My Kingdom For a Quest – Cover Reveal!

Today I’m joining in the cover reveal for the third book in Kendra E. Ardnek’s Bookania Quests series: My Kingdom For a Quest!

But first, Kendra joins us to answer some questions about the books and writing…

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Your Bookania Quests series seems to be basically a big glorious fairytale-and-legend retelling mashup… How much of a part would you say the Arthurian legend plays in this book, and what other tidbits of stories come into play the most?

Yeah, big glorious mashup. That’s Bookania. I haven’t even gotten to the books that involve Shakespeare and Mary Poppins.

Arthurian Legend is pretty much the focus of My Kingdom for a Quest, the main POV is Arthur himself, and most of the characters are there to play some role or another in the legend. However, I have taken more liberty with Arthur than I have any other fairy tale or legend to date (the exception being, perhaps, Puss in Boots).

The other fairy tale that is important is Sleeping Beauty. Most of the characters who aren’t directly connected to Arthurian legend are part of that tale, and some have a foot in both stories.

What advice would you give writers interested in trying to re-imagine and twist old stories in new ways? (i.e.: what challenges have you faced and overcome in writing these books?)

I have guest posted on this topic twice, so I do have quite a bit of advice.

However, I think the most important part is to make the Fairy Tale yours. Sure, a thousand people have told this story before you a thousand different ways, but the moment you decide to set about retelling a fairy tale, you make it yours. Own it.

How many books do you have planned for this series?

I have a notebook with 21 titles written in it, and I have half a dozen vague plots and bits of history planned beyond that. Not only that, I have three or four full-length prequels planned and dozens of short stories that take place within and around the series. So, yes, this is a world that will keep me busy for quite some time to come.

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Aaand, here at last we have the cover that has been waited for!

*drumroll*

Isn’t it just scrumptious??

My Kingdom Cover front image (4)

Arthur is the rightful king of Briton, but his Uncle Mordreth refuses to give up the regency. Arthur and Grandfather are now returning with allies to wrestle the kingdom from his uncle’s grasp.  But not all is as it seems among his allies, and everyone has secrets.  New loves, old loves, lost loves, kingdoms conquered and kingdoms stolen. Who is the real “rightful heir” and will the nearly forgotten sword in the stone finally answer this question?

Find My Kingdom For a Quest on Goodreads here!

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I don’t know about you, but I love a good Arthurian and/or fairytale retelling… I’m very much looking forward to visiting Bookania myself in Kendra’s series!

My Kingdom For a Quest will release February 14, 2015, so keep an eye out for that!

In the meantime, you can read the first two books in the series (as I plan to)!

Sew, It’s a Quest (book 1)

Do You Take This Quest? (book 2)

100_1992Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairy tales and twisting them in new and exciting ways.  She’s been practicing her skills on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years, “Finish your story, Kendra”, is frequently heard at family gatherings. Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children’s tales that also glorify God and his Word. You can read more about her on her blog, knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com.

One Last Time – A Hobbity Review

I think we all know how much of a Tolkien/Middle-earth fan I am. So the following statement should come as no surprise…

I saw the final Hobbit film the night it came out.

This is supposed to be a mini review of sorts. I’m not going to be too detailed, but I just wanted to say a couple things.

Short version?

Awesome movie, awful adaption.

(Okay, so I’ll say a little more than that…)

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The last Middle-earth movie (we assume).

I saw it at the midnight showing. (Which was at 7 pm. But hey, who’s counting?)

The theater was crammed stuffed, and you could tell they were pretty much all fairly hardcore Middle-earth fans. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard such unanimous bursts of laughter so many times, and I definitely have not ever heard so much applause in a theater. Martin Freeman’s fabulous Bilbo faces got a lot of laughs, and sooo many other things.

And so much clapping. Really. It was sort of awesome. And the part that got the most applause I think was near the end when–not to give spoilers–Legolas does a certain probably impossible stunt involving falling rocks. It was hilarious how big of a reaction that got in the theater, just everyone clapping and laughing. XD I loved it. I’m going to have fond memories of that viewing for a long time…

As for the movie itself…

So, the movie-makers made up a TON of stuff. And messed with the story and characters a lot. Which, as a very dedicated fan of Tolkien’s books, I will not excuse. This makes for a fairly grumpy Deborah on some counts…

But.

If you pretend (as I did, to a point) that it was just a movie… it was actually really awesome.

Aside from several stupid things (dwarf/elf romance, Alfrid the annoying, etc. etc.) I really enjoyed it. A lot.

Even though it wasn’t a good adaption (which, let’s be honest, I wasn’t expecting anyway) it was still a fairly awesome movie.

