Category Archives: Odds

Miscellaneous.

Clean Fantasy Adventure

Crossover – Find the Eternal, the Adventure

At first I didn’t know what was at the back of my dissatisfaction with so much of the fantasy on library shelves. At twenty-two, I loved the adventure, the overcoming, the beautiful places, and being the person saving the world, with the power to change things.

But I began to sense a difference between, for example, the fantasies of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, George MacDonald, and Kathy Tyers (the only Christian fantasy authors I knew by name at that point) and stories by Ursula K. Le Guin, Robert Jordan, Robin Hobb, and some of C. J. Cherryh’s work. Reading the first group of authors (on the rare occasion) left me filled with hope, looking beyond myself in a kind of wonder, in awe of what they saw in other worlds, with delight in the relationships they found.

The more I read the other fantasies the more they left me with a sense of futility, immorality on many levels, and self-centered self-reliance. Though there were threads of good in them, and the protagonists did much good, in the end everything narrowed to the darkness of self without hope beyond ourselves, which is no hope at all. “Have it your way,” is a curse more often than not.

We will become like our friends, and books we love are friends of a kind. Bad company corrupts. This will be true until the end of time. Some may also say that to avoid bad fiction, Christian or non-Christian, we would have to go out of the world.

It is true that even the best human-authored books are a mix, with either error or other drawbacks mixed in with good adventure and great storytelling, but that does not let us off judging whether it is predominantly true or false. What desires is the story stirring in us? What is it drawing us toward?

Moral fantasy adventure displays evil at war with good. It is our responsibility to focus our hearts and minds on stories of adventures that are worthy of praise. What we fill our minds and hearts with becomes a part of who we are. Great fantasy leads to broader spiritual horizons, while corrupted fantasy leads to a narrow, poisoned soul.

It started to poison me until I regretfully changed my bookish diet. Now I am thankful I did. It is important to note, not necessarily all of the above mentioned authors’s books were the sort that darkened my mind and heart, but some of them were. It was a problem that had to be addressed. That problem led to this book.

Clean fantasy adventure is vital to our spirits.

In worlds near and far, beauty can be true, mystery can be satisfying, and battle can be praiseworthy. Enter a fantastic journey into the soul of imaginative fiction and clean fantasy adventure.

Crossover – Find the Eternal, the Adventure.

Introduction:

Fantastic journeys invite us to search beyond what we see for truth, to dig deeper for courage. The ocean of fantasy adventure broadens our horizons and enthralls our hearts with crystal joys and enchanting beauties on a voyage across a perilous realm.

Clean fantasy adventure, epic and otherwise, benefits us on three levels.

  1. The Spiritual Arena
  2. The Wide World of Ideas
  3. The Sphere We Breathe In

What difference does it make?

Why does the quest and the hero’s journey draw us all?

Would you like to know how to find the best fantasy?

Discover these answers and more. We bring up select jewels from the deep and explore mountain troves to whet our appetite for the riches of imaginative fiction. . . .

Coming this summer . . . find your next clean read in Fantastic Journey – The Soul of Imaginative Fiction and Clean Fantasy Adventure.

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Life in Troubled Times.

Gut-checking times like these encourage us to take the time to look at our focus and concentrate on what is important. My dependence on God instead of myself is of paramount importance.

Fear and uncertainty tries to chain me.

Depending on Him frees me to do what I ought to be doing: working through the fear to trust, working through the uncertainty to doing what I can, working in the certainty that this did not take Him by surprise and that He is working great changes in people through this tough time.

He loves me, and He is working in me. That is a most encouraging thought.

He loves me. He loves you.

Keep working, doing the things that need done to help others. Keep necessary things going, but don’t forget to smile at a beautiful flower, to laugh at something funny. Keep living, see the joys. Don’t let fear blind and shackle you. Enjoy good things.

“The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” John 10:10

Life even in the midst of troubled times. He is the rock that is higher than I.

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2017 Most Anticipated Fantasy or My Best Books To Be Read (TBR)

I’ll make this short and sweet so you can get on with your book hunt for your best reads for 2017. Just a couple things.

This is my personal TBR list, and I’m adding to it all the time. In my head if nowhere else. And, if you haven’t seen my post from The YA Shelf, 39 Most Anticipated Fantasy Books of 2017, don’t miss it. I did not move those TBR books to this list – no need to repeat myself and weary your eyes. So make sure you check out both lists!

Happy reading!

A Branch of Silver, a Branch of GoldThe Orphan King: Book 1 in the Merlin's Immortals seriesA Throne of Bones (Arts of Dark and Light Book 1)MORGARTEN: The Forest Knights: Book 2Resistance (Ilyon Chronicles Book 1)The Gift: A NovelDarkness Brutal (The Dark Cycle Book 1) by [Marks, Rachel A.]Divine Summons: The Windrider Saga Book 1Dare (The Blades of Acktar Book 1)Dawn Apocalypse Rising: The Windows of Heaven (Volume 1)The BloodheartShadows: Book of Aleth, Part OneThe Unraveling of Wentwater (The Gates of Heaven Series Book 4) by [Lakin, C. S.]ExileWayfarer (Tales of Faeraven)Son of Truth (Follower of the Word Book 2) by [Busse, Morgan L.]Knife (No Ordinary Fairy Tale Book 1) by [Anderson, R.J.]A Time to Die (Out of Time Book 1)

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150 – 175 Best Fantasy Books or Your 2017 Guide to Epic Fantasy: Post 1

Fantasy and the 7 Senses

You know the five senses that we all use.

