Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Kingdoms and Quests

I'm pleased to be hosting my friend Kendra Ardnek here again, this time with a cover reveal for her fourth novel My Kingdom for a Quest.  I've been looking forward to this book for months and so has my family.  

First, a short interview with Kendra:

Which was your favorite Bookania story to write?
It's a close call between Sew, It's a Quest and My Kingdom for a Quest. Sew was certainly the most painless book, but there are some absolutely adorable scenes in Kingdom that I had an absolute blast writing. (So much so that I wrote them twice ...)

Have you titled the fourth Bookania Quest book yet?
Yes I have, actually, even a mock cover drawn. (I also have titles through to book twenty, and a few other random ones beyond that point, though four is as far as mock covers have gone.). Book four doesn't have my favorite title, but it fits the book and the series. I'll reveal it when I release Kingdom. (So, a month and two weeks from now ... scary thought!) Book four will have a more serious tone than many of the other books. I might cry while writing it.

Oh dear, now you have me worried.  So long as you don't kill off Robin, Robert, Eric or Robin Hood, I think I can live with whatever else you do.  :)


Author Person:

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


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


Kingdom's Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23563093-my-kingdom-for-a-quest


You can find the first two Bookania Quests books on Amazon:
Sew, It's a Quest
Do You Take This Quest?


By now you are probably saying, "Just show us the cover already!"  Very well, here you are:




Is it not fantastic??!!!!!



Miss Melody Muffin

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Prince of Earth and Heaven


A Christmas Hymn

Alfred Domett


It was the calm and silent night!
  Seven hundred years and fifty-three
Had Rome been growing up to might,
  And now was Queen of land and sea.
No sound was heard of clashing wars;
  Peace brooded o’er the hush’d domain;
Apollo, Pallas, Jove and Mars,
  Held undisturb’d their ancient reign,
      In the solemn midnight
        Centuries ago.


’T was in the calm and silent night!
  The senator of haughty Rome
Impatient urged his chariot’s flight,
  From lordly revel rolling home.
Triumphal arches gleaming swell
  His breast with thoughts of boundless sway;
What reck’d the Roman what befell
  A paltry province far away,
      In the solemn midnight
        Centuries ago!


Within that province far away
  Went plodding home a weary boor:
A streak of light before him lay,
  Fall’n through a half-shut stable door
Across his path. He pass’d—for nought
  Told what was going on within;
How keen the stars! his only thought;
  The air how calm and cold and thin,
      In the solemn midnight
        Centuries ago!


O strange indifference!—low and high
  Drows’d over common joys and cares:
The earth was still—but knew not why;
  The world was listening—unawares.
How calm a moment may precede
  One that shall thrill the world for ever!
To that still moment none would heed,
  Man’s doom was link’d, no more to sever,
      In the solemn midnight
        Centuries ago.


It is the calm and solemn night!
  A thousand bells ring out, and throw
Their joyous peals abroad, and smite
  The darkness, charm’d and holy now.
The night that erst no name had worn,
  To it a happy name is given;
For in that stable lay new-born
  The peaceful Prince of Earth and Heaven,
      In the solemn midnight
        Centuries ago.




Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!


Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Book Review: Do You Take This Quest?

Today I'm here to review the second installment of The Bookania Quests.


DO YOU TAKE THIS QUEST?

KENDRA E. ARDNEK


http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81Y7nrkQtyL._SL1500_.jpg 


TYPE/GENRE: Fiction, Fantasy/Fairy Tale
SERIES: The Bookania Quests #2
LENGTH: 211 pages
RATING: 10 out of 10
READ ALOUD:    5 out of 5
SOURCES: Amazon


Synopsis:
When Arthur's parents were lost at sea, his Uncle Mordreth became the regent for the young boy. Yet now that he's of age, Mordreth seems to have no intentions of relinquishing the throne. It looks as though Arthur will have to fight for his throne. If only he had more than just his two servants and the old man he met in the woods for friends. The old man takes things into his own hands and whisks Arthur off to the wedding of a fellow prince, with the intention of finding him some allies.

All is not right at the wedding, however. The groom is missing and the bride had called quits. Where's the groom? Well, he's found a new bride. Now if he can just get her home ....



My Review:
"We have a new tutor and he announced today that we would be keeping a journal this year.  It is my suspicion that he also means for us to write in our journals."

Thus begins the fantastic sequel to Sew, It's a QuestDo You Take This Quest? follows Prince Robert of Locksley on his quest to wake the Sleeping Beauty and win her for his bride.  It also introduces several new characters, all of them royalty from a hundred years before who were in the castle of Sleeping Beauty and fell asleep with her.  Chief among said royalty are Madeleine, great-aunt to Robin and Robert, Shira, (one of my favorites) who with her brother Samson, is another pair of mixed up twins and Solomon and Serendipity - more mixed up siblings.

