Thursday, October 30, 2014

Their Story

Just ignore the February
Although there is the fact that Kingdom is coming out in February
I have fallen FAR too behind on this But I shall try to rectify the problem at once.

Anyways, since I'm no longer working, I'm going to tone down the prizes I had had planned for this. I don't remember what all I had promised, but a lot of it had to do with extra stuff you could do. So now, basically, answer the questions, and I'll enter you to win a physical copy of My Kingdom for a Quest which has the current projected release date of February 14th, because I love all of you.

And, don't forget, Sew, It's a Quest, as well as two of my short stories, are currently free on Kindle.

So, anyways, on to the actual chapter. This is, perhaps the closest chapter to its equivalent in No Longer a Dream, the version of Sew that that had been from Rosamond's POV. It's when the twins finally divulge their backstory, sharing most of the details that I had been tantalizing my readers with.

Although, I just pulled up the document for No Longer a Dream, and Locksley was described as one of the less important countries, as opposed to now, where it's one of the larger more important countries. Um ... plot changes?

The Fairy Godmother
Robin and Robert don't admit to many people that they have a Fairy Godmother, but since Rosamond has already blown away one of the soldiers, they apparently deem her safe.

And actually, she's not surprised to hear that they have a Fairy Godmother, even makes the claim that many princes and princesses do - which is odd, since Robin and Robert are the only two to have received gifts in a hundred years.

Notice, however, how Robin describes the gifts - one pink, one blue. Of course, the answer is obvious, one for her, and one for him (incidentally, their favorite colors are pink and blue - though dark shades of each color) ... but perhaps there's a double meaning?

The Mix-Up
Despite everyone expecting Robin to be great at sewing, and Robert a master swordsman (it would be the natural thing, considering their family's history) as it turned out, the opposite was the case. Robin was all thumbs when she picked up a needle, and while Robert did well enough while he had a wooden sword, once they gave him his first real sword, he suddenly didn't know what to do with it.

Poor kids! Everyone pushing them to be what they didn't want to be. To do things they just couldn't figure out. They were miserable - but then they made a strange discovery. Robert got the hang of embroidery his first try - and he wasn't even paying attention to what he had been doing.

So Robin jumped at the opportunity to take his sword lessons - something she had secretly wanted for quite some time. They convinced their nurse to swap their clothing, and went to each other's lessons. I'm not exactly sure how they got away with it, but I suppose it had mostly to do with the fact that no one expected it. I mean, what boy would willingly go to a sewing party of women? And a girl wielding a sword? Unheard of! (Despite the fact that there are women in the Locksley family tree who did so ... but that was 300 years before.)

Out of the Bag
Now, as Rosamond points out, their wearing each other's clothes to each other's lessons obviously didn't last forever. And, if thou wilt remember, back in chapter one, Robert had put a time on how long he had worn her skirts - six months. So how did people find out?

Well, quite simple, they had an unexpected sword fight. Neither of them expected the visit from this neighboring king to result in a sword fight, so they didn't bother to switch themselves. Unfortunately, this king happened to have a son who is also a prodigy with the sword, so an impromptu match is naturally suggested.

I can just imagine the desperate glances the twins exchange, the desperate excuses that they invent that don't work because the only effective one would be the truth - and they can't admit to the truth.

And Robert meets this young prince in the middle of the hall, sword held in trembling hand, still looking for a way out that doesn't exist. The duel is over almost before it began. Robert hadn't stood a chance.

While everyone's surprise turned to laughter, Robin, who had surely been on the edge of her seat, knowing that it ought to be her down there wielding the sword, jumps from her chair with her cry of "You can't do that to my brother!" She runs and picks up the cast away sword and turns the tables. Now, I have a suspicion that surprise had something to do with it, but it doesn't take long for her to lodge this rival prince's sword in the ceiling.

I don't give the name of this prince, but with Robert's comment about the sword "being there to this day," it does cause a body to wonder ...

Bag Cat
And here we have our first mention of the Bag Cat. Seems Rosamond takes that saying a bit literally, another unusual thing about this girl. But is it as crazy as Robin brushes it off as being, or maybe there's more to it ...

Fairy Godmothers
And then, when Robin can't seem to remember the name of their Fairy Godmother (seriously, girl, it's about the only thing you have to go on for finding this fairy, and you forget it? how serious are you about finding her anyways?) Rosamond guesses it after only hearing the first syllable. She confesses that she would have thought it was a different fairy - Yifinna - a fairy who had mixed up some friends of hers, a Samson and Shira.

