Turning Points – A Time to Rise Blog Tour

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I’ve been thinking a lot about turning points lately. It has been about two months since I posted on this blog, and most of that is due to stumbling across and purchasing a fixer upper house, moving, and making do without internet. A new house, a new turning point.

As I’ve posted about before, I’ve been into listening to history courses through the Great Courses lately. If you get them through Audible, they are pretty affordable. Recently, I listened to one on Turning Points in Medieval History, done by an English professor, not a history professor. Her perspective took on history as one big story, showing how each turning point isn’t a separate event standing all by itself, but interconnected with all the past turning points and influencing all the future ones. As a Christian, I could appreciate this even more because I believe the reason history is so interconnected and seems to be one story is BECAUSE it is one story. Christ’s story. God’s story.

Our own lives are also filled with turning points. Days and events that stick out to us as the moment something changed and set us on a new course. Often, these turning points are tragedy. But not always.

And sometimes, someone else’s turning point affects your own turning point.

Nadine Brandes has talked about several times how a turning point in her life started her on the path to writing her debut novel A Time to Die. In this novel, the main character Parvin experiences her own turning points when, with only a year left to live, she realizes she’s wasted her life, and she sets out to change that.

This was all a good three years before I even knew Nadine Brandes existed. I was partway through college, getting my degree in writing and dreaming about being a published author.

Fast forward a few years. I graduated college, was a year into a full time job, and was submitting a nonfiction manuscript I’d written and getting nowhere with it. I was frustrated that my dream of graduating college and having the time to write books hadn’t worked out. I felt like I had no time and would never have the time I wanted.

Honestly, I don’t remember what made me sit down and give myself a good shake from my pity party. One day, I realized that the reason I wasn’t a writer and wasn’t finishing books was that I was wasting time whining about my lack of time.

This was March 2014. That same month, I started writing Dare. Three months later, I had a completed book. I set it aside and started Deny.

During this time, I also turned my attention away from researching nonfiction publishing toward fiction publishing. I read blogs, books, articles. Traditional publishing. Self Publishing. All of it.

And this is where the turning point thing starts getting cool. I stumbled across Jill Williamson’s Replication as a free ebook. It was the first time I’d discovered the whole Christian speculative fiction world out there. I then went on to read her other books, and the Blood of Kings trilogy showed me that there was still such a thing as Christian fantasy besides Lewis and Tolkien.

Since I was researching publishing, I tracked down the publisher. It was Marcher Lord, right when it was transitioning to Enclave Publishing. I explored every inch of that website, and of course read the blog. Guess who had posted on the blog promoting the release of her debut book?

Yep, Nadine Brandes. nadine-early-release-2

The book sounded really cool, so I stalked her site. Learned she was an editor. Submitted Dare to her for editing. I was too late to officially join the blog tour for A Time to Die, but I unofficially joined it with a post of my own. It had to have been one of the first two or three posts I did on my blog, since I started my blog in August of that year, and that post is from September.

When I was finally able to read A Time to Die in October, Parvin’s realization of wasting time mirrored my own realization from a few months before. Wasting time. Waiting for something to plop out of the sky instead of actively pursuing God’s will.

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That idea of being active in pursing God’s will and glorifying Him stuck with me. It still resonated when, early in 2015, I sat down and had to decide how I should publish Dare. Traditional or indie? Through all my research, the indie route had tugged at me, but I wasn’t sure I dared do it. What did I really know? What if I messed all this up and Dare flopped and…and…

It was all my fear talking, and finally God made it clear indie was the route to go with these books. That moment I hit the publish button, I gave it all to Him. I’d sown the seed. The increase was His, no matter how large or small or whatever it might be.

But I wasn’t wasting time anymore. I was doing my best to actively pursue His will in a way I hadn’t before.

And He did bless the increase way beyond anything I had dreamed for that book.

Then the fall of 2015 came around. I was drained from the rewrites of Deny. Wondering if it would ever measure up to everyone’s expectations. Scared because everyone HAD expectations now, when they hadn’t with Dare.

Then A Time to Speak, Nadine’s next book, released. It was Parvin’s time to speak, to draw on the confidence of the lessons she’d learned in the first book. atimetospeak5

But it also pushed me to speak. To stop stuttering and stammering and hoping someone would change the topic when they asked about my books. To figure out how to keep giving it all to God now that this crazy ride was set in motion.

