Monthly Archives: May 2014

Words Light Fires

….words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts. — Patrick Rothfuss

Words. What would we do without them? They give us basic things, necessary things – like communication and understanding. But words can go beyond that, too. They can delve into realms of magic and mystery, places we didn’t know existed. Their cuts can make us bleed, their beauty can make us cry, their depth can make us hope …

Readers love them. Writers live by them.

In honor of the beauty of words, I’ve dug up a few that are not only beautiful, but which have wonderfully unique meanings. I dare you to read them without getting inspired.

selcouth: (adj.) unfamiliar, rare, strange and yet marvelous

hiraeth: (n.) a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home that may have never been; the yearning, nostalgia or grief for the lost places of your past

fika: (v.) drinking coffee along with eating something sweet

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sillage: (n.) the scent that lingers in the air, the trail left in water, the impression made in space after something or someone has been and gone

sciamachy: (n.) a battle against imaginary enemies; fighting your shadow

aesthete: (n.) someone with deep sensitivity to the beauty of art or nature

psithurism: (n.) the sound of the wind through trees

feuillemort: (n.) the color of a dying leaf

whelve: (v.) to bury something deep; to hide

nelipot: (n.) one who walks barefoot

murr-ma: (v.) to walk along in the water, searching for something with your feet

cicurate: (v.) to tame or reclaim from wildness or madness

ailurophile: (n.) a cat-lover

rainy fieldelision: (v.) dropping a sound or syllable in a word

inglenook: (n.) a cozy nook by the hearth

moiety: (adj.) one of two equal parts

onomatopoeia: (n.) a word that sounds exactly like its meaning

palimpsest: (n.) a manuscript written over earlier ones

petrichor: (n.) the smell of earth after rain

 

If you could create a unique word, what would it be, and what would be its meaning?

My Book: First Review and a Giveaway

Things are coming along with my book, and now that my ARC copies are floating hither and yon, I have been keeping my eyes open for those first reviews. It’s a nerve-wracking thing, knowing your words are being read by someone with the intend of critiquing them. Maybe they will like the book… maybe they will love it! But then again, maybe they will detest it. Worse still, perhaps they will merely shrug and immediately forget it. *shudder*

But bad reviews will come along with the goods ones. I’m ok with that … or that’s what I tell myself now, anyway 🙂 And I’m thrilled to say that my very FIRST review was quite glowing! Go over to Goodreads or Amazon and read it if you don’t believe me!! I think God knew I needed those first encouraging words, and I’m so glad I’ve got all of you to share them with!

Now onto some more exciting news …

A GIVEAWAY!!!

TheWordChangersGoodreadsGiveaway

Ok, so it actually began a few days ago over on Goodreads, but you’ve got loads of time to enter your name! And you’ve got more than just one shot, too, because I’m giving away FIVE COPIES of The Word Changers after it releases on June 23. All of them signed by me … for whatever that’s worth! 🙂

So pop over to Goodreads and enter your name if you haven’t already, and spread the word to your friends as well.

… oh, and have an awesome week!!

What’s More Important Than Books?

This is a guest post by Kohlie Stock.

Books. They are enchanting, captivating, and obsessive. I am guilty of getting caught in their drama and storyline. Through books I’ve traveled the world, fallen in love, and at times been emotionally wrecked.

Let’s be honest, when you pick up a book, particularly of the fantasy genre, you escape the real world. Even if it is just for a few books1seconds, you are anywhere but the present. It amazes me to think that literature can have this effect on people. After all, they are merely words on a page.

Books are fun, entertaining, and have changed the world. Who wouldn’t want to travel to Narnia or the Shire? To fight with Katniss and see the Hobbits’ hairy toes? They have a way of drawing us in and holding us tight, embracing us with their perfect plots and witty words.

As much as we adore the fairy tale lifestyle, we do have to come to our senses for one thing: Jesus!

He is not another Voldemort or Percy Jackson. He is real, alive, and working today. John 3:16 really does sum up God’s purpose. It says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” If you read on to verse 17, it says “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Thousands of years ago Jesus came to earth in human form (Luke 1:31) to save us from our sins. We are not perfect! We mess up, do bad things, sometimes throw our lives away, but God came to rescue us from this. Matthew chapter 27 talks about how Jesus was crucified on a cross, and the painful death He endured. When He walked the hill of Golgotha not only did He carry a huge cross which He would later be nailed to, but He also carried the weight and guilt we have for our sins. Isaiah 53:5-6 (NLT) says “But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed…Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.”

