Saturday, July 22, 2017

Events to Look Forward To and Prayer Requests

Hello all! It's way past time for an update!

~Upcoming Events To Watch Out For~

1. In three weeks (August 7-11) I will be throwing an online Usborne Book Party on my writer's Facebook page. (The link can be found among the other social media buttons on the top of the right side panel here on the blog.) I am excited about doing this party, I have never done anything like it before! If you want to check out what's available before we begin, head on over to Usborne Books and More with Patti on Facebook. There will be lots of variety available, they are not only for children (although that is their main focus). I had so much fun perusing the catalog and seeing what is available:

-Inspirational quotes (one is even just Shakespeare quotes!)
-Adult coloring books
-Fiction YA novels
-Children's versions of classics & fairy tales (including Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden & Robin Hood)
-Writing help/ advice books
-Educational books (grammar, arithmetic, and the like)

Personally, my favorite choices would be the children's versions of classics and the writing help books! Which books would intrigue you? I would love to hear feedback! Some of these book choices will not be available until August (hence, the reason the party will be next month).

2. I haven't had a second to read, so I am crawling my way through The King's Scrolls (Jaye L. Knight) yet and looking forward to sharing an author interview with you on August 13 to celebrate the release of her fourth Ilyon Chronicles book, Exiles. How great is that?! I highly recommend these novels for anyone! (I seriously can't wait until Kaden gets to ride his dragon!) I will not be the only author sharing an author interview or review during this Weekend Release Blitz. I will share other articles on Facebook as I see them leading up to the interview over here. I look forward to sharing it with you soon!
If you are able to read her books to catch up between now and then, please review her books on Amazon and Goodreads! Reviews are the best gift you can give to authors, and, personally, I just love to support Christian authors who write good, adventurous, wholesome novels. :)

~Going Forward~

In other news, life has been a bit hectic for me, and I am praying my way through it. God has certainly been challenging me this year in new ways that I did not expect. I would appreciate continued prayers from you as I pray daily to find the perfect work-life balance. While reading Stable Help (Connie VanHuis) I was blessed this week to find that several days in a row, the challenges I knew I would face that day were directly addressed in her devotional before I began my work day. This was a very comforting feeling!
Specifically, I would ask for prayers that I would the time to read. This seems to be an unimportant request, but to me it is much bigger. This is how I unwind (besides writing). This is how I breathe in the middle of the day so that I can return to my tasks with refreshed gusto. It is also important for me as a writer to be able to still enjoy books to remind myself why I love to write especially when I am more busy. It allows me to take the time to continue learning from others, too. So while this request seems very small, it is actually very big and I would appreciate many prayers for me in this.

Lastly, I would like to recommend to those young adults of the Reformed Faith the Logos Conference, which is held this year August 2-5 in Michindoh. (It is always held in August and again in December/January.) People come from all over the US and Canada to join in!
Logos is a retreat for Young Adults between the ages of 18-30 that lasts just a few days. Each day, you meet morning and evening with your same small group, and attend one or two main sessions and rotate through several workshops. The sessions and workshops all center around one theme, and this year's theme is Living with A Purpose. There is always a day away that is optional, but if you choose not to go you won't be left out- plenty of people often opt to stay behind at the retreat location and enjoy activities provided there and/or games and fellowship.
While I am very much an introvert and it is an exhausting weekend, it is also very rewarding and the sessions are always top-notch.

I can't wait to share with you the Usborne Party and more Ilyon Chronicles things! Have a wonderful week, all!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Spring Have-read List and Updates

Congratulations Schuyler on reaching your goal! I was pretty excited to see the final results when I awoke the next morning, and the look on your face was priceless!

For everyone else,
I keep saying how I am a pathetic reader lately, but please don't judge. This past year has been one for surprises, twists (and we're not talking fun plot twists in life here, peeps) but I am resolved to persevere and make the best of it because My Lord and King fights for me. I read Pslam 17:15 last week, which says "As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness," and I find it so comforting.

So, how pathetic is my seasonal have-read list? Two completed novels. *insert monotone yay and wimpy flag waving here* But they were good books, which I highly recommend!

Blades of Acktar #4 Deliver by Tricia Mingerink
This was one great wrap-up to the series, if you didn't see all my bragging about it earlier this spring. I was thrilled to be a part of the launch team for it, and participate in the release party. I learned to like Martyn so much more, and was internally misty-eyed over seeing Renna become so grown up.