It's hilarious how alike the twin sets of Samson and Shira and Robert and Robin are.  Both brothers are calmer and more level headed and often wind up restraining their hotter tempered, more violent sisters.  All of the 'new' royalty that have woken up provide a good picture of what life was like in Bookania before the Change by their reactions to the way it is now.  At the end of Chapter 13 there is a discussion about the Author (the name in Bookania for God) that I particularly liked, especially Robin's analogy.

Robin's character continues to develop.  Take shows her adjusting to the natural shift in her relationship with her brother that is the result of both of them being in love.  Eric's calming influence on Robin is clear.  Even though Robert won't always be by her side now, Robin can't get into too much trouble because Eric is there to pull her out of it.

Robin Hood and Maid Marian make an appearance again and they are just as charming as in Sew.  Also appearing again are several of the minor characters Robert and Robin met during their journey in Sew, such as Push au Kim and the Sandwitches.

In my house, this book is just as popular or more popular than its predecessor.   We've read it out loud several times and I recently began to read it aloud yet again.  I recommend this series if you are looking for clean, fun fairy tales with a new twist.


Favorite quotes:
"The poor world.  Do you think it will ever forgive us for loosing Robin on it?" ~ King Alexander of Locksley

"But, Eric, I frankly don't know why they allow gray-eyed miscreants like you and Sam on the loose.  They're the downfall of Locksley princesses."  ~ Madeleine of Locksley

"Ah, but, do not judge man by cover!  I am ruthless!  I once push Duke O'Gair into oven!"  ~ Push au Kim

"I relish not unadorned speech."  ~ Prince Theo

"Surely thou didst not have a death wish for him!" exclaimed Sol.
"Nay, I had a break off the engagement wish," said Joan with a shrug.

"Beautiful!
"Splendid!"
"Magnifique!"
"It's a dress. I hate dresses."

"And why are you traveling with Prince Robert and his sister?" asked King William, Eric's father.  There was an unspoken question of, "Why is it that you and she have not killed each other yet?"



Miss Melody Muffin

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Interview With Ashley Elliott

A few weeks ago I did a cover reveal for Becoming Nikki, a novel written by my friend Ashley Elliott.  She is currently hosting a blog party celebrating the release of the book and agreed to stop by my blog for an interview.



Welcome to the Splendor Falls, Ashley!

First, please tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Ashley, I'm a writer, and I'm weird. I have multiple personalities that come out at different times (that I can't control), and I'm frequently getting sidetracked by things on the Internet.


Please give us a synopsis of Becoming Nikki.

Alec and Nikki Scott are the perfect ice dancing duo, executing flawless technique and brilliant performance abilities each time they compete. No one doubts their camaraderie, not even their closest friends.

But looks can be deceiving. Off the ice, their relationship is in shambles. Ice dancing is the only thing they have in common anymore... and Alec wants to quit.


Just as Nikki feels like their relationship can't get any worse, an unexpected tragedy crashes into her life. She's left struggling with a difficult choice as her opinion of her brother slowly starts to change.
Whatever she decides, she knows her life will never be the same.



What inspired you to write this book?
Well, it all started when I discovered ice dancing while watching it during the 2010 Winter Olympics.  Meryl Davis and Charlie White were instantly my favorite and I started thinking about how much it would take to get to the Olympics.  I also had come up with the idea of a broken sister-sister relationship (which slowly turned into a brother-sister relationship) around the same time, and, as I started developing the plot of that novel, the ice dancing part eventually fused with it.


What were some of the songs you listened to while writing?
Hmm... Well, I listened to a lot of Jackie Evancho's 'Songs from the Silver Screen' CD, lots of movie scores (James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer ROCK), and a lot of random songs – it all just depended on my mood.  ;)


How long did it take you to write it?

WHALE. It only took me about six months to write it (June '12 – January '13), but it took me a year and a half to edit it... including I-am-so-done-with-this breaks.


What is your favorite quote from the book?
“Um, Natalie? You'll never believe who just opened the door for me.”
“Chris Pine? David Tennant? Aaron Tveit?”
(Insert Pinterest meme here: MENTION ALL THE FANDOMS!!!!)


Which character or characters were the easiest to write?

Definitely Natalie and Nikki. I'm so much like both of them! Reserved like Nikki, yet wild and silly around my friends like Natalie.


Which character or characters were the hardest to write?

Probably the guys. I started writing Nikki back when I didn't really know how to get into a guy's head, so it was weird. (I'm still working on getting into guys' heads... lol.)


Who was your favorite minor character?

