Monday, January 21, 2019

Honor: A First Chapter

Hey there! Decided that I'd pop in with the first chapter of Honor: A Quest In, for all of you to enjoy. I shared it a couple months back in a newsletter, but now you lovely readers of my blog can enjoy it.

(Also, for those of you who haven't read the previous books, the spoilers in this first chapter are minimal, so feel free to read ahead and enjoy.)

And if you missed it - I'm running a giveaway, so snatch up your chance to win a set of all four Bookanias in paperback! (You can start by commenting on this post.)

1 – Wherein a Routine Mission Doesn’t Go as Planned



Once upon a time, in a land called Bookania, there lived a young boy who was the son of Robin Hood himself. As a result, he lived in the heart of Skewwood with the band of Merry Men.
  The young boy was quite proud of this fact, especially since, unlike his younger brother and sisters, who were all babies – or practically babies at any rate – he had his own pony, bow, and small sword. Most importantly, he got to go with his father on important missions.
  And so he was doing at the start of my story. Scouts had reported strange men prowling through the woods, and Robin Hood had taken the boy and a few of the men to investigate. However, after three days’ travel with no sight of the strange men, things were starting to get a bit dull. Did they even exist?
  “There’s something up ahead,” Prince Eric suddenly announced.
  The young boy wasn’t actually sure if Prince Eric was officially one of his father’s men. He knew that the man’s wife was – or was at least pretty sure that she was, but he wasn’t so sure about Eric. Nevertheless, his father did trust the man with the top-secret location of the camp and on incredibly important missions like this one.
  “What is it?” Robin Hood asked.
  “I’m not sure,” Prince Eric admitted, tilting his head to the side even as his hand went to his sword’s hilt. “It might be nothing, but—”
  He was cut off by a scream, and the moment after that, a giant dog burst out of the woods, dragging woman by the arm.
  Prince Eric drew his sword and spurred his horse to follow after the dog, which turned and darted back into the woods.
  The rest of the men rushed after him. The young boy was last of all, hesitating after a stern glance from his father. He caught up with the men just in time to see a net fall over Prince Eric and scary-looking men pour out of the woods and attack the rest of the men.
  The boy drew his own sword but held back from rushing into the fray. His was but a very small blade, and it didn’t look like his father’s men were faring very well. What good could he do? He’d probably just get himself killed, and his mother would be very cross with him if that happened. She hadn’t wanted him to go with the men, yet, after all.
  And then was all over. Before the boy had a chance to pull together his courage and decide what to do, the scary men had disarmed and subdued all of his father’s men – had them all tied up with rope and everything!
  “You there, boy, are you with these men? Or did you just happen by and think that a skirmish is something nice to gawk at?”
  The boy’s eyes widened as one of the scary men noticed him. He opened his mouth but found he couldn’t speak.
  “Come now,” said the man. “We’ve no reason to harm a mere boy such as yourself, even if you might be tangled up with these desperate ruffians. Indeed, if you’d like, we can take you back with us. I’m sure that Prince John would be happy to provide opportunities for your betterment.”
  Prince John? This was growing worse by the moment.
  The boy leaned back. “I – I need to get back to my mother.”
  The man gave a single, barking laugh. “Do you now? Aye, that would be a fine idea. Yes, stay home with your mother and don’t get tangled up with criminals bent on defying the crown.”
  The boy sat up straight. “Prince John isn’t king yet. King Richard will return one day, just you wait and see.”
  The man laughed. “But who knows if Richard is even still alive? Prince John will be crowned king quick enough. And, for that insolence…” He strode towards the boy, pulled him from his pony’s back, and threw him roughly to the ground. “This is too fine a beast to belong to a peasant who refuses to give respect to his betters. Now, run home to your mother and perhaps she’ll teach you some manners.”
  The boy swallowed hard, hastily picked himself up off the ground, and ran. He cast one glance over his shoulder at his father to see him give a small, yet reassuring smile. Then he gave a glance to his pony only to see that the man had thrown the “girl” across its back.
  She’d been a mere doll. All this trouble for a doll.
]
  He had to return to camp and let his mother know of the attack. She’d know what to do. She’d be able to fix this.
