridiculous at times, but under it he has his serious moments. I love those serious moments. They’re usually when Petra is worked up and needs sense talked into her.

Petra

She’s an uncommon protagonist. Not at all interested in risking her life to kill Amber. Well not until she has a personal reason to hate her. But people who are willing to risk their lives to make things better for others probably aren't as common as books would make you think.

She's also very smart and logical, has a very matter of fact way of speaking and won't put up with nonsense.

The World

Different colours of water; crazily coloured everything; telepathic, teleporting unicorns; doormats that also teleport you; three different castles; what more could you want? Well there is more, Ambers magical items for example. She has pocket sized stars that do everything from invisibility to changing winds and lots in between: a table that makes its own food; touch activated lights and doors, and much more. And we get a little peek into another world.

Ashna

Every book needs a sweet elf girl doesn’t it? Well maybe not, but we have one here. Ashna goes through a lot of hard things, and though she gets scared she’s not weepy. She’s very quiet and would never intentionally hurt anyone. She’s a contrast to other female characters who easily explode or and least get annoyed. But I think gentleness is common in Kendra's elves since they are weaker. Her gift is colour change and though it might seem a bit trivial she finds both valuable and caring uses for it.

Family

This isn't quite a book about family, but it's got a good bit in it. Parents appear a few times, and are referred to at others. There's lots of siblings and though they are actually not together for most of the book (instead we get pairs, one from each family), there is a certain closeness and loyalty shown. And in the end of the book, when they are together. It's very good. I can't say more than that.

Amber

The villain is always a valid reason for liking a book. I’d met Amber in the previous book, but now I get to see her side of the story. She’s not just some crazy lady who can turn into a dragon. She’s obsessed with the idea of ruling Rizkaland and won’t see what stands in her way. She thinks she knows exactly what she’s doing, but she can’t avoid her destiny. And under her callousness, there’s a slight sense of humour. Characters need a sense of humour.

I hated Amber in the first book, was glad she was going to die and didn’t care how. But somehow Kendra twisted be around so that I actually pitied her. I wished for her to change. Doing that with a villain is masterful

Granite

Amber’s husband. I feel so sorry for him. How could a good man still love his wife when she had been evil for so long? Yet he does. He tries to make her see what she is doing wrong.

He’s also at times quite a fun character. He and Reuben would make quite a pair.

The Themes


Trusting in God to make everything turn out all right. God has a plan even in the things that don’t make the least sense. Sometimes we wonder why he let things happen how they have. Wouldn’t it be so much better if Amber had never come to Rizkaland? Or sometimes we worry about the consequences of our choices. What if the thing we thought was right messed everything up?

But we need not worry. God is in control. If he puts us in a position he will guide us in filling it. I’ll share a couple of favourite lines that express this.

“If that is what You ask of us, then we shall take it one day at a time, as You guide us,” answered Reuben. “Stringing those days together, we’ll end up at the end eventually.”

It also deals with the balance between free will and predestination.

“But if the result is already determined, is it a choice?”

“Yes, it’s still a choice,” Laura answered. “Day after day, I choose to do the tasks set before me. Yes, even I have a choice.”

And once again, the important of commitment in relationships. I like to see love shown in it's best for rather than the selfish love we often see.


What I didn’t like so much

The structure just didn’t quite feel right. The point of highest tension was at the three quarter mark. After that it slowly dropped, getting down to almost nothing before jumping up pretty high just before the end. It’s not a big problem and my love of the character and a knowledge that something had to happen kept me reading, but it was a little slow.

There wasn’t enough room in the book for all of the characters to be fully developed. There was one couple in particular I would have like to see a little more of. But since that would have had to happen in the end part of the book it would have made the previous problem worse.

Summer disappointed me by being a better person that I’d expected. Which is an odd thing to complain about, but true. 

Content warning

This book was about at the edge of what I can stand as far as romance goes. That was partly because I was reading it aloud to my brothers and have a lower tolerance with them. There’s young married couples doing about what you would expect, kissing, falling asleep together, nothing more than that. And the description tends more towards the character’s emotions than physical sensations.

There's a bit of violence, with people getting stabbed or turned into ice. I'd say it's got less than Water Princess, Fire Prince. There's a bit of blood, but no gore.


So overall, I highly recommend this book for anyone with a taste for fantasy, tales of adventure and high callings, of sacrifice and love.

