Adventure beyond fear…
Slavers seize Kyrin Cieri from the coast of medieval Britain and sail for Araby. With a dagger from her murdered mother’s hand, an exiled warrior from the East, and a peasant girl, Kyrin finds mystery, martial skill, and friendship closer than blood.
The falcon dagger pursues her through tiger-haunted dreams, love, and war in the Araby sands. Kyrin is caught by the caliph’s court intrigue and faces the blade that took her mother. One thing can give her the will to overcome, justice against hate, dagger against sword.
Murder, sacrifice, vengeance…compassion and the art of war.
“Every once in a while you come across an author with a voice so distinctive, you could recognize it anywhere. Azalea Dabill has her own unique, lyrical style that draws you into the story and lets you experience it through all the senses.” -K. McKee (taken from Amazon)
Azalea Dabill grew up in the California hills, building forts in the oaks. She remembers the fuzzy-sweet smell of acorns and moss, fields of lupines and poppies, the clear song of crickets. Home-schooled, she read fantasy and adventure to her siblings. Now she enjoys growing things, old bookstores, and hiking the wild.
Once upon a time, there was an author who was very thankful for all the support she had received from her readers and reviewers. As grateful as she was, she knew that “thank you,” and lots of smiles (which no one saw anyway) could only go so far….
So she decided to give something away … no, make that two somethings. They weren’t much, but they at least said “thank you” in less of a virtual way, and in a bit more of a physical way.
Here’s the first something:
Because who in the world can’t use an Amazon gift card??!!
And here’s the second something:
Make no mistake, this game has more to it than an ordinary memory game. You can become an author, publisher or editor (um, yes!), you can create your own personal library, and you can challenge other players to a literary duel. Too much bookish fun to handle, really! If you want to travel to Missouri, I’ll even play it with you ….
Here’s the Giveaway Info
WHO QUALIFIES? Those who have read The Word Changers and posted a review of it on Amazon.
WHEN DOES THE GIVEAWAY END? It will run from today until Tuesday, November 25th (and yes, I changed the original dates I had decided on because I didn’t want it to run through Thanksgiving!).
HOW DO YOU ENTER? Simply e-mail me with the link to your Amazon review of The Word Changers, (ashleew(at)zoho(dot)com), or comment with the review link below.
HOW WILL YOU KNOW IF YOU WON? I will announce the two winners here on my blog first thing on November 26th (that’s a Wednesday, and yes, it’s the day before Thanksgiving!).
Perhaps you are in the middle of reading The Word Changers, or maybe you haven’t got a chance to start it at all yet … No fear! You have a week to finish it, write your Amazon review, and be eligible for this giveaway!
I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate it, readers and reviewers, for your taking the time from reading books whose authors you have at least heard of … and agreeing to read and review mine instead! 😉
“What’s your book about?”
My most common response: “It’s like Hunger Games, only Christian.”
This is rather ironic since half the inspiration behind A Time to Die came from wanting to write a book unlike Hunger Games. Don’t get me wrong — I devoured the Hunger Games series. I’ve watched both movies multiple times, I obsess over every released picture, trailer, or tidbit from the upcoming Mockingjay films, and I even have a mockingjay pin.
But, I threw book three, Mockingjay, against the wall when I finished it. Hey, I know several others who did this same thing. Maybe even you.
Because the story lacked hope. Those books progressed into a darker and darker place, ultimate ending despair with a sprinkle of bittersweet-ever-after.
That wasn’t enough for me. I needed to know that standing up for my beliefs, that striving for more, that fighting for justice was worth it. That humans could make a difference and that goodness could be found in the world.
I know Christ. I know it’s possible. So I wrote about it. Here are some similarities and differences between The Hunger Games and my own dystopian novel, A Time to Die.
- They are both dystopian (duh)
- Both Katniss and Parvin are striving against an unjust society for the purpose of protecting the people they love.
- Both books examine the struggles that minority people groups face against a controlling government.
