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Spiritual Strength in Story

Strength begins in the spiritual arena. Our Stormpoint for this month is how conflict in fiction spills into battle in the inner arena.

Inner strength draws evil, or pits us against it, as our authors’ books this month attest. C. J. Milacci’s Fugitive of Talionis has a heroine who is top of her class as a kidnapped trainee but who is just at the beginning of her inner journey that will strengthen her or break her. That’s the thing about hard circumstances. They make us more bitter and defeated, or wider of heart, stronger in both spirit and body. For each affects the other, as the inner arena touches, even directly feeds, the outer parts of us.

Paths of fantasy, under water or over wold, take us to interesting places and wondrous spaces, not to mention introducing us to fascinating people where every character is involved in the battle we all fight.

Fantastic Journey – The Soul of Speculative Fiction and Fantasy Adventure Pg. 8

Gaining the skills to survive, the will to conquer, the hope that makes us look up, the courage to fight, all drive us to become strong. And the simple yearning for justice, that evil will not always rule by force and fear, that also strengthens us.

But where are the roots of spiritual strength, and what are the results? The roots of every strength are in truth. The true truth of your circumstances. The truth of what you think. The truth of what you believe. The truth you act on. The truth of what is real, not what you wish were real.

“Call me crazy,” Nika says as we walk around some old rubble, “but I thought you were going to share a little more than that.”

I rub the back of my neck. “Remember Ava?”

“The girl who died in the river?”

I nod.

“Of course I remember her. Not something easily forgotten.”

She goes quiet, and I can tell she’s replaying the scene in her mind same as I am. I can still see Ava slipping from my grasp into the clutches of the river. Her lifeless body washing up on shore hours later.

“What about her?”

“Leddington is her hometown.” I let the words sink in.

“Oh.”

I lick my lips. “I need to tell her family what happened. Tell her sister that with her last words she wanted her to know that she loved her. You get that, right.”

She nods. “Yeah. I’ll back you up.” . . .

“I need to do it, Nika. But how can I face them when I’m the reason she’s dead?”

Nika stops and grabs my arm. “Bria. You’re not the reason Ava’s dead. She drowned because of Commander Ark, because of Colonel Valarius. Not because of you.”

“Maybe.” I shrug. “But I couldn’t save her.” I stare off into the distance.

Nika squeezes my arm that she’s still holding. “But you tried.” . . .

“I just wish I could have done more. Wish I could have held onto her. Kept her alive.”

“It’s not your fault. But I get it.” Nika ducks under a branch. “You’re not the only one with regrets. I have them too.”

I look over at her in time to see a flash of pain sweep over her face.

“But we can’t let those regrets rule our lives. God’s forgiven us both, and He has a path for us to walk in. If we allow ourselves to be hindered by everything we wish we could change or undo we’ll never really be able to walk in the freedom of God’s plan for our lives.”

I let her words sink in, not sure how to respond. Silence stretches between us, but somehow I think we both need it. As we hike the last miles of the forest, I can’t help but wonder what Nika regrets.

Fugitive of Talionis – ARC

Turning from the false and following what is true gives us strength and leads to more strength.

The impact of choice remains to be seen. Candace Kade’s Enhanced demonstrates this.

Don’t miss these good reads, (Enhanced is out, and Fugitive of Talionis goes live on Kickstarter the 22d.) There will be new authors and books and more on choice next month.

Have a great week,

Azalea – Crossover – Find the Eternal, the Adventure

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Fantastic February!

Note: The first part of this post was supposed to be live January 15th, but my website was down. So please forgive the two-parts.

Part I

It is here! Jaye L Knight’s Daican’s Heir! Or almost. It’s due to release the 17th.

Blurb

For three years, the Resistance has suffered under oppression—first from Emperor Daican and now from his daughter. In her quest for vengeance, Davira has ripped Arcacia apart, and more blood is spilled every day. Newly married, all Jace and Kyrin want is to be able to live their lives in peace. In order to do that, they must help restore the rightful heir to Arcacia’s throne.

Carrying the weight of everyone’s hopes for the future, Daniel works every day to be the leader and king they have all fought so hard to see him become. With the Resistance and their allies from all across Ilyon united behind him, he prepares for a final confrontation with Davira. But to do so will require facing the full might of Arcacia’s military and Davira’s wrath.

When Jace and Kyrin become the primary targets of her ravenous hatred, Daniel finds himself in a race against time to stop his sister and avoid the bloodbath she is determined to unleash. Can he find a way to protect his loved ones and bring peace to Ilyon or will Davira succeed in bringing them all to their knees and destroying everything they hold dear?

Pre-Order Information

Pre-order available now. It’s releasing February 17th!

Pre-Order Link

Author Links

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Part II – Stormpoint – Inner strength

Recently we talked about how fantasy inspires us. One thing it inspires in me is inner strength. Good courage.

Over the coming year I plan to touch on the following. What is inner strength? What is it’s impact in the spiritual arena? How does choice enter into the issue? How does beauty affect inner strength? What forges our inner strength? Villains are also strong. Can we tell good power vs the villainous? How do we sense it in others? We must also forge the steel of our metaphorical blades. Why moral relativity weakens us, and the reality of morality is essential. What a lack of inner strength results in, and what untold riches inner strength gives to us. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Right now it is time to dig deeper into what that elusive inner strength is.

