Friday, June 26, 2015

In Which My Little Writer Makes an Appearance

I minimize the document on Sherlock's screen and crack my knuckles. Even though the story is no longer in front of my face, I can still see it in my mind's eye. My synesthesia is acting up again. The colors for this story are epic -- dark browns, maroons, charcoal grays. It's like some kind of chocolate cherry mix with a dash of epic served on top.

I grin. I'm loving this.

*Note: For those who don't know, my laptop's name is Sherlock. End commercial.*

It doesn't take long to open up the internet and log into blogger. The familiar orange tones of the page always excite me. Not only is orange one of my favorite colors, but orange means good things. Exciting things. Delicious things. Word things. 

"Um, Kiri, what are you doing?"

I nearly jump. "Little Writer, what are you doing here?"

"Making an appearance. Isn't it obvious?"

I cringe. I know why the appearance is necessary, but I don't want the lecture right now. "May I help you with something?"

My Little Writer just looks at me. "When was the last time you worked on Secret of the Hazel Tree?"

I'm refusing to give the satisfaction of a groan. "I edited a bunch on Monday and Tuesday."

"And now it's Friday."

"Your point?"

"You should open it again."

"It is open!" I motion to the bar at the bottom of Sherlock's screen. Technically, I have the document open on my laptop. I can maximize it in a moment. 

"You're too distracted."

I sigh. "I know. I know. But I couldn't help it!"

Little Writer isn't happy. "Why are you working on another Sleeping Beauty story?"

"Why would you think that I'd let the Rooglewood Fairy Tale contest pass without the merest inclination of a new story spark?" I shoot back. "You of all people should know how susceptible I am to these things. Especially when they involve fairy tales."

"But you already have a Sleeping Beauty retelling in the works! Have you forgotten about Beyond the Thorns?"

"I know," I reply. "And I'm going to finish that one of these days. It's way too tempting for me to abandon it. Don't worry."

Little Writer lifts an eyebrow and does not look amused. "And just how do you plan on making this Sleeping Beauty story different?"

I dive right in. "Well, this one is going to be much shorter. I have to keep it under 20K, which I think I can do, since I managed the Beauty and the Beast contest entry in about 18K. But for this one, I'm going to go as upside-down as possible. We're going to make the Sleeping Beauty heroine hate spinning. Instead of getting just one prick on the finger, she is familiar with working with a spinning wheel on a daily basis, and she's clumsy, so she's pricked a lot."

"Okay?"

"And then for the prince. Well, I figure we can give him the dreams. You know I found this quote from the Disney film that I think will work really nice. They say if you dream a thing more than once, it's sure to come true. I really like that. I think I can incorporate that. But not as a positive dream angle. Let's make it nightmares!"

"So now you're taking a jab at Disney?"

I grin. "Why not? Their movie's not that good anyway. The music -- fantastic. But they do need some help. Ooh! I can give the heroine a dog and call it Merryweather in honor of the three fairies!"

Little Writer groans. "Great. I always wanted a dog that could fly."

I choose to ignore that. "But we'll hook this up to the Beauty and the Beast story. It'll be set in the same kingdom, but about one year later. And that way, I can incorporate some steampunk kinda stuff in it. I had hot air balloons in that one. Can you imagine what more could grow from that?" I stop and my eyes grow wide. My dimple is rather pronounced because of my smile, and Little Writer knows that's a bad sign.

"Kiri, do I even want to know what you're thinking?"

"I could do a whole series of upside-down, steampunk-ish fairy tale retellings!"

"No."

I try to amend it. "Well, not right now. But later. First, I want to finish this. I want my Sleeping Beauty heroine to like inventing. That's how I'm getting more steampunk stuff into this. Not true steampunk, mind you. Just some light stuff. We can save the airships for later. Maybe for Rumplestiltskin. Can you imagine Rapunzel with a mechanical hairbrush? Or Thumbelina with a pocket watch?"

"Kiri, just no. Get off blogger. You're just wasting time now. Please. Go edit."

I sigh. I know my Little Writer just wants to help, and it's sometimes annoying to have him proven right. "Okay." I reluctantly exit out of blogger.