  But he was three days from camp, and that was on horseback. It’d take forever on foot – if he even made it back at all. Skewwood was dangerous, and he was alone with only a bow and a small sword to defend himself. He didn’t even have any food on him. Would he starve?
  Night was descending. The boy could hear the howling of wolves. He didn’t want to be alone out here.
  “I wish … I wish that there was a way for me to get home quicker,” he said aloud, stopping to lean against a tree. “I wish I had someone with me.”
  He stood there a moment more, closing his eyes and trying hard not to cry. He was a big boy, and he had the very important task of making sure that his mother knew what had happened. His father and all the men were counting on him.
  “William Hood, I have need of a brave knight to guard me in these woods.”
  The boy started at his name, and he turned to see a woman riding a horse. She was very, very white, and the horse was very, very black.
  “You … know my name?” he asked, drawing back in alarm. “Who are you?”
  “A maiden in need of a brave knight,” she answered, “and in possession of a horse that is sure and swift. You, young William, are a valiant young man in possession of a message that must be delivered with all haste. I think that we can help each other, won’t you agree?”
  William shifted from one foot to the other. Her offer of a horse was tempting, very tempting, but his father had a very strict policy against strangers in the camp, unless they were blindfolded and well-guarded … and this woman was very strange indeed, white as she was and especially since she had as yet to actually look at William.
  “I already know the location of your Father’s camp,” the woman continued, running her hand through the horse’s mane. “Three hundred years ago, it was where—” She broke off with a shake of her head. “I know everything that happens in this forest. I hear every wish.”
  “Are – are you a fairy?” William asked. He didn’t know much about fairies, except that Prince Eric said that they could generally be trusted and that sometimes his wife would rant about them being meddlesome.
  The woman shook her head again. “I am not a fairy, no, not in the slightest. Still, I can help you, and you can help me.”
  William narrowed his eyes. Prince Eric had also warmed him that if magical people wanted to barter their services, he should immediately run the other direction because they never meant well. “What do you want of me?” he asked.
  “As I said, I need you to be my brave knight in these woods, and that is all,” she answered. “Once I deliver you to your mother, you need never concern yourself about me again.”
  William considered, and he finally nodded. After all, he didn’t want to be alone in these woods and a horse would speed his message greately. “You won’t tell anyone where my father’s camp is, will you?”
  “I have no motive to betray you and every reason to keep your confidence,” she answered. She gave a small smile. “Well, shall we be off, young William?”
  He nodded, and in a blink, she had lifted him onto her horse’s back, taken her seat behind him, and prompted the steed into motion.
  William meant to stay awake, but it had been a long day, and his eyelids were heavy. He closed them, for a mere moment, he thought, but when he opened them again, they stood still, and light shone through the trees above him.
  “We have arrived,” the woman announced. “Just beyond these trees, you’ll find your cousin Scarlett, whom your mother set to keep watch.”
  “But…” William was still trying to blink away sleep. “We were three days from camp. How can we be here already?”
  “My horse is swift, as I told you,” said the woman, giving a quiet laugh. “Come now, William. Your mother needs the message you carry. I have bought you precious time. Don’t waste it.”
  With her help, William slid down from the horse’s back, still wobbly with sleep. He frowned up at the white woman. “You never did tell me your name.”
  Her lip curled in a sad smile, even as she stared straight ahead. “No, I did not.”
  “What is it?” he asked. “I think my mother would like to know.”
  But the woman just shook her head. “My name has not been spoken in three centuries. Your mother need only know that I bear no ill intention and that I saw you safely home. She also needs to know what happened yesterday.”
  William knew this, and yet he still couldn’t bear to let her leave. “Does your horse have a name?”
  She gave another quiet laugh. “He is my Shadow.”
  William nodded. “That’s a good name. He looks like a shadow.”
  There was her smile. “Farewell, young William, and may you never need my aid again.”
  And, with a blur, she and her horse were gone. The moment after that, William realized that he couldn’t remember what she’d looked like, beyond how she was so very, very white, and her horse so very, very black.

