Friday, January 31, 2014

The Author's Commentary Announcement!

Okay, earlier I mentioned that I was thinking of stealing an idea from Anne Elizabeth Stengl. Actually, I was more than thinking about it.

Over the course of February, I'm going to post my commentary on Sew, It's a Quest. It's a twenty-seven chapter book, and since February has twenty-eight days, I'll have one day of grace.

And since February is such a festive month for me, I'll be doing a few giveaways. I haven't figured them all out yet, but I do know that it'll involve my point system, and I'll be giving away TWO physical copies each of the three books that have Bookania in them, three each of PDF, and alpha reading of Kingdom and the two short stories. I may or may not come up with a few more prizes over the course of the month (including, possibly, a prop dagger off amazon ... and an embroidery project of mine if I can find it ... if not, maybe a crocheted quiver ...)

HOWEVER, since there will be multiple prizes, and some will be obviously be juicier than others, your points will serve a dual purpose. Not only will they function as per usual and be entries into the proverbial hat, but they'll also serve as goal posts. Everyone with a even a single point will have that point entered to win a PDF of the short story collection, but you'll have to have at least five to enter for a PDF of Sew, and seven for Take. And so on and so forth. No, I'm not going to tell you what the milestones are. I'm not sure of all of them myself, frankly. I'll let you know, however, that some of the juicier prizes may take well over a hundred points. Possibly two or three hundred ...

Okay, okay, before you start screaming and/or moaning over how in Bookania you're going to get over a hundred points, let me explain what things will get you them.

First of all, at the end of chapter commentary, I'll post two to five discussion questions. You won't be required to answer them, but for every one you do, it will give you a point. Also, you'll be allowed to ask ME questions about anything Bookania-related, and if I answer it in a post, it'll be a point for you.

Second, doing stuff on your own blogs/facebooks/youtube channels/whatever else you have can get you points. Any Bookania book review will receive five points - plus an extra point for every additional place you post it. Sharing my posts on twitter and facebook will be a point each time (limit one point per post per social site), just make sure you email me links to these posts (or tag me in them) so I can keep track of them. (

Third, be my fangirls. I know it's presumptuous of me and all that ... but hey, it's my birthday. Her's where you can get creative. Write up a post on your favorite Bookania character and I'll give five points. Dress up as them, and I'll give five more.  Draw fan art or make fan graphics and you'll get even more points! Put on a Bookania skit and email me the script and some pictures (unless, of course, you want to post them on your blog) and I'll add twenty points. Post your predictions for what will happen during Kingdom. Write Bookania-themed poetry ... write a fanfic! Yes folks, for this month only, I'm giving you permission to write your own (short) adventure in Bookania. Just make sure you include a disclaimer and that you be aware that I may or may not steal your idea - though I will make sure credit is given where credit is due.

And folks, if you think of any other means by which you could earn points, feel free to ask! I'll be more than happy to add them if I like them.

Oh, and don't forget to take that button up there and put it on your blog (just make sure you link it to that post  - I still haven't figured out how to make the nice linkies with code boxes like the one on the side of my screen that Jessica made. Don't forget to check out that giveaway, too! There are some pretty good books in that collection - including my own!)

(Oh, and I hope to be back at least twice more today with the Character Encounter link-up - I've got a pretty cool setting this month - and a cover reveal for a friend!)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Rebellious Princess or a Strong Woman?

First off, I have declared myself done with fangirling for the month. I managed to reread the books, interview the author (which post almost instantly jumped to into my top-viewed posts of all time), and do a pretty indepth review of the series. So without further ado, I shall draw a winner.

Not feeling like pulling out my hat, I entered the four names into a list randomizer seven times each for luck's sake and the winner is ...

Kiri Liz!!!!!!!!

Congratulations! (For some odd reason, you're very good at winning my giveaways ...) Anyways, contact me (you have my email) with an email address attached to an Amazon account (otherwise, I can't give you your prize).

Second off, I want to announce my plans for next month. Because February is my birthday month, instead of featuring another author, I will hyper promote my books, Bookania (and Sew, It's a Quest) it particular. I will be giving away paperback and e-copies of the Bookania quests, and I'll be back later with details on how you can earn entries. (Basically, be my fangirls. For my birthday. Thank-you)

Anyways, on to the title of this post. Rebels and Princesses.

Via Pinterest
If you say the words Rebellious Princess among any group of readers or writers, you would probably launch a pretty heated debate. Some readers refuse to read anything else, sickened by what they call "mamby pamby weepy can't do anything for herself" and others are horrified by these women who cast aside their God-given woman-hood.

Personally, I'm in the middle of the road. I like my female main characters to have a good dose of girl power (because, otherwise, they'd have no reason to be in my genre of choice, except to be an annoying, distracting love interest) but I want them to keep their femininity. I don't require skirts, but I do require modesty.

Most of all, I want her to make sense. Not every girl who wanders into a fantasy adventure will know what to do with a sword (most won't) and even fewer are (realistically) going to pick up the skill overnight. A slightly larger majority might know what to do with a bow, but again, not every girl knows how. Since these are skills most girls need to know when they're thrust on a journey, you're going to come up with a good reason.

For instance, to refer to the mother of this strain of ladies, Eowyn knows how to use a sword because "The women of Rohan learned long ago that those who do not live by the sword can still die by it" - Two Towers. While they aren't expected to use them, they still know how if need be - and she chooses to use it. From my own writing, we have Robin, who was accidentally gifted with swordplay from her Fairy Godmother, Clara, whose parents taught martial arts and swordplay in the real world, and Maid Marian, who had no mother or brothers, but did have a doting father who gave her a boy's education.

