A young girl. A diabolical gargoyle. A sacrifice to save the world. A smart young girl is unwillingly thrust into a frantic quest to save mysterious people and bizarre creatures from a deadly foe, determined to destroy everything--and everyone--she cares about. Thirteen-year-old Danielle had never thought of herself as adventurous until, alone, she must face two enormous gargoyles, Ercen and Kimar, and decide whether she trusts them. Was she kidnapped--as all the evidence indicates--or rescued from doom, like they say? Can she believe their assertion that she has a power to save the entire world from a diabolical gargoyle and his minions? How can a simple girl break the monstrous power of the key to the enemy's ghastly temple, crafted from the very soul of a broken, elderly woman? Danielle's epic journey will captivate readers as she confronts powerful threats, and finds perplexing friends along her dangerous path. With the help of a gargoyle names Lohxnahr, Danielle struggles against forces beyond her worst terrors. She must dig deep to find enough courage and resilience to challenge the rogue gargoyle commander of the renegade army, bent on seizing control of the human race. Full of wonder, suspense and adventure, this novel is a fun, page-turning fantasy that also asks serious questions about the true meaning of love, faith and friendship.
When I began writing The Quest for the Temple Key, I had not an inkling that my Norwegian ancestry would become part of the fabric of the story line. Yet, in a way it shouldn't have surprised me, since all of my grandparents came from Norway. In fact, my maternal grandfather boarded a ship for America when he was all of 16 years old; he never returned to Norway. Can you imagine many kids doing that today? Yeah, me neither. And because all my human characters, regardless of country of origin, must be made of very stern stuff to survive what they're up against, I made some of them of Norwegian background. Like my ancestors. And, I'd like to think, like me. #grit #sternstuff #ancestors #determination #tough #resilient #fantasy #epic #amwriting #storytelling #authorunplugged #family #origins
I'm not a huge fan of Twitter, not the least reason being that I'm a writer. So, tweeting out something intended to be meaningful in a few handfuls of words seems, at best, wishful thinking. Because to really communicate meaning to another, words are required...even more words than the teller might wish to use. That's why books are written. While brevity has its place, and the tweets of birds can be lovely, by their very nature tweets reduce the application of words to the point of forced reductionism. Or worse, the appearance of deep thoughtfulness while it isn't really there. Had I only written that "His leg had a chunk of rock sticking out, and her pants smoked" this scene wouldn't be worth reading or caring about. Stories need words to persuade, convince and evoke. #wordsmithing #tweets #communication #noiselevels #static #fantasy #adventure #wordsmatter #balance
The root word for passion comes from the Latin word, pati. Its simplest meaning is "suffering," in the context of enduring pain. It was tied to the horrific sufferings of the early church martyrs. More than a thousand years later, it took on the sense of strong emotions or vehement feelings. And now it could be argued that, too often, those who see themselves as "full of passion" are not so much enduring pain and suffering as zealously delivering it to others. Yet, true understanding of others' pain only comes from a place of willingly paying the cost of that understanding. This is (com)passion. The early meaning of pati was that true passion masters the mind. Now, it rises from anti-mind and a rejection of self-control. Today's "passion" is perilously close to raw power, meted out with no compassion. Which only brings more suffering. #passion #pain #suffering #power #compassion #loveoverhate #revenge #foul
Perhaps my favorite quote outside of what's in the Bible, comes from Dostoevsky: “Don’t let us forget that the causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex and varied than our subsequent explanations of them.” This quote comes from his acclaimed novel, "The Idiot." In so many ways, his words are prophetic to the times in which we live. And as you can sense from this scene in #TheQuestfortheTempleKey, this truth applies to more than human actions. #peace #listen #reflect #consider #letusnotforget #complex
Recently, we've witnessed many acts of rage. Some intended to bring positive change, while others are acts of flaming anarchy. You might be surprised to learn--if you haven't read my books yet--that rage is a recurring theme in them. It's a complex mashup of emotions. This doesn't make it a bad thing. But it's not a benign thing either. It's not neutral. There is a source from which it is born. Often that source is abject fear. It comes from our most primitive brain. And that is why rage can be so problematic, and so easily fomented. #rage #complex #pain #sorrow #compassion #groans #troubledtimes #lookforthegood #fantasy #adventure #epic #becurious #dystopian
As the world drifts into another month of the pandemic's massive disruption. the term "new normal" is getting tossed around a lot more. In this scene, my goal was to describe a typical teenager's room, with a few hints about her habits. All this I would describe as "acceptable normal." In contrast, too much of what I'm seeing put out as the #newnormal that "must be accepted"... is entirely not acceptable. Dependence on "facts" that can't possibly be known for months to come is a huge problem, because abandoning curiosity is required. Yet, curiosity is the bedrock of science. Abdicating skepticism is too high a price to pay. Withholding judgment is seen as weak, while picking a side is urgent...and those that disagree with your side are idiots. Sure, experiencing anxiety in the face of many unknowns is the core of the human condition. But fully accepting it as a "new normal" is not. #acceptable #amwriting #epic #anxiety #notnormal #hubris #rushtojudgment #fantasy #curious #skepticism #barkless #wagmore
You ever have something that seemed straightforward take a hard turn, at full speed? That's what I was aiming to have this scene feel like. I could imagine the wind getting knocked out of Danielle, because I've had the wind completely knocked out of me. The more I can make you, the reader, feel that same way, the happier I am. #unexpected #fear #fantasy #epic #danger #reading #amwriting #funnovel #inthemoment
Of the many possible takeaways from this global pandemic, one I'm hopeful people lean into--early and often--is intentional stillness. Why? Well, it's only when we're still for some length of time can we fully take stock of the world around us, including (and perhaps especially) how much of it we take utterly for granted. So, slow down. Breathe. Look around. Get outside. Appreciate. Nurture gratitude. Put down the "smart phone" and pick up a book. Be still, will you? Wishing health and peace to you and yours. ~BK #fantasy #adventure #epic #youngadult #YA #teens #slowdown #appreciate #muse #creative
As some areas in the world are "opening up" after many weeks of self-imposed (mostly) sheltering-in-place as a way to combat the COVID virus, my hope is that new we see new cultural habits being formed. Habits that focus less on technology and more on living simply. Impulses that are more gracious than reactive. Ways of engaging with each other that are not "distancing." Efforts to bring people together rather than push them away. And especially the intentional rejection of tribalism. If that comes to happen, even a little, perhaps there's a silver lining in this global catastrophe. Stay safe. Read books. I'd love to know what you think of this one! ;-) #fantasy #adventure #kids #youngadult #pandemic #simpleliving #habits #culture
We're in a time of great unrest, throbbing fear, and quick anger. People are worried about their loved ones. People are anxious about their future, financially. When faced with competing goals, conflict is the result, both internally and externally. Now is the time to tread carefully when it comes to drawing conclusions about the motives of others. It's hard but imperative. There's often so much more to the story than we know or can see. #patience #fortitude #faithoverfear #hold #epic #fantasy #adventure
They say it takes 28 days to form a new habit. Which means that virtually every human on planet Earth has formed new habits in the past month, as a result of this pandemic called COVID-19. The big question is this: are your new habits ones you like...and that you want to keep? In this scene, it's clear that Freida has some habits that are very pleasant to her. In fact, some have become loved traditions. Have you ever thought that some of our habits bring us calm and peace? Another way of looking at them is that they bring us rest, even without sleep. Lean into those things that bring you rest, even without sleep. But do your best to get your sleep! :-) And why not grab a copy of The Quest for the Temple Key to read just before you go to bed? #rest #sleep #calm #fantasy #adventure #habits #pandemic #greatstories
Are you feeling a bit bored during your sheltering-in-place? How could you not, right? How many days or weeks have you been hunkered down? Well, in this scene from The Quest for the Temple Key, we see Paign, Anders, Freida and Danielle struggle to deal with a challenge they couldn't even have imagined just a few days before, when their lives had been predictable and boring. So, if you're bored and wishing you weren't, be careful what you ask for. Like these kids, you might get more than you bargained for. Grab a copy and see how they manage this trial. #danger #boredom #adventure #epic #fantasy #shelterinplace #covid19 #amwriting #readabook
If you live in North America, the UK, or most anywhere in Europe, you've been sheltering in place for a week or more. Pandemics can do that. And if you, like us, are tired, annoyed, frightened, confused or feeling similar unpleasantness, you're in good company. Now comes the greater challenge: making the best of things. There are many scenes in my storyline to choose from, but I like this one for its bit of whimsy. We know from earlier in the story that the situation is dire...and about to get much, much worse. But here are the humans doing what humans do best in a pinch. They make the best of it, when they choose to. My hope is that you're doing your best to choose to. And hold onto your sense of humor. Whimsy lightens the load. May you and yours have health and peace. I hope you enjoy this little excerpt from Book One in the Gargoyle Chronicles. Reach out. I'd love to hear how you're doing. #inittowinit #adventure #epic #fantasy #whimsy #makethebestofit #smallwins
Less than a month ago, we all went about our business without a second thought. Now we're all "sheltering in place" or some similar description. It's hard to make sense of it all. Sometimes it feels like a dream... a very bad dream. Then, you realize it's not. In this scene, we see Danielle facing a similar challenge. Her life went from boringly "normal" to totally upended. I bet you can relate. I hope this excerpt helps break up the weirdness of #wfh, or gives your mind something else to think about. Grab a copy to see what happens to Danielle and what she discovers along the way. As with other epic human challenges of the past, we'll get through this. Hopefully wiser, less hasty, and more compassionate. That's the choice laid before us all. #fantasy #adventure #virus #workfromhome #stayhome #makingsense #standfirm #keepthefaith #patience #grit
Recent brain research has discovered that humans have three brains. There's more than the big one in our head. There's also a small one in the center, called the reptilian brain, where the urge for fight, freeze or flight comes from. Then there's a brain in our gut (think, "gut feeling"). As the #coronavirus pandemic inexorably crawls over the earth, changing our lives on a daily basis, I believe our collective reptilian brain exerts more and more force. It's making itself heard, seen and felt with hoarding impulses, growing panic… and the escalating temptation for flight. But where to go? How to get there? It's important to recognize that the reptilian brain doesn't think; it's impulsive. As we see in this excerpt, Peter and Amy are already literally in flight, yet are overwhelmed with the mindless urge to go back into enormous danger. For them--and for us--it is essential to stay focused and keep thinking. Grab a copy of this first book in my #fantasy #adventure series to see how things turn out for them. It will give you something else to think about while you shelter in place. #keepthefaith #focus #together #liveitout #stayhome #loveinaction
In times of unspeakable stress and danger, even while a part of you wants desperately to come unhinged from breathless fear, it is imperative to keep your wits about you. This is true, not only for your own safety but for those you care about, and most especially for those who cannot care for themselves. Others need you to remain frosty. So, how do you do that? Understand that you must engage your thinking brain. Exercise logic. Puzzle things out. Make thoughtful guesses. We see Anders doing exactly this. In fact, he helps Paign and Frieda "level up," as he works out what the weird evidence indicates. If he hadn't done so, all three were at risk of their reacting brain (also called reptilian) taking control. It would have defeated them, surrendering to their impulse to flee. But even in that valley of the shadow of death, they were not alone. Stay frosty. #think #fantasy #reality #brave #adventure #virus #quarantine #keepthefaith #notalone #intheshadow #Heiswithyou
