Thursday, September 21, 2017

Writing Wednesday (ish) Diary of a Plant- Part 4

I soaked that incredible warmth from the light up, reveling in how good it felt on my shoot. I leaned into the light, wanting to feel as much of it as was possible. That Light was life, mixed with the good things coming from my roots. My earlier tragedies seemed insignificant in comparison to the thrill that was living above the darkness and being filled with this incredible energy.

I felt a prickle along my shoot the longer I leaned into the light. There was this amazing feeling inside of my being, it felt as if something new was being created. The prickle grew more noticeable, until, oh! I looked down and almost danced with joy!

I had grown my very own leaf! I didn’t think I could handle much more excitement in a single day, this was just too much.

Without warning, a whoosh of air and blur of color raced past me about shook me to my core, I almost fell over.

What was that? I dug my roots in a little deeper to stay upright, and looked around in shock. It took some concentration to focus on the color as it moved in the distance, but I stood very still and tried to sort out what the commotion was.

The vibrations I had felt upon first breaking through the darkness to the light? You can imagine my surprise when I realized that they were being created by moving, living beings! These beings were able to move from spot to spot as their roots were free and took them wherever they wanted to go. One being was small, and stood upright on just two roots.

The other being was the color of the Light, and stood more over the ground on four roots. There also seemed to an extra root extending from one end of the second being, that root was moving back and forth very rapidly.

Loud noises were coming out of both beings, especially the two-rooted one. They seemed to be communicating with each other, but the second did more communication with its fifth end root.

All of this was far too much to take in, my new leaf was entirely forgotten in the face of these new, amazing discoveries.

Before I had time to really process, though, both beings turned in my direction, and then they, no, they SAW ME. In another blur of color and movement, they began to rush in my direction.

And once more, I was shaking from my roots up….

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Writing Wednesday: Diary of a Plant- Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

My shoot continued to droop as I felt lost without my seed. What was I supposed to do now?
Before I could fall further into despair, I was hit with another, completely foreign sensation. Did all living things get taken by surprise one thing after another? Was this what living  was? Never knowing what was going to happen next?

The sensation, or rather, sensations, came from the base of my shoot. I felt wriggling and tickling movements come from below. I panicked at first, terrified that the rest of me was going to fall apart just as my seed had.

But, oh! A delicious, rich, wonderful feeling came tingling up through my shoot from the base. Mmmm, it was so satisfying. I hadn’t known how empty my little being had felt until that empty space was suddenly filled with delicious….something!
My shoot straightened. I felt strength coursing through my little self and suddenly I found that I now had the energy to return to my original task of pushing through the wet darkness that surrounded me.

What had changed? As my shoot kept feeling stronger, I looked back down to where my seed at been. What had been a scene of tragedy only a little while before now made me wiggle with joy. I had now had tiny little roots sticking out into the sticky goop. They must have been what was itching so horribly, my seed was holding them back! Once they were freed, they had begun to bring all of that delicious strength into the rest of me.

So, my seed had not been sacrificed in vain. I looked at the broken seed pieces with great reverence for a moment, and then, bravely, I turned my attention back up to where I was pushing my shoot through the darkness. It was time to see what lay beyond this dark little world of tragedy and triumph, it was time to step into the great beyond.

Whatever that was…

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Writing Wednesday: Diary of Plant- Part 1

(Diary of a Plant- Part 1)
I was first aware of my existence when the hard outside of my seed cracked open and my tiny shoot pushed upward. It was dark and moist, and very still.
I wiggled my shoot around, trying to get my bearings. I knew very little about where I was, who I was, or for what purpose I had been born. All I knew was this, I had to get my shoot out of the dark.
At this time, I could not have explained to you why or how I knew this, or even what existed beyond the dark. I just knew I needed to push my shoot in a specific direction.
I made a brave attempt to do this, but after only a little while I was completely exhausted. I stopped wriggling and considered what to do with the limited information I had. During this time of contemplation, I felt a slight itch in my seed. It was small at first, small enough that I could ignore it while keeping my focus on more important things.
However, after just a short amount of time, the itching sensation grew to the point of being unbearable.
I suddenly found new energy I did not know I possessed as my discomfort drove me to thrash around in my seed. What was this agony? Had I only been born to suffer?
My passionate and pained musings were suddenly doused, drenched in fact, by the sudden arrival of something cold and startling. It made my dark surroundings seem even darker, and, stickier. Clumps of dark goop stuck together around my seed and shoot.
The sudden arrival of this new thing had momentarily distracted me from how itchy my seed was, but now an entirely new sensation brought my attention back around.
My seed was breaking! The new, cold thing had made my seed grow bigger and now it was breaking!
Despite the fact that my seed was causing me intense discomfort, it was still the thing holding my shoot steady. It was all I had ever known in my short life. I frantically tried to cling to it as it began to break away.
My tiny world was changing and there was nothing I could do about it.
I panicked as my seed broke completely away from my shoot. The pieces lay around me, dead and useless, as if they hadn't been the thing that brought me to life.

