Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Hero's Perspective: Callie and Jonathan

Hello, all, and welcome to the very first episode of Hero's Perspective, a brand new feature-

Jarek: Which you just invented because you haven't posted any of your novella in months, and which you'll probably never do again.

Shush, you. Since when do you know the future? And this isn't your story anyway. *shoves Jarek out of the post* As I was saying, welcome to Hero's Perspective, a new feature in which I, your host, interview the heroes and heroines of various speculative fiction. Joining us today are Callie Heartwood and Jonathan Davis, from my novella Fight Song. And, yes, as Jarek pointed out, this will serve as a refresher for what's happened in the story so far. Callie, Jonathan, welcome to the show. It's great to have you here. 

Callie: Thank you . . . I think.

Jonathan: Nice to be here. I take it that this means you'll be posting again soon?

Definitely! The next chapter is going up a week from today! So, to start out, how about you tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you got mixed up in the events of the novella?

Callie: Well, my name is Callie Heartwood. I'm a college student currently studying music and basically the main character of Fight Song. A few years back, I was working in a hotel in my hometown when I heard something odd and went to investigate. When I got there, I found a strange man doing something weird to one of my coworkers. I called the police, but when they showed up, the man had disappeared. My coworker died three days later, and I've been searching for her murderer ever since.

Jonathan: I'm Jonathan Davis, a reporter for the Foundry City Herald. I've been investigating Damian Welsh, a businessman who I believe is actually a minor supervillain responsible for a long string of murders including that of Callie's coworker. She contacted me, offering an exchange of information, and when we discovered that we were indeed hunting the same man, we decided to join forces.

Right! However, Welsh isn't the only one with superpowers. Now, before I go on, you two should know that this is a secure space and that neither of you will remember anything from this conversation when you return to your story. Given that . . . Callie, want to share what you can do?

Callie: Well, you don't exactly give me much of a choice. My power, or curse, whichever you want to call it, is music. See, everything in this world has a song. Air, wood, asphalt, fire, people, that pencil you're playing with . . . everything. I can hear those songs and, by either playing or singing them, I can control the things they're connected to. The only song I hear but can't use is the Death Song, which is exactly what it sounds like: the song I hear when someone nearby is dying. That's what led me to Welsh in the first place.

Jonathan: So, the mugger stuck in the subway tile . . . ?

Callie: Yeah, I did that. I was hoping you wouldn't find out, but since she says you won't remember, I guess it's ok.

Of course he'll forget. I wouldn't have brought it up otherwise. But, Callie, stopping the mugger wasn't the only time you've used your powers recently. Can you tell us about that incident?

Callie: Yeah. So, last Sunday, I went out busking, because it was a nice day and I wanted to earn some extra money. I stayed out pretty late, and on my way back, I heard the Death Song. Naturally, I followed it, and just like that night in the hotel, it led me straight to Welsh. I was too late to save the victim, but I wanted to make Welsh confess, so I used the song of people, and . . . Well, that was a bad idea. Welsh broke my control over him and took control of me instead. I almost died, but then this girl who can control fire showed up out of nowhere and attacked Welsh so I could get away. After that, I was planning to play it safe for a while, just in case Welsh was looking for me, but right now, the cafe I gig at is being held up, and I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who can stop it.

I'm sure you'll manage. So, what can you two tell us about Welsh?

Jonathan: As I said earlier, Welsh is a businessman, specifically the CEO of a software and big data company. He usually does a pretty good job staying out of the public eye, which makes sense for a serial killer.

Callie: Not that it would matter a whole lot in his case. We're not really sure how his powers work, but it seems like he can somehow drain or suck up a person's life or energy or whatever until they're basically dead, but not exactly. The person can still walk around and act pretty normal, if kind of out of it, for a couple days, and then they just drop dead, seemingly out of the blue. But they're still dead as soon as Welsh finishes with them, or I'd guess they are, because I heard the Death Song around Lacey from the night I saw Welsh attack her until she actually, y'know.

Jonathan: And that's what makes him so hard to catch. By the time the victim appears to die, Welsh is long gone. The police can't explain the murder, so they chalk it up to some more mundane cause, even if the facts don't quite add up. With a lot of investigation, though, I managed to find the pattern, that Welsh was always in town a few days before the victim visibly died. There are more connections, but I won't go into them.

Callie: About that. I'm still curious how you found out all this.

Jonathan: I'm a reporter. Reporters investigate things. Look, you have your secrets; let me keep mine.

Let's not argue, you two. So, Welsh is a businessman who happens to be able to suck the life out of people. Anything else we should know about him?

