The Traveler is a brand-new novel from fellow indie author E.B. Dawson, and it comes out tomorrow! [cue fireworks and confetti] I'm super excited for you guys to read it, (hint: it's awesome), but since we have to wait another whole day for that, here's a profile of the main character, and afterwards my non-spoilery review of the book to get you ready. (Also, as an author, I of all people know that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but I have to say, the one sitting just to the left of this paragraph is lovely).
But first, a synopsis, so you know what it's all about.
Anissa Robson is becoming an adult in a society she never really identified with. Forced to choose a career path, she becomes an apprentice to a young, headstrong politician who seems to stand for everything she disagrees with. The dreams she has refused to report grow more alluring to her as she becomes disillusioned with her job. But the lines between reality and her dreamland begin to blur and cross over, launching her onto a path she would never have chosen for herself. Is the government medicating dreamers to protect them? Or to hide something from them?
So without any further ado, I give you Anissa.
How old is Anissa when we meet her?
Anissa is 22 years old at the beginning of the book. In her society, young adults choose an apprenticeship after grade school (so around age 18), but Anissa is just starting hers for reasons that will be disclosed in the first chapter.
Is she at all like your protagonist from your sci-fi series, Logan Bailey?
They are both stubborn, but I think they are quite different. I would say Logan's a bit more of an internal processor, while Anissa processes things externally. Naturally, Logan likes to think before she responds. Anissa tends to say what she thinks, even when it isn't a good idea, and she tends to be a bit more impulsive.
If she were an animal what would she be and why?
I have decided that Anissa would be a fox. For reasons that will become clear, she's a bit of an outsider in her society. She's very clever and observant, but can be a bit prickly on the outside.
What do you like about her? What don't you like about her?
I love her boldness. She's honest when she disagrees with something. She stands up for what she believes, even if she is a little misguided now and then. Also, she is tough as nails.
She can be a bit blunt and argumentative. Also, she has her blind spots (but don't we all?).
What's Anissa's favorite thing to eat?
She loves any type of fruit.
Is she more introverted or extroverted?
Good question! I think I might classify her as an ambivert (balanced between introvert and extrovert). She definitely needs her space sometimes, but there is also part of her that doesn't want to be alone.
What does Anissa like to do in her free time?
Her life has been disrupted the last few years and so honestly she doesn't have a lot of hobbies. When we meet her she is starting a new chapter of her life and kind of trying to figure out who she is.
Does she have a pet? If not, what would she have?
She does not have a pet. She isn't super sentimental so I think she'd need a pet that can kind of take care of itself and be semi-independent (no fish! They'd die). Maybe a cat? Honestly, I'm not sure I'd trust her with a pet. (lol) She might forget about it...
What is her favorite article of clothing?
This sort of changes throughout the story. But I would say...khaki pants? Comfortable, flexible, multi-purpose.
Who is the most influential person in her life?
My Review for The Traveler
Now that we've learned all about Anissa, here is my review of The Traveler. E.B. Dawson was awesome enough to send me an ARC in exchange for an honest review, so here it is! (Naturally, the following opinions are my own).
Today marks the date of my two-year blog anniversary, and I wanted to do something special to celebrate. (The fact that I've kept this up for two years is a big deal to me, because my first attempt at a blog back in 2014 only lasted one month). *cough cough*
So what am I doing to celebrate this momentous occasion? Well, as you've probably noticed from the title, I'm doing a giveaway of Branwen's Quest! This is the first book in the Warriors of Aralan series, and if you've ever thought about trying it, but weren't sure you wanted to fork over the usual $2.99 to get it, then here's your chance!
And the winners are... *drum roll*
• Hannah Heath
• Maddy Crone
Congratulations, and thank you for entering!
First of all, I want to make it clear that this giveaway is for an eBook, not a paperback, but if you don't have a Kindle, it's not a problem! Just download the Kindle app for your smartphone, tablet, or computer, and you're all set.
As for time, the giveaway starts today (9/1/17) and will continue through next Friday (9/8/17). At the end of that time, I'll pick two winners (one for each year of this blog), and email them the good news that they won! I'll also publicly announce the winners right here, as well as on Twitter and Goodreads. All you have to do to enter is put the email associated with your Amazon account in the widget below, but if you really want to increase your chances, you can follow me on Twitter, or tweet a message about the giveaway.
And That's It!
