Sunday, November 10, 2019

Know the Novel: Renewal of Spirit

Check out the other entries here!
Alright, we're doing this.
Because I need to up my word count. XD


1. How’s the writing going overall?

Better than I expected. Not as well as I would like (I had 2 days of writing zilch), but better than expected. 

2. What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?

Editing/making my scenes readable. The initial writing is torture, essentially vomiting words out so that Karen (who is currently level 28) doesn't die. But, if I didn't have Not-A-Block to motivate me this time around, I would probably still be tweaking plot/structure things rather than getting any actual writing done.

3. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?

They've all come a long ways from draft 1, for certes.

Notah's POV scenes are fun, because I get to channel my inner grump. Plus, I enjoy having my little brother be a part of the process (he's gotten into grandiloquent words lately, and quite frankly he can recall words/definitions off the top of his head faster than I do.)

4. Has your novel surprised you in any way?

Mmm...kind of? There have been a few realizations ("oh she's not really like that, she's more like she was in this earlier draft"), but no big surprises. *hastily adds* SO FAR. I see y'all convening over there. Git! Back to your scenes!

5. Have you come across any problem areas?

Corinna. For whatever reason, her motives and theme have been hard to nail down.

I thought I had all of her stuff nailed down to the bone. Then I talked with a writing mentor, who asked, "So what does she want? Like, really want? Outside of the plot?"
I had no answer, I'm ashamed to say.
Now I do (autonomy), but it still needs some tweaking before it's solid enough to guide her.

6. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?

To get colloquial: I ain't counting my chicks/dragons before they hatch. The fact that I'm doing actual writing is enough of a victory for me right now.

7. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?

Probably...uh, Notah, to be honest. :P

Nope! I'd totally be the selfish, story-obsessed hermit that he is. Because I would be him, and I wouldn't be me in his body. If I were me in his body, on the other hand, yes, I most certainly would make different choices. Because I would be me, and would have less fear of bodily harm because of all of his abilities. Getting out and doing crazy things would also be easier since I would be wearing someone else's face. Plus, I would be operating under the most likely misguided notion that even if I die, I would be fine, because I still have my own body to return to. Sorry, Notah.

8. Give us the first sentence or paragraph then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!

I've shared the entire opening already, so instead here's the beginning to some backstory/possible prequel. Or something in the second chapter, depending on whether or not I rearrange it; I have tremendous trouble in getting stories from start to finish without altering something in the structure.
From her vantage point on the thatch roof, Corinna looked at the town that twined through the striated mountain slopes. Men, women, and children wandered among the mostly uniform houses—daub, thatch, some with wooden beams. The houses went down to the base of the valley.

The walls that bordered each section of the town, tall though they were, wouldn’t last long against the beasts. Sabotaged from within, the notes that pulled solid stone from the earth had been mixed with notes of clay and sand by those within the pay of the Witch Aranka. These walls would be easy for the elephants to break down. Even easier for the bandersnatches to break through, to tear up the mountain in their ascent to Music Hall at the peak.
I don't know why I like this description so much. Maybe it's because it's contrasted by the stone behind it (slate grays/blacks)?
Grass sodden with dew despite the noon heat bent beneath her steps. Honeysuckle, lavender, mandrake, and Lady’s Mantle bent closer towards the path she hadn’t even realized she’d been following. The air above her shimmered.
I just like the vibe of this paragraph. 

“If you say so.” He turned to see how the finches were doing. Two of them were tangled in a messy braid. The other three had gone off further into the room, chirping in the dark. Trying not to laugh, he stood and began untangling the two from his hair. “You’re obviously no help here, little devils, so go find me someone who believes that riches will fill the tombs of their hearts, want a spouse that was never meant to be theirs, or…” He paused. “…or a plant from a Witch’s garden.”
Fingering his hair, he watched the finches flit away. His hair shimmered. Voices that belonged to faces he’d never seen echoed in his head.

9. Share an interesting tidbit about the writing process so far! (For example: Have you made any hilarious typos? Derailed from your outline? Killed off a character? Changed projects entirely? Anything you want to share!)

Uh, for one or three days I procrastinated and drew up a world map. It's a small world, with only one continent (so far) a smidgen bigger than Australia. But, it goes through every latitude, so it has everything from desert to jungle.
One thing that surprised me in the making of it: there are no mountains. A volcano or two, plus a small collection of hills, but no mountains. The way I arranged the plates made it so that there's one ginormous canyon that splits the continent nearly in two, and a fault line near the bottom.
I've never written a fantasy setting without mountains before, and will have to alter some description because of this odd discovery.

10. Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this novel looks like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough, cough*)? Tell all!

