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Literary Losers – Interview with a Villain

You may remember the review I wrote on Nathan Lumbatis’ spectacular new book, Daniel and the Sun Sword. Well, today I feel very privileged to be featuring a video interview between Nathan and the antagonist of his exciting story. You’ll really want to see this . . . it made me smile 🙂

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Thirteen-year-old Daniel is about to be adopted. But when he learns his new family wants him as a slave, he runs away with the help of his new daniel and the sun swordneighbors, the naïve and cowardly Ben, and Raylin, a mysterious girl with a shady past.

He begins to second-guess his decision when the cave they hide in transports them to the ruins of Machu Picchu, where they find themselves embroiled in a battle between ancient gods of Life and Death. To top things off, the God of Life draws Daniel into the fray by adopting him as his son and setting him on a quest to complete a broken, mystical sword, a task that will pit him against the god of the underworld.

Now, Daniel and his friends have just one weekend to find the shards before a hoard of supernatural enemies catch up. But that’s not all they face. A trap has been set that even Daniel wouldn’t expect, and he just took the bait.

Will the power of his Heavenly Father be enough to save them?

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INTERVIEW WITH A VILLAIN

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PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR HERE

Daniel and the Sun Sword

I had the privilege of reading and reviewing this great book before its official release. You’ll find my review below, but first I’d like to show you some other fun stuff . . . such as the awesome cover art and the spectacular book trailer!

Note: Barnes and Noble and Amazon both say that the official release date for Daniel and the Sun Sword is November 3. But don’t let that fool you. The book will be available as of July, and if you pre-order the paperback now you’ll get your copy by the end of July or early August.

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daniel and the sun sword

Thirteen-year-old Daniel is about to be adopted. But when he learns his new family wants him as a slave, he runs away with the help of his new neighbors, the naïve and cowardly Ben, and Raylin, a mysterious girl with a shady past.

He begins to second-guess his decision when the cave they hide in transports them to the ruins of Machu Picchu, where they find themselves embroiled in a battle between ancient gods of Life and Death. To top things off, the God of Life draws Daniel into the fray by adopting him as his son and setting him on a quest to complete a broken, mystical sword, a task that will pit him against the god of the underworld.

Now, Daniel and his friends have just one weekend to find the shards before a hoard of supernatural enemies catch up. But that’s not all they face. A trap has been set that even Daniel wouldn’t expect, and he just took the bait.

Will the power of his Heavenly Father be enough to save them?

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MY REVIEW

Looking for a brave, spunky hero and a refreshing, meaningful adventure? Look no further. Formidable enemies, engaging characters, and a heartfelt and powerful message. Daniel and the Sun Sword has it all.

At first glance this story put me in mind of the Percy Jackson series (which, by the way, is a very good thing!). It has a rapid pace, loads of action and adventure, and a young male protagonist who has to take on a world of dangerous and deadly gods and demons. But this book does something Percy Jackson never did. It goes deeper. It has lasting meaning. It gives hope. And that makes all the difference.

Daniel is a relatable and realistic protagonist. I felt connected to him from the start. He is an orphan who feels that he controls nothing in his own life. He has no sense of his own importance or purpose. But when danger literally comes creeping to his doorstep, he has to start making decisions fast. He has to choose between remaining the same and growing, between cowardice and bravery. Daniel begins a journey that forces him to not only be brave in body, but courageous of heart.

The secondary characters were all extremely fun to read, too, with personalities that set each of them apart. From quirky Ben, to doubtful Raylin, to the disgusting Gurges, to quietly strong Gabriela – I enjoyed watching them all play their parts in the greater scheme of the story, and I hope to see more of them in future books (well, perhaps not the Gurges…*shudder*). The gods, monsters and other creatures were written with descriptions that truly brought them to life. Even when reading about the most evil of creatures, I had to smile in admiration at lines like this one: “The voice was deep and horrible, like the very foundations of the earth were grinding together to make speech.” The author has a great way with imagery and metaphors.

In short, this book is full of all the things tween boys love: action, adventure, danger, and monsters. Yet at its core, this story is an allegory. Its meaning is deep and true. We are all born orphans, just like Daniel, but we have the awesome choice to become a part of the greatest family that ever was, with the greatest Father who ever lived. I was blown away by the smooth combination of both the physical and spiritual elements woven together in this story.

