Tuesday, April 29, 2014

When Water and Fire Combine

Via Pinterest 
I'm not sure if I was in my right mind when I decided that the Water Princess should marry a Fire Prince. Water and fire just don't go together. Fire evaporates the water, and the water quenches the fire. But I'm a staunch believer in opposites attract, so I guess it made sense to my 12-year-old brain at the time.

That aside, if anyone asks me who my favorite couple in my own writing is, they're liable to receive Clara and Andrew as an answer. So apparently my twelve-year-old brain was on to something.

I think the magic of Clara and Andrew is partly the fact that their personalities aren't what you'd think of off the top of your head if you hear their titles. Sure, they look the part - Clara has has blonde hair and blue eyes (she was actually my first main character to not have brown hair), and Andrew is a redhead - but he doesn't have a fiery temper, and I've never known Clara to just "go with the flow." However, I wouldn't say that their personalities are the opposite of their titles, either. They just are the facets of water and fire that most people don't think of. Clara's more of a storm or typhoon, while Andrew is smoldering embers or a hearth.

Abby asked if the pair originated in earth, and the answer is yes, they do. However, while they once ran in the same circles (back in their toddlerhood) and even now in connected circles, neither was any more than peripherally aware of the other during their normal lives. She was, perhaps, more aware of him than he was, for reasons I cannot, at this time, disclose (though it does involve two of her friends occasionally teasing her about him), but still. They weren't expecting to be thrown together in another world.

Clara is an only child. Her parents wanted more, but were lucky to get her. As a result, she's pretty used to being the center of attention. She isn't spoiled, her parents knew better than to do that to her, but it's had some interesting side effects on her. She knows her parents wanted more kids, and while she herself would honestly like some siblings, she keeps quiet about it, and instead tries to make up for the empty nest. She spends a lot of time with both of her parents, tries to be both a daughter and a son to them. Her parents co-own a sports complex (actually, I don't think that's what it's called, but, for the purposes of this post, it'll do) with the parents of Clara's two best friends, and Clara spends every spare moment there learning. She's a kinetic genius, as her dad calls her, and is good at almost any non-team activity she attempts. She's best at fencing (which is what her mom teaches), and tae quon do (which is what her dad teaches). However, she's not good at either cooking or sewing. Which her mother doesn't push, as she isn't the best at them herself.

Andrew, on the other hand, is the oldest of four boys. Their dad is a scientist, an absent-minded professor of sorts, and they lost their mother in a car wreck when his youngest brother, Parker, was a toddler. As the oldest child, Andrew has had to fill in for their mother, and, in many ways, for their dad as well. He's learned to cook - and he's pretty good at it, too - do basic mending. He plays the piano because his mother used to and he likes to keep her memory alive. He has a very standoffish relationship with his dad, as he kinda resents having to fill this role. Not that he'd have anyone fill it, but ...

When Clara goes to Klarand, she goes to the upper half, where she is instantly and unanimously recognized as the Water Princess. She both enjoys and is wary of this attention, and therefore keeps her sword and martial arts skills to herself, even when they ask her about them - the prophecy does say that the Water Princess will fight, after all. She only lets people in on the secret if they a. catch her in the act, or b. she decides she can trust them. When they offer to teach the skills to her, she accepts ... and proceeds to implement every mistake she's ever seen someone make.

Andrew, on the other hand, appears in the lower half, and is found by a group on a hunting mission. Only one of the men sees him come out of the Firefall, and Andrew is so completely not what they were expecting, the others refuse to believe that he is the Fire Prince. And Abraham, the one who found him, keeps trying to make him into their preconceived notion of the Fire Prince (or so Andrew thinks), by teaching him various skills such as archery, sword play ... useful stuff that Andrew doesn't care a thing for.

Eventually both comes to their breaking point where they decide that this county is worth it, and she becomes more open with her talents, and he becomes willing to learn. After that, they travel to the heart of the country, where they meet. I can't tell you much about this meeting, but it involves swords, him mistaking her for a boy, her turning over a table, and them both giving the other a nickname. She becomes Alice, and he's Tom Canty.

She doesn't trust him, not so much because he doesn't seem trustworthy, but because she had predisposed her mind to not trust him. While she always considered romance and marriage part of her future, she didn't want it Right Now, and she wanted to pick her love interest out herself. He ... just kinda steps back and lets her blow around, though ever so often, he rises and matches her wit, which she sometimes seems to like, other times resents. Sometimes she seems to trust him ... other times ... well, he's not sure what to make of her.

When she does finally decide that it's okay to like him, and he steps up and becomes the leader, they make a terrific duo.

