Sunday, December 30, 2012

Book Cover of the Week - #8

    Yes, yes, I know. I have not been taking care of my weekly BCotW's. But I'm back now! That's what's important! Right? Right.

 
This week's winner for Book Cover of the Week is......
.....
 
......
 
......
 
......
 
......
 
D. Barkley Briggs' Corus the Champion, book two in the Legends of Karac Tor series!!!!
 
Congratulations, D. Barkley Briggs!! You are the author of this week's featured novel!
 
 
God bless,
Brian

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" - A Movie Review

    On December 22, 2012, I made my first trip to see a movie in theater in 3D. That movie was Peter Jackson's adaption of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, which was The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
     The whole experience was simply amazing! The Hobbit has finally made its way to the big screen, and after much effort on the parts of the directors, writers, and actors, the movie did not disappoint. The Hobbit is a visually stunning movie experience, whether you see it in 3D or not, BluRay or DVD.
    The character portrayal was simply amazing. I couldn't help but feel giddy when the Wizard Gandalf appeared on screen, for he is such an incredible character, and Ian McKellen portrays him extraordinarily! Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield, Gloin, etc... Such amazing and entertaining characters!

    The scenery and landscape did not lack depth, and it did not have to put much effort into amazing even the most "anti-fantasy" viewer out there.
    The only language that I heard contained was "jaxie", which is a Dwarf's word for "rear-end". The violence definitely lived up to its PG-13 rating, but it was not overwhelming. Battles, severed limbs, gutted ghouls. Peter Jackson did not shy away from scary images either, and Gollum is as scary as ever in this prequel to The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
    The movie did not lack action, neither was it short on intrigue. And the swords were absolutely stunning! I want Glamdring and the Orcrist!
    I truly wish that I could go to see The Hobbit once again! And you can be sure that I will be one of the first to pre-order the DVD when it becomes available!
    Have you seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey yet? What did you think? If not, do you plan to?

5 of 5 stars!
 

    Here are some images for The Hobbit for you to enjoy!

 
 
 
 
God bless,
Brian

Friday, December 28, 2012

"To Darkness Fled" by Jill Williamson - A Book Review

    Enter Darkness...
    They have no choice. Chased by an evil prince, Achan, Vrell, and the Kingsguard knights flee into Darkness. They head north, for Tsaftown and Ice Island, where they must free an army that can help them fight for Er'Rets.
    Darkness sickens Vrell. How long can she keep her secret without being caught? Achan already suspects her of lying. If she is not careful, he will suspect her of treason as well. She hopes he will let his suspicions go until they reach her home.
    Achan wanted freedom, but this new journey has bound him more than ever. Sir Gavin's claims are so far fetched. First, that there might only be one God, and second, that this God chose Achan to push back Darkness, the magnificent curse of Er'Rets. Him. Achan. Barely a man himself.
    Each setback Darkness brings seems minor compared to the one choice only Achan can make. What will he choose?

    This second installment of The Blood of Kings trilogy by Jill Williamson was amazing! The prose is magnificent and graceful, allowing you to glide through the pages. The author takes you on a stunning visual journey through Darkness, and back into Light. She provides vivid imagery, and fills the pages with magnificent creatures.
    You are guided through the emotional, physical, and spiritual journeys of Achan and Vrell, the protagonists. The author is certain to prove that Achan and Vrell are not the invulnerable characters that so many writers make their protagonists out to be, providing plenty of conflict, and emotional/physical turmoil. In addition to that, the author seamlessly brings the Word and the Truth of God further into the light, unashamedly revealing God's truth to the reader who reads with an open mind and an open heart.
    This installment is more on the mature side; I would recommend it for older teens. The romance is brought up several notches, and one of the characters experiences her "month-blood". No language is used.
    The violence is also brought up a little bit. Severed arms, slit throats, and an abundance of epic battles!
    All things considered, To Darkness Fled was a highly enjoyable read, and an epic adventure that I would recommend to those 14 and up!!
    Have you read this book yet? If so, what were your thoughts?

5 of 5 stars!

God bless,
Brian

P.S. - Merry Belated Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2013 Literary Endeavors

Happy Holidays, everyone! Christmas and New Years are fast approaching, and I've been readying myself for my 2013 writing goal. :) Have you?
    Anyway, my writing goal for next year is to write a 200,000 word novel. It is an epic fantasy novel in the category of The Lord of the Rings or Vox Day's Arts of Dark and Light.
    In some ways, I wonder whether or not I could actually succeed at such an extravagant goal. I ask myself "What could I possibly write that could take up 200,000 words?" The answer to that question is that I'm going to go deeper in this novel politically, historically, romantically, and I'm going to add more depth in the area of world-building. And I'm going to have a plethura of characters, with which I can extract my evil genius and torture upon! *cue insane laughter* 
    I am really excited about this novel, which I have decided to title, for the time being, A War of Swords, book one of a new series. (I will disclose the name of the series at a later date.)
    In any case... are you guys up for a synopsis?

        In a world where Elves are outlaws, it is unsafe for 18-year-old Ainariel Swiftblade and her comrades to roam the forests, their natural homes. They hide wherever the god of myth, Ahlyos, grants them sanctuary. They practice their ancient rites in the shadows, and are constantly at war with those who would seek to wipe them out forever.
    One day, Ainariel discovers that she isn’t just a normal Elf; she’s special. She’s been bestowed with a special gift. She comes to realize that she is of royal heritage and that her faction of Elves is those that the wicked would seek to destroy.
    She, along with her comrades, seek out the one thing that can restore the Elves to their position as one of the Six Highblood Races of Arylla: an enchanted Sword, rightly named Endirul, Elvish for “Restorer”.
    Ainariel finds an ancient prophecy that directs her path to find Endirul, but first she must travel through the Seven Deadly Territories (name is a work in progress) in search of the wizard who enchanted the blade.
    Will she be able to find Endirul and restore the Elves to the Six, or will those who oppose them be victorious and wipe the Elves off the planet forever?

    I'm sure some of you can imagine why I am so excited for this new Elven fantasy. :) Anyway, I do hope that you enjoyed the preliminary synopsis.
    What do you think? What are your goals for 2013?

God bless,
Brian

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Giveaway for "Starflower" by Anne Elisabeth Stengl and "The Fairest Beauty" by Melanie Dickerson

Christian Bookshelf Reviews is having a giveaway for Anne Elisabeth Stengl's novel, Starflower as well as Melanie Dickerson's novel, The Fairest Beauty! Enter yourselves to win!

God bless,
Brian

"By Darkness Hid" by Jill Williamson - A Book Review

DARKNESS DIVIDES THE LAND...
Half of Er'Rets is locked beneath an impenetrable shroud. On he side that still sees the sun, two young people struggle to understand the mind-communication abilities thrust upon them.
    It's called bloodvoicing. Some say it's a gift. One of the newly "gifted" wish it had never come.
    Achan has been a slave all his life. Worse than a slave - a stray. He is consigned to the kitchens of a lord and forced to swallow a foul potion every day. When an enigmatic knight offers to train Achan for the Kingsguard, he readily accepts. But his new skills with the sword do not prepare him for the battle raging between the voices in his head.
    Vrell Sparrow is not who she seems. She masquerades as a boy to avoid capture by the powerful forces that seek to exploit her. But Vrell feels called to help a young squire who recently discovered his bloodvoicing gift, even if doing so requires her to work with those who could destroy her.
    While Achan learns to use his new ability, Vrell struggles to shut hers down. All the voices strive to learn Achan and Vrell's true identities - and a different kind of voice is calling them both.
    Toward a destination that is by darkness hid.

