Friday, November 29, 2013

Indie Booksale and Christmas Sale

Merry Christmas! The first of my Christmas sales starts today. First off, my Kindle books are $0.99 through December 30. I am also participating in an indie author paperback sale that runs from today through Tuesday, December 3rd. There are coupon codes below, and links to where you can get the discount. It's a great opportunity to save some money on Christmas shopping!
Melody Valadez
                                    DQTR44VX (20% off)
            Those Who Trespass:

Faith Blum
                                  93LQLRJ8 (10% off)
            A Mighty Fortress:

Marilynn Dawson
                                 MU73RQR (10% off)
            Mom's Little Black Book: Godly Advice for the High School Graduate:
            Becoming the Bride of Christ: A Personal Journey: Volume One Volume Two Volume Three Volume Four Volume Five Volume Six Leader's Guide

Molly Evangeline

Kelsey Bryant
                                    YFY84GHU (20% off)
            Family Reunion:

Christina & Melody Grubb

Aubrey Hansen
                                    D6PH5HAT (20% off)
            Peter's Angel:
            Red Rain:

Morgan Huneke
                                    BX6RV6SK (20% off)
            Across the Stars:
            The Experiment:

Vicki Lucas
            Toxic: (Discounted to $10 through Paypal)

J. Grace Pennington
                                    9L3ES8RT (20% off)
            Firmament: Radialloy:
            Firmament: In His Image:

Jordan Smith
                                    5PC4QW6S (20% off)
            Finding the Core of Your Story:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 22, 2013

Christmas Sale

Starting November 29th, I will be having a Christmas sale on my books. The Kindle books will be on sale for $0.99 apiece until New Years, with possibly a few days where it is offered for free. For the paperbacks I will have various sales running through New Years. Stay tuned for more details.

Happy Thanksgiving, and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

S: Samuel Polk

Samuel Polk is another one of those characters I made up to fill a specific role. I needed another teenager who could drive, and so I named him Samuel. Now, you may be wondering why I had a character named Sam in Across the Stars, and a Samuel in The Experiment. I obviously like the name, but why? That can be answered in two words: Samwise Gamgee. He is my favorite character from Lord of the Rings, and so I started to like his name. I can't very well go around naming my characters Samwise, so I decided on a different name that can have Sam for a nickname. So Audrey called him Samuel.

At one point in the story, I decided to write a chapter about Samuel, simply because I didn't know what would happen next to the Raingolds. To do this, though, Samuel needed siblings. I have a little notebook full of fictional families I've made up, and so I looked through that to find a Samuel that would suit the part. I couldn't find very many Samuels, but I did find one family that had one with several older siblings, a twin sister, and a younger brother and sister who were twins. These were the Polks. I decided to use this family with a few alterations. For one thing, I never mention whether or not there are any older siblings. For another, I changed the ages of the girls so there were no twins. Then I had the Polks as can be known from The Experiment: Samuel, Samantha, Timmy, and Tabby.

Their part in the story expanded slightly from the tiny chapter I wrote while stalling the Raingold part. Their chapter doubled in length, and Tabby had a role to play at Courtstone. Their main role, however, is to show that these events are happening to others, and to expand the Raingolds' acquaintance. And that role they fulfill very well.

Monday, November 18, 2013

R: Raingolds

Finally I come to the Raingolds! I don't see why I always seem to pick last names for my main characters that come so far down in the alphabet. The Raingolds were a family I made up based on my own family except with extra kids, namely two little brothers. I made up random stuff about them for a while, but I really wanted a story to put them in. However, I couldn't come up with a good one. Then I had the dream which inspired what I then called Stand Fast, and decided to put them in it. It was a perfect fit, though the finished story is considerably different.

Audrey Raingold is the oldest, and somewhat based on me. She does tend to be somewhat bossy, and likes little kids. The muffin batter she mentions dumping on the inside of the oven is a true story. And I also found a beetle's exoskeleton inside of the frog I dissected for biology. Audrey is a lot braver than me, though. She is responsible, but she doesn't really want to be in charge. I suppose this is somewhat like me. I am capable of leading if I absolutely have to, but I hate doing it. Honestly, I think Audrey handled the whole situation better than I would have.

Ginnie was inspired by my sister Rebekah, but I think Ginnie came out even quieter than my sister. Ginnie is mostly just there, to support the others without obtruding into the story. Her relationship with Carrie Pauley as piggyback ride giver is taken from real life. "Carrie" did always get Rebekah to give her piggyback rides, and she did tell Bekah to jump over things, saying, "I won't fall off. I promise."

I'm not sure where to start with Abby. She is based on my sister Addyson, as my family was quickly able to see. I remember when my dad was reading it for the first time, my mom asked him, "Have you met your daughter yet?" Yes, Addy does talk a lot about the Constitution, and in an intelligent way. She knows it. She knows politics, too. Though Abby doesn't do this in the book, Addyson has gone into very detailed descriptions of why property and income taxes are wrong. Abby is rather argumentative, but she knows what she is talking about. She is a tomboy, and an entertaining character. Abby and Ian are the life of the story, which leads me to Ian.