And we explore fantasy adventure with all of them: Sight, scent, taste, hearing, touch. (Inside our minds, of course.) And of course intuition, the 6th sense, is never far from reach in a great fantasy story.

But I think there is one more sense.

Fantasy brings together the six senses into a whole and creates a 7th. The seventh sense is one you can discover often if you dive deep into fantasy realms and keep your eyes open.

The greatest fantasies create at moments a unique experience, a kind of sense not to be found anywhere else in the universe we can see. Except in bits and pieces; a kind of joy-filled truth caught in goodness or day dreams or dreams of the night, where odd things that strangely fit are often found.

This 7th sense grasps gleaming facets of truth that we could not see before. It touches them, tastes them. Not first examined by our reason, but felt deep in the actions and reactions you experience while captured within fantasy characters. Inside the kind, the evil, the young and the old, the weak and strong men and women and creatures of fantasy. It happens without your noticing it, while you are enthralled by the hero or heroine you find in many hearts, sometimes growing from a single weak seed. It makes you revolt against evil, also often growing unseen, battling within.

We are so often blinded by our familiar world it usually takes a moving deed, a circumstance, or a state of being in an unfamiliar setting or against a stark backdrop for us to see truth clearly. Such clearness can be startling.

Such was the case for me. Not long ago, I was moaning that there were not very many good fantasy fiction books from the faith sector of our world. Not that I dislike general fantasy, far from it, I admire their authors’ skill very much. I only wish more of us imitated the high bar of storytelling without deserting high moral quality.

I was shown how wrong I was to moan. Patrick Carr’s Shock of Night, Anna Thayer’s Knight of Eldaran Trilogy, Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga, C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters (a novel delightfully re-read) all kept me up late into the night. Sure, there is definitely room for more faith-based fantasy where adventure is never sacrificed, but I’ve discovered treasures everywhere over the long years—from epic fantasy to dieselpunk and beyond. If your heart is hungry . . . 

I want to share my otherworldly discoveries on my lifelong venture into best fantasy novels with you.

Join the quest, and find your next adventure! There will be at least 70 posts in this series, and who knows what we may find?

If you don’t want to miss a single grand adventure, sign up in the side bar, where special treasures are reserved for those who seek them.

We’ll venture into worlds unseen where your heart will beat fast at necessary sacrifice, thrill with the triumph of downtrodden hearts against overwhelming odds, and draw lines of right and wrong in blood. You will laugh in side-splitting humor, cry with loss, fight against evil and rage against its seeming victory. But in the end you will come back to peace, hugging gems to your breast. And for those who can see, there is a light going before you.

Follow it.

Let no wall of ignorance, busyness, or other unworthy reason bar you from your next journey to unearth . . .  what, I cannot tell. Prepare to use your seven senses.

Crossover: find the Eternal, the Adventure.

 

Here’s a minute taste of one journey waiting for us on my best books shelf, seeking its place in future posts like The Romance – Exploring Treachery and Trust.

From Victoria Hanley’s The Seer and the Sword:

Torina looked at the boy, at his heavy curling hair and remote, wild eyes.

“If he is my slave,” she asked, “does that make him my own?”

“All your own.”

“I can do whatever I want with him?”

The king nodded.

The princess shivered. “What is your name, son of a king?” she asked.

“Landen.” The boy’s manner, still that of a prince, contrasted oddly with his dusty rags and bruises.

“Vesputo,” Torina said.

“Princess?”

“Cut his ropes, please.”

The commander looked to his king, who inclined his head. A blade was drawn. Vesputo severed the ropes carelessly, trailing fresh blood. Landen rubbed his wrists as Torina stepped closer to him.

“My father fought your father.” She said it very softly, speaking as if no king or soldiers looked on. For her, they must have been forgotten.

Landen looked at the ground. A pulse in his neck beat, like the heart of a newly hatched bird.

“Landen,” she whispered. “I never had a slave.”

The boy stood quietly.

“And I never will,” she continued, lifting her chin. “Papa,” her voice rose. “You gave him to me. I set him free.” . . .

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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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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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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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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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Lance and Quill Update

4/25/15

Old grunge paper.

Hello all!

Proofing Lance and Quill is going well—I’m now at page 76 of 170. My ASUS PC, only four months old, is going back to the factory under warranty. So I’m on my laptop with no way to format in InDesign or tweak covers in Photoshop Elements. But I should have my PC back in a couple weeks. I’m working on it!

I’ve been reading Sherwood Smith’s Twice a Prince, and admiring the humor in it. Much of the humor is good. You do have to ignore a reference or two to Eastern philosophy, but there is much good in her writing. A sense of family, loyalty, and compassion, gotten across in a rousing adventure.

Speaking of adventure, it’s been a whirl with the release of Falcon Heart. I thank you all for your support in so many ways. Your good wishes and enthusiastic admiration have meant a lot. But also, don’t be afraid to mention weaknesses you see in the book in your reviews. If you would let me know two weaknesses or things you believe could be improved, as well as two strengths in Falcon Heart, I would be grateful.

We writers need all the help we can get, and I want to write adventures you enjoy. I will do my best to use your insights well.

Thanks so much,

Azalea

 

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