Tag Archives: fantasy

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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2016 CJ Redwine’s The Shadow Queen

A riveting retelling. Snow White has grown a backbone and a half to save her kingdom. And she doesn’t do it alone.

When Lorelai’s parents are murdered, she wants to save her family and her kingdom. Ravenspire is in the throes of death, the earth of the kingdom itself drained by Queen Irina’s lust for power. When Queen Irina comes for Lorelai and her brother Leo, the princess discovers strengths greater than she knew through her struggle to tame shape-shifting dragons, defy an evil queen, and do the right thing. Continue reading

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2016 March YA Fantasy Blog Letter

Well, I’m getting on to adventure.

Journey beginning . . .

Journey beginning . . .

First, a bit of news:

I’m excited and just wanted to encourage you all that our fans really appreciate us taking time to talk to them.

Yesterday I emailed Rachel Neumeier of the Griffin Mage trilogy, The Floating Islands, etc., asking to order a signed copy of her new book Keeper of the Mist that is coming out for my book giveaway that Derek is helping me set up. *Giveaway coming soon.*

Continue reading

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Azalea’s Scop Talk

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Mythic fantasy often displays the moral war, an adventure we are all embarked on.

Path of the Warrior: First Entry, is my opening story about how Tae Chisun, respected warrior from Korea, Land of the Morning Calm, seeks to save his people from annihilation by making peace with an attacking enemy in secret.

His Kuksun (general) exiles Tae from his love and his life, setting him on the path of a wanderer, where he will save enslaved stronghold daughter Kyrin Cieri of medieval Britain, impacting the lives of many in their stories to come.

Path of the Warrior explores how compassion, anger, and love can motivate a man to sacrifice everything. When Tae sees his Kuksun foolishly determined to die with all under his command, dooming their people to death, he seeks terms of peace with the enemy. He must kill a master above him who taught him what he knows of war, yet betrayed them all.

In spite of his Kuksun’s wrath, and about to be executed, Tae thinks of his wife, Huen, the Kuksun’s daughter, and begs him to give her his sword and his mother’s land. His general decides to let the gods decide Tae’s fate and has him thrown over the wall to the enemy. Thus the Chronicle begins …

How compassion and mercy can coexist with killing, and drive a person to kill to protect others, is important. Warriors are not necessarily evil. In fact, killing is sometimes necessary. It depends on the warrior’s motive. If it is worthy, a warrior is truly a hero or heroine, as the case may be.

Our motives of love, mercy, kindness, fear, revenge, and anger can become quite tangled. Our desires tend to be mixed at the best of times, but that does not let us off doing the best we can. And if we are God’s forgiven child, he is growing more love and compassion in us all the time.

Genuine care for some people’s lives may require the loss of other’s lives. Many people who do evil will not be stopped by niceness—they are set on their path to destroy others, to achieve what they want at any cost—deadly force is the only thing that will stop them. We are given responsibility in the way of the warrior to save life in just defense. 

The moral war yields good story fodder. And always growth. Downwards or upwards. The choice is ours.

Crossover: Find the Eternal, the Adventure

P. S. Lance and Quill is still in my editor’s capable hands, and events there have pushed my publishing date a few weeks forward. Thank you for your patience, and enjoy summer!

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Falcon Heart is official!

Well, it’s official. My book Falcon Heart is finished.

The print proof came in yesterday evening, and it looks great! I’m so thankful and excited. This has been a long time in coming, and the Lord has brought it together.

Falcon Heart is available in both print and ebook on Amazon. My appreciated reviewers, readers, and friends, I hope you enjoy it! I also just applied as a GoodReads author today. Thank you so much!

Have a great day.

Azalea

P. S. Below gives readers a little idea what Falcon Heart is about if you want to forward this to a friend…

A strange dagger…
Adventure beyond fear…

Slavers seize Kyrin Cieri from the coast of medieval Britain and sail for Araby. With a dagger from her murdered mother’s hand, an exiled warrior from the East, and a peasant girl, Kyrin finds mystery, martial skill, and friendship closer than blood. 
The falcon dagger pursues her through tiger-haunted dreams, love, and war in the Araby sands. Kyrin is caught by the caliph’s court intrigue and faces the blade that took her mother. One thing can give her the will to overcome, justice against hate, dagger against sword. 
Murder, sacrifice, vengeance…compassion and the art of war.
Crossover: Find the Eternal, the Adventure

Whether you love historical or Christian medieval romance with a touch of martial arts fiction, or need a young adult epic fantasy series for teens, Falcon Heart, Chronicle I is a solid choice. 
Read the excerpt of this medieval adventure and discover the magic of Falcon Heart. A medieval fantasy of romance and mystery from Britain to Arabia and back.

Old grunge paper. And here’s the link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Falcon-Heart-Chronicle-Azalea-Dabill/dp/1943034001/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428611962&sr=1-1&keywords=azalea+dabill

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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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Scop Talk: On Reading Fantasy

The bit below, from Gladys Hunt’s Honey for a Child’s Heart, is just good. I have to share.

