Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April Writing update

Well, here we come to the end of April, and thou art begging to know what I have done in way of writing. Actually, I think I had a rather successful month.

Do You Take This Quest? 
I published it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, the kindle version at least. I'm still polishing the print, and I think I need to reformat it ... (CreateSpace didn't like the initial PDF file I fed it back in December, and the problem it pointed out is a biggie ... so the print probably won't be out until I have my own computer). If there is anyone who has an emailed version and would like to read the scenes that have been added since then, please contact me. There was some info added that is very important to book 3. (Not terribly so, but you might miss out on some small plot hints)

And for some odd reason, my brain has been wanting to call it Dost Thou Take This Quest? of late ... Alas, it is too late to change the title.

The Ankulen:
I'm almost done with draft two ... even though I wanted it all done by the end of the month ... it didn't quite make it. Oh well. I've extended my deadline until Thursday, and I should make it, since all I'll have left are two wind-down chapters and the epilogue (I should have chapter 23 done by tonight ... and be done with the climax. I love the climax ... it's just exhausting.). I'm fully expecting 65,000 out of this book when all is said and done. As for entering it into the computer, I'm on chapter 11, and there are nearly 25,000 words, putting me right on schedule.

(Oh, and for the information of the person who asked, it is Le-ti-sha. Although, at one point I was trying to pronounce it Letty-tia ... then I remembered the ti makes a /sh/ sound in that setting so ...)

The New Division:
I've passed 10,000 words and the plot is beginning to warm up and I'm starting to know who my cast is. It's looking quite good ... and Coluna had turned out quite different from what I expected. I knew the Lilnia were smart ... but I hadn't realized their level of technology ...

Oh, well, it's fun.

My Kingdom for a Quest:
Eh ... not as much as I would like to admit. I'm sorry, there's this crazy dream sequence right in the middle that's important to the plot, but it just won't come. Not to mention the fact that I need to add at least one more chapter to before that, and decide which chapter 1 I'm going to use ...

Yes, it has issues.

Anything else?
Well, I've pulled up a few of my other documents and piddled around with them, but nothing really serious.

My Secret Project has actually been started, but I've only written about 200-300 words (and I don't feel like pulling it up to check for certain). We've boiled it down to about two chapters (I think) so it's just a matter of figuring out which one to use - and then I can announce what it is! (And who the other person in the "we" is)

I'm also considering adding to my WIP list (again). Two of the story-games that I did with my friend as a kid have been bothering me the last few days, and I think that, with a few tweaks, they might be quite intriguing.

One is about a sickly girl of about twelve who (whether it's dreams or not, she doesn't know) falls into another world whenever her health takes a turn for the worse. In this other world, she's the Eternal Queen, and she rules for about 40-50 years, has a near-death experience, and returns to her sickly existence in the real world.

The other is about a girl who, though she doesn't know it, is the princess of a place called the Isle of Refuge - what she does know is that the son of her Tante (The woman who raised her. Yes, I like German.) doesn't like her because she was raised better than he was.

They both need some serious plotting, but I think they both hold promise. Thy thoughts? I think I would entitle the second No Refuge for a Princess, but I'm still toying with titles for the first. Actually, there are more stories in my arsenal that I came up with in a story game (Mostly with my sister and her best friend. The two mentioned above were just me and the best friend. I don't know where V was at those times. Maybe playing with the goats.)

Speaking of my sister, she's doing much better now, and has been taking back over her chores. Unfortunately, because of legal issues, she isn't able to go back to the Horse Therapy place, so she's beginning to chomp at the bit.

As for my computer issues, there are two that I'm looking at at the moment, one I could buy now, the other I'll have the money for after Thursday. Since I probably won't have be able to get to town until after Thursday, I'm leaning towards the latter - there are some added goodies in the bundle (such as a wireless mouse and a 8 gigabyte flash drive). The other, according to my dad, is more like my old computer. Luckily, the two stores carrying the computers are near each other, so price comparing should be easy.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

L - Letitia

Via Pinterest
L - Letitia

Letitia was Jen's first imaginary friend, predating even her Ankulen. When she received the Ankulen, Tisha, as Letitia's name is often shortened to, was the first thing Jen brought to life.

As her oldest imaginary friend, Tisha was closer to Jen than anyone else. She knew all of Jen's deepest secrets, greatest fears. She wanted, more than anything, to make Jen happy, and, when she and Chris did the thing that got them in trouble, she honestly thought she was doing something that Jen would really like.