Interesting.

And it's a good thing that they got Fallona and not Yifinna, since apparently Yifinna can't undo her gifts, while Fallona can.

And then she lets slip something else - Fallona is her Fairy Godmother too! Her gift was Beauty of the Rarest Kind. (Though she admits that she's only average - Robert! Tell her it's not true, that she's the most beautiful creature you've ever laid eyes on! ... Uh ... yeah, I aggressively ship my own characters. It can be embarrassing)

"No one can know about the fairies, they can only know of the fairies what the fairies wish them to know"
And then ... Oh, Kendra ... I thought this line so clever back when I was fifteen ... but here, nearly for years later, I want to go tell myself otherwise ... though I don't think I would have listened. I can be terribly stubborn when it comes to the lines I think are clever. But ... oh, well. I was trying to create the impression of mystery and all that, but it did lead into a comment on Rosamond's speech, so ... I guess it worked?

And then it led to a line that came from No Longer a Dream. Robin's remark on molly-coddled princesses. I actually have a pretty firm memory of writing this line in that original version of the story ... I was in a Laundromat (our washer was out of order at the time), writing on my old win97 laptop that is now little more than a very heavy paperweight. Ah, good memories.

Back at the Inn
Horses retrieved, story told, confusion spread, we're finally back all the inn where all the trouble began. Since apparently there's a horse more than had been lost, and Robin and Robert now have a new traveling companion who needs a horse, they get the extra. As well as some recovered money, which I'm sure won't hurt.

While they're discussing these details and getting things sorted out, they hear guitar music - and the man who owns the guitar is in the stables. Upon investigation, it proves to be Rosamond, who once she realizes she has an audience, immediately stops playing, clearly uncomfortable being watched. And despite the fact that the owner of the guitar says she's better than he is, she admits to having never even seen the instrument before in her life.

Second Fairy Godmother
Riding away from the inn, the adventure over, Robert remarks that her immediate skill with the guitar reminds him of his own with the needle - but her gift was beauty. She admits that she actually has a second Fairy Godmother - Yifinna this time. The one who messes gifts up, apparently. She doesn't seem to care much for either of her gifts, however.

And then she turns the conversation to a few of her friends - more friends who had been mixed up by the fairy godmother. We find out what Samson and Shira were gifted with - he's a soprano singer and she's incredibly strong. And then we learn about Solomon, with the mirth of youth, and Serendipity, with the wisdom - and hair - of the gray haired.

No quotes this time, couldn't find any that particularly stood out when taken out of of context. 

Questions:
1. What did (or do) you think of Rosamond and her secrets at this point?
2. Do you ship your characters as aggressively as I do? (Please tell me I'm not the only one!)
3. What did you think of Robert and Robin's back story?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Announcing Woodcutter Quince!

"Woodcutter Quince" is now available to own on DVD and VHS ...

What? No ... that's not right. I mean kindle, folks. It's available on kindle. I'm not sure what's up with that previous comment.

To celebrate, three of my other books are free today: Sew, It's a Quest, "The Prior Quest," and "CinderEddy." I'm especially excited about CinderEddy, since it hadn't been free before, and I've been dying to read it.



Anyways, I'm sure you're all dying to see the cover. It's not the best cover I've ever done, but it's not the worst, either, and it does fit the book.

The image is also a link to the amazon page

In the depths of Black forest, strange creatures are rumored to exist. Casperl isn't sure he's seen any of them, but he does know that there is a princess trapped on top of an enchanted mountain. Only a true prince can free her. He's certainly not one.

Fans of Bookania, this is a must read for you. Not only do we get to know Casperl and Doranna a bit better ... but Eric, too! He plays a large role in the middle of the book. I'm sure none of you will be disappointed with him.

And ... snippets. Because I enjoy sharing them, and you guys enjoy reading them.

“Um … she’s a princess …”
“Really? I hadn’t guessed.”
“But …”

“Come now,” said Eric. “That’s an established fact. Everyone who’s at least heard of her knows that the Mountain Princess is a princess.”
~
 “You there, what are you gawking at!”
The prince’s words demanded answer, so Casperl said the first thing that came to mind. “I didn’t mean to gawk, sir. I was just wondering if you would … like some help.”
“Do I look like I need help?” the prince asked in a tone that was somewhere between irritated and bored.
~
Numbly, the woman set the box down on the table and shut the door behind him. She didn't care if the box contained all the riches in the world – it wasn't the treasure that she had been given. She had a child in her arms at last.

