Tag Archives: Christian Fantasy

My Writing Process

A couple days ago I was invited by my friend Ralene Burke to blog about my writing process and what I’m working on. So I said sure, why not? I’m always curious about what my favorite authors are up to and I thought you might be the same. So here we go!

1) What am I working on?

If you don’t follow my Facebook page or my twitter, then you haven’t heard the news yet: I finally finished the rough draft for Heir of Hope, the final book in the Follower of the Word series. Wahoo! Yippee! *cue music and dancing*

I’ve been working on this book for almost a year and let me tell you, this is going to be one big book. It finished at 48 chapters (not including the epilogue) and at least 150,000 words (your average book is usually 80,000).

So what am I working on now? My rough drafts are usually the bulk of the story. In other words, I don’t do a lot of rewrites. The story is here, it just needs a bit of clean up. So that’s what I’m working on right now: I’m checking the pacing and continuity, adding description if it needs it, and anything else I find. I should be done in a month and then off it goes to my beta readers, then to my editor. Whew!

I don’t  have a release date yet, but as soon as I do, all of you will be the first to know 😉

 

2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I write fantasy, but my fantasy lacks the usual creatures and races that other fantasies contain: like elves, dragons, orcs, etc… Instead, in my world I focus on people who are born with special gifts and abilities. I ask myself why would people possess such gifts, like the ability to see inside the soul (Daughter of Light), and how would they use this power? What choices would they make?

My books are not YA (young adult) which also sets them apart from others in my genre. I write about deep, dark stuff, but not with all the graphic details. And my characters are adults, with adult issues, ideas, and desires.

My work has been compared to Terry Brooks’ Shannara series and Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series.

 

3) Why do I write what I do?

A lot of authors answer this question differently. Some absolutely love writing and can’t imagine doing anything else. Some write to tell a story, others write to explore issues.

I originally wrote because I had this story inside me. But as the years passed and the rejections came, I needed more of a reason. I didn’t know if I would ever publish this series, but I still wanted to write it. I wanted to leave this series as a legacy to my children. The Follower of the Word series is a reflection of my own faith: my fears, my doubts, and my exploration of what does it mean to really follow God?

I know any story I write will have bits of me inside it. And will probably have some element of the fantastic, too. That is who I am: a mixture of questions, faith, and imagination. That is what I write. That is probably what I will always write.

 

4) How does my writing process work?

I’ve went into deeper detail about my writing process (How I write a novel), but in a nutshell, here it is:

~I plot months to years in advance before writing a novel.

~Storyboard my book a couple days before I start writing (this is the outline I follow).

~Write rough draft (this takes the longest amount of time). I try to write 500+ words a day. Recently I was able to move that number up to 3,000 words a day, but that is hard to sustain with a family that wants dinner, laundry done, and mommy around 🙂

~Rewrite and edit (I’m fast at this).

~I have beta readers read the manuscript and give me their feedback.

~Work in any feedback.

~Turn manuscript in to my editor.

Of course, that’s only the beginning. Then there are all the edits from my editor, proofs, etc… before I finally hold the book in my hands. But as far as my own process, this is how I write my books.

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 Thanks, Ralene, for inviting me to be a part of this blog hop. If you are looking for a freelance editor or advice on marketing, look her up (www.raleneburke.com).

And in celebration of finishing Heir of Hope, here is the blurb I worked up for the back cover:

The great city of Thyra has fallen and shadows spread across the country of Kerre. Rowen Mar, the last Truthsayer, is taken before the Shadonae. But the Shadonae are not who she thought they were. And now they want to claim her as their own.

Caleb Tala, former assassin and prince of Temanin, is now a Guardian of mankind. Exiled from his country, Caleb wanders the Great Desert in search of his mother’s past. Along with him are Captain Lore Palancar and Nierne, Thyrian scribe.

These are the last days of the Eldaran race. Rowen and Caleb must find their way along the dark path set before them by their ancestors: to heal what was wounded and love where hatred grows. But the road is narrow and the darkness beckons. If either of them fails, all will be lost…

And the human race will be no more.

To find out more about the Follower of the Word series, check out Daughter of Light, followed by Son of Truth.

Realm Makers Blog Voyage

Realm Makers Blog Voyage

Hi! Welcome to the Realm Makers Blog Voyage. I’m going to do something a little different. I know others along this blog hop have shared why they like Realm Makers and why you should go. I’m going to share my own experience at Realm Makers, but through pictures. Enjoy!

Me and Kathy Tyers
Me and Kathy Tyers

First reason to go to Realm Makers: all the people you get to meet. Authors, comic book writers, editors, publishers, friends. Last year was special to me because I met Kathy Tyers, one of my favorite authors, my editor Jeff Gerke, and many friends who I have only known online for years.

 

 

Swordfighting!
Swordfighting!

