Thursday, November 26, 2015

Who Likes Books for Cheep?


Like most other bookworms, great books make their way onto my "things I'm thankful for" list every year. It's hard to choose favorites, but  I went ahead and picked five books/series that I read in 2015 and am thankful for.

  1. The League of Princes Trilogy by Christopher Healy. Has anyone else read these books yet? You need to. They have pretty much everything I ask for in fairy tale retellings. Adventure, humor, a few touching moments, references, intricacy. Maybe my ships didn't quite work out the way I wanted to, but I still love these books, and I'm glad that I finally picked them up early this summer.

  2. Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. My mother brought home the first book of this trilogy and made me read it, saying that it'd be a good study for my own writing. And, indeed, it was. Ah, Constance. Or, shall I say, Ah Contraire ...

  3. Bones of Makaidos by Bryan Davis. Ah! Such a conclusion to the Oracles of Fire series. Also, there were some interesting thoughts in there that caused me to think through some of the plot elements and prophecies in the Rizkaland Legends, which is always wonderful.

  4. Goldstone Woods by Anne Elizabeth Stengl. After my library got through Shadow Hand, and I picked up Golden Daughter, I proceeded to devour this series. Honestly, I've never read such a deep, meaningful, intricate, high-concept series. I love these books.

  5. Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight. No contest here. Not only are the books amazing, but through its small fandom, I've gained a good number of friends.

  6. I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to another great year of reading! Speaking of more reading, here's one more thing to be grateful for. Books on sale! In honor of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a group of independent Christian authors banded together to offer over seventy discounted books on Nov 27-30. There's literally something for everyone.

    Every single book listed on Indie Christian Books is on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if you have a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you.

    Don't know what to pick? The fearless Indie Christian Books team created a quiz that will generate a book list perfect for you! Check it out!

    Book Quiz

    What awesome reads of 2015 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2016?

    A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as "Sold Out." This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.

    Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good for her work organizing this sale, Gloria Repp for completing the time consuming job of uploading book info to the sale website, and Hannah Mills  for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

    Tuesday, November 24, 2015

    Beautiful Books: This is what I Am Doing

    Hi! I'm finally linking up with Beautiful Books, hosted by Cait and Skye.

    My book is Lady Dragon, Tela Du, the second volume of my Rizkaland Legends. It's currently sitting at 59,000 total, 37,000 of that written during NaNo. I'm a bit behind, but I plan to rectify that tonight. This is a book that I've been working on for nearly ten years now, and I'm on what shall be the final draft of ... at least seven. It's been fun.

    1. Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations?
    It has certainly been very different from all of the previous drafts. I knew this draft would be a major overhaul, though, so I hadn't pinned down any specific expectations. I'm liking how Reuben and Petra's relationship is coming together. I thought I'd have a bit more trouble with Petra, to be honest, but I think, because I changed her from and INFJ to an INTJ, she's been handling things a bit more pragmatically.

    2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
    Of the book?: 
    “I allowed the Fire Prince and Water Princess their victory,” Amber mentioned over supper.
    Of what I've written for NaNo? (Incidentally, the first line of part two):
    “Two years,” said Petra, setting a plate of pancakes on the table. “Hard to believe that it’s been two years since Ashley barged into our life unannounced.”

    3. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried both methods and how did it turn out?
    I'm a planster. If I do too much planning, it will kill my inspiration, but I can't just show up to a piece of paper and write without a goal. I plan, extensively, but it's all mental. I can't start a book without knowing where it will end, and at least a few mid-goals along the way, but I keep a loose hand on the plot, and allow it to surprise me as it will.

    4. What do you reward yourself with after meeting a goal?
    I, um, have words written? I'm terrible at self-motivation. USUALLY, having words written and a story to read is reward enough for me. If not, I can't bribe myself to write. It just don't work. I should probably be stricter on myself ...