I like lists. So here:

  • It was epic and heartbreaking and beautiful in turns.
  • I loved the lines that they DID keep from the book. (*gasp!* Yes, there were a few.)
  • I loved Thranduil. So much fabulous. And his moose.
  • And Bard–he was so so awesome!
  • And Legolas was very cool and I don’t even care because Legolas.
  • And even Thorin. Waah.
  • And Bilbo. Bilbo was so amazingly BILBO-ISH. Perfection.
  • And I cried a few times… Funny how that happens at more movies these days. I’ve either been watching sad movies this year or I’m getting more sentimental… Oh well. 😉

Also, this is random. But I loved the credits. The sketches for the characters were AMAZING. I stayed and watched the whole thing. 😛

But… it was the last Middle-earth movie. Which is both cool and sad.

So yeah. I have a lot of emotions and feelings about the movie, all mixed up. Because I love the book, but they sort of messed it up, but it was a good movie, an epic one even, and when I let go of my hope for a good adaption, I really enjoyed it and it was so awesome but also so sad and just epic.

I know I’m supposed to be a writer, but I’m having a hard time putting together words to express myself about this. Conflicted feels, I tell ya.

My recommendation?

Go see it.

Don’t think too much about the book when you do, but go see it. It’s absolutely worth it.

(And if you haven’t read the book? Then you poor deprived soul, absolutely see it, and then go read the book to fill in that hobbit-sized hole in your heart, because you don’t know what you’re missing.)

Soon I plan to reread the actual Hobbit book J. R. R. Tolkien wrote, now that the films are completed, to remind myself of the real version.

But no matter the form, or what mistakes or good things were done, it was wonderful to visit Middle-earth as brought to life by Peter Jackson.

To visit Middle-earth in the theater …

…One Last Time.

Words and Christmas

I just finished writing for today… This is the 100th day since starting the 100-for-100 challenge to write at least 100 words for 100 days, run by Go Teen Writers.

Since September 15th, I’ve written every day (okay, so I took a day off each week, and used up my 7 days of “vacation” where I didn’t write. But besides that!). I’m very burnt out, but very pleased that I managed to continue to the end–and so much productivity!

100-for-100-badge
But you know what this means? With my completion of the 100 for 100 Challenge, I’m finally done with my writing obligations for the year. I’ve been looking forward to taking a writing hiatus for awhile now, and I would have taking off right away when NaNo ended (so much burn out!) but I held on and got out 100 words per day to continue the challenge.

So now I get to take off a few weeks! I’m so excited.

I’ve been burning the candle at both ends, and blowtorching it in the middle. After a crazy NaNo season spanning October and November, a road trip, and a stressful December, I’m ready to crash.

So now I want to cut back and enjoy Christmas-time and the end/beginning of the year and generally take off from writing and things. Hopefully do nothing but read and catch up on life things for awhile. I’m going to RELAX… 🙂

I’m also going to be taking a wee bit of time off from the internet. I might be around occasionally, and I DO have some blog plans… even some scrumptious things that are scheduled to post–yes, this blogger is ahead of herself for once. *rubs hands gleefully together* But in general I need a bit of a break and I might not be very consistently present on the interwebs for the end of 2014 and the start of 2015.

So! In the meantime, I hope you all have a blessed Christmas and a fabulous New Year!!!

Lots of love,
Deborah O’Carroll of The Road of a Writer

Christmas
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

FIFTY

(What? People who do NaNoWriMo are totally allowed a couple weeks of ignoring their blogs after Novemer 30th… *cough*)

1st order of business: This is my fiftieth post on this blog!

50th

2nd order of business: I managed to write fifty thousand words in November and therefore win NaNoWriMo 2014!

Winner-2014-Web-Banner
…Hence the fifty in the title. (Yay double meanings!)

This was my craziest NaNo yet.

And if you know anything about my first NaNo (completely pantsing the story, no idea what I was doing, had to write 8k the last day to finish), you will understand the full meaning of that statement. Allow me to explain.

My brain is tired so I’m going to do a list. Okay? Okay. List it is.

  • My story was not plotted because I had not had time before November 1st hit.
  • Which means I was effectively pantsing my whole NaNo. I’m a planner. This was not going to go well.
  • I was also MLing. NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaisons (that’s me; fancy title, eh?) are volunteers who organize local NaNoWriMo regions, so I was taking care of a regional forum, answering question, and helping organize and attend write-ins and other events. I was also writing regional broadcast messages to keep my Wrimos up to date and encouraged. This all may sound like a walk in the park, but when you throw it on top of trying to write 50,000 words and keep up with regular life… it’s gets a little less walk-in-the-park-y.
  • All of this, while I was getting ready for, and then gone on… a roadtrip. Out of state. For the last two weeks of November.
  • Let’s just say I made enormous use of 15 minute word wars against myself. And basically freaked out all month long because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it to 50k.
  • And I wrote a lot in the car.
  • A lot.