Because in Klarand, fire and water can, and does mix. The Waterfall flows down and the Firefall flows up until they meet under the Kastle in the heart of the island. There they form a liquid that  is stronger than either. Haven't named it yet, probably should though ...

And yes, one of their "romantic" moments involves hot chocolate and a campfire. It's fun.


Anyways, I hope that answers any questions you have about them, Abbey. I'll be back Thursday with the CE linkup (I've got a fun location and challenge this time!) and an announcement for a Ankulen-themed giveaway that you won't want to miss. See you then!

Via Pinterest
1. Back when Dragonriders were common in Rintaria, it was luckiest if you chose one with eyes the color of your hair, scales the color of your eyes, or both. For instance Starwater, Stardrana's dragon, has golden eyes and blue scales (although there are a few golden ones), and Stardrana has golden hair and blue eyes.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Queen Amber, The Lady Dragon

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Since the Rizkaland Legends were inspired by Narnia, it should come as no surprise that Amber the Lady Dragon was inspired by Jadis the White Which. Of course, the process of going from a frozen being of pure evil to a fiery dragon with a small possibility of redemption was, I must admit, a process.

In the original play, which has become what will be book 2 of the series, she was the Snow Witch. Her appearance would be that of a traditional witch because the girl we wanted to play her owned a witch costume. (Please note that we never actually contacted the girl about playing her, but V and I had attended acting camps with her the summer before and in both plays, she had been a witch, so we knew the part would be perfect for her)

But I told my mom about our plays and she declared that we couldn't have it turn winter with a snow witch. Narnia was copywrited, and even if we didn't plan to make money off of it, we still had to be at least mostly original. So we swapped it over to summer, and the witch became a woman capable of turning herself into a dragon. The Lady Dragon.

In the first draft that I finished, I didn't give her any name beyond her title. The character who didn't believe she was a dragon (the Edmund-ish character) called her simply "the queen."

But for draft two (which happened because my mom told me that I had to change more than just the setting and characters to not be a copywrite violator - I had to make changes to the plot as well), I decided that my dragon needed a name. Since the name Jadis reminded me of "Jade" I decided to go with a rock name. Since the dragon's color was red, I wanted a name that reminded me of the color red, but not a ruby. Amber popped into my mind, and it stuck.

By the time I started this version of the play, we had lost all hope of ever contacting the friend (we actually hadn't talked save for one telephone call since those two camps), and since it was realized that with the changed plot, my character would never share the screen with Amber, we decided that I could play Amber too. In that version. The girl who would play the Edmund-ish character was a bit jealous, but since she shared most of Amber's scenes, there was no way she could play both parts. We were going to try to make my appearance change as much as we could between the very short scene changes (although this may have been about when we started thinking about filming this, rather than try to attempt it on a stage) but we hadn't decided how we were going to do that.

She didn't change all that much over the next version, since the changes I made then had mostly to do with the additions of a few male leads. I got tired of it being all girls, at long last. (And this time we were going to do it with film, I made provisions for that in the script ...) Really, the only thing that changed about Amber was that I decided that I would play up on the fact that she was to be played by the same actor as one of the protagonists. I.e. This time it their similar appearance would be a very important plot element.

I didn't develop her backstory until I started working on what was, at the time, going to be the first book of the series, Jeptha's Hill, which was basically the Magician's Nephew of the series. It was then that I discovered just how old she was, 5,000+ years, and the fact that she had once been good. It wasn't until I started the book version that I finally gave her Granite, her husband. You see, I had given her children, six of them, and well, while I could see her, um, playing the field, I knew that she wouldn't have done so for most of her life, and I don't like my queens to rule without kings. (Well, there are a few exceptions to this rule, but they're just that. Exceptions.) I also have another reason for Granite ... but that's a plot spoiler, so ... anyways

She's a complicated character, ruthlessly evil and yet ... she was good once, and there is still a drop of that goodness at her core. A small drop that can only watch as she wrecks havoc across her worlds. Her greatest weakness is her love of power, especially magical power. During her good days, she stuck mostly to the more natural powers that  Jeptha (it's not His name in that world, but I haven't gotten very far in worldbuilding Lintooalintae) created and allowed. However, one of the magics she collected was one she knew came from a pure evil source ... and she resisted it ... but eventually she caved and took it. It then proceeded to corrupt her to the core. (Full details about this process won't be revealed until book 3, however, so I can only give hints.) It is this magic that gives her the ability to turn into a dragon.

