Monday, 20 March 2017

Indie e-Con 2017


This is just a quick post to let you know about a free online writers convention my frrend Kendra is running this week. Just click on the picture or go to https://knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com.au and check out all the articles and videos she will be posting each day. I actually have something up sometime on Monday. I'm on holiday though, so I probably won't be around to interact with you.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Promise's Prayer by Erika Mathews


It's another new book. One I could have gotten to read if I hadn't bailed out on beta-reading it in 2015. I've seen enough to be excited for it though. I get to tell you about an interesting character. So read down to the character spotlight and don't miss the giveaway at the end.

I love this cover.
About the Book 

Kaelan is restless for adventure and relentless in his efforts to bring the land of Taerna back to the blessings of Adon Olam and the prosperity of the days of his ancestors. Fueled by a solemn promise and his mother’s secret, he finds himself in the forefront of a desperate scheme that is crucial to Taerna’s future. Can he keep his promise? Can he save the people of Taerna from the corruption and rampant lawlessness that threaten them with extinction? Shy and quiet Carita knows she possesses what Taerna’s people so desperately need. But how can she help them when her own soul is simultaneously tormented by witnessing unmet needs and handicapped by her own paralyzing fears? When Kaelan and Carita come face to face with the true nature of Adon Olam’s call, will they each choose to embrace Adon Olam’s plan for Taerna—and for their own lives?

Available on Amazon!
Click here for purchase information!



Character Spotlight: Ellrick

Trustworthy and experienced, Ellrick is a lifetime friend of Kaelan’s family and a well-established citizen of Frydael. He’s kind and steady, and very little fazes him. Ellrick has a way of listening that engages anyone who is talking with him and encourages them to confide in him. He enjoys freely sharing the many nuggets of wisdom he has gathered in his seventy years. He’s lived through the reign of several pairs of lawless kings and seen many changes come upon the country of Taerna. One of the few who can remember better days, he’s devoted to Adon Olam and the specific call that Adon Olam has placed upon his life. Through Kaelan and Carita’s adventures, Ellrick proves an invaluable source of wisdom as well as a loyal, devoted friend.

Author’s Note
Even though Ellrick wasn’t mentioned in the very first rough outline I wrote for Promise’s Prayer, he quickly became one of my favorite characters. I love his gentle kindness, his compassionate wisdom, his grandfatherly manner, and his dedication to Adon Olam—as well as his subtle sense of humor. The inspiration for his character came from a Pinterest photo. As soon as I found the picture, I knew he needed to be a major character in the series, and he quickly and smoothly slid into his role. While much of the country is lawless and focused on pleasure or else confused about Adon Olam’s will, Ellrick stands as a strong contrast in his steadiness. While writing his character, he would sometimes surprise me with the bits of his past that he would reveal. With the intriguing taste of his past that he’s given so far, I hope to someday write a novella devoted to his backstory.

Snippet:


“I’m a failure. And I can’t serve Adon Olam. And I’m nobody.” She spoke bitterly. “No one will listen to me. No one will serve Him because I say so. I have no position of influence. And…” Her voice faltered. “I can’t be rejected.” The last words were a mere whisper, and the tears leaked.

Ellrick nodded compassionately, his eyes sober, yet twinkling with reassurance. When she was a measure calmer, he spoke gently. “What you are most afraid of is what will set you free.”

She considered that. “How can it? My fear is the prison. The prison can’t help me escape from itself.”

“True,” Ellrick agreed. “But Adon Olam can. He sent His Son to set the prisoners free, to break the chains that bind them, to loose them from who they are in themselves. He set us free to live in His perfect love, which casts out fear, because fear has torment.”

She looked at him, her eyes vacant and hopeless. “I know that. But it’s not real to me. I don’t feel it. All I feel is fear.”

“Trust Him, Carita,” Ellrick spoke again. “He has set you free. Receive it. Choose to live in it no matter what you feel. The fear is from the enemy, who desires you to be bound.”

