Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Thank-You To my Friends

Happy Thanksgiving one and all! I'll start us off with a picture of me making pancakes at the age of three, because I was that kind of kid (I'd cleaned the floor the night before ... with crisco) and this post needs a picture and I'm not getting anything beyond blogger and email to load on my computer. It's frustrating, and I'm not sure why. I've been sick since Sunday (hopefully, it will have cleared

Anyways onto the title.

Thanksgiving. The time of year to give thanks for what you have. I could list out all the usual, of course, family, food, the christmas presents I'm going to get this year, the fact that I haven't coughed myself to death this week. (There's a respiratory virus going around my family, and ... yeah. According to my aunt, she thinks it's one that has landed a lot of other people in the ER. Fortunately, we have Essential oils, and we've been weathering it. Kinda. My inspiration has plummeted ... though I did break through on some block on Fire and Song. I've hit a ... slow point in Water Princess, Fire Prince only raking in wordcount when I've hit a few worldbuilding points. But, onward.)

Instead, I'm going to list the people of Blogger that I am especially thankful for.

1. Kiri Liz She gets first place because she was one of the first to follow me. She's one of my favorite authors as well - and she isn't even published yet! (But I've read one and a half of her books plus a short story, so I know what I'm talking about ... though I still need to send her feedback *whistles*) She has a natural cadence with words, and the ability to spin a story to its full potential. Plus, she's a sweetheart and has reviewed more of my books than any other reviewer.

2. Miss Melody. I call her and her siblings my personal fanclub. She has read more of my unpublished work (including the original draft of the Ankulen) than any other person (except me and maybe my mom). She has read my Bookania's aloud to her siblings many time and they constantly ask when the next will be released (Or so she tells me). She emails me more often than any of my other readers, and I'm always so encouraged by her feedback on my books. She's a jewel. She may not comment often, but she always likes my posts on facebook, and I know she's reading them.

3. Jack. I can't forget my coauthor of course. Truth be known, we haven't done a terrible lot of talking in the last few weeks, and I'm not sure when she intends to send her next chapter back to me. (I might just get impatient and write up mine without it.) But she was my first faithful commenter, my fourteenth follower (and thus my Bilbo). So even though our correspondence has sadly fallen apart, I'm very grateful for this girl and that I took the time to give her advice about spine art two years ago.

 4. Jaye L. Knight. One of my favorite Indie authors, I can't help but mention her. She's been over to my blog several times for many reasons, and she is one of my inspirations. (Incidentally, the interview I had with her back in January is one of my top-hit posts.)

5. Sarah Holman. This young woman here has done more to unite Homeschooled authors than anyone else, I'm willing to say. I'm so glad to be part of her group, and she is a brilliant author herself as I have loved all of her books that I've read. She's taking an internet break right now, which I say more power to her, since she's a very busy person.

6. Abbey. This is a sweet young girl who is currently my most faithful commenter. It is always so encouraging, as a blogger, to get comments, and I'm thankful for everyone who has, but especially her, and especially that time when she and Maryanne (one of my characters, it was a Character Encounter) helped talk me through a pretty low point for me this year.

7. TomWildRose. The first time she commented was about my CE's, which, at the time, I'd become rather discouraged about since there weren't many people participating. If she ever does get her stories written, I will certainly read them, since the world she's built seems so beautiful and complicated. Her courage to pick back up her pen after so many years of letting her stories sit encourages me as well.

8. Rhoswen If it wasn't for her adding Sew, It's a Quest to her goodreads two years ago, I probably wouldn't know all of you lovely people, and that would be sad.

9. Katelyn If it weren't for the linkup she was holding at the time (see above) again, I probably wouldn't know all of you.

10. Cait. Because she lives in Australia and that's awesome, and has a super-popular blog and yet still has time to reply to all of the comments, and (sometimes) visit the commenter's blog. I try to do this ... but don't always succeed. I stand in awe of her.

And there are more, so many more of you I could name and lavish praise upon, However, I'll just give you a blanket thank-you,
Okay, it's a scarf, not a blanket, did I mention I have internet issues?
I'm limited to the pictures I have in my picassa account.
I love each and every one of you dearly, even if I didn't mention you above.