    5. What do you look for in a name? Do you have themes and where do you find your names?
    I look for names that suit the characters. There are two themes in Rizkaland: Names I make up for elves, and names that actually exist for humans. Sometimes I will literally stop all writing just to hunt down a perfect name for a character, because it's almost impossible for me to change a name once I set it in stone.
    Where do the names actually come from ... um ...

    Petra: She was initially inspired by Peter from Narnia, so I just found the female version of the name.
    Summer: She was initially inspired by Susan, also the girl who was going to play her back when this was a script liked season names.
    Reuben: This is what my grandmother always wanted to name a son.
    Amber: She was inspired by Jadis, the White Witch, but was a dragon, so I wanted a fiery gem.
    Most of the other names for main characters I made up, and I have no idea where those come from.

    6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
    I've written more beginnings than anything else, but they're hard to write.
    Middles are where all the meat is, but they can also get boggy, and I frequently loose my way.
    Endings have a lot of adrenaline, but it can be so hard to let go. 

    Honestly, I don't have a favorite part.

    7. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?
    There are a lot of BIG personalities in this book, lots of characters that I've really enjoyed working with.

    But, to be honest, at the moment I think I'll go with Rintaya. She's ... interesting.

    8. What kind of things have you researched for this project, and how do you go about researching? (What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched?!)
    I did research marriage customs for Cherokee Indians the other day by ... looking it up online. 

    9. Do you write better alone or with others? Do you share your work or prefer to keep it to yourself?

    The reason I do NaNo is so that I can know I'm not alone. And YES! I love sharing my work. Here, let me share a snippet with you right now!

      She turned and retraced her steps. It was true that she’d been on a mission, an important one at that – she never stepped foot in the Hall of Blood without good reason – but gaining information about her was more important than anything else.
      “Why is it called that?” asked the young man.
      “This Hall, why is it called … that.”
      “Oh, yes,” said Amber. “It’s not a pretty story, I must admit. In former times, almost every door you see leading off of this hall leads to what was either a prison or a torture chamber. I don’t use them for that purpose any more, unless I have to. But they aren’t the reason for its name.”
      “Then what is?” asked the girl.
      “If you follow this Hall to its ultimate end, you will find a large room that I shudder to call to mind,” Amber explained. “It was in that room that each one of my ancestors met their end, and there, someday, shall I meet mine. That is why this is called the Hall of Blood.”

      “Oh.” The girl’s voice was hollow. She was properly horrified, very good.

    10. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

    Habits ... um, unless you count the fact that I randomly barrel out of out of the house in heated moments, no not really. No specific snacks, I eat whatever I have on hand, if I eat anything at all, and I usually write in silence. I write best when I have my seat firmly planted in my chair and my attention on the story, rather than the internet.

    At the moment, my writing cave is too dark for pictures. Also it's a mess, so I'd rather not share.

    Thursday, November 19, 2015

    A Tour Of My Pinterest

    A couple years ago, at least four or five, my mother excitedly told me of a new website she had discovered, where you could store pictures you found around the internet. I messed around with it, pinned a bookshelf bed I really liked, and wandered away.

    I added a few pins over the next several months, but it wasn't until I discovered storyboards that I discovered Pinterest's true purpose. Since then, I've become a slight bit addicted to the website. I have fifty boards, at least of them Storyboards for my books, and over 8,000 pins. Pinterest is the only site where I have more followers than people I follow, 900 vrs. 600.

    One of my fellow authors is hosting a "showcase your Pinterest" party, so of course, queen of pinterest that I am, I'm going to participate. This is for boards for specific stories, Storyboards, so of course, that's perfect for me. Let's begin.

    I arrange my storyboards by size, starting with Rizkaland, the largest, working down to RPS, the smallest. I shall share the boards in inverse order so as to not overwhelm you.

    (Please note that all numbers are as of the writing of this post and are liable to rapid growth at any given moment, thank you.)

    RPS: (20 pins)

    This is a story based of the idea "what if Rebellious Princess Syndrome was an actual disease that medieval princesses could catch?"