"Thank you." Little Writer disappears. 

But I'm too fired up to do what he wants me to do. I click open the Sleeping Beauty story again. "I'll come back to you, Hazel Tree," I whisper. 

Spindle Dreams.

"I'm in this too far now, Little Writer. The story's already named. There's no going back now."



Friday, June 19, 2015

Water Princess, Fire Prince - Interview and Cover Reveal

My good friend Kendra is publishing another book! How that wonderful girl manages to give us so many books so quickly I'll never know, but she is an amazing authoress. 

Today, I have the great pleasure of participating in Kendra's cover reveal for Water Princess, Fire Prince. I know you all are eager to see the cover, but I must needs post an interview first. Just be patient, folks. *winks*

Ready?

Ah, my dear Kendra, what originally gave you the inspiration for this story? Any specific pictures that spurred the plot onward?

The story first came to me in the shower, in the form of the random thought, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if I were to blink and suddenly find myself under a waterfall? I could be a Waterfall Princess!"

As for visual inspiration, this book was mostly plotted by the time that I discovered Pinterest, and skimming down my Rizkaland Pinterest board, I'm not seeing anything that really influenced the plot. Well, there's this pin ... 

{source} Clara likes rewording this quote.

Now, let's ask her brilliant characters (Clara and Andrew) a question. What's the most important thing you've learned on this journey? The most practical thing?

Clara: I'd say the most important thing I've learned is that I don't have to do it on my own. It's not the end of the world to have people relying on me, because I can rely on them right back, most of the time.

Andrew: I'd say the most practical thing I've learned is how to defend myself. It was rather useful, what with the war and all that.

This question is for Kendra, Clara, and Andrew: What is the best way to spend an evening after a long day of adventuring?

Clara: Curled up with a good book.

Andrew: With a good, homecooked meal.

Me: Good book and good food.

I really like how the common thread in that last question was food and books. I approve immensely. 

And now on to the cover reveal...

Ta-dah!

Ain't it purty? *grins* I won't gush.

About the book:
When the Lady Dragon does come,

Hold fast, do not fear, do not run.
Your Water Princess will fight,
Fire Prince will set all to right.
Each shall come from a Fall,
Their union will save you all.

Despite the fact that she's on track for competing in the Olympics, and he's practically raised his younger brothers since they lost their mom in a car accident, Clara Mandras and Andrew Stevenson are pretty much normal teens. They have normal hopes, normal dreams, and they live in a normal world.


All this is torn away from them when they are thrust into another world and declared Water Princess and Fire Prince. With no experience ruling a country, meeting each other for the first time, and being expected to fight the Lady Dragon – an evil sorceress plaguing the world of Rizkaland – Clara and Andrew are underprepared and inexperienced. Unless they learn to work together despite their standing opposition, Rizkaland's hope will be lost. 

What is to come will change their lives forever.

Where can you go to learn more about this book? I'm so glad you asked!


Check out Kendra's blog for more information on the blog tour for Water Princess, Fire Prince. Also, be sure to browse the following links! Water Princess, Fire Prince is all over the place! 

~ Available for kindle preorder: http://www.amazon.com/Water-Princess-Prince-Rizkaland-Legends-ebook/dp/B00YTQBTDI/  $2.99 the 19th and 20th ONLY (at which point I’ll put it up to its official price of 3.99)



About the lovely authoress:
Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairy tales and twisting them in new and exciting ways.  She's been practicing her skills on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years, "Finish your story, Kendra", is frequently heard at family gatherings.  Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children's tales that also glorify God and his Word. You can read more about her on her blog, knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com.

Monday, June 1, 2015

QQ: Not Heroes

My good friend, Melody, hosts a Quote Queste every month in which we writers get to enter a bit of writing based on a quote of her choosing. Even though this has been around for a bit, this is actually the first QQ I've participated in. Be sure to visit her blog to read more about QQ!


