Saturday, August 19, 2017

Trying Out a New Trick with Jemma

I have nothing exciting to share at the moment in regards to writing. There are always books I can talk about (always), and there people I love to share about (who write fantastic books) and there is cats. So, I will take a break from the writing chatter to share about a hobby that I enjoy!

Jemma is a very clever cat, but she is also very playful, curious, a rather pathetic scaredy-cat, and generally just a drama princess. This cat definitely lets you know how she feels about what's going on. She loves attention so much, that I've got her trained almost like a dog. Don't laugh. Yes, cats are totally trainable. I really enjoy the challenge of pet training, I have had several animals and cats are the hardest (rats were the easiest) but they are not impossible. It just requires a different approach. Cats are just wired differently, and come at things with a hunter's perspective: if I invest in this, what am I going to get from it? You just need a lot of patience, and be willing to be flexible. Every cat has a different motivation, so you can't train every cat the same way. When something goes wrong, punishment does nothing- spanking actually makes them feel defensive and they appear to lash out in anger when it really might be fear. Cats have a strong sense of dignity and space, and feel threatened- not just angry- when challenged. The best way to deal with a naughty cat is to use a low but not loud voice, and either walk away or redirect them to something else.
Jemma sits, gives high fives and shakes, stands up, lays, and (sometimes- still working on this one) rolls over. I saw on Facebook a video of teaching a cat to jump through your arms interlocked in a hoop and thought this would be great fun. Last night I decided to begin teaching her this trick. 
I made a mistake by beginning with me sitting on the floor. Jemma prefers to follow hand signals I have modified from American Sign Language signs and my body language alongside my voice, so when I tried to get her to walk over my arm for the Step 1 of this trick, she laid down. 
I didn't realize what was happening so I told her "no" and she slapped her tail on the carpet and narrowed her eyes. Me, sighing, tried again, but she would not get up. I even showed her the can of whipped cream. Nada. Just squinting and tail-tapping and sighing back at me. Then I realized that she was frustrated because she thought she'd done as I asked since I sat down on the floor, too. I ended up having mom launch a hair tie over my arm twice in a row, and when she passed over my arm I used to clicker to indicate she'd done something I wanted. The pros do this all the time and call it conditioning. You first do a series of very simple steps to train the animal to associate the sound of the clicker as a positive thing. They look forward to hearing it because it means they will be rewarded. Once they know this, you can start training them to do more things! So you see your pet do something cut or fun; repeat the conditions that get them to do that thing and click when they actually do it. This is repeated until they understand that you want them to do that thing, and then you add a voice and/or hand signal to the action. They will soon learn that you are signalling that thing. Eventually, you can build step upon step using the clicker, and a treat when the steps are completed. It sounds complicated but it really isn't! 
I have used this clicker technique for Jemma, a pet parakeet and a pair of rats. I hear it is very easy to do with dogs, and I have seen dolphins and otters trained at water parks using it. 

Do you have a pet that you have trained to do something fun or unique? I would love to hear about it! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Interview with Jaye L. Knight

As a proud member of Jaye's Resistance participating in the Weekend Release Blitz, I am blessed to be able to share this author interview with Jaye L. Knight with all of you! Her stories are filled with strong and lovable characters struggling to remain firm in their faith despite the Emperor's cold rule. If you enjoyed the Blades of Acktar, you will definitely like the Chronicles of Ilyon.

 1. What books do you think have the greatest influence or impact on what you write?

I can be inspired by just about any books, but Books of the Infinite by R.J. Larson had some of the greatest influence on me. I read her series about the time I was really developing my writing style and voice, and I think I picked up things from her. Then, of course, there is The Lord of the Rings. I probably never would have started writing fantasy if not for Tolkien.

 2. What do you hope others will take away from your stories? 

That God is in control even in the midst of our greatest trials. My characters go through a lot of awful things, but there is always a purpose in the end. I believe the same thing about life. Even when we don’t understand what is happening, God can see the entire picture and how it will work together in the end.

 3. Who is your favorite character to write and why? 

I’d have to say Jace. He will always be very near and dear to my heart. Ilyon Chronicles all started with him. While I haven’t struggled to the extent that he has, his struggles resonate with me and came from some of my own struggles.

 4. Who is the most difficult character for you to write and why? 

It’s been long enough now that I know my characters well enough not to have too much trouble with them, but in the beginning, I did find Kyrin difficult to write. For a long time, I struggled to figure out exactly who she was. It took a few rewrites before I had a good grasp on her as a character.