Wake up. Eat. Work. Return home. Pound out as many words as I can (I've found it's easier to write 200-600 words at a time, rather than 1K+ all at once.) Sleep. Repeat.

On my days off, I wrote sporadically throughout the day: while I have my breakfast shake, after lunch, after chores, etc.
When I'm reluctant to write a scene, Fighter's Block helps keep me from being distracted and perusing Pinterest or trying to design an aesthetic/find that *one* bit of scenery that would totally fit this current location.
I have two types of music that I listen to: lyrical, and instrumental. Lyrical is primarily for editing, instrumental is for writing. Check out the Music for the Muse tab above!
Also, apologies for the funky fonts, I'm trying to figure out why Blogger is doing this...

Friday, October 11, 2019

Reblog: iamcharlesbakerharris, Tolkien

Of Crowns and Kings and Elves and ThingsBuckle up, lads . . . it’s time to talk about Tolkien!!! What brought on this PARTICULAR bout of Tolkien musing, you might ask?  Well, it’s pretty simple.  People be out here tellin’ me you need to read Tolkien if you want to write good fantasy.
And I, er, am not on board with that?
Imma just say that, as a Tolkien lover, I agree with everything this lovely lady has to say. Tolkien, while amazing (I LOVE extensive worldbuilding), has cast a huge shadow over Fantasy, to the extent that most of it seems to be a messy regurgitation of his imagination. Elves used to be creepy midgets before he came along, y’all. Just...something to keep in mind.
Regal elves are well and good, but they’re not the only kind of elf around. Take the LotR predecessors in the Silmarillion. *snicker* (I will link to a two-panel comic illustrating this as soon as I am able.)
I would also like to say that this post gave me a few random components that may or may not become a story:
-A medieval village/hamlette/fief/whatev.
-A mountain, and a shadow you can never leave (well, you can but it’s frowned upon to the extent that guards will attempt to slay you if you try)
-A heck of a lot of rule-breaking outside of said shadow
Crud. Looking at it written out makes me realize that I could totally fit this into a partially-formulated story featuring a spoiled rich-kid who wants to be an adventurer (and actually has the skills to do that), a jaded bard, and a swordsman who would just as gladly feed an orphan as behead a king. Or maybe it was a bard who would behead a king, and a jaded swordsman...
I’ll have to check my notes, but I think one of them is a Scot/Scot equivalent (I’m pretty sure it’s the sword guy).
Anyways. Read the article.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

"Would You Rather..." Tolkien Edition

I'm a bit late for the blog party, but these questions are too good to pass up! So onward...

Click to head to Hamlette's blog!

Would You Rather...

1.  ...join Thorin's Company or the Fellowship?
Thorin's company, if only because the awesomeness of the Fellowship would overwhelm me to the point of being a star-struck idiot. XD
Once the initial excitement wears off, I think being with the dwarfs would be more like being around my family. Plus, if I were with the Company, I'd stand a chance at meeting Beorn. Do I need to specify why it would be awesome to hang out with a were-bear hermit who tends giant honey bees?

2.  ...ride Shadowfax or an eagle?
Can I volunteer someone else who would enjoy this to ride one or the other? Because I hate heights, and speed in general. :P
But, if I absolutely have to eagle. If I have to be that high up in the air, I want it to be on a sentient being who is more or less invested in my survival. Methinks something crazy would have to happen for an eagle to even consider being friends with me, though. I'm not exactly "epic" material. XD

3. through Moria or Mirkwood?
It would totally depend on who's with me, because by Melian's Girdle, there's NO WAY would I go into either alone. It would also depend on the time period. I'd love to see both in their heyday.
Ooh, wait; the Mines of Moria (Khazad-dûm), or the Mountains of Moria? If we could stay on the mountain range, and had plenty of supplies, definitely the Mountains. Though, partying with elves sounds like fun, too...can we do both? Mountains first, then on to Mirkwood as a celebration (assuming it hasn't been overrun by dark ilk and is still populated by elves)? X-)

4.  ...learn to make elvish rope or mithril chainmail?
If I knew how to lasso, I'd say elvish rope.

5.  ...try to outwit Smaug or Saruman?
Ahahahaha. Ahaha. Oh you're serious. Smaug, then. I wouldn't mind my epitaph being "Slain by Smaug, Last of the Great Dragons." Just so long as whatever fumble I made that led to my demise isn't included. Unless it was a slip of the tongue that would be hilarious in hindsight. In which case by all means, laugh atop my grave. I'll be laughing with you.

