Friday, April 29, 2016

Today I Am {5}

Hello, Blogger!

Ahhhh... it's been such a long time since I've seen this shade of orange. I mean, other than on some of the really uncomfortable chairs horrendously arranged in classrooms. :P

I'm popping on to say hello, and celebrate the end of a semester!! Well -- almost. Technically, my college still has a week of finals, but today is THE LAST DAY OF CLASS! And I'm so overwhelmed thinking that I'm just about done with my sophomore year and ultimately (Lord willing) halfway through with my undergraduate degree/college experience.

WOW!

*cue beginning celebration*
*also: the amazing skirt*

But since I don't have time for a full-blown blog post (finals are looming), I was hoping to catch up a little with people and give you a glimpse into what this year has looked like for me with a simple "Today I Am" post.

Here we go. I enjoy these. *grins*

{writing}
While in college, I have discovered it to be mostly impossible (not quite the same thing as *all* impossible) to write/edit/work on in any respect my novels. Very sad. However, this last semester, I had the great priviledge in being in Poetry Writing class, in which I learned how much I actually do kinda like writing poetry. My very last poem (turned in just yesterday) was on synesthesia, which I may share with you at some point soon. I have a very long rant about poetry and synesthesia planned. *Be ye warned.*

{reading}
TOO MUCH CLASSIC LITERATURE! In addition to Poetry Writing, I was also in Classical and Medieval Literature, which involved the reading of The Iliad, The Odessey,  the Oedipus Trilogy, The Aeneid, Metamorphoses, and Dante's Divine Comedy. I will admit I was prepared to not enjoy this class, but I actually found it to be one of the best lit classes I've taken so far. *surprise* And I enjoyed the reading. Well, most of it. The Iliad was my favorite. Lots of action and epic characters. I was so mad when Dante stuck Diomedes in hell inThe Inferno. You know what's worse than authors killing off your favorite characters? When multiple authors build up a character you love and then one buster has the nerve to come along, kill him, and stick him in the sphere of hell. I will stop my rant there.

{listening}
Lots of soundtracks. Soundtracks are my bestest friends while I've been studying. Pan (2015) has become a recent favorite. John Powell truly is amazing (HTTYD, anyone?)! Pirates vs Natives vs Heroes vs Chickens is probably one of my favorite songs... among like... seven.



{watching}
Studio C. *hides face blushed with shame* I can probably quote most of their episodes. Yes, I will classify myself as a fan. 
A big fan.
Probably a really big fan.

{learning}

How big my God really is. This is another post I'm hoping to write before too long. There has been a lot that the Lord has taught me this semester, and I'd like to share some of it with you. But not right now. It'd be waaaaaay too long.

{feeling}

Hungry. Meet your typical college student. You never realize how important crackers and peanuts can be until you're in college.

{anticipating}

GOING HOME SOON!! I am super excited to be home again this summer! I love being here at school, but there's just something about my own bed, real food, no alarm clocks, real food, no heavy backpacks, real food, and real food that really charms my soul. You know? AND I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE MY FAMILY!

{loving}
Whom? Oh, wouldn't you like to know? *winks*

Looking forward to this summer! Hopefully, I won't be too absent on this much-neglected sphere of the internet. 

God bless!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Brothers-in-Arms Cover Reveal

My friend Jack is publishing another book! And I have the great pleasure of participating in her cover reveal! 




About the Book: Can a Jew and a Nazi survive Hitler's Germany?


Franz Kappel and Japhet Buchanan never expected their friendship to be tested by the Third Reich. Friends from early childhood, the boys form an inseparable, brotherly bond. Growing up in a little German village, they escape most of the struggles of war until the day Japhet is banished from school for being a Jew, and later has a rib broken when other village boys beat him up. Franz learns he is putting himself in danger for spending so much time with Japhet but continues to stand up for his Jewish friend even at the risk to himself. Then one day their lives are shattered when they see first­hand that the price of being a Jew is dangerously high.


With the war now on their doorsteps, Franz and Japhet come up with a desperate plan to save their families and get them out of Germany alive. Leaving behind the lives they've always known, they move into Berlin with nothing to protect them but forged papers and each other. Convinced their friendship can keep them going, the boys try and make a new life for themselves while trying to keep their true identities and Japhet's heritage a secret. Taking his best friend's safety upon himself, Franz joins the Nazis in an attempt to get valuable information. At the same time, Japhet joins the Jewish Resistance, neither friend telling the other of their new occupations.


