Hello, everyone, and happy July! The days are dwindling down to the publication day, and I am both thrilled for it to come as well as anxious — it promises to be a wild weekend, after all! But until that day comes I have here a pre-present: the seventh and final giveaway celebrating the run of The Journey Taken! You’ve all been so encouraging and supportive along this road, and I can’t help but feel a little surreal that it’s coming to an end after what? Has it been five years already? I believe so — how crazy is that? Thank you so much for walking this path with me!
Hello, dear readers, and happy 3rd day of summer! Wow, I can’t believe it’s summer already – only 15 days left until my brother’s wedding! Only 14 days left until An Odyssey’s End is published! So excited!
Anywho, in preparation/anticipation of that, I’m going to play a little game here. I have with me the proof copy of AOE, and I will flip to seven random spots (not necessarily in order) and write down an excerpt from the page I come to, crafting a kind of flash teaser trailer type of thing. You ready? Lets go.
♠ ♠ ♠
Caution to the careless and woe to the souls of many, for the Destroyer of Worlds has come.
– – –
“Way to hog the glory,” Teryn scowled.
“Don’t worry, there’ll be more,” he [Jonquil] replied, wiping his nose.
“Let’s hurry,” Sergil bade.
“Why?” Fwip asked. “We going somewhere?”
“If at all possible we should see if we can’t find some form of shelter,” the man answered. “The quicker we move the less likely are to get eaten.”
– – –
Her answer, and what she could possibly mean by ‘worse’, silenced them, and no one spoke again until she finished. By then there wasn’t a single mark left on the man’s torso, leaving no evidence of the mincemeat it had resembled just over an hour ago. Iris released her Spells and stepped back, taking a deep breath and fighting off a wave of fatigue.
The woman physician approached the once-injured man and passed a hand across his abdomen, the look of absolute amazement upon her features easy to read. “Truly a miracle! How did you come into such incredible power?”
“It was given to me by a pair of friends,” Iris replied, glancing at her hand a curling it into a fist . . .
– – –
“What is this?”
“That would be an aluminum can.”
“What’s in it?”
“Food. The label should say exactly what.”
“My Helosite’s a little rusty,” the man retorted blandly. “How are you supposed to open it?”
“The newer design is supposed to have a tab you can pull, but for these you’ll need a can opener.”
“And what in the name of briny hopswitch is a ‘can opener’?”
– – –
“I thought he’d be here sooner than this,” Thock said.
“Oh, I’m sure he’ll be here in no time,” Piffry assured. “You know how he is.”
“Then he’s probably snooping around instead of asking for directions,” Thock replied.
“I’m sure!” Piffry laughed.
– – –
Out of an adjoining room came Quincy himself, and in his arms he carried little Tao, asleep. “I was wondering when you’d come to see her,” he said in a rumbling whisper.
Teryn stopped short when he appeared. “Aye, well, I didn’t have any time before now,” she retorted. “And I still don’t have a lot of time.”
“Why is that?” he asked. “Are you needed back for the war council?”
“No, it’s because I’m needed back in Sekon’dome.”
– – –
Jonquil and Sergil ran to meet it, clashing in a duo, rapid fire attack that left no seam between their strikes. Sergil hefted his sword with a stony resolve, blocking and hacking with the gleaming edge, his body falling in time with the motions of a dual handed blade like an old dance he’d never truly forgotten. Jonquil wove in and out of their parries and attacks to deliver his own blows with a pinpoint precision that would have been fatal had their opponent been just about anything but what it was.
– – –
This was Sanctus, the purifying Spell.
Fires ignited all over his body, creeping across his shoulders and torso, piercing the murky depth of his tenuous form, blotting out the cast of his shadowed existence. Within moments Akairo became completely engulfed by the furnace, his triumphal laughter turning into howls of rage and agony as his darkness, his dross, was consumed.
“Curse you!” he screamed, high pitched and wild. “Curse you all to the depths of oblivion! Die! Wither! Fall to the worst and more painful deaths! I despise you pathetic, insolent worms! I hate you!”
– – –
Fine. Keep your miserable and rotten children — they aren’t worth raising up.
But that would not stop him from razing them down.
♠ ♠ ♠
Well? How was that? I have to say, it was harder than you’d think, because there were so many parts that I thought ‘Oh! That would be cool!’ ‘Oh! I could do that!’ But alas, if I did that, then I’d have spoiled all the fun and written here the whole volume, and that would just not do.