Callie: He's dangerous. The murdery bit isn't his only power. His voice, it's . . . it controls you. I can play the song of people and I can basically make people do whatever I want, just like I can with air or stone or other elements. I don't, usually, because it . . . it just seems wrong, you know? But Welsh, he can do the same thing with his voice. He tells you to do something, and you don't want to do it, but you have to. You can't control yourself. And it lasts a little while even after he stops talking. It's terrifying.

That definitely sounds pretty scary. I have one last question for you: what's driving you to keep pursuing Welsh despite the danger? 

Callie: . . .

Jonathan: And I thought you were going to let us off easy.

Oh, you have no idea. Anyway, the question?

Callie: Well, the reason I started looking was to bring Lacey's killer to justice. It didn't seem right for a man to kill and walk free. And . . . I guess I wanted to reassure myself that I wasn't crazy. That what I'd seen and heard that night was real and the songs I heard weren't just some sign that something in my head had snapped.

You said that's why you started. Is that not the same reason you're still doing it?

Callie: Yes. No. I . . . I still want Welsh to get what he deserves. I still want to prove I'm as sane as anyone else. But I guess it's become about more than that, sort of . . . I'm trying to figure out who I am, who I'm going to be, and what my powers make me, and I'm sort of using my pursuit of Welsh to do that.

Fascinating. All right, Jonathan. Your turn!

Jonathan: My answer's a little simpler than Callie's, I think. I went into reporting because I wanted to be like some of the journalists I'd read about in my history classes, the ones who dared to publish the truth and reveal the lies. Today's world of reporting doesn't make that easy, but I'm still trying. Exposing Welsh is part of that. And, of course, if I know there's something wrong going on, I can't just stand by and do nothing- but since I'm not the type to grab a gun and a mask and play the vigilante hero, I use the skills I do have for what's right.

Interesting. Thank you both for allowing me to interview you! Now, I know I said that was the last question, but . . .

Callie: Oh no. I knew there was a catch coming.

Very astute of you. Indeed, there is a "catch," if you want to call it that: I'm opening the floor up to my readers! Any questions they want to ask any of the Fight Song cast— not just Callie and Jonathan, but any of the characters—  they can post in comments, and the characters will answer! 

Jonathan: Well. That's not so bad.

Why, thank you, Jonathan! I'm glad you aren't being stubborn. And thank you to my readers! Don't forget to comment with your questions  for the characters or reactions to the interview. I'd love to hear from you!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Have I Read You Yet?

Hey'a, everyone! I'm currently recovering from getting my wisdom teeth out, so weekend Sarah wrote and scheduled this post to save midweek Sarah a bit of stress. (Note from midweek Sarah: reports of wisdom-teeth-recovery-frustration were greatly exaggerated. The fact that I'm staying off any strong pain meds probably helps. But since weekend Sarah went to all the trouble . . . on with the post!)

So, four years ago (plus a few days), I wrote a Top Ten Tuesdays post about popular authors whose books I'd never read. Having recently rediscovered said post, I thought that revisiting it would be fun so I could see how many of those popular authors I've now read and how many I still haven't.

Have I Read You Yet?

1. The Author: J.K. Rowling
I said then: "Harry Potter is one of the few series that my parents have ever specifically said I'm not allowed to read. I'm ok with that."
Have I read her?: So, I seriously planned to go my entire life without reading Harry Potter . . . but then, one by one, friends who I knew and trusted read it and told me how awesome it was. And somehow, I ended up reading so many theories and headcanons and fanfics and "Friendly reminder that . . ." posts that I basically knew most of the in-jokes and a fair bit of the plot. And at that point, I was curious enough to say that, if I was going to know this much about the fandom and be this invested in it, I might as well just join it. So I'm currently reading the series, though I'm a bit stuck between books 3 and 4 because of schoolwork and reviews and travel. (So far, Lupin, Sirius, and the Weasleys are the best, though I'm not as in love with the novels as I would be had I read them earlier.)

2. The Author: Rick Riordan 
I said then: "The whole descendants-of-gods thing kind of turned me off. It's one thing when it's the actual mythology; it's another when it's set in modern day."
Have I read him? Again, I was planning to never actually read these . . . but then friends kept talking about how great they are, even more so than Harry Potter. And my roommate happens to be a huge fan of these, and these happened to be the most easily accessible urban fantasy, plus I was on a Greek kick last school year, and . . . yeah. They're pretty awesome, or the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series are. I haven't read the Trials of Apollo or Magnus Chase yet, and I'm not sure if I will.

3. The Author: Ally Carter
I said then: "I've said a few times that I'm going to try one of her books. It obviously hasn't happened yet."
Have I read her? Yep. Heist Society is pretty fun and I might eventually reread it one of these days. Gallagher Girls I wasn't as impressed with, but it was still fairly enjoyable.