This snippet is from a story of mine that's still kinda in the works. Doesn't have all the kinks ironed out yet. But I am so insanely excited to write this book, and when I saw what Melody had posted for this month's inspiration for QQ (picture below), my thoughts immediately turned to this story. For those who are interested, it's called The David Team, but any more information will have to be found via this link

~*~*~*~

I rubbed my hand across the gun slowly. Even if I hadn't been looking at it, I could tell where each and every scar lay.

Isaac must have been watching me for I had not been pensive for long before my weapon spoke to me.

“Wake up, Johnny-Boy. It'll be alright.”

A small smile tugged at the corner of my mouth, but I didn't have the heart to let it grow fully.

Preliminary mission failed, Isaac switched tactics.

“Hear me, oh heroes!” the overhead light thundered. “Be ye of good courage and faith!”

It did the trick. I laughed, Drew laughed – even Cyril laughed. Alpha Richards was the only one who jumped. With a scowl, he turned on the troublemaker.

“Blast you, Isaac! I'm never going to get used to that!”

Isaac only spread his hands out in an innocent gesture. “Why accuse me? It's not my fault that the light has words of wisdom to impart on us!”

Alpha muttered something under his breath, but resolutely turned back to his weapons stash. Already, he'd put together a number of grenades that we'd be using during the mission. The vigorous training in using those and other explosives were now second nature to my fingers, but I still hated using them if I could help it. For a reason I could not explain, any mention of something exploding set my heart racing and my stomach hurting.

Even now, looking back to my small firearm, the only firearm the team liked to entrust to me, I still could not feel comfort. This gun had saved my life before, and I was certain it would save me again.

I hadn't noticed Drew walking over to me until his hand was on my shoulder. “Jonathan, are you okay? This is going to be the same as every other mission. Don't worry about it.”

I could only stare at the gun. “Am I doing the right thing?”

Drew cocked his head. “What do you mean?” He kept his voice low so that we wouldn't have to share the conversation with the rest of the men in the room.

“This.” I shook the gun a little, to emphasize my point.

Drew nodded. I didn't have to say much to make him understand – he was a homeschooler, after all. Perhaps the skill of quick understanding was part of their basic cirriculum. “We're not using these for fun, Jonathan,” he said. “We're using them to save people.”

“But at the expense of killing others?” I turned to him.

Drew's hazel eyes were steady. “Every one of the men and women coming against us knows what they fight for. They've made their choice. Nothing we can do will reverse that.”

I knew that, but somehow hearing it out loud made the argument seem lessened in my mind. My eyes fell back onto the gun. I had rubbed it so cleanly that I could now see part of my reflection in the side. “What would David have done?”

“What would Jesus have done?” Drew countered softly. “Jonathan, He died for those people we're trying to save. Some of them don't know how much He loves them. Shouldn't we give all to give them a second chance? Shouldn't we risk our lives to give them hope and a promise?”

“I don't regret that.”

“I didn't think you did.” He jostled my elbow. “This team was your idea anyway.”

{QQ Inspiration}
I continued to stare at my reflection. There was something haunting about my eyes, the jagged scar from a previous mission stale on my cheek, the skin pale from too much time underground.

“How did we get mixed up in this, Drew?”

He gave a wry grin. “God knew we needed to be a part of it.”

“But we're just kids. We're not supposed to be heroes. Alpha, Cyril... the others – they're all older. They know how to handle stuff like this.”

“And that's why we're not going out there alone, Jonathan.” Drew took both of my shoulders in his hands and turned him to face me. “We may be young, but God has gifted us with the talent to serve Him in this way. You have proved yourself worthy of your spot on the David Team again and again.”

“And your brain has helped almost every part of this mission.”

Drew shrugged. “I wouldn't say every part, but I like tinkering where I can. The point is, we're here because God placed us here. I know it's big and scary, but God knew we could handle it. I don't mean to sound boastful, but even though we're not as old and as experienced as some of the other members of the team, we can still make a huge impact. God's using us to bring people to Him. It's awesome just to think about, and I mean the awesome that just makes your mouth drop and your mind melt in an inspired mush. God had this all planned. And I couldn't ask for a better team than this.”

I grasped his shoulder in return with my free hand. “And neither could I.”

“Then let's go save lives.”

