Author Archives: Azalea Dabill

About Azalea Dabill

Azalea Dabill grew up in the California hills, building forts in the oaks. She remembers the fuzzy-sweet smell of acorns and moss, the perfume of purple lupines and golden poppies, the night-song of crickets. Homeschooled, she read The Young Trailers and fantasy adventure to her siblings. Now she enjoys growing things, old bookstores, and hiking the wild. Never finding enough tales of adventure, romance, and mystery in the world, she shapes and writes crossover fantasy. Medieval and historical fantasy, and just plain fantasy.

75-100 Best Fantasy Experiences Blog-to-Book Overview

Shelley Hitz of Author Audience Academy suggested in a FB session that I post this question about my blog-to-book plan for 2017-2018 and ask your opinion. I decided to include the whole layout, so you can get a general idea what I’m planning to share with you. And you can tell me if it’s something you’d love.

So thank you for your opinion, if you’d give it at the end!

I decided to come up with some serial blog posts/stories with lasting meaning for readers, not for writers. Not because I have anything against writers, (I’m one) only because most of you are YA, fantasy, and speculative fiction buffs. And so am I, and this is something I treasure. I’d love to make a book with you!

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Turning Point 2017 New Year Breakthrough

I decided to be transparent, bite the bullet, and bare my soul. 

These are the kinds of books I love: the ones that pull you deep into a a story world you wish didn’t have to end. The poetic painting of a place where you sense loyalty, love, and goodness rising to do battle against deception, despair,  and hate. From the little things like the ups and downs between companions on a great journey, to the soul-tearing decisions of romance, or the life-threatening choices before you, as the hero or heroine.

A world where conflicts are fought within and without. In the intricate vales of the human spirit; in the broad ‘scapes of the land, terrible, beautiful, or engagingly homey; and most of all, in the battle between soul and soul, where the conflicting desires of a villain or villaness (if I can coin the word) and the hero or heroine, drive everything from large armies to their companions, sycophants, or honest followers. What they see and how they react decides their impact on their world, whether they spread darkness or light.   

Besides the tried and true we all know, like Tolkien and Lewis, Anna Thayer’s The Knight of Eldaran trilogy, CJ Cherryth’s Fortress in the Eye of Time, Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword, Sherwood Smith’s Crown Duel, Dennis McKiernan’s The Iron Tower trilogy and The Silver Call duology, Patrick Carr’s The Shock of Night: these types of stories all draw me like a lodestone. In the good conflict contained within them, I glimpse the Morning Star. 

This is the very reason I began to write, for those glimpses of joy, beauty, and adventure. And I have feared letting other people know how very much I like poetic, deep themed, character and conflict driven fantasy: historical fantasy, and every other kind of fantasy. Even to other genres. Except for horror and dark. 

Because there is darkness enough in our world, enough emptiness, enough despair. What some call realism–the idea that we exist by chance, (which means we have no purpose, no part to play) is actually despair, not the true state of affairs in our world.

Part of Webster’s dictionary definition of despair is “without hope.” And a definition of hope is “to…hope with the expectation of attainment.” If you have no hope of attainment, (which holds solid meaning in its very definition) why do anything? What’s the point? Or why not do whatever you feel like? Tomorrow we die, with less impact than a grain of sand.

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When I was a teen, despair almost ate me alive. Partially it was because I was sick, which tends to make everything look black or grey, and partially it was the horrible things I began to see in myself, in life, and in the books I was reading. Where I looked for joy and beauty I began to see betrayal, which brought unhappiness and ugliness. (Fantasy has a strange way of highlighting whatever it portrays, whether darkness or light.)

Suffice it to say, I was learning. But also absorbing what was around me without perspective. I saw a picture in my mind of dominant, rampant evil smothering good, and of despair, a kind of creeping death drawing its shadow over the world. The younger, happy me I used to be was gone, without return.

Then I began to realize, without knowing it at first, that there was more. All who follow good must fight evil, or we will be overcome. And goodness often exists, apparently overcome, but triumphant in the end.

Yes, there is darkness, and fear, and despair, and hate in us and in our world. There is also beauty and joy and hope. Because we were sent here, particular in every area of our being, of time and place, and our every step resounds through the fabric of time, and beyond.

Does this sound like a sci-fi or fantasy story? 

It is. And this story is true. Because it’s true, it’s quite natural we find it reflected in many books, the great conflict between dark and light. Not always portrayed clearly or truthfully, but still glaringly there.

With God, all is hope, however we feel about it, for he works all things (even the things that hurt) to our good when we walk with the great dance of his universe, not following the destructive road of the great rebellion. The difference between books of despairing realism and those of hopeful adventure are created when we who write them see the real world, the true story, reality, as we name it, through what we believe. Here it gets tricky. You have to pay attention.

What is true, is true, whoever sees it. But the person who sees the clearest will see the most truth. God is absolute truth, and in his light, we see light. I don’t mean here that we ever see the complete truth, for we see dimly, but we can point to him, who promises to teach us.

So, what fits the world we see, and our experience, best? 

That intricate and full of life as we are and our world is, all is for nothing? And consequently there is no good, and no evil? No purpose? Not even for a grain of sand?

Or that someone made all this, and us, and we can find joy and beauty and adventure in him? That we can fight evil, and it will mean something in the end, we can really save something or someone? We can really be a hero or heroine?

These opposing beliefs determine whether you see a grey world, or a world alight with its true splendor, a glory of golds and blues and greens, silver and brown and white as snow–and blackness, dark as the pit. That is not gone, just because we see the good. In fact, it becomes all the darker, revealed by the light.