Suddenly he sat up and spoke as though he were inspired. His steel-colored hair stood erect on his head. “Adon Olam is up to something, Carita! Adon Olam is at work. He has to be! Or why would the enemy be fighting so hard to bring you down? The enemy wants you to be afraid. He doesn’t want this key that you possess—your knowing of Him—to reach the Taernans. He knows his day is over. You know what that means? You’re going to win, Carita; you have won!”

She shook her head slowly, as if to try to clear it. Her mind seemed foggy. “I cannot escape. So I fight back?”

“You can choose how to respond to your fear,” Ellrick went on. “You can fight it, you can succumb to it, or you can choose to live outside of it no matter what claims it makes upon you. If you choose to succumb to it, you are imprisoned within it. If you try to fight it, you will find that it is stronger than you are. You will exhaust yourself, and you will lose. But if you choose to live apart from the fear, refusing to allow it to run your life, you will find yourself free from it.”

Carita listened carefully. It was difficult to wrap her mind around what Ellrick was saying; she had to deliberately concentrate to follow him. He continued.

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Carita thought. “I—I don’t know. Change the world? Talk to people? Tell them of Adon Olam? Pray more? And—and go help the woman with the baby,” she added softly.

Ellrick smiled. “That’s excellent, to start with,” he approved. “As you do it, Adon Olam will help you. You will find yourself working past your feelings and receiving more and more of the love of Adon Olam. So why don’t you step out with that as He has called you to do? Talk to people. Help the woman. Share His love with them. Be bold in living Him through your life, and don’t worry about what people think or say.”

“But—that’s not who I am.”

“Then receive His change in you.”

Carita cast her eyes downwards. “I’m afraid—that I’m afraid of change.”

“Change often causes much pain. Growth also brings pain. However, what brings the most pain is remaining immobilized somewhere that you do not belong—in something to which Adon Olam has not called you.”                


About the Author


Erika is an internet friend of mine. We're both in Kendra E. Ardnek's inner circle of fan girls, so we interact fairly often. She's a lovely, encouraging person.

She’s a homeschool graduate with a Bachelor’s in Communications, a Master’s in Biblical Ministries, and a passion for sharing Jesus Christ and His truth. When she’s not working with books, she enjoys reading, outdoor activities, piano and violin, organizing, and using the Oxford comma. You can connect with Erika at restinglife.com, on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.

Giveaway


Celebrate the exciting release by entering to win Promise’s Prayer! One winner will receive a paperback and a second winner will receive an ebook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Party Special Stops!

Check out each of these stops today for special highlights, snippets, features on Promise's Prayer characters, interviews, and more! Also, keep an eye on social media for Promise's Prayer posts by special guests!

Author Interview at Elvish Pens, Fantastical Writings (Alea Harper)

Carita Character Spotlight at God's Peculiar Treasure Rae (Raechel)

Author Interview at Seek Him First (Katherine Sophia)

Kaelan Character Interview and Spotlight at Random Reflections (Gabriella)

Release Party Central at Resting Life (Erika Mathews)

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Beautiful People: Izavee


I started writing a new story this month. It's the secret project I started planning in January. I hadn't done much, but a sudden challenge to write a book this month came up. I know I won't write all of it yet, but it'll be good to get something done. I have gotten out of the habit of writing large volumes of words.

I'm writing by hand again and I'm up to 17 pages for the month. In my defense, I only started on the 2nd and that was making my scene list. Also I'm preparing to go on holiday. I should be able to get lots done while I'm away from the internet.

It's also time for the Beautiful People link up by Cait and Skye. I consider using my main character Cassia for the questions, but for various reasons that won't work well. Instead I'll tell you about a friend Cassia makes early on in the story. I haven't got to her introduction yet in writing, so this will be fun. Her name is Izavee Echo eHerian and she'll be answering the questions for herself.

What’s your favourite book/movie/play/etc.?