I hope you enjoyed this, and don’t forget to mark your calendars! July 7th is the Promised Day, when dreams come true, bated breaths are released, and new adventures begin.
Don’t miss it! The Goodreads Giveaway for The Clandestine Crusade ends the 27th of this month — 4 days — so enter for a chance to win a free copy + bookmark!
Also, starting today and ending Tuesday, the ebook version of The Clandestine Crusade will be available for FREE on Amazon, so grab a copy for yourself, grab one for a friend, grab one for the neighbor and his friend! The possibilities are virtually endless, and no halfway decent person is less than thrilled at the magnanimous gift of a story.
When I began my writing venture, I never really studied on how to go about it, taking with me only my fervor for the story and a basic understanding of creative writing from a middle school course. I never dreamed about taking into account the technicalities of the art, at the time it hardly even crossed my mind. I started out with a basic plot of events I wanted to take place and then delved right in. For me, everything kind of just came together as I went, and that first draft proved a massive learning experience on so many fronts. So, so many. With so many things going on, I developed a deep and lasting appreciation for timelines.
Timelines are vital, whether your story spans a few hours or a few centuries. Listing everything that happens in chronological order is monumentally helpful in keeping track of the goings on; it keeps you from getting bamboozled and making mistakes that will cause the very bloody murder of your story. For lack of it, my own would have perished in a most piteous mess of inconsistency.
I once read a blog post somewhere listing a few different ways in which to timeline, and there really are an infinite (okay, maybe not infinite, but there are a lot) of ways you can do this. One is to simply list the events with bullets or numbers, and another is to set up a timeline on the computer. What I have done is something perhaps a little more eccentric. My bedroom has ample ceiling space, so I took a spool of twine (it was on hand) and strung it up there from one end to the other and then clothespinned note cards with dates and what happened in that year. It spanned well over a hundred years and recorded the big points of my characters’ lives (color coded, even) leading up to the actual story itself. (I only took it down so my awesome new windows could be put in).
And that’s just the one timeline I made. The other, which records the events of the story itself, is laid out in an old calendar from ’09 that I never used and had on hand. It’s great because it has the day-by-day layout that I needed to keep track of, along with the seasons. It also helped me see better the events of the sub-plots so I could rearrange everything so it all flowed smoothly.
So, setting your world in order is a golden nugget of the profound wisdom of the word sages from past ages. And in addition to all its usefulness, timelines are also a great way to see your progression, and that is a huge boost in confidence and morale. Sometimes writing is a rough road of rocks and sinkholes, so it’s always good to have something to show you where you’ve been and all there is to look forward to.
Title: This Present Darkness
Series: Darkness (#1)
Author: Frank E. Peretti
My rating: 5 of 5
Ashton is just a typical small town. But when a skeptical reporter and a prayerful, hardworking pastor begin to investigate mysterious events, they suddenly find themselves caught up in a hideous New Age plot to enslave the townspeople, and eventually the entire human race. The physical world meets the spiritual realm as the battle rages between forces of good and evil.
Oh. My. Goodness. This book hit me on all the levels, as a writer, a reader, a person, and a Christian. Frank E. Peretti writes boldly, touching on real issues we deal with even today, decades after its first printing.
The narrative is well paced, carrying you along the river current, and then it begins to pick up, growing faster as you reach the white waters, and by that time you really don’t want to put the book down. Peretti’s descriptions are vivid, his characters, the problems they face, and how each one deals with them are realistic and relatable, no matter where you stand.
The theme of this story, depicting the (very real) warfare going on around us, is a refreshing change, I thought, from the analogies replete throughout literature. There are angels and there are demons, fighting within the wee town of Ashton, and the citizens don’t even know it, but as the fire heats up, eyes are opened to the truth and the danger. The best way to destroy a man is not always to take his life, but to undermine his family and demolish his reputation, beating him raw until his soul shatters.
I’ve heard many people talk about this book (and its partner Piercing the Darkness), that it was convicting and even prophetic. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to see it (I’m not always the most perceptive) but I saw it. The trouble harrying Ashton harries the wider world even today, becoming increasingly evident; it doesn’t take much effort to see it. The emphasis in this story is on prayer, and while I’m not entirely sure if angels really get their strength from people’s prayer and worship to the Lord, it has to be said that prayer bears much power. It is the single most effective action we as followers of Christ can make concerning any and every issue we face. Hank is an inspiration for what unashamed, unafraid, unshakable faith can look like, and what an honor to be accused of being a ‘little praying man’.