And, for the record, I have no idea why I add a hyphen to thank-you. It just looks better to me.

The reason I had to cut it short is that I have something else to share with you. You see, I always run some sort of Black Friday sale with my books, but this year, I have joined up with a whole group of authors who are also running sales, both on Kindle books and paperbacks. Paperbacks are part of the "Black Friday" sale, while Kindles are marked as "Cyber Monday." Personally, my own sales are starting today, but that's because I had already set them up when she contacted me, and that's how I roll. Many of the paperbacks have coupon codes. Those are valid at CreateSpace (where the link should take you) and you just copy them into the coupon code box when you get to the payment page (if I remember right, that's where it is) and then voila! Savings! (Also, if there's only one code for an author, it applies to all of their books)

I don't know, exactly, what sales are going to be run on all of them (beyond the ones marked with coupon codes) but it's still going to be fun.

I know I've had my eye on quite a few of these books for a while. Sigh. I need a job again. My plan to go job hunting back in November ... fell through.

First, my books ... not because I'm the author, but because my pen name is Ardnek and that puts me at the front of the list. (Reason  2. for my choice of pen name, I'll admit). All three books are 99 cents, though The Ankulen only lasts until Tuesday. I don't remember exactly how much longer you have on the other two. I didn't want to cut Ankulen short, but I ran out of promo days available. So, anyways.
Edit: For some odd reason, the promotions I'd set up for Saffron's Big Plan and Do You Take This Quest? deleted themselves. I've got them set up again, but because it's taken me so long to catch this error, their price won't go down until Sunday.
The Ankuluen: Cyber Monday
Saffron's Big Plan and Other StoriesCyber Monday
Do You Take This Quest?: Cyber Monday

Faith Blum
A Mighty FortressBlack Friday [V4Y5K36D -- 10%] and Cyber Monday)
Be Thou My VisionBlack Friday [7626YZAK -- 20%] and Cyber Monday

Sarah Brown
The Prodigal PupBlack Friday and  Cyber Monday
Learning Lessons from Furry FriendsBlack Friday [SB14CP31 -- 25%] and Cyber Monday

Kelsey Bryant
Family ReunionBlack Friday [YFY84GHU -- 20%]

Elizabeth Ender
RansomedBlack Friday [GNE6VUXY -- 30%]

J.J. Francesco
Blood ChainCyber Monday

Julie Gilbert
Nadia's TearsCyber Monday 

Leah Good
Counted WorthyBlack Friday [K7CVNEER -- 40%] and Cyber Monday

Melody Grubb
The Land of CalaisBlack Friday and Cyber Monday
The Warmth of His EyesBlack Friday and Cyber Monday
Send Me, Lord JesusBlack Friday and Cyber Monday

Rachel Heffington
Anon, Sir, AnonBlack Friday [9MTYHSX3 -- 25%] and Cyber Monday

Rebekah Jones
Journeys of FourCyber Monday
Grandmother's LettersCyber Monday
A Year with the PottersCyber Monday

Jaye L. Knight
ResistanceBlack Friday [Q45HN6G9 -- 25%] and Cyber Monday

Tina M. Neely
Diamond Hair PrincessBlack Friday

Joel A. Parisi
Shadow PlayCyber Monday

J. Grace Pennington
RadialloyBlack Friday [Y2XHGYDN -- 25%] and Cyber Monday
In His ImageBlack Friday [KXNZ7PYN -- 25%] and Cyber Monday
MachiavellianBlack Friday [UFXGUYMM -- 25%] and Cyber Monday

Jennifer Sauer
Why Rodney Never Should've Gone to the NAPICBlack Friday [F76DDR7S -- 45%] and Cyber Monday

Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer
Touch My TearsBlack Friday and Cyber Monday
Third Side of the CoinBlack Friday and Cyber Monday

Cara Simmons
The Haven: Black Friday and Cyber Monday
The Leviathan: Black Friday and Cyber Monday
The ChampionBlack Friday and Cyber Monday 

Jordan Smith
Finding the Core of Your StoryBlack Friday [NL4NJXWS -- 30%]

Rachel Starr Thomson
Reap the WhirlwindCyber Monday
Lady MoonCyber Monday
Angel in the WoodsCyber Monday

I can't speak for all of these books, but I will tell you that there are some good ones on here you won't want to miss. (And I don't want to miss them either.)