In order to know what would make sense, you have to understand what is expected of girls in your world. Eowyn was expected to know how to use a sword, if need be. Robin wasn't, and it was also unexpected for her to have a Fairy Godmother. However, Fairy Godmothers used to be more common, and it's not unheard of for them to make mistakes when twins are involved. In fact, the ancestor Robin was named after had had quite a bit of spunk herself. Despite the fact that in Klarand, not many girls know how to fight, Clara was expected to because of the prophesy surrounding her Water Princess persona. In fact, the Klaranders were prepared to teach her the skills necessary if she didn't come with them.

If their skill is one that isn't a given in their society, they should be viewed as a bit of a sore thumb. Even if it is expected, if it's not the norm, there still should be a few fellow females shaking their heads and clucking their tongues. Robin feels very out of place among her peers, especially other girls. She knows how to put princes and lords to shame ... but other girls ... well, it's not chivalrous to attack an unarmed girl (yes, Robin actually does unconsciously adhere to a code of chivalry - part of her gift).

Also important is how she relates to men. Since her skills intrude into what men think are what is rightfully theirs, there will naturally be friction. They will challenge her and try to put her in her place, but she ought to be able to hold her own. Not necessarily win, but she should hold her own. She should not, however, be so good compared to them that they they kiss the dust at her feet - and making her drop-dead gorgeous while she's at it ... well that's just ... no. I'm a huge promoter of every girl can be (and is) beautiful, but when you're in the middle of intense sword fight, she's probably going to quite disheveled and possibly sweaty. Some girls can pull this look off. Most can't.

And I had more thoughts on this subject, but I've misplaced them. Nevermind. I'll probably be back later (maybe in a month or two) with them. Rebellious princesses are a pet topic of mine.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How Robin Gets People's Attention.

I'm not doing as well with this fangirling business as I thought I would. However, in my defense, I've been rather busy the last few weeks, what with work and everything. When I have been home and on my computer, I've spent most of my time working on either the short story collection or Kingdom, which is progressing quite nicely at the moment. Oh, and on some interviews on some other blogs, and working on Worth of a King, which will henceforth be abbreviated to Worth. 

Anyways, since I need to get ready for work in a few minutes, I'm going to leave you with a scene that I typed into Kingdom yesterday. If you haven't read Sew or Take, there are a few spoilers. Basically, she and Eric have returned to Locksley castle, and Robin is hoping that Madeleine never got around to painting her room.

I hope to be back on Saturday with some fanfiction for the Makilien Trilogy. I have the perfect idea for one after rereading the trilogy and reminding myself of all the backstories.

Via Pinterest

Robin was spared the necessity of response by the fact that they had now arrived at her rooms. “Now comes the moment of truth,” she declared. She pushed open the door and stalked in. Eric waited a moment, and when he hadn't heard any obvious cries of displeasure, deemed it safe to enter.
He found her standing in the middle of the room, her hands on her hips. Her back was to him, so he couldn't see the expression on her face, though he guessed there was some level of annoyance on it, however.
Madeleine had painted Robin's room.
As was the case with most of Madeleine's murals, this one was completely life-like. Save for the fact that there was a bed, desk, and other furniture, and a window overlooking the courtyard, Eric could have sworn that he had just stepped into a cave filled with gold and glittering jewels.
Looks like you now live in the treasury,” he observed.
She spun around, her eyes livid, one arm flung back to point at what she had been staring at – a grinning eight-year-old Madeleine perched on an especially tall pile of gold.
Look at her!” Robin exclaimed. “Just look at her!”
I am.” Eric took a deep breath. “She looks quite pleased with herself, doesn't she?”
I'll say she does! I can feel her eyes on me, watching my every movie. How dare – how dare she put one of her paintings in my room!”
Well, I doubt it was your room when she painted it,” Eric pointed out. “Madeleine hasn't been in this castle for over a hundred years. Tell you what, why don't we have your wardrobe move over a few feet, and that will block her from view. You won't be able to see her, and she won't be able to spy on us.”
Robin spun around and she regarded the wardrobe and painted girl for a moment, then she turned back to Eric.
How. It takes at least ten men to move it.”
Well, you're a princess, aren't you. Call some servants.”
No sooner were the words out of his mouth than her face lit up and she ran over and lept onto her bed. Then she jumped, grabbed the bell pull, and came crashing to the floor. There was a snap, and the ceiling beam came crashing down, too.
She rolled her eyes in annoyance. “Not again!”
Eric raised his eyebrows. “Would I be correct in assuming that this is not the first time you've … pulled to hard?”
She shrugged sheepishly s she scrambled to her feet. “It's, uh … happened a few times before.”
Five minutes later, there was a knock at the door. She answered it to reveal a lady's maid, a handyman carrying a toolbox, and four lads with a ladder.
What do you need, milady?” The lady's maid asked.
Not you,” said Robin, narrowing her eyes slightly. Then she turned to the handyman, pointing to the wardrobe. “I need that moved over five feet so that my aunt can't spy on me anymore.”
The handyman sized up the wardrobe, then turned to the youngest of the lads and told him, “Boy, fetch me ten.” As the lad scampered off, he ordered two of the others to, “Hold the ladder, this shouldn't take long.”
While the ceiling was being fixed, the fourth lad laughed and shook his head. “Well, at least it's been a good six, seven months since the last time she did it.”
I haven't even been here for five,” Robin pointed out.
So she does this often,” Eric inquired, curious.
Used to be a weekly occurrence,” said the handyman.
Her record's five hours,” added one of the ladder-holders.

