Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Kingdom for a Cover

And now. Here it is. The day you've all been waiting for since I released Do You Take This Quest? and announced the title of book two.

The day I confirm that yes, the book is awesome and epic, and that you guys are going to love it.

And what better way to do that than to share the table of contents? Yes, I'm so very generous, aren't I?

1. In the Dungeons
2. Friends and Allies
3. Duty Calls
4. Robin's Collection
5. Skewwood
6. The Lady of the Swords
7. Preparations
8. The Army Approaches
9. The Sword in the Column
10. Battle
11. Tales of Days Gone By
12. King of the Round Table

Not as long a list as my normal chapter lists. It may have something to do with the fact that I handwrote this book, rather than typing, but many of these chapters ended up super long. I think you guys will enjoy them. 

Wait. What's that? I've pulled this trick on you guys before? This is not what you came here to see?

Oh. That's right. You came so I could share with you the beautiful new author picture that I took the other month. After all, the one on the previous Bookanias is over three years old, and the one on the back of the Ankulen just doesn't fit the air of the Bookanias. (Despite the fact that, when it was taken, I was dressed up as Robin.) So my mom and I went and did another photoshoot, got some good ones, and I edited the best of them, picked out my favorite, and declared it my new author's photo. Here it is!

And yes, my hair is in an Elsa braid, it's one of my three most common hairdos. (The other two being Robin's Knot and a simple ponytail.)

Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairy tales and twisting them in new and exciting ways.  She's been practicing her skills on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years, "Finish your story, Kendra", is frequently heard at family gatherings.  Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children's tales that also glorify God and his Word. You can read more about her on her blog,

What now? This wasn't what you were looking forward to seeing either?

Fine. You want to see the cover for My Kingdom for a Quest, so see it you shall. But first, the mock cover, so you can see what my goal had been.

And now, the cover you've all been waiting to see, designed by my cousin Tenya Sharp Ingalls and her son Benjamin Ingalls. (And for clarification, they're my first cousin once removed and second cousin. And yes, they're related to Laura Ingalls Wilder, they're cousins several times removed.)

Arthur is the rightful king of Briton, but his Uncle Mordreth refuses to give up the regency.   Arthur and Grandfather are now returning with allies to wrestle the kingdom from his uncle's grasp.  But not all is as it seems among his allies, and everyone has secrets.  New loves, old loves, lost loves, kingdoms conquered and kingdoms stolen.   Who is the real "rightful heir" and will the nearly forgotten sword in the stone finally answer this question?

Feel free to take a moment and squeal. I know I did when I first saw it last week. Ain't it gorgeous?

Now you can go ahead and take the time to add it to your Goodreads to-read list - if you haven't already. Just one and a half more months! (I think I shall replace WPFP's wordbar with a countdown clock ... let me go see if I can hunt one down.)

I also intend to make this book available to pre-order for $2.99. I meant to have the link ready by the time I did up this post last night, but yesterday was my final round for Christmas, and it was far more intense than I'd planned, and clicking the publish button went completely out of my mind until late last night, and it takes up to twelve hours before I receive a link. I shall add the link as soon as I can.

Update: Okay, yes! Link here and now!

A number of blogs are also participating in the cover reveal, and on most of them I've answered two or three questions about this book and about my writing in general on each blog. Check them out!

And, now that the cover's revealed, now I'm going to talk about my promotion plans over the next month and a half. Well, it's quite simple. From now until the release day, I'm going to write reviews of sorts about the various novels and movies that I've seen about Arthur. If you guys would like to talk about Arthur and promote my books in the same way, I'd very much appreciate it, though I'm not sure I'm in a position to give out rewards for it like I did last year. (Translation: I need to get a new job.)

Then, from the fourteenth to the twenty first, I'm having a blog tour instead of the party I normally have. Click on the appropriate tab at the top of my blog to sign up (and again, let your friends know about the sign-up!). 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

CE Oz - Madeleine

Okay, here I am for my Character Encounter in Oz. I just wanted to let you guys know that next month there will not be a link-up, as (1) no one seems to be doing these anymore, (2) I'm going to be busy editing and all that good stuff next month, and won't have time for it, and (3) I can't think of a location at the moment. I've got a great location for February, though, so there will be a link-up that month.

Via Pinterest
"The magic here is stronger than back in Bookania."

I glance at the paint-stained girl walking beside me.

"Yes, this is Oz," I confirm. "The land where people don't die no matter how badly they're hurt. They just ... exist."

"Oh." Madeleine was silent for a thoughtful moment. "But this is a beautiful place. My, but I can't wait to paint it."

"I'm quite certain you'll get the chance," I assure her, putting a hand on her arm and glancing at the paintbox she's carrying. "After all, we get to stay in Ozma's palace tonight as honored guests." There are benefits of being an author, after all, especially in worlds that are now in the public domain. "I've arranged it all. It'll be such fun."

"It certainly sounds like it," Madeleine agrees. "It - oh my!"

At that moment, we are approached by the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger, our official escorts to Ozma's palace."

"They're friendly," I assure Madeleine. "They aren't going to hurt us."

"Yes," the Hungry Tiger moans. "I could gobble you both up in a moment, I'm so hungry, but you're both such beautiful girls, and I just couldn't."

"He's too big hearted," I add.

We're taken to the palace, where we meet with Ozma, Dorothy, Betsy, and Trot, and we have such a lovely time together. The three human girls are thoroughly intrigued by this girl from fairy tales, and especially by her story of how she slept a hundred years with Sleeping Beauty.

Eventually, it grows late, and it's time for us to go to bed. Madeleine and I share a bedroom that opens into a large, empty room with blank walls and a few stools of varying heights.

"Oh," Madeleine breaths, when she sees it. "Oh, Kendra, do you think ..."

"Ozma gave us these rooms so that you might paint this one for her," I inform her. "I've told her about your love of painting and the fact that you don't sleep much - they're quite used to that here, what with all their Scarcrows, and Tin Woodmen, and Jack Pumkinheads. She'd be quite disappointed if you didn't paint these rooms. Now, are you coming to bed now, or is the itch to paint too bad?"

I shouldn't have asked. She's already plopped her box onto the tallest stool and is digging in search of the perfect colors and brushes. I smile and turn back to the bedroom, wondering what scene of Oz will greet us when we return tomorrow.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Just Some Facts about Water Princess, Fire Prince

Via Pinterest
I finished the second draft of Water Princess, Fire Prince last week. 136,000 words according to my word document.

So, to celebrate, I'm going to share some stats and facts with you guys that you might find interesting.

Part 1: The Water - 30,697 words - 11 chapters
Part 2: The Fire - 20,976 words - 10 chapters
Part 3: The Mountain - 26,383 words - 9 chapters
Part 4: The Kastle - 33,258 words - 10 chapters
Part 5: The War - 21,796 words - 7 chapters
Epilogue - 2,978 words

I find it amusing that the 1, 2, and 5 each have the same digits in the second half of their number, each in a different order.

Despite the fact that Part 4 is the longest, it actually covers the least amount of time - just five days. Part 1 and 2 each cover several months (the same several months though), part 3 is a couple weeks, and part five is about a week and a half.

I have decided that I will change Jeptha's name to Alphego, and he is mentioned 125 times.

Andrew's name is mentioned the most times - 917 - as well as 465 times using Fire Prince.

Clara's name is used 880 times (though a few mentions are actually deCLARAtions, but word search doesn't know the difference.) Water Princess is used 571 times, so she wins there.

