Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review: Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor

Two friends face the Dark Knight’s deadliest scheme, but only one knight has the courage to overcome.

Sir Quinlan leaves his boyhood friend to serve the Prince, fighting a battle darker and more intense than any he’s ever known. The mysterious Sir Baylor recruits him into the ranks of an elite unit of knights known as the Swords of Valor, but when tragedy strikes and everyone blames Quinlan, the Swords of Valor disband, ending a legacy of heroic deeds.

Alone and despairing, Quinlan wanders the kingdom, fleeing his past. His providential encounter with Taras, a mysterious Silent Warrior and former trainer of Valor Knights, offers Quinlan a chance to redeem himself and learn the ways of the secret warriors.

The training is grueling, and just when Quinlan seems to have left his failures behind, he receives an impossible challenge from the Prince—one that will force him to face his past…and the mighty men who blame him for the tragedy that ruined them.

Can Quinlan reunite the Valor Knights in time to save the people from the Dark Knight’s evil plot to rule the Kingdom of Arrethtrae, or will the Valor Knights lose the most important battle of all? (description from Amazon.com)


I came to Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor rather hesitant. I had read some of his novels before, the Kingdom series. While I had enjoyed them, the writing had always been dry and a little boring.

However, this book was different. Evidently Chuck Black's writing has improved, or some other factor had strengthened his novels. I was easily able to imagine the settings and places, and the tale was entertaining while it brought a great message as well. The characters were well developed and fleshed out--especially for such a short book. (Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor falls just short of two hundred pages.)

There were two things that impressed me about this novel. First, considering the length, this book was very complete. Usually when I read books like this, I feel like there could have been more plot. But the plot is wonderfully complete and circular. Second, the allegory was more veiled than it had been in the Kingdom series. The allegory itself entertained, while it had a hidden meaning behind it.

The overall message of the book was excellent. I can relate to feelings of complacency and apathy.

Unfortunately, there were several cons to this book as well.

While the first chapter kept my attention, the author dropped the backstory bomb in the first two pages of the second chapter. He explained at length the backstory of several different things, and completely jerked me out of the story. Not a good thing. Fortunately I kept reading, and the tale turned out to be quite good.

I also felt like the creature in the middle of the book (I won't name it and thus avoid a spoiler) was a bit overdone. When it turned out the way I did, I grimaced and thought to myself, "Wow...cliche." This doesn't really effect the entire plot of the book though.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone. The ending alone is worth the entire journey--it made me shiver. Great job, Mr. Black! Now, the question is--are you living your life to the fullest it can be for the real Prince?

Rated 8.9 out of 10. Highly recommended. :)

(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review.)

EDIT: Wait, wait, don't go yet!  Could you please rank my review?  Pretty please?  With pie?  Thanks. ;)  Here's the link: My Review.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Years' Resolutions?

I'm not much of a guy for New Years' Resolutions. You know--that time of year when all of America resolve themselves to do something and end up never doing? The time of year when everyone resolves to go to the YMCA more often? (What's with that, anyway?) The wintry season when everyone promises themselves they will reform or expand on one thing or another--and fail?

Well, New Years' resolutions never really appealed to me. Resolving things gets you nowhere, after all--you have to actually do something about the resolution. But perhaps, this year, I'd thought I'd set some goals for 2011. Aye, resolutions--don't look at me like that. Despite my previous paragraph of dry comments regarding the failure of most resolutions, this is something I am fairly sure I can do. Really. Hear me out.

I'll lay it out in points. If you've followed me long enough, you might have discovered my deep affection for lists. Bullet points, more or less. It makes me feel more organized. ;) But it isn't a bad way to go.

1) I am going to finish revising the Book of Shaldu

No brainer. I've already tried to 'resolve' myself to finish it before 2011, but it didn't work out. But this is actually a harder goal to achieve than you might have thought. You see, I recieved a mysterious package in the mail the other day. Twas 'The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction', one of the greatest books on writing ever written. And I've read almost half of it. It has absolutely blown me away with superb writing advice...and my own vices. The Book of Shaldu needs a lot more revision than I thought, particularly in the Character Development department. Like one endorsement said--"He's so full of good writing advice that you just want to beat him up." There! Resolution one is done. >_>

2) I am going to write the second book in The Prophecies of Shaldu series and lay out the rest of the series

Okay, a little harder goal. Let's be honest--tis a lot harder. (For those of you who are clueless, the Book of Shaldu is the first book in the Prophecies of Shaldu series, and is not affiliated with my Sadaar Trilogy.) Writing an entire book in a year--aye, it's doable. After all, there's a NaNoWriMo for 2011 as well. But laying out the entire series as well as revising the Book of Shaldu--it's going to be pretty tough, especially for me (being a SOP writer). I'm not much of an outliner--the entire reason for my outlining the series is because of the possibility of publishing. If I were to try and publish the Book of Shaldu, I would probably need the entire series planned out. So that is that--resolution two.

3) I am going to try and write a novel in a way I've never written before

No one but I knows about this little novel idea hiding in my documents. It all started when I read an interview with Jacob Parker on Noah's blog. Long story short, it inspired me to write in a way I have never written before. So I have a scene written out. I have no idea who the character is. Or where he is going. Or why. Or even where he is. But I'm going to try, sometime in the next year, to write a novel based on that scene and my goals for that novel. And it's going to be one novel, with no sequels. <_< So hopefully I shall write it out sometime in 2011.

4) is a secret

Sorry readers, but resolution four is a secret. Secretly sneaky secrets. <_< I cannot tell you what it is for fear of word getting out of--wait! Do ye hear anything? *glances around and puts his hand on the handle of his sword* There! *dives off of the page and buries himself in the archives, black cloak flying*

*peeks out* See you next time. I have to stay low for a while. ;) While you're waiting--what writerly-relating resolutions (what an interesting phrase!) are you planning for 2011?

Signed in secret....


Monday, December 20, 2010

Revision, Part II

Yesterday I reverently put on my silvery cape of revision (soft to the touch!) and began my revision of The Book of Shaldu.  (I am a firm believer in strange writing habits.)

I had revised two or three sections--small sections--and was feeling pretty good about myself and my revision when I came to chapter nine.

Dun dun dunnnn.

Take a look at the picture.  Chapter Nine has a particularly tricky scenario--my characters were in a blocked-up Refuge underground, and I rescued them by pushing the Easy Button.  Instant save.  My characters got out by someone digging them up.

