Category Archives: Odds

Miscellaneous.

G K Chesterton – A Wise Word for Our Times

“We are then able to answer in some manner the question, “Why have we no great men?” We have no great men chiefly because we are always looking for them. We are connoisseurs of greatness, and connoisseurs can never be great; we are fastidious, that is, we are small. . . .

“When Diogenes went about with a lantern looking for an honest man, I am afraid he had very little time to be honest himself. And when anybody goes about on his hands and knees looking for a great man to worship, he is making sure that one man at any rate shall not be great.

“Now , the error of Diogenes is evident. The error of Diogenes lay in the fact that he omitted to notice that every man is both an honest man and a dishonest man. Diogenes looked for his honest man inside every crypt and cavern; but he never thought of looking inside the thief. And there is where the Founder of Christianity found the honest man; He found him on a gibbet and promised him Paradise. Just as Christianity looked for the honest man inside the thief, democracy [a Republic] looked for the wise man inside the fool. It encouraged the fool to be wise. We can call this thing sometimes optimism, sometimes equality; the nearest name for it is encouragement. It had its exaggerations – failure to to understand original sin, notions that education would make all men good, the childlike yet pedantic philosophies of human perfectibility. But the whole was full of a faith in the infinity of human souls . . . and this we have lost amid the limitations of a pessimistic science. . . .

“It was a world that expected everything of everybody. It was a world that encouraged anybody to be anything. And in England and literature its living expression was Dickens.

“He was the voice in England of this humane intoxication and expansion, this encouraging of anybody to be anything. His best books are a carnival of liberty, and there is more of the real spirit of the French Revolution in ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ than in ‘A Tale of Two Cities.’ . . .

“Whether we understand it depends upon whether we can understand that exhilaration is not a physical accident, but a mystical fact; that exhilaration can be infinite, like sorrow; that a joke can be so big that it breaks the roof of the stars. By simply going on being absurd, a thing can become godlike; there is but one step from the ridiculous to the sublime.

“Dickens was great because he was immoderately possessed with all this; if we are to understand him at all we must also be moderately possessed with it. We must understand this old limitless hilarity and human confidence, at least enough to be able to endure it when it is pushed a great deal too far. For Dickens did push it too far; he did push the hilarity to the point of incredible character-drawing; he did push the human confidence to the point of an unconvincing sentimentalism. You can trace, if you will, the revolutionary joy till it reaches the incredible Sapsea epitaph; you can trace the revolutionary hope till it reaches the repentance of Dombey. There is plenty to carp at in this man f you are inclined to carp; you may easily find him vulgar if you cannot see that he is divine; and if you cannot laugh with Dickens, undoubtedly you can laugh at him.

“I believe myself that this braver world of his will certainly return; for I believe that it is bound up with realities, like morning and the spring. . . . I put this appeal before any other observations on Dickens. First let us sympathize, if only for an instant, with the hopes of the Dickens period, with that cheerful trouble of change.”

G K Chesterton, from Charles Dickens: The Last of the Great Men, pg 11 – 12, 17

If you have not read the above book, it is well worth reading. It has astonishing correlations to our present time and stirs thought and courage.

Thank you for visiting, I hope you found it worth your while.

Azalea

Crossover: Find the Eternal, the Adventure

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Truth and Meaning in Your Novel

Meaning.

What is it, and why is meaning vital to us as writers? Why should we look for it where it grows in our work, clarify it, and hone it? Why should we care?

How do truth and the life-changing meaning that arises from our stories impact our characters, both in their world and our own?

I haven’t seen any writing book dig into the subject of how truth impacts our characters and creates meaning as well as Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors.

I’ve had hours of profitable fun looking into Brandilyn’s writing techniques because they are based on the reality of truth and lie, good and bad, wrong and right in the human heart. She shows us how to grow ‘true’ characters that reflect reality with clarity, whether we write fantasy, contemporary, memoirs or any other genre.

I have felt the impact of truth and meaning in books since I first began to read when I was quite young, but for a long time I could not pin down or express why some stories left me with a sense of hope, exhilarating beauty, and strengthening courage, while others left me with a feeling of cumulative despair, disgusted by ugliness, and fearful of life. What made the difference? How was it done? Why?