I love the stories of Quinrilian the Virtuous, a hero at the end of the Desolation of Darkness. My brother Quinric is named for him which makes the stories even more exciting. We would act them out together.

Is there anything you regret doing?

Of course. Lots of things. One thing I'd be better off without was the memory of meeting some Reika at a dance. I was only twenty-two at the time and shouldn't have been there, but I'd pleaded to go and Father gave in. One of them pulled out one of their tricks and almost lured me away.

If you were sick or wounded, who would take care of you and how?

Quinric would do what he could, then call for our sister or a lady friend to do what he couldn't. After that, he'd probably ask Rylen to come over and cheer me up.

Is there an object you can’t bear to part with and why?
I doubt bicycles exist in this world,
but Izavee looks a little like this.

I will never part with my mother's necklace of service. I'll get my own soon, but hers is forever more precious. She might have died thirteen years ago, but her influence has helped me as I've grown up.

What are 5 ways to win your heart (or friendship)?

Be loyal to the sanctuary. Listen. Don't tempt me to corruption. Bring me flowers. Don't sleep in.

What do you usually wear? Describe it top to bottom.

Top to bottom. That would be starting with the hat. I have rather a lot of hats but my favourite is a soft scarlet ekinett with an extra wide brim. I'll wear a plain dress in any pale colour with a navy or teal jacket over it. And brown ankle shoes with buckles.

What’s you favorite type of weather?
I love warm, dry days. That's why ZafeĆ­ri is my favourite month. It's usually like that.

What’s the worst fight you’ve ever been in?

Me? In a fight. I never fight. What, it doesn't have to be physical. Alright then, it was when I turned 25 and Father wanted a big party. I was just starting to realize I wasn't all that grown up and didn't want one. He won.

What names or nicknames have you been called throughout your life?

Iza and Vee were pretty common. Rylen calls me Echo. He says I echo the scrolls.

What makes your heart feel alive?

Visiting the sanctuary. And talking with Rylen. Or riding home on a windy day.



And that was Izavee. I hope you enjoyed getting to know her as well as I did. You can ask any questions about her and I'll answer them if they're not infringing on secrets.

Don't forget to check out other Beautiful People at Paper Fury.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

I decided to study this year...

This is a post that's been a long time in the coming. I've re-written it, lost the rewrites and then changed it even more.It's a personal post, not much about books, but I felt I needed to write it.

One of the things that has been on my mind a lot since the leadership course I did is my education. You should know that I was home educated and always have been. In the last two years my studies slowly stopped. I didn't graduate as I believe we should always be learning. And I certainly have learned since then. I've been informally studying writing and I've been reading books. But I've been a little lazy with it.

That is going to change. During this course I was encouraged to go study at university by both lecturers and fellow attendees. I was a little surprised and somewhat resistant. I had never seriously considered the university path. I plan to be a mother, not a career woman and my parents have taught me how to learn all I want to know. Besides, I don't know what to study. I'm interested in so many things.

But I promised I would give it serious thought. There were some good reasons given, counters to some of my objections. After much thought, research and prayer, I came to a decision. I should study. Since God has gifted me with a mind with the power of understanding some difficult and abstract concepts and well as the ability to remember random details that seem important (read: sound interesting to me at the time), I really ought to do something more with it. I shouldn't let it stagnate or get too caught up in the imaginary world of my own fancies. So I am going to study. But not at university.

Yes, not at university. I have reasons for this. I did write out a long list of arguments, but it seemed to strong and I  wondering whether I really believed all of them myself. So I've made it shorter.

Firstly, studying at university isn't going to get me closer to having a publishable book. It would sideline my writing for a few years. Also I've heard that an English degree can be one of the worst things for a writer and especially an editor. If there was some kind of in depth Christian fiction writing course I might think differently.

Another factor is that I don't really like the university system and the way it's becoming the default for most young people. Also I don't want to be immersed in an ungodly environment in the way I would in a mainstream university. I want to reach out and help people, but asking the world to fill my mind with their ideas doesn't seem like a good idea. I'd either have to stay silent on some of my convictions, or get into trouble for speaking my mind.

