Monday, August 18, 2014

And Now the Post You've Been Waiting For!

You know, Kendra's a dear and all that, but sometimes she puts off doing things she should for far too long (case in point - writing my book). She was supposed to tell all of you who won the giveaways five weeks ago, but here we are ... anyways. 

Oh, and Kendra just told me not to use numbers.

Yeah, she has trouble with numbers, I have trouble focusing on what I need to get done. We all have our faults.

First off all, winner of the first $5 gift card from the interviews is ... Abbey! I'll need an email from you from an address attached to an Amazon account so I can send you the money.

Second, well, no one entered any official fanfiction, so I'm going to shift that one's prize over to the review giveaway. (and also because my brain forgot which contest had which prize). Therefore, Kiri Liz will be receiving a complete physical collection of my books. Not autographed, unfortunately, because I will be sending them to you directly from CreateSpace. However, when we have that LotR marathon (because it has to happen), I'll be sure to sign them for you. In the meantime, email me your mailing address, and I'll ship them off to you.

Winner of the Title contest is, by popular demand, Kathryn. She won by one vote. I'll need a email with an amazon attached so she can claim her $10.

As for the fan art, well no one entered any of the traditional sort, and certainly no hand-drawn stuff. However, Kiri Liz did submit some mock covers into the graphic art contest, and her Cayra has won her a $5 gift card. I have her amazon-attached email, so I'll send it to her at once.



Now that we're done with all of the giveaways that involve money, I get the keyboard. Each day, Kendra featured a game that promised one person a chance to read a sneak peek at something of her writing.

The first day, it was tag, for a chance to read Infiltration. The winner? Robyn Hoode. Lucky you. That's one good book there. (In other words, it's finished.)

Day three, it was Egg Toss to win a chance to read the openings of the first three books of the Rizkaland Legends. Winner? Kiri Liz.

No one played Red Rover on day seven, so no one gets to read The Nine Gems of Virtue. Now that's unfortunate, because it's a good book!

Stop with the numbers.

What?

You're giving them the numbers out of order. Just say the game and the prize. Don't bother with the numbers.

Okay, fine. Days are hard to count, anyways, being insubstantial and all that. 

Moving on. Since she played Hot Potato so well, Kathryn will get to read The New Division. So far, your the first person who Kendra doesn't already have an email for, so shoot her one, and she'll send you this lovely story. (You can find her email on her FAQ page.)

The person who kept the balloon in the air and didn't pop it and will therefore get to read Cayra and Just another Sci-fi Novel, is TomWildRose. Kendra says she does have an email for you. Just a warning though, the Sci-fi Novel contains references to Doctor Who, and since ...

Maryanne, Tom is, I believe, a fan of Doctor Who (the classic series, at least). She won't mind references. Now get off your high horse about that show.

She has issues with it because the Doctor isn't a medical kind of doctor. Now get her on Merlin ... but we won't go there. Carry on, Maryanne.

Is é an Dochtúir falsa, ní cosúil le mo dheartháir. Anois, tá sé an dochtúir is fearr sa domhan.

Moving on again, the person who pinned the tails on the donkeys and gets to read Colinda and the Swan Secret is Miss Melody. Except that Kendra just informed me that you already have that story in your inbox somewhere (apparently, you won it at her birthday party) and that she hasn't added anything to it since that time, so you'll get to read The Nine Gems of Virtue instead. I'm sure you'll be happy with that one.

Because she was such a good scavenger, Jessy Jones will get to read Half-Hidden. That means you'll get to read about Stardrana. Ah, but she's a sweetheart. Of course, this was written at a stage where Kendra wasn't sure if Stardrana would know exactly what the Hidden were, but anyways. I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

Robyn Hoode was the only one who has done her Character Encounter this month, so she'll get to read the first ten chapters of Worth of a King. (With all of Jack's and my notes edited out of course ;) Don't want you reading spoilers or anything like that ...)

Robyn Hoode also was the one to burst open the pinata (figuratively speaking) so she'll also get to read HaV Academy. 

There was no game for the Ankulen's day. I think Kendra forgot about it, or simply couldn't come up with anything.