It’s strange to look back now and see how much a year and a half can change a person. In the year since publishing Dare and reading A Time to Die, I’ve become much more confident in how I interact with people. I’ve signed books at a craft sale. I spoke at a small Christian school. I’ve gone to two writer’s conferences and was able to relax instead of remain a bundle of introverted nerves in the corner. All of that confidence, those turning points, led to the turning point I started this whole post with: buying a house, moving. It wasn’t something I would’ve been ready to handle a year ago.

Looking back, I’m amazed at the way God used the turning points in my life to bring me to this point.

If I hadn’t gotten Replication as an ebook…

If A Time to Die hadn’t been releasing…

If I hadn’t stumbled across Nadine and found an editor and friend…

If A Time to Die and A Time to Speak hadn’t given me pushes when I needed them…

Would I have published Dare? Would I have gone to the writer’s conferences and made a whole bunch of writer friends?

And now, another turning point. A Time to Rise, the third and final book in the Out of Time series releases officially in 10 days, though Amazon is shipping it early if you want to order it now. You can read my review (also known as flailing fangirling) of the book here.

Yes, you all totally have the Out of Time series to thank, in part, for the fact that I ever published The Blades of Acktar.

Have you experienced turning points in your life? How have they affected you?

 

Want to connect with Nadine yourself? Because, after all, she’s an awesome human being.

Nadine is also the queen of Facebook parties, so you won’t want to miss the one she is hosting on October 18

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Want to check out the Out of Time series for yourself?

A Time to Die

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A Time to Speak

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A Time to Rise

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A Time to Rise Cover Reveal

I have a super special treat for you guys today. A cover reveal! But not just any cover reveal. This is a cover reveal for A Time to Rise, book three in the Out of Time series by the extraordinary Nadine Brandes. Yes, the same Nadine Brandes who happens to be the freelance editor for The Blades of Acktar.

I was super excited when I got the chance to sign up for the cover reveal and see the cover a day earlier than the reveal. The benefits of being on Nadine’s street team. If that sounds good to you, you can find the sign up here.

Now, the cover reveal…

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Ta da!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Isn’t it gorgeous? Then again, I didn’t expect anything less. All of the covers for the Out of Time series have been amazing, done by Kirk DouPonce, DogEaredDesign! I can’t wait to have this book on my shelf!

About the Book

What more can you sacrifice than your life?

Parvin Blackwater is dead.

At least…that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.

Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world?

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Release Date: October 14, 2016

How am I ever going to survive until October? Ah!!!!

If you want to add a countdown timer to your blog (because you’re an excited fangirl like me), then here’s the link for one: https://countdownsbyerin.com/cd/time/

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Sadly, the preorder isn’t available at this time. But if you haven’t picked up the first two books, you can find them here:

 A Time to Die

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A Time to Speak

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You can connect with the author Nadine Brandes at her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

To top off all the fun, Nadine is hosting a giveaway for Happy Hello Out of Time character bookmarks. Follow this link to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7c244e3122/?

What do you think? Isn’t the cover amazing?

How to Horribly, Epically Lose a Battle

I happen to really love history, especially military history. When on vacation, I drag my less-than-enthusiastic friends to obscure Civil War battle sites and get WAY too thrilled by accidentally stumbling across a house that was once used as a Civil War hospital.

Recently, I got my hands on a series of lectures about great military disasters. I’m talking about battles that went so horribly wrong that entire armies were wiped out and empires fell because of it. The losing side in some of the battles in the lectures had something like 80-100% casualties.

Interestingly enough, the SAME problems kept popping up in almost every battle that went horribly wrong. And, as a writer, I started paying attention. If I wanted to write a battle scene where the villain lost a battle in a horrific, defining way (or the hero, though this is more rare because battles that are lost this spectacularly are hard to recover from) , history gives LOTS of examples on exactly how that should be done.


Here it goes. A set of instructions on how to Horribly, Epically Lose a Battle.

Military disasters

  1. Be as Overconfident as possible. 

If you want to lose a battle as disastrously as possible, this is the number one thing to keep in mind. Almost every horrible, tragic defeat stems from this.

Overconfidence leads to a host of other errors such as underestimating the enemy’s intelligence and numbers (preferably coupled with a healthy dose of prejudice that the other side can NEVER be as awesome as your own men), ignoring basic military tenants (such as scouting the land and the enemy’s position before engaging in battle), not knowing when to retreat, pouring more resources into an already lost battle and thereby making the loss even worse than it would’ve been, and even ignoring your own orders (such as ignoring your own order to fortify your position when encamped in enemy territory and instead letting your camp sprawl out in all disorganized directions).