Pretty simple, right? But if you still aren't sure about entering, here's a synopsis:
When the royal herald came announcing a mandatory Tournament of Warriors, Branwen was the last one to get excited. Sure, she was a good enough archer, but why should she be forced to go to the tournament just because the king said so? She had nothing to prove! Yet when she got there her competitive spirit took over and she succeeded—enough so that she was singled out by the king to take a difficult journey with three others who were as different as night and day from each other. Why? To recover the king and queen's missing crowns. Will they ever be able to overcome their differences and get along to complete their mission, or will they fall prey to an unexpected danger posed from within?
And if you'd like to try a sample of the book itself, here's an excerpt.
All right, now that we're past all that, we're to the part where you can actually enter the giveaway. (I may be more excited than you guys about this whole thing, but just bear with me). ;) If you do end up being one of the lucky winners of Branwen's Quest, firstly, congratulations! Secondly, don't forget to leave a review once you've read it. Reviews are so important to independent authors like myself, so please take a minute and help a writer out.
Finally, thank you for joining me in the celebration of two years of Katelyn Buxton Books! Your readership and support has meant so much to me, so this one's for you.
In my last blog post, I outlined the way I write, and in it I mentioned that when I’m not writing, I’m editing. Well, since I have once again failed the process of planning my next post ahead, I thought, “Eh, why not? I’ll write about that.” After all, my original post on editing went up on October 1st, 2015 (nearly two whole years ago), and was thoroughly cringe-worthy in hindsight. Since so much time has passed, I thought I’d tell you about my current editing/revising process, and what those nearly two years of experience has taught me.
I’m not as much of a rule-breaker when it comes to editing, since English has rules—but I’m sure my process differs from other writers’ in one way or another, so I’ll continue to present my process as a series of confessions.
Confession #1: I let my first drafts sit a good long time in their oh-so-rough state before I let them see the light of day again. Why? Because I’m the author. No matter how it turned out, I still have a heavenly picture in my head of how it’s supposed to be. Not how it is, but how it was, in my head, before I ever put a word on the page. This makes it extremely difficult (if not impossible), to spot errors right after I finish writing it.
So I let it sit. I used to say “for a month,” but it’s probably closer to a year these days, because of the writing-editing-writing cycle I use. For example, I just finished writing Warriors of Aralan #10. #8 is the one I've just started editing, and when I publish it, I’ll go back to writing and write #11. Then I’ll head back to #9 for editing, and so on.
It seems that every time I get within four to five days of my next blog post’s due date, I end up in a mad scramble to get something useful down for the readers of this blog. Well… this time around is no different, but I thought I’d write about something a little more personal this time: my story-writing process. (My blog post-writing process is just a panicked sprint to the finish line).
This is something that’s unique to every writer out there—some fill the walls of their writing space with minutely-detailed post-its during the plotting process—others don’t plot at all. Some write several thousand words in one sitting, while some write only a couple hundred on a good day.
My method breaks just about every familiar writing tradition (myth)? out there, and ends up somewhere in between pantsing and plotting. Since I'm such a terrible rule-breaker, I thought I'd show you my process through a series of confessions. ;P
Confession #1: I don’t carry a notebook for jotting down story ideas. I find it kind of inconvenient, and don’t really enjoy writing by hand. [distant screaming] However, I still have a strange, groundless obsession with pretty notebooks and pens. (I know, I'm weird).
So what do I do with plot bunnies? I figure if they’re meant to be, they’ll stick around.
A lot of times when I'm plotting a new book, I store all the information away in my head, where, inevitably, something gets forgotten. Sometimes it's not anything very important, but other times I find myself asking, "Wait... how old was that character again?"
When that happens, I wish I had written such necessary specifics down. Something that makes it much easier and organized is a character development sheet. (Sometimes called a character creation questionnaire). It's simply a list of questions that help you nail down little details like a character's age, physical appearance, hobbies, hopes and dreams, etc., so you can refer back to it later, when—imperfect human that you are—you forget your dear character's eye color. (No really, I'm speaking from experience here... nothing's worse than opening up a proof and finding a character's eye color has changed between pages five and eight).
Although the above-mentioned example was largely a lapse in editing attention on my part, it would have been very helpful to have a character development sheet to refer back to whenever I had a question about details like that. And so, I have taken the liberty of creating my own version of a character creation questionnaire. I tried to cover all the bases when I made it, with the result that you probably won't need to use all of the questions—after all, I don't think a fifteen-year-old MC will have grandkids—but I put the slot in anyway, in case you have an elderly main character.
I should also mention that there are two versions of it. My favorite, the one I fondly refer to as "the pretty one," has a header image much like the one at the top of this blog post. The other version is for ink-saving individuals, and is only black and white. :P Feel free to use/print/download however many of these you want. It doesn't really matter which you choose, since they have the same questions.
