2018, Here I Come

I realized it has been too long since I posted. Not since November. *sigh* But that’s December for you. Always way too busy. It doesn’t help I’m bad at blogging. I struggle to figure out something worthy of being blogged about. I don’t want to bore my readers with mundane stuff.

But you’re getting mundane today. Because that’s all I can think to write about, and it might help to share how my life has been going since 2018 started 4 days ago.

New Year’s Day started off with me being gone on a vacation with my family about 5 hours away from home. Which, was a really good vacation despite the cold weather…until the morning of our last day when my cousin called to let us know he’d stopped by my parents’ house and my horse had gotten out.

Not a good feeling. At all. When horses get out of their pasture, they tend to go all wild horse and run all over the place. They can run for miles, get hit by a car, take hours to be rounded up again. It isn’t a good thing when a horse gets loose. It’s even worse when you’re 5 hours away and can do nothing about it but listen to your dad’s end of the conversation and try to think of something that would help. We were all out of horse grain, but thankfully I had left plenty of the horse’s favorite apple-flavored treats.

Apparently my horse and my brother’s dog (who has a dog run next to the horse pasture) got a little bored sometime in the middle of the night or early morning and between the two of them they managed to tear down a section of fence large enough for the horse to get through.

Thankfully Shadow, my horse, hadn’t gone far, and it appeared he spent most of his time outside the pasture trying to get back into it, but was too scared to go past the dog’s run.

And now my cousin, a virtual stranger to the horse, had to try to get the horse back into the pasture with only a bucket of horse treats.

But this is where it is a good thing I have the laziest, fattest, most homebody of a horse ever. A virtual stranger opens his gate and offers him treats and what does my horse do? Trot right in the pasture to eat the offered treats, that’s what. Getting back into his nice, safe pasture was all he really wanted anyway.

All in all, I only had to panic a few minutes about my horse being out without me being there to make sure he got safely in the pasture.

The next day on my way to my first day back to work after my vacation my truck blew a tire and left me temporarily stranded along side of a busy freeway in 10 degree temperatures and several inches of slush. And when I say blew a tire, I mean the entire side wall was gone and parts of the tire were literally down to the rim. It looked like something out of NASCAR. Thankfully, I kept control of my truck and didn’t spin out into a wall like they tend to do after blown tires in racing.

I wish I could say I remember the feeling of the tire blowing more clearly than I do. If I got the life experience out of it, I should be able to call it book research, except that I mostly write fantasy set in more medieval times and the feeling of a blown tire wouldn’t be all that helpful in that sort of book. Not that blowing a tire and getting stranded along the freeway is necessarily a life experience I wanted to check off my bucket list, but I guess I did anyway.

Note to all of those dealing with cold temperatures: if you’ve been gone for a week of vacation and you have a tire that already is leaking air and then the temperatures drop 40 degrees while you are gone, it can cause issues like really low tire pressure which cause further issues like blown tires. Little life lesson: make sure you check the tire pressures.

Another Little Life Lesson: the jack included in a car is junk. I can change a tire by myself with a proper jack and air wrench in my dad’s barn, but alongside the road with a worthless jack was a bit more challenging. My dad and uncle helped me out at different points throughout the day to get the wrecked tire off, bring the rim to the tire place at the next exit, get to work, leave work once the new tire was ready, go back to my stranded car, and get the new tire on (my spare tire is one of those under the truck sort of spares that are completely worthless on an older vehicle like mine because they become rusted in place and impossible to get off when you are stuck alongside the road).

So that was the first two days of the year for me. Hopefully the rest of this year isn’t so stressful and crazy.

On another note, my vacation gave me time to do some mild editing, and I think I’m finally getting sort of excited about sharing this next book with you. I keep wanting to share snippets and titles and blurbs with you guys, but I’m not letting myself yet. I want to put together the cover and a cover reveal to really make those things have an impact.

But I guess I will share this. One of the pictures I’m using as an inspiration for this current book:

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How has your 2018 been so far?

Finally, a Writing Update

Sorry I have been dark so long. No blog posts. No newsletters. If not for a few tweets and Facebook posts, you guys might have decided I dropped off the face of the earth.