And here are a few more that the coordinator, Leah Good, listed as "optional." I'm not sure exactly what that means, so I'm just going to post them too.

Therese Heckenkamp
Past SuspicionBlack Friday and Cyber Monday
Frozen FootprintsBlack Friday

Melika Dannese Lux
City of LightsBlack Friday [FNB98MY6 -- 35%] and Cyber Monday
CorcituraBlack Friday [GU46WHKT -- 55%] and Cyber Monday

T.R. Lykins
Last HeartbeatBlack Friday and Cyber Monday
The Life GiftBlack Friday and Cyber Monday 

Melanie D. Snitker
Calming the StormCyber Monday

So go forth and purchase books! Make an author's day, and give them one more reason to be thankful. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Rewriting Water and Fire

Via Pinterest
As I've been rewriting Water Princess, Fire Prince, I've noticed some changes that have happened. Some of these changes were intentional, others, not so much.

So, I think I'm going to share with you some of the changes I've made.

Andrew is now the eldest of his brothers. When my mother and I originally came up with him, we thought that he was the youngest of his brothers. However, I was thinking about him one day, and about the fact that he pretty much took over for his mother after the accident, and I realized that it would make much more sense if he was the eldest.

Clara Quotes. Yes, you may have noticed a few in that chapter 1 that I posted, but in the original version of the book, Clara's Classics obsession doesn't exist. There's a long story for how it came to be, involving how Clara and Andrew meet at the beginning of part 3. However, the quotes haven't been as frequent as I had planned, which has been interesting.

I've split them up. As you read in that first chapter, in the original version, I flipped back and forth between their stories at a dizzying rate. And I realized that it was hurting Andrew's story. This was my time to let each stand on their own and define themselves as individuals before I thrust them into each other's arms and made them fall in love, and playing their stories side by side wasn't cutting it. Also, I was having trouble keeping track of who was where and doing, and I felt repetitive at times. So I'm separating them. First I tell Clara's story in part one, and then Andrew's in part two. I did Clara first because I had her story better fleshed out, and also because she's the first in the title.

Clara and Andrew's Relationship. In the first draft, Clara has about zero respect for Andrew until the end of what is now part 4. He, on the other hand, was absolutely smitten with her. This draft, however, partly due to the fact that I'd taken the time to get to know them each alone, they've actually been pulling back from each other about equally. Andrew, in fact, has gone to Clara and told her that they should try to be "just friends" for as long as possible. In doing this (and because of other things) he had gained her respect, though she thinks that respect is a very different thing from love. Her main issue this draft, has not been Andrew himself, but the fact that she believes that, at barely sixteen, she's too young for this sort of a relationship.

Jakob has a Twin. Jakob is one of my favorite of the minor characters, a great guy. (If you'll remember right, in my last Character Encounter, he bought me a necklace, which you can see on one of my bookshelves that I shared yesterday. However, while he was talking to Clara in part 1, I suddenly had a realization. He sure knew an awful lot about girls. I'd already established that he had sisters, but he suddenly came out with the fact that one of them was a twin, and that she'd been turned to ice by the Dragon.

Laura. I knew about Laura this draft, and now she's shown up three times. Twice with Andrew, once with Clara. It was fun.

Nerissa. In the original draft, Nerissa was a doll that I gave Clara as a counterpart to the sword that Andrew received. She was weird, as a result, she disappeared about a quarter of the way through and I gave Clara a sword as well to compensate. In this draft, Nerissa doesn't exist at all, and Clara gets the sword.

Bigger. Let's face it folks. The last draft was (in my estimate) around 75,000 words. This draft is already at 90,000, and I'm only about halfway through part 4. So, basically, more story this time around.

Now just to see if I can stretch the 25,000 words that are the draft of book 2 and stretch them into something at least close to WPFP's length.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Seven Deadly Sins Book Tag

There's this tag that's been going around, and I find it amusing since I don't talk about what I read nearly as much as I ought, so I thought I'd do it. I stole it from Cait over at the Book Chewers, since she said anyone could.