And finally, the only person to have taken a pitch with the horseshoes was Robyn Hoode (those were some great Haikus - worth of Haiku himself.) Since I happen to know that she's already read the first two books of the Bookania series, she'll just be getting Kingdom. She'll love it, that's for certain.

And now that that's done ...

It's not.

Yes, it is. We've given away everything I promised.

Ah, but I promised a dragon's egg.

Maryanne, there is no possible way for me to give away a dragon's egg.

And the winner of the dragon's egg is ...

Maryanne ...

Hush. And the winner is ...

Kendra E. Ardnek!

Via Pinterest
I heard you mention the other day that you would love to be a dragon rider, so I went and got you an egg. A purple egg, so you can name it Sunrise, just like you want to!

And a big thank-you to everyone who attended the party! It wouldn't have been half as fun without you!

Maryanne ... there are days ...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Awesome Dragon Tag

A few years ago, I decided to pull out one of my old books to write for my second attempt at NaNo. I wrote up a description for Infiltration, and plunged into the words.

One girl, at least, found this description intriguing, and sent me a buddy request. Since I liked her username, I accepted it. (And I know for a fact that my book's description was the reason she buddied me, because she told me.)

After my parents withdrew me from NaNo (the forums at least) I kinda lost track of her until she started commenting on my blog and many of my friends. She's guest posted over here once, a long time ago, because she wanted to take part in a tag, and she didn't have her own blog.

Speaking of tags, she's celebrating her birthday this month, and is doing some dragon-themed awesomeness on her blog, including a tag which I shall now dutifully fill out.

(Oh, and please stay tuned tomorrow for the announcementation of all the winners from my own blog party!)

1. Which was your favorite birthday you’ve had and why?

That would be my thirteenth birthday. It was perfect. I got up early that morning (err ... the Saturday after, but that's how it usually works in my family) and went on a nice daddy day, we went to the library, to the park, to ... well, I forget all where I went (except that there was Chinese food for lunch), but just as we were going to head over to the mall to play Lunar Golf, we got a phone call from my aunt saying she had left some cleaning rags at her house that she needed to clean the church with, and would we please bring them to her. So we did, and then we got to the church and there were a bunch of cars in the parking lot - including one person who goes to a different church (she has a very distinctive car), but my brain thought - oh, some sort of woman's meeting. I opened the front door, and the room's dark, but there's a bunch of people sitting on the floor - including my (at the time) two best friends, and all my cousins (who live down here, at least) and while I'm wondering why they're sitting there, they shout surprise, and three seconds later, as the light flies on, I realize that it's my birthday party.

(Big breath)

Yes, I can talk a person's ear off about that party. Seems everyone thought that I had figured it out - multiple people had slipped up about it - but I had been so distracted by my daddy day and a sleepover party that I had been planning a few weeks after that, it hadn't even occurred to me that they would be planning a surprise party for me.

A close second would be my eighteenth birthday, with my blog party.

2. Who is your favorite fictional dragon and why?

Via pinterest
That is ... difficult. I have read so MANY dragons. But ... since you're making me chose I'll go with ...

Oh, who am I fooling. I can't chose in this sort of epicness. Every dragon has its own reason for being amazing. They're DRAGONS after all.

I'm staring at my Goodreads list of dragon books that I've read, and still, none of the dragons are presenting themselves as my favorite. Sooooo ....

I'm going to go with Amber. The Lady Dragon. Because she was the first real villain I ever developed, and she certainly has the best developed backstory and arch even now. She's fictional. You didn't say it had to be a published dragon.



3. What is something awesome you’ve done this summer?

I ... I don't remember most of this summer ... my brain has been ... stressed. I had a blog party. Yes, that's pretty awesome. Which reminds me - don't forget to vote for your favorite story for the "fanfic" contest. (Entries being Water, Fire and Jessica's Summer.) You can let me know your vote in the comments below.

4. What are your favorite flavors of cake and ice cream?

I like lemon or apple cake and whatever ice cream looks lonely. 