4. The Author: John Green
I said then: "No, I haven't even read The Fault in Our Stars. I don't plan on changing that. There are other books that interest me much more."
Have I read him? Still haven't read The Fault in Our Stars, but I did read Turtles All the Way Down and really enjoyed it! Plus I'm an avid vlogbrothers watcher, so there's that. 

5. The Author: William Shakespeare
I said then: I've read several adaptations of his work, but never the actual plays. I will have by the end of this school year, though. Romeo and Juliet I'll be reading for literature, and I still want to read Hamlet at some point too."
Have I read him? Yes. I've read Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Much Ado About Nothing, plus I listened to a dramatization of A Midsummer Night's Dream. So far, Much Ado is my absolute favorite, mostly because the hate-to-love trope is so much fun and Beatrice and Benedict are magnificent snarkmasters. I still haven't read Hamlet, though. Shame on me for that. 

6. The Author: Brandon Sanderson
I said then: "I think he's popular? I know several people who really like his books. I haven't heard much about them, but I'm pretty sure they're fantasy and I'm considering looking into them over the summer. (Or whenever I run out of new books to read. Whichever happens first.)"
Have I read him? Well, one of his books has appeared near the top of my "Best of" lists every year for the last few years . . . and I've developed a whole AU combining Mistborn and Berstru . . . and I've made a Mistcloak . . . and I apparently yell about Sanderson's books so much that one of my friends associates me with him on the same level that Cait Grace is associated with Maggie Stiefvater, so . . . I think that answers the question.

7. The Author: Erin Hunter
I said then: "Are the Warriors books even still popular? Anyone know? I used to know several people who were into them. I even joined a roleplay or two based on the books. (I'm weird that way. I joined a Hunger Games based RP before I read THG.) But I never actually read them. "
Have I read her? Nope. Are these still even a thing? They can't possibly still be a thing, right?  

8. The Author: Cassandra Clare
I said then: "Her books sound interesting, but also very much  . . . not sure what the word is, but I don't want to get into it."
Have I read her? The word 2014-me was looking for was mature, or possibly sketchy, and due to those two descriptors, I still haven't read Mortal Instruments or whatever else she writes. I have been tempted once or twice, but then I look at what I know and I'm like, "y'know, no." 

9. The Author: Stephanie Morrill
I said then: "I'm a big fan of the Go Teen Writers blog, which she writes for. I have e-copies of two of her books. I think that her Ellie Sweet series sounds pretty cool, what with the main character being a writer and all. But I have yet to actually read any of her work."
Have I read her? Still no. I want to read Ellie Sweet eventually, but when there's so much epic fantasy and steampunk and so on, well, it's hard to find the motivation for contemporary, even writer-contemporary.  

10. The Author: Stephen R. Lawhead
I said then: "I thought about reading one of his series, I think the King Arthur ones, at one point. But I couldn't find them at the library, and I think I heard something about mature content, so I decided not to. "
Have I read him? No, but I really want to read the Bright Empires series because Deborah O'Carroll keeps raving about it. I actually got the first book out over Christmas break, but I ran out of time to read it. Oh well. Maybe this summer . . .  

How many of these authors have you read? Are thre any authors who you thought you'd avoid and then ended up reading and loving? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
 -Sarah (Leilani Sunblade) 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

February 2018 Doings!

I'm tired, y'all. Of course, that's par for the course this time of year. Even when I have an easy courseload (which I currently don't), the spring semester is much harder to get through than the fall. As a result, this won't be a terribly long Doings post, but there's still some both good and bad to report.


  • Confession time: I've been struggling with writing and editing this month. As in, I've spent the whole month editing one chapter. Part of the problem is what's in the chapter; it's basically one long fight scene. The other problem is that I decided to expand the fight, so I'm writing new material instead of streamlining existing prose. To top it all off, the chapter ends with the entrance of a friends character who I really want to get right but haven't worked with in a while. So, yeah, that's been a struggle.
  • Original writing hasn't been much better. I've dabbled a little bit on a short story for the Indie e-Con contest, but I haven't worked on it long enough to get anywhere, and I'm not quite sure what's going to happen with it. This is the second half-finished short story for the same contest, mostly because I keep starting things without knowing how they're going to end and that's the worst possible thing to do with a short story.
  • I did join up with Kendra E. Ardnek's Golden Braids writing challenge, so that's something! The challenge was inspired by (and, to some degree, created to replace) the 5 Something Somethings writing contests hosted by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Essentially, a lot of writers are, over the next year, going to write retellings of a particular fairy tale, in this case, "Rapunzel," and those so inclined will take part in a big group release like the Three Sleeping Beauties one that happened this past August. So far, all I've done with the challenge is list off my many Rapunzel ideas, but I'm excited for what's coming.
  • Overall, I managed to write and edit a total of 5,619 words and 10 hours. That's less than my goal, but I guess it could be worse.