Her punishment was the opposite of Chris's. He was trapped in their dying world, she was trapped outside, forced to play the role of Jen's adopted sister, while Jen, quite frankly, hated her.

At the beginning of the book, Jen doesn't know why she hates Tisha so much. She suspects it to be because Tisha is so pretty and Jen is ... shall we say, plain in comparison. Jen doesn't know that Tisha's good looks and lovely name were her own fault - it never even occurs to her, despite the fact that she knows that she had an imaginary friend named Letitia prior to Tisha's adoption.

Tisha is gentle and sweet, and not particularly brave unless she has Chris or Jen to hide behind. She has pale skin, blue eyes and golden hair that falls to her feet in perfect waves (thus is why I want Rapunzel to play her.)

She is the Eve of Jen's world.


On another note, I don't have my own computer yet, but I just started chapter 21 in the notebook version - that means I'm almost done with the book!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to try to have it done by the end of April, we'll see how that goes. The last five chapters and epilogue, for some odd reason, were a quarter of the 1st draft, so they're meaty.

They're also the climatical and wind-up chapters, and, for some reason, I write those rather quickly. Chapter 19 marked 50,000 words, but I haven't counted 20 yet.

And I have decided, as extra motivation, I won't let myself buy that new computer until it's done. I shall leave now and return to the pencil and paper.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Next Big Quest

There's a tag going around where you answer questions about your current WIP. I haven't officially been tagged with it, but two of the blogs I follow have declared a mass tag on their readers, so I'm taking advantage.

First, I'll do The Ankulen, since that will be my next book published, (hopefully in late August/early September, should all go well ...) and, since I'm stealing it from to people, I'll do My Kingdom for a Quest as well, so that you can get acquainted with it.

1: What is the working title of your book?

The Ankulen

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

My cousin and I had a stage in our back yard, and naturally wanted to preform a play on it. We tried doing something based on my mom's book, but since that book is unfinished, it didn't go very far. We then decided to have me be a girl who lost her best friend eight years ago, and him be that best friend who appears the same age he was when he disappeared. We never did do that play, mostly because I couldn't come up with a good ending - that I could do on a stage.

3: What genre does your book come under?


4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Ehhh ... I'm not really one for character casting. But ... if The Ankulen actually became a movie, I'd like that girl who played Rapunzel in Tangled to play Letitia. Wait ... she's computer animated ... um ...

Oh, well, as long as I get to play Jen, I'll be satisfied. I'm sorry, but I just can't see anyone else playing her. The cousin has outgrown Chris ... but in a few years, he'll be able to play the older version ...

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

A girl's quest to reclaim her lost imagination.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

I've toyed with sending this to a publisher, but I'll probably just self-publish like I have been doing.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Six or seven months, if I remember right ...

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

I'm one of those weird people who, when they have a book idea, will stalk shelves in quest of similar books (so that I know that I'm not just rewriting them) and, truth be known, I actually haven't found anything like the Ankulen. 

Wait, take that back, The Neverending Story is a similar creature ... but at the same time, very different.

The closest equivalent I've found is Shark Boy and Lava Girl, which is actually a movie. They have the same basic theme - main character must go rescue imaginary world.  

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The cousin to whom it will be dedicated. That and frog leg soup.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think I shall share a plot spoiler with you. The creature who is eating Jen's imagination? Well, it eats her, too. In two bites.


1: What is the working title of your book?

My Kingdom for a Quest (Bookania Quests #3)

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

Well, since I had Arthur, who needs to reclaim his kingdom from his uncle, and Casperl, who is trying to figure out exactly how he's a prince, I figured I ought to write their stories.

3: What genre does your book come under?

Fantasy/fairy tale rewriting

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I actually have a few actors picked out for Bookania!

Via Pinterest

Arthur could be played by the guy who plays Eregon.

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Samson can be played by the guy who played Cato in the Hunger Games.

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This girl is, to my understanding, from the Game of Thrones. She could play Shira!

Robin ... ehhh ... there's a number of people I've considered for her, including Kierra Knightly, the girl who played Katniss, and the girl who plays Maid Marian in the BBC Robin Hood. I'm leaning towards the last. Or ... I have a friend who likes acting, maybe her ...

Robert? Nope. No idea. If you have suggestions, though, I'd love to hear them!

Eric? Well my mom and I are still debating on Orlando Bloom. I think he'd make a great Eric. Mom says he doesn't have broad enough shoulders.

Rosamond could be played by Rosamund Pike.

