Tag Archives: reading

2017 Beginnings–Scop Talk

I’m hungry for a deep talk about meaning in writing—about why, and a little about how, books impact you and I. If you want to join our conversation, please leave your thoughts in a comment at the bottom of this post.

Authors who have taken me on deep journeys to far places of great import include Patrick Carr (Shock of Night), Tessa Afshar (Land of Silence), JRR Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Anna Thayer’s (Knight of Eldaran trilogy) to name a very few.

I’m hungry, not for a fast read, but a complex world that is so real it scares you, enthralls you, lifts you out of yourself to a higher plane. And then when you return to your own world, you bring that life experience, that bravery, that truth, back with you and apply it, even in some small way, to yourself. You make that sacrifice required for the life of another, face down your fears, take the next step on a dangerous journey, or simply do the right thing, which we are sometimes such great cowards about doing. At the least, you see through other eyes that another road is open to you.

In author lingo—seize the hero’s journey. For it has certainly seized you, if you draw breath in this world. The battle is on!

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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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Guest: Land of My Dreams, Norma Gail Thurston Holtman

Change in Plans

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

The tiny bundle placed in my arms was warm and sweet, the answer to years of prayers, heartache and uncertainty. My husband and I stood in the chapel at the adoption agency with tears of joy in our eyes as we looked at our son. The day of delayed flights and rushing through airports was a microcosm of the turmoil of tests, surgeries, and years of waiting.

Four long years of hoping for a child were over, culminating in the joy of a three-week-old baby boy, wide awake and somehow aware that his world was changing forever. He looked around, taking everything in. A sensitive, reflective child, he has always had a tender heart and gentle spirit.

Twenty-one months later, a phone call during the Super Bowl brought us a baby girl who has never ceased to bring excitement into our lives. Arriving two years earlier than we thought possible, becoming an amazing athlete and never slowing down once, she never fails to surprise us.

My husband and I had often talked about adoption when we were dating. We were products of the “zero-population” generation. We talked about having two children and then adopting two more. God’s plans didn’t include the biological children. He had something so much more special, a plan to show us His loving control over our circumstances, while accomplishing His perfect purposes.

As friends had two or even three children in the time it took us to have one, we learned that God’s plan is unique for each of us, but always meant to make us fall on our knees and acknowledge His loving sovereignty.

Perhaps you have seen your dreams all turn to dust and your hopes fall to the ground, nothing growing to fruition, nothing turning out the way you planned. You may carry the scars from battling disappointment and confusion about where God is leading you. It may seem He doesn’t care and has turned a deaf ear to your prayers.

When doubt and disappointment seem to follow you everywhere, turn to Jesus and lay your hopes and dreams at His feet. Commit to serve Him no matter where He is leading and He will establish a way for you that is far higher and better than anything you ever imagined.

Copyright April 16, 2012 by Norma Gail Thurston Holtman. All rights reserved.

Land of My Dreams Norma blog

Norma Gail’s debut contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams, set in Scotland and New Mexico, released in April 2014. She is a former Bible Study Fellowship discussion leader who established the first weekly women’s Bible studies in her church in 2003 and continues to lead a weekly small group. Her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She has led weekly women’s Bible studies for 19 years. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, FaithWriters, and the New Mexico Christian Novelists. She is a former RN and homeschool/soccer mom who loves family research, history, and Scotland. Norma lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 38 years. They have two adult children.

Norma Gail - Author

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Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Land-My-Dreams-Norma-Gail/dp/1941103170/ or

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/land-of-my-dreams-norma-gail/1119606864 ?ean=9781941103173

 

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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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