Amber is my favorite villain, due to her complexity. She knows she's evil, but she's helpless to stop herself, and at the same time, doesn't want to stop herself. I look forward to sharing more about her in the series, because she happens to be, as far as I know at the moment, in several of the books, and not always as the villain.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CE Waterfall - Collie

Via Pinterest But she needs to be wearing
I don't have a waterfall in my back yard, but I do have a gully, and there is a spot in the gully where, if it's raining, it turns into a waterfall.

It's not the prettiest sight, thanks to everything that gets caught there, but it's nice to be able to say that we have a waterfall in our backyard. At least when it rains.

It isn't raining today - hasn't rained since Sunday - so no waterfall. However, since my mom has sent me in quest of a canister from a nearby storage shed, I'm taking some time out to wander the extra thirty feet to the "waterfall."

A glint of gold catches my eye, however, so I leap into the gully to investigate. Yes, folks, that is how I operate.

Anyways, now that I'm in the gully, I examine the glint to discover that a crack has split the dirt wall from the floor of the gully to the lip, and wedged into that crack is a seam of gold. Pure gold, I'm willing to bet, since it's soft enough for me to dent with my thumbnail.

I bite my lip. There's one person who could have done this. Climbing out of the gully, I glance around. "Collie? Are you here?"

Of course, she could be on the other side of the golden crack, in the Land of Magic, but it doesn't hurt to have a look around. And on another hand, she could have turned herself invisible, since she can do that.

Which makes calling her name my best bet.

"Princess Colinda? Did you create a rift in my gully?"

A girl dressed in blue steps out from behind a tree on the opposite side of the gully, so I scramble over the not-so-deep portion (you know, the part before the "waterfall"). She has pale blonde hair and and her pale skin is marred by even paler scars that criss-cross every portion of exposed skin. One on her arm seems to glow for a moment, and I see her wince.

"So you don't have your memories yet?" I ask, knowing that the scars are a side effect of the amnesia that has made her forget her life as the Magic Princess.

"Will I get them back? Who - who are you? How do you know my name? People usually don't - not here." Her voice is soft, powerful, and slightly musical.

"I'm a historian, I record stories," I explain, realizing that she's one of the ones that don't know about me. "Yours is one that I'm recording ... but that's the funny thing about me. So often I kinda read ahead with history to see what is going to happen, so I don't always know what has."

She squints at me for a moment, then shakes her head. "I've long since given up trying to make sense of people," she admits. "I'll buy it."

"So, if you don't mind me asking you, where exactly in your story are you?" I sit down in the dead leaves and motion for her to sit next to me.

"You don't work for maLigthyr, do you?" she asks, drawing back in suspicion.

"Wouldn't think of it. He's not quite right in the head. And while I won't admit to being the sanest person in the world, I do know that turning people into animals just because you can isn't normal."

Something akin to a smile ghosts at one corner of her mouth as she sits down next to me. "Well, Gardenia and I just found a girl named Kallie, and Gardenia thinks that Kallie will be important."

"She will be," I say nodding.


"You'd know if you had your memories," is all I'm allowed to say. "But until you get them back ... well, you'll just have to trust the talking swan." I sigh. "But I was kinda wishing that you'd be a bit further along in your story. It's kinda gray from this point until you meet the Bookkeeper."

"So we do find him?"

"You most certainly do. And you find your sister. Sooner than you realize, but I can't tell you where."

"You're not much help." She falls forward and buries her head in her hands.

"Well, I can't say that you're much help to me, either," I admit. "But you will find your memories, you will find your sister, and you will deal with maLigthyr. Not all at once, but it will happen. But ... while I know how it all will happen, I have no idea how you're going to get there. Some days I wonder if I was in my right mind when I stole your story from that friend."

She glances through her hair at me for a moment then shakes her head. "I'm not even sure how I'm going to get back home."

"Actually, that's easy," I tell her. "Just rub the crack down there. There's enough of your magic in it, it won't harm you to open it again. I just recommend that you take a nice long nap afterwards. You don't want to lose any more of your memories."

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cover Reveal - Resistance by Jaye L. Knight

 Last January, I was Molly Evangeline's personal fan girl because I really love her Makilien Trilogy. I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not, though I think I did, but she's also working on a completely new series, the Ilyon Chronicles, which is rapidly approaching publication, though under a new pen name, Jaye L. Knight. Which is a very pretty name which fits her genre much better.

Well, the other day, she contacted me and asked if I wanted to participate in the first book's cover reveal and be a pre-reviewer. I enthusiastically said yes on both accounts. I'll be posting the review later on the O.Scarlett blog, so watch out for it! It's a wonderful book, very different from Makilien, with twice the amazing world building, and a feel that I've only found previously in Christian historical fiction set in Rome pre-Catholicism, and some stories about the Chinese church ... and maybe the Left Behind series. But this is a Christian Fantasy - usually that's about Epic battles of Good vs. Evil. Not persecution.