These questions have only grown clearer since my tweens. Their emerging answers are a big part of what drove me to write YA fiction. Lately I have been mulling over what I can see of these answers. They relate to prevalent thought in our age: that truth is relative to you, and meaning is what we make it.

So much destruction comes from this.

Good stories deal with truth and error, testing the validity of individual people’s ‘inner truths’ against each other and a universal framework of inherent truth apparent in everything around us, in the way the world works. Acting on the belief or premise that good and evil are interchangeable to any degree never works well in fiction, nor in real life. Calling evil ‘good’ creates a muddle where all is shifting sand and there is nowhere to stand.

The fact that this thinking defies logic, conscience, and experience quite effectively counters the idea that good and evil are the same – for the thinking head as well as the feeling heart. People who seek to rob the words, ‘good’ and ‘evil’ of meaning by saying they are interchangeable, in the end act as if there is no real meaning in the world, nothing that does not change to conveniently fit their surroundings, like a chameleon. This results in their speaking nonsense and fostering chaos, and ends in despair because it is far more of a fabricated fiction than stories.

It is an absolute fiction, if you will.

The presence of true good and true evil, clearly identified as not being the same, are necessary to create a solid story. We all realize on a gut level that some things are wrong and some right. Just as a lie, though a small lie, is nothing more or less than a lie. A small untruth cannot be true, or you deconstruct language and the reality it reflects.

Truth is vital to living in reality.

Conflict arises from the opposition between real good and real evil. It is true that good and evil are often mixed in us as well as in our characters, but one never becomes the other. The smallest bit of evil remains wrong, just as iron and clay may be mixed and set in a mold, but even the tiniest grain, though it appears part of an amalgamated whole, is yet itself. And pursuing even a grain of truth has potential to lead to great good.

And the actions of evil men, though the men themselves may have some good in them, cannot be allowed to destroy others. Evil demands conflict, and well we know it, in the interest of right, conscience, and hope of real peace. As it is in life, so it is for our stories.

Truth is not relative but absolute in relation to us, whether we believe it or not. This becomes unavoidably apparent in fiction.

Core ‘truths’ we believe are tested in our stories when our character’s actions prove them good or bad as they act from the inner values or core truths we operate from, with tangible spiritual and physical results. This is why great classics of every genre are so powerful. Meaning arises from the interplay of truth with what we believe – wrong or right – with what others believe, and what we both do about it. In the great stories we recognize the battle of our hearts and hands.

Brandilyn’s book has a lot to say about seven vital aspects of meaning, how to uncover our characters’ secrets, how to reveal these truths to our readers, and how meaning arises from it– all without getting philosophical. The ramifications of what she teaches gives us a huge potential to craft and forge and design what we once created by feel alone, when we were half blind to truth and meaning.

She digs into:

  1. How connection at the level of truth is essential between the character and the reader. Secret # 1 – Personalizing, “discovers a character’s inner values, which give rise to unique traits and mannerisms that will become an integral part of the story.” (Pg. 12) She calls these inner values or beliefs “core truths”, which have meaning that our characters act on. (Pg. 22) This extends into traits, or attitudes, and to mannerisms that reflect a character’s reaction and grows yet further. As she says, “The beauty of this personalizing secret is that the process creates the entire character, both inside and out. Still, this is only the beginning. In the following chapters I’ll show you how the inner values and traits you’ve found through Personalizing lay the foundation for further discoveries about your character and your plot as a whole.”

Truth goes far deeper than the surface actions of a person, empowering that person and everything they do, building the meaning of the story as a whole and directing its impact. Meaning powers our story into fictional reality.

  1. This leads us to Secret # 2 – Action Objectives. Every Action Objective is based on an inner value, or core truth. Every core truth holds meaning, which is a fascinating force that drives our entire story on every level, from the characters, to the conflict, the plot, the story’s climax, and its accumulation of meaning to the reader. Brandilyn uncovers the four D’s that touch them all: our main character’s overarching Desire, obstacles that Distance them from it, then circumstances that force the Denial of their desire, and finally, the Devastation of their desire.

As she says, “Once you’ve determined your Protagonist’s Desire, ask, ‘What happens if she doesn’t achieve it?’ In other words, what are the stakes? … often it’s not just the character’s way of life at risk, but loved ones as well. In a “high concept” story, the whole world’s existence may be at stake.” (Pg. 54)

Both failure and achievement of the Action Objective has real meaning and propels the story forward. Exploring the truth of who a character is and what they believe in the face of challenges and contradictions clarifies and deepens the meaning of our stories.