This number one error will ultimately cause a compounding of several errors and lead to an epically horrible defeat that will probably end your life or at the very least bring down whatever empire you were hoping to build.

2. Put People in Leadership Positions who Hate Each Other. 

If your commanders, especially your top commanders, cannot work together, you will be well on your way to a massive military disaster, especially if you’ve stuck to advice #1 and cling to overconfidence.

If your commanders hate each other, they won’t communicate on the battlefield, leading to mismanaged charges, missed opportunities, and strife within the ranks. They might even get so caught up in verbally fighting each other that they forget about actually fighting the enemy, or they will actually hinder each others ability to fight the enemy.

Better yet, make sure one or both of these commanders are incompetent as well as argumentative. Epic military disaster will ensue.

3. Make as Many Tactical Errors as Possible

Usually, these tactical errors will automatically arise from overconfidence, and that overconfidence will also prevent you from correcting them when they do occur.

Best blunders to make:

  • Not scouting the land or enemy position. This sets you up for getting your entire army trapped in an ambush and wiped out.
  • Fighting the current war with the tactics of the last war. This always has horrible consequences, especially when advances in technology have occurred. Even if no technological advances have happened, always using the EXACT SAME tactics in every battle usually gives the enemy a chance to figure out a way to counter them.
  • Having advances in technology, but not using it to its best effect.
  • Not sending in enough men to turn the tide of battle at the crucial moment.
  • Not retreating when the battle has already been lost. Even better, keep sending in men into a losing battle. This maximizes casualties and guarantees the worst possible outcome.
  • Sending out unclear orders to your commanders. This will send them into chaos and confusion, especially if they are arguing with each other.
  • Having unclear reasons for even engaging in that battle in the first place so that the cost of the battle, even if you won, would outweigh the benefit (such as using a whole army to capture an outpost that a small group of commandos could capture just as easily).

If you follow these three instructions and compound all of these errors one on top of another, you will lead you, your men, and your empire into a disastrous military defeat that will probably lead to your death.


 

All joking aside, while this list seems like a rather hyperbolic list, in the lectures I listened to on military disasters, this is exactly what happened through 23 major military disasters across thousands of years of history all over the world. Some of the mistakes that were made were so foolish, a writer would hardly dare have a villain make that mistake because they would appear too foolish to live (and that is usually exactly what happened in history). Some of the battles were hard to listen to knowing that much of the bloodshed was unnecessary.

Anything else you would add to this list?

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?

 

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. 😉

Defy Blog Tour – Conclusion

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I can’t believe Defy has officially released and all the blog tour and party stuff is all over! As you can probably tell, I’m still playing catch up since the blog tour ended five days ago, and I’m just now getting around to posting a conclusion. *sigh* That’s the way things go. It’s Wednesday, and I’m still trying to finish my to-do list from last Saturday.

So here’s a recap. You’ll want to keep reading to the bottom of the post where I have a bit of an update/news for all of you guys. 😉

All good stuff, though. The launch went amazing! You all were so enthusiastic! A big thank you to everyone who participated! A big thank you also to Jaye L. Knight for being a guest author at the Facebook party!

The live character chat at the Facebook party went really, really well. So well, in fact, that I’m leaving the Facebook accounts I set up for my characters open. A few of you have even had Facebook recommend them as friends, which is cool. You might see them pop onto my Facebook page occasionally, and I might set up a live character chat again down the road.

I’m glad it went well, since it was a total experiment. I half expected to have it fizzle out after the first half hour. Instead, the whole hour and a half flew by. A live chat has a much different dynamic than the blog post character chats I’ve done before. Shorter sentences, more small talk, little conversations going all over the place.

Defy is currently available in both kindle and paperback on Amazon. The paperback is still in the process of being uploaded on Barnes & Noble, but I do have my personal copies in stock in you want to buy a signed copy directly from me.

