Thursday, July 20, 2017

So It's Been Forever...

Forever since I last posted a proper snippet post. The thing I did back in April? Not a proper snippet post. Let's rectify that.

And, yes, I'm going to be doing more plot-important snippets. I feel that it's only fair after all of the fact plot twists that I shared on that April Fool's joke. Some of these snippets I HAVE shared before, elsewhere, but I love sharing.

Also, in writing news, I finished The Seven Drawers on Tuesday! 15,000 words! In less than two months! This is the fastest that I have EVER taken a book from concept to completion. There is a bit of a scene that I'm considering adding to the end, but ... for now, the story is done, which means that, for the first time, I WILL be able to enter the Rooglewood contest.

(Now I'm wondering if I should go ahead and write the second idea that I have spinning around in my head - Red as Snow. We shall see.)

Art Credit: Hannah Rogers
One evening, when Adrian was, as usual, in the library hoping for a chance to meet with his sister, he heard giggling.
 It wasn’t terribly unusual. The library was popular for stolen meetings between lovers. Yet Adrian was bored, so he unconsciously wandered towards the giggling.
 As he expected, he found a young couple just a few shelves down. They seemed to be about Adrian’s age, perhaps a bit older, and both wore expensive clothing. He wore a number of finely-crafted weapons. She, an array of jewelry that didn’t strictly go together. He was whispering in her ear, hands trailing through her long, frizzy, brown hair. She was the one giggling.
 Adrian was about to back away and leave them to it when her head shot up and she locked eyes with him. All mirth instantly vanished, and even her lover removed his hands and backed away.
 There was no guilt in either of them, however, as Adrian was accustomed to seeing in the couples that he had caught in similar situations.
 “Adrian, there you are,” the girl said, in a thick accent. “Your mother said that we were likely to find you here.”
 “My mother…” Adrian repeated. “You know about me? You know who I am?”
 The girl’s lips twisted into a smile. “Adrian, I was there for your birth. Besides, you are the image of your father, and there is no mistaking.”
 Adrian drew back. “You were … but you can’t be much older than I am, if that.”
 “I am flattered by your kind words, but in truth, I am much older than I look,” the woman responded. “My husband and I have seen the passing of nearly three thousand years. I was there for your birth, yes, and I was there for the birth of this very world.”
 “You’re…” Adrian took a step back, realizing who this couple was. He swallowed down fear and awe. “The immortal king and queen.”
- The Worth of a King.

I don’t remember there being deserts in Rizkaland.”
Reuben opened his eyes at Rich’s words. Sure enough, orange sand stretched away as far as the eye could see.
“Rintae Isle,” said Andrew. “It had been settled during your reign, but the inhabitants only really came to our attention during mine and Clara’s. Caused quite a bit of trouble, and was the reason I missed most of Clara’s first pregnancy.”
“Ah,” said Rich. “So do you have any idea where we are?”
Andrew glanced about, his hand brushing the hilt of his sword. “In the middle of the desert. There aren’t any landmarks in sight, even less ones that I recognize. A better question would be when are we. How long has it been since our last visit?”
“Maybe you arrived before,” Laura suggested, mischievously. For some reason – probably because she had helped focus his mind after Petra disappeared – Reuben could actually feel the girl’s mind.
“Did we?” asked Clara, her voice even, lighthearted, but Reuben saw that she tightened her hold on Andrew's arm.
Laura gave a small giggle. “We are about five hundred years after Reuben, Petra, and their siblings left at the end of their reign.”
“That would mean that it’s a thousand and five hundred since ours,” Andrew observed.
“Well, if math serves, that would be correct,” Laura confirmed.
- Love and Memory

