Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CE Waterfall - Collie

Via Pinterest But she needs to be wearing
I don't have a waterfall in my back yard, but I do have a gully, and there is a spot in the gully where, if it's raining, it turns into a waterfall.

It's not the prettiest sight, thanks to everything that gets caught there, but it's nice to be able to say that we have a waterfall in our backyard. At least when it rains.

It isn't raining today - hasn't rained since Sunday - so no waterfall. However, since my mom has sent me in quest of a canister from a nearby storage shed, I'm taking some time out to wander the extra thirty feet to the "waterfall."

A glint of gold catches my eye, however, so I leap into the gully to investigate. Yes, folks, that is how I operate.

Anyways, now that I'm in the gully, I examine the glint to discover that a crack has split the dirt wall from the floor of the gully to the lip, and wedged into that crack is a seam of gold. Pure gold, I'm willing to bet, since it's soft enough for me to dent with my thumbnail.

I bite my lip. There's one person who could have done this. Climbing out of the gully, I glance around. "Collie? Are you here?"

Of course, she could be on the other side of the golden crack, in the Land of Magic, but it doesn't hurt to have a look around. And on another hand, she could have turned herself invisible, since she can do that.

Which makes calling her name my best bet.

"Princess Colinda? Did you create a rift in my gully?"

A girl dressed in blue steps out from behind a tree on the opposite side of the gully, so I scramble over the not-so-deep portion (you know, the part before the "waterfall"). She has pale blonde hair and and her pale skin is marred by even paler scars that criss-cross every portion of exposed skin. One on her arm seems to glow for a moment, and I see her wince.

"So you don't have your memories yet?" I ask, knowing that the scars are a side effect of the amnesia that has made her forget her life as the Magic Princess.

"Will I get them back? Who - who are you? How do you know my name? People usually don't - not here." Her voice is soft, powerful, and slightly musical.

"I'm a historian, I record stories," I explain, realizing that she's one of the ones that don't know about me. "Yours is one that I'm recording ... but that's the funny thing about me. So often I kinda read ahead with history to see what is going to happen, so I don't always know what has."

She squints at me for a moment, then shakes her head. "I've long since given up trying to make sense of people," she admits. "I'll buy it."

"So, if you don't mind me asking you, where exactly in your story are you?" I sit down in the dead leaves and motion for her to sit next to me.

"You don't work for maLigthyr, do you?" she asks, drawing back in suspicion.

"Wouldn't think of it. He's not quite right in the head. And while I won't admit to being the sanest person in the world, I do know that turning people into animals just because you can isn't normal."

Something akin to a smile ghosts at one corner of her mouth as she sits down next to me. "Well, Gardenia and I just found a girl named Kallie, and Gardenia thinks that Kallie will be important."

"She will be," I say nodding.


"You'd know if you had your memories," is all I'm allowed to say. "But until you get them back ... well, you'll just have to trust the talking swan." I sigh. "But I was kinda wishing that you'd be a bit further along in your story. It's kinda gray from this point until you meet the Bookkeeper."

"So we do find him?"

"You most certainly do. And you find your sister. Sooner than you realize, but I can't tell you where."

"You're not much help." She falls forward and buries her head in her hands.

"Well, I can't say that you're much help to me, either," I admit. "But you will find your memories, you will find your sister, and you will deal with maLigthyr. Not all at once, but it will happen. But ... while I know how it all will happen, I have no idea how you're going to get there. Some days I wonder if I was in my right mind when I stole your story from that friend."

She glances through her hair at me for a moment then shakes her head. "I'm not even sure how I'm going to get back home."

"Actually, that's easy," I tell her. "Just rub the crack down there. There's enough of your magic in it, it won't harm you to open it again. I just recommend that you take a nice long nap afterwards. You don't want to lose any more of your memories."

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cover Reveal - Resistance by Jaye L. Knight

 Last January, I was Molly Evangeline's personal fan girl because I really love her Makilien Trilogy. I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not, though I think I did, but she's also working on a completely new series, the Ilyon Chronicles, which is rapidly approaching publication, though under a new pen name, Jaye L. Knight. Which is a very pretty name which fits her genre much better.

Well, the other day, she contacted me and asked if I wanted to participate in the first book's cover reveal and be a pre-reviewer. I enthusiastically said yes on both accounts. I'll be posting the review later on the O.Scarlett blog, so watch out for it! It's a wonderful book, very different from Makilien, with twice the amazing world building, and a feel that I've only found previously in Christian historical fiction set in Rome pre-Catholicism, and some stories about the Chinese church ... and maybe the Left Behind series. But this is a Christian Fantasy - usually that's about Epic battles of Good vs. Evil. Not persecution.