  1. Secret # 3 – Subtexting in dialogue reveals the truth of its underlying meaning. Brandilyn’s techniques make it easier to do this while increasing tension.
    “Without an inner reason for existence, lines in a play [or book] will be simply words, recited by rote, lacking believable emotion. When an actor looks beneath the lines to fully understand a character’s desires and fears – the subtext of what is spoken – the words spring to life. … They express a character’s strengths, weaknesses, passions. They bare a human soul.” (Pg. 91) “In subtexting the real communication is artfully woven through description into the context of the conversation.” (Pg. 95)

In other words, bursting with buried meaning, layered meaning, and nuanced meaning, subtexting reveals truth.

  1. In Secret # 4, Coloring Passions, often variable and seeming highly contradictory, the truth of our human emotions requires exploring the many shades of feeling that collide in our hearts.

So Brandilyn shares with us, “Stanislavsky likens a human passion to a necklace of beads. Standing back from the necklace, you might think it appears to have a yellow cast or a green or red one. But come closer, and you can see all the tiny beads that create that overall appearance. If the necklace appears yellow, many beads will be yellow, but in various shades. And a few may be green or blue or even black. In the same way, human emotions are made up of many smaller and varied feelings – sometimes even contradictory feelings – that together form the ‘cast’ or color of a certain passion. So, if you want to portray a passion to its utmost, you must focus not on the passion itself, but on its varied components.” (Pg. 120)

Exploring truth versus lie in all their degrees creates complex characters: such as the truth of twisted, dying love that can reveal itself in hate (Pg. 126), or where the contrast between Jean Valjean’s steady empowerment after his heart was changed by mercy and Javert’s pride and unenlightened conscience, are clearly seen in the height and depth of their meaning. (Pg. 135)

Truth and meaning give us the endurance and growth of Eamon despite horrific evil in Anna Thayer’s The Knight of Eldaran series, shines the light of hope throughout the lands of S.D. Smith’s The Green Ember series, instills the will to live beyond ourselves in The Wingfeather Saga, and shows how stories like these can draw our hearts to goodness in Andrew Klavan’s The Great Good Thing. But how do these authors communicate from their hearts to ours?

  1. Secret # 5 – Inner Rhythm, deals with ‘hearing’ our characters’ rhythms, both the rhythm of their actions and the truth of their emotional motivations, and using these to weave a potent picture. Brandilyn puts it succinctly. “Once you are ‘hearing’ the Inner Rhythm, you can blend it with your character’s personalized traits and mannerisms, and with his Action Objectives for the scene, to create action that is believable and full of emotion.” (Pg. 158)

Facial expression and other body language of a character create powerful telltales that reveal truths to us, but we must hear those rhythms in our character and translate them clearly, or our reader won’t be able to feel them, though we outright tell them. It’s like watching a movie without the music, or hearing the music and the script alone without the actor in play. But when the music is there with the actor, and both translate the script, you find yourself within another heart, swept inside the story.

  1. Some words encapsulate truth and our translation of it better than others. Secret # 6 – Restraint and Control, are pivotal to cutting away the confused, the vague, and the extraneous words that destroy, hide, or bury the truth of what our character feels, thinks, and does, and consequently – muddies or clarifies the meaning of our story. Restraint and Control also correlates the beat of the words and sentences with the dominant rhythm of the scene, whether it is the inner rhythm of emotion or the outer pace of the action.

“If a scene is weak or moves too slowly, it may be the result of superfluous or poorly chosen words – words that blur the focus of the scene and slow the pace. Through Restraint and Control a novelist learns how to use the best words to flesh out characters, create an aura, and move the scene forward.” (Pg. 175)

Words either deaden meaning or sharpen it.

  1. But how can we explore truth we do not yet know, find meaning we have not yet experienced, in a character we feel is alien to us? Emotion Memory – Secret # 7, is a way for us to plumb the depths and heights of every character, from heroes to villains.