Clara and Andrew kiss four times, all in part 5. I almost cut the third of these kisses in this second draft, but then I got to the scene and it happened again, and this time it was even more perfect, so I just let it. For the squemish sort, none of them are very descriptive. I've never been kissed myself, so I couldn't possibly write one at all accurately if I decided to do that.

Books that Clara quotes and/or otherwise alludes to include: Pride and Prejudice, Wizard of Oz, The Princess Bride, Gone with the Wind, Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit, and The Prince and the Pauper.

Ending line: He laughed. “I’m quite certain that can be arranged.”

In the scene where Clara and Andrew meet, he mistakes her for a giraffe. Er, well, that's her story and she's sticking to it. He has a slightly different memory of the event.

I never specify Andrew's height, only that he's much taller than Clara, who's 4'11 1/2". She finds this very annoying.

For the longest time, I couldn't decide who to dedicate this book to. (I have the next two books already determined.) But then I remembered that I promised my baby sister that I'd give her this book for her birthday one year (intending to create a small picture-book version), but it didn't happen. So I'm dedicating this book to her.


Anyways, now onto Bookania. As some of you may have already realized, I've set up a pinterest board for its fans. Anyone can join, all you have to do is ask and make sure I know your pinterest account name. This board is for you to pin anything that reminds you of the Bookania, the characters, and the plots. Have fun with it!

BTW, the first three people to pin something to the board will get a surprise. Not sure yet what the surprise may be, but it will probably be a sneak-peak at something Bookania related.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Around my Imagination

Merry Christmas!

Okay, first off, to celebrate the holiday season, I have free books. (No surprise there, I'm sure, since I always have free books for Christmas.) Every single one of my short stories are free on kindle through to at least Friday, and a few extend through to Sunday as well. And, TODAY ONLY, The Ankulen is free. Just click the image below, or my amazon tab at the top of the page, and you can find all these wonderful books.

Okay, second, since I'm very nice, I'm going to treat you guys to some worldbuilding from several of my worlds. Christmas style. Now, as much as I love holidays in my own life, but for some strange reason, I'm frequently negligent about including them in my writing. (Because that means I have to keep track of a calender, and my brain just isn't that organized ... if you know what I mean.) However, I do have a few worlds with some version of the gift-giving holiday season, so I'll share those.

Via Pinterest
First of all, we have the Rowa. There, they celebrate the Month of Blessings. As the name suggests, it lasts a whole month, and it is a combination of Christmas and Thanksgiving, and contains a lot of medieval tradition. This is the time of year when they've finished gathering any and all of their crops, and they take the time to thank Yshew for his providence. There's quite a bit of feasting over the course of the month, as they are making sure than any and all perishables are consumed before they spoil. The Rowans are generally nice all year round, but this month especially so. Everyone goes out of their way to help each other, and to share the blessings that Yshew has heaped upon them. It's generally everyone's favorite part of the year.

This is one of the few holiday's that has actually gotten into a book. I've not actually experimented with any of the other holidays, and they're still just theories in my head. Good theories though. I quite like them.

Via Pinterest
I've actually done some pretty good plotting for Bookania's holiday, and I've known about it for about two years now. It's called the Turning of the Page, and is a combination of Christmas, New Years, and Hanukkah. The festival lasts a week, and each day has a different focus, and I'm not sure what all of them are. The last day, however, is for turning over a new leaf, so to speak. Any and all graduations take place this day, most knighting ceremonies take place this day, and most girls chose this day to declare themselves of marriageable age. Gifts are given throughout the week, it's a most joyous occasion. It had been my intention to write a short story about this, but Water Princess, Fire Prince kinda took over my life over the last few weeks.

By the way, the girl pictured here is Rhine, the Cloud Sprite in charge of frost and snow. I actually have all ten of the Cloud Sprites well developed, and I meant to have another one of them show up in Kingdom, but it didn't happen. I will have that particular one make an appearance in book 4, though.

Via Pinterest
Speaking of a world that's taken over my life and all that good stuff. (That reminds me, I forgot to mention that I finished WPFP two days ago. 136,000 words. Now I'm plunging into book 2 because ... I want to have it finished by the time I release WPFP.) I actually didn't know what sort of Christmas they had there until today, and I'm still pretty sketchy on all of the details. I do know that theirs is on the first day of the year, which is in ... hang on a moment, I need to go consult my calendar ... Which is also the first day of summer. They celebrate not only the new year, but the creation of Rizkaland itself. (Because, at the moment, I'm only a thousand years into Rizkan history, they haven't had their Sacrifice yet. One of the three auspicious moments of histories where every world is aligned perfectly. That's a topic for another day.) They give gifts, but that's about all I know. When they crossed it in WPFP, they were in the middle of a war, and Clara and Andrew were in Amber's clutches ... either that or inside the Mountain. I need to work on my calendar. They have ten-month years and eight-week days, and their years are 365 days (exactly, they don't have leap year), but I haven't worked out anything else. I need to sit down with a word processor and set up a graph for this. Anyone know a good FREE program where I can make calendars for fantasy worlds?

I really like this picture by the way, which I found just the other day. You see, I believe I've mentioned that Jeptha was originally a giraffe, and then I changed it to a Jaguar? Well, I wasn't liking that, either, and I didn't want to go with the obvious lion, and I needed something that could be intimidating, so a lamb was out ... I was actually considering an eagle. So I took this issue to my mom, and we talked it out, and we decided that Jeptha was something like a griffon, but not quite. (Hum ... just had a thought, what if I changed Jeptha's name to Alphego? I've not been quite comfortable with Jeptha for a few months now ... I like Alphego, though ... shall have to sit on that one. Alphego's Hill ...) The body of a lion, the wings and head of an eagle, solid white, the body covered with lamb's wool, the head and wings with the feathers of a dove. And then I came across this picture the other day and I was like that's IT.

Anyways, have a merry Christmas, and don't fall off the page. (Robin's personal greeting for the Turning of the Page.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Fire Prince - Chapter 1

No, I didn't finish writing the book yesterday, as I'd hoped, in fact, I didn't make much progress at all. The scene I'm working on is rather bittersweet, and I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing with it. However, I did decide on a release date of August 31st. A bit ambitious, I know, but I think I can do it. I have about seven months after Kingdom's release to pull it off in.

I also gave it goodread's page so it can go ahead and start gathering interest. If you want to vote it onto this list while you're there, that'd be appreciated. You can also vote for Kingdom while you're there.

Anyways, I might not be done, by I'm almost done, and I promised you the first of Andrew's chapters. Normally, I don't share two chapters for my books, but I feel it's important to properly introduce both of the characters. So, here you go!

