Category Archives: Guests

Speculative Fiction and Fantasy Escapes

20 Author Fantasy Round Up

(Round up announcement.)

Few successful journeys begin alone.

The road to publication for Fantastic Journey is no exception.

This is a joint venture. The seventy authors and their inspiring adventures we explore are beacons of extraordinary story. Most of them are lights by contrast, guiding us to enchanting lands of danger in the ocean of fantasy. With them, we learn how to identify true gems and sell them not. How to discern enemies, friends, and endless possibilities with our inner eye: to touch and to taste the truths of life in all realms near and far.

-Fantastic Journey The Soul of Speculative Fiction and Fantasy Adventure

Of the 70 authors I approached, some quoted in Fantastic Journey and some I simply invited to a signed book giveaway coming in September – October to celebrate my book launch, twenty of these Imaginative Fiction writers have graciously joined us.

The gems these intrepid adventurers bring forth for our delight are:

  1. How has fantasy or speculative fiction impacted your experience of the world?
  2. Why do you think fantasy adventure is important to us as human readers?
  3. In what ways are great fantasy and imaginative fiction vital to our future?

Here is the line-up for these authors’ fascinating answers to our Q and A Round Up. (Only some of each author’s works are listed beside their names. Once the Q and A begins, their answers will be posted on this blog, with links to their pages or websites, etc.)

RJ Anderson – No Ordinary Fairytale trilogy, the Flight and Flame trilogy, Swift

Kathleen Baldwin – The Stranje House series, A School for Unusual Girls

Morgan Busse – The Ravenwood Saga, Mark of the Raven

Chuck Black – Wars of the Realm series, Cloak of Light

CJ Brightley – The Lord of Dreams

Sigmund Brouwer – Merlin’s Immortals series, Martyr’s Fire

Patrick Carr – The Darkwater Saga, The Shock of Night

Serena Chase – The Eyes of Everia series, The Ryn

Katie Clark – the Enslaved trilogy, and The Rejected Princess

DM Cornish – The Monster Blood Tatoo series, Foundling

Azalea Dabill – the Falcon Chronicle, Falcon Heart

Melanie Dickerson – Fairy Tale Romance series, The Peasant’s Dream

EJ Fisch – The Ziva Payvan trilogy, the Ziva Payvan Legacy, and Fracture

Victoria Hanley – The Seer and the Sword

Kathrese McKee – Mardan’s Mark series, Pirate’s Wager, Mardan’s Mark

Sharon Hinck – The Sword of Lyric series, and The Dancing Realms, Hidden Current, Forsaken Island

Ashley Maker – Under the Trees

Rachel Neumeier – The Griffin Mage trilogy, and The Floating Islands

A. A. Radda – The Numin U’ia series, Numin U’ia

J.F. Rogers – The Ariboslia series, Astray

Jonathan Rogers – the Wilderking trilogy, The Bark of the Bog Owl

Anna Thayer – The Knight of Eldaran series, The Traitor’s Heir

Chris Walley – The Lamb Among the Stars series, The Shadow and Night, The Dark Foundations

KM Weiland – Storming, Dreamlander, Wayfarer

In my last newsletter, I mentioned “posting the Q and A’s soon.” I apologize that things were delayed. But as long as my launch team’s advice is a go, posting these generous Authors’ answers should begin regularly in the next two weeks!

Until then, here is a sneak peek into RJ Anderson’s wonderful introduction to the Q and A’s:

Q: How has fantasy or speculative fiction impacted your experience of the world?

A:

As a child, fantasy was hugely important to me as an escape from loneliness and the bullying I experienced at school. But for me the best fantasy stories were not just the ones that transported me to another world, but the ones that reminded me in some way of the Great Story found in the Bible. It meant a lot to me that the best fantasy books depicted the heroes’ sufferings and struggles not as senseless cruelty but as part of a greater Purpose, and affirmed that no matter how terrifying and even unconquerable the darkness might seem, light and truth would triumph in the end. 

As an adult I no longer feel the need to retreat into fantasy worlds, but I still love to visit and explore them. Fantasy is one of the few genres left that celebrates the triumph of goodness over evil and insists that there is a real division between them — even if, as Solzhenitzyn reminded us, that line cuts through the heart of every human being and it’s important to remember that as well. A fantasy that pits sinless saints against irredeemable sinners can be just as false as a fantasy that pretends there’s no difference.

Q: Why do you think fantasy adventure is important to us as human readers?

A:

Good fantasy inspires us to dream of and seek after better things, and also to see our own everyday world with new eyes. I often think of C.S. Lewis’s quote about how he wrote the Narnia books to steal past the “watchful dragons” of people’s false and jaded notions about Christianity, and I think fantasy has tremendous potential to show us truth from unexpected angles and help us to understand ideas that we may struggle with or even outright resist in real life. So I try to find ways to bring that into my own storytelling.

Q: In what ways are great fantasy and imaginative fiction vital to our future?

A:

Our present world has a desperate hunger for love, happiness and purpose, and people are searching wildly in every direction to find it. But the shabby idols propped up by the entertainment industry and the muddy cisterns of modern “realistic” storytelling inevitably leave them feeling cheated. Many people these days are embarrassed to want happy endings, let alone believe in them, and I’ve heard a lot of snide remarks about the “toxicity” of stories that claim villains can be redeemed and not just beaten. But that just shows how far we’ve wandered from the truth of the gospel, which offers hope to every human heart. 

I really believe that telling great imaginative stories that acknowledge we are fallen creatures who can’t save ourselves, but which also point us to One who is worthy and who can offer us the redemption we long for, will resonate with people in ways that no other stories can. But we have to learn how to tell those stories well enough that people who don’t already agree with us will listen, and that’s not a skill that can be learned overnight. If we want to see great fantasy stories being written in the next few decades, we don’t just need to support young authors and praise their efforts, we need to encourage them to seek out thoughtful criticism and use it to make their stories truer and richer and better. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, as Hebrews 12:11 reminds us, but the harvest it yields can’t be produced any other way.