I'd play Madeleine. (Yes, I like casting myself in my books.)

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Arthur's quest for his kingdom, and Casperl's quest for his title.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

Since the previous two books are self-published, I think I'll stick with that.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I wrote the first 17,000 words or so in about two weeks ... but I haven't touched it since. Now that I have Take out of the way, though, maybe I'll buckle down and finish it ... and hopefully have it out before November?

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

Pun-wise, the closest equivalent is Piers Anthony's Xanth series (Of which I'm on book 10). Fairy Tale wise? Well, my mom compares it to a series by Anne McCaffery, but I'm not allowed to read it because of ... details. (Xanth is borderline my limit, but at least details are left out of the picture. They simply don't avoid the subject.)

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My Mom.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The younger brother of the cousin who inspired The Ankulen likes to run up to me ever so often and start singing "There's no castle for uh-us, there's no castle for us!"

He's quoting Kingdom, but I won't tell you who he's quoting.


On another note, convinced my character, Clara, to review Sew, for me yesterday. Oh, and Sew is currently free for Kindle - until Friday night.

Anyone who wants to steal the questions and answer them on their own blog, feel free. The only exception is V. Kathie Ardnek, who has to answer them. I'm a nice big sister like that.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Take Out!!!

Believe it or not, folks, even though I love Chinese food, I don't get take out very often. In fact, almost never. It probably has something to do with the fact we live out in the country, and it just isn't practical to get take out.

On another note, I clicked the the "publish" button on the Kindle version of Do You Take This Quest? last night, and, hopefully it should be available by the time you see this post.

Here's a link:

I do not have the print version ready yet, partly because I'm having PDF issues, partly because I don't have a full cover yet ... and partly because I want to do a bit more polishing before I release books that will be set in stone forever.

(And if you catch an error or three in Take that you want me to fix, send it to me, my email's on my FAQ's. I'll send you a treat in return.)

Of course, that's hardly important. What ya'll are all itching to hear is the title for book three. I posted a contest to see if anyone could guess it ... and there were two entries:

Hmm, my guess is: This Was a Quest! from Julius Caesar - Miss Melody Muffin

and ....

Pray tell, is the title, "My Kingdom for a Quest?" This would correspond with the quote from Richard III - Kathryn.

So ... what's the title? Who get's to take home the bacon????

And the winner is ... KATHRYN!!!!

Just email me (my address in on my FAQ's page) and we will discus getting your eggs and bacon to you!

Oh, and Melody - Your guess happened to fit one of the future books that had been wandering around namelessly in my head for far too long (Which, oddly enough, I've written quite a bit on). So, if you'll email me too, I'll send you once slice of bacon and one egg, if thou'lt like.

And now ... I bid all of the adieu while I go edit a book for Jack and buy myself a computer.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pass the Parcel

Cait and Mime over at Notebook Sisters (see button above) are having a blog party this month featuring YA books and authors. One of the games is a pass the parcel thing ... er, a tag, really. Here is my fill-out, and I volunteered to let a girl who doesn't have a blog borrow mine, so her answers will be below. If you want to participate, just head over to the above blog. It's my understanding that there will be terrific giveaways involved in this insanity fun!

1. Name your top 5 favourite YA authors!
Frankly, due to the layout of my library, I spend most of my time in the children's section still ... but I do have some favorites.
J.R.R Tolkien (since Cait and Mime declared him a YA ...)
Matthew Christain Harding
Rick Riordan (mostly because of his name though - Riordan means bard - how cool is that for an author? Oh, and his retelling of mythology is genius)
Bryant Davis
Molly Evangeline

2. What's the last YA book you read and what did you think of it?

By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson, I believe. I liked it and thought it very well done, and I now want to read the next three books ... and I believe I may take notes from it for the writing of Water Princess, Fire Prince, which follows a similar format (in that the two main characters don't meet until half-way through the book.

3. What's your favourite YA genre? (Dystopian, romance, sci-fi, contemporary, etc.)

Christian Fantasy - if it's well done.

4. Let's talk characters! Pick a character you love and tell us why?

I'll go with Suzie from The Peleg Cronicles. She's just adorable, and her faith in God is so innocent and childlike. Yes, I love the young and innocent.

5. Top YA villain?

Gollum. Tricksie Hobitsies!

6. Top YA couple?

Billy and Bonnie in Dragons in our Midst. They're prophesied to marry, and, for some odd reason, I like those sorts of romances. They're both half-dragon, she has wings, he can breath fire, and they make such a great team.