    By Darkness Hid, book one in The Blood of Kings trilogy was an amazing read! I could not put the book down! If found myself immediately pulled into the world of Achan Cham and Vrell Sparrow, Er'Rets. This book is like no other I have read, masterfully weaving the battles of the heart and the will with the battles of the land surrounding them. The story world is as intricately designed J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, among the worlds of other authors, and contains such depth, that I longed to learn more of the history of Er'Rets. As things were explained throughout the book, I continued to devour the pages, learning more and more of Achan, Vrell, and their comrades.
    This book, though, seems to be driven more towards older teenagers than toward those of the younger generation. Violence is at an average, and I never once found myself cringing at a "disgusting" scene, as some might call it, but not I.
    By Darkness Hid is an amazing novel, with memorable characters, and unexpected plot twists! I fully intend to continue reading whatever Mrs. Williamson writes next! (Current read: To Darkness Fled, book two in The Blood of Kings trilogy)
    Feel free to comment! What did you think about this book? Have you read it? Do you plan to?

5 of 5 stars

God bless,
Brian

Saturday, December 8, 2012

"The Tide of Unmaking" by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper - A Book Review

TWO WORLDS WILL BE LOST...
    Seven years have passed since the Lords of Berinfell - Tommy, Kat, Jimmy, Johnny, Autumn, and Kiri Lee - watched the horror of Vesper Crag wash away, as well as their fallen kinsman, Jett Green. But with Grimwarden in exile, the realm of Berinfell finds itself ill-equipped to weather the coming storms.
    Kiri Lee begins to whisper of ghostly visitations. Taeva, Princess of the Taladrim, desperately seeks out the Elves of Berinfell to rescue her kingdom. And the genocidal Drefid Lord Asp launches his campaign to conquer Allyra. And Earth. But far worse still is a consuming terror on the horizon: an unstoppable force that threatens to devour all creation and all hope.
    Nations will crumble, loyalties will be tested, and even the might of Berinfell's Lords may not be enough to stem...
THE TIDE OF UNMAKING.

    The Tide of Unmaking is the stunning conclusion to The Berinfell Prophecies. Sir Batson, and Sir Hopper have done it again! They've woven the depth of world-building that you see in The Lord of the Rings with the spiritual wholesomeness of The Chronicles of Narnia and the action and adventure of, well... every action-packed novel/movie out there! And even better was that it was doused with heart-warming humor! I could not put this book down and found myself reading late into the night to finish it.
    I was sad when I came to the conclusion of the Lords' story, for my journey along with them had come to a close.
    This book is truly a fantastic read for fantasy lovers of all ages, containing no inappropriate content, nor any foul language. The violence did arise a notch, but, according to my standards, should not be too much to worry about, though younger readers may be slightly disgusted. (beheadings, stabbings, sword fights, etc...)
    I look forward to reading more stories by both authors!

5 of 5 stars!

Endurance and victory!
Brian

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Movie Recommendations!

    Merry Holidays, Deck the Halls, Happy Falalalalalidays, Happy Hannukah, Kwanza, whatever applies to you! LOL
    As I am sure you ALL know (unless you've been living in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, at the center of a planet in outer space... with no calendar, or date tracking device), Christmas is coming up! If you're like my family, you have already sat in front of the TV/fire, drinking hot chocolate whilst watching a heart-warming Christmas movie. If not, it's time to get started! You don't wanna miss out on some family Christmas movie time. That's one of my favorite parts about the holidays.
    So, now I am going to list some of my favorite Christmas movies in order of age rage. There will be an Entire Family category, and a 13 and Up category, just to help you choose which movies are appropriate for you and your family.

ENTIRE FAMILY
  • The Santa Clause - starring Tim Allen
  • Santa Clause 2 - starring Tim Allen
  • Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause - starring Tim Allen
  • Fred Clause (Le Frere Noel) - starring Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti
  • The Christmas Shoes - starring Rob Lowe and Kimberly Williams (this one is a more serious-minded Christmas movie)
  • Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws
  • The Christmas Blessing - starring Neil Patrick Harris, Rebecca Gayheart, Angus T. Jones, and Rob Lowe (sequel to The Christmas Shoes, also a more serious-minded movie)
  • Prancer Returns - starring John Corbett, Stacy Edwards, Michael O'keefe, and Jack Palance
  • The Twelve Dogs of Christmas - starring Jordan-Claire Green and Tom Kemp
13 AND UP
  • Holiday Engagement - starring Bonnie Sommerville, Shelley Long, Jordan Bridges, and Haylie Duff
  • Christmas with the Kranks - starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. (Some of you may have seen this and wondered why I would put it in this category. But bikinis and speedos... yeah. Other than that, it's a hilarious Christmas comedy!)
  • The Christmas Card - starring John Newton, Alice Evans, and Edward Asner (this movie could actually be in either category. I just put it in this one because it is more of a romantice Christmas movie, possibly something that would bore younger children)
    I do hope that you decide to look into these movies, because they are indeed fantastic Christmas dramas and/or comedies. One of my personal favorites is The Christmas Card. :)
    What are some awesome Christmas and/or Holiday movies that you recommend?

God bless,
Brian

Saturday, December 1, 2012

One Year Blogoversary!!!

    So, guess what?! I have officially been blogging for one year! *holds for overly-enthusiastic applause* Today, is the anniversary of the day I started Shattering the Darkness, which has gone through many titles, as well as many faces, before I finally became happy with the appearance and title of my blog.
    Wow. I can't believe that I've been a blogger for one year already! It seems like just yesterday that I started it. :)
    Anyway, Happy anniversary, to all you who have stuck with me from the beginning (or nearly the beginning) and even to you new followers!

God bless,
Brian

In other news, I have finished the edits and the final read-through of my manuscript, Paradox, and am one step closer to getting this story into your hands!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Epic Fail or Epic Success?

    Well, if you are a buddy of mine on the NaNoWriMo site, then you might no that I am very, veerrry far behind.
    Now some might see that as an epic fail on my part. In fact, I thought of it as an epic fail.
    But something changed my opinion of that. And that was the fact that I managed to read over half of my own book, pushing me closer to the publication of Paradox.
    So, I ask you, dear reader, do you see NaNoWriMo 2012 as an epic fail on my part, or an epic success?

God bless,
Brian

P.S. - Blogger is going through technical difficulties right now, so if you're wondering why I have not gotten back to you on any comments you have posted, know that it is only because Blogger will not let me post comments. I assure you, I read every comment that is posted.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An Important Element In Christian Fantasy

    I've been thinking for the last several days about something that, to me, MUST be included in Christian fantasy stories, though it is certainly not required to make the story simply amazing.
    That element to which I am referring is some form of gathering to worship the "God figure" in your novel/short story. Whether God is named Elyon (Ted Dekker's Circle) or Trand/The Fire (Brian McBride's Paradox) or Ellos (Wayne Thomas Batson's and Christopher Hopper's Berinfell Prophecies), it doesn't matter.