    Features: Mostly pictures of princesses with swords, and appropriate quotes.

               Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: RPS on Pinterest.  

    Poison Kiss: (35 pins)

    This is the story inspired by Anne Elizabeth Stengle's Five Magic Spindles contest, and is based on the premise "what if the kiss and spinning wheel reversed roles?). At this point I'm not sure I'll have it done in time to enter it in the contest, but you will see it released next year.

    Features: Pictures of Sleeping Beauty where she is a brunette, also some cats.

               Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: Poison Kiss on Pinterest.  

    League of Royals : (46 pins)

    This story is based on a game that a friend, my sister and I did as kids. It's sort of an alternative earth where all countries (except America) have a monarchy. The Queen of Germany also takes regular trips to the fairy realm.

    Features: War pictures. Fairy pictures. There really isn't a theme on this board.

                 Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: League of Royals on Pinterest.  

    To Perfect a Fairy Tale: (48 pins)

    What if all the fairy tales were messed up and it was up to one girl to fix them?

    Features: A lot of fairy tale-related pictures. Dragons. Backpacks.

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: To Perfect a Fairy Tale on Pinterest.  

    Infiltration: (49 pins)

    This is a story that is part Middle Earth, part research of the medieval period, and a bit of Left Behind influence. The basic idea is, "what if there was a physical mark so that Christians could tell whether someone was actually saved or not?"

    Features: Mostly herbs. One of the main characters is an herbalist.

                    Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: Infiltration on Pinterest.  

    Dragon Song: (52 pins)

    This is the story of a girl who discovers she can ride unicorns, her songs hold power, and she's the main weapon in the war against the dragons.

    Features: A lot of unicorns and dragons

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: Dragon Song on Pinterest.  

    Eternal Queen: (55 pins)

    The Eternal Queen is her name because she does not die. Every fifty years, she disappears, only to return as a young child. One generation, she disappeared early.

    Features: Quotes about queens, quotes about love.

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: The Eternal Queen on Pinterest.  

    No Refuge for a Princess: (59 pins)

    The Isle of Refuge gives safety to all who find it. To all but its princess. She must learn the meaning of suffering before she can become its queen.
    Features: Lots of dramatic pins.

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: No Refuge for a Princess on Pinterest.  

    Tales of Ooladada: (74 pins)

    This is a co-write with my sister, and it features the two of us as main characters. It's a spin-off series of The Ankulen (I'll get to that one in a bit), so it involves a lot of imagination.

    Features: Bookshelves, imagination, and jewelry

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: Tales of Ooladada on Pinterest.  

    Trilogy of Secrets: (93 pins)

    This book is currently going through some premise evolution, so I'm not sure I can accurately describe it, It was inspired by Barbie's Swan Lake, though.

    Features: Magic and swans. Some unicorns. Modest centaurs.

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: Trilogy of Secrets on Pinterest.  

    Trilogy of One: (103 pins)

    This is a book I stole from my mother. It's a fantasy adventure where a girl is hunting down the Nine Gems of Virtue, aka, the Fruits of the Spirit.

    Features: Elves, feathered people, lots of color. This board is mostly geared towards worldbuilding, admittedly.

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: The Trilogy of One on Pinterest.  

    Cayra: (107 pins)

    This is my only book based of a dream that I had. It's about a girl who discovers she can turn into a mermaid and breath underwater.

    Features: Modest mermaids (mostly), and mermaid quotes

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: Cayra on Pinterest.  

    The Ankulen: (125 pins)

    And now we're getting to my published books. The Ankulen is the story of a girl who lost her imagination as a child, and is now trying to get it back before it's completely eaten by the Polystoikhedron.

    Features: Black and white pictures, pictures of imagination, more modest mermaids.

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: The Ankulen on Pinterest.  

    The New Division: (138 pins)

    This book is a fantasy version of the period of and just past the book of Acts, focusing on what happened when God chose to accept all people after Christ's death, and the impact it had on the world.