My shoot drooped in the sticky darkness as I mourned my broken world. Could my short life be over before I had even begun it?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Author Interview- Jaye L. Knight

When news arrives that Emperor Daican has been in contact with his chief war strategist, it signals potential doom for the country of Samara. Determined to intervene, the resistance in Landale, headed by Lady Anne, embark on a covert mission in hopes of unearthing further information. However, a shocking discovery leads to complications no one could have foreseen. 

Armed with their newfound knowledge, they set out for Samara to warn the king. War is inevitable, and they must face two desperate battles—one on the walls of Samara’s great stronghold, and the other on the battlefield of Jace’s heart, where victory might only be achievable through great sacrifice.

In honor of the release of the 3rd installment of The Ilyon Chronicles, Samara's Peril, I have the pleasure of sharing a little author interview I did with Jaye. I wanted to ask a few questions that gave us a truly behind-the-scenes peek into the life and mind of this talented woman. Enjoy!

What was the very first moment that the idea for Ilyon was born? Was it a character, an image, a line?

(Jaye) It was on page 206 of DragonQuest by Donita K. Paul. Yes, I did just go and hunt it up. What a rush of memories! It was the moment where it’s discovered the my favorite character in the series is half-blooded. It’s odd that it jumped out at me the way it did. It’s not like I had never written about half-blooded characters before. But something about the moment made me pause and idea for Jace began forming in my mind. Within about 24 hours, I started writing Resistance. It all happened that fast.

(Grace) That's wonderful, sometimes great journeys are begun at a moment's notice. But then you look back and realize a lot of little moments and experiences were leading up to this point of creating something beautiful. Ilyon was a seed in your heart that was just waiting for the right time to bloom. And your fans are so glad that it did!

Who is your favorite book character that you have ever written? This includes characters from your previous two series Pirates of Faith and Makilien Trilogy.

(Jaye) Jace. Definitely Jace. While I do adore many of my other characters, such as almost everyone in Ilyon Chronicles, Sirion from Makilien, and Justin and Kyle from my Pirates books, I don’t think any character will ever top Jace. There’s something special about him and how I relate to him. Probably because so much of him came from difficult periods of my life. I think he will always mean more to me personally than any other character.

(Grace) I have read all of your series and I would have picked Jace as your favorite. There is an emotional depth to him that is unlike any of your other characters. No one makes me feel as much as Jace does, I have literally felt painful and sick over him. But he also brings me great joy. I, along with many of your other fans love him so much.

If a character from one of your favorite TV shows could make a guest appearance in Ilyon, who would it be and why? What would they do?

(Jaye) Oh my, so many choices. I think Daryl from The Walking Dead (yes, I am a Walking Dead fan) would fit in well with the Resistance group. He’s a lot like Jace, actually. A broken individual with a great heart. They would probably get along really well. He would definitely be a good asset to them. Another part of me gets positively gleeful at the thought of Raymond Reddington from The Blacklist going up against Emperor Daican. I think he would drive Daican insane. For all Blacklist fans, would that not be delightful to see?

(Grace) *heads to google to look up shows that she has never seen* Awesome!

What's your go-to writing snack?

(Jaye) Sadly, I haven’t discovered one yet since I went gluten free. It’s not as easy to find quick snacks like that. But, before I had to go GF, my favorite writing snack was cheddar Combos pretzels. I miss them SO MUCH.

(Grace) You have my sympathy, food is one of the best things in the world.

What's the hardest experience in your personal life that you in turn put into your writing?

(Jaye) I come from a special needs family. My youngest brother has Asperger’s syndrome and OCD. It has led to some very difficult times for us as a family. This is along with a lot of medical problems I’ve had to deal with over the last several years (which I’ve thankfully figured out now). I’ve had times where I’ve really struggled with depression and feeling hopeless. A lot of that has gone into writing Jace’s character because I can more fully understand and feel his emotions because of what I’ve experienced. 