Second reason you should go to Realm Makers: the great classes. From worldviews and how they influence one’s writing to how to write a comic script to swordplay. I can guarantee you won’t see those kinds of classes at your typical conference 🙂

 

Realm MakersThird reason you should go: the banquet. Now this isn’t just any banquet, this is a dress up banquet with a sci-fi/fantasy twist. Some of the attendees spent months planning out their costume! Of course, you don’t have to dress up, but if you’ve secretly always wanted to wear that medieval dress or steampunk outfit, this is the place to do it 🙂

 

And the last reason? It is affordable ($250 plus room and food). You just can’t beat that!

Want to find out more? Check out the links: Realm Makers and Realm Makers Facebook Page. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway, which includes a Writer T.A.R.D.I.S. Basket full of goodies (including books by Tosca Lee, L.B. Graham, and yours truly).

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Christian Fantasy: A Life-Saving Genre

Hey everyone! I have a guest post today by Angie Brashear and the cover reveal for her debut novel, Never Let Go.

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Christian Fantasy: A Life-Saving Genre

Definitions of literary genres can be…well, complex. Even tricky. Attempts to define Christian fantasy vary, though I’ve spent little time fretting over an official definition. I mean, Christian fiction typically illustrates a Christian world view within its plot, characters, or both. And the fantasy genre commonly uses myths and legends as a primary plot element, theme, or setting. So, in my opinion, Christian fantasy embodies fantastical elements in an internally consistent setting all the while reflecting aspects of the Christian world view.

But the debate (at least for some) surrounds who writes Christian fantasy. Writers who are Christians, writers who claim to be Christians, or writers who believe Christianity is a fantasy to begin with? It’s not a debate I choose to enter, for the truth lies outside the discussion: the genre influences nonbelievers. My path to salvation began with a classic fantasy, told to me in the midst of my secular world.

When I was in the fifth grade, my teacher read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis aloud to my class. In doing so, she opened my eyes to adventure and possibilities, all the while helping me escape a world of darkness for a short time. At its conclusion, I wondered, Is God real? He couldn’t be, right? For if He existed, innocent young girls wouldn’t suffer the wrath of drunken addicts, or the torment of abandonment.

I continued to speculate. Each time God placed believers in my path—a high school teacher, a college friend, and a college coach—my fascination with the possibility grew stronger until the truth stunned me like a slap to the face. God indeed lives in the form of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He rescues. He saves. And He waited for me. Then He embraced me. It all started with a little seed, planted in the empty heart of the girl I once was. A love for reading expanded to a love for writing. A desire to know God became a desire to serve Him, to reach nonbelievers.

And Never Let Go was born.

In all things, I’m grateful to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for embracing a lost, lonely girl. That He died for me…there is no greater gift. My prayer is that I’ll never let go of His truth.

 

Never Let GoBack Cover Blurb:

Captured by the Rendow Clan, who seek to slaughter those with faith in the Maker, Laila Pennedy awaits death. Moments before her execution, she is rescued from the gallows by Lars Landre and his dragon. Marked as The Chosen by his blue eyes, Lars is destined to lead the Faithful out of persecution.

 

Lars guides Laila on a harrowing race across The Woodlands to Tuveil, where the Faithful are preparing to fight a rebellion. But the secret location of the village is betrayed and the Rendow Clan’s army will soon be at the gates. Faced with this impeding peril, Laila trains for battle, but the struggles in her mind and heart may be as overwhelming as the war to come. Will she prove herself an asset or is she condemned to forever be a burden to those she loves?

 

Pre-order Never Let Go here.

 

Angie BrashearAuthor Bio:

When Angie Brashear isn’t working or taking care of her family, she writes. Usually at night after her kids fall asleep. She’s an avid reader and runner, both of which perplex her husband. Saved in her early twenties, Angie is grateful for the Lord’s presence in all aspects of her life. She is originally from Rockland, Maine and currently resides in Cameron, Texas with her husband and three children. Follow her at http://facebook.com/AngieBrashearAuthor, https://twitter.com/AngieBrashear, and http://angiebrashear.com.


Book Review: WayFarer

WayFarerThis month I had the privilege of reading WayFarer, the second book in the Tales of Faeraven series by Janalyn Voigt.

First, this is an epic fantasy, which means a world filled with magic, soul touching, winged horses (called wingabeasts), and kingdoms at war. The style of Janalyn’s writing reminds me a bit of Lord of the Rings. It has an old English feel to it that takes some time getting used to (at least it took me a while to get into the rhythm and cadence of the words and sentence structure). This writing style gives the story more of a medieval feel, which does add to the fantasy story.

Wayfarer centers around Lof Shraen Elcon (the high king) of theDawnSinger Kindren. We first meet him in DawnSinger (first book in Tales of Faeraven) where his mother dies and he becomes the new ruler. Wayfarer is about Elcon and his journey in what it means to be a ruler.