Well, it gets people's attention!” Robin declared.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Interview with Obsidia

Today I have decided to kill two birds with one stone.

First of all, a fellow author and blogger, Jenelle Schmidt, is in the process of releasing her newest book, The Second Son. I've read the first book of the series, and it was pretty good. I can't wait!

In celebration of this event, she's having us do some character-related things, for instance,  interviewing a character from your own book.

What's the other bird? Well, Jack and I have decided that, since we're making it our goal to finish Worth of a King before the end of the year, we'll motivate ourselves by sharing details about the story, starting with the characters. Yesterday, she interviewed Adrian, her main character, while today I'm interviewing Obsidia, my main character.

Via Pinterest
Welcome, Obsidia, Princess of Dialcia, it is an honor to have you with us today.
*Waves shyly* It's nice to be here, Kendra.
Do you mind if I just call you Obsidia here, your full title is rather pretentious, and I am your author, after all ...
Oh, it's perfectly all right.
So, what's it like being a princess?
Having never experienced any other life, I'm not sure what you wish me to compare it to, but I've never had anything to complain about. There are people who lead far worse lives than mine.
Yes, I do believe that you've so far led a pretty nice life compared to some of my characters. I hear you just had a birthday, though.
Yes, I turned sixteen.
Which is, I believe, an important birthday for a princess in Dialcia.
It is, for that's when her future husband is selected. *blushes slightly* I am now engaged to Prince Delaney, King Ossian's son.
Via Pinterest

And are you pleased or disappointed with this decision?
Oh, I'm quite pleased with it. Delaney and I have grown up together, so I'm not marrying a stranger like so many princesses have to do. His father killed mine, you see, and according to Dialcian law, if you kill the king and he has no male heir, you get the throne.
And you're not upset about this?
I never knew my father, King Ossian has been the closest thing I've had. Besides, it's the law.
So you're absolutely fine with marrying the son of the man who killed your father?
I am not the first Dialcian princess to do so. You sound like my mother, though. She's seriously questioning my sanity.
Well, I suppose she would be taking it harder than you, since she did know your father quite well I gather. Well, death of your father aside, can tell me anything else about yourself? Best friend? Favorite activity? Thing you hate most about being a princess?
My best friends are Delaney and his younger sister, Nadilynn.  We're practically siblings, except for the fact that I'm going to marry Delaney. My favorite activity is reading. Worst part of being a princess? Well, I think that would be appearing before people and being expected to make speeches. I don't like people. No ... I mean, I do like people, but I don't like people ... if that makes any sense?
Via Pinterest

Perfect sense. I have the opposite problem, but that's neither here nor there. Do you have any pets?
I do believe that you're hinting towards one pet in particular, are you not?
Probably, because I'm only aware of one pet in your possession.
I thought as much. Well, for my birthday, Princess Zara of the Zovordians, my cousin, gave me a winged horse named Windwing.
Via Pinterest
Oh, she's very pretty.
She is, isn't she.
So, what do you think of me as your author?
Well, so far, nothing too terrible has happened, which while I'm quite grateful for the stability, makes me wonder what's the point of my story.
.... Um ... well, right now, the conflict is all over with Jack's character. The printer's son you just met.
Oh. He's the other main character? So, he's important?
I'm the one supposed to be asking questions.
Oh ... I'm sorry.
But yes, he is important. Now, on to an unrelated topic. What's your opinion of twins?
Yeah, I have a twin obsession. With the exception of one book, there has been at least one set of twins in every book I've written.
Oh, well ... I'm ... not quite sure how to answer that question.
Then you don't have to. Anyways, I'm going to let you go now, though I may call you back for a Character Encounter or something of the sort later. Hopefully you'll get the happily ever after you deserve!
You mean ... you don't know?
Just wave good-bye.
Oh ... right ... *waves shyly*


And sorry about not posting this yesterday when I told Jack I would. I was asked last second to babysit for my aunt on Thursday, and then didn't have both the internet and my computer at the same time until 9:30 last night.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Jelly Donuts and the Great Feud

"Now princess," Rikkard began, opening the book. "Today we are going to learn about the great Feud."

"We had that last night," Lillillil replied, nodding slowly.

Rikkard blinked. "You are purposefully misunderstanding me again. I am not talking about the events of last night, but of five hundred years ago when our ancestors decided to part ways."

She tilted her head to the side. "I knew I was born in the wrong era."

"You wish to have been born during the great Feud?" He had asked the question before he had time to think about it. He honestly did not have time for any of her misdirection today.

"Oh yes," said she, seizing upon the opportunity. "You see, we have good food now, and I like it a lot, but back then, they had great food, and that must have been amazing."

"Princess, I am not talking about what they ate, but the argument that led to the decision to part," explained Rikkard, in effort to get them back on topic.

She stared wistfully out the window, her chin resting on the palm of her hand. "I wonder if the great food was jelly donuts."

"I believe that jelly donuts are a recent invention," said Rikkard. "We do not have the among the Alivocks."

"Must be why you're always so grumpy," Lillillil decided. "And that's probably why they were so grumpy back then. They never would have argued if they had had jelly donuts to eat instead."

"I do not believe that jelly donuts would have swayed anyone's opinion," said Rikkard, wondering if there were any way to get back onto topic.

"They would have swayed mine," she declared. "But, unfortunately, I wasn't alive back then, so my opinion doesn't matter."

"However, we can still study and learn from the people who were alive then. Take Terian, for example ..."