6.  ...spend an hour with Grima Wormtongue or Denethor?
Grima. I wouldn't be able to resist trying to defenestrate Denethor, or smack him upside the head with a spear shaft, both of which would likely land me in prison or warrant an immediate execution. But if I did it to Grima, he would have been asking for it, and I wouldn't feel guilty for doing something to him before the event of nastiness that made him infamous (assuming that time travel of some sort is necessary for this meet-up). Plus, I would be able to turn to Eomer for sanctuary.

7.  ...attend Faramir's wedding or Samwise's wedding?
Probably Sam's, since it would be more informal than Faramir's wedding. I'd be able to learn to dance, try out Hobbit food, and generally not have to worry about dropping things or getting stains on my outfit.
(*cough* I'd also be able to feel tall. *cough*)

8.  ...have to care for the One Ring or the Arkenstone for a day?
Is it weird that I'd want the One Ring? Just to see how long I'd be able to resist its call?
It probably wouldn't be that long, as I'd totally use it to avoid unwanted conversations or make mischief at work.

9.  ...have tea with Bilbo or Frodo?
FRODO! Bilbo's awesome, but my poetry skills are horrendous (c'mon, talking to Bilbo, poetry's going to come up at some point), and I'd embarrass myself sooner rather than later. I think Frodo would be more chill, and we could swap legends and other stories without having to worry about the input of an actual legend (assuming that this is before Frodo's adventures. Hmm, I'm assuming a lot of things today...).

10.  ...fight alongside Boromir or Eomer?
Ooh. Uh. The most likely scenario with either of these: me sticking so close, that I become a tripping hazard. XDI would like to fight with Eomer, if only so after the fight we could brainstorm ideas to kidnap/otherwise aid Eowyn (and possibly enact revenge/concoct capers that would distract and keep Grima away from her.)

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Language of Worlds: Renewal of Spirit

The Language of Worlds 1
Click to head to Liv's blog!
I came across this linkup on Nicki Chapelway's blog (check out her post here, it's great), and decided to take part. Though I'd originally been intending to finish this in August, that...well, it's October now, so obviously that didn't happen. XD

The Questions

1. How long have you been writing this story?

Over a year, I believe. It was originally intended as an entry to Kendra Ardnek's Golden Braids Arista Challenge. However, I missed the deadline. Since I was no longer under a time constraint, I decided to expand what was intended to be a short story into a novel/novella. I'm not sure which it'll be yet; it's between 5 and 10K right now. My current goal is novella length, around 30K words.

2. Who’s your favorite character? Why?

Braxton. Because he's a rambunctious side character, and I love rambunctious side characters. Plus, he's a part of this world's equivalent of Aussie culture. Do I need more reasons? XD

3. Which character do you consider the “goodest of the good”?

Corinna, even though she sees herself as a despicable being for using the Taide outside of its appointed time and for serving Aranka. She knows what's right, what's wrong, and does her best to minimize Aranka's damage.

4. Which character is the “baddest of the bad”?

The Witch Aranka. She's manipulative and vitriolic. She also knows that what she's doing is wrong (enslaving others, using the Taide--which is what this world's "magic" is called--for selfish purposes, etc.), but doesn't care. Some part of her does want to be stopped, though, so I'll give her that.

5. If you were to have tea (or coffee!) with one character, which one would you pick? Why?

If I was in the mood for a chat/being chatted at, and didn't mind having to bring along a dictionary, probably Notah. He loves stories/legends/history, doesn't get out much, and would be delighted to have someone to listen to him.
If I wanted quiet, then the Witch Kamille. So long as you don't harangue her, try to kidnap Notah, or comment on the food she likes to eat, she's pretty chill. For a Witch.

6. Describe your storyworld.

At the risk of getting into too much detail, here we go!
For starters, all of its inhabitants are elementals. Even the animals, to some extent, have control of certain elements. If they didn't, they wouldn't be able to survive the Turning, which is the storyworld's rough equivalent of a year.
The races are the Haize (aye-say), the wind elementals; Clann Smàlaidh (smuh-lade or smay-lite), fire elementals; and finally the Miltaides (mil-ti-ah-des), earth elementals. There are also water elementals, but I haven't come up with a race name for them yet, since they don't play an active role in RoS. Plus there's a bit of lore about water and ice elementals that I'm still working out. Also, yes, I find myself misspelling things quite often. XD
But, I think it's worth it.

Each elemental group is split into sub-groups, with each group taking on a different role during the Turning (Breakers, Planters, Incinerators, etc.). With their variety and expansive talents, the Miltaides make up a majority of the population, with the most sub-groups: earth, gems, and plants, each of which can be split down further!
Oh, the races have their own name themes (and by extension, culture), as well. Here are the current combos: Italian/Basque/Native American; Celtic/Danish/Greek/Medieval English; Germanic/Scottish/Australian.