Via Pinterest

Chapter 1

   “Yes Kyle, you may take Josh and Parker for a hike before we leave,” said Andrew, without looking up from the map he was examining. “Just don’t push them off of any cliffs. We don’t have time to call 911 right now.”
  “That wasn’t what I was going to ask, Andrew,” said Kyle, with a groan. “I –”
  “Well, it happens to be what I just gave you permission to do, unless you want to stay and help me pack up the tent. On second thought …”
  “I’ll take them hiking,” Kyle quickly amended, before Andrew could finish the thought.
  “Good. Make sure they’re both wearing proper climbing gear.”
  “We’re not babies anymore, Andrew!” protested Josh, who was apparently in earshot. “We know how to prepare for a hike.”
  “Good, then do so.”
  Andrew, satisfied with the directions they needed for the day’s trip, folded up the map and put it into his backpack. Now just to get everything into the car, and maybe, just maybe, he’d have time for a quick hike of his own.
  Sleeping bags and food was easily and quickly packed down and thrown in the trunk. He carefully stacked his dad’s computer and other electronics in the front seat, where they wouldn’t get broken. As per orders, his brothers already had their own clothes already back in their suitcases, so Andrew only had to make sure they were zipped closed – Parker’s wasn’t – and toss them in the trunk.
  Only the tent was left, and then he would have to go track down his dad, who was chasing a rare butterfly or something of that sort, and hope that his three younger brothers would be back in time. They still had a four hour drive before they got to their aunt’s.
  There was a girl of about five years old sitting in front of the tent. Andrew’s eyes narrowed. “Who are you?”
  “Laura,” she said, simply, hopping to her feet. “We’ve met before, Andrew, but I don’t think you’d remember it. I was older then.”
  Andrew opened his mouth to protest, then shook his head. Sometimes kids had trouble with the whole older/younger concept. “Where are your parents?”
  She shrugged. “That’s not important right now. You are what is important. Your people need you, Andrew.”
  She darted away towards the forest, and Andrew naturally followed. After all, this was a five-year-old with no apparent supervision. She disappeared into the trees and immediately from sight. Andrew stopped, considering whether following was the best idea.
  No, it wasn’t. He had a car to pack. The girl’s parents were probably close enough, and while that didn’t explain why she knew his name, it wasn’t really all that important. Confusing, but not important. He would inform the park officials there was a girl who may or may not have supervision loose, but for now …
  Just as he turned away from the trees, he heard the terrible roar of fire, so he spun back around. Where the trees had been just moments before was a spiraling inferno. It wasn’t spreading, the trees touching it didn’t burn, but smoke and heat poured out of it. He shrunk back. This was turning into a very strange day.
  And, unfortunately, his dad had the cell phone so he couldn’t call 911 or the park authorities.
But – what about that girl? She had just run that way? Was she caught in the blaze? Or maybe she had somehow caused it. She hadn’t looked like an arsonist, but they did come in all shapes and sizes.   It might not have been on purpose.
  He heard a scream – not a girl’s scream though. It sounded more like …
  “Parker!” he exclaimed. And forsaking all caution, he ran into the inferno.
  The moment he hit the flames, the ground slid out from his feet and he fell. Liquid fire surrounded him, burning, yet strangely cold at the same time. He struggled to breath, but there was only smoke. On and on he fell, regretting his rash decision, and wondering why this had to happen today of all days.
  He tried to find something, anything to grab onto, to claw his way back to safety and life, but not only was there nothing there, but whatever he touched burned. Closing his eyes, he tried to calm himself, to think about this logically, but there was no logic to be found. It had been such a normal morning until Laura appeared, all things considered, and now …
  Was he going to die? Was he already dead? He couldn’t! His family needed him. His dad couldn’t remember he had kids half the time, and Kyle wasn’t responsible enough to do what Andrew did.
  He squeezed his eyes shut, to block out the burning smoke and to try to come up with some sort of plan … but there was no way out of this.
  Just when he was about to lose all hope, he felt a hand grab his arm, and he was pulled out of the fire. His skin collided with icy cold, and his eyes flew open.
  The fire was gone. He knelt in a strange pink substance that felt like snow, though there was still heat coming from behind him.
  “Are you all right, Fire Prince?”
  Andrew looked up from the strange snow to find a bearded man standing over him - his rescuer? The man was dressed in a strange green outfit, with a knife in his belt and a bow strapped to his back.
  Closing his eyes and shaking his head in an attempt to clear it, Andrew pushed himself to his feet before his legs and hands could freeze. Had he somehow ended up at a renascence festival? ‘Cause that was certainly what the man looked like he was dressed for.
  “Where am?” he asked.
  “Three feet from the Firefall in Lower Klarand,” the man replied.
  “Right.” Andrew didn’t recognize those names at all. “So … do you mind if I could use your cell phone. I should probably call my dad and let him know I’m all right and where I am. He must have seen that fire from where he was.”
  “My … cell phone, Fire Prince?”
  “You know, the phone you use when you’re not at home,” Andrew explained, feeling very annoyed.   “I know you’re in character and all that, but I need to let my dad know I’m okay. I need to get back to them!”
  But the look on the man’s face was as innocent and confused as though he had never heard of a cell phone before in his life.
  “What is a phone?”
  “A telephone. You use it to talk to people from far away,” Andrew explained. Frustrated, he turned away from the man and tried to take in his surroundings. It was apparently winter here … and it had been summer just a few minutes ago. Not only was there pink snow on the ground, but most of the trees were bare. Those that weren’t were … purple? And that one was blue.
  He shook his head again, trying to convince himself that he was seeing things. He opened his eyes again, and they fell on the source of the heat – a rushing river made of fire.