  He sighed and turned to the trees. 

Don't forget to preorder your kindle edition now!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Honor: A Book Release

It's been four years (well, ish, there was the rerelease of Kingdom containing book 3.5), but I'm excited to finally announce the next official release in the Bookania Quests.



Honor: A Quest In, hitting the shelves of your nearest Amazon this February 26th. And if you think that soon, I quite agree. Please ignore the noise of me screaming over here.



So, you may be expecting me to be announcing the sign-up for the blog tour. I mean, I'm the queen of the blog tour - don't even breath without setting one up, but...

I decided to do things a bit differently this go-round. See, I've given myself a very tight time-crunch for this release, and I've not found blog tours to be strictly successful with Bookania in the past.


Instead, starting now, I'm running a promotion party/giveaway here on my blog, to be culminated on February 26th, the day of the release, and the winner will be announced March 1st(ish.)

And the winner? Oh, they'll just be receiving a stack of all four Bookania Quests in the mail. Autographed copies, if they're in the U.S. (Yes, I'm opening this up international. Not sure at the moment how to do international shipping, but if someone international wins the stack, I will figure it out, I promise.)

But if you already have the previous three books in paperback? I'll let you substitute them out for WPFP+LDTD or The Seven Drawers+The Ankulen+The Worth of a King. Or you can wait until August, when I plan to realease Hair We Go Again. Sound good?


So, how are you going to earn entries to win this lovely stack of books? I'm thrilled that you asked.



First off, and a no brainer on this one - SHARE THE NEWS. Make sure that you're following me on Twitter and Facebook, and whenever I post something on either site, share/retweet it. You can create your own posts as well - sharing either the preorder link or this blog post. Make sure that you are tagging me (@Kendraeardnek on Twitter, or just mention Kendra E. Ardnek on Facebook) so that I get notified of your post. Each share is one entry.



POST THE COVER TO INSTAGRAM. You can grab any of the pics that I've put in this post (just click them to get them at full size, and then download them), or you can do something of your own using photoshop. Just have fun with this one, and make sure that you use the hashtag #honoraquestin so that I can find it. Conversely, you can also share your excitement by dressing up as any of the characters. Any picture posted - and you can do this up to once per day - is three points. 



BLOG POSTS. As I said, I'm not doing a blog tour, but I would love to see you blog about my latest release! I have three blog types that I will accept:
~Robin Hood Shoutouts - Basically, review any Robin Hood-themed book or movie that you have read/seen and loved (Except the Disney one - I saw that about thirty times too many a few years back, and I DO NOT want the songs stuck in my head again. I just got them out.) Make sure that you have it clear in your post that it is for promotion of Honor: A Quest In. This can be done as many times as you would like.
~Fill out the tag that I will be posting in a few days
~Interview any of the Bookania cast - just send me an email with questions for your character of choice, and I will shoot you back the answers for you to post on the day of release, Feb 26th. 
Any blog post is worth three points. Make sure you email me a link to your post as soon as it goes up, and I will be sharing the posts in a master list during the party.



REVIEWS. Existing reviews count - as long as it's for one of the Bookania Quests, including the two short stories. The initial review is worth 3 points, and any subsequent postings of it is worth another point (ie, if a review is on a blog AND Goodreads.) Let me know that the review was for the NEW editions (ie, the edited stories with their shiny covers), and that's worth yet another point. 

My email: kendraeardnek (at) gmail (dot) com.



LEAVE A COMMENT. Be it here on my blog, on my Facebook, on Instagram, YouTube, respond to my tweets - just as long as the post mentions Honor in some form or fashion. This DOES apply to back posts, so if you want to click on the "Honor A Quest In" tag on my blog, go through, and comment on EVERY single post - all the power to you. One point per comment. 


Bring me a baby...  Okay, that one's unrealistic, but I've been in a serious need of a baby fix, so if you haaaaaappen to have a squishy little one, and can manage to get to my area, well ... we can work out a deal???? (HEY, THIS IS RELEVANT. THERE'S A BABY IN HONOR.) (Three babies, actually) (Why is it that all of the babies in my life grew up and no one nearby has had any in forever? I mean, people that I feel confident enough to steal ask to hold their offspring?) (aaaaaaaanywho) 


INTERACT IN THE GOODREADS GROUP. That thing is deaaaad. So go revive it, and any comment you leave in any of the topics (provided that it is at least 30% on topic), is worth a point. 


MAKE SURE THAT HONOR IS ON YOUR GOODREADS TO-READ LIST. Just email me with the link to the shelf listing, and it's a point. While you're at it, add Hair as well, and I'll give you another TWO points. (Oh, and yes, you can Instagram Hair's cover as well, I'm not going to stop you. Yes, I know it's gorgeous.)

My email: kendraeardnek (at) gmail (dot) com.


PIN TO THE GROUP BOARD. Not a member of the group board? Just let me know that you want in, and I'll get you in so you can pin away. Each pin is a point.


PREORDER THE BOOK. Finally, but most importantly, run over to your nearest amazon and preorder a kindle copy. Then you can sit tight and wait for it to appear in your inbox. Email me the receipt, and I'll give you TEN WHOLE POINTS towards the giveaway. It's gonna be awesome. 

My email: kendraeardnek (at) gmail (dot) com.


My notebook is open and ready to receive the tallymarks to represent your points. I can't wait to see who wins. 

More posts are to come, including one with the tag and a chance for a review ARC, so hold on to your hats!

Monday, January 7, 2019

7 Reasons to Read For Such a Time As This


Well, I fell off the face of blogging. Let's rectify it with the seven reasons that you should read For Such A Time As This by Heather L.L. FitzGerald.

