Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Mermaid Waterfall Braid ~ The Waterfall Braid Pt. 5 + Mini-talk

Okay, so I'm late posting again. What can I say? Yesterday was the eclipse; I was busy. But I promise I have a wonderful hairstyle to help make up for it.

Lovely, isn't it? Let me assure you it's not that hard, and it really is dream hair material. And comfortable. Did I mention comfortable? Just choose how you cross side and middle carefully in step 8.

A friend of mine wore this to her formal (similar to Prom). So it lasts too. Pretty much everything you want in a hairstyle. Now take a deep breath, and let's do this!

The Mermaid Waterfall Braid
  1. Brush hair and make a middle part or a slight side part.
  2. On the left side, start a rope waterfall braid. (There's a link to a tutorial below if you need it.)
  3. Continue the braid all the way to the back middle of the head.
  4. Stop adding hair and finish with a rope braid. Temporarily secure braid.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 on the right side of head.
  6. Remove the temporary ponytail holders.
  7. Pick up three of the four pieces from the rope braids at the base where they meet. You should have right, middle, and left pieces.
  8. Cross a side piece over the middle. This gives you a new middle and a new side.
  9. Cross the other side (from the original positions) over the new middle. This again gives you new middle and side pieces.
  10.  Pick up the remaining piece from the four rope braid pieces and add it to the new side from step 8 where you crossed pieces for the first time.
  11. Cross the entire piece including the added hair over the middle, giving you a new middle and side.
  12. Pick up the closest loose section from the waterfall rope braid and add it to the new side.
  13. Repeat step 11.
  14. Repeat steps 12 &1 3 alternating sides until you use all the loose pieces from the rope waterfall braids.
  15. Either ponytail right then, or finish with a regular braid and then ponytail.
And just like that we're done! Wasn't it fun? Yay! Now onto the mini-talk!
Curly Hair Care Mini-talk

Let's face it. Curly hair is a pain, y'all. Yes, it's pretty and has great grip. But it's also fussy and knotty. Very, very knotty. So what do you do?
  1. Don't brush. That just leaves you with a head full of frizz.
  2. Don't over-wash. That leaves it dry and frizzy.
  3. Don't touch. That puts oil and dirt from your hands on your hair and makes it, you guessed it, frizzy.
  4. Do wash twice over a week. This leaves your hair time to recover from the chemicals in shampoo.
  5. Do be carefully with products. Choose all-natural when you can and be carefully how much you use.
  6. Do let it be curly. It's tempting to straighten or braid wet, but the more your hair curls, the better it curls.
Hope some of this helps. Want any more? Let me know.

Other Posts in the Series:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Changes in my Life

Tomorrow is my sister, Norah Beth's birthday, but it is something else as well.

 It's my eighteenth. And it'd kind of scary. I can't get my head around it. Eighteen. Yeah, scary.
   I mean, I don't feel any older than when I started this blog three years ago. But then I look back, and I see so many changes.
  1. We got a dog, Cooper. He's a big, beautiful, and very hairy golden retriever who loves his people.
  2. We moved. We now live closer to family and also have more space.
  3. I no longer flaunt my skill at hair. I still use it, but I try not to boast about it.
  4. I have four writing projects. I love them all, but sometimes I think they'll never be done.
  5. I'm more willing to listen to criticism. Sometimes I still try to argue with it though.
  6. My relationship with God is stronger. I haven't always sought Him, but He has always sought me.
I know some of this may seem small, but it's all God's work in my life. That makes it pretty huge, don't y'all think?


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Kendra Interview

Today I'm interviewing Kendra E. Ardnek, author of The Poison Kiss. Let's go!

Are you a plotter, a pantser, or a mix of both?
I'm a planster. I usually have a plan in my head - often a rather detailed plan - but writing down said plan will kill my inspiration. I like to keep my options open and fluid, but I want to know where I'm going and a basic map for how to get there. Although, I've noticed that the longer I've been writing, the more and more my writing process is leaning towards planning.