  • Even if writing hasn't gone well, I've had a decent month reading-wise. The first week was a little dry; all I read was The Reluctant Godfather, a unique take on Cinderella. I enjoyed it, though I definitely wasn't as in love with it as a lot of my friends are. Part of the problem was that I spent a fair bit of time wanting to shake both halves of the main couple for various reasons . . . but overall, it was pretty enjoyable.
  • Next up was Into the Wild, a worldview book written by one of my Cedarville professors about the problem of evil. It's definitely not my usual genre or subject matter, but I still enjoyed it. It's insightful and doesn't pull punches, but it's also extremely readable, the sort of book you can get a lot out of even when you're tired.
  • Beyond that, all my books this month are from my college library's Blind Date With a Book event. I love this event for a lot of reasons and this year, I took full advantage of it by checking out four blind date books. The first two, Court of Fives and The Adoration of Jenna Fox, both had interesting concepts and worldbuilding but were flawed by cliche characters. The third, a graphic novel of A Study in Scarlet, was a good adaptation of the source, but I didn't care for the artist's style. (The fact that I, like 90% of the internet, now have Benedict Cumberbatch firmly established as my picture of Sherlock Holmes probably doesn't help.)
  • My last blind date book, which I'm currently reading, is Watership Down. I'm fairly certain that people have recommended this to me before? Or, at the very least, it's almost a classic, and so I've been pointed towards it for that reason. I'm enjoying it; it seems like the sort of book that would happen if C.S. Lewis, Megan Whalen Turner, Brian Jacques, and one of the major classic-dystopian authors (not sure which one) sat down and decided to write a story together. However, Watership Down has also raised a question in my mind: what is it with books about small, cute animals turning out so storming intense, even dark? I mean, Watership Down reads like something between dystopian and Queen's Thief-esque fantasy. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is on the lighter side, but it still involves characters being experimented on? and then characters die at the end and you don't know which ones? (unless you read the spin-offs/sequels, but those are less well-known, I think). The Tale of Despereaux involves, among other things, a girl being abused and essentially sold into slavery by her father and a minor character who's doomed to die by wandering a pitch-dark dungeon until he starves. And, much as I loved Redwall as a young teen (despite the predictability of the plotlines), and much as I applaud its portrayal of good as good and evil as evil and its emphasis on peace, community, and food, if the series were written about people instead of animals? They'd be considered adult books just because of the intense situations and the number of characters who die or almost die, especially the books based in Salamandastron or around the hares and badgers in general. (If anyone reading this doubts me, go reread The Long Patrol and reconsider.) Seriously, does anyone know what's up with this? Because I'm really curious.


  • Fairy Tail, as usual. I'm still working through "Key of the Starry Heavens" and facepalming at character stupidity, both of the usual honest idiocy kind and of the "MY VOWS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY MORAL COMPASS!" kind. I think I find the second type more annoying, personally, because with the first type it's kind of like "Ok, you can't really help it," but with the second I'm like, "You have proven in previous encounters that you have a brain. You used it to beat up the people I like, but I can see why you did that. SO WHY AREN'T YOU USING IT NOW WHEN THE FATE OF THE WORLD IS AT STAKE?"
  • Yeah. If you can't tell, this is a really painful arc to watch.
  • Also, I've been right about almost every plot twist I've predicted so far. I'm not sure whether to be satisfied or frustrated by that. Since I haven't guessed every single plot twist that actually happened (but was right about the ones I did guess), I'm going to call it a good thing. Good-ish, anyway. So, yeah. Hopefully, I'll finish the arc over break, since we still have a lot to watch and we want to be done with the show by the end of the semester.