"The stuck up Alivock scholar who thought that people were only supposed to walk on their feet? He needed a jelly donut. Why'd you have to bring up food, Rikkard? Now I'm hungry, and we only just had breakfast. I wonder if cook has anything left over ..."

And before Rikkard had time to protest, she was out of her chair ... and out of the room. Rikkard darted after her, but since she was already disappearing around a corner at the other end of the hall, he slowed to a more dignified walk. Even among the illogical Silions, it was still unseemly for a man to be chasing after a young woman, especially if she were the princess. Besides, he was about ninety percent sure that he would find her in the kitchen.

Sure enough, he did discover her perched on a stool at the end of a long counter, with nothing other than a jelly donut in her hand. She grinned triumphantly. "Oh, are you hungry, too, Rikkard?" she asked. Without waiting for him to answer, she tore the donut in half and offered him the part that didn't have her bite marks in it.

Deciding that protesting would only bring more problems than it was worth, he accepted the half and meekly took a bite.

"Want to know something interesting about jelly donuts?" she asked, as the last bite of her half disappeared.

"I suppose I have no choice."

"Well you see," she explained, licking the jelly residue off of her fingers, "it's a Silivock legend that if a man accepts part of one that a girl has already started to eat, it means he likes her."

Rikkard's gaze fell to his half-eaten half, then he closed his eyes. He had just stumbled into another one of her traps. Honestly, if it weren't for the fact that her father was threatening him with death ...

"But that's no where nearly as important as that great feud," she continued. "Back when Terian and Ligire, twin brothers, I may point out, decided that the only way to make Alivocks and Silions stop arguing was to separate them, is it?"

"Uh, no, I don't suppose it is ..."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Great Plans ...

First off, if anyone is interested, I'm giving away a free kindle copy of Trust over here. All you have to do is comment asking Molly a question about her writing or something else of that nature.

With everyone laying out their plans for 2014 for all the world to see, I've decided to join the band wagon.

First off and most importantly, school. I want to be done with high school by the end of spring. Hopefully, that won't be too hard, as that only involves finishing two and a half Apologia science books (Physics, Chemistry, and half of Biology), mastering all of the math section of Khan's academy,  finish all of the states in U.S. Geography, and watch a lot of videos about history. The math will probably be the most difficult, not necessarily because I'm not good at math, but because it's the most involved. Can't wait. (Although I may have forgotten a subject. Mom is welcome to remind me if I have.)

Frankly, I should have been done with school two years ago, as I started kindergarten at four (I was bored with preschool). But I distracted myself with writing ... and look where I am now. Of course the fact that I like to squeeze every drop I can out of any particular subject didn't help. I probably have a college education in some of the subjects that interest me.

Secondly, which I'm sure you're far more interested in than my education, my writting goals. Since winter and spring will be dedicated mostly to learning, don't expect any books to appear on Amazon. However, I do want to publish at least two books this year.

Firstly I want to release the short story collection that I promised last year. The four - no, five, I added one - short stories are still unfinished, though at least I have very good progress on all but "Saffron's Even Bigger Plan." I just can't figure out how to get that one started, though I foresee it becoming quite a sweet little story, just like its predecessor. The other four stories are coming along not too badly, though I keep getting stuck on them. I have only two more challenges planned for "CinderEddy," and the next two are the exciting ones. Maybe once I get to them, it'll just fly out of my fingers. "The Sun Jewel Adventure" is coming along nicely, though I haven't written on it in a few days. No fault of its, however. I've been focusing on another project. "Woodcutter Quince" is about to have Eric show up, and I'm pretty sure that scene will work out beautifully. "Gift Exchange" however ... well ... it has a cover art! (Lower left-hand corner)

I also want to publish My Kingdom for a Quest this year. Having become frustrated with what I had written for NaNo'12, I have started over in a notebook. I'm liking how it's coming together this time, far less choppy. Although, the other day, I noticed a weird pattern in the Bookania quests. In book 1, R&R escape a castle in chapter three. In book 2, Arthur and the old man escape a castle in chapter 2. In book 3, there's a castle escape in chapter 1! And each time, the stakes surrounding that escape are higher. Very interesting, and definitely not done on purpose.

I also have a few book that I intend to finish. Water Princess, Fire Prince is so close to being done (maybe five chapters if I really stretch the upcoming battle scene) I'd like to be done really soon so I can write up a plan of attack for draft two and begin it. And maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to publish it come fall of 2015. And then I'll cry because I'll have to say good-bye to Clara and Andrew because they won't be back until book 4, and that'll be only a cameo appearance. But then I'll get to work with Petra, and I do miss Petra. And Ashna. Sweet, sweet Ashna. I've missed her interesting outlook on life. Oh, and Summer ... can't forget Summer ...

Some of you may have heard me mention that Miss Jack and I are writing a book together, Worth of a King, which is coming together quite beautifully. We've decided that we're going to make it a goal to finish its first draft by the end of the year. The last two chapters came out pretty quickly, so at the moment, we're both pretty optimistic. Although I dreamed the other night that she completely messed up the story. I was pretty annoyed with her for a few minutes until I realized that it hadn't actually happened ... and that I still hadn't sent her my chapter, so it was frankly impossible.

I want to finish my NaNo from last year. I'm over half-way, but without the NaNo oomph, it's become buried under some of my other projects. I need to get back to it, because I really do love the story and all of the characters, even John, who was, admittedly, a bit flat. I'm sure he'll improve in later books.

I'm not going to break this down and schedule myself like I did last year.

Last year I wrote over 180,000 words (give or take) This year, I'm gonna try for 250,000.