Friday, October 24, 2014

In Which I Talk About Robin

I don't think I've written another character who has raised as many mixed feelings as Robin has. Some  readers love her. Others just don't get her. Almost everyone agrees that her brother is a better character.

Personally, she's one of my favorite characters in the series. I connect well with her. She has my sense of logic, my love for adventure yet reluctance to step out on her own, my tenacity for losing lists.

I think part of the problem is that I failed to fully establish her character in book one, and in book two, she was so emotionally off-balance, I couldn't do any real development. She gets a lot of development in book three, as seen through Eric's favorable perspective, but you guys don't have that book yet.

Some of the biggest complaints against her are the fact that she always seems to be bragging about her swordskill, and her habit of rolling her eyes every time anyone says anything.

Robin is an ENFP, like me. She craves the acceptance of people, but doesn't want to dance to their drumbeat. She learned early that her drumbeat is not one that people readily accepted, but instead of abandoning it, as she could so easily do (maybe she couldn't take up sewing or dancing, but she could abandon her sword and become just as vapid and silly as her peers), she began telling herself that they were wrong, and that she didn't need their approval.

More than anything, she craved her mother's love, which due to reasons disclosed in book two, Queen Charlotte hesitated to give her. Again, she coped by telling herself that her mother was wrong, had horrid nerves, and that she didn't need her approval.

Someone said that bragging is a sign that there isn't really any talent. But Robin does have talent. She is the best swordsman in the world. It's an undeniable fact. But she sees it as her only talent (not that it is, but she doesn't know that at the beginning of the book), and it's a talent that has ostracized her. She's insecure about it. And so, naturally, she's going to become louder about it. She's going to start challenging every sword-wearing person she meets, or at least goad them into challenging her.

And that's why she and Eric are one of my favorite couples. It's not that she needed him to be her dashing hero to save her, but she needed someone who would accept her, and not be intimidated by her skill. Not only is he not intimidated, it's why he fell in love with her in the first place. He accepts her, which gives her the balance she so desperately needed in her life. As much of a pair as they had been, Robert had been equally insecure - though in a quieter way - and he didn't quite trust her sword. He couldn't provide it, her mother was reluctant, and though her father tried, he was also very busy ruling a kingdom.

So, in a way, you're going to see a very different Robin in book 3. She'll have the same strange logic, the same temper, the same sense of adventure, but she's finally comfortable with herself. She's not as loud about her sword-skill - though she'll still let you know about it and won't turn down a fight - and more open to the people around her.

I think fans are going to enjoy seeing how she matures.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chatterbox - The Colors of Klarand

Okay, first of all, I have a shiny new gadget on my sidebar - a word counter for Water Princess, Fire Prince. Currently, it's blue, because I'm writing part one - The Water, when I move on to part two - The Fire, I'll turn it red, and so on. So, keep an eye on it and you can get an idea of my progress. I'll try to update it every day.

I'm thoroughly enjoying the book so far. There's some discrepancies I'll need to clean up later, but for the most part, it's flowing well, and I just entered one of my favorite chapters. After it, I'll have passed where I was in the last computer draft. 

Anyways, onto my chatterbox. The theme this month is Maples. As in the tree. This did throw me for a loop, as I had intended to use my Rizkaland cast and - gasp! - they don't have maples in Rizkaland.

But I did some thinking and have come up with something plausible with Andrew and Karlos. Enjoy!

Via Pinterest
"What is your world like, Fire Prince?" asked Karlos, sitting down on the log next to Andrew. "You keep saying how different it is from our world, but what is it like? How is it different?"

Andrew glanced at the kid and automatically ruffled his hair. "Well, for one thing, snow isn't ... pink."

"It isn't always pink here, either," said Karlos, "Just near the Firefall."

"Also," said Andrew, "Leaves are green. Not ... whatever color they feel like being."

"All year round?" asked Karlos, his eyes widening.

"What do you mean?" asked Andrew. "Do leaves turn green here?"

The boy nodded. "In autumn, and then they fall from the trees. It's lots of fun to play in them."

Andrew nodded, seeing some sort of semblance to logic in that. "Well, they aren't green all year," he admitted. "In fact, in autumn, they do turn other colors. And then they fall from the trees."

"You have a funny world, Fire Prince."

"Except they don't turn strange colors like purple and blue," Andrew continued. "Usually, they're brown, orange, red, or yellow."

