Monday, October 29, 2018

Carrie Mouse Blog Tour Recap

And that's a wrap! My first picture book is out in the world, and I'm so excited. It's been an adventure, and the adventure will only continue. By the way, if you live in or around Cherokee County, GA, you're invited to the Ball Ground Library on Saturday, December 1 at 2:00 p.m. to hear the book and learn to sculpt Carrie Mouse. It's going to be fabulous.

Now to recap the blog tour and tell you the winners.


"It's a short book - I read it in a couple minutes this morning, actually, and the illustrations are SUPER cute. It's also based on a true story, as you find out in the afterward, so that was awesome. It had very much a Beatrix Potter feel to the story itself - though much shorter than most of her books." --Kendra E. Ardnek

"My toddler also loved the book. She still keeps asking to “read the Mr. Mouse book” (either he was the character that stuck with her most, or else she thought Carrie’s full name is Mr. Mouse). Her favorite page was near the beginning, when Mrs. Mouse and Carrie have their important conversation. (“Read the cat page, Mama!”)" --Erika Mathews

"This is a super cute story about a little mouse who, like many children, struggles to understand why she needs to obey her parents. Especially when they are telling her not to do something that seems like a lot of fun. But as Carrie finds out by the end of the story, her parents are not trying to ruin her fun, they are merely trying to keep her safe. This is a story that can help children easily grasp the concept of how there can be unexpected consequences for their actions, and illustrates how boundaries are meant for their good." --Jenelle Schmidt

Book Spotlight


Giveaway Winners

1st Prize (Carrie Mouse doll and book): Erika
2nd Prize (Carrie Mouse book): Kelly

Congratulations! I'll be emailing you for the information I need to get you your prizes.
Thanks to everyone who helped out with this release! I can't thank you enough.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Red as Snow Character Spotlight

 Book Description
Rose is not yet seventeen and is the widow of the king. Her stepdaughter, who is nine years her elder, must marry or else forfeit the throne to her power-hungry cousin. Snow never was a great beauty, and having a beautiful stepmother just complicates things.

Can they join together to overcome the adversity surrounding them - or will betrayal and old wounds tear them apart?

Find the rest of the blog tour here!

Character Spotlight

Rose is not your typical evil stepmother.

For one thing, she's not evil. She has the biggest heart of genuine gold that I've written since Nadilynn in The Worth of a King. Which was only a couple months ago, but ... there we go. Unlike Nadi, she's a redhead, not a blonde. If that changes anything.

Rose is a youngest child and only girl. As such, she is a little on the immature and spoiled side - also, a bit overlooked as her father died when she was little and her mother didn't really know what to do with her, being far more used to boys. Rose also loves parties, mostly because planning them with her mother was pretty much the only form of bonding they'd shared.

Until she was married off to the king, that is. A king who was very old and had a daughter nearly ten years her elder. And then promptly gets sick and dies, leaving her in even more of an insecure political position than before.

And yet, somehow, she manages to maintain a cheery optimism and wear her heart on her sleeve wherever she goes. Now to see if she and her stepdaughter can whether the trials ahead of them. 

Author Bio

Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairytales and twisting them in new and exciting ways. She's been or acting them on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years. "Finish your story, Kendra," is frequently heard at family gatherings. Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children's tales that glorify God and His Word.

Find her online at: Website || Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || YouTube || Newsletter || Instagram || Amazon

Monday, October 22, 2018

Carrie Mouse is Here!

It's here! Carrie Mouse is here and we've got an awesome blog tour lined up, plus a giveaway you won't want to miss. Check it out!

Martha Squirrel made her journey down the big hill seem like a grand adventure. But what happens when Carrie Mouse disobeys her mama and explores the giant garage?

Inspired by a true story, Carrie Mouse and the Giant Garage tells the story of a young mouse who gets trapped in the garage of the human house at the bottom of the hill. Beautifully illustrated with clay sculptures, this is a book you won’t want to miss!

Tour Schedule

Monday, October 22
~Tour Announcement at Morgan Elizabeth Huneke
~Book Review at Knitted By God’s Plan

Tuesday, October 23
~Book Spotlight at Jaye L. Knight
~Author Interview at The Music of a Story

Wednesday, October 24
~Book Review/Spotlight at Resting Life
~ Illustrator Interview at GeorgiaPolitics

Thursday, October 25
~Book Review/Spotlight at Jenelle Schmidt
~Author Interview at GeorgiaPolitics


Rebekah and I will be giving away a signed copy of Carrie Mouse and the Giant Garage with a handmade Carrie Mouse doll! Second prize is a signed copy of the book only. Be sure to enter the giveaway!

Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 15, 2018

One More Week!

