Lost at Sea Scavenger Hunt Stop #14

Welcome to the Lost At Sea Scavenger Hunt where we are helping the Kinsman people find a new home. If you’ve just found us, be sure to start the adventure at Stop #1, which is Jill Williamson’s blog. 

 Collect all the clue words in order so you can enter to win the Kindle. If you want to enter to win the second Kindle, you’ll have to take a quiz at the end, so take your time and read each post carefully. The main prizes in the hunt are open to international entries. Individual author contests, however, might have different rules, so please read the parameters on each site. You have until Sunday night, February 19, at midnight, Pacific time to finish.
 
If you need help, or get lost along the way, click here for assistance.
 

14 Tricia LostatSeaMapGraphic

There was something alive in that forest that Wilek didn’t trust. He led his people southwest, along a river, hoping at this point he might find the sea and his fleet waiting. They came upon a castle on a grassy plain, Stop #14, Acktar, from Tricia Mingerink’s novel Dare, the first volume in The Blades of Acktar series.


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Tricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn’t writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country. Visit Tricia on her website at www.triciamingerink.com.

 Here’s a closer look at Dare, the first volume in The Blades of Acktar series. 
 
Dare Ebook CoverCourage could cost him everything. Third Blade Leith Torren never questions his orders or his loyalty to King Respen until an arrow wound and a prairie blizzard drive him to the doorstep of the girls whose family he once destroyed. Their forbidden faith and ties to the Resistance could devastate their family a second time. Survival depends on obedience, but freedom beckons. How far does he dare go to resist the king and his Blades? No matter what Leith chooses, one thing is certain. Someone will die.
 

Welcome to Acktar
 

Map of Acktar PictureIf you’re looking for the ocean, you won’t find it anywhere near Acktar. It’s a land-locked country of rolling prairie for hundreds of miles in nearly every direction. Its northern border is the Sheered Rock Hills, a stretch of mountains covered in scrub pine and juniper. The Spires Canyon, a deep trench with the Ondieda River at the bottom, marks the eastern border. Beyond the northeastern corner of Acktar, a desert known as the Waste stretches in miles of dusty earth where even the water is too contaminated to drink.

Acktar’s culture is a mix of American West meets Medieval. There are lords, ladies, and manor houses, but also western saddles, rattlesnakes, and mountain lions.

Nalgar Castle, the only castle in Acktar, rises from the prairie near the center of Acktar. King Respen, a usurper and murderer, rules here with his Blades, his group of highly-trained assassins.

Image from www.castlewales.com

Acktar is in the midst of a war between King Respen and the Resistance. If you’re looking to settle here, be prepared to pick a side and fight for it.


You can order Dare and the rest of The Blades of Acktar series in paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, or your favorite online retailer. They are also available on Kindle ebook and audio
CLUE! Write down this clue: sea
 
Before you move on, I am giving away your choice of a signed copy of one of the books in The Blades of Acktar to three lucky winners. This giveaway is open to international entries, but the books will not be able to be signed if international. Winners will be announced February 21. 
Three Book Set Picture
Follow the Rafflecopter link to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for visiting my blog. Enjoy the rest of the scavenger hunt!

 

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Bonus Short Story #3 Released!

I have decided 29 reviews is close enough to 30. And Deliver (The Blades of Acktar #4) is at the editor, so that calls for celebration!

This third short story is technically a cut scene…from Deliver. Yes, you read that right. You’re getting a sneak peak at something that used to be at the beginning of Deliver. In editing, I had to cut out the scene and, rather than let it languish forever unread, I changed the POV to Shad’s, added a few beginning scenes, and turned it into a short story.

Actually, this isn’t the first cut scene from Deliver that I’ve released. The coronation scene at the end of Destroy used to be in the beginning of Deliver and in Renna’s POV. I cut it from Deliver, knowing that it really belonged as part of Keevan’s story.

