Blog Archives

Stories and More Stories

So many writerly things happening lately. After being on a bit of a (if unasked-for) hiatus for a year, these past several months my imagination has felt the need to make up for lost time. After about a month of simply trying to get the skeletons of all my ideas down on paper, I finally had to take a step back and decide which one to pursue first. As you may remember from a previous post, I chose to focus on a chapter book for children (ages 7-12) and I am happy to announce today that my revisions for this story are finished at last.

You know what that means! I will be asking 2 or 3 beta readers to look over the story and offer feedback, criticism, and advice. Never having written anything in this age category before, I’ll admit I’m a little nervous of the results. But it was a story I felt I had to tell, so though it may need even more revisions, I am ready to share it with at least a few others at this point, and with everyone a short way down the road.

I wished to put off writing a full-length novel for the time being, simply because I have so many other things going on in my life that I know I don’t have the time to devote to it. Despite this, a story idea for a trilogy (YA fantasy of course!) has been stubbornly clamoring at the back of my mind for a long time now and I had to give in finally and at least write the outline for the first book . . . which led to writing the outline for the second and third books . . . which led to writing character sketches and fleshing out some scenes that I had in my mind . . . which . . . well, you get the point. This trilogy is daunting to me, and will probably not be written in full until some time in the future, but it is most certainly not an idea that is fading. The opposite, in fact. When characters start talking to you in the middle of every-day tasks on a daily basis, and when scenes play out so vividly in your head that you rush to the nearest scrap of paper to get them down, you know there’s no escaping the story.

In the meantime, to fill my time between outlining trilogies and revising a children’s book, I have also been working on some fantasy short stories which I would love to publish as a collection one day. So many of these ideas are so exciting to me, yet aren’t full enough for a novel. Answer? Put it in a short story! I’m so thrilled about some of these stories, I can’t wait to get all my ideas explored and written.

With my newly-written and revised children’s chapter book has also come my desire to add a few illustrations within the book itself. I won’t decide on this for certain until I’ve spoken with my agent and some others who have had experience to see if this is a feasible option. But it has led me lately to scouring book store aisles and Pinterest boards for samples of artwork that I admire.

 

Illustrations have such an impact on our feelings for a story. I’d love to know what some of your own favorite illustrations or artists are!

Also, what have you been up to this end-of-summer?

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Fairy Tale Giveaway

FAIRY-TALE FORUM

For those of you who haven’t heard, author Shonna Slayton and I have started a shiny new group on Facebook called Fairy-Tale Forum. If you’re not part of it yet, please come on over and join! We have lots of fun stuff planned, and hope to see some fun fairy-tale-ish things from the rest of you as well!Beauty-and-the-Beast-fairy-tale

This week we have been having an AMA (Ask Me Anything) with editor and fairy-tale blogger Tahlia Kirk (Timeless Tales Magazine, anyone?!). She is so talented, I can’t even tell you. Please head over to our group and ask her whatever you’d like . . . she’s very responsive and so very fun to chat with!

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST GIVEAWAY

Also, beginning today, we have an awesome giveaway in honor of the upcoming Beauty and the Beast movie. Here’s what we’re giving away! I’m so thrilled!

Beauty and the Beast pinterest

Any thoughts on Beauty and the Beast in general? Where does it fall in your lineup of favorite fairy tales? Who are your favorite characters? What do you love (or not love!) about it? Will you be going to see the new movie?

 

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

The Fiercest Fight: Character Interview

I’m thrilled to announce the release of an awesome new book that you Christian fantasy lovers will not want to miss.  Adventure, danger, romance, dark creatures, life and death, and a strong and true message…you’ll find that and much more in The Fiercest Fight.  Also…that cover is simply amazing – I dare you to disagree with me!

Without further ado, here’s a fun and tantalizing character interview between the author, Brent King, and the protagonist of The Fiercest Fight, Tristan.

Character Interview with Tristan

Brent:
Hey! This is the first post in a blog tour to celebrate the release my debut fantasy novel, The Fiercest Fight. I can’t think of a better way to start than with an interview of my protagonist, Tristan.

