Friday, May 17, 2019

Midnight's Curse - Cover Reveal!


So, um, this was supposed to go up at 8AM EST this morning, but I kiiinda got distracted by shopping last night and forgot to set up the blog post in advance.

Never mind that, 'cause I'm posting it now. TRICIA MINGERINK HAS REVEALED THE COVER OF HER NEWEST FAIRY TALE RETELLING, COMING THIS AUGUST 6TH!

(And I'm ... actually doing the Golden Braid release that week, so ... SERIOUSLY, TRICA AND JAYE, HOW IS IT THAT WE'RE ALWAYS RELEASING OUR BOOKS AT THE SAME TIME?????)

So I actually just finished reading the previous and first book in the series, Dagger's Sleep, which I bought in Paperback at RealmMaker's last year ... right before she revealed the new, shiny PURPLE cover ... and I'm sitting here trying to justify buying the new edition 'cause my shelves don't have nearly enough purple.

Dagger's Sleep was quite the intriguing retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and has taken a pretty high status in my stack of favorites. A lot of readers take issue with either the worldbuilding or Alexander's attitude in the beginning, but, honestly, I didn't mind either. For the worldbuilding, well, I just assigned it a page in Bookania, and Bookania doesn't have to follow our world's logic, and as for Alex ... spoiled rich royal growing up after he gets a taste of reality is one of my FAVORITE tropes, so I was 2000% here for it. I was a tiiiiny disappointed with ... something that happened in the end (trampling one of my least favorite tropes in a Sleeping Beauty retelling, and one I went to GREAT efforts to avoid in Sew, It's a Quest but ... it was well done, and HOPEFULLY, this sequel will help fix my qualms?)

And, yes, I do adopt random fairy tale retellings and assign them pages in Bookania. My favorite hobby.

So, you're probably me to stop talking about this cover and actually SHOW it to you.

But, nope, description time first!

High King Alexander rules the Seven Kingdoms of Tallahatchia—a divided nation on the brink of yet another war. When an invitation arrives from the king of Pohatomie, Alex knows it must be a trap, but could it also be his opportunity to unite the kingdoms?

Daemyn Rand has lived a hundred years, served an arrogant prince, fallen in love with a princess, and lost himself somewhere along the way. He has already died for his loyalty. Will he have to sacrifice his last chance to truly live?

Elara Ashen is a lowly, miserable servant. All she wants is to spend one night in a fancy dress, dancing with the high king. When she is offered a pair of glass slippers, it seems all her dreams have come true.

But dreams have a price, and gifts can be curses in disguise. What will it cost to stop this curse from tearing Tallahatchia apart yet again?


Fairy tales meet the Appalachian Mountains in this adventurous fantasy retelling of the classic Cinderella story.






About the Author:

Tricia Mingerink is the author of the bestselling The Blades of Acktar series and the Beyond the Tales series. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn't writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country.

You can connect with Tricia on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
To celebrate the cover reveal, Dagger's Sleep, a Sleeping Beauty retelling and book one in the series, is on sale in Kindle for $.99 this weekend!  Click here to purchase on Amazon.


Giveaway!
To celebrate even more, there's a giveaway for a paperback copy of Dagger's Sleep and a 2oz Plot Twist candle by Novelly Yours Candles.

To enter, share the above sale graphic for Dagger's Sleep, the cover for Midnight's Curse, or the below Midnight's Curse promo graphic and make sure you use hashtag #MidnightsCurse and tag @triciamingerink on any social media site to enter.

The giveaway will end May 22 at midnight. Please note this giveaway is only open in the United States. It is not sponsored by Novelly Yours Candles.



Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Hair We Go Again - Chapter 1

So, um, so I might not quiiiiite be done writing this little story (just a couple more chapters, though!), but I'm still bludgeoning through with my plan to release it this next August, so I thought I ought to share the first chapter.

And, for the record, I'm still looking for influencers willing to help me promote Honor: A Quest In, so if you're in possession of a Booktube or Bookstagram, shoot me an email and let me know! Details here!



