Tuesday, September 18, 2018

And the Most Mischievous Imp Silmaril Goes To...

An audience mills about in a field. They talk in low murmurs, as only confused and slightly annoyed people do. Everyone wears black tie attire and some hold glasses of champagne. Fifteen minutes ago, the audience sat inside a luxurious ballroom, watching the award for Least Competent Henchmen be presented, but they had been herded outside because of the fire alarm. Since there was no smoke or flames, they assumed some mischievous imp had pulled the alarm, though why anyone would do something so rude during an awards ceremony was beyond even the smartest attendee.

Suddenly, a bang! and everyone turns their heads. A firework explodes above the audience. Several more fireworks fly into the sky; miraculously, they spelled out several words: NOMINEES FOR THE MOST MISCHIEVOUS IMP SILMARIL.
Five more fireworks spell out the names of the nominees:

As the smoke clears, the audience claps and whistles. This was well worth standing outside for fifteen minutes. The applause slows and a small figure appears out of the smoke.
"Now that is how to make an entrance!" he says, waggling his curly head. "Don't you think, Merry?"
"Well done, Pip." A second short man appears at the first's side.
"The envelope please, Merry," says Pippin Took.
Merry hands his cousin the envelope with the winner's name in it. Pippin opens it, glances at the name, gives Merry a side glance and a wink, and turns to the audience.

"And the winner is... Peter Pan and his Lost Boys!!"
The audience explodes like a firework.
"The Silmaril please, Merry." Pippin takes it from Merry. Peter Pan flies up into the air from his seat and does a twirl. He walks on the air, preening and smiling, and Tootles, Nibs, Slightly, Curly, and the Twins walk in a line underneath their fearless leader until all of them stand in a line before Pippin. Peter holds out his hand to accept his Silmaril, but it is no longer in Pippin's hand!
"I just had it..." Pippin says. He pats his pockets and searches the ground.
"Fool of a Took..." mumbles a gray wizard in the audience. He draws his bushy eyebrows together as he turns around and storms back toward the theater.
"What do you mean by this? We are supposed to get an award," says Peter indignantly. He crosses his arms over his chest and his Lost Boys copy him.
"Let me see... let me see..." says Pippin. "Ah, there it is! What's it doing behind your ear?" Pippin pulls the Silmaril from behind Peter's ear. The Silmaril hangs on a piece of fabric, so Pippin drapes it around Peter's neck.

"Thank you very much," Peter says. "Thank you. I'd like to thank my Lost Boys. They are the most loyal friends I could ever ask for. We shall have lots of adventures and continue being imps the rest of our lives! But I'll be sure to take better care of this Silmaril than Pippin here." Everyone laughs.
The crowd parts to let Peter Pan and Pippin follow the gray wizard back to the theater. Everyone else files back into the building after them. Just as the last guest enters the theater, it begins to rain, and the last of the smoke clears.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Productivity: Healthy Habits

I'm a busy college student, so I wanted to share some productivity tricks that I've learned that have helped me a lot. I can't say that I follow these tricks all of the time, but when I do, I feel healthier, happier, and less stressed because I know that there is time in the day to get everything done. These are some healthy habits that I'm cultivating:

1. Get up at the same time every morning.
Over the summer, I had a job working Facilities at my school, and I had to give up at 5:30 every morning to get to work at 6:00. After a few weeks, my body got used to getting up at the same time every day, and I knew that I wanted to continue that into the school year. I'm not still getting up at 5:30, because that's ludicrous, but I am getting up at 7:00 most mornings. When I get up earlier, I tend to get more done in the day because I'm awake earlier and don't feel groggy from sleeping in.

2. Go to bed early.
I need eight hours of sleep in order to be a functioning member of society. It helps me to focus better in classes and while doing homework, it makes me happier, and it makes getting up in the morning a whole lot easier. Also, sleep is amazing, so, if you can, make sure you are getting enough sleep for what you need to get done in the day.

3. Eat good food.
I am on the over-21 meal plan, which is only $235 a semester, so I do a lot of cooking for myself. In the past, I have not been great at this. My roommate and I always reach a point in the semester where we give up and just get fast food several times a week. This is not only unhealthy, but it is also expensive, so I have vowed to myself to cook more this semester, and, so far, it has been working well. This is better for my body and my bank account and is definitely a healthy habit that every busy person should develop.

4. Take breaks.
I take a lot of breaks. Mostly, it's between assignments. Sometimes, it's in the middle of assignments. My breaks are never long; I keep them to 5-15 minutes. Usually, I'll do something productive during these breaks. I'll clean something or make myself food or wash dishes. It's a brain break for me, but it gets chores done, too!

Do you do any of these things? Are you going to try any of these things? Tell me about healthy habits that you have!