There comes a time in our life, whether we want it or not, when we're faced with a choice. We can attempt retreat. We can try to step aside. We can plead for compromise. We can give up and surrender. Or we can stand. This last option--to stand--is, in fact, the most important, because when we have either considered the other options or even taken them, there may yet come a time when, if we are true to ourselves and what we believe, the only real choice, the only congruent option for retaining our integrity, the only decision that reveals our values, in bold relief, is to stand. I believe the days are coming when we will all be faced with this ultimate choice. Will you stand? #crazyworld #fantasy #epic #YA #fiction #disruption #polarized #adventure #worldview #virus #futureatstake #truthisstrangerthanfiction #choices
I had so much fun writing this scene because, in no small part, I was simply visualizing myself in a similar situation. Well, "similar" up to the point that Peter encounters his house guests. But gasping for breath after running hard in search of a loved one, yes! Many years ago, late at night, I heard my wife screaming from around the corner of a long building. By the time I sprinted around the corner to save her from--I had no idea--she was soaking wet. Two impish friends had hosed her down with super-soakers. And I was near death from the exertion. Or so it felt. But even writing can feel like that sometimes. The trick is to pace yourself, as much as you can. Gasping for air is no fun, at all. Trust me. ;-) #fantasy #epic #sprinting #airisgood #breathingisgood #amwriting
Did you know that dogs have 40 times the capacity for analyzing smells than humans? In this scene from The Quest for the Temple Key, the humans are reminded of this. Slowly. Relentlessly. And, forgive the pun, doggedly. But will they notice soon enough? Would you? #fantasy #adventure #dogs #stench #caves #distracted #dim #dangeraroundthecorner #unaware #abouttobesick
Early on, my wife and I were told we'd never have children. It is a life-altering, emotionally disruptive thing to hear. We know the anguish that others go through that receive this news. As providence would have it, the doctors got it wrong. About a year later, we welcomed our sole child into the world. I often read to her while she was in the womb, and kept reading to her for many years. She's a true blessing, and not just to her parents. Her bubbling creativity includes drawing, music and video creation. But she especially likes to write. Her first novel (NeverSeen) was published when she was 17, under the pen name, Taylor Hunter. It garnered critical praise and several awards. Going to university delayed her 2nd novel for 4 years. But that will change this year. Rejoice! #proudfather #amwriting #fantasy #adventure #valentine #gratitude #daughtersrock #creativity
Have you ever frantically looked for someone when you were worried about their well-being? It's horrible. The nagging doubts...if you even have time for them. Your heart in your throat. All of your senses dialed up to a level you didn't know was there. It's truly an awful experience. Gratefully, most of the time your worry was unfounded. But not always. There are very wrong-headed people, after all, as well as those fully given over to evil. While keeping the scope of this truth within appropriate boundaries for my pre-teen and teen audience, I am committed to revealing this reality to them, just as my favored childhood authors (Tolkien and Lewis, especially) did for me. They deserve to know the truth. #fantasy #truth #evil #faith #adventure #reality #corruption #smokeandmirrors #lifeisshort #existential #humantrafficking #solafide
In this baleful age of extraordinary polarization in which we now live, it's important to remember that what brings us together are shared experiences. Not many years ago, that was the norm. Now, it seems to be becoming so rare, it's like a sighting of Nessie or the Sasquatch. Throughout my series, I labor to show how much everyone needs others for their mutual benefit. Even their lives. In this simple scene from The Quest for the Temple Key, we see three friends navigating across a steep, frozen ridgeline. Having crossed something just like this, what I recall most about that experience isn't the fear, but the comfort of knowing someone else was there to help me. Let's plan to focus on finding what brings us together, shall we? #fantasy #connected #life #adventure #commonground
Have you ever had a feeling you're being watched? Then, when you turn around (slowly or quickly, depending on the creep-level), you confirm you were being watched? Of course, most times it's just a friend. But not always. Although I've spent many hours exploring caves, I never felt creeped out from being watched, but just because I was in a cave! On the other hand, I've felt like I was being watched lots of times. In this scene from The Quest for the Temple Key (Book 1), the kids are exploring the cave they've heard about since childhood. And the first discovery they've made is enough to creep out anyone. But what they don't know...well, let's just say they eventually find out. #creepy #fantasy #discovery #epic #gargoyle #adventure #YA
Many years ago, I went on a spelunking adventure; my buddy and I wanted to explore a cave he'd heard about. It just so happened that our odyssey was in the dead of winter, and it was quite a long hike of post-holing through knee-deep snow. Then finding the cave's entrance was a serious challenge. By the time we got into the cave, we were exhausted. And by the time we explored the cave and returned to the car, let me tell you that the meager snacks waiting for us, followed by a long drink of water were like a royal feast. This memory was in the back of my mind as I wrote this scene in The Quest for the Temple Key. Enjoy! #winter #funinthesnow #fantasy #epic #caves #simplepleasures
At the time of this writing, we're about 55 hours into the new year (and decade). I'm sure that you, like me, have high hopes for more than a few heart-felt goals to come true. One of mine is to not only get books 3 and 4 published in 2020, but to see them launch strong and make even more people happy. And if I'm candid with you, a part of me also expects to have some very unpleasant surprise to come along this year because, pick any year, that's what happens, too. In this book bubble excerpt, we see Peter getting a nasty, unpleasant surprise. It's what Peter does after, as well as Amy (his wife) and most of all Danielle (his daughter), that matters most. Life is all about balancing our responses to the unexpected challenges (good and bad). Freak out? Level up?Both? May 2020 be an amazing year for you! And thank you for your support. ~BK #fantasy #epic #adventure #series #2020 #BHAG #gratefulforyou
When I was writing this scene at the close of The Quest for the Temple Key, I had only the vaguest ideas of where the story might go if I started a 2nd book. Now, several years later, All His Wrath is published and I have 3 more TGC books in progress and nearly completed. My love for the story and the characters grows each time I sit down with them. But as a "pantser" writer, I'm the first to be surprised by what happens. But the themes of loyalty, faith, family and fortitude continue to guide me throughout. I hope you enjoy this excerpt. BTW, no idea why this bubble is formatting oddly. My best wishes to you as we close out 2019 and the 2nd decade of this millenium. #epic #fantasy #2019 #2020 #newdecade #adventure #amwriting #faith #family
During this #holidayseason, chances are you're thinking about family or will soon journey to a family reunion. Chances are that you may have mixed feelings, too. Few family gatherings are free of friction, if not outright conflict. It helps to remember what binds you together than what pushes you apart. This is, perhaps, the most important season for mindful pursuit of grace, patience, and forgiveness; these encompass the core message of Christmas, after all. Which also makes it the perfect time of year to help those less fortunate that you in whatever way you can. May this season bring you great joy, peace and wonder! #happyholidays #merrychristmas #faithful #grace #forgiveness #others #generosity #peaceonearth
Ever been in a position when you got sick and tired of thinking over and over again about a hard decision, weighing options, trying to discern the best course to take? It's not a pleasant place to be, let alone linger in. In some cases (maybe most of them), taking action is the best decision you can make. That's true in this scene from The Quest for the Temple Key. I hope you enjoy it and get a copy of the book to see how things turn out for my brave characters. #adventure #fantasy #danger #battle #action #rescue #fortitiude #faith #gonow #fellowship
This year has delivered more gut punches than anything we'd expected...and we expected it to be a very challenging year. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we've had to make hard financial choices: selling our home, drastically downsizing, changing careers even when you don’t wish to. Choices that leave a lasting mark. In addition, my mother passed away, and we've lost other core relationships that have left emotional scars. Yet, in the midst of it all, we've had some great joy, laughter, and wonder. Our daughter graduated with an engineering degree and landed her first job. For the 1st time, all of the members of my family (3) completed NaNoWriMo, and wrote over 50K words, each, into our new/next novels. Even some chronic health issues have been resolved. It is so important to remain open to good things even in the hardest times. Our faith sustains us and enables us to persevere each day, expectant and hopeful. In this excerpt from The Quest for the Temple Key, Danielle faces similar confusion and anxiety. I hope you enjoy reading how she faces them. Get a copy for yourself and for someone going through a rough patch in their life. Even “non-fantasy” readers enjoy my books. #grit #epic #perseverance #fantasy #adventure #lifelessons #keepthefaith
Some journeys are pleasant. A few are wonderfully memorable. But some are so fraught with danger, they leave a permanent mark on the travelers. In this excerpt from Book One in The Gargoyle Chronicles, we see Freida and her dog, along with Anders and Paign, climbing the mountain behind Freida's home. Their mission is to discover what happened to an old woman from their town. Little do they realize how deeply this journey will mark them. Grab a copy of this book to launch your gargoyle journey! It's available at all ebook providers. Thank you for your support. And don't forget to follow me on Bublish. #blackfriday #fantasy #adventure #youngadult #YA #teens #epic #danger
It's a common desire to know more about your past, but it's also common that not all you discover is welcome news. In fact, some of that information may be nothing short of horrifying. Then, you have a different quest to journey on: making peace with your past. In this excerpt from The Quest for the Temple Key, Anders' goal was very admirable. But the outcome shook him and his friends to their core. #fantasy #epicadventure #secrets #sleuth As a side note, I'm feverishly at work on the sequel to All His Wrath (book 2 in TGC) this month, also known as National Novel Writing Month... or "NaNo." #NaNoWriMo2019 #amwriting
Darkness is nothing more than the absence of light. So, where does our fear of darkness come from? It comes from what hides under the cover of darkness. In most cases, our fears are unwarranted. But it's those cases where it is warranted that we should be most afraid. And there are often clues. In this scene, the kids are not nearly concerned enough about anything that might be hiding in the heart of darkness. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from The Quest for the Temple Key. Get a copy and read it under the blankets with a bright flashlight. #light #heartofdarkness #fantasy #dark #adventure #danger #sleepdeprived #dstisabadidea
We'd like to believe that real threats are pretty obvious. Or that there are signs, if only we can see them. We often clutch hold of that belief, white-knuckled into adulthood, even though children's fables are written to teach us that there is evil lurking in the world. And it is often hidden. In this excerpt from The Quest for the Temple Key, Anders discovered something long hidden will change the world as he knows it. #Halloween #Fear #BooToYou #AllSaintsEve #Hidden #Threat #SomethingWickedThisWayComes
We live in an era of staggeringly rapid technological change. Often I wonder where it will lead us. Like Malcolm says in Jurassic Park, "Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should." It's imperative to recognize danger in advance and avoid it until you are ready to face it head on. As a YA fantasy writer, one of my aims is to help young people get clarity in a noisy, confusing world. Adults, too. #danger #adventure #fantasy #stoptothink #epic #faith #grit #fortitude
There's a point in a young person's life, often around the onset of becoming a teenager, that they begin to see their parents in a new light. It can be an uncomfortable and difficult transition, even in the best of families. It certainly is for Danielle, when she discovers a secret about her parents that ends up changing everything about her life. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from The Quest for the Temple Key. #fantasy #adventure #quest #family #parents #truth #discovery #desperation
As early winter threatens many areas, it's comforting to have a warm home to retreat to. In this excerpt from award-winning The Quest for the Temple Key, Peter and Amy see their home destroyed by the very creatures who say their intent is to save them. Even more urgent, though, is the welfare of their teenage daughter who is still trapped in the house. I hope you enjoy this book bubble and consider grabbing a copy for a fantasy reader in your life. #fantasy #read #adventure #epic #winter #warmth
