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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.

____________

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.

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Vanquished Release

I’m excited today to introduce you to a new Christian series for teens published by Pelican Book Group. A novel set in a world where sickness is rampant and medication is limited, Vanquished was written by author Katie Clark. The entire series is available in paperback at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and will be available in eBook form on November 22, 2014.

I myself had the privilege of being an early reader for this book, and if you like dystopian novels with a foundation of faith and hope, you’ll want to consider this one!

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Here is a little about Vanquished!

When Hana’s mom is diagnosed with the mutation, she is denied the medication that might save her life.  Fischer, a medic at the hospital, implies there are people who can help—except Hana’s not sure she can trust him; Fischer is involved in a religious group, and religion has been outlawed for the last hundred years.  Hana embarks on a dangerous journey, seeking the answers Fischer insists are available. When the truth is uncovered does Hana stick to what she knows?  Or does she join the rebellion, taking a stand against an untrustworthy society?

 

Author Katie ClarkKATIE CLARK writes young adult speculative fiction, including her dystopian Enslaved Series, made up of Vanquished, Deliverance, and Redeemer. You can connect with her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

 

Two Giveaways For THE WORD CHANGERS

giveaway

 

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

 

A Shipment of Books, An Amazon Bestseller, and Obliging Trees

EXCITING ARRIVAL

First of all …. the shipment of books from my publisher arrived!!

books1

While I didn’t swim in them, as I had previously threatened to do … I was quite excited! My 7-year-old son, who is very nonchalant about my author status now, shuffled through a few of the books in the open box, then looked at me with concern and said, “But they’re all the exact same book!”

Yes. *sigh* I think he must have been under the impression that, with all the time I’ve spent on the computer preparing for launch the past few weeks, I’ve written at least another several books.

Most of these are promotional ones, which I’ll be using to give out in all the giveaways that have been running recently. So if you were one of the several winners – be on the lookout! They should be in the mail soon!

BESTSELLER … KIND OF

Secondly, The Word Changers made it to the Christian Fantasy Best Sellers list on Amazon this week! To my understanding, the top 100 of any category qualifies for the list. My book started at #94, then went from #47 to #30 just within the past 24 hours.

I realize Amazon’s algorithms are confusing, and oftentimes seem to make no sense (or is that just me?). I’ve watched my book jump back and forth numerous times over the past week or two on various (yet similar) lists. I’ve seen one ranking on Amazon, a completely different one on Author Central Amazon … yeah, confusing.

But I’ll take #30! I’m quite happy with that.

I know that sales, reviews and tags do much in the way of putting books on the radar for other Amazon buyers. So to those of you who are reviewing, tagging and buying … I’m very grateful!

TWO HOMES FOR GNOMES

And lastly, I just had to share a fun thing I did today. Such beautifully obliging trees, no? How (or why?) would I even try to resist whipping out my paints and brushes? And they are right next door to each other, so the little gnomes who can now live here will be able to have cookouts together and watch their little gnome children play together in the front lawn …… well, until the next rainfall, anyway.

Gnome door1

Gnome door2

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

 

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!).

____________

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.

Evanthe1

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.

Falak2

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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Interview with Shannon McDermott, Author of THE VALLEY OF DECISION

I am hosting authoress Shannon McDermott here today in an interview through Prism Book Tours. Shannon answers some questions about her new book, The Valley of Decision, her writing process, and a bit about what she does in her spare time! Thanks for joining us and hope you enjoy visiting with Shannon for a while!

If you scroll down (wwaaayy down there!) you’ll find more info about Shannon and her new book, and also links to all the other sites involved in this fun book tour!

Also Shannon has two (yep, two!) giveaways going on now, which are also at the bottom of this post. Up for grabs are two paperbacks and an eBook of The Valley of Decision, an eBook of Shannon’s book The Sunrise Windows, and … a $25 Amazon gift card! You will definitely NOT want to miss out on entering!

Without further ado, here’s the interview!

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What do you do when you’re not writing?

On the professional side, I have a good deal of book promotion to do – both my own and other people’s. On the personal side – reading, music, family …

Why are you drawn to the Christian fantasy genre?

Fantasy in general appeals to me because I enjoy the incredible imagination displayed in stories filled with things we wouldn’t dream of encountering ourselves. I am also fascinated by the fact that whatever matters most in our own world – love, courage, hope, the ultimate nature of reality – is what matters most in every world we can imagine. Christian fantasy, when done well, is a fuller and more satisfying exploration of that truth than fantasy that discounts God.

Which of the characters from The Valley of Decision was your favorite to write?

The main character, Keiran the Captain of the Hosts. To even attempt what he did, a person would have to be either very desperate or very confident of his own abilities. Keiran is the second, and he has an extreme self-assurance, and sometimes conceit, that I enjoyed using. He’s also bold, another fun characteristic for a writer to work with. And because he is a very able man, and has reason to be confident, his occasional conceit adds texture to his character and makes him more interesting.

Tell us a bit about your writing style. Plotter or pantster? Music or silence? Office or coffee shop?

I usually do office, but occasionally I’ll go to my local library, buy a drink from its coffee shop (every library should have a coffee shop), and settle down in a quiet nook to work. I also like music while I work, particularly Andrew Peterson or Celtic Thunder or Caedmon’s Call.

I always do some plotting before I write (how can I tell a story when I don’t know where it’s going?), but it can be pretty sketchy. When I start a book, I have the premise down, a plan for the first few chapters, and a few ideas I want to incorporate. Then, throughout the writing of the book, I stop to do more plotting. I never write a scene without notes on what it is meant to accomplish in the story as a whole.

