Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Voted Most Likely Tag, Part 1

So this is such a neat and fun little tag, and I was pleased when Nicole tagged me.  :)  I love any chance to talk about my characters!  (However, this post is very might need to get some snacks and a drink...)

  • Thank the blogger who tagged you
  • Use your own lovely Original Characters (OC’s); don’t use a friend’s characters or characters from your favorite fandom. They can be from any project, so long as you created them. For more fun, try to use as many different characters as possible.
  • Tag at least five lovely bloggers to play along!
For something a little different, I'm going to reference three of the quirkiest characters from three different book series, just so I don't get character overload.

Betrayal and Bravery
Tach the Minstrel, Ondore Windborne, Wisdom Ravencroft

Fitz, Berend nae Richimae, Ravenna Castrandottir

 Heritage of Kings
Cadren Finn Fëvere, Cade Tannerin Fëvere, Josharin "Joshi" Coderim Fëvere
Most Likely to Become a Poet

Tach leaned back against the wall, his eyes half-closed, the firelight across the room warming the tip of his nose.  Laughter and the clinking of plates covered most of his thoughts as the occupants of the inn talked over their dinners.  A chair scraped as a shadow fell over his face and someone cleared their throat.  Tach opened his eyes to see a family standing across the table from him, their homespun wool marking them out as villagers or farmers - the poorest sort in Raybir.

"May we share your table?" the father asked, sliding his hat off respectfully.  "It's crowded here, and we can't find room for all of us."

"Yes, please, take a seat."  Tach grabbed his pack and offered his chair to one of the older daughters, waiting until they were all seated before claiming the empty spot on the bench, squeezing in beside a couple little children.  He hung his lute back up on the edge of the bench, waiting until he knew it wouldn't slide onto the ground before finally letting go of the strap.

"Are you a poet?" one of the children asked, his little brown eyes wide.  "Do you write all the stories?"

Tach laughed.  "No, I'm a minstrel."

"A minstrel is a poet," a sister, probably two or three years older, corrected.  "They write songs."

"I don't write songs," Tach corrected, trying to be casual.  "I just learn ones that others play."

"You don't make your own songs?"

Okay, so once he had made up his own little rhyme, sort of a chant to sing while trotting through the mountain tunnels, a pack of Bibles over his shoulder.  He never repeated it to anyone, but secretly, he liked it.  "I do make my own songs.  They're not any good."

"Then you're a poet," the little boy announced, as if that's all there was to it.

Tach shrugged a shoulder.  "Alright, then.  I'm a poet."

Most Likely to Dance in the Rain

Marywyn tugged her hood further over her brow and hurried the last few steps through the rain, sighing in relief when she was finally under the shelter of the West Band barracks.  Harpsong filled the air, and she huffed for a moment.  The music had already started, and the room was full.  With the last of the spring rains coating the city in a shiny coat of water, people were more likely to be indoors.

At least it wasn't cold out.  That would be miserable.

"Marywyn!" Wisdom grabbed her elbow and towed her to the corner by the door.  "There you are!  I thought you wouldn't be here tonight!"

"The Princess didn't need me, so I managed to grab a cloak and hurry over," Marywyn laughed.  "Good to see you, too.  Good-even, Ondore."

From her perch on the edge of a bench, Ondore beamed.  "Good-even.  Is it still raining?"

Marywyn nodded.  A new song started, a fast-paced fiddle tune.  "Is Duren here?"

"Yes, he is.  No one else plays the fiddle like that." Wisdom laughed.  "Ondore, where are you going?"

"This is a dance song," Ondore insisted, tossing her cloak onto the bench and unbuckling her sword.  "You can't just sit and listen to a dance song!"

"But it's too crowded inside, there's no room!"

Ondore pushed open the barracks door and stepped into the rain, spinning on her heel and laughing.  Alone, she stomped out the steps to a Raybirn shuffle, her feet keeping time in the puddles.  Raindrops slid down her face, but she only threw back her head and laughed into the night sky.
Most Likely To Look Good in a Kilt

Cade looked at the mirror one final time, sliding back and forth across the stone floor in his socks, staring at his reflection from all angles.