Way too easy.  Hey, that's why its called the Easy Button!  I pushed it so I could get to the other side of this brick wall I had, to smooth sailing, sunny skies.  I didn't have time to think up a clever scenario--it was NaNoWriMo, and the heat was on.

So now revision is threatening me.  "You push that Easy button again and I'll feed you to Frank," it says.  Revision is urging me to revise the situation, to beat back the brick wall--while the easy button is sitting pretty smack in the middle.  Procrastination, as you can see, is chuckling evilly on the other side of the brick wall.  "I've got him this time!"

Anyone else want to smack Procrastination?

But procrastination is winning.  You can't just beat back a brick wall--I'm clueless for ideas on how to revise this situation.  Procrastination is knocking on one end, while Revision is threatening me from behind.  What do I do?

Well, first off, I have to be stubborn.  There's no way this thing is going to budge--and so, armed with the Sword of Stubbornness, I'm racking my brains for answers.  But none are coming.

Okay, so the whole purpose of that disturbing illustration and its accompanying post is this: do YOU have any ideas?  Any way you can help me out?  I promise to write a post about this once I'm done! ;)  Honest!

To quote the illustrious Aragorn (aye, LOTR seems to pop up all of the time these days),

"What say you?"

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Revision

Revision.  The very word strikes fear into the hearts of men and Elves alike.

What with NaNoWriMo finished, all the writers seem to be staring at their finished novel and asking themselves, "How in the world am I going to turn this piece of junk I've written into a novel?"  And then...procrastination sets in, and they shut down their computer and go to grab some egg nog.

As much as I'd like to be, I'm just like the other writers. I have a deadly fear of the ferocious thing known as revision, that thing that slays creativity in its tracks and promotes procrastination.  But is the deadly sword of revision really all that bad?  Or can it be turned against procrastination?

Another problem is this: I have actually never fully revised one of my novels.  This is because of two reasons.  1) I tend to go and start other projects.  Sorry folks.  Simple as that. ;)  Sure, I have four novels to my name, but none of them are fully revised.  2) And second, there is so much to revise.  The sheer number of mistakes and plot problems that needed correcting on my first novel overwhelmed me.  And permanent procrastination killed further effort.

I'm determined that things will be different with The Book of Shaldu, though.  I am not going to fail--not this time.  This novel's going to be published--or bust.  No egg nog!  Grab the pen.  Let's go.

Now, there are several things that I focus on when revising my novels.  Things that work. :)  I usually do them in the order I array them.

1) Read!

Read read read.  I read my novel so many times I practically memorize it.  I could probably quote the first paragraph of my prologue in Quest for the Kingdom from memory, I've read it so many times.  With The Book of Shaldu, I've converted it to Kindle format and downloaded it onto my Kindle.  More on that later--I have pictures. ;)  But right now--rather ironic, isn't it?--I'm reading my own novel on my Kindle and putting notes wherever I notice mistakes or places that need to be revised.

But you'll find that revision comes easily when you read your novel.  You'll see a mistake as you read and fix it.  An unnatural conversation.  A lacking description.  And then you edit, you revise.  It's easy to spot mistakes when you read your novel.

2) Individual Revision

I like to focus on individual places where I need to seriously revise, places I found when reading.  Sometimes the plot needs to be fixed.  This helps narrow down your focus and help you write a bit better--because, honestly, would you rather revise a chapter or an entire novel?  Focusing one chapter at a time helps keep procrastination at bay.  And sometimes you find sections where the wording just isn't 'right'.  Sure, it might be grammatically correct, but sometimes you just have to revise because you need to fix the wording of things.  I do this all of the time, and it makes the piece flow better as a whole.

3) Expansion

Sometimes I just need to expand.  A piece written in a hurry may not have the necessary description or I haven't spend enough time on it for it to flow well and long enough.  I especially focus on journeys--they are extremely hard to write when doing NaNoWriMo, but I try to take the time and majorly expand on them in the later stages of the novel.  After all, not all journeys are composed of teleports, and while teleporting from place to place when writing a novel is useful, it is sometimes necessary to give a feeling of time.

4) The Last Gloss-over

This is one stage that I have never quite gotten to, but one that I know will happen eventually.  Basically, all major editing is done.  I'm satisfied with the plot.  Contradictions are taken care of--and the story flows well.  But there's still those little things that give the story a raw feel.  So, when I get to that stage ;) I'm going to repeat the first step and read read read my novel until I am satisfied it is ready to be sent to a publisher. :)

What Jake has learned of revision in a nutshell, readers.  But I still need more help!  I have enlisted the assistance of a certain book on writing Christian fiction, but I have yet to recieve it, so, in the meantime, would you mind sharing your wisdom? :)

Over and away,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review: The Charlatan's Boy

(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.)

The first thing I thought of when I received this book with trembling fingers was this: the feechies are back.

The Wilderking Trilogy, Rogers' first trilogy set in Corenwald was delightful. And the feechies were pure genius--so naturally I wondered if the Charlatan's Boy would measure up.

The Charlatan's Boy is the tale of Grady. He's been paraded as a feechie, the world's ugliest boy, a phrenologist, and more. But in his heart, he wonders who he really is. Is he a charlatan like Floyd? A villager? Or is he just an ugly boy whose mother threw him away?

This book had an unmistakable southern twang to it, something I really liked. I'm a fan of Mark Twain, and I have to admit this book sounds a lot like a fantastical version of one of Twain's novel. It was a little more apparent in this novel than in Rogers' first novel, The Bark of the Bog Owl.

However, I felt like this story could have--perhaps should have--been longer. I liked Grady, but the adventure, wild side of the story--which was always so apparent in Rogers' other books--was more hidden, and didn't emerge completely until the end of the book.

Altogether, though, I really enjoyed this book. I almost wish I could put the ending on this review--it was a marvelous message, and the ending alone would bump a star up to four. I will definitely read the next book in this series.

Can you hear the bark of the bog owl through the pages of this book? I can. Bravo.

Rated 8.2 out of 10.

Please do me a favor and rank my review, will you?  Thanks!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Socks of NaNoWriMo! The New Tradition for Epic Elves

Well, it's that time of the year where a new tradition has been birthed among the fires of triumphant victory--and, being a fire, it has spread accordingly.

For those of ye who either cannot understand or do not bother understanding (or know what I am speaking of already) there is a new tradition in the blogosphere regarding NaNoWriMo.

It started with Millard.  He, stepping beyond the bonds of humanity and taking upon himself the role of true epicness, wrote the bold words 'NaNoWriMo'...upon his socks. Putting a picture on his blog, he unknowningly started a chain of events that would spread far and wide...sort of.