Tristan:
*leans back in his chair and runs his fingers through his hair*
But I’m going to ask the first question: Why did you give me your red hair? You must have known how my schoolmates would tease me.

Brent:
Yeah, I did. But all you have to know is how to smile and say, “I know. Isn’t it cool?” It’s a small price to pay for such a distinguishing feature.

Tristan:
*shifts in his seat*
Easy for you to say! The guys were relentless.

Brent:
So is that what you hate worst about life?The Fiercest Fight Cover

Tristan:
Well, not exactly.
*removes sunglasses, shifts glowing eyes*
It used to be, but unfortunately, life got more complex. My issues now make my red hair trouble seem juvenile.

Brent:
*squints into Tristan’s eyes* It sounds like you’ve grown up a bit then.

Tristan:
I had to.

Brent:
Was it scary?

Tristan:
*slips sunglasses back on and nods*
Sometimes.
You would be scared too if you had to face…uh…do you believe in monsters?

Brent:
I-well…
*twirls a pencil in between fingers*
I’m not sure…

Tristan:
You would if you were me.

Brent:
I would?

Tristan:
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone?

Brent:
I thought I was asking the questions.
*eyes twinkle*

Tristan:
*lifts up hand and stares at it, flexing his fingers*
Well, to answer my own question then, I’ve hurt people pretty bad. I wish the beast had never come to me. He’s a fearsome—

Brent:
Beast?

Tristan:
*nods*
You wouldn’t understand. It’s too…unbelievable. Even Pastor Mike had a hard time at first.

Brent:
Are you talking about a wildcat or a wolf?

Tristan:
*rises and shakes his head*
Much worse than that! This creature would make you believe in God…or at least search for Him.

Brent:
I do believe in God. Do you?

Tristan:
Yes.
He offered me life or death. It wasn’t easy, but I chose death.

Brent:
*rises and shakes Tristan’s hand*
That’s a bit cryptic, but I wanted it that way.
*grins*

Tristan:
Thanks a lot!

Brent:
*calls after Tristan as he exits*
You’re welcome, and thanks for the chance to ask a few questions.

Well, there you have it: a few words with my protagonist. If you have any further questions for him, don’t hesitate to leave them below. I’ll make sure he answers them.

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FOLLOW THIS LINK TO ENTER INTO THE GREAT GIVEAWAY BEING OFFERED BY THE AUTHOR!

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Brent KingBrent King is a freelance writer of Christian fantasy and historical fiction from Lake Oswego, Oregon. Brent is a musician, a waterman, and has two sons, 20 and 23, who live in British Columbia, Canada. Brent’s first book, The Grip of Grace: God’s Hand in The Lord of the Rings, was published in January, 2014.

We’re All Evil Stepchildren

Cinderella has never been one of my favorite fairy tales. Maybe that’s because its familiarity through the years has turned it a bit drab for me. Maybe it’s because the danger isn’t fierce enough or the stakes aren’t high enough.

Or maybe . . . maybe it’s because I can’t relate to a girl who is nothing more than a victim. A girl with a princess-like beauty whom never does anything wrong except in the eyes of her “evil” step-mother and stepsisters. A girl whose beauty and mere lack of evil are all it take for her to win not only a prince, but a kingdom.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely do things wrong. A lot. I say the wrong things, I’m clumsy, I’m impatient, I’m unkind, I’m none-too-beautiful. Basically, I’m human. How could I possibly write a story about a girl like Cinderella? I’m not qualified. I can’t understand her. I’ve never even been able to care much about her, try as I might.

So when considering retelling this story, I decided I wouldn’t write about Cinderella at all. Simple as that.

freedigitalphotos.net

freedigitalphotos.net

Instead, I wrote through the eyes of somebody I could understand: the stepsister (in my story, there’s just one). As a teen who went through some rough times, I often felt like the freak, the ugly, awkward girl, the misunderstood girl, the girl who used sarcasm like a shield, the girl people were uncomfortable having around because of her random bursts of emotion and sometimes rather brutal honesty. The girl . . . well, you get the picture.