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The world will tell you that you need to look inward and always try to find yourself. It’s easy to be very introverted when you read books, but sometimes we have to put our copies of Divergent down and start living in the real world. A place that is craving and crying out for fulfillment and an everlasting love. A love that only Jesus can give. The good news is that God is not dead! He arose three days after His death and He is living today (Matthew 28). This is better than any fantasy story, because these monumental events really are true and did indeed happen!

I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to loving my alone time, with nothing but a cup of coffee and a copy of my favorite book, The Outsiders. However, I want to challenge myself – and you too – to start living more in the present and focus on reaching out to others by showing Christ’s love. Yes, it will require giving up some of my free D.E.A.R. (drop everything and read) time, but I think sharing the hope of eternal life with Jesus is much more important!

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Kohlie StockEighteen-year-old Kohlie Stock is a brave brunette girl from the Midwest. After coming home from a week at CIY MOVE (Christ In Youth) this past summer, she felt God at work in her life. Knowing her walk with Him had become stagnant, she craved to do something more. Christ placed the idea of starting a Christian newsletter to reach out to her family, friends, and community on her heart. From obeying His command came the creation of The Edge, which is proclaiming the mystery of Christ and encouraging others every day!

When Kohlie is not working on The Edge she is busy studying in school and working as a lifeguard. She enjoys growing closer to family and friends, being outdoors, writing, reading, and listening to good music. Some of her favorite things are her baseball glove, journal, aviator sunglasses, guitar, “K” coffee cup, and Spanish Bible. Kohlie’s dream is to be a Spanish teacher and translator. In fact, she is traveling to Costa Rica this summer on a mission trip! This will be a great experience in sharing her faith and practicing her Spanish. No matter where she is, she always wants to shine the light of her Savior and live her life as a kingdom worker. She often says “…without Him, I would be nothing…”

Read Kohlie’s newsletter or sign up to receive it by email by visiting her site at The Edge (www.theedge95.weebly.com)

 

Interview and Giveaway with Jaye L. Knight, Author of RESISTANCE

Today I have the privilege of featuring author Jaye L. Knight and her brand new release, Resistance. I absolutely love the book cover – don’t you? And the premise sounds thrilling as well. Hope you enjoy getting to know Jaye better, and are looking forward to reading Resistance as much as I am!

Here’s a bit about the lovely author:

mollyauthorphoto

JAYE L. KNIGHT is a 25-year-old independent author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean NA (New Adult) fiction. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope.

Jaye is a homeschool graduate and has been penning stories since the age of eight. She was previously published as Molly Evangeline. You can learn about her latest writing projects at www.jayelknight.com.

And here is her book:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00026]

“Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”

Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.

Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair lives every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.

Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.

Available for purchase on Amazon May 20th!
View book extras at www.ilyonchronicles.blogspot.com.

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Jaye is doing an interview here today in which she tell us about her writing process, and even gives us a hitherto unknown fact about her main character!  She is offering a giveaway at the end, so don’t forget to enter your name!

Plotter or pantser? Could you ever see yourself attempting to write using a different method than you do now?

I’m kind of a combination of both, though I lean much more heavily toward being a pantser. A lot of times I jump into writing a story before I really know where it’s going. I like to get a feel for the characters that way. However, I can’t go very far until I have a general outline (usually in my head or scattered notes) and know how the story will end. Basically, I have to have a target I’m aiming for. But, besides the major plot points, I sort of fill in as I go. Since I’ve successfully completed several books this way, I don’t think I’ll change much. I’ve thought about detailed outlining and plotting, but whenever I sit down to do it, I get bored quickly. It may not be the best approach, especially when I come to a place where I’m not sure what comes next, but it works for me, so I’ll stick with it.

 

What is the strangest or most unsuspicious thing that ever inspired you to write a story/scene/character?

The most unusual thing I can think of being inspired by was an event from my childhood. I was probably around ten or eleven and was in the woods with my family. We decided to take a shortcut through a swampy area on our property and had to hop from one little raised mound to another to avoid getting wet. It was kind of like going through a maze because there was no straight path and sometimes we had to backtrack to find a different way. I remember it being a blast. That event inspired a scene in my previously published historical novel, Every Tear, and is responsible for some of the childhood memories of a couple characters in Ilyon Chronicles that you’ll hear about in book three.