- The government in both books has a special power that can control the decisions and cooperation of the people. In Hunger Games it’s the Hunger Games, in A Time to Die it’s the Clocks.
- The Hunger Games is about Katniss’s external fight against her government (and her impending doom) to survive and make a change.
- A Time to Die is about Parvin interally seeking the meaning of life, trying to understand the purpose of her existence.
- The Hunger Games – Katniss draws her hope from her sister, Prim, and from her love interests, Gale and Peeta. Her hope is completely tied up in these people and of course, because they’re human, they can’t uphold that weight.
- A Time to Die – Parvin learns to draw her hope from faith in God. And, despite tragedy and the failure of humans, His power withstands the weight of human sorrow.
- In The Hunger Games, Katniss is a survivor. She’s been raised hunting, shooting and making bows and arrows. She never cries, she’s the leader of her family. This is a common trait in female dystopian protagonists, but a not-so-common trait in real teenage girls reading.
- In A Time to Die, Parvin is as human as they get. She has doubts about life, about God, about her purpose. She’s afraid, she’s never even gone camping, and she’s been raised in the comfort of home with a solid family. While she tries to be strong emotionally, she’s human and she breaks when she’s alone.
Not only is this difference in the books, but it’s a difference in our lives – in our thinking – as believers in Christ. Because Christ is my hope, it forms the stories I write. This is the beauty behind Christian fiction. I’m honored to be part of it.
What books have left you hopeful? What books have left you hopeless?
To find out more about Nadine or her book, visit her at one of these places:
1. A phoenix can live between 500 and 1000 years, at the end of which it will build a nest and ignite, burn fiercely, and be reborn from its own ashes.
2. The Roman poet Ovid maintained that the phoenix was not necessarily reborn from its own ashes, but that it would burst into flames while giving birth to a newborn phoenix.
3. According to Greek mythology, the phoenix lived in Phoenicia near a well. In the morning it would bathe in the well and sing its melodious song, which was so beautiful that the sun god, Helios, would stop his chariot to listen.
4. A phoenix’ cry is like a beautiful song.
5. The phoenix, unsurprisingly, is mostly used to be symbolic of rebirth, resurrection, and immortality.
6. Fitting so closely with Christian themes, it is no surprise that Christians have used the phoenix as a symbol for many centuries. Pope St. Clement (in 96 A.D.) used the phoenix to prove Jesus’ resurrection (hmm …).
7. Jewish culture also has a story about the phoenix (Hol). It was the only animal allowed to remain in the Garden of Eden, all because it refused to eat the forbidden fruit. For its obedience, God granted it immortality.
8. In ancient Greek and Egyptian mythology, the phoenix is associated with the sun god.
9, What does it look like? Many accounts agree a phoenix is of about the size and general appearance of an eagle, although different cultures and accounts describe it also as looking like a heron, a peacock or a stork. The French author Voltaire describes it as having mild and tender eyes, plumage of a thousand shades of gold, and feet of purple and silver.
10. What does it eat? Ovid said it ate only frankincense and gums. Others say it lives off only dew. Some say it eats nothing at all.
11. Phoenixes in literature: The Phoenix Bird by Hans Christian Andersen, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (Fawkes), The Phoenix and the Carpet by E. Nesbit, The Tempest by William Shakespeare.
13. It is said by some that only those who possess magic abilities can call on a phoenix in times of need.
14. During the Renaissance, the phoenix was a popular emblem of people like Queen Elizabeth I (who used the phoenix as a royal badge) and even Joan of Arc. The phoenix has also been used through the ages as a symbol on both family crests and shields.
15. During the Classic time period, the name of the phoenix was associated with the color purple.
16. Many cultures believes that only one phoenix can be in existence at a time.
What a rich canvas of possible meanings and story ideas! The phoenix is definitely a mythical creature I’d love to write about one day. How about you?!