Resistance by Jaye L. Knight
I just completed this Sunday afternoon and I was engrossed in it during my family vacation. Jaye L. Knight certainly knows how to pull the heartstrings and ramp up the action to keep things moving. I love Kyrin, and I hope that you get a chance to meet her, too.

Still reading The Triune God by Ronald Kohl
I am reading this for devotions, and some sections are a bit harder to get through than others. I also take a long time to get through devotionals because I digest information very carefully. Some sections, in my personal opinion, are a little dry but the doctrine is solid and I'm enjoying gleaning knowledge about my Savior. My favorite sections are those by Carson.

For devotions next I plan to read Stable Help, by Connie VanHuis.
I am really intrigued by this book for a number of reasons. One, I love horses. Two, because I know her sister and she is a wonderful, Godly influence in my life whom I have great respect and admiration for. (I'm not naming her because I think she'd like to remain anonymous on social media.) Three, because I am really interested to know what lessons God has taught Connie through her horses!

To make up for my small reading list, I wanted to share with you some music that I love. I find that music is both healing, and also inspirational. Sometimes I create playlists for certain books that I write, because they help to jog memory patterns and get me excited about characters. Other times, I just need to hear something that calms me and rebuilds the creative part of me.
Here are my top three albums right now.

Vanquish, by Two Steps from Hell. TSfH is a collaboration between Nick Phoenix and Thomas Bergersen, two incredible modern composers. If you haven't heard of either of them, you are missing out. Bergersen is my absolute favorite composer right now; I love the emotion and complicated melodies of his music, the rising strings and piano scales. Phoenix is really good at theme-like sounds, repeated dramatic strains (reminds me more of Zimmerman). Together they make a grand team.
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Destiny, by Celtic Woman. While their Voices of Angels album is lovely, I prefer their single voices over the sound of a choir, and Voices of Angels really highlights the choir in the background of the songs. But I do enjoy hearing the Irish language in both albums.
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Update on White Hawks: I haven't forgotten about it and it is in the works. I do not have a time frame for when I will get it up on the blog. Sorry.

Update on Ember: I am up to Chapter 3! Many thanks to my brother, Mark, who also helped me with  small section in Chapter 2 that involved some motorbikes (of which I know nothing). This week I'd like to go back and amend some details in that section.

In other news, the week of July 10th I will be doing an Online Usborne Book party (for the whole week) over at my Writer's Facebook Page. Details will be up soon, so watch Facebook for them! There may be a chance to win some things!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

War of Loyalties- 58 hours left to be a part of this novel's release!

War of Loyalties has 58 hours left on Kickstarter, an all-or-nothing attempt to raise the last $5,000 to release this ink baby this fall or winter. 

I am so intrigued by this guest post which Schuyler did on! In this guest post, she shares with us the behind-the-scenes research she has spent the last 7 years writing, rewriting, perfecting, editing... all of that, in order to make it into a book at last. I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with the research she has done, which includes Victoria Royal Hospital, enlisting laws, and the bomb drop in Folkestone. I implore you to take a wee glance!

Finally, because she has made it through 75% of her goal so far, she has promised to reward us with a character interview! Follow the link to vote for which character you would like to meet the most

Please also watch this post here, my blog or Facebook (or better yet, Schuyler's sites) as I will share more War of Loyalties updates frequently. :)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Father's Day

For Mother's Day I had recalled three literary mothers who I can think of fondly, or that have qualities I can compare and admire that maybe similar to my own amazing mother. I decided to do the same for Father's Day! While none of these characters are at all like my father as a whole, nor even comparable, they do have little quirks or qualities I appreciate. My father has been an incredible example of a rock of faith filled with grace to me, and I do not deserve it. God knew what he was doing when he gave me such wonderful leaders to show and teach me how to serve Him.

Mr. Bennett from Pride & Predjudice. While I have not (sadly, so sadly) ever been able to make it through a Jane Austen novel, I have watched several versions on television and I always loved Mr. Bennett. While I can't say that he is the best example of a father (in my opinion, he seems often detached from reality, too soft on his daughters, and just not a strong disciplinarian) his quick wit and calm demeanor are perfectly suited to balance out Mrs. Bennett, who is wild and ostentatious in her moods and opinions. Yet there is something about Mr. Bennett that intrigues readers. I can say that my father has always had a similar twinkle in his eye (although he was much more involved in my daily life than Mr. Bennett).When I was young, in the midst of a scolding, he would be quiet and then say just one sentence that would just change the whole tone of the moment, and my outlook on my own errors.