Over the course of a person's life, there are many milestones we cross. But not all of them are obvious. In this excerpt from The Quest for the Temple Key, we see Danielle, a teen, cross over one as she enters into a conversation with her parents and the gargoyles protecting them. She respectfully acknowledges each point of view, while putting forth her own view. And in struggling to understand what's gone wrong in the gargoyle kingdom, she discerns what's gone wrong with her own. #love #compassion #discern #wisdom #faith #fantasy #epic #adventure
When, as a teenager, I was handed the first volume of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, I did not expect to finish all three novels in as many days. As you might guess, I did little else than read, hiding the books under the desk while reading in class, then openly on the bus, then hidden under the covers at night. Once finished, my eyes didn't work right for a couple of days. Years later, when writing The Quest for the Temple Key, I hoped to replicate, at least a little, the grand sweep of LOTR for my daughter, who was a teen then. I wanted her to be smitten by the deepening fellowship between my motley crew of characters, as they subjected themselves to a dangerous journey. It worked. She loved the story, and ended up writing her own award-winning fantasy novel. #quest #epicjourney #fantasy
Life is tough. So is being a writer. "Graduating" from writing to becoming an author is, in many ways, stupidly hard. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. That's why having the enduring support of people that care about you enough to see you succeed is, in a word, crucial. My wife and daughter certainly do just that for me, as well as a few key friends. They "keep the pancakes warm" for me while I'm out slogging in the wordsmithing mud. I hope you like this excerpt from The Quest for the Temple Key! Consider getting a copy for someone who gives you enduring support. #fantasy #adventure #love #enduringsupport #farmlife #family #friends
As much as we'd all like to think we control the world around us, deep inside we know the truth of the matter. Which is why it is so frightening to wonder "What if...?" It's a question without an answer. As the author of this series, I can assure you that most of the time I have no idea how things are going to go for my characters when they're faced with "What if....?" I hope you like this excerpt from The Quest for the Temple Key, and consider getting a copy for yourself or a friend. #unknowns #standfirm #brave #letsroll #action #fantasy #adventure
Storms and humans don't mix. Last night we had a freak storm that blew in fast, dumped hail, flashed lightning, and knocked out power. While the storm lasted only about 15 minutes, the power outage lasted most of the night. Of course, many storms deliver far more devastating results than a minor power outage. Storms often leave permanent reminders behind. So do storms of a different kind. These are internal storms of betrayal, loss, revenge... blown in like a hurricane, that wring lasting damage on its victims. In this scene, a storm of a different kind has crushed the spirit of Kimar, the gargoyle captain. Can he recover? Only with help. I hope you like this excerpt from The Quest for the Temple Key, and consider getting a copy for you or a friend. #storms #friends #risk #fantasy #help #adventure #epic
Although I'd dreamed of writing a novel for far too many years, it was a surprise to me how hard it was, once I started. This excerpt comes pretty early in The Quest for the Temple Key. In a way, I felt like Amy does in this scene...while writing this scene. I wasn't sure what I had in my hands. Would it amount to anything? Would it even become an entire story? Gratefully, it did come together as a whole story, and even won several awards. Writing is, indeed, a labor of love. I hope you enjoy this #bookbubble and consider getting a copy for yourself or someone you love. #laborday #fantasy #adventure #laboroflove #epicjourney #laborious #amwriting
When I was around 10 years old, we visited the farm my mother grew up on, in western North Dakota...in July. I'd never been in such heat. It was so stifling that it was hard to breath. In this excerpt from The Quest for the Temple Key, we find at least two characters that are stifled by the searing heat of fear. Which is worse? Well, you can't cool off fear with a glass of cold water. I hope you enjoy this #bookbubble and consider buying a copy of the book for yourself or a friend. #summer #heat #fear #fantasy #adventure #family #parenting
"We all want peace!" If only that were true. But from our first encounter with a bully in grade school, the illusion that everyone wants peace is shattered. For myriad reasons, there are some that very much do not want peace. So, there it is. How then does one live in a world like that? Great question! In this short excerpt from The Quest for the Temple Key, Danielle learns a bit of the backstory of what went so horribly wrong in the gargoyle realm. She learns that, sadly, even creatures who for millenia had lived in peace and harmony were now embroiled in a fight they didn't ask for. And their fight has crossed into the realm of humans. I hope you enjoy this book bubble and consider getting a copy of the book to follow Danielle into danger. #peace #peaceisntfree #grit #brave #donotdarenottodare
Everyone, even kids, have times when there's something terribly important to learn while being afraid to hear it. Curious and fearful, simultaneously. In these moments, we try hard to stay calm, but often fail. We usually don't feel our heart rate go up, but we sure notice a shortness of breath. In this excerpt from "The Quest for the Temple Key," Danielle struggles with that tension of being fearfully curious. I hope you enjoy reading this short passage and if you're intrigued, get a copy of the book to see what she learns. Thank you! #fantasy #curiosity #brave #stronggirls #glitteringroof
OK, I get it. This scene has no suspense or fantasy adventure to it. But that's fine. Even necessary. For a story to work well, you need to identify with the characters in some way. And in this scene, I'm basically pulling back the curtain on my world at the time of writing it. Though I wasn't a weary teacher grading papers, I was an exhausted compliance officer (with bifocals) frustrated with how lax many of my advisors were at completing paperwork with any accuracy. And I had huge stacks of papers to prove it. More importantly, my bold and creatively questioning daughter's pretty face smiled at me from a mahogany frame next to my desk lamp. You might be surprised how often the explosive sound of clattering pans followed my wife's invitation to come to dinner (on "compliance nights"). Art imitating life. I hope you enjoy this little excerpt and consider getting a copy of the book for yourself or a friend. #fantasy #dads #daughters #familymatters #justlikeme #truestory
What dreams did you have as a child? Who did you imagine yourself to be? I wanted to fly, to be a pilot. That dream has yet to be started. On the other hand, all kinds of other dreams have come to be. If you haven't heard of Mike Rowe, you've probably heard his voice. And you'll love his Facebook content, along with the other 5.3M people that follow him. Then check out his "Returning The Favor" show (and FB page). It's full of amazing--and true--stories about strangers helping strangers reach their dreams. By the way, if you, like me, enjoy "hero's journey" kinds of stories, then you're who I write for. #fantasy #amwriting #herosjourney #read
You can guess how Anders' well-intended but stupidly phrased "...what you think you saw" comment went over with Freida. Not well, of course. So, it took courage for Freida to try again the next day to make her case and convince her best friends that she was right. (She was.) Why? Because she was alone. Only she knew what she'd seen. When the boys didn't immediately believe her, it took guts to stand her ground. And that's exactly what courage looks like. Sure, there are countless stories of amazing and heroic examples of nearly-inhuman courage. But let's not forget that more often than not, it's those small and seemingly unimportant moments when we are brought to a choice, a decision, that matter most. How will we respond? Be like Freida. Choose courage. #fantasy #adventure #courage #donotdarenottodare
When writing this first book, it was important to establish realistic characters that kids could relate to. In this scene, three of the four kids in my story are introduced. As you get to know them during the unfolding crisis they all face, the reader sees each struggle with how to deal with their disagreements, some of which are so severe that they could break their bonds of friendship. But isn't that really what "bonds of love" means? For anyone to experience lasting bonds of love, we must all struggle with the inevitable friction that comes from being our own person. Standing up. Being an individual, rather than members of a hive. Happy Independence Day, America! #fantasy #struggle #persons #friction #loveindependence
When I began writing this novel, I had no idea it would turn into a series or win awards. Frankly, I doubted it would even turn into a complete story. What I did know was that I wanted something better for my daughter (then in junior high); she was who I was writing for. What the world was pushing out for her generation at the time was all about twinkly vampires and countless dystopian nostrums. At the same time I hoped to create fantasy that grabbed her attention (and kept it), my goal was to have it grounded in this world. Further, it not only needed to be relatable (which is always better for the reader), I hoped it would help her grow in empathy and understanding. Most importantly, I wanted her to grow as a critical thinker. Even then, it was clear the world needed more of that. More so today. #fantasy #dreams #adventure #criticalthinking #readers
Because the people in my series come from very different backgrounds, it's a fun challenge to remind readers of that in subtle ways. In this scene, my goal was to expand what we know about both the fathers and the mothers just enough to reveal how different they really are. At the same time, being a parent has universal qualities, so it was important to show that, too. They're going to find a way to find their missing children, no matter what. But in the middle of their "stuckness"--not knowing what to do or even where they are--they share a quiet meal. Few words are spoken, but a great deal is said. I hope you enjoy this bubble. #fantasy #parents #teens #adventures
Words are difficult to come by today. You see, on Sunday night we learned my mother passed away. She had lived a long and extraordinary life. Still, losing a loved one is never easy. So, today I am wounded by loss. This human experience is one that I explore in my books. Why? Because even though it is an altogether common experience, it is one that most humans avoid dealing with. We work hard at pretending we're not wounded, that we're tough, that it doesn't matter. Although it always does. Today, I wish Ercen could press wholeness into me as she did with Peter's lacerated hand, just as my mom did when I scraped up my hands due to a fall. Gratefully, there is One who is doing that in me already, as well as the rest of her family and friends, even as my mother is welcomed into eternal wholeness. #healed #whole #fantasy #amwriting #imissmymom #lovetoyou
When I wrote this first novel in my fantasy series, I had only one reader in mind. My daughter was a fan of fantasy (so am I, of course), but I wasn't thrilled with her options as a middle-schooler, because at that time the most popular series involved twinkly vampires or dripping zombies. So, I decided to write something for her that was clean, intriguing, full of adventure, and easily relatable. Happily, she loved the story (and still does). It inspired her to write her own (award-winning) fantasy novel. And it was wonderful when this story won several awards of its own. I hope you enjoy this bubble. #fantasy #cleanwriting #nogimmicks #adventure #action #fun
If you, like me, are not a big fan of 100+ degree weather, you will understand why Peter finds it difficult to moderate his mood. Even so, it's Amy's mood that has him the most challenged. What has she found? Why is she looking that way? And why does it make him so anxious? I hope you enjoy this book bubble. #amwriting #fantasy #moodmanagement #discovery #notafanofheat #weekendreadermarathon
The fantasy stories I most enjoyed growing up (and still do) not only have great adventure elements, they also include moments of whimsy. Something I didn't expect, but could not help but smile at. In this scene, we meet a new gargoyle character that is very different than the others we've met in Book 1. He's clearly different in size, but his speech pattern is unlike anything Danielle (our protagonist) has encountered. My daughter loves this scene still, many years after first reading the draft. I hope you like it, too. #fantasy #gatherings #partyoftwo #adventure #crucialconversations #whimsy
Already deep inside a mountain littered with a maze of tunnels, the kids found themselves literally between rock and a hard place. Definitely hard to understand. Would it prove to be hard to retreat from? They could only discover that by investigating it. #fantasy #adventure #epic #betweenarockandahardplace #toughdecisions