 5. If you could make any food or drink that your characters consume, what would it be?

While I don’t have a specific dish in mind, I’d love to try some of the crete food the characters try while they’re in Arvael in this book. Either that or those delicious beef sandwiches Jorvik and his brothers make for everyone when they first arrive.

Thank you, Jaye for allowing me this opportunity!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ilyon Chronicles #4: Exiles, by Jaye L. Knight

Here we are on Thursday already (this week went by so fast!) and the Usborne Online party is still on. It will now be open through Monday, so if you feel you missed out, have no fear! We are still here!
It is now also time to share Jaye L. Knight's newest release with you! 

Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Exiles, has been released! Exiles is the fourth book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles. Read about it below and be sure to check out the other blog stops on the tour by visiting the official tour page. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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About the Book
Exiled after their defeat in Samara, the Resistance struggles to find allies in their quest to restore King Balen to his throne and put an end to the emperor’s tyranny. When the crete people refuse to lend their aid, Balen leads a group to Dorland to reason with them and win their support. However, enemies prove to be everywhere, and they find themselves in a fight to keep Dorland from becoming Daican’s latest conquest.

Back in Landale, the arrival of a new enemy forces Trask and Anne to tread more carefully than ever. Tensions are rising, and the enemy is determined to test Anne’s loyalty and root out the location of Trask and the Resistance once and for all.

Feeling trapped within the walls of Valcré, Prince Daniel must contend with an ever-eroding relationship with his father. As their clashes escalate, the situation becomes potentially life threatening when his loyalty is called into question. His sister seems bent on branding him a traitor and actively seeking to condemn him to the fate of those put to death in their father’s new arena. Daniel is certain his father would never execute his only son and heir, but with other forces at work, it might not be that simple.

One small misstep could prove fatal for all.

Available now on Amazon!


Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? The first three Kindle books are on sale August 11th - 14th!
You can find them on Amazon.


About the Author
JayeAuthor2015Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy.

Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Exiles, a pewter dragon necklace by treasurecast, and a sword letter opener! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

Giveaway Link:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 10

Friday, August 11

Saturday, August 12

Sunday, August 13

Monday, August 14

Tuesday, August 15

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Busy Week Ahead! Aug. 7-11 Usborne Online Party & Aug. 11-13 Exiles Weekend Release Blitz

Hello all!
This past week I attended my very last Logos. It was sad to realized the end of an era (a very short one for me since I started going to Logos quite late). The speakers they chose for the sessions and workshops are always outstanding. I may be more than biased, but I think the Reformed circle has an abundance of grounded, deep-thinking men from which the RYS board can choose from to lead these events. This year's topic was "Living with a Purpose" with Ed Marcusse as the main speaker. You can find more details on it here. The day away was at the Henry Ford Museum, but I chose to stay behind. A lot of people do, there are always activities to take part in at the retreat centers, and plenty of people will start up a game if there's down time, too. Since there was a water slide available, I did give that a go and it was great fun! I highly recommend this event as a great way to delve deep into Scripture and learn more about God's Word. It was sad to leave because I realized that there will likely not be any more events like this in which I can go for a few days at a time, just soaking in Biblical teachings every day. I will also miss many good friends I met there, friends from all over the world (not just the United States!). If you want to know more, you are welcome to comment below a question or message me through Facebook and I would be happy to share with you about this great opportunity. Please take it while you can! The committee is fantastic, they are always understanding and want to make the Logos events as enjoyable and comfortable for everyone as possible.

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Also, a quick reminder before we move on to other exciting news- Usborne Online Party will kick off tomorrow (that is, Monday!). It will be held on my writer's Facebook page (check out the little buttons on the right side of my page here and follow the Facebook one) through Friday. There is lots to share! I picked out some fun titles of fairy-tale tellings, and Shakespeare quotations, plus more to share with you and Usborne is releasing a lot of new books this month.
For friends who do write, there are also some helpful books on writing. (I actually have one of them on my shelf and have found it quite helpful for prompts and hints.)

Finally, Sunday, August 13 I will post my interview with Jaye L. Knight, author of the Ilyon Chronicles. The fourth installment in this fantastic series is Exiles. I am about halfway through The King's Scrolls (2nd one of the series) and I love it! It is full of adventure and memorable, lovable characters. Besides, dragons are awesome and I want one. Jaye writes them in a very similar way to how I imagine them, and I'm completely melted over Gem (perhaps a little bit because her name and and sweet personality are reminiscent of my own Jemma-cat). I will post more Ilyon Chronicles fun things on Monday in preparation for the weekend blitz!

Keep checking back because it's going to be a busy week over here!

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. :)