So here you have it, the third short story and a small taste of things to come in Deliver:

Taking out the Stitches (cut scene from Destroy) 4 pages: 10 Reviews: PDF Cut Scene

The Perfect Plan (backstory about Laurence & Annita Faythe) 25 pages: 20 Reviews: PDF The Perfect Plan

The Wedding (story about Shad & Jolene) 24 pages: 30 Reviews: PDF File The Wedding


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Bonus Short Story #2 Released!

destroy-cover-121216Destroy has reached 20 reviews! Woot! Woot! Time to celebrate!

Of all the short stories to be released, this one is my favorite. It is a bit of backstory telling how Laurence and Annita met. Annita is just…she’s fun. She’s Brandi’s mom, so her voice is kind of similar, yet she’s even a bit more reckless, if you can imagine that.

It was also fun to write a few well known characters at a completely different time in their lives. Lord Alistair as a nervous young man before his wedding, anyone?

Without any more introduction, click the link below to read the free short story:

Taking out the Stitches (cut scene from Destroy) 4 pages: 10 Reviews: PDF Cut Scene

The Perfect Plan (backstory about Laurence & Annita Faythe) 25 pages: 20 Reviews: PDF The Perfect Plan

The Wedding (story about Shad & Jolene) 24 pages: 30 Reviews

 


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Bonus Short Story #1

Yay! Destroy has reached 10 reviews! That means I can release the first bonus short story/cut scene.

Technically this isn’t a cut scene. I had finished the novella and I wrote this scene thinking I might add it into the novella when I revised. In revision, I realized that adding this scene would throw off the flow and rhythm of the early chapters. So it was cut before ever getting added.

Click the link below to read the free cut scene:

 

Taking out the Stitches (cut scene from Destroy) 4 pages: 10 Reviews: PDF Cut Scene

The Perfect Plan (backstory about Laurence & Annita Faythe) 25 pages: 20 Reviews

The Wedding (story about Shad & Jolene) 24 pages: 30 Reviews


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Destroy Releases + Free Short Stories!

Ta da!

Today, Destroy (The Blades of Acktar 3.5) releases as a Kindle ebook on Amazon! destroy-cover-121216

This companion novella gives a sneak peek at the backstory of the events of Dare as well as some of the aftermath of Defy. Actually, time wise, it covers the most time of any of the books (nearly 6 and a half years).

You can buy it here on Amazon.

So far, the early readers have enjoyed it, which was something I was biting my nails about. The main character in this one is a character that was nearly universally disliked in Defy (as he was supposed to be).

Yet, somehow, this new main character stole a corner of my heart, and hopefully does the same for a few readers.

I really enjoyed giving the backstory and messing with perceptions in this one, even my own. There were times, I’d catch myself writing something where a character struck back against the Blades and I’d start cheering…only to realize my poor darling Leith was in for a horrible time of it. That’s the nature of backstory, I guess.


Short Stories

I mentioned free short stories. Here’s how they are going to work. When Destroy reaches a certain number of honest reviews on Amazon, it will unlock a short story or cut scene that will be posted for free on my website. Kind of like we all get to celebrate together when Destroy hits a milestone.

Taking out the Stitches (cut scene from Destroy) 6 pages: 10 Reviews

The Perfect Plan (backstory about Laurence & Annita Faythe) 25 pages: 20 Reviews

The Wedding (story about Shad & Jolene) 24 pages: 30 Reviews


I’ve never done this kind of short story giveaway before. I’m excited to see what you guys think. 🙂

I hope you enjoy the book!


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Destroy Cover Reveal & Release Date

This is the moment you have all been waiting for. Information on the next Blades of Acktar release.

Destroy (The Blades of Acktar #3.5)

Release Date: 12/30/16 (Kindle only)

Yes, that’s two weeks from today.

Ready for the cover?

*drum roll*

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destroy-cover-121216

Back Cover:

Before the war, before the Blades, before the Leader…

There was a boy and a scullery maid and a secret shame.

One moonlit night of blood and knives destroyed their country and their lives forever.

The cost was hard, but forgiveness is harder.

The Leader failed to die, but will he also fail to lead?