St. Alban's Cathedral in England - I modeled the "church" in Paradox after this building.

    In my own book, I entitle it Ynderrum (in' - dare - um) - A weekly gathering of a multitude of people to unite in worship and reverence to Trand.
    The reason that I think a form of worship or some kind of "church service" is important in a good Christian fantasy is because of two reasons.
    The first is one that I have taken directly from the Bible: we are made to worship. God created us to worship Him. Why then should we not include a form of worshipful gathering in our Christian fantasy stories?
    Another reason is this: how can followers of your fictional "Christ figure" be unified with each other when they don't come together for fellowship once in a while? The Bible says that we are one body with many parts. What would happen to a body if the heart decided it wanted to be its own self? It would stop working, right?
    Well, those are just two of the reasons I could think of as to why we should include elements of fellowship and worship in our Christian fantasy stories. I'm sure there are many more reasons. I just can't think of them right now. ^_^
    Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions and disagreements in the comments below!

God bless,
Brian

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012!!! A Month of Writing!

Hey, all!

    So, as I'm sure a lot of you writerly people out there already know, NaNoWriMo begins next month! And for you non-writerly people, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. The goal of NaNoWrimo is to write a novel (or a portion of a novel, if you would rather it be longer) that contains at least 50,000 words.


    I was involved in NaNoWriMo 2011, but I didn't win. I hope to succeed in writing all 50,000 words this year though. ^_^
    The novel that I am planning on doing this year is Point of Darkness, which will be my first supernatural horror to write. It will also be a standalone novel, so I'm hoping to get a total of 100,000 words.
    If you haven't checked out my Literary Endeavors page, I'll give a brief synopsis.

    Emma, an orphan, is transferred to a creepy orphanage in the middle of nowhere, Turn Around Point. It's run by a creepy old hag. When strange things start happening, she believes that the other orphans might be playing a trick on her - the newbie. But when, in the middle of the night, they awake and act like zombies, Emma begins to suspect that there's more going on than meets the eye.

    What do think? Is that a novel that you would read? Well, I really hope so, because I'm really excited to be writing it! :)
    So, are any of YOU participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Have you already stocked up on much-needed supplies?
    Please, leave a comment below! I love hearing from you! :)

God bless,
Brian

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Book Cover of the Week - #7

    I'm really sorry that I've been slacking off on my Book Cover of the Week thing. But I'm back now, and that's what's important. ^_^


Anyway, I shall commence with the post.

The winner is................

By Darkness Hid - Book One in The Blood of Kings Trilogy by Jill Williamson

    I recently bought the entire trilogy and when book one came in, I seriously could not take my eyes off of the gorgeous cover. Jill Williamson is one lucky author to have such a beautiful set of books. I will be reading this series once I finish rereading The Berinfell Prophecies.
    Check out the rest of the books in this series: To Darkness Fled, and Fom Darkness Won.


You can watch the book trailer for the newest book, From Darkness Won, here.

God bless,
Brian

As per normal, feel free to comment below! I love to receive your thoughts and inputs on my posts!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"The Midnight Labyrinth - The Guardian Chronicles" by Sahara Adalyn Moran - A Book Review

Guardians, wizards, the Midnight Labyrinth - all part of the past. Forgotten elemnts of the mighty battles fought in the ancient times of Aselda and its lands. Even the Dragon Warriors seem to be just parts of the fable stories told to the children of the kingdom of Aselda. Anyone who exercises magic is considered a follower of the legendary evil sorcerer Seuderak. The safe havens are coming to ruin, leaving no safe places to flee to. The monsters that once threatened Aselda's lands seem to have reappeared, lurking in the shadows, awaiting any stragglers.
    The only hope that glimmers in the darkness are three unlikely champions - a young inexperienced king, the most wanted thief in all of Aselda, and her younger brother. But will anyone trust them? Most importantly, can they trust each other? If they can even survive the Royal Guard, they will have even harder challenges ahead of them.

Fan-tas-tic! Sahara Adalyn Moran's debut novel, The Midnight Labyrinth, book one in The Guardian Chronicles, was an amazing tale. It had an abundance of memorable characters, vivid imagery, emotional twists, and fantastic action-packed sequences. It is packed full of amazing and imaginative creatures and races.
    Arella - one of the many main characters - is a thief, who has lost her parents and must struggle with her grief as well as take care of her younger brother, Jared. Arella is the protective, strong older sister, even though she tries to hide her weakness. Hansrai is the king-who-wishes-he-wasn't. Jared is the clueless Chosen One. Each of these characters come with an abundance of faults and weaknesses - which is fantastic! Because it makes them more realistic, and therefore, more "relatable" (I know that's not a word).
    The plot was well-fleshed-out and beautifully written, right up to the last sentence, which just so happened to be a cliffhanger!
    Language-absolutely none! Well, there is English. ;) Okay, that was kind of cheesy. There is mild violence - two sword blades are used like a pare of scissors to sever a head, among many other fight scenes. The Midnight Labyrinth comes with an abundance of monsters and creatures as well. There is no suggestive content either.
    The only disappointment that this book brought with it is the cliffhanger at the end. I mean, what happens next?!

4 of 5 stars.
God bless,
Brian

Friday, September 14, 2012

"A Book" - A Poem


The following, is a poem I wrote (one of my favorites... and longest). I hope you all like it.

A Book
by Brian Mcbride

What is a book that we should be so lucky 
to lay our hands on something so rich?
Description being more than just “blue sky” or “green meadows”.
Etching elegantly painted pictures into our shallow minds.
The rich, deep, shimmering sky dotted with billows of white.
The oceans of waving, green meadows filling a landscape.
All painted in perfect harmony in our minds.

The cascading waterfalls thundering down a cliff.
The tall evergreens standing regally; 
the fathoms of pounding wind.
The foaming oceans battling an unseen force.
The rolling hills dotted with rainbows of flowers.

Words etched so perfectly on a piece of paper.
An artist, working effortlessly through hours of endless labor,
checking, down to the last fiber of the perfect story.

Books of old, books of new.
Books thick, books thin.
All tell the story of the one within.

Emotions flood our minds as we soak up the words. 
Happy, sad,
Hateful, mad,
Loving, serene,
All mixing in with our emotions and thoughts.

The characters, described so perfectly.
Flowing fiery red hair…
High cheekbones…
Pointed nose…
Giving us an image of those who are so engrained in our memory for all eternity.
Impressing upon us the will to belong to the stories we read.

The adventures…
The climaxes…
The resolutions…

Nothing is so rich as a book.
Telling us of other worlds where light reigns,
Where the meadows are untouched,
Where the doe grazes beneath the tree,
Where the buck leaps over rotting wooden fences.

A book is a doorway.
It guides us,
It shows us rights and wrongs,
It lives in us,
And it never leaves us.

A book is rich, deep.
Never shallow.
Unforgettable, Unending.
The countless stories, unfathomable.