"It looks fine, if that's what you're wondering," Jewel said, looking up from sewing that rebellious button back onto his best vest.  "Just try not to spill anything during the dinner afterwards.  I don't want to clean two kilts tomorrow."

"Joshi already made a mess?" Cade struck up a salute, making a face in the mirror.

"No, but I have a feeling he will."

The familiar horn-wail echoed up the mountain halls, and Cade snatched up the vest and stuffed it over his head.  "I'm going to be late!"

"No, you're not!  You still have time!"  Jewel adjusted the button, studied her husband, and smiled.  "Watch Joshi, keep an eye on Finn, and I'll see you at dinner."

Cade marched down the hall, stretching every inch he could out of his short frame.  By the time he arrived at the great hall, the treaty ceremony was about to begin.  He slipped in the back door and padded to his position, standing beside the throne.  His brother, Clan Chieftian Cadren Finn Fëvere stood at the top of the three steps to the throne, his arms folded across his chest, his head thrown back in that wild Fëvere pride spoken of in tales.  His kilt blazed in the blue and gold patterns of their family, and his sword - their father's sword - swung at his side.  He glanced at Cade, just for a fraction of a second, and Cade raised his arm, his fist clenched, in their private salute.

Finn would be fine.  Their younger brother, Joshi, on the other hand...Cade spotted his lanky form darting about the corner of the room as the spifling rushed to get to his place on the other side of the throne before the Forest Clan arrived.  He scooted into position just as the hall doors swung open with a flair.  Joshi's kilt was splattered with mud, and a dirty handprint smeared across his beardless face.

Cade didn't want to know.
Most Likely to Get Punched in the Face

"Look at him, eh?  He can't even look me straight in the eyes!"

Cade refused to tilt his head back to prove the challenger's point.  Instead, he turned to face the other new recruits, resisting the urge to mutter not again.  This happened every time...the new boys came in, convinced they were the next best swordsmen, only to discover their Captain was barely 5'5''.

"Look at him, eh?" Cade snorted.  "If he thinks he's so tall, maybe he should become a Clan Chieftain, since height determines status!"

The recruit punched him in the cheek, but not only was Cade used to it, he had predicted it.  He let the blow push him away, whipping out his sword and continuing to move, spinning on his heel and coming back around to point his blade at the recruit's shoulder.  "You want to start your record with an assault on the Captain of the Guard?  My assistant would only be too happy to mark you down."

Egin nearly dropped the stack of papers, but only Cade caught the movement.  "Only too happy," the ranger repeated, his low voice making the comment not as threatening as it could have been.

The new recruit only laughed.  "I'm not scared of you two.  You can't order me around."

"Just like a child," Cade muttered under his breath, receiving a firm grip to a shoulder and a punch in the nose.  The hand on his shoulder jerked upwards, keeping him from spinning backwards.  He sniffed back blood, tilted his head back, and laughed in the man's face.  The man hesitated, then stepped back to see Cade's knife pressed against his ribs.
Most Likely to Drop Everything and Become a Sheep Herder

"What on the Mountain have you done?" Baldor stared in dismay at the goats bouncing on and off the table, their little hooves doing a tap-dance on the polished wood.

"I got some goats," Finn shrugged helplessly.

Joshi jumped onto the table, chasing after one of the kids, and promptly slid across the surface, his socked feet flailing in the air for a moment before he fell to the ground with a scream.

"We had goats back at home.  Always had them.  If I could, I'd go back there," Finn struggled to explain.  "But Tallaran said I needed some kind of a hobby, something outside, that the people wouldn't think was strange."
Baldor passed a hand over his face, looking older than he had in a while.  "So you brought goats into the throne room."
"They're just babies!"

Most Likely to be Found in a Library

"Histories, histories, beginning of the Gypsy line," Ravenna muttered, carrying the stack of books over to the correct shelf.  "Gwen, did you get that last pile?  They go on the art bookcase, third row, between Rousin's How to Draw Mud and the three books on water in Havendenara."