Drew hadn't spoken. Confused, we both dropped our gazes to stare at the suddenly loquacious barrel of my gun.

Isaac only grinned.

God bless! 
P.S. This quote is actually from May's QQ, and I'm kinda late in posting, but better late than never, right? I'm looking forward to what Melody's planning for June's QQ!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

In Summer!

Hey, guys!! I'm back!!

Oh, how I've missed you all! It just hasn't been the same not seeing those fun, quirky, thought-provoking posts from the wonderful world of blogging. Honestly, I feel like I've been gone for years rather than months.

Freshman year is behind me, done and dusted. At first, I was a little uneasy about going into college at twenty-one and being older than just about everyone in my class by a full three years, but God truly did amazing things this year. In all truth, the things He taught me this year couldn't have been learned if I had not been a freshman. Praise Him for His perfect timing! I did not understand before why things were happening the way they did, but He had a plan. God knew. And I grew because of it.

But enough about me. How have you guys all been? I've spotted quite a few good books having been published while I was away and I see there are a bunch more publications coming this summer, so I know you've been busy! This is shaping up to be a fantastic year for books!

I am hoping to try to self-publish Secret of the Hazel Tree this summer. A big task, I know. I still have a lot of editing to do and the release and all to plan, but I'm praying that God will just have His hand in this. I am very excited to share this story with you all. 

Anywhoz, I hope I will be quite active online this summer and get back in touch with all you wonderful people. I'm looking forward to a great summer!

And because this song is amazing... and very much stuck in my head right now. :)


God bless!

Friday, January 9, 2015

And Back Again... Plus Snippets

I had thought to be on Blogger slightly more than I was during Christmas break. However, too many things happened that kept me from my computer. Although I do not regret the wonderful things that I did, I do truly miss being a part of this awesome circle of the internet.

Break was marvelous (despite the fact that I was sick through most of it), with lots of epic things like CBC visits, snowball fights, catching up with what's happening in Maine, watching way too many favorite movies, eating more gingerbread cookies than were probably good for me, sleeping... you know. All the important stuff.

I had grand visions of getting a lot of writing done during break, especially since I have about zilch extra minutes to write on my stories during college, but that didn't exactly happen. I did put a bit more on Rebirth of a Legend, and before I begin my trek back to college for second semester, I'd like to leave you all with just a few snippets. Just because I love you guys, and because snippets would make this otherwise ghastly short post longer and more intriguing.


“And what mischief, pray, are you about?”

The steel voice spun Ceterra around. Lady Ikklinda Kadnil herself stood in the doorway with both hands planted on her hips, looking the very picture of disagreeableness and ill temper.


“Well?” She snapped.

~*~*~*~

“Lettie!”

Olette hushed herself and looked up to see Lyndee skipping down the large corridor toward her. “Pa's lookin' fer ya!”

“Right now?”

Her youngest sister grinned. “As soon as ya can come.” Her eyes twinkled with mischief. “What'd ya do wrong this time, Lettie?”

Olette brushed the question aside. “Nothin', Dee. I've been as sweet as peaches.”

~*~*~*~

Apparently, the bear was through accepting rocks and arrows. With a lunge, it fell back onto its feet. Then it ran straight at Ahmis and Davin.

Davin pushed his brother in the opposite direction. There was no more spreading out and confusing the monster now. “Go!”

The arrow wounds to the bear's body slowed him down, yet its powerful legs soon closed in on the two brothers. With every breathless step, Davin could feel the bear getting closer, and he knew if he turned around, he'd be looking right into the toothy maw of death. He was already tired from their journey, and only fear kept him going.

Just behind him, Ahmis cried out and stumbled. Brice gave a wild shout as he fell.

“Ahmis!”

Davin whirled. Bear or no bear, Ahmis couldn't die. Père, help us! But he knew of nothing he could do to stop the bear from tearing them both apart. Ahmis was too far away; there was no way to get both of them to safety in time.

~*~*~*~

The sandy-haired boy shook his head. “Nothing doing. It's morning, and time for you to wake up. I've spent the whole night buzzed with questions, and I need you to tell me what's going on.”