BENNETT. I think he qualifies as being a minor character. His first line is "Hey" and he speaks fluently in pick-up lines. I love him muchly.


What is your opinion of 'character casting'?
YES. ABSOLUTELY. Behold:
https://gm1.ggpht.com/SbH86Nyta2nobwfLSUQMkOpT7ybx84DBu6dsVd_xfB6NKCb_DnFchnlQtqRPzicZLvrediShTdq44MUb6SEue7tiRNt-YjcyoL34JsGdRpfJGeGcW-kYIB3ieMHoSWTxv9mE2LR3FZFl72EytYK-9baxqupJM_Z16ag9NS9ak4eVU-6jtmDnLn7f94hzNY5P6wh8Rb3BGTJK2nMbGzkyJA8VS_AYkV0Dgq2bh9chVotEKenXTD20Z5Kj1TQECHw9C8QoFClWXZPjcgK1kTNGKXRF6u3X9okW9F2YDuVCkQFPICd19md9HGC9UxqmBP9bIiargOfxbSHaOgrcs7Z0cRuobhQibeLQ6NHydwmsv1yljxVjAN-AUYMx7L-DFMiZcSYFtGPsL0WgjCrtNEFj5iCu9CPmZ_X7Uq4Dqmyf4OUaYMGsZxNEdkCZwFQ3cp7LignSxgl3A14GHGHIn0_Yj71pekzWykQzoXhZAOE0fLOeudPnG22nzdz1b7Zr4l9NLX_SGhGQTDMLPq8cVy94efFwnPIva1G8_unugsk0hUlVPSPg8Hobop1yufHt1Aw4sDbcyg25xg=w1713-h740-l75-ft

I started casting the actors who played Nikki and Alec and most of the other characters when I first started writing Nikki.  I think the original actors have pretty much stayed the same.  I found Alexis Bledel after watching a few episodes of Gilmore Girls and I found Jonathan Rhys Myers after watching August Rush (both of which I liked a lot but can’t really recommend because of Content).


What scene was the most fun to write?
Hmm... Basically any scene that Natalie and Nikki were in together. I just let them go at it, mentioning all of the period dramas I could. : D


How about a scene that absolutely ripped you apart while you were writing it?
Definitely the initial accident scene. I literally couldn't reread it for months after I wrote it. (But it's nothing compared to one of the first scenes in The Art of Letting Go, the novel I'm working on now. UGH. FEELS.)


Did you plot out the story before writing it or did you just sit down and write?
I plotted out the main storyline, but I basically let it go wherever it wanted to. I hate outlining. XD


What was the most unexpected part of writing Becoming Nikki?

Hmm... Probably the fact that I became a bit of a germaphobe after writing Nikki. *nods* Yes, Cosette, this is true. It was bad. I got out the first 50k words of Nikki during Camp NaNo and, after being stuck with Nikki (who is a bit of a germaphobe) for 30 days... I became a bit of a germaphobe. I keep a little bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse and one in my car. True story.


What is an interesting piece of trivia about Becoming Nikki?
The chocolate cake that Nikki gets from Ferguson's is based off the AMAZING flourless chocolate cake that I love from Alpine Bakery in Alpharetta. Totally worth it if you're ever in North Georgia. (I did an entire post on Nikki Fun Facts on my blog, so check it out if you want to know more random stuff about Nikki!)


Becoming Nikki is self-published, isn't it?  Why did you choose self publishing?
It is! I chose self-publishing because it's easier than the traditional route. Heh...heh... I think I'm going to try the traditional route with my next novel, though. Yay! We'll see how it goes. *crosses fingers*


Do you have any interesting writing quirks or behaviors?
HA. Yes. Most definitely. One of the biggest is that I'm horribly handicapped whenever I try to write in a public environment because I pull faces as I write them, in order to write them well. Yep. So since I can't do that while I'm out because that'd be WEIRD, I always have to go back through the sections I wrote while in, say, Starbucks, splay the emotions on my face, and re-write parts so it's better. That, or hide my face whenever I do it. XD


Is there one question you've always wished an interviewer would ask you?

What do you want to do with the riches you'll get from selling all of your NY-Times-Bestselling books? Because I've got PLANS. My siblings gave me a list of things they want (including a Lamborghini and a water bed), and I'm going to buy various houses, too. It'll be great.


What is one thought you hope readers will take away from Becoming Nikki?
To look at relationships differently. Imagine you're in Nikki's shoes. Ask yourself what would you do if you were given the chance to rebuild a faltering relationship? Then do it. Everyone will benefit, and you'll all be better for it.


Thanks for interviewing me!!!

Thanks for stopping by, Ashley!


For more information on Ashley and Becoming Nikki, visit Ashley's blog.


Miss Melody Muffin