"That doesn't sound very exciting."

"But it is, for our world at least," continued Andrew. "My favorites are the maples?"

"Maples?" Karlos repeated.

"Their leaves turn a rich red, with is very pretty," Andrew explained. "And in late winter, you can harvest the sap and turn it into maple syrup, which is really good."

Karlos was silent for several long seconds. "Cool!" he announced, then ran off to pester one of the other men. Andrew sighed and shook his head.

There. I got maples to work in there. I did my best, I really did! Anyways.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Beautiful Books: Planning Edition




Today, I'm participating in a linkup that kinda spawned off of Beautiful People, but it's about planning your NaNo Novel. (Ever think how weird NaNo Novel is? It's basically National Novel Novel ... but, oh well, I hear there's a bunch of NaNoers who refer to themselves as Wrimos, basically Writing Months, and that's weird too. Ah, life with acronyms ... moving on.)

Now, since I'm going rebel this year and continuing a book that I've already started, I considered skipping out on this linkup/using a book that I haven't started and have no idea when I'm going to get around to. (Now that I think about it, book 4 might be a good option ...)

But, no. I'm going to do Water Princess, Fire Prince. Yes, I'm on the second draft, but the second draft has changed a lot from the first. And I'm not that far into it, just 9,000 words. (Though, compared to some of my early works that were lucky to hit 20,000 words all total ...) I'm only on day two of Clara's stay in Klarand, haven't even touched Andrew's half of the story, and there's tons more story left to go.

So, I'm doing WP,FP. I may be bending the rules a bit, but I honestly don't really care,

1. What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

This is a tough call, because this book has been in my head for over five years, and if I remember right, plot and characters came together, molding each other and all that. It began with the concept of a girl stepping into a shower, then suddenly being under a waterfall and being hailed the Waterfall Princess. But the girl I had pictured was me, and completely different from the Clara she became. It wasn't until I had a plot - the fight against Amber - that the Clara I know and love today came to be. So ... I'll go with event. It was inspired by an event.

And I'm not a plotter by any means. I hate writing down things prior to writing, 'cause to me, it just kinda drains me of my creativity. However, I don't just sit down at my computer and write whatever comes to me. I plan - extensively - just not on paper. And I don't always hold myself to those plans. If Derek wants to barge in and play hero in a scene that I had planned for only Jen to be in, I honestly consider that option. So ... yeah. 2. Do you have a title and/or a “back-cover-blurb”? 

Water Princess, Fire Prince, as I believe I've already told you. And I sat down and wrote a blurb on NaNo on Sunday. (A tentative blurb. I like it, but don't love it, if you know what I mean. Hey - that reminds me - I still need to write one for Kingdom and send it to my cousin so she can do a back cover ..)

Anyways, it's on my NaNo profile - I'm Kendra E. Ardnek, by the way, if you want to buddy me. And while I'd love to copy paste it here, I have that old problem of NaNo being blocked on my wifi. Yeah. I'll give you the prophecy though. (Which I am very proud of.)

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

3. What wordcount are you aiming for when your novel is finished?

I'd like somewhere over 100,000 words, and I honestly believe that this story has that sort of wordage in it. If my estimate is right, the notebook version got at least 75,000, and since I've been seriously expanding the first part of the story, yeah. This book has it in it. I'm not so certain that its sequels can live up to its wordcount, but we'll see.

4. Sum up your novel in 3 sentences.

Clara doesn't like working with people. Andrew just wants to go home. They must win a war against a Dragon together.

Ehhhh ... that'll do.

5. Sum up your characters in one word each.

Clara: ... Cat.
Andrew: Oldest
Jasmine: Chatterbox
Karlos: Inquisitive
Jakob: Dutiful
Jill Anna: Proper
Abraham: Commanding
Amber: Power-crazy

Those are a few of the characters ... this book has a HUGE cast.

6. Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about them! 

At the moment, I think I'm going to go with Karlos. I really haven't worked with his character, even though he had a few important scenes in draft 1. But in this draft, because I had made Andrew the oldest of his brothers, rather than the youngest, I realized that introducing Karlos earlier in the story than I had last time could help him accept Rizkaland and his role as Fire Prince easier.

