Monday, September 26, 2016

Crannig Castle Cover Reveal

Today's the day! The sun is shining! The tank is clean! And we are getting out... The tank is clean!

I think you've probably figured out by now that I like that quote...Pretty sure I've used it more than once. It's the day I finally reveal the cover to the last book of Time Captives. I'm at the end of my first series! How did that happen already?

Yes, I'm just filling up space so you have to keep scrolling. Why do you ask? ;) 

First the description. I have to thank my mom for some ideas, and Kendra for a few more, and for listening to me complain about how hard it was to write. And for, well, being Kendra about the whole thing. :) Seriously, though, it's so hard to write a 200 some word summary of a 40,000 word book without giving away spoilers. 

God, please look after Adriel. Keep him safe and keep him from acting foolish. And please help him to be able to find me.
Rae knew she could trust God to look after both of them. It was all she had now.

The Time Captives have been reunited. The rightful king has been freed. Now all that remains is to defeat the strytes who still hold a tyrannical rule over the people of Calhortz. But with their lack of soldiers, it’s a task that is easier said than done. They need allies, but are they worth it when it requires facing ghosts from their pasts?

Returning to his home country only brings the loss of Adriel’s family to the forefront of his mind. His determination to find Rae has never ceased, but now that determination could potentially destroy all that he and the Time Captives have been working towards. And his new-found faith may not be able to withstand the challenge.

Will they be able to set aside their personal struggles for the sake of the freedom of all or will they allow their pasts to consume them? Will they manage to win back Crannig Castle from the rule of the strytes? The fate of Calhortz hangs in the balance.

Crannig Castle is the final book of the Time Captives trilogy, a tale of faith, family, fantasy, and a fight for truth and freedom.

 It's actually available for preorder on kindle here.

And you can preorder a signed copy from me here.

And add it to Goodreads.

And here it is!

What do you think of the cover? Are you excited to see how Time Captives ends?

Other participating blogs:

Monday, September 19, 2016

On Writing, Revising, and Editing

The Crannig Castle cover reveal is one week from today! So close!

So, I'm about ready to start formatting the last book of the Time Captives trilogy. The LAST book! It's insane that I'm actually at this point. As I reflected on that as I was brainstorming ideas for today's blog post, I realized I've never really explained my writing process. I keep on refining it, trying new things, going back to old ways, but I thought, as I'm bringing probably my biggest project thus far to completion, now would be as good a time as any to describe my writing process.

I get my initial ideas from lots of places: dreams, books and movies, current events, just out of the blue. I generally write down the premise and sometimes make up random scenes throughout the story which may or may not (more likely not) end up in the final version. When I'm ready for a new writing project, I pick one and get going.

For me to actually complete a story, I have to have a general outline in my head. Basically, a beginning, an ending, and a few pit stops in the middle. But those basic points are usually easy to come up with. I say usually because a story I really want to write is driving me nuts by having absolutely nothing for a climax. Trouble is, I can't get serious about the project until I have a climax.

Most of the time, I write my first draft in a notebook. Twisted Dreams is my only completed story to date that was written entirely on the computer. I'll hand it to my youngest sister constantly throughout this first draft, but she's the only one who gets to see it.

My first drafts are usually a mess, some more than others. Once I have a complete notebook draft, I type the entire thing in to the computer. For Across the Stars, The Experiment, and Espionage, this mostly resulted in minor edits. Time Captives and the Cassie story, however, are another story. For Time Captives, I wrote the basic material for the first two books, went to the computer, and wrote the first eight chapters of Creighton Hill three more times before I figured out what was wrong and how to fix it. From scratch. I basically threw out everything but my basic plotline and the Adriel stuff, and completely and totally rewrote it. By the time I'd finished the first computer drafts for those, I had it pretty much figured out, so Crannig Castle's first computer draft was more of just an edit from the handwritten version. The Cassie story is similar to the first two Time Captives books. The first draft was a horrible mess, so I scrapped most of it, and when I wrote it on the computer, it was a whole new book.

Once I complete my first computer draft, I hand it over to my mom. She identifies the plot holes, the things my small life experience doesn't realize is unrealistic, and asks questions that never even occurred to me. Then I go back and revise as needed. Sometimes, like for The Experiment, this results in rearranging the storyline, throwing out some scenes and writing entirely new ones to go in their place. Sometimes, like for Across the Stars, it results in adding multiple additional storylines to fill out the plot.

Once I'm decently satisfied with this version, I give it to my dad and middle sister. They don't usually cause full rewrites, since it's usually pretty decent by then, but with The Crossways, it did. I cared far more about Adriel than the Time Captives when writing it, and my dad noticed. So I rewrote everything with the current Time Captives, reducing the number of POVs, rearranging events to heighten the drama and add conflict, and all round make their story matter again.

After my family has given a book a pass, I give it to friends to beta read. Their feedback usually brings about minor edits, but sometimes they'll ask questions that require explanation, so I'll go in and add dialogue to expound upon things. And then, when I've finished with beta reader feedback, I'll hand it to a few more friends to proofread. I've gone over it so many times by then, there's not much left to catch, but I usually get a few notes.

And then I come to where I am now: ready to format! And that's how I turn a tiny, underdeveloped story idea into a book.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Summer 2016 In Review

Just one more week to sign up for the Crannig Castle cover reveal!

Ask questions of the Time Captives and their friends (and enemies) here!