Illusions of old,
Magic of new,
Hide within the pages of a book.

Stories never heard,
Folktales long forgotten,
Are rebirthed.

People who have passed,
Great, or small,
Are all remembered by a book.

Without it we have no knowledge,
No understanding of right or wrong,
No imagination,
No emotions,
No way to know how to describe the earth as more than simply
“blue sky” “spherical planet” or “green meadows”.
No longing.
Nothing. 
We would be empty, void of depth.
Shallow.

A book is a blessing given to us by the Creator,
Master of all,
Author of life and all that we see.
The potter of the trees, the sea, the hills, the valleys, the birds of the air,
The beasts of the field, the fish of the sea, the man, 
you and me.

Simple pages we turn every day,
But some don’t pay attention to the magic in
Each word.
Description, destiny, love, hope, fear, faraway places.
All lie in the pages…
…of a book. 

God bless,
Brian

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Winter Sparrow" by Estevan Vega - A Book Review


TRUE. LOVE. FOREVER.
"I'll grow wings all by myself..."
    Mary is a young artist about to enter a new chapter in her life. After years of waiting and searching, she has finally found true love. She's also just discovered that her fiance, Joshua, has inherited his father's rundown countryside mansion. To add to the rising pressure, her wedding day is so close she can practically hear the music. All she has to do is accept what the future holds. Accept... and be happy.
    But something's missing.
    As the seasons change, her doubts turn to fears, and her fears become reality. Through struggle and loss, the love she once possessed for Joshua transforms into contempt. When Mary is confronted with a magical escape, the life she has and the life she dreams of will collide, awakening a mysterious change within. But no choice comes without a cost, and each one will draw her closer to the truth.

    Winter Sparrow by Estevan Vega, author of the best-selling Arson Trilogy, is a unique novella full of romance, inner struggles, and desires.
    As her wedding approaches, Mary begins to question whether she will be good enough for Joshua, her fiance, or whether he will be good enough for her.
    This novella is a journey, spanning one year; Mary's journey. She and Joshua are struck by the death of their first child - still in the womb - and Mary becomes reclusive.
    Each page drips with sorrow, love, anguish. It portrays the power of true love. It shows the lengths one will go to in order to save their one true love. It paints a picture sacrifice.
    Winter Sparrow is a romance novella to the core, with a twist on the fantasy side.
    This story, though it doesn't end necessarily happy, it ends hopeful. It ends with the hope of spring after winter has passed.
    There was no language. There was mild thematic contact; when Mary was in highschool, she was violated by a boy - he touched her breasts. Though this isn't my favorite element to have been put in the book, it was absolutely necessary to show Mary's brokenness.
    No violence. However, there were some possibly frightful scenes; there is a bat-like creature, as well is mutated women with ripped flesh and mangled wings.
    I absolutely have to give a hand to Estevan Vega for thinking up such a clever and wonderfully amazing plot and writing it. I also want to thank him for giving a copy to me to pre-read. It was beautiful!
    I recommend the novella Winter Sparrow for anyone 14-years-of-age, or older, who love a good romance/fantasy story.
5 of 5 stars!
God bless,
Brian

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Insurgent" by Veronica Roth - A Book Review


*WARNING* SPOILERS ARE CONTAINED WITHIN THIS REVIEW!

    One choice can transform you - or it can destroy you.
    But every choice has its consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves - and herself - while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
    Tris' initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable - and even more powerful.
    Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

    Wow, wow, WOW! Insurgent by Veronica Roth, book to in the Divergent Series, was AMAZING! It was full of amazing twists and turns that I didn't expect, emotional, physical, and mental turmoil on the main character's, Tris', part. The second installment is action-packed and will draw you in from the start.
    Contained within its pages is mystery, adventure, and romance.
    Tris is constantly having to make choices that will affect her future, and the future of her friends and family. Throughout the book, she is struggling with loss of one of her best friends, the deaths of her parents, and the betrayal of a family member. She also has to balance her relationship with her mentor, and boyfriend (two years, her senior).
    There are constant struggles of ethics as Tris has to decide what is right and what is wrong.
    There is mild language use; "h*ll" is used a few times, as is "s*cks"; a fictional insult, "Stiff" is used for the members of the Abnegation faction.
    Tobias and Tris kiss multiple times, as well as lay on Tobias' bed together, though they go no further than kissing and hugging. Tris has a constant battle and fear with this throughout books one and two.
    Violence is mild. Multiple people are either shot, or stabbed. A faction is mind controlled, though they are not aware until afterwards.
    All things considered, this book was simply amazing and my only regret is that I must now what a year for book three!

5 of 5 stars.

God bless,
Brian

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Indie Author Spotlight - #1

    Every now and then, when I find the time or an awesome Indie author that I just have to share, I will share a post that puts new Indie (Independent, for those of you who don't know what it means) in the spotlight. Sound good? Good.

    Here's the banner for this new category:


Like?

    The first book to go under the spotlight is one that I just received today! One of my friends wrote it and published it with createspace.
    Please, give a warm round of applause for teenage author Sahara Adalyn Moran's debut novel, The Midnight Labyrinth!
1.

    Guardians, wizards, the Midnight Labyrinth - all part of the past. Forgotten elements of the mighty battles fought in the ancient times of Aselda and its lands. Even stories told to the children of the kingdom of Aselda. Anyone who exercises magic is considered a follower of the legendary evil sorcerer, Seuderak. The safe havens are coming to ruin, leaving no safe places to flee to. The monsters that once threatened Aselda's lands seem to have reappeared, lurking in the shadows, awaiting stragglers.
    The only hope that glimmers in the darkness are three unlikely champions - a young inexperienced king, the most wanted thief in all of Aselda, and her younger brother. But will anyone trust them? Most importantly, can they trust each other? If they can even survive the Royal Guard, they will have even harder challenges ahead of them.

    Look for my review of The Midnight Labyrinth in the future.

    The runner-up to Sahara Adalyn Moran's debut novel, The Midnight Labyrinth, is teenage author, Oliver Dahl's, debut novel, The Dreamer's: A Story of Sam Kullen.

2.

    Sam Kullen is a Dreamer. Every night he dreams, and he lives in each one. Together, the Dreamers must stop Malfix from taking over the Dream Realm, and earth itself. The Dreamers also have the ability to control events on earth and through their dreams. Sam and the Dreamers must prevent Malfix from controlling things... for the worse.

You can read my review of Oliver Dahl's debut novel, The Dreamershere.

    The second runner-up is yet another debut novella by yet another teenage author. I present to you J. Tobias Buller's novella, The War Horn.

3.

    When the unthinkable happens, John - the son of a Norman lord - undertakes a journey to fight for the lives of his parents and his people. But its not just any quest. The malevolent Lord Gair demands the legendary Holy Grail, and John knows that Lord Gair will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.
    All along, John has been making sacrifices for the freedom he seeks. But before the end, John must confront Lord Gair and stop him, before it's too late. But John's true enemy isn't Lord Gair. It's himself.
    On an adventure of daring and excitement, John must make an impossible choice. And to do that, he must learn the true price of freedom.

    Keep an eye out for a review of The War Horn by J. Tobias Buller in the future.