Whisper did likewise, having finished NaNoWriMo as well, and wrote NaNoWriMo on her socks.  She was inspired and encouraged by Millard.  But she did something different--she videoed it.

The Director, stepping into the role as an Elf of the Underground, wrote NaNoWriMo on her/his (suddenly I am confused in matter of gender...deja vu, tis Storyteller all over again) socks...multicolored.  Aye.  :|

And now I am following in their footsteps.  I have written NaNoWriMo on my socks--it's the new tradition.  Epic.



I am never going to wear those socks ever again. ;)  Observe--I sealed them in a bag and labeled it accordingly.


(Aye, that is my shadow ye percieve)

I was going to upload a video--I have it here on my computer--but the blasted Blogger program is prohibiting me from doing this.  "An error has occurred" blah blah blah... ;)  I'll try to get it to ye, one way or another... *stubborn gleam in eye*  Ah, this is going to be a long struggle between Computer and Man.  *gives the Blogger program a smack on the head with a random hard object*

*Bwahahaha*  Ah, that was epic. :)  Now ye know what my hand looks like...and my feet and socks. :O  Hope ye enjoyed this little post of mine!  I plan to do this next year. :D

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Word War III Winner ;) At Last

*sheepish smile*  Okay, I admit it...I forgot.  No excuses. ;)   So, to remedy my dis..un...something, I shall do the post now. :)


Now, do you know who the winner is?  DO YOU?!  (actually, all the participants in the Word War already know who the winner is ;)  Perhaps it should be phrased as this...Do you, reader-who-has-not-participated-in-the-word-war, know who the winner is?! ;)

I might as well tell you, but ye have to build up suspense, aye?

So the winner is...

....

...

is he?..... [hint one ;)]

....

...
he wrote 5582 words!... [hint two!]

....

....

STRIKE THREE!

Uh, TAK (theallebianknight) won! ;)  Congrats TAK!  Feel free to grab this image (\|/ down there) to put on your blog. :)


As before, I have edited the picture accordingly--so it says beneath is 'Teenage Writer Word War III Winner'.  Congrats!  :D  And the rest of you...no swiping the picture.  Tis intended for TAK only. ;)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Since the Words 'I am Done' are so Cliched, I Shall Use This Title Instead

(this image is mine--please don't take it!)

Words cannot explain nor express (by this I mean capital letters ;)) the excitement that courses through my veins!  I am done, readers!  NaNoWriMo is finished!  Hallelujah! :D  It is done! 

The Book of Shaldu is finished!  Many plans have ran through my mind regarding the future of this novel--those who have spoken to me in the last couple of weeks know that this is my greatest novel yet in terms of plot, characters, and overall epicness. 

Publishing?  Perhaps.  I am going to try and get The Book of Shaldu ready for publishing before 2011 dawns January 1st.  One month.  Aye, it's crazy--but so was writing an entire novel in a month!  Anyone want to join me? :)

Rewriting?  That too!  My goal word count, by the time my novel is ready for publishing, is 60,000 words or greater.  If only by pure stubborness (which suceeded in NaNoWriMo!) I shall do this.

Many people have helped me on this epic journey.  Very very many.  I'm going to take the time to name a few awesome people (to follow Millard's lead)

1) Firstly, Mom, Dad, and the rest of the 'Sadaar' clan!  Ye guys are awesome, bearing with my irritable attitude when doing a stressful word war. ;)  Thanks so much!  Ye guys are awesome encouragers (particularly Mom and Dad) and for that I am forever grateful.  Breathe a sigh of relief...until next year.

2) Millard!  My most excellent Millard, who word warred constantly--I looked forward to them almost every evening. :)  No matter how terrible my word count was after the word war, ye were ever encouraging!  To the point of capital letters, even. Ye beat me every time. :D  Without those word wars I would have utterly perished in the depths of NaNoWriMo's maw.  Perhaps, (once my typing improves ;) one of these days I shall win a word war.  And congrats on finishing TWO NaNoWriMo novels!

3) YOU!  Aye, you blogger friends!  Ye readers were encouraging as well, and we had that epic five hour word war together, here on my blog.  Twas amazing!  Thanks so much!

4)  And finally, pie.  Thanks so much for being there for me to eat and...wait.  *blinks*  Ah, yes.  This paragraph was supposed to be dedicated to the Elves of the Underground, right?  Oops.  Anyhow, thanks Elves for all that you have done, from word wars to plain old courage and en-courage!  You guys and gals epic.  E&V!!

And with that, this journey across Arowdae is ended!  The quest is finished--whether for ill or for good, ye shall have to find out for yourself, once I get this novel of mine somewhere where ye can get your hands on it. :)  Good luck and the High Lord protect you on your own journeys! 

Signed,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

WORD WAR III

Fear!  Fire!  Foes!  Awake!

Word War III is here at last, readers!  Sharpen your swords, and prepare your characters for a wild ride, folks--Word War III is about to rock the world.  Or, at least, the world of your novel.

So prepare the ink!  Sharpen the quills!  Change your flaming pen's batteries!  Hone your writerly skills...it's coming.

So here's the deal, readers--here's the fire, the flames, the forks.  :|

Write from 5:00 PM CST to 10:00 PM CST.  This the duration of the word war--yes, it is long. :)  After you have finished writing, post your word count before you started and your word count after you started (in one comment) and then how many words you wrote in the allotted time.  The person who writes the most words in that time WINS the Word War!  :D  And gets this interesting banner thing to post on a blog sidebar. ;)

Now, you must post your word count within one day of the Word War--or else the word count will be void. I may not announce the winner right away, as American Thanksgiving is near. :)

So are you ready?  Is your pen full of ink?  Your novel honed?  Your characters ready to do-or-die?

Then go, and prepare, for the Word War is coming.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Yaghgghhhh!!

Okay, readers--I'm in trouble.  I have to write 10k in the next two days for NaNoWriMo and my creativity is at an all time low, and my writing is at an all-time worst--HELP!  I need word wars!  Something! :O  WW3 is taking place tomorrow, so be READY!  I am in a serious pit and I must fight my way out!  Die, procrastiation, DIE!  *hacks away at pitiful word count*

*signs out with a sword*

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Review: Sword in the Stars

Alastair Coldhollow is a criminal.  A man struggling with memories of a past he has renounced, and yet still haunted with the guilt that has seeped into his life and echoes from his past addictions.  And he puts his very life on the line because of his hope that the Sword will appear in the stars, and show the way for the Caller to find the foretold Halfainin.  And Alastair hangs his life on the hope that he will be the Caller to find the Halfainin to rest his guilt at last.