The Turning is an event which all sentient beings partake in--the destruction and remaking of the world. The state of the new world is dependent on the application of the Taide throughout the year. For example, if there were more Witches than usual during that year, the new world is darker, more dangerous, and harder to live in. Witches also are more powerful, and can summon beasts from the depths that normally wouldn't bother those living above-ground. Usually, the Smàlaidh guard these beasts and prevent them from leaving their underground homes, but if a Witch summons them, those beasts are making it past the guards one way or the other.

7. You’ve fallen into your book! Which place would you be happiest at?

The world is completely remade every Turning, so anyplace with pretty forests/lakes/rivers, interesting rock formations, and Smàlaidh (their application of the Taide is unmatched cooking skills). Though, the Smàlaidh tend to live underground/in the center of the earth, since they remain in their elemental forms unless they take a long and grueling journey to the surface, so I probably wouldn't have much luck in finding them above-ground...

8. Which place would you like to avoid at all costs? (Or, explore to know its secrets a little bit better?)

I'd definitely avoid wherever Aranka ends up. She's the most powerful Enslaver (a type of Witch) around, and so the land around wherever she ends up settling is rank with poisoned life (monsters, poisonous/semi sentient plants, vitriolic land a-la Faerie).

9. Share an aesthetic! I couldn't figure out a way to use images from my Pinterest board, and the way this is arranged makes it look like a romance, which it originally was, but now it's not. Everything else I tried to add made it look like a love triangle or a hodgepodge of who-knows-what.
You'll have to be satisfied with this. :P
The top half is Notah and his current environment, the bottom Corinna and hers.
Edit: I managed to find a couple quotes I pinned that don't appear to be copyrighted, so I added them to the aesthetic in the hopes that it wouldn't be so depressing (because the story isn't that depressing, really.) I don't think it worked. XD

10. Share a snippet!

The six Numerals bathed everything in a crisp orange light that cut through most shadows. Every so often, beneath vibrant green canopies or among crimson canyons, she passed travelers. They treated her much as the villages did—they either ignored her, or chased her off.
Her tired steps led her to a dull brown canyon, the colors subdued despite the energetic Season’s light. The shale-like walls contrasted with the solid grey of the boulders that scattered the canyon floor.
Corinna sucked in a breath. The sound echoed and rebounded, amplified tenfold. Another sound, a voice not her own, came back with it. She dug her fingers into her cheeks to keep herself from making any further sound. Who knew what kind of beasts lurked in this place?
A wheat-red fox dashed out, nearly eliciting a scream from her.
Cautiously, she continued forward. The canyon walls changed appearance: instead of being as jagged as a piece of broken wood, they looked like a piece of cloth, with wrinkles and folds and crevices. One of the crevices seemed to be a window. Corinna glimpsed something the color of the sun within.

She entered the mountain’s shadow and shivered. The song was louder, echoing among the folds of stone. “Hello?”

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Language of Worlds: Renewal of Spirit

I was wondering why this linkup looked so familiar, then realized that not only have I read other participant's links before, but I had tried to join the linkup for the last segment, and didn't get around to finishing it. *headdesk* It's almost finished, though, and it focuses on worldbuilding (which I worked so hard on), so I might post it anyways at some point...
For this set of questions, I've chosen the character Notah, because he's been cagey and annoying me. Since he doesn't trust me to summarize things properly, he'll be responding in dialogue. XP

The Language of Worlds 1
Click to head to Liv's blog!

The Questions

1. Your character is in crisis! Who is the first person they turn to?

"My life is a crisis. Save for the exiguously exciting embrace of stories, I have no one."
"The acerbic avian that was, without my consent, given a ridiculously childish name doesn't count. It can't really do more than bring me the aforementioned stories."
"Yes. That name. I hate it."

2. Who has their unconditional loyalty?

"No one. People are stupid. Though admittedly, they are fun to watch. A few heroes have my admiration and respect, but most of them are dead."
*flap of wings* *Your fault!*
"ONCE. And I apologized."
Wait, what?
"An episode of my life you needn't concern yourself about at the moment, scribe. Moving on, please."

3. What cause do they believe in? Why?

"Oh. That's...a question I'm not sure I can answer. Living one's life alone with no means of escape may leave one with plenty of time for soul-searching, but not much by way of material to muse over."