7. With dystopian on the decline, what do you think will be the next hot-trend in YA?

I dunno. Maybe Fairy Tale Rewrites!

8. What's the next YA book on your to-be-read pile?

Tears of a Dragon, the final book in the Dragons in Our Midst series. (I'm not too sad about it ending ... there is a prequel series and a sequel series ... so I can find out more about this interesting twist on dragons)

9. What's the fastest time you've ever finished reading a book in? (And what was the book?!)

I don't remember.

10. (And now for the burning question) Do you think books should be sorted according to colour or title? (This matters.)

The only thing that matters when it comes to where a book is on my shelf is whether an author's books are all together. Someday I may get a bad enough case of writer's block that I'll pull everything and sort it by author's last name ... but for now ... I'm not worried about it. Color sounds like fun though ... 

And now for Robyn Hoode's answers:

1. Name your top 5 favourite YA authors!  Since Cait said LoTR counts as YA, J.R.R. Tolkien is my favorite author. The other four YA authors are Rick Riordan (I’m looking forward to his Norse series!), Madeleine L’Engle, Cornelia Funke, Anne McCaffrey, and Catherynne M. Valente (just the books about September).

2. What's the last YA book you read and what did you think of it? The Keeper and the Rune Stone by Paige W. Pendleton. I liked it. It only has 24 chapters and she wrote it in a way that made me wonder when she was going to start the story. But then I got to chapter 19 and it turned out that the author had been leading up to the climax the whole time. And she had an item in the story that seemed so insignificant, but it turned out to be so important! It was a good book.

3. What's your favourite YA genre? (Dystopian, romance, sci-fi, contemporary, etc.) Fantasy. With dragons, preferably. No contest. 

4. Let's talk characters! Pick a character you love and tell us why? A character? Only one? I’m going to pick Masterharper Robinton from Pern. I fell in love with him. I love his humor and his light-hearted attitude. My other pick is Samwise Gamgee. He’s so sweet and loyal. So, yeah, I picked two. 

5. Top YA villain? Oh, dear. I’ll have to think about this one. Um… Luke from the Percy Jackson series. Or the Marquess from The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making. *gasping for breath after such a title*

6. Top YA couple? I’m going to say Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase. Though, I also like Sam Gamgee and Rosie Cotton.

7. With dystopian on the decline, what do you think will be the next hot-trend in YA? I hope it’s back to fantasy with fairies and other mythical creatures. 

8. What's the next YA book on your to-be-read pile? Artemis Fowl. When I get to a library.

9. What's the fastest time you've ever finished reading a book in? (And what was the book?!) Well, I read a board-book to my sister in… that’s not what you meant? 
J Well, I read Eldest within 3 days. That was fast. Not the fastest, but fast.

10. (And now for the burning question) Do you think books should be sorted according to colour or title? (This matters.) Title. I want to be able to find the book I want without having to know what color it is.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

K - Knights

Firstly, an update on my sister. She is home, but dizzy and sore from colliding with the concrete, but other than that, fine. She did have a seizure, but we think it was because of the collision, not the cause of the fainting. We think she fainted from a combination of cooking with the propane grill last night, failing to rest between tasks, and a way too sugary breakfast. We would appreciate prayers that she doesn't have any more seizures.

Now, onto our regular programming:

Via Pinterest
K - Knights

You would expect a girl's imaginary world to be female-dominated and boy bashing. Not Jen's. You see, being the shy child she was, she never really was exposed to the unfavorable side of her boy peers, and therefore retained her rather romanticized ideal that came from reading far too many fairy tales.

While the mermaids are female dominated (I'll deal with that in a later post), on land, girls vs. boys is pretty well even. The Cloud Shepherds are all boys, about half of the of the Wood Children, and ... okay, so the Flower Fairies and Singers are all girls, but still.

The most important of the all the men/boys in Jen's imagination are the Knights. They're the ones who have all of the adventures and protect all of the Fair Maidens (the most important of the girls.)

It is the knights who do the fighting. In fact, Fair Maidens aren't even allowed to watch their battles with the monsters. This is mostly because Jen didn't want to bother coming up with a mental image of their dragon slaying. The only time I have a girl fighting is the climatic chapter where Jen fights the imagination eater - and that's because she's the only one who can defeat the horrid creature.

I've talked about two of the knights, Sir Christofer, and Sir Erran of Tree, already. And, actually, I've only recently discovered the name of a thrid - Sir Steve the Green Knight. I'm not acquainted with any more of them ... though Jen calls Derek a knight a few times - much to his annoyance.

