Sunday, 31 July 2016

Bookania Interview with Maryanne

So as I mentioned in my last post, Kendra is having a party to celebrate five years since she published her first book. And as part of that party I got to interview one of her favourite characters, Maryanne. And I plunged into the questions without actually making sure with Kendra that she was available.

Welcome Maryanne, I'm Anna and Kendra's getting me to interview you on my blog. Let us begin. So, you're a princess, What's that actually like?

Kendra: Maryanne, get over here and use the computer like you're always asking too!
Let me go find her...

Nothing happened for a long time.

Kendra: All right. Finally tracked down Maryanne, hiding in a well of all places. That girl ... anyway, let me give the keyboard over to her.

"Ah, Hello! Guten Tag! Bonjour! Thank you so much for having me over to your blog. Blogs are so nice. I wish Kendra would let me have one, but she's grumpy. Anyway, you'd like to know what it's really like being a princess. Well, I'm not really sure I'm the best person to answer that question, for I'm not your typical princess, but I shall try my best.

My mother, for instance hated being a princess. I rather enjoy it. I think that mainly has to do with the fact that when she was a princess, princessing mostly involved dressing fancy, going to balls, and knowing your father was going to try to make a political match with you. I suppose that's still the case with most princesses, even these days, but I got lucky and have fun parents who let me go on adventures and talk to people about politics, stuff like that. Anything else you'd like to know?"

Well I wasn't asking about princesses in general. That sounds really fun. So, are you an only child?

"No, I'm the eldest of ... a number. Well, there's Peter, who does doctoring and then Bianca and Brianna, who are twins and like to confuse people."

I know twins like that. Do you think there are advantages to being the oldest? I'm a middle child myself.

"Well, I get to tell my younger siblings what to do and they'll usually listen. Though on that note, I'm also supposed to set an example, and that can be a pain. And then Peter gets it into his head that, because he's a doctor, he can boss me around. He doesn't approve of near-death experiences. I tell you, though, you haven't lived if you've never had a near-death experience."

A near death experience? *raises eyebrows* What did you do?

"A better question would be 'what haven't I done?'"

Tell me a bit about at least one thing.

"Well, there was the time that I fell off a cliff and was attacked by a wolf when I was ... younger. Love was with me that time. She didn't think it was very fun."

Who's Love?

"One of my cousins. Kendra says that you'll be meeting her in ... a book. She says it's not far from now. I say she needs to hurry up and write it."

Yes, she does. Along with a lot of other books.

"But she keeps distracting herself with Rizkaland. It's annoying."

I rather like Rizkaland. On the subject of other books, if you could live in any other world which one would you pick?

"Ooh. That world with Arthur in it. The one from the Merlin TV show. Sigh. It's been so long since I last dumped a bucket of water on his head..."

Okay... I could follow along that line, but I won't. How many fairy-godmother gifts do you have?

"Malina gave me the ability to pick up language very quickly and accurately - I can't learn a language wrong - and then each year on my birthday Fallona gifts me with the knowledge of a language in its entirety. This is a very painful process, so she she also gifted me with a lowered sensitivity to pain."

That's fascinating. I've never learnt more than a tiny bit of a second language.

"I speak more languages that I can count ... but since I can't count very high. By the way, I must ask, where are you from, because you have a wonderful accent."
I'm from a land called Australia and my accent is relatively subtle.(How could she pick up  my accent through text?) But we're not talking about me now. Do you have any hobbies? Other than finding adventures.

"I enjoy translating old books. So many old, forgotten languages for me to learn. I also collect knives."

Interesting, Aydel from one of my worlds, tries to collect knives, but she ends up losing them instead. Are knives you weapon of choice?

"They are, though I also enjoy the sword."

That's not surprising given the skill your parents have. So you don't tend to use a bow?

"I have some vision problems and I find the bow to be difficult. I can't be perfect, you know."

Of course not. People who are portrayed as perfect have no depth. Now, do you have any particular enemies?

