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!

As I said in my January Blog Letter, I plan to turn this blog post series into a book at a later point, but I need to test it against your loves and dislikes. (And if you have a favorite fantasy experience and want to be a part of creating this book, sign up for my Blogletter in the sidebar and email me personally at azaleadabill@gmail.com.)

Without further ado, here’s the plan. Don’t feel overwhelmed, though it looks like a lot, because these posts will spread over a year or more.

We’ll start with a minimum of 48 posts/topics (1 a week, though I will write them all before I post any, to keep the train of thought/continuity throughout).

  1. With the main serial post I will include a short fair-use quote of the particular authors’ books to show how these great stories impacted me, and possibly what I learned from it on a meaning/personal change level, (your burning fantasy/speculative fiction experience will go here too.) I do reserve the right to edit any material you submit as needed.

2. I will include a quote and link to another popular author or commentator’s post on the same theme if possible.

3. I will include a quote from my fiction illustrating the theme or topic.

4. And I will link to another of my series posts, interlinking them in a web of experience, in other words.

5. Then, as a bonus, I will invite you to “steal” the quote graphics I’ll be making (they will be public domain). All I ask is that you link back.

This will create a web of great fantasy experiences  and generate interest in these epic stories, told in an adventurous story form. We will showcase great fiction, the kind of fantasy we love, and offer the path of our adventures in these realms.

The topic outline below looks completely non-fiction, but this blog-to-book series, 75-100 Best Fantasy Experiences, will have a high speculative/fantasy feel by the time I’m done.

At the end of this post see my list of authors and stories I’m using, and some I’d like to use. If you’ve read them, and would like to contribute your fantasy experience, please join my blogletter in the sidebar, and email me at azaleadabill@gmail.com.

This blog-to-book project is not anything like your common review, but something much deeper. How you and your best and favorite stories interact on a spiritual and experiential level.

How did this adventure, romance, tragedy make you feel, what did it show you, how did it encourage you to change, what blew you away, made you cry, rage, or laugh? What people, weapons, warfare, ways of living, and new worlds did you discover, endless and fascinating? This is the kind of story post we’re aiming for, with a particular quote from the story to share a taste of your experience, your glimpse of joy.

Those who got my Blogletter can skip the following quote, I’m just reiterating for blog readers.

As Orson Scott Card says of readers, (you and I) in his March 1991 introduction to Ender’s Game:

For all these readers have placed themselves inside this story, not as spectators, but as participants, and so have looked at the world of Ender’s Game, not with my eyes only, but also with their own.

This is the essence of the transaction between storyteller and audience. The “true” story is not the one that exists in my mind; it is certainly not the written words on the bound paper that you hold in your hands. The story in my mind is nothing but a hope; the text of the story is the tool I created in order to try to make that hope a reality. The story itself, the true story, is the one that the audience members create in their minds, guided and shaped by my text, but then transformed, elucidated, expanded, edited, and clarified by their own experience, their own desires, their own hopes and fears.
The story of Ender’s Game is not this book, though it has that title emblazoned on it. The story is the one that you and I will construct together in your memory. If the story means anything to you at all, then when you remember it afterward, think of it, not as something I created, but rather as something that we made together.

So is this blog-to-book project something you’d like to read, or write with me?

Here’s my personal list of authors and stories I’ll draw from:

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin, The Door Within trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson, The Bonemender and Bonemender’s Choice by Holly Bennett, River of Time series bks 1-3 by Lisa T Bergrin,

Vanquished by Katie Clark, The Sword the Ring and the Chalice trilogy by Deborah Chester, Foreigner and The Fortress in the Eye of Time by CJ Cherryth, Patrick Carr’s The Shock of Night and other works,

Azalea Dabill’s Falcon Chronicle series,

Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher, Ziva Payvan series by EJ Fisch, Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan,

Alton Gansky’s stories,

Karen Hancock’s Arena and Legend of the Guardian King series. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, The Seer and the Sword and Healer’s Keep by Victoria Hanley, Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina,