In case you're wondering, yes, Sir Steve is inspired by Steve of Blue's Clues. Hey! That was my favorite kid's show growing up. He's also influenced by the Green Knight of Arthurian Lore, in the fact that he is all green ... and can keep fighting even if someone cuts off his head. He's Chris's best friend.

On another note - I may have my own computer again come Sunday!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Prayer Request

We just received a call from the horse therapy place where V volunteers on a weekly basis saying that she fainted.

They think she had a seizure, so they're taking her to the hospital, where our Gma is going to meet her. We would appreciate prayers.

V doesn't handle hospitals very well, ever since our Grammy died, so please keep that in mind.

I need to go pack the littles, so ...

Why can't we get through spring without someone in our family going to the hospital?????

Me and my sister in a play I wrote

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J - Jenifer

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J - Jenifer

Of all the characters, Jen has changed the least during the creation process. Her appearance has always been frizzy brown-brown hair, blue eyes, glasses, freckles (except for a short period of time when I got her mixed up with Anthea [another character from a completely different WIP] and she had straight hair ...) Her backstory has been pretty much the same, she had a friend (Chris. He later became her brother) who disappeared when she was seven and he was eight. Even her position when the play/book opened has stayed the same: she's still sitting beside a stream, trying to make a story appear in the notebook in her lap, and makes a wild wish for Chris to show back up and tell her what happened to her imagination.

Yet at the same, she's the character who changes the most. The girl with the ultimate case of writer's block I begin with on page one is a completely different person than the Anka at the end.

I was supposed to play Jen, which is why she looks so much like me. Even now, I don't think I have a character who I've bonded so well with. I won't say that she's my favorite character *sidelong glance at Maryanne, Clara, and Robin, who are constantly vying for that position. They have sword to make their point clear ...* Indeed, I actually don't really consider her a character at all. She's more of a best friend to me, with whom I'm working on writing her story. She's my introverted and more organized half. I slip so easily into her voice and character, she may as well be the one writing the book.

I must admit that, when I first started typing the book up about a year ago, I didn't know much about her personality. I'm more of a plotter, not a character builder, so while I knew her reactions, I wasn't as aware of the why behind those reactions. It wasn't until she met the mermaids that I realized that she was shy, and not until she had her memories back that I realized that she had a mischievous streak a mile long.

In the second draft, her shyness is apparent much sooner ... and her mischievous streak, it turns out, could translate into cruelty if she doesn't like someone (namely Tisha and Chris). *whistles innocently*

Jen doesn't know she's a character. She knows she's part of a story, but she thinks that she's the one writing it. Which she is. I'm just letting her use my pencil.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I - Imagination

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I - Imagination

The Ankulen is the story of a girl's quest to reclaim her long-lost imaginary world, plain and simple. She lost it when she lost her temper at the age of seven, and now she has a chance to get it back.

The real world is so cut and dry and ... real. Imagination, however, while it does draw heavily on a person's own experience in the real world, is so much more. I really pity those poor people who claim that imagination is for children only. They live such dreary lives.

My mental picture of imagination is a cloud. A cloud of possibilities. Parts are bright and beautiful, while others are dark and stormy. When you write a book, you take that cloud and pull out bits and pieces, weaving them into an extraodinary (or not so extraordinary) tapestry.

I've enjoyed building Jen's world. Indeed, it's beginning to rival Rizkaland when it comes to how fascinating it is. Sometimes I wonder if it isn't too much for a girl of six and seven to have created ... but then I brush such complaints to the side and just keep on writing. Jen was a smart kid, apparently.

On another note ... I have made some interesting strides in the writing department this week. Firstly, I have decided to change the appearance of Jen's Ankulen, slightly. Instead of a gold band with floral etchings, it will be simple and black. I'm not going to tell you my reason yet, though.

Secondly, the world of The New Division has finally presented me with its name: Colluna. Interesting. I just realized that it spells co-luna - and this world has two moons. That wasn't intentional ... but far be it from me to ruin such a perfect name. This world has been intriguing me with its world building as well. I've been focusing on the Lilnan culture so far, but that's because the foursome is within the Lilnan capitol. I can't wait to learn more about the Harshia - and then the Salvia. *rubs hands eagerly.*

Oh, and one of the blogs I follow is holding a writing contest, and she just extended the deadline to the 22nd.

Go here to check it out.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Rizkan Water

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Since you seem to like my world building, I have decided to share something from Rizkaland, my favorite of all of my worlds. (Shh! Don't tell Bookania I said that, though!)