4. Are they easy to get along with?

"I'm locked in a tower, and have been for most of my life. So probably not."
"No one asked you, bird."
*wings striking against someone* *muffled exclamations* *irascible caws*
"If you value this--ech! ow!--interview, scribe, help me!"
*after scrambling about in the darkness, crisis averted*

5. Are they a night owl or morning dove? (Or “weird daytime pigeon”?)

"A question about birds when we've just expelled one. Wonderful. What does that even mean?"
To rephrase the question: how much do you value your sleep?
"Any who disturb my slumber are begging to be beshrewed."
You mean cursed? I thought you hated curses and Stagnation.
"I would be willing to make an exception."

6. What do they consider most vital to their health? Are they right?

"Tales of heroism, wit, and strange encounters are the only things keeping me from despair. Tell me, am I right in saying that they're vital to keeping me alive?"
Er, yes, in that your race--the Haize--are intrinsically linked to stories, and are meant to either weave--
"Don't strain yourself in an attempt to be poetic."
--or find and relate them. No, in that you won't die if stories are long in coming. You'll just get cranky. Not that you're not already a crank, and yes I'm ignoring your comment.
"Yet you answered it, first by acknowledging its existence, then by stating your reaction to it. If you had just been quiet--"
Moving on.

7. What was their childhood fear?

"Being kidnapped by a Witch. Oh, wait, that's what happened to me. You are conveying my sarcasm, yes? I fear nothing."
Except for contact with others.
"I don't fear it; I'm understandably trepidacious."
Is that why you sang a...whatever this is, into the room?
"Are you really so dense? It's darkness. Easy enough to pull together, especially with the Witch's Stagnation lingering outside. I've no wish for you to see my face."
Why? Are you hideous?

8. What do they have nightmares about?

"Nightmares? Hmm, being reunited with my people, I suppose. Those are the only dreams that move me to tears. That's what nightmares do, isn't it? Or are they supposed to leave you trembling, short of breath, perhaps angered? In which case, my life is a nightmare. Now go away. Two more questions? Bah, proceed."

9. What sights/sounds/smells remind them of home?

"My home lies in a realm separated from the physical world. And yet, everything tugs at my senses: calling me to hear a song that isn't there, to sense a presence that I cannot reach, to become part of a dance that my body is no longer capable of. Flesh and blood are repugnant and restrictive, I don't know how anyone can define such a...a tethered existence as 'normal.' As an aside, the scribe keeps misspelling words such as "existence" and "embarrassed," despite owning a device that tells her how to spell correctly. There, now they know a tidbit about you that's somewhat personal. Last question."
At least I can spell. And read.
"I refuse to examine the pressed and mutilated bodies of dead Planters. Last question, before I change my mind."

10. What do they love most about themselves?

"What sort of banal question is this?! What does it matter what I so much as think about myself, let alone love about myself? What if anything worthy of love is nowhere to be found?"
I take it you loathe this question the way I loathe the question "how are you doing?"
Yup. Don't ask, then I don't have to think about it.
"Just so."
Now, how am I supposed to leave? Stumble around until I fall out the window?
"You're the one with the power to shape worlds. Do you not have the power to leave whenever you wish? Hmm, I wouldn't object to your suggestion. If you would like a fast exit, I could defenestrate you."

Monday, September 2, 2019

Reblog: The Silmaril Awards

This Year's Awards: The fourth annual Silmaril Awards are live. Below you’ll find the links to all of the pages where you can go to nominate your favorite fantasy characters. All you have to do is leave a comment with the name of your character and what book he or she is from.

AboutThe Silmaril Awards are all about celebrating fantasy fiction. But whereas most awards go to authors or books, these awards go to the characters themselves! Sound like fun? Read on.

This year's Silmaril Awards have begun! I'm stoked to finally be present in the blogosphere in time to participate in this event! So just giving the event a bump (and also putting the links someplace I hopefully won't lose track of :P), and encouraging you to nominate and second your favorite fantasy characters!
So far I've only seconded other's nominations. I'm going to nominate some lovelies as soon as I can take a few hours and comb through my books to make sure I'm remembering and spelling characters' names correctly. :P

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Reblog- Story Embers: Three Ways to Avoid Stagnating Your Skills as a Storyteller

Three Ways to Avoid Stagnating Your Skills as a StorytellerMany of us, myself included, struggle to break away from the types of stories we gravitate toward. We assume that we need more training before we can tackle a different genre or point of view. But expanding is one of our responsibilities as writers, and it’s a precursor to growth!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Golden Braids Blog Tour: Rebekah's Refuge

A friendly retail PSA: not all retail workers are out to annoy you and withhold your food. We want you to take our food, that's why it's there; for you to buy, consume, and (hopefully) enjoy. There are the occasional few workers who don't like people (why did they choose a retail job? No clue). Don't worry, they'll be gone within a week (usually. Unless they work at Walmart--no idea why the stereotype is so accurate, but it is--or somehow sequester themselves in a management position, in which case we'll look the other way if you happen to key their car or something). Just something to keep in mind when you shop.