Daniel and the Sun Sword is the type of book I’ve hoped to see for a long time, for all the boys out there like my own son who long to read about adventures and heroes, but need to understand that their hope does not come from themselves, but from Someone higher. This book is a powerful testimony to that truth. I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone between the ages of 10 and 110! I loved it from start to finish.

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Find Nathan here:

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Fun News for Reviewers of The Word Changers!

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Most of you probably know the importance of getting reviews for your own book, or leaving reviews for others’ books. They help potential buyers find a book to begin with, and then help them to decide whether or not it’s the book for them. Real, honest opinions from real, honest readers – for me, at least – count far more than even the book’s blurb or cover.

The Word Changers now has 55 reviews on Amazon (thanks to 55 very awesome readers!). When it reaches 60 I am going to be doing a giveaway. For what, you ask? Well, there will be an Amazon gift card involved, and something bookish and creative which I haven’t yet made a final decision on. But trust me, it will be lovely, and you will want it 😉

So my request for you is this:  If you have read The Word Changers but haven’t yet left an Amazon review, hop over to their site and write one! Reading4And if you’ve been wanting to read The Word Changers but haven’t got around to it yet, get your own copy over at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Smashwords (see sidebar for links), and then leave a review. It’s just $2.99 right now in eBook (rather than its original $3.99).

If you know a friend who may like to read it, lend her your e-copy, or buy her a copy as an early Christmas present … and then ask her to leave a review as well! The more the merrier!

This opportunity will be for Amazon reviewers ONLY … and we only need 5 more reviews for me to start the giveaway!  Yay! So get your review in so you can enter your name when the giveaway begins.

Ok, my shameless requests for you to read and review my book are over. But I will have you know they are just a front for what I truly want to do:  THROW A GIVEAWAY!  😀

Have a great weekend, a fun Halloween … and happy reading!

Book Sightings and Library Love

A couple of weeks ago I went to my local library and saw, for the first time ever, my own book on the library shelf! And not just one copy … two! I was pretty excited, as you can well imagine!

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At my local library!

When I visited my alumni college (later that same day, as it happens), an old friend I was speaking with there informed me that he had seen my book for sale in the college bookstore … on display, on the front counter! I’m only a little ashamed to say that I squealed and immediately drug my husband and son to the bookstore to see it. Wouldn’t you have?!

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In my alumni college bookstore!

Having my book for sale in a book store is exciting, but I’ve got to say that seeing my book on the shelf of a library, with the potential to go through the hands of dozens, possibly hundreds of readers … now that’s really a dream come true. Libraries have always meant so much to me, the scent of papers and ink, the whisper of pages being turned, the hum of silence, the solid walls of books all around. Paradise, really. What a privilege for my book to now have a home in one of my favorite places on the planet!

Many of you have read The Word Changers already, and a lot of you who haven’t have said you’d like to one day. If you haven’t had the chance yet, have you considered submitting a request to your own local library to purchase a copy? I’ve done that many times in the past for books that I’ve considered reading, but was on the fence about forking my own money out to buy. And 9 times out of 10, my library goes on to purchase the requested copy.

Most of the time you only need the requested book’s title, author, and year published (my library usually won’t purchase something that has a publish date of more than a year ago). But if you decide to put in a request for The Word Changers, and your library requires more information, click here 🙂

I can’t tell you the pleasure and honor I’d feel knowing my book was on the shelves of libraries across the United States, or even in other countries! What a thrill!

And just for fun, here are some great library quotes:

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HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!

 

The Word Changers is 99 Cents, Plus a Great Giveaway!

THE DEAL

My publisher is reducing the cost of The Word Changers eBook for two weeks, beginning today. It will be just 99 cents (marked down from $3.99), from August 8th – 22nd.

Here are the links where you can find this special deal for The Word Changers:

Amazon        Barnes and Noble

If you’re new to my site, and unfamiliar with The Word Changers, you can click here to read the back-cover blurb.

THE GIVEAWAY

In honor of this promotional price, and to help spread the word, I’m hosting a giveaway!  It’s super easy to enter your name, and you can come back every day it’s going on and enter again.  So, lots of chances to put your name in the hat!

