Captive Hope Blog Tour

I am very happy to be able to host a spot on Rachael Ritchey’s Blog Tour for the second book in her Chronicles of the Twelve Realms series: Captive Hope.

I was a big fan of the first book, The Beauty Thief, and Rachael did not disappoint with number 2. It featured some of the same Point-Of-View characters, but it also had a host of new ones. I think she really nailed it with some of the new voices. Here’s a short description of Captive Hope.

The Twelve Realms seems an idyllic nation, but behind locked doors there are sinister powers at work. Not even the royal family of High Castle is outside their reach, and Lady Idra has unwittingly placed herself in the crosshairs of a shrewd mercenary.

Idra is noble by birth and lady-in-waiting to the future High Queen of the Twelve Realms. Yet she’s unaware of her true value and strength. From her youth she has been pledged in service to the crown, and though accepting of her duty, she inwardly longs for more. But in her wildest dreams Idra never imagined the terrible future devised for her by forces unknown.

Sir Ahmad, a knight of the realms, admires Lady Idra from afar. But when he finally has the courage to tell her, it may be too late. He could lose Idra forever because of one man’s devious ploy to gain revenge and riches by her ruin. If an ocean stands between them, will all hope be lost?

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If that sounds like something you’d like to read, check it out! Here’s the Youtube trailer!

You can even enter to win free copies if you’re strapped for cash.

So, how do you win a free copy?

You simply sign up for Rachael’s email newsletter through Mailchimp here

For everyone who chooses to sign up for her newsletter there will be three randomly drawn prizes:

  • 1st: ebook of Captive Hope& choice of one from a host author (She’ll need a list/links to any of your published works, please!)
  • 2nd: ebooks of Captive HopeThe Beauty Thief
  • 3rd: ebbok of Captive Hope

The window for signing up will start Wednesday, January 20 and be open until Wednesday February 10th. Rachael will announce the winners on her blog on February 11th and email the winners directly, too.

If you’d rather just buy it for yourself, Captive Hope can be purchased on ebook through all major retailers including, but not limited to:

Amazon

Smashwords 

Barnes & Noble

Paperback and hardbound are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, so the above links will work for all formats.

Readers can connect with Rachael on:

Her blog: http://www.rachaelritchey.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/writingraci/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rachaelritchey

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13513799.Rachael_Ritchey

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Rachael Ritchey is the author of the Chronicles of the Twelve Realms, a YA fantasy fiction series set in a medieval era. Her passion for writing stems from her appreciation of history, since our world is built on stories, true and imagined. Rachael writes with teens in mind, because she wants her own kids to be proud of her work and be able to share it with their friends. She’s a wife and a mom to four amazing kids. Rachael and her family live in Eastern Washington where there’s plenty of inspiration to dream up exotic worlds, both real and fantastical. 

I met Rachael through social media but we’ve been friends for over a year now. She’s one of the most encouraging people I know and her true selflessness shines through in her writing. I am so glad to be able to be a part of her journey and to see her dreams come to life. She’s worked hard to get her stories out there. The Beauty Thief and Captive Hope are part of a continuing series so stayed tuned for more updates!

NaNoWriMo: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

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NaNo-ers and non-NaNo-ers alike! A little something interesting went on during the month of November, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month that I’d like to talk about now—from the good, to the bad, to the ugly. If you don’t know, NaNoWriMo is a month dedicated to writers all over the world who pledge to write 50,000 words from November 1st– November 30th (23:59 PM). And yes, many writers including me are writing up to those final seconds.

I had a lot of preconceived notions about NaNo before starting and I’d like to share what I thought was true after the 30 days, where I was proved wrong, surprised, frustrated and anything else in between.

So here goes, and I encourage other bloggers who participated in NaNo to answer the questions I have below and link back to my blog in their post. Make sure you leave a comment so I can find your post 🙂

All in all, it was tough. 30 days might seem like a long time to write 50,000 words, but not all is as it seems. It is a long time and it isn’t. I was lucky enough to finish my teaching contract October 30th and had 2+ months of vacation to write and travel. I wouldn’t have to teach—I would have all that time to write to my heart’s content! Look at all these people with full time jobs that are finishing. I could finish too, right?

