Would you survive the Rumble Pit?

Rumble Pit battle.Kendra Kandlestar and the Shard from Greeve is free until September 25th on amazon (click here!) so I thought I would help celebrate by posting one of my most popular quizzes.

Imagine that you have set off an adventure to search between the cracks of here and there for the Land of Een—you take a wrong turn and end up in Queen Krake’s dreaded Rumble Pit! Will you survive? Just answers the ten multiple-choice questions below to find out! (If you want one to print out, just click here).

1. Your Rumble Pit nickname is:

__ Crodan the Crusher
__ Wulfclaw the Warrior
__ Dinner
__ Bonespur the Barbarian


2. As you charge at an enemy, you are known to yell:

__ Die, worms, die!

__ Humph!

__ Don’t think of pickles!

__ Eek! Who’s charging?


3. If you could take one item into the Rumble Pit it would be:

__ A handful of Ratchet Ringtail’s Snore Galore

__ Jinx’s trusty poker (as good as any sword!)

__ A change of underwear

__ Shard from Greeve, the stone of dark power


4. If you were wounded in the Rumble Pit, you would most likely:

__ Stitch yourself up with a piece of bone and some string, then keep fighting

__ Tell your companions to leave you behind so as to save themselves

__ Suck on your thumb and cry for your mommy

__ Find a wand of Eenwood and heal yourself


5. Your best move in the Rumble Pit:

__ Float like a pixie, sting like a skarm 

__ Back flip over your enemy and stab him in the back

__ Full-throttle assault, like a fly on dragon poop

__ Drop your sword, pee your pants, and flee for the nearest exit


6. The Rumble Pit warrior you’d most like to fight is:

__ Grolf the giant: brain like a pea, fists like hammers

__ Buttercup the kitten: fur as soft as snow, nose as pink as pansies

__ Krackle the dragon: breath of fire, scales of steel, tail like a whip

__ Xerdes the serpent: venom that sizzles and burns, coils that twist and constrict


7. The Rumble Pit warrior you’d want on your side is:

__ Uriel the Unicorn: shy and timid, horn like a javelin

__ Agent Lurk: fingers like talons, cloak of invisibility, mysterious intentions

__ Pugglemud the Dwarf: fly-encrusted beard, breath like a sewer, would boil his own mother in ketchup if it meant his escape

__ Juniper Jinx: grasshopper in shape and size, but heart of a giant, with a tongue as sharp as her many swords


8. An opponent falls to his knees, begging for mercy, and you:

__ Spare his life; ask him to fight by your side

__ Roll him in raw meat and use him as dragon bait

__ Hug him and pet him and call him George

__ Drop an ogre on him


9. If given the choice, after a rumble, you’d prefer to sit in your dungeon cell and:

__ Plan your strategy for next time

__ Get your horns sharpened (wait, why do you have horns?)

__  Sit in the corner, whimper quietly

__ Get a nice facial with perfumed cream


10. You last cleaned your gladiator gear:

__ Yesterday

__ In the days of Een, when the Wizard Greeve cast his curse

__  Last week

__ What’s cleaning?

After you finish answering all the questions, you can find out if you survived by downloading the answer key. But no cheating in the Rumble Pit!

A big key to success . . .

. . . is help! So I’d like to send out a big shout-out to everyone who helped out with a recent amazon Kindle promotion for Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger. Kendra was able to reach a lot of new readers and it’s all due to the networking help of different readers.

There are so many blogs and twitter feeds who have helped out, but in particular I’d like to mention the help of fellow creators (and friends!) Marcie Nestman, Stephanie Lisa Tara, James McCann, Kallie George, and kc dyer. Also, the website www.fkbooksandtips.com was a big help. If you’re an author and looking for promotional help, you might want to visit them.

Now it’s time for me to get back writing Kendra Kandlestar 5! Hopefully there will be more updates soon.

The Power of doodling: How I found the idea for The Door to Unger

I’ve been posting a lot of the sketches and artwork for the fifth Kendra Kandlestar book, but since amazon has a promotion to download Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger for free this week, I thought I would post one of the earliest sketches that inspired that book.