  Heart hammering against his chest, he knelt down to get a closer look. It certainly wasn’t water - it was smoke, not steam that rose off of it. And it wasn’t lava either. Andrew had seen lava - and many forms of it. His dad was a scientist who studied many things, and took their family pretty much everywhere. There wasn’t much in the natural world that Andrew hadn’t seen.
  But red snow, blue trees, and fire that flowed like water were new to him.
  “Are you all right, Fire Prince?”
  Andrew pushed himself to his feet and spun back around to face the man. “My name’s Andrew.”
The expression on the man’s face didn’t change. “Yes.”
  “Andrew Stevenson,” he added.
  “Yes. You are the Fire Prince.”
  “But …”
  “Fire Prince, if you are trying to tell me your true name, I don’t think it’ll work,” the man informed him. “The prophecy states that we shall only ever know you by your title.”
  The words swirled around in Andrew’s head and frustrated him all the more. His eyes traveled back to the river of fire, traveled to its source. He and the man stood at the foot of a cliff made of black rock, and the fire spewed from a hole in it about three hundred feet up.
  “The Firefall, you said this was?” Andrew asked.
  “Yes, Fire Prince.”
  “Stop calling me that!” Today was crazy enough without adding a man from his history books insisting on calling him this strange name. He needed to find a way home!
  “It is who you are, you cannot deny it,” said the man, calmly. “The fact that you tried to tell me your real name and I still heard only your title confirms it.”
  “I don’t care – stop calling me it!” He gestured wildly towards the fire river. “This isn’t scientifically possible.”
  “Perhaps not in your world, but you’re in Rizkaland now.”
  “I thought you said something about Lower Klarand.”
  “Klarand is one of the islands,” the man explained. “And you’re in the lower part of it. If it makes you feel any better, this is the only place in all of Klarand where fire flows like this.”
  “Right. So … when am I going home – how am I going to get home?”
  “I know not,” the man answered, with a shake of his head. “Travel between worlds is complicated, and there are few who manage it. Come now, there’s no point for us to tarry here in discussion.” He paused however, and took a good look at Andrew’s summer-oriented outfit, then removed the cloak he wore about his shoulders and handed it to him. “Here,” he said, “it’s cold once we get out of RiFi’s range, and we can’t have you freezing, after all. We’ll see what we can do about finding you some warmer clothes.”
  Andrew accepted the cloak grudgingly and wrapped it around his own shoulders. It stank of unwashed body, but at least it was warm. The man didn’t wait for him to say anything else, and started walking away. Since Andrew wasn’t interested in being left alone anywhere, he followed.
  Why was this happening to him, of all people? Why couldn’t this “Fire Prince” have been some kid who wasn’t the coordinator of his family? A kid who wanted only to run away from home and get away from it all? Andrew was needed back home. He couldn’t be here and Fire Prince for these people.
  As the man had warned him, it did grow colder the further they got from the fire river. Despite the smell, he pulled the cloak closer around him.
  A lean-to shelter appeared, with a roaring fire, a man poking at the flames. Andrew’s guide picked up his pace. “He’s come!” he announced. “The Fire Prince has arrived at last!”
  This second man stood up, his eye landing on Andrew. “Him?” he asked. “He doesn’t look like much.”
  “It’s him, all right,” Andrew’s guide answered. “I pulled him from the Firefall myself. Jeptha has sent him at long last.”
  “Well … let’s hope he knows what he’s doing.”
  “Of course he does,” Andrew’s guide countered. “His plans are always so infinitely better than ours. Fire Prince, I would like you to meet Zimon, one of my fiercest soldiers.”
  “Uh … hello?” said Andrew. He inched closer to the fire, not feeling comfortable under the man’s sharp gaze.
  “I took our waste down the Firefall this morning,” explained Andrew’s guide - who still hadn’t bothered to tell Andrew his name, “and there he was. I couldn’t believe my eyes.”
  “I can see why,” said Zimon. “I’m having trouble believing mine. Well, Fire Prince, we just killed a schwazle. Would you care to come prove your worth and help us clean it?”
  “I…” Andrew didn’t quite like the tone in the man’s voice. “I guess so, only … It’s cold.”
  The man raised an eyebrow. “Well, it’s winter, boy, what else would you expect?”
  “It wasn’t a few minutes ago when I was still in my own world and normal life,” Andrew protested.
  “He’s dressed for summer,” Andrew’s guide explained. “We need to find him a jacket at least, and then I’m sure he’d be happy to help us with our kill.”
  Andrew was not as sure about that, but Zimon accepted the excuse, and with a humph retreated into the lean-to, during which time Andrew covered the remaining distance between the fire and himself. At least this fire was acting normally, and was a natural color. He tried to not look at the pink snow and purple trees.
  Zimon emerged again and threw a leather jacket at Andrew, and it landed at his feet. “Here, I guess it makes sense that we have to keep our Fire Prince warm.”
  Andrew ignored the comment as she pulled off the cloak and tossed it to the side and put the jacket on. It smelled a lot better than the cloak, even though it wasn’t nearly as warm. But he supposed that was because he had to wait for his body heat to warm it up.
  “Now, let’s see about that schwazle,” said Andrew’s guide, smiling encouragingly as he picked the cloak back up and put it back around his own shoulders. “You’ll show Zimon you’re useful, won’t you?”
  Andrew shrugged and reluctantly stood up, realizing that sitting here in front of the fire was not an option. How bad could it be, after all? His best friend’s dad hunted, and had taken Andrew and his brothers a few times. He’d cleaned game before.
  Zimon and the other man led the way away from the lean-to towards a group of men who stood about their kill. Blood splattered the snow, which made the pinkish tint a bit less horrible. The animal hanging from the tree was nothing like anything Andrew had ever seen before, but even that wasn’t so bad.
  Then his eyes fell on the creature’s head, sitting off to the side. It looked slightly like a camel’s, especially in the jaw. But it was covered in green scales.