My favorite part about Bookania is its water. You see, it isn't quite like ours, which is clear.

In Rizkaland, water comes in every color in the rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Every single one. Not only that, but each color has a different smell, flavor, and use.

(Before I go on, a word about Rizkan geography. Rizkaland is a cylindrical world with a mainland, which goes by Rizkaland as well, and six islands. They are all the same height, the height of the cylinder, and the islands vary in size from one-fourth to one-half the width of the mainland. Separating the islands and mainland are Riva (plural for Riv), which are half the width of the smallest island. A stream, brook, or river is called a Ri. I shall do up another post sooner or later with some maps ... maybe. Frankly, the names and cultures of two of the islands evade me.)

Red: Red water is the most obnoxious of all of the water. A few brave souls use it as seasoning for a chili-like dish, but most are glad that it can only be found in RivDo. If you get even a drop of it in your eyes, your liable to become blind, and many people develop horrid rashes if it touches their skin. If you ask most people, the only purpose it serves is to keep Amber, the Lady Dragon, on Amber Island where she belongs. Clara just reminded me that it also makes a good weapon, but I told her that she's too violent for her own good.

Orange: Orange water is used for baking, as it has a yeast-like effect. It is perpetually warm, so many people mix it with their bathwater in winter (which also makes bubbles that can annoy very ticklish people.) It smells and tastes like grapefruit or lemons.

Yellow: Yellow water is also used in baking - but as a sweetener. It's a rather sticky liquid, so it is not advisable for people to go swimming in RivMi and the Ria that flow with yellow water. Children like to freeze it for Popsicles. Visitors to Rizkaland report that it smells like bananas.

Green: Green water is for cleaning. It has a bitter smell and taste, and ingesting it can make you sick. Getting it in your eyes is not advisable either. However, since it's very useful for washing dishes and stuff like that, it is not shunned like red water is.

Blue: Blue water is the closest equivalent to our own water. It is pretty much tasteless. You drink it just like you do our own water. End of story. It's the most prevalent form of water in Rizkaland, and a Ri containing it can be found at least one to every square mile.

Indigo: Indigo water is another one that it is not advisable to drink or let touch your skin ... for the simple reason that it stains. Badly. It has an inky smell, and, having said that, I'm sure you won't be surprised that it's main use is ink.

Violet: Violet water is similar to green water in that it cleans. The difference is that it is safe to get in one's eyes, and isn't harmful if drunk (although some people report that they get the hiccups when they do so.) Violet water is known for being very frothy, and good for bathing. It smells like lavender.

And ....

Wait, did you think I was done with my precious water? Of course not! I still haven't told you what happens when you mix certain waters together! There are so many possibilities on this one, so I haven't figured them all out yet - and I'm open to suggestions!

Here are the ones I have figured out so far:

Two parts Yellow water to Three parts Orange water: This mixture can neutralize almost any poison, with the exception of some of the other waters. Someone noted on my Valentine's Post, that one of my characters mentioned Mistletoe Muffins. How can that be if Mistletoe berries are poisonous  Simple. Soak them in this mixture overnight. Should remove all harmful effects. (And it sweetens them!)

One part Orange water to thirty parts Violet water: Warm bathwater, of course! Very handy.

One part Green Water to One part Red water: This mixture dissolves adhesives. Clara says that it's really handy for when clueless girls superglue their knives to their hands. No, that's not in the books ... long story. The only drawback to this mixture is the fact that it sometimes dissolves other things as well - and it can be very harmful to the skin. (And yes, I gave Clara an unamused look when she suggested the superglue and hands thing.)

Equal parts all three: This is almost impossible there is nowhere in Rizkaland where you can find all seven types of water in the same place. However, if you can muster up all seven types of water, and put them in a bowl, the water will form itself into pictures - of things that will be important in the mixer's future.

And that's all of the recipes I have figured out so far - pitiful, I know. If you have any suggestions, feel free to shout it out to me. I'll mention you in the credits if it makes it into the book!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Interview with Rachel Rossano

And today we have an interview with Rachel Rossanno, author of the new release, Duty: A novel of Rynan

To read my review of this wonderful book, go here!

Oh, and before you proceed ... let me explain the sheer multitude of questions. You see, Rachel posted a list of ready made questions on her sign-up page for her blog tour, and I found so many of those questions intriguing ... I think I may have selected a few more than absolutely necessary.