The other girl muttered something from the far end of the library, but Ravenna didn't bother asking her to repeat it.  They still had three more piles of returned books to sort through and put back before lunch, not to mention she had invited Raul over for dinner and still needed to get something from the market if they were going to eat anything besides leftovers and fruit.   He would likely bring his bodyguard, Berend, which meant another mouth to feed...

"I don't get paid enough for this job," she spat, climbing up a shelf to reach the top of the bookcase.  "They could fix the ladders, at least, with all the money they're not paying me!"
Most Likely to Sleep Through an Earthquake

Cade jumped to his feet, scrambling for his sword in the dark.  His fingers scraped against rocks and dirt before brushing against the familiar leather grip.  He pushed up to his feet, nearly falling down as the ground continued to shake.  The camp was all awake, warriors shouting, grabbing their things, a few screaming like they thought the earth would swallow them whole.

Finn sat on his bedroll, watching as everyone ran about the camp, tripping, stumbling, falling.  His eyes scanned the edges of the trees, keeping an eye out for the trailing mercenaries - the earthquake was not on his list of things to worry about.

It only lasted for a few minutes, and by then the warriors were red-faced, embarrassed at their childish reactions to a known fact of life.  Earthquakes happened.  Even big ones.
Cade sighed, and dropped back to his blankets.  From the other side of the fire-ring, Joshi's snores rose up to meet the stars.  Cade elbowed Finn.  "Joshi never even woke up!"  They laughed softly, rolled themselves into the blankets, and tried to get a little more sleep.
Joshi, sprawled out on top of his bed roll, snored merrily.
Most Likely to Steal Food from Other People’s Plates

Finn hunched his shoulders a fraction of an inch lower and focused on serving himself more potatoes.  He should be grateful, he knew, for the food, especially after travelling.  Road fare usually wasn't so delicious as what one would find at a feast.  But, if he was honest, he'd rather be out on the road now, instead of listening to Selia's whining about her...whatever it was she was currently complaining about.
"And you never even went to her funeral!" Selia's loud voice interrupted his thoughts, and he nearly dropped the serving bowl.  Thankfully no one glanced their way - was she only loud because she was across the table from him?  Did no one else hear her ceaseless chatter?
"I said I was sorry," he muttered, glancing at his plate.  Three potatoes?  Only three?  He was so sure he had gotten four...
"And you took my cherry pie!" Selia added, her brows twisting together.  She was only fifteen or so, but she managed to look younger when she contorted her face like that.  "That was really quite rude of you!  I know you were raised out in the wilds, but I thought your father would have taught you better than that!"
"I didn't take it?" Finn was only half-listening.  Cade, sitting on his right, was deep in a conversation with Wedar, something about swords.  On the left, however, Joshi was stuffing his face with...something red and sugary.
Finn opened his mouth to scold his little brother, but then stopped.  The look on Selia's face was priceless.  Even if it meant she thought him ill-behaved, he wouldn't correct her now.  Besides, he didn't really care what she thought of him.
Though, when he noticed, later in the evening, that his cookies were disappearing faster than he ate them, he did consider talking to Joshi.  The spifling did need to learn some manners.

This ends Part 1 - the second part will get published later, and I'll be tagging folks at the end of that.  :)  Hope you enjoyed it!

(Also, most of these seemed to be the Fëvere brothers.  No regrets.)

Wednesday, January 09, 2019


 One thing I don't like in writing (and in day-to-day life) is labels.  We have a tendency to slap a word onto our characters or real people and use that to describe them.  "He's OCD."  "I'm an INFJ."  "This character has depression."  "She's a Jesus freak."

Now, using a label isn't always bad.  We sometimes need a way to briefly describe someone, and using such a label often works.  But people are so beautifully complex, and we can't just be described completely with one word.  And even if someone is diagnosed OCD, they can be totally different from another person with OCD.  So when we put labels on people, we're often just calling to mind the stereotype or cliché of that word.

