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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Is Your Villain Convinced?

I know I’ve touched on this before, but it’s mostly been in different Candor Friday posts, so I thought I’d put it all together in one place.

One of my favorite quotes ever about villains is by Tom Hiddleston- “Every villain thinks he’s a hero in his own mind.”

More often than not, when we write, we forget about this. We make our villains evil and they know they’re evil and they’re okay with that because they’re evil.

But, something reading and watching movies has taught me is that very few people know they’re evil. Or, they know what they’re doing is wrong, but they have a reason why it’s okay for them to do it. They can justify their actions.

Only a very twisted few are evil for the sake of being evil and are okay with committing crimes without having to justify them.

Villains, I have come to learn, are scariest when they don’t know they’re wrong. See, someone who kills and loves to kill is terrifying, but if they also think it’s okay for them to kill, that makes them a million times scarier.

Contrary to what some people believe, we are inbreed with this sense of right and wrong. A moral code, if you will. So, when someone violates that code while thinking they’re in fact doing the right thing, our very being shudders. It’s so wrong to us, that it frightens us.

The key to a well-crafted villain is conviction.

If you villain is not convinced that what he is doing is right, then you need to reevaluate them.

I have heard several people laugh about the conversation in The Avengers where Loki and Nick Fury are talking and Loki tells him he’s come to make the world free. When Nick Fury asks what he’s making the world free from, Loki replies: “Freedom. Freedom is life's great lie.”

People think it’s funny, because they say, “That’s not how freedom works” but, they're actually wrong. It's not funny. Because Loki believes it. Every fiber of him believes what he’s doing is right. He’s superior to these puny humans. They’re beneath him and his coming to “rescue” them from their miserable little lives is a blessing, not a curse. He’s not punishing them. If they submit to him, he will in fact reward them for it.

And that’s what makes Loki so terrifying. Because no matter what crimes he commits, he believes he’s right in committing them.

Another great place to look for villains who are convinced is the Divergent trilogy. There are a lot of people who could fall under the category of “villain” in one way or another, but I’d just like to look at three (it should be relatively spoiler free…)

First, there’s Marcus Eaton, who I know I’ve talked about before. He’s frightening because he believes hurting his son is really making him a better person. As he beats him, he tells him “This is for your own good.” He believes in what he’s doing. Even though it’s sick and tragic, he believes in it. He believes what he’s doing is for the good of his son and it never crosses his mind that he’s wrong.

Jeanine Matthews believes what she’s doing is right to save the faction system. Yes, she essentially wants to commit genocide to obtain her goal, but it’s for the good of everyone, so sacrificing a few for the sake of many is justified. She believes it with every fiber of her being and so she goes right ahead with her atrocious crimes.

And, on the other side of the scale, there’s Evelyn. She thinks she’s doing what’s right in trying to destroy the factions because she’s seen the damage people like Marcus and Jeanine can do. So, she ends up fighting fire with fire and becoming a lot like them because she’s convinced her cause is right. If she has to hurt people to get where she’s going, she will, because she knows what she’s doing is ultimately right.

I could go on and on. Rumpelstiltskin from Once Upon a Time. Moriarty from Sherlock. Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life. Brutus from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility. Wickham from Pride and Prejudice. Charles Muntz from Up. Randall and Mr. Waternoose from Monsters Inc. Mr. Hurst and Mr. Pulitzer from Newsies. Miss Minchin from A Little Princess. Pecksniff from Martin Chuzzlewit. Colonel Graff from Ender's Game.

All villains who are convinced they are right. No matter what evil they commit, they justify it because they believe what there are doing is for the greater good.

Now, some villains don’t realize they’re bad. Some genuinely think they’re doing the right thing and cannot for the life of them figure out why the hero keeps trying to stop them.

And, some villains know that their actions are wrong- or that their actions seem wrong. But, they look on their actions as a burden they must bear. They have to commit the crimes they do because someone needs to save the world. And, if they have to kill a few hundred people in the process, well, it’s a shame, but it has to be done. It’s for a good cause.

But, no matter what their viewpoint, the one thing all the truly great villains have in common is their conviction that they are right. In their head, they’re the hero of the story and the hero is the villain for trying to stop them.

Once you look through your villain's eyes like this, your character will grow by leaps and bounds. They’ll gain depth and complexity, and be well on their way to a being truly terrifying villain.