All you’ve got to do to enter is share about the promo price of The Word Changers on one (or several!) of your social media.

Below are a couple of pictures that may come in helpful when sharing.  Feel free to use either of them, or both.

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A word about Rafflecopter … my site won’t allow the actual giveaway widget to show up here on this page, but you can click on the link at the foot of this post and it will take you directly to where you can enter your name. No problem.

THE PRIZES

And without further ado, here are the super fun items I’m giving away to one lucky winner!

ONE BRASS MERMAID BOOKMARK

Mermaid Bookmark (Giveaway)

I’m giving away one of these because they bring to mind the mermaid sisters from The Word Changers: Seraphine, Limnoreia and Adamaris.

  ONE “LIBRARY CARD” NOTEPAD

Library Card Notepad (Giveaway)

Some retro inspiration for when you want to jot down story ideas of your own!

 

**CLICK HERE TO ENTER YOUR NAME IN THE GIVEAWAY**

In advance, thanks so much for your support, my friends! I couldn’t do it without you!  

The giveaway doesn’t end until August 22, at the same time the promo ends. So until then, keep coming back to enter your name daily for more chances to win!

Happy sharing!!

 

Two Giveaways For THE WORD CHANGERS

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A short and sweet post letting you know that you’ve got TWO MORE opportunities to win a paperback copy of  The Word Changers!

Christian Bookshelf Reviews is hosting a giveaway right now, which will end on Thursday (7/17). That’s just three more days!

Author Heather Day Gilbert also has a giveaway for my book on her blog, so be sure to hop over there and enter your name while you’re at it! Hers goes through Sunday, I believe.

 

“Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.”
― Jane Smiley

 

The Author of the Story

I found it amusing, at first, to know that I was writing a story within a story while penning The Word Changers. Now and then I would smile ironically to myself and shake my head. It was just too much fun. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, The Word Changers is about a girl who falls into the pages of a book. She spends almost the entire remainder of the story within that book (a fairy tale, in fact). Yes, with my dry sense of humor I found it incredibly droll to think about that.

But then I reached the part about the Author.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I had it all planned out. I knew the theme I was aiming for. I knew the meaning I wanted to hide within the Hand writing using quill penpages of my story, the meaning that the Author would be a part of. I knew what I was in for. Or so I thought.

Writing about the Author made me start asking my own author-self some questions. And as I wrote the dialogue between the Author and some of his characters within my book, I began to see something happening that I hadn’t planned on at all.

Not, as you might imagine, a change within my story. But a change within myself.

Because, as an author myself, I do care about my characters. I do want what’s best for them. But many times, in order for them to have what’s best, I have to watch them go through some heartache and pain. If I take control of them and force them into roles, put them in just the situations I want them to be in, like chess pieces in a game, what would that say about me? My poor characters would never learn a thing. And they would end their stories just as they began them. Selfish, heart-sore, bitter and broken. Would my love for my characters be truly shown if I allowed that to happen?

This led me, of course, to look at the way God handles us, his “characters.” He allows us to see heartache and pain. We wonder why He doesn’t lift a finger to help us. But His help is often different than the help we demand of Him. It comes in a form that is subtle, sometimes invisible … many times unexpected.

*Spoiler Alert*

In The Word Changers, Posy is imprisoned. While in her cell, she cries out angrily to the Author. He is the one who wrote the story she’s stuck within, isn’t he? Why can’t he change her story, release her from prison? It would be so simple … he would only need to change a few of the story’s words, wouldn’t he? Posy wants the prison doors to be opened for her. She wants to walk straight out of her cell.

Instead, the Author shines down on her in the form of the moon. Gently, silently. And that single ray of moonlight shining into her prison cell is his answer. At first Posy doesn’t see it. Then she realizes she has to work with what she’s given. Her door isn’t thrown open, as she wished. But the shaft of moonlight shows her the way to escape. It’s a painful and difficult escape, but an escape just open bookthe same.

*Spoiler Alert End*

So writing The Word Changers helped me understand God a little better. It made me focus on His eternal intent for me, as opposed to my own petty every-day goals and desires. It made me understand that sometimes the difficult way can be the best way – the way that helps me to grow and learn and become more closely the person God wants me to be. Writing about the Author in my story forced me, for just a small minute, to enter into God’s way of looking at things. And what a different and infinitely superior way of looking at things that is!