Using labels for the people in our stories often leads us to writing cardboard characters.  Imagine you're creating a new character, and for their description, you put something along the lines of  "They have PTSD from a tragic past (witnessing a murder).  This leads them to be moody and guarded and have random flashbacks."  This is an excellent way to start off creating a character, but do not end here!!! We need to dig deeper and really get into how the character thinks.  It will help us make them more real on the page.

For example, knowing the above information doesn't really help me with the character.  I'm end up making him/her crabby at everything, saying nothing at all about their past, and whenever I'm stuck with the story, I'll give them a flashback to make things lively.

But let's strip that label off, shall we?

Grab a piece of paper and think about that character.  What worries them?  What triggers those "random flashbacks."  Sirens?  Flashing lights?  Screams?  Maybe the sight of a knife or something seemingly harmless - like a cat?  A movement, even as friendly as a hug?  Flashbacks aren't really random.  They usually are triggered by something.

Why are they so guarded?  Hopefully it's not because you think guarded and "tough" characters are cool and fun to write.  This character needs a reason and slapping "PTSD" on them does not do the job.  Is it because he/she is always worried someone is trailing them?  Because they're embarrassed of their flashbacks and are always afraid of having one?  Maybe they're worried people will hate them if they talk too much.  Maybe they think that everyone else is just annoying and irresponsible.  On the other hand, what would make them smile and open up?  Do they like jokes?  Maybe they enjoy playing with children or animals.  Or when they see people get hurt they run to help them.  Maybe, once the others start working together, they get less snappy at them.

Now I can go back to that original character and fill in a little more about them.  "They don't like it when people scream or move quickly, because it reminds them of when they witnessed a murder, a few years ago.  They don't like bringing it up, because everyone is always asking them questions about the scene - who did it, who was murdered, etc - and they want so much just to forget it.  So they don't talk a lot, afraid that people will recognize them and the questions will begin again.  Once that character realizes the others aren't really interested in getting answers, and just want their help with the current task at hand, the character opens up a little more."

Do you use labels in your writing?  Can you toss them away and flesh out your characters a little more?  Remember, people are complex, and characters should be no different.  Don’t be a lazy writer. :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

2019 Plans

So, we all know how much I failed my 2018 goals.  So let's do it again.  Do-over, right?  

In 2019 I would like to:
Read 100 Books

So comment all your recommendations below, my TBR list needs to be BIGGER (said no one ever). 
Pitch Words of Gold
Either at a conference, or by actually researching and sending in cover letters and the whole deal.  Basically, I want to get Gold in the hands of someone who might actually help with my publishing journey.  Don't matter if it gets rejected instantly, I just want to actually present it.  :)
Go to Another Writer's Conference
Look at me cheat and give myself some wiggle room by not specifying a particular one...
Which, at the moment, sounds a little iffy, simply because I don't have any ideas super fleshed out at the moment.  I mean, of course I have ideas but none of them are draft-worthy at the moment.  I still have months to prepare, so that could easily change.  But still.
Run Another Ultra
Okay, so I did a 5K last month, and now I'm having delusions about my running ability.  But I do have my eyes set on an Ultra that my family always does in October.  So I've got time to train (not like I trained much for my first one).
Compete with Bree in a Ride and Tie
Hancock Quarter Horses are supposed to have good endurance.  So it's time to test it out...(also known for bucking, so that's always fun)
Go Through the M'Cheyne Reading Plan
I've always wanted to do this, and a friend said she would go through it with me.  We're pretty excited.
Drive Pepper More Often
I ground drive him a lot, but only hitch the cart up about once or twice a year (in my defense, it's really difficult to do without someone helping, and I don't often have someone around to help).
That's not so bad, right?  Certainly doable?  Let's see how it goes...

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Wrap-Up

Welp.  2018.  *slides fuzzy winter hat off head respectfully*  It's over (or just about).