How about you? Who are your favorite villains? Is the villain of your story convinced of his or her rightness?

Also, don't forget to check back here for Cyber Monday sales: http://ivorypalace.blogspot.com/2014/11/black-friday-cyber-monday-sale.html

And, only the first book is listed, but both Kit Parker books are free on Kindle on the 1st, so make sure to grab one or both if you're interested in reading them via an electronic device ^.^

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black Friday/ Cyber Monday Sale!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

I hope your day is blessed and full of thanksgiving good fellowship, and yummy food!

On Tuesday, I mentioned a Black Friday/ Cyber Monday sale of independently published authors. I haven't read most of these books, but I'm planning to take advantage of the sale to remedy that (I'm definitely going to be spending more money than I make this weekend XD).  So, make sure to check out the links below to see if there's a sale you'd like to take advantage of!

Also, be sure to check back on Monday for Cyber Monday sales.

Kendra E. Ardnek
The Ankuluen: Cyber Monday
Saffron's Big Plan and Other StoriesCyber Monday
Do You Take This Quest?: Cyber Monday

Faith Blum
A Mighty FortressBlack Friday [V4Y5K36D -- 10%] and Cyber Monday)
Be Thou My VisionBlack Friday [7626YZAK -- 20%] and Cyber Monday

Sarah Brown
The Prodigal PupBlack Friday  [SB14CP31 -- 25%] Cyber Monday [SB14CP31 -- 25%]
Learning Lessons from Furry FriendsBlack Friday [SB14CP31 -- 25%]  Cyber Monday [SB14CP31 -- 25%]

Kelsey Bryant
Family ReunionBlack Friday [YFY84GHU -- 20%]

Elizabeth Ender
RansomedBlack Friday [GNE6VUXY -- 30%]

J.J. Francesco
Blood ChainCyber Monday

Julie Gilbert
Nadia's TearsCyber Monday

Leah Good
Counted WorthyBlack Friday [K7CVNEER -- 40%] and Cyber Monday

Melody Grubb
The Land of CalaisBlack Friday and Cyber Monday
The Warmth of His EyesBlack Friday and Cyber Monday
Send Me, Lord JesusBlack Friday and Cyber Monday

Rachel Heffington
Anon, Sir, AnonBlack Friday [9MTYHSX3 -- 25%] and Cyber Monday

Rebekah Jones
Journeys of FourCyber Monday
Grandmother's LettersCyber Monday
A Year with the PottersCyber Monday

Jaye L. Knight
ResistanceBlack Friday [Q45HN6G9 -- 25%] and Cyber Monday

Tina M. Neely
Diamond Hair PrincessBlack Friday

Joel A. Parisi
Shadow PlayCyber Monday

J. Grace Pennington
RadialloyBlack Friday [Y2XHGYDN -- 25%] and Cyber Monday
In His ImageBlack Friday [KXNZ7PYN -- 25%] and Cyber Monday
MachiavellianBlack Friday [UFXGUYMM -- 25%] and Cyber Monday

Jennifer Sauer
Why Rodney Never Should've Gone to the NAPICBlack Friday [F76DDR7S -- 45%] and Cyber Monday

Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer
Touch My TearsBlack Friday and Cyber Monday
Third Side of the CoinBlack Friday and Cyber Monday

Cara Simmons
The Haven: Black Friday and Cyber Monday
The Leviathan: Black Friday and Cyber Monday
The ChampionBlack Friday and Cyber Monday

Jordan Smith
Finding the Core of Your StoryBlack Friday [NL4NJXWS -- 30%]

Rachel Starr Thomson
Reap the WhirlwindCyber Monday
Lady MoonCyber Monday
Angel in the WoodsCyber Monday

Therese Heckenkamp
Past SuspicionBlack Friday and Cyber Monday
Frozen FootprintsBlack Friday

Melika Dannese Lux
City of LightsBlack Friday [FNB98MY6 -- 35%] and Cyber Monday
CorcituraBlack Friday [GU46WHKT -- 55%] and Cyber Monday

T.R. Lykins
Last HeartbeatBlack Friday and Cyber Monday
The Life GiftBlack Friday and Cyber Monday 

Melanie D. Snitker
Calming the StormCyber Monday

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!! See you all on Monday!

