Blog-o-versary Planning Committee: ask me your questions!

Good morning, dear Reader!

It has come to my attention that this blog will be turning 6 years old on December 4!

Now, technically, I’ve been writing blog posts on an author blog for far longer than that. My very first blog post on my author platform was way back on August 23, 2007! Wow. That seems like a really long time ago. But I don’t count that as my blog-i-versary for a few simple reasons:

  1. I had no idea what I was doing, and I’m pretty sure that the only people who read my blog back then were my mom and a couple of friends.
  2. It wasn’t on THIS blog. Yep, my first author blog was my little blogspot blog.

So THIS blog went live with little-to-no fanfare and its very first post on December 4, 2012.

At that point, I had published exactly ONE book – King’s Warrior.

Since then, I have published the rest of the Minstrel’s Song series, won the Rooglewood Contest of Five Enchanted Roses, and published two short stories through the Fellowship of Fantasy.

I’ve written 835 blog posts here on this blog.

I’ve received 61,000 views and 5,360 comments.

My best day ever was 258 views.

My best month ever was July 2017.

I’ve featured 80 artists/authors on this blog over the past 6 years.

I’ve reviewed 96 books and 48 movies.

I’ve shared approximately 17 short stories.

I’ve participated in 19 tags.

This blog now has 253 email subscribers, and if you add the people who could follow the blog through my facebook page, that number hits very close to 1,000!

These are big numbers. Numbers worth celebrating! And they are all due to YOU, dear Reader. Without you, this little blog would just be my own exercise in futility.

So, thank you, dear Reader.

Now… on to the party planning element… on December 4th, I’d like to have a little celebration of all these lovely numbers, and… eep… I’m thinking about STEALING TRACEY’S IDEA and doing my first-ever vlog. (There will be other things to go along with that, as well – but I’ll announce those things closer to the actual blog-o-versary)

Ahem.

But while the idea of chatting with you all around a campfire and talking about various things is really appealing, the idea of creating a vlog-post is terrifying. And I need time to get it together, which is why I’m posting about it now… so I can try to get it done by Dec. 4. Thus, I’m appointing each and every one of you to my party-planning committee and asking you to shoot questions my way so that I have something to talk about. Otherwise, I’m just going to ramble about my favorite books and movies and be my scatter-brained self… which could be entertaining, I suppose… but I’d rather talk about stuff YOU care about… so fire away!

And… since a call for questions is usually all it takes for my brain to go completely blank… I’m stealing even further from Tracey and giving you a list of topics to get you started:

living in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Indiana, or Illinois
books
movies
being homeschooled/homeschooling my kids
my kids
my reputation for getting lost every time I get in a car
real-life adventures I’ve had
um… books?
authoring stuff?
future plans
Stormcave
my MBTI type…

Feel free to make up your own questions! And I promise that if I get tons of questions I’ll keep the vlog to a reasonable length of time (or at the very least, break it up into reasonable bite-sized pieces and post multiples if that’s what needs to happen).

 

~ jenelle

Wilderness For Heart

Breaking my radio silence briefly to share this gorgeous NEW music video with you. Enjoy! #MusicMonday

 

~ jenelle

Going Dark

Whew! What an awesome month October was! I had so many things going on: we have begun work on the interior finishing of our house, I participated in several blog tours, read and reviewed some awesome books, interviewed a myriad of interesting characters, ran #drachtober, issued a spooky story challenge, wrote 2 pieces of flash-fiction (one for the blog, one which I submitted to an online magazine), and went on a family-reunion-vacation smack-dab in the middle of the month, which was particularly awesome.

However, all of that busy-ness has amounted to practically ZERO writing getting done on the next Turrim Archive book. And that needs to be attended to.

What that means is that I’m planning a little November hiatus from this blog AND social media in general so that I can get some writing done.

I’m actually going to attempt to participate in NaNoWriMo this month for real! I set up my novel on the website and everything. I’m Jenelle72521 over there if anyone else is doing NaNo and wants to be my buddy!

So this is my official announcement…

I am going Internet Dark until the blog-o-versary party in December.

Don’t forget to leave comments asking me questions!!

If you see me online… feel free to remind me to get back to work.