With everyone in their world telling them a Nazi and a Jew can't be friends, it is only a matter of time before they believe all the lies themselves, until neither is certain if they are fighting against a race of people or fighting for their homeland. Somehow they have to survive the horrors of World War II, even when all of Germany seems to be against them.


~*~*~*~

I know this is one book you will not want to miss. Jack is an amazing author, and I've absolutely loved any book of hers that I can get my hands on. *no joke* 

You can find more about this book at the following links:







~*~*~*~


About the Author:
Jack is one of those strange people who calls herself an Author. She spends a lot of her time writing and even less time editing. She likes to write about friendships which is partly how Brothers‐in‐Arms came to be. More than ten years in the making, this is the book she dreaded the most writing, but which also has the most meaning for her. When Jack isn't writing, which doesn't happen too often, she keeps busy with various other hobbies – such as reading, playing the bagpipes to the dread of her neighbors, and drinking tea – which might not be considered a hobby by most but which should be. She lives in a cabin in the woods with her dog and a library which isn't quite equal to Prince Adam's but will be given enough time and a secret doorway.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Happy November!

Wow! I feel like I haven't been on blogger in forever! *pulls up a chair and a mug of pumpkin spice coffee* How have you all been? I've missed you lovely peoples!

Wait... what? I didn't tell you? Yeah, I drink coffee now. Not black coffee straight out of the pot, mind you. No, that fancy, New-England style stuff that probably has more creamer and milk and sugar than coffee. 

Never in a million years would I think that I would be drinking coffee. But that's what college does to a body. And I'm finding, in a very strange way, I'm enjoying it.

I don't have much time to stop and chat, but I did want to assure you all that I am still very much alive. College is busy, but I am learning a lot. Plus, there's some brief moments to have fun and breathe, which is nice. I enjoy those moments. And then Thanksgiving break is only two weeks and two days away. *glorious sigh*

I desperately wish I could be stuck in the middle of NaNo with you all. Please feel free to drop me a comment below - let me know how your crazy month of writing is going, or what November has in store for you, or what the best way to drink coffee is! 

God bless!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Water Princess, Fire Prince (Book Review)



When Kendra was looking for advance readers for this book, there was absolutely no question in my mind. I'd already been waiting long enough to read it, so it was imperative to get my hands on it just as soon as possible.

Yes, it was that important.

And honestly, it blew me away. It was everything and yet nothing like what I had imagined. Wonderful. What did I like about it so much? Read on, Lizzy. (P&P reference because of reasons)

First of all, Kendra is fantastic when it comes to world building, and even though she's created so many different worlds for her stories, each one is unique and wonderful, and this one is no exception. Rizkaland and Klarand were just epically penned into being and I loved them. For one thing, it's not round. And the water comes in every color of the rainbow and each color has a different flavor and a different purpose. I'm afraid I had very many rainbow songs stuck in my head as I read this. But it was marvelous.

REALISTIC CHARACTERS! For once, we have two kids thrown into a strange world, and they react like a normal kid would! They don't automatically assume their standing and adapt perfectly. Nope. It takes them a bit of time to figure out what's going on, and even balk at what's expected of them. As much fun as it would be to be thrown into a new world, it would also be terrifying and strange, and Clara and Andrew were true to that impression.

Also -- I LOVED the shameless references to Alice in Wonderland, Narnia, The Prince and the Pauper, Pride and Prejudice, etc. There were probably many more that I didn't catch, but they were wonderful. You'd expect kids from our world to reference things from our world, right? Right! And the inside joke made me laugh out loud:

[Clara] sighed. "But now that you mention it, you're right. I just don't think this is a movie. Probably just a book."

"A book?"

"And, knowing our luck, not even one of the good ones. Probably some self-published work." She shook her head. "I'd hate to know what the cover art looks like. Probably some photoshop fail."

[Andrew] laughed. "That would be just our luck."

No, Kendra, it was most certainly NOT a photoshop fail. Still, this was probably my absolute favorite scene in the book.

 I also wanted to take a moment to say something about Clara. I'd been expecting her to be a warrior princess, but I'll admit I was a little skeptical. Warrior princesses tend to be very feministic, with the I-can-do-what-I-want-because-I'm-better-than-anyone-else attitude, and it really drives me bonkers. I don't enjoy heroines like that. But Clara wasn't. True, she was amazingly skilled at fighting. She has plenty of spunk, but even right from the beginning, she has a vulnerable side. There's no nonsense about her, but she has her own share of fears. Plus, she had some wonderful character development.