Ahmis pulled his blanket over his head. “Can't this wait until after breakfast?”

Brice yanked the covering away. “Breakfast can wait.”

For once, even Davin was surprised; it was rare that Bricentus Holloman found something more important than food.

~*~*~*~

The last book on the shelf held promise for, even though the title was worn illegible, it had that musty book smell Ahmis loved. Davin pulled it carefully from its place and blew a layer of dust off the top before he cracked open the cover. Inside, yellowed pages showed a detailed table of contents. He quickly scanned the list, and his eyes grew wide.

The Arrival and Action of Dragons?

Davin flipped to the assigned page and immediately frowned. A soft, jagged edge spoke of a hasty knife visit to the book, and the pages on the dragons were completely gone. Well done, Lord Vernd, he thought grimly. You really did cover everything. With a sigh, he reluctantly replaced the tome.

~*~*~*~

Axel wasn't certain whether it was the mothers or the young ladies themselves who had expressed interest, but he let the matter pass. A handsome, young captain in Vernd's army, son of an esteemed military veteran, and heir to a substantial fortune? He knew without a doubt that he was an excellent catch. What mother in Marndid would not be interested in a courtship?

He shifted uneasily. “Mother, I would really rather not discuss this. I truly do not want a wife. You'd be much better off trying to set up Dick.”

Klara, despite her fine gown, slumped. The tasteful fabric wrinkled so that Axel raised an eyebrow. “Dick's lack of fortune does not merit him well to the young ladies.”

“Nor does his lack of charm,” Axel said dryly. Awkwardness was not attractive in a man of Marndid.

“A true pity,” Klara sighed. “He is such a handsome lad. He would make any girl a fine husband.”

Axel doubted that physical appearance helped much with the quality of a husband, but he wisely let his mother speak on.

I'll see you all *cue Olaf* ... IN SUMMER!

God bless! 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking Back Over 2014...

It's hard to believe that 2014 is almost behind us. As I write this, my clock registers only 9 hours more before the calendar changes to 2015. Sufferin' cats! Who knew it could fly by so fast?

So what did 2014 look like for me? Well, as I did last year, I'd like to take the opportunity to do a quick review and let you all share the bits of adventures with me. I don't have the time to go in depth for this, but I'll just post a few highlights. 

~ I finished the first draft of Secret of the Hazel Tree at around 198,000 words

~ Hosted the Dear Love party for Valentine's Day (thank you to all the girls who helped out with that!)

~ Went to college (and survived the first semester!)

~ Worked the front desk at my dad's tech center

~ Heard selections from the Messiah live and loved it so much that I went twice :)

~ Met my third cousin, Friday

~ Went ice skating for the very first time in my life (I only fell down 5 times)

~ Became a Oncer with three other awesome people who all know exactly who they are; we all agree Maine is a very cool place

~ Watched Fiddler on the Roof for the very first time -- where has that musical been all my life??

~ Began way too many plot bunnies (I counted at least 10 that came out of 2014)

~ Hit 90 followers on Lianne Taimenlore (love you guys!!)

~ Wrote a Beauty and the Beast story for the Five Enchanted Roses contest (which I will unfortunately not be entering as the contest closed before I could get the entry in... oh, well)

~ Learned I had synesthesia 

~ FINALLY saw HTTYD2... and of course, it was months after it came out and everyone I knew and their sister had already seen it *growl*

Hope you all have a wonderful New Year's! I'll see you all in 2015!

God bless!

Monday, December 22, 2014

A College Story You Won't Want to Miss...

Hey, folks! I'm back!

I know, I know... you all missed me terribly. Please, don't ruin your keyboards by sobbing onto the letter keys. 

Okay, not really, but it sounded nice.

Anywhoz, I really did miss all of you, and I'm very muchly excited to be able to get back on for a few days and catch up on the months I've missed! How is everyone??

Random epic pic of The Hobbit... for which
I am truly excited!