Here’s a recap of the blog tour:

Reviews

 “I couldn’t stop reading it and basically breathed the book in. (read it in a day people. All 359 pages)” – Soleil from Reviews by Soleil

 “There were some dark moments, but there’s always hope, always the promise that God is in control. It’s a simple message and nicely woven in.”- Claire Banschbach from The Overactive Imagination

 “Plus, our favorite villainous king is plotting something villainous (go figure).” – Hope Brockway from Stitches of Freedom

 “Come on peoples! It’s a book series about assassins, why aren’t you reading this?” – Rachael Steele

 “If you like heartfelt adventure with deep-rooted characters in a meaningful, well written story then this entire series is for you!”- Mandy Fender

 “Finding out who “The Leader” is was just … ahhh!!!! I was so not prepared for that!” – Jesseca Wheaton

 “Leith went through so much, I mean, so much just to protect Renna. It was very torturous to read, but I think it was vital to the story. He is no longer afraid to defy Respen.”- Gabriella Paige from A Heart Redeemed

 “Guys, I’m serious when I say this, I can’t pick a favorite book in this series!” – Alyssa Van Fossen

  “It is one thing to profess faith, it is another to need it.”- Jessica Dowell

 “Renna, a healer, is one of my absolute favorite characters of all time! AHH, I just love her so much!”- Hannah Rodes from My Bookcase and I

 “Lots of twists and turns in the book that I wasn’t expecting—I was glued to the Kindle. It was sogood! Lots of fangirl squealing happened while reading.”- Ivy Rose from Lakeside Publications

 “Tricia clearly knows the way of a good story” – Hannah Williams

 “You know, those all time favorite characters you want to hug and place in bubble wrap and take them away from their author until said author learns to play nice? Leith is one of them. And it’s terribly ironic considering Tricia and I are basically evil author twins.”- Jaye L. Knight

 “Third in the series, peaking with an intense climax, and full of…well, everything, Defy most certainly didn’t disappoint!”- Abby Cashen

 “It was fantastic. It was also daunting and heavy. Made me giggle hysterically. Melted my heart. Strengthened my soul. In short, it’s a thought-provoking novel exploring perilous and even terrifying times; yet there are lovely moments of humor and sweetness – and the characters that experience them have quite captured my heart. I loved this book!”- Shantelle Hannu

 “I. LOVED. IT. SO. MUCH. You have to read this series!!!” – Bethany Reinstedt

 “Also more battles = more action = more awesome.” – Jonathan Trout

 Book Spotlights

Gabrielle Nadig

Micailah Cialella

Faith Potts

Mandy Fender

 Oh, you’re still here reading and waiting for your update? Some of you may have seen in the back of your Kindle or paperback copy of Defy that yes, there will be a book 4. I know Defy really seems like the end. It was originally planned to be. But things didn’t turn out that way. I’m about 60,000 words into book 4 and I’m hoping it’ll be published sometime this coming winter.

  Deliver Mock Up Cover
 About the Book (preliminary)
Can something broken ever heal? 
Martyn is broken. After betraying and torturing his best friend, he doesn’t belong anywhere in Acktar. Yet he can’t seem to make himself leave.
Leith is broken. While healing from the torture he received at Nalgar Castle, Leith struggles to find his new role. But can a Blade ever truly move on?
The country is broken. Bitterness divides town against town, neighbor against neighbor. Will they heal or deliver themselves to chaos?

Samara’s Peril Review & Interview

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In case you live in a hole like a hobbit and haven’t gotten the word yet that Samara’s Peril (Ilyon Chronicles book 3) released 6 days ago, it’s here. *fangirl screams go off in the background* I’m so excited! I’ve been waiting for this book for over a year!

Anyway, I probably should tell you a little about it, in case you missed seeing it plastered all over the rest of the blog tour (links for all the posts in the tour can be found here).

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About the Book

When news arrives that Emperor Daican has been in contact with his chief war strategist, it signals potential doom for the country of Samara. Determined to intervene, the resistance in Landale, headed by Lady Anne, embark on a covert mission in hopes of unearthing further information. However, a shocking discovery leads to complications no one could have foreseen.

Armed with their newfound knowledge, they set out for Samara to warn the king. War is inevitable, and they must face two desperate battles—one on the walls of Samara’s great stronghold, and the other on the battlefield of Jace’s heart, where victory might only be achievable through great sacrifice.

 

Available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks!

Add to Goodreads

Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? Find out more at the official Ilyon Chronicles website!

My thoughts

It’s the Ilyon Chronicles! Of course I spent most of this book as a puddle of fangirl mushiness!

The beginning of this book was my favorite. I loved seeing the whole Altair clan together. Minus one important character. *sniff* I still can’t read that part in The King’s Scrolls without bawling. I guessed the big reveal in the beginning of this book before it happened, but that didn’t stop me from squealing and walking around with a dazed grin on my face for hours afterwards.

There are some darker themes in the book, such as abusive marriage, a past rape, and a young man following in the abusive ways of his father. It is all handled very well, and highlights the manner a Christian deals with the consequences of those things rather than focusing too much on the darkness itself.