As I started The Gargoyle Chronicles, a key focus was to explore how community works. Even looking at how you can have a community within a community. In this scene, we begin to discover how cousins can be best friends, even when they're sweet on the same girl. And how her parents often function as surrogate parents to the boys. #truefamily #community #fantasy #epicadventure #friendsarewhereyoufindthem
Growing up on fantasy and science fiction, I've always enjoyed not only the exotic and weird places the characters travel to, but also the manner in which they get there. In the first book in The Gargoyle Chronicles, my primary focus was on the manner in which gargoyles get from one place to another. Wouldn't it be great to make travel plans this way? #fantasy #travelplans #gargoyles #epicadventure
As a reader of fantasy for, well, a long, long time, the most believable stories for me made it clear that when the characters I cared about made it through the most desperate threats they wouldn't be the same. Indeed, they could not be the same. Not after what they'd gone through. Either they've grown--or lost--something during their quest. Probably both. This scene near the crescendo in Book One, we see hints of how at least one member of the group will never be the same, now at the edge of the brink. I hope you enjoy this bubble. #fantasy #protagonist #thebrink #comeback
In this scene, Kimar makes several promises to his friends. Some are full of hope. Some drip with foreboding. All of them come true. Because Kimar keeps his promises. My promise to my readers is that they'll get a cracking good story, full of adventure, faith and friendship. Enjoy! #promises #fantasy #foreboding #YA #epic
I recently read that most people believe we live in incredibly dangerous times and that we all desperately need a hero. The writer argued that's why a certain movie series is so wildly successful. Maybe they're right (about the movie series). As for me and my house, we believe people need a hero regardless of what's happening in the world. In fact, we're born with the need for a hero. That's why, even as young children, we love hero stories. In my novels, I put each of my main characters into the role of a hero, at some point. Often, they fail. But they do act bravely, and that counts for a lot. #brave #hero #fantasy #gargoyles #dangerous
As I've developed my "creature characters" in my gargoyle series, I'm always trying to show them "doing what gargoyles do." Since I generally don't know what they "do", I'm the first one surprised when a scene like this one pops into my head. The chances are, though, that if you've ever been camping in the woods you will have seen someone doing what Kimar does. Maybe you've been that someone. Except you used a knife. Enjoy! #fantasy #gargoyles #whittling #kindlingstarter
When I sat down to begin writing this novel (my first), the only person I was writing for was my daughter (about 15). At about that age, I had a paper route. Not many of my YA readers interact with newspapers, if they even know what they are. So, I thought that could be a good hook. But I wanted something more to kick off mysterious intrigue. Remembering how anxious I was when delivering a paper to some homes, that was my next focus: create a creepy house. The final piece came when the word "portico" popped into my head. A creepy house with a portico...the last house on Danielle's paper delivery route. Yep, that works. Enjoy! #fantasy #bookhook
Most of the time...maybe all of the time...the best we can do is move forward, hoping for a good outcome. We make our plans, and then life happens. Once in a while, life coincides with our plans. Most of the time, it doesn't. And when our plans fail, it's time to go with your gut. That's what Freida is doing in this scene. Enjoy! #girlpower #grit #guts #keepmovingforward #fantasy
In my worklife, I've encountered toxic masculinity more than I have valor. In fact, I was unfortunate enough to be the principal reporter that resulted in a life sentence for a horrifically toxic male. Still, I reject the notion that somehow all males are toxic when they are being brave. In my stories, most of the males are brave. But, indeed, all of the females are. Gender isn't what defines toxicity, behavior is. Males can be toxic. So can females. Daring to face down a determined foe is masculinity ...and femininity ...at its best. #valor #daring #donotdarenottodare
In a culture that seems to have lost its collective mind celebrating how different we are, my goal is to write stories that show very different groups working together for a common goal. In other words, I write to show how unified we can be. So, here we have humans from two eras and very different walks of life, working with dangerous gargoyles whose help they must have...to rescue an abducted teenage girl...with the help of her dog, who won't be left behind. Boys, girls, parents, gargoyles and a canine. That's something worth celebrating, at least to me. #one #together #alotincommon #love
You, like me, love great fantasy stories that include lots of chaos, danger, plot twists and cliff hangers. But back when I was a young reader, it took me a long time to recognize the reason that the exciting stuff worked so well was because there was some normality baked into the story... characters just doing life. That's why I work hard at baking scenes about normal living into my stories. Since you are probably one of many people in the middle of a severe cold snap, here's a scene that includes warm pancakes on a cold morning. Enjoy! #weather #PolarVortex2019 #warmpancakes
If you've followed me for a bit, you know by now that I wrote this story for an audience of one. My daughter was a teenager with a desire to read great fantasy books that didn't revolve around zombies or vampires. I'd had a fantasy story in my head for decades, but didn't have a sense of what creatures would be in it. So, quite randomly, I chose gargoyles as the primary creature in my fantasy series. This scene is where two important protagonists are introduced. It was a lot of fun to write, and my daughter fell in love with them. Two wins!
I enjoy writing fantasy. As a pantser, I'm the first person to be surprised by a scene or a witty bit of dialogue. This scene is one of those moments where I had no clue where the story was going, but as I typed...there it was! That doesn't mean, of course, that its always smooth sailing. After this story was first published, it soon became clear that everything about the cover needed to change: the title, the image, and even my name (this is when I switched to my pseudonym, Brandon King). So, just like and Paign and his friends, I had to regroup in a big, courageous, and determined way. I hope you enjoy this scene. BE BOLD. BE COURAGEOUS. #resolutions #grit #fantasy
Chances are high that you will be traveling during the holidays, if you're not already. My wish is that your journey is safe, your visits pleasant, your food is warm, your gratitude deep, your love widens...and that you don't care if things are messy when you return home. Be like Anders and Paign. #safetravel #merrychristmas #family #friends #gratitude
Some people think that courage is a characteristic of only the bravest person, someone who is utterly fearless. But courage isn't fearless. Being courageous is choosing to act from a place beyond our fear. Think of courage like an orange. An orange's tough outer surface protects the delicate fruit inside. Without the outer portion, the fruit wouldn't last. In a way, when people take a deep breath and confront whatever frightens them, they are forming a tough surface out of the desperate need for protection, of themselves or someone else. Courage is to humans what a rind is to an orange. Courage is a shield.
I've always loved stories that reveal heroic actions that come from characters "doing their best." They didn't view themselves as a hero. They simply did what came naturally to them, and their focus wasn't on themselves. Heroic actions are always taken for the benefit of someone or something else. And the best heroes are just like you and me; they're normal. Nothing particularly special about them. Yet, because of their love for another, they do something amazing...something heroic...for someone else. That's what I'm thinking about as I write scenes for my characters. It's love and care that turns them into heroes. And if they can be heroes, so can we.
Some writers seek stillness while they write. Others love hanging out in busy coffee joints, with a lot of background noise and distractions. I prefer to have music playing while I write, most often with no lyrics. When I wrote this scene a song I'd never heard from streamed onto Pandora. It's called "Snow Over Arizona," by the Stone Lions. The song became an instant favorite and actually inspired the entire chase sequence. I love this song and will always be grateful for it in forming one of my readers' favorite fight scenes. Thank you, Stone Lions!
Isn't it strange that in this age of "social platforms" dedicated to bringing people together, most people feel less connected and more isolated? When writing this story, it was important to me that I show how friends--real friends--can be found in the strangest places. Even more important was showing what real friendship looks like...and what it costs. Real friendships often begin like an uninvited guest. But eventually they become a priceless treasure.
Because I wrote this novel with only an audience of one in mind (my daughter), I wanted to show her, with strong examples, what deep parental love can (and should) look like. In this scene it was easy for me to tap into how my wife and I would be acting if our daughter was abducted. So, even in a fantasy novel, I was unintentionally following the famous rule: "Write what you know."
Alas, we are in the season of epic storms. Hurricanes are appalling even when they're "small" Category One storms. No one asks to be in their path, yet they come. Because I love to write adventure-driven fantasy I'll often weave roaring weather into the plotline. Still, the worst storms my characters face do not come from the random vagaries of barometric pressure swings. They come from methodically crafted and executed schemes.
How do handle stress? Have you ever had a time when you had to deal with something so frightening that the hit of adrenaline makes your body feel odd, like it does not work right? In writer's parlance, your writing improves the more you "show, don't tell." In other words, try to get your reader to feel like they're in the character's shoes. That's always my aim. So, when my characters face their worst fears, my goal is that you get a small hit of the adrenaline my characters are feeling.
One of the things I enjoy the most about camping are the surprises that come in the morning. Most of us are daily cocooned in our house, then our cars and finally another building (work or school), so we don't experience much of "The Great Outdoors." Camping changes all that. The smells of morning greet you: cool, fragrant air, scented by grasses, bushes, flowers and even trees. And the colors of the morning, unfiltered by glass or windshields, can be wondrous. Danielle discovered this on an unscheduled overnight stay in the high mountains.
Parents rightfully fear for their children's safety. Because they know that there really are monsters out there. But nothing could have prepared Freida's parents for the horror of their daughter's abduction by a real monster. Now fear could become their greatest enemy.
Character development can be a tricky thing. How much detail is actually too much? I suppose that's decided in the mind of the reader. There are a few fantasy novels I've read that frankly killed my interest in finishing them because of the massive detail injected into the story, like a cream filling gone wrong. My goal is to keep the story interesting and compelling...and easy to visualize, as if it's on a movie screen in my head. Although Gahrspat is a truly frightening bad guy, I love this scene.
It's funny how stories I grew up with influence the stories I write. When I wrote this passage I wasn't particularly thinking about the conversation Peter Parker had with his uncle, but it's in there. "With great power... comes great responsibility." And, more often than not, great suffering comes with the actions of responsibility.
A new teen brings a new world of challenges to her parents. Not the least is letting up on their impulse to protect. But like all good parents do, Danielle's parents still wondered, "Is she ready to handle the responsibility of looking out for herself?" Their worry was about to be severely tested.
Bearing grudges is a common human experience. But it never ends well, especially for the grudge-bearer. Can you imagine holding a grudge for hundreds of years? What would the result of that kind of hatred look like?
The world is changing. But change isn't always positive. As adults, we sometimes forget that kids don't want or need their parents or guardians to be their friends. They need them to be strong adults: reliable, caring, predictable and nurturing. So when I wrote The Quest for the Temple Key, my goal was to include strong parents, just like strong boys and girls. Not that they'd be superheroes. But that they'd rise to the challenges life throws at them. Often they fail. But they always stand up for what they believe in. See who you relate to in this excerpt and please consider reading The Quest for the Temple Key. #strongparents
Everyone loves a hero. But have you noticed that it's often the quiet person who unexpectedly rises to face the danger? There's something greater than fear that drives them. It might be curiosity. It might be an overwhelming desire to see justice done. But more often than not, they simply wish to protect those they love. Anders is strong like that, though he doesn't see himself that way. That's why he's a hero in the making. He thinks of others first.