Karlos is Lord Abraham's only son, though not his heir. This is because Karlos' mother died before Abraham became the Lord of Lower Klarand, and ascendancy laws in this world are ... different than in our own. His younger half-sister, whose name I've forgotten, even though I have one picked out, is the heir, currently at least. (It's complicated, I'll explain in the book though!) He's eleven years old, and doesn't yet know about politics though, so he really isn't aware of this. He's a bright, inquisitive child who sneaks away with his father when he goes on his yearly hunting trips, and he almost idolizes the prophesied Fire Prince. Andrew, of course, isn't what he expects - isn't what anyone expects - but he still kinda projects his expectations on him. And while Andrew resents this at first, it's this kid that kinda pushes him to be the best he can be. He's the one who never gives up on the Fire Prince, even when everyone else in the camp is thoroughly disappointed.

So I'm looking forward to writing his role in Andrew's journey.

7. What about your villain? Who is he, what is his goal?

Amber, the Lady Dragon. She's thousands of years old - though she only appears sixteen - and power hungry. She wants all of this world under her feet, and she'll do anything to get it that way.

8. What is your protagonist’s goal? And what stands in the way?

There are two protagonists: Clara and Andrew

I'm going to start with Andrew, since he actually knows what he wants. He wants to go back home. He's the oldest of four boys, they lost their mother in a car wreck when the youngest was still a toddler, and their dad is the absent-minded professor. Andrew is, for all practical purposes, the parent of his younger siblings, and he's suddenly been pulled out of that life, and he has no idea how his brothers are doing, so he feels very guilty for just abandoning them (even though he didn't really have a choice.) But he can't get back, since he's in another world.

Clara, on the other hand, is more complicated. She'd like to go back home, but it isn't with the desperation that Andrew does. I'm not sure she has a specific goal, beyond completely confusing everyone around her, and I'm not sure there's anyone (besides maybe Jakob) who's standing in her way. Right now, she's a loose cannon. Eventually, she'll personalize the goal of getting rid of Amber (as will Andrew) at which point Amber herself will be what stands in her way, but that's not until nearly the end of part one.

9. What inciting incident begins your protagonist’s journey?

With both Clara and Andrew, it's falling into another world.

10. Where is your novel set?

Klarand, the largest island in the world of Rizkaland. (Though please wipe out your preconceived image of an island, because it means something slightly different in this world.) The main settings are the Upper Castle, a forest in Lower Klarand, and the Kastle in the heart of Rizkaland. 

11. What are three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely?

1. Clara and Andrew meeting
2. Getting into the Kastle
3. Getting kidnapped by Amber. 

Not going to tell you any details about any of those, though. 

12.What is the most dynamic relationship your character has? Who else do they come in contact with or become close to during the story?

The most dynamic relationship would be Clara and Andrew's. I mean, they're fire and water - there's bound to be some sizzle between them. They have wonderful banter, he's absolutely smitten with her, and she can't seem to decide if she likes him or not. Depends on how much people are reminding her that they're supposed to be together. She's not a huge fan of the whole prophesy thing.

Other important relationships the two of them develop:

Clara and Jasmine: Jasmine becomes something of the little sister Clara never had
Clara and Jill Anna: Their ideas about propriety are completely different, as are their stations in life, but Clara still somehow claims her as her best friend.
Clara and Jakob: He lost his twin sister the year before, who had a similar spirit to Clara, so he just kinda slides into the role of big brother to her. She resents this of course, and interprets it wrong as well, but they're still an interesting duo.
Clara and Leaf Princess: Again, a very interesting friendship but ... I can't tell much because it involves spoilers.

Andrew and Abraham: Abraham becomes Andrew's mentor - the father that his own dad failed to be.
Andrew and Karlos: Andrew's used to having younger brothers, so Karlos satisfies that need for him, but he's not used to a younger brother who idolizes him, which makes it interesting.
Andrew and Jakob: Once the two parties combine, these two develop a sort of comradeship, Jakob frequently interpreting when Clara is in her confusing moods. 

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

They become more comfortable with themselves, and learn to work together. Will they fall in love? That remains to be seen. (cough, cough. They are in my top four for favorite couples, may I point out.)

14. Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens? 

I'm on the second draft. There will be a few changes that remain in the air, but for the most part, I know exactly where this train is headed.

15. What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself?

Honestly, I'd love to see this book become a best seller and all that, even though I still plan to go indie with its publication. This series is my baby, especially these first two books. I know it's a bit big of a dream, but ... anything could happen, right?

As for impression, I want readers to walk away with a respect for both women and men, and their roles in society, because that's a lot of what this book is about. As for any other lessons this book may bring to me, we shall see. I'm only on the second draft. I'm more than willing to be surprised.
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