And then it happens.  The thing he had been waiting for--but what if he isn't the Caller after all?    What if he is just a man who can never be forgiven for the deeds he has done in the past?


But meanwhile, tensions are growing higher and higher between Anglinore and the Gorrack Nation, threatening war on a scale that could devastate all of Myriad.

And the fate of it all rests on two twin kings, an abandoned child, and the decisions of Alastair Coldhollow.

When I first read the description of this book (the above is not that description--I wrote that myself) I felt a shiver of excitement.  When I first saw the gleaming, detailed cover of Sword in the Stars, a thrill ran through me.  This was going to be an adventure to treasure--and when it comes to books, I am rarely wrong.

And it went above and beyond.  Sword in the Stars is a worthy novel.  The worldbuilding is fantastic.  The battles are, quite simply, epic.  The characters are amazing.  And the truths spoken in this novel are deep, impacting, and wise.

This book is Wayne Thomas Batson at his best.  It very nearly rivals Venom and Song in 'epicness', and certainly surpasses all of his books in originality, character-building, and world-building.  The plot is fresh and original.  The description was vivid and detailed, yet it isn't over-the-top.

The allegory, a great element in this novel, is deep, veiled, and thought-provoking--my mind was racing to figure out what each event is compared to, if I really agreed with some of the characters (by this I mean King Ealden), and what do I actually think about this?  It was stock-full of Biblical truths--a regular treasure trove, wrapped in epic battles.

In a sentence, books like these--epics that can be treasured on your bookshelf for years and re-read again and again--are the reasons why Wayne Thomas Batson is one of my most treasured authors.  Sir Batson, your fantastic words accurately reflect your faith and God's amazing love--bravo!  You've done it.

I look forward to the next addition to the Dark Sea Annals--the ending of Sword in the Stars left me breathless, shocked--wanting more.

Rating?  I rate Sword in the Stars 9.1 out of 10.  :)  (see the right sidebar for a point guide)

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Art of Epic

The Charge of the Rohirrim on Pelennor Fields is my favorite scene in the Lord of the Rings movie--and in the book.  Recall, if you will, that scene.

Clouds of darkness hangs over Minas Tirith, from the Dark Lord Sauron--and Minas Tirith is burning, as viewed from atop a hill near Minas Tirith.

A horn sounds, lone and challenging. The Orcs turn at the sound.

Atop that very hill, a host of riders stands defiantly, the rising sun to their backs, shining behind them. "Now for wrath," the king cries, "Now for ruin!  And for the red dawn!"

When you see this part, as the Riders of Rohan cry "Death!" and charge down the hill, though there is little hope against the might of Mordor, your blood is roused--your heart cries "Death!" with them, and you cheer them on as they charge to death.

Twang!  The arrows fire from Mordor's forces, pelting the Rohirrim--and yet they stand.  They ride.  And they do not waver.

The Orcs fire at will, fear showing on their faces, but the Rohirrim, the blinding sun shining from behind them, and a fearless cry upon their lips, do not falter--and the forces of Mordor are devastated by their triumphant assault.

Why are these things so epic?  Why do our hearts rise  up in wonder and awe at the EPICNESS of it all?  I shall attempt to bring ye an answer in this post.

What is the most epic thing you have ever read?  Why was it so epic?

Take a look at this following excerpt from Return of the King (the book):

"A smell of burning was in the air and a very shadow of death.  The horses were uneasy.  But the king sat upon Snowmane, motionless, gazing upon the agony of Minas Tirith, as if stricken suddenly by anguish, or by dread.  He seemed to shrink down, cowed by age,.  Merry himself felt as if a great weight of horror and doubt had settled on him.  His heart beat slowly.  Time seemed poised in uncertainty.  They were too late!  Too late was worse than never!  Perhaps Théoden would quail, bow his old head, turn, slink away to hide in the hills. 
Then suddenly Merry felt it at last, beyond doubt: a change.  Wind was in his face!  Light was glimmering.  Far, far away, in the South the clouds could be dimly seen as remote grey shapes, rolling up, drifting: morning lay beyond them.   
But at that same moment there was a flash, as if lightning had sprung from the earth beneath the City.  For a searing second it stood dazzling far off in black and white, its topmost tower like a glittering needle; and then as the darkness closed in again there came rolling over the fields a great boom. 
At that sound the bent shape of the king sprang suddenly erect.  Tall and proud he seemed again and rising in his stirrups he cried in a loud voice, more clear than any there had heard a mortal man achieve before: 
Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden!  
Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter! 
spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered, 
 a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!" 
With that he seized a great horn from Guthláf his banner-bearer, and he blew such a blast upon it that it burst asunder. And straightaway all the horns in the host were lifted up in music, and the blowing of the horns of Rohan in that hour was like a storm upon the plain and a thunder in the mountains. 
Ride now, ride now!  Ride to Gondor! 
Suddenly the king cried to Snowmane and the horse sprang away.  Behind him his banner blew in the wind, white horse upon a field of green, but he outpaced it.  After him thundered the knights of his house, but he was ever before them.  Éomer rode there, the white horsetail on his helm floating in his speed, and the front of the first éored roared like a breaker foaming to the shore, but Théoden could not be overtaken.  Fey he seemed, or the battle-fury of his fathers ran like new fire in his veins, and he was borne up on Snowmane like a god of old, even as Oromë the Great in the battle of the Valar when the world was young.  His golden shield was uncovered, and lo! it shone like an image of the Sun, and the grass flamed into green around the white feet of his steed. For morning came, morning and wind from the sea, and darkness was removed, and the hosts of Mordor wailed, and terror took them, and they fled, and died, and the hoofs of wrath rode over them."

Can you see why I love this part? :)

Now, there are several things that I glean from such passages as these that make things epic, which rouse your blood and make you want to charge out and fight for what is good and right.

The Reason

An important thing readers need to know about is the reason why characters fight, why they do what they do.  Do they do it for glory?  Fame?  Or honor?  For their families?  If a reader knows the reason why, they'll understand your character better, and they will understand why the character fights.  And the reader will respect your character for that--providing the character fights for an honorable reason or cause.  But still the reason for the season isn't the real juice of what makes a reader's blood stir.