I wrote this novel with an audience of one: my daughter. She was a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, as well as The Chronicles of Narnia. So Hermione and Lucy were characters she was attracted to. But I wanted her to be able to identify strongly with girls more like her. That's why the protagonist in The Gargoyle Chronicles is Danielle, because she is modeled after my daughter. It worked so well that she wrote a novel of her own with...you guessed it...a strong female protagonist. Girls that face their fears. Girls that are compassionate in the face of unkindness. #stronggirls #amazingdaughters
Not all heirlooms are welcome. Not all discoveries are good. And not all keys open doors you want to go through.
What would you do if faced with confusing information and frightening prospects? When dealing with difficult choices, are you the kind of person who goes with your gut, or do you need to seek all the data possible before making a decision? Most importantly, if you're with a small group of threatened people, either someone needs to take charge or the group must come to an agreement. But time is against you all. Waiting to make a decision is still a decision. But it could spell doom.
When I began writing this first chapter (in my first novel), my goal was to create a world--and a girl--that my teenage daughter could relate to. A regular girl. A normal girl. Nothing special about her. Nothing glittering. No vampires. No zombies. Since she was (and is) a hardcore fan of Harry, Hermione and Ron, plus the Pevensie kids and Aslan, it was important to kick the novel off with someone very relatable to her, but also humming with mystery and the promise of epic fantasy adventures. It worked! She loved it. Which required that I write a second chapter. Then a third. Now I’m working on the 5th novel in the series. Cooler still, seeing her dad dare to write a novel inspired her to write her own. She was 17 when it was published. Now, she’s editing the 2nd in her fantasy series.
You know those dreams you wish you could remember when you wake up? How about the ones you wish you could forget? Or the worst ones--those you can't seem to get out of? Those kind of dreams can take more than one shape.
When you're leaving childhood to enter the realm of the teenager, it's always good to have at least one close friend. Even when they're a pain most of the time.
Have you ever discovered something that bent your understanding of "how things should be"? How about discovering something that can't be explained? And what if the best theory that can be made changes the world as you know it?
Have you ever felt like someone was watching you? Then, you spin around and you see no one. Danielle was so excited going around her neighborhood, collecting her paper route money. But in her haste to get done, she went to the wrong house. Only when she knocked on the door did she realize it was the creepy abandoned house she and her friends avoided. By then, it was too late.
The Menace Returns. Friends Are Threatened. Trust Is Challenged. A year older and cleverer, Danielle distrusts the growing sense of dread that haunts her. She knows nothing of what hunts her friends. They know nothing of her foreboding. Soon they are all thrust back together in a relentless series of hunting or being hunted by an unholy foe, a mutant possessing horrifying powers and schemes. Or is there more than one? All His Wrath is a fast-paced story layered with complex twists and revelations. The adventures of Danielle and her friends take them deeper into the fantastical gargoyle kingdom than they would have ever chosen to go.
With the massive unrest and unharnessed rage we see these days, it's very, very easy to find offense...or bring it. The thing is, how many positive outcomes can you name that come from such turbulent or violent beginnings? Here's another thing, unless you are a student of history the chances are that whatever the person demanding destruction believes about history, they're wrong. And not just a little. Many years ago, I visited a distant family member in her home in Norway. To my dismay, she had pictures (framed!) of my family (and me!!) all over her home. And I barely knew she existed prior to the visit. Man, did I feel like an idiot. And rightly so. She knew all about me, while I knew almost nothing about her before standing in her home. Mind you, this was "history" about as close as it gets, and yet I was clueless. My takeaway? Elevating humility rather than fueling rage would do wonders for the times in which we all now live. Which will you choose? #now #rage #choices #consequences #faith #grit #humility #familyoforigin #adventure #fantasy #epic #readabook #calmdown #anarchyisnotyourfriend
I accidentally committed an "ism" in the sequel to All His Wrath. "How?" Well, I invented a new word, and thereby unwittingly committed a protologism. Gasp! It gets worse. Because when I publish Book 3 later this year with the word in it, I'll be committing a second "ism"...a neologism. A protologism becomes a neologism when it's published. My seriously fantastic protologism is "maxolutely." It's the combination of a character's name and the word "absolutely." It was a fun little wordplay to create. And I expect it will immediately catch on and go viral, making me famous and fabulously wealthy. No? Neither? Ouch! You're a party pooper! And, no, I don't know who invented that wordplay. #laugh #barkless #wordplay #adventure #grin #breathe #fantasy #epic #fun #read
Maybe you never noticed it before but the word "compassion" includes the word "compass." In my mind, that's a wonderful thing. You see, the root word for "passion" comes from the Latin "pati." In a recent book bubble, I shared that passion's got a real, present-day problem. That's because compassion is, far too often, not to be found among the passion we see on display. But "compassion" means to suffer *with* another person's suffering. It's more than feeling sympathy for them. Empathy and compassion are intertwined. So, zealous passion that is disconnected from empathy only brings more sorrow and suffering, not less. It harms rather than heals. Our compass needs to point toward empathy...toward compassion. #morecompassion #morelove #lesspassion #lesshate
Recently, we're witnessing massive paroxysms of rage all around the world. While rage can be the spark that brings change, it often brings change that no one sought. Because of its intensity, rage too often rejects thought, bringing more suffering rather than balm. It is imperative to deeply understand the pain that feeds the rage, but also to acknowledge that unchecked rage is utterly reflexive and self-escalating. No one is spared, most especially the one enraged. #notumbrage #notvoldemort #think #humans #breathe #reflect #listen #slowdown #youmatter
In the troubled times in which we now live, it's difficult to remember that life was very different not more than 3 months ago. While life is never perfect, at least back then we had greater familiarity with the world around us. Today, not so much. The upheaval is so great now that it's hard to guess where we'll be in 6 months, even 6 weeks. My writing often takes my characters into dangers they could not have imagined. And I rarely know in advance how they will react. I'm almost always surprised by their grit, focus and hopefulness when things look the darkest. I hope you do, too. #fantasy #epic #amwriting #darktimes #faith #hope #love #action #anchoryourself #truthwillout
In the classic Mel Brooks movie, Young Frankenstein, my favorite scene is when Igor returns with the brain that the young Dr. Frankenstein seeks to place into his almost-living creature. Only after the surgery is complete does the doctor ask Igor whose brain it was before: "Abby Normal" is the reply. That scene is hilarious. This scene, from All His Wrath, is terrifying. There's nothing normal about it. In fact, we see that Danielle experiences such a paralyzing fear that it clouds her mind. She freezes even though she'd rather flee. Not unlike what we see around us these pandemic-days, as many people are getting more deeply stuck in flight or freeze mode, while others are edging closer to the fight response. As we learn in the following scenes, Danielle opts for a fourth option, because the first three come from the unthinking part of us. And they more often make the situation worse. Much worse. #stayfrosty #think #amwriting #epic #anxiety #abbynormal #hubris #pause #breathe #rushtojudgment #fantasy #curious #skepticism #barkless #wagmore
If you, like me, are tired of this coronavirus and lockdown disruption, it's hard not to get cranky. I find myself pretty short-tempered some days. How about you? In this scene, Kimar struggles to make sense of all the confusing, conflicting information coming at him. Can you relate? Yeah, exactly. #adventure #fantasy #grababook #unknowns #cranky #calmdown #haveagoodweekend #corona #peacetoyouandyours #grit #patienceisavirtue
Whether your home is full of people or you're solo, there are people in your life that could use a little encouragement these days. If they're just down the hall--and especially if they are young--make sure to add a little extra touch, a little longer hug, an extra kind word. And if they're across town or on the other side of the world, send them a text, fire up a video chat, add a post to their FB, IG (or whichever their favorite platform is) letting them know you're thinking about them. Let's elevate kindness during this pandemic. It was becoming an endangered species not many weeks ago. #kindness #adventure #fantasy #epic #youngadult #YA #teens #kids #amwriting #becreative
Can you feel it? The world has dramatically changed over the past 2 months. There are so many reasons to expect "things getting back to normal" will never come. So, are you making plans for what your new "normal" will be like? Are you considering what parts of your old life don't need to come along into your new one? Or vice versa? It's astonishing (and scary, appalling, disturbing, etc.) how quickly the entire world changed. In this scene, we see Johann react to a great challenge as best as he knows how to. And after that, he hopes to providence. That's always a good way to go when it all falls down. Grabbing an award-winning book to see how it turns out for him doesn't hurt, either. ;-) #fantasy #faith #epic #adventure #newnormal #providence
There's so much I'd like to say about current events (where I live we're in week 5 of #stayathome), but this week has been blindingly hard and painful, so i don't have it in me. And sometimes that's as good as it gets. Just like it's possible, perhaps even likely, that the medicine someone needs to resolve a serious problem can be almost as bad as the problem itself. I hope you and yours are well and safe, just as I hope your financial future will be. Because we're at the most serious crux point, collectively, as we can be. #breathe #keepthefaith #grit #calm #getsomeair #reconsider #pivotasneeded #fantasy #epic
Whatever else we might think about this pandemic, countless lives have been lost and many more impacted by grief. We pause to honor those who care for the sick, as well as those who have lost loved ones. May we never become calloused to the very real suffering that's come with this viral scourge. And let us be ever ready to support those who serve, and to comfort those who grieve. Look for ways to do both. Engage your creativity. Be the good you want to see in the world. #levelup #epic #gratitiude #honor #grieving #loss #pandemic #payingtribute #heroesinhealth #nurses #doctors #fantasy #bethegood #comfort #remember
Have you noticed that on vacation, when you're supposed to being enjoying a special time with them, your family starts to get on your nerves? It's normal, but not any fun. So, being holed up with others for a few weeks (with nothing to make it feel like a vacation), well, that's something most of us have no frame of reference for. It's weird. Really weird. And it's probably brought jangled nerves to everyone, right? When our nerves are shot from gnawing worry mixed in with lots of waiting, it's not unusual that anger starts to leach out from time to time. In this excerpt from All His Wrath, we see that happening even between species. I hope you enjoy it… the excerpt, I mean, not the jangled nerves and anger leeches. #janglednerves #worry #danger #boredom #adventure #epic #fantasy #shelterinplace #covid19 #amwriting #readabook
These are strange times we're in. And if you've been following me for a while, you know that the novels of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis have influenced me from a young age. When writing this scene from All His Wrath, I was quite mindful of an iconic scene from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Perhaps you know it? “I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo. "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” My prayer for you and those you love is that, as you decide what to do with the time given you, you choose hope over despair. While there are a great many unknowns, I yet have hope for the future. And as Gandalf says later, “End? No, the journey doesn't end here.” My faith sustains me, though some days are harder than others. May you and yours have health and peace and I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Book Two in the Gargoyle Chronicles. Reach out. I'd love to hear how you're doing. #decide #hope #inittowinit #adventure #epic #fantasy #makethebestofit #smallwins
Maybe you can relate? Gudrun wakes up to a reality she has no frame of reference for. Nothing could have prepared her for what she encounters. You, like her, have the power to choose how to react. Rather than instantly freak out, she withholds judgment. A popular description for this is, "staying frosty." As you are, no doubt, working from home, or sheltering in place, etc., it's a good path to follow. Stay frosty. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from All His Wrath, book 2 in the multiple award-winning Gargoyle Chronicles series. BTW, Gudrun is based on a beloved aunt who shared the same name. Stay safe and well. #fantasy #epic #farmerswife #farmliving #farmvalues #adventure #choose #calm #wfh #sip #virus #stayfrosty #stayhome #makingsense #stand #keepthefaith