I highly recommend this story for the richness of its plot, creativity of its narrative, its conviction of faith and prayer, but also to those who are on the outside looking it. Whether searching for God or not, this story will give some insight into the world we see and live in.
Hello everyone, and happy June! Can you believe the year is almost halfway over already? It feels like it’s only just begun! How time flies when there are so many things going on. We have weddings and showers this summer up the yingyang, and for the first one, my brother gets to come home from his station in Japan! We are all very excited to see him again, if only for a few days.
Something else to be excited about is the approaching release of volume 7, which just so happens to be scheduled for release the day before by brother gets married (!!!). That is going to be one busy weekend, but it’ll be fun (we’re praying). It hardly feels like six months since I began this rerelease campaign, but we’re already on the last one before the finale, and I am so thankful for the opportunity and ability to have gotten everything done by their appointed dates, and I am still praying for the work yet ahead — July 7 isn’t getting any further away!
This month we’re featuring volume 6, The Clandestine Crusade, and I have to say that this was the stage I anticipated the most. I really enjoyed working through these chapters and with the characters and events. I was so excited about introducing Raleigh for so long that I had to insert a little piece with him back in volume 4. I loved writing him, but he’s also a challenge, due to his vastly conflicting personality (I think he got that from me, actually. Oops). Even the short story in the appendices is my favorite of all seven (we’re allowed to do that, right?) It’s a sad story, yes, but not every story has an happy ending, and even tragedies can bear uplifting truth and hope.
For this rerelease I updated the cover on the same scale as volumes 1 & 2, with a completely new design. While I liked the stark colors and the scenery in the first edition, it also felt too stark and didn’t altogether jive with the scheme of its fellows. Here’s the new design I came up with:
I really loved the sunset and warm colors, depicting the company’s voyage across the sea to the foreign continent no free Sekon’domite had ever ventured to before.
You can find this upgraded volume on Amzon, or you can purchase it straight from the publisher (which is also an Amazon company, as it happens). The information in the searches has not yet been updated, but it should be by the end of the week, so don’t worry if you can only find the old cover — rest assured that the copy in your mailbox will be the one pictured above.
Here are the links:
Already own a copy? Awesome! Write a review to tell others what you thought and help your fellow readers find a great new adventure!
And for even more great news, the Goodreads giveaway for The Clandestine Crusade is already underway, ready and waiting for you to join in!
Hello! Greetings! Today is a very special day, a day we’ve all been waiting for for some time now. On this day I’m finally going to reveal to you some information concerning long anticipated FINAL VOLUME, number 7. Excited yet? I am.
First I’ll tell you the title, which I believe holds a lot of meaning (depending on how deep you want to think into it). For me, it gives a kind of surreal feeling, because this project is something I’ve been working on for about six years, since the idea for the story first budded. I can’t believe it’s been this long already, honestly — these have been very full years. Anywho, the title of this last volume is:
An Odyssey’s End
Secondly, I’ll show you the cover, the design of which I’ve had in mind for years, and I have to say I’m fairly pleased with it:
Thirdly, I have for you the ‘teaser trailer’ of what’s going on, just so you can be that much more excited about the release day:
Caution to the careless and woe to the souls of many, for the Destroyer of Worlds has come.
Akairo, deprived of his mortal host at the hands of the company, now haunts once more as a baneful spirit. Even so he will not be denied his quest to desolate Jasinda. From the ashes of his retribution he will raise a new world of his own creation and rule it as their Almighty.
However, he will not ascend unopposed, and his adversaries, though beaten down, are not defeated. The company continues to dog his path, pursuing him even across the Monster infested seas to the distant shores of the Forsaken Land. There they’ll rediscover the old world and its hidden treasures, coming face to face with the last surviving Faenari. The ancients equip the Chosen Ones with a weapon to aid them in their struggle against the world’s foe, but the company is cautioned in its use ─ for a power mighty enough to destroy the enemy is also perilous enough to destroy them. However, Sergil and the others deem the stakes are worth the risk. If they don’t try, they will certainly fail, and everything they know and love will be razed to the ground.
But when the time comes and grave sacrifices need to be made, who will pay the price for victory?
Salivating yet? I know I’m itching to get it out to you! The expected release date is July 7th, so mark you calendars!
Hello! How is everyone’s May coming so far? A little cooler than we were hoping for, no? The 85 days are coming. Until then, enjoy the sunshine when it’s here and not roasting you to a crispy potato chip ─ those days are saved exclusively for haying, it feels like!