Case in point, about four years ago, I went to spend a week at an aunt's, and at the halfway point to her house (she lived two hours away from us, and my parents met them halfway to drop me off to them) we stopped at a place for supper, and there was a blue bell ice cream shop inside, and the aunt got us kids each a cone. Since I'm sensitive to milk, I didn't get ice cream very often, so I had trouble picking, but the lemon looked lonely, and since I like lemon, I chose that. It was good ice cream.

5. Which quality of dragons do you think is cooler, the ability to fly or the ability to breathe fire?

Flying. But I think that their fire breathing is some hot stuff.

6. What is your favorite book that you’ve read this summer?

I have read maybe five books this summer ... but all five of them have been REALLY good (they had to be, because I'm not in the state of mind for the reading of mediocre books). I think I'll go with Secret of the Hazel Tree by Kirsten Fichter. No, it's not published yet, but hold on to your socks folks, this'll be one epic book when it is.

7.Will your age on your next birthday be an even or odd number? Would it also be a prime number?

It'll be an even composite number. But my age this year is an odd prime.

8. If given the choice, would you become a dragon rider?

Oh certainly. I'll have a purple dragon named Sunrise, we'll set all to right and we'll be epic. (Except that my eyes are blue, and I'd be luckiest riding a blue dragon ... eh, well, give the dragon brown eyes, we'll call it good.)

9. Do you actually make a wish before blowing out the candles on your birthday cake?

Doesn't everyone? I also wish on the first star I see every night and wishbones. I make wishes on dandelion puffs and daisies. I'm a bit addicted to wishing.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

CE Tree - Roxanne

Via Pinterest
"Stupid tree! Stupid, stupid tree!"

I walk around the end of the house to find a girl hanging by her ankle from the cedar tree in my front yard.

"You lost the fight, didn't you, Roxanne!" I shout up at her.

"Is it that obvious?"

"Well, since you're upsidedown in a tree, and that tree's branch didn't use to be in that position, I thought it a good guess to say that your brother had something to do with it."

"I keep roots out of dad's lair for this very purpose!" she declares. I realize that she has some sort of rock levitating near her ankle - probably some sort of knife.

"I'm sure you do. Never let someone else have an advantage if you can help it," I observe. Suddenly, she's falling out of the tree, but it's clear that she's done this before since manages to grab the branch she's rapidly headed for and twirl around so she's on her feet. The branch that had been around her ankle has snapped in two.

Soon she's on the ground in front of me. "That's much better," she declares. "Honestly, that brother of mine cares nothing about me making a good impression."

"I don't think you do either."

"Yes, but it's a requirement for villains to always make a good entrance, and thus a good first impression. Hanging from a tree does not count."

"Ah, but I'm your author, and you're not in your costume, and as such, you don't have to worry about your impressions. You need to stop being so high-strung. How's school coming, by the way?"

"They say I'm doing good. I hate it."

"Oh, it surely can't be all that bad," I prompt. "Have you made any new friends?"

She shrugs. "That roommate you gave me is crazy. I think she actually likes being a villain."

"Well, there are people who do," I admit. "But you don't have to let it define you as she does. You can be like your dad."

She shrugs. "I need to get back home." And with a stomp of her foot, she disappears into the ground at my feet.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I know I meant to post the winners to the giveaways today ... but my brain has been in shutdown, possibly due to the fact that I've been working on book two of the Rizkaland Legends as well as the midgoal climax of Kingdom. Also ... while most of the giveaways will be easy to draw a winner for, I really can't decide for the "fanfiction" contest.

There were two entrants, both of which I love nearly equally. One chose to merely use the title of Water Princess, Fire Prince and run her own direction with it. (And it involved twins - major points there!) The other chose to use my plot idea as well as the title, though she rearranged the family structure. I'm thoroughly intrigued by her story, because it's clearly going a very different direction that I have my version going.

So I'm doing a poll of sorts. Do you prefer Jessy Jones' Water, Fire, or does Kathryn's Jessica's Summer speak more to you? Let me know!

I plan to post the winners on Friday, so all opinions about these two stories must make it to my desk by tomorrow night.