"I'll admit that I've made enemies as well as friends during my adventures. Sometimes Love thinks she's my enemy. It can be funny."

Well, sometimes having enemies isn't a bad thing. It means you're doing something. I could come up with more questions, but this is probably enough. Is there anything you'd like to say to all the readers?

"Auf Wiedersehen , kann der Autor mit euch sein." (Goodbye. the Author be with you.)

Thank you for coming on.

"Thank you for having me."

So that is that. Head over to Kendra's blog to check out all the fun stuff there, and find your way to other character interviews.

Also check out the books that she has free today. The Woodcutter Quince, Will You Take This Quest, Tears, Frogs and Laughter, and Cinder Eddy

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Five Years of Bookania Tag

Hello people,

I had intended to writing a post about how writing isn't the most important thing in my life. But more important things pushed it out. So I grabbed Kendra's Five years of Bookania Tag which probably took longer.

1. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?

It's been 8 months now. Two thirds of a year. And I started because I'm an author and authors are supposed to have blogs.

2. How long have you been following my blog and how did you find me?

I don't quite remember but it's been a least a year I've been reading Kendra's blog. As for how I found her, it may have been from That's how I found a lot of people. And I saw the sign up from beta reading Water Princess, Fire Prince and thought it might be interesting. And the rest is history.

3. Which of the books on my WIP list sound the most interesting to you?

Other than Lady Dragon, Tela Du, I would say Half-Hidden, HaV Academy and Worth of a King.

4. What are three of your favourite fairy tales?

 The Day Boy and the Night Girl (It's a very obscure one), What the Old Man Does is Always Right(Perhaps not technically a fairytale, but it's in my book of Hans Christian Anderson Illustrated fairy tales and I love the spirit of it.),  and The Emperor's New Clothes.

5. What is the strangest fairy tale you've ever read?

The Travelling Companion (also from the Hans Christian Anderson book) It's kind of weird and creepy. It's got a few similar elements to 12 Dancing Princesses, but it's not nearly as nice.

6. What are some things that you're looking forward to/hope will happen in future Bookania Quests? (Or, if you haven't read the Bookania Quests yet, in the series in general, or, you know, you could just delete this question and pretend it never existed...)

I want to see more of Shira. And I want to hear about Rapunzel.

7. Recommend a book for me to read. (You can check my Goodreads shelf to see what I've already read/my interests)

The Magician's Daughter by Justyn Walker. It's a crazy kind of book, a bit like some of yours. But in a slightly different way. Orphans falling though puddles? Check. Talking secret agent bat? Check. A mad wizard who makes your hair go rainbow coloured? Check. A lethal sport, a dragon named Smokey the Terrible and a couple of misfits for heroes? Check, check check.

8. What, to you, are the essential elements of a good story?

Good relateable characters who react in realistic ways, a plot with some stakes that aren't just emotional and some deeper layer to them even id it's very subtle.

9. What is your favourite fairy tale retelling, whether film or book, and why?

This is tricky, but I love A Dream, Not Imagined by Shantelle Mary Hannu. It was just the kind of book I needed to read when I first got it.

10. Tell me about a project (preferably a book, but I'll understand if you're not a writer), that you're incredibly excited about.

I've only really got two books I'm working on and I'm excited about both of them. Especially Lady of Courage right now. The idea could go so many places and I'm to have so much fun figuring it out. And Kendra already knows about as much as anyone. But it's exciting to mix up politics, technology, family relations, murder mystery and foreign invasion. And I really like my heroine. she may have her faults, but she's a likeable person, she isn't foolish and she doesn't whine.

YAnd that is that. Head over to Kendra's blog and check out all her party over there. I'll be having a couple of her characters over here for an interview soon.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Books I've Been Reading in 2016

I grabbed the Mid-year Book Freak Out tag from Shantelle H. The first half of the year has gone so quickly. The heading for finished handwritten first draft of Girl of the Rumours had turned into 30,000 words at about halfway. The other loose idea I had has become bigger and has the beginning of a draft. But this post is supposed to be about reading, not writing. So here it is.