Let me know in the comments below if you decide to order any of the books. And, also, what is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kit Parker Book Three and Black Friday/ Cyber Monday Sales- Candor Questions

Hey there, faithful readers!

I forgot to do this on Friday and then my weekend slipped away from me, so here it is now.

Rodger Sauer asked: I know you’re working on something else right now, but now that “Kit Parker 2” (How to Property Deface a Book) has been officially released, can you give a little bit of a clue as to what’s in store for Book 3???

Wonderful question! I shall try to answer it without giving spoilers to the other books.

Book 3's working title is Where the SOREM Hid the Prize. And just to add some fun, I'm not going to tell you what the SOREM is. The book is a treasure hunt story featuring a team comprised of Kit (obviously), Fiona O'Rourke, and three characters introduce in book two, one of whom Kit hasn't made her mind up about, which adds a lot of nice conflict.

It's going to be less of an adventure with villains and such and more of a battle of wits as they race to find the prize. Did I mention the stakes were two and a half million dollars? So, as you can imagine, there's a lot of pressure to win. There will also still be a lot of emotional growing on Kit's part, as has become a feature in her stories.

I've never written anything with codes and puzzles before, though I love reading the genre. So, while the planning has been a stretch for me, it's also been a lot of fun. I get to play around with words and ciphers and figure out new ways to stump my characters.

And, the best part, is the general idea for the story (with the SOREM and the team and stuff) has been something I've had for a long time. I think I was like ten or eleven when I created the SOREM. So, like Kit Parker herself, the idea is an old dream with a huge revamp.

At the moment, my working opening like is: Attending a funeral wasn’t at the top of my “Ways to Spend the First Day of Winter Break” list. Actually, I don’t remember putting it on the list at all.

And, that's that! Hope you are all happily reading book 2 and are getting as geared up for book 3 as I am! Though, don't get too geared up. I think I'm going to be working on a few other things first. :3

Special announcement before you go: 

My friend and fellow author, Leah Good, is organizing a Black Friday/ Cyber Monday sale comprised of independently published authors. So, keep an eye out, as I'll be posting the info on that at the end of the week. I will be participating in the sale, so the first Kit Parker book will be discounted in print on Friday, and both books will be free on Kindle the following Monday.

If you are an author who would like to participate, she's closing the sign-up around noon on Wednesday, but there's still a little bit of time to get your info in: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1as6HAbdPvco1q9QXPOo4pRmbb8gCPu3mr7VK2j1sIfw/viewform

Or, if you're a reader who would like to help get word of the sale out, via your blog, Facebook, or another social media site, sign-up here to receive the information: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/10UZtV6Bh4B1HjajwQq_S4Iug69t9fmw7FsGc8yTqA4k/viewform

Thanks, everyone! See you at the end of the week! And, have a truly blessed Thanksgiving!

Does the third Kit Parker book sound exciting to you? Are you planning to participate in the Black Friday/ Cyber Monday sale in some way? What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Let me know in the comments below!! :D

Monday, November 17, 2014

Characters are Better Than People

I like TV shows better than movies and prefer series to stand-alone novels.

Why? Because it gives me more time to get to know the characters. The author gets to delve into the minds of everything, even the small, seemingly unimportant, side characters. Everyone is more developed, more in-depth, because the writer can indulge their fancies and show us the whole picture.

I like characters. No, that’s an understatement. I love characters. It’s a constant struggle too, because so often I’ll start reading or watching something and there will be things in it that go against my beliefs so I have to stop, but I will forever mourn the fact that I won’t be able to find out what happens to the characters I connected with.

I form emotional bonds with characters very quickly. A smile, a phrase, a slight movement, I pick up on all these things and read into them. I love a character because of the way he smiles shyly just after the girl turns away. I can tell he’s in love with her, but he’s too shy to be anything but polite with her. I grow attached to someone because of the way their shoulders sag when no one is looking after they’ve spent an entire chapter going at it with the bad guys, exchanging snarky comments and claiming they will succeed without a doubt. Because, that shoulder sag shows that for all their bravado, they’re human, and they’re scared, and they have no idea if they can really save the day.

It’s actually very exhausting, loving so many fictional people that much. I invest my time and emotion in them, I watch them in all their ups and downs, watch them make the right choices and the wrong, and cry and cheer and laugh and scream along with them.