This will be re-posted along with a bonus Q and A to a personal question I had about Knife, on the coming Q and A’s. Until next time!

Crossover – Find the Eternal, the Adventure

P.S. None of these launch things would be going as smoothly as they are without the help of my trusty assistant, Susana. Thank you, Susana!

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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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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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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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Falcon Flight is launching – only $0.99

Today’s our day!

It’s launch day for Falcon Flight (a medieval fantasy adventure),  $0.99 today 5/13, through Monday 5/16, click here. And be sure to grab your ebook copy of the first Chronicle, Falcon Heart, free the 13th – 16th. Click here.

Then my friends Mariella and Ashley’s books (I’ve read them, they’re very good) are a steal. Continue reading

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That last book report is easier than you think

A fascinating study of literary adventure by email:

I had the privilege of mentoring a teen student recently. Victoria’s questions about her book report were so well laid out, I thought our talk might be helpful and entertaining to you. At the bottom of our post is a link to a free medieval poem, Falcon’s Ode. Plus a link to Falcon Flight, a young adult medieval fantasy, free 5/13 – 5/16. Family friendly of course. But definitely adventurous! 🙂 Continue reading

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10 epic fantasy quotes for young adults

Click on any of these books for their descriptions or sales page on Amazon.

 Queen's poisoner The Queen’s Poisoner by Jeff Wheeler

“Courage isn’t the absence of fear, Owen. Courage is moving forward even when you’re afraid.” (Check out Jeff’s article on Virtue. A great read! So encouraging.) Continue reading

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Intriguing…a book review.

Midnight_Captive_Front (2)

Midnight Captive was an intriguing read for me, and this review is a few of my thoughts on it.

At first I was a little put off by the confused similes and metaphors and the less-than-stellar grammar. But I was drawn into the story and came to care about the characters deeply.

True, they could use fleshing out, but they hold crystal truths up to a reader’s eyes all the same. Prince Sheridan’s discovering his own identity apart from his brother, Princess Hermione daring to believe in sacrificial love, the minstrel, Alyn’s, bravery in so many ways, and Phaedra’s perseverance and hope of freedom from her and her sister’s curse. Even the evil Seanan was a person with more than one facet.

I would love to see Midnight Captive rewritten in a fuller version.

Some of the logical transitions between various characters’ actions are missing. As in the king’s sudden change of heart toward his daughter after four years of trying to free Phaedra from the curse. His change of mind needs to be shown—how it came about. I hope this makes sense. And if you don’t mind my two cents, a different book cover might serve you better. Midnight Captive’s current cover says Victorian/love story era to me, not fantasy. (I’m a fan of Cameron Dokey’s fairy tales. You might like them too.)

Thank you for the privilege of reading your work, Emilie. Keep writing. I see a lot of promise in how you wove Cinderella, the Pied Piper, and other tales into a new story. Just be true to the vision you see in your mind, see the vision as clearly as you can, and find words that fit that vision. Be picky about the words. They make or break your tale.

Alyn’s climb into the tower to see Princess Hermione and the humor there was good. J In the end, this line of the book stood out to me. It rings with Midnight Captive’s theme of freedom:

“Do it for yourself, Minnie. You are just as cursed as I am. You might see the day physically, but you are not seeing the real beauty of it. You are too much a prisoner of the night.”

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The Ultimate Self Publisher’s Resource Guide review

Not quite what I thought, but still good. I give it three stars.

At first look I thought the Self Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide was a tome inches thick. (I did not pay too much attention to the description since I’d been pleased with my experience as Joel Friedlander’s customer and blog follower before.) So I was a little dismayed when he asked for a review of his and Betty Kelly Sargent’s book within about a week.

Still, I had signed up, and was determined to do my best to keep my word to give a review of this giant resource for Indie writers. The contents looked extensive. I began reading.

On the one hand I was pleasantly surprised that the topics were flashing by, but wondering on the other if this resource was all the title touted it to be.

I finished the last section on consumer protection agencies. I was disappointed. I had mistakenly thought this was more than a generic index of resources. A place to begin. The Ultimate Guide, I felt, should have more advice and how-to.

But there are many books and blogs, etc., on how-to methods, with endless advice. In fact, the Guide lists many of them. These resources put the ball in my hands and spread the park before me. That is a good place to begin.

There are numerous links in each resource field, and the Guide states that it is a beginning. More information will be added. On top of this, the resources listed are relatively time-tested and customer vetted. This is invaluable.

How many sites have you gone to looking for info on a subject, and come up with info or a company you wished had a track record? An easily accessible record, made by people like you, entrepreneurs with roughly your experience and goals? Many times. If you’re new like me. I have not personally tried and tested these resources, but I’m willing to bet Joel and Betty have done good background checks.

This Guide is especially useful for the beginner. Just don’t stop here. Despite its name, no book can contain all the resources in the world. Many are developing, imploding, or being created at this moment. If you need resources, Indie entrepreneur, search out these and then bravely go beyond. But keep the Ultimate Guide on the shelf for reference.

All the best to you on your journey. Search and try: fail, search, try again. Succeed. Never give up.

One note to the Guide’s formatters: it would be nice if you would add a little more space between listings. It’s slightly hard to read and keep track of my place on the page. Thank you.

Also, I have been given a free ebook version in return for my honest review, though I would pay $8 to own the Guide. It might have saved me a half-year of research time when I started my writing and editing journey. And I may have need of a cover designer soon. 🙂

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