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How was NaNo for you? Was it what you expected or different than what you expected? How so?

NaNo was frustrating, like jam your finger on basketball pass frustrating. I wanted to travel and write simultaneously and making them both work is not as easy as it sounds. I was in Korea and Thailand for all of November and was in 5 different cities in Korea for the first 5 days on November (left on the 9th) and then 4 cities in Thailand spread between the last 21 days. It was a lot of travel and there were a lot of things I wanted to see. I thought travel and writing were very conducive to each other. Perhaps they are with more time, or for a particular type of writer, but for me it was really trying at times.

I definitely missed days. When you spend some days waking up at dawn to catch a flight to get on a bus that takes you to a port where you get on a boat that takes you to an island where you spend most of your time walking around, or taking a motorbike to where you’re staying, sometimes you just have to cut your losses. One day of no writing means 1,667 words to make up the next day. Two days of travel like that and you’re up to 3,333. The longer these spurts went the more I dreaded the make up. Longer writing days were not my favorite. Because that meant I was missing things that I wanted to see.

Where was the craziest place you wrote?

This isn’t that crazy but I remember writing on a bus going from Surat Thani airport to the ferry port in Thailand. It was early in the morning and I had the back seat to myself (for a little while), until they filled the bus moments later. I had my computer out and my hands were already flying so I didn’t stop. As we went along those bumpy roads, each of us flying from our seats until we slammed our heads on the low ceilings, I began to worry for my computer. Some of the compartments above us began leaking water and waking up some of the passengers. I was lucky enough to not be in one of the spots getting a shower. My precious computer was safe. I wrote like this for about 30 minutes until discomfort won over and I put my computer away.

What didn’t you like about Nano?

I actually have somewhat of a list for this one. Here goes:

  • I felt rushed. Yes, I was unemployed but travel was my job of sorts and I just didn’t respond well to the 50,000 words in one-month thing.

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  • Sometimes I dreaded writing, and I have NEVER dreaded writing before. I think that was a clue to me that Nano might not be for me.
  • Writing didn’t feel organic—this could again be due to the type of writer that I am or because I didn’t outline much beforehand. Because I didn’t outline or because I felt rushed or maybe because of the combination of the two I made some decisions about my novel on the fly a lot of times. This seemed okay at the time but looking back I think it affected too many things in the story after. I know, I know—it’s a rough draft. You can go back and change things. I guess I like to get as much as I can right the first time.
  • I’m repeating myself but: writing while traveling. It takes a lot out of you. I also had to be decisive about what I wanted to do and had to say no a lot.

“Hey, do you want to go get an hour foot massage?”

That sounds amazing.

“No, I need to write.”

 


“How about do an add-on to your diving course and do some free dives?”

Yes, please.

“Ah, I can’t. I already spent too much time diving today.”


“Grab beers after dinner?”

I could use a drink.

“Oh, umm. I honestly can’t. I’m behind in my writing.” And I can’t write well after drinking (even just a beer or two).


 

This may seem insignificant but it can be really difficult to balance both. Saying no to other travelers made me feel estranged and more distant in a lot of cases. I didn’t meet too many other NaNo-ers while backpacking around unfortunately. Other backpackers don’t fully understand the notion of, “no I can’t write tomorrow. I have to write today, and everyday, for the rest of my life! Oh, sorry no I meant just this month.”

What can you do? Choose less busy, and tamer hostels and get more peace and quiet but feel more alone, or meet more people at busier places and hang out some, but say no a lot?

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  • Yeah, still not done. On social media, people posting about their successes every five minutes. If this is your first time on my blog you might think that I sure don’t like a lot of things, but I gotta say what I gotta say. Why is it necessary to tell everyone about your successes? Yes, NaNo is a social thing and its great that writers encourage each other to keep writing but enough is enough people. Stop the ego stroking. If you love writing and you want to write every day, just do it. It’s not really necessary to give yourself a pat on the back after every 2,000 words. When you finish NaNo, or have sold books, let other people do the patting. I don’t know, maybe this is part of the way I raised, to not really give into the, attitude. Yes, encouragement is good. Yes, support is good, but there is a difference. I hope people take this in the vein that it is meant.

