Deliver Facebook Party!

Yesterday, I posted a book spotlight and book review for Deliver, Book 4 in The Blades of Acktar.

Tomorrow, Tricia’s hosting a Facebook party to celebrate the release! There will be prizes, a live video chat with the author, and one activity I’m especially excited about: a character chat where all the characters from the book get access to Facebook to chat with fans in person. Tricia did a character chat for Defy’s release, and it was so much fun – even though I hadn’t even read any of The Blades of Acktar books at the time. I’m looking forward to this character chat even more, since I know and love each character.

Hope to see you there!

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Writing Influences

Now that Promise’s Prayer is available to the world, what is this author working on now?

A very special project.

 

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A temporary cover image; click for synopsis, Pinterest board, and more

 

This month, I’m rewriting Happy Days With the Lanesa middle-grade children’s novel centered around eleven-year-old twins Julia and Jonathan, who love to surprise each other.

I first wrote Happy Days With the Lanes when I was ten years old, officially finishing the first draft four years later. Because I love the characters and the message – and I’ve wanted to publish a children’s book – it seemed that it was time to rewrite this one.

It’s been an adventure so far. I’m 20,000 words into the story, and it’s a joy to re-visit the characters, polishing up the story to make it the best it can be.

Today I dug out my Lanes folder and located the following gems:

  • Four chapters of the very first Lanes story I started writing, where the characters have different names and somehow live in a society suspiciously similar to the pre-Civil War South, even though the story is otherwise clearly set in modern times…
  • Fifteen handwritten chapters of the first draft of the Lanes story I’m now rewriting, including a few deleted chapters
  • A separate short story revolving around six-year-old Joshua Lane
  • A Lanes prequel written for children ages 3-7, with Julia and Jonathan at age 5.
  • Two chapters of a Lanes sequel centered around Tasha’s family – the oldest Lane child, after she’s married and has a family of her own
  • Numerous family trees
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The first cover – circa 2003

Reading through these old writings, I’m amazed at the large number of influences that have found their way into my writing. At age ten, my stories’ influences were much easier to discover – before I’d found my own writing voice and learned to more subtlely weave in the many influences that inevitably join themselves to my work. The importance of surrounding one’s self with quality literature cannot be overestimated – for what we read is, in many ways, exactly what we write.

A few books that directly influenced the writing done by the young Erika:

  • Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  • The New Amplified Pilgrim’s Progress audio drama
  • The Elsie Dinsmore series by Martha Finley
  • A variety of fiction by Rod & Staff publishers, including Just Thirteen, The Family God Gave, Home Fires Beneath Northern Lights, Home Fires at the Foot of the Rockies, Cicada Summer, God’s Marvels in Washington, Year of Doubt, and Year of Growth
  • The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • The King’s Daughter and Other Stories for Girls

Excerpt:

“Jonathan, S.A.L.,” whispered Julia during lunch, nudging her twin with her elbow.
Once the lunch dishes were finished, the twins met under the stairs in the tiny room that Julia had arranged for the two of them.
“What’s your Secret After Lunch?” Jonathan asked.
Julia’s dark eyes sparkled. She tossed back her wavy brown hair. “Next week is Christmas vacation. You know that Tasha’s birthday is December 24. I though we…” Julia pranced around Jonathan, caught her breath, and finished. “I thought we could give her a surprise!”
Jonathan’s brown eyes began to sparkle, too. He grinned. “I’ll say, I don’t know what could be more fun! But what surprise could we give?”
Julia’s face fell. “I don’t know. How could we give a surprise without her knowing about it?”
Mother’s voice floated down the stairs towards them. “Julia and Jonathan!”
“Coming, Mother,” Jonathan replied quickly, then turned back to Julia. “Think about it. We’ll meet here in two days, on December 21. Let’s go!”

What books have influenced your writing?

GiraffeCrafts: All Things Indie Author

Last month I participated in the Indie e-Con at the blog of Kendra E. Ardnek. It was an amazing and action-packed week filled with helpful articles on the writing and publishing process, videos, watching authors write live, games, contests, podcasts, and much more.

Now Kendra’s launching a new website for the purpose of helping Indie authors:

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GiraffeCrafts!

GiraffeCrafts is a company dedicated to the promotion of good, clean Indie Fiction. The main site isn’t up yet – stay tuned for that later this month, but for now you can check out the blog where Kendra will be posting writing advice (because half the battle in marketing is having a book worthy of reading) as well as advice for editing, publishing, and marketing. Do stop by for visit – and consider becoming a contributor or joining the blogger and reviewer teams. Read all about the new website here.
Also, Kendra’s hosting a giveaway this week, and she’s giving away a blog tour package! Join the giveaway here
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I loved giraffes as a child. Almost as much as I enjoyed crafts. Which is almost as much as I now enjoy writing and editing Indie books

If you’re an author, editor, cover designer, or reader of Indie fiction, you can also connect with GiraffeCrafts on social media:
Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ The Rough Giraffe (podcast/online radio show)
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Let’s play Spot the Giraffe. It’s like Spot the Typo While Editing. Only giraffes are already spotted… 

A Special Surprise!