1. It's a mash-up with the tale of Esther. Yes. Really. I couldn't believe my ears either when Heather pitched it to me, but it worked so well!

2. It's freakin' high-concept. Of the stories in my line-up, this one was the hardest for me to pin down with a genre. Because the reason the mash-up of Snow White and Esther worked so well is that it was also a blend of genre. It's a futuristic sci-fi dystopia, but there's also fire magic, prophecies, and dragons.

3. I said dragons, didn't I? See, this story swapped out the bland old dwarves for seven grand, magestic dragons. AND IT WAS AWESOME.

4. Vashti was such a fun villain. She delights so thoroughly in her wickedness. Sure, it's great to have villains with sympathetic backstories and motives ... but sometimes you just need a power-greedy sorceress with fire magic.

5. Esther is a sweet but strong heroine. She's not a damsel in distress, but she doesn't bludgeon through shouting "I don't need no man!" And she saves the world with a knife she doesn't wield. Figure that one out.

6. Even though it's based on two familiar tales, you're completely unsure how it's going to end. Because while both tales focus on themes of beauty, they both had to be changed and modified to blend together. I was kept on the edge of my seat right to the end, even having read both stories a thousand time.

7. Because the message of sacrifice is so beautiful. We need more stories of sacrifice, and Snow White is such a beautiful catalyst for the tale.



Thursday, January 3, 2019

Reveries Co. Blog Tour!


Please pretend that I am saying something witty here, because I am tired and still neet to get to bed in preparation of work tomorrow. (I somehow managed to score a schedule of working seven days in a row, which means I'm crashed at my parents' apartment, away from all of my own stuff. Two days left to work, though, and then I might get the next seven days off. Who knows. Only the next four are for certain.)

Anywho, some of you may know that I've been designing covers here and there, and was planning to do some other stuff with GiraffeCrafts that ... never happened.

Well, a friend of mine started a company of her own and was looking for service providers, and had a shiny website. So, for now, GiraffeCrafts providing services (outside of the Arista Challenges and such) is on hold, and I'll be doing this shinding instead. I'll let Kellyn take over from here.

Oh, and there's an interview I had with Kellyn in there, so, fun stuff!

I need sleep.



***

Hi there! This is Kellyn Roth (or Kell, if you prefer), and today I’m going to tell you a little about Reveries Co.

Here’s our story.


On September 8th 2018, I was designing a site for my cover design business. As I drag-and-dropped the elements around, I realized I needed a shiny, flashy tagline. So I started thinking about my goals as a service provider.

I wanted to help authors like me succeed! I wanted to make sure that every writer got the best services, personalized to their needs, at the best prices.

But how could I do that? Editing is a service every author needs, but I’m not an editor, so I can’t offer editing.

Every blogger, writer, and author needs a website, but web design isn’t my specialty. In fact, I tend to get frustrated with all that coding and other nonsense; I like to keep it simple. But a lot of people need more than “simple.”

Suffice to say, I didn’t have the expertise I needed to offer a one-stop-shop for authors, bloggers, and other businessmen and women who needed those services but couldn’t afford them, couldn’t find the right providers, and even struggled to know what they needed.

So I began planning … and in no time,

Reveries Co. Was Born!


Partnering with my dear friend, Angela R. Watts, I came up with a business plan, an application form, and a website.

Now over fifteen service providers have joined our forces, from seasoned professionals like Savannah Jezowski, Jessica Greyson, and Abigayle Claire to up-and-coming entrepreneurs like Charis Rae, Jessie Bingham, and Michaela Bush.
Now we are dedicated to providing quality, personalized services for an affordable price. Our #1 goal is seeing you succeed in your writing endeavors. We even offer services such as consulting to give you the knowledge you need to go forward.

I firmly believe that with hard work and a little elbow grease, anyone can develop a career and business in the writing field. However, I acknowledge that we all need some help from time to time. We’re here to offer that help quickly and easily.

Our team is a carefully-selected task force of experienced designers, editors, proofreaders, and other professionals, several of whom are authors themselves. Most of them have multiple years of experience and all have proven themselves to be consistent and trustworthy workers who offer quality services.

All service providers are held to consistent standards of operation and output. We keep a close tab on the quality and proceedings of each service. We’re a team, and we function as one, helping each other succeed as well as authors.

Website // Instagram // Facebook // Twitter


Now, I know you’d like to hear a bit about what’s going on with the tour, discounts, etc., so let me share something about that.

The Giveaway



The first item of importance is the giveaway! This giant book bundle has books by myself as well as Savannah Jezowski, Jessica Greyson, Rebekah Morris, Kendra E. Ardnek, and others!