In short, I loved it.

JAYE L. KNIGHT is a 25-year-old independent author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean NA (New Adult) fiction. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God's love shines as a light to offer hope.

Jaye is a homeschool graduate and has been penning stories since the age of eight. She was previously published as Molly Evangeline. You can learn about her latest writing projects at www.jayelknight.com.

And just look at this lovely cover! Wow! I've said this before, but I'll say it again. Her covers are the BEST.

 “Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”
Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.

Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair and her twin brother live every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.

Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.

Kindle release date: May 20, 2014

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Character Encounters - April 2014

Now that I have finished writing Water Princess, Fire Prince, I'm going to leave it alone for a little while and focus on finishing my short stories and Kingdom. However, we're here to talk about the CE, which I promised would be Water Princess, Fire Prince themed.

Of course, that's tricky, correlating an encounter to a book I've written. For a while, I considered having ya'll do the encounter in Rizkaland, but as it happens that ya'll, unlike myself, have never been to Rizkaland, I'm going to be a bit creative.

Instead of actually going to Rizkaland, you will encounter your character near one of the largest symbols of the book, and the thing that inspired it. No, not the shower. Can we just forget about the shower?

This month, you'll encounter your character by ...

A Waterfall

Now, I understand perfectly that most of you don't have a waterfall in your back yard (I don't either, unless it has rained recently) but remember how open to interpretation this challenge is. Be creative. It doesn't have to be a real waterfall. Perhaps it's only a painting of one that your Aunt Alberta was given, and hated, and thus thrust it into the back room. Perhaps you suddenly find yourself in South America (which is like North America, only south!) near Angel Falls. Maybe you've gone to Niagra!

And, as for the totally optional, but I'd be much happier if you did it character challenge, see if you can encounter a character who has either a prophecy about him/her, or a character who is a member of royalty. If the character is/has both, that would be great.

Oh, and before I go, Abby asked the other day if there were twins in Rizkaland, which is, indeed, a very important question. However, since I don't think this is a complicated enough question to warrant an entire blog entry, I've decided to answer it here.

Yes, there are twins in Rizkaland. In fact, there's a few sets of identical triplets! There aren't any obvious ones in Water Princess, Fire Prince, but three of the characters are multiples. You just don't get to meet their siblings until later books. Also, Jane and John, two of the legendary kings and queens, were twins. But again, you won't know that until later books.

(And don't forget to send more questions about Water Princess, Fire Prince, Rizkaland, and the surrounding series! I'll be answering questions all month!)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

It is Finished

This is not an April Fool's post. I repeat, this is not an April Fool's Post! (I wanted to post it yesterday, but didn't have it done it time.)

Via Pinterest
Six or seven years ago, I was a bit bored with my life, a bit frustrated, and wished that I could have some adventures like those of the Petra, Susie, Lulu, the girls that I was writing about in my Narnia-inspired plays. I was constantly imagining doors all over the place where I could just step through and be in another world where I'd be a princess and there'd be lots of exciting adventures.

I don't remember most of these doors (although the idea that MegaGiant, the largest giraffe in my collection, might come to life and carry me away to another world does stick out in my mind), but one of the stories I invented stuck with me and developed a life of its own.

It is an established fact that the best ideas come in the shower, and the same is true for this one. I was in the shower, and I had a random thought of, "Hey, what if I were I were to close my eyes and when I open them, I would be under a waterfall and I'd be a Waterfall Princess!"

I revisited this idea every time I took a shower, and eventually, I decided that it'd be a good idea for another play. Only ... not in a shower. I moved the Waterfall Princess's entrance point to a swimming pool, and I liked it a lot better ... except that she needed a love interested. A ... Fire Prince! Who could have fallen into a campfire!

I really liked this idea, despite the fact that neither of the main characters had anything resembling a name. That wasn't an issue, however, as I could call them by their titles and say that they had forgotten their real names. Of course, I needed a reason for them to be called to this other world - a plot, if you will - so I decided to put it into Rizkaland as a prequel to Petra's story. As a villain, well, I could just recycle the villain, Amber. She's over five thousand years old, so she was undoubtedly still around a thousand years before, and she was surely doing more than just biding her time on Amber Island.

With all that decided, it was time to tell my mother about Waterfall Princess, as I was calling the story. She ... decided that we needed to make a few changes. Including the princess's title. I should shorten it to simply the Water Princess. Also I really ought to give names to the pair. And have them remember them! I chose Clara for her, because of the Nutcracker, and I decided to name him Andrew after my dad. (It's my dad's middle name.)