What does your editing process look like?
First of all, if a book is more than 20,000 words, I NEVER edit the first draft. I ALWAYS rewrite it. The levels of rewrite vary - The Ankulen, for instance, was moderate as I still followed the same table of contents. Water Princess, Fire Prince, and Lady Dragon, Tela Du were completely rebuilt and restructured from the ground up - LDTD especially. The only book that I didn't rewrite to any degree was Sew, it's a Quest, and I regretted that greatly, for, though the book was good, it could have been a LOT better. I rectified it this spring with an overhaul revision, but what it needed was a full-on rewrite, and I couldn't do that to a book that I had already published. I had to at least keep MOST of the text and story intact.
   My focus is usually on the first 20-50% of the book, as that's the part of the book where I was still trying to (a) discover who my characters are and (b) what my world is. My rewrite is usually to solidify character development, weed out info-dumping at the same time as trying to make worldbuilding clearer (a tricky balance to be certain), and, in general, restructuring my first several chapters so that they're as gripping and ensnaring as they could possibly be, as it is those first few chapters that must sell the book. And yes, I rewrite the second half of the book, too, as I will usually have made Big Changes in the first part.
   Once I have my second, or third, or even fifteenth draft that I'm finally comfortable with how it's structured, I let it sit for a month or two while I focus on other projects. Then I'll usually email it to my kindle and remove any love I have for the story from my heart as I mark the book up. I'm brutal to my own writing. "How Many Notes Can I Leave Per Page" is my favorite game. 
   Then I take all of the notes that I left myself and apply about 90% of them. Some of them, I decide aren't necessary or feasible. 
   Then I recruit beta readers and send the draft off to them. I will then combine any feedback that was sent to me in "Notes on the document" format into one doc so that I can see all issues side by side. If I see that something bothers multiple readers, I know that it's something that I need to change or at least address. If there are mixed feelings on an issue, it's up to me.
   Then I'll do one more read through on my own, usually with Grammarly turned on, as I edit the book for the final version. 

How heavily do you depend on your beta readers? Why?
Pretty heavily. They're my test audience. If they take issue with something, even mildly, I know that it's something that paid readers are going to bash me to kingdom come and back over. Trust me. Readers are cruel and nasty and they WILL do it, no qualms about your feelings. If they, for any reason, found your book dull, or cliche, or they decided that they hated your main character... it's gonna happen.
   Also, because I'm poor and can't afford editors, my beta readers usually fill that role. I have one or two who are trying to create a portfolio for themselves, and another whom I have an Agreement with. I don't require an edit out of my betas, usually leaving it up to them what sort of feedback they give, but I have several who consistently give me an edit. It's my own beta style, and most of the girls know that, should I ever beta for them, I'll give them back an edit just as thorough. 
   Finally, they're also my hype crew. They get to read the book early, and they get to get excited about the book early. It's usually awesome.

How do you decide on a cover?
90% of my decision is usually "What can I create with the skills and resources that I have that still captures the heart of this book and will be enticing to readers." I still can't pretend to be a master of this science. I'm in the process of rereleasing all of my novels with new covers next month, though, if anyone would like to jump on that bandwagon (and possibly win a full signed collection of those novels). https://knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com/2017/07/1000th-post.html?

I've always found your blurb interesting. Any tips?
1. Introduce the main character and main plot.
2. Address the external conflict and the character's internal struggles.
3. Leave the last line open ended. Raise a question. Make your readers want to know the answer.
4. Keep it short, but make it interesting. 
5. Also, keep it accurate. Don't sell something that isn't the book that you wrote.

How does writing a series differ from writing a stand-alone?
I think the biggest thing is continuity. With a series, you aren't building every world and story from scratch. You have to keep things consistent from book to book. There's less room for random decisions to change a character's name.
   Also, marketing's a bit different, especially with the sequels. I probably would not have gone back and revised Sew as thoroughly as I did if it weren't the first book of a series that I plan to be writing for many years to come.

Yes, she really is awesome, and I'm blessed to know her. But y'all know what's almost as awesome as her? The fact that three of her books are free! Don't believe me? Take a look!

Sew, It's a Quest (Permafree): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/731321


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Matthew Interview

Sleeping Beauty Release!
Today, I'm interviewing Matthew, my favorite character from Twisted Dreams. Let's get started.

"How has being the second prince, the “spare heir” affected you?" I ask Matthew once we're seated in my imagination.
“I’ve never felt like the ‘spare heir.’ I’m the one who can be freeeeee!” Matthew flings his arms wide.
I grin and shake my head. What have I asked?
He goes on. “Will always had all these things to learn to prepare him to rule someday, and he trained for the military as well, so he could lead it. I didn’t have near as intense of lessons.” He shrugs.
“It got lonely sometimes, but I always had a lot more free time than he did. Maybe because I wouldn’t have stood for having less.” Matthew grins impishly. “Once Will is king, I’ll still get to do whatever I want. I guess if something ever happens to Will, I’ll be all Hanover has, but I’m hoping that never happens.”