As for reading goals, I read nearly ninety books. This year, I'm going to try for 150, and I want to make sure I read a very good variety of books, including contemporary which is, quite frankly, my current out-of-comfort zone.

I also would like to make it a goal to publish at least two reviews on O.Scarlett each month. I'd like to do more, but since I'm currently the only one of the original trio still doing it ... Hum. Maybe I should look for another partner? Clara has declared that she intends to publish at least one review a month over at her blog. I told her good luck. (But really, I need to get back on the ball with that blog.)

On another note, I've been considering steeling an blogging idea from Anne Elizabeth Stengl. Actually, I've been considering it since last year, but anyways. You see, last December, she did a read through with her first book, and she did another one this December with her second book. Here's her blog, if you want to see what she did (you only need to go a few posts back, since she only just finished.)

I was thinking of doing something similar with Sew, It's a Quest this February. If you'd like me to, comment below with your pleas. If enough people ask, I'll be back later with more details!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Interview with Molly Evangeline!

Welcome Molly Evangeline! It's an honor to have you over for this interview.

Thanks for having me!

First of all, tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you choose to become an author. (Or to better phrase the question, why did the writing life chose you?)

Well, I’m twenty-five years old, a homeschool graduate, and started writing when I was eight. My mom is the one to thank for that. She’s been writing since she was a teen and wrote a lot while I was growing up. Seeing her collect pictures from old magazines for characters looked like so much fun I had to try it myself. Once I started writing there was no stopping. I’ve always had a very active imagination, and creating stories is the perfect outlet for that. Now I write full time as an indie author and publisher with a couple odd side jobs like making and selling jewelry on Etsy. A few months ago, I decided to start publishing under the fresh new pen name of Jaye L. Knight and focus predominately on Christian fantasy, which has become a huge passion of mine since writing Makilien.

What inspired the Makilien Trilogy?

Lord of the Rings, definitely. I probably wouldn’t be writing fantasy at all if I had not discovered the world of Middle-earth when I was thirteen. My trilogy started out as an extension of the pretend adventures I’d have with my brothers. Makilien was basically me and was the typical real-world girl ends up in a land like Middle-earth. The original series had five books, though I only completed three. It was all for the enjoyment of myself, my brothers, and my cousins who I liked to read it to. Then, sometime after I got into self-publishing, I decided I wanted to do something with Makilien and completely revamped the story, added a few new characters like Torick and this version’s Sirion, and wrote a whole new plot for book three.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to your writing?

Crazy as it may sound, actually writing is the biggest challenge for me. I love creating stories and characters, but getting it all down on paper can be really hard. I’m prone to bad, prolonged bouts of writer’s block, usually as a result of health problems or other outside stress. Once I get out of the habit of writing daily, it can be really tough to get back into it.

If I were to force you to choose a favorite character from the Makilien trilogy, could you?

That’s tough because I love so many of them, but I’d have to narrow it down to . . . Halandor and Sirion. They have a special place in my heart. And if I really had to pick just one, I’d probably go with Sirion. He’s such a dear character to me. In the end, looking back, I think his character, struggles, and journey were really at the heart of the trilogy.

Are there any other activities you enjoy besides writing?

I’m very creative, so I enjoy most activities that involve creating things. Sewing has been one of my favorite pastimes for several years. I love to design and sew historical and fantasy costumes (I made each of three Makilien cover costumes and their accessories). I also love to take part in historical reenactment of the 18th century. I dabble in digital painting, but I’m not very good at it, though I’d love to be able to paint my characters. One thing that takes a lot of my time lately that’s not spent writing or editing is making jewelry for my Etsy shop. I’ve always enjoyed putting together jewelry designs, and I’m very excited to now be making a bit of profit on it.

If there's one thing you'd like readers to take from your writing, what would it be?

That God is working even in the darkest, most troubling circumstances. I think that is the one underlying theme that comes through in everything I write. Just the other day I read a note in my study Bible that says God’s way is always best, even when He takes us through the wilderness. That’s been something I’ve had to rely on heavily in my own life and is important in my writing. I’d love it if readers can see what my character go through and how God works through their circumstances and understand that Romans 8:28 is true when it says God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called to His purpose.

Can you share a favorite quote from the trilogy with my readers?

It’s been a while since I’ve read through it, but one quote that always sticks in mind is one from Torick to Elandir and Elmorhirion: “You two are the bane of my existence.” It always makes me chuckle because it is so Torick.

What is your opinion on the new Hobbit Movies?

Personally, I love the movies. Watching them made me positively giddy, and I talked about them for days. I’m not a diehard book purist. I like things a certain way, but I’m very good at letting books be one thing and movies be another. I am still so in love with Middle-earth that I will take it any way I can get it. Seeing the first Hobbit movie was like coming home after a really long time. I almost cried, actually. While the movies have their flaws (and what movies don’t?), I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them and can’t wait for the third one, although I’m going to hate for it all to be over again.

Tell us a little bit about your upcoming series, the Ilyon Chronicles. Any sneak peeks?

I’m currently writing book four of six and editing book one, Resistance, which is scheduled for publication this spring. I had labeled it as young adult, but I now realize it fits better in the recently emerging “new adult” category, so now I’m labeling it “clean new adult.” The whole series started with inspiration for the main guy, Jace. He’s a half-blooded former slave/gladiator who most of society believes is soulless and no better than an animal. He struggles more than any character I’ve ever written, but I’ve connected with him better than any other character. In many ways, he’s a lot like me, though our personal struggles are a bit different. The series is really to tell his story as he struggles with his fears and searches for the truth, but I have an insanely large cast so there are many other storylines entwined with his. Here’s a scene near the beginning of the book between Jace and his mentor that really showcases Jace’s struggle.