College is fine, or at least it was, considering I'm not there anymore. Made lots of friends, learned way too much, acted obnoxiously... you know the drill. If you have questions concerning anything about my college experience (for the first semester, at least), please leave me a comment below and I will answer it within the next few days with a post. So, please leave me lots of comments! :)

But for now, I have a story for you. It's one of those heart-warming, Hallmark-type stories that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Or, I hope it will make you feel warm. Feel fuzzy... well, I'll leave that up to you.

So....

Once upon a time, I went to college. Among my classes was a course known as Computer Fluency which boasted a good two dozen students and a teacher who was incredibly smart and wonderful but forgot what the Start button was called. And among those two dozen students was a quiet chap known as (for sake of privacy) Friday. He sat two rows behind me, smiled at me when we passed on the sidewalk, and even ate once or twice with my cousins, sisters, friends, and me in the Dining Common. 

One day, I invited Friday to study with me and one of my cousins (Captain Oblivious) for the upcoming Computer Fluency tests. It was a rather big test, and although we really enjoyed the class, I was slightly dreading the test because I knew somehow that I was going to bomb it. The practical solution was to study, and what better way to study but with friends and cousins? Friday agreed, and with Captain and myself, we had one of the best study groups in the history of study groups. Needless to say, we all did smartly on the test. 

After that, Friday began hanging out with our group more. He enjoyed a lot of the same things we did -- epic piano music, LOTR, singing in choir, and a whole lot more. Before we knew it, he was becoming a fast and hard member of our group.

Then we became friends on Facebook. 

That afternoon, my mother called me while I was at lunch. "Hey, Kiri," she said (slightly paraphrased for the point of the story). "Who's this Friday kid you just became friends with? I think I might know him."

"Oh, he's a peach, Mom," I responded. "He's a lot of fun to hang out with."

"Good," my mother breathed a sigh of relief. "Because you might be related to him."

I think I nearly dropped the phone into my jello. "What?"

My mom wasn't sure how the connection was exactly, but she recognized his last name and stalked his page and recognized pictures of his dad and was generally excited about everything. I asked her for all the information she knew, which wasn't much, and armed with that piddly amount of knowledge, I marched off to Computer Fluency class. Friday met up with me just before class started, and I knew the time had come.

I took a deep breath. "Hey, Friday, I've got a really random question for you."

"Sure," he said. "Bring it on."

He had a cocky look on his face that clearly spoke of his opinion that I couldn't say anything to knock him off his guard. I was all too ready to prove him wrong. 

"Is your mom's name (removed for privacy's sake)?"

His expression froze. "Y-yes..."

"And your dad's name is (removed again)?"

I think I could have knocked him over with a feather at that point. "Y-yeah..."

"And you have an uncle called (removed, duh)?"

He shook the mindblown look off his face and tried to gather his wits. "Okay, that's creepy. How do you know all that?"

I merely grinned. "I think we're related."

And then the bell rang.

So, there we sat, Friday and I, going bonkers knowing we were related, but not exactly sure how the connection was there. Looking back at that class for both of us, neither one can exactly recall what the teacher said. We were too busy trying to draw mental family trees.

It was literally ten seconds after class that Friday tackled me. Not literally, you understand, because our college enforces a strict no-touching rule between guys and girls. But if he could tackle me, I think he might have.

"How are we related?!?"

We tried to talk about it for a few minutes but found no conclusion until Friday called his grandmother. She was muchly excited to discover Friday had found a distant relative and readily supplied us with half of the information we were looking for. I talked with her for a bit, and actually got asked to leave the library (the place where we were currently located) because our conversation got to be a little on the loud side. Hey! Unexpected family reunions involve some excitement and all that. Later, I called my grandmother and got the other half of the information, and together, Friday and I put together the family tree. 

Our great-grandparents (my great-grandfather and his great-grandmother) were siblings. 

Friday and I are third cousins. 
Friday and me.

*cue Disney's infamous song* It's a small world, after all.

Since then, Friday and I have become an epic set of partners in crime. I won't tell you here all of what we have done, but we definitely keep our college on its toes. That is, we would if it had toes. Imagine going to college and finding long-lost family!

So, the moral of the story is... family is epic. Especially third cousins. If you guys don't know your third cousins, you have no idea how much fun you're missing out on.

God bless!