These are strange days. It seems only 2 weeks ago, it was business as usual. Political animus. Governmental disagreements. Strident discord on social media. All of that remains, of course, but at a heightened level. But added into the mix is a virus that cares for nothing except exponentially multiplying within an enormous number of unwitting hosts. All of a sudden, the vast majority of humans are reminded of their fragility, either of themselves or someone they care about. Often both. We’re all mortal. I’m hopeful that having a strident reminder of this truth will bring more people together than it pushes apart. Let us pray it is so, and do our bit to make it so. Lives literally hang in the balance. Just like Danielle, we’re all staring into the maw of death. Our choices, like hers, will determine outcomes for others, for good or ill. Grab a copy of this second book in my #fantasy #adventure series to see how things turn out for them. It will give you something else to think about while you shelter in place. #keepthefaith #focus #together #liveitout #stayhome #loveinaction #believe
These are dark times in which we live, as all around the world the scourge named "corona" seeps into nations, economies, homes, and people. Now is the time for you to rise up. Not shaking your fist in fury at things over which you have no power, but over the one thing you do: how you react. Think! Humanity rises...or falls...on the actions of a few. It has always been so. Join the witless hoard, frightened beyond reason. Or rise up and stand. These are your options. The former path wins many converts, and has doomed civilizations. The latter is where the brave are found. It is not that they are fearless, but they tame their fear...enough. They find a way forward. The others perish for want of a true leader. #fear #fantasy #corona #lead #think #stand #riseup #grit #keepthefaith #thereisanother
In the movie Jurassic Park, Dr. Malcolm talks about the Butterfly Effect. The idea is that our world is so interconnected that a butterfly's wings flapping on one side of the planet can trigger a tsunami on the other. While it's a bit much for me to get my head around, we've seen mounting hysteria growing quickly over unfettered fears of the #coronavirus. Are those fears founded? To some degree, sure. To the extent we see them now? Most likely not. But it's that space between "some degree" and "most likely not" that is the problem, right? Not knowing is uncomfortable. For some, it's crazy-making. And surely we see the butterfly effect in the nearly feral fear and hyper-reactions of many, their ripples creating bigger and still bigger ripples. There's a lesson in there, but will enough of us heed it? #fantasy #epic #virus #disaster #viral #mobs #groupthink #keepcalm #butterflyeffect #washyourhands
Do you, like me, love stories about people who overcome great challenges? They're inspiring, right? Especially on days when I'm feeling stressed and maybe even sorry for myself, it's encouraging to learn how people, young and old, from all walks of life, have faced down challenges that make mine pale in comparison. Now, that doesn't mean that mine aren't real or that they don't matter. But it does put mine in perspective. Have you found that to be true? It also helps to simply talk to someone. In this scene, Anders discovers (eventually) how helpful it is just to have Freida listen to him. #fantasy #epic #adventure #friend #listening #thestruggleisreal #listentounderstand
At any given moment, if you're in a group of 10 people, 2 of them are suffering from anxiety...or have, in the past 12 months. I wonder if that number is low, because the world we live in is getting more divided, seemingly by the day. One excellent way of taming anxiety is by simply speaking to someone else. Our minds can ramp things up very fast, far beyond what is reasonable, when we feel anxiety. Speaking the words has a way of releasing its power...and hold on us. In this scene from All His Wrath, I was mindful of the many times I've improved my mindset simply by talking about it. BTW, another great thing that helps reduce your anxiety: sleep. #fantasy #epic #adventure #anxiety #rest #sleep #faith #YA #perspective #prayerpower
Happy Valentine's Day! If you, like me, are a dog person, then you'll appreciate that even 4-legged creatures are essential characters in my stories. Why is that? Because dogs are the most consistent bringers of enduring affection. And when bipeds have their backs against the wall, like they often do in my writing, having a loyal dog on your side can make all the difference. So, if you're not yet a "dog person," why not remedy that in the next week or two? Visit a shelter. Talk to the staff about how to care for a dog. Take one out for a walk. There's no rush, so take your time. Maybe you adopt. Maybe you wait. Shelters can always use your help. #dogsrock #valentines #fantasy #epic #volunteer #adventure #stories #gratitude
In an age when more and more people seem to embrace the rejection of logic, observation, and critical thinking, one my goals as a writer is to probe and prod my readers. In other words, I give them situations they can step into vicariously, to struggle with how would they choose? Like a specific character? Contrary to them? Why? Because if you can't process the information around you or, worse, refuse to do so, then you've abdicated that role to someone else. Unless you are a young child, that is an exceptionally dangerous choice. Because the odds are not in your favor that those you abdicate to have your best interest in mind. #truthwillout #fantasy #grit #criticalthinking #abdication #adventure #lifeisshort #faith
Compassion is required for us to be connected to someone else. For without compassion, you can only view others as wrong, mean, vile, hurtful, etc. In short, they are evil and you, the righteous one, are not. As tempting as that view of the world can be, it is the most diabolical "binary" there is. In this scene, an old woman is faced with a terrible foe. The creature does, indeed, intend to bring nothing but harm to her. You see, there are monsters in this world. And some people behave in monstrous ways. But that doesn't sweep away the fact that the vast majority of us are equally human, feeble, full of foibles and fears. Embracing the twisted notion that you are completely in the right is, at best, unenlightened. And it should not surprise when you, at some point, are viewed as totally wrong by an utterly compassionless, equally self-righteous mob. A key writing goal of mine is to explore and reveal compassion, and its urgent need. #compassion #fantasy #deepdark #human #faith #adventure #connection
It was the weirdest (and ultimately dangerous) hike I'd tried. We wanted to observe mountain goats up close. Eventually, we were so high up the mountain that a cloud settled down on us. Thick enough that I could no longer see my hiking buddy, we got separated. Soon, I found myself navigating along the narrow spine of the ridgeline, barely able to make out that on either side of my path was a steep cliff. You actually do sort of feel your heart in your throat in times like that. In this excerpt from All His Wrath, that's how Freida and Anders feel. Because for them, it's as if Paign was swallowed into the high mountain clouds. He's in mortal danger. #desperate #adventure #fantasy #friends #epic #heartinthroat #fearful #hikingintheclouds
Although my fantasy stories are written mostly for teens and pre-teens, I still aim to make them as real and truthful as I would when writing for "adults." In this scene, Paign is utterly distressed and wrought with conflicting waves of emotions. Why? Because being a teen or pre-teen is often the most epic adventure of our lives. The passage of adolescence is both critical and, honestly, very hard. Here we see Paign in the "winter of his soul." Even if they don't act out in the manner that Paign does, kids can identify with this "winter of the soul." And when grown-ups are honest with themselves, so can they. #compassionmatters #kids #adolescence #fantasy #epic #adventure #itgetsbetter #faith #grit #perspectivematters #thistooshallpass #believe
One of my goals as an author is to connect the reader to at least one of my characters, as strongly as possible. My favorite stories have done that, which is why I love Sam, Frodo, Harry, Hermione, and a host of others. To do that, I try to put the reader "into the shoes" of the character, what they're like, thinking, feeling, experiencing, etc. In this scene, we see both Anders and Freida agonizing over their strong emotions at the very moment they're becoming aware of them. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from All His Wrath. And I hope to release books 3 and 4 in 2020! Keep an eye out for an announcement soon; click the orange button to follow me on Bublish. Until then, may 2020 bring you great joy! ~BK #epic #fantasy #adventure #gratitude #strongemotions #fear #love
As we close out this year (and decade), we often ponder what the new year will bring. Will it be more of the same? Will it be better? This past year has been hard for us, but then so has most of the decade. If you, like us, have had a similar experience, I gently encourage you to keep the faith. And it's okay to lean on someone else's faith, just as Conomorg does in this excerpt. I'm learning that there are things in life it is essential to accept, even without understanding them. In fact, some lessons only come after doing so, as if accepting opens your heart to finally understand. So, hold your chin up. Look for positive things to come your way in 2020. Be mindful of others, and do what you can to help them, even as you have been helped in the past. We're in this together, after all. #epic #faith #fortitude #adventure #fantasy #grit #inittogether #2020
Are you ready? As we head into the #holidayseason, do you look forward to celebrating old family traditions? Or is it time to start new holiday routines, habits or activities? Both, perhaps? In this excerpt from All His Wrath, we learn that the Wheelens have already begun making new family traditions. In some ways, that's easy because they live in a new place. But more urgently, it's because of the close call they had the year before. I hope you enjoy this #bookbubble and that you have wonderful, uplifting and peaceful #holidays. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours! #fantasy #epic #adventure #YA #youngadult
For many people, major holiday seasons are difficult, even painful. That's true for us. Maybe for you, too. It's a reality I weave into my stories, because we all have family histories...good, bad, somewhere in between. When we know a bit about another's family story, we can better understand them. In this scene from All His Wrath, we discover more about where Paign's friction with his sister comes from. Hopefully, I also plant a few seeds in your mind about what to expect in the future for Bettina, his sister. I hope you enjoy this excerpt and grab a copy of the book to see how her story unfolds. #fantasy #families #familyhistory #siblings #adventure #epic #amreading #amwriting
Even though I'd rather not, nearing the end of this year (and decade), makes me a bit melancholy. Do you feel that way, too? It's hard not to think about the loved ones we've lost, the changes in health that have come, and the polarization of societies around the world. Of course, the list could be much, much longer. Which is why it is so critical to keep our wits about us, and think things through before making rash decisions. Sometimes that's really hard, especially when all seems lost, as we see in this excerpt from All His Wrath. The Wheelens discover their secret is gone, and they are being hunted again, by creatures too terrible to imagine. But this time, they also have a dog. Together, they’ll face down their enemies. More than once, all will seem lost. But they’ll face them with a trusted dog, one that was raised to not make snap judgments but be utterly courageous. Get a copy of this story to see how they all make out. And why not head over to your local shelter and adopt a canine buddy? Already have a dog? Then, please give it a hug from me. #fantasy #adventure #dogs #epic #newyear #melancholy #holidays
Real friendship is based on a love of the other greater than oneself. In healthy families, this is also true. In this scene from All His Wrath (Book Two in The Gargoyle Chronicles), we fall into a battle already underway. Though the gargoyles are outnumbered, they have much greater skill, cunning and speed. And they are driven by seething hatred. The humans they fight are either young or old. Perhaps the greatest threat they face is the dog. Facing down our fears requires fortitude. To do so for those we love demands selfless love. Grab a copy of the book today for you and a fantasy-loving friend. It's available at all ebook providers. Thank you for your support. And don't forget to follow me on Bublish. #blackfriday #fantasy #adventure #youngadult #YA #teens #epic #danger #fear #friends #fortitude #awardwinningnovel
Throughout All His Wrath, Danielle and those that love her, are hunting for answers, even as they are being hunted. Early in the story, this scene reveals just how desperate their future is. But it is hardly the last, or even the biggest shock they'll have to face down. They, too, would have secret missions. #fantasy #adventure #secretmissions #gargoyles #fear BTW, I'm busy completing book 3 (The Ten Pinnacles) this month, also known as #NaNoWriMo19. Around 300,000 people are writing novels in November, for National Novel Writing Month!