We're launching Carrie Mouse and the Giant Garage in just one week! I'm so excited about this! We've put a lot of work into this book, a lot of figuring things out as we go along, and we're finally done! So for fun, I'm going to give you a list of random facts about the background of this book.

  • It's based on a true story. It sounds kind of funny to say that about a book from the perspective of a mouse, but it's true. A mouse really got trapped in our garage.
  • I initially wrote it when I was seven. Yup, a super grown up seven. ;)
  • I illustrated the first version myself with crayon and gave it to my dad. I believe the cover was yellow.
  • It was the first book we actually seriously considered publishing. Way back when I was a kid. Obviously we didn't do it back then.
  • My cousin was going to illustrate it, but didn't.
  • I've never been able to let go of the idea of publishing this book. Obviously, since I'm doing it now.
  • I initially wanted my sister to make clay figures that we could pose in the original locations, but that never happened.
  • The current illustration style is inspired by Barbara Reid and Bekah did a fantabulous job on them.
  • We have more ideas for stories—mostly just topics, but there's one about playing the piano I've mostly thought out and just need to sit down and write.
  • Just one week left until the launch!

P.S. If you want to help with the blog tour, I can still fit you in. Sign up here.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Ranger's Apprentice Series Review Part 3

PSA: We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to inform you that Carrie Mouse and the Giant Garage is on its way to availability on Amazon and Etsy, and a blog tour is in the works. Thank you.

Now back to Ranger's Apprentice.

When my youngest sister hadn't yet read Bridge to Terebithia, my middle sister, Rebekah, and I made up all kinds of crazy things to keep from giving her spoilers—which included the now infamous Burke the Kangaroo. I think Burke was pink or blue or something. But anyway, as I read Ranger's Apprentice, my mom and sisters kept telling me things like "Halt has an evil twin," and "Halt dies," and I could never be sure what was real and what was simply Burke. I have lived to regret the day of Burke the Kangaroo.

Oh goodness, what can I even say about this one without giving major spoilers? There's a cult in neighboring Clonmel, one serving "the golden god," where this supposed god demands all your gold in exchange for "protection" from fabricated attacks. Halt is investigating some of this, and so misses the Gathering. The Gathering where Will is helping some of the apprentices with a tactical exercise which sounds suspiciously like Will's siege, only missing Skandians and a "reformed sorcerer." But also, he isn't there because he doesn't want to influence Will's decision on the opportunity to move back to Redmont. Which he obviously takes and Alyss would have dragged him back there if he said no, so anyway.

Halt really does have an evil twin! Like, what even? Ferris, king of Clonmel, is Halt's brother who tried to kill him for the throne, like three times. Clonmel is part of Hibernia, where Halt is from, so Halt is familiar with the country. And with the cult. This cult, the Outsiders, is doing considerable harm to Clonmel. And King Ferris is doing nothing about it. So Halt, Will, and Horace set out to do something themselves. And oh, goodness, when you get those three together it's just about the best thing ever. I laughed out loud so many times reading this book.

I love all the Halt backstory, I love Will being a jongleur again, I love the coffee obsession, I love the impersonation that takes place...I can't say I love the trial by combat because Horace was drugged and he could have died, but I love this book so much!

This is the book where they have Halt's funeral. No really. They have his funeral.

And it's up to you to decide if you think that's Burke the Kangaroo or not. Or you could just read the book. Don't start with this one, though. You'll be lost.

This. Book. Halt, Will, and Horace are still chasing after Tennyson, leader of the Outsiders. There's some good humor and it's great and then HALT GETS SHOT WITH A POISONED ARROW AND HE'S DYING AND IT'S JUST ABOUT THE WORST THING EVER. Things couldn't be worse. They need Malcolm, and they don't really have the time to get him, so they have to Scorpion Halt (I'm making that a thing...if you watched Scorpion and then read this book, you should know what I mean), and oh my goodness. I knew what they were going to have to do to get the information they needed, but still. Just wow. And they STILL have to take care of the Outsiders. It's quite intense.

But I have to say, I LOVE Horace getting to wear a Ranger cloak. "Can you see me now?" It's the best. XD

If you don't want to know whether Halt actually dies in this book, read no further.

Every time I'd glance quickly at this cover, I'd think there was a Dalek on it. Is that weird?

So this one wasn't my favorite of the series because it wasn't quite as funny as previous books (and also I read about half of it half asleep so I think I missed a few things), but I still really liked it. It still does have funny parts, though, like "Halt? Are you awake?" and then just as Will drifts off to sleep: "Will? Are you asleep?"

