Saturday, February 24, 2018

The What if? Tag

Hi, I'm just over here, linking up for Jenelle's tag for "February is Fantasy" month.

1. Your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. The cast of the most recent fantasy book you read comes to your assistance… who are they? Will they be helpful?
That would be the characters of Kendra Kandlestar and the Secret of Arazeen. Given that they're all wee folk, and largely unused to technology, they are probably unhelpful. I mean, Kendra's and her uncle Griffinstitch are powerful wizards, and the raccoon would have a heyday trying to mess with the machinery ... but I think they'd all do more harm than good.
2. You go to bed one evening and wake up in the lair of the villain of the last fairy tale you read, where are you and how do you plan to get out?
I am in Rapunzel's tower. And, unfortunately, as my hair is not yet even to my knees (though it is long enough to sit on), its use as a ladder is out of the question. But I find that the tower isn't as bad as I feared and has excellent wifi and free food, so I think I'm going to stay here.
3. You are transported into a fantasy realm and given a mythical creature as a companion and best friend… which mythical creature do you get?
Probably a dragon. Dragons are awesome.
4. In a strange series of coincidences, you end up needing to take the place of your favorite fantasy hero or heroine. Who are you? 
Imma gonna go with Kyrin from Ilyon. 
5. To go along with question #4, now that you are that character, is there anything you would do differently than that character, now that you are running the show?
... I really don't know. Because I like her because she's smart and makes good decisions. (Also has an awesome memory, and I'm just fascinated with memories.) I mean, the only thing I probably wouldn't do is get into a relationship with Jace, but that's because I personally don't feel that way about him. I do TOTALLY ship the two of them, though, so I wouldn't want to not have them in a relationship.
6. If you were yourself in a fantasy novel, what role do you think you would play in the story?
Probably the comic relief sidekick who keeps things from getting too solemn and dreary. 
7. One morning, as you are going about your daily business, you pick up an everyday item and a voice booms in your head with prophetic words about your future. What object is it, and what is your prophecy?
I pick up my phone to turn off my alarm for the fifteenth time that morning.
Verily and forsooth, thou shalt be late for work again. 
8. You are transported into a magical realm and turned into a mythical beast… what beast/fantasy creature do you want to be?
I'm a dragon!
9. If you could read your way into any fantasy realm, but the catch is that you can never leave, would you? Which realm would you choose?
I'd probably go to my own Rizkaland, because they know that people wander in from other worlds and they'd welcome me with open arms. It'd be awesome. 
10.  As you are going about your normal day, you discover that you have a magical power. What is it?
The power to make my imagination visual. That'd be awesome.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Do you like getting good books at better prices? Well, today's your lucky day because a number of other authors and I are offering books on SALE. And some of them are free.

Also, before you go pick up all of these goodies, please head over to the GiraffeCrafts blog for a very special Fairy Tale-themed announcement that I don't think that you guys are going to want to miss.

But basically...

eBook sale! February 14-15, 2018

Free eBooks
Poison Kiss by Kendra E. Ardnek
Forget Not by Rebekah A. Morris
The Dressmaker's Secret by Kellyn Roth
The Lady of the Vineyard by Kellyn Roth 
Coffee Cake Days by Amanda Tero

$0.99 eBooks
Water Princess, Fire Princess by Kendra E. Ardnek 
Finding Joy by Rebekah Morris
Gift from the Storm by Rebekah A. Morris
The Fragrance of Geraniums by Alicia Ruggieri
Befriending the Beast by Amanda Tero
Journey to Love by Amanda Tero  
A Question of Honor by Jesseca Wheaton
Beyond the Horizon by Jesseca Wheaton        

$1.99 eBooks
Lady Dragon, Tela Du by Kendra E. Ardnek
All Our Empty Places by Alicia Ruggieri 
A Love to Come Home To by Alicia Ruggieri
The House of Mercy by Alicia Ruggieri
The Secret Slipper by Amanda Tero

$2.99 eBooks
Finding Mera by Elizabeth D. Marie

$3.99 eBooks
A Time of Grace 3-in-1 by Alicia Ruggieri 

25% off paperback

Dandelion Dust by Faith Potts 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Worth of a Cover

Happy Birthday to me! I'm 23 now. 23. Can't believe it.

And happy cover reveal day to all of you. You guys get to see the ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS cover that Alea Harper made me for The Worth of a King, and let me tell you, this cover was a bear and a HALF for us to get right.

Seel, I really didn't know what I wanted, other than a different style than the Rizkaland Legends. I had a few pins on Pinterest that I felt would be a good starting place ... but getting art of the sort would have been tricky ... and I didn't want it to look like Obsidia was the focus of a Love Triangle.

I also had half a dozen motifs of the book that I felt were important - crown, stars, dragon, winged horse, perhaps some others that I can't remember off the top of my head ... but I when Alea sent me the first concept ... I really wasn't feeling it. Or the second or third ... and I really hated that I was being picky ...