Evil. Many times that’s how I felt. That’s what I believed people thought of me. That’s how they seemed to look at me. Therefore that’s what I began to believe I was in truth. Evil. Warped.

Then God stepped in. He had had enough.

“You’re not evil,” He whispered to me. “Your heart is beautiful and kind and loving. It is desirable to Me.”

The things I had never been able to see before because of my own blindness and self-loathing became apparent when God showed them to me through His eyes, through His grace. But then, that’s natural, isn’t it? That’s how it’s supposed to happen, the rescuing of our souls. My heart is beautiful because it’s God’s. My kindness and love are really only an extension of God’s own kindness and love.

When I began to think back on my own love story with God, I knew I must make it a part of this story I was writing. I have never been a Cinderella, ready from birth for Heaven. I needed redemption. I need redemption on a daily basis. But not from an evil stepmother or stepsisters. Not from any outside source of oppression. No, I needed saving from myself, and from the person Satan has plans for me to become. Because I am the evil stepsister. Or at least I was . . .

Those are the times God patiently reminds me that I am now His true daughter – a stepchild no longer.

When He took me in I became a princess in truth, and I share in a Kingdom more beautiful than any prince could have offered Cinderella. Right now I can’t always see that Kingdom, though it’s both in me and all around me. Sometimes I catch glimpses of it clearly, sometimes I only feel its nearness. But someday I plan on living there and claiming my happy-ever-after once and for all.

Tell me, what fairy tale could be better than that?

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You’ve got four more days to enter your name for this FAIRY TALE PACKAGE GIVEAWAY!

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CLICK HERE TO ENTER

A Wish Made of Glass: RELEASE DAY!

A FAIRY TALE

A Wish Made of Glass is a story that has been through many changes. When I first began writing it, I wanted nothing more than a simple fairy tale told from an alternate point of view from the original Cinderella version I was loosely basing it upon. That’s what I got with the first draft. But, more than a year later, when I returned to the story, I saw the potential for an even deeper meaning. The changes I wanted to make were so extensive that, instead of revising the original version, I started from scratch, though I kept the main points of the original intact.

Many blissful, agonized, bleary-eyed, contented hours went into this little book, and though I enjoyed nearly every moment with these characters, I can’t say that I’m sad it is finally out of my hands and into yours!

You can find it at these locations now:

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Kobo     Smashwords

RELEASE EVENTS

So what can you expect around here now that my novella has officially released? Well, here are a few things I’ve got planned.

Fun posts. Quite soon I plan on introducing you to not only the characters from A Wish Made of Glass, but the places, etc. of my story as well. Come back next week to see pictures and hear descriptions of my little fairy tale world.

Blog tour. This will run from August 24 – 30. I’ll be posting a link to it in my sidebar as soon as the final schedule of stops comes in. Keep your eyes open!

Giveaway. Beginning on the week of the blog tour, I’ll be giving away the items pictured below. If you’ve had a chance to read the book already, you’ll understand the meaning of each of them 🙂 One lucky winner will claim all of them at the end of the blog tour!

Giveaway item1

Set of 4 custom-painted fairy tale forest cards

Giveaway item2

Butterfly masquerade mask

AWishMadeofGlassFinal

Paperback copy of A Wish Made of Glass

WANT TO HELP SUPPORT MY LAUNCH?

  • Purchase a copy of my book (of course!). Right now, both the eBook and the paperback are at a special discounted price which will run until around the first week of September. After that it will return to normal price. If you’ve already got a copy, consider purchasing one for a friend who may enjoy it, or even your local library.
  • After you read A Wish Made of Glass, leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.
  • Share about this novella with your friends through Facebook, e-mail, Twitter, your blog, or just plain word-of-mouth.

Thanks so much, friends, for the help you’ve already given up to now. You mean so much to me and I’m so excited to share my little book with you. Blessings.