Elcon pursues his own passions and reaps the consequences for that. However, I want to add that he does not do it in an evil way, or even really in a selfish way. What I saw in this story was a naive young man who made choices without thinking about them.

Elcon chooses to marry a woman in haste (although from the story, they seem to really love each other, so I didn’t really have a problem with that). However, she is of a different race than him, so that causes conflict on both sides. Along with that, he had promised to court another woman, so he breaks her heart when he marries the princess of the Elder people.

I don’t want to give the plot away, but I will say this: every choice Elcon makes for just himself ends badly. But every choice he makes for others and for his kingdom ends well. I didn’t quite agree with that conclusion. Some choices are not wrong or right, they are simply left or right.

Other than that small point, I loved WayFarer. I was captured by the story and loved the characters, especially Aewen. I loved the world Janalyn created. It is colorful and vibrant, everything a fantasy lover wants in a book.

So do I recommend WayFarer? Yes! Do you need to read DawnSinger before you read WayFarer? Yes and no. I think you will get more out of WayFarer if you start with DawnSinger. But it can work as a standalone.

Here is a link to Wayfarer.

And here is a link to author Janalyn Voigt.

*I was given a free copy of WayFarer for an unbiased review.

My Thoughts on the Sale of Marcher Lord Press

Marcher Lord PressToday I was going to continue my series on how I write and publish a novel. Ironically, that might be changing in the next couple months since my publisher, Marcher Lord Press, was just purchased.

There has been a lot of different reactions to this change ranging from shock, to cautious hope, to anger, and even a hint of betrayal. Fans are known to be passionate, and that passion is definitely coming out now.

I thought that by sharing my own thoughts as one of MLP’s authors I might assuage some of the fear and wondering out there.

First, let me assure you there has been a lot of prayer over this decision. Lots and lots of prayer. I was one of the people praying. Nothing was done in haste or in greediness, but in what was best for Marcher Lord Press.

Because there was so much prayer involved, it saddened me to see that no one commented about God’s involvement in this decision when the news broke. Many people reacted, but I think people forgot that God is over everything, even this. There is no need to fear. God will accomplish what He will accomplish, even in the area of Christian speculative fiction.

Because God is sovereign, I believe we should hope, not in the “Gee, I hope this turns out well” but in the “I believe it will”. I believe Marcher Lord will continue to do what it does best: produce great speculative novels with a Christian worldview. Not because of anything we do but because God can do it. And I believe He will.

So my thoughts? I am excited to see what God is going to do. I am looking toward the future in a positive way. Is it a little scary to be in the midst of a transition like this? Yes. Especially since I still have one more book in the Follower of the Word series contracted with Marcher Lord (which I have been assured will be published).

I have also spoken already with Steve Laube, the new owner of Marcher Lord Press. I’ve known about Steve for a long time and have greatly admired him. As Jeff has shared elsewhere, Steve has been a champion for Christian speculative fiction a lot longer than Jeff. I’m excited about the things Steve hopes to bring to Marcher Lord Press.

On that note, pray for this transition. Pray for Jeff Gerke as he leaves Marcher Lord to pursue other areas God has called him to. Pray for Steve Laube as he steps into this new position. Pray for Marcher Lord Press. Change is never easy. But prayer can ease the transition.

Here is the link to the official press release: Steve Laube Buys Marcher Lord Press

*The Q&A with Steve Laube is now live.

Ebook Sale!

Hi everyone! Tomorrow I will be participating in an author blog scavenger hunt. What is that? It’s where you follow links through a list of blogs, read the interviews or special features and find part of a clue. Once you have collected all the clues, you turn them in at the end of the scavenger hunt for a chance to win the grand prize (an iPad mini and a paperback book from every author on the scavenger hunt).

What does this have to do with an ebook sale? During the week long scavenger hunt, both of my ebooks will be on sale for $0.99 everywhere: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Marcher Lord Press. That’s right, Daughter of Light (Christy and Carol award finalist) and Son of Truth (the second book in the Follower of the Word series) are $0.99.

Daughter of Light is the story of Rowen Mar, a woman who can see the soul of a person with just a touch of her hand. Son of Truth continues Rowen’s story along with Caleb Tala, an assassin and prince introduced in Daughter of Light.

If you are looking for a gripping fantasy series to read this winter, then download these books. Already read Daughter of Light? Now is the time to pick up Son of Truth. Read both of them? Then consider gifting these books to your friends and family 🙂

Here are the links:

Daughter of LightDaughter of Light: Amazon

Daughter of Light: Nook

Daughter of Light: Marcher Lord Press

 

 

Son of TruthSon of Truth: Amazon

Son of Truth: Nook

Son of Truth: Marcher Lord Press

 

Birthdays and Giveaway Winner

BirthdayI love birthdays, which is kind of funny because I’m not a big celebrations kind of person. But there is something about a birthday: it is one day that is all yours and everyone rejoices with you.