Best Book You've Read So Far in 2016:

I can't answer this question. There;s so many good books. But Waking Beauty by Sarah E. Morin was a very deep thought provoking book. There's a lot about reality and escapism in there. And an unexpected allegory. It was certainly quite out of the ordinary. And the cover is beautiful.

Best Sequel You've Read So Far In 2016:

Deny by Tricia Mingerink. Despite the fact I didn't listen to it almost in one go like with the first book, I was not at all disappointed. It continued in the same high stakes, high faith, encouraging story.

New Release You Haven't Read Yet But Want To:

Defy by Tricia Mingerink. I'm waiting for it to come out in audio though. and then I'll probably wait some more, because I don't tend to buy books. But I do want to hear the next part of the story.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year:

Lady Dragon, Tela Du, by Kendra E. Ardnek. Though I ought not care about the release so much since I'm a beta reader. What I' really waiting for is Kendra having the next part for us. And the cover reveal.

Biggest Disappointment This Year:

I really have nothing here. There have been books I haven't really liked, but they've been random books I picked up with no particular expectations.

Biggest Surprise:

Captive of Raven Castle by Jessica Greyson. I had hardly read the blurb.  So the beginning was very unexpected. The whole story had little bits I wasn't expecting. But it certainly was good. Quite thought provoking. It made me reconsider some things in my own story.

Favourite New Author of 2016:

Probably Tricia Mingerink. I didn't really read many books by new authors this year. At least not ones that stood out to me. But I did finally get to read a book by Nicole Sager. She was the first home-schooled author I heard about and probably the reason I'm writing now. But I hadn't actually read any of her book till recently. It wasn't as good some, but It was her first book and I was expecting that.

Newest Favourite Character:

Lady Rachel from Samara's Peril. And Elanor and King Balen. Also a lot of characters in Lady Dragon, Tela Du. And Shad and Jamie in Dare and Deny.

Book That Made You Cry This Year: 

I don't tend to cry while reading. I expect I have this year, but I don't remember what book caused it. I think Lady Dragon, Tela Du may have. It's an amazingly complex, emotional, unpredictable book. From what I've read so far I recommend it when it come out.

This really seems to fit that book. Not that it's got nonsense in it.

Book That Made You Happy:

Safety Assured Leaving East of Medicetti by Trish Mercer. Yes that is really the name. It's the fifth book in a series, that though I enjoy I'm not going to wholeheartedly recommend. I need to write a post about that. Anyway characters get a lot of the good and bad they deserve. And some of it is really fun. It almost overcomes the annoyance of the previous book leaving the characters in mortal danger.

Favourite Book To Film Adaption You Saw This Year:

Well, Risen is a very loose adaptation of a small portion of the Bible. Other than that I haven't seen anything.

Favourite Post You Have Done So Far This Year:

13 Things I've Learnt in a Year of Writing

Most Beautiful Book You've Bought So Far This Year:

Samara's Peril. The emotion and character trait thesaurus I got at the same time are extreme useful, but though they are somewhat pretty, I could not call them beautiful.

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of This Year:

Well I need to read Song of the Sword by Hope Ann so I can review it. Other than that fiction isn't necessary. I want to finish The Conservative Revolution by Cori Bernardi. That will involve starting over because I've forgotten the little bit I have read. But it's only got seven chapters. Also I'd like to get as far as I can through The Institutes of Biblical Law by R. J. Rushdoony. It is thick and much denser than most of what I've read. But it's worthwhile.

Overall this year I've not read as much non-fiction as I intended. But I just grabbed a couple of history books from LibriVox.

And that is that. I'm not going to tag anyone in particular, but if you want to grab this feel free. Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

The Old River Road, review, interview and giveway

Today I have, debut author, Ivy Rose, and her novel The Old River Road on my blog. This book is the first in a series of a yet-to-be-determined number of books based on the lives of Ivy's ancestors. 