  • So, this whole month has been characterized by swinging from insane busyness to totally chill with no middle ground WHATSOEVER. It's very frustrating and, frankly, exhausting. That's probably another reason why writing didn't go very well this month . . .
  • Most of what I've had to do has, naturally, been schoolwork, including two shoe illustrations, an editing exam (which was super stressful, just so you know), a problem map about discrimination in media, at least one short paper, and a ton of reading. Most of it was relatively interesting, except the exam and the paper, but yeah. Still a lot.
  • The first weekend of February was the spring play, which was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. My C.S. Lewis class from last semester got back together for the afternoon and went to see it together, and then the professor had us over for dinner— he's pretty awesome, if you can't guess, and his wife makes some of the best chili I've had outside of my own home, so I really enjoyed that bit of the day. The play itself was ok; the set design, the acting, and the costumes were all pretty great. However, the script they were working off of wasn't the greatest and was definitely meant for a younger-than-college audience, so . . . yeah. Not the theater department's greatest triumph, though they definitely did the best they could with what they had.
  • Then, the weekend after the play, my aunt came down to visit, so that was nice. We went to see my great-aunt (who doesn't live too far away) and then had dinner out. I got back just in time to dash off to Bible study . . . only to find that I was the only one who wasn't too busy to show up. So, in lieu of meaningful conversation about 1 John, the professor who runs the study and I played two games of Carcassonne, both of which I lost but enjoyed anyway. And the day after, I ran into one of the other people who usually attend and teased him about how he'd missed a rousing theological discussion
  • I'm still going to swing classes, if anyone was curious, and so far I haven't been dropped during any dips or other moves, nor have I stepped on anyone's feet that I can remember. So, despite the fact that I can't pull off a quarter of the steps or moves we've learned so far, I'm calling the whole affair a success. I think the biggest struggle for me is that, although I understand in my head what's going on and how I should be doing everything (well, almost everything), and although I generally trust the guys I'm dancing with not to drop me, I tend to stiffen up when I actually try to do the thing. And since swing dance seems to rely a lot on being flowing and relaxed, my tendency is a touch of a problem. I'm working on it, though.
  • Unfortunately, although swing continues, martial arts doesn't. The instructor ended up having to cancel because he had a lot of schedule conflicts and some other stuff was going on as well. Someone else wanted to take over, but the people in charge of the gym decided they didn't want to hire anyone new until next semester. So, no more martial arts for me. I'm disappointed, but at the same time, I'm now only spending a half hour at the gym on Monday and Wednesday instead of a full hour, which is nice. And lately the weather's been so nice that I've just gone for walks in the afternoons instead.
  • Besides midterms, the month ended with PWID's Portfolio Review, an event where all the PWID students who have portfolios get those portfolios critiqued by field professionals. And that meant scrambling to update my portfolio and fix some of the issues that people noted last fall, only to be told that some of my major changes needed to be either undone or changed again. I'm not complaining; the advice made sense. Still, it was a little frustrating.
  • Of course, I needed to fix up my portfolio anyway, since I've finally started applying for summer internships. I didn't find as many in my area as I expected, but there are a couple that I like the sound of enough to try, and I'm going to look again sometime soon.

March Plans!

  • March begins with spring break, and let me tell you, I'm ready for it. Granted, it won't be a full break; I have projects I have to work on and class reading to do and so on. But not going to class and spending time with my family will be very pleasant. Plus, I've The Lost Plot and Ink, Iron, and Glass on request from the library and I'm thoroughly excited to read them.
  • As far as writing goes, I think I'm going to aim for an easier goal than the last two months. In some respects, I feel like that's cheating— like I ought to keep trying for the half-hour a day until I can achieve it. But I didn't create these goals just so I could wear myself down, and that's what's going to happen if I keep on as I have. Besides, I can use a bit of a break before Camp NaNoWriMo, and I need time to try to get ahead on assignments so I don't die come April.
  • All that to say: my writing goal for March is 15 minutes a day, 6 days a week, or two chapters of Fight Song and a plan for April. If I can accomplish one of those goals, I'll be happy. (That said, I'm giving myself a free pass until tomorrow because of midterms and travel and all that insanity.)
  • As far as classes go, I'm not anticipating anything out of the ordinary. I have a few big projects that'll come due in the second half of the month, but nothing horrible. Of course, as I said, I want to try to get ahead a bit, so I'm not sure how that will work out.
  • As I said already, I plan to keep looking for internships I can apply for. Motivating myself in that area is a bit difficult, to be honest; summer seems a long time away. But I need to do something to earn money this summer, and an internship sounds much more appealing than running a register at Chick-fil-a.
How was your February? Have any fun plans for March? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The What If? . . . Fantasy Tag!

Hey'a, everyone! So, I didn't end up doing as much stuff with February is Fantasy Month as I hoped— though, all my posts so far have been fantasy-RELATED, so I've got that going for me). Today, however, I'm actually officially participating with this super-fun fantasy tag that Jenelle created! Admittedly, I wasn't officially tagged with it . . . but one of my friends said she was going to tag me, so that counts, right? Riiiight. Anyway, let's get started!

1. Your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. The cast of the most recent fantasy book you read comes to your assistance… who are they? Will they be helpful?
The last fantasy book I read was Court of Fives (pretty cool world, exciting storyline, but cliche main character and love interest, FYI), so coming to my rescue are Jessamy, Kalliarkos, and . . . I guess we're going to say Thynos, Inarsis, Coriander, Jessamy's family, and one other spoiler-y character, if we go with the majority of the good guys. Unfortunately, none of this group knows how to fix a car, and neither athletic prowess nor political savviness is going to be much use here. I guess they can keep me company and protect me from sketchy people while I wait for more useful help? Good thing I've got a cell phone . . .