As Brandilyn says, “Time to get personal. To this point, we’ve focused on your character. By now you have a clear understanding of how important it is to know your character from the inside out. We’ve discovered who he is – his inner values, traits, and mannerisms. We’ve discussed his Action Objectives, his Inner Rhythm, his motivations for Subtexting, the widely varied colors of his passions. Now we’re going to talk about you. Like it or not, the truth is this: your character’s emotions begin with you. You are the well from which every passion of your character – every tremble and smile and tear and jealousy – will be drawn.” (pg. 200)

So, the truth of our character is the culmination of ‘who he is’ and ‘what she means’ to our story and the world. The act of lending our life and heart and breath to a character leads to our discovering them – and ourselves. At the least, in seven aspects of truth and meaning.

To recap, connection at the level of truth is essential between the writer, the character, and the reader. Second, every core truth holds meaning, which is a fascinating and driving force behind our entire story. Third, subtexting in dialogue reveals the truth of concealed meaning. Fourth, often variable and sometimes seeming contradictory, the truth of our human emotions requires exploring many shades of feeling that collide in our hearts.

The fifth aspect deals with ‘hearing’ our characters, the rhythm of their actions and the inner truth of their emotional motivations, then using these to weave a picture bursting with life. In the sixth aspect, restraint and control cut away the confused, vague, and extraneous words that destroy, hide, or bury the truth of what our characters feel, think, and do. Our skill in this muddies or clarifies the meaning of our story. The seventh aspect reveals how we can we explore truth we do not know yet, discover meaning we have not experienced, and bring to life a character who is alien or unfamiliar.

So why pursue good meaning in what we write?

Our story stands on solid ground – in truth revealed as our characters grow, truth woven throughout the human spirit and mind, truth given birth in action, and the meaning arising from uncovered rhythm, clarified by the right word, honed by judicious cutting – meaning stands on the reality of truth. As our villains discover, and our heroes learn, meaning built on lies, on false reality, fails when it is tried in conflict. We must dare to see truth and its meaning, dare to name it, dare to act on it. Dare to live in it.

Because it’s true.

Because we want to present others with a real picture of hope and goodness that exists to overcome evil and despair.

Because we desire to illuminate each person’s potential, explore who we are, and truly experience the world and the universe.

Because, if we are a Christian, we dare not hide him who is our hope and the hope of the world.

Because we live by faith alone, through God alone, in Christ alone.

Because no human was created to be silent.

Truth is the only solid ground under our feet. The sand of lies heaped beneath us will betray us the moment we are tested and discover we have no solid footing. Why is this important?

Because it points to truth and lie, and the meaning of both impacts far more than ourselves. Truth and meaning are vital to our existence, to the life of the world. They make up the very fabric of the universe.

So, what do you think of truth?

Where do you think meaning comes from?

Why does it matter to you?

Suggested reading: C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, chapter 1.

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June Giveaways, inspiring reading, and freedom.

It’s Summer! 
And here are books for your reading enjoyment.

Nab your next clean Summer Sale Fantasy here.
And don’t miss your Heart Sister Giveaway – stories of friendship.

As for reads that inspire me, I’ve been enjoying Sarah M Eden’s The Lady and the Highwayman, and A Victorian Naturalist Beatrix Potter’s Drawings from the Armitt Collection by Eileen Jay. Next on my list to read is Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature by Linda Lear, K. M. Shea’s Apprentice of Magic, and C.J.R. Isely’s Ranger of Kings.

And for our Encouraging Word till next time:

Don’t forget the power of good stories in all their forms. From the anecdote you tell your neighbor and have a wonderful, delightful laugh over, to the long fantasies of Tolkien. Great stories that admire goodness, that define truth within the context of life, that hold up joy and homey comforts in contrast to danger and darkness or just the weary, dull evils that pound at us every day, bring wonderful things into my heart. And I hope into yours. When goodness and truth come in, truly in, badness is on it’s way out. The impact of story reaches a long way, no matter the genre.

Are you reading great stories, sharing good things with whoever you can around you? What about your life? What are you doing in your story? Is your inspiring action helping someone get through the day, are you furthering the good things you see and hear, are you pointing those who watch you, talk to you, or value your opinion toward truth and goodness and joy? Everyday happenings matter as much as big issues, for the big things are most often a compilation of the small; they are the tumbling pebbles that start the avalanche of stone.

Truth, goodness, and joy.

Just the fact that you believe in such things, absolutes as they are, can be challenging these days. But the truth is worth believing. And it is there even when we do not believe, for it is true, and therefore very real. Which is self-evident, and a comfort.