My view for much of the trip. Yay music.

I also wrote extra for a couple days when we were snowed in ish at my uncle’s longer than we thought we’d be.

View out the window. Who knew my uncle lived in Narnia?

Which brings me to my next point.

Snow.

Snow, people. As you may be aware, I live in that very big and very warm state known as Texas. Although it is not actually a desert full of cacti as many non-Texans seem to believe (at least not the part I’m in), snow is a rare occurrence. We get an occasional dusting. Every few years or so. Once, I remember we got two or three inches. Unheard of, I tell you! But on this trip… I saw SO much snow. There was like 8 or 10 inches at my uncle’s. It was so weird/awesome. I discovered, for instance, that the snow crusted on the top so that you sort of had to break through it, and you had to lift your feet high when you walked, because my goodness, that snow was taller than my boot!

(…Okay, so I don’t have all that much experience with multiple inches of snow. I’m from the South. Sue me.)

Moving on. And whoops, I fell out of my list.

Well, the long and short of it is, despite perils obstacles (and icicles. Another thing about traveling north-ish in November: IT’S COLD. ALL THE TIME. I was so happy to get back to my warmish southern sunshine, and 60 degrees felt so WARM in comparison. Normally at 60 I’m shivering in several layers of hoodies and sweaters. But after constant 20s and 30s and even getting to 14 degrees–seriously WHY?–60 felt positively summerish. After getting home, I sat on the steps in the sun and rolled up my sleeves and it felt fabulous. Naturally the weather is laughing at me now and it’s nearly freezing all the time, so I’m back to my normal winter state as an icicle, but the contrast was nice for awhile there…)

Obstacles. I mean icicles. They weren’t really obstacles…

…Where was I? Icicles and obstacles. Right. Despite obstacles of numerous sizes and shapes, I pressed on intrepidly. In the midst of a crazy last-day-of-NaNo all-day writing event, closed in at the library with several other kindred spirits all typing madly away… I made it to the other side, triumphant with 50,000 words of my novel Heartseeker.

NaNo2014dashboard

It needs a ton of editing, and it’s probably only about two-thirds done. But it was a fun crazy journey and I love the story so far and made the goal of NaNo 2014 when I was sure this would be the first time in five NaNos that I would fail. But I made it!

2014NaNoStats

The day I caught up in the middle there was at said uncle’s house in Narnia.

…Of course as soon as I finished NaNo, I promptly collapsed and wanted to do nothing ever again after such a long and stressful month of craziness…

There is that…

But still.

Aaaand this post is not 50,000 words, but seems to be rapidly approaching it, so I’m going to cease and desist regaling you all with my epic adventures, and leave you with a bit of a photo-dump of some pics from my trip. Enjoy.

On the road…

Train

A TRAIN on a bridge next to the one we were crossing. So exciting. Made my day.

Christmas scenes are all apparently from snowy places. And I managed to catch one. So beautiful!

Christmas scenes are all apparently from snowy places. And I managed to catch one. So beautiful!

orphan's song

The only book that traveled with me, which I was reading during NaNo. THAT BOOK. <3<3<3 I must review it but cannot find the words to express how much I love it. (Soon, though.) Also pines. Because PINES. (Pines do not exist very much where I live. So they are exotic and beautiful.

And a baby dinosaur I met. (...Okay, it was at a museum.)

And a baby dinosaur I met. (…Okay, it was at a museum.)

A very blurry picture of inside a cave I visited.

A very blurry picture of inside a cave I visited.

Typing at my uncle's. You can't read the "NaNoWriMo" on my hoodie very well. But I wore that thing nonstop in November and it kept me nice and warm. <3

Typing at my uncle’s. You can’t read the “NaNoWriMo” on my hoodie very well. But I wore that thing nonstop in November and it kept me nice and warm. ❤

This was at a restaurant. I thought of Sherlock and freaked out. Of course I took a picture.

This was at a restaurant. I thought of Sherlock and freaked out. “Lucky cat.” Of course I took a picture.

It should say "Except on Party Business" instead. Doesn't it know it's the month of The Hobbit??

It should say “Except on Party Business” instead. Doesn’t it know it’s the month of The Hobbit??