A mile into the forest, he opened up again. “Why aren’t my prayers answered?”
Rayad’s forehead creased. “What do you mean?”
“I didn’t want to fight. I didn’t want to give in to anger, again. I prayed to Elôm for help.” Jace hung his head. “A moment later, I hit Morden.”
Rayad sighed. “Unfortunately, just because we pray not do something doesn’t mean we always won’t. We are imperfect and always needing to grow. You’ve believed in King Elôm for little more than a year now. Give yourself time. He is working in you, and eventually, looking back, you’ll be able to see it. And remember, our growth is never complete here. Look at me—I trusted in Elôm when I was a boy, but I’m not even close to all I’d like to be. You know me. I can be impatient, stubborn, ill-tempered, but I know Elôm is still working in those areas.”
Despite these words, Jace bit back an outcry of frustrated desperation. They didn’t relieve the churning in his mind or offer a definitive answer to his questions.
“What is it, Jace?” Rayad asked quietly.
Jace swallowed, throat squeezing around his words. Was he even ready for the answers? “What if my prayers aren’t heard?”
“King Elôm hears all the prayers of His children. He hears yours.”
“But . . . what if I’m not one of His children. . . what if I have no soul?”
Rayad pulled Aros to a halt. Niton stopped beside him. Jace squeezed his reins, waiting almost fearfully for Rayad’s response.
Voice calm, yet strained, Rayad asked, “Is that what Morden said to you?”
Jace stared down at Tyra who looked up at him, so calm and patient.
“Jace.” Rayad’s voice was deathly serious now. Jace looked at him. “It is not true.”
Jace matched his tone as he looked Rayad in the eyes, ribs throbbing where his heart hammered into them. “How do you know? You’ve always told me that, but how do you truly know? Everyone believes ryriks are soulless.”
Rayad’s breath seeped out quietly. “Because I don’t believe Elôm created an intelligent race of people without souls. And even if He did, you’re not a ryrik. You’re only half, and I fully believe the human part of you has a soul.”

Any advice for the self-publishing/aspiring authors who read my blog?

Read a lot and never stop learning new ways to improve your craft. There are always things to learn and areas to improve. I just had what I call a “writing growth spurt” thanks to reading through Camy Tang’s writing blog and Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson. It has really helped me make Ilyon Chronicles the best work I’ve done yet. Also, when you get into publishing, make sure to do your research on how professionally published books are done—how their covers look, how they’re formatted, etc. Unfortunately, no one really pays attention to the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” There just isn’t time to do a lot of research before deciding to read a book. If it doesn’t catch my eye, chances are, I’ll pass over it. It is imperative to have a well written/edited book to be successful, but it won’t mean much if it isn’t visually appealing. Do everything within your ability to create a book that at least comes close to rising to the standards of traditionally published books.

Thanks so much!

And I've asked Molly if she would swing by and answer any questions that you ask in the comments below. Also, I'll be giving away an kindle version of Truth to one random commenter/question asker on this post. I will be purchasing this book as a kindle gift because I already have the complete trilogy, but I do want to support the author.

And good luck to you, Molly, as you continue your writing journey!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

More about the Doorkeeper

Since I posted about Laura for my Character Encounter this month, I feel like talking a bit more about her and why I've not written with her despite her awesomeness.

You see, as Laura, she has only been playing with my head for a few months, but she is based on a character in the Rizkaland Legends who I had written quite a bit about, and whose name I had, at one time, intended to use as my pen name. Sandra Elizabeth N____ the Kentaladaya. (Though she would go by Sandita for the first several books) She was a four-dimensional being with the ability to condense part of herself down to three and affect the three dimensional worlds. And as much as I loved the concept of her, she eventually got too complicated and was giving me headaches, so I took her out about two years ago.

But I had built much of the plot of the Rizkaland Legends around Sandra's world-traveling ability, so I while I did appreciate not having to fit my mind around her, I did miss having someone with her abilities.

So I kept bouncing between the decision to take her out and the desire to put her back in. I had almost convinced myself that she wasn't needed, but then I started researching the sci-fi genre in preparation for my NaNo, I found out about River Song in Doctor Who, and she reminded me a lot about Sandra. And plot surrounding Sandra started swirling around in my head again.

So I decided to go back to my ORIGINAL concept for Sandra, before she became a four dimensional, and just have her be a girl who could see and manipulate the doors between worlds. I changed a few things about her origin (which had become a bit weird to say the least) and her hair (which had always been weird) and to get the complications fully out of my head, I decided to change her name. I chose Laura because I had always liked the name and had never given it to one of my characters.

So while I have done tons of writing with Sandra, this month's CE was my first real experimentation with Laura.

Since the Rizkaland Legends deals a lot with travel between worlds, someone who can control this does come in handy. And since time doesn't flow the same between worlds, it messes a lot with her aging (just as world traveling messed with the ages of the Pevensies in Narnia). While you're most likely to meet her somewhere between her early teens to late twenties, there are a few adventures where she's physically in her eighties or barely three. It messes with her physical appearance in other ways as well, particularly with the color of her eyes and hair. While their natural colors are blue-gray and light brown, she's been sighted with brown eyes and green-striped hair before. Luck of the draw you know.