What did you like about NaNo?

Two things.

  • That I was writing everyday. That I had some goal to reach by the end of the month, and that if I was just sitting around doing nothing, I had words to write, dammit!
  • That there is a community of people behind me. Regardless of what I said about “oversharers” (people who post all the time) earlier, I truly do think that people who participate in NaNo, or just writers in general, are so kind and helpful. They are exciting, creative people in my experience and I love when those kind of people get together and share ideas. There is a buzz about these experiences that makes me feel alive.

Was there anything that surprised you about NaNo?

I did not know that I’d be sitting on my butt for so long. Maybe all the chairs or things I found to sit on were just hard but my bum definitely noticed the difference. I actively had to search out places where I could prop my computer up chest height to stand and type but those places became harder and harder to find. So my bum suffered.

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Was there anything unique about your Nano experience compared to others?

Maybe just the travel and writing part of it. It was lonelier that I could have imagined.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have outlined more. I would have had a much more detailed outlined I could refer to so that the chapters were easier to begin. I was almost a blank slate everyday and while this was good in some ways, it slowed me down in others.

I also would have done the travel thing again but instead of going to a bunch of different places, just stayed in one place—an island, a nice beach, some place where I could enjoy the outdoors and still write. And a writing buddy or two wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world.

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Was there anything funny or interesting that happened during Nano?

People are really funny about word counts. Yes, they are important because when we try to pitch a book or self-publish, the length of our book matters, but I found that some writers, especially NaNo-ers are always putting a number on their work. I don’t really like to minimize it to a number. I will say I am more conscious of word counts now but I don’t really like talking about them. It cheapens it for me for some reason. Some conversations I had during Nano:

Them: How many words have you written?

Me: I think I’m on track as of now (not wanting to put a number on it).

Them: Oh, I’ve written (x) number of words (also on track, but ahead of schedule).

Me: Oh, that’s great!


 

Later, another writer and I ~

Me: How many words have you written? (Prematurely thinking this is how NaNo-ers interact with each other)

Them: Oh, I’m just doing it for myself (slightly defensive). I’m not keeping track.

Me: Oh, okay.


 

Did you complete your goal of 50,000 words?

YES! A few hours before midnight on the final day.

How did it feel? Was it all worth it?

Yes, I think in the end it was. I wrote some parts so quickly that I probably wouldn’t recognize them now and at the time of writing this, the novel is finished, so that is kind of cool. I don’t think I would have finished by now without NaNo. It felt really good to reach my goal.

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Would you participate in NaNo again?

Hmm . . . maybe!

What advice do you have for people thinking about NaNo, or to other writers?

Do what works for you. Don’t feel bad or misplaced if you are the only one not participating in NaNo and everyone else is. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t force it. That goes for just about every aspect of writing too. Break rules and have fun!

Keep in mind this was my first time attempting NaNo. There are probably easier, better ways to write and I am by no means an expert. Just sharing what I found.

That’s all for now. Did you participate in NaNo this year or years past? I want to know what you thought of it. I’d love to hear your experience!

Add your link in my comment section and link me back to your page. Hope you enjoy!

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Let’s connect! Add me as a buddy on nanowrimo.org @jobabraham or let me know your Nano handle in the comments!

One Thing #challenge

The idea of the One Thing #challenge originally came from the wonderfully talented and interesting Kristin and her blog pursuitofanewadventure. I really enjoyed her post and decided to participate myself. If it looks good to you I’ll hope you’ll join in as well.

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One thing I’m waiting for: The release of my debut novel. Although I guess I’m waiting to be ready for that. I’m a perfectionist and although I’ve written The End for the book I’m working on, I don’t know that it’s ready for the world. I’m waiting patiently for the day that I can just be okay with it and see how it goes. I still have things to work on of course, but someday soon I hope I can share it with you.