And just saying, Rothas has to die. Somehow. Once you read the book, you’ll understand.

This is a book that definitely has a switch in plotline and tone partway through. The two halves work together, but I’ll admit, I didn’t love the second half nearly as much as the first. It was still really, really good, and the twist at the end totally caught me off guard.

And one certain romance-y part at the end. *swoony sigh* Yes, I love impulsive kisses in books. Especially when it is two characters that I’ve been waiting forever for them to wake up and realize they liked each other.

This book also brings in the Christian parallels more distinctly than some of the other books. It is written more like Biblical fiction than allegory in some parts. It was handled very well, but it wasn’t my favorite part of the book. Probably because Biblical fiction isn’t my thing. So that is personal preference on my part.

Once again, this book delivers the emotional impact, hug-worthy and awesome characters, and adventure I’ve come to expect when I dive into the Ilyon Chronicles.

When does book 4 release? Please?

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About the Author

Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Etsy.

Jaye will also be joining me during the Facebook party to celebrate Defy‘s release on June 2.

Interview with the Author

Hi, Jaye! Welcome back to my blog! I think this is the third time I’ve interviewed you here. 🙂

  1. Samara’s Peril is such a pivotal book for the series. A lot of things happen both plot-wise and character-wise (Jayrin!). Was it a hard or easy book to write? Edit?

I wouldn’t say any of my books are easy to write, but Samara’s Peril was one of the easier ones. Editing, on the other hand, not so much. It took a lot of time and effort, probably because it is such a pivotal book, and I wanted to get the emotions just right.

Well, I think you succeeded! All of your books tend to have such emotional impact!

  1. Portraying Christ in fiction is a tricky thing to do, and not everyone agrees on the approach. How did you go about writing Elon in Samara’s Peril?

Definitely tricky. It’s never something I’ve set out wanting to do. More like called to do. It’s hard to feel qualified to attempt such a thing. Basically I went about it with a lot of prayer. The one thing I always focus on when attempting to portray Christ is Jesus’s love. That was an especially big part of this story. I know some readers will wish I had added more scenes with Elon, but everything major in this book is approached from Jace’s point of view. Jace longs for a relationship with Elon, but is afraid. One of the biggest questions I asked myself was how we would feel if we found ourselves in Jesus’s presence and were as keenly aware of our sins and shortcomings as Jace is. Questions like that are what shaped how I wrote Samara’s Peril.

That makes sense! I’m glad you didn’t add more scenes with Elon. I liked the way it was handled.

  1. You now have 12 books out between your two pennames. Twelve! What is the biggest thing you learned through writing and publishing all those books? Any things you’ve learned about writing recently?

I think the biggest thing is just the growth in the actual writing. The books I wrote as Molly Evangeline really needed more work. However, I had to start somewhere, and publishing those books taught me so much about the publishing process that I was able to use when starting over as Jaye L. Knight. I can’t think of anything specific just recently except that I really should give myself more time to get things ready before I publish. 😉 My schedule got kind of crazy this time and there was a little panic involved before this release. More so than usual.

*sigh* Don’t we all struggle with that? The panic before publication? And there’s never enough time. Never.

  1. Are there any specific places that influenced the setting of Ilyon?

I pick little bits of inspiration from a variety of places. Usually it’s a picture here and a picture there that I come across. Nowhere that I’ve been to or wanted to visit personally. Probably the biggest influence for a setting in Ilyon is Ancient Rome. That is really what I based the country of Arcacia on even though it has more of a medieval feel to it.

I love the mix of Ancient Rome and medieval in Ilyon! And the other cultures like the cretes.

  1. Your characters do a lot of travelling. Do you like to travel? What is your favorite trip you’ve ever taken or favorite place you’ve ever visited?

I do love to travel. I have so many places I would love to visit (the Rocky Mountains, the East Coast, England, the Caribbean), but, unfortunately, I can’t afford those kinds of trips on my author income. Someday I hope to though. I think my favorite trip memories are from day trips with my family. We did a lot of fun day trips when I was young, and now my brother and I do a lot of that as well. One of these days, we’re going to plan a more exciting and adventurous road trip.

What? Michigan’s not on that list? 😛

Thanks for stopping by once again! Can’t wait to chat with you again at Defy‘s Facebook party in a couple of weeks!

Giveaway

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Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Samara’s Peril, a John 3:16 necklace by FaithWearDesigns, and a green wire dragon bookmark by Wirelings! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Contest Results & Book Signing Memories

I could be mean and wait until the end of this post to announce the winners of the Name That Character contest. But, I’m not.