Her personality depends a lot on how old she is and how many of her is in the room at a given time. She's naturally curious, which is why, whenever she sees a shiny door (and to her, doors are very shiny - she can see them, remember), she just has to walk through them and find out where they go. But on the other side of the coin, she's very timid, and doesn't actually care much for the adventures she finds herself involved in. However, as she has these adventures, she does gain confidence, and comes to enjoy them for quite some time. Older versions of her seem a bit tired of them, though it doesn't hold back her enthusiasm at all. She has a quirky sense of humor, and has a great memory and is a surprisingly good actress.

She doesn't like taking credit for anything she does, and especially doesn't like anything being written down, especially if it's a spot where it's very possible that an earlier version of her might have had the opportunity to read it. There are a few deeds that she allows, but only brief mentions so that her younger self would know to be there and have an idea of what she did. She also usually allows her seemingly darker deeds to be written down, such as when she kidnaps Amber and Granite from their real parents. This is for encouragement for her younger self. Good usually always comes from everything she does, but she really doesn't like causing pain to anyone, especially not to people close to her. Another thing she does is go by another name on her adventures so that people don't recognize her. She just informed me that the last time she was on earth, she was really old and went by the name Mrs. Macready.

In the Character Encounter, she mentioned a Lucy. Unfortunately, I can't tell you who Lucy is. She's someone very close to Laura though, since she's one of the few people she routinely mentions by name, but she never actually tells anyone how they're related. Readers will probably not find out until what is currently book 7. Which is currently the last book in the series.

Never fear folks, Rizkaland isn't the only series that Laura plagues! She's also known to show up in the Mikada Chronicles and the Flights of the Eagle. While she isn't mentioned yet to my knowledge, she's behind the scenes in Infiltration and The New Division. She might show up in Bookania ... and probably several other of my series. She's a versatile person like that.

At the moment, she's been talking about a complete spin-off series of her own, though I wouldn't begin it until after I wrote and published book 7 of Rizkaland. I haven't yet decided what the series would be called, but I do know that the books themselves would have titles such as Door to Lintooalintae, Door to Colluna, and Door to the Rowa. They would be mostly from her point of view, and would chronicle the adventures in between those in my other official series.

And for some odd reason, she has absolutely no problem with me writing about her. She claims that it's because she has told herself that she isn't allowed to read my books until she has passed the adventures they're about.

Sorry if this is dull, boring, and not what you'd like to read. I just felt like organizing some of my thoughts on this interesting person and putting them out in the open for people to comment upon.


Also, for those of you visiting this post for the first time due to the Silm Awards - I would like to note that this was something I wrote back in the early days of Laura's redevelopment, and while she's still nowhere near as downright weird as Sandra had become, I've found some more eccentricities  in Laura's character and personhood. While nothing drastic has changed, just note that this was just an initial summary of my concept.

Some posts you can read where I shared snippets or chapters that featured Laura:
First chapter of Lady Dragon, Tela Du
Some Snippets from the Worth of a King
The Character Encounter I mentioned in this post.
Some Freewriting I did that later was rewitten to fit in LDTD.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Why I'm a Fan of the Makilien Trilogy

The summer before last, after putting Sew on a free for five days spin that was very successful, I wandered over to my author page and noticed the "People who bought books by Kendra E. Ardnek also bought books by ..." section, and for some odd reason the name "Molly Evangeline" popped out at me. I suspect that it had had something to do with the fact that I had been following a photography blog called "Evangeline" and while I had loved the pictures she had been posting, she had mysteriously stopped.

So with some weird hope that this was the same Evangeline, I clicked on the name.

It was not the same Evangeline, but I was only disappointed for a few seconds.Then I realized that this was a Christian author whose books were fantasy and HiFi, my two favorite genres. And her cover arts were gorgeous. Unfortunately, I didn't have any money to buy her books at that moment, so I added her blog to my Google Reader and pretty much forgot about her.

And then she posted that she would give away free e-books to anyone who was willing to review them. And since she was self-published, and that's the sort of books we review over at O.Scarlett, I jumped at the over, reading and reviewing the first two books of her trilogy in quick succession. Unfortunately, book three wasn't published yet at that time, so I had to ask for the first book of the HiFi series while I waited. (Also a good book, but we're not here to talk about it.)

When the third book finally did come out, she had it at a special introductory price of 99 cents, and since I did happen to have 99 cents in my Amazon gift card balance (thanks to Swagbucks) I snatched it up. 

Read my Reviews:

So on a whole, how do I rate the series?

Christian message:
5 out of 5
Molly conveyed the message of Christianity, especially the three titular themes, so perfectly and effortlessly, without feeling preachy at all. The allegory in Truth is beautifully done, my only regret is that it seemed to be forgotten two years later in Trust. 

4 out of 5
Most of the characters were brilliant and well developed, but I never connected with Makilien, the main character. (Nor do I fully understand why she was in the battle in book 1, other than the fact that she "wanted to" she almost lost her feminity in that book, though she did recover it in the next two.) Also there were some characters that appeared to be main, but I keep forgetting they exist, Loron in particular. Every time I pick up a book and he shows up, I'm like ... "Oh, right. You're in this story. Hi!" Everyone else, however, I fully enjoyed.

Plot twists
5 out of 5
Molly Evangeline apparently loves plot twists, and while some of them in her HiFi series seem forced, most of the ones in Makilien I loved. They blew me away! Some I saw coming, but most ... well, in effort to not spoil the plot, there is one twist that at first makes a beloved character sink so low that you just want to ... but then you find out! And the beloved character is about twenty times more awesome. (Or at least, he is in my opinion, but I just love twins). Overall, Courage was my least favorite, not because it didn't have awesome plot twists (it did) but because the overall plot arch was almost identical as Truth's. Trust, however, was a beautiful roller coaster, and I never knew what was going to happen next.