It’s release day for Nadine Brande’s dystopian debut novel, A Time to Die!! The eBook is available here, and the paperback version is available now, here, for pre-order (releases officially October 1st). Nadine is hosting a Facebook launch party tonight from 4-6 (Pacific Time). She’ll be posting some fun things every 10 minutes, and answering questions and comments throughout. You should definitely join us!!
Also in honor of this exciting new book, I’m giving away a clock notebook, which is pictured at the bottom of this post … so be sure to enter your name if you’d like a chance to win it! Click here to enter, or scroll to the bottom of the post to see the picture of the notebook; there’s a link for the giveaway, too 🙂
Here’s my review!
“Eighteen dead years. Why didn’t I see them dying? Why didn’t I feel my time wilting? I spent so much of my time lounging in regrets and sipping bitterness that I abandoned any thought of creating happy memories; instead, I wasted. Just wasted.” (Nadine Brandes, A Time to Die)
Many times while reading A Time to Die I felt as if someone had taken me by the shoulders and shaken me until my teeth rattled, until my eyes focused in a different way and I was seeing not only the story I was reading, but the entire world around me, in a completely new way.
This Christian dystopian book is honestly, blatantly yet gently infiltrated with Bible verses, Parvin’s (the main character) growing relationship to God, and even God’s Voice as He speaks to her through the Holy Spirit. Parvin’s search for God’s will in her life as she lives out what she knows to be her last year is both desperately painful and wonderfully rewarding. Gutting, in other words.
The concept of the story itself is just utterly amazing. Everyone knows the exact moment they will die because they each have a clock from the moment they are born which tells them how long they’ve got to live. Science has delved into an area of knowledge meant only for God and – as when anything strays from God’s plan – things go horribly wrong. It was this concept that drew me to the book in the first place … as a writer myself I saw the tremendous potential of such a theme – knowing the exact moment you would die?! – and I wondered where Nadine would take it. I definitely wasn’t disappointed!
The worldbuilding in this book is exceptionally well-developed and impressive. The landscapes are richly-detailed and varied, from forests to rivers to cities to primitive settlements. There are some truly creative fictional inventions in the book as well … my favorite of which is the emotigraph. The emotigraph is a device that takes a “picture” of the emotion you are having at a particular moment, and then you are free to go back and revisit – actually feel again – that emotion at a later time at the push of a button. Didn’t I say creative?!
There is a huge amount of adventure and action in this story, sometimes thrilling, sometimes terrifying. Without including spoilers, I will just say that Parvin must endure some terrible hardships before she gets to her journey’s end. And the book is written so starkly and so well that it’s hard not to feel as if her hardships are not your own … which leads me to another great thing about this book: the writing.
Nadine’s style of writing is refreshing, descriptive, clean and polished. She has a way of making her words carry you in waves of emotion, drama and pain. More than once I found myself gasping aloud, or holding my breath with anticipation, ord wiping tears away. I normally read like a writer … critical, questioning, attentive to details and wording and structure. But Nadine’s storytelling caused me to throw most of that out the window. These days there’s not many books that grab me hard enough to do that – just FORCE me to read like a reader, and push aside that pesky writer-self. A Time to Die did.
Best about this book is Parvin’s journey toward God. She begins the book both physically and spiritually weak, unprepared for the hardships ahead. But she grows in a wonderfully realistic way, ever closer to God. And though the book ends with sadness and confusion and turmoil, hope is still shining, and it’s obvious that God’s will still reigns supreme. And as there are two more books in this series, I’m already anticipating where the rest of the story will go …
I dare you to read this book and not feel an invisible tug – a tug on your eyes to open wider, a tug on your sense of adventure, a tug on your heart to push past the world’s limits and live the life God meant for you alone.
“It’s time to take a step. God destined me for greatness.” (Nadine Brandes, A Time to Die)
FIND THE BOOK HERE:
AND THE AUTHOR HERE:
CLICK HERE to help us spread the word about Nadine’s book, and for a chance to win this CLOCK JOURNAL (Open to US residents only … sorry!)