Ian is not based on anyone in particular. However, his name is. His name is Indiana, which is because of Indiana Jones, though that is not the story explanation. I originally called him Indy, though I decided before I wrote it that I would call him Ian. He is, shall we say, spirited. In a less delicate way of speaking, he is a pain. He is very active and, well, he is a little boy. He is only seven, and doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. He also is argumentative, and gets into good natured fights with Abby. It doesn't take much for the two of them to get obnoxious together. As a character, I like him, though I'm not sure I would want him to be my little brother.

Then there's Collin. He's two, and, apparently, not much of a talker. He gets carried around a lot by the older children, but he doesn't really do much. I'm pretty sure he's a cute little thing, though. At any rate, the little boy who played him in the book trailer is.

And that's the Raingolds.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Q: Quadruped

I had a hard time coming up with something for "Q." In fact, I was having such a hard time thinking of something that I looked through all the words beginning with Q in my dictionary several times. Finally, I noticed the word "quadruped," and thought, a dog is a quadruped, I'll do Canis! And so this post was born.

I love dogs. I haven't always, but I do now, especially my yellow Labrador retriever Sophie. There is no mention of a dog in Across the Stars, so I had to put a dog into The Experiment. It isn't the Raingolds' dog, it is York's, and while the dog doesn't have much page time, he plays an important role. His name is Canis, which is Latin for "dog." And yes, that was on purpose. I was having trouble naming him, so I asked my mom and my sisters for ideas. We threw around a bunch of possibilities, and I ended up settling on Canis. I don't remember who thought of it, but it works. Canis is a very obedient dog, and very faithful to his master. I never specify his breed, but I tend to think of him as a German Shepherd, or something of that sort. Strange, because I like retrievers best by far. Canis has a job in the story, which he fulfills, but it could be considered a bit spoilery, so I won't say. It is in chapter 20.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

P: Pooles, Pauleys, and Pardens

The Pooles, Pauleys, and Pardens are friends of the Raingolds. They are inspired by friends of mine, some of whom even starred in the book trailer for The Experiment.

The Pooles are Elisabeth, Mike, Maddy, and Elliot. The Pauleys are Bethy, Grace, Suzy, and Carrie. The Pardens are Annelise and David. The Experiment is dedicated to those who inspired these characters. For some of the characters, I used the middle name, or a variation thereof, for the name of the character. For a few I chose a different name, Elliot and David in particular. Those were just random names chosen because I didn't want to call a character by the middle name of the person they were inspired by. "David" found himself and his sister in the book when he was reading it, and his question was, "Why didn't you give me a little brother?" After explaining that I didn't need any more characters, he told me that next book I put him in, I had to give him a little brother. I wasn't planning on putting him in another book, but I'll have to keep that in mind if I do.

The characters didn't all come out exactly like the person they were inspired by, but they suit the story. Since the Raingolds are based on my family (with two little brothers), I can't help but think of The Experiment as being a story about me and my sisters and friends, though in the story we are all the ages we were three years ago. It has served to make the story mean more to me, imagining us in those circumstances.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

O: Orphanage

Is it just me, or are orphan stories the most dramatic, sad, awesome stories ever? Anyone who knew me as a child knew my favorite game to play was "run away from the orphanage." We would make up the worst orphanage matron we could think of, slip out of the "orphanage," which was usually a dugout at a baseball field at the park, run around in circles with imaginary dogs chasing after us, journey far and wide in the small area of the park we were playing in, and set up housekeeping next to the same baseball field we had run away from, though this time it was far away. Then we would go back home to the air condition in our respective happy homes, and eat dinner with our families.

How does this figure into The Experiment? Especially since hardly any of the children are orphans? Well, they are treated as such. They even go to an orphanage at Courtstone. They are put in dormitories, given ugly gray uniforms, fed nasty food, faced with the possibility of being separated from their siblings . . . it's just what orphan stories are made of. I want to write a true orphan story someday, but since I haven't yet, I have to be content with the orphan story elements in The Experiment.

For any others who enjoy the drama of orphans, I highly recommend Thursday's Child by Noel Streatfeild. It is one of my favorites.

Monday, November 4, 2013

N: Nonconformists

The Experiment is about nonconformists, the people who refuse to conform to the confines of the government's control. A major section of the nonconformists would be the homeschoolers. There are a lot of those in the book. Maybe I'm biased, but I like homeschooling, and since I don't have any personal public school experience, my main characters are generally homeschooled. Other nonconformists in The Experiment are from private schools, though I don't feature any of them. Then there are the public school kids, who constantly land themselves in detention by refusing to accept the lies they are being fed. What happens to these nonconformists is the premise of the whole book: they fight back. They are freedom fighters.

These freedom fighters don't always have the upper hand. In fact, I would say the only way winning is possible for them is because they rely on God. The children are taken from their homes and placed in homes of those of people under the government's control, for the purpose of assimilating them into the society. Because removing them from their parents' influence will make them more controllable, right? Not so much. These children are nonconformists themselves, and will stop at nothing to save America. They are pursuers of freedom, and The Experiment is their story.