So, I hope you all enjoyed my first Indie Author Spotlight post! And I do hope that you look into each of these books.

God bless,
Brian

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dragons In Christian Fantasy?

    A few days ago, I posted on Christians involving themselves with magic in books and writing. View that post here. Now, I want to post about dragons.


    This is a hot topic. And one that all of you are probably familiar with in some aspect or another.
    Some of you may be familiar with Bryan Davis' contemporary Christian fantasy book series, Dragons In Our Midst, followed by The Oracles of Fire, and Children of the Bard. DIOM and its off-shoots all have dragons (or dragon hybrids) as main characters. Now, some of you may be thinking that anything that has dragons in it must not be Christian, but if you've ever read the first book of the Dragons In Our Midst series, then you should have noticed that the book is explicitly a work of Christian fiction from a Christian mind.
    A little while ago, Bryan Davis himself addressed the matters of dragons in Christian Fantasy fiction. You can see that post titled In Defense of Dragons here.
    Personally, I agree with what Mr. Davis had to say in defense of dragons.
    If you pay close attention in the Bible, then you'll notice that:

1. Dragons did exist.
2. God created them.
3. If God created them, then they, like angels, could be either good or evil. (E.G. before Satan and his third of the hosts of heaven fell, they were all angels that served under God, but they then turned evil.)

    Now, just because Satan used the essence of a dragon, does that mean that all dragons are evil? No. Not in my opinion.
    Like Mr. Davis said in his post: "The Bible uses a dragon to symbolize Satan, but God also describes Leviathan as one of His greatest creatures in Job 41, and this creature is clearly a fire-breathing, scaly monster that is strikingly similar to the dragons in my stories. It seems to be used in the Bible in multiple ways."
    Not only is the dragon used to symbolize Satan, but the lion is as well (1 Peter 5:8). Does that mean that all lions are evil? Of course not! Like dragons, lions are beasts of great ferocity and majesty. Satan is also called an "angel of light", but that doesn't mean all angels of light are evil.
    To me, dragons are great beasts of power, grace and majesty, but they can also be the opposite of that.
    So, should dragons be used in Christian fantasy fiction stories? Sure! Why not? They can be used either as good dragons or bad dragons, it is up to the writer.
    I really hope that this post was helpful in either helping you to confirm to yourself where you stand on the subject, or vice versa. If you would like to read a more in-depth post on the subject then you can visit Bryan Davis' post on it here.


    This is my opinion and I do not claim in any way that it is the right opinion or that it is fact.
    As always, the comments are open for you share your own thoughts and opinions.

God bless,
Brian

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Book Cover of the Week - #6

Welcome back for my sixth Book Cover of the Week post!



And this week's winner is...



The Last Temple: Book 2 in The Last Disciple Series by Sigmund Brouwer and Hank Hanegraaff.

Why did this particular book cover win? Not because I've read it and love the book (though I really, really want to), but because it is just EPIC looking! Is it not? It promises action and adventure. If it is coaxing me to buy it, then it's doing its job!

    I really hope you enjoyed this week's BCotW!

God bless,
Brian

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Black or White; No Gray Side

Today, I was involved in a debate on the Go Teen Writers Facebook page on the topic of Christians being involved in books that focus on magic, whether that is writing them or reading them.
    I haven't really expressed my opinion of this on my blog very much. But that is about to change. I will warn you, though, that this post will be very controversial, and if you would like to express your opinions, please do so in the comments below! I'd love to hear from you about this.
    First of all, I will express my opinion on it. Magic is witchcraft. No matter how you look at it, the devil created it. Some of you may be wondering now what the difference between the Starcrafters in my book and magic is. Well, it's this: Starcraft is a gift from God to a group of people.
    Satan created magic to try to ensnare people and bring them down, ultimately leading them to hell, if they continue with magic. Now, I'm not saying that by reading books such as Harry Potter, you will go to hell. Unless, of course, you let it influence you. How do you think modern-day satanists, witches, wizards, mediums, psychics, (etc...) got started? It isn't like they woke up one day and decided to become a witch. It was a gradual opening of a door in their lives that should never be opened - especially by Christians.
    Christians who read and/or write things that focus on magic or allowing an area of compromise into their lives. What happens to a chair if one of its legs is broken? What happens to a house if its foundation crumbles? The same thing that happens to us if we allow our Biblical foundation to be compromised.
    The Bible says this:

"There must not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through fire, a diviner, a soothsayer, an enchanter, a sorcerer, a spell-caster, a consulter of ghosts or spirits, or a necromancer. For whoever does these things is detestable to God, and these and because of these abominations, Adonai, your God, is driving them out ahead of you."
Deuteronomy 18:10-12

    You can see what the Bible says about magic. If you're a Christian then you MUST obey the Bible. You can't change what it says to fit what you want. The Bible isn't something that can be taken out of context at a whim. God is unchanging, and the Bible is God's Written Word.
    The way I see it, you have two options.
1. Write your story differently. Let God guide your writing and your reading lifestyle. Make the magic in your stories be not magic, but spiritual gifts from God.
2. Or, ignore what the Word says and hope that the door of compromise in your life doesn't open wide enough to allow Satan a foothold in your life.
    There's black, or there's white. There's no gray side. 
    Please, do not take offense to anything contained in this post.
    Ask yourself this question: would Jesus read Harry Potter? Would Jesus write a story that delves into the magical world?
    Feel free to leave your opinions, protests, and thoughts in the comments below. If you would like to ask me a question in private, or request prayer, or anything like that, then you can email me at join_the_starcrafters@yahoo.com.

God bless,
Brian

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Writing Inspiration

Today, I want to share with you all some of the works (books or not) that have inspired my writing of The Starcrafters' Saga, among other stories.



    Those are just some of the books that inspired my writing. (I couldn't fit my brother's box set of The Chronicles of Narnia into the picture).
    Other books that inspired the writing of various stories, including my horror Point of Darkness, are Travis Thrasher's Solitary Tales; Ted Dekker's Skin, House, Boneman's Daughters, The Paradise Novels; Eric Wilson's Jerusalem's Undead Trilogy; Jerry B. Jenkin's and Tim Lahaye's Left Behind: The Young Trib Force; Robert Liparulo's Dreamhouse Kings Series; Bryan Davis' Echoes From the Edge series; Tom Pawlik's Vanish, and Valley of the Shadow; Estevan Vega's Arson; Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games Trilogy; Veronica Roth's Divergent Trilogy.
    Those are most of the books that inspired my various writing projects.
    Tell me, in the comments, of some of the authors, books, or movies that inspire your writing, or got you to start writing?

God bless,
Brian

Friday, August 17, 2012

A New Blog Feature

If you have noticed the recent changes to my blog's layout, then I do hope that you like them. I had decided that I wanted a newer look for my blog. :)

Also, I have just put up a new blog feature, which should be interesting and helpful for all involved. My blog is now open for critiques of your writing! Go here for more information.

I am open for submissions the rest of today, until midnight tonight Pacific Standard Time.

I do hope that you enjoy this new feature and the new look.

God bless,
Brian

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth - A Book Review

One choice... decides your friends...
One choice... defines your beliefs...
One choice... determines your loyalties - forever...
Once choice can transform you. 