About Ivy and an Interview

Ivy Rose is an 18 year old history lover and literary enthusiast. Aside from writing, she enjoys being outdoors, chocolate, travelling, reading, and ATVing (preferably if there is mud involved). She resides with her family of 9 on the banks of the Long Lake in eastern Washington. 

Me: Welcome Ivy, It's nice to have you here. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way growing up?

Ivy: I really enjoyed the Elsie Dinsmore books (all 28 of them!) as a child. Even through there is a lot of controversy about those books, they were instrumental in forming my vocabulary and love of old(ish) English.

Me: I liked them too.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

Ivy: It depends on the book. Generally speaking, I will have a very, very skeletal outline that has the main events/scenes I want to cover. As I'm writing, I add a lot of other little events in between the main stuff. So I'm kind of a mix of a plotter and panster, leaning more toward panster. :)

It's a bit like that for me.
What is your least favourite part of the publishing / writing process?

Ivy: Least favorite would be first stages of editing. That's when I do big plot changes, fix big problems---basically all the BIG stuff.

That's what I'm in the middle of right now.
Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others?

Ivy: High-tension scenes are not my strength. I need to work on them. :)

I think I'm probably worst at high action. It comes out all jerky.
What fictional character is most like you?

Ivy: I think I'm the most similar to Belinda in Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly series, and somewhat like Clara in Kendra E. Ardnek's Water Princess, Fire Prince.

I'm afraid I don't know Belinda, but Clara is a very familiar character.
If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

Ivy: Oooh, that's a tough one. I absolutely love Irish and Australian accents. I don't think I could pick between those two, though. :)

Choose Irish. Australian isn't really that awesome. There are those people who's voices are particularly distinctive, but they're actually slightly annoying. If you want an Australian accent, choose a subtle one. I listen to those all day long without noticing.

You can connect with Ivy via her blog, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

About the Book


When seventeen-year- old Clara Boutwell married her dashing coworker, William McDonald, she was convinced her life was near perfect. The journey before them as newlyweds in the great city of Chicago was promising and exciting. But a frightening disease soon takes William in its grip, forcing them to the clean air of the western frontier in a desperate attempt to save his life.
But pioneering doesn’t prove to be easy, with miles between neighbors instead of fences. On the eastern Washington prairies, the McDonalds face hardships and trials in a new world where everything is tested, from physical endurance to emotional strength—down to their relationship and faith in the Lord.

This novel tells the incredible true story of Clara and William, the great-great grandparents of the author, in a sweet narrative full of laughter, tears, and the struggles of an early pioneering family. Prepare yourself to share in their experience as you read this account of a pioneer family in Washington state, and see their lasting legacy that has endured into the fifth generation.

Available now in paperback and ebook on Amazon
Add on Goodreads

My Review

I don't read a lot of historicals these days, my taste tends more towards fantasy generally, But as soon as I read that this book was a true story I was interested. I adore true stories, and particularly enjoy, one's from the pioneer period.

The Old River Road (my mind keeps trying to type Rose, instead of Road) is a sweet story. Not the most engaging or exciting book, but a relaxing book for those day you just want something quiet.

The story paints a clear picture of a life in Chicago and later out on the frontier. Life is not always easy but it is generally happy.

Clara and William were a lovely couple, and I loved their families. So many books leave out anyone who isn't necessary to the plot, or make sure characters bring more conflict or tension. This was a loving, peaceful family, a great example.

On the writing quality side, there is some room for improvement, which is to be expected from a debut book. Ivy leans a bit much towards telling and summarization on a few occasions and the writing doesn't have the sparkling wittiness or immediacy that draws me to some personal accounts. This might just be personal style though. The characters feel real, but for the most part are not distinctive.

Summing it up, this is a lovely book, much better than anything I have produced myself so far, and I look forward to Ivy continuing the series.

(I was given a e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.)