LA Kelly’s Tahn series,

Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven trilogy and the Song of Albion series. Tosca Lee’s Havah, Terri Luckey’s Kayndo series, CS Lewis’s Narnia and space trilogy, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Swiftly Tilting Planet,


Dennis McKiernan’s The Silver Call, Hel’s Crucible duologies, and the Iron Tower trilogy. MI McAllister’s Urchin of the Riding Stars series, Mardan’s Mark by Kathrese McKee, George MacDonald’s Curdie and other stories,


The Floating Islands and the Griffin Mage trilogy by Rachel Neumeier,

Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet,

Dragonspell and others by Donita K Paul, Eragon by Christopher Paolini, Andrew Peterson’s The Wingfeather Saga,

AA Radda’s Numin U’ia series, Way of the Wilderking trilogy by Jonathan Rogers, and Astray by Jenn Rogers,

RA Salvatore’s The Dark Elf trilogy, Anne Elizabeth Stengl’s Heartless and other books, A Posse of Princesses by Sherwood Smith, Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn,

of course JRR Tolkein’s LOTR, Anna Thayer’s Knight of Eldaran trilogy, and Firebird, One Mind’s Eye, and Shivering World by Kathy Tyers, Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief and other books.

Then there’s the Blood of King’s trilogy by Jill Williamson, The Short Victorious War and some of the other Honor Harrington books by David Weber (I hesitated to add this author because you have to sift through his books, but the good ones had an undeniable impact on me–maybe this is a call for someone to write a clean space fantasy), the Crown of Eden and Bride of Stone by Thomas Williams.

For a list of books I’d love to include but haven’t read–maybe you have?–see the end of this post. Pick one you’d love to explore, and share your journey in our blog-to-book.

Then here’s the 11 topics and 68 sub-topics I brainstormed from the above 44 authors and my favorite best reads. Most of the fantasy and sci-fi stories fit at least three topics.

(If you want to add a theme or topic I have not included, let me know with your opinion in the comments, or email me). We may end up with more than 75 serial posts. 🙂

Intro: I love the vicarious adventure of seeing other worlds through new and yet familiar eyes and hearts, minds and souls, through others’ breath and bone.

This blog-to-book will give you a look through many eyes, both authors’ and readers’. We hope these cameos of fantastic experience will inspire you to embark on these great adventures yourself.

1) Going deeper with (AUTHOR/s) into another being’s experience:

a) another mind/soul/heart b) the widened horizons of new worlds c) new peoples

2) Going deeper with (AUTHOR/s) into your avatar/hero/heroine:

a) mind – the simple, complex, alien, male, female, animal b) spirit/soul – in pride, humility, grace, mercy, perseverance, struggle c) body – in learning physical things about combat – touching on my martial arts background, dance, etc., the weak, strong, everyday man/woman/child

3) Going deeper with (AUTHOR/s) across widened horizons:

a) mountains b) plains c) forests d)rivers and lakes e) oceans f) cities g) villages h) stars/space

4) Going deeper with (AUTHOR/s), discovering the quest:

a) the soul/spirit quest b) the world quest c) the kingdom quest d) search quest e) love/relationship quest f) cross cultural quest

5) Going deeper with (AUTHOR/s), the childlike adventure:

a) the beauty of love, loyalty and bravery b) inventive language/characters c) startling truths d) cost and worth of truth e) order of the universe/hierarchy of good and evil f) the power of joy and faith

6) Going deeper with (AUTHOR/s), the romance:

a) between repentant villain and the innocent b) between warrior types c) between races d) romance exploring treachery e) true relationships in f) afraid to trust/wounded/abused g) as between fish and bird on the religious and genetic level

7) Going deeper with (AUTHOR/s), the war:

a) hand to hand fighting b) engagement tactics c) weapons d) armor/defenses f) fortifications g) guns/futuristic weapons h) spiritual gifts i) magical gifts