Degrees aren't really worth as much as they used to be anyway. I was taught to teach myself and I'm
not worried too much about my lack of credentials. If I really had to go get myself a job I think there's smarter ways of getting one.
I'm not this crazy though.

I have a streak of non-conformity and wanderlust. Maybe I look normal, but I do write fantasy books and daydream a lot.v Anyway if I could afford university up front, I'd probably do missions work or travel or just help out at a lot of camps and conferences instead.

Lastly, I'm not so desperate to get married that I'd go to university just to meet people. This might not appear to be worth mentioning, but I was given that as one reason to do it so... we'll I'm not so it doesn't matter. Going other places for that purpose however...

Now you're probably all wondering how studying on my own works. Firstly, accountability. I'm sharing my goals here so that I can't be lazy about them. I'll be sharing parts of my work as well. The plan is to have it slightly separated from the rest of the website. I don't want to subject anyone to watching my education if they're not interested.

So here is what I'm going to be studying:

  1. Biblical Greek. This is a vague idea I've had for just over a year. It's a couple of months since it became serious and a few weeks since I made a start. I bought the Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, Workbook, and Flashcards by William D. Mounce. I'll be going through the course on  billmounce.com along with some material from NTGreek in Session. (The basic letters are fascinating, by the way)

  2. I will be doing cultural studies. Basically I'll pick a country or people group, study them for a couple of months and write up something about my findings. I'm not sure what the time frame for that will be, but because I have several interruptions coming up in the next few months and this is going to take a little settling into, I'll give myself until the end of May to do my first study which will be on Myanmar/Burma.

  3. Music appreciation. I'm not sure that I'll do this much, but I do like listening to most of the great composers and some modern compositions. That won't be stopping.

  4. Theology, Philosophy, Apologetics and History. This will be through reading and occasionally writing up my thoughts. It will be wide branching, going into politics and biographies well as the aforementioned subjects.. Basically a lot of nonfiction of various sorts. I've been given a long list of books and some instruction on reading. Also my dad has a large collection of books. I'll be reading some of them. Current books are The Institutes of Biblical Law and The Insanity of God. (In the time I've been writing this, I listened to all of Mere Christianity.)

  5. Conferences and Seminars. If there's an opportunity to listen to great speakers and interact with people of like minds, I'll take it.

  6. Online Courses. I'm taking the Theme Mastery course by Kingdom Pen and something called User Experience for the Web on Open2Study. The Theme Mastery course has been amazing for the first ten lessons. The other not so much, but it can't hurt.

  7. Other reading. I'll be reading a variety of fiction, both modern and classic, as literature and cultural study. It's not going be as big an intake as I've had in the past, but I hope to get more out of it.
And that's about it. Congratulations for making it to the bottom. It might look like a lot and I admit to feeling a little overwhelmed. But if I get my time under better control, it shouldn't take away from my writing and editing much. Especially since I've been a bit lazy about it lately.

I just want to add a special thank you to my fellow CHQ students. I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for you. It might not be the effect you expected, but you have been a great help to me. I may have learned a little Greek anyway, but I doubt I would have bought the books that I did. Thank you.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Emmeline: Matchmaking, The Great Depression and General Motors

Today I am reviewing Emmeline by Sarah Holman. It's the first book in the Vintage Jane Austin Collection. Now I'm not really into Jane Austen very much. I've been slowly making my way through her books on audio and I've still got Persuasion to go. But Emma is my favourite and I like retellings.


Emmeline did not disappoint. Sarah Holman's style is different to Austen's of course, but she's kept the spirit of the story while changing it to another time. I found it a little more relate-able, 1930 is much more like 2017 than 1815 is.