I just want to say a quick thank you to all those blogger peeps...the ones I follow, the ones who follow me.  Thanks for keeping me going, for being so encouraging and motivating, and for all your comments and blog posts.  I hope y'all had a lovely 2018 and have an even greater 2019 ahead.

(Yes, I used my blog header for this and I am not ashamed)

So, back in January, I made a post about my 2018 goals which apparently I forgot about.  That being said, let's see how I did...

Writing Plans

Haha...yeah, these didn't go to plan.  But I had good reasons.  Mostly.

January  Finish first draft of Words of Peace
So I got very close to finishing, but I think I ended up trickling into the next month...

February/March  Edit Words of Gold
And yeah, I tried to keep up with this.  If memory serves, I was very unfocused during this time.

April  Finish first draft of Halls of Legend for Camp NaNo
That's a big #nope.  I continued on with my edits of Words of Gold, which I think is a good thing, and I'm glad I trashed this goal.

May/June  Catch up // Edit Words of Song
Read: goofing off and not really focusing on my work.  Still editing Words of Gold and piddling around.

July  First draft of Secrecy for Camp NaNo
Nope again.  Editing more of Words of Gold.  But finally finishing it up, at least.

August/Stepember/October  Catch up // Edits Words of Peace // NaNoPrep  Finished Words of Gold edit and sent it to my Alpha.  Started editing Words of Song, and realized the whole thing needs to be trashed.

November  NaNoWriMo
Finally getting back on track - wrote 100K of the Words of Song rewrite!

December  Catch up
Um, this wasn't very specific.  Technically it's to finish my NaNo novel, but since I did it all in one month, I just went back to editing Words of Gold some more, and reading a lot.
Personal Plans
Again, kind of failed...but oh well.
Ride the horses more
That's kind of...up to interpretation.  I did ride a lot.  Did I ride every day?  No.  Did I ride every week?  No.  Did I ride multiple times a week?  Sometimes.  But they did get ridden, I promise you that...
Keep up running
This one I failed.  I ran that big ol' Ultra marathon, then by July I kind of stopped.  I've been hiking a lot, though, and I did run a 5K in December, but otherwise I didn't keep this up for the last half of the year.
Go mountain biking with my brother
Again, I failed.  In my defense, he didn't go anywhere himself, and actually injured himself in the Spring on his bike, so yeah...
Try doing some drawing with Evangeline
Finally, something I don't feel guilty about!  Evann and I did do a little bit of drawing together.  Not a lot.  But we did.  Ha.
Write Ships, Secrets, and Survivors with Sarah
Yes!  Yes, we did keep this up (until NaNo, admittedly).  The book isn't finished, but it was going strong until we put it aside for November/December.  So I'll check this one off, too.
Phew!  Glad that part's over with!  Now on to a brief 2018 picture dump...

Bought a new horse at the local auction.  :)
Snow - and a tribute to my old farm dog, who had to be put down during the summer.

Found a snapping turtle in the horse pasture.

Went mountain running (bushwhacking?) with Dad for his birthday.

Horse show - and tribute to my old horse I also had to put down this fall.
My brother built himself a fishing boat - and it actually floats!
Selfie at the Red River Gorge Twin Arch

Write2Ignite conference!

Family vacation to favorite little fishing town.

Lots of running and hiking on the local trails.

Trip to Biltmore with Sarah and Evan.

Foggy 5K in the mountains in December.
My boys - Spirit, Pepper, Bree.  (And the new little puppy.)

Hope you enjoyed it - and have a lovely new year, my friends!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Know the Novel - A Linkup Part 3

Here we are, at the end of 2018.  And what better way to finish this writing year out with a final tag??

Firstly, how did writing this novel go all around?

Pretty well.  I especially enjoyed the new scenes and characters.  Having the original 2015 draft was helpful, as well as knowing the first and third books fresh in my memory.  I never really got writing block.

Did it turn out like you expected or completely different? And how do you feel about the outcome?

When I made my 100K goal, I wasn't 100% certain I would make it.  I knew that I could, if I kept on schedule and nothing else took over my daily writing time (like watching a movie, working late, etc).