2. You go to bed one evening and wake up in the lair of the villain of the last fairy tale you read, where are you and how do you plan to get out?
Are we counting fairy tale retellings in this? I'm going to assume that we're counting fairy tale retellings here, in which case the last fairy tale I read was Cinderella, specifically Allison Tebo's The Reluctant Godfather. So . . . I'm in de Ghent Hall, or more generally, the home of Cinderella's stepmother? That's not too bad. Worst-case scenario, I'm either locked in an attic or closet or something or being forced to do housework. In the latter case, it shouldn't be too hard to just slip out; in the former, well, I'd probably chill and/or panic for a bit, figure out if anyone knew I was there and why I was there, and then decide on a plan.

3. You are transported into a fantasy realm and given a mythical creature as a companion and best friend… which mythical creature do you get?
A dragon! Preferably one of the dragons from my Berstru Tales, which are as intelligent as humans (if not more so), a managable-but-still-intimidating-to-foes size (unless it's a miniature dragon, in which case the size is definitely not intimidating, but the dragon as a whole still might be), and able to bond to people. As a bonus, a human bonded to a dragon gets some pretty useful powers, which I'll need if I'm going to survive a fantasy adventure.

4. In a strange series of coincidences, you end up needing to take the place of your favorite fantasy hero or heroine. Who are you? 
So, my favorite fantasy heroine shifts around a bit depending on which books I've read most recently, which ones I'm itching to read, my mood, and a few other factors. At the moment, I'd say that I'm probably taking the place of either Shallan Davar from The Stormlight Archive or Marasi Colms from Mistborn. Admittedly, neither of them live in the safest storyworlds . . . and Shallan's life is kinda sorta a complete mess . . . but I'd manage. I think. 

5. To go along with question #4, now that you are that character, is there anything you would do differently than that character, now that you are running the show?
For Shallan— yes, enough that it's not going to be convenient to list them all here, but that's mostly because I'm of a rather different personality than she is and so I wouldn't react to events or deal with personal struggles in the same way— storms, half of her personal struggles, I don't know if I'd have at all, given the differences between my personality and hers. How that would affect events in the books, I'm not sure.

For Marasi-— no. Marasi's fabulous and sensible and makes excellent choices. I probably wouldn't manage half as well as she does, honestly. Hopefully I wouldn't cause anyone to die by accident. Though . . . I guess I might be slightly more suspicious of a particular character who shall remain unnamed because spoilers.

6. If you were yourself in a fantasy novel, what role do you think you would play in the story?
I'd rather like to be the heroine . . . but honestly, I'd probably be a side character, one who serves as impulse control to the protagonist and has random useful knowledge of lore, legends, magical creatures, and so on and generally keeps everyone from making stupid decisions and getting killed . . . at least when they listen to me. I could get behind that role.

7. One morning, as you are going about your daily business, you pick up an everyday item and a voice booms in your head with prophetic words about your future. What object is it, and what is your prophecy?

The object I pick up is one of my pencils, and the prophecy which I receive is as follows:

Besiegéd! Besiegéd thou shalt be
With more ideas than thou can ev'r use!
Yet none shall come when most thou desires,
But only as int'ruption of another story's muse.

8. You are transported into a magical realm and turned into a mythical beast… what beast/fantasy creature do you want to be?
My first thought was dragon . . . but, as Jenelle pointed out, being a dragon means that people are potentially hunting you, plus dragons aren't really built for either reading or writing things. So, let's go with . . . hmm. The faeries of Rudiobus are technically fantasy creatures, aren't they? Can I be one of them? I'd be super down with that. I'd be immortal, able to turn into some kind of woodland creature (I'd prefer an otter, if that's possible), and in prime position to explore the Wood and meet a lot of favorite characters.

9. If you could read your way into any fantasy realm, but the catch is that you can never leave, would you? Which realm would you choose?
I think my last answer pretty much answers that question: if I could read my way into the world of Goldstone Wood, I'd do so in a heartbeat. I'd find my way straight to Dame Imraldera's Haven and convince her that she definitely needs me as an assistant. From there, I'd learn how to navigate the Wood and the Paths and go exploring throughout the Near and Far Worlds.

10.  As you are going about your normal day, you discover that you have a magical power. What is it?         
The power is control over time- speeding it up, slowing it down, and stopping it altogether around me. I discover this power in one of two ways. 

Possibility one: I'm in the middle of doing schoolwork and stressed because I have so much to do and so little time to do it in. I go on the internet to look something up, but . . . that's odd. Why is the internet loading so slowly? I look at the on my dresser and realize that I've been working for an hour, but only fifteen minutes have passed . . . what do you know, I've been speeding up time in a bubble around myself, giving myself more time in which to work! Bolstered by this knowledge, I figure out how to temporarily make time normal again so I can look up what I need to know, then get back to work and finish with plenty of time to read a good book and catch up on Fairy Tail.