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor the honest, Erudite the intelligent, Abnegation the selfless, Dauntless the brave, and Amity the peaceful. On an appointed day of each year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will dedicate the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

    When I went to the book store that is very near to where I am staying at (I'm on vacation), I knew exactly what I was looking for: Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I saw them on the shelves and I was excited. When I got back to my grandparents, I immediately went on Goodreads and marked it as "currently reading" and started reading it. From the first chapter, I was enthralled with the character, Beatrice "Tris" Prior, her life, the world, and everything about the book.
    I loved how, like Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games Trilogy, Tris was strong-willed, but what I loved about her over Katniss was that she wasn't afraid to be a girl either and that she had compassion and shied away from weapons or violence, though that was partly because of her upbringing in Abnegation the Selfless.
    Veronica Roth's character development of Tris and even Four (an amazing character himself) was incredible.
    Even though Divergent is in the first-person point-of-view (POV) Ms. Roth had no trouble describing the setting with eloquence and a sense of perfection.
    Tris was made a very a perfect character because of the flaws that Ms. Roth gave her.
    The plot was fantastic, its twists and turns perfectly placed.
    There is a bit of violence. A boy is stabbed in the eye with a butter knife, another boy jumps off of a ledge to his death, and there are repeated severe injuries from their training in fighting. Dozens of people die.
    There is very little language. "h*ll" is used repeatedly, but that is as far as it goes. The only other cuss word is a made up word for the members of Abnegation "Stiffs", which if you want to know what that means, then you'll have to read the book.
    When Tris is bullied she later tells Four that the bullies "touched her" and Four mistakes that for the inappropriate alternative. The bullies pull Tris' towel off, but she immediately re-covers herself with it. It is said several times that she "looks like a child" because she has "not fully filled out". One male character is man-handling her and says something to the effect of "I wonder what she has under there [her clothes]".
    I recommend this book to 13-year-olds and up.
    I thoroughly enjoyed Divergent, reading it in less that 24-hours, and am now reading Insurgent.

5 of 5 stars!
God bless,
Brian

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Raising Dragons by Bryan Davis - A Book Review


WARNING! SOME SPOILERS ARE CONTAINED IN THIS REVIEW!

Action, adventure, inspiration as two teens meet their dragon past...

A boy learns of his dragon past; a girl has known of hers for years. They combine their faith, courage, and love to overcome an evil slayer who seeks to bring an end to dragon heritage, forever.
    The kids at school call Billy "Dragon Breath" for good reason. His breath is bad! It isn't normal, morning-mouth bad; it's hot-as-fire, "don't-you-dare-get-near-me" bad. Trouble erupts when his hot breath sets off the fire sprinklers in the boys' restroom at school, and his parents learn that they've kept their secret for too long.
    Billy finally discovers the secret. His father was once a dragon! Now that's a piece of news a guy doesn't deal with every day! Billy feels betrayed, alien, lost. When the dragon slayer traps him on a cold mountaintop in West Virginia, Billy learns to battle with weapons of steel and spirit while relying on a power he doesn't understand, a power that helps him learn to trust again.
    Bonnie, an orphan, tries to find a home, someone to lover her, even though she feels like a freak because of a body feature that she calls a deformity. But this unusual feature becomes a life-saving attribute as she discovers that her love for others and her faith in a creator hold the answers she's looking for.

    When I took the first step to reading the Dragons In Our Midst series and borrowed it from my cousin, I was slightly wary, considering I didn't have a perfect experience with the first book of his that I read, Beyond the Reflection's Edge (you can read my review here). But once I started the book, my attitude toward his writing changed. I couldn't believe the skill and grace Bryan Davis showed in managing to intertwine a Godly, Biblical message with an contemporary fantasy story about dragons and dragon hybrids! Unlike Beyond the Reflection's Edge, Raising Dragons, was in no way confusing to me. I was able to understand the entire story and I was able to put myself in the character's shoes. That is a rare trait that I hope to see more of as I continue to read Bryan Davis's works and the Dragons In Our Midst series, Oracles of Fire series, and Children of the Bard series, among others!
    No inappropriate content. No language whatsoever. There was mild gruesome content, Bonnie is beaten by the dragon slayer, "knights" are repeatedly burnt to a crisp by the dragons, Billy's head is sliced open by a sword, Bonnie's wing is injured as well as other injuries. Bonnie is manhandled by the slayer.

5 of 5 stars!
God bless,
Brian

Book Cover of the Week

It's that time again! I know I've been quite absent as of late, but I'm on vacation. I think I am entitled to a vacation. :P Just kidding. ;)
    Anyway, I just bought Divergent and Insurgent Veronica Roth and that helped me to decide this Sunday's book cover of the week. Instead of telling you, I'll just show you.



Insurgent by Veronica Roth

When I saw on her [Veronica Roth's] blog the cover for Insurgent I fell in love with it, even more so when I felt the book in my hands and saw the shiny jacket and beautiful emblem and text. I can't wait to read it!

God bless,
Brian

Friday, July 27, 2012

Character Depth - Some Thoughts About Writing

Have you ever watched a show or movie where the characters were so AMAZING? Their personalities were unique and you just fell in love with them? I have. The show I am referring to is Warehouse 13 among a dozen others.

    Claudia - The Techie, former sanitarium patient,
    Pete Lattimer - The childish retrieval expert, former marine
    Myka Bering - The smart, kick-rear, responsible retrieval expert
    Artie - The father figure to Claudia, Pete, and Myka, the leader, the mentor
    Mrs. Frederics - The mysterious guardian, the watchful eye, the secret

When I watch the show I can't help but be amazed at how fleshed out and unique each characters' depth is. It makes me want to watch the show over and over again. It also makes me want to write characters with personalities as unique as theirs.

Back to the question I stated at the beginning of this post, have you ever watched a show/movie/book where the characters were so amazing that you wish you could write characters as amazing as them? If so, post that show/movie/book in the comments below!

God bless,
Brian

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Book Cover of the Week

Hey, all! I know I skipped to weeks for BCotW, but on both of those weekends I was hanging out with my cousins, whom I RARELY see. I hope you understand.



Anyway, now that we're back in business, I would like to share with you this week's BCotW!

And the winner is...........

House by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker

The book cover for House is not only intriguing, but it is also creepy looking, promising thrills, chills and adventure for lovers of the supernatural horror/thriller genre.

Congratulations, Mr. Dekker, and Mr. Peretti on winning the Book Cover of the Week award!

God bless,
Brian

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Arson by Estevan Vega - A Book Review

I've been done with Arson by Estevan Vega for quite a while now, but I am just now getting to the review. Busy, busy.

Anyway, here's the synopsis:
Arson Gable feels like a freak. He can create fire. He never asked for it. He never wanted it. But he can't shut it off.


Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl - who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin - moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he's never had: purpose. After years of living in confusion and fear, he will be forced to confront his haunting past and embrace the unknown as he walks the fine line between boy and monster. Edgy, realistic, and breathtaking, Arson, the chilling chronicle of an isolated teenager with unimaginable ability, is set to ignite the hearts and minds of a new generation.


