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!

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!!

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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