The Odds

Have you ever read a fantasy book where the good guys outnumber the bad guy ten to one, and win easily?  Of course not.  Readers cheer for the underdog, the character who is at a disadvantage but fights on nonetheless.  This is clearly shown in the above scene: the Rohirrim are vastly outnumbered.  The Orcs are burning Minas Tirith, and for a moment a fleeting thought of going back is set in the minds of the characters: but they do not.  They go ahead and fight for what they believe, fearless and fey.  So make the odds uneven, and the reader will cheer for you and your character even more.

The Description

This is an important, crucial point: if the writer cannot write the description properly, the entire operation will fail.  What if Tolkien wrote that scene like this?

"The Rohirrim thought about going back, but then the king went on anyway, and blew up a horn by blowing into it.  He sang a poem, and then they charged downward and destroyed the Orcs."

Absolutely not!  Rousing description is half of the job.  You can have all of the other elements, but if the description isn't top-notch and as good as it can be, the scene will be worthless--description is imperative.  There is little advice I can give to you on the subject of rousing description, save that you should read as much of it as you can, so some of that might leak into your own writing.

The Moral

The last element that can be put in an epic scene is the moral.  Sacrifice, heroism, light versus darkness--all are a 'moral'.  The moral is ultimately the root of the emotion in an epic scene.  You marvel at the sacrifice and fearless heroism of the Rohirrim as they charge down, crying "Death!" with no heed for their own lives, to try and rescue the lives of others--coming to the aid of Gondor at last.

Conclusion

So now you've learned all of these things about epic writing.  Epic description--epic scenes.  But ultimately, the epic comes from you and from God, through you.  You can write emotion, sacrifice, and epic scenes, but it doesn't come from just writing.  It comes from writing for God.  Through you.  That is the real root of epic, the reason why the Final Storm by Wayne Thomas Batson makes you marvel, the reason why the Bones of Makaidos makes tears well up in your eyes, the reason why your heart soars as the Rohirrim charge.



[Please note that all images in this post are not mine and may be copyrighted by someone else.  *shrug*  At any rate, I just got them off Google. ;) ]

A Death-Blow has been Dealt!

Ding-dong, the thread is dead!  Congradulations to the winner, Gillian! :D  Shoot me an email with the necessary details in order for ye to get yer package. :)  Ye just won V&S! :D  Great job at stickin' with it! 

For those curious, the thread died at 72 comments.  Not too bad, eh?  It went for several weeks until Gillian dealt a death-blow. :)

Again, congradulations!  Over and away,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Woh! Watch out WTB fans! :O

YAOW!  Coming through!  *blazes through the imaginary snow*

UNITE!  A and B of the C of D about TDW! :O  Warning warning get your free pizza here. ;)

Hurry!  Something strange is sweeping the nations!  Danger!  Intrigue!  A terrible secret about to be revealed!  YAAAAHHHH!!!   Pirates, thorns, and a hefty dose of a glimpse into the future shall be revealed!  Panic and be crazy!  Warning!! :O  AGH!

The authorities are coming!  Hurry, email me before it is too late!  I cannot risk contacting you any further on this blog.  I shall not be blogging for another week! :O  Hurry!!  But in all seriousness, this is seriousness. :O  Email me quickly to find out!

*drives away as sirens echo through the halls of Teenage Writer*

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The End of Week Two is Here!: Another NaNo Update

Hey all!  I have shamefully not posted in one week.  Alas.  But I am here, and I have news!

I am actually succeeding at NaNoWriMo.  Gladsome surprise!  I am now standing at 25,000 words--HALFWAY there! :D  Hallelujah, that I made it this far.

I owe this in part to the Elves of the Underground--particularly whisper and Millard--for doing Word Wars at strange hours of the night.  It was only when Mil saw a flash of blue that he stopped--very brave of him to bear with me for all of those words.  May it be known: he won every time.  I stubbornly hold that he is number #1.  ;)  *waves a Millard sign*

Anyhow, the symptoms have faded further, and I have introduced the Dreadman to my novel.  O.o  Beware.  Things are getting...hm, hasty.  He is not a good dude. :P

I shall not go into a list of more NaNo symptoms this time, as they are numerous.  I shall work on that word count some more, perhaps. 

I shall leave ye now to your writings and your thoughts.  Farewell!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Update from the NaNo World!...Day Seven

Sorry for no updation, folks.  I have been very busy.

Now...let us begin.

At current, my novel's word count is an awesome (for me, at least) 11,720 words!  Aye, the count above needs to be updated... :P

As all NaNo-ers (and some other people) know, in order to write 50,000 words in one month, ye must write a minimum of 1,667 words a day.  Not too bad...but if ye get behind, it is, (as my father put it) "A reverse debt snowball."  Dave Ramsey. ;)  Basically, the words pile up, until ye are hopelessly behind and never able to catch up.

Right now, if one is to make it to 50,000 words, the word count must be 11,669 words on day seven of NaNoWriMo.  Of which I have gratefully surpassed today! :)

As for other things, the plot is going to be longer than I anticipated.  Let us hope that my novel will end up being around 50,000 words, but it's looking like it may very well be longer.  Then again, perhaps not... *shrug*  Only time will tell.

My current symptoms go as thus:
-I have calmed down.  A dangerous sign. ;)
-I am forgetful.  "Where'd I put my book?  Wait, no...I must go and write."  Such things are now common.
-I have yelled at procrastination several times in the past week--hard to do, since it isn't actually a physical thing.
-I have wondered how in the world my character did various things without my permission.
-I have stared at the computer screen.  No, it isn't blank this time, but it might as well be for all the writing I was getting done.  Or the lack of it.
-I have discovered that outlining the entire novel (not just the first six chapters) is much more beneficial.  (I shall do a post on outlining soon, and its part in NaNoWriMo)
-I have consumed much chocolate.  And cake.  Sadly, no pie.
-I ignore alarms/timers/etc.  Not a good thing when ye wish to get schoolwork done, or if yer mom is calling ye. :)
-I am getting PUMPED about this novel!  Whoo!  I am easily excited about this now...though I am tired. :P
-I have been effected by Andrew Peterson's wonderfully wacky books.  Take "In the Age of the Kindly Flabbits" for instance.  Or Oskar's quotes.  This, of course, has nothing to do with NaNoWriMo...or perhaps it does.  :)
-RABBITS!

Aye, them rabbits keep popping up.  >_>  *shakes fist*

With that, I think I shall be off.  I should probably be writing some extra for one of those days where I am busy beyond belief and cannot write at all. 

Farewell, and take care not to be eaten by procrastination. (This is also a symptom.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Déjà Vu! Kill this Thread...

Here's what's happening, folks.