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Silmaril Awards 2018: Voting

Thanks for all of your voting and seconding last week! There were 33 nominations! Five imps, however, were more mischievous than the rest... Here they are, the top five nominees for the Most Mischievous Imp Silmaril:

1. Peter Pan and his Lost Boys from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (15 nominations).
Peter Pan is happy-go-lucky and it often seems as though he cares for no one but himself, but it is only because he has no mother to set him right. He refuses to grow up and, instead, leads his Lost Boys from adventure to adventure. From losing his shadow, to flying around Neveland, to facing crocodiles and pirates, Peter and his gang get themselves into no end of trouble. Tootles, though clumsy, is caring; Nibs is the bravest; Slightly is no good at make believe, but he's wonderful at exaggeration; Curly frequently gets himself into pickles; and the Twins are simply the Twins.

2. Crispin Beasley from Beaumont and Beasley by our very own Silmaril Award host Kyle Robert Shulz (12 nominations).
Many have questioned why Crispin—early twenties, boyish good looks, cheerful demeanor—of all people, was gifted with exceptionally strong magical powers. Those who know him best would describe him as flighty, easily distracted, and far too quick to laugh during moments of danger. He’s not really someone you’d want casting spells anywhere near you. However, in the darkest times, Crispin has been known to show surprising maturity and resourcefulness. Prophecies, paradoxes, and peril loom over him, but he remains steadfast, a dependable ally and friend even when all seems lost.

3. Tink/Kalmar from The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson (9 nominations).
Tink Igiby (whose given name is Kalmar) is an adventurous lad with a nose for danger and trouble. Not the best of qualities, but he’s never one to back down from a challenge, a mystery, or even a ghost. Such a tendency has gotten him into hard spots and has helped him escape them, too. That, and his ability to run like the wind. An excellent artist, Tink’s foremost interest in life is filling his never-satisfied stomach (though if you ask his older brother Janner, it's to cause trouble and ignore level-minded directions).

4. Toad from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (9 nominations).
While a decent animal at heart, this posh toad is far too fond of leaping into wild adventures and regaling people about them afterward--with a healthy dose of embellishment, of course. His greatest passion is for driving motorcars, even in cases when he is not the vehicle’s rightful owner. He tries to be gentlemanly and dignified, but he is a little too ridiculous and clumsy for that. Though he consistently ignores the advice of his patient and concerned friends, he is loyal to them, and does his best to overcome his selfishness for their sakes. 

5. and Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (9 nominations).
To find out more about Tigger, watch this short video:

Vote for your favorite here (or, if you've already voted on someone else's blog, comment below and tell me who you want to win!):

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Voting ends on Friday, but come back soon to find out the winner of the Most Mischievous Imp Silmaril!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Giving Myself a Medal

It's Silmaril Award season, which means that your favorite fantasy characters are in the running to win a Silmaril (see my last post for more details), but I figured I deserve an award, too. I survived the longest week of my life, so I am giving myself a trophy.

I have class from 9-2 and work from 2-4ish on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and I have class from 8-12:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since I am taking mostly upper level classes, almost all of my free time is reserved for homework, but this past week, I had several meetings to attend in the afternoons. In addition to all of this, I popped in and out of the Silmaril Awards all week. There were so many indie-published characters nominated! Woohoo! Tomorrow, voting begins and lasts all week, so make sure to come back.

Somehow, I managed to survive The Busiest Week Ever with my sanity and well-being in tact. I've wanted to do a blog post on productivity for a few months now, and after this week, I thought why not make it a series? Here are the topics I'm going to talk about:

1. Healthy Habits
2. Scheduling/Organization
3. Time Management/Discipline

I'm hoping to post every weekend until the end of the month, so look forward to that! Maybe the things I have learned will help you, too, whether you are in college or not.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow to vote for your favorite fantasy characters!

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Silmaril Awards 2018


Welcome back to the Silmaril Awards!!! 
As you can see, we have a name change this year, but we are the same in our third year as we were in our first year. And just what is the Silmaril Awards? It is a celebration of J.R.R. Tolkien and fantasy. It's sort of like the Oscars except held online, and the awards are to be won by a fantasy character and not by an actor!

I'm hosting Most Mischievous Imp, so look out for shenanigans!

Here are the rules:
  • All nominees must be from a fantasy book (movie characters, dystopia, sci-fi, and steampunk do not count. If you are not sure about a character, ask in the comments, and I'll get back to you!).
  • You may nominate as many characters as you like.
  • If someone has already nominated a character that you have thought of, you may "second" their nomination.
  • You may second as many nominations as you like.
  • Only nominate Mischievous Imps on this post. Heroes, villains, etc. can be nominated on their own respective posts (a list to the other blogs is available at the end of this post).
  • When you are nominating a character, remember to say which book he or she comes from! 
  • Characters from Lord of the Rings cannot be nominated because they will present the Silmaril to the winner.
  • These are lifetime Silmarils, so last year's winners (the Fred and George Weasley from Harry Potter), cannot be nominated either.
  • Authors may not nominate their own characters.
Nominations are open from now until the 7th. Voting on the top five nominated Imps begins on the 10th and ends on the 14th, and the award ceremony takes place from the 17th-28th.