To be truthful, though, I will admit I was disappointed with the ending. While everything was monstrously satisfactory, I had anticipated a greater final battle with Amber. It was fine the way it was, but I was hoping for some more action, and I felt it wrapped everything up just a little too fast. 

Advisory: Fantasy violence. But quite suitable for the tone of the novel. I have no further need to elaborate.

Also, some romance -- there is a type of arranged marriage in here, and it takes a while for boy and girl to fall in love. They do share some kisses near the end of the story, after some physical contact (i.e. hand-holding, hugging, sleeping next to each other, etc.), but nothing inappropriate. There were also a few comments that I didn't care much for in regards to girls in bathtubs and in swimsuits, but they weren't very descriptive.  

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


*Please note: I received an advance reader's copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Where to find this novel? I'm so glad you asked. *grins*



Author Bio:
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.


P.S. I usually don't post book reviews on Lianne Taimenlore, as my book review blog is KiriBeth, but this was a special occasion. This review will be popping up later on that blog, so be sure to be on the lookout!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Water Princess, Fire Prince (Author Interview)


 


It is my very good pleasure to introduce to you all, Kendra E. Ardnek, authoress supreme, wonderful friend, and just a fantastic and fun girl. As part of the festivities this week surrounding the release of her latest novel, Water Princess, Fire Prince, I was granted a very special interview! 


Be on the lookout for my full review of this wonderful novel on Saturday!!

~*~*~*~

I know from a previous interview you mentioned a shower and a waterfall being the inspiration for the princess. What, pray, was the prince's inspiration? And why fire?
His inspiration were two simple little words: Love interest. Having declared this girl the Water Princess, I knew I didn't want full responsibility of this country to rest on her slim little shoulders. Why fire? Um, because it made a good contrast with water? I was young at the time.

Will there be other elements showing up in later books (as I found references to a series on your Pinterest board)?

Well, within the book itself, there is a Wind Prince and Leaf Princess. Beyond that, you'll have to wait and see. (Though, if you scan down the pinterest board, you'll see tags for at least a Light Prince, and a Flower Princess, but they're not in this book)

Who is your favorite minor character?
In this book? I'll go with Queen Kiona of Rizkaland. She's a character who I didn't exactly plan, but she walked into the book with a full-blown personality and a complicated backstory. She's fun to write, too.
 
If you could cast anyone (and I mean anyone) as the Water Princess and Fire Prince in a movie, who would you cast?
I know I want Eddie Redmayne for the Fire Prince, but I'm still considering my options for the Water Princess. My first choice was Annasophia Robb, but she's lost a bit of her baby face since then. One of my beta readers suggested Saxon Sharbino, and while she looks perfect, she's a bit too tall. Choices, choices, here.

What other stories do you think WPFP compares best to?
Hmm... Well, I do call the series itself a YA version of Narnia, because it has the same magic, and deals with similar issues, though in a more mature fashion.

There are also elements of Doctor Who.

Is the book's ending exactly as you pictured it when you began writing?
It's very different, because many of the circumstances changed over the course of writing (i.e. I moved the initial setting from Hawaii to Texas), but the heart's the same.

I know from experience how tedious editing can be. What did you find to help the process along as you edited this story?
A group of girls who beta read it for me and then started fangirling so hard, I gave them a secret group on Goodreads, and then a secret pinterest board.
 
~*~*~*~
And just one snippet of the story to whet your appetite. You're welcome.
 
“I’ll decide if there’s a quarrel or not,” the girl hissed. She spun back around to face Andrew. “I don’t believe it. You’re too clumsy to be the Fire Prince.”

Clumsy. Well, that was a new one.

“Well, I came out of the Firefall,” Andrew protested.

Her already narrow blue eyes narrowed even further. “So you say.”

Suddenly something clicked in Andrew’s head. She’d been quoting books from his world, including Alice in Wonderland. That meant that she must come from his world. And she fought. Very well.

“You’re the Water Princess,” he realized, wanting desperately to be wrong. She was gorgeous, and that was half the problem. The other problem was that she was staring up at him from the hilt of his sword.

“Well, well,” she said, with mocking surprise. “You can figure something out on your own after all. Yes, I’m the Water Princess, and I am not impressed.” She waved with his sword. “Turn around and march. I can ask questions of you far better at my own camp. And you, Lord Abraham, had best follow, unless you want me to give you a reason.”
 
~*~*~*~
 
Stop by Kendra's blog for the full tour schedule! You won't want to miss one moment of the fun!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Rizaland Legends - Book Two Title Reveal

First, a short tale from Kendra.