Thing is, I’m not quite sure how to reward the two of you,” Arthur continued. “I mean, there’s the usual money and honors and all … but, I don’t know, it just feels way too impersonal to me. I’d like to reward the two of you in ways that are unique to you. So, I’d like to know, here and now, what you two would like – and, so long as it’s within reason and my power to grant, I’ll see what I can do.”
  “So … anything?” asked Leo, leaning forward.
  “Anything within my power and within my power to grant,” Arthur repeated. “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid that I can’t set you up with half my kingdom or grant nobility. I think that’s a bit of a stretch for just friendship.”
  “Oh, but I could have really used half your kingdom,” said Leo, leaning back, forcing a cocky grin and a bit of a laugh. Seriously, though. Maybe he’d be a bit less unlucky if he had that behind him.
  Shira leveled a glare at him, but Arthur just laughed. “I’m sorry, but I only have half the kingdom to begin with, so … are there any other wishes that I can grant?”
  Arthur shifted his attention to Leo. “What about you? Since you can’t have half the kingdom, is there anything else that you’d like?”
  It would be so easy to throw on a grin, quip something smart-alecky. A small sum of money would be fine enough … but it was it what Leo really wanted? No. It wasn’t.
  Even as he threw on his carefree grin, it turned into a frown and he glanced away from the prince.
  “No…” he said. “What I want … it isn’t in your power. You already said that you can’t grant me nobility.”
  “You wish…”
  “Not for me,” said Leo, leaning forward. “Not entirely, at least. I could care less about the power and prestige and all. That’s all just a big mess of annoyance. But I’d be willing to put up with it … for her.”
  “Her?” Shira repeated, her voice feather-soft.
  Leo shrugged. “Yeah. Her.” He stood. “I don’t want to talk about it. If you want details, you could ask Prince Eric – he knows. Tell him it happened two years ago if you need to jog his memory. Just know … without a title … actually that’s why I’m here.”
  With that, he left the room, not even waiting to be dismissed.
- The Quest for the Quince

She jerked her attention to the menu she held in her hands. “Ah, yes, what do I want. Food, that’s for certain. I want food…”
“She’ll have a taco salad, Italian dressing,” Jeremy interrupted, even as she flipped through the menu. “Chicken for the meat.”
“Will that be all?” the waiter asked.
“For now,” Jeremy answered.
And the waiter was gone before Jennifer could form any sort of protest. So she turned to Jeremy instead. “Maybe I didn’t want a taco salad!”
“And maybe pigs can fly,” Jeremy returned. “You’d have spent the next fifteen minutes heming and hawing over your options, and you still would have gone with your safe option of a taco salad.”
Jennifer ducked her head, endeavoring to not give him the satisfaction of a smile. “Well, you’d better be glad that I like taco salads.”
“Precisely, that’s why I ordered it for you.” Jeremy dipped a chip into his bowl of hot sauce, nearly yellow it had so much butter, and crunched it loudly.
She just shook her head.
- The Seven Drawers

Ah, good, you’re dressed for adventure,” Eric said, sizing Robin up as Meg took the braid back.
 Robin glanced down at her lap, running a hand over the leather of her pants. “We don’t have anything important planned for today, so I figured that I might as well dress comfortably.” Her eye followed him as he sat down on the sofa across from her. “I notice that you’re not in your royal finery either today.”
 He grinned. “So, we’ve not had a moment to each other since we arrived here, and I really feel that there are some things that we need to talk about before we actually make it to the alter tomorrow.”
 “Are these things going to … change anything?” Robin asked, tilting her head to the side and being rewarded by a sharp tug on her hair. She straightened immediately.
 “Hopefully not, but it will largely depend on you,” Eric answered, a bit of his grin fading. He leaned back. “I need to know if you’re okay with it yet.”
 Robin blinked. “Okay with what?”
 “After I … didn’t propose to you, you said that you that you thought that you would be okay with marrying me, but you certainly didn’t seem to be then, and I frankly can’t tell if that’s changed.” Eric leaned forward, eyes boring into her. “I don’t feel comfortable marrying you if your heart’s not in it.”
 Robin closed her eyes and released a long sigh, fighting every impulse to run – to grab her sword and challenge to a duel. Fighting was so much easier than discussing her conflicted emotions.
 Unfortunately, Meg had a tight hold of her hair, and she wasn’t going anywhere.
 “I’m still not sure,” she admitted. “But if it makes you feel better, I’m not okay with not marrying you, either. I do know that.”
 She opened her eyes to see that Eric’s eyebrow was arched.
 “Do you need to have it postponed until you can sort these conflicted emotions out?”
 “No, no,” she shook her head violently, even despite Meg’s protest. “Putting it off will make it worse – it’ll give me more time to overthink, to second-guess myself. Logically, I know that you’re my best marriage option – even politically. You love me, even despite all of my flaws. My gut says to marry you, and I think my heart’s in agreement – the way you can set it pounding has to count for something.”
 “Yet you’re still not okay with it?”
 She managed a weak smile. “I spent eleven years looking for reasons to hate you. Old habits die hard. Even though my mind, heart, and instincts all agree, none will admit that, and each is arguing with the others as to why they’re wrong. I think that the only way that I’m going to get them to talk to each other civilly is to actually marry you.” 
- Do You Take This Quest Revision.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My Beautiful Writing Process