1 – Wherein A Princess Prefers Adventures to Naps


  Once upon a time, in a land called Bookania, there lived a princess who hated taking naps. Indeed, whenever she realized that her mother or nurse were preparing for one, she would take that as her cue to slip away and hide.
  And so she was doing at the start of my story. Some visitors had a arrived, and Momma had said that it was naptime, and so the young princess took that as her cue to make herself scarce. Slipping from the room, she wandered though the halls, looking for a place to hide.
  Something easier said than done with her short legs.
  Still, she managed to slip into the old, abandoned hallways of the castle, where she knew she would be safe for quite some time, for they contained all sorts of dust-filled rooms and broken furniture to hide behind. It sometimes took her parents all afternoon to find her, when she hid here.
  She bypassed the first few doors that she passed, knowing that they would look there first, and then pushed open one that she’d never entered before.
  “Hello there, Maryanne.”
  The young princess drew up short as she saw her grandma standing in the middle of the room. Her breath caught in her throat as she stared at the woman. Her grandma was going to take her back to her momma for certain?
  “Is it nap time already?” Grandma asked.
  Maryanne stuck out her lower lip, considering how to answer her grandma’s question. According to her momma, yes it was naptime, but as far as Maryanne herself was concerned…
  “No.”
  Up went Grandma’s eyebrows as she stared down at her. “Oh,” she said. “I see. Well then, I suppose you can sit with me and hear a story?”
  Maryanne stuck out her lip a bit more, and then slowly nodded. If her grandma was offering a story, then that meant that she wasn’t planning to take Maryanne back to her momma. Not yet, anyway. And Maryanne liked stories, anyway.
  So, Grandma scooped her up and carried her to a dust-covered sofa, where she sat down and snuggled Maryanne into her lap.
  “Do you see that wall, over there?” she asked, pointing to the exposed wall that stretched before them.
  Maryanne nodded. Of course she could see it. It was there, plain as day. Her Aunt Madeleine had clearly painted it. Maryanne didn’t know when, but it was her aunt’s work. A lovely forest clearing stretched across the wall, looking real enough to step into with its flowers, trees, and birds. Oh, and bunnies. Lots and lots of bunnies, all gathered in a circle around Aunt Madeleine herself, who was sitting in the center of the painting. This painted Aunt Madeleine was just a child herself, which meant that this painting was probably very, very old. Maryanne wasn’t sure how old but very.
  And, in her lap, was yet another bunny, but this one was different than all the others, for it had two horns sticking out of the top of its head – as though it wasn’t a bunny at all, but a deer! Maryanne had never seen anything so funny.
  “When I was first married to your grandfather, I was often very lost and alone,” Grandma began. “And that’s when I found this room, and that painting. Have you ever heard of a Jackalope before, Maryanne?”
  Maryanne blinked as she pondered the word “Jackalope,” and she somehow knew almost immediately that Grandma was talking about the funny bunny in Aunt Madeleine’s lap. So,   Maryanne pointed to the painting. “Dat?”
  “You have heard of it before?”
  Maryanne just shook her head. “Wuds in head,” she explained, tapping her head. “Dus know.”
  “Ah, right, of course, your gift.” Grandma nodded slowly, smoothing Maryanne’s hair. “Yes, that’s a Jackalope. I used to have a book, back in Fronce, about a young princess who found one. Apparently, it’s supposed to grant wishes, and I have had many wishes throughout my life. I wished that I might be pretty, like my sister, wished that your grandfather might love me, as a husband ought. I wished that my family would get along…”
  She released a long, heavy sigh.
  “I still wish a lot of those things,” she concluded.
  “Oh.” Maryanne drew back to stare up at her grandma. “But yo ah pwetty.” She thought so, at any rate. She liked the way that the silver streaked through her grandma’s black hair, at the lines that creased the corners of her eyes and mouth, telling of her ready smile.
  “Not everyone would agree with you, though, sweetheart.” Grandma shook her head. “But, thank you.”
  “How yo fin’ a dack-yope?” Maryanne then asked, not sure that what her Grandma had said so far counted as an actual story, which is what she’d promised.
  “Oh.” Grandma shifted, and then hugged Maryanne closer to her. Maryanne complied by laying her head against her Grandma’s chest. “According to the story, the princess had to sit by herself outside, in a very special place, all night long. And, in the wee hours of morning, the Jackalope came to her, and offered her the wish. Except, the only thing she wished for was the companionship of the Jackalope.”
  “Wee-ye?”
  “Yes, and so the Jackalope became her companion all her life, coming to her whenever she summoned it, and sleeping with her on her pillow. It brought her good luck, too. She married the most powerful king of her day, who was kind and good and loved her. They had seven sons together, and each one of them was kind and good and handsome, each becoming a grand hero in his own right.”