I found this author and this book after looking on the Facebook page of my favorite author, Ted Dekker. I'd noticed that one of his likes was by Author Estevan Vega, so I clicked the link and the first thing that caught my attention was the beautiful cover art for Arson. After looking at more of his books, I immediately went to Amazon and looked up Arson. After reading the synopsis, I added it to my shopping cart. A week or so later, I ordered it.
    When I first started it I was wary because I'd never read anything by this author before. I was afraid of what I might find, it being a teenage-centered novel and all.
    Anyway, the story line and plot were well fleshed out. I immediately felt myself sympathizing for Arson Gable and Emery Phoenix. That is always a good thing to have in a story - sympathy for the position the characters are in.
    Language was on the fence between mild and medium-high. "Fr*gg*ng", "d*mn", "s*cks", "fr**king" are used repeatedly.
    There was implied sexual behavior. Mandy speaks to Emery about her and Arson's "fling" and says the following: "all the things he did to me while we made love.".
    There is repeated drinking by Emery's father, and by a group of teenagers.
    Violence is very low.
    All in all, Arson by Estevan Vega was an enjoyable read, though I believe that the language could have been left out.
    I rate this book 4 of 5 stars.

4 of 5 stars

God bless,
Brian

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Updates

*ALERT* ANOTHER SHORT POST AHEAD
I know, I still have yet to write the final character interview with Jarush. I'm getting there. It might be up today; it might not. You'll just have to find out. ;)
Anyway, now that I've set up some of the stuff to get published with Outskirts Press, I have created my official website. Now, it's not very big. It has contact, info, books, and my blog. That's about it. Anyway, here is the URL: www.shatteringthedarkness.org
I hope you all had a fantastic 4th of July! I did. :)

God bless,
Brian

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fantastic News!

First off, I have now created my author Facebook page. You can find the badge in the sidebar to the right. Also, you can click here to go there.
Another bit of exciting news is that Paradox will be getting published with Outskirts Press. So, keep your eyes and ears open these next several months!

God bless,
Brian

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Book Cover of the Week - Week 3

Welcome to the third Book Cover of the Week post!



This week's cover is...


To Save A Life by Jim and Rachel Britts

God bless,
Brian

Friday, June 29, 2012

Character Interview #5 - Nienna Hahluaseer


Character Interview #5 - Nienna Hahluaseer

Welcome back! If you’re wondering how to pronounce Nienna’s name, then read this: Nee-in-uh Ha-lew-ah-se-er. Did that help? I hope so. Anyway, welcome back for interview number five! Enjoy!

Nienna Hahluaseer - Elf Ranger and Deuce Clan Leader

Me - Welcome, Nienna. How are you today?

Nienna Hahluaseer - I am well. How about you, Brian?

Me - I am very good, thank you. So, tell us what it’s like to be an Elf Ranger.

NH - I would guess that it is not much different than being a human. However, we do live in giant trees that can house entire clans, and we do spend our entire lives training in the Elfin arts.

Me - Not only are you an Elf, you’re also the daughter of the former leader of the Deuce Clan.

NH - … Yes, but since my father has died, I have been preparing myself to take his place. I intend to lead my clan to the best of my ability. I will fight for the light until my very last breath. I will fight for us.

Me - I’m sure you’ll do a fantastic job. Would you mind telling us who the other half of this “us” is?

NH - He told me not to tell, so I will not.

Me - So it’s a HE, huh?

NH - I will not discuss it further.

Me - Okay, then. How was your life affected when you became a close friend of the Starcrafters, who also happen to be the rulers of Talora?

NH - My life was not affected as much as you would think. The difference is that I have… friends in high places. So to speak.

Me - I see. What are the responsibilities of a clan leader?

NH - We must ensure the safety of our clan. We assign duties and tasks to the elves. We must ensure that all tasks are fulfilled. We lead our clan into war. We represent our clans during meetings with the other clan leaders.

Me - That’s a lot of responsibility.

NH - My father taught me well.

Me - How are the other clan leaders receiving you, a female, as the new leader of the Deuce Clan?

NH - They are taking it quite well. They seem not to have much of an issue with it. Amrod is quite supportive.

Me - And who is Amrod?

NH - He was my father’s mentor before my father married into the Deuce Clan. He is like a second father to me, and since my own father’s passing, he has taken me under his wing.

Me - That must be nice to know that you always have someone who looks out for you.

NH - Indeed.

Me - So, what are you up to now?

NH - Well, the Rulers of Talora and I have just returned to our individual homes from a mission.

Me - What was the mission?

NH - Let’s just say we were retrieving something of great importance.

Me - What do you believe?

NH - I believe that Trand is the Creator of all things, He is the giver of life, love, and joy. He is the Master of the Universe, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting One.

Me - Has your faith remained steady even after your father’s death?

NH - Mostly, yes. However, I understandably struggle with doubt. Sometimes I wonder how He could take my father from me, but then I remember that I still have a Father in Him. Also, it helps to know that my father has passed on into the eternal.

Me - That would be very comforting.

NH - Indeed. Do you have any further questions for me?

Me - Yes. One more. Where do you see yourself in ten years?

NH - That is a hard question. I’ve never really given it much thought. I suppose that I see myself leading my people to the very best of my ability. I see myself living with the man I love and raising a family, all the while destroying the Darkness that would destroy my life, but it will NOT succeed.

Me - Thank you, Nienna, for joining us today. Come again soon!

NH - Goodbye.

Tune in next time for an interview with their mentor, Jarush D’vanos!

Feel free to leave any questions you may have for Nienna in the comments below!

God bless,
Brian

"One Lovely Blog" Award

Hey, everyone! Guess what? I've been awarded ANOTHER blog award. This one is the "One Lovely Blog" Award and I've been awarded by Katelyn Shear over at The Life of a Teenage Writer and by Sarah Olson over at Sarah's Story. Thank you, Katelyn!

This award has three rules:
1. You have to thank the person who nominated you on their blog to receive your honor.
2. You have to tell seven things about yourself.
3. You have to nominate 15 blogs and then tell them of their nomination.

Thank you very much, Katelyn and Sarah!

Now, here are seven things about myself:
1. I have been playing piano for about nine years.
2. I have been playing the drums for my church for four years
3. I work at a hardware store as a "hardware associate" (but for me that's just a fancy way of saying box boy) ;)
4. I am a fast reader when I want to be.
5. I will be graduating high-school next year.
6. I love horticulture and have nurtured a hardy lily for over a year now, as well as growing a Red Horny Pumpkin from a start.
7. Last, but not least, (wow, this wasn't as hard as I thought) I have two dogs, a black lab mutt, and a white and brown spotted toy poodle; two cats, a tiger cat and a grey cat that we named Teddy because he's like a teddy bear; and a bunch of fish, gourami's, tetras, neon tetras, etc...

Fifteen blogs? Wow. I don't think I can do that many. I'll try.

Jake Buller at Teenage Writer! Congratulations!
Hazel Ann at The Radical Measure! Congratulations!
Ryan Paige Howard at Welcome to the Realm of Hearts! Congrats!
Noah Arsenault at Heavenward Reviews! Congrats!
Nichole White at The Pen and Parchment

That's all I can think of. Sorry!