Hans Hubermann from The Book Thief. Though Hans was not Liesel's real father, he was a father to her in many real ways. Their friendship was immediate; he opened his heart to her and she to him. Liesel and Hans found activities they enjoyed together and bonded over the activities and the words they discussed. Both enjoyed learning, but were good listeners. Though Liesel was small and under the Hubermann's care and authority, Hans spoke to her with intelligence, fully believing she was capable of anything. My own father has always been one of the first to tell me I am strong when I feel weak, and brave when I feel afraid, and it was from him that I learned to love gardening and the outdoors.

Pa Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie. During grade school, my mother would read to us these stories as we waited for our car pool to pick us up. Most of my memories now are from the television series, but I remember enough. Pa was always honest, clever, and very hardworking, much like my own father. He was loyal to everyone, whether or not they treated him with kindness in return, and one of the strongest qualities my father possesses is grace and loyalty towards others. I remember thinking Pa was often like my own father, patient with us and always dedicated to his task at hand. He taught us very young that if we wanted something, we could work for it, and not that work was a burden, but a gift. The best example of this was when my parents told me if I wanted horseback riding lessons, I would have to earn it. I don't think they expected that I would actually save all my quarters I earned from chores until I had $100 worth of them.

What about you, what literary father-figures do you enjoy reading about? I would love to hear your thoughts on either heroic or loving father-figures in literature!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Interview with Schuyler McConkey, author of "War of Loyalties"

Hi friends! I'm so excited to share this interview with you. It was intended to be a short video interview, but after I experienced some technical difficulties, it turned into a blog-interview. 

I had asked Schuyler McConkey to join me for tea this week to talk about her book, War of Loyalties. The hope and prayer is for this ink baby of hers to be released this fall or winter, which would be the centennial anniversary of the year it actually occurs in. How cool is that!? We had apple cinnamon tea, strawberries and golden oreos under the shady boughs of an ornamental crab tree, listening to the sounds of my little goldfish pond. It was lovely! (Schuyler's answers are in italics.)

1. Who is your favorite character and why? 
My favorite character is kind of a secret at this point, but one of my favorite characters to write was Terry O'Sean. He was a character I didn't have to edit much in each draft of War of Loyalties, which is rare in the process of writing a book because he basically wrote himself and came across really vividly. He's an American who basically lived with wanderlust, and left home at 17. Many years later, in 1916, Ireland tried to rebel against England and was promptly put down. Terry was one of those rebels, and now he's on the run. He's also the comic relief of the story. 
Personally, I love it when you find those characters you don't have to edit much, they just flow, and you know they are just right! I have one like that, too, in the White Hawks. It's the best feeling. 

2. If you could meet any one of your characters, besides your favorite one, who would that be?
I think--there's a farmhouse in this story, where Ben and Charlotte and Terry like to gather, and I would love to be a fly on the wall and spend the evening together with them. It's a place where they can come and relax and find respite from spy work. 

What makes you love this farmhouse so much? 
It's a place for Ben where--he gave up his home and the country he loved to come to England and be a secret agent, so coming to this farmhouse is like a home. It's a safe place, and he finds a place he loves in spite of what he had to give up to come here. 
All characters need a safe place to wind down sometimes, to reflect, and put the puzzle pieces together. This farmhouse sounds so pleasant. 

3. Who was the most difficult to write and why? 
Ben was the most difficult to write. He's an introvert who has had a hard upbringing, and it's very hard to write an introvert in his circumstances without having him being stand-offish and self-pitying. In the third draft of the book (which was a very hard draft) I tried to make him more sympathetic to readers by showing him more vulnerable, having him ask for help more. Part of the difficulty of writing him was because I knew him so well, and I hadn't gotten him across on paper as well as I should have because my familiarity with him blinded me to what I had actually written. In James Scott Bell's Art of War for Writers, he talks about writing outside your comfort zone. I tried to write outside my comfort zone and Ben's, and that really helped a lot with making him more sympathetic. This is really hard to do! It is a very vulnerable feeling when you know a character so well that you forget your readers don't, and it is hard to share their true colors with others when you're so close to them. Great job. James Scott Bell is brilliant and has some excellent advice. 