Later this month I’ll be divulging some long anticipated information on volume 7 (so exciting!) but today I wanted to share with you a (very brief) list of some of my favorite authors:
Andrew Peterson ─ Author of the Wingfeather Saga, a tale that transcends age genres. Mr. Peterson, based in Nashville, is a storyteller through and through, sharing his gift through many different mediums. Not only has he written a fantastic series of four books, but he is also a singer/songwriter who travels the country and (sometimes) the globe spreading his love for stories and Jesus through music, creating albums like The Burning Edge of Dawn and Light for the Lost Boy. He is currently in the process of turning the Wingfeather Saga into an animated short, and I cannot coherently relate how thrilled I am at this prospect. What I admire most about Mr. Peterson’s writing is his whimsy. It may sound silly (and in many ways, that’s the very definition), but his turn of phrase and usage of words is so creative that it gives the feeling of a finger painting ─ but a finger painting that’s as captivating as anything Michelangelo or Monet ever put to canvas. His ability to communicate deep subjects in a format any and everyone can understand without being heavy, crafting a tale with power and scope that inspires the imagination in both children and adults, is a truly beautiful experience.
Visit his Goodreads Page and website to learn more (and sample his music!) And don’t forget to watch this trailer of the animated short and check over at the Wingfeather page for news, art, and conversation – all about the saga!
Megan Whalen Turner ─ Mastermind behind the Queen’s Thief series, the fifth volume of which is coming out next week (ah!) The day I discovered her was a fateful day, indeed. I heard someone say of her writing in the Queen’s Thief series that ‘it reads like a political historical fiction’, and I could not agree more. Each book is so chocked full that I can read them time and time again and never get tired, because how she crafts the story is so multi-faceted that no information is given too early. Just because you’re reading from someone’s POV doesn’t mean you’re privy to every thought and reasoning that would spoil the suspense and surprise. That’s what hooked me on both her story and her writing when I first read The Thief. How she developed her characters, and the personality of each, sent me head over heels as both a reader and a writer, because even though we experienced the story as Gen, we didn’t learn that he was actually Eugenides, Thief of Eddis, until the Magus and Sophos did, and how everything unfolded and came together to reveal a plot that was bigger than you thought just wowed me. I’d never read anything like it before, and I have to admire Turner’s ability to take that puzzle, scatter it, and put it back together so randomly that you never get an idea of the full picture until it’s staring you in the face, sitting back and marveling. I love her puzzle box writing, and you’ll be gathered to the fold as well, from page one.
Stephen R. Lawhead ─ Architect of such tales as the King Raven trilogy, Song of Albion trilogy, and the Pendragon Cycle, just to name a few, Lawhead easily fits in with the greats like C.S. Lewis and Tolkein for the depth and richness of his stories. As a scholar and award-winning wordsmith, spanning several genres, much of his work (including and especially the three series mentioned above) is based on and influenced by Celtic history and legend, bringing to vibrant life such renowned characters as King Arthur and Robin Hood in a new and realistic light. Even his original characters become so authentic, with their struggling, failing, and prevailing, that I felt more in tune with them, like they were real people and not just the glorified pawns some heroes and villains become in roles they play. The symbolism he puts into his stories and the artful way he speaks on the page has made him a staple on my bookshelf and an author I repeatedly return to for a gripping, well rounded, and inspiring story.
Wayne Thomas Batson ─ Author of the Door Within trilogy, the Dark Sea Annals duet, and the Dreamtreaders trilogy, plus several other works, Batson is actually the first author I claimed as a ‘favorite’, and because of that he holds a special place in my heart. I was first introduced to his work years ago through the Door Within trilogy, which I happened to find while browsing the shelves at my childhood library. I read the first book, The Door Within, in one sitting, staying up past two in the morning because it engulfed me so completely. I wasn’t writing much back then, but his craft certainly helped me along toward where I am now. Not only did he make a story, characters, and plot that carried me away to a wonderful place, but I deeply admired the biblical truth and analogy with which he wrote, synonymous to both Stephen R. Lawhead and Andrew Peterson. Similar also with Megan Whalen Turner, it was an experience I had never had before, and I remember still now how it impacted me, how it made me want to be able to write like that, a good story ─ in all its layers. Someday I would like to meet this man and thank him for following his dream, which has in turn helped me follow mine.
My own work hasn’t yet reached the level of excellence these masters have attained, but I always say that nothing worthwhile is ever easy, and I’m hoping that every drop of blood, sweat, and tears I put into forging my own style, every word I punch out on this worn keyboard, will bring me one step closer to what and where I want my writing to be.