Hypothetically, I am very busy.  School, writing NaNoWriMo (the word count above is NOT the current word count!), more school, guitar, church stuff, etc.

Let's say, hypothetically, that I win a book in a giveaway.  Pretty cool, eh?

But let's say I already own the book.  Let's say that it's a popular, new book that was published this year.  Hypothetically, I decide to have a giveaway...

Okay, so it isn't really a hypothesis.  It's the real deal.  Yup, another giveaway.  Cool, huh?

But as I said, I am very busy.  Extremely busy, it can be said.  So what am I going to do?  Conducting a giveaway takes time for me.  Quite a bit.

Now, you want to know what book I am giving away, and how you can get in on the giveaway, right?

But wait a second...I once heard of this idea one time that required almost no effort from me...wow, blast from the past...

Well, I'm done with the suspense.  Here's what I'm doing:

"Kill this thread and win Venom and Song."

Déjà Vu!  Seriously!

For those of you not in on the 'joke', a 'Kill this thread and win Venom and Song' once occurred to win a signed copy of Venom and Song from one of the authors himself, Wayne Thomas Batson.  And that is almost the entire reason I have followers at all.  I met a lot of other awesome bloggers as a result of that contest (which went for months!).

So here's the rules:

1) All you have to do in order to try and win is comment.

Easy enough, hm?  But there's more.

2) You must be the last person to comment before the thread dies.

Easier said then done!  A thread 'dies' when no one has posted for one day.  24 hours.  You kill the thread?  You win Venom and Song.  But if someone comments before then, the thread lives another 24 hours!  If Bob's comment was the last one for 23 hours and 59 minutes and someone posts, then the thread lives!

But as WTB did, I am adding another requirement.

3) You must post something MEANINGFUL.  You can't just comment and say, "Comment".  Do something meaningful!  Share Bible verses, quotes, daily stuff, how your writing is going, what your dog did yesterday, the terrible financial state of the government (.5 million dollars in debt a minute?!?!), even talk to the other participants!  Just make sure it has something meaningful.  I shall swoop in with my Pen of Doom if you don't do something meaningful--I'm serious.

And, of course, the prize is a new copy of Venom and Song.  :)  Comment away, folks!  Are ye going to be the first commenter again, Squeaks?  ;)

Don't worry, I shall read every comment.  Perhaps I shall join in the discussion as well!  Tis up to you.  And siblings...well, ye can participate, but ye cannot win.  ;)  LOL.

Are ye ready?  Have yer fingers been pruned and primed?  Is your keyboard greased?

FIRE AWAY!...and good luck. :)

Oh, by the way: the other Kill this Thread contest ended with 1,752 comments. ;)  And no one actually killed it, in the end...

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Terrible...NaNoWriMo

Yes, it's ANOTHER post about NaNoWriMo.  They seem to be floating all around the blogosphere, eh?

But first...some news.

Star-Dreamer has opened up the voting on the First Chapter contest on her blog, the Pen and the Parchment--which means ye can go read them and vote on your favorite one.  Mine is up as well...so if ye can guess which one it is, then go ahead and read it!

Millard Shining Light is also having a giveaway of the awesome book 'Beyond the Reflection's Edge' by Bryan Davis, a most excellent author.

And now....*drumroll*

NaNoWriMo has begun.

Writers everywhere are scrambling to the NaNo website (which is currently flooded with users and extremely slow), updating their words counts, and beginning to write a 50,000 word novel in ONE MONTH.  Pick up your quill pens, folks!  It's going to be a bumpy and exhilirating ride.

I myself am beginning to write my next novel already--'The Book of Shaldu'. It's a new work, one that isn't affiliated with any of my other novels.  It is, however (surprise!) a Christian fantasy novel.

Time to get out the flaming pen again, folks!  >_>  Hopefully it will catch fire again and burn brightly...but right now *yawn* I am very tired with only a hundred words written in 'The Book of Shaldu'.  *sigh*  What happened to the five-thousand word passion that fueled me to finish my novel earlier? :P

I already show symptoms for NaNo rush, though.  Wanna know what they are?

They include:
-Procrastinating
-Beating my head against the wall
-Eating copious amounts of sugar-infused items
-Writing (though, regrettably, there has been little of this)
-Yawning
-Staring into the fire
-Wasting an hour of my time trying (and not succeeding) to access the NaNo site
-Staring into the sky
-Staring at the blank computer screen
-Wondering if anyone is going to read this post
-RABBITS! :O

Aye, I am done. :P  There may be a lapse in blogging, readers--just a reminder.  >_>  And much of the blogging you will get shall most likely be reading will be incoherent babbling about NaNo.  Be prepared for the worst, readers.

And keep me accountable!  I MUST reach 50,000 words!!

Which reminds me...one of my traits (I hesitate to say 'virtues') will work well with me for this.  At one time it may get me in trouble, but also it helped me finish my trilogy--one of the sole traits that kept me going in that time.  Can you guess what it is?

Stubbornness.  Absolute stubborness.  And perhaps that stubborness will accomplish this 50,000 word goal.

With that note, I shall leave and procrastinate some more.  *sigh*  What happened to "Throw procrastination into a pit?"  I'd be much obliged if ye'd give me some help on this...

Farewell. >_>

Saturday, October 30, 2010

[Cue Fireworks, Dancing, Rejoicing, and a Hefty Dose of Free Pens]

Do you know what this means, readers?!  DO YOU?!!

This means that SADAAR IS FINISHED!  Hallelujah!  *throws out random candies*  It is finished, readers!  It is finished!  It is finished!  *chants over and over*  It is finished!  Praise Saar!

The final word count? FIFTY THREE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY FOUR!!!!!  (53,184!!!)

That's over three thousand words above my goal! :D  WOO!  And just in time for NaNoWriMo!

My pen is on fire!  No, really...

WHOOO!  YEAH!  *dances around flaming pen*  Wow... I am exhilirated.  Just a few moments ago I wrote 'the End' on my novel.  >_>  I am serious. 

Okay, time for me to go and take me flaming pens with me. ;)  Farewell!

Signed with a flaming pen,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Last Stand, the Final Spurt...

Hey, everyone!  Just a quick notice to let you all know that I will not be blogging for the next couple of days: not until November, actually.  I need to finish my novel. :)  NaNoWriMo is so close, and I am also very close to finishing my novel.