Possibility two: it's Sunday night and my hallmates and I are going to dinner. The dining hall is packed full of people; the lines are back all the way to the grill; there are hardly any seats left. For an introvert, it's utterly overwhelming, and I wish that everything would stop- and then it does. Everyone and everything around me and my friends just freezes. We're all quite confused, but decide to take advantage of the moment to find a place to sit. After we've done that, time goes back to normal. Later, I do some experimenting and figure out that I'm the one who caused it. 

I'm not going to tag anyone, since I wasn't officially tagged myself . . . but if you're reading this, feel free to steal the tag to answer on your own blog! I'd love to see how you respond!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade) 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Beautiful Persons: Valentine's Day 2018

Ok, so technically, this isn't a real Beautiful People post because Cait isn't doing Beautiful People anymore. I'm not sure when or why she stopped, but yeah. However, for the last two years, I've used the Couples Edition question set for a Valentine's Day–themed post, and I didn't want to give up the tradition. So, I've pulled questions from all three Couples sets to create my own Beautiful Persons interview! Today, I'll be interviewing Xiang and Baili from Blood in the Snow, mostly because getting into their headspace is currently really easy. As things turned out, writing their responses was also super fun because I've never had the chance before to write about them when they aren't stressed and on guard and so on. Anyway, hope you enjoy!

To start off, how long have you been a couple?
Xiang: I believe that depends how you define a couple. We were betrothed when we were fairly young, but we did not meet and fall in love until much later.

Of course. So, how and why did you meet?
Xiang: If I recall correctly, we met on the riverbank by the goose pastures because one of Baili's companions pushed her into the river and I happened to be walking nearby.
Baili: *blushes* I don't believe it was quite like that . . .
Xiang: But that did happen, did it not?
Baili: Well, yes, but we'd known of each other before then. We were betrothed, after all, even if that was our first real meeting.

Well then. What were your first impressions of each other?
Xiang: That, even soaked, in rough robes, and very flustered, she was every bit as beautiful as she was said to be.
Baili: Xiang!
Xiang: *innocently* The Zuòjia asked, Baili-qīn. Would you have me answer untruthfully?
Baili: No— I just— *gives up* I thought he was very kind to help someone who surely seemed to be the lowest of his servants.

Indeed. And now that you've had much more time to interact, how committed/loyal are you to each other?
Xiang: Very. I would have gladly searched to the furthest reaches of the realm to find my lovely bride.
Baili: As he said, but . . . Our match was political first, even though it turned to love. To be unfaithful would have consequences reaching far beyond just our personal relationship. So, our love is in many ways how we remain committed, not merely why.

I see. So, how would you prove your love for each other? Would you die for each other?
Baili: Yes. Absolutely, yes.
Xiang: Baili speaks for both of us. As for how we prove our love, spending time with one another is part of it. In our culture, emperors who barely see their wives are very common. But we're both committed to sharing our lives as much as possible.
Baili: *nods* For us, it truly is the smallest things that mean the most.

They often are. So, is there something you emphatically disagree on?
Xiang: Thus far, we have had few major disagreements, merely instances in which one of us felt strongly about a matter and the other was indifferent. We both pray that will continue.

So do we all. Now, fun question! List 5 “food quirks” you know about each other.
Baili: Xiang has a special fondness for exotic fruit, more than anyone else I have met.
Xiang: I believe Baili enjoys it nearly as much as I do. However, she no longer eats apples, ever since a certain turn of events that I believe I am forbidden from going into detail on.

Oh, yes, you definitely are. But go on.
Baili: Xiang doesn't seem to care for fish or seafood, which I find odd.
Xiang: No doubt, Baili-qīn, I would like it as much as you do if I had grown up as near the sea as you did. I do not think there is anyone in my father's court who enjoys such dishes as much as you do.
Baili: They do remind me of home, yes.
Xiang: Is that four quirks or just three that we're up to?
Baili: Four, I believe. Can you think of any other?
Xiang: No, unfortunately. Zuòjia, perhaps we can move on?

Of course. Next question: Are you ever embarrassed of each other?
Baili: *blushes* I do not think I should answer this question.
Xiang: *pulls Baili closer to his side and smiles down at her* I fear that Baili-qīn is easily flustered whenever I happen to display affection with people around, no matter how subtle I am.
Baili: I can't help it! It doesn't just happen with— with what he said. He says things, quietly usually, but always just loud enough that I'm afraid someone else will hear.
Xiang: You enjoy my little words of affection, though!
Baili: Of course, but I would rather others not hear them.

All right, enough! What’s one thing you know about each other that no one else does?
Baili: I know that Xiang is not always as formal and serious as he shows himself to the court.
Xiang: Of course I am not. As for myself, I know that Baili is far stronger than most realize. She always makes much of the help given her by others, yet she has endured much which would have caused others to despair.