You can buy Lady Dragon, Tela Du as Kindle or paperback and Goodreads and find Kendra on her blog.  

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

InNoWriMo: Change of plans

*International Novel Writing Month. That's what it really should be called.
Hello everyone,

I know I had promised more world building for Verlis, but it turns out I'm not actually going to write A Brigand, No Longer for NaNoWriMo. You see, in that book there will be a war. A war that turns offensive and might involve fully conquering the other country and setting up a new government. And I'm not quite sure of the ethics of that. Something is necessary, but I don't know how it should be carried out.

Between that problem and generally not being very certain where the book should go, I think I need to let it sit. I'm not ready and though I doubt I'll hit 50,000 words even if I know exactly what I am going to write, I don't want this to be a waste. So I'm writing something else.

In fact I'm going rebel and continuing Lady of Courage which I started in April. I'm really looking forward to working on this again. I thought I'd go through some of the Beautiful Books questions again.

What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

It was actually inspired by a couple of review of the movie Brave. It's not going to be much like it, but that's were the seed of the idea came from.

Describe what your novel is about!

It's a gearpunkish, political fantasy/alternative history about a girl who inherits the throne and must marry. Only there aren't any eligible and capable men around. Except that guy who trying to take over the whole region and is a just a generally nasty person. Or maybe that person, but the council doesn't like him. Or that guy, wait, why did he just die? And where are all the ships vanishing to?

What is your book’s aesthetic?


Despite my lighthearted description, this book is actually more tragedy than comedy and will make people cry. Maybe even me.

It's very brown,  there's a lot of a light dusty brown and smaller amounts of mahogany. Also deep reds, greens and blues. And touches of black and silver.

Introduce us to each of your characters!

There's a lot, and I did introduce some of them back in this post. So I'll just give a couple.

Natalia Rizzetti is basically a princess. She grew up expecting to rule sometime in the future, and has a keen interest in whats going in politics. She's the center of the social events of the nobility, but feels somewhat alone. These people don't really like her, they're just courtiers and flatterers. I think she's an ESTJ, so very dutiful and good at organizing people.

Rheas Masi is a poor girl who is part of a charity group. Her role is picking up gift and gettinhg the rights to distribute the handouts of the nobles. She has a heart for orphans and tries to get them good jobs as servants. When Natalia sees her being harassed by a man in the market place one day and asks her to become her maid, she's a bit scared, but takes this great opportunity.

Alexso Acqui is Natalia's half brother. He wants to be and inventor and explorer. he also wants to prove that he's not a foolish boy, but can be a bit irresponsible and impulsive.

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?


I love the worldbuilding and the complex political situations. I'm also looking forward to discovering how it all turns out in the end. I didn't start with a particular husband in mind for Natalia, and though I think I know now, it could turn out differently. I might decide to let her be happy.

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

They have sky rails and factories.

It's inspired by Venice and other Italian, maritime, city-states.

I'm borrowing women's fashion from India. (Maybe men's too. Also kurtas and kirtles aren't all that different, so it's got medieval elements too.)

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

She wants to stop too much political power falling into the wrong hands. This means marrying in the next few months. But she also wants to find a truly good man to rule beside her. And there aren't many of those. Also someone is sinking their ships and her suitors are being killed off if she pays them too much attention.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

She must learn to trust and respect men and realize that people can't be perfect. Also that she really does need to let those around her help.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

Men need the respect of women, even when they don't deserve it. We must build one another up and allow opportunities for growth  rather than belittling one another. Neither men nor women can make it alone.

I'm really not sure how I want people to feel. I'm not even sure how I feel about the expected ending. But I do wait to inspire hope, courage, love and grace.


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Lady Dragon, Tela Du Launch: Interview with Kendra

It's here! The book I started reading half a year ago and have mentioned many times on my blog. I present to you, Kendra E. Ardnek's latest book Lady Dragon, Tela Du!


I'm not going to fangirl much right now as I have a review coming next week, but this book surprised me a lot. Since I knew the inspiration, I thought I knew where it would go. But it didn't, Kendra went far above and beyond my expectations. This book doesn't exactly sound like Narnia does it?

Two girls with one face
Two girls with twisted fate
One in purple, one in red
One shall speak the other’s death
Who shall win their final war?
Lady Dragon or Tela Du?