Hello! Just popping in to link up with Cait and Skye's Beautiful People this month.

And, for those of you wondering why I've suddenly become so posty this month after a couple months of near-silence ... it's cause I'm a week from my blogoversary and (now) only three posts away from my 1000th post, and I'm trying VERY hard to make it so I can have my 1000th post ON my blogoversary. If this happens, there will be a giveaway. Of a sort. Feel free to suggest prizes, because I'm not sure yet what I want to giveaway.

  1. How do you decide which project to work on?
    It's frequently whim and whichever project is talking to me at a given moment ... but as a published author, I'll admit that "whatever needs to be published next" is also a huge influence on my decision.
  2. How long does it usually take you to finish a project?
    It depends on the project's length, my inspiration, and how distracted I might be. So anywhere from a few months to eleven years.
  3. Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?
    Um, I don't think so. It either happens or I make it happen.
  4. What time of day do you write best?
    Typically night. I'll write anytime or anywhere, though. Just put a pencil or other writing implement in my hand.
  5. Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?
    I have no idea. I just ran a number of my first chapters of my currents WIP's through the "I Write Like" website, though, and consistently got Agatha Christie. And The two times I didn't, it was Anne Rice. So ... draw what you will. (Is this a sign that my writing style is solidifying? Because the last time I did a first chapter spin with that site, I never got the same author twice.)
  6. Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?
    I started writing because it's the Socially Acceptable Thing To Do when you have stories in your head. And I keep writing for much the same reason. It's just now I have a reputation to keep up. You know, being published and all.

  7. What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?
    I'm ... actually drawing a bit of a blank on this one. I have this thing where I delete all recollection of painful writing experiences, much like any woman after they give birth. It was probably also a mundane low-emotion scene because those are torture to write.

  8. Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?I have hundreds of these. Yeah, someday I shall write my historical fantasy retelling of the Sleeping Beauty. The one where Henry II is the prince. (I think it's Henry II. The dad of Richard the Lionheart and Prince John, at any rate. He had a mistress named Rosamond.)
  9. What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?
    Going back to my first post of the year, I find:
    "Mostly Worth and LaM, as I need to finish both this books this year. I'd been hoping to be able to publish Worth this year, but it's not going to happen. Now I'm hoping for early next year. LaM is going to need two drafts (although it's turning out to not be as messy as I'd wanted it to be, so maybe not ...), and I'm hoping for a September/October publication following Worth. (Worth will come first, any way we slice it.)

    I also plan to finish three short stories and get them published - "Poison Kiss," "Gift Exchange," and "Saffron's Even Bigger Plan."

    Oh, and I have two new co-author plans on my plate, both involving Laura. No details on either, as we speak, but stay tuned."

    So far, it looks like I will finish Worth, but LaM isn't going to happen. Worth will likely be my fall release of 2018. One of the three short stories will be released next month, but the other two might still not get written. I have instead decided to focus on polishing all of my old books, and I'll be releasing revisions of Take and Kingdom instead. 
  10. Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Interview with Sarah Holman

AAAAAHHHHHH!!!! Just realized that I forgot to post this on the fourteenth! I am SO sorry, Sarah!