• Character Development Sheet #1 (The Pretty One)
• Character Development Sheet #2 (The Practical One)
I hope you found these helpful, and if you have any ideas for more questions that I could add into the development sheet, fire away in the comments. I'll try and add them in!
In my last post I provided a list of male Irish names, but since I'm pretty sure you have some female characters too, here's a list for them. Looking at this list you might think, "Well those look cool, but how on earth am I supposed to pronounce them?" If that's you, you can find many of the pronunciations on the website I took the names from. (There's a link at the bottom of this post).
Although Irish names are really cool and full of history, I've also made lists of male and female English names, and male and female Hebrew names in case you're looking for something a little different. Hopefully you'll find this list (or one of the others) helpful for naming your characters!
Aideen – jealousy
Aignéis – chaste
Ailbhe – white
Aileen – ?
Ailís – noble; kind; sort; type
Áine – radiance
Aislin – dream; vision
Aisling – dream; vision
Alastríona – defending men; help
Aoife – beauty
Aran – name of the Aran Islands of the west coast of Ireland
Ashling – dream; vision
Bébhionn – fair lady
Bébinn – fair lady
Bedelia – exalted one
Bevin – fair lady
Biddy – exalted one
Bláithín – little flower
Breda – exalted one
Bríd – exalted one
Bridget – exalted one
Bridie – exalted one
Brigid – exalted one
Brogan – shoe
Brónach – sorrow
Today's blog post is a list of Irish names for writing purposes! Those who know me from this blog or from following my Twitter know I have a bit of a thing for names, and since names are something we writers have to delve in to from time to time, I thought I'd make a list on a purely writerly site. (After all, visiting baby-name websites can get a little... well... awkward from time to time). Previously, I've made lists of male and female English names, and male and female Hebrew names.
Next up: the Irish. This list only contains male names, but the next post provides some for your lady characters as well. Irish names have a unique flavor all their own, steeped in history, so I hope you'll give this list a skim! (Who knows, you might find the one)!
Abbán – little abbot
Aidan – fire
Ailill – elf
Ailín – little rock; handsome
Aindréas – manly; masculine
Alaois – form of Aloysius; famous war; battle
Alastar – defending men; help
Alby – white
Angus – one strength; force; energy
Anraí – home ruler
Aodh – fire
Aran – name of the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland
Ardal – high valor
Barrie – fair hair
Berach – sharp
Brádach – large-chested
Bradán – salmon
Bran – raven
Braonán – rain; moisture; drop
Brendan – prince
Brennan – descendant of Braonán
Brian – hill; high; noble
Brogan – shoe
Killing characters. It’s something both reader and writer alike have a love/hate relationship with. Personally, I love it when a character dies—I revel in the sadness, the “what-just-happened,” the emotion more informally known as feels. But at the same time, it has to be done right, and since I just published Healing Scars, Warriors of Aralan #7, I thought now would be an opportune time to write about this subject, because Healing Scars opens almost immediately with a character’s death. (I won’t say who, though… you’ll have to find out by reading it yourself). *writer’s wink*
So, here’s a little list to think about as we move forward.
1.) First of all, is the death necessary? Killing characters just for the sake of it never helped anybody.
2.) This may sound a little macabre, but research the kind of death your character is going to experience. If you're not entirely sure what you're talking about, it'll show.
3.) And don’t forget to think about the aftermath of killing a character. In real life, people who lose loved ones don’t just pick up and move on right away—take time for the grieving process.
I've been talking about "Warriors of Aralan #7" for a while now, and so I'm really excited to reveal three important things about it with this post:
1.) It has a name: Healing Scars.
2.) The cover! (That book-shaped image just to the left of this text).
3.) And a little tidbit of of the story itself in the form of an excerpt.
I'm hoping to release Healing Scars to Amazon later this month, but until then, here's the excerpt. Enjoy!
Update: Healing Scars is published, and can be downloaded off Amazon.
Though Mercy was perplexing, a lazy day at her special fishing hole turned out to be a pleasant experience. Each of the three children caught several fish, and Ben kept two of his biggest to bring home. About midway through the afternoon, Benjamin suggested swimming.
Impulsive as Mercy was, she eyed the choppy water doubtfully. “I don’t know if it’s safe.”
“Can’t you swim?” Ben asked, a challenge in his voice.
Mercy stood up indignantly. “Of course I can! It’s just that daddy said to never swim near waterfalls because they can push you under.”