Today, we have a character spotlight, from the book Rebekah's Refuge! First, a bit about the book:

Click to purchase!
Book Blurb:

Never allow a stranger to buy you anything. Never reveal what you truly are. Above all, never, ever allow your hair to be cut.

In a plague-ravaged world, people will stop at nothing to find a cure. Rebekah is a young norn who on the run for her life. Charles, a man desperate to heal his ailing wife, wants the life-giving magic contained in Rebekah's hair.

When Rebekah’s path crosses with Martha’s, a mother who has lost her daughter to the same man, secrets will be revealed. Buried fears will be resurrected, and the conflict between norns and humans may cause devastating havoc. Will Rebekah and Martha find a way to help both human and nornkind, or will Rebekah’s pursuer capture her? Will the plague be eradicated, or is a more sinister plan at work?

Things are not how they appear in this story of finding a place to belong. Rebekah’s Refuge is a tale of sacrifice, love and courage. You will meet many individuals, human and norn alike, who bear scars, scars that cannot be seen. A tenuous thread binds their destinies together, but threads, like hair, can easily be cut. Only those who listen can find the courage to fight. Rebekah’s Refuge is a tale of desperation and hope, a story of turmoil and healing.


Meet Martha:

Martha Brunswick is a stout, soft-spoken woman with a careworn face and a kind heart.  She loves to bake and spend time outdoors.  She lives in Plumvale, a rather commonplace town.  Her husband was a banker, so Martha’s house is large.  Martha’s time is spent volunteering with charities and other tasks of a helpful nature.  The activities provide Martha with something to keep her occupied and serve as an escape from her inward turmoil.

Martha is not a stranger to tragedy.  She lost her husband to a plague outbreak.  She has also lost someone very dear to her, a fourteen-year-old daughter who vanished without a trace.  Martha knows the name of Laura’s captor, but no trace of her daughter has ever been found.  As months pass, Martha’s desperate hope continues, but her loneliness grows ever stronger.

When Martha meets a blind norn on a train, she is immediately drawn to her.  She resembles Laura in so many ways.  When an accident occurs and the norn reveals that she has no where to go that is safe, Martha offers to help her.  Rebekah and Martha need each other, but will they be able to work together, or will the division between norns and humans destroy all?

About the Author:

Meredith Leigh Burton is a voracious devourer of fairy tales. She is a motivational speaker, teacher and writer. She attended the Tennessee School for the Blind and Middle Tennessee State University, where she received a degree in English and theater. Meredith hopes to convey through her writing that people with differences can contribute much to the world. "Snow White" has always been her favorite fairy tale. Meredith has written another fairy tale based on "Snow White" entitled Hart Spring, which can be found in her anthology, Blind Beauty and Other Tales of Redemption. She resides in Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Find her online at: Goodreads || Amazon

Today's Tour Stops:

Knitted By God's Plan - Five Reasons to Read
Light and Shadows - Five Reasons to Read

The Language of Writing

Dreams and Dragons - Meredith

Character Spotlights
Reality Reflected - Rebekah
The Labyrinth - Martha
Dragonpen Press - Frederick

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Golden Braids Blog Tour: Mechanical Heart

Book Blurb:

Can you save someone who doesn’t know if she’s alive?
Breen lives locked away, separated from the world by the walls of her clock tower and the machine of gems, gears, and magic that replaces her heart. That is, until an unexpected visitor appears in her tower, offering a dangerous gift: freedom. His promises awaken hope for a life unbound by the tower walls — but she knows that if he learns about her heart, it’s only a matter of time before he turns on her.
Josiah is powerless. Though he’s the crown prince of the mighty Chanian empire, he feels stifled by his inability to protect his people from the schemes of corrupt nobles. When he discovers a girl trapped in a locked clock tower, he thinks he’s finally found a problem he can solve . . . but more than just walls keep her captive.
From the royal palace to the streets of Rivenford to the tops of clock towers, secrets hide around every corner in this steampunk retelling of Rapunzel. Breen and Josiah hold the keys to each other's struggles — if they can break down the barriers that divide them.


Book Review:

I'm always conflicted when I finish a good book, and sit down to write a review. Do I start with the characters? The setting? The twists?
Characters will do for now, because they were my favorite part of it. Luis, in particular; he's a wonderfully pointed, sarcastic side character. Grace should receive mention as well, as she's a sweet character--with backbone (that isn't to say she "kicks butt" or anything like that, but she's firm, clever, and knows how to deal with people)!