  It was too much, way too much. Andrew suddenly felt sick.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Water Princess, Chapter 1

I am almost done with Water Princess, Fire Prince. As in, I only have one chapter left, and it's the one where Laura takes them back home. Very bittersweet, but it won't take me long to write. And so, I'm going to celebrate properly by sharing the first chapter. Tomorrow, I'll be back with the first chapter of part two, and hopefully news that I am done. I'd hoped to be done yesterday, but I did get done with the heavy stuff. The last chapter is basically an epilogue, and I'm considering labeling it as such. I'll decide later.

Anyways, the chapter, and your first introduction to the real Clara. (Or something like that. I'm tired. I just went twenty-four hours without sleep. Wait, no, that was Clara and Andrew. Never mind, just read.)
Via Pinterest

Chapter 1

  “It is a fact universally acknowledged that a short girl, in the procession of something above her head must be in want of some young man to get it down for her,” Clara stated, as she and her two best friends headed to the pool. “And no matter how far from the case it may be, if it just so happens that her mom has told her to get something that just so happens to be on a shelf above her head, and some guy just so happens to be walking by and sees her, he’s going to offer his help.”
   “Is that so?” Rhoda asked. “You know, you could just let them help you. It would save you a lot of time.”
   Clara rolled her eyes. “I had it handled. I didn’t even need to be on tiptoe to get it. He only offered to help me so that he could be a dashing hero.”
   “Maybe he was just trying to be nice?” Rhoda suggested.
   “You’re a pretty girl,” Kath added. ‘‘And we know that you’re against the thought of boys liking you and all that, but they don’t know, so”
   Clara tossed Kath a glare. “I’m not against boys liking me, it’s just that …”
   “Was he a redhead?” Kath continued, seemingly oblivious. “Because I do know that you are especially against them if they’re not.”
   “Redheads have nothing to do with it,” Clara insisted, with a roll of her eyes. “I’m only fifteen, and I’m not ready to be thinking about things like that, and he was being an unnecessary dashing hero. That’s what I don’t like.”
   “That and the fact that he probably wasn’t a redhead.”
   Rhoda rolled her eyes, “What is it with you and redheads when it comes to Clara?”
   Kath gave an innocent smile.  “It just seems to me that a redhead would be perfect for Clara.  Hey, isn’t one of your cousins a redhead?”
   “Yes,” Rhoda admitted. “Two of them are.”
   Kath nodded. “But Josh is younger than I am, and would certainly not do for Clara.”
   “I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t try to match me up with every redhead we have in our acquaintance,” said Clara, rolling her eyes. “Honestly, I could care less about hair color, and I’ve never even met Rhoda’s cousins. Neither have you, Kath, so knock it off.”
   “But that shall change today,” said Kath, in her best ominous voice.
   “If you keep it up, I can get you an uninvite to the picnic,” Rhoda mentioned.
Kath didn’t respond, as they had reached the pool. Instead, she stripped off her coverup and ran over to the diving board. “Youngest first, right?”
   “How about most obnoxious last?” asked Clara.
   “You know, we could always go shortest to tallest,” Kath mentioned. “That way you go fist, Clara. Although we can achieve the same effect going oldest to youngest, though that would mean I go last.”
   Rhoda sighed. “I can’t believe we go through this every single day. Kath, just get up there and dive, since you’re already there, and then Clara can go, and then I’ll go last. Why must this always be so complicated?”
   “That’s what I’d like to know,” said Kath. And with that, she scrambled up the ladder and dove into the pool.
   “You know,” Clara commented, “it wouldn’t be so bad if I understood why she is so convinced I like redheads.”
   “It’s not as though you’ve ever favored them – you’ve never favored any guy, regardless of his hair color,” Rhoda agreed. “I think she’s just trying to point out that you’re the oldest of us and almost sixteen and never been kissed and all that.”
   “But why redheads?”
   “Three points!” Rhoda shouted, for at that moment, Kath surfaced.
   “Three?” asked Kath, as she climbed out of the pool. “It felt like a better dive than that.”
   “But we’re only in the mood to give you three points,” said Clara, as she marched over to the diving board. “Tough judges today and all that.”
   “Well, enjoy your dive then,” said Kath.
   “Hush, I’m concentrating.”
   Sure, this wasn’t the Olympics, but Clara believed that everything she did should be done like it was done for competition. The three of them participated in enough events, she knew what was expected of her. It didn’t hurt to practice.
   She counted to three, then ran to the end of the board, jumped, and entered the water flawlessly. It was a perfect dive, she knew, though she wasn’t likely to receive a high pointage from those stingy “judges” she had to contend with today. But as she turned to swim upward, she found herself pulled down by some current … but she was in a swimming pool – how was that possible?
   She tried to fight it, but it continued to pull her down. This was very not good. She was going to run out of breath soon – she  could already feel the world around her grow cold. That is what happened when you were dying from lack of oxygen, right? You get colder?
   Just as she was about to pass out from the lack of oxygen – and the cold, seriously, the water was now freezing – she found her head above the water. She sucked in a lungful of bitterly cold air. Then she was under again, but sliding against some sort of bumpy surface.
   She twisted around and tried to get a hold of those bumps – they felt almost like the rocks at the bottom of a very pebbly river – but she was moving too fast, her fingers were too numb, and they were too slippery. This was not funny. Nor was it normal.
   Finally, she got a grip on the stones – she was just going to call them stones – and came to a stop. Pushing herself up, she found that she was in rather shallow water – a good thing. For a moment, she just sat there, sucking in air – ice cold air – and shivering. Once she gathered what she could of her thoughts – it was so cold, thinking clearly was out of the question – she scrambled numbly to her feet.
   She found herself staring up a waterfall. No, literally, a waterfall.  How her swimming pool had turned into a waterfall was beyond her, but here she was.
   Completely weirded out, she turned around, hoping to find some sort of answer. Apparently, she was in the middle of some sort of stream, and it was now winter. When she dove into the pool, it was summer, but there also wasn’t a waterfall. The snow on the banks of the stream was blue, and there was a group of women nearby.
   She stumbled towards the women, and, therefore, the dry land. Sure, it wasn’t likely to be any warmer there, but her toes were already frozen. She needed out of the water.
   As she neared the women, they seemed to draw back at first, and then all of them were helping her out of the water at once. Once she was out of the water, a cloak was thrown around her shoulders, and she was dimly aware of the women chatting quietly, but excitedly among themselves. What she wanted were shoes, but none were offered to her as she was led away from the stream.
   She zoned out and concentrated on not stepping on rocks – she didn’t want to step on any with her feet this cold, and therefore, it wasn’t until they stopped walking when they realized that they were at the gate of some very large stone building. There was a guard standing in front of the gate, giving the women a very disapproving stare.
   “Why have you brought me a half-frozen girl? Lord Erik does not have time to deal with such matters at the moment, and you have fires of your own at your own houses.”
   There were several moments of silence, then one of the women spoke up. “But, sir, she came out of the Waterfall while we were washing laundry – out of the Waterfall, I say – and all of us saw it with our own eyes. She’s the Water Princess!”
   “The Water Princess, you say?” said the Guard, suddenly a bit more interested. “Are you certain?”
   “She came out of the Waterfall, and she’s dressed in strange clothing,” said another of the women. “If she isn’t the Water Princess, I don’t know who could be.”
   “Very well,” said the Guard. “Come with me, young lady. We’ll see if their claim is true.”
   The gate opened, and since the guard seemed to expect her to follow him, she did so. He led her down long, winding hallways covered with lush carpet, which was nice on her feet, but still the chill pervaded her entire being. At last they came to a large room where a dark-haired woman dressed in rich clothing sat at embroidery. And, more importantly, there was a roaring fire.
   Clara ran up to it.
   “Lady Roxanne,” said the Guard, bowing. “I believe that we have finally found the Water Princess.    A group of women brought her half-frozen down from the mountain just now.” With that, he pressed a fist over his heart, bowed slightly, and left the room.
    The woman stood up and approached Clara. “Have you truly come to us at long last?” she asked.
   Clara looked up from the fire and blinked. “What?”
   “Ah, but you are ice cold,” the woman observed. She clapped her hands and a young girl scampered over to her. “Have a hot bath fixed in the in the Blue Room at once.” The girl nodded, pressed a fist over her heart, like the guard had, bowed slightly, and scampered out of the room.
   “I am Lady Roxanne,” the woman said, removing her own scarf from around her neck and wrapping it around Clara’s. “It’s an honor to have you here with us at long last, Water Princess.”
   Clara sneezed. “M-my name’s C-Clara.”
   “Yes, dear, you are the Water Princess, sent to us at long last as answer to our prayers.”
Clara didn’t think the woman quite understood her, but since she was still having trouble understanding herself, she decided not to press the issue. “Where am I?”
   “You are in the castle of my husband, Lord Erik of Upper Klarand,” Lady Roxanne explained.
   “How far is that from Texas?”
   “I’m not sure what you mean,” said Lady Roxanne. “I’ve never heard of such a place. However, if this ‘Texas’ is the favored country from which you came, I would guess that it’s a good ways away, for you surely have come from another world, as did the Leaf Princess and Wind Prince.”
   “The who?”
   “We will explain in time,” said Lady Roxanne, shaking her head. “For now, concentrate on warming yourself, for you will be no good to us if you die of frostbite.”
   Clara didn’t quite like the sound of that, but was too confused to ask questions. Lady Roxanne returned to her embroidery. She continued to thaw out her fingers and toes. Slowly the time eked by, and the girl returned.
   “The Blue Room has been prepared with a bath for the Water Princess,” she announced. She pressed a fist over her heart and bowed towards Clara. “If you would follow me.”

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Let It Go - ROCKS edition

I was doing such a good job of blogging every day for the first week and a half of December. What happened?

Oh, that's right. Water Princess, Fire Prince happened. I've been focusing on that, to push through and just get done with the story. Yeah, I'm at that point. I can smell the done, and now my brain is shutting down and telling me it doesn't want to write anymore.

So I've been powering through, making myself write at least 2,000 words a day. I managed 10,000 over the weekend. I maybe have 10,000 left to go. That's about three or four chapters the way I write them. I know where I'm going. I've got draft 1 right beneath my computer. (I have done some direct copying, I'll admit, but not much). I've reached the part of the story that I've written since The Ankulen. (How do I know this? Handwriting. My Words Per Page went up while writing TA.) In fact, I think I'm working on what has been written this year.

I can smell the done. I just need to get there. I've got a caramel candy bar waiting for me in my purse.

Via Pinterest
Anyways, on to the topic of my post. A couple months ago, the Beautiful People was themed villains, and I did Roxanne, who isn't the antagonist, but she is a villain. Complicated, but that's the world she lives in.

One of my readers commented on the post and said that Roxanne reminded her of Elsa, which after half a moment of reflection, I completely saw. There's a lot of "Conceal, don't feel" and "Let it go" in Roxanne's character arch.

Now, I'm not sure if you guys know this about me, but I have an odd obsession with rewriting songs. I've listened to several different rewritten versions of "Let it Go." Naturally, I'm going to rewrite the song.

For anyone just joining us, and who doesn't know the premise of this book, Roxanne has the superpower of Rock manipulation, and was typed as a villain by HaV Academy, which is the mandatory boarding school for all superpowered children in this world. Once they type you, you are assigned to a enemy, and sometimes a sidekick, and then they send you to some town or city where it is your job to keep the people distracted.