I am now a year older, and I don’t mind. Really. I don’t mind getting older. Every year I have more and more things to be thankful for, to celebrate. I am blessed, even with everything that has happened in my life. And with each year that passes, I draw closer and closer to the day when I finally get to meet Jesus face to face, the one that I love.

So here is to birthdays!

I’m also excited because I just clicked on the winner button for my rafflecopter giveaway. Congratulations, Karen Kahne Shoemaker! You are the winner for the Daughter of Light and Son of Truth giveaway! Whoot!

I will be contacting you today and getting those books sent off into cyberspace!

It’s just wonderful to giveaway gifts on my birthday 🙂

For the rest of you, my publisher is running a great deal right now: 25% off almost every Marcher Lord book (including my series). I have personally read almost 1/3 of the titles and slowly making my way through the rest and I can tell you that these are good books. And I’m not saying that because I’m published with MLP. I was reading these books before I was published!

If you are interested, here is the link to get the code.

Thanks, everyone, for the wonderful birthday wishes and for entering my book giveaway 🙂

 

Daughter of Light and Son of Truth Book Giveaway

AutumnOnce again October is upon us, my most favorite month of the year! To celebrate October, every year I feature anything and everything speculative on my blog: books, movies, sites to visit, etc…

To kick off my celebration of October, I am giving away an ebook bundle of my own books: Daughter of Light and Son of Truth, the first two books in the Follower of the Word series. This series follows the life of Rowen, a woman who discovers a mark on her hand, a mark that–when she touches someone–allows her to see inside that person’s soul. If you enjoy Terry Brooks or Terry Goodkind and are looking for a fantasy series that is not YA, then enter and try this one out.

There are many ways to enter: tweet about the giveaway, like my facebook page, leave a comment, etc… Just click on the link to go to the giveaway and start entering. I will randomly choose the winner on October 8th, my birthday to be exact. I thought this would be a great way to celebrate, by giving away books 🙂

So what are you waiting for? Click on the link! Rafflecopter Giveaway

And, if that giveaway isn’t enough, you have another chance to win my books, along with every other book my publisher (Marcher Lord Press) has ever published, in celebration of its 5th year anniversary: www.marcherlordpress.com

Realm Makers: 2013

Realm Makers: 2013 was a blast. Imagine about 80 Christian speculative lovers gathered in one place for two days. I can’t believe the place didn’t explode! We had some great speakers including Jeff Gerke, Bryan Davis, L. B. Graham, Robert Treskillard and more. Classes and panels included writing horror, worldviews and world building, swordfighting, and comics. And of course a night of dinner and cosplay 🙂

Here are the pics from my first Realm Makers conference:

Realm Makers
Me and my friend Jill
Stephen Burnett and Phyllis Wheeler
Me and Becky Minor (Realm Makers founder)
Me and Kathy Tyers
Me and Kathy Tyers
At the book signing with Jeff Gerke (my editor)
Realm Makers
With friends Jen and Joe
Sword fighting!
Sword fighting!

 

To find out more about future Realm Maker events, follow their website at www.realmmakers.com

 

Daughter of Light a Christy Award Finalist

The Christy AwardI sat at the gas station, waiting for my husband to gas up our van. While I waited, I checked my emails. I thumbed down and saw a forward from my editor. I opened the message. My heart stopped. I read the message again. There was a disconnect between my eyes and my brain. Dan climbed back into the van and started the motor. I turned toward him and in a calm voice announced that Daughter of Light was a finalist for the Christy Awards.

Dan went nuts while I stared ahead again in absolute shock.

It took two more days for the news to finally sink in.

I never expected to final in the Christy Awards. In fact, I almost didn’t enter. The day I had to make the decision, God provided everything I needed in order to enter. On November 15th, I wrote this on my Facebook author page: “Had a God moment this week. I had a writing opportunity come up that I could not afford. I told God jokingly that He would have to drop the money in my lap (my exact words). Well, He did, in a way that I would have never thought. And it was the exact amount too. I’m still walking around dazed lol.” And so I entered the Christy Awards.

And once again I am walking around dazed.

Last week, Daughter of Light hit #1 bestseller in 3 categories on Amazon and #134 overall on Nook. It felt good. But I realized something during that time. Here is what I wrote on facebook: Something I have learned about blessings: enjoy them, don’t horde them. They come and go, so enjoy the moment. Like all things, they will eventually slip away. But if you try to cling to them, you will miss the moment.

So right now I am going to enjoy this moment God has given me 🙂

To find out more about the Christy Awards and other 2013 nominees, click here: www.christyawards.com