Summer's not quite officially over, and it still tends to be hot down here in the glorious South, but since school's back in session, summer vacation is at an end. Not that I exactly have a summer vacation these days, but I am back to asking my sister if she's finished her schoolwork when I get home from work and she's turning on Doctor Who (okay, that only happened once). ;) This summer didn't feel quite as jam packed as last summer, but that's probably just because I have a job now, so I'm working instead of running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Regardless, I actually did do quite a bit this summer.

Shortly after coming home from Conner Prairie and the Creation Museum, I played the violin for a wine tasting/art show fundraiser in my town. I love this little town. So cute. My coworkers at the library sometimes refer to it as Mayberry, which I love. Then a few days later, I participated in a book signing that was a part of the same festival.

My sister and I had a booth at an Independence Day festival in town.

The air condition at the library set off the smoke alarm...

My grandpa, grandma, and younger-than-me aunt came to visit and we took a day trip up to the Consolidated Gold Mine in Dahlonega. It was really cool.

I saw a castle!

We went hiking at Sweetwater Creek State Park, the site of a mill that was burned out during Sherman's March and one of the filming sites for Mockingjay Part 1. It was amazing! I texted Amanda so many pictures while we were there...

I actually personally took those pictures. Shocking, right?

I won NaNo with a second first draft of the Cassie story. Yes, technically it's the second draft, but since I essentially tossed my entire first draft and rewrote it all from scratch, it's all new. You wouldn't recognize it from the first draft to the second. And I made it, even though Kendra distracted me with a shiny new idea again. :) This idea is rather more likely to happen than last year's shiny new idea. And it'll be pretty amazing if we can actually do it. Sometimes I still think we're crazy, though...

Throughout August, I helped these two awesome patriots teach a Foundations of Freedom: Generation class, a class that goes through America's founding documents and explores how this nation was built. Super awesome material, fantastic co-teachers, and amazing students. Can't wait to do it again! Freedom!

Picture of my dog being cute and cuddling her toys just because. I'm really enjoying having a new pictures actually look like pictures now!

My middle sister turned 18. How is she an adult with a driver's license already?

I had a (very short) violin recital. We did a string orchestra, and played three pieces. Pretty cool, though I'm glad it's over.

Over Labor Day weekend, we went camping at Fort Mountain State Park with some friends. It was so much fun hanging out with them, going hiking, playing games, having s'mores, discussing books and book ideas, traveling through a fantasy world on the Most Amazing Hiking Trail Ever (read Katelyn's take on it here), reading books, playing Ultimate Frisbee...oh yeah, and coming down with a cold the last day with a sore throat that made it painful to talk. Do you know how hard it is not to be able to talk when you're on your last day of hanging out with friends you don't see very often anymore? There were also seven raccoons living in a hollow tree next to our camp site, and several people, including my friend, saw bears. For real. But it was SOOOOO much fun. We have to do it again sometime.

And I worked. But my job is pretty great and hey, I get paid for it, so I don't mind too much. ;)

Looking forward, I have a book release, a trip to Charleston, an election, and the holidays to look forward to. The year is almost over already! How did that happen?

How was your summer?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Time Captives Q&A

Some of my author friends have done something really fun and awesome with their characters: let the readers ask the characters questions. The Q&A sessions are always so much fun to read. Like this one. And this one.

So I would love to do one (or more) of my own during the Crannig Castle blog tour. If you have any burning questions to ask any of my characters, or me, now's your chance. You can even be nosy if you characters may not thank you, but nosy questions seem to be the standard in these Q&As. ;)

All characters in Time Captives and Espionage are available for questioning: good guys, bad guys, minor characters who only showed up once...though I can't promise you the minor characters I hardly know will have answers... 

Now, I do require a minimum of ten questions total to hold a Q&A session, otherwise I'll show up with a bunch of characters and have nothing to ask them. But you can ask as many questions as you want. If only one person has questions, but they come up with enough, I'll still round up my characters and interrogate them. You have until October 17. Just post whatever questions you have in the comments of this post.

So it's up to you now. Ask away!

P.S. You don't need a Blogger account to comment. Just select "name/URL" or "anonymous."

Friday, September 2, 2016

Rainland Review Thomas gets caught in a summer storm, he is sucked into the world of raindrops through a tornado. He learns he will not be allowed to return until he can defeat the lightning, which has been hurling raindrops from the clouds. Many adventures await him in this strange land. Is everything just as the raindrops say it will be? Is it the lightning they need to defend themselves against, or is there a much greater foe behind the disturbing disappearances?


Rainland was a fun little book, a quick read, and quite enjoyable. It's great for kids: squeaky clean, not too long, imaginative, exciting, and even teaches a bit about the water cycle. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I was younger, but even at age 20, I did enjoy it quite a bit.

The worldbuilding was fascinating, and quite imaginative. Basically, raindrops, lightning, and fire are all people. They have their individual kingdoms, but Rainland is under attack from the lightning. Whenever lightning strikes Rainland, the water falls, and many of them are not able to come back to Rainland.

It was fairly well written. The writing style is somewhat old fashioned, and those who know me know I love old fashioned writing. :) 

As far as character development goes, I would have liked to get in Thomas's head a little more, find out who he is inside, but it's not a very long book, so there wasn't really time for it. For what space there was in all the action, the characters were fairly well developed.

Rainland was a fun, quick read, and I would recommend it, especially for kids.

About the Author
Sarah is a homeschool graduate who enjoys using her imagination to write fiction. She is working on a degree in theology and hopes to eventually work in the church. She also enjoys umpiring baseball, writing devotions and Bible studies, reading fiction, and playing the guitar.