1. Greed. What's your most inexpensive book? What's your most expensive book?

I'm a cheepstake when it comes to my reading. Most of my kindle collection was free, (Because I've bought maybe 30 books, rounding up, and I have over a thousand on my kindle at the moment.) And much of my physical collection I've picked up at my library's yearly books sales when I can get children's books and paperbacks for a quarter apiece.

So epensive? I don't know, since I didn't buy any of them. I have a few, though, that I suspect were pricey when they were bought, but I wasn't the one who shelled out the cash for them, so I wouldn't know. I do know that I've never spend more that ten bucks on a single book.

2. Wrath. What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

Oh ... tough question here. I think I'll go with Piers Anthony. On one hand, I love the puns of his Xanth series, but on the other, he likes to more ... spicy stuff than I like to read. Xanth is his tame series, and even there, it's borderline what I read.

3. Gluttony. What book have you devoured over and over again with no shame?

That's a list. I've got a number of books on my shelf that I wander over to whenever I'm bored and just ... read.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (because it's a genius retelling of Cinderella)
Chronicles of Narnia (for obvious reasons, and I recently picked up a single volume of the entire series for a dollar)
Lord of the Rings (And my copy is again, single volume, as Tolkien intended)
The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw (I don't know why I love this book so much, but I do. Mebbe it's the accents)
Or Give me Death by Ann Rinaldi (A historical fiction about Patrick Henry's family. It is ... tear-jerking.)
The Claidi Collection by Tanith Lee. (Because epic world building. Also, a single volume, I love single volumes)
Fairy Tale Collections (And I own SEVERAL)
Elsie Dinsmore by Martha Finley (I have the entire series - not single volume, though - plus Mildreth's series)
Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. (Because it's funny, and again, lovely worldbuilding)

And there are more, but I think I shall stop now. Basically, I highly recommend any of these books, and I read them frequently

Wait, I forgot a few:
The Ankulen
Sew, It's a Quest
Do You Take This Quest?
Water Princess, Fire Prince (notebook edition)

Yes, I'm the author, no I have no shame.

 4. Sloth. What book have you neglected due to laziness?

Um, well ... that's a list equally long. Books on my shelf are in one of two states. Either I've read them a million times, or I've barely picked them up. I've spot read at these books, but I've never taken the plunge and actually devoured them. They include:

Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. (I own the whole series except Brisngr, which happens to be the book I've read the most of. I ... uh ... snuck into my mother's closet and read at it while she had it out from the library several years ago.)
After the Twelfth Night by A. G. Werff. (I have it on my shelf. I bought it. I loved the first part when I edited it ... but I just can't seem to pick it up and finish it.)
Only a Novel by Amy Dashwood. (Again, on my shelf, and I loved the first few chapters that I read on Amazon look inside, but I can't seem to finish it!)
Second Son by Janelle Leanne Schmidt. (I won it in a giveaway. I loved the first book in the series. But unfortunately, the book focuses on a character that I was perhaps the least interested in - don't shoot me Brant fans, he's a great guy, but with his secrets and all that in the first book, he and I just didn't form a good relationship.)
Kestrel's Midnight Song by J.R. Parker. (Again, won it in a giveaway, and I love the concept, but I just can't get into it!)
Ben Hur by Lew Wallace. (I recently moved it down from currently reading to to-read on goodreads. I own a really nice copy, but I just can't get any further in the book. Incidently, I'm stuck at the same point in both book and movie)

Again, there are more, terribly good books that are having trouble cracking into me. I've doubt that one day I'll pick them up hit a point in the story, and then I'll be useless the rest of the day, but that just hasn't happened.

5. Pride. What book do you talk about most in order to sound like an intellectual reader?

Mostly classics, including David Copperfield, Pride and Prejudiced, and The Lord of the Rings. 