But, In my defense, last week was crazy, what with closing three nights and rearranging my room.

So I'm posting it now. (And, for the record, Sarah, if this ever happens again, don't be shy about messaging me and letting me know. If a post from me isn't up by four in the afternoon, unless it's a review, I likely forgot about it. Reviews are usually late evening.)

On to the interview! This is in honor of the release of her newest book, Dreams and Devotions, the fourth book in her Tales of Taelis series. A good series. I've read the first two books and I quite adore them.

1. Hello, Sarah! Can you tell me a bit about your book? Why do my readers need to drop everything and read it NOW? 
Hi Kendra! Dreams and Devotion is the fourth book in my Tales of Taelis series and can be read on its own. It was a hard book for me to write because there is so much of my heart in the story. Why should your readers read it right now? I think they will find it an emotional journey that helps bring the healing of God into the dark places of life.

2. Could you choose a favorite character from this book?
Dara. While I have the temperament of Dresden, I enjoyed writing Dara's side the most. She had so much emotion, yet an inner strength that made her easy to love.

3. What is something that you'd like readers to take from this book?
That life is hard and hurts sometimes. Things don't go how we dream or expect, even when we do everything right. Yet, God is there for us in the midst of the heartache, disappointments, and hurts. He never leaves us without evidence of his care.

4. Tales of Taelis is historical fiction that takes place in a fictional country. What was behind your decision to write them like this, and what are the benefits and struggles because of it?
I had some ideas about royal families and such that didn't fit with the history of a country. I really wanted the freedom to write the history of a country, but I wanted it to feel real. I wanted the backdrop to be against real places so that it felt real. Probably the biggest struggle is to make sure that the timeline of the story lines up with the historical aspects I want to bring into the story.

5. Who are some of your favorite authors? 
Grace Livingston Hill, Elizabeth Camden, Elizabeth Goerge (the one that rights Christian non-fiction), Elisabeth Allen, Kelsey Bryant, Jaye L. Knight, Jessica Greyson, and J. Grace Pennington.

6. What do you do when you're not writing?
Read, quilt, read, hang out with my family, read some more. I also enjoy taking long walks either down our country road or through the woods.

7. Do you know your personality type? If so, how would you say it affects your writing?
No, I have never liked personality tests and the like. Yet, my personality does affect my writing greatly. I internalize a lot of my struggles and I can spend a lot of time just sitting and thinking.  Writing is a major way I express what is going on inside of me. Can I turn this question on you Kendra? I want to hear your answer. :)

I think I answered that on one of my cover reveals - one moment and let me go get the post, that way I'm not taking up too much more space: It's the last of Kiri's three questions, and I waxed a bit verbose on it.

Some dreams will be dashed, and their devotion will be tested.
Dara's life is full of farm work and worries, especially now that her older brother is a priest in a far off city. Yet she still has time to dream of the life she hopes will someday be. She dreams of marrying her dear friend and the worries of her family ending. Now, the selfishness of one person threatens her very way of life.
Dresden's initial excitement about living a life devoted to the service of God quickly is dashed on the rocks of reality. The life of a priest is nothing like what he imagined. To make matters worse, he finds out his family back in his home village is on the brink of disaster. Torn between his vows and his love for his family, what will he choose?

About the Sarah

Sarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of many published books and short stories. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined.
Find her at" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="7203fcc1103" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_ltp1k17o">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Things that I'm By No Means Qualified to Write About (Yet I do Anyway)

"Write what you know."

It's one of the biggest pieces of writing advice touted around the writing community. yet ... honestly, how many authors actually follow it? Writers who write anything interesting that is?

I mean, if I just stuck to what I "know" all of my books would be about knitting and McDonalds ... which probably wouldn't be all that terribly exciting. I mean, it might, but I couldn't get terribly many plots out of that.

So let's talk about what I stubbornly write about even though I don't know beans about them.