Where Shadows Lie: An Interview with Tialla Rising

whereshadowslietour

Today I’m chatting with the super-talented author, Tialla Rising, about her new release, Where Shadows Lie. For any of you who have read the first of the series, Holding the Future Hostage, you’ll definitely want to pick up this exciting, long-awaited sequel!

Check out the rest of the blog tour stops at this link. And don’t forget to enter into the awesome giveaway!!

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This book is a sequel. How is it different from the first book in genre, theme, stakes, etc.?

I like to think that other than the main characters being the same, my books are completely different. The genre for Where Shadows Lie is Christian suspense, whereas the genre for my first book (Holding the Future Hostage) is Sci-Fi/Action-adventure. Therefore, while the non-stop action is consistent throughout both books, the setting and stakes are completely different. I made everything for Where Shadows Lie as realistic as I possibly could, while my first book definitely has a sci-fi twist.

Can you name something interesting about your main character which only YOU know about, which wasn’t mentioned in the book itself?

Shawn finds that he can relax and de-stress best when lifting weights or running. I can’t remember if I actually mentioned this in the book or not, but if I did, it was brief.

Describe two of your main characters in 3 words each.

Shawn: Determined, stubborn, conflicted.
Virginia: Optimistic, stubborn, loyal.

Was writing a sequel more or less difficult than writing the first book? Why?

Definitely more difficult. I believe it was much more difficult because of the realism, research, and balance this book required. My first book didn’t need as much realism or balance for the story to work, but they were a must for Where Shadows Lie. This resulted in numerous revisions and lots of red notes from my proofreaders, haha!

What’s in store next? How far will this series go, or will you begin a brand new project?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I do have an idea for a third book with these characters, but I’m not certain whether I’ll write it next or not. I didn’t plan on this becoming a series, but it might be nice to make it into a trilogy. I also have ideas for a children’s book and other novels. At this moment, I’m taking a few months’ break from writing, though I’m sure I won’t be able to stay away for long.

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His dark past haunts him. His new life taunts him.

where shadows lie coverAfter twenty years in the gangs and a hefty prison sentence, an early release gives Shawn the opportunity to turn his life around.

But that isn’t so easy when gangs are involved.

Only a year into his fresh start, the gang catches on and makes Shawn’s life miserable. After all, once a gang member, always a gang member. His very blood belongs to them.

Threats become promises. Whispers become actions. Words become bullets. He must fight – not only for his life, but to save his honor, prove his integrity, and protect the woman he loves.

An ember of hope glows in the darkness, strengthening his resolve. Will her support and his determination be enough to dispel the shadows of his past?

A story of discovery and faith, love and perseverance.

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Tialla Rising is a Christian young woman living with her family in the mountains of Arizona. She loves to write and will passionately spend hours long into the night developing her stories. Like most writers, Tialla fills her spare time with reading from her favorite fantasy and mystery genres. A good book, a stormy day, and an iced coffee comprise her favorite moments.
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A Release Date at Last!

A Wish Made of Glass will be releasing Friday, August 14th, 2015. Yes. As in NINE DAYS FROM NOW!

Here are the things that will be happening at this point:

Launch day. Where happy, interesting, launch-ish things happen here on my blog. If you’d like to help when the time comes, feel free to do a spotlight post on your own blog sometime during launch week, or perhaps just share the AWishMadeofGlassFinalAmazon link to my book on one (or all!) of your social media.

Blog tour. This is set for the last week of August. The guest posts are written up and I’m ready to start answering interview questions. It should be fun. Also, FYI, there’s going to be a pretty cool giveaway package during the week of the blog tour. So you should definitely check in for that, if nothing else 😉 I’ll be posting more info about the blog tour, dates, and stops in the near future.

Special price on Amazon. For the first 3 or so weeks after release, BOTH the Kindle and the paperback versions of A Wish Made of Glass will have a special sale price. If you’re already certain you’d like to read this novella, that will definitely be the time to purchase it! Also, the book will be enrolled in some sort of Amazon program (forgive me for having no clue what it’s actually called . . .) in which everyone who purchases a paperback will receive the Kindle version for free. Awesome, yes?!