~*~*~*~

The Story Behind this Book:
Nearly ten years ago now, the first of the new Narnia movies released, and I got to see it in Theaters – actually, the last movie we got to see as a family. A friend of ours had also seen the movie, and had been converted to the Narnia fandom, and so as we were chatting about it, one of us had a brilliant idea – why don’t we make our own Narnia movie? We all loved acting, so it seemed like the most natural thing in the world.

As the eldest of that threesome, and the most adamant about the plot, I took on the responsibility of writing the script, then titled “The Giraffe, The Witch, and the Tunnel Tube.” At first it resembled Narnia fairly closely, the changes we made were for casting or prop reasons – we didn’t have a lion costume, we did have giraffe. We didn’t have a wardrobe, we did have a tunnel.

After several fits and starts, my mother told me that I needed to put it away and rehash it so it resembled Narnia less, perhaps make it summer instead of winter, a dragon instead of a witch. So, I followed her advice and managed to turn out my first finished work of any great length. It was quickly followed by a second draft, after I decided that I wanted to make some changes to the ending. A third draft quickly followed when I decided I wanted love interests.

As I finished this third script, I realized that it was far too complicated a story for me to hope to perform at that time. And since it had changed so radically from Narnia by that point, I decided to take the plunge back into novel writing. Shortly before NaNo of ’10, I finished this draft at twenty thousand words, and was terribly proud of myself – though I knew it needed work. However, I now had other story ideas on my plate that were demanding my attention – Bookania and the Ankulen – and I knew I needed to write and publish Water Princess, Fire Prince first.

So I set aside again. Oh I worked on it, here and there and in snippets – one or two scenes especially – but for the most part, it largely sat at the back of my mind festering and boiling.

It’s changed a lot since I started writing it, and this draft that I’m writing now has changed even more. It’s a powerful story that has come with me through some of my darkest years. I’m so thrilled to finally be at the verge of sharing it.

~*~*~*~

Introducing...

Lady Dragon, Tela Du

Are you as excited as I am? You should be. *grins*

Two girls with one face 
Two girls with twisted fate
One in purple, one in red
One shall speak the other’s death
Who shall win their final war?
Lady Dragon or Tela Du?

Amber, the Lady Dragon, has been promised fifty years ruling over Rizkaland, and it is time for her to claim it. Only one person stands in her way of ruling forever – the Tela Du, the girl who The last thing Petra wants is to have to fight and kill the Lady Dragon. What she wants is to have a normal life, and to prove that she isn’t insane for remembering sisters that no one else can.
 

~*~*~*~
Sneak Peak: 
At last Amber came to the men working this farm, a father and his two sons, she guessed, of human stock. They’d suit her purposes just fine. 

“Oh, good gentlemen!” she cried, filling her voice with pathos. “I’m so glad to have found you. Do these fields never end?” 

The father straightened and regarded Amber critically. “Well,” he said, after several long moments, “I reckon I can say that there are days I wonder the same, though with this drought, they aren’t nearly enough. Who may you be, Miss? It isn’t often we see strangers around here, especially not ones dressed as fine as you.” 

“Nor as pretty,” one of the sons commented. 

 Amber shot the boy an imperious glance. “I am married.” She’d already noticed the way they’d been staring at her while trying to look like they weren’t. She turned her attention back to the father. “I have traveled rather far from home, I fear,” she admitted. “Where I come from, there aren’t nearly as many colors, and the rim of this world curls away from me strangely.” 

 It took the man several seconds to process Amber’s speech. At length, he asked, “Did the Doorkeeper bring you to us?” 

This question took Amber by surprise, and for a moment, she was rendered speechless, as her conversation with Laura echoed through her head. She quickly recovered herself, however, and shook her head. “No, I cannot say that she did.” 

And it was true, Amber admitted bitterly to herself. For all the travels she made and grand stories she produced, Laura had never taken Amber anywhere. Amber had been forced to make her own escape both times her world fell. 

“Well, perhaps she did and you just didn’t see her, I hear that she can be mighty sneaky at times.” The man shook his head. “But from the looks of your dress and jewels, I’m willing to say you were someone mighty important where you come from. A princess, maybe?” 

“Queen.” Amber drew herself to her full stature. 

“I see.” The man nodded. “Well, after our last few hard winters and scorching summers, we scarcely have enough to call a fitting meal for royalty, but you’re welcome to come stay at least the night with us before we send you to Loray to meet our own kings and queens. You said you were married, didn’t you?” 

She nodded, “I am.” “So your husband?” 

“Accompanied me, but he lacks my ambition.” 