Other News first:

A Blog Series – I was recently part of a series of blog posts put on by the lovely Sarah Addison-Fox on what does it mean to write clean/Christian fantasy. You can read my post here, but it is worth reading all of them starting with the introductory post, then authors Hope Ann, Claire Banschbach, Serena Chase, Lauricia Matuska, and Kate Willis. Lots of different perspectives and food for thought!

Black Friday Sale – I will once again be a part of a Black Friday sale put together by fellow Christian indie authors. I think we have over 36 authors participating this year, which is huge considering we had about 7 of us the first year. Check back here on Friday for a link to the sale.

Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to answer the poll I posted a while back! Of the 90 responses I received, 62% mostly read fantasy (which is good. Fantasy is my first love and I struggle to write anything else). When asked if you would like to see more Blades of Acktar, over 75% answered either Yes, right away or Yes, but let’s see something new first. Very, very few said they don’t want to read anything more in The Blades of Acktar.

I was also surprised by the number of people who asked for either more about Ranson or more about Brandi and Jamie. Good news is, I have ideas for both of those characters that I would like to write someday, so there is a good chance you’ll see more about them in the future.

If you would like to still take the poll, here is a link to it.

If you took the poll, then you probably already guessed, but the current project I’m working on is a Christian allegorical fantasy. It has been a tough book to write, as allegorical elements are much harder to make sure they come across the way I intend since they aren’t as clear as writing full on Christian fiction the way I did with The Blades of Acktar.

But while this book is allegorical, it isn’t an allegory. What does that mean? Well, an allegorical book still has lots of story elements that aren’t necessarily part of the allegory. Think Chronicles of Narnia. A full allegory would be a book like Pilgrim’s Progress where nothing in that book doesn’t have some sort of symbol or meaning.

Due to the trickiness of writing allegorically, this book has been tough. My word counts have been drastically reduced compared to what I did each day when writing The Blades of Acktar. BUT I am ALMOST finished. If I keep on track, I’ll finish either before the end of November or early in December. That means I should be able to start telling you details, back cover blurbs, and stuff like that by the end of December or early January. Yay!!!

I’m both excited and nervous to share this book with you. Some days, I can barely write I’m so terrified this book will not only disappoint, but offend and turn away readers. That’s the chance every author takes with every book, but especially when I know many of my readers personally. I don’t want to disappoint a single one of you!

 

 

The Blades of Acktar: Disney Version

Disney Princess

Because I’m a Disney fan, I couldn’t help but start comparing the characters from The Blades of Acktar to Disney characters. Then I realized that would probably make a fun blog post.


Leith – Aladdin

Image result for aladdin

I wasn’t sure who to go with at first for Leith, but I finally settled on Aladdin. Both Aladdin and Leith are orphans defined by the situation they find themselves, even though they are secretly a sweetheart deep down. Aladdin, though, has a tendency to be more cocky than Leith, but Leith has a few moments. They both risk a lot over the love of a girl.

If Leith was in a Disney movie, he would be the outlaw who ends up on the right side of the law by the end, and tries his best to pitch in with all the singing even if he doesn’t always know what is happening.


Shad – Li Shang

Image result for li shang

Shad is SO Li Shang it isn’t even funny. Shang is a  by-the-books sort of guy. He looks up to his father yet also struggles to be his own person while living up to his father’s staggering reputation. Sound a bit familiar? Yeah, that’s Shad all the way.

If Shad was in a Disney movie, he would be the Disney guy who doesn’t even think it’s weird that everyone is singing. That’s just what good Disney princes do.

 

 


Martyn – Eugene/Flynn Rider

Image result for flynn riderYou probably guessed this one. Of course Martyn is Eugene. They both adore sarcasm, have a bad attitude about pretty much everything until they finally start to warm up to it, start out as very reluctant heroes, but end up sacrificial in the end.

And, yes, if Martyn were in a Disney movie, he would be the guy in the corner going “I don’t sing” with his arms crossed exactly like Eugene. Like Eugene, it would also take holding him at swordpoint to connvince him otherwise.


Jamie – Kristoff

Image result for kristoffThis one was probably my hardest to decide. I decided Kristoff in the end because both Jamie and Kristoff are the sort of guys who go great lengths for their friends without asking or expecting anything in return, especially if the girl doesn’t see them as more than a friend. They both find their families through being more-or-less adopted into one. Jamie, though, tends to be a bit cleaner than Kristoff.