 

Who is your favorite author and what would you ask him/her if you could ask one question?

I have about four authors who are all seated at the top of my list of favorites—J.R.R. Tolkien, Wayne Thomas Batson, R.J. Larson, and Karen Witemeyer. I’d probably direct my one question to Karen Witemeyer and ask her how she comes up with such great, witty phrases and ways of describing emotions. I just love reading her work for that reason.

 

Is there a small detail of your main character, which wasn’t written in your book, that you could share? Characteristic, pet peeve, flaw, desire …

He’s good at carving. It’s a little pastime he picks up once in a great while, though he rarely has time for it.

 

What is the biggest truth you’ve learned about writing thus far?

You have to have great patience. It can definitely mean the difference between a good book and a bad book. I worked on Resistance for nearly three years to get it to this point. In my earlier days of publishing, I probably would have had it published over a year ago. But then it wouldn’t have been anywhere near what it is today. The last few months of editing alone have made all the difference in the quality of the story. It’s easy to get impatient, especially when you’re independently published and control all the time tables, but it is very important to take your time and do the necessary work it takes to make your story shine.

Thanks for the being here today, Jaye! Can’t wait to read Resistance and any books that follow it!

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Readers, if you’d like to reach Jaye through her social media, here are her links:

In order to see a schedule for the rest of the places Jaye will be visiting on her tour, please click here, or on the RESISTANCE BLOG TOUR button on the right-hand bar of my blog.

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GIVEAWAY

Immerse yourself in the world of Ilyon! Follow the link below to fill out the Rafflecopter form for a chance to win an autographed copy of Resistance (Book 1 in the “Ilyon Chronicles” series), a Resistance-inspired necklace crafted by the author (Jaye L. Knight), a Better Homes “Warm Rustic Woods” candle, and a wolf paw leather bookmark from Lodgepole Leathercraft. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Rafflecopter giveaway

THE WORD CHANGERS eBook Release and Call for Reviewers

The Word Changers eBook is now up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!  TheWordChangers(Final)

Pass the word to your friends, share it on Facebook and Twitter!  And if you decide to purchase a copy, don’t forget to leave reviews (Amazon, Goodreads, blog, wherever!).  I will be holding giveaways (to be announced at a later time) for every several reviews posted on Amazon, so keep that in mind!  Probably something fun like a Starbucks gift card 😉

This leads me to my next announcement: A call for reviewers!

My publisher has eBook ARCs ready to be sent out, and I’d love to have you grab one. You must be an active blogger, and preference will be given to those who have Amazon and Goodreads accounts.

If you’re interested in reviewing an eBook ARC of The Word Changers, email me at ashleew(at)zoho(dot)com with links to all your social media and/or sites.

The eBook ARCs will only be available for a short time period, so if you’re interested, hurry! If you’re not interested, but know of someone who may be, please pass on the news! 

The paperback of The Word Changers is still set to release June 23, 2014 (just over a month!), and I’ve got plenty of other fun things planned for around that time, so be on the lookout!

Thanks for your support, lovely friends! I couldn’t do this without you.

 

Character Traits of a Fairy

Fairies have been around in our stories and legends for many years. Their lore exists in every country of the world in some form or fairies4another. Books have been written on them, places have been said to be inhabited by them, people even claim to have seen them.

Fairies, just like any fantastical creature born in the imaginations of men and women, can be whatever we wish them to be, take on whatever form we fancy, speak and do the things the writers of their stories make them speak and do. It’s hard to pin down characteristics of a group of creatures who have been seen in so many different lights.

But then again, that’s the beauty of them, too.

Here are some fun things rumored of fairies.

  1. Freckles are really just the kisses of fairies.fairies3
  2. Fairies live where there is the least chance of human contact – in forests, up trees, in hollow places, on mountainsides, and even – in some stories – in invisible realms right among humankind.
  3. Fairies love honey cake, milk, nectar, and sweet butter.
  4. Fairies watch over and protect the natural world – woodlands, trees, rivers and growing things.
  5. Many fairies like to play practical (and sometimes not-so-practical) jokes on humans and even each other.
  6. Iron negates a fairies’ magical powers and causes them pain.
  7. A sudden chill breeze, or ripples across the surface of water, are often indications that a fairy is nearby.
  8. Fairies can live to be hundreds of years old.
  9. Rheumatism in a human is sometimes said to be the result of pinches from angry fairies.
  10. Fairies are magical by nature.
  11. Fairies love to dance.
  12. Many legends claim fairies are prone to kidnapping human babies, leaving a changeling in its place.
  13. The oldest and strongest fairies are fallen angels.
  14. Some fairies were once humans who simply got lost in fairyland.
  15. Fairies are quick to do you a favor … and even quicker to demand payment for it.
  16. Other terms for fairy:  fae, wee folk, fair folk, elf, pixie, nymph, sprite, gnome, imp, leprechaun, brownie, hob, sylph, enchanter.