Were there any unforeseen challenges in the writing and publication of your book?

Well, the printing press broke down while they were printing the book. But that isn’t a sign, not at all …

If the main character of The Valley of Decision lived in the modern world, what would be his/her choice of career?

That’s a fun question! I never thought of it before, but I think he’d be a Fortune 500 CEO – totally dominating his industry, buying up smaller companies, engaging in multimillion-dollar transactions over coffee. And he wouldn’t be interested in the money so much as the challenge and the game.

 

A themed book tour through Prism Book Tours.

We’re launching the Book Tour for
The Valley of Decision
by Shannon McDermott

“A solid fantasy that wears its spirituality lightly yet effectively.”
~Kirkus Reviews (read the entire review here)

We’d like to introduce you to the characters and the story-book world of The Valley of Decision. From the races that inhabit the world (Trow, Fays, hobgoblins, Men) to the different nations (Alamir, the Coldlands, the Dochraitay) to the places (the Northwood, the Black Mountains, Ataroth), there is a lot to explore! Come follow along:

6/17
Katie’s Clean Book Collection
Hope To Read

6/18
Bookworm Lisa
Distractions of Grandeur

6/19
Finding the True Fairy Tale
I Love to Read and Review Books 🙂
Rhiannon Paille – YA Fantasy Author

6/20
Kelly P’s Blog
Mythical Books

6/22
alwaysjoart
Brooke Blogs

6/23
Coffee Books & Art
Mel’s Shelves

6/24
The Wonderings of One Person
The Written Adventure

6/25
Mommynificent
Deal Sharing Aunt

6/26
Platypire Reviews
Letters from Annie Douglass Lima
Wishful Endings

6/27
My Devotional Thoughts
Christy’s Cozy Corners

6/29 – Grand Finale

The Valley of Decision
by Shannon McDermott
Adult Fantasy
Paperback, 416 pages
May 31st 2014 by SALT Christian Press

Where the Black Mountains pierce the sky, they divide the south from the north, Alamir from the kingdom of Belenus. Belenus, the undying master of the north, commanded Keiran – the Captain of the Hosts – to conquer Alamir. But the Captain is deep in conspiracy, and he has his own plans.

The Valley of Decision is a fantasy novel, a saga of slavery, freedom, and choices.

AmazonSALT Christian Press


Introduction to The Valley of Decision

When I began researching folktales in order to write The Valley of Decision, I gave particular attention to the elves. Fairies, they’re also called, or faeries or fays. By whatever name, what are they?

That was the question I tried to answer, and my trouble was that I found too many answers. Elves, or faeries, might be almost anything: good or bad, ugly or beautiful, large or small, living in hills or mountains or forests.

Their origins were also diverse. Some said the faeries were fallen angels (demons?), others that they were the spirits of the dead (creepy!). One story has it that when the first baby laughed for the first time, that laugh shattered into a thousand pieces and became the fairies – quite charming, actually. Another story holds that Eve once hid some of her children from God, and He declared to her, “What man hides from God, God will hide from man.” These children and their descendants became the Hidden People, the elves.

Tolkien presented his Elves as a distinct race, neither angelic nor human in origin. Disney, not surprisingly, dusted off the baby’s laugh story for its fairies. Meanwhile, Darby O’Gill and the Good People – published more than a century ago – adopted the fallen-angel theory, with a few modifications. (The angel Gabriel has a starring role in the tale, with an Irish brogue and several politically incorrect opinions.)

When it came to writing my own story, I had to craft my own rendition of the ancient legend of Faeries. To put it simply, I had to decide who and what they were.

I picked the name Fay and adopted and revised one of the old tales. The story I created for the Fays became the most important element of the entire mythos of The Valley of Decision. It came to determine who they were, and what they did, and how they treated the humans who were, after all, the heroes of the story.


Shannon McDermott is a Christian author of speculative fiction, as well as a humorous detective series called “The Adventures of Christian Holmes.” She has written both fantasy and science fiction, and has yet to decide on which one to like better.

She was born to Wisconsin, expatriates in California, grew up on the East Coast, and now lives in the Midwest. Her principal hobbies are politics, history, novels, and coffee.

WebsiteBlogGoodreadsFacebook

Tour-Wide Giveaway

– Grand Prize: $25 Amazon gift card and ebooks of The Valley of Decision and The Sunrise Windows (open INT)
– 2 print copies of The Valley of Decision (US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Book: First Review and a Giveaway

Things are coming along with my book, and now that my ARC copies are floating hither and yon, I have been keeping my eyes open for those first reviews. It’s a nerve-wracking thing, knowing your words are being read by someone with the intend of critiquing them. Maybe they will like the book… maybe they will love it! But then again, maybe they will detest it. Worse still, perhaps they will merely shrug and immediately forget it. *shudder*

But bad reviews will come along with the goods ones. I’m ok with that … or that’s what I tell myself now, anyway 🙂 And I’m thrilled to say that my very FIRST review was quite glowing! Go over to Goodreads or Amazon and read it if you don’t believe me!! I think God knew I needed those first encouraging words, and I’m so glad I’ve got all of you to share them with!

Now onto some more exciting news …

A GIVEAWAY!!!

TheWordChangersGoodreadsGiveaway

Ok, so it actually began a few days ago over on Goodreads, but you’ve got loads of time to enter your name! And you’ve got more than just one shot, too, because I’m giving away FIVE COPIES of The Word Changers after it releases on June 23. All of them signed by me … for whatever that’s worth! 🙂

So pop over to Goodreads and enter your name if you haven’t already, and spread the word to your friends as well.

… oh, and have an awesome week!!