Make sure to nominate characters for the other nine Silmarils!
Deborah O'Carroll is hosting Wisest Councillor
Jenelle Schmidt is hosting Least Competent Henchman
DJ Edwardson is hosting Silver Tongue
E.E. Rawls is hosting Most Epic Hero
Zac Totah is hosting Strangest Character
Madeline J. Rose is hosting Most Epic Heroine
Tracey Dyck is hosting Most Magnificent Dragon
Savannah Grace is hosting Most Loyal Friend
and Kyle Robert Schulz is hosting Most Nefarious Villain! 

Here is an info-graphic to keep everything straight:

And make sure to check out our snazzy new website, created by the very talented DJ Edwardson.

Let the nominations begin!


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Worth of a King: Interview with the Author

Kendra E. Ardnek has released a new 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.

“Well, it’d still be more fun,” Nadilynn pouted. “As it is – how long have we been cooped up in here already? How much longer will it be before we reach the first village?”
Delaney sighed. “We should be there soon,” he answered. “And we’ll spend the night there before we leave for the second village in the morning.”
“You didn’t have to come with us if you didn’t want to, Nadi,” Obsidia pointed out. “We’re just visiting twelve villages and collecting a girl from each one. Hardly exciting.”
“Oh, but I really had no choice in the matter,” Nadilynn countered, shaking her head. “Tradition demands that Obsidia has a proper female companion. If I hadn’t volunteered, your mother would have had to come instead, and since she is still convinced that you marrying Del is the worst idea ever, I don’t know that the three of you could have survived this whole excursion. I’m sure that you both much prefer me.”
“Ah yes, you’re quite correct,” said Delaney. “With you, we only need to survive endless meaningless chatter, not murderous glares.”
“My conversation isn’t meaningless!” Nadilynn protested. “At least I don’t spend three hours discussing the nuances of a law about chickens, or four about whether some king’s death was natural or due to poison.”
“No,” said Obsidia, dryly. “You spend five hours talking about how sashes are so in style.”
“They are so not!” Nadilynn exclaimed. Then she lowered her voice “Not thick ones, anyway. Ribbons used as sashes are acceptable, belts, especially beaded belts, are best…”
“And there we go,” Delaney groaned. “You did have to get her started.”
Obsidia just shrugged and mouthed a “sorry.”

If you enjoyed that, read the opening chapter here: https://knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-worth-of-king-chapter-1.html
Add the book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32739875-the-worth-of-a-king

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kendra about The Worth of a King, so please enjoy (and watch out for dragons):

1. What first gave you and Jack the idea to write this book?
A blog post that she wrote, talking about how she couldn't write female character. See, at the time, I wasn't great with male characters, so I commented saying as much, along with the joking aside that we should write a book together - an idea which she LOVED. We then began a rapid-fire email back and forth as we hashed out the plot for the book - and it turned out that we almost initially had a very similar vision for it. We didn't want any chance of romance between our characters, both had a twin obsession (at the time), and both agreed that we needed to start the book with our characters in different places, so a pair of twins that had been separated at birth was the obvious choice. 

2. Did the book change when you took over as a single author? How so?
It did, but not a huge lot. I, of course, immediately rewrote all of her chapters (as well as my own) to put them into my voice, but there were really only two or three chapters that had significant changes - and that was because there were continuity issues with them. Delaney did become a POV character after I became the solo author, and I did insert Amber and Granite and make the book backstory for Rizkaland. 

3. Can you introduce us to some of the major characters and tell us which one is your favorite and which one was the easiest to write?
Let's see, there were the three POV characters - Obsidia, Adrian, and Delaney. Obsidia was my character from the start, and she's a quiet thing who just wanted a nice, safe life; then there was Adrian, who had been Jack's character, and, like his sister, just wanted a nice, safe life; and Delaney ... Del was just fun to write 'cause he's so different from the twins, so driven to protect the people he cares about...
But my favorite character to write was Del's little sister, Nadilynn, who was the brightest ray of sunshine to ever waltz onto the page - but who uses that optimism and cheerfulness to cover a lot of pain and frustration. Like, she tried very hard to get me to make her a POV. VERY hard. And I certainly plan to be writing some follow-up for her on my Ardnek Afterthoughts blog. 

4. Does this book have any connection to your previous books?
Well, I just said that I made it backstory to Rizkaland, so ... yes. 

5. Can you tell us about one of the scenes that you had the most fun writing?
I'm going to go with next-to-last chapter of part one, where everything is falling apart - and it was actually the last chapter I wrote before Jack dropped out. 

6. Do you agree that there should be a dragon in every book? Is there a dragon in your book? 
No, I just had my cover designer put one on the cover for #asthetic.

7. Did you learn anything through writing this book that you didn't know before?
Well, somewhere along the way I figured out how to write guys!

8. What's next on your authoress plate?

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 

Definitely check out Kendra's blog and her other books. They are well worth a read.
And if you'd like to check out the other stops on Kendra's blog tour, follow this link.