Horace has been hanging out in the country of Nihon-Ja with Emperor Shigeru, learning about their military strategy and fighting style. Emperor Shigeru is rather fond of Horace (Or'ss-san, as the Nihon-Jan call him...or Kurokuma, a term of great respect XD). George, his former wardmate, is actually there too, so he gets a bigger part than he has in a long time. But things happen in Nihon-Ja—something like attempted usurpation—and Horace decides to stay to help, effectively disappearing. Luckily George is able to get word to their friends.

Will, Halt, and Alyss are in Toscana helping the Toscans and the Arridi (including Selethen of Erak's Ransom) negotiate a treaty. And then Evanlyn comes to ask them to assist her in helping Horace in Nihon-Ja. Which of course they agree to do. Selethen wants to come, and Gundar Hardstriker is the one to take them to Nihon-Ja in his wolfship. And so they set out, the girls squabbling all the way. And of course Will is totally perplexed as to why their enmity has to do with him. He's so dense when it comes to girls. There's a lot of strategy and fighting and the girls have to go on a mission together. That certainly gets interesting. Gotta love it.

Oh, their nicknames. Why Horace is called Kurokuma. What Will's nickname, Chocho means. And then there are proposals. :D Horace is getting married. And Will makes a half proposal. XD

This is a collection of short stories. There are some really good stories in here. There's one about Will's father: how he met Halt, how he died, how Halt acquired Will. There's also one about how Halt and Crowley met that explains about Halt's training, which is pretty awesome. It also deals with the havoc Morgarath wreaked on Araluen and the Ranger Corp...sets up for the Early Years books. :)

There's one about what Gilan did while Halt and Horace were off to rescue Will and Evanlyn. That one was good. So was Jenny's ruined dinner date. I hope I never have a date like that one. I'd kind of like not to have my life threatened. XD

I enjoyed The Roamers, where Will's dog gets stolen by gypsies and Will and Alyss go to find her. The Wolf was sad. It's about what happens when Ranger horses when they get too old for work. It made me so sad. Not that they do anything bad to the horses, but it's still really sad.

My three favorites, though, are Purple Prose, The Bridal Dance, and And About Time, Too... Purple Prose is pretty awesome. Will and Halt have to deal with some bad guys who are crashing ships to plunder, but that's not what it's really about. It's about Will writing the best man's speech for Horace's the best purple prose he can muster. It's great. The Bridal Dance is about Horace and Evanlyn's wedding, and of course there's a threat. It's a legitimate threat, but the wedding must go on. Will almost missed the bridal dance by dealing with the threat, and earned a warning from his girlfriend Alyss: "You'd better be there at ours." Which is in And About Time, Too... Despite being very short, I ABSOLUTELY LOVED that one. It was beautiful, and I echo Halt: "And about time, too." It made me so happy, but bittersweet because I knew Alyss was going to die before the next book. 

All in all, I loved The Lost Stories. It's great.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Ranger's Apprentice Series Review Part 2

I like, seriously, want to name a son William Horace someday. I've always liked William, and I couldn't decide on the perfect middle name, but naming a kid after both Will and Horace? Perfection. And I want a daughter named Alyss too. 

Will's no longer an apprentice, and he has his own fief: Seacliff, where basically nothing ever happens. It's where they send the rookies. Will's already seen plenty in his young life, so the prospect of a sleepy little fief isn't particularly appealing. Far away from Redmont and all his friends. With just his horse Tug and the injured dog he found on the way, for whom he can't choose a name. Have I talked about Tug before? Tug is so awesome and a character in his own right. Ranger horses are amazing. They can't be stolen (heehee), they never have to be tethered because they won't wander off, they have incredible speed and stamina, they're very smart, and they always get the last word with their masters. Yes, the Rangers talk to their horses. They just don't like to do it with other people around. "Stop talking to your horse, dear."—from The Royal Ranger

Seacliff is about to be attacked by Skandians, but Will knows Skandians, and more importantly is a good friend of the Oberjarl Erak. So that works out and he makes friends with Gundar Hardstriker in the process, and then Halt and Ranger Commandant Crowley send for him because they need him for a special mission. There's something odd going on at Norgate fief in the north, as Lord Syron has a mysterious illness that many are blaming on the Sorcerer of the North. Alyss, as a Courier and a member of the Diplomatic Service, is also going to Norgate to investigate. Will is to be disguised as a jongleur, as he'll be better able to find out what's going on because you play for people, they talk around you. And Will does NOT play the lute. He plays the mandola, which is like the mandolin, but a fifth lower (to the mandolin what the viola is to the violin). And he's always trying to explain it to people, because people always call it a lute, but it isn't— Anyway, Halt absolutely hates music, especially Will's parody song "Graybeard Halt," which Crowley loves, by the way.