So that means...until November 1st or later, don't look for any new blog posts.  Unless, of course, I end up finishing my novel.  In which case I will make a blog post that will seem like I have permanent caps lock on--most likely it will be jubilantly epic and loud.  >_> 

Until then!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tip: Nearing the End

This post, of course, is based off of what is going on with my novel right now. :)

So I am nearing the end of my novel.  Ecstatic excitement is rushing through my veins: I can almost taste the fresh breeze of triumphant victory and accomplishment.  The characters are moving: the chess board is set.  Battles are about to be fought: blinding light versus pitch blackness.  Epic. >_>

But don't lose your head.  I am practically dizzy with excitement: but don't rush the ending.  Just because you are almost done with a novel doesn't give you leave to rush the plot.  Keep it smooth and consistent with the rest of your writing.

There is, of course, the dangers of procrastination.  It is less noticeable with all the hubbub sweeping your brain, but nonetheless, small parts of you want to say, "I'll do it tomorrow.  I can finish it later, right?  Never put off til tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow, as the saying goes."   Do you know what you do then?  You shut them up.  Gag them, bind them, and throw them in a familiar-looking pit (wait: didn't my MC spend some time there?).

Does that mean celebrating is bad?  Of course not.  In fact, celebration is another way to kick yourself in the pants (or dress) and remind yourself what you are celebrating.  "I am celebrating a high word count: why am I not writing a higher one?!"

The main point is: keep yourself under control and throw procrastination into a pit.  ;)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Breaks from Blogging are Good for Your Novel

Recently I have had a short absence from the Internet.  In it's absence, I decided to write in my novel.

Official word count?  45,000 words.  :)

Now, as for other news...

NaNoWriMo starts in nine days.  NINE DAYS.  Ack!  I am in trouble.  I must write, write, and write some more to finish Sadaar before NaNo begins.  I dislike working on two novels at once--it was the reason I never finished anything before I wrote my first novel.

Having little else to discuss, I am now going to leave, and, hopefully, to write.  :)  Keep me accountable, readers.  Feel free to yell at me if I don't get a higher word count by tomorrow.  I give you permission. ;)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tip: The Three POVs

First Person, Second Person, Third Person.  Pretty elementary, eh?

In this post, I'm going to explore each of these three POVs--and their advantage to the writer.


First Person

Is, WEs, OURs, etc.  It usually only has one Protagonist (one POV)--it doesn't switch from person to person.  However, there are some exceptions.  The Restorer series, by Sharon Hinck is one.  It has several main characters, switching back and forth, while still in first person.

If you want to take advantage of increasing suspense, this isn't the one for you.  Usually, one POV is the limit, making it so that you can't get inside the villain's head and reveal his plans and other things like that.

But if you struggle with randomly switching from POV to POV (like when you are inside character #1's head the first sentence, and character #2's head the second), first person helps prevent that.  It's a lot harder, you'll find, to make mistakes like that in first person.  And I tend to find that when I am writing in first person, the emotions of the character I am writing are easier to write.

Emotion is a lot closer when told from first person.  You, the writer, are the person relating all that is happening to you.  It makes the story seem more realistic at times to readers.

Now, which one of the following sentences creates more emotion?

"Johnny's father died when he was little."
"My father died when I was little."

The second sentence, by far.   By just changing two words--Johnny and he--you create a whole new emotion.


Second Person

Second person.  You, you, and... you.   :)

Second person is rarely used in fiction or fantasy: can you imagine?  Telling a fantasy story from the reader's eyes?  You can see why most writers do not do this.

Like in multiple POVs in first person, there are exceptions to this.  In my short story, The Cornerstone, I used second person for several short scenes to introduce a new section of the story.  Here is the first sentence from The Cornerstone to give you an idea of what I mean:

"Imagine you are an eagle, floating on the crisp spring breeze over the land of Tasdu."

I introduced the story without going straight to my character and simply telling what was happening: I used the reader to imagine the place before diving into the plot.

But again, writers of fiction usually do not use second person.


Third Person

Third person: he, she, they, etc.

This is the most popular point of view for fiction and fantasy.  Of all of you writers out there, how many of you are writing a novel in third person?  Most, probably.  I myself started my writing using third person.

If you are aiming for suspense, multiple POVs, and a longer word count for a shorter plot, this is the POV for you.  You can get into tons of characters' heads, jump all over and foreshadow events, and a lot of other things.

Many of the fantasy novels you've probably read have third person--which is another motivator for writers who want to be published. 

Now, it seems like you can just do more with third person, which makes it better than first person.  However, it has one setback: it's harder to create emotion.

Note that I said harder.  It is just as possible to create good emotion with third person as with first person--but it is a lot easier with first person and harder with third person.


Conclusion

So which Point of View is ideal for writers?  Well, second person can be crossed out pretty quickly, which leaves just first and third person.

Now, there is a problem when examining these two point of views: emotion.

The goal of a novel is not to make a lot of suspense.  It isn't to torture your characters.  It isn't even to achieve your main character's goal.

The goal of a novel (to quote Daniel Schwabauer on OYAN) is to create emotion.  That is your greatest goal.

So we run into this problem: it is significantly harder to create emotion using third person.  While it has many other advantages--making suspense, multiple POVs, etc.--it is harder to create emotion.

This is not to say that first person is better.  The advantages that third person has--suspense, multiple POVs--are disadvantages for first person.  You can't create quite as much suspense with first person--or at least you don't have as many options for creating it--and multiple POVs are a lot harder to pull off.

So which one is best?   What do you think?

Let's find out.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tip: Meaning

You can get on without meaning in your stories, right?  Secular books do it all the time, you might reason.

Well, yes an no.  Meaning is possible to leave out in stories.  But then again, without meaning, stories are nothing but that: just stories.  They won't become alive to your readers.  They won't be applicable.  They won't be an amazing epic: it'll just be another book.

Think of all of your favorite books--why do they matter so much?  Lord of the Rings?  Meaning is what made it matter.  The meaning--heroism, sacrifice, love--is part of what made LOTR what it is. 

Meaning can be left out, yes.  But if you want a compelling story, do NOT leave it out. 

I write meaning into my stories for that reason, and because my stories reflect who I am.  I am a Christian--and so my stories likewise reflect my beliefs about morality and meaning. 

Now, if you expect me to tell you how to write meaning into your stories, you're wrong.  I can't tell you how to write morality into your stories.  It wouldn't be meaningful if it came from someone else.  You, and you alone, can write meaning into your stories.  You and God.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

FORTY THOUSAND WORDS!

Yes, you read right!  The above announcement is CORRECT!!  I have surpassed a word count of FORTY THOUSAND WORDS!!!