One thing I’m grateful for: Friends and family. And an upbringing that allows me to see the world the way that I do. I’m privileged and blessed but I also know what it means to work hard. I’m grateful that I can work hard, that I want to work for things, and that I have a steadfast mind that doesn’t break easily. To me it is worth more than all the money in the world. It’s because of my friends and family that I have these things.

One thing I’m looking forward to: Adventure! And it begins today. I finished my teaching contract here in South Korea after two consecutive years, two different cities and five different schools, and I am ready for a break. I can’t wait to begin my travels through 5 countries leading up to Christmas with family. Which I haven’t been a part of in 4 years.

One thing I want to accomplish: The completion of my book forNational November Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I said I was going to do it last year but ended up not reaching the 50,000 word mark. I don’t think I wrote much at all actually. And although I have my reservations about the whole NANO thing, I think this year I’m ready. It will force me write every day and develop better writing habits if nothing else. Also, I’m pretty excited about this new story.

One thing I won’t do: Compromise my writing time. I won’t do the things that I have been doing, and that is put things before writing. With the end of my job, I have a fresh start. If I want to be a writer, a serious writer, then I have to give up other things that I love.

One thing that makes me happy: Writing. Creating. Having a finished product that I can call my own. I love creating worlds and being able to take others to the worlds inside my brain. Also, exercising. Video games. Playing nicely with others. Can I keep going? Oh, shoot . . . this is a ONE thing challenge 🙂

One word I keep repeating over this month: Shitballs. (My friends can attest to this). I keep dropping things. And most things that could have gone wrong, did. Haha.

One new discovery: Meditation. It’s been great to sit down for at least ten minutes a day to learn new techniques, clear my mind, work on my breathing and try to be a full person.

What’s the one thing you could do to change your life right now? Wake up happy. To not wake up and feel dread about the future, about my job, about things that are happening that day or the day after. To give myself a chance every day to be happy instead of already having a pre-disposition. I think that would change my outlook with everything. It’s fine to feel sad or angry or go through the range of emotions but I should always try to be happy and not worry about little things that I can’t control. I can at least control that bit right now and every day for the rest of my life.

Some days, I will admit, were pretty dark during this past contract, living where I did, in a very rural area, with not many friends and not too many outlets to see or do what I wanted, but a lot of it had to with attitude. A lot of times I could have been happier and I wasn’t. I guess hindsight is always 20/20. For now, I think the cloud has lifted so my goal is to always try and wake up happy.

Anyway, hope you liked the post, and I’ll hope you’ll join in too so I can get to see your answers. Leave a comment if you decide to participate or link back to Kristin’s original post!

One Liner Challenge

I was nominated by the lovely Rachael Ritchey to participate in this one liner challenge, what I have to do is simple, add a single line to this story.

My line is at the bottom of the post in italics. And on it goes!


 