I love the characters she has given us. Emmeline Wellington is very much Emma Woodhouse, yet she's slightly different too. There an extra little bit of kindness or teasing; I can't quite pin it down. Mr Knightly has become Frederick Knight. He is (as is suitable to the time period) only a few years older than Emmeline and has some boyish habits. The relationship between them is a little. He's the best friend since childhood, not the good neighbour who takes the part of a much older brother from time to time. In short they're closer.

There's a few things that have always bothered me about Jane Austen;s books. Her opinion of clergymen is one. Yes, there is Mr. Tilney tilting the scale back, but I don't like her tendency to make them self-serving, social climbers. We don't have that here. Instead of Mr. Elton, there is a fashionable young man who's a little bit too modern and doesn't respect traditions.. (He wants to have a dance, Shock! Horror!) His wife is suitably insufferable.

The other things that bother me are the lack of real Christianity1 and the non-productive upper-class living. Both of those have been changed. Emmeline is undoubtedly, though not overly strongly Christian in it's feel and society. And Emmeline has a job in her father's business. Rather like mine actually. Her father own a General Motors showroom and the Depression plays a large role in the story.

I loved the other themes that came up in it and the little changes and the big twist at the end. Yes, there's a big twist at the end. A secondary plot of sorts. And there's delightful ending, much humour and much fun. I'm looking forward to reading more books in this collection someday, even though they're not by Sarah Holman.

(Just a quick comment to add that I am not denying that Jane Austen was a brilliant writer who made great use of theme.)


1. A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Middle and Higher Classes in this Country Contrasted with Real Christianity by William Wilberforce was written during this time.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

5 Factors in Understanding my Characters

I had something completely different planned for my post today, but something went wrong with Blogger and I've only got an old version of it. So I've had to come up with something new. I've been thinking a lot about character motivations and desires lately. It's one of the most important parts of a good story.

I have found I always need something in common with my characters to be able to write them effectively. I also need something that I don't agree with to make them interesting. Not that I'm a boring person, but fictional characters need several strong traits instead of dozens of minor ones. And I'm a product of my world, a world my characters don't inhabit.


With that said here are the essential things I need to relate to my characters.

Ambition. This can be a desire to help people, a theory they want to prove, even something self-centred such as raising their status or taking something they feel is theirs. The nature of the ambition doesn't entirely affect whether I like the person, but a 'good' character must have a strong ambition for something right.

Fears. My characters fears are probably the biggest part of myself I put into them. Fear or being alone, fear of never doing anything useful, fear of public speaking. Well that last one is actually a fear that many of my characters shouldn't have. I have trouble making my main characters articulate and good with confrontation. I don't make them fear it though. Maybe I should. Helping them overcome it might prove as useful to me as writing about the other fears is.

Loves. Not all my characters love the things I do. But they must have a passion for something. For Aydel it's her medicine box and her knives; Joane has her running; Natalia, philanthropy and art; Rhesa and her orphans, Leisa and her cooking and sewing. Well those last two especially are more everyday life for Leisa than passions and they certainly are one I have.

Stupidity. Not the best term for it but all my characters seem to have one thing they cling to stubbornly which probably isn't true. Some I laughed at other almost make me cry. Either way I can't stand characters which are wishy-washy on everything or characters who are right about everything. Not that they could be right about everything. I'm not.

Justification. This is especially important for villains. I may completely disagree with everything they do, but I have to understand why they're doing it. Maybe not fully because some people have a very twisted view of reality, but I usually can get my head around it somewhat eventually. It's the same with my protagonists. She might do something foolish, but it can't be blatantly so.

Now since It's already one o'clock here, I think I should just post this whether there are more factors or not. I hope you enjoyed this little look inside my mind.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Beautiful People: Celino and Cloe


So it's Link-up time of month again. And time to get back into character questions. In other words, it's Beautiful People time. And because of a 3rd (or 1st) century bishop (or priest) who may (or may not) have had something to do with marrying people against the emperor's orders, the theme for February is couples.