Let's get the big one out of the way. I've never been in a relationship. I've never actually been "in love." I've never even been on a date! (Though I've had a few close calls) So why do I insist on throwing my heroines into the arms of heroes and making sure that there's at least one wedding or at least a proposal per book I write? Whyyyyyyy????

(Because my characters are cute, that's why)

As you can probably imagine from the fact that I've never even been on a date, I've never kissed a boy. Yet my love language is touch, and thus, for me, it just feels weird for couples to not physically express their affection, and yes, for (predominately) married couples, that means kissing. BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU KISS??? LIPS TOUCH.  GERMS ARE EXCHANGED. THAT'S ALL I KNOW.

Swordplay, Archery, and Almost Any Other Form of Combat.
I own two knives and a staff, and my sister has a bow, but I can't afford any sort of lessons. So I just believe whatever I find on the internet and read in books.

Actually, I'm not 100% an idiot on this one, as I HAVE ridden a few times, and I've volunteered at few times at the Hippotherapy place where my sister volunteers regularly. So I know a little. And I have an expert on hand if I have questions but ... I'm not an animal person. I used to be terrified of horses. Even now, they intimidate me. So why do I keep writing characters with horses????

Living without Electricity.
I'm the sort of person who's almost perfectly content with the era she lives in. But I consistently set my books in worlds that don't have electricity. And then forget that they probably don't have good lighting at night.

I have multiple books with orphans and adopted characters in them - in semi- to modern day. But I honestly don't know much about the process. Outside of the fact that papers are involved. And a lot of money. But other than that, pft!

Attending a Big Church/Living in a Big House
These aren't things that have really played into my published books yet, but they're coming. But while I was in a big church for the first five years of my life, since then, it's been itty-bitty, everyone knows each other and is possibly related churches. And I've lived in trailer homes for about that long. So ... big houses? Wut R those? Yet I put my characters into these churches and houses.

Male POV
I'M A GIRL, ya know? I've never been a guy, probably never will be one, and yet I seem to think that I'm qualified to write from their perspective. *spoiler - I'm really not.*

So what do you write about that that you probably don't have the right?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Amber's Castle Q&A - Part 2

Last one of these! I just want to say that I am now opening the floor back up on the Goodreads Group for you guys to ask the characters whatever you'd like. The characters of LDTD, that is, though I would be willing to answer questions for Clara, Andrew, The Leaf Princess, The Wind Prince, and their parents. But none of the Klaranders of book 1. Sorry.

If you're not on Goodreads, you can email me the questions. I haven't decided yet on your deadline, and while there will be a random giveaway, I haven't decided what the prize should be yet.

"Amber," I say, shuffling through my cards again. "Anna would like to know what you do to keep yourself from getting bored."

"I incline myself to study," she answers. "If one is learning, one can never be bored, and there is never an end to learning. Even after six thousand years, there is always something new for me to learn - something is always surprising me. When I'm not learning, I'm recording what I've learned into the books in my library."

"I suppose that's ... productive of you," I admit, deciding to not comment on some of her methods of study. "Laura, Alyssa would like to know, outside of never settling down, what is the hardest part of being the Doorkeeper?"

Laura tilted her head to the side. "Never settling down is far from the worst part of my job - because if I want to settle, I can, then move on again when I'm ready. No, the hardest part is the expectation. I have so much resting on me because of my powers. There's so much resting on me. I must not abuse it ... even though it is so tempting some days. And then there's the knowing things. Knowing how things are going to happen, but not being allowed to tell anyone. Not being allowed to change anything."

"Sarah Taleweaver would like to know if you've ever tried to change an event by changing the events that lead up to it," I ask.

She ducks her head, quiet for a long moment. "That is a question, isn't it," she whispers. She shakes her head. "It's not a power I possess. Not on my own. Though I have oft desired it, I have never done it."

"I see," I shuffle through my notes. "Amber, Alyssa would like to know, on a scale of one to ten, how much it bothers you that Granite doesn't support your actions 101%."

Amber narrows her eyes at her husband. He leans forward, holding her gaze unflinching, and for that, I have the deepest respect for him.