As a reader, I never tire of discovering the different versions of fairies that storytellers come up with. As a writer, I look forward to perhaps trying my own hand at writing something new about fairies someday. If you could create a new characteristic, attitude, role or practice for the fair folk, what would it be?

Fictional Forests: The Real-Life Inspirations

“Beyond the Wild Wood comes the wild world,” said the Rat. “And that’s something that doesn’t matter, either to you or to me. I’ve never been there, and I’m never going, nor you either, if you’ve got any sense at all.” ― Kenneth Grahame

The Wild Wood
Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows was inspired by Bisham Woods in Berkshire. He was living in Cookham Dean at the time he wrote his beloved stories. A section of the wood that is actually called Quarry Wood is thought to be the Wild Wood of Grahame’s books. This forest is over 500 years old, from the time of Queen Elizabeth I or before. The classic tales of Ratty, Badger, Mole and Toad have been around more than 100 years themselves.

The Hundred Acre Wood
It was Ashdown Forest in Sussex, England, that made A.A. Milne decide to leave his London apartment and join his wife and young son to live at the forest’s edge. The farmhouse where the family lived was beside a small stream, only a short distance from a quaint Pooh Bridgewooden bridge that they often crossed on their way to Ashdown Forest. It was this forest, this stream and bridge, that were the author’s inspiration for the 100 acre wood (in reality the Five Hundred Acre Wood) in the tales of Winnie the Pooh he first told for his son, Christopher. Milne himself stood on that very bridge and invented the game called Pooh Sticks to play with Christopher. Many other spots within the forest have been pinpointed as influencing the author’s choice of places within his stories, including a place called Gills Lap, which Milne turned into Eeyore’s “gloomy place”; the sandy pit where Roo played, which in reality was an old quarry; and even the pit Pooh and his friends dug as a Heffalump Trap.

You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes. – A.A. Milne

Puzzlewood (Forest of Dean)Middle Earth
Riddled with ancient cave systems, hanging bridges, rocky pathways and twisting trees that seem to watch you from mossy faces, where else could you be but in the forest that inspired Tolkien’s Middle Earth – Puzzlewood. This particular section of the wood is a 14-acre stretch through the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England. The images of this enchanting place bring Middle Earth to mind so much that you expect to see a hobbit peeking around the trunk of a tree, or perhaps the far-off twinkle of lantern light from a trail of elves headed to the Undying Lands.

Through woven woods in Elvenhome
She lightly fled on dancing feet,
And left him lonely still to roam
In the silent forest listening. – J.R.R. Tolkien

The Forest of Dean
Speaking of the Forest of Dean … a young girl named Joanne moved near this wood, at the edge of the Forest of Tutshill, when she was only 9. Years later she wrote about it in her series of young adult books that rocked the world. You’ve guessed it already – Joanne is J.K. Rowling, and the Forest of Dean makes an appearance near the end of the Harry Potter series, as a place of hiding while Harry, Ron, and Hermione hunt down horcruxes. I’ve gotta say, though, I personally prefer the Forbidden Forest, in spite of its roaming giants, wild werewolves, ghostly spectres, giant spiders, and vengeful centaurs. Who wouldn’t?

BirnamOak2Birnam Wood
The Birnam Oak and the Birnam Sycamore are two ancient trees, and they are all that is left of a great wood that once covered the banks of the River Tay in Scotland. In 1599, King James IV sent a request for entertainers to Elizabeth I. That is how it came to be that a troupe of comedians traveled through this wood, in the areas of Perth, Birnam and Aberdeen. Among that troupe was the playwright, William Shakespeare. It is thought that he used this very wood for his inspiration of Macbeth. In what was referred to as “The Scottish Play,” the army that advanced against Macbeth was camouflaged by the trees of Birnam Wood – making the three witches’ prophecy come true.