I’m actually a little nervous for this one. It is the first Blades of Acktar release without Leith or Renna as a main character. And the new main character’s sins and struggles aren’t Leith’s sins or struggles. Everything is kept clean, but parents might want to read the first chapter before handing the book to their ten-year-olds just to make sure it isn’t anything their child isn’t ready for.

But plenty of your favorite characters still make an appearance. New characters will steal your heart. And I might have a new favorite cinnamon roll character to huggle.

What do you think? Are you excited for this one?

 

 


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Fandom Merchandise

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This Friday, I’ll post the cover reveal and release date for Destroy (The Blades of Acktar #3.5), but until then, I have another announcement.

I set aside the first week of December and put together a few designs for Blades of Acktar fandom merchandise. I’ve seen other authors do this (and I’ve bought several things as a result because, let’s face it, fandom merchandise is so much fun).

I thought about making the merchandise only available as part of a street team. I’ve seen other authors do this. But, I decided I don’t have the time right now to run a street team, not without taking away from the little writing and editing time I have. Besides, all of you essentially ARE my street team. You do such a great job of getting the word out. You all deserve a way to shout your love of the Blades of Acktar fandom.

Right now, I have two sites where you can get Blades of Acktar merchandise.

  • Zazzle.com – this one has more designs available since its rules on picture sizes are less strict and I had less trouble uploading designs. I believe I left most of the items as open as possible so you can customize colors and sizes. For the clothing, the women’s version is pictured, but they should all be available in youth and men’s sizes if you customize them.
  • Society 6 – this one has more options for housewares items (such as pillows and clocks), but fewer designs available at the moment since this site demands higher pixel counts than Zazzle. Currently I don’t have any apparel set up, but I will be working on that in the future.

Here’s what the Zazzle site looks like and a few of the options:

I have personally purchased items from both of these sites before and have been pleased both times. Currently, both sites are running a lot of promotions for the holidays, which is always nice for saving money if you would like anything (or you can convince a family member to get it for you for Christmas).

Have fun looking through the designs and options!


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Upcoming Publishing Schedule

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you all on a few things. I apologize in advance because there is going to be a flurry of activity this week, but it all good stuff and I think you’ll be excited.

Deliver Update

I have had a lot of people ask me when Deliver (The Blades of Acktar #4) will release.

The short answer: I don’t know yet.

Sorry. *wince* *ducks flying books*

The long answer: The first draft is written. That’s the first big step. Now that November is over, I plan to spend December revising. The revised draft should go out to my editor and early readers in late December or early January. Then it all depends on how long it takes for my editor and early readers to go through it and send it back to me, and how many changes I have to make in the second revision. Then all the publishing stuff and proofreading. Right now, I’m hoping for a March release, but I’m making no promises. I don’t want to rush and give you a sub-par book.

Before you despair too much, keep reading for an update on everything I plan to publish in the next few months.

I Won NaNoWriMo!

In case you don’t know what that is, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. In November, authors all over the world commit to writing 50,000 words in 1 month. Yes, it is as crazy as it sounds, especially for writers like me that also work a day job. To put this in perspective, since working my current full time job, I have never written 50,000 words in a month. My highest word count was roughly 30,000. Somehow, I needed to find time to write an extra 20,000 words.

I did it. Not really sure how. Actually, I do know how. I pretty much did nothing but write and work the entire month of November. But, it was worth it.

What does this mean for you, my amazing readers?

Well, obviously, I wrote 50,000 words of new Blades of Acktar stuff. That’s a lot of words that will be coming your way.

Stuff I wrote during NaNo:

  • I finished the novella about the Leader titled Destroy
  • An extended ending short story for Deliver
  • A short story about Shad and Jolene
  • A few backstory scribbles of scenes in Dare from Shad’s POV
  • A short story about Laurence & Annita Faythe, Renna and Brandi’s parents
  • A short story set 10 years after the end of Deliver
  • A few scenes set 8 years after the end of Deliver that could turn into a novella down the road (but not right away.)