She finally breaks away and turns to me with a lift of her chin. "Marriage does not mean the exclusion of disagreement. I'd be more worried if he never questioned my actions."

Granite leans back, folding his arms over his chest with a disappointed shake of his head.

"Good point," I say, even though I, too, am discouraged by her self-delusion. "Laura, Amanda would like to know which is your favorite world."

"I think I've answered this one a couple times already, but I suppose I can answer it again," Laura tilts her head to the side. "I fall in love with almost every world I step foot in, but my journey began on Earth, and thus it has a special place in my heart."

"Sarah Taleweaver would like to know your least favorite world."

Laura shakes her head. "I don't think I have one. Every world has its own charm, own beauty, and every world has its own dangers and ... things that I'd rather change. There is no world that I could possible label my least favorite."

"You certainly didn't visit Lintooalintae as often," Amber pointed out.

"Not for any lack of love, though," Laura shook her head. "There aren't as many doors that lead there."

"Amber, Mnm would like to know if you hate Laura or not." I tilt my head to the side.

Amber's eyes narrow again. "Hate is a very strong word."

"You definitely harbor resentment, though," I point out.

Amber glances towards Laura. "She flits in and out, never facing problems or difficulties. She teases us with her knowledge of the future, she knows what is to come, but never does anything about it. Never tries to fix problems before they happen."

"I see the problems, yes, but I also see their solution," Laura inserts. "But changing things, I would only create new problems, problems that I cannot possibly know how to resolve."

"And there she goes, making excuses."

I decide that we're not going to get any straighter answer than that from Amber. "Laura, Abby would like to know if you would choose to stop being the Doorkeeper, if you could."

Laura shakes her head. "Even with the pain it brings me, I wouldn't trade who I am for anything. I get to see the worlds in ways that no one else can. There's a rush to it that I can't give up."

She receives another narrow look from Amber.

"Granite, Mnm would like to know if you like Laura," I ask.

He raises an eyebrow. "She's the closest thing I had to a mother. Apart from Amber, she's the only one who I know will be here for all my life. I'd be massively ungrateful, and a fool, if I didn't like her."

He gives Amber a pointed look.

"Laura, Morgan would like to know if you ever desire a traveling companion."

"Frequently," she admits. She tilts her head to the side. "There ... is a person who could have traveled with me, had she wished it. She can change time - she can see the possiblities in ways that I cannot, but she chose ignominy. She chose a normal life. She says it's better this way, but ... I suppose she's right. She usually is. I can visit her, sometimes she'll go somewhere with me. I visit lots of people, people who keep me grounded. Keep me mortal. These two are among them." She nods towards Amber and Granite.

"She'd also like to know if you've ever seen Doctor Who and have noted the parallels between it and you."

"I have traveled with the Doctor a few times. He's an interesting fellow no matter his face." She tilts her head to the side. "Has a bit of a big head, he does, but not as big as the TARDIS has. She's jealous of me, I will admit. Parallels? Well, time travel, doing things out of order. I suppose that's a thing."

"Amanda would like to know who is the most interesting person you've ever met."

A grin spreads across Laura's face. "There's only one Person who can claim that title. I've met Him in many worlds and shall meet Him again in many more, and He shall never cease to amaze me. I've known Him by many names, names for many languages and peoples. God's Son, made flesh, sent to save the created by shedding His own blood. Ah, but that's a terrible moment, terrible and beautiful. No, there cannot be anyone more interesting than Him."

"No, there cannot be," I agree, for though my experience has been far more finite than hers, I know she speaks the truth. "Final question, for Amber, and then I shall go. Morgan would like to know if you ever regret the bad things that you've done."

Amber glances away. "Of course I do. I've lived six thousand years. I have gathered many regrets. But when you've lived six thousand years, you learn that you have to move forward and focus on making the future better, rather than fretting over the mistakes of the past."

If she only she wasn't so self-deluded.

"Thank you for your time, your majesties," I say, standing. "Perhaps I shall see you again, given time."
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