Even if we don’t think we make much of a difference, or do as much as we should, are we aiming at a great goal, are we taking a step up that mountain that looms before us? All great journeys, in life or books, begin with a step then build on it with one more, and one more – until the journey is accomplished. And in life we needn’t go alone. The Author of all absolutes yearns for us to walk with him.

I am happy to have you by my side on our journey with good books, and glad to be at yours.
Have a great week!

Azalea Dabill
Crossover ~ Find the Eternal, the Adventure

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April Showers of Clean Books – Giveaways

I had so many good giveaways I came across, I thought I’d list them for you here so they wouldn’t crowd our newsletter.

In case you didn’t check this single book out yet, I suggest you do. It’s on my to purchase list – The King’s Ranger.

And here are the giveaways:

  1. Richly Fantastic New Worlds Book sales
  2. Fierce Fantasy KU sales
  3. April Showers of Clean New Books Sign up to get free books
  4. Free Books and Resources for Writers Sign up for free books (coming 15th)
  5. Stories of Choice and Change Sign up for free books

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Launch Day for Fantastic Journey! and other Giveaways

LINKS are live though they appear different colors.

The ocean of fantasy and speculative fiction is vast.

Have you wondered how to find the best fantasy adventures for yourself, your children, and your friends, teens to adults? Or where to hunt for the gems?

Dive into the sea of fantasy with us in Fantastic Journey – The Soul of Speculative Fiction and Fantasy Adventure to find what you seek and more. On launch special $ 0.99 now. Please follow me on Amazon!

If you got the preorder, or got Fantastic Journey and are enjoying it, would you leave me your thoughts here, or email them to me at fantasticjourney.dynamospress@gmail.com? Thank you more than I can say!

If you’d like more About the book, and a secret bonus, see my book page here.

And Derek Murphy with CreativIndie posted my article about Fantastic Journey’s blog to book creation here.

Then come back and check out the giveaways I will be adding below over our launch.

5 Days of Giveaways

Day 1: Discover New YA Series for 2021! Free download

Day 2: Clean Young Adult Free Giveaway – All Genres – Celebrate 2021!

Day 3: Free E-books to get 2021 Started!

Day 3 Extra: Faith Based Book Sale

Day 3 Extra: Fellowship of Fantasy – January 2021 New Releases – Clean Indie Reads

Day 4: (Giveaway is live the 4th) General Non-fiction/Christian Self-help/Instructional Book sales

Day 5: January Wishes for Clean Romance Free in KU

I also want to extend a special thank you to my reviewers:

Phyllis W.
Deb D.
The Christian Bookworm
Hannah R.

Thank you for your beautiful, instructional reviews!

I have sent out one paperback to Deb D. in exchange so far.

If any of you who have reviewed it would like a paperback, please email me at fantasticjourney.dynamospress@gmail.com with your name and address, and I will mail you one.

And for any others interested in leaving me your honest thoughts in a review – for the first 10 reviews up on Amazon and Goodreads I will send each of you a paperback copy of Fantastic Journey.

We are at 4 on Amazon – only 6 more to go,
We are at 0 on Goodreads – with 10 to go.

Purchasing the ebook first (0.99 special) would make it a verified purchase review, which I really appreciate, but it’s not required.

Again, thank you!

I am so encouraged reading your reviews. Your thoughtful opinions have taught me some valuable things to keep in mind for my next books, though the very next will not be non-fiction but the completion of the Falcon Chronicle series.

So for those of you who have been waiting, Falcon Dagger is the work-in-progress this coming year!

Thank you so much, thank you for joining us, and have a great new Year!

Azalea Dabill

Crossover – Find the Eternal, the Adventure

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Author Lead Magnet Collaboration

Derek Murphy CreativIndie

I’m scheduled to release my book Fantastic Journey – The Soul of Speculative Fiction and Fantasy Adventure the first week of January 2021, and I wanted to extend this author collaboration opportunity to you, if you’re an imaginative fiction author.

If you have a lead magnet this might help you get a lot of new subscribers. (For readers here, I won’t forget you either, but will be sure to share these upcoming special events soon.)

Authors, if you have a free lead magnet for subscribers that is a free fantasy or speculative fiction book, and you’d like to get it in front of 100s of potential new subscribers, please send your newsletter lead magnet link and a cover pic for one free novel of your choice to fantasticjourney.dynamospress@gmail.com.