Now I have several couples in Lady of Courage. But I can't talk about Natalia because that's too complicated, and I'd rather not talk about her friend Eloisa who made a political marriage, so I'm going to talk about Natalia's parents. Or rather her mother and her step-father. But they're still both her parents and theirs is a lovely story, if I do say so myself.

Celino Acqui
Now I had better introduce them both properly.

Celino Acqui is a merchant and a veteran of the Third Yallici war. 
Cloe Neroni was raised to occupy a high position and was an assistant to the late Deso of Vecoa and the mother of his heir.
Besides Natalia they have Alexso who is fifteen and Sofia and Teresa who are twelve.

How and why did they meet?

Cloe: Supposedly it was the second time I met Sebastian (my first husband). I was sixteen at the time and very nervous, though excited about the possibility of an engagement. I do however remember him being with Sebastian when he visited me in between then and our wedding.

Celino: I distinctly remember being dancing with her once on the first occasion. Sebastian asked me to help entertain her, then made me promise not to step on her feet.

What were their first impressions of each other?

Celino: I thought that she would be good for Sebastian and make a wonderful Desa for Vecoa when the time came. And I'll admit I thought she was rather young.

Cloe: When I did properly meet him I was impressed by his devotion to Sebastian. And possibly a little too admiring of his swagger and skill with the sword. He wasn't so steady and cautious back before the war.If he had been I might have attempted to set him up with one of my friends and then where would we be. 

How would they prove their love for each other?

Celino: Well she listens to me and confides in me.
Cloe: I would have to say the same.

Cloe Neroni
What would be an ideal date?

Cloe: A date for what? The only big occasions to plan are all Natalia's and I doubt are what you're asking about. But late spring is preferable.

Is there something they emphatically disagree on?

Cloe: Celino still thinks I wouldn't have married him if Sebastian hadn't left a clear letter asking me to let Celino take care of me if he was killed. But though the letter may have played a part, especially in him offering, I couldn't help but be won around to him.

Celino: And I disagree with that statement. She convinced me of her story years ago. I don't understand why, but I believe it.



List 5 quirks they know about each other. 

Cloe: Celino doesn't like going into the city without his big admiral's hat. Even as a merchant he's still got that sea blood. Sometimes I think if it weren't for his commitments he'd been raging off over the sea.
Celino: But you know the war ruined me for seafaring. I'd go if there was a war, but that will be a terrible day.
Cloe: He also hates politics and is very fond of the tapping noise his wooden leg makes. Now what do you have to say about me, dear?
Celino: I have no such awkward things say about you. There's only your odd preference for Rosan partridge over our native pike.
Cloe: I grew up in Rosa. It's natural I'm partial to their food.
Celino: But you spent an equal time on the isle of Fazoe.You didn't have partridges there. And that was where they taught you to cook.
Cloe: And that my dear, is why I have never eaten a badly cooked partridge.

What’s one thing they know about each other that no one else does? (and now you will)

Celino: Cloe almost joined a religious order when she was fifteen and again straight after the war.
Cloe: I'm sure at least one other person knows that. The same with the dreadful secret I have. When he was twenty Celino helped captured an Ayutian ship and almost married a girl on it.
Celino: *raises eyebrows* Did Sebastian tell you that story? And it wasn't nearly so close as that. Her mother told me to behave or I had better marry her, but there was never anything for her to worry about.

What’s one thing that they keep secret from each other?

I was unable to ask this question so I just went digging around in what I already knew. I don't think Cloe tells Celino all of her hopes for Natalia and he has never shared a particular secret that Natalia confided in him.

How would their lives be different without each other?

Cloe: I'd be a lonely widow meddling too much in the life of her only child and Celino would be another mad sea captain. And no, that's not debatable.

Where do they each see this relationship going?

Cloe: Well we've been married seventeen years. Let's see if we can make it to 70.
Celino: I think you mistake your math. I won't live to be one hundred years old.


I hope you enjoyed that. I haven't developed them as well as I'd like yet, but I got a bit of banter going.