I’ll just leave a few of these motivational images of some of my favorite characters here to remind me of what it is I’m supposed to be doing…

Okay, that leaves out quite a few of my absolute favorite characters, but I couldn’t find any from The Princess Bride or NCIS or Stargate… a gross oversight on the part of meme-makers everywhere. But I don’t have time to make them myself right now…. maybe another day!

~ jenelle

The Seven Drawers: Magic Mirrors Blog Tour

SevenDrawersPromo (1)

 

Today is the final day of the Seven Magic Mirrors blog tour! The final release of the tour is The Seven Drawers: A Tale of Snow White by Kendra E. Ardnek.

SevenDrawers3_editedGwen’s life has been absolute misery for the last two months. Her father died, she was written out of the will, her stepmother kicked her out of the house, and, in that time, she’s not heard a word from her boyfriend of five years.

And she might be suffering from insanity. A chest of drawers just appeared at the foot of her bed, and as she opens each drawer, she’s spirited away to another realm where she finds herself in increasingly bizarre prisons, each the fault of her stepmother.

Can she win back her life – and kingdoms? – from her stepmother? Or will Editha win?

Continuing the trend I started, here are Seven Reasons I Love This Story:

1. This is a highly unique retelling of Snow White. Having seven drawers that each lead to a different parallel reality, all of the realms being linked through similar circumstances, but each slightly different than all the others… all woven into a Snow White retelling? If you’re thinking, “Wow, that’s ambitious!” you’re exactly right! What an ambitious concept… and so cleverly written!

2. The masterful handling of a complex idea. I was a little concerned when I began reading that I was going to get confused with all the characters having multiple different names… Gwen travels through the drawers and “meets” herself in 7 different realms than the one in which she exists, as well as all of her acquaintances and her stepmother, and everyone has different names in every realm! However, I felt that the author handled this device very well and I was actually never confused about who was who, even when more and more characters started to know about the multiple realms and the multiple parallel versions of themselves. That is quite a feat, in and of itself.

3. Gwen/Eirwen/Bianca/etc. Once again, my pre-conceived notions of what a “Snow White” character is have been challenged, in the best way possible. The main character in this story is truly lovable. She isn’t perfect, and she makes mistakes, but she continues to struggle on to reclaim what has been stolen from her and to protect the ones she cares about. I loved cheering for her throughout the story.

4. Jeremy. Be still my heart! One of the great downfalls of most Snow White stories is the passivity of the prince. Not so with this story. He doesn’t necessarily sweep in to save the day (and in some realms, he even plays the Huntsman) but he is loyal, steadfast, hard-working, true, brave, and willing to do whatever it takes to save his princess… even if it means letting her figure out how to solve the problem for herself.

5. The writing style. I just love Ms. Ardnek’s writing style, okay? I haven’t been disappointed with a single one of her stories yet. The Bookania Quests, Rizkaland, and now The Seven Drawers… she just has a way of pulling me in and not letting me go until I’ve finished the book. Her characters are really fun, and she weaves their journeys around interesting obstacles. At times, these obstacles may even seem a bit simplistic or too easily overcome, but she does a good job creating enough suspense around the obstacles that I enjoy the journey anyway.

6. Charcoal. He’s a dragon. I liked him a lot. Read the book so you can meet him.

7. The Snow White elements… yeah… didn’t see that coming, did you? But I loved that the Snow White elements fit so naturally into this retelling. At times, they were so subtle I almost missed them, and other times they popped off the page… not in a distracting way, but more in an, “Aha! That’s clever!” sort of way. But I’m not going to go into all of them here, because: SPOILERS!

Do go fetch a copy of this delightful story for yourself! Or read the first chapter for free on Kendra’s website!

Kendra E. Ardnek

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 || Facebook || Youtube

~ jenelle

Monsters in the Dark

Spooky Story Flash Fiction

For my flash spooky story, I decided to expand the short snippet I had written at Realm Makers during Wayne Thomas Batson’s session on creating suspense. He told us we had to use the names “Biff” and “Zelda”… so I kept them. Here you go!


 

Biff held the knife in his trembling hand, the peanut butter jar before him, still tightly closed.

“Just ignore it,” Zelda whispered in his ear, her voice nearing a hysterical strain. “Maybe it will go away.”