She's a saint, though, and put up with me.

I even made my own mocks, trying to help find what the story needed, but ... well, they weren't hitting the nail on the head, either.

And, for the record, I'm completely in love with both of the fonts that I used on these covers, and I will find a use for them. someday

But we still just weren't feeling it. I was despairing of finding the perfect cover ... when suddenly, a concept came to me, quite radically different from what we were trying to create - and spinning our wheels on.

I drew a quick mock of it and sent it to Alea, along with the color scheme I was envisioning.

Please excuse my art skills. I can't draw dragons, apparently.
And while what Alea sent back to me wasn't the minimalistic line-drawn thing that I was envisioning, I fell immediately fell in love. Here, FINALLY, was the cover I was searching for.

We had to do a few more tweaks to the layout and lighting, but, here it is, in all its glory. You guys have waited long enough:

Oh. Oh. Just isn't it the most gorgeous thing ever? I love the minimalistic nature of it, the slight Game of Thrones feel that it has. (Though this story is worlds different from that saga. And MUCH cleaner.)

And I canNOT wait to hold this baby. Trying to decide if it'll look better in gloss or matte. Might order it in both to see.

Now, I have a number of other lovely bloggers who are participating in the cover reveal - and I encourage you to click through to every single one. Each has a unique snippet from the book that they'll be featuring, some have a mini interview, and most are also featuring one of my inspiration pins for the story.

And I have a special prize for anyone who comments on EVERY post. Have at.

Jaye L. Knight

This story has come a long way from the idea that Jack and I started together. I do miss her, but it's come together so beautifully... 

Now just to finish writing the last three chapters...

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Worth of a King - Chapter 1

So I'm revealing the cover for the Worth of a King on Wednesday, but I just thought that I'd share the first chapter now. Sure, I shared the first chapter of the original draft back a couple years ago, but this is the real deal now.