Risinghurst
The pond and wooded area directly behind C.S. Lewis’ home, The Kilns, in Risinghurst, Oxford, was a source of much inspiration and enjoyment for the author of the timeless Chronicles of Narnia. A curved stone bench, covered with moss and appearing as if it has grown straight into the woods around it, still sits overlooking the pond. The author would sit on this very bench, and perhaps his imagination conjured for him images of fauns dancing between the shadows, dryads fading into ancient tree trunks, or magical pools that could take you to unknown worlds.

It was the quietest wood you could possibly imagine. There were no birds, no insects, no animals, and no wind. You could almost feel the trees growing. – C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

Whether mentioned in passing, or as a central location for a cast of characters, I have found the stories that contain inspired and inspiring forests to be some of the most magical. Try walking through a quiet wood sometime – does it stir something in you? Does its silence whisper to you? Maybe that’s your own story waiting to be told.

Fictional Forests: Why They Enchant Us

forest

“Only with a leaf can I talk of the forest.” ― Visar Zhiti

Forests, in literature, can mean many, many things. Adventure, escape, danger, evil, magic, temptation, mystery, freedom, death, life, or shelter. Depending on the story, the setting, the characters, the author, or even the reader’s interpretation – a wood can be seen in endless lights.

No matter what a forest says to us, it’s hard to deny the enchantment that is cast on a reader when an author uses such a place to good effect. A murky wood, or a sunny glade, can come alive in a well-told story. They can almost become a character itself within the tale. A wood told of by one storyteller may be a place of darkness and fear, while the same wood in the hands of another may come alive with hope and safety.

A forest itself is changeful and moody – try walking in it from one week to the next in the springtime and you’ll find it a different place each time. Vines curl, flowers grow, trees fall, animals build and burrow, life pulses in every hushed inch of it.

“You could almost feel the trees drinking the water up with their roots. This wood was very much alive.” – C.S. Lewis

woodbetweentheworldsSo, what is it that is so potent about the forests we all love in well-known fairy tales and fantasies? What is it that remains in our imaginations years after the stories have been put back on the shelf? For each of us, that answer is different.

Whether we are reading about a band of merry outlaws, a headless horseman, a red-capped girl traveling to visit her grandmother – whether we are watching Puck and Oberon make mischief, or envisioning a boy with a lightening scar running from a dark specter – we are entranced. We are drawn in. And what’s more, we remember, long after the pages are closed and our lives have moved on.

Some of my personal favorites are listed below. But I’m eager to know which books and stories involving forests have influenced you the most, and for what reasons. Please share!

1. Green Darkness by Anya Setontreebeard
2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
3. Treasure at the Heart of the Tanglewood by Meredith Ann Pierce
4. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
5. The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
6. What Lies on the Other Side by Udo Weigelt
7. Guenevere Trilogy by Rosalind Miles
8. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Be sure to watch for my next post about real-life forests that have inspired famous stories!

Caution: Pray Before Opening

We pray before we eat. A physical thing.prayer1

We pray before we commune with God. A spiritual thing.

We pray before we respond to someone in anger or grief. An emotional thing.

But I’m curious – does anyone pray before reading?

The newspaper, a magazine, the novel on your bedside table, a textbook from school. These are mental things. Sometimes they can be emotional and spiritual as well. Maybe even the physical comes into play – I’ve been known to have heart-pounding, breath-catching moments of suspense or fear or excitement while reading!

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2a)

I like the NIV version of this verse, which uses the word “pattern.” The pattern of the world is destructive. It’s negative and pessimistic and sinful. It’s proof of mankind’s Fall. A pattern is something we fall into automatically, mindlessly.

So how are our minds to be renewed if we don’t monitor what goes into them? How are we to be transformed if we don’t ask God to transform us? And how will God transform us if we don’t ask Him to do so … through prayer?

prayer2Many of us have heard this prayer at the dinner table: “Help this food to strengthen and nourish us.”

Why should it be different for books? All readers know that books can strengthen us, nourish us, give us hope, teach us something new. But how often do we pray, “God, please let the words I read give me the strength to follow You, nourish me with Your blessings and wisdom, remind me of the hope I have in You, teach me of Your depth and greatness”?

I don’t do it. I never have. That is, not until it dawned on me one day quite recently how odd that is, and how tragic. God gave me my mind, and if I’m to use it for His glory, I need to practice caution, awareness, and wisdom when choosing the words I allow to enter it and, what’s more, the ways I allow those words to transform me.

And what better way to do that than prayer?