That’s just a small part of what God has done for me through the act and process of writing for His glory. I can only hope that you, my readers, will get half the blessing out of reading my book as I did in writing it.

Introducing the Cast of Characters

Today I’d like to introduce you to some of the characters from The Word Changers. All of these people, save one, are unique in that they portray Characters within characters.

Confused? Yeah, probably!

Let me explain.

Within The Word Changers is another book – a strange, dark fairy tale that Posy, our heroine, finds in her poky hometown library. It’s The Book: the one she falls into and spends the rest of the story within, the one she ends up traveling through and ultimately changing the words to … And within that fairy tale lies the rest of the cast of characters.

So without further ado, here is the lineup of each Character, including a bit about him or her, and even a few pictures to portray what some of them look like (in my head, at least!).

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Posy (Emma Watson)

Emma Watson makes a wonderful Posy. She has the perfect combination of vulnerability, innocence, strength and softness.

Posy: Uncertain of her worth, unsure of her path, she stumbles into something that seems like a dream, but ends up being more like a nightmare. A runaway princess, a forgotten Author … Posy has many things to find. But none as important as finding herself.

Kyran (Ben Barnes)

Dark hair, dark eyes, dark mood … Ben Barnes fits Kyran so well!

Prince Kyran: Haughty and condescending, the prince of the Kingdom is bored with his role in it, and fed up with his parents’ cruelty and manipulation. When he agrees to accompany Posy on her quest beyond the Borders of the Plot, he little realizes the life-changing journey that awaits him.

Falak:  Chief advisor to the king. Head of the council of owls. Oh, and he happens to be an owl himself. He is sharp, intelligent, and not quite all he seems …

Melanthius (John Rhys Davies)4

John Rhys-Davies. Imposing, heavy-browed, striking … in short, King Melathius.

King Melanthius:  Ruler of the Kingdom, Keeper of the Plot. But Melanthius has gone a step too far – he not only keeps the Plot, he now fully controls it along with all its characters. He has usurped the job that only the Author of the story has a right to.

Queen Valanor:  Cold, clever and beautiful. Her husband the king may rule the Kingdom, but she rules him. …At least, she thinks she does.

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Delicate but determined. Give this young model lavender eyes and she’s Princess Evanthe.

Princess Evanthe: She saw the truth of the wrong that was happening in the Kingdom and did the one thing she thought would remedy it … she ran away. She went into hiding far beyond the Borders of the Plot, where her brother Kyran and his companion Posy go to seek her.

The Mist:  A voice … a feeling … a whisper. The Mist is kept under tight control by King Melanthius, and its voice can’t be heard by many these days, at least for any purpose but petty information. Yet it has a power all its own, and a role much bigger than anyone dreams of.

Alvar:  A “common” character, with no large part in the Plot. All the same, he has a strong belief in every character’s importance, and he opposes the king openly – something that’s never been done. He even has plans for forming an army of his own to fight for freedom.

Faxon

Reader Hannah Williams sketched this fabulous picture of Faxon after reading The Word Changers

Faxon: Protector of the Glade. He is the leader of the exiled council of centaurs who were in power before the council of owls. He now lives in the Wild Land beyond the Plot as leader of a rogue centaur army. He helps Posy and Kyran in their search for the dark place they believe Princess Evanthe to be hiding.

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Falak usually has a particular glint in those uncanny orange eyes

Seraphine, Limnoreia, and Adamaris:  A trio of exquisite mermaid sisters who have been wronged by the King Melanthius and banished from the Plot. They live in an underwater palace full of secrets and darkness. They have a choice – seek revenge for their own sakes, or join Kyran and Posy to fight in the name of justice.

The Wild Folk:  These are the folk native to the Wild Land. They are truly natural creatures who have always lived beyond the Borders of the Plot, and whom have never been a part of the book at all. They are so bonded with the Wild Land forest that they even look like a part of it. They are peaceful and quiet by nature, yet when the King threatens their land with invasion, many of them decide action must be taken.

The Author:  He wrote the story, yes, but his characters haven’t heard from him in centuries. They have even begun to believe he never existed at all, and is only a myth kept alive in tales. But some still believe he lurks somewhere beyond the Borders of the Plot, waiting to lay claim to his story once again.