How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
I look at the source, analyze the reasons the reader gives for not liking it, and then evaluate whether or not I need to change anything I am doing. Sometimes I do. More often I don’t. Then I try to move on because I can’t please everyone.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
Some of them are important. Like choosing my heroine’s name when writing Duty became a long and difficult process. She wouldn’t reveal herself to me until she had a name that fit her personality. Brielle means “God is my might.” Her family name, Solarius, is more of a nod to her hair color. The name means “of the sun.” Red hair runs in the family, though I don’t really mention that in the novel. Strong, fiery, wise, and red-headed, Brielle’s name grew to fit her better with each chapter.
Other characters, like my hero Lord Irvaine, burst forth almost completely developed and clear, title and first name included. His title is based on the area he oversees, but I chose his first name, Tomas, because of the sound. Also, it is traditional with a twist of unusualness to fit his world and his character. Although Tomas can give the appearance of all the attributes expect of a nobleman. Upon closer inspection, you discover he is very different than the blue-bloods around him.

Do you laugh at your own jokes?

How many books have you written?
Four novellas (two published), seven novels (two being published this year and more to come), two short stories (both published) have reached at least the completed rough draft stage. If you want to count partially written projects, add five novels and two short stories to the stack.

Do you have plans for a sequel to Duty?
Yes. I intentionally left unresolved tension and plotlines so I could pick up the story again. Now whether I pick up Brielle and Tomas’ story or begin again with the next generation, I don’t know. Both ideas intrigue me. I would love to write something from Tomas’ perspective, but another character from the book has already introduced herself to me and started telling me her tale, so we shall see who makes it onto the page first.

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcovers?
I love them all. I think paperback and hardcover are still my first loves, though. The weight, the smell, and the feeling of the pages as you turn them are all hard to replace, but the cheapskate in me usually can’t justify the price when the ebook is so much cheaper.

Who designed your book cover?
I did. Book cover design has become a bit of a third or fourth hobby for me. My frustrated artist side revels in exploring and trying out new things to create a visual taste of the story beneath the cover.

Why do you write fantasy?
The thought of the amount of research required to write a truly good historical novel paralyzes my inspiration. I much prefer a cage of my own creation to history’s. I still do research, though. I still try for an authentic feel true to the time period I am sort of setting for my story. But if any one cries foul because my hero uses stirrups when they weren’t around yet, I pull out my fantasy card. “See, it is fantasy. I am making up my own rules.” The catch is I have to live within them once they are established.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I do, but it changes with the project. My science fiction is much blunter than my medieval fantasy. In general, my style has grown faster paced over the years and heavier in dialogue. Though, I do still enjoy crafting eloquent and precise description when I can.

Can you swordfight?
I wish I could. Someday it would be cool to learn. Instead I spend a lot of time reading and watching videos about swordfighting. I know enough to write my books, but not enough to be considered even an amateur.

Can you use a knife?
I can butter bread, cut veggies, and handle knives for everyday tasks. I am a bit of a weakling when it comes to fighting, despite my rough and tough heroines.

How did you come up with the title? (I ask this of everyone. Titles are such fascinating creatures!)
Duty can either mean a moral obligation or action done as a fulfillment of such an obligation rather than pleasure. Very early on in the rough draft many of the characters’ decisions, actions, and motivations became tied up in their perceived or declared duties to each other and those over them. When it became apparent that duty was going to play a key role in the climax, I figured I should just make it the title of the book.

If you had a snail that could magically grant wishes, what would you name it?
I would name it Gertrude, just because.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I began going from one completed manuscript to the next, I began to get the idea that I might be onto a new passion.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Spending time with my husband, playing with my kids, watching movies, reading books, and working on book covers and book trailers are my top choices after writing.

If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
Book cover designer or a book trailer designer would be my second choice. I really enjoy the creative aspects of those careers.

What was your favorite chapter to write in Duty and why?
In chapter three, Lord Irvaine talks Brielle into marrying him. When I began writing the chapter I knew what I needed to accomplish, but I had no idea how to manage it. Then beneath my typing fingers Lord Irvaine revealed a new side of his character as he talked her into the decision and didn’t use any of the rationales I had brainstormed. Through carefully chosen words and without a hint of threat or malice, he convinced her marry him for valid reasons besides love.

Do you have any writing rituals?
I usually seek out my laptop, some food and drink, writing music (sometimes), and a place with no interruptions.