World Building.
5 out of 5
I included Dolennar, Makilien's world, as part of my Memorable Worlds series last August. Dolennar was so well thought out, and comes through clearly in the writing. And the map Molly drew is amazing. I wish I could draw maps.

3 out of 5
While all of the pairings were very sweet and quite suited for each other, there were a few that I just didn't get. In particular, Derrin, Makilien's would-be suitor. He showed up briefly in the beginning of Truth and I promptly forgot about him in the wonderful plot. He lives in Reylaun and has been pursuing Makilien for years. Quite understandable, since Makilien is the main character and everyone wants to marry the main character, right? Fast forward to Courage where, despite the fact that he doesn't really accept Elohim, he decides to skip town with Makilien, Aedan, and Makilien's family. Then he meets Sirion, who Makilien is obviously taken with, and he instantly becomes jealous and all that. Understandable, again. But let's back up there to Aedan, who had been Makilien's best friend since I'm not sure when, and is, quite decidedly, male. Why did Makilien spending time with Aedan never bother Derrin? Am I the only one who thought she might just like Aedan? And then Aedan meets his love interest ... and I won't go there. It was just too contrived and forced. Everyone else, however, and especially Makilien and Sirion, were beautifully done. Rant over.

Romance, Makilien, and forgettable characters aside, I really enjoyed this series, and I do heartily recommend it to anyone looking for good Christian fantasy that doesn't have magic.

Via Pinterest
11. Hidden who had known each other well in their Dragon lives usually don't join the same bands. Very seldom to you see mates together. It's just too painful for them to see those they love like that.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

CE Living Room - Laura the Doorkeeper

Via Pinterest
I sit on the couch with a punch embroidery project in my lap as I watch one of my nutcracker videos. This may or may not be the last time I watch nutcracker this holiday season, so I'm determined to make the most of it.

As I am relaxing into the music and the repetition of the stitches, I hear a strange sound to my left. A metallic groan, almost.

My head snaps around to stare at what is that direction. Our front door. Which we never use for three reasons: It's broken and doesn't open and close properly, the couch is right in front of it and it opens inward, and it leads to a bank of dirt that's covered in weeds that are often as tall as I am. Use of this door is clearly out of the question.

So imagine my surprise when the blanket we hang over that door for insulation purposes lifts and is behind it where the door is supposed to be ...

"Laura," I guess immediately, no one else is capable of such an entrance.

"Hello Kendra," she whispers, as she climbs over the arm of the couch and sits down on it. "I'm glad to find you. I was ... uh ... lost."

My eyebrow arches and I try not to smile. "I thought you looked a bit young compared to the last time I saw you." I meet her blue-gray eyes, the eyes of a small, scared child.

"I am young," she whispered. "Though I'm probably older than you are by this point ... I'm going to live so long ... It's scary."

"Ours is a long, lonely road, isn't?"

My head jerks towards the door that leads to my parents' bedroom ... though that isn't the scene that is currently behind it. Currently, the door leads to a dark, dingy cave. Seated on the ground in front of the cave is a woman who looks like an older version of Laura ... probably because that's who it is.

"Oh!" the younger Laura exclaims, as she leaps from the couch arm and runs over and throws her arms around her older self. "I was hoping I'd find you. I'm ... I'm trying to get home again. I know that ... but Lucy's still there."

"Well, I happen to know that it'll be a few more doors before I found my way back to Lucy," says the older Laura, returning the hug. "However, I will take you to see Silver." She thrust a thumb over her shoulder. "It leads to Lintoalintae

The younger Laura frowns. "Is this before she ..."

"Yes, it's before she became the Dragon," says the elder. "Though she has only a few years left, but I think it's best that you meet her for the first time now. While you've met her before, you've never met her as the Doorkeeper."

I stand up and walk over. "If my name meant anything to her at the moment, I'd tell you to take a message to Amber. But since I don't start messing with her until she's in Rizkaland, she probably wouldn't know my name yet."

"No she doesn't yet ..." said the elder. She stands up, bringing her younger version with her, and holds out a hand to me. "But she's about to meet you."

My eyes widen as I stare at the cave behind her, and then I grin. "You mean, you're actually going to take me out of this world?"

Older Laura laughs. "It's not the first time. Not even for you." Then she nods towards her younger self. "Though for her it is. I thought you might want to meet her before she went all psychotic, and while I don't like calling her that, it is the truth. My poor, poor Silver."

I nod thinking of Ooladada. "Well, lets go."

With that, the three (or two, depending on how you think about it) of us enter Lintooalintae. I won't be there long, but I'm glad for the chance.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Character Encounter - January 2014

What better way to ring in the new year than with a good, old-fashioned Character Encounter?

No, I didn't stay up last night to ring in the new year. I have to work today, and needed to go to bed early. (In fact, I'll be at work by the time this posts. I love Blogger's scheduling feature.) But that doesn't mean that I'm not glad to have survived another year. I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't get as much done last year as I had planned, but today is the day to start new and fresh!

And on that note, I suppose you want to hear where we're going to have our CE, don't you?

Living Room

Or, if you don't have a living room, whichever room you keep a couch and/or a TV. Have fun!

Oh, wait, this month's character challenge (I've decided that I'm going to do one of these with every CE, to help you narrow down which character you want to do.) This month's character has to be one that you think about a lot, have much of his or her story plotted out, but have never actually sat down and written anything with them. Should be interesting shouldn't it? It could be an old character or a new character, but it's high time you give that beloved character some screen time!

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