In short, I loved it.

JAYE L. KNIGHT is a 25-year-old independent author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean NA (New Adult) fiction. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God's love shines as a light to offer hope.

Jaye is a homeschool graduate and has been penning stories since the age of eight. She was previously published as Molly Evangeline. You can learn about her latest writing projects at www.jayelknight.com.

And just look at this lovely cover! Wow! I've said this before, but I'll say it again. Her covers are the BEST.

 “Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”
Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.

Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair and her twin brother live every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.

Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.

Kindle release date: May 20, 2014

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Character Encounters - April 2014

Now that I have finished writing Water Princess, Fire Prince, I'm going to leave it alone for a little while and focus on finishing my short stories and Kingdom. However, we're here to talk about the CE, which I promised would be Water Princess, Fire Prince themed.

Of course, that's tricky, correlating an encounter to a book I've written. For a while, I considered having ya'll do the encounter in Rizkaland, but as it happens that ya'll, unlike myself, have never been to Rizkaland, I'm going to be a bit creative.

Instead of actually going to Rizkaland, you will encounter your character near one of the largest symbols of the book, and the thing that inspired it. No, not the shower. Can we just forget about the shower?

This month, you'll encounter your character by ...

A Waterfall

Now, I understand perfectly that most of you don't have a waterfall in your back yard (I don't either, unless it has rained recently) but remember how open to interpretation this challenge is. Be creative. It doesn't have to be a real waterfall. Perhaps it's only a painting of one that your Aunt Alberta was given, and hated, and thus thrust it into the back room. Perhaps you suddenly find yourself in South America (which is like North America, only south!) near Angel Falls. Maybe you've gone to Niagra!

And, as for the totally optional, but I'd be much happier if you did it character challenge, see if you can encounter a character who has either a prophecy about him/her, or a character who is a member of royalty. If the character is/has both, that would be great.

Oh, and before I go, Abby asked the other day if there were twins in Rizkaland, which is, indeed, a very important question. However, since I don't think this is a complicated enough question to warrant an entire blog entry, I've decided to answer it here.

Yes, there are twins in Rizkaland. In fact, there's a few sets of identical triplets! There aren't any obvious ones in Water Princess, Fire Prince, but three of the characters are multiples. You just don't get to meet their siblings until later books. Also, Jane and John, two of the legendary kings and queens, were twins. But again, you won't know that until later books.

(And don't forget to send more questions about Water Princess, Fire Prince, Rizkaland, and the surrounding series! I'll be answering questions all month!)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

It is Finished

This is not an April Fool's post. I repeat, this is not an April Fool's Post! (I wanted to post it yesterday, but didn't have it done it time.)

Via Pinterest
Six or seven years ago, I was a bit bored with my life, a bit frustrated, and wished that I could have some adventures like those of the Petra, Susie, Lulu, the girls that I was writing about in my Narnia-inspired plays. I was constantly imagining doors all over the place where I could just step through and be in another world where I'd be a princess and there'd be lots of exciting adventures.

I don't remember most of these doors (although the idea that MegaGiant, the largest giraffe in my collection, might come to life and carry me away to another world does stick out in my mind), but one of the stories I invented stuck with me and developed a life of its own.

It is an established fact that the best ideas come in the shower, and the same is true for this one. I was in the shower, and I had a random thought of, "Hey, what if I were I were to close my eyes and when I open them, I would be under a waterfall and I'd be a Waterfall Princess!"

I revisited this idea every time I took a shower, and eventually, I decided that it'd be a good idea for another play. Only ... not in a shower. I moved the Waterfall Princess's entrance point to a swimming pool, and I liked it a lot better ... except that she needed a love interested. A ... Fire Prince! Who could have fallen into a campfire!

I really liked this idea, despite the fact that neither of the main characters had anything resembling a name. That wasn't an issue, however, as I could call them by their titles and say that they had forgotten their real names. Of course, I needed a reason for them to be called to this other world - a plot, if you will - so I decided to put it into Rizkaland as a prequel to Petra's story. As a villain, well, I could just recycle the villain, Amber. She's over five thousand years old, so she was undoubtedly still around a thousand years before, and she was surely doing more than just biding her time on Amber Island.

With all that decided, it was time to tell my mother about Waterfall Princess, as I was calling the story. She ... decided that we needed to make a few changes. Including the princess's title. I should shorten it to simply the Water Princess. Also I really ought to give names to the pair. And have them remember them! I chose Clara for her, because of the Nutcracker, and I decided to name him Andrew after my dad. (It's my dad's middle name.)