Facebook Party

The official Facebook launch party will be at the end of this week (Saturday the 5th) from 12 PM to 3 PM PST.

I’ll be hosting a live video and taking your questions, assuming the internet cooperates, and there will be several giveaways, service provider spotlights, and other fun features.


During this party, we’ll also be offering a bunch of exclusive discounts and giveaways, so be sure to check in then!

Discounts

Throughout the tour, we’re offering exclusive discounts. Everything from editing to book cover design to consulting has an extreme cut taken out of the price … but we only have a limited amount of spaces available.

Everything from 15% to 30% off of a bunch of different services - from editing to interior formatting to book cover design to website design! We even offer specialized coaching packages!


And that’s about it! I hope you’re able to join along with the blog tour and check out our other amazing posts!


1. What gave you the idea for this project?

It was basically just thinking about how there was no "one-stop shop" for authors, bloggers, and other professionals and the thought that it'd be cool if that one-stop shop were affordable, professional, and personalized. I wanted to do something, but I couldn't do it alone; I needed a team. So came the idea for Reveries Co.!

2. What are your goals and ambitions for this company?

My main goal for now is to get it launched, but after that, I definitely want it to become a bustling business and in time attract traditional publishing houses and the like. I want our service providers to be able to take as many clients as they want and eventually expand our team to include more professionals. My hope is that Reveries Co. will be around for the long haul, and I can eventually make it into a secondary business for myself (as well as the service providers).

3. Who are you outside of Reveries Co.? 

I'm an Indie author, a blogger, an amateur graphic designer, a writing teacher/coach, a secretary who really sucks at answering the phone (BUT I SHALL PERSEVERE), a little sister/big sister combo who really doesn't know where she belongs, and a proud aunt of five.

4. Who are some people that you look up to?

Well, this is a hard question for me because I don't really let myself look up to anyone for various reasons (except God). Trust issues, I guess. I suppose I look up to my grandma, my mother, and my bosses at work!

5. Favorite authors?

... too many to count? Jane Austen, Gene Stratton Porter, Charlotte Bronte, Sarah Sundin, Maud Hart Lovelace, C.S. Lewis, Jules Verne, I could go on like this for ten years so stop me now.

6. Favorite color?

I hate being that one feminine girl, but ... pink. Seriously. I like it for the color not the stereotype. I also love me a brilliant red! But it really depends - I'd rather wear black or gray than any bright color, preferably with red highlights.

7. If you were an animal, what would it be?


Definitely an elephant. Which sounds like a bad idea, because everyone is like, "You want to be a big fat animal!?" but elephants are fiercely loyal and intelligent and I've sobbed all the way through Dumbo (THE ORIGINAL Y'ALL) since I was like two, so. Elephant.


Schedule


Tuesday, January 1st
Interview with Founder // Kendra E. Ardnek @ Knitted by God’s Plan
Spotlight // Abigail Harder @ Books, Life, and Christ
Announcement from Founder // Lila Diller @ Creating Romance
Wednesday, January 2nd
Announcement // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Spotlight // Mukta A @ Born Free
Interview with the Co-Manager // Jo A @ The Lens & the Hard Drive
Announcement from Founder // A. Kaylee @ Kaylee’s Kind of Writes
Guest Post from Founder // Emily Yager
Interview with Founder // Dawn Dagger
Announcement from Founder // Eva-Joy @ Coffee, Classics, and Craziness
Thursday, January 3rd
Interview with Co-Manager // Michaela Bush @ Tangled Up In Writing
Spotlight // Jessica Greyson
Interview with Founder // Parker Hankins @ Pencils and Pianos
Guest Post by Founder // Merie Shen @ Imperial Scribis
Announcement from Founder // Jana T. @ Reviews From the Stacks
Announcement from Founder // Hanne T. @ Losing The Busyness
Friday, January 4th
Announcement from Founder // Deborah @ Reading on the Edge
Announcement from Founder // Katherine Brown Books
Guest Post from Founder // Julia Witmer
Announcement from Founder // Jessie Bingham
Spotlight // Loretta @ Just Writing
Interview with Co-Manager // Isabel Olivetti @ Chasing Fantasia
Saturday, January 5th
Spotlight // Abigayle Claire @ The Left-Handed Typist
Spotlight // Gracelyn Buckner @ Literatura
Announcement from Founder // Faith Blum @ Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections
Guest Post from Founder // R.M. Archer @ Scribes & Archers
Wrapup // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
***

Have a great day, and thanks for reading my intro!

TTFN!
~Kellyn Roth~

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