  “Yike dadda?”
  “Yes, like your daddy.” And here Grandma smiled. “At least I had one son of that description. Perhaps my life hasn’t been as terrible as it might? Still, I do wish that he and his own father would get along. And … and that his brother might come back to us – or we at least find out for certain what happened to him.”
  “Oh-tay.” Maryanne patted her grandma’s arm, she hoped to reassure her. “Know wha? I’m donna fine yo’ a dack-yope, and I’m donna wis’ fo’ dat fo’ yo’.”
  It was a very, very long minute before her grandma answered, and she had to kiss the top of Maryanne’s head first. “Oh, you dear, sweet thing,” she finally declared. “Oh, you remind me so much of your father, somedays. If you ever find a Jackalope – and maybe it is possible, now that magic has returned to Bookania – make your own wish. Don’t worry about me. I have found happiness enough in my life. Though I have a fair guess that finding your uncle would go a long way to make your daddy happy, and … hello, Robin!”
  Maryanne’s head shot up from her grandma’s shoulder, and she twisted around to see her momma standing in the doorway. Her heart sank straight to her toes.
  Her momma, however, looked quite relieved, giving a very loud sigh before she spoke. “Camilla, oh, good, you have her,” she declared, stalking forward and scooping Maryanne up from Grandma’s arms. Maryanne considered protesting and fighting, but knew from experience that it wouldn’t do any good. Her momma was very strong, and she could be very stern when she scolded. Even worse, she might fetch Maryanne’s daddy, and he was even stronger, and he would be very disappointed with her on top of that.
  Maryanne didn’t like it when her daddy was disappointed. He always seemed so much more tired when he was.
  “It’s nap time,” Momma declared. “Why do you always have to turn this into a game of hide and go seek?”
  Maryanne stuck out her lower lip and laid her head against her momma’s shoulder, trying to evade a scolding – she could hear in Momma’s voice that it was about to happen. “I sowwy.”
  “And you only just started doing it, too,” Momma continued. “Why now, of all times?”
  “She’s a bright, intelligent child, Robin,” said Grandma, standing and putting a hand on Momma’s shoulder. “And she’s growing up. Every child does it. Perhaps this is only a phase that she’ll grow out of, but I think she inherited a spirit of adventure from both you and Eric.”
  Momma gave another long, heavy sigh and relaxed a bit, running a hand through Maryanne’s hair. “Of course,” she said. “What else would you expect? Oh, but she’s going to be such a handful of trouble, and I just…” She paused to kiss the top of Maryanne’s head. “I just don’t know what I’m going to do with her some days.”
  “You seem to be doing fair enough so far,” Grandma declared. “And it seems to me that you and Eric seem to have energy enough to keep up with her.”
  Momma again paused a moment before answering, and when she did, some of the scold was back in her voice. “Well, it’s her nap time. I need to get her back to her nurse.”
  With that, Momma turned away from Grandma and left the room, much to Maryanne’s disappointment. She had hoped that Grandma would convince Momma that naps weren’t necessary at all. If anyone could do it, Grandma would – Momma always listened to Grandma.
  “I know you don’t like naps, Anna, and I really wish that I didn’t have to make you take them, but you get grumpy when you don’t,” Momma explained. “It don’t have to be a long nap, really it doesn’t, and you’re going to be able to enjoy things so much better once you’ve had one, I promise.” She gave another sigh. “Some days I think we should make your daddy take naps, too, but he’s such a terribly stubborn man. And you are so much like him…”
  Maryanne frowned. There wasn’t going to be any talking Momma out of a nap at this rate, but maybe…
  “Momma, tan I yook fo’ a dack-yope?” she asked.
  Momma faltered. “A … what, sweetheart?”
  “A dack-a-yope,” Maryanne repeated, frowning with frustration. Her fairy godmother had given her a complete English vocabulary, but hadn’t bothered to make her tongue capable of saying all the sounds necessary to speak it. It gave her a lisp that was apparently cute, and often helped her get her own way … but usually it just made it very hard for people to understand what she was trying to say.
And she tried, very, very had.
  “Gamma says it gants wis-is,” she explained.
  “Oh?” asked Momma. “And what would you wish for?”
  Maryanne frowned, considering how she might explain the conversation with her Grandma. Finally she just shook her head. “It a see-kit.”
  “A secret?” Momma repeated, sounding amused. “It must be important, then.”
  Maryanne nodded. “Veh-wy.” Yes, it was best this way, that her momma not know what, exactly, Maryanne wished for. That way she wouldn’t get her hopes up and then be all disappointed if Maryanne didn’t find the Jackalope. Momma was so sad when she was disappointed.