Armed with this brilliant new plotline, I pulled out the shiny blue notebook that I had picked up at the AWANA store and started writing.

Of course, even with a brilliant plot, I kept writing myself into corners, so I'd set it to the side and work on book 2 instead. Eventually, I finished with book 2, and I got distracted by a whole slew of shiny new ideas. When I got my first laptop (a super old thing that couldn't handle internet and I had to share with my sister), I decided to start over with the story in a word document ... but then I got frustrated and deleted the whole thing only to put Cayra in it's place. (We won't discus the fact that it was the third story to live in that document, and that the second of them had reached over 10,000 words before I deleted it). The notebook version ... got buried in a drawer.

When I got my own laptop, I started a new document for the story ... and again wrote myself into a hole. At some point, when rearranging my room (something my mom does frequently for fun) I ran across the notebook. And I realized that if I just went ahead and had the two meet (which was a scene I had been really looking forward to), it'd flow out beautifully.

So I pulled some strings, and got the story going again. I had hoped that it would limit itself to one notebook as its sequel had ... but I soon ran out of pages and had to commandeer the notebook I had planned to write book four in. A pretty red one.

And the story continued to flow. I think I blew through that notebook in two months ... and I found a nice purple one that I only had to tear a few pages of Faerie Realm related notes out of. And ... I again wrote myself into a wall.

So I decided to finally bring the villain physically on scene. And it was epic. And then I got to the battle ...

And I remembered how much I hate battle scenes.

But about halfway through last month, I decided that, since I didn't have much left of the story, I needed to buckle down and write it. So I challenged myself to finish it by the end of the month. And truth be known, while I did start focusing on it rather than Kingdom or Unforgiven as I have been writing when I've had my notebooks on hand, I didn't actually buckle down and start writing hard until Saturday knight.

And I finished it at at 10:35 yesterday morning while on break. Yes, all of my coworkers heard about it. Most of them were quite impressed and wanted to know when I'll get it published. (Almost all of my coworkers know that I have four books published. I'm always writing on my breaks).

And I'm sure all of you are wondering the exact same thing. Unfortunately, my answer is "It'll be a while."

You see, since it's taken me five years to write this story, it has unavoidably gone through a few changes. Clara has a few changes to her appearance and personality (she's not Classic obsessed as the official version of her will be). Andrew has received some changes to his backstory (the smallest not being the fact that he's now the oldest among his brothers rather than the youngest). I plan to change the starting location from Hawaii to Yosemite. I need to plot Laura back into the story. I had had plans for her back when she was Sandra, but then I took her out, and by the time I decided to include her again, I was too close to finished for her appearance to be anything by tacky.

I even changed the prophecy! The original was an eight-line thing that didn't rhyme. Now I have a short, sweet thing that I think will go on the back of the book when I finally do get to that point.

When the Lady Dragon does come,
Hold fast, do not fear, do not run.
The Water Princess will fight,
Fire Prince will set all to right.
Each shall come from a fall.
Their union will save you all.

I'm pretty proud of that little thing, poetry not being my strength. (Though I wouldn't call it my weakness, either.)

Oh, and and I intend to take out a really weird doll that I gave Clara. My writing motto is, "If you think an idea is too weird, write it anyway. It may work, and if it doesn't, you can just edit it out later." Well, this is one of those times where I need to take it out.

But I'm quite proud of the fact that I have persevered to the end, and while I'm not yet ready to begin the rewrite, I think I'm going to type it up so I can evaluate it in something other than my own handwriting and find out exactly how long it is. My estimate is around 80,000 words. Which is longer than any other project I've ever finished. The Ankulen was only around 70,000. And since the first part of the story is pretty thin, and I do intend to expand upon it while typing it up, it may be longer by the time I finish. At thirty-four (or was that thirty five?) chapters, it definitely takes the record there. Sew only has twenty-seven chapters. When I get it typed up, I may ask a few people to read it over for me (to help identify what needs to stay and what has to go), and so start volunteering now!

I love the ending, by the way. I had an unexpected allusion to The Magician's Nephew that is all sorts of awesome.

So, anyways, in honor of this momentous occasion, I'd like you guys to ask me any question you'd like about the book, its characters, the world of Rizkaland, even the sequels if you'd like! Have fun. I hope to be back with a "best of" snippets post, and the CE this month will allude to the book. If you want to read what I have written about Rizkaland, Click here to read every post I've ever written about it.

And now, as they say in Rizkan, Twa!

(Oh, and if any of you want to give your congratulations, the Rizkan word is Nicargi. Just thought I'd point that out.)
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