If you like camping, the chances are that sitting around a campfire at night is a favorite pastime. Firelight dancing in the treetops overhead can be mesmerizing. But not all fires in the night are welcome. Or safe. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from All His Wrath, where Johann is faced with a most unwelcome fire in the dark. #light #dark #fire #flames #deepdark #fantasy #adventure #swords #epic #youngadult #providence
Have you ever had a dream more than once? They're great, right? But how about repeating a nightmare? Totally not fun. You wish you'd never slept. So, imagine being in Junior High, about to face your worst nightmare coming to life? In this excerpt from All His Wrath, Danielle is just about to do that. #Fear #Nightmare #Halloween #CreepingItReal #BooToYou #Fantasy #Epic #Adventure #Run #GirlPower #GrittyGirl
We see in the world now an upside down view of bullying. Where bullying was denounced not many years ago, it is now celebrated as worthy of praise, as long its fierce behaviors are directed at the correct target. What formed the central evils of dystopian stories less than 10 years ago are now widely encouraged and embraced. But there is always a cost to bullying. It's name is rage. #epic #fantasy #culturewars #bullying #rage #retribution #truthwillout
Not all homecomings require a home. Maybe none of them do, since what matters most about a homecoming is the people you are coming home to. After another near-death encounter with the hybrid, Danielle awakens to an unexpected but most welcome surprise: a homecoming, without the home. #fantasy #homecoming #adventure #wonderment #epic #whatsleftofacabin #friends #love #dogslobberisthebestmedicine #weekendreadermarathon
Have you ever camped in the winter? Or been perched on a high mountain during a stiff wind? Let me assure you that neither are pleasant experiences, though they are enduringly memorable. When I wrote this scene, I was casting back to several winter outings in my younger days, including the part about bits of apple. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from All His Wrath. Grab a copy and enjoy reading it next to a warm fire. #fantasy #adventure #epic #faith #family #fortitude #winter #reading
Have you ever been in a situation so unlike anything else in your life that you could do nothing but... wait? In this scene from All His Wrath, my goal was to present Gudrun in this situation. Already in a monstrously precarious state, she then has to comprehend what doesn't make any sense. She can easily choose to react with abject fear. Instead, she chooses another way. I hope you enjoy this excerpt. #fantasy #adventure #danger #calm #motherhood #gargoyles
As a kid, my favorite fantasy authors, Tolkien and Lewis, made it difficult to relax. Especially when you thought a crisis had been averted, it was actually replaced by something worse, much more dangerous, and utterly horrifying. Soon enough, I developed lingering fears that something else was coming. Were things as they seemed? Oh, no! But seeing how their characters would face the threats, grow in courage and eventually face down their worst enemy was thrilling. It gave me a chance to live vicariously into who I wished to become. I do my best to provide a similar experience for my readers, especially teens and pre-teens. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from All His Wrath! #epic #adventure #fantasy #courage #weekendread #daregreatly #brave
Being a writer is, mostly, a solitary task. Becoming an author is not. You need the help of so many people, especially if you self-publish: editors, proofreaders, designers (interior and cover), etc. If you are fortunate, these people will be extremely helpful in keeping you out of harm's way in the wild and woolly world of publishing. I'm grateful to Maryanna, Shiloh, Rachel, Nick, Kim, Martin, Jason, Jessica and others for their amazing help in getting my stories turned into something you can read. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from All His Wrath. Why not grab a copy for yourself? #fantasy #adventure #fireandfume #epicbattles
Not long before I wrote this scene in All His Wrath, a family trip took us through Colton, WA. It's the first "real" place written into my story line that I'd actually been to. It was loads of fun to think about "What if something happens here?" It was as if putting myself in that place helped me to play out the intricate "What if" questions Kimar was struggling with while sitting atop the gym in Colton on a dark summer evening. I hope you enjoy this excerpt and consider getting a copy of the book to see what happens to the coyote. #fantasy #adventure #epic #night #prairiecoyote #colton #deception #whatifitallgoeswrong
Mother Nature's storms are obvious to whoever is in their path. Less obvious storms are those we carry within. No one escapes them. But too many of us haul them through life as if they're essential to sustaining us. Our feelings are frightfully deceptive and can lead us down paths from which there may be no return. In this scene from All His Wrath, we see Paign surrendering to his rage. Where will it lead him? Who will suffer from it? Will he find a path out or will he (and others) be consumed by it? I hope you enjoy this excerpt and consider getting the book. #storms #rage #letitgo #feelingsdeceive #blinded
One of the reasons my family loves the Harry Potter series is its focus on the Weasley family. Far from perfect, they work hard on behalf of each other, are quick to forgive, and display enormous amounts of loyalty to those they care about. In this excerpt, I worked hard to reveal the costs Paign was willing to pay on behalf of his mother's safety. Throughout All His Wrath, a "red thread" is exploring how much Paign is willing to pay for his loyalty to those closest to him. Can he resist the forces aimed at crushing him? How will he protect his friends? Will he rise above the temptations thrown at him? This novel was a challenge to write because of that red thread. I hope you enjoy this excerpt, and consider grabbing a copy for yourself or someone who needs encouragement in a dark season in their life. #hardwork #sacrifice #fantasy #laborday #whatslovegottodowithit #epic
In this excerpt from All His Wrath, we land in the middle of a massive battle that would make standing on asphalt in Phoenix when it's 115 degrees seem kind of balmy. I hope you enjoy this #bookbubble and consider buying a copy of the book for yourself or a friend. #summerheat #heatwave #epic #aintthathotafterall #fantasy #adventure #weekendreader
If you're human, you've gone too far with someone. More than once. Overreacted. Said things you wish you hadn't. Caused hurt to others. And, hopefully, taken the initiative to do what you could to mend things. In this excerpt from All His Wrath, we step into the middle of a tense dialogue that has all of the participants on edge. So much is at stake they can't move forward without a crucial decision. Want to bet nerves are on edge? For us to have peace in our world, we must be willing--and eager--to own our role in making it come to pass. I hope you enjoy this book bubble and consider getting a copy of the book to see how things turn out. #peace #peacestartswithme #ownit #takethefirststep #seetheother
When I was in 7th grade, my best friend, Kia, passed away from a cancer I didn't even know he had. As close as we were, he'd never fully disclosed what was wrong with him or how serious it was. So, while I was out of school with a horrible flu virus, my friend's health took a quick turn for the worse and he was gone. That experience left a deep mark in me, as did other losses in the years that followed. Though I write for teen (and preteens), my goal is always to write in as real and honest storytelling as I know how. My hope is that you, too, appreciate that kind of storytelling. Please get a copy of the book, "All His Wrath," to discover what happens to Paign and his mother. Thank you. #fantasy #reading #endurance #thedeepdark #imissyou
If you, like me, have ever had a recurring dream, hopefully it's been the kind where you're so very happy to dream it again. Well, in this closing scene of All His Wrath (Book 2 in The Gargoyle Chronicles), I wanted to capture the almost dreamlike joy Danielle would experience to learn that she could now return to visit her friends any time she wanted. Until then, only the gargoyles had mastery over time and space. And as you might guess, this gifted power is put to the test by Danielle early in Book 3 (to be released late in 2019). I hope you enjoy this book bubble! Please consider getting a copy of the book for yourself or someone whose dreams matter to you. #fantasy #sweetdreams #friends #power #betterthangreat
Kids are very free with their trust. Unless they've had a bad life experience, they typically believe that a friend will always be a friend. When that trust is broken, the dream is shattered. And it leaves a deep mark. But when your friend is suddenly believed to be untrustworthy, that's a terrible challenge. Who do you believe? Why? What evidence would you need to see or know to change your mind? My readers like the epic adventure in my stories, but they really like scenes like this one, since they can sort of step into the shoes of their favorite characters and feel what they are feeling. I hope you enjoy this short excerpt from "All His Wrath" and if you feel inclined, purchase a copy for you and/or a friend. It would make me so happy if you would. #empathy #compassion #fantasy #reallife #amwriting #betrustworthy
In this scene, it was important to show my characters a little older, with their relationships a little more complicated. Freida must struggle with her own fear about her friend's welfare: Paign was missing. But she also needed to comfort Anders, her dear friend, whose own fear was nearly consuming him. Quickly, she discovers that it isn't only fear gnawing at Anders. It's also guilt. So, she must set aside--as best she can manage--her fear, so she can help Anders process his own. She risks saying the wrong thing. She must be courageous...for her friend, Anders, even while praying for the safety of Paign. I hope you enjoy this bubble. #courageous #grownup #hardchoices #fantasy #faith #hope #love
If you, like me, are fond of dogs, then you will probably find it easy to imagine Tiny's face in this scene, as his eyes move back and forth watching the humans and gargoyles arguing about what the "best thing" is...or should be. Can you hear Tiny's loud sighs, as he waits for the two-legged creatures to calm down? And then his even louder sigh? All to no avail. But then, Tiny doesn't realize that when people (and sometimes gargoyles) display anger, the real emotion behind it--hidden in all the yelling--is fear. The greater the noise level, the greater fear. Dogs, happily, often independent from human fears, help us cope and gain perspective. #dogs #fantasy #independence #canine #epic (BTW, we're working on a fix to the formatting problem. Tiny's thoughts should be italicized.)