4. If you could go back in time and see any place from your book, what would that be? 
I would love to stand on a piece of land called Copt Point in Folkestone. It's on the cliffs overlooking the English Channel, and I took the liberty of adding a fictional cottage to have my characters live there. -Schuyler, here I'd like to add a little quote that I think I mentioned later into our evening: "We musn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling," (Inception). You're allowed to take those liberties in writing. I love when authors add their own twists to things. Sometimes the best creative worlds are a mish-mash of real-world and your own. I've imagined what it would be like to stand there, and I definitely want to go there someday! You ought to plan a trip in your future and go. It would be a fantastic blog post!!!

5. What time period would you like to travel to the most? 
You know, I love the time in which we live. I feel like we're living in history--we've seen the longest reigning British sovereign--there may never be another sovereign that reigns in Britain as long as Queen Elizabeth the II. We're living during the 500th anniversary of the Reformation--and I suppose it would be cool to go back in time and see where it all started, but I really love the history that we're experiencing now. That is not the answer I was expecting and I love it. That's a really great perspective. What a blessing to be able to celebrate the Reformation's 500th year! It makes me so thankful to have that legacy as part of my identity.

Plus, I enjoy modern conveniences. :) Haha, yes! So true. Writing is so much more convenient with a computer. Can you imagine always hand-writing everything? I mean, a type-writer wouldn't even be the same. 

6. What place would you love to visit the most? 
I have a dream to visit Ireland/Scotland/England someday, and I'm definitely going to get there--I want to see where my characters would have lived and visit the WW1 museum in Folkestone, the town where my story took place. I want to see where Richard III died, and the statue of Davie and Alan from Kidnapped in Edinburgh, and visit the Giant's Causeway in Ireland. There is also a Titanic museum in Northern Ireland not too far from the Giant's Causeway. You would love it. 

7. Where can we find you on social media? 
You can visit me at, and if you'd like to reserve a copy of War of Loyalties, we are running a Kickstarter campaign until June 22 to raise the money for editing and cover design, among other things. You can check out more about that here: 

Thank-you SO much for having me on the Ink Lizard!! It's been so fun to chat with you and talk more about War of Loyalties! 
You're welcome! I had such a wonderful time and I'm looking so forward to reading your ink baby!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June 1 Update

More War of Loyalties fun stuff! This week, she has shared with us little tidbits on her characters and I'm over the moon.
Please considering helping Schuyler out on Kickstarter! There are 21 days to go yet for her to meet her goal. Prayer is the most important thing you can do!

As a side note, I read this article this week "Die to Yourself Without Losing Yourself" on I hear often "just do what you love," but it makes it so much harder when there are obstacles put directly in the way of the things that are a part of who you are. It is necessary to be reminded of who I am in Christ first; that is my foundation, and everything is built upon it. Self-sacrifice is not loosing who you are, not if you know who you are in Christ the Lord.

"It is often when we find ourselves at the end of our own abilities that God’s grace in us superabounds (Ephesians 3:14–21). So, let us not too quickly withdraw when we find ourselves gassed in the marathon of lifelong sacrifice, but rather redouble our efforts through God’s word and prayer. Through our perseverance, God’s grace may be made more apparent to the world and ourselves."

Thursday, May 25, 2017

War of Loyalties and Update

Happy Thursday! On this Thursday, I would like to share with you more about Schuyler's War of Loyalties book, which she would like release November or December of this year since it is centennial year in which the book is meant to take place.

In order for this seven-year project to make it to fruition, Schuyler is asking for prayers and support. She has launched a Kickstarter Campaign, which is open for just 28 more days. If she is not able to raise the amount needed to meet her goal at the end of the 30-day period, all pledges will not be charged, and she will have to start over.

I don't know about you, but I love spy novels, Historical Fiction, Sherlock & Dickens, and I have read several other pieces this talented woman has written. She is brilliant and Godly, and, I'm not going to lie, I really want to read this book.

Please pray for her, and consider whether you can help in any way (even if very small!).

As for news pertaining to my writing, it's been sporadic and rough as I'm dealing with many interruptions and setbacks. I had hoped to have the second & third part of the White Hawks typed and ready for editing, and to spend some time on Ember, but the Lord has had other plans.