Chapter 1

  “Hold still, milady. Braiding isn’t as easy as it looks.”
  “I – I’m sorry.” Obsidia glanced in the mirror at her maid, Julie. “I didn’t realize…”
  Julie clucked her tongue. “I do wish you wouldn’t read while I did your hair – not that I’m saying that you shouldn’t or can’t, mind you, I know my place – but you move more than you realize, and it’d make my job a great lot easier if you wouldn’t.”
  Obsidia was spared the necessity of response by her mother’s entrance.
  “How is she coming? The suitors are gathered and waiting,” Queen Adelaide announced. “And you know how Ossian feels about making his guests wait.”
  “She’s ready,” said Julie, stepping away from Obsidia. “At least, as ready as I can get her. I frankly can’t see how any girl could be ready for the sort of decision that she’s about to make.”
  “Not that it’ll be much of a decision,” said Queen Adelaide. She put a hand on Obsidia’s shoulder. “Ossian will tell you who to pick, dear, so you needn’t stress yourself about it. But you at least have the opportunity to reject his suggestion, which is more than what I had.”
  “I know,” Obsidia admitted. “Still, all of my suitors are little more than strangers. Nice young men – all of them, I’m sure – but I can hardly see myself married to any of them.”
  “The day my engagement was announced was the day I first met your father,” said Queen Adelaide, “and I came to love him. You Dialcian princesses are fortunate and still see fit to complain. Still … stand up and let me have a good look at you.”
  Obsidia did as her mother bid. “Do I look all right?”
  “You look beautiful, of course.” Queen Adelaide’s expression relaxed. “Ah, but it’s hard to believe that this day has come at last. It seems only yesterday that you were but a babe in my arms. Only yesterday that…”
  “The nali lily, mother?” Obsidia prompted. Queen Adelaide was reminiscing Obsidia’s father, whom Ossian had killed the very night of Obsidia’s birth. Obsidia didn’t blame her mother for her resentment, but she didn’t want another lecture about how things were before that fateful night.
  “Oh, yes, of course, dear,” Queen Adelaide shoved the flower she held into Obsidia’s outstretched hand. Then she caressed Obsidia’s cheek. “Your father would have been so proud of you.”
Obsidia glanced down. “I am only a daughter.”
  Queen Adelaide withdrew her hand and gave a sad smile. “Your father was a man of strange ideas. I do not think that you would have disappointed him. Besides, had he lived, I … surely would have had more children.”
  “They’re waiting on me,” said Obsidia, not sure what else to say.
  Queen Adelaide sighed. “Yes, I suppose that they are. Well, get along with you then.”
  Obsidia nodded and hastened out the door.
  It was nearly noon – the hottest and heaviest hour of the day. She wished that the Choosing Ceremony could take place earlier in the day, but such was not tradition. Noon was also the brightest hour, and the decision that she was about to make wasn’t one to be made in the dark.
  “Ah, there you are, Obsidia. My, but you look beautiful today.”
  Obsidia smiled and blushed as she took King Ossian’s arm. Because her father had no male heir, Ossian had become king in his stead. He would oversee the ceremony and offer Obsidia his advice.
  “Thank you,” she whispered.
  “The simple look suits you,” King Ossian continued. “You’re the sort of girl whose inner beauty outshines any girl.”
  Obsidia’s blush deepened. “Thank you.”
  She was dressed as tradition demanded: a simple white dress and no jewelry. Her black hair was done in a simple braid down her back, and on her feet were a pair of delicate slippers.
  “Come along, now. We mustn’t keep the young men waiting.”
  “Speaking of your suitors, there is the matter of which of them you are about to accept as your future husband – an important decision indeed,” King Ossian continued, as they began walking. “Have any of them caught your eye? Corrin of Fiyar is quite a handsome young man and did well in all of the tournaments. Harold of Hollolund may not be much to look at, but his country is wealthy and you would want for nothing as his queen. I saw you talking with Zirro of Zovordia. You’d be taking a gamble with him, what with the mask and all, but if you’re intrigued by the mystery…”
  Obsidia shook her head. “They’re all but strangers to me, every one of them. How can I possibly choose from among them? “
  “You wish a husband whom you already know?” asked King Ossian, nodding thoughtfully. “I suppose that is understandable. You know, as I recall, there will be a young man in the room who isn’t a stranger to you. While he isn’t officially your suitor, I don’t think that he would be averse to marrying you.”
  “Delaney?” She blinked at the thought.
  “While the law forbids him from actually being your suitor, nothing forbids you from giving him your lily. Indeed, you would be the third Dialcian princess to make such a choice.”
  Delaney was King Ossian’s son and heir. Obsidia had always seen him as more a brother than anything else … but she supposed that she could see herself married to him. Sooner him than any of her official suitors.
  “I’m not saying whether you should or shouldn’t,” King Ossian added. “I don’t want to decide your future for you – you’re a smart girl, Obsidia. I just wanted to make sure that you knew that you had the option.”
  The same law that forbade Delaney from courting her forbade Ossian from doing anything more than suggesting him.
  “Thank you. I’ll think about it.”
  They said nothing more until they reached the room where her suitors were gathered, waiting for her to choose from among them.
  “You have a head on your shoulders,” King Ossian assured her. “I trust you to make the right decision.”
  As she stepped into the room, Obsidia wished that she had the same confidence in herself.
  Corrin, Harold, and Zirro were seated in a circle in the center of the room, along with Prince Evin of Elvira and Yuri of Vinieris. The elven and merfolk princes, however, were her suitors for political politeness only. Several important Dialcian nobles and officials – including Delaney – stood against the walls, there to stand as witnesses for this most solemn of occasions and prevent anything untoward from happening.
  Gripping the lily’s stem tightly, she circled the five young men once, twice, three times. All eyes were on her and she shrunk under the scrutiny. How was she supposed to make this decision under such pressure?
  Evin and Yuri were eliminated automatically, and perhaps Zirro as well, for he was her second cousin and that was a bit too close of a relation for her comfort. That left Corrin and Harold – and Delaney.
She glanced Delaney’s direction for half a moment and received an encouraging smile. She felt her confidence rise.
  Corrin was a handsome young man – dashing and daring, too – but Obsidia found that intimidating rather than endearing. She couldn’t see herself marrying him. She was too quiet and he’d likely forget about her within minutes after the wedding was over. Harold was the best match politically, but he was a terribly dull fellow who only cared about what he could put in his stomach. She frankly didn’t see how he’d make a good king when the time came, much less a husband.
  Then there was Delaney, standing tall and handsome with his father’s golden hair and blue eyes. They’d grown up together. He was kind, caring, funny, intelligent…
  And a dear friend.
  If she married Harold or Corrin, she would have to travel to their country, live among strangers, and learn traditions that could be radically different from her own. If she married Delaney, little would have to change.
  Her mother might not approve of her marrying Ossian’s son, but Obsidia preferred to not take a risk with love.
  Lifting her chin, she made one last circuit of the princes, then stopped in front of Delaney and held out the nali lily to him, held out her heart.
  “I know that you aren’t my suitor,” she said, quickly, “but you are a dear friend to me, and nothing in Dialcian law forbids me from choosing you. Will you have me?”
  He didn’t answer at first, and while he didn’t appear terribly surprised, it was clear that he hadn’t expected her to ask him. She bit her lip, suddenly very unsure of herself. Did he not want to marry her? Had she just ruined their friendship forever? Unlike her suitors, he had the power to refuse her.
  She wanted to run from this room, lock herself in her own, and cry away this terrible ceremony. Only her dignity as a princess kept her rooted where she stood, and she wasn’t sure that it would hold her much longer.
  But before it ran out, his reassuring grin quirked the corner of his mouth, and his hand closed around hers, taking the lily away from her.
  “Sidi,” – and her heart leapt at the nickname – “I would be honored.”

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