Surprise! This bubble isn't from the novel itself, but from the Acknowledgement section of All His Wrath. Why share this? My hope is that it provides you with a wee bit of insight into what's most important to me as a fantasy writer...and that you also are encouraged to create your own story. My inaugural novel, written for my daughter, inspired her to become a novelist, also. Why not you? Why not now? #amwriting #fantasy #donotdarenottodare #getyourstoryintotheworld
If you, like me, enjoy fantasy stories that put your favorite characters in unspeakably dangerous places, then I hope you like this short bubble. It's part of long chapter where a central goal of mine was to explore what courage looks like. I've never believed courage to be an absence of fear. Hardly. It's really a full embrace of fear. So the real question is what prompts or triggers courage? The answer to that, I believe, is always...every time...at its core: love for others. A courageous act is a selfless act, driven by love. #fantasy #courage #loveinaction #adventure #amwriting
When I wrote this scene I was, in part, casting back to memories of my own father. He passed away when I was young, from a slow, debilitating cancer. Less than a week ago, my mother passed away. As a widow, she'd missed my dad for 37 years. They are together again. For that I rejoice. But like Bettina's grief over the loss of her father, for those that loved my mom there is still a bitter draught to swallow. In time, the bitterness will diminish. But it will never fully depart. Recognizing that all humans share in these experiences of deep loss helps each of us grow more compassionate. It helps us develop empathy. One of my primary goals as a novelist is to help especially children and young people enlarge their capacity for empathy. The world needs it. #losses #grief #fantasy #amwriting
Today the world is throbbing with competing truth claims. Those called "progressive" tend to stand utterly opposed to those that have been around for decades, centuries and even millenia. While the "new" can be terribly exciting, it is--naturally--untested and unproven. It bears the burden of proving its "truth." And this is not accomplished by simply being louder than those holding onto older truth claims, whether humans or gargoyles are doing the yelling. I hope you enjoy this book bubble. :-) #truthwillout #fantasy #respectyourelders #amwriting #adventure #yellingisntreasonable #becarefulwhatyouwishfor
We live in an age that even our recent ancestors could not have imagined. And I don't mean technologically. Compared to them, we face very few risks. Our average life span is multiples more than theirs. The life-threatening diseases they died from are now treatable. Constant dangers then, are reduced to outliers now. Yet the world today is rife with fear. And as Muad'Dib said, "Fear is the mind killer." In this scene, I wanted to explore how detrimental fear can become when left to fester unchallenged. Is fear useful? Oh, yes. Especially when we look for the gift it brings. I hope you enjoy this book bubble! #fantasy #moods #fearisthemindkiller #perspective #trustbutverify
If you've read any of my stories, you probably figured out that I'm a "dog guy." That's why I incorporate dogs into my stories. One small goal of mine is to show readers that are unfamiliar with--or even scared of--dogs, just how important they are in the lives of those who love them. In this scene, we see a gathering of warriors doing what they do best: visiting war upon each other. But we also see an unexpected warrior acting in an utterly brave and selfless manner. I hope you enjoy this #bookbubble. #fantasy #gatherings #epicbattles #dogs #weekendreadermarathon
Being understood is a universal human need. Achieving it is not a certainty, however. For scenes heavy with dialogue, my goal is to capture the reality that it takes work to understand...and be understood. It also requires patience, determination and respect. I hope you enjoy this book bubble. #fantasy #hardchoices #toughdecisions #communication #staywithit #weekendreadermarathon
It matters little that you can access a community of like-minded thinkers. They'll give you a false sense of security. However, having a small group of thoughtful and caring helpers? That's what true community is about. And if your community is comprised of brave and resourceful friends, that's even better. #realfriends #community #fantasy #epicadventure #writing
"Are we there, yet?" The question parents cringe at, and the one every child asks at some point. The question always comes before reaching the destination, somewhere between the start of the trip and the end. In this scene, I introduce the idea that in-between is actually a destination to be sought out because of the insights it can bring. #fantasy #travel #strongemotions #clarity #itsnotaboutangeritsaboutfear
I've always loved a great comeback story, especially when the odds of achieving a comeback look terribly unlikely. When I wrote this chapter in Book Two, it flowed out of my fingers nearly as fast as I can type. It's important to me to create scenes that the reader can easily "see" and, better yet, see themselves in as if they're right next to their favorite characters. My hope is that happens for you in this book bubble! #fantasy #comeback #epicadventure #writing
The antagonist in this novel is the leader of the renegade gargoyles, those bent on subjugating the human race. Kahrnahrgx (pronounced car-narx) delivers an unstated promise to one of his soldiers. A moment later, one of his generals delivers an unstated promise to his master, Lord Kahrnahrgx. Not all promises require the word to be said. #promises #fantasy #darktimes #epic
Rather than employ gratuitous violence in my novels, my goal is to convey just enough information for the reader to fill in the rest. That's the writing style I enjoy the most, starting back in my "YA" years. I want the reader, as much as possible, to step into the life of each character so they feel and see the world through the other's eyes. At the same time, though, I often inject a bit of humor. This helps keep the story moving along by not getting overly dark. Still, I want my antagonists to be believable...and frightening. I hope you enjoy this book bubble! #fantasy #badguys #neverhopeless #neveralone #gargoyles
I enjoy writing scenes that capture "normal" moments in the lives of my characters because it makes them relatable. Readers can easily identify with "normal" characters. And the more they identify with them, the more surprising--or even delightful--it is when characters do something out of the ordinary. The bottom line is that you root for characters you care about. When you relate to them, you care about them. Especially when those characters are thrust into a terribly abnormal situation. That comes right after this scene. #morningcoffee #gymnasticsathome #dogsrock #fantasy
Adding a new character to my second novel required an early hook. Because we're a family of dog lovers, this was both fun and easy to do. But there still needed to be a solid hook for the reader. The Wheelen's dog, Anja, instantly becomes a crucial member of the family because she hears and sees things the human members of her family can't. Plus, there are moments in the storyline when Anja's sense of smell (dogs sense of smell is roughly 40 times stronger than humans) literally saves them from disaster. I hope you enjoy this book bubble! #fantasy #bookhook #dogs
One of the most important goals I have as a YA fantasy author is to express emotions in a manner that young people can identify with. When I was that age I felt plenty of strong emotions, but could barely identify any of them correctly. It's not as if young people have improved at this imperative skill set. Frankly, neither have adults. #transparency #emotions #fantasy #theperilsofgettingitwrong
In an age of tribal politics in the human realm, it's fun to explore what that would look like in the fantasy realm. In this scene, we see the supreme commander of the opposition trying to discern the minds of his most trusted advisors. And it doesn't seem to be going much better than it does on an average day in Congress. I hope you enjoy this quick peek into gargoyle politics. #politics #tribal #classwarfare #fantasy #badguys
Did you know there may be as many as 27 distinct human emotions? One of the things I'm intentional about exploring in my stories are emotions. My favorite stories are the ones where I most strongly identify with a character's emotions. I suspect that you, like me, react in a similar way. When writing this scene, I was surprised when Anders, feeling alone and downcast, is comforted by his gargoyle friends. I hope you love this bubble. #friendship #compassion #one [NOTE: we're working on a fix to how this books displays. When Anders is thinking, the text should be italicized.]
Think about all those old police shows where the good guy yells at the bad guy, "Freeze!" Of course, the bad guy never does. Or if they do, it's only long enough to try to defeat the good guy. Well, sometimes people will freeze without cold temperatures getting involved. In this scene, Paign "freezes" so as not to aggravate his captor. Because if he does so, the life of his mother is at risk. Freezing from cold is terrible. I've been in 50 below (not including the windchill); it was brutal. But freezing when cold is nowhere near is worse, far worse. #PolarVortex2019 #weather #freezinghot
It's tough to be a kid these days. There are so many streams of worldviews coming at them, constantly, that it's far too easy for them to feel disconnected to the world around them. And too many of them could use an extra caring adult in their lives. That's why I include "grownups" in my stories. I love The Chronicles of Narnia, in part, because Lewis mashed up 2-3 generations into his plotlines. Kids need mature adults to guide them along. If they don't have access to them at home, maybe my grownup characters (some of the, anyway) can be a beacon for them, if even in a small way. [Apologies that italics are missing in the formatting of this section, for some reason.]
Did you know that ~80% of the human face feels like they have a book inside of them that needs writing, but only ~1% of us write that book? One reason for that huge gap is that writing is hard work. And once you write your story, then you discover a load of other challenges. Some days are harder than others. I'm sharing this scene with you because I like it. BUT I'M FRUSTRATED that after all the work that went into publishing it, none of the formatting came along for the ride. So, you'll need to sort out when Peter is thinking to himself, because the italicized text that instantly gives you a clue...isn't there. *sigh* #publishingproblems #writing #persistence #grit
As we head into Christmas week, are you excited to spend time with friends and family? For me, growing up was a special time full of seasonal events. Most of those I recall with warmth and gratitude. I hope that's true for you. In this scene from All His Wrath, we catch up with the Wheelens (who are remarkably similar to my own family). They've just discovered that something very magical had lain secret within their home. #happyholidays #merrychristmas #family #magical
When I was a teenager, my favorite stories were full of characters rising to face the challenges they were forced to contend with. I'd thrill to vicariously meet their challenge, hoping that I could bring those characters' daring into my real world. In other words, if they could overcome in a make-believe world, perhaps I could overcome, too. Our ancient ancestors relied on sharing timeless truths through spoken stories. Truths like bravery, loyalty and faithfulness. My goal is to do that, at least a little, using written stories.
If you've ever had a terrible fever (say, 103-104 degrees) for any length of time, you feel absolutely wretched. There are the aches and pain, so bad that it's hard to even want to move. Actual moving instantly brings regret. Then there's the difficulty of focusing on anything, so you'd just rather keep your eyes shut. Everything is surreal and awful, like a horrible dream you can't get out of. Yep, I used my experience of that kind of fever to write this scene, even though Paign's suffering comes from an entirely different source than mine did.
Can you remember a conversation where the primary means of communicating was through volume? Yeah, me too. In my experience (and I bet yours, too), the greater the volume the less understanding takes place. Which pretty much defeats the purpose, right? Silence is often the best communicator. Especially when we really want to understand... and be understood.
When i was a teen I first read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (in 3 days). My favorite character was Samwise Gamgee. And my favorite quote from Sam is this one: "It's like the great stories, Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered." It was clear to me, even then, that the "great stories" have great conflicts, terrible odds, and frightening enemies. But more importantly, they have courage, grit, resolve and faith.
As a fantasy writer, I want my characters to feel like real people, like people you know. Maybe even like yourself. And the truth is, real people are generally doing their best to be their best. In other words, they have the best intentions at heart. But what matters most in our interactions with others is what we do when their "best intentions" fail miserably. Because that's when our best intentions are tested.
Long ago, a mystic wrote a poem about the dark night of the soul. In my story, I infuse this poem into the life of my character, Paign. Why do you suppose that's his name? There are seasons each of us must face that lack consolation. They require faith from us. And courage. A great deal of courage.
By the time I was writing Book 2 in my series, a primary goal was to show normal people facing down great threats by working together. We all need help to get through the regular challenges life brings, right? How much more so, then, when the threats are very real and extremely dangerous? A strong defense isn't found in a party of one.
As a fantasy fiction author, you do a lot of "world building." Which is great fun, of course. But its also great fun when I can weave real places into my stories (which I do a lot). Some years ago, a family trip took us through the wonderful town of Colton, WA. While we drove by the school, I instantly knew that something in my fantasy series would happen there. Eventually it did. Instead of a gargoyle protecting a gothic church, Kimar settles down on the roof of Colton's school because he needs a quiet place to think. See a little of what happens in this excerpt. Please consider reading the award-winning All His Wrath. #quietrooftops
President Franklin D. Roosevelt said "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." But isn't that exactly what the enemy wants? Most importantly, what if the terror isn't unjustified? What people do when they're terrified reveals a lot about how they deal with fear.
I'm a "dog guy." That's why I integrate them into my stories (even non-fiction). Because when a dog bonds with their human, they'll protect them against anything. Even gargoyles.
In my experience of dreaming, the worst ones come during a fever. Nothing makes sense. Everything seems to be "off." Unbalanced. Bizarre. Be happy if you've never had one of these dreams born in smoldering synapses. But if you have had this kind of dream, you know what I'm talking about and you have my pity. Here's the thing, though. How would you react if you discovered that your fevered dream, oozing weirdness and dismay, wasn't a dream? What if it morphed into an unimaginable nightmare?
I suppose we all have them. You know, those dreams where you realize you're dreaming? Once in a great while, I've even been able to take a dream in the direction I wanted it to go. But a bad dream? Nope. A strange dream? Again, nope. The problem here is that Danielle can't determine if the dream she is aware of dreaming is one she wants to stay in, or if it is starting to go wrong in a hurry. And the gargoyle she's talking to in her dream isn't helping.
It often seems like the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, that your neighbor has it better than you. But that's not true. In fact, sometimes it couldn't be less true.
Now, I like my morning coffee. But I also like it in the quiet hours. At least to begin the day. In the Wheelen home, coffee and quiet rarely go together.
Danielle's life changed for the darker when she was thrust into the bitter conflict between two factions of the gargoyle kingdom.
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