It brought back so many wonderful memories of adventures in my early reading days. She encapsulates much of what I’ve felt about reading fantasy and what it does for me in my heart, soul, and mind. Because of that, what she says extends to you and every human in our world.

She writes a frank, uplifting and inspiring conversation about the importance of books, fantasy, and reading for children and parents. You’ve got to read her book if you have any interest at all in the world of hopeful books. She includes a good list of books at the end. They brought back to me the adventure and wonder. Dive in!

“Lewis Mumford once said, ‘The words are for children, and the meanings are for men.’ But I don’t believe it. Children suspect more is present than the actual story, and because there is little space between the real and the unreal world in a child’s mind, they reach across with amazing ease and begin to ferret it out. They may read the story again years later and find that their experiences in life help them see more. Adults will read the same book and begin to better understand why they loved it as children. But at any age, the story is an experience of quality and substance.

“The most subtle and profound ideas are often found in books written for children. A kind of ‘suspended reality’ exists in which what is true becomes more obvious. Good fantasy helps us see ‘reality in unreality, credibility in incredibility.’ A child accepts and loves fantasy because of his own rich imagination and sense of wonder. For children, magical things are not nearly as complicated at they are for adults. They have room in their minds for all sorts of happenings. And those who write fantasy are not so much those who understand the heart of a child as those who have a child’s heart themselves. Out of the depth of their personal experience they combine a child’s heart with profound insights into life’s meaning. Some fantasies laugh; some are full of nonsense; other are breathless with adventure and brave deeds. …

“Not everyone takes to fantasies or fairy tales, although I believe most children do. These stories are certainly at their best when read aloud–especially fairy stories–because the lovely cadence of words and the economy of language make them a special experience. It is adults who worry over the make-believe, the magic, the strange creatures, the evil events, the wars, and sometimes the gore. Children have far less trouble. They readily know the difference between fantasy and reality. ‘No child confuses dragons or unicorns with cattle in a meadow,’ one writer said. It is the child who doesn’t know about dragons and unicorns who is to be pitied! …

“Children don’t squeeze life into boxes. They have room for a large variety of emotions and happenings and are quite aware of the possibilities in people. They know life is difficult; they are happy to believe it also turns out right in the end. I like Beauty and the Beast to this day because in that tale an act of love transforms what is ugly into something beautiful. I believe it still happens.”

Blogger’s Note: Gladys does not say all fantasies and depictions of ” the make-believe, the magic, the strange creatures, the evil events, the wars, and sometimes the gore” are good; her context deals with these subjects handled well in story. Read Honey for a Child’s Heart. You won’t regret it! Published by Zondervan, 1978.

Crossover: Find the Eternal, the Adventure.

Crossover: Find the Eternal, the Adventure.

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Scop Talk: Book Cover.

Here’s something I’ve been working on this last week or so. I’ve been playing around with various comp photos and photos found on Pinterest to compile a tentative book cover mock-up for Falcon Heart. Don’t worry, I’ll be seeking the pic rights even though my sister is just going to use the mock-up for a rough model for her artwork. Then I’m hoping to get the artwork colored so it looks like a traditional fantasy book. But what I really wanted to ask you is what you think: 1) It’s been suggested that I try the falcon flying in, wings outspread, through the the center of the arch, and 2) That I have my sister shorten the sword handle because it distracts the viewer from the model’s face. What’s your opinion? Click twice on the pic to see a larger version. Thanks for your help!

Tentative Book Cover

Tentative Book Cover

 

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“Scop Talk”

Blog and family pics 132

Fantasy readers, what kind of fantasy do you like?

As a blogger of “Scop Talk” I go for quality story-telling. One element of a good tale is detailed world-building that assumes I am intelligent; such as C. J. Cherryth’s Foreigner,  Robin McKinley’s Deerskin and Beauty, Rose Daughter, etc. Not simplistic communication that tells and describes the character’s action both at once, and insults my comprehension. Another element is a sense of wonder at the beauties of the created world, and that man is not the end-all and be-all.

I have not found many stories that honor the Creator of our bodies and souls, but tales that attract me the most portray some kind of inkling that the characters know there is a governing power of good beyond ourselves: tales that show truth, honor, loyalty, and goodness contrasted with the deceit and monstrosity of evil and those who follow it. And that show how evil can be deceptive and appear beautiful. Dennis McKiernan’s The Iron Tower trilogy is one of these. A medieval setting adds to the fun.

And a good fantasy is never complete without a grand sense of adventure. The adventure comes in the main character’s inner journey and war, the outer journey and conflict, and the character’s choices and responses that shape the world, such as in Lisa T. Bergren’s Cascade, Waterfall, and Torrent, in her River of Time series.

Actions do matter. Motive matters even more. Fantasy is a vehicle. Good fantasy makes a difference in how I see myself and the world. It shows that the smallest person makes a difference. We matter, and matter to our Creator.

You matter to me. As I write my fantasy stories, I’d like to know what kinds of good fantasy stir you. What do you like about your favorite fantasy tales? What do you call bad fantasy, in the matter of crafting and content? Will you share some Scop Talk?

Thank you so much.

For a longer list of great fantasy reads, see my reading list on my resources page.

Crossover: Find the Eternal, the Adventure.

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