Amber, the Lady Dragon, has been promised a fifty-year reign over Rizkaland and nothing can stop her from claiming it. But when you've lived six thousand years, fifty is such a pitiful number. Only one person can keep her from making this reign permanent - the Tela Du, a girl who shall share Amber's face.

The last thing Petra wants is a magical world interrupting her plans for a normal life, let alone an ultimate battle against the Lady Dragon with only one prophesied survivor. She has her childhood best friend, Reuben, at her side, but she's not sure if he's more of a help or a hindrance right now. Though she'd much prefer to just return home and forget about this whole crazy affair, things change when she discovers that the world has surprising connections to her own family - including her sister who disappeared without a trace two years before. Still, Rizkaland can't possibly expect her to risk her very life, can it?

Well maybe it is a bit like Narnia, but it delves more into character interactions. The depth of emotion is stunning. But I'm getting sidetracked, this isn't supposed to be a review, I'm actually interviewing Kendra. Since I know her reasonably well I tried to ask deeper questions. Mostly.

So questions:

Me: What is your name, what is your quest and what is your favourite colour? (Umm, I'd been listening binge listening to Lasers, Dragons and Keyboards. That is their intro question.) But what is your quest?

Kendra: My Quest is to find interesting ideas, turn them into stories, and get them into the hands of people who will enjoy the story.

My name is Kendra E. Ardnek and my favorite color is purple.

What is your favourite place to write?

I will write just about anywhere, and I don't really have a favorite. Most of my writing is done at my desk in my writing cave, though. (I call it a cave because it's under my loft bed. Which is awesome.)

What is your definition of success in writing?

Writing stories that connect with people. I write for myself, first and foremost, but if the story I write doesn't connect with people, I feel like I failed. And if my story brings people together, that's even better.

If you didn't write what would you do?

Go crazy? Flip hamburgers at McDonalds? Make more hats? I really don't know.

If you were offered an expenses paid trip to one place in the world, where would you go?

Germany. I do not know why, but I'm a bit obsessed with the country, and they have some cool castles over there that I'd like to explore.

Castles are cool. Personally I want to visit South America for story research.
Kendra, you've written a lot of drafts of Lady Dragon, Tela Du. Was there anything big that surprised you about this one?

Laura's Voice did rather come out of nowhere, as did some of the final details. I also wasn't aware how connected she was to Amber and Granite's immortality until I wrote this final draft. And while previous drafts had focused more on Petra's sisterly relationship with Ashna, Petra's romantic relationship with Reuben played far more of a role. Also, Noraeto surprised me by already knowing a plot twist ahead of time.

Fascinating. I've always wondered what came up in what draft. I love those details that seem to come out of nowhere.
Did you do any interesting or odd research for this book?

I do not remember all of the research I did for the book, for it was done over the course of nearly eleven years. There was the six months of "Read as many non-Narnia fantasy books as I can while avoiding Narnia like the plague," though. I read some interesting books during that time. 
And during the last draft, I did look up Cherokee marriage proposals.

Ah, yes. *grins*
Is any part of the book inspired directly by personal experience? Or any of your other books?

While I can't say that it's a direct inspiration, this book is the story where I poured a lot of my pain after losing my Grammy seven years ago. Also, Reuben's reaction to arriving in Rizkaland is what I'm pretty sure my reaction would be if I were to actually end up in another world.
As for other books? Well, there is a pie scene in Do You Take This Quest? inspired by an actual argument between two of my cousins a few Thanksgivings ago.

That scene is fun. I never would have guessed.
What is something you want people to take away from Lady Dragon, Tela Du?

The knowledge that God is in control and has a plan, no matter how impossible things might seem, and the power of forgiveness, even when it's difficult.

What is an overarching theme for the series?

It seems to be the fact that God is in control, though that's a theme that is common with almost all of my writing. Sacrificial love and commitment is another theme.

And that's just what I thought. Sometimes I wonder if I'm understanding books the way the author intends. It's so easy to jump at one thing and decided that's the theme. It was great to have you, Kendra.

Thank you Anna


And just in case you don't already know everything about Kendra, I have the official bio.

Kendra E. Ardnek is a homeschool graduate who picked up a pen at an early age and never put it down. The eldest of four, she makes her home in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her parents, younger siblings, giant herd of giraffes, and honor guard of nutcrackers.