(Grace) I can sympathize with you a bit on that note. I will say though, sometimes the greatest trials and hard moments can be turned into a gift that upholds and uplifts a lot of other people. I have personally been deeply touched by your characters and your stories, and I know others have as well. Praise God that He gives us the gift of turning our dark moments into treasures of truth and hope. We, your fans, thank you so much for sharing what is truly part of your soul. Thank you so much for the hours upon hours of time you spend in creating this world of Ilyon. We appreciate your stories, and we appreciate you, Jaye. Congratulations on the release of Samara's Peril, it is a magnificent book and I cannot wait for the next one!


You can purchase Samara's Peril at Amazon, the Ilyon website . Follow and connect with this fantastic author on Twitter and Facebook, and her blog! And if you haven't begun this series, I highly recommend getting started! 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Book Review- Behold the Dawn

Behold the DawnBehold the Dawn by K.M. Weiland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am a major history nerd, so historical fiction is right up my alley. My favorite book is "Pearl Maiden" by Sir Rider Haggard, an author who wrote historical fiction that is both riveting and deep.

I mention Haggard, because "Behold the Dawn" very quickly brought his medieval book "The Brethren" to mind. Coming from me, considering BTD to be similar to one of his works is a huge compliment to Weiland.

The setting to BTD felt gritty and authentic. It was hot, sweaty, dusty, and bloody. I did occasionally have a hard time picturing the landscape, but the characters were often on the move, thus leading to ever-changing landscape.

The characters; such a fantastic cast of characters. Some grew more than others over the story (I fell in love with the sidekick), while others were consistent, providing a balance and steadiness that kept the others in line. The protagonists were appropriately human, they felt fear, anger, hurt, betrayal, guilt, etc. You felt what the characters felt very deeply.

The villains! Aha! One of the only things that can make a good set of protagonists even better is an equally well-written cast of villains. Weiland did a masterful job at this. I shivered and despised these villains more than I do for most writers. Well done!

This book was wonderfully lengthy, I appreciate it when a writer values their readers enough to give a very long book. There is just a depth of entering into the story that cannot happen in shorter titles. Also, there were moments in this book that could have been handled with far less class, but thankfully, Weiland is a classy writer. I appreciated the way she handled a few subjects with dignity and grace.

My one critique of this book was that during the fighting scenes, I was often confused as to who was standing where, and how the action went down. I had to reread those scenes and play them through in my mind. It is not a major hindrance however, and everything else was well done.

At one point in this book, Weiland put in a "plot twist" of sorts that angered and saddened me deeply. I took to social media to complain, and like the mature adult that I am, I took a break from reading the book. Before, I mentioned how much BTD reminded me of Sir Rider Haggard's "The Brethren". Amusingly enough, the same thing happened to me years ago when I read TB. I was convinced something terrible had happened. In agony, I threw the book down and began to cry. I had invested far too much of my soul into that story to see it end so. My brother picked up the source of my sorrow and read a few pages past where I had stopped. "Keep reading." He said. I did, and sheepishly discovered that all was in fact well, and I had merely thrown in the towel too early. I bring this story up, because I literally did the exact same thing with Behold the Dawn. That "plot twist" that left me outraged? Aha, ha, ahem....keep reading.

A satisfying ending, should Weiland ever do a follow-up book featuring the same characters, or perhaps starring the sidekick (I'm rooting for Option 2), I will eagerly devour it. I recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, sweet romances, and redemption.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Book Review- Songkeeper (Songkeeper Chronicles)

Songkeeper (The Songkeeper Chronicles #2)Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was privileged to get an advanced reader copy of this book. I was a big fan of Orphan's Song, and I am eagerly looking forward to more books in this series.

Songkeeper was definitely a middle chapter in the saga. You are left with more questions and unresolved problems than answers.

In terms of character development, I think this was a great book. Both Birdie and Ky came into their own more firmly, even if their lives are full of chaos right now. They are both admirable heroes.

Birdie has a humble strength that is refreshing. She's not the cliche "I'm tough and nothing can hurt me) sort of female lead that has grown overused in both book and movie circles. Birdie is young, innocent, vulnerable, and yet, all of those qualities are a foundation for this quiet strength and steadiness that is the beginning of someone great.

Ky is my hero. He is my favorite character and already added into the Character-Hall-Of-Fame in my heart. He is completely selfless, so incredibly brave, and wise beyond his years. He's the sort of character that never gives up, even if they are bleeding out. Ky is the Captain America of the Songkeeper Chronicles. I love this boy so much, and I can't wait to see what Gillian does with him.