As many others have said, truth makes stories possible. Truth shows good and evil as they are, opposed; shows the mixture of good and evil motives we often are, and the two roads we are torn between. Truth reveals, moment to moment, which road we are on.

I write my fantasy adventures, historical and otherwise, for teens and up, for those disillusioned or discouraged with the rampant ugliness in our world, so often showcased in books. I write for people who yearn for hope, joy, and beauty, wrapped in the clarion call of adventure. 

I hope this post, my turning point in 2017, helps you. That my breakthrough, that I had a wall of my own to overcome, namely fear of you, gives you courage to cross over whatever life-changing wall looms over you this coming New Year.  

Crossover: Find the Eternal, the Adventure

Yes, start this very moment.

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Define good and evil, and continue your journey with truth. Make a great impact on your world. 

I will feel it from here! Let me know in the comments about your wall, and how you will overcome it.

All the best,

 

Azalea Dabill

Editor and Author

Crossover: Find the Eternal, the Adventure

 

 

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A Bit of Soul Baring – Hunting Adventures

You never know what you’re going to find out in the woods, or see. Hunting is no exception. Here’s my story in pictures. I didn’t get the elk or bear meat I was after, but I got something greater. A glimpse of the vast beauty of our created world.

You never know what you're going to come across in the woods.

You never know what you’re going to come across in the woods.

An unusual arrangement of fungi . . .

An unusual arrangement of fungi . . .

Last night's snow . . .

Last night’s snow . . .

Or a bear crossing your track within ten minutes of you.

Or a bear crossing your track within ten minutes of you.

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K M Weiland’s Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide

Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars This book will stay on my shelf., November 15, 2016
This review is from: Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure (Helping Writers Become Authors) (Volume 7) (Paperback)

This book is so good. I was given an e-copy for an honest review, and I just bought the print copy.

I’m a real write-by-feel historical fantasy author, but this comprehensive breakdown of how characters and their arcs tie in and support and drive plot is invaluable. I have a feeling I’ll be coming back to this book again and again. And the nice thing is, the author doesn’t give you the impression that “this is the way it is,” but “this is what’s possible,” and “discover greater possibilities.”

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The Beauty of Darkness . . .

In my last post I invited you to get The Beauty of Darkness, by Mary Pearson. 

Well, I finished reading my pre-ordered copy and I wanted to let you know you might not want to get it. Some of it had some very good things: loyalty, kindness, compassion, and courage, but there were also some bad things. Two in particular.

First, there are two instances of sex before marriage, where they’re setting themselves up for heartache. Second, the vague “going with your gut feeling” throughout the book, which will get you in trouble as often as not. If a “feeling in your gut” is based on everything you’re adding up: the truths you know, the circumstances, and the “gut feeling,” that’s well and good because it’s not just going on feeling, but if it’s truly “gut feeling” alone you’re blessed if somehow it doesn’t get you in trouble.

So you’re probably better off spending your money on Anna Thayer’s The Knight of Eldaran trilogy, which is solidly good.

Thank you, and happy reading! Until next time,

Azalea

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Coloring pages sample . . .

I’ve been working on coloring pages for Trencher and Board: food and recipes of the Middle Ages, an Adult Coloring journey.

Here’s what I have to date. Trencher and Board coloring pages sample. I know I said in my blog letter I’d give a few samples, but I decided to give you what I have so far. The recipes themselves are forthcoming, in the completed book format.

If you like the sample, would you leave a comment on how the coloring pages worked for you? I’d like to know if the grayscale and traditional coloring mediums work together, and whether the pages work well for you for markers, pen, or pencil. (I’ve been using pencil.)

On another note, Mary Pearson’s The Beauty of Darkness the third book in her trilogy, in hardcover, is cheaper than the $9.99 e-book, and just released the 2d. Don’t miss it! That is, if you like YA fantasy. I tried her books out from the library first, but this one I’m buying. 🙂

Thank you so much!

And have a great August!

Azalea

 

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Ruthlessly slash What??

It’s summer, and the game is afoot!

If you’re an author or reader, you’re either furiously creating or relaxing in your favorite warm spot with a book. Or you may do both consecutively. That’s two blessings of the land we live in, the USA, and I hope you’re enjoying reading or some equivalent summer fun. This is the time to be out of doors!

And we never quit learning, it seems. I enjoyed these interesting editing tips, Kristen Lamb’s article on what to ruthlessly slash, passed to me by a bestselling writer, KM Weiland, who wrote Storming, a great steampunk historical. I loved (still do) this daring air pirate adventure.

There’s more. It’s time for The Clash of The Titles, and I’m voting for Jenn Roger’s new release Astray, book one of the Ariboslia series. If you want to vote for her or your favorite title, go here starting Wednesday, June 22, 2016.  Page is not live until Wednesday.

There are many great reads and blessings – what are some of yours, if you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comments. It may take me a little time to get back to you, but I will!

PS. If you would like inside news and special offers on my books and coloring book projects and you are not yet on my list, join my blog letter in the sidebar. I won’t give your info to anyone else, and you’ll get the inside scoop bi-monthly or less.  🙂

Have a great summer!

Azalea

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YA Treasure Hunt and FB Birthday Party

I’m so glad you’re thinking of joining the fun!

If you love YA reads, from fantasy to urban adventure, you’re in the right place. If you enjoy free books, even better. And if you crave adventure without smut, you’re on your way!

Not to mention finding new friends and fascinating characters, from authors, terrifying villains, tough heroes, and scrappy heroines to prizes galore!

This Tuesday, May 31st, 2016, join 14 YA authors, Indie and Traditionally published, from 2:00 to 10:00 pm Eastern time, or 11:00 am to 7:00 pm Pacific (my time). Click here for the party on May 31st!

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