You all came up with such great names! It was sooooo hard to choose! 33 different people submitted names! Wow!

General GENERALS NAME shall henceforth be known as General Uriah Stewart. 

Congratulations to Emily Drown for the name Uriah and Addyson Huneke for the name Stewart.

Honorable mentions are Chloe L. for the names Tavish and McLain, and C.B. Cook for the name McGowan.

HE WHO MUST BE NAMED shall henceforth be known as Ian McCrae. 

Congratulations to Amy K. for the name Ian (she also came up with the name Tavish) and to Valerie S. for the name McCrae.

Honorable mentions are Jesseca Wheaton for the name Dunn and Josie Ophoff and Sierra Faith, who both came up with the name Jotham.

Congrats to all the honorable mentions and winners! And thank you everyone who entered! I’m definitely keeping this list of names, so you never know when I might use it again.


 

This past Saturday, I went to Indiana for a book signing, meet & greet, and book talk. About 20 people, both kids and adults, showed up. I had a great time chatting with everyone. I even managed to sound somewhat intelligent while answering questions. I doubt any of the kids getting their books signed realized that I was just as terrified to talk to them as they were to talk to me.

One of the questions I was asked was what books to I recommend. I should’ve been prepared, but I wasn’t completely. So here’s a better list:

My top 7 recommended Christian YA books

  • The Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight. So far, 2 books and a novella are out, and book 3 releases in May. I already had the chance to beta-read it, and it’s amazing. 🙂
    • Genre: fantasy
    • Magic: None
    • Spiritual Content: Very well done and doctrinal sound. The Christian aspects are not so much allegory as a mirror of our own world.
    • Sexual Content: None besides a few hints at what men can do to vulnerable young girls. It is tastefully dealt with.
    • Violence: Some fight scenes. A few executions. Mild torture. Nothing above PG13 level violence.
  • The Makilien Trilogy by Molly Evangeline. This is actually the earlier pen name of Jaye L. Knight. This trilogy has more of an allegorical, basic good vs. evil feel to it.
    • Genre: fantasy
    • Magic: None
    • Spiritual Content: Well done. Mostly focuses on belief in God and trusting God through hard times.
    • Sexual Content: None
    • Violence: Some fight scenes and large scale battles. Mild torture. Nothing about PG13 level, though most of it isn’t above PG.
  • Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes. The first two books are out and the third book releases in October. I can’t wait. 🙂
    • Genre: dystopian
    • Magic: none
    • Spiritual Content: Well done. Focuses on pursuing God with the time you’ve been given and finding peace in God.
    • Sexual Content: Nothing besides a kiss, some mentions of attraction between a girl and boy, and one childbirth scene (tastefully dealt with).
    • Violence: This is a very intense book. The author recommends 14 and up, depending on the maturity of the reader. There are some maiming, deaths, intense action scenes, explosions, etc. Still, nothing is too graphic and sticks in the PG14 level.
  • Follower of the Word series by Morgan Busse.
    • Genre: fantasy
    • Magic: Yes
    • Spiritual Content: Pretty well done. The spiritual aspect is very much an allegory. I might not agree with everything, but the allegory really helped me think about the nature of Christ’s sacrifice.
    • Sexual Content: a clean PG13 level. One character is sold as a female slave and given to a guest for “entertainment” (but nothing happens). Past, impure actions are mentioned. It is all tastefully done.
    • Violence: PG13 level violence. Some battle scenes and violence like that.
  • The Bailey Baxter series by Kim Moss. A sweet, contemporary series that deals with the problems of a young girl growing up in a small town.
    • Genre: contemporary
    • Spiritual Content: pretty well done. There isn’t much spiritual aspect in the first book, but as the main character grows in her faith, the spiritual content of the books grow as well.
    • Sexual Content: some kissing. The fourth book has a few more mature themes since the main character is now graduating high school, but it is still clean and very tastefully done.
    • Violence: Very little.
  • Legends of the Woodlands by Angie Brashear. An allegorical fantasy series.
    • Genre: fantasy
    • Magic: Yes
    • Spiritual Content: fairly well done. It is very allegorical, so sometimes the spiritual part can be difficult to detect in the story part, and I don’t always agree with all the spiritual aspect part, but it is still a very encouraging and uplifting series.
    • Sexual Content: Clean. Some kissing. A lot of attraction between characters. This series is heavy on the romance part, though the romance is clean.
    • Violence: PG13. Some battles scenes and executions.
  • Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. A very dense, old-style fantasy-allegory.
    • Genre: fantasy
    • Magic: Yes
    • Spiritual Content: Well done. It is the type of series where each time I read it, I get more out of it. It is allegorical, so sometimes the the spiritual part can be hard to detect from the fantasy part.
    • Sexual Content: None
    • Violence: Some violence, but not much.

