5 Ways to Stay Motivated During NaNoWriMo

Yes, I do realize this is supposed to say
NaNoWriMo starts TOMORROW and I'm kind of freaking out because I have school, lines to finish memorizing, and a play to perform this weekend.  It looks like late nights and lots of coffee for me.  The real question, though, is how on earth will I stay motivated to see this novel through to the end over the course of November?

(If you want to hear about my NaNo novel this year,

1. Set deadlines and reward yourself when you crush them.

I've set a lot of deadlines before, but I've only met a few of them.  Why?  Because I had a good reward waiting for me at the end.  I spent last summer majorly editing my book so I could pitch it to publishers at Realm Makers.  I've been editing a lot recently because I know in November I'm going to start querying publishers.  Of course, your rewards don't have to be something as big as a writer's conference, but make sure it's something that motivates you.  Tell yourself (or even have someone keep you accountable) that you can't watch a movie or read this book until you've written X amount of words.

2. Epic Soundtracks

I'm a huge fan of listening to movie soundtracks while I write.  It helps me get in the zone and sparks my imagination.
Some of my favorites are...

  • Jason Bourne
  • Doctor Who (any season)
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Thor
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Interstellar
  • Inception
  • Tomorrowland
I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones I can think of right now.

3. Sit back and daydream before you write.

Get that storytelling awesomeness started in your head.  Don't worry about putting down the right words, just picture it in your head.  Picture action.  Hear the dialogue.  Feel the feelings.

4. Turn off your Internet.

Yes, I know you need Internet to listen to your movie soundtracks, but those Twitter notifications are distracting.  Turn off Google Hangouts.  Stop refreshing your email and blog feed.

5. Word War

If you aren't on self-implicated Internet restriction, word war with a friend.  Never heard of a word war?  It's a race to see who can write the most words in X amount of time.  It's lots of fun and insanity.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?  Tell me about your NaNo novels!  How do you stay motivated during NaNo?


Why I Love Having a Sister - Creative Edition

Until fairly recently, I wished I was an only child.  My sister and I never got along and didn't really like the same things.  Now, I can honestly say I love having a sister.  So, shout out to Mickayla Jansen, my amazing not-so-little sister!  (We both use pen names.)  Make sure and check her blog out because it's awesome.  (Not that I'm biased or anything...)

1. I can loan books to her without fear of them getting damaged or lost.

Damaged or lost books is probably ever bookish person's fear.  With a sister, I can keep my books in sight.  Besides, I trust her.  ;)

2. I always have someone to fangirl with.

Who even talks about real life crushes anymore?  Our girl talks consist of books and movies.  It's awesome.

3. If I ever need to talk out a problem with my WIP, I can brainstorm with her.

Something that's awesome about Mickayla is that she has great ideas and she's always completely honest.  If she doesn't like something, she will speak her mind.  It's super helpful.

4. We're filmmaking partners in crime.

Yup.  We make movies together.  I don't think I've filmed anything without her.

5. We word war together.

We haven't done this in a while, but it's awesome when we do.  (And we're both super competitive so...)

6. She's just an awesome person!

I'm totally going to brag on her here.  She's funny, athletic, artistic, and bookish!  And she's a radiant light for the Lord.  And did I mention that her blog is awesome?  Make sure and check it out here.

Do you have any brothers or sisters?  I would love to hear your thoughts!


Lady Dragon, Tela Du BLOG TOUR ||| Character Interview with Summer

The sequel to Water Princess, Fire Prince is finally here!

Two girls with one face
Two girls with twisted fate
One in purple, one in red
One shall speak the other’s death
Who shall win their final war?
Lady Dragon or Tela Du?

Amber, the Lady Dragon, has been promised a fifty-year reign over Rizkaland and nothing can stop her from claiming it. But when you've lived six thousand years, fifty is such a pitiful number. Only one person can keep her from making this reign permanent - the Tela Du, a girl who shall share Amber's face.

The last thing Petra wants is a magical world interrupting her plans for a normal life, let alone an ultimate battle against the Lady Dragon with only one prophesied survivor. She has her childhood best friend, Reuben, at her side, but she's not sure if he's more of a help or a hindrance right now. Though she'd much prefer to just return home and forget about this whole crazy affair, things change when she discovers that the world has surprising connections to her own family - including her sister who disappeared without a trace two years before. Still, Rizkaland can't possibly expect her to risk her very life, can it?

Alea: Thank you so much for joining me, Summer!
           As a child, did you ever daydream about going to another world?

Summer: No, but sometimes I allowed my brother to talk me into taking part in his games. Not often, because he often made me the evil witch. Which could be fun ... but one can only take so much of being the bad guy.

Alea: Hehe. :) I have a friend who always played the "everyone else" roll in our pretend games.  So, since you don't daydream about world-hopping, what are some of your hobbies?

Summer: Hobbies are things people do as an excuse to not socialize. Although I do enjoy photography. My mom gave me a digital camera for Christmas last year, and let me tell you - those things are the future!