6. Lust. What attributes do you find attractive in male characters?

I require a snappy voice, or brains, or both. He needs to be open and talkative, especially if he's the POV. If he's a POV and is keeping secrets from me ... that's an automatic on my bad list (actually, this is true for any POV character, but we're talking about guys right now). I like some heroics, and if he can save the girl, that's great (though I prefer it if it's a joint effort.) Accents are a must. I melt for accents.

But oddly enough, I don't really find myself attracted to guys in the books I read, not permanently, at least. Unless of course, they happen to be the rightful ruler of the land of sweets and is going to kill a mouse king. Yeah ... have I brought up my undying love for the Nutcracker before?

7. Envy. What book would you most like to receive as a gift?

Last Christmas, I could have answered this one easily. But between Christmas last year, and the fact that I've had money this year, I've managed to acquire pretty much every book I've been wanting to own. Besides this, my bookshelves are very full. I need to replace one of them with a taller one before I can go about expanding my collection some more. Maybe the Lunar series, because they're a pretty awesome spin on Fairy Tales. Or ... I only have two of the five Borrower books, I need the other three ... and, now that you mention it, my copy of Pollyanna is only abridged, and lacks a few of my favorite lines. I a full edition - and the sequel, because it's amazing.

And now, because we're talking about the books I own, my shelves.

This is the shelf that greets you as you enter my room. It starts with my Great Illustrated Classics, which, though they're abridged, have such wonderful illustrations, I love them. Then I have it organized as a proper library from there. ALE (for Lloyd Alexander) through JUS (for Norton Juster) on this shelf.

As you can see, it's taken up mostly by my Elsie Dinsmores. I'm quite proud of my complete set. It is gorgeous.

And then we have my other bookshelf, which is a bit busier. LEV (for Gail Carson Levine) through to WIL (for Laura Ingalls Wilder) here, and then we have my picture books, which are arranged by author (if I remember right) and then on the bottom shelf is Nonfiction. I need more shelf space for my nonfiction.

As you can see here, I also have a largish collection of Boxcar Children. Not a complete set by any stretch of the imagination, and I actually lack the first one. Need to get it, but haven't run across one for sale. 

And, yes, those are furby feet you see at the top of the shelf. Her name is Ta-ta. I have a second, Toe-lou, but I'm not sure where he went. They both have dead batteries, so I haven't played with them in a while.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In the Kastle

Folks, folks I did it! I did it! I finished NaNo twelve days ahead of schedule!

It's a glorious feeling, truly, to be done this early, something I've wanted to do, but haven't managed before. But last night, I reached 80,000 on Water Princess, Fire Prince! I had to write 7,342 words yesterday to do so, totally creaming my previous record of 4,819 (which was set last Wednesday. I've been breaking record all month!), but those words were no match for me.

I'm nowhere close to being done, but I did finish part 3 and plow into part 4, as evidenced by the fact that the wordcount bar on the sidebar is now gold for The Kastle. I'm not exactly sure why I chose gold, but it seemed like a good color. You may noticed that the expected wordcount has gone up from 100,000 to 120,000. I knew I was going to do this at one some point, but I wanted my word count to be higher so that the percentages looked better.

Anyways, since this is cause for celebration, snippets!

Slowly he bent down and pulled his sword out of the dirt where she had left it and sheathed it. He met the eye of the young man who had met them when they entered the camp. Jakob, she had called him, the son of Lord Erik, according to Abraham. He gave Andrew a sympathetic smile.
    “She’s testy around strangers,” Jakob explained. “You intimidate her.”
    “I, uh, sorry?” Andrew swallowed. “She…”

    “Oh, don’t worry about it,” said Jakob. “It’s about the only language she understands. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her speechless before.”

Oh, I get it,” Karlos nodded. “Well, you have some pretty cool animals.” He picked up the giraffe figurine. “This one has a pretty long neck. Why?”
“So it can reach the leaves of pretty tall trees,” Andrew explained. “In real life, they’re about seventeen feet tall, and their tongues are about seven inches long, and blue.”
Karlos’ eyes widened. “Really?”
“Really. I took my brothers to feed one at the zoo once. I think you’d like them, they’re pretty cool.”
“So why did you seem so upset when I showed them to you?” Karlos asked. “They seem pretty cool to me.”
“They are pretty cool,” Andrew agreed, placing an ostrich, the last member of the collection onto the log. “But the problem was, they weren’t supposed to be in my backpack.”