"Halt! How are you? What have you been doing? Where's Abelard [Halt's horse]? How's Crowley? What's this all about?"
"I'm glad to see you rate my horse more important than our Corps Commandant."

Crowley's really awesome and the anti-Halt and the banter between those two. XD

And I know I'm going on longer about this one than the others so far, but anyway, Will and Alyss get to do stuff together, though under cover, and they have to figure out who to trust at Norgate and if the sorcerer is really a sorcerer, and they get scared by the "Night Warrior" but Alyss figures it out, and then Halt and Crowley are like "We need to send someone to help Will. Who should we send? Horace!", but Horace doesn't get there in time, and Alyss gets taken prisoner, and Will tries to rescue her but he fails and AAAAAAHHHH!!!!! It ends there.

Will's. Siege. Is. AWESOME!!! But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Things reeeeally aren't going too well in Norgate Fief. There's a traitor in Castle Macindaw, and someone Will cares about is imprisoned, and Alyss is being hypnotized by an evil dude, and there are Scotti invaders coming, and if Macindaw falls, they'll have a strong foothold in Araluen. But Horace is on his way and Malcolm, the healer who lives in the woods with a band of deformed outcasts, turns out to be super awesome, and Gundar has been shipwrecked in the area, so at least Will has allies.

Will's determined to besiege Macindaw because he has to save Alyss, and so he presents this to Horace, who tells him he needs three or four times the amount of men there are in Macindaw to conduct his siege. And Will's numbers, well:

"Including you and me?"
"I think you'd better include you and me."
"Twenty seven."
"Twenty seven?"
"They're Skandians."
"They'd better be."

And Will's strategy is BRILLIANT. Like, so much so that Crowley sends a report to all the other Rangers for them to study. Oh, by the way, Malcolm is afraid he's going to run out of coffee with Will and Horace around. And Will can't draw. His cartwheels so aren't round and his perspective is terrible and that exchange is awesome. And Horace can't sit still for several hours without making up a poem—at Will's suggestion!—that Will refuses to help him remember. And there's a declaration of love and it made me so happy and it makes Horace happy too even though he isn't a part of it, and I LOVE the very end of this book. It's perfection. And Halt calls Will "son." I can't even say how much that warmed my heart.

This one actually takes place prior to book 5, and honestly, if you want it to be more suspenseful, read it first. It was really good and I enjoyed it very much, but I knew they all had to survive intact because they were okay in 5 and 6.

It starts out with a wedding at Redmont. :D I'm so glad Halt and Pauline finally got married. I mean, it took him about 20 years and realizing he'll be lonely when Will graduates to propose! She has the patience of a saint. Halt even got a real haircut instead of trimming it himself with his saxe knife. XD And the Bores' table. There has to be a Bores' table at a wedding. That's where you put all the boring, annoying, and/or weird people you have to invite but don't want bothering your normal guests. I loved how when I was talking to the girl at the library about it, she told her mom "You have to have a Bores' table."

The story is about how Erak has been captured by the Arridi and Halt, Will, Horace, Gilan, and Evanlyn, along with Erak's former first mate Svengal go to rescue him. But what seems like it'll be a simple mission goes horribly wrong. People get kidnapped, a horse gets lost in a sandstorm, the Tulaghi attack our friends, Will almost dies of dehydration in the desert, he almost loses Tug forever only you know Tug was in 5 and 6 so he has to get him back, they make new friends and almost die multiple times in multiple situations, and Evanlyn is awesome with her sling (unlike me), and Alyss stayed behind even though Pauline told her she could go if she wanted but Alyss is afraid she'll hit Evanlyn in the head with an oar. I'd shipped Will and Alyss in book 1, Will and Evanlyn in books 3 and 4, but 5 started me shipping Will and Alyss again, so I felt her pain.

SOOOOOOO many bad things happen in this book, but it's funny too, like how they all needle Halt when he gets seasick. And then when Will graduates. Oh, goodness. It's so funny the way they do it to avoid giving the apprentices big heads. I love it. And Crowley's suggestions for Will's last name. They don't know his real one and there are other Wills in the Ranger Corp, so they decide to do something related to one of his accomplishments. Like Will Boar Killer or Will o' the Bridge—but that one sounded too much like will o' the wisp. He becomes Will Treaty, and it suits him perfectly. He's a true Ranger now, with a silver oakleaf.

P.S. I was poking around on Overdrive while I was reading the series and found the German language editions—my library doesn't have them, I was looking at books eligible for suggestion. Apparently the German title of this one translates "The Prisoner of the Desert People," which is quite an accurate name.

*This book contains one usage of the word b---h, the only instance of any language worse than d--n. D--n is used with some frequency, but it seemed to me to lessen as the series went on.