Also, comment moderation has been turned back on. Captcha is back off. You're welcome. (Honestly, I do prefer being able to moderate comments.)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

There's been this tag of sorts going around, masquerading under the fancy title of The Writing Process Blog Tour. I've wanted to participate for some time, and nearly took advantage of one blogger giving the blanket whoever-wants-this-can-take-it tagging, but I persevered in hopes that one day, some author would remember me when doing up their post and lo and behold, it happened. I was tagged by Jaye L. Knight, one of my favorite authors. I'm thoroughly honored.

Anyways, on to the questions.

 
1) What am I working on?

Um ... the easy answer would be writing My Kingdom for a Quest and three more stories for my next short story collection ... but I write best when I multitask, and at the moment ... I have the following documents pulled up (Besides Kingdom and the short stories):

Half-Hidden
HaV Academy
The New Division
Just Another SciFi Novel
Water Princess, Fire Prince
Worth of a King
Bookania book 4.

PLUS, I have sitting beside me in notebooks:

The Nine Gems of Virtue
Rizkaland book 2
Footprints of a Mermaid

So ... I'm a bit busy at the moment.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

I'm not exactly sure how to answer that. When I write, I don't worry about how it's different. Much of the time, I just scavenge around for cliches that I can reuse and re-purpose. And I write in such a variety of genres - mostly fantasy, but even there, I cover all of the bases. Dragons, fairies, retellings, epic quests ... I try everything.

But no one has my brain, no one has written these stories before. No one has used my twists, my vision. I put a bit of me into every one of my stories.

3) Why do I write what I do? 

Because they are the stories burning in my heart, crying to be spilled through my fingers. I like taking old, tired plots and giving them new light. I like bringing up topics that people should think about it. I've been given stories to write, and write them I shall.

4) How does my writing process work?

As you can probably guess from my list of books I'm working on write now, it's a bit chaotic, but after the publication of four books, I've developed something of a rhythm.

I start with an spark, which could be anything from the idea of dragons who take on a human form after they are slain to the idea of a girl who has never been allowed to cut her hair. I mull on this idea for a few days to a few months, until I discover the heart of the story, which may be directly connected to the spark, or it may have nothing in common and I end up throwing that original idea out entirely.

Eventually, I get excited enough about the story that I feel that I'm ready to start writing it. I make it about two to five chapters before I realize that I started in the wrong place, or I'm going the wrong direction, and, armed with this knowledge, I scrap that notebook or document and start over.

This time I (usually) make it to the end, and once I reach those delicious words, I put the book away and work on something else. (Although sometimes I hand it off to my Grandma or someone so they can tell me what they think of it). Once I get back to it, I decide it needs a complete rewrite, so I plunge into that. It's usually a painless process, rewriting, though it isn't always.

Once it's rewritten, I send it off to my editors, do up a cover art, then hit the publish button.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And I tag ... Jack.

Jack claims the title of Author, which makes her feel like a Time Lord when she capitalizes it. She has a sonic pen which deepens her Time Lord claims. She enjoys a good Science Fiction story though spends most of her time writing Fantasy and Steampunk, or a mixture of both.

You can learn more about Jack's other published work and upcoming books at her website,jacklewisbaillot.com

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

You May Think That This is the End ...

Hola! Maryanne here! Yesterday was the last day of the party, and I'm sure all of you are eager to hear who won all of the lovely prizes.

However, let me let you in on a little secret. Last week, Kendra bought a bed. A really tall loft bed. Which is smart, because she has a smaller room that she's trying to cram a full-sized bed and four desks inside.

Kendra is not the best person at thinking things through (case in point, she stuck three books between book one of my series and the first book that I appear in, a very bad decision all around). Currently, her room is half in her mom's school room, and her mom isn't happy about it.

Therefore, to give her brain time to mull, she's extending the contests until next Tuesday (she says she has another post that has to go up on Monday, or else she would end it then.) So, you have extra time to draw fan art, play red rover, write reviews, or encounter your character in a tree. Basically, have fun.

In the meantime, Kendra has to reorganize her room. She intends to share a picture tour with you guys when she gets done, however!
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