I’ve also learned something out of it all.

Loving characters so much has taught me just how much I will forgive someone. When my favorite character makes poor choices or starts to maybe sway over to the side of the bad guys, I will still root for them. I will never give up on them. Just because they failed, that’s no reason to stop loving them. They’re still the person I laughed and cried and cheered and screamed with. They’re still the person I love.

It’s taught me what unconditional love really is. No matter how far a character falls, I still see them as the person I fell in love with. I still see their potential and with every word they speak, every one of their actions, I hope they live up to who I know they really are and what they can be.

Yes, I hate what they’re doing. Yes, I want to scream at them every time they make a wrong choice (and, sometimes I do… just ask my parents). But that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up on them.

I’ll never do that. Even if they give themselves over to the villain and start fighting against the good guys. I still won’t give up hope that someday they’ll redeem themselves.

Which got me to thinking- how is it I can love characters so much, forgive them so much, when I’m such a trolly introvert who doesn’t like people?

It doesn’t make sense at all.

Or, does it?

See, after some pondering, I realized that the reason I love characters so much is because I get to see everything. I get to see that little shy smile, I get to see the way their shoulders sag, the way they cry when they’re alone, and the way they’re laughing on the inside when they’re pretending to be mad.

I get to see them as a whole, get to see beyond the mask they wear, into who they truly are. I accept it when they make mistakes because I know why they made them. I know them. We’ve gone through so much together since the beginning of the series. I know what they’re capable of and why they aren’t living up to that potential.

I guess what I’m saying is, they allowed me to understand them.

See, that’s the problem with humans. We put up walls, create barricades, wear masks. We only let people see what we want them to. We don’t let them see our shoulders sag or the way we cry when it’s all too much. We lock ourselves away and reduce our interaction with others to small talk and chitchat.

I realized I don’t like people because I don’t want to chat about the weather, or the game, or whatever random tidbit you come up with. Unless that’s what you’re passionate about, I don’t care.

I don't actually like baseball. In fact, when  I'm alone, I really don't care at all who's winning the game or who just stole second. But, when I'm with my dad, I love it. I'm excited and involved and I care. I really do want to know who's winning or stealing a base or pitching a perfect game (of course, if they are, we don't talk about it for obvious reasons...)


Because he’s passionate about it.

That’s what I want out of my interaction with people. I want the real you. I want to see you passionate, or angry, or confused. I don’t want the put together, stuffed into society’s box version you think you need to be. Because that version, quite frankly, is boring.

I think the world would be a much better place if we would stop trying to be who we think we’re supposed to be. If we would stop hiding who we really are because we’re afraid of what people will think. If we would allow people to understand us, to see who we really are.

I’m not just pointing fingers. I do this far more often than I care to admit. I want to fit in, so instead I keep my distance. Because nobody really cares what I have to say.


Well, I’m here to tell you, that if you have ever felt that way, you’re wrong. Because if you were a character in a book, everyone would love you. They would accept your faults and your flaws and laugh and cheer every time you showed your passionate side. They would cry with you, and boo and hiss at anyone who told you that you were anything less than wonderful.

You might even have a group of fangirls. Who knows.

The point is, your being you is so much more important and impressive than you being someone else. It’s far more beautiful and engaging and exciting. It makes you far more interesting.

You’re no different than my favorite character. I want to understand you, want to know who you are. I care but I don’t know how to tell you. Because I’m too busy hiding behind my own mask, wondering if you care.

I know it’s hard. It’s a leap of faith, putting yourself out there before everyone else. But, if you truly care about the person you’re talking to, the best way to show them that is to be yourself. Because the message that sends is “Hey, I’m me; it’s okay for you to be you.”

And, if the person gives you a weird look and never talks to you again, guess what? They aren’t worth your time or emotions. You know why? Because there’s so much more to you than what that one person thinks.

So, I’d like to challenge you to be yourself. To show the people around you that you care about who they are by allowing them to see who you are. Show them it’s safe for them to be themselves with you.

And, in the end, maybe you’ll discover a character worth loving.

How about you? Do you find yourself easily attached to characters? Do you feel cramped in a box when you interact with people? Has this post caused you to want to start being yourself more than you have?