Also, thanks so very much to all of you who agreed to pre-read and review the novella. I’m seeing a few reviews pop up on Goodreads and I’m so humbled and honored at your sweet and thoughtful words!

 

“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.” – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

 

Cinderella Schemes #2: An Interview with Shantelle Mary Hannu

Here it is! Number Two in the Cinderella Schemes series of author interviews. (In case you missed it, last week I interviewed Cinderella’s Dress author Shonna Slayton.)

This week I’m speaking with the sweet Shantelle Mary Hannu, who released her debut novella quite recently, titled A Dream Not Imagined. She’s visiting my blog today to answer a few questions not only about her book, but about Cinderella and fairy tales in general.

First, here’s a little more about her new release.

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3 a A Dream Not Imagined (Paperback edition)A Maid, a Prince, and a Duke. A Gardener, a Stepmother, and a secret . . .

Ellie Abbington, a beautiful yet unassuming young woman, quietly longs for her life to change. Too privileged to associate with the servants—too underprivileged to associate with her own family; she dreams a dream of a prince and a happily ever after. 

But it could be that her own stepsisters, conniving Dezmarie and easily-influenced Adelaide, are dreaming the same dream . . . of the same prince. 

In the end, are dreams even all they’re made out to be? Especially with deep and long-hidden secrets about to be unearthed? 

A Dream Not Imagined is a non-magical fairytale novella based loosely on the classic tale of Cinderella.

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Name your top three fairy tales, and explain why you love them.

Well, I suppose I can pick three . . . but I love pretty much all of them!! ^_^ The Little Mermaid, because I’m fascinated with mermaids and the ocean depths! I don’t know; I just love the thought—so mystical! The Twelve Dancing Princesses, because of dancing and princesses, and gallant men to the rescue!! *grins* It’s charming and intriguing, and I simply love it! Rapunzel, because I just like the idea of a long, golden-haired maiden trapped up in a tower. The backstory. The prince. The terrible trickery; but then the oh-so-sweet ending!

What are your feelings on the original version(s) of Cinderella?

I usually love the more original versions of fairytales. Like, I adored the movie Cinderella (2015), and that one stuck pretty close with the original storyline I think. But it is fun to throw in something fresh and new. And maybe change things about a little so there’s not “love-at-first-sight”, ;P

Name one thing in your story which is completely new and unique from the original tale.

It has a little mystery twining throughout it, 🙂

Which character(s) in your retelling did you have the most fun writing?glass-slipper

I must say, the stepmother and Dezmarie (eldest stepsister) were pretty fun, and interesting, to write! XD I also enjoyed writing Ellie (Cinderella), and kind of delving into her character.

Why do you think fairy tales (and their various rehashings) are still so wildly popular today?

There’s just something about fairytales that captivate. I don’t even really know what it is—that mystical world. Those mysterious happenings. When true love reigns. Evil gets trounced. The lovely lady and the strong, handsome knight. And certain fairytales have truth and deep lessons to them, 🙂

Tell us about what you’re working on now.

I’m getting a fantasy novel ready for publication—it’s with beta readers right now. And I have about 20,000 words on its sequel, Diamond Dark! I adore fantasy, so this is exciting stuff!

Do you have plans for more retellings? If so, could you give us a hint as to which fairy tale(s) they may be based on?

I would love to write more retellings!! I actually have a Beauty and the Beast one that I haven’t decided if I’ll publish or not yet. I also started a Rapunzel retelling randomly . . . and I might just join the contest for writing a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Oh, and I’m also planning for the third book in my fantasy series to be a subtle retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. So much fun, ^_^

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Find Shantelle here:

Blog     Amazon     Facebook     Goodreads

Disenchanted by Janet Ursel

Today I welcome author Janet Ursel. Her upcoming debut novel, Disenchanted, will release July 14. She is giving us a peek into how and why she decided to write this intriguing book. The premise looks amazing, I must say. What do you think?