And everything went well until the last week.  And I had some family movie nights, some work late nights, and then company for Thanksgiving...and lost my word count.

I pushed really hard and finished on the last day.  So, all in all, I'm very happy with the outcome.

What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? (Characters, plot, setting, prose, etc.)

Characters.  Always the characters.  I love seeing them struggle and then grow throughout the story.

How about your least favorite part?

The thing I like least about this story is that's it's a middle book.  I've never liked middles.  I love beginnings and endings, but middles...just seem to drag on for me.

What do you feel like needs the most work?

Little things - a bit of extra description here, add some worldbuilding here, change the focus for this chapter, and so on. 

How do you feel about your characters now that the novel is done? Who’s your favorite? Least favorite? Anyone surprise you? Give us all the details!

Mask really took me by surprise.  He showed up in the last book (Words of Peace) as I wrote it last year for NaNo.  And when I was back to editing Words of Gold, I got to where Marywyn is constantly followed by some stranger, and I was like "Hmm....maybe this person is Mask??" which meant he had parts to play in Words of Song and really, those parts were some of my favorites.

Mithrin will always be my least favorite, because I personally find him stuck-up and rude, even though I know his #tragicbackstory and his #charactergrowth but still...

What’s your next plan of action with this novel?

It's going to sit for a while.  Once I finish editing Gold, Song will be next in line!

If you could have your greatest dream realized for this novel, what would it be?

Honestly, it would be getting the whole trilogy published and put out on bookshelves for people to read and love.  With pretty covers and everything.  (Though I wouldn't cry if a movie trilogy was made as well.)

Share a snippet of one of your most favorite scenes!

Most of my favorite scenes are rather spoiler-y, but here's just a tiny snippet of something for you anyway...

Yes, Conn had definitely gone mad.  Perhaps it was a good thing.  I had never seen her grin so much.  She had to be so tired from the days of traveling, the long hours spent on horseback.  Her life had been in danger, causing her to hide in a city and escape at night.  She was covered in dirt and grime and hadn’t even been recognized as the Princess in her own castle.  And yet, here she was, grinning madly.
Perhaps adventures weren’t all that bad.  Perhaps they made us grow, to become new people.  And maybe those new people weren’t always colder, toughened versions of ourselves.  Perhaps adventures could make someone happier, see the world to be more lovely, make us nicer.  I couldn’t quite imagine it.  The more I traveled, the more I saw the danger I was in.  I was no longer the happy village girl.  I was Marywyn the Hunted, a girl spending every day wondering if she would see the next.  I was a girl in great danger.  Every new day might be the day I was captured.
No, adventures only made things worse.  Much worse.
And on that cheerful note, happy new year, everyone!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Ilyon & Acktar Blog Tour

Hello everyone, I've some super exciting news (which, to be honest, you probably already know)!!!  But there's been this SUPER BIG blog tour going around, for some exciting new releases!!!!

I got to ask the authors a few questions, but the small caveat was that I had to post the answers here, lol  Hope y'all enjoy!

Why did you make the decision to write non-magic fantasy?

Jaye: Magic was an iffy topic while I was growing up. Even now, I’m particular about what I read/watch if it has magic. I suppose, subconsciously, that influenced my decision to write non-magical fantasy. Another big factor is that I LOVE history, and I like writing fantasy that has a strong historical feel and is “realistic.”

Tricia: I grew up in a household that had very few restrictions on reading books/watching movies with magic. We had a few (like Harry Potter was banned for a while until my parents had a chance to read them), but for the most part reading fantasy with magic was a huge part of my childhood.

I stumbled into writing non-magical fantasy more because that’s what the world of The Blades of Acktar needed to be. The other series I’m writing right now, Beyond the Tales, has some fantastical elements that could be called “magic,” though the books will never use the words spell, magic, enchant, or anything like that. The magic in that series is like the magic in The Chronicles of Narnia, it is an allegorical manifestation of God’s power at work.