There are many more, but perhaps I’ll have to save those for another blog post. 🙂

Contests!

In chatting with the Goodreads fangirls, I have decided to hold a couple of contests to keep all of you occupied while you wait for Defy to release. The good news is, Defy is falling together very well with a whole lot less tears and hair-tearing and forehead-thumping-on-desk than Deny. I don’t have an official release date, but I’m hoping I’ll have one by the end of March.

In the mean time, the contests! 🙂


Name That Character Contest

When I wrote Defy, I purposefully didn’t name two of the characters. Instead, I’ve decided to let you guys name them!

How it works:

  1. Fill out the form below with both a first name and a last name for each of the two characters and tell me why you think that particular name is the perfect name for that character.
  2. You may enter only 1 set of names.
  3. This contest runs from today through Feb. 18. On Feb. 19, I’ll announce 4 winners (one for each of the 2 first names and 2 last names, unless someone manages to pick the perfect first and last name pair) and 4-8 honorable mentions.
  4. The winners will receive a free ebook copy of Defy when it releases and will be mentioned in the acknowledgement section of the book. The honorable mentions will have their names also included in the acknowledgements section of the book.

The types of names I’m looking for:

In Acktar, most of the names have a Scottish, British, or Irish origin. I tried to go in families for name origins. For example, Renna and Brandi’s mother and uncle (who were brother and sister) have Spanish origin names with Annita and Leon. The royal family has Irish/Scottish origin names (Deirdre, Aengus, Rorin, Keevan, Duncan) Many of the nobles have English nobility sounding names (Like Lord Henry Alistair), while many of the people without rank have Scottish origin names (Leith, Lachlan, Hamish). Some names, I just plain made up because they sounded cool. And, of course, there are a lot of Biblical names.

Please do not submit any names that start with the letters R or L. I already have WAY too many names that start with those letters already, especially R.

Name #1 – General GENERALS NAME

He is a general in the Resistance army. He was a part of the old Acktarian army before Respen took the throne. He has been in hiding in Eagle Heights for nearly five years now. He is tall, gray-haired, and weathered.

Note: Due to the nature of his position, his last name will be mentioned more often in the book than his first name.

Name #2 – HE WHO MUST BE NAMED

Yes, all you Harry Potter fans, that reference was on purpose. 😉

He is a fourteen-year-old boy in the Resistance army. He is lanky and thin with light brown hair. He has been living in Eagle Heights for several years after him and his family fled Acktar.

Note: his first name will be used more often in the book than his last name.

 

Got a few names in mind? Please fill out the below form:


Fan Art/Photo/Fiction/Video Contest

I’ve also decided to hold a fan art contest. These look like a lot of fun, and I’ve never done this before, so we’ll see how it goes.

The fan art can have anything to do with The Blades of Acktar series. Take a creative photo with the books or dress up as the characters and take photos or write a fan fiction piece or make a book trailer. Get creative. Have fun. This contest is for all you fans to have fun. 🙂

How it works:

  1. You’ll be able to submit your entries between now and March 4. That gives you a whole month to come up with something crazy/cool/creative.
  2. When you enter, you’ll be entered into a drawing for 1 or more Amazon gift cards (depending on how many entries I receive). In other words, you have a chance to win something just by entering.
  3. Once I have all the entries, I’ll divide them into categories (most likely photo, fiction, video, and artwork. But these categories may change based on number of entries and the nature of the entries). Each category will be featured for one week on my blog, where fans will be able to vote on their favorites in each category.
  4. You can enter up to 5 different entries. They may be in the same category, though if they are too similar, I may ask you to pick one for the voting.

How to enter:

Email your fan photo/video/fiction/artwork to triciamingerink (at) gmail (dot) com. If the file is too big to email, please shoot me an email and we will figure out how to proceed, or send me the link to it on Youtube if it is a video.

By sending me your fan art in its various media forms, you are giving me permission to share it on my various social media sites.

So have fun! I’m looking forward to seeing what you all come up with!