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Disenchanted+by+Janet+UrselIn this Christian fantasy, one young wizard with a hunger for wisdom and some dangerous secrets finds himself pitted against another ready to reach for power with the darkest forces possible.

Wizards have never in the history of Coventree, renounced Wizardry. But Blayn Goodwin finds himself growing detached from the practice of Wizardry, even as he rises through the ranks to become the youngest member of the Supreme Council. He has lost interest in the usual gods in favor of a god without a name, not that he makes that fact public.

Edgar Savile has his own traitorous secrets and kidnaps Blayn’s eldest son to prevent Blayn from probing into them. Meanwhile the Supreme Wizard, suspicious of Edgar, sends Blayn to retrieve an ancient book from the Other World, hoping it will arm them against Edgar’s treachery.

What Blayn finds is not what anyone expects, and threatens to tear Coventree’s fraying system apart at the seams.

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In a parallel earth, populated by witches who fled Cromwell’s England, an influential wizard turns his back on witchcraft at the worst possible time, leaving his land of Coventree vulnerable to a traitor who plans to subject it to the rule of the Black Priesthood. It’s a book for a general adult audience, although younger men might be especially fond of it.

So how does a woman on the downhill slope of middle age decide to write something that’s a little outside of her normal demographic? There are a number of reasons. Although I read very widely, and have a degree in languages and literature, I have always had a special fondness for speculative literature. I love the scope for imagination, and how by examining issues outside of their familiar context we can gain new perspectives. Plus they’re just so much fun. My first favorite books were the Narnia books: I was lending them out to my friends by the time I was seven. I guess we were nerds before the word was even invented. I moved on to Asimov and Heinlein and Clark and Tolkien in my preteen and teen years and I am honestly still reading them along with a good number of younger writers.

I am also a contrarian. I had heard that first novels are usually biographical in nature, so I figured if I wrote about a tall, dark, quiet, young wizard in another world, I would avoid that trap. I have no desire to write my life story, not even symbolically, so this way I was safe. Or so I thought, anyway. It mostly worked.

The way that societies change through history also fascinates me, and by placing my story in a different world, but still working with very human dynamics, I got to play with these ideas. That sociology of religion class finally came in handy! I also wanted to show what it would be like for someone with an unsatisfied spiritual hunger to encounter the God of the Bible when it was something totally foreign to his experience. We tend to forget that early Christianity exploded across the ancient world because the message of a God of love who wanted to make his temple in human hearts was such a radical departure from the gods who needed to be appeased or coerced or approached through intermediaries that it just blew people away.

I also wanted to break free from foolish stereotypes. Modern Christians tend to either deny that there is any power at all in witchcraft or else live in abject fear, like medieval peasants. Neither one of these attitudes is balanced in my opinion and I wanted to fill my world with normal human beings who happened to practice a pagan religion. People who love or don’t love their kids, or their books, or power, or stability, or knowledge, or country. Real people. All different kinds. Just like real life.

After I decided I wanted these elements, then I had to find a story. This is the hardest part for me, but I put it together piece by piece, with just a very rough idea of where I wanted to end up. I’m not going to talk too much about this now, because I don’t do spoilers. But I did my very best to make it an exciting story with believable people. While I love deep and heavy ideas, novels are supposed to be fun to read, not philosophy textbooks. Heavy ideas are like bones: they hold everything up, but you shouldn’t see them, just feel them if you squeeze a bit. So those who like to squeeze will find something solid underneath, and those who don’t should have a lot of fun watching the body move.

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JanetUrsel200After raising five children and one husband, Janet Ursel came to the obvious conclusion that writing novels was an essential part of the recovery process. Her studies in languages and literature, along with her experience as a pastor’s wife, market analyst, and ESL teacher, made her uniquely qualified to explore the life of a wizard in a parallel universe, so she did. She can be found at janetursel.com and on too many social media sites in one universe, and alternating between Canada and the United States in another universe.

FIND JANET HERE

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