Monday, November 10, 2014

How to Properly Deface a Book Officially Releases Today! :O

So, I got up this morning and started getting ready for my day. I had to take my puppy to the vet, so I was making sure he was fed and taken out and such, just doing normal stuff.

When all of a sudden, I remember.

Today’s November 10th. Today’s actually a really special day.

Today’s the day How to Properly Deface a Book releases.

It occurred to me, as I was submitting this book to Amazon for publication that in the space of a year, I have written and published not one, but two novels. That’s incredibly insane. And amazing. Like, wow. I can’t even believe it. It’s like some crazy dream, only it’s reality.

When my first book, The Crimson Banner, released, I was super nervous. And, overwhelmed. And just experiencing a lot of mixed emotions. And then, when Why Rodney Never Should’ve Gone to the NAPIC released, I was super excited. Bouncing off the walls excited. I knew what I was getting into this time and I knew what to expect. And so I was excited.

With this book, it’s different. I’ve got this feeling of relief. Like, I’m just so happy it’s over and I’m done with it and I can put it out there for the world to read. I’ve done my part. And, I’m so happy to be done with it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love this book. True, I might be biased, but I like it. A lot. In fact, I’m more excited about this book than the first Kit Parker book. I just think it’s better and I’m more excited about it and yeah.

I also have a lot of doubts. I’m an artist. We always second guess our work. It’s the curse of creativity. No matter what anyone else tells us, we will always find flaws with our work. Always.

I know I could make a lot of changes on this book. I know I could edit it to death, trying to make it better.

Or, I could do the best I can with it and then release it to the world. Because it’s good and I know that. There’s no arrogance there, I’m just saying. It’s a good book. Is it great? Well, that’s for my readers to decide. But, I know it’s good. I put my all into it, I worked hard, and now I’m ready to let it go.

Which means I am putting it into your hands, reader. You can pretty much do whatever you want with it. You can love it, or hate it, or pretty much act indifferently toward it. It’s all up to you.

But, if you do happen to love it, please consider doing one or more of the following:
  • Writing a short review to post on Goodreads or Amazon
  • Pin, Tweet, or share on Facebook
  • Posting about it on your blog
  • Sharing with coworkers and friends
  • Requesting your library purchase a copy
  • Or, finding some other way in which to share it with others.

And, if you hate it? Well, it’s up to you what you choose to do about that. You’re entitled to your own opinion.

Thanks so much everyone for all of your love and support! I appreciate all the people in my life who make writing worthwhile.

See you all on Friday! Make sure you get your questions in for me to answer. Can’t wait to see what you all dream up to ask.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Publishing and NaNoWriMo- Candor Questions

Oh look! A post :3

Shyly asked: Do you recommend self-publishing? I’ve heard good things and bad things about it and was wondering what your opinion was.

This is a really great question but one I feel I am not qualified to answer. I self-publish because people have expressed interest in my writing and this is the best way to share it with them. I do some marketing to get my name out there, but also in no way to I expect to become what would be considered a successful author through it. I feel, for me, self-publishing is a step toward traditional when I actually write something marketable to a “real” publisher.

That said, I know people (such as Leah Good who I interviewed on Monday) who have done enough research and work to make self-publishing worthwhile. And, while I too have heard a lot of bad things about it, it seems like it works well for some people.

The thing to do, if you are considering publishing and wondering what avenue to take, would be to research which option would be best for you. Both take a tremendous amount of effort, but can also both be very profitable. Take a look at your expectations toward your book and ask yourself what you would consider success. For me, having people read it and like it is enough. Do I make a ton of money? Nope, not really. But, at the moment, that’s okay with me. For some writers, that’s not what they’re looking for. That doesn’t mean self-publishing isn’t for them, it just means the way I go about slef-publishing isn’t for them.

So, take a look at what you want, what you would have to do if you took either route, and then decide which will bring you the results you’re looking for.

Sorry I don’t have more of an answer than that. If you have more in-depth questions about self-publishing, I would be happy to answer those, either as Candor Fridays questions or a private email.