“I see,” said the man. “Welcome along then, my dear – I mean, your highness. I don’t think I quite caught your name.” 

“I don’t think I gave it to you,” she replied.



~*~*~*~

Be on the lookout for more of the Rizkaland Legends this week on Lianne Taimenlore! I will be doing an interview with Kendra on Thursday, and then also posting a full review of Water Princess, Fire Prince on Saturday!
 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

QQ: In Someone Else's Dream


Marita rubbed her eyes and scowled at the sunlight streaming through the window. Morning already? It can't be.

She was tired enough to border on cranky, but that wouldn't do. The craftsmaster at the palace would be sure to notice if she even brushed against cranky. No - better get up and make the most of it.

The morning would have been better if she had gotten more sleep. For some odd reason, her eyes had snapped open a few hours before dawn, and try as she might, she couldn't doze back off. Maybe I'll skip going to the cave tonight and get to bed early. The thought was tempting, even when she considered how much she wanted to be at the cave.

Inga Kadlec stirred as Marita rolled off her pallet. "Grandmother, are you awake?"

"I am now."

"Do you need something?" Marita stifled a yawn.

"No, I - darling, are you alright?"

"Of course."

Her grandmother eyed her carefully. "You look exhausted."

 Marita shrugged it off. "I didn't sleep well last night. I woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep."

Inga's brow wrinkled. "I wonder if it is true, then."

"What's true?"

"The legend. It says that when you can't sleep at night, it's because you're awake in someone else's dream."

Marita snorted. "That's nonsense."

"I'm not so sure it is," Inga said. "You didn't sleep last night."

"And?" Despite herself, Marita was curious to see where her grandmother was going with this.

"I dreamed about you last night."

"You dreamed about me?"

Inga nodded. "You were in the woods. I told you to remember your shoes at least a dozen times, but you were sill barefoot."

Marita smiled. "Are you sure this was a dream, Grandmother?"

"Oh, yes, dear. Because your hair was brushed."

Marita's hand flew up to her tangled curls. Yes, that must have been a dream. "What was I doing?"

"You were dancing. And singing."

"I usually whistle."

QQ July Inspiration
"But you were singing this time. I don't know what the song was, but it was very pretty. Almost haunting, in a way. There were birds with you, too. And rabbits and squirrels in the thicket. And I think there was an owl sitting in a hollow tree nearby."

"Was that it?" Marita asked.

Inga stopped, lost in thought, a thought that had the promise to be pleasant.

"Grandmother?"

"There was a young man there, too."

Marita sat down on the edge of the bed. "Who was it?"

"I don't know. I'd never seen him before."

"What did he do?"

Inga was silent for a full minute before she spoke again. "He danced with you."

~*~

It had been a week since her grandmother's dream, and still Marita couldn't get it out of her mind. I've never danced with a young man before in my life. I've never even danced before! Where would she have picked up an idea like that?

She rolled over and adjusted the blanket covering her legs. And I wonder what I was singing? The question came to her so many times a day, and yet there had been no answer. She might have been singing a number of different things. Who could know for certain? Inga probably wouldn't recognize the song unless she heard it again.

Her pallet felt unnaturally hard tonight. Maybe that's why it was taking so long to get to sleep. And it was too hot. Marita kicked the blanket off. That was better.

She lay still for a few minutes. Then she rolled onto her back. The cottage around her was dark -- the perfect darkness for a good night's sleep. 

The pallet was still uncomfortable. Marita flopped herself over onto her stomach. Maybe this position would be better. 

I am tired! Why can't I fall asleep?

It was after another half hour of twisting and flopping that Marita gave up. Some heroine I'd make -- can't even fall asleep!

Inga snorted in her sleep across the room, and Marita hesitated. Is she dreaming about me again? Is that why I can't sleep? It might be nice if she'd stop dreaming about me. 

A yawn overtook her, and she settled on the pallet once more. An hour passed. Then two. Her eyelids grew gradually heavier and heavier, and though she yearned to doze off, sleep was slow in coming. Marita's breathing steadied, her mind wandered into a delicious fog, and then -- 

Her eyes closed of their own accord.

~*~

At the exact same moment, Felix bolted upright. 

"Marita!"

The cold, stone wall of his chamber mocked the fire that had just consumed him. All was still and silent, yet he could hear the echo of her cry ringing in his ears. 

Felix tried to calm his racing heart. "Go back to sleep. It was just a dream. Just a dream."

Be sure to visit Melody's blog for more Quote Queste fun!

God bless!