What are your favorite scenes (so far) out of anything you've published?

Tricia: One of my favorite scenes to write was actually Leith’s torture scene in Defy. Not that I enjoyed writing about torture, but because that moment was so powerful for Leith. Same thing for some of the really intense scenes at the end of Deliver. The true heart of the characters shine through when they are pushed to the brink in scenes like that.

But I think my current favorite scenes are chapters 19 through 21 of Dagger’s Sleep. The ideas for those scenes were what kept me writing that book in the early chapters when I was struggling with it.

Jaye: I have to second Tricia and say that really intense scenes that test characters are my favorite. A particular scene that comes to mind is the scene in The King’s Scrolls where Kyrin and Marcus are treating Jace for his injuries. I also loved writing the scene between Marcus and Liam in the barracks infirmary in TKS. I liked the heightened emotions of that scene. I could name many more, but I’ll stick with those two.

Tricia: Yes! That scene between Marcus and Liam in TKS is amazing! I love that one!

I know you both are plotting out other writing endeavors besides the two series spotlighted here.  Do you see yourselves eventually "finishing" writing and just sitting back, or do you think you will always have a story in the works?

Jaye: I can’t see myself ever finishing writing. I have way too many story ideas and not nearly enough time to write them all. Plus, more and more keep coming to me.

Tricia: I have been writing since I was two years old and first picked up a crayon. I honestly can’t see myself ever stopping entirely.

Did you ever want to just give up while drafting/editing (before publishing), and if so, what pushed you through it?

Jaye: I definitely felt like it at times with Bitter Winter. It wasn’t the story so much, it was just that my personal life is SO much crazier now than when I was younger. It takes so much away from my writing time and adds so much stress, which is hard to write through. What pushed me through it is that fact that I HAD to keep going. My readers would have hunted me down if I hadn’t.

Tricia: This most recent book, Decree, was actually one of my easiest books to write, so I never had that “give up moment” with this book.
One of my hardest books to write was my last release, Dagger’s Sleep. After I finished Deliver, I had a moment where I nearly didn’t write any more. For various reasons, I was so stressed I couldn’t write for months. When I did start writing Dagger’s Sleep, a lot of that stress made writing difficult, and I became more stressed worrying about reader reactions since Dagger’s Sleep was different than The Blades of Acktar and worrying about getting the allegorical parts right and worrying about world building and...well, you get the idea.
It finally took a lot of prayer and me setting aside the worry and pressure I was putting on myself before I could finish that book.

I love reading about the horses in both Acktar and Ilyon (though, there are more dragons in Ilyon...).  How much horse experience did you have prior to writing your books?

Tricia: I grew up reading A LOT of horse books, then moved into Westerns (which are also all about horses, along with a few gunfights, lol). I got my first pony at 12 and have owned horses ever since. I never did 4H or riding lessons or anything like that. My version of learning to ride was my dad putting me in the saddle and telling me to hang on.
My current horse is Shadow, a big, fat, white mustang who pretends he’s a tough western horse, yet he is really scared of everything and loves lazing around his pasture.

Jaye: I had two horses during my teen years and took two years of riding lessons. My brother currently has a little quarter horse mare who’s a sweetheart. So I’ve been around horses quite a bit and know my way around taking care of them. I’m not a very confident rider, but I do love horses.

About Bitter Winter


Already struggling with a harsh winter and the threat of food shortage, a catastrophic event leaves those in the Landale camps reeling. Just when things couldn’t get much worse, camp members fall ill with the same devastating sickness that’s sweeping across the country.

Determined to gain the cure, Jace sets off to Valcré. However, there are only two sources—the queen, or a powerful gang of smugglers who have made the dangerous city their home. When Jace gains audience with the gang leader, he finds the price of the cure is steeper than any of them imagined, forcing him to make an impossible choice—betray his conscience or let those he loves die.