If Jamie were in a Disney movie, he probably would be the goodhearted side-kick more than anything else, but he would be great at harmonizing with all  the other singing characters.


Renna – Cinderella (2015)

Image result for cinderella 2015Renna especially reminds me of Cinderella, especially as portrayed in the 2015 version. Not only does Lily James look a lot like how I picture Renna (except that Renna has straight hair and blue eyes), but the whole “have courage and be kind” motto is pretty much Renna’s motto. Both Cinderella and Renna are strong because they are kind to those around them even in difficult circumstances. They are even kind to those who hurt them. It is that kindness that attracts them to others and helps them triumph in the end.

If Renna were in a Disney movie, she, of course, would have a great singing voice and wouldn’t think twice about all the musical numbers she’d have as a Disney princess.


Brandi – Anna

Image result for anna from frozenAnother tough one. Brandi could’ve been Mulan, since she runs off to fight like Mulan does. Or maybe even Merida from Brave. But I think Anna best captures Brandi’s personality. Both are very spunky, lively, appear naive, and do a lot of growing. Both look after their older sisters. Both end up fighting when pushed into a corner because they are feisty like that. Both tend to say the first thing that comes to mind without always thinking it through.

If Brandi were in a Disney movie, she would spontaneously burst into song. She might, however, be slightly off key and singing a totally different song from everyone else.


Jolene – Merida

Image result for meridaJolene was the hardest one to pick. I know, I’ve said they were all hard. But even I didn’t get to know Jolene as much as I would’ve liked in the books. All her good scenes ended up getting cut in revision. 😦 But, I finally decided she was most like Merida. They are both good at archery. Both have very formidable mothers that they love but don’t always understand. Jolene’s mother, though, tends to encourage Jolene’s archery skills more than frown on it. And Jolene would’ve loved to have three little brothers (even if they were terrors) like Merida.

If Jolene were in a Disney movie, she probably wouldn’t do much singing. She doesn’t have a great voice. But she would pitch in and do what she’d have to do.


Kayleigh – Mulan

You knew Mulan had to come into here somewhere. 😉

Image result for mulan

Both Kayleigh and Mulan are very tough girls who know how to wield a sword and don’t always fit in with the regular society around them. They do what they have to do to survive while always holding on to their femininity even while dressed in trousers and swinging a sword. In the end, they both figure out how to be both a warrior and a girl.

If Kayleigh were in a Disney movie, she probably would be singing while she practiced with her sword.


So there you have it. The Blades of Acktar: Disney version. It would be one messed up Disney movie, especially since, if you were keeping tracking, Shang ends up with Merida, Aladdin falls in love with Cinderella, and Eugene has a thing for Mulan. The only pairing that matches the Disney movie is Jamie (Kristoff) maybe in the future MIGHT end up with Brandi (Anna).

What do you think? Do you have any other characters who would match Disney characters? Think a different Disney character should match these Blades of Acktar characters?

Deliver Launch Team & Reviewer Sign Up

Who would like to help launch Deliver into the world? Show of hands?

Please fill out the below sign up form. Sign up will be open from now to midnight EST on April 8. You will receive more information about the launch if you are on the team the following Wednesday, April 12.

Deliver Release Date

Sorry, guys. I have been beyond silent the last month or so. Too much busyness! All good reasons, I assure you.

But it’s about time you all got an update. I apologize if you’ve sent me an email or Facebook post in the last few weeks asking after Deliver. I was frantically finishing up a few things and haven’t had a chance to reply yet.

Now for the news you have all been waiting to hear:

Deliver will release April 25!

That is less than a month away! Eep!

Stay tuned this week for lots of more pre-release info, such as a cover reveal, preorder on Amazon, listed on Goodreads, launch team sign up, and more. But for now, I’m just going to leave you with this teaser of the cover:

 

Update: I’ve decided to re-brand the covers of Destroy and Deliver. So here is a new sneak peak for you guys!

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 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 http://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!

 

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

Bonus Short Story #2 Released!

Destroy 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

 

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

Destroy Releases + Free Short Stories!

Ta da!

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

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!