Fiction adventure and battle scenes are great, but no romance above the “moderate” level. Which I don’t think will be a problem in our group here. 🙂 Books with spiritual themes are appreciated. I reserve the right to choose which books make our lead magnet list.

If chosen, I will put your lead magnet on a special page on my website. Your subscription link and lead magnet will also be advertised on my social media as part of a free book bundle for imaginative fiction readers.

The whole time to my book launch in January 2021, readers will have the opportunity to pick up your lead magnet, besides my book “Fantastic Journey – The Soul of Speculative Fiction and Fantasy Adventure” on $0.99 preorder.

Who could pass up a bundle of free books from great authors? (I’m looking for a 30-40 author free book bundle of lead magnets for readers to enjoy.) 5 places are already taken, so don’t wait!

In exchange for your lead magnet on my website, would you be willing to share these gifts with your email list?

1. On the future of fantasy and speculative fiction – a whopping 27 Q and A Author Roundup Interview

2. A massive SIGNED book giveaway from 25 speculative fiction and fantasy authors

3. A $0.99 preorder deal for “Fantastic Journey – The Soul of Speculative Fiction and Fantasy Adventure”

4. And the book release special of “Fantastic Journey” for imaginative fiction lovers – with a secret bonus.

If chosen, your lead magnet will remain on my website for the foreseeable future. I will also send it to my list of 780 subscribers.

If you like this collaboration idea, just send me the subscription link to your lead magnet so we can get your work in front of 100s of deserving new subscribers over the next few months – and into 2021.

I’ll provide swipe copy emails to make everything easy to share when the time comes.

Epic adventure, great speculative fiction, and fantastic journeys are irresistible to imaginative fiction aficionados. Readers will love it.

Let’s win more readers together!

Please send your link and cover pic to fantasticjourney.dynamospress@gmail.com

Thank you,

Azalea Dabill

Crossover ~ Find the Eternal, the Adventure

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July Jubilees

There’s a question about your favorite podcast, exciting news on several fronts, and a $20 book giveaway.

First for the exciting news.

Something funny happened. I quoted 70 authors of clean fantasy adventure in my book Fantastic Journey – The Soul of Imaginative Fiction and Clean Fantasy Adventure, coming out in September. And I asked – and guess what? I get to interview many of them on my blog! They said yes, they would love to do a short Q and A on fantasy and what it means to us as humans, and what it means to our future.

So far these authors will be joining us over the 9 week countdown until launch: RJ Anderson, Kathleen Baldwin, CJ Brightley, Morgan Busse, Patrick Carr, DM Cornish, Serena Chase, JF Rogers, Chuck Black, and the list is growing. Stay tuned to my blog or follow my Amazon Page here – author posts will be starting soon. (I’m sorry the links appear dim, I haven’t yet figured out how to get them a darker color by themselves. They are alive! LOL)

Many of the 70 authors are also going to be part of the massive clean fantasy adventure giveaway that will be happening during September launch week. We’re going to have so much fun!

But for now . . .

Here is the link for YA $20 Book Giveaway for July Jubilees. We are allowed to have little jubilees, aren’t we? Or maybe we must determinedly dare to secure them, in these days. 

And then . . .

Three questions, one involving a bonus for you:
1. If you enjoy podcasts, what is your favorite podcast about fantasy? I’d love to know.

2. Which tentative title of my book do you like best? aFantastic Journey – The Soul of Imaginative Fiction and Clean Fantasy Adventure, or bFantastic Journey – The Soul of Clean Fantasy Adventure and Speculative Fiction?

3. Would you like to apply to join my advance reader team and give me helpful advice on any pesky problems your sharp eyes see? Could you help us 70 authors: A. spread the clean adventure giveaway to all our deserving fantasy readers B. be my first vital reviewers  C. Then claim your special bonuses and my grateful thanks?

70 authors though we are, we can’t do it without you! Your support is essential to our goal to help a sometimes locked-in world discover new fantasy adventure, and christen a new book just arrived.
We appreciate you! 
Email us at fantasticjourney.dynamospress@gmail.com for your application request to join us in our adventure!

Looking forward to talking more about great fantasy adventures during these summer days!

Thank you,
Azalea Dabill
Crossover – Find the Eternal, the Adventure

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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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