Armed with this brilliant new plotline, I pulled out the shiny blue notebook that I had picked up at the AWANA store and started writing.

Of course, even with a brilliant plot, I kept writing myself into corners, so I'd set it to the side and work on book 2 instead. Eventually, I finished with book 2, and I got distracted by a whole slew of shiny new ideas. When I got my first laptop (a super old thing that couldn't handle internet and I had to share with my sister), I decided to start over with the story in a word document ... but then I got frustrated and deleted the whole thing only to put Cayra in it's place. (We won't discus the fact that it was the third story to live in that document, and that the second of them had reached over 10,000 words before I deleted it). The notebook version ... got buried in a drawer.

When I got my own laptop, I started a new document for the story ... and again wrote myself into a hole. At some point, when rearranging my room (something my mom does frequently for fun) I ran across the notebook. And I realized that if I just went ahead and had the two meet (which was a scene I had been really looking forward to), it'd flow out beautifully.

So I pulled some strings, and got the story going again. I had hoped that it would limit itself to one notebook as its sequel had ... but I soon ran out of pages and had to commandeer the notebook I had planned to write book four in. A pretty red one.

And the story continued to flow. I think I blew through that notebook in two months ... and I found a nice purple one that I only had to tear a few pages of Faerie Realm related notes out of. And ... I again wrote myself into a wall.

So I decided to finally bring the villain physically on scene. And it was epic. And then I got to the battle ...

And I remembered how much I hate battle scenes.

But about halfway through last month, I decided that, since I didn't have much left of the story, I needed to buckle down and write it. So I challenged myself to finish it by the end of the month. And truth be known, while I did start focusing on it rather than Kingdom or Unforgiven as I have been writing when I've had my notebooks on hand, I didn't actually buckle down and start writing hard until Saturday knight.

And I finished it at at 10:35 yesterday morning while on break. Yes, all of my coworkers heard about it. Most of them were quite impressed and wanted to know when I'll get it published. (Almost all of my coworkers know that I have four books published. I'm always writing on my breaks).

And I'm sure all of you are wondering the exact same thing. Unfortunately, my answer is "It'll be a while."

You see, since it's taken me five years to write this story, it has unavoidably gone through a few changes. Clara has a few changes to her appearance and personality (she's not Classic obsessed as the official version of her will be). Andrew has received some changes to his backstory (the smallest not being the fact that he's now the oldest among his brothers rather than the youngest). I plan to change the starting location from Hawaii to Yosemite. I need to plot Laura back into the story. I had had plans for her back when she was Sandra, but then I took her out, and by the time I decided to include her again, I was too close to finished for her appearance to be anything by tacky.

I even changed the prophecy! The original was an eight-line thing that didn't rhyme. Now I have a short, sweet thing that I think will go on the back of the book when I finally do get to that point.

When the Lady Dragon does come,
Hold fast, do not fear, do not run.
The Water Princess will fight,
Fire Prince will set all to right.
Each shall come from a fall.
Their union will save you all.

I'm pretty proud of that little thing, poetry not being my strength. (Though I wouldn't call it my weakness, either.)

Oh, and and I intend to take out a really weird doll that I gave Clara. My writing motto is, "If you think an idea is too weird, write it anyway. It may work, and if it doesn't, you can just edit it out later." Well, this is one of those times where I need to take it out.

But I'm quite proud of the fact that I have persevered to the end, and while I'm not yet ready to begin the rewrite, I think I'm going to type it up so I can evaluate it in something other than my own handwriting and find out exactly how long it is. My estimate is around 80,000 words. Which is longer than any other project I've ever finished. The Ankulen was only around 70,000. And since the first part of the story is pretty thin, and I do intend to expand upon it while typing it up, it may be longer by the time I finish. At thirty-four (or was that thirty five?) chapters, it definitely takes the record there. Sew only has twenty-seven chapters. When I get it typed up, I may ask a few people to read it over for me (to help identify what needs to stay and what has to go), and so start volunteering now!

I love the ending, by the way. I had an unexpected allusion to The Magician's Nephew that is all sorts of awesome.

So, anyways, in honor of this momentous occasion, I'd like you guys to ask me any question you'd like about the book, its characters, the world of Rizkaland, even the sequels if you'd like! Have fun. I hope to be back with a "best of" snippets post, and the CE this month will allude to the book. If you want to read what I have written about Rizkaland, Click here to read every post I've ever written about it.

And now, as they say in Rizkan, Twa!

(Oh, and if any of you want to give your congratulations, the Rizkan word is Nicargi. Just thought I'd point that out.)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Two Things

And on to chapter 4, which is a short chapter, so this commentary will necessarily be likewise. Actually, in the original writing, it was longer as I was cramming for word count in NaNoWriMo. In addition to the “two things” Robin and Robert also attended a barn dance (where Robin found another young man to impress with her sword skills) and there were three or four more events that I can’t remember.