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Promise’s Prayer releases TOMORROW!
Preorder your Kindle ebook here

Publishing a book is a dream I’ve had for almost as long as I can remember. But it’s not simply for the sake of being published.

Writing has been a passion of mine since I could pick up a pencil and a thick lined notebook. But I don’t write simply for the sake of writing. I could get my writing fix simply by penning cute quotes in journals and creating imaginary worlds in Word documents.

But there’s a deeper reason for all this. It’s you.

What do I have to say that anyone else would ever want to read? What can I write that hasn’t been said before? What story can I tell that hasn’t been told?

I can’t.

But I know Someone who can.

And somehow, inexplicably, He has chosen to use me to tell some of His stories to you.

That’s why I write. And that’s why I publish. Because God has given me words to share, and I pray that somehow someone somewhere will be impacted by what He’s doing through me.

Tomorrow’s the big day. Tomorrow Promise’s Prayer is launched into the world. I’m excited to see how it will be received. But no matter what, I’m grateful that God has allowed me to be part of this journey.

~~~

I’d be honored if you would join me for tomorrow’s Blog Party at restinglife.com. To celebrate, there will be two giveaways, character interviews, author interviews, character bios, snippets galore, and other special goodies.

As part of the Party, I’d love to answer any questions you have about Promise’s Prayer, the writing/editing/publishing process, the characters, me, or anything else you’d like to know! So leave a comment with your question and I’ll make sure to answer it in a special post!

Surprise! Click Here to Read Chapter 1!

 

Taerna: The Setting of Promise’s Prayer

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Three days until Promise’s Prayer releases!
Don’t forget you can preorder the Kindle ebook now!

Promise’s Prayer is unique in its setting: it’s not historical fiction, as Taerna is a fictional country, yet it lacks the elements that would categorize it as fantasy or science fiction.

This is in part due to the fact that I wanted to tell the story unrestrained by the limits of strict history while still keeping realism. In essence, Taerna’s history could have happened; it just didn’t, because there’s no such place on earth.

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The culture of Taerna is a blend of medieval Europe, Biblical Middle East, and late 1800s America, with a hint of contemporary in the capital city of Syorien and its pleasure houses. Technology is a unique mix of eras, since I was free to mix and match societal advancement without the confines of strict earth history. Modern conveniences of Taerna include running water (even in poor homes), chariots and wheeled carts, plows, and listening devices that transmit audio from one location to another. Syorien’s palace is luxurious, lavish, and immense, while small towns are built of stone and brick. Bright colors abound in upper class and lower class homes.

Developing a country for a story may possibly be as much work as researching history, however. There are so many factors that mustn’t be forgotten: what is the geography like? What is the social structure? What elements are ingrained in their history? What are cultural sayings or proverbs? What is the transportation system like? What is the waste removal system? How does their economic system work? What are family structures like?

Historic buildings. Virginia City, Nevada, USABecause Taerna is in chaos at the time of Promise’s Prayer, I had to figure out what was keeping the country going. Developing the governmental system was an interesting project that also proved educational. Describing the down-to-earth daily normalcy of the pleasure districts in Syorien also ended up being essential to give a sense of the setting. I wanted to paint the picture as vividly as I could of how people frittered away their lives on one pleasure after another and how most of Syorien is essentially a “party town.”5cd3493a6a43c5cbff56161676e4dc8a

The geography of Taerna was one of the most interesting aspects to develop. Taerna is a land of trees and rolling hills. Most of the action in Promise’s Prayer centers on the small town of Frydael, where Kaelan and Carita live, and the capital city of Syorien, which is three to five days’ journey to the east of Frydael. Taerna is situated between the country of Oponsin to the east and the West Taernan Hills to the west, with unexplored territory beyond.

Typical seasons consist of a long autumn, a short and mild winter, a long wet spring, and a short hot summer. The growing season lasts from mid or late spring to mid or late fall.

Taerna’s government consists of two kings who reign together as Chief King and Co-King. Upon the death of one of the kings, the kingship passes to the first combination possible in the following chart, according to the lineage of the kings. Because of the structure of Taernan law, every king desires at least two sons.

CHIEF KING CO-KING
Eldest son of Chief King Second-eldest son of Chief King
Eldest son of Co-King
Nephew of King (by choice)
Friend of King (by choice)
Eldest son of Co-King Second-eldest son of Co-King
Nephew of King (by choice)
Friend of King (by choice)
Nephew of King (by choice) Nephew of King (by choice)
Friend of King (by choice)
Friend of King (by choice) Friend of King (by choice)

All in all, I enjoyed crafting Taerna because I could combine elements of earth’s geography, nature, and history that I love and also choose a setting that would most strongly bring out the plot and message of the story. The key for me was creating a setting that wasn’t real, but that real people could relate to.

That’s my goal and mission: through Taerna, shedding light on real-world truth.

Check out my Pinterest Storyboards for Promise’s Prayer and it’s sequels to see where I got inspiration for crafting Taerna!

Image source credit: Pinterest