You can find her on her blog and website. Add the book on Goodreads, and if I've managed to convince you to buy it you can get it on Kindle and as a paperback. A wonderfully thick paperback.


Also Water Princess, Fire Prince,  Book 1 of the Rizkaland Legends, will be free until the 23rd.

To finish Kendra is letting me share a delightful little snippet.

Ashley didn’t hesitate. She ran back out of the house and then walked across the street to Queen Michelle’s house. Summer answered the door when she knocked. 
“Did Petra change her mind and chase you off?” Summer asked, narrowing her eyes as she leaned against the doorframe. 
Ashley took a step backward and hastily shook her head. “I – I need to talk to your mother.” 
“Why?” 
“Because…” It was sometimes so difficult to not mention Rizkaland to people who didn’t know about it. “Because Mum wants to talk to her.” 
Summer rolled her eyes. “You do know that you really don’t have to call her that just because Petra does. In fact, it annoys Petra when you do. Unless you enjoy annoying Petra, and last time I checked, you didn’t.” 
“Mum suits her,” Ashley quickly answered, glancing down. “It sounds more respectful than ‘mom,’ and I can’t call her ‘Mother.’” 
Summer raised an eyebrow, but instead of questioning Ashley’s statement, she straightened with a toss of her hair. “Well, why are we standing in the doorway wasting cold air? If you want to talk to my mom, come in and find her. Last time I checked, she was home.”

There will be more fun stuff about the book in these places today.






Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The World of the Verlisi: Natural Features

Peace to you my friends.

Plotting a story is hard work so I didn't feel like doing some deep post about writing. Instead I thought I'd share some bits about the world that Girl of the Rumours is set in. I think it's interesting (otherwise I'd have invented something else) and telling you about it will help me solidify my ideas.



I've already shared the common local greeting, so now I should introduce the world.

Suppose many, many different things had happened in the past of our world, and that something had happened in South America that depleted the population a lot. Also the geography formed differently. Then in 1343 a group of people from many different nations arrived there and settled the land. My story takes place about 300 years after this arrival. There are many different entities, but the most important to my story is a union of kingdom of many provinces and another nation that separated from it about a hundred years before. That nation is Nalanza, and the most important provinces are Verlis and Amra.

Geography and climate:

This is all based loosely off Peru, Ecuador and Paraquay. Imagine mountains, jungle, sweeping plains and waterfalls. It's still a bit hard to figure out. I should have looked at the geography and then figured out where everything should go, but I got an idea in my head first and it doesn't really fit. I'll figure it out somehow. I can tweak it if I want. This is supposed to be fantasy after all.

I'll just give the basic of what I do know. The province of Wherm is coastal and a bit on the dry side. Then Verlis is made up of large valleys among mountains. There are plenty of small rivers cutting through and lots of farm land. There is a very long, warm wet season. It mostly dries up in the winter, so that's the best time to travel if you have any choice. And the dragons are less active in the coldest weather.

Along one side border the mountains become very tall and very difficult to navigate. And one end is an area of very rough jungle. It runs right up into the big mountains. On the other side of the jungle is Amra. There's a big river separating the two. Amra is more rugged and mountainous, but still gets about the same rain. Finally over the mountains we have Nalanza. it's mostly savannah and a bit arid in places.

Fauna and flora:

Such eyes. How could they kill such a creature?
I mentioned dragons above. They're not your typical, big, fire breathing dragons. These creatures are
small, and mostly eat bugs and small rodents. They have been know to make off with young poultry as well.

I also have smallish wild cats inspired by ocelots, but more colourful. They're a menace when traveling, but it's illegal to kill them without special permission. They're not likely to kill you if you have a weapon, but they can give nasty scratches. So rather a lot are killed illegally.

There are herds of a creature that is somewhere between alpaca and buffalo, which are used for fiber pack animals, and occasionally meat. In Nalanza they have donkeys as well.

There are myriads of parrots, insects and small mammals including rabbits. In some areas they have various messenger birds. I'm thinking something fiercer than pigeons.

For plants I have not invented much that is unique. There areyour typical rainforest plants, and for crops they have corn and potatoes and many varieties of beans. There are also many plants used for dyes. Textiles are a big industry in Amra, so these are in high demand.

I hope you enjoyed this. Next week I'll be talking about culture, custom, clothing and cities.