However, while editing, my mother pointed out that all of those other items didn’t actually do anything for the plot, so I chopped them out. I ended up with a very skinny chapter, but other than that, the book didn’t suffer.

The True Nature of Quests
Despite the fact that fantasy is my genre of choice, I’m not very good at the filler content that makes quests exciting. I hadn’t planned any adventures for them until they had met with Rosamond, and since they weren’t to meet Rosamond until they had been traveling for at least a week, I opted for the “quests are actually quite boring” approach. As I read over this opening, I have a feeling that, were I to rewrite this book, I could actually come up with some interesting adventures for them, but as it is, I’m content with what I have.

But I do mention that Robin does find enough young men willing to have their swords placed in unreachable places, so I suppose she did enjoy herself.

The Storyteller
In the original writing of this chapter, I only mentioned that his story had something to do with the fairies. It wasn’t until the rewrite that my mother pointed out that this was a perfect opportunity to plant some backstory and introduce the story of the Mountain Princess, who would also prove very important to the story. We also toyed with the idea of having it be Sleeping Beauty, but since that’s a much better known fairy tale, and I already had another character tell it later on, we went with the Mountain Princess.

I know I’ve mentioned frequently that the Mountain Princess is not original to me, but is actually my retelling of a lesser-known fairy tale called “Casperl and the Princess.” (Though some versions I’ve seen have it shortened to merely “Casperl”) It’s a very rare fairy tale that, to my knowledge, only exists it maybe three books, and the only place you can read it online is my blog here.

Of course, after the story is told, Robin and Robert are naturally going to ask the man if he has any idea where they might find a fairy (though I’m not sure they mentioned the reason they are looking for one), and unfortunately, the story teller has no idea. He just collects and tells stories, he doesn’t collect archaic knowledge like that.

The Change
One plot device that I enjoy in other books, and naturally included in my own book, is the capital C Change. Something, in a world’s past, happened, and because that something happened, everything is different. Differences so big, you have to have a capital C to properly convey them.

Bookania’s Change took place a hundred years before, an interesting number when you take into consideration that it’s about the same time as when the Mountain Princess lived according to the Storyteller. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding this, and if you didn’t live back then, or if you aren’t interested in that subject, it’s likely you don’t know about it.

Robin and Robert certainly don’t.

So I chose a random old woman to enlighten the twins. They tell her that they’re looking for a fairy, tell her why, and immediately, her mind goes back to that long-forgotten time. She doesn’t know why it happened, or everything that changed, but the name is thrown out there, and it’s obviously going to be important.

And then, just before the twins leave, disappointed because they didn’t find out anything particularly helpful, she adds one more word to their new vocabularies. Skewwood. Doesn’t really sound that important, but, who knows?

Favorite Lines

Robin and Robert discovered over the next week that adventuring mostly involved traveling through virtually unchanging countryside. Robin also discovered that there was a never ending supply of young men who were ever eager to have their swords lodged in trees or rafters or whatever else was handy.

We’re looking for one in particular,” explained Robin. “She’s our Fairy Godmother, and she messed up our gifts somewhat.”
It’s been a long time since I have seen anyone who had a Fairy Godmother,” the old woman said. “Not since I was a girl. And they were all princes and princesses whose birth preceded the Change.”
The Change?” said Robin. “I’ve never heard of that.”
About a hundred years ago,” the old woman said, “this land was very different, how, I don’t know, for I was but a wee lass toddling at my father’s knee. I know that then there were fairies and magical places in the land, but they all disappeared after the Change.”

On this one path, however, there are three challenges. For one to get to the top, and it is said that he must do it completely on his own, he would have to first get through the gate. This gate is so heavy, no man can lift it. Second, they would have to get past a trunk of a tree. This tree is magic, and it is impossible to get over, under, or around. It is also impossible to chop through it. At the very top, there is a dragon. He is solid black, with flaming eyes and breath.
It is said that only a true prince will be able to pass these challenges. Many such young men have tried, but none have succeeded. It is said that she is still as young of face as when the magician first placed her there, for the fairy’s magic keeps her so. I have not seen her myself, but I have spoken with princes and kings who have, in their youth, made the attempt, and they assure me that she is every bit as beautiful as the rumors give her credit. But none have succeeded.”

Discussion Questions
1. Do you like a lot of filler content in your fantasy, or do you prefer it to just get to the point and get the adventure over with?

2. What's the rarest fairy tale you know of?
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