The context for this song would be the night when Roxanne first puts on the act of villain, the night she builds her lair. (Basically turning a previously flat field into an imposing mountain full of tunnels and torture chambers ... as she puts it.)

So, enjoy. I can't sing, but you guys know the tune, so I'm just going to give you the words.

The moon glows bright on this field tonight,
There's nobody to be seen.
The land will obey my bidding,
For guess what? I am its queen.
The earth is trembling as emotion builds inside,
Won't keep it in,
No more need to hide.

Don't let them know,
Can't let them see,
Be the civilian they expect of me,
Conceal, don't feel,
It's all a show -
 And now they'll know!

So let it go, let it go, 
Don't hold it back anymore!
Let it grow, let it grow!
That's the perfect place for a door!
'Cause here I stand,
Let the people say,
"She's the Villain now,"
'Cause ROCKS is here to stay.

It's funny how some freedom,
Makes my life before seem small.
'Cause the rules that once constrained me,
Don't apply to me at all.
It's time to see what I can do,
To test my limits and break through.
No right, no wrong, no rules for me.
I'm free!!!

So let it go, let it grow,
Raise this mountain against the sky!
Let it stand, oh so grand,
While the people down there cry!
'Cause here I stand, and here I'll stay.
I'm the villain now ...

My power surges through this mountain all around.
My soul is trembling as I rearrange all this ground!
And one thought hardens like a diamond in my hand.
I never shall go back, I'm changing all the plans!

So let it stand, oh so grand.
And I rise at the break of dawn.
I am here, let them fear!
The civilian girl is gone!
'Cause here I stand, as night turns to day,
I'm the villain now.
ROCKS is here to stay.

(Elegant bow)

I've also been working on a "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman" rewrite for her and William. I'll share it latter once I've gotten it all worked out.

And yes, she does sound a bit cruel in this song, but she has her mask on. That's how villains work in this world. Once she takes the mask off, she'll be back to her quieter self.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Tag

Greetings Everyone and welcome to the Holiday season. Today I'm doing a Christmas tag issued by Kathryn over at Hidden Orchards

1.  What's your favorite part about Christmas?
The decorations. I don't know why, but seeing all the pretty lights, the majestic trees, the little details just makes it smell like Christmas. Shish-ka-bobs. I'm the person who has Christmas ornaments taped to my ceiling all year round.

Also: Nutcrackers. I have this weird obsession with the Nutcracker (have I mentioned this before?) and it's actually acceptable at Christmas time.

2.  Does your family have any special Christmas traditions?  If so, which is your favorite?
We try to ... my favorite of the mostly consistent ones is oo-ing and ah-ing. We pick a night and pile in a car and drive down roads looking at lights. It's gorgeous. Unfortunately, Christmas season is also basketball season, and my dad refs, so ... it doesn't always happen.

3.  Everyone knows that music is best part of Christmas.  What's your favorite Christmas carol?
Favorite carol ... Oh, wow. I have a list. Right now, first place goes to Mary Did You Know, if only because of this gorgeous version of it.

4.  What's your favorite Christmas song (i.e. non-sacred carol).

I'm drawing a blank, because most of the Christmas Music I sing is about the Reason for the Season. (I.e. Jesus). In fact, if it isn't, I have been known to rewrite it so that it does. Case in point:

Down In a Manger
Jesus Christ is Coming again.

I need to get these two songs (especially the first one) up on YouTube ... because I'd like them to spread.

5.  What's your favorite Christmas story or novel?
The Nutcracker.
(I'm a trifle obsessed, have I mentioned.)

6.  What's your favorite Christmas cookie?
Do gingerbread houses count? Because I do enjoy making them ... and eating them.

If they don't count, Spritz cookies, because they're fun to make and work really well with our press.

Now I want to go make cookies.

7.  Do you shop at Christmastime?  Where's your favorite place to do Christmas shopping?
Not really, and this year I'm broke. If I wasn't broke, it'd be Amazon, because I have prime, and it's awesome.

8.  What's your favorite Christmas treat?
By treat I'm assuming not cookies ... hum ... oh! I love the candy cane Hershey kisses. I'm not a chocolate person, but these are white chocolate, and peppermint and awesome. I had some last year ... but I'm out. I'm going to have to resupply.

9.  Do you watch Christmas movies?  What's your favorite one?
I watch the Nutcracker. My favorite version is The Story of Clara, which is actually about a ballerina who used to dance Clara. It makes me cry.
Second place goes to this version, because in my opinion it's the most accurate to the book.

10.  We all know how much fun setting up the Christmas tree can be.  Of course, there are always those ornaments that you made in first grade that you would rather forget but they go on the tree anyway.  Do you have a favorite ornament?  What's the story behind it?
My favorite ornament is a blown-glass baby ballerina giraffe. She's gorgeous, is mine, and doesn't get put away at the end of Christmas. When she isn't hanging from the tree, she's tucked safely inside my giraffe collection.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Interview with Ashley Elliot

A year and a half ago, I signed up for something called the June Crusade, where I was assigned to a girl named Ashley Elliot for book critiquing. Long story short, neither of us actually ever got around to the critiquing part, but I loved her book, and it sits as my favorite YA contemporary ever.

And now, it's published! Becoming Nikki is available in Kindle and paperback, and I highly recommend it.

What would you do if you were given the opportunity to rebuild a broken relationship?
  Alec and Nikki Scott are the perfect ice dancing duo, executing flawless technique and brilliant performance abilities each time they compete. No one doubts their camaraderie, not even their closest friends.
   But looks can be deceiving. Off the ice, their relationship is in shambles. Ice dancing is the only thing they have in common anymore... and Alec wants to quit.
   Just as Nikki feels like their relationship can't get any worse, an unexpected tragedy crashes into her life. She's left struggling with a difficult choice as her opinion of her brother slowly starts to change.

   Whatever she decides, she knows her life will never be the same.

And today, I have the author over for interview!

Welcome Ashley! Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your writing journey?

Absolutely! I'm a writer (obviously), musician, bibliophile, and, most importantly, a child of God. I've been writing ever since I was ten and I've loved (nearly) every minute of it! : )

Now about your book Becoming Nikki. Why do my readers need to read it?
Because it's awesome. ; )

Without tooting my own horn or anything, I think it's a really inspiring story, and one that can impact a lot of people, if they let it. It's about relationships, which I think a lot of people struggle with today – myself included – because of all our modern technology that keeps us “friends” but not friends. *steps off soapbox* I'm done. ; )

How did you become interested in Ice Dancing?
Through the 2010 Winter Olympics. I still haven't gotten over how beautiful it is!

Do you have a favorite character in Becoming Nikki?
Haha, I don't think so... I always say it's Bennett just because he has a special place in my heart, but I love all of them.

Can you tell me a bit about your favorite authors?
I have, like, a million favorite authors, but two of the biggest are Wayne Thomas Batson and Robert Whitlow. I've read nearly all of their books (about twenty-six combined!), and they're all great. I have my favorites, though – of course. ; ) Mr. Batson writes Fantasy and Mr. Whitlow writes legal thrillers with a spiritual twist, and I love both of them muchly.