  “All right then,” said Momma. “Maybe after your nap, but for now, just enjoy your sweet dreams about what that wish will be if and when you find a dack-a-yope.” Then she kissed the top of Maryanne’s head again and laid her in her crib. Maryanne squirmed, but Momma just pulled the blanket over her, told her to be good, then told the nurse to make sure she stayed in bed, and was gone.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

I Step into Battle

The sky is black with swirling clouds when I enter Ooladada.

I don't come here often, on my own. I don't often see the point when I can never fully withdraw my spirit from this place. But I come here now, for my mind is not at ease. My sister speaks with words that taste wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. 

"Giver!" I cry out. "Savior! LORD!"

"Anka Kendra, do you really doubt the words that I have given her? Your sister's the dreamer. The one to whom I speak."

I spin around, around, and around, but I see no one. My heart thuds within me. "I have no peace!"

"Would you take this from her? This opportunity for which she has thirsted for so long? The poor, poor child. Every thing given unto her is taken. How much have you robbed from her?"

"My sister and I struggled through our childhood, each with our own vices," I answered. "I know the wrongs that I have done to her. Who are you? Why do you hide from me?"

"I am terrible to look upon. Has your sister not told you this? Anka Kendra, your sister has been given many blessings. Will you steal them from her in your envy?"

"In my envy, I left her to them." I lift my left hand, white light spilling from the diamond of my ring, my Ankulen refashioned after it was broken. A feeble light in the blackness "Who are you, and what mean you with my sister?"

"I mean her for great things. Let her go that she might accomplish them."

I take a step back. "No. I was ordered to never abandon her for any cause. I slipped from my duty, a second time, but it is my duty just the same. I know my God. An unchanging, unfailing God. He would not call me to abandon her. Who are you?"

"Blasphemous child!" the voice rebukes me. "Did you not hear? Do you not know me. I am Abbah, I..."

"I know you." My voice drops, and my eyes narrow at the nothingness. "I know you, for I have fought you many times on my sister's behalf. I name you Lies, for you offer her comfort, security, and love, but give only prison and pain. Be gone from her!"

I receive no more answer, just a cackling laughter that fades away. The clouds do not fade.

You've done it. You've fought it and won. Remember the power that you wield here? Oh, why do you stay away, Anka Kendra?

Why do I stay away? I look around myself at the darkness. Why is it so dark. If that tempter is gone, then it should have cleared?

It should have...

"You!" I cry out, remembering why I stay away. "Vanity, you cannot tempt me! I am not your weapon!"

But I just hear an echoing laughter that wraps around my heart, pulling down.

I'm powerless. Who am I to think that I grasp this power. It's not real. Who am I to deny the blessings given to my sister? Who am I to think I can claim the blessings of...

Oh, you worthless, worthless child ... you don't even belong here. You should still be running. Running. Running...

"GIVER!" I cry out. "SAVIOUR! LORD!" 

And, suddenly, there is a break in the clouds. One, shining, beam of light. It's been there the whole time, I realize now. I just couldn't see it. He's been here the whole time, but I had to wrestle first.

"Giver," I say, as the One of light steps towards me. "Help me my unbelief."

"My strength is made perfect in weakness," he answers.

"And I am so weak."

His arms wrap around me. Holding me. Raising my heart again in my chest.

"What is to be done with V?" I asked, my head hanging. "We have all failed her. After hedging her for so many years against the Lies that plague her, we let her walk straight into his jaws. Was it always him? Have you ever spoken to her?"

He gave a sad smile that I can see even without looking at Him. "I still speak to her. She's listening to both our voices. The battle isn't over."

"Giver of Peace and Wisdom, let me fight!"

"Of course." He draws back, and I see the Sword in His hands, the shining Sword of Light that is the Word of God.

I shrink back. "I - I can't. I'm unworthy!"

"You must. This is the only weapon that can drive back the enemy and bind him. And you are Worthy, for I have made you so."

"But I..."

"Your strength and goodness are as putrid rags before me, but I have given mine," He answers, before I can speak. "This shall be my victory, and you shall praise me. Remember what I have given you, the words that are yours. You are not to let the evil one drive you from your task, even in this."

"I am broken and spilled out before you."