But he couldn’t ignore it. The squelching, sucking sensation on the bottom of his shoes, the wet, glopping noise it made whenever he shifted his weight, the cold, clammy stickiness on the palm of the hand clutching the knife, the echoing sounds in the sterile kitchen, all combined to assault his nerves.

“I can’t do it,” he hissed. “I can’t!”

“If you don’t, you know what will happen. Please… please, Biff,” Zelda’s voice choked. “I want to see our daughter again.”

Biff took a quavering breath and clenched his teeth tightly together. Resisting the urge to close his eyes, he unscrewed the lid of the jar and scooped up a large portion of peanut butter onto the flat of the blade. He raised the knife high over his head waving it about. The creature beneath him shifted suddenly, the tentacle upon which they stood wobbled, nearly toppling them both; they clung to the counter, trying to maintain their balance.

“It knows!” Zelda’s fingers tightened on his arm. He looked down into her white face, pale in the dim moonlight filtering in through the windows. She nodded firmly.

With all the strength he had, Biff flung the knife across the kitchen. It sailed into the living room and landed on the new carpet with a gentle thud.

The floor beneath them lurched. Biff and Zelda could not maintain their balance, and they toppled onto the slimy tiles as the creature slithered toward the fallen knife with terrible speed. Biff’s hands slipped in the ooze as he scrabbled and slipped, attempting to regain his feet. He finally managed to stand, pulling Zelda up with him. Together, they worked their way across the kitchen to the stairs. Biff’s heart thudded in his chest, filling his ears with the drumming staccato of fear. The peanut butter would only serve as a distraction for so long. He wanted to run, but knew it was futile on the slippery tiles.

A swishing, glopping sound filled the kitchen behind them and Zelda whimpered.

“Just a few more steps,” Biff whispered.

The sound of rubbery tentacles covered in suction cups slapping the tiles behind them grew louder and louder. Biff’s spine tingled with apprehension, waiting for the cold, heavy blow he knew was coming. Regret flooded through him. If only he had thrown the knife harder. If only he had never ordered that quick-grow nutrition pack for their daughter’s science project. If only there hadn’t been a storm. If only the power hadn’t gone out… but all the “if onlys” in the world could not save him now. They could not outrun the creature. It had every advantage here.

A shock coursed through him as something wet slapped against his back, propelling him forward and onto the carpeted safety of the stairs. Zelda’s shriek of terror filled his ears. Gasping, he yanked her arm, dragging her along behind him, gaining speed as he climbed out of the darkness below. Above him, the soft, reassuring glow of a battery-operated nightlight filled the hallway and he aimed himself at it in desperation.

They gained the landing, but they could hear the creature pulling itself up the walls of the staircase behind them. Biff was not sure the tiny glowing radius of the nightlight would be enough, but it was his only hope.

Then the glow winked out, and Biff’s heart plummeted to the soles of his sludge-covered shoes.

A moment later, a blinding brightness filled his vision and he reeled back at the unexpected radiance.

“Mom! Dad! Quick! I found the flashlight! Come on!” Cindy, their daughter, stood in the hallway and aimed the powerful light at the strange creature and it made an inhuman, screaming sound, scrabbling away from the light that burned its sensitive skin, tentacles flailing in the stairwell. Biff did not relent. He shined the light on the creature, stepping closer to it until it curled up into a tiny ball and dropped to the stairs where it lay, unmoving.

Biff took hold of the flashlight, shielding his wife and daughter behind him and together they backed into Cindy’s room. Biff shut and locked the door, then turned to his family, a sense of relief rushing through him. He pulled Zelda and Cindy to him in a desperate embrace.

“I thought…” he began in a choked voice, but could not finish, could not voice the fears that had overwhelmed him in the darkness downstairs.

Zelda pulled away. “We can climb out the window,” she said, her voice high and thin, but no longer trembling. She dug into her pocket and held up her keys. “I never put these away after we got home from grocery shopping!”

They all laughed, a strained, hysterical sound in the tiny room.

A squelching noise emanated from the closet, and Cindy froze, her eyes wide with horror.

“What is it, honey?” Zelda asked, patting their daughter’s shoulder.

“Mom… Dad… please tell me you already took care of the others.”

Biff frowned. “What others?”

The closet door burst open.

~ jenelle