Honestly, that guy was the absolute last she would have picked had it been up to her. His sword skills were subpar, and he was a redhead. She hated redheads. Before she had met him, she’d had nothing against the hair color, it was true, but now … well, she had what she considered a good reason. If she was honest with herself, she still had nothing against the hair color, but between Kath’s constant teasing back home, and the fact that he was one – but, to be fair, what else would you expect out of a Fire Prince? she had blue eyes, after all, as would be expected of a Water Princess – she was willing to declare war on the whole redheaded race.
    It was truly a pity that Amber was said to have brown hair, because her ire had to go somewhere.

What’s with all the papers?” asked Jasmine, sitting down on the other side of the box, and pointing to all the fake money.
“Well, in my world, we have this funny idea that paper is worth something,” Clara explained. “We put special patterns on it, call it money, and use it to buy things. This isn’t real money, but we use it to buy things in this game.”

What’s that?” she asked, pointing to the mug.
   He glanced down and blinked slowly, as he swirled the brown liquid around inside. “Hot chocolate,” he said, at length.
   “Hot Chocolate?” she repeated.
   He nodded. “Want some?”
   “If you’re offering, sure. I haven’t had anything except Hot Pommel Cider since I got to Klarand,” said Clara. “The stuff may be good, but there are days when only chocolate will do.”

People aren’t the only ones to fall through doors, not always.”
Andrew spun around, waving his flashlight around violently until it fell on a girl seated on the top of an overturned helmet – there was a good deal of armor in the room as well – dressed in a tank top and jeans, her hair pulled back in a ponytail. Her hand went up to shield her eyes.
“Didn’t your parents teach you not to shine those things in people’s eyes?” she protested.
Andrew lowered the flashlight, frowning. “Who are you and what are you doing here?” he asked.
“The name’s Laura, though most people call me the Doorkeeper,” she answered. “As for what I’m doing here – well, it’s a room full of things from all sorts of worlds. I sorta belong here.”

The silence was awkward between them, and she was getting tired of it. Casting a glance towards the strange combination of water and fire that flowed beside them, she exclaimed, “Movie magic, I love it.”
   He turned towards her with a confused expression on his face. “Movie magic?”
   She pointed towards the chasm. “Don’t you just love movie magic?”
   He got the joke this time and chuckled. “Water Princess, this isn’t a movie,” he pointed out.
   “Oh,” she let the silence sit for several seconds before she added. “I just keep getting mixed up.” She sighed. “But now that you mention it, you’re right, I just don’t think this is a movie. Probably just a book.”
   “A book?”
   “And, knowing our luck, not even one of the good ones. Probably some self-published work.” She shook her head. “I’d hate to know what the cover art looks like. Probably some photoshop fail.”
   He laughed. “That would be just our luck.”


And before I go, I'd like add one more thing. Since I've finished NaNo, I'm going to give opportunity for one (1) person to read what I've got written so far (because I'm brave like that and let people read my unedited stuff sometimes). To enter, all you have to do is comment on this post and let me know that you'd like to read the story. I'll announce the winner next week, and then send them the 80,000 words (or 90,000, as the case might be, depending on how eloquent I wax. I've reached the point in the story where I flew through an entire notebook in a matter of weeks last time.) My goal is to finish the book completely before Christmas, so we'll see what we can do.

Also, don't forget that anyone who has left a review of Sew and Take is eligible to beta read Kingdom. (Although I'm willing to be lenient if you've only reviewed Take, because I'm nice like that). If you have reviews up, go ahead and send me links so that I can add you to my list. I'll be announcing information about the cover reveal shortly, which should be taking place on the 31st of December, should my cousin get the cover art done. I've been working on what I'm going to do for the release party as well, and I'll give you a hint - It'll be very Arthurian based. You guys will love it.

On another note, the prophecy from WPFP actually inspired a girl on pinterest to write a book of her own, except that they're both princesses. Her pinterest board is pretty neat, and I stole some of the pins (though mostly for Fire and Song, because I'm like that.)
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