Click to purchase!
Josiah, brother to Grace, is a knight in shining armor. Or rather, he wants to be. He's frustrated with his inability to make wide, sweeping changes that benefit the masses, and is stuck with sloughing through political mazes. Which he does remarkably, I must say.
Breen is a captive, but she's far from helpless. She figures things out on her own, and isn't ready to accept help/spill her story right away. When it comes to fiction, I typically ignore this flaw in characters (accepting help a tad too hastily), as it tends to be a staple in fiction, and I understand that most authors want their story to move along. A common problem with having a character come off as reluctant is the fear of dragging the story and making readers lose interest. With this story, the reluctance gave everything a bit of flavor! It forced other characters to react, heightened the suspense, and made the friendships all the richer for having stuck through the trials.
Speaking of trials, there are:
Determined antagonists (kind of obvious to the reader, not so to the characters, as the readers get to see the antagonists behind their facades).
Never a dull moment to be had.

Miscellany things I loved: The accuracy of the sign language (it's written in the style of regular speech, but the visible interactions--emphasis on facial expressions, etc--are spot-on). Breen's reluctance for help. It was just the right amount of stubborn. Also, the banter between Luis and Josiah; the friendly needling, sarcasm, advice. And you can see the cover, right?

All in all, this is a wonderful book to read. Oh, might I add: the steampunk element isn't terribly heavy--mostly aesthetic, with fantasy elements--so there isn't anything to get confused by if you don't often read steampunk.

Mini Interview:

1. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Eh, it honestly didn't change much. The main difference is that I can't really say "I'll finish it when I finish it and I'll edit it when I edit it" anymore. Instead, I'm on a timeline where I have this long to write the book and this long to edit it. Oh, and my editing process is a lot more intense now. 

2. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Both! In the long term, I want most of my books to connect in a multiverse along the lines of Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere or Kendra E. Ardnek's Rizkaverse, even though the individual books (or, eventually, series) will be able to stand on their own. So, practically speaking, you can read and enjoy Mechanical Heart whether or not you've read Blood in the Snow, but they're still connected in a certain sense. 

3. What did you edit out of this book?
Haha, not much. Mechanical Heart is a weird book in that I added more than I subtracted during rewrites and edits. One thing that I did lose, though, was Breen and Josiah's original method of communication. In the very first draft of Mechanical Heart, Josiah didn't know sign language, so he and Breen had to get a little creative. They used a few different methods depending on the situation, but my favorite was that they'd tap Morse code on each other's shoulder or hand and "talk" to each other that way. It was pretty cute . . . but once Grace showed up, having them talk in sign made much more sense.

About the Author:

Sarah Pennington has been writing stories since before she actually knew how to write, and she has no intention of stopping anytime soon. She is perpetually in the middle of writing at least one or two novels, most of which are in the fantasy and fairy tale retelling genres. Sarah's first published work, Blood in the Snow, received a perfect score and Special Unicorn status in Rooglewood Press's Five Poisoned Apples contest. When she isn't writing, she enjoys knitting, photography, and trying to conquer her massive to-be-read list. Find her online at: Website || Blog || Second Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Amazon

Today's Blog Stops:

Knitted By God's Plan - Five Reasons to Read
Light and Shadows - Five Reasons to Read
Dreams and Dragons - Writing Deaf Characters

Reality Reflected + Mini Interview!
The Page Dreamer
The Language of Writing
The Labyrinth + Mini Interview!
The World of a Write

To be a Shennachie - Sarah

Guest Posts
Dragonpen Press - Why Nomances

Monday, August 5, 2019

Golden Braids Blog Tour: Hair We Go Again

Kendra's been crazy busy, but she still somehow managed to get the tour package out relatively on time. So today, we have here a book spotlight, and a mini interview with the author!
I was also signed up for a review. However, that would be difficult to do, seeing as I have neither read the book, nor received a copy. I'll give a review of the first book (Sew, It's a Quest) instead, seeing as I read it just last week (I think? Time's been extremely relative for me lately) and everything's still pretty fresh in my mind. :P

Since Sew, It's a Quest isn't the topic of this tour, I'm going to go ahead and write it up on a separate post. For now, glory in the finished product that is Hair We Go Again.

Update: I have received my ARC copy, and will try to read and review it tomorrow (hopefully work doesn't ask me to do overtime). Also, I put up my review for Sew, It's a Quest on Goodreads.

Another update (8/18/19): Got the book done and the review written on the 12th, posted on Goodreads, and forgot to update this. Whoops. So the below is updated to be the book review, and not the book spotlight. Enjoy!