Available now on AmazonAdd to Goodreads


About Lacy

The last thing Aaron ever envisioned was falling for a prostitute. Everything about it spells trouble. However, he can’t help noticing the way her smile lights up when she sees him and how much brokenness she hides behind it. Neither can he ignore how desperately she needs rescue and protection.

When Lacy shares a life or death secret with him, Aaron is willing to risk everything to help her and to show her Elôm’s love. Yet, such a choice could destroy his reputation and maybe even cost him his freedom.

An Ilyon Chronicles Novella  Available now on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

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

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, Twitter, and Etsy.


About Decree

The Adventure Continues.  Discover more of The Blades of Acktar in this collection of novellas and short stories.

The Blades as They Should’ve Been
A test and the Gathering of Nobles will decide Leith and Martyn’s futures. Can they fight to become more than the Blades they were? Will Keevan accept the man who attempted to kill him as family?

The First Mission
When Martyn visits Surgis, his past seems determined to haunt him. Can he figure out how to forgive, especially when confronted with an enemy in need of his help?

To the Far Great Mountains
A death sends Leith and Martyn far beyond the borders of Acktar. Will they be able to arrest their quarry before they are caught themselves?

From the story of how Leith and Martyn met to Ranson’s search for a life outside of the Blades, these stories will answer plaguing questions and expand the world of Acktar.  Available now on AmazonAdd to Goodreads

Haven’t discovered the The Blades of Acktar yet? Find out more at on the official Blades of Acktar page.

About the Author

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.
You can connect with Tricia on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a full signed set of the Ilyon Chronicles and The Blades of Acktar!  (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

Be sure to stop by each of the character chats (links in the blog tour schedule) for additional giveaways throughout the tour!

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Friday – December 14 – Release Day for Bitter Winter & Lacy!
·         Blog Tour Intro by Tricia Mingerink
·         Book Review at Novels, Dragons, and Wardrobe Doors
·         Author Interview & Book Reviews at Jessica Looks Again
·         Book Reviews at The Music of a Story
·         Book Spotlight & Review at Chosen by the Potter
·         Book Spotlight at Time of the Immortals
·         Character Chat #1 by the Ilyon Chronicles
Saturday – December 15
·         Book Reviews at Thriving Hope
·         Book Spotlight & Reviews at The Writer’s Song
·         Author Interview & Book Reviews at Perfectly Quirky In Every Way
·         Book Spotlight & Reviews at A Great God and Good Cocoa
·         Book Spotlight at The Book Sprite
Monday – December 17
·         Book Reviews by Morgan Huneke
·         Book Spotlight at Between the Pages of This Bookish Life
·         Book Reviews at Backing Books
·         Book Reviews at Honey Rock Hills
·         Book Reviews at TJ’s Musing
·         Character Chat #2 by Tricia Mingerink
Tuesday – December 18 – Release Day for Decree!
·         Book Spotlight at Ruffles and Grace
·         Book Spotlight & Reviews at Resting Life
·         Author Interview & Book Reviews at Knitted by God’s Plan
·         Book Reviews by S.G. Willoughby
·         Book Spotlight & Reviews at Sarah Plain & Average
Wednesday – December 19
·         Book Reviews at The Artful Author
·         Book Reviews by Meagan Davenport
·         Author Interview & Book Reviews by Brie Donning
·         Author Interview & Book Spotlight at Saver of Memories
·         Character Chat #3 by the Ilyon Chronicles
Thursday – December 20
·         Book Spotlight by Sutori no Hana
·         Book Reviews by Kaylee’s Kind of Writes
·         Book Spotlight by M.H. Elrich
·         Author Interview at The Ink Lizard
·         Book Spotlight & Review at A Great God and Good Cocoa
Friday – December 21
·         Book Reviews at Smyling Girl
·         Author Interview at Dreams and Dragons
·         Book Review by Faith Blum
·         Author Interview & Book Reviews at Allison Grace Writes
·         Book Spotlight by Hannah Gaudette
·         Character Chat #4 by Tricia Mingerink

Saturday – December 22
·         Blog Tour Wrap up post at Jaye L. Knight