At root, it is the ability to hold to truth against opposition. It is not stubborn blindness or wishful thinking. For the truth must be searched out, and tested. If we find a lie, it must be abandoned. If what we find is true, we must hold to it, no matter the odds. Inner strength is also the will to fight for what is right.

Truth must be searched out. The beauty, the mystery, and the adventure are vital to our spirits. Fantastic journeys invite us to search beyond what we see for truth, to dig deeper for courage. –Fantastic Journey pg. 313

When you dig deeper, what do you believe inner strength is?

Until next time,

Azalea

Crossover – Find the Eternal, the Adventure

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A Christmas Poem

A Christmas Clear

By His Father held more than dear, as a babe He gave Himself here

The full hope of the year, that we may live without fear.

With good food and cheer, God’s great heart without peer

To us, drew near, and sat down without a jeer

To abolish our debts in arrear, and at last every tear.

God Himself from eternity, with second person of the Trinity

In the Spirit gave us abundant life in perpetuity, this, no superfluity.

With full design He created me and thee.

In the light of His heart what will we see?

He sent possession of virtue by decree, and works it out in you and me

Virtue’s riches without fee.

Our hearts by grace rejoice to be

Bringing up jewels from life’s tumultuous sea, before our King, Who did foresee

My life I thought so carefree, my death did guarantee.

But with the evil one He did disagree

And from eternity, the tree

He did oversee.

He came to bend every knee, that our hearts might be free.

It is Christmas indeed, we in Him to be.

The star brought clarity

Here lay deity in humanity.

An oddity in brevity, beauty and charity.

Came that verity, reality

With sweet frankincense of humility, joined by highest majesty.

He banished enmity, and robbed vanity

That we might touch infinity.

In heartfelt jollity without banality, what ferocity of vitality.

Gone timidity, now comes tenacity;

In place of iniquity, forgiveness and dignity.

Every soul a city in unity, blessed be He, forever the Trinity.

The master of Creation, in fullness of administration

In innovation for every nation

The Jewish lion of adjuration

Kept not His exalted station, but clothed in incarnation

Took up our litigation, and offered a libation.

Worthy beyond all ovation, our joyful hearts in elation

Kneel in adoration.

Great is His salvation.

By Azalea Dabill, December 9, 2022

Merry Christmas to all!

Azalea

Crossover – Find the Eternal, the Adventure

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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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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!

Continue reading

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Coloring pages sample . . .

I’ve been working on coloring pages for Trencher and Board: food and recipes of the Middle Ages, an Adult Coloring journey.

Here’s what I have to date. Trencher and Board coloring pages sample. I know I said in my blog letter I’d give a few samples, but I decided to give you what I have so far. The recipes themselves are forthcoming, in the completed book format.

If you like the sample, would you leave a comment on how the coloring pages worked for you? I’d like to know if the grayscale and traditional coloring mediums work together, and whether the pages work well for you for markers, pen, or pencil. (I’ve been using pencil.)

On another note, Mary Pearson’s The Beauty of Darkness the third book in her trilogy, in hardcover, is cheaper than the $9.99 e-book, and just released the 2d. Don’t miss it! That is, if you like YA fantasy. I tried her books out from the library first, but this one I’m buying. 🙂

Thank you so much!

And have a great August!

Azalea

 

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Ruthlessly slash What??

It’s summer, and the game is afoot!

If you’re an author or reader, you’re either furiously creating or relaxing in your favorite warm spot with a book. Or you may do both consecutively. That’s two blessings of the land we live in, the USA, and I hope you’re enjoying reading or some equivalent summer fun. This is the time to be out of doors!

And we never quit learning, it seems. I enjoyed these interesting editing tips, Kristen Lamb’s article on what to ruthlessly slash, passed to me by a bestselling writer, KM Weiland, who wrote Storming, a great steampunk historical. I loved (still do) this daring air pirate adventure.

There’s more. It’s time for The Clash of The Titles, and I’m voting for Jenn Roger’s new release Astray, book one of the Ariboslia series. If you want to vote for her or your favorite title, go here starting Wednesday, June 22, 2016.  Page is not live until Wednesday.

There are many great reads and blessings – what are some of yours, if you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comments. It may take me a little time to get back to you, but I will!

PS. If you would like inside news and special offers on my books and coloring book projects and you are not yet on my list, join my blog letter in the sidebar. I won’t give your info to anyone else, and you’ll get the inside scoop bi-monthly or less.  🙂

Have a great summer!

Azalea

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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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And we have a winner!

We have a winner for the Epic YA Fantasy 21 – book Giveaway! Sharon of the UK, with her entry 1498. Congratulations! We hope you enjoy your 21 summer reads. 🙂

The winner of my earlier YA Fantasy Books Giveaway with The Beauty of Darkness will be announced soon. Continue reading

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Falcon’s Ode: a gift for visitors, reviewers, and readers

 

Falcon's Ode Final Lyric 1_edited-1

Falcon’s Ode, 1st of 10 lyrics, a poem which Kyrin created for her falcon, Samson, in Falcon Flight, sequel to Falcon Heart

This is my gift to my visitors, readers, and reviewers. You are the best! Especially recently, this is for my reviewers Julia, Ember, and Candace. Thank you so much for the reviews!

This will be the only lyric on my blog. But I will be adding another lyric almost daily to my Reader’s Swag page here, until 5/13/16, when Falcon Flight releases. This Ode is for everyone. Share, steal, squeal at will, pin and let all in! LOL 

Please just add the link back so that others can find it.

Thank you, and enjoy the adventure! 

Azalea Dabill

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