I nod. "Okay, do you think you would be different if you were the firstborn?"
“If Will and I switched birth order, wow, that’d be something," he says, eyes widening. "I’d probably be more rebellious. As the second born, no one cares if I’m crazy, but if I was the heir, I’d have to do all the things Will does. I don’t think I could handle it. I’d abdicate.” He says this as if it’s a perfectly normal and acceptable option.

"You’re known as a bit of a prankster. Any particularly memorable pranks?" I try to hide my grin, knowing what I've asked.
“When I was eight, I put one of my pet mice in Mother’s dressing table drawer," he begins, and his eyes gleam mischievously. "Mother screamed, the maid screamed, and when the mouse got out onto the floor, Mother ended up on top of the dressing table screaming. The whole palace could hear her.”
"Really?" I ask him, laughing out loud.
Matthew chuckles with me. “Well, maybe not literally, but it sure seemed like it, as many people as came running. A footman caught my mouse and took it outside. Never saw that particular one again, though I had plenty others. Once Mother calmed down, though, she wasn’t mad. She gave me a good talking to about the way you treat ladies, but she wasn’t mad. I’m glad because it was only the next week she was killed in an accident. I’d hate for the last big incident that happened between us to have ended badly.”
He looks uncharacteristically sad for a moment, then shakes himself and puts on a goofy smile again. “That screaming, though. You’d have thought the mouse was going to kill them.”

"Do you ever get in trouble for your pranks?" I ask, quickly changing the subject.
Matthew snorts. “Of course I do. I may be a prince, but princes have to be taught to behave just as much as ordinary people. It doesn’t happen so much now I’m seventeen, but I don’t want to tell how many privileges I had taken away as a kid. Sometimes I think they just gave up fixing me, though. I don’t think I’ve really been fixed. I’m still just as crazy as ever. But somebody has to be. It would be far too dull and serious around Hanover palace otherwise.”
"Probably," I agree. "Well, thanks for talking. I'll see you in your book."
He starts to disappear, still talking. "Technically, it's Will and Liesel's book, but if you want to suggest that to Morgan, I've got no objections!"
His wide smile fades, and I shake my head at where he use to be.

Personally, I don't think Matthew's suggestion has value. (Hint, hint, Morgan.) But for now, we'll just have to visit him in Twisted Dreams.

And if you click this link, you'll head to an awesome giveaway!


P.S. So there's also a bit of a contest going on. The person to leave the most comments on the blog tour gets to read an early version of Kendra's Snow White retelling, The Seven Drawers. And yes, you read that correctly. Drawers.

Find my new blog here.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Tri-Rose Book Release Schedule

Monday - 7th
Knitted By God’s Plan - Intro Post + Poison Kiss Feature
Morgan Elizabeth Huneke - Twisted Dreams Feature
Reality Reflected - Morgan+Twisted Dreams - Interview+Review

Tuesday - 8th
Knitted By God’s Plan - Favorite SB Retellings
Books, Braids, and Born Again - Matthew (TD Character)
Shire Reviews - Rosette Thornbriar
Reality Reflected - Edmund(character)+Poison Kiss - Interview+Review

Wednesday - 9th
Knitted By God’s Plan - Twisted Dreams Feature
Morgan Elizabeth Huneke - Rosette Thornbriar Feature
Reflections of the Heart - Twisted Dreams
The Flowering Vales - Twisted Dreams
Reality Reflected - Rachel+Rosette Thornbriar - Interview+Review

Thursday - 10th
Knitted By God’s Plan - Other Sleepy Fairy Tales
The Page Dreamer - Poison Kiss
Dreams and Dragons - Twisted Dreams

Friday - 11th
Knitted By God’s Plan - Rosette Thornbriar Feature
Morgan Elizabeth Huneke - Poison Kiss Feature
Dreams and Dragons - Puss in Boots (PK Character)
The Music of a Story - Will (TD Character)
The Flowering Vales - Poison Kiss

Saturday - 12th
Knitted By God’s Plan - Retellings I’d Like To Write Someday
Morgan Elizabeth Huneke - Something About the SSS
Sutori no Hana - Twisted Dreams

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Not Publishing, Round Two

Hello, and welcome to National Coffee Month. Yay!
   So... this would've been the next part of the Write It Right Series, but I've decided to pause it for now. My writing skills aren't good enough for something like that yet. I don't want to give anyone bad advice!
   Next, I won't be publishing Inkling Adventures, not for a while anyway. I've received some feedback that it still needs a lot of work. Maybe even a rewrite! *groans*
    I'm really struggling with this right now, and I need wisdom. If you would pray for me, that would mean the world to me. Thanks.