Publishing Schedule

If you’ve been keeping track, I have first drafts of Book 4, a novella, 4 short stories, and a few random backstory scribbles waiting in line to be published. You might be wondering when in Acktar all this cool stuff will finally make it your way.

Here’s the tentative schedule. Things might change, and I’m making no promises.

Late December

  • Destroy (The Blades of Acktar #3.5) releases as Kindle only – this is the novella on the Resistance Leader that gives both backstory for when Respen took over and some new information on what happens immediately after Defy ends. This novella is something of a prequel-sequel that spans about 6 years of time. It isn’t necessary to read this book before Deliver, but it gives more insight into certain characters.
  • short story about Shad and Jolene (to be titled yet) – this will be posted as a freebie on my website as part of launch stuff for Destroy
  • short story about Laurence and Annita Faythe (to be titled yet) –  this will also be posted as a freebie on my website as part of launch stuff for Destroy 

March

  • Deliver (The Blades of Acktar #4) releases – remember, this is a tentative release date. Subject to change
  • extended ending short story for Deliver (to be titled yet) – this will be posted as a freebie on my website as part of launch stuff for Deliver
  • short story set 10 years after Deliver  –  this will also be posted as a freebie on my website as part of launch stuff for Deliver

April 

  • Destroy releases as paperback with all the short stories released as part of the launches for Destroy and Deliver included as bonus content.

Some of the other random backstory scribbles will probably also be released during one of the launches as freebies on my website.

Yes, you read that right. The next Blades of Acktar release is planned for the end of THIS MONTH. It’s a novella (though technically long enough I could call it a short novel) and releasing as a Kindle ebook only at this time, but still. That’s only a few weeks away. I might be kinda freaking out at this point.

Later this week, I’ll have a cover release for Destroy and give out an official release date so you can count down the days. There will also be more information about Destroy then.

So stay tuned. 😉


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What's up with the Title of Book 4?

All the previous titles in The Blades of Acktar are four-letter D words. Dare. Deny. Defy. All of them have a punchy, raw feel to them.

And then there’s Book 4. Deliver. It’s a longer word. A little weird and outdated. Why would I pick it for the title of Book 4?

To be honest, when I came up with the titles for the first three, I wasn’t planning a book 4. I only needed titles for three books.

But I chose those titles very carefully. They are all commands. In some way, shape, or form, the characters are commanded to dare, deny, or defy throughout each of those books. They are also the theme of the books, both each individual book and all the books in the series. Finally, all three of those words can have dual meaning. Leith daring to stand up to King Respen is a good thing, but Respen daring to stand against God isn’t. Denying self is good. Denying Christ isn’t. See what I mean?

Trying to find a word that started with D, was a command, captured the theme, was present in the earlier books, and had dual meaning was a bit of a challenge.

Finally, I settled on Deliver.

Criteria #1: Starts with D. Check.

Criteria #2: A command. Check.

Deliver isn’t a word we use often, even though it is used a lot in the Bible (or at least, in the KJV that I use), especially in the Psalms where the writers routinely beg for God’s deliverance from enemies. In this context, it means save.

Even though the word deliver wasn’t used often in the books, it is essentially the prayer Renna prays A LOT. She wants God to save her (read: deliver) her from her enemies. Leith needs deliverance from his sins and his enemies. Pretty much any time the word save is used, you could substitute deliver.

I also noticed that the word deliver was used in a few of the verses from Daniel that I choose to begin the books with. Another tie in.

Criteria #4: Present in all three books. Check.

Remember I mentioned the word deliver is used in the Psalms? Especially in the Psalms written by David. The Bible stories about David continue to play a role in the theme and shaping the characters in book 4.

Criteria #3: Captures the theme. Check.

Now to the tough one. Dual meaning. The cool thing is, the word deliver has the most complicated dual meaning of all of them. Dare, deny, and defy have the same meaning that can be directed in two different ways. Deliver as a word has two different, and in many ways, opposite meanings.

On the one hand, it means to save or to be taken out of. Saved from enemies or sin or bitterness, etc.