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Falling Into the Book

book portalIn books, characters can stumble into other worlds in many different ways. Sometimes it’s as simple as walking through a door or crossing a bridge. Other times it’s as unexpected as the door of a musty old wardrobe, falling down a rabbit hole, or flying out your window toward the second star on the right, straight on ‘til morning …

But those are fictional portals leading to fictional worlds.

Growing up I discovered a real-life portal.

A book.

Any book. Every book. Each one takes you to a different place. Each one has something different to show you, something new to reveal. It’s a never-ending adventure, a book. A rousing and irresistible adventure.

Is it any wonder that I grew up daydreaming how it would feel to fall straight into a book? Does it come as a surprise that my own debut novel features just such a theme?

Posy, my main character, is a 15-year-old girl who is much like I used to be at that age. Lacking in confidence, the child of a broken  home, older than her years in some ways, and younger than them in other ways. In short, she is made up of the perfect ingredients to find a sanctuary in books. An escape from the world around her.

But books, as we know, can take us places. Books can draw us in, and then both excite and wound us in the worst and best of ways. And the fairy tale Posy wanders into takes her to a world in turmoil. The very characters themselves are threatening to rebel against their Plot. They have forgotten who their Author wrote them to be … they have forgotten their Author altogether, in fact.magic book

That’s a recipe for trouble. And Posy’s journey is a long and difficult one.

As I wrote the book, I had to ask myself some questions:

What would happen if you actually stepped into a book and met its characters?

Would those characters be aware that they were characters following a Plot that controlled their every word and move?

Would they be capable of making their own decisions or – as in The Word Changers – actually rebelling against their Author?

As much as I’ve always dreamed of literally getting lost in a book, what would it truly be like, and how would I react? In other words, what would be the dark side of such a fantasy …?

That’s what I asked myself. And that’s how The Word Changers began, in part.

A lot of answers came from those questions as I began to write this tale. Some of them were surprising. Some were exciting. Some were mysterious. To find out what those answers were, and how Posy’s story unfolds, read The Word Changers for yourself!

But let me ask you now, how would you answer those questions? If you were dropped into a book, stumbled through its pages and straight into its story, how would you feel? What would you do? … Would your actions send waves across the Plot, changing the story’s very words?

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Don’t forget to click below and enter the giveaway going on this week. I’m giving away a signed paperback of The Word Changers, and a crocheted owl made by – you guessed it – me!

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The Moon Master’s Ball: A Charming Cinderella Retelling

The Moon Master’s Ball, by Clara Diane Thompson, is one of five short stories in the awesome new fairy tale collection, Five Glass Slippers. Each story is a unique retelling of the classic Cinderella tale … here’s what I thought of Miss Thompson’s story!

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Oh, my … what can I say about this story? It was full of whimsy, mystery, adventure, danger, fantasy, and just a touch of romance. The Moon Master's BallIs there anything more you could possibly want in a fairy tale or a fairy tale retelling?

The author has a lovely, sweetly simple voice and style, and a perfect sense of timing. There were enough things going on in the beginning half of the story that it kept me just confused enough to wonder … how could these things possibly fit together? I don’t know about you, but I love stories like that! Seeing how each piece eventually falls into place (and they do!) is such a satisfying feeling!

The main character, Tilly, was well-drawn and believable, with human-type fears and heroine-type bravery which made her an utterly charming “Cinderella” replacement. The setting was completely fresh and original, while at the same time keeping some of the essential elements of the classic story we all know so well. Just wait until you see how the glass slipper is used … quite unlikely and just a tad big shocking! And the Moon Master himself … how could I not love him?! Mysterious, tall, dark, and not-exactly-handsome-but-oh-so-charming …? Yes, please 😉

The Moon Master’s Ball is absolutely delightful  in every way, and there’s no chance you’ll keep me away from the next work published by this talented young authoress!

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And this is just one of the five stories in this collection! I have every intention of reading the other four, but I think I may wait until my physical copy arrives in the mail soon after the book’s release on June 14.

Don’t wait until then, though … Five Glass Slippers is available for pre-order right now! I’m foreseeing it becoming a classic that I’ll want to pass around to all my fairy-tale-loving friends.

 

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.