"Gird yourself, Anka. Keep the helmet of salvation tight upon your head, for I have sanctified you unto myself and you shall not listen to the lies otherwise. Fasten the breastplate of righteousness about you that your heart will not be pierced by the barbs of evil flung at you. Strap the belt of truth about you that you be not exposed in the heat of battle. Hold up the shield of Faith, that you do not doubt my promises. Stand firm in the shoes of the Gospel of Peace - know what you believe, that you do not waver!"

I feel it wrap around me, and I cry as I realize how exposed I am without it.

"And take these."

He holds out a box. I know the box from my mother's realm, and I open it to reveal nine cut gems - the visage that we gave the fruit of the spirit.

Love, a ruby, cut of the flowing blood of the Lamb.
Joy, an opal, cut from the light and filled with colors of promise.
Peace, a sapphire, cut from the never-ending ocean of God's love.
Patience, a pearl, formed after many years by an oyster as it endured of grit of sand.
Kindness, a tourmaline, cut from the generosity of One who gives everything of himself to help another, asking nothing in return.
Goodness, an emerald, cut from the growing things of earth, the blessings God has given us upon this land.
Faithfulness, a diamond, cut from the vows of promise. 
Gentleness, a moonstone, cut from the soft light of the moon as it comforts those in the grip of night.
Self-control, an amethyst, cut from the wine of truth, that we hold back from the things that would rob us of our lives.

I take these gems and fasten them about my neck. 

"What is your name?" 

I lift my chin. "I am the Knowledgeable Oath of God, the covenant that my mother made with you," I answer. 

"A covenant that I WILL fulfill. What are the names that you have taken, Anka?"

"Arista, the one who transcribes your word. Petra, the one who fights to hold her sister and offers her forgiveness instead of death. Tiger Lilly, the one who rejects lies for promise. Ulrica, the queen who fights for freedom from deception. Robin, that I know my place, even when I do not fit in. And Laura - Laura, the promised victory of tomorrow."

My eyes flash. 

"Giver, she has tried to steal my name!"

"She tries to claim the promises that I have given you, but they are your promises, not hers. What is her name?"

"She is the Hope of Purity," I answer. "And I have named her Ashley, that she may rise from the ashes and return to us after many days." 

"Her time of fleeing is over, it is time for her to return."

And then He orders:

"Open your eyes, Anka."

My eyes aren't closed, but I obey anyway. Suddenly, the sky is clear and I see that I am surrounded. Surrounded by friends and family - Ank' and Warriors, each knelt in prayer. My brother's arms around me, with his prayers that move mountains and shake the heaven. Our mother is before us, lifting up my sister's soul, even as blood flows down her arms from its jagged edges. It is no longer the golden purity that was once my sister, but dark and fading. My father hangs on the edge uncertain, for he knows how much of this is his doing. I cry out to him, tell him to kneel and pray. 

He does. 

"Look again, Anka."

I do, and I see my sister, and finally the one I name Lies. They walk, hand-in-hand, and he is wrapped in a robe of light. It shines so brightly, it's hard to see that within is a darkness so black that it can never be redeemed. She looks fully to him, with a smile so great, and not to the path before her.

Not to the cliff that is just a few feet away.

If she takes just a few more steps, we might never see her again.

"One last thing, Anka Kendra."

I turn again to the Giver, and see what He holds in His outstretched hands. A crown, set with shining stars. My sister's Ankulen. I frown as I look at the chains that drip from it, chains that have always been there and that I have never liked. There used to be only a few, but now ... now ...

I look into the Giver's eyes, and I understand. Taking the crown from him, I break these chains. Each one. Pulling them away and throwing them to the ground. Breaking them just as I broke my Ankulen when my vanity led me into folly. 

When it is done, I look back up at the Giver, and He is smiling. 

"Just like this, I shall break the chains that bind your sister."

And I am filled with peace.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Honor is Ouuuuuut.

Okay, so it released nearly two months ago. I managed to let myself slip into a depression and I let failing sales make me doubt the power of this book's message.



But it is out, and it is not too late for me to keep promoting the story.

And I need to announce the winner of the giveaway. I drew it a week ago, but I've been sitting on the information. Anywho.

The winner of a full set of The Bookania Quests is:

*drumroll please!*

SARAH TALEWEAVER.
(To the surprise of nobody. She had more entries than the rest of you put together.)

BUT, here's the deal. There was a file error in the box of books that I ordered. A white page materialized where it shouldn't have been, and it pushed all of the chapters onto the wrong page from there out. I'm in the process of fixing this, but I have ten copies of the book with this goof-up. Sarah, I'm going to leave it up to you whether you want one of these copies or if you want to wait for me to fix a clean copy for you. (Also, I'm going to need you to email me your address.)