Favorite movies?
The Captain America movies, To Save a Life, Julie & Julia, Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, and Star Trek (the new ones). I have a wide variety of favorites. ; )

Have any writing quirks that you wouldn't mind sharing?
Hmm... I nearly always have something to drink – preferably sweet tea. I've gotten used to writing with one song on repeat, too. It gets me into a rhythm that helps my writing.

Any music that you enjoy listening to while writing?
It depends on what I'm writing, but it's usually something like film scores, Josh Groban, or random CDs.

The last Hobbit movie is coming out. What are your thoughts here?

Finally, what is your favorite verse?

Yikes, that's a hard question. I love the whole Bible. : D My favorite book is Ephesians, and I really like Psalm 139. Does that count? ; )

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Beautiful Books - Editing Edition

And now it's time for round three of Beautiful Books. Editing edition. I honestly considered doing Kingdom with this link-up, since I was in the middle of editing. (By the way, if you've reviewed Sew and Take, then you're eligible to beta read the book.) But then I finished last night and sent it off to editors instead. Besides which, these questions are more suited for the beginning stages of editing.

So I'm doing Water Princess, Fire Prince instead. It's not quite finished yet (as you can see on the sidebar), but it's getting close, and I can still answer the questions on what has been finished.

You guys aren't tired of hearing about this story yet, are you? 'Cause I'm only going to talk about it more once Kingdom is published. Since I haven't finished the book yet, I can't talk release dates, but I'm considering late summer. The absolute latest this book will be out will be October, I'll tell you that. And I'm absolutely excited. Rizkaland is one of my favorite worlds, and I can't wait to share it with all of you.

1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) how well do you think this book turned out?

About a 7. I'm happy with it, but it's still going to take a lot of polishing, mostly because I've challenged myself to write it without going back and editing.

2. Have you ever rewritten or editing one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan?

I love rewriting. In fact, I think I've done more of that in my writing journey than actual writing, and this book was, itself a rewrite.

I have developed something of a system for editing. First, I let it rest for at least a month while I work on something else. Then I'll pick it back up and read it as though I've never even heard of the book before.

Then, I go through the book and add any scenes or snippets of conversation that needs added, and changing any scenes that demands it. This is when I address the notes I sometimes leave myself in NaNo, and expand the play-by-plays I sometimes fall back on.

Next is a line edit, where I send it to my kindle and see how many notes I can leave myself, with spelling, misused names, grammar issues. Sometimes I'll add notes to expand a conversation or two, as it strikes my fancy. Then I'll pull up the document on the computer and actually apply all of the changes.

And then I'll send it out to beta readers to get their opinions.

3. What’s your final wordcount? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book?

I'm sitting at a hundred thousand words, but I still have a bit of part four to finish, and all of part five. I'm considering upping the wordgoal meter on my sidebar again, but I'm going to wait a few more thousand words so I can get a feel for exactly how many I have left. I'm a putter-inner when I edit, and there are a few scenes that I know I need to add in part two. So, yeah, this is going to be a long book.

I'm actually a bit nervous that the next two books won't quite measure up. I mean, the last time I wrote book two, it was a mere 25,000 words. I'm not sure how long the first "draft" of book three is, but it's short, too.

4. What’s are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing?

I love the plot, but the characters in this book are absolute darlings. For me, this book has always been about the characters, and this draft was no exception.

5. What’s your favourite bit of prose or line from this novel?

This book is over 100,000 words (and growing as we speak). You expect me to find one favorite out of all of that.

Okay, I guess I'll go look for something.

  “I guess so,” said the Fire Prince, shrugging slightly. “At least you’re not biting off heads at the moment.”

  “I don’t bite,” she countered. “It’s disgusting. I have far more dignified methods of dealing with my foe.”

6. What aspect of your book needs the most work?

I do need to deepen Andrew's character a bit more in part 2. I know what I want to do, I'm just waiting until 100-4-100 is over. (And I'd like to finish the book first)

7. What aspect of your book is your favourite?

The relationships. I have so many dynamic characters in this book, and everyone just bounces off of everyone else so nicely.

8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed-out?

They're darlings, that's what they are. Some of them need a little bit of work, that's a given, but they're stronger than in the last draft, that's for certain.

9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process?

I think I would have skipped getting sick the last week of NaNo. I went down with a bad respiratory infection, and all the words just seeped out of me. I think I would have been done with the book by now if it weren't for that, because I was seriously on a roll.

10. Did anything happen in your book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad?

I can't say that anything has surprised me, but Clara and Andrew's relationship shaped up differently than it did last draft. Part of it was the fact that this is a rewrite, and I found myself reluctant to place them entirely back at square one. But the main reason was the fact that I'd actually taken the time to develop Andrew's character on his own this draft. I knew him better, and he wasn't content to just stand there and watch her blow around this time.

I can't say that this was a bad thing, because I do like how they've turned out, but it did throw me for a loop plotwise. I have Clara's emotions twisted to the proper pitch now, however, and I'm back on track.

11. What was the theme and message? Do you think it came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring it out more?

There are many themes in WPFP, some of which I handled pretty well, some of which still need a bit of work. For instance:

Trusting on God's timing. Klarand had to wait fifteen years for the Water Princess and Fire Prince to show up and get rid of the Lady Dragon. This is something that really annoys Clara, because from what she can tell, they've basically done nothing during this time. (This isn't true, as with David and the temple, everyone has been preparing for the battle, so that once Clara and Andrew show up, things will just fall into place.) Klarand had to wait for the Water Princess and Fire Prince because only they could get rid of the Dragon, and for anyone else to attempt it would have been a disaster.

Do I good job of showing this? I'll give myself an eight. It still needs work, but I like where I'm going with it. Of course, as I said, there are many themes, many of which I've done really well, but we'd be here all day if I chose to talk about all of them.

12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes?

I need a deadline. I have at least fifteen books in various stages of writing, and when I do write-as-it-comes, this usually translates into me writing a sentence on one book, a paragraph on another, editing two chapters on a third, and generally me not making much progress on any of them. NaNo's my favorite month of the year.

13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men, etc.)

Well, the series was inspired by Narnia, and it has a lot of Narnian elements, but it's a lot more mature than Narnia. (And longer. Did you know that LWW is actually shorter than Sew by a couple thousand words? I forget exactly how long it was, but Sew is only 38,000 words.)

14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?!

Depends, but it usually involves blasting all of my social media sites about it. I've got a candy bar saved for when I finish this book, though. It's going to be awesome.

15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?

Regret because it's over.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Castle Tour

And now it's time for Chapter 9!

Don't forget that answering the questions at the end of the post can win you a free paperback copy of My Kingdom for a Quest and all that if you've written a review for Sew, It's a Quest and Do You Take This Quest? you're eligible to beta read the book. The deadline to have your reviews will be Christmas day (consider them your Christmas present to me, and I'll consider early reading my present to you). You can also sign up for Kingdom's cover reveal by clicking on the new tab at the top of the page.

The Mural
Robin is shown to a room where a girl stands in a corner still working on the painting. Which is odd since usually you don't show a princess to a room that's still being painted. Robin doesn't consider the oddness of it, but she does walk up to the girl to ask when the painting will be done.

And runs into the wall.

Okay ... obviously the girl is part of the painting. How interesting. And then the servant that had accompanied her tells her something. The artist was none other than Madeleine, the mysterious, missing aunt. What's more, apparently Locksley castle also contains many such paintings. Robin has never seen them, but then, she's never actually seen the walls. They're covered in tapestries.

The room set up for the bath is painted as an underwater scene.