The whole idea for the plot of Door to Unger came from doodling. See, originally, I had NO idea for the book. I had written and published The Box of Whispers, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to write another Kendra book. I didn’t really have a specific idea or direction in mind. I began brainstorming, but nothing was really sticking. I remember thinking that I might even focus a sequel on Honest Oki, making him the central character instead of Kendra.

Well, the summer that all of this was floating around in my mind, I found myself in England. With all of its castles and dungeons, it’s a fantastic place for inspiration—especially when you’re writing a fantasy book. Strangely, however, I wasn’t traipsing through the maze at Hampton Court or up the Tower of London when I was struck with that magic bolt of inspiration. I was out in the country, sitting on a beach in Cornwall, staring out at the sea and the rocks. I had my sketchbook with me and I just began doodling. That’s when I came up with this sketch:

Concept sketch for Trooogul and Kendra

I’m not sure WHY I drew this picture. It wasn’t connected to any existing idea floating around in my coconut at the time. But as soon as I was finished this particular sketch, something sparked inside of me. By this picture I couldn’t tell if Kendra was being saved or stolen. And then I realized that she didn’t know it either. And that, in essence, became the nugget of the story.

I’m not sure how many times drawing has saved me when it comes to writing. But this is one of the best examples of just how connected my writing process is to drawing.

Oh! I should mention that this illustration turned out to be the focal element of the print edition cover. But that is another story . . .

My obsession with doors

With the current amazon promotion (you can download Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger for FREE until July 8th) I’ve been thinking a lot about doors. There are all sorts of doorways in The Door to Unger, and a lot of them were inspired by my travels. I just love finding doorways and taking photographs of them. In fact, my friends have been known to tease me for taking close-ups of these portals, but the truth is I find them just so fascinating.

In any case, here are some of my favourite doors from around the world (they are in no particular order) . . .

This one is at Alahumbra in Spain.


Just a cute little red church door I passed by during my last trip to New York City.


These opulent doors adorn the Grand Palace in Bangkok.


This is the detail of a door knocker at Heavenly Park in Beijing.


This is just a door to the delightful “Iron Fairy”—a restaurant in Bangkok. Inside, they also have a secret door, hidden as a bookshelf (though it was too dark for me to take a photo of it).


This is a door knocker detail from a palace in Korea (though I can’t remember which one; it may have been Kyeong-bok).


I loved this ornamentation on this door at the parliament buildings in Ottawa.


This one reminded me of a face. It can be found at a church in Prague.


I think some of my favourite doors are the old wooden ones. This one is at the cathedral in Salisbury.


From Shanghai Alley in Vancouver, this brightly coloured door evoked a sense of mystery.


This doorway is at the cathedral in St. Albans. I don’t know why; every time I see this photo, I think of Narnia.


This is another door at St. Albans.


The very austere and intimidating door at St. Paul’s, London.


This is a hidden doorway at the walls around Suwan. It’s designed in such a way so that you can’t see it easily from the outside; defenders can quickly zip inside their walls, leaving pursuers or attackers confused.


These doors can be found at Watpho in Bangkok.


Finally, how about a place badly in need of a door? The summer I was writing the Door to Unger, I visited the maze at Hampton Court in England and tried to find my way out. (I did, but not after a bit of confusion!)


Kendra KINDLEstar

One of the fun things about producing the Kindle editions of the Kendra Kandlestar books was designing the new covers. (By the way–did you get your free copy, yet? Only three more days!)

I may decide to use these covers for future print editions—what do YOU think?

One thing about electronic editions of books is that they don’t have back covers. As a book designer I find this a bit disconcerting, like walking in the Shivering Wood without a torch. So last week I decided to design back covers to match my new fronts. Perhaps in a future update to the electronic editions I will add these.

In the meantime YOU can look at them. And, perhaps, if we go with this new look for the next print run, then my work is already done!

In search of Stolen Whispers

Lost in a Maze of Mystery

Trapped in a Pit of Monsters

A Splinter in Sorcery