Monday, August 24, 2020

Author Advice - Writing with Kids by Niki Livingston #dystopian #fantasy

I was a single mom of two young children when I returned to college for my bachelor’s degree. Working full-time and juggling the demands of my babies, I did not believe I could manage full-time school on top of it. But I did. Some days it was a struggle, but I made it work and when I graduated, I was left with a hole in my schedule.

I took up the pen again to fill in that blank space in my day.

Over the next few years, my writing was mostly in scattered notebooks across my house. I took breaks throughout my day or night, scrawling my imagination through the pages and then setting it to the side for later review. My days were becoming busier as my children’s schedules became more demanding. They ate up as much of my time as they could, but I was determined to keep a small piece of my day dedicated to some kind of writing.

As my children grew, I gained two step-daughters into the mix. Then, surprise, a baby was on his way and my life became a whirlwind of a ride.

I really had to organize my days and nights if I wanted to continue toward becoming an author. I sectioned my time, blacking out most of my day for work, then scheduling schoolwork, kid’s activities, chauffeuring, errands, dinner, etc. It was a jumbled mess at first, but over time we all became accustomed to my schedule and that was when my first story began to unfurl.

Staying focused, being a self-starter, and keeping me and my family organized was key to not falling behind.

Most of all, I knew my calling in life was to be an author. Today, the day I am writing this, marks the fifteenth anniversary of the day my older kid’s dad passed away. It was on that day that I realized I wanted more for me and my children. Life is too short not to do what you love most in the world. Witnessing my babies grief and sorrow, and knowing the only thing I could do was love them through it, brought a fresh determination to live my life fully. I wanted them to grow up knowing they could accomplish anything, as long as they put in the work and continued through even on the darkest days. That was the example I chose to be for them.

Lastly, I give myself days to rest. I honor my mind and body. When it is time to take a break, I do it. Then, I get right back up and I keep juggling the demands on my time and energy, and honestly, I would not have it any other way.

-Niki Livingston

Marked Chaos
Chaos Awakened Saga
Book One
Niki Livingston

Genre: Dystopian Fantasy
Date of Publication: 8/11/20
ISBN: 978-1-952537-03-5
Number of pages: 366
Word Count: 72238
Cover Artist: Niki Ellis Designs

Tagline: Earth’s next level transformation requires their united energy

Book Description:

Three unlikely guardians have been chosen to breathe life back into Earth, but the prophecy is not welcomed by all the planet's inhabitants. 

Zoe Dawn’s headstrong tendencies has brought the wrath of the Doyen upon her. But another tribe has their eyes on her ignited fire and will stop at nothing to claim Zoe Dawn as their own. 

Alex has traveled a long way to find a safe place to survive, but her first mistake was returning to her hometown. Thousands of years and an entirely different dimension will not stop her enemies from pursuing her flood of abilities.  

Kia Lynn has been marked by the rune of protection, fracturing her elemental connection with the two other guardians. As her best friend is dragged away by a masked intruder, the rune activates and she is forced into a whirlwind of chaos that is filled with ghosts from her past.

Once these three are united, an unstoppable force could be invoked, but if they remain separated without completing their destinies, the portal for Earth's demise will open instead. 

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Bewitching Tour Excerpt


Papa and I lived on the edge of our village. He had moved us there after we lost Mama, for the peace and quiet. Rarely did someone intrude on our space, even after all these years. It was lonely at times, but I preferred it over Zoe Dawn’s noisy residence.
I glanced down the dirt path toward the other homes, noticing the structures through the branches of the trees and grateful I did not have to walk by anyone while I waited for my nerves to relax fully. I gritted my teeth as the buckets dug into my arm, reminding me to hurry.
The bend in the path came quickly, and I jogged up the slight incline that lead to the well. Zoe Dawn’s mum had told us that at one time, Mother Gaia’s people had water flowing right into their homes. What a bunch of lazy bones. I laughed at the idea of never having to make this trek again as I skipped right up to the edge of the stone well.
After dropping the two buckets next to the well, I turned the wheel that drew up the bucket of water. I whistled the song Mama used to sing to me, a funny tune that had been passed down from before the stars’ collision with Mother Gaia. She’d told me tales of a mystical and happy land, ruled by a talking mouse and all kinds of strange animals, creatures, and pirates, and she had promised that someday we would make the journey to find out if it still existed. What a foolish dream that had been.
I lugged the bucket from the well. My fingers stretched to grasp one of my metal pails, but a twig snapped behind me, sending my heartbeat into a frenzy. I froze, then snapped my hand back, dropping the water at my side as I spun around.
A hand pressed hard against my mouth, and I gasped when I was yanked backward into the canopy of the tree branches. The darkness within the thick of the foliage made it difficult for me to see which direction we were going.
I threw my elbow back, then my other, hitting both sides of my attacker. Their grip only tightened. My shrieks were muffled by a large hand, and dread wormed through my stomach when I realized this might be my end.
A surge of energy rushed through my veins. I kicked out, then dug my heels into the dirt, frantically trying to find some footing so I could flip to one side and twist out of their grasp. But they were moving too quickly, and my feet slipped out from underneath me. I opened my mouth to bite them, but they just pressed harder against my mouth. Blood pooled inside my cheeks from my teeth cutting into my lips.
Angry tears spilled down my face and I threw my elbows back again, one after another, begging to the Goddess that they would loosen their grip. All I needed was a split second. After several attempts to free myself, their arm snaked around my neck, squeezing my throat. Then the vice grip loosened and he cursed quietly, before flinging me to the ground.
The back of my head bounced against the dirt, and I squeaked out a scream, but his hand once again covered my mouth. He held me down with the weight of his body, and I stared into his gray eyes peering at me through the slits of his satchel mask. His chest rose and fell as he sucked in several deep breaths, then he drew a dagger from behind his back.
Another of my screams pressed against his hand, and I flailed my arms around, beating against his arms until he used his knees to hold them down. A gush of wind pushed him to the side, so he reached up with his other hand to hold his satchel in place.

“Listen,” he hissed at me, his accent unfamiliar to these parts of the black mountain lands. He leaned closer to my reddened face and pressed the tip of the knife to my throat. “I’m not here to kill you, but I will cut out your tongue if you do not shut your mouth.”

About the Author:

International Bestselling Author Niki Livingston writes tales of epic and dystopian fantasy worlds filled with magic, mysticism, and mystery.

When she's not busy writing enchanting stories of diverse women rising in their power and strength, she spends her time walking her rescue puppy, quieting her mind with meditation and yoga, diving into the newest books of Veronica Roth and Anne Bishop, and binge-watching Game of Thrones and The 100.

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