8) Going deeper with (AUTHOR/s), exploring other peoples:

a) feechies b) eldila c) elves d) men e) dwarves f) hobbits g) halflings h) pixies/fairys i) intelligent animals j) dragons k) griffins l) mythic beings – Lewis’s dryads, other mythic beasts/beings m) magicians/wizards n) languages o) habits

9) Going deeper with (AUTHOR/s), the evil peoples:

a) dragons b) elves c) men d) dwarves e) orcs/goblins f) trolls

10) Going deeper into “Christian” books I avoid and why some are dangerous:

a) false views of God b) false relationships c) false experience/sentimentalism instead of genuine feeling/emotions (I don’t think I’ll name authors here.)

11) Going deeper with the fantasy sub-genres (definitions):

a) Court intrigue fantasy b) Alternate history/futuristic fantasy c) Historical low fantasy d) Juvenile fantasy e) Quest fantasy f) Crossover fantasy g) Romantic fantasy h) Military fantasy i) High fantasy j) Epic fantasy k) Medieval fantasy l) Science fantasy j) Christian fantasy k) Fables and fairy tale fantasy

As I said in my blogletter, if you want to share about one of the stories I’ve listed below, or one I haven’t, please feel free. Your experience or story may be better than mine, or from an angle that completes the tapestry puzzle of our story experience. Or you may (very likely) have discovered a worthy story I have not read.

Our blog-to-book project depends on you!

Here’s a the list of books I’d like to explore and include, thanks in large part to the library at Speculative Faith. Have you read a speculative fiction or fantasy you’d like to share about? Let me know along with your opinion in a personal email, azaleadabill@gmail.com.

The Songkeeper and other books by Gillian Bronte Adams, RJ Anderson’s No Ordinary Fairy Tale series, Scott Appleton’s Sword of the Dragon series,

Chuck Black’s Kingdom series and Wars of the Realm series, Sigmund Brouwer’s The Orphan King, A Time to Die and others by Nadine Brandes, Morgan Busse’s Follower of the Word series, and Tainted, D. Barkley Briggs’s Legends of Karac Tor series,

Shaman’s Fire by Sandy Cathcart, Eyes of Everia by Serena Chase,

Shadows, Book of Aleth by Michael Duncan, Throne of Bones by Vox Day, Melanie Dickerson’s The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest and others,

Brian Godawa’s The Dragon King and others, LB Graham’s Binding of the Blade series, and Wandering series, S D Grimm’s Children of the Blood Moon.

T L Higley’s Seven Wonders series, The Cradleland Chronicles by Douglas Hirt, Robin Hardy’s Annals of Lystra, Sharon Hinck’s The Sword of Lyric series, Leviathan by James Byron Huggins, Robert Don Hugh’s Wizard and Dragon series,

Resistance by J L Knight,

CS Lakin’s The Gates of Heaven series, The Sword by Brian Litfin,

The Darkcycle series by Rachel Marks, Mirklin Wood by Lela Markham, The Windrider Saga by Rebecca P Minor, The Blades of Actar by Tricia Mingerink, Calvin Miller’s Singer trilogy

K G Powderly’s A Broken Paradise,

The Bloodheart by Steve Rzasa, Lorilyn Roberts’ Seventh Dimension series,

The Oneness Cycle by Rachel Starr Thompson, Robert Treskilliard’s The Merlin’s Spiral series,
Tales of Faeraven by Janalyn Voigt,

and Michael D Warden’s Waymaker, KM Weiland’s Storming, Dreamlander, and others.

The Elite of the Weak and others by Precarious Yates.

That’s it, so let me know in the comments if this blog-to-book idea, 75-100 Best Fantasy Experiences, is something you can’t wait to be a part of. And if you have a friend who would be interested, please share this post using the social media buttons below or in the sidebar. 

Thanks so much for reading this humongous post! To our future adventures, (and much shorter) posts,

Azalea Dabill

Editor and Author of Historical and YA Fantasy

Crossover: Find the Eternal, the Adventure


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