A Pair of Giveaways

Ivy has been very kind and is doing both a US and an international giveaway. Make sure you enter the right one.

The Old River Road Prize Pack
International Prize

~Blog Tour Schedule~

Friday, July 8th (release day!)

Emily — Review, Spotlight

Jesseca Wheaton — Review, Interview

Saturday, July 9th

Olivia K. Fisher — Interview, Spotlight

Faith Blum — Review, Interview, Spotlight

Hannah E. — Review, Interview

Monday, July 11th

Faith Potts – Review

Rebecca Morgan — Review, Interview

Tuesday, July 12th

Abigayle Ellison — Review, Spotlight

Kenzi Knapp – Review, Interview

Hosanna Emily — Review, Interview

Wednesday, July 13th

Blessing Counter — Interview

Victoria Minks — Review, Spotlight

Thursday, July 14th

Deborah C. — Review, Spotlight

Anna S. Brie — Review

Leona G. — Review, Interview

Friday, July 15th

Hope Ann — Review, Interview

Amanda Tero — Review, Interview

Anika Joy – Review, Interview

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Beautiful People: Wil

It's time for the Beautiful People link up again. This time I'm going to interview Wil. He's made an appearance  before, here, for Kendra's Character encounters. That was quite a while ago though, and there's more to Wil than you can get out of one appearance. In fact you'll have to read the book when it's finished. So without further ado, here's the interview.

"Okay Wil, it's your turn to be interviewed for my readers."

He sighs, "Do I have to do this, mi'lady? I know I'm not the main character and I'd rather not tell everyone my secrets.

"Yes, we're doing this. Despite the fact you're not the focus of the story, you are one of my favourite characters. Anyway I won't tell Aydel, and I really doubt that the questions are about the stuff you don't want her to know"

"Who said Aydel was the one I'm keeping secrets from. It's Mim, you know that."

"Alright, Mim then, if you insist. I won't be telling anyone else in the book your answers. Now ont to the questions. Do you want to get married and/or have children? Why or why not?"

"Must I answer that?"


"Well then I really don't know. I'm not sure that I'd be any good. Women are hard to understand and easy to hurt. I don't wish someone like me on them."

"What is your weapon of choice?"

"I prefer the staff and the lasso. Blades can be too deadly, and are messy either way."

"What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone else, and why did you do it?"

"Not saying."

"Well, I will then. It's taking care of Elind and Mim. You tell them why."

"They needed me and no one else did."

"Have you ever been physically violent with someone, and what instigated it?"

"I have. I probably shouldn't have, but he was being foolish and had hurt someone."

"I'm not going to bother asking you to tell them who 'he' is. Are you a rule-follower or a rebel?"

"Neither. I don't conform societally, but neither do I try to change the rules. Laws exist for a good reason. Armed rebellion is wrong."

"Are you organized or messy?"

"Usually organized."

"What makes you feel loved, and who was the last person to make you feel that way?"

"Come on, you can't really expect me to answer that question."

"But I do."

"Well if you substitute valued for loved it would be easier. I like it when people actually listen, when they're interested in what I say. Most people just don't get the point and I wonder why I bother."

"What do you eat for breakfast?"

"About the same as everyone else."

"Have you ever lost someone close to you? What happened?"

Will grins.

"Therin decided to go exploring on his own. It took me a couple of hours to find him. He'd fallen in a stream and gotten all wet."

"You know that wasn't what I meant."

"Well it's the only answer you're getting."

"What’s your treat of choice?"

"Silence. people talk too much."

"We both know that's not entirely true. But that's the end of the questions so I'll leave you alone now."

Just so you know Wil has a fairly low opinion of himself, and he wasn't in the best spirits at the time of this interview. In fact he probably never will be in an interview. I know too much and questions can be awkward. Someday I'll have to post a snippet with him being his cheerful, courteous self.