Book Blurb:

Still reeling from recent trauma, Robin and Eric struggle to find stability in the midst of increasing tension both at home and with others. When friends ask their help to rediscover their castle, lost during their hundred-year sleep Robin and Eric agree to help. But this castle holds secrets of its own – including what may be the fate of Eric’s long-lost brother – launching them on another quest. Meanwhile, Maryanne's busy on a much more important mission of her own: find a jackalope. Yet no one’s ideas seem to coincide with hers, and family disagreements muddy everything. Can healing ever be found when people refuse to communicate? (less)

Book Review:

Hair We Go Again (The Bookania Quests #5)Hair We Go Again by Kendra E. Ardnek
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a fun adventure with the crew.

The plot itself was cut-and-dry, as most fairy tales are, but it wasn't...well, dry. The characters had sufficient motivation, reacted realistically, and oh my word were they fun to watch/read/follow along, whatever term you prefer.

Not sure if I should mark this as a spoiler or not? So I'll mark it. (view spoiler)

(view spoiler)

The sibling bickering at the end. It's so. Darned. Accurate. So it's just as frustrating as the real deal. It gets resolved in a most wonderful fashion, to boot.

Maryanne was adorable, determined, and just as rambunctious and stubborn as a real one year old. She also talks like a real one year old, so sometimes I had to rely on other characters' interpretations of her speech to tell what she was saying.

Oh, so who says that romance ends after marriage? I don't think anyone outright says that when it comes to fiction, but it's heavily implied in movies and whatnot (trying to "reignite that spark" or whatever). Not so with this book! Looking back at the length of the story, I wonder at the amount of tenderness and turbulence that was packed into so few pages. (view spoiler)

Definitely a must for fairy tale lovers. You may want to pick up the other books in the series, though; I was kind of thrown off at first because of the mentions of previous events that I didn't know (I've yet to read books 3 and 4), but then I received a summary of each book before that, and it was smooth sailing (well, reading) from there. But I'll be picking up the other books, so...yeah, it's good. To summarize: siblings, magic, drama, relationships (is that implied in drama, or visa-versa?), and problem solving. Pick up your copy today!

View all my reviews


Mini Interview:
    1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

    My closest friends would include Morgan Elizabeth Huneke, Erika Mathews, and Sarah Pennington. They all three, encourage, support, and critique me in turn - these girls are seriously awesome. 
    2. What character surprised you the most in the writing of “Hair We Go Again”?
    I'm not sure there were any who outright SURPRISED me, but it wasn't until after I wrote Honor that Eric became the focus of the book's conflict. 
    3. What conventions/writing workshops have you attended/want to attend?
    I just got back from Realm Maker's the other week. It's the main one that I've always been interested in, and this was my second year. 

About the author:

Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairytales and twisting them in new and exciting ways. She's been acting them 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 glorify God and His Word. Find her online at: Website || Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || YouTube || Newsletter || Instagram || Amazon

Many thanks to Kendra for organizing the tour! Check out the full list of tour stops here.

Tour stops for today:

Knitted By God's Plan - Five Reasons To Read
Light and Shadows - Five Reasons To Read

Christina and Camera + Mini interview!
The Language of Writing
The Labyrinth + Mini interview!
The World of a Writer

Reality Reflected - Robin
The Rambling Rose - Rapunzel
Dreams and Dragons - Eric+Lukas

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Something Artsy

This isn’t something I normally post about, but I want to show off a couple of painting projects that I did with my family this weekend!
But first, a plug for the site I used:
Looking for a site that has tutorials for easy-to-do paint projects? Check out Step by Step Painting! The paintings are easy to do, either alone or in a group (it's more fun in a group), and have nice designs. Their color schemes are also easy to alter.
Take, for example, the project Owl Silhouette Moon. It has a Halloween vibe, with a ring of red, orange, and yellow around the moon. Since it's summer, we wanted to do something without autumn colors. We changed the color of the ring around the moon to purple, and made the leaves green. Here are a few examples of how they turned out:

Age 12

Age 14

Age 21

The other project we did was Cherry Blossom. The original purple ring around the moon was nice, but we'd just done that with the owl. So, we swapped out the purple for turquoise/light blue. There were more variations made on this one than on the owl one. Examples:

Age 16 (I love the blending,
and the extra starbursts)

Age 17 (the background on
this is black, and
there are koi fish in the moon)

Age 14 (this one has an extra ring of
color on the edge; black)

How's your summer going? Have you done any fun art projects, gone on any trips, read any books that you're dying to recommend?
Let me know in the comments!