*throws confetti*  *sneezes*  Wonderful, rig--ACHOO!  

...right?  

So dance your legs off!  Go listen to Press Play's "New York to LA"!   WOOT!

Now, for all of you who are writing a novel; congratulations.  Writing a novel is awesome.  Here's three things that I find keep me going when I want to quit:

1) I never, NEVER look back at what I wrote until I am finished with my novel.  Who cares about the quality of the words right now?  They don't call it a rough draft for nothing!  Just think--this is a new thing you are writing.  No one has EVER written it before.  EVER.  Just remember that.

2) Go tell some people you're going to write.  In an effort to keep yourself from being embarrassed, you will HAVE to write.  And when you do write, those people encourage.  Part of what kept me going in the last couple of days is the encouragement of the Elves at the Underground forum.  I posted my word count and told them I wouldn't be back until I had written 500 words.  And I did that over and over--and got an amazing and encouraging response.  Things like, "WOO!  Finish it!" [the novel], and "You can do it!" abounded.  

3) Just write.  That's all.

Many thanks to Millard for the encouraging post he made about this landmark of 40,000.  :)  

Okay, readers!  Go out there and write!  

Signed, 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Who are the Winners of the FANTASTIC FLAMING GIVEAWAY?

Believe it or not; we have a winner!!  DING DONG!  *cue theme show music*

Actually, if you wish to be precise, we have TWO winners.  There were 20 entries altogether--and 12 entrants--and I have two winners.

Now...*drumroll*  I will tell you the winners...right after I tell you what's at stake.

I am giving away TWO copies of Wayne Thomas Batson's Isle of Fire.  Two BRAND new copies.  Two HARDCOVER copies.  With shiny dust covers...O.o

Isle of Fire is a great book--and hilarious as well.  Anyone remember that one scene where
Cat goes to ask Declan Ross a 'question'?  XD  LOL.

Now, there are two people who will win this amazing, swashbuckling adventure. This shiny, shiny book. This ISLE OF FIRE.


I'm going to tell you who...


...in just a few moments...

...right...

...after this.

--

I forgot to say this in my blog post on my other blog, but I want to thank Beorn for putting up this thing on our forum, Alcryion; he put up a sign beneath the header that read (more or less): "Happy Birthday Jake!!!  Sorry, but this print won't go any larger!"  It made my day.  :)

--

Anyway, back to the giveaway.  :)

Now, the winners is...


...is....

...is....

...is...

...er, are...

...are...

...are...

...these people.




!!!! ELDRA AND MILLARD !!!!!


Congratulations, Eldra and Millard!  You have WON the Fantastic Flaming Giveaway!!   Throw confetti!  Throw a party!  Throw a baseball!   CONGRATS!

In order for me to get these books to you, you need to email your full addresses to me at jtbdude[at]gmail[dot]com.  If you don't email your addresses to me within the week, I'll have to choose another winner.  :P

Again, congratulations!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Review; Kestrel's Midnight Song

(NOTE: My giveaway ends tomorrow!  If you haven't yet gotten in on it, be sure and join!  Click here.)


The land of Gable--renowned for its birds, revered for its legends and secrets--is home to the grandest castle in the known world. 


Inside this castle, in a narrow cell atop the dungeon tower, the legendary Marauder known as James Kestrel awaits his hanging. 


Amidst the anticipation and speculation surrounding his execution, rumors are spreading that the Marauders will come out of hiding for the first time in seven years to free Kestrel in order to find the Caelum Flute, an instrument with the power to control the birds, and therefore the world. But only a wandering giant and a slave girl masquerading as an innkeeper know the truth. And everything will fall to the shoulders of a traveling shepherd boy-charged with delivering wool to his king-with no knowledge that his treacherous journey will decide the pending fate of the world. (Description taken from Amazon.com)


If I could sum this book up in a single sentence, I would say, "I can't sum this up in a single sentence."  


In matters of plot, this book is superb.  A Marauder jail-break?  A mad rush for one Caelum Flute?  One of the most unique plots I've read in a long time.  I really liked the plot--a lot. :)  Parker did a great job here.  It twists up and down.  And then it goes sideways.  There was one twist especially that I'll remember for a long time.


The description; as one endorsement said, "Parker is descriptive without being wordy."  I could literally picture the entire scene in my head.  You've got a thumbs up here.


And the Christian themes?  Unmistakable, of course--Parker makes no attempt to disguise the allegory.  The redemption theme with one of the characters was amazing and uplifting, and the themes I detected throughout the book were well done.  


One thing that led me to read this book was this; Parker is a teenaged Christian fantasy author.  Much like what I would like to be--if I could imitate an author within the next couple of years, it would be him.


Cons?


First, there were several font and grammar related things that irritated me.  In my copy (I don't know if it was the same in all of the others) there were several lines near the end that suddenly shifted into a smaller, different font.  There was once place I noticed where 'sheer' was spelled 'shear'.


Second, the character development could've been a  little better.  The minor characters were done well (I especially liked Bart, lol), but I didn't exactly connect with the major characters.  


And last (though this is rather a personal quibble) I really wish it had been longer.  It was rather short--but Parker did this one thing right; he made me wish just for one more chapter.  Just one more paragraph, even.


All in all?  Kestrel's Midnight Song is a great Christian Fantasy book by a teenaged author, lanced with Marauders, mystery, and intrigue.  He's got me pining away for another book.  If he doesn't make one, well...things may take a turn for the worse.  ;)


Rated 9.0 out of 10.  It's well worth your money. :)


Saturday, October 9, 2010

News, Reminders, and Resurrections

My giveaway ends the day after tomorrow!  If you haven't joined, go ahead and click here.

As for other news; Squeaks' Green Giveaway ends at 10:00 tomorrow: 10/10/10.  XD   There's several ties, so be sure to check out the entries--they are all awesome.

And the main point of this?  The illustrious blog, Worthy Fantasy, is BACK, and resurrected!  They posted just yesterday--it's a great blog with a lot of awesome articles about fantasy, so feel free to click on the link above.  Oh, and I forgot to mention--I am now among their number, along with a couple other awesome bloggers.

Besides all of this news, I posted a poem on my other blog that got an great response--because of its randomness.  Be prepared for rhyming randomness--I'm serious.  Here's the first couple of lines.



The Flow'st Upon a Midnight


I said to him, and he to me,
That I had gone and ate a tree,
The flow'st upon a midnight three,
And caused the cat to flee.


If you want to read some more of it, you can go here.  Tell me what you think! :)