 

 

Interview with Jesse Dornan – Narrator of Dare

As promised, Jesse Dornan, the narrator for the audiobook version of Dare, has agreed to a guest interview on my blog. 🙂

Dare Audiobook Cover

Hi, Jesse! Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I’ve had a lot of readers asking about the person who is narrating The Blades of Acktar, so I’m glad you were willing to oblige them.

Tell us a little about yourself. Anything you’d like to share with all The Blades of Acktar fans?

Well, I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to a family of artists.  I went to the University of Utah for my undergraduate training. I worked with some wonderful teachers in the Actor Training Program.  I had a stint in New York.  Then worked as an assistant director in Asbury Park, New Jersey. I toured the country with a children’s show, Pippi Longstocking.  I went to places I never thought I’d see.  Then it was off to Milwaukee Repertory Theatre for an internship.  There I got to work with incredibly passionate professionals. Graduate school in Sarasota Florida was the final stop for me before making my home in Chicago.  I love it here.  On the side I teach yoga, fitness, and spin classes.  That keeps me in shape and confident in front of others.  My real passion has always been acting.  I’m glad I could find a creative outlet through working on audiobooks.

Wow! You’ve sure traveled a lot! And it sounds like you definitely keep busy! 

What got you interested in narrating audiobooks?

I’ve always loved and admired those that can tell a convincing story off the page.  My mom used to read to me.  She’d do all the voices and it was such a delight.  She’d often record her reading so I could play it back when she wasn’t home.  I listened to books on tape with my stepmom.  Stephen King was our favorite.   In undergrad I read a chapter of Harry Potter for a class on narration. Once I got to Chicago I was looking for work that would keep me creatively fulfilled.  ACX came across my browser one day as I was searching for Voice-over work.  In hindsight all my experiences with spoken word brought me to a new passion.  I’m thankful that narration hooked me at such a young age.

My dad read the Little House books to me when I was little. Perhaps someday I’ll have to have him record The Little House in the Big Woods just to hear him do Pa’s story voice again. 

I absolutely love your rendition of the characters’ voices, especially Shad’s and Lord Alistair’s. How do you go about deciding character voices when you produce an audiobook?

I thought, oh my gosh, I have to create all these characters voices.  I wanted them to be distinct regionally, since Tricia laid out such a detailed map.  I felt like I was in Middle Earth!

Shad came to me as I was working on a theatre show Fallen Angels.  We chose to use RP or Received Pronunciation for our characters. It’s a heightened form of British.  My character, Willy just fit with Shad. Since Shad and Lord Alistair are related I wanted to use the same sort of dialect for both of them.  I used an aged British accent for Alistair.  I think he sounds a lot like Ian McKellan, who is one of my idols.

As for others, it comes to me intuitively as I read the book to myself.  Some I just throw on there and see if they sound right.  I wanted Renna to have a grounded voice, but still make it clear she was a female.  It’s actually hard for me to do a woman’s voice and not sound canned or airy.  She has to be a real person too.

Well, your choice of voices for Lord Alistair and Shad was perfect! I think most male narrators have a hard time doing women’s voices, so I was rather happy with how well Renna and Brandi turned out. I’ve heard some audiobooks where the women sounds REALLY fake. 

What does your process for creating an audiobook look like?

It took me over 85 hours to produce the first book.  It was a lot of trial and error.  I discovered so much about programs like Twisted Wave and Audacity.  It took a lot of patience and time but I enjoyed the obstacles.  They helped me grow.

I record all the audio now, raw.  Then I go back and take out long pauses.  I send it off to the author and wait for their notes.  Then on the second pass I read with the text next to me and find any mistakes with words, as well incorporate notes.  While doing this I take out all the background noise, using a program called Audacity.  Then I master the track.  This involves normalizing; making all the sound levels the same, so the listener doesn’t have to ride the volume nob.  I cut the peaks of the audio down to -3 decibel’s, otherwise you might lose your hearing on the louder parts of the audio.  Then I send it off again and wait for the final approval from the author.  I’ll make tweaks if need be then send off the final product for ACX approval.

Wow! A lot of work! I certainly appreciate it. 🙂 

A number of my blog readers are also indie authors who might someday be looking for a narrator for their books. Where can they contact you?

dornanjesse@gmail.com

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today! 

In case you haven’t done it yet, you can listen to a sample of Dare‘s audiobook here.

The giveaway for a copy of the audiobook of Dare is now closed. The winners are:

Noel Young, Ariel Torres, Sierra Blasko, Rebekah, and Molly. I just sent you an email with your free audiobook code.

 

Congrats to the winners and thanks to everyone for your enthusiasm!