I found several new characters to be interesting in this story as well. Gillian did a good job of creating a colorful new cast of characters that fit in with the current cast very well. Also, a shout out to the concept of the Saari people riding lions. That was purely amazing.

The ending was not as great as I had been anticipating. According to Gillian, the end scene was deeply meaningful to her and some of her best writing. In plain honesty, I felt that the ending was far too fast. Without giving any spoilers, suffice it to say, this book needed a strong ending in order to compensate for the climax that left you hanging. I understand that sometimes a scene may carry a very personal attachment for the writer, but I did feel what I believe Gillian was trying to convey. For the insane roller coaster I had just been on, I needed more time and details than she gave me in order to process the emotions. To sum up, I was disappointed in the final scene.

I am committed to this series, so while out of the two books Orphan's Song is by far my favorite, I still highly recommend Songkeeper. Like I said, it is a middle chapter without resolve, but still an engaging adventure and the continuation of growth for the characters we love.

If for nothing else, read it because reading about Ky's character will make you a better human being.

View all my reviews

Monday, March 7, 2016

Book Review- Orphan's Song (Songkeeper Chronicles)

Who Will Keep the Song Alive? Every generation has a Songkeeper – one chosen to keep the memory of the Song alive. And in every generation, there are those who seek to destroy the chosen one. When Birdie's song draws the attention of a dangerous Khelari soldier, she is kidnapped and thrust into a world of ancient secrets and betrayals. Rescued by her old friend, traveling peddler Amos McElhenny, Birdie flees the clutches of her enemies in pursuit of the truth behind the Song’s power. Ky is a street–wise thief and a member of the Underground—a group of orphans banded together to survive . . . and to fight the Khelari. Haunted by a tragic raid, Ky joins Birdie and Amos in hopes of a new life beyond the reach of the soldiers. But the enemy is closing in, and when Amos’ shadowed past threatens to undo them all, Birdie is forced to face the destiny that awaits her as the Songkeeper of Leira. Book one of the Songkeeper Chronicles.

I am not as big a fan of the fantasy genre as many of my fellow writers/readers are. I often find myself feeling overwhelmed sometimes by the number of strange places and creatures, un-pronounceable names with impossible spellings, and weird rules that govern the world. 

However, when I do come across a work of fantasy that is handled with grace and intelligence, I enjoy myself immensely. Orphan's Song was one of these such gems from the fantasy genre that both surprised and delighted me. Gillian Bronte Adams created a lovely world of fantasy that was not overwhelming, un-pronounceable, and even though there was the cliche of "the chosen one", Adams created such a compelling and unique role for Birdie that I didn't care.

The story pulled me in from the very first sentence - They were coming - until the very last sentence, which I will leave unmentioned to avoid spoilers.

The characters were each well-rounded and unique, both heroes and villains. Birdie was a sympathetic character that I loved immediately, and never once did she frustrate me like oh-so-many dramatic and sarcastic heroines.

Ky was instantly my favorite. His compassion and desire to protect instantly made him appealing. And his street smarts? I really geek out over skills like that.

Amos....oh Amos. Half of the time I wanted to hug him, and the other half I wanted to hit him over the head with Rapunzel's frying pan. My reaction tells me one thing- Gillian Bronte Adams hit the nail on the head with this character.

I cannot write a review about this book without mentioning the key feature: The Song.

The Song was what wove this book together beautifully into a rich and compelling story. Adams did such a beautiful job describing the Song and how it affected the various characters. I have had moments where my mind is overtaken with a piece of a song or a melody that maybe I have heard before, and the music surrounds me like a warm, spring wind. I could connect with the characters in the moments that the Song was being sung. And as for Birdie's ability to know who is approaching (bad or good) based upon the song, well, I have often said that life would be so much easier to predict if we just had a constantly running soundtrack. 

I enjoyed every moment of this book, it never lost my interest. And guess what? The next one, Songkeeper, is going to be released next month! I highly recommend that you read Orphan's Song before Songkeeper is released.

If you want to find out more about the author, you can check her out on her blog, Facebook, or Twitter! If want to purchase Orphan's Song, check it out Amazon.

And here's a sneak peek of Songkeeper just to wet your appetites. I don't know about you, but this cover just sends chills down my spine, those lions are practically leaping off of the page. Want to find out more about Songkeeper? And if you're already sold, awesome! You can be one of the first to get it because it is available for pre-order on Amazon.