So what do you all think of the gallant knight of my story? (Not that Wil is an actual knight, in fact he is quite insistent on that fact.) But that's a part he plays in my mind. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

10 Book Series I Read as a Child

Hello readers,

I though I'd tell you about the book series that influenced me growing up. I did tend to read in series a lot. Also I would read the same authors over and over again. I was always hesitant to read something knew nothing about.

  1. Little House on the Prairie

  2. I believe my mother first read these to us. I've always like any kind of pioneer story and this may have contributed to that. Later on I read the Rose years, and whichever of the Caroline years I was able to get from the library or borrow from friends.

  3. Sugar Creek Gang

  4. These would probably be called ' boys books'. There are very few girls who appear. It's all boys having adventures and getting into trouble. But the first one or two were required reading for school work. After that I didn't stop. I suspect some of my scenery and action is unintentionally inspired by these books. And in theory it would be a good resource for writing male characters. And they're good Christian books.

  5. Swallows and Amazons

  6. These books were written by Arthur Ransome. They have lots of sailing and children having imaginative adventures. And of course real adventures. I still like them. The children are resourceful, and mostly responsible. They respect their parents even though they're not around a lot.

  7. The Famous Five

  8. You're probably starting to see that I read a lot of adventure books. I like the simplicity of older books and the way children make their own fun. I realized pretty quickly that it was unrealistic for the same kids to all be having adventures, but I still liked them. I would like to imagine that if I found myself in a similar situation, I would know what to do.

  9. Sisters in Time

  10. Historical fiction about different girls through time. In the past a lot of my knowledge of American history came from these. The series is written by a lot of different authors and each book covers a year. I especially like how in most of the books the girl have a brother or a male cousin who was a main character. In a couple of books I think it was more his book than hers. Many of the characters are great role models, and many of them are more mature than kids these day. Even though I'm older than the 12 or 13 of the main characters I can still relate to their situations.

  11. The Secret Seven

  12. Yes, more Enid Blyton. I read a lot of her books back in the day. I have fond memories of some of the silly passwords of the Seven, the trouble they kept bumping into and the word 'delumptious'. And I liked how this series fitted in with their ever day lives. It wasn’t just about things that happened in the school holidays. Or like some other series of hers, a boarding school story. I actually like her boarding school storied though.

  13. The Chronicles of Narnia

  14. We read these as a family. Then we listen to the audio dramas as a family and watched the movies as a family. It's a series we all know and love and can reference. Narnia was the only fantasy I read when I was younger.

  15. The Borrowers

  16. This series is about the little people who live secretly in parts of old country houses. They are why you always loose small items, such as bobby pins paper clips. Those items have been borrowed. I think my imagination was stimulated by these books. For a time I was even friend with a few imaginary borrowers. And just think of the possibilities. If you were only a few inches tall how would you cook, what would you eat, what would you wear, how would you protect yourself? The questions are endless and one you have to ask in constructing any imaginary world.

  17. The complete Elsie Dinsmore Classics

  18. I used to love these books and the accompanying Mildred Keith books. They were a huge part of my life. I read them so many times and made a very detailed and complex family tree. (I could give a link to anyone who is interested.) Though I could still tell you exactly what the family connection between Lulu Raymond and Percy Landreth is, I'm rather tired of them now. I see some of the faults in the series that I didn't see when I was younger. And I've realized that her view of history isn't the only one out there. I still love a couple of Martha Finley's other little known books though.

  19. The Silver Brumby Books

  20. These are Australian classics about brumbies,wild horses. There are very few humans in these books, so it gives a picture of a completely different society, Families work differently with horses. Instead of the term father and mother, you have sire and dam. I made a bit of a family tree for this too. These books along with some others by Elyne Mitchell that do have humans, were one of the main things that made me consider writing Australian historical fiction instead of fantasy. The terrain is so amazing. There is lots of hiding from other horses and from the brumby hunters going on. And that would fit well with Girl of the Rumours.

So that's what I read. I also read a lot of standalone books, and probably a few other series that I've forgotten to mention. Is there anything here other people have loved? Or something you're surprised that I didn't read? Tell me.