God bless,
Brian

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I've Got A Blog Award!

My first blog award thanks to Becki Badger over at Being Becki! Thank you, Becki! The award is the Sunshine Award.


The rules of this award are that I have to post ten things that make me happy and then pass the award on to more bloggers.

Here are my ten things:
1 - Reading (duh!)
2 - Writing (again, duh!) LOL
3 - Playing the piano
4 - Going for walks
5 - Listening to music
6 - Supporting young writers and authors
7 - Art of all forms
8 - Watching TV with my family
9 - Worshipping my Savior and King
10 - Blogging

And here are my tagged bloggers:
Katelyn Shear over at The Life of A Teenage Writer
Hazel Ann over at The Radical Measure
Allison Perdue over at Allison's Bookish Life
and Ellyn Gibbs over at Ellyn Gibbs

God bless,
Brian

Character Interview #4 - Jacob "Jake" Caleb Russell


Character Interview #4 - Jacob “Jake” Caleb Russell

Jake Russell - Starcrafter and one of four rules of Talora

Welcome back for my FOURTH interview with another one of my male main characters, Jake!

Me - Hello, Jake. We’re all very happy to have you here today

Jacob Russell - Is this going to take long?

Me - Uh… I don’t know. It could if you’re difficult. You’re not going to be difficult are you?

JR - I don’t really want to be here. The only reason I am here instead of trying to save my people is because Alicia and Hannah convinced me that it might be good to help me cool down. I can’t make any promises. I’ll answer your questions, then I’m gone.

Me - Fine then. First question: How old are you?

JR - That’s a dumb question.

Me - Just answer it.

JR - Fine. I’m eighteen going on nineteen. Happy?

Me - Very. What is one word you would use to describe yourself?

JR - I’m a doer. I like to take action and worry about the consequences later.

Me - Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes it’s bad.

JR - Well, that’s me.

Me - How was your life affected when you stumbled into Paragon?

JR - It was affected mostly positively, but it took me a while to open up. At first, I thought that it was all a freak show; I’d even suggested that it was a medieval reenactment or movie set, but it’s kind of hard to deny that something exists when it’s staring you down and holding a sword to your throat.

Me - Haha, that does make it hard. What was your emotional and mental and even physical (I guess) reaction to finding out that you have these… powers and that you aren’t a human, but a Starcrafter, an ancient race.

JR - I was confused.

Me - Please, explain further.

JR - Well, you know how in movies the people that are different think of themselves as freaks and they want nothing more than to be normal?

Me - Yes.

JR - Well, I didn’t know if I wanted the powers at first, but then I realized that they are what define who I am. I AM a Starcrafter. That’s what I was meant to be.

Me - Interesting. How do you think Trand - God - changed your life?

JR - At one point, He faced me with a choice. I can either jump - take a leap of faith - or I can walk away and be who I wanted.

Me - What did you choose?

JR - If I chose to walk away then I doubt I would be here talking with you today. I’d most likely be lost. Really lost.

Me - What is your weakest point?

JR - Uh… I guess it’d be that I feel like I can do things on my own and don’t need anyone’s help.

Me - What’s your strongest point?

JR - That’d have to be that I am a fighter. I don’t take things lying down.

Me - That must be really useful in your battle against Darkness.

JR - *smirks* YOU of all people should know.

Me - I do, but they *juts finger toward audience* don’t.

JR - Whatever. Anything else?

Me - Yes. What do you think would’ve happened if you’d never stumbled upon Paragon?

JR - I’d probably be dead in a ditch somewhere. OD’d on drugs.

Me - Wow. So you and David both, huh?

JR - Yes, but you knew that already.

Me - Shush. Okay, last question: Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

JR - I see myself ruling my people with an iron fist, yet a tender heart. I see myself raising a family with the love of my life.

Me - And who might that be?

JR - Sorry, I already answered the last question. *smirk*

Me - Must you be so disagreeable?

JR - Yes… I must. ;)

Me - Okay, fine. Bye! Maybe we can bring you back here for another interview when the series is done, or maybe when I get a movie deal! ;)

JR - Or not.

Tune in next time for an interview with Nienna.

Feel free to post any questions you may have for Jake in the comments below!

God bless,
Brian

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Character Interview #3 - Hannah Rose Clement


Character Interview #3 - Hannah Rose Clement

Welcome back for interview number three! Today I will be interviewing Hannah.

Hannah Clement - One of four rulers of Talora

Me - Hannah! Welcome!

Hannah Clement - Thank you.

Me - How are you this fine day?

HC - I’m… okay, I guess. You?

Me - Me? I’m fine. Why are you just “okay”?

HC - I’m tired. It’s been a long week, with the bat attack and all. That and trying to find the artifacts that can save them.

Me - I see. I suppose I should get onto the questions?

HC - Yes.

Me - That wasn’t a question.

HC - I knew that. ;)

Me - Haha. Uh-huh. How old are you?

HC - I’m eighteen; the same age as the others.

Me -  What is one word you would use to describe yourself?

HC - I guess I would describe myself as… perky. Haha.

Me - Really?

HC - Yeah. I may not be showing that side of me right now - because I’m sooooo tired - but I am normally VERY perky. Also, dependable.

Me - What do you think about everything that’s happened to you these past two years?

HC - Honestly, it’s all been so amazing. I’m so grateful to have had the nails ripped out of my past and been planted in a new situation with new people and a new life.

Me - I know this next question is kind of personal, but I asked the others. They said I HAVE to ask you the same question; it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t.

HC - I understand. What is it?

ME - What is your biggest regret? Your deepest, darkest secret.

HC - Wow… That is REALLY personal…

Me - …

HC - Did Alicia and David answer that one?

Me - Yes, they did.

HC - I guess I have to then… When I was little *deep breath* my uncle would abuse me, if you catch my drift.

Me - Oh, my. I’m so sorry.

HC - *nods* Thanks.

Me - So stumbling into Paragon was really a blessing for you, then.

HC - Yes. *tears up* You’ve no idea how wonderful it is to be around people who love you and care about you.

Me - What is the hardest part about coping with the fact that you are actually human, unlike your friends.

HC - Sometimes I feel like I’m less important than they are, but lucky for me I have Trand constantly reminding me of my own destiny. Though it may be different than theirs, I have my own path that I must travel.

Me - What is your weakest point in your personality?

HC - I feel like I have to fix everything. I’m a perfectionist.

Me - What’s your strongest point?

HC - Because of what I’ve been through I’ve always been a protector, but even more than that I think that I’m a servant at heart.

Me - What do you think would have happened to you if you had never found Paragon?

HC - I probably would’ve ran away from home. In fact, I was planning on it when all of this happened.

Me - Really?

HC - Yeah.

Me - Okay. Last question. Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

HC - I see myself doing everything I can to be a servant and a protector of my people, family and friends.

Me - Thank you for enduring all of my questions.

HC - Thank you so much for having me here today.

Me - I hope that we can bring you back again sometime in the future. Bye!

Tune in next time for an exclusive interview with Jake.

Feel free to leave any questions you may have for Hannah in the comments below. She’d be delighted to answer them for you.

God bless,
Brian