Chapter 1…THE BEACH
It was a warm sunny day and sea was an almost transparent shade of blue.
I lay there, watching the waves lap on the shore, a drink in hand, a tear rolling down my cheek.
I stand up yelling at that boy who threw this load of sand into my eyes and my drink when he jumped over me.
I then grabbed my water gun, running fast after him, I was laughing, he was jumping over people to escape. He turned to look at me, but didn’t see the two children in front of him carrying two delicious looking ice cream cones.
As he barreled into the children, knocking the ice-cream from their grasp, I caught one of the scoops of pistachio and hurled it at his head as I fell laughing to the ground!
And what luck, his mouth was open and he gulped down the scoop, spitting nuts rapid-fire style like a rabid squirrel! And wouldn’t you know it, a squirrel leaped from a nearby tree, performing a flying maneuver worthy of the best traveling circus family, catching the nuts in his mouth in mid-air!!
It was all too fantastical and I wondered for a moment if I’d forgotten to take my medication earlier…or perhaps I took too much!
I opened my eyes with a jolt, peeled my face from the sticky plastic beach lounger, and rubbed my eyes-sun and too many mojitos make for ridiculous dreams!
Unaware to her, the man behind the one way mirror furiously scribbled down notes and couldn’t help but marvel at how his creation truly believed IT was a real human being and he hadn’t even begun stage 2984DU which everyone with his intellect knows is when the real fun starts!
Professor James Loxet knew he had just one more test to carry out before the implant of the 2984DU chip, Just one more social situation, the dinner party. The thought of going to this party, surrounded by so many people, just made James cringe to his core, he hated crowds of people! Yet, at the nagging of his close friends, James, picked himself up from the beach and headed home to change for the party. Despite his nagging headache and the gnaw of anxiety in his gut, James found a sort of peace in the ritual of dressing.
The party was a very formal affair, so James decided to put on his best black tuxedo. He stood before a mirror, fidgeting at the tight-fit of his white shirt and tie, trying to feel comfortable.
The minute he walked through the rotating doors, he was greeted by Brenda, a horrid woman with a snaggletooth and unibrow who spoke through her nose and mocked his work, calling him Mr. Latex.
The back of his psyche buzzing, “Mr Latex will read your entrails!” hisses toward her.
His thought was interrupted as his eyes landed on Robin, mesmerizing in strapless long black dress with hair tied high on her head, flashing her glowing skin. Mrs. Robin, he clenched his teeth as he reminded himself of her new status.Just as he was imagining how different his life could have been if he had married her, Robin felt his eyes trailing the length of her body and gave him a cold, hard look before turning her back to him.
James would not let her go so easily, no matter her status; he rushed behind her, pressed himself against her back as one hand gripped her wrist and the other pressed firmly on her stomach. The pain of a stiletto heel shot through him, and as he released his grip on her, Robin spun round,and James doubled over in agony as her knee made contact with his balls. Why oh why, after previously ripping the very expensive fitted sheet his mother had bought him for Christmas, had he let her persuade him to wear those stilettos in bed again?

He slowly straightened himself and quickly did a scan around the room to see who may have witnessed what had just happened…good, no one, it seemed, and sauntered over to the bar, in his ‘no, I wasn’t just kneed in the balls’ kinda way.

Behind the bar stood the lovely Karen, whose eyes looked on James with pity. “May I have a bag of ice?” he asked looking down at the floor. “I saw what happened James. You need more than ice. Meet me in the upstairs bedroom and I will take care of you.”

Karen slipped out from behind the bar as James walked away. She watched him head up the stairs, and then followed him up. The bedroom door was open. She closed it, fastening them both in the room. His eyes widened at the sight of her teeth. Long. Sharp. Pointed. A vampire? “I know what you’re thinking, but vampires don’t get cavities,” Karen opened her mouth and pointed to three fillings in her molars then to her sharp canines, “these are just something all werewolves are born with.”“See this shiny clip on my tie Karen” James asked, hands fidgeting with something in his pockets “Silver.”

Just then the door flew open, James spun round (as well as one can with pummelled balls) and saw a robot standing there. After a short and awkward pause the robot said “A metaphysical dichotomy is affecting this program – Leave now.”

James hesitated only a second before he careened toward the window and shattered it with his haphazard jump, then skidded along the short roof and plummeted over the edge, narrowly avoiding being blasted to a thousand bits by his robot.

What he did not avoid was every branch, twig, and bramble on his way down to the ground, shards of glass sticking to his tux like fake tattoos, as he bounced and bobbed lower (he’d have to thank the gardener later for his placement of plants and shrubs) until finally he reached the cold, hard earth with the thought that he’d at least broken his neck. 

And now we’ll have to ask Nicholas Hughes what happens next!

Rules, these things always have rules:

1. Write one line in an ongoing story
2. Pass the challenge onto the next victim/nominee
3. Link back to your nominator
4. Link back to Rich at Shine On: Wafflemethis who created the challenge
5. Copy and paste all the previous story and add your line in italics
6. If you decide you don’t want to take part, please contact Rich at Waffles so he can send it elsewhere and keep his story going