Danielle Sauer asked: What are you working on for NaNoWriMo

Yay!! Someone asked!! :D :D

Okay, first of all, if you are not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it’s short for National Novel Writing Month, which happens to be November. NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit organization that helps writers write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. They also have a young writers program where you can personalize and set a more manageable word count for younger writers. More info at: www.nanowrimo.org

All right! That said, let’s start talking about the novel I am working on:

This month I am writing a fairy tale retelling mashup. Basically, it’s like fairy tale stew. I threw a whole bunch a fairy tales into a pot, stirred them up, and am now writing a book about the results.

Or, something like that.

Seriously, my story is about Jack, from Jack and the Beanstalk. Only, his name is Jack Robin. At the beginning of the book, he teams up with Rapunzel, who happens to also be one of the twelve dancing princesses. She wants Jack Robin’s help rescuing the other eleven princesses- who are also all characters from other fairy tales- from their respective fairy tale fates.

At the moment, I am currently using elements of 20 different fairy tales (which include a couple Greek and Roman myths), with another twenty or so briefly mentioned in passing. I’m having a lot of fun figuring out how to put a spin on all the fairy tales and finding ways to throwing them on their ear. I’m really excited about someone of my twists and turns and can’t wait to finish it so I can start sharing it with people.

Or, actually, I’ll be really brave and give you all a tiny glimpse of my unedited version. Below is a tiny little excerpt from the opening chapter of my book. This is how the book starts (and, please be warned this is unedited. So, I apologize in advance it there is stuff that doesn’t make sense :P)

The view from the top of the beanstalk would take the average person’s breath away.

It stretched out for miles, which would surprise the viewer, considering that the top rested up beyond the clouds. By all rights, they should not be seeing what they were seeing. The farms and villages that lay below, the valleys and rivers and mountains. Breathtaking was not a strong enough word for so stunning a view.
But, Jack Robin was uninterested in the view. After climbing that monstrous plant, he had reached the top only to discover a tower waiting for him.
In his seventeen years of living, he had learned one thing- people kept the good stuff in towers. And, if the giants had a tower, at the top of a beanstalk so difficult to climb, then there was something more than just the good stuff in there. There had to be treasures of insurmountable wealth waiting inside.
There were more legends then Jack Robin could count about giants’ treasure. They had no need for human gold, and therefore had stores upon stores of it hoarded from their altercations with mankind.
He wondered if he should have brought a larger satchel. If the rumors were true, he would have to make more than one trip with the bag he had brought. And making that climb again was not something he looked forward to.
His hands were covered in bloody marks where the thorns had pierced through his gloves. His face too had suffered from their sharp points when he had been forced to dance cheek to cheek with the overgrown plant in time with the wind’s mournful melody.
It had taken him nigh on a good couple of hours, he guessed, to reach the top. He only hoped it were worth it.
There was a river between him and the tower, a huge, rushing river that flowed with white, foamy water. There were rumors too about giants and their poisons and Jack Robin had no way of knowing if the foam were some such substance or simply rapids.
Of course, he did still have the healing salve his mother had packed when he had first left home. She had insisted he take it, even though he protested. Just a dab of that and-
He could not go there. He would not. If he allowed himself this slip in standard this once, there would be no end to the compromise. In which case, he might as well have just stayed home.
He could do this alone. He did not need a healing cream infused with dark magic. He had seen what use of such things did to a person’s soul. And, he would like to keep his soul intact as long as he could.
No, it was much safer to steal, and then buy what you wanted with the spoils.
Although a magic bridge to get him across that river-
No, we’re not going there. Not now, not ever.
He had left home not long before this and was beginning to realize how much his mother had ingrained in his mind. He could not go five minutes without wishing for a magical item. That needed to stop.
He would survive by his wits, just as he had told his mother he could. She had laughed and told him he was welcome home when he failed. But he would not fail. If for no other reason than to show her that.
He needed to focus on the matter at hand- a way to get across the river. Whether poison was at work here or not, swimming was not an option. Not with the way the water churned and pulsed. He would have to find another way.

So, that’s that! Make sure you send in your burning questions for next week. Can’t wait to see what you all ask.

And, in the meantime, How to Properly Deface a Book – Kit Parker Book Two releases on Monday!!!! So excited! So, be sure to come back on Monday for the official release post and the info on how you can get a copy!! :D :D

Monday, November 3, 2014

Author Interview with Leah Good

Greetings, Faithful Readers!