Alea: Photography is a wonderful hobby!
Does your name fit your personality?

Summer: Does yours? I mean, I'm told I'm pretty hot, and Summer's hot, and I'm more of an in-the-moment girl and summer is the best for living in the moment.

Alea: I'll take that as a yes, then.  :) Coffee, tea, or spiced pomella cider?

Summer: Coffee. Black and bitter.

Alea: Coffee is an awesome invention...though I don't like it black.
What is family life like at your house?

Summer: Uh, well, I have older brothers who are identical twins and are frequently annoying. My parents run a jewelry shop. We homeschool with my cousins, Mondays at my Aunt Helen's, Tuesdays at the Ardens, Wednesdays at Aunt Violet's, Thursday's at my house, and Friday is homework on your own. Although Reuben is at the Arden's whenever he has the chance because he and Petra are a thing, but not a thing, and it's ridiculous.

Alea: Thank you so much for joining me today, Summer!  It was lovely talking with you!

           You can read some more of Summer in the snippet below!

Ashley didn’t hesitate. She ran back out of the house and then walked across the street to Queen Michelle’s house. Summer answered the door when she knocked.
“Did Petra change her mind and chase you off?” Summer asked, narrowing her eyes as she leaned against the doorframe.
Ashley took a step backward and hastily shook her head. “I – I need to talk to your mother.”
“Because…” It was sometimes so difficult to not mention Rizkaland to people who didn’t know about it. “Because Mum wants to talk to her.”
Summer rolled her eyes. “You do know that you really don’t have to call her that just because Petra does. In fact, it annoys Petra when you do. Unless you enjoy annoying Petra, and last time I checked, you didn’t.”
“Mum suits her,” Ashley quickly answered, glancing down. “It sounds more respectful than ‘mom,’ and I can’t call her ‘Mother.’”
Summer raised an eyebrow, but instead of questioning Ashley’s statement, she straightened with a toss of her hair. “Well, why are we standing in the doorway wasting cold air? If you want to talk to my mom, come in and find her. Last time I checked, she was home.”

To read the first chapter, you can visit this link, or you can buy the book!

Book 1 in the Rizkaland  Legends is FREE on Kindle until the 24th of October!

You can read my review of it here.
Kendra E. Ardnek is a homeschool graduate who picked up a pen at an early age and never put it down. The eldest of four, she makes her home in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her parents, younger siblings, giant herd of giraffes, and honor guard of nutcrackers.


Dare by Tricia Mingerink ||| Medieval Jason Bourne in a World Where Christians are Persecuted

Courage could cost him everything. 

Third Blade Leith Torren never questions his orders or his loyalty to King Respen until an arrow wound and a prairie blizzard drive him to the doorstep of the girls whose family he once destroyed.

Their forbidden faith and ties to the Resistance could devastate their family a second time. 

Survival depends on obedience, but freedom beckons. How far does he dare go to resist the king and his Blades?

                                                         No matter what Leith chooses, one thing is certain.

                                                         Someone will die.

I had the privilege of meeting Tricia Mingerink at Realm Makers.  She's a super sweet person.  I'd been planning to read the Blades of Aktar for a while, so I decided to get it while I was there so she could sign it.
This was taken on the last night around midnight, so we
all look completely exhausted.(Photo Credit: My Dad)
Dare is a fantastic start to a riveting series.  Basically, it's medieval Jason Bourne set in a world the assassins' job is to kill Christians and quell resistance.

The plot is a bit like The Ilyon Chronicles, but the characters are very different.  Leith, a Blade for the king, is sent on a mission.  But things happen to him that change him.  He learns about God, but he doesn't instantly become a Christian.  He slowly grows.

Renna is also a very realistic character.  She finds it hard to do what God called her to do.  She isn't a perfect person.  Spoiler in white: And I ship her with Leith.

Basically, you should read this book.  It's clean and very realistic.

Tricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn't writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country.


It's Okay to Not Constantly Write

Brain: Writers write...right?

Me: Umm duh, we're called writers for a reason.

Brain: But real writers write all the time, right?

Me: .................

Brain: All day, every day, the real writers tap away at their computers and finish perfect novels super fast.

                                                                                    Me: I must not be a real writer.

I find myself struggling with this a lot because I don't write all the time.  I have responsibilities like school, drama practice, homework, chores, as well as other interests like reading and graphic design.

So...am I still a writer?


Being a writer is not about who can write 50,000 words in one month, or write every single day without fail.  Being a writer is about writing, and it looks different for everyone.  Some people write consistently.  Others write a lot in short bursts.  Some write a little bit here and a little bit there.

Personally, I struggle with writing.  Though I love writing, a lot of times I just don't feel like writing.  Sometimes my depression flares up and I don't feel like doing anything at all.

You are a writer if you write.  It doesn't depend on a daily word quota or that you don't always write.

Do you ever have this sort of "identity crisis"?  Chat with me in the comments!  I would love to hear your thoughts.