    Features: Elves, red leaves, red and blue moons.

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: The New Division  on Pinterest.  

    Jessica's Summer: (151 pins)

    When Jessica discovers that she's the living embodiment of the season of summer, she's skeptical, but the world is out of balance and crumbling quickly, so she must learn to trust Winter and Spring as they hunt down Autumn and hope it isn't too late.

    Features: Despite this being Summer's book, I'm usually pinning Winter on this board. There's a lot of Autumn, too.

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: Jessica's Summer on Pinterest.  

    Mikida Chronicles: (154 pins)

    This is a board that I share with my sister, as it is technically her series, though I am writing it. It's a sci-fi inspired by Star Trek, but with strong influences of fantasy.

    Features: When I'm pinning - quotes about the moon, or pictures of glittery fairies. Both are incredibly relevant.

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: Mikada Chronicles on Pinterest.  

    Fire and Song: (185 pins)

    This is the story of a people who can turn into birds, and whose social standing is based on what bird they can shift into. The element birds are the rulers.

    Features: Lots of firebirds, because that's what the main girl shifts into. She may also be the villain.

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: Fire and Song on Pinterest.  

    HaV Academy: (259 pins)

    We're now getting into my big boards. This is my only non-fantasy. It's a superhero boarding school dystopia.

    Features: Lots of masks and quotes about villains.

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: HaV Academy  on Pinterest.  

    Worth of a King: (277 pins)

    This is a cowrite with Jack Lewis Baillot. It's the story of twins who were separated at birth because their father was murdered that very day, and now they find themselves at the epicenter of a political war.

    Features: Pictures of the twins, mostly.

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: Worth of a King on Pinterest.  

    Half-Hidden: (383 pins)

    I don't write books without dragons, but this one is the one where dragons are actually good. Many humans distrust them, and they've been hunted nearly to extinction. They can't die, instead taking a human form known as the Hidden.

    Features: Dragons, dragons, more dragons.

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: Half-Hidden on Pinterest.  

    Bookania Quests: (676 pins)

    The hugest mashup of fairy tales you could ever ask for.

    Features: Lots of fairy tale pictures, a few dragons, lots of girls with swords, and maybe some Robin Hood. Also, some pictures I drew.

                   Follow Kendra E.'s board Storyboard: Bookania Quests on Pinterest.  

    I think I shall save my final board for it's own post, however, since it holds nearly a thousand pins, and I'd like to talk about it in a bit of detail.

    Monday, November 9, 2015


    When I survey the wondrous cross
    On which the Prince of glory died,
    My richest gain I count but loss,
    And pour contempt on all my pride.
    - When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Isaac Watts

    Am I the only one who'll have songs pop into her head when she can't remember how to spell a word?

    Anyway, I'm participating in a Black Friday sale this year, which is going to be exciting. And we'd like to know what you're looking for in the sale. So, just click over here and fill it out.

    Also, I hit 20,000 words for NaNo yesterday, bringing me to about 42,000 total for Lady Dragon, Tela Du.

    Have a snippet:

      Rintaya’s “house” proved to be a doormat.
      At least, that’s all that Petra could see, even remotely resembling a home, when the woman stopped short and declared that they’d arrived. It did not, in any way, resemble a castle.
      “Is your house magic?” asked Reuben.
      “What do you mean?” asked Rintaya.
      “It’s just that, normally, when someone says castle, I picture a large building with lots of towers, maybe a moat, definitely some heavy walls, and I don’t see anything like that here.”
      “Oh,” said Rintaya, nodding slowly. “Well, I suppose I do understand your confusion, then.”
      “Does ‘castle’ mean something else here in Rizkaland?” asked Petra.
      “Oh, no,” said Rintaya, shaking her head. “Indeed, your definition is pretty much spot on for what we describe as well.”
      “Then where is it? You said we’ve arrived, but there’s no castle in sight,” said Petra. “All I see are lots of trees, and a doormat.”
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