Remember on Friday when I told you I had something special for you? Well, here it is! Today, we have guest Leah Good answering some questions in an author interview.

Leah is a wonderful and talented young woman who I met online through the One Year Adventure Novel Student Forum and then had the pleasure of getting to meet in person two summers ago at the OYAN Summer Workshop.

She’s here with us today to tell us a little about herself as a writer and her new YA book, Counted Worthy, which releases today.

Leah, thanks so much for sharing with us today! Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself…
I’m a nineteen year old Christian girl who has a huge heart for orphans and adores homeschooling. My Myers-Briggs personality type is ENFJ, which means that I’m super outgoing, bubbly, and type A, but worry incessantly that I said something wrong and feel guilty about things even when I didn’t do anything wrong.

And, your book. Tell us a little bit about it…
My book is about a young woman whose father is arrested for owning a Bible. The story follows her struggle to overcome guilt from the past and stay true to her faith, all while fighting to save her dad’s life. You can read the full synopsis here.

Sounds exciting! Give us some insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special?
Heather is special because she does the right thing. She listens to her conscience, even when it’s hard. She struggles with that sometime, but over the course of her story, she’s constantly learning to trust God with everything instead of putting all the pressure on herself and her own wisdom.

She sounds like a very interesting character and I can’t wait to meet her! What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing this book?
I’m always writing. Whether it’s blog posts, novels, short stories, letters, or journal entries. Counted Worthy started with a short story. The idea of this girl smuggling Bibles and her father getting arrested because of it popped into my head one night, so I sat down and wrote it as a short story. I showed it to a few friends, and they all wanted more. So that short story became chapter one of Counted Worthy.

What was the hardest thing about writing this book?
The editing. Because I started with basically zero outlining the plot was all over the place at first. A few chapters in, I stopped writing and sketched out a basic outline. Then I deleted everything but chapter one and started over … three times. After I finished the rough draft, there was still a lot of cutting, rewriting, and reworking to be done. It took a long time.

Oh, yes. That dreaded editing stage. I feel your pain. What was the best thing about writing this book?
How much my writing improved. I’d written several novels before this one, but a lot of things fell into place as I worked on Counted Worthy. It was so exciting tore-read bits and pieces and realize that the writing was so much better than anything I had ever written before.

I have to agree about the excitement of seeing yourself improve. It’s certainly a great feeling. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I tend to blast through outlining and writing the rough draft really fast. There are other writers out there who do the same, but very few of the writers I know work that way. The fastest I ever wrote was a 50,000 word rough draft in three weeks.

I like to write fast as well! It makes the process simpler, for me. Do you have any advice for new authors?
I just saw a quote on Twitter that said, “Avoid the pitfall of thinking that just because your artistic vision is *yours,* it’s 20/20.”That’s so important for beginning writers to realize. I’d advise beginning writers to develop a thick skin and always be willing to accept advice and learn from it.

And, for a fun question: If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
That’s hard to say. A lot of an author’s own personality, history, and soul go into books, so I couldn’t be the original author of any book besides my own. Safely Home, by Randy Alcorn is one of my all time favorite books, though. I would love to be able to say I had some part in that book’s creation.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Checkout my blogs, Leah’s Bookshelf and Teens Interceding forOrphans. You can also connect with me on FacebookTwitterGoodreads, and Pinterest

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I wrote this book in the hopes of creating an entertaining, gripping story that would simultaneously help readers identify with persecuted Christians. Persecution is alive and well today, and it’s something those of us who live in freedom need to be aware of. I hope Counted Worthy will encourage and challenge those of you reading this. Both paperback and Kindlee-book copies of the book are available for purchase if you follow the respective links. If you want to learn more about the persecuted church, visit Open Doors, USA.

Once again, thank you, Leah, for taking the time to do this. And, congratulations on your book release!

I hope all of you check out her book, Counted Worthy. I’ve already ordered a copy and I would like to encourage you to as well. Christmas is right around the corner and books always make perfect presents (yeah, yeah, I know, says the writer XD). It’s classified as YA, with a target audience of 12-22. That covers a lot of family members and we all know people who like to read will read out of their age range…

Speaking of book releases, I hope all of you are as geared up as I am for the release of How to Properly Deface a Book. Only one more week to go!! So excited :D

And, don’t forget to send in your questions for Friday! See you all then.