Old Clothing
Robin had noted in the previous chapter that Doranna's dress was rather old fashioned, and now she herself is presented with an old fashioned dress. What's up with that. Combined with the fact that everyone uses old-fashioned speech, which had previously been a novelty only to Rosamond, it presents a rather interesting enigma.

And one more thing, before we move on. Robin is given a dress here, and she puts it on. A lot of people take issue with her because she refuses to wear dresses. But she doesn't refuse here - and she could have easily gone to her bag and pulled out one of her own outfits, I'm sure. Robin doesn't like dresses, that's a given fact, and she does complain when there's someone to complain to, but she will wear them - as long as she doesn't think that she's going to get into a swordfight, when dresses are impractical. Her main issue with them is the fact that she considers their main use to be dancing, and she can't dance.

Bag Cat
She then goes to the library, where she finds Rosamond and Doranna, who warn her that one of servants let out a bag cat the other day. Robin is clearly skeptical, but at that moment, Robert appears, and he plays along ...

And is dressed even more ridiculously than Robin, complete with hose and a feather in his hat. Oh, my but the mental image!

The whole party gathered again, they begin a lore, so they don't get toast ...

I mean, a tour, so they don'g get lost.


It's interesting that the tour was originally just for Rosamond. She speaks as though she's been to this castle before. Her cousin lives here. She should know it, right?

The tour is proceeding nicely when the fabled bag cat leaps out of nowhere, and some servants appear to deal with the thing, forcing it back into a burlap sack. Interesting. So it wasn't as made-up as Robin had thought.

I keep meaning to work the bag cat back into the series, but it hasn't happened yet, despite having had some perfect opportunities. I just haven't had a situation where it felt right.

Music Room
That nasty creature dealt with, they go to the music room where Rosamond had left her bungalow - banjo - behind the last time she'd visited. Doranna convinces her to play this instrument, and then the flute - on which Rosamond plays the song she'd composed about Doranna going missing. They don't seem to want to talk about it, but apparently it has something to do with Doranna turning down a suitor who was no true quince. Who knows what that means.

Rosamond's method of playing an instrument is interesting, as she always holds it a few moments before she begins to play. This is because it's her gift. She has never learned how to play any instrument, but has always magically known how to play any instrument she picks up. Quite frustrating for someone who enjoys learning.

Doranna begs Rosamond to play more, but she declines. When Robin glances at the grandfather clock, they've been listening for over an hour, and they hadn't even realized it! This is another facet of Rosamond's gifts, though I can't say which one at the moment.

Also, grandfather clock. One of the things my Grandma pointed out when she edited the book for me was the fact that the technology and other details aren't exactly consistent. This is on purpose. Bookania draws from many fairy tales, from many eras. It's predominately medieval, and they don't have forks, but if I want to throw in a grandfather clock, that's my prerogative. I have King Arthur learning archery at Robin Hood's camp for crying out loud. If that isn't mixing eras, I don't know what is.

The next room I deemed worth mentioning is the aviary, where we discover the nature of one of Doranna's gifts - the ability to literally sing like a bird. Robert asks if she's actually talking to them and she just laughs. The reason? I hadn't decided yet if she could actually understand them or not. In fact, I was honestly leaning towards not. At the time, my plan had been for her to become Snow White's mother (and thus die, wasn't looking forward to that, honest!) and Snow White was going to get the same gifts as her mother, but exaggerated even further.

Then I decided that I wanted different children for Doranna, and that another couple would make much better parents for Snow, so that plot twist was no longer necessary. And at the same time, I was working on the first attempt at "Woodcutter Quince" and I decided that it'd be fun if she could have some sort of communication with the world below, so she gained the ability to talk to the birds.

But at the time, I hadn't decided yet, so I left it ambiguous. I'm glad I did.

Doranna truly has a rather exotic aviary, complete with a flamingo, a penguin, and a chicken that lays golden eggs. I had to include the penguin, since it's my sister's favorite animal.

This is actually one of two scenes in the book that is illustrated, and the better done if I do say so myself.

Back in the Library
Nothing left to see that's important - besides Doranna's father, who is, for some reason, surprised to see Rosamond - they head back to the library, where a package has arrived for Doranna. Math books, much to Doranna's delight.

Well, Rosamond did say that the girl loved math, didn't she?

And now we introduce Doranna's fiance, Casperl, who's on the run from a persistent fencing instructor. In the first draft, he'd merely walked into the library. The whole sneaking business was my mom's fault, but it's funny. And it made for an adorable bit a dialogue between them. I regret that I haven't had very many Doranna/Casperl scenes. That shall have to be rectified. That dismantled line is one of my favorites, though.

Doranna introduces them, and Robin comments that she doesn't know any princes by that name - and as a princess herself, and the victim of many suitors, she probably does know the name of most. She didn't know about Doranna or Rosamond, but they're princesses, so I suppose that's different.

Doranna just laughs, which is her signature action (Robin's is rolling her eyes, by the way) and informs them that he used to be a woodchopper.

Interesting. The last interruption involves a woodchopper who was declared a prince.

I'm not sure what Robin thinks of this explanation, but she's apparently satisfied, for she immediately launches into the question of how to find a fairy.

Favorite Quotes:

  Robin followed the old woman servant to the room that Doranna said she would stay in. On stepping into it, Robin had to gasp. For all the world, it looked as if she had stepped into a forest. As she looked around, she saw that it was actually a really good mural, and that it wasn’t finished. In fact, a girl with dark blond hair was still working on the wall…only she wasn’t moving.

   Robin went up to her, and ran into a wall. The girl was part of the painting as well!

   “And there thou art,” said Doranna. “Come, I wast about to give Rosamond a lore, for we have changed things a small bit since she wast last here, and it would be good for the two of you to come along, for it would not be good to have the two of you getting toast.”
    Robin and Robert exchanged a confused look. What was wrong with them having toast? And how do you give a lore?

   “Doranna!” he exclaimed, “What are you doing in here? I didn’t think you even knew you had a library!”
   “I forget somewhere,” said Doranna, “But I got in a whole shipmen of math brooks today. I can wait not to try them.” Her expression became concerned. “What art thou doing in here, and why didst thou appear to be peeking in? Doth somehow be after thee?”
   “Uh, no, dear Princess,” said the young man, “I am merely avoiding a very persistent fencing instructor.”
   “Does piecing not suit thee?” asked Doranna.
   “Uh,” said the young man, “no.”
   “Then I wilt have him dismantled, ” said Doranna, with a toss of her head. “What does suit thee, dear Casperl?”
   “I would like to just read,” said Casperl, his gaze sweeping the library. “There is so much knowledge here that I have never been able to access before. And even more, I would like you at my side, while you work on your new math books.”
   “I wouldst like that too,” said Doranna.
   “You mean you’re not displeased?” said Casperl. “Even though you had your heart set on me learning how to fence.”
   “It wast a mere projection,” said Doranna, with her birdlike laugh. “I thought that it wast thy wish. Reading it is. Perhaps thou wouldst like also to visit my drawing broom where I have all my chalkboards set up.”
   “I’d like that,” agreed Casperl.

Discussion Questions:
1. What do you make of all the secrets that seem to be piling up and not making sense?
2. Have you ever left something ambiguous in your writing because you weren't sure which way you wanted to go with it?
3. Did you catch the penguin? (I ask this because I have a friend who grew up in England, and she thought it was a puffin.)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...