Had Kenan been quicker to speak, no one might have gotten wet that day. As it was, Ben found his tongue long before his friend. “That’s not a very big waterfall,” he said scornfully, gesturing at it. It was true—but it wasn’t a very small one either. And then, without further ado, Ben flung himself into the water.
Mercy dithered on the bank for a moment, setting her fishing pole and line straight, and then she followed with a much smaller and less enthusiastic jump.
Benjamin broke the surface again, flinging his wet hair out of the way with a roguish grin. “Come on Kenan, the water feels good.”
Kenan sat down slowly and dangled his legs in the water, shaking his head. “I think I’m all right here.” It wasn’t that he couldn’t swim—he and Ben had spent many summer afternoons doing just that—it was that, like Mercy, he wasn’t entirely sure swimming there was a good idea.
Just then Mercy came up gasping for air, and Ben burst out laughing. Her dark brown hair usually formed a perfect frizz all the way around her head, mirroring the spunk of the girl it belonged to, but when wet it went completely flat, draping, soaked, around her head and neck. “What?” she asked, frowning.
Benjamin splashed her. “You look like a drowned rat!” he exclaimed, laughing so hard he went under.
When he came up again, it was to a skillful jet of water in his face. “I do not!” Mercy retorted crossly.
Soon Mercy was pursuing Ben around the foaming pool, and both hurled insults freely. Though perhaps Benjamin’s motives hadn’t been entirely pure when he called Mercy a drowned rat, their insult war became a light-hearted competition.
Kenan stood up and watched their progress anxiously. “Aren’t you getting a little close to the waterf—oh!”
During the last month, I've had the pleasure of joining in a couple of writing-centered hashtag games on Twitter. The first, called #authorconfession, is hosted by @_JM_Sullivan, and the second, called #WIPjoy, by @simmeringmind. Every day participants in either #authorconfession or #WIPjoy are provided with a new question about their work-in-progress or themselves, and they're a lot of fun, besides having really helped me think about my characters in new ways.
Most of the above-mentioned answers come from Warriors of Aralan #7, and therefore offer a sneak peek into the lives of Allister and his son Ben before they hit Amazon later this year. But be warned! Spoilers are contained in the following answers.
#authorconfession Question: Where would your main character find an Easter Egg?
Answer: Right when he [Ben] opened his eyes in the morning. Allister would leave it there, and leave several more hidden elsewhere.
#WIPjoy Question: How would you best describe your setting?
Answer: Fantasy, leaning towards a more historically accurate Dark Ages, in a made-up country of my own invention. ;)
#authorconfession Question: What's your main character's "deadly sin"?
Answer: Ben's “deadly sin” would be greed. It's what drives him to lie and steal—he's greedy for the thrill, not just stuff.
#WIPjoy Question: What was the first thing you knew about your story's world/setting?
Answer: Oh wow. *reaches five years back in the brain archives* Probably something boring like the fact that Aralan is forested.
#authorconfession Question: A book isn't complete without...
Answer: A book isn't complete without three-dimensional characters. I want to see their struggles—not just their reactions.
#WIPjoy Question: Story location you'd most like to visit?
Answer: Aralan's castle... because, I mean... it's a castle! 'Nuff said.
#authorconfession Question: What's your main character's favorite song?
Answer: I don't think Ben has a favorite song. He hasn't heard enough music to know, living in Aralan.
#WIPjoy Question: Share a line that displays your world.
Answer: A description of the field that holds the famous archery range of Linfort, in summertime: Heat waves shimmered and danced across the field, and the whine of summertime insects never stopped.
#authorconfession Question: Find a GIF to describe your work-in-progress.
Answer: You'll have to click here to see the GIF.
#WIPjoy Question: Three unique elements of your world.
Answer: That's hard, because I'm not sure anyone can write an idea that hasn't been thought of by someone else before. But here goes...
1.) The chief weapon of one of my main characters (Allister), is throwing knives.
2.) Warriors of Aralan #7 centers around a single father (single due to his wife's untimely death), raising a son, not a daughter.
3.) Aralan is home to the famed "Tournament of Warriors," which is much like the Olympics, except with only four disciplines: one for Aralan's archers, one for Aralan's sword-wielders, one for Aralan's spear-carriers, and one for Aralan's axe-bearers.
Welcome to Katelyn Buxton books! I'm a Christian author and blogger, with a passion for writing stories that are not just enjoyable, but also lead people to Jesus. Feel free to look around, and enjoy your stay!