Last question! What would you consider an ideal date?
Baili: A private meal, just the two of us. A picnic by the river's edge would be nice.
Xiang: And after that, a walk beneath the stars.
Baili: In short, we would prefer something simple, quiet, and private.

That sounds lovely. And now the interview's over! Say goodbye to the readers!  
 Baili & Xiang: *both bow*
Xiang: Farewell, honored readers. May your Valentine's Day be blessed, no matter who you spend it with. *smiles at Baili* I know mine will be.
Baili: *blushes* Yes, farewell, and thank you very much for reading!

Thank you indeed! And as Xiang said, happy Valentine's Day! Do you have any plans? Do you think Xiang and Baili are a couple you'd enjoy reading about? Please tell me in the comments!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade) 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Worth of a King Cover Reveal!

Hey'a, everyone! So, most of you probably know this, but Kendra E. Ardnek is currently working on a new novel in the Rizkaland multiverse, The Worth of a King. I'm an alpha reader for Worth, and let me tell you, it's pretty awesome— on the same level as Lady Dragon, Tela Du, honestly. And today, we're revealing the cover!

Release Date: August 27 

About the Book:

Princess Obsidia’s father was killed the night she was born. Since there was no male heir, the crown went to the man who killed him, by Dialcian law. This never bothered her, growing up, and when it comes time for Obsidia to choose her husband, she chooses Prince Delaney, the son of that man, with little hesitation. Only then does her life start crumbling around her.

Adrian expected to live a normal life, taking his father’s place at the print shop when his father retired. But, on his eighteenth birthday, when the princess’ engagement is announced, his world is ripped out from under him when he learns that his life was a ruse, and he is the twin brother to the princess – and expected to take back his father’s throne.

Delaney knows that his country is hovering on the brink of war – and that his father may harbor murderous intentions towards his intended bride due to her Zovordian blood. He wants nothing more than to protect Obsidia and his people, but as merely prince, he has little power against his father.

The ancient war between the Dragons and the Immortal King and Queen is nearing its climax, and the three are already caught in it.

Read the opening chapter || Add it on Goodreads

About the Author:

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 || Amazon  

Isn't the cover gorgeous? Definitely my new favorite of Kendra's covers. I love the colors and the crown, and the dragon eating its tail seems very fitting for reasons that y'all will figure out once you read the book . . . hopefully, anyway. It has a very different feel than most of Kendra's other covers, but then again, the book is pretty different as well (even if it does feature some familiar characters). 

In addition to the cover, Kendra has provided some bonus goodies for y'all to enjoy: a snippet, a mini-interview, and one of her inspiration Pins!


“Well, that’s one village down – just eleven more to go,” Nadilynn declared once they were well on the road again the next morning. “Del, I don’t know that Sidi will be able to survive it. Whatever shall be done?”

“I think that, if you’ll just leave her alone between now and this evening, she might actually make it,” Delaney suggested.

Nadilynn pursed her lips. “She did well and enough during the speech,” she mused. “It’s just after we talked to the printer about his sons that she went all quiet.”

“Obsidia is generally quiet,” Delaney pointed out, folding his arms over his chest. “Maybe you’ve finally been quiet enough to notice.”


This interview features the voices of Kendra and three of her main characters! First up, Kendra! What was your favorite part of writing Worth? 

Kendra: The relationships. Adrian and Obsidia as they discovered each other. Delaney and Obsidia's sweet romance. Adrian and his adopted brother, Jerolin. Adrian and Christa, the girl he only realized he loved after he found out that he's a prince and will likely have to marry some princess. Adrian and Delaney, now that was an interesting pair. Obsidia and Christa. Obsidia and Nadilynn. Delaney and Nadilynn. All the relationships. 

Also, I got to write a world that took place in an inverted sphere. That was awesome.

And for the characters: Pick one of your fellow main or major characters who’s especially important to you and describe them in one sentence.

Adrian: Obsidia, the twin sister I just found out that I have. The reason that I'm willing to face up to my true ancestry and do this whole prince thing. She's ... quiet. And confusing.

Delaney: Obsidia, who I'm pledged to marry. I'll do anything to keep her safe. Like Adrian said, she's quiet, but she's smart and intelligent and I value her knowledge of history immensely.

Obsidia: *glances between the two* I suppose I'm now expected to choose between my twin brother and the man I plan to marry? Well, I refuse. The person most important to me is Nadilynn, Delaney's younger sister. She's an incorrigible ray of sunshine who's going to land herself in a heap of trouble one of these days.

And now we see why Obsidia is, in many ways, the main-main character of the novel . . . but let's move on, shall we?


And that's it! Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to check out the rest of the cover reveal stops for more exclusive content!
Have a great day!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)