On the other hand, it means to surrender or to be handed over. (like delivering a package or delivering oneself to the enemy).

See what I mean by opposite? This one word means both to take away from and also to hand over.

But in a way, these two definitions work together. To be delivered from bitterness, we need to surrender our own pride and hurt. To be delivered from our enemies, we surrender our need to rescue ourselves. Because of God’s deliverance from our sins, we surrender our lives to Him. There’s also the negative. There are those who surrender their lives to their bitterness and hatred. They are delivered into the hands of their enemies.

I’m already having fun using this duality in the book so far, and I’m brainstorming ways it will come out into the ending. The word deliver might not be as noticeably used in the book the way dare, deny, and defy were, but any time you see the words save or surrender, that’s what I’m thinking about when I write it.

What do you think about the title? Love it? Not so sold on it yet?

 


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Why Defy isn't The End

*Warning: This Post Contains MAJOR Spoilers for the end of Defy. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED*

DO NOT KEEP READING IF YOUR HAVEN’T READ DEFY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Okay, you’re still here? Either you’ve read Defy or you are ignoring all the warnings.

As many of you have heard already, I’m currently writing The Blades of Acktar book 4. Some of you might be a little confused. After all, the big bad guy got defeated at the end of Defy. What more is there left do to?

Well, here’s my four reasons for why I decided to write a book 4:

  1. Martyn didn’t die. In my original plan for Defy, he was supposed to die in the end battle saving Leith. But when it came time to write that scene, Leith realized what was going to happen and shoved Martyn out of the way. So I now had a live Martyn on my hands that I had to deal with.
    • After thinking about it for a while, I realized my characters were smarter than me. After all, the whole, ex-best friend makes a last minute decision to turn good and saves his friend before dying is a little cliche. (See Harry’s death in Spiderman 3)
    • Besides, an alive ex-best friend is a whole lot more complicated than a dead one. Having Martyn die would’ve been the easy way out. He and Leith wouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of their decisions throughout the first three books. Leith could simply move on. But with Martyn alive? Let’s just say the tension between everyone is SO much fun to write!
  2. Leith needs to figure out what happens AFTER. One of the main questions throughout the series has been “Can Leith move on from the Blades? Can he do anything else? What does he do after the war? Where does he fit in a peaceful Acktar?”
    • I could’ve ended it with Defy. You know he’s going to figure something out, but it would leave that question unanswered. I know some readers love unanswered questions like that in an ending. Personally, I’m one of the ones who wants to know the answers to things like that, especially if the author has made a big deal about it.
  3. Leith and Renna’s relationship still has a long way to go. If you add up the time they actually spend together during Dare, Deny, and Defy, you’ll realize that that week in the dungeon counts as their first real, quality time together. Due to the circumstances of thinking one or both of them would die, their relationship progresses quickly in that week. BUT, they are just BEGINNING their relationship. They have pretty much agreed to finally start dating at the end of Defy.
    • Once again, I could’ve left it as is. You know where they are headed. But, they are the main couple of the book. Defy ends with more obstacles in their path than they even realize (she’s still a lady and Leith doesn’t fit with that world. He’s still an ex-Blade. They both have no clue what they are doing when it comes to a relationship). I felt their time building a relationship also needed to be told.
  4. Acktar is a mess. Most of the time, books don’t show what happens after a major war tears the country apart. We don’t see the rebuilding of Hogwarts. We don’t see Panem trying to build a new government. There’s so much hurt and bitterness in Acktar and in its new king. I wanted to explore what it takes for Acktar to either begin healing or tear itself apart, whichever comes first.

Healing and restoration is really the theme of book 4. All of the characters (Martyn, Keevan, Leith, Renna, Brandi) have some healing to do. The whole country needs healing.

Over all, my planned ending for Book 4 will bring the characters and the country to a place where they are truly ready to begin the next chapter, even if the series comes to a close.

What do you think? Are you excited for Book 4? Or do you honestly think Defy should’ve been the end? Don’t worry, I won’t get mad if you do. 😉


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