What time of day do you write?
I write when I get a chance. With three little ones underfoot, that time comes during naptime and after bedtime. If I had my choice, I would begin writing mid-morning. That is when I am freshest and brightest. My second choice is nighttime when I get my second wind and I can revel in the writing.

Monday, April 1, 2013

CE Woods - Arthur

Via Pinterest
There's a certain charm to enacting the scenes in your book. It makes them more real.

And when you can do it out in the middle of the woods, miles away from any sign of civilization, that only heightens the charm. Okay, so maybe I'm not miles away ... but at the moment, I can't see the barn, so I'm pretending it isn't there.

As I climb out of the gully for the ninety-seventh time, however, I decide that I'm bored of enacting the scene where V. and I jump into the gully in Behind the Rainbow. Frankly, there are parts of that scene that puzzle me. But, what can I say, my sister wrote it ... and she somehow thinks that a quarterstaff is somehow going to prevent me from falling to my death at the bottom.

She claims the quarterstaff is essential to the plot, but I'll believe her when I see that scene written. A small smile pulls at the corner of my mouth, however. Three years ago, I was the one giving all of my favorite girl characters staffs. Fortunately, only one of those staff users still possesses hers - and that's because she's scared of anything resembling a blade.

Claiming my own quarterstaff - my stick, as I fondly refer to it - from the tree against which its propped, I decide to explore further into the woods. I'm not scared of getting lost, since I stick to the charted area - where there are fewer pricker vines.

While I'm wondering what possessed me to make Jen wear flip-flops in the middle of her pricker vine infested woods, a snap jerks me to attention. I glance hastily around, but I don't see anyone. Cautiously, I take another step forward, gripping my stick tighter. I hope that it isn't the cougar that my sister saw a year or so ago.

"He -hello?" A voice breaks the silence. "Is - is somebody there?"

I tense. That voice belongs to a young man - and, to my knowledge, the only people who venture into this part of the woods is my family (mostly me.)

"Yes," I say, slowly. "There's someone here. I live here. I have a right to explore my property. What are you doing here?"

"Your property?" The young man's voice sounds confused. "I'm - I'm sorry ... I didn't mean to trespass ... I was ... exploring ... and got lost." He finally comes out from behind a cedar tree.

I take a step backwards, raising my stick higher. "Yes, this is our property," I informed him. "It belongs to my grandfather. What are you doing ..." I trail off as I notice his clothing - more medievally than I'm used to seeing on people I randomly meet in the woods. "Who are you?"

The young man had been staring at me as intently as I had stared at him, but at my question, he snapped to attention and bowed awkwardly. "I am Prince Arthur, miss ...?"

"Arthur ... of Briton?" My mental wheels are turning.

He blinks. "Well, yes, of course. I know people don't see me very often, but that's because Mordreth ..." he trailed off, and changed his statement. "I do leave the castle - every day, in fact. There's an old man who lives in these woods, and well ..." He lowered his voice. "You won't tell anyone will you?"

A smile quirks at the corner of my mouth as I lowered my stick. "I'll think about it. If I do say anything, I'll make sure it's in such a way that they'll never believe me. I'm good at that."

He looked confused. I didn't blame him.

"I've ... pardon if I sound rude, but ... I've never seen a girl like you before."

I glance down. "What? A girl who wears pants and carries a stick?" I shrug. "Your cousin's worse."

"My ... cousin?"

"You know what, Arthur, you really need to get back to your woods. This isn't Briton, unfortunately, it's America ... and there's a big difference you know."

"America ..."

I press my lips together in thought. How do my characters randomly appear like this? And how do I get them to go away so that I won't say the wrong thing ...

"Well ... do you know how to get back to Briton? I'm sure my uncle wouldn't be happy if I didn't get home by supper."

"You could try going back the way you came," I suggested. "Frankly, I don't know how to get to Briton from here. I didn't even know it was possible to come from Briton to here. So ..." I glance down at the ground, but when I look back up, he's gone.

I sigh. "That was easy ... I guess."

I swing my stick at the nearest tree. "Take THAT, you evil dragon!"


To join in the fun, go here.

Character Encounter - April 2013

Okay ... so it's once more time for Character Encounters. You know the drill.

Pick a character, and encounter him or her.

Well ... what are you waiting for? Go encounter!

You're waiting for me to post the location?

Oh. Okay ...

(drum roll, please ...)

The Woods

Via Pinterest
Just find your nearest woods, go exploring, and encounter your character. Oh, and make sure to link back to this post ... and when you add your link below, make sure it's the link to your encounter's post, and not just to your blog. This makes it easier on people.

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