As for the rest (Or most of the rest, I'm keeping one as my own personal copy), I'm going to be giving EVERY one of these away as influencer copies. They will be clearly marked as not for resale on this inside, but they will also be signed. To ask for a copy, I will need you to email me at kendraeardnek(at)gmail(dot)com with your address and links to your instagram/youtube/whatever visual medium you have to share the book + what sites you will be able to review the book on. Also tell if you have read the previous books of the series/if you own previous books in the series/if you own any other books of mine/just how excited you are for this book.
(Note, this offer is U.S. only. Sorry, but I can't afford international shipping.)

I also have review ebooks to give out - your choice of file type: PDF, mobi, epub, so if you don't have an influencer account, you can still get a copy of the book. Again, email me with your file preference with what sites you will be able to review the book on and if you have read the previous books of the series/any other books of mine/just how excited you are for this book.

For the record, there is a series sum-up at the front of this book, and I wrote it as a start to a new story arc, so even if you have not read the previous books, you should be able to enjoy this story.

Thanks so much everyone and please do keep sharing the news about this book.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Turmoil of Spirit

This post is in response to my sister's here: https://singingmiownsong.blogspot.com/2019/04/turmoil-of-soul.html, though I believe her blog is currently private, so to sum it up for anyone who isn't able to read it: V is in a situation that has drawn her away from our family and is currently looking at a decision that may cut ties even more completely. I don't begrudge her this, if this is truly what God is calling her to, but...

(Also, I've drawn a winner for the Honor: a Quest In giveaway, and I have an announcement regarding influencer copies. I'll try to get that up tomorrow.)



"Lord!" I cry, as my eyes scan the last paragraph in my sister's post again and again, wondering at its meaning, trying to believe that it doesn't mean what I fear it does. "Lord..."

My heart pours before Him - I have never been one to pray with formed words, as my mind races forward through a thousand feelings faster than I can speak them. God knows my heart. He knows my desires and my fears better than I do myself. And more than that, He knows my future - the intangible tomorrow that hovers too close and too far away always at the same time.

"Lord, I miss my sister."

It's been months since I saw her - not since Christmas, and then for so briefly! And now, I finally understand the ache that has been cut through my heart this last year. These last years.

"Lord, a name is a name, and she always was destined to take another through marriage, should that day come," I say. "I'm no one to speak, having abandoned Roden myself for Ardnek, at least for my public persona. But you made me her sister. You didn't place a child idle in a family. You knew what You were doing when You gave her to us. To me."

V. and I were never without our quarrels, growing up, but the fact and truth remains - we're sisters.

"Lord, you made her INFJ and me ENFP - two old souls who sing two songs in harmony. She's the order to my mess, the vision to my dreams, the summer to my winter. The..."

I choke on tears now, fingering now my ring - my Ankulen. It's taken many forms over the years - a necklace before I moved it to my finger. Hers has always been the same - a shining crown, though she tried to reject it for so many years.

"Lord, I know You called her for a purpose, but You called me, too. Why did You take her from us? I am grateful to this other family, that they have given her the protection and opportunity that I never could - but she is a chameleon. She changes to match whomever she wishes to please, and right now it is them. Lord, I speak to her, and I barely know her!"

I take a deep, shuddering breath, blinking back the tears that squeeze from my eyes.

"If her decision is of You, then so be it, but I fear the hand that they have had in it AND I AM NOT AT PEACE."

I fall silent now, save for my tears - they are my prayer now. I envy, sometimes, the clear voice that she hears from Him, but my faith is not the same. It is the convictions set upon my heart as I read and write and pray.

And my conviction now is strong and clear: She is my sister, and I was meant to carve a path and protect her. 

"Lord, have I failed? Is it my own vanity? Doesn't she know how proud I ever was of her? That all I ever wanted was for her to be proud of me?"

Where am I to go, what's my next step? These have been my questions, ever since she left me. Where once I had conviction, now I falter, fall to my knees, and weep.

I stare at the outline I have on my wall - the story I am writing now. A story of two brothers whose paths broke away from each other and have now to join again. Two brothers who had nothing but differences, growing up, and must now learn how they fit together so they can guide their kingdom into a better age.

How can I write such a story when my heart is breaking apart like this?

How can I not?

"Lord, she will perish on her own. The world is too much for her. She desires too much to conform!"

And with one last shaky breath I whisper:

"Lord, I miss my sister."
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