Thursday, June 22, 2006

Donita Loves Bunnies!

I have the incredible pleasure and privilege being in a face-to-face critique group with Donita K. Paul. And one of the biggest things I have learned that Donita loves bunnies. There have been quite a few times when we've been sitting around the table, listening to a member reading a scene, when all of a sudden Donita shouts out "Oooh! Bunny!" and everything comes to a quick stop as we all look at the little furball scamper across our host's back yard. And then just as quick it is back to work.

It is a joy to be able to work with Donita because she is such a humble and loving person. Always seeking to bring out the best in others. In fact I have often felt that she is the earthbound embodiment of an Emerlindian Granny. Quick to laugh and with a real talent for encouragement and mentoring young writers. Which is also apparent on her website, where she actively interacts with her readers and encourages them to excersise their creativity (the library is made up of reader submitted stories and information as well as Donita's own bits).

She has made an impact in my own writing as well, far more than just mercilessly slaughtering my commas, but in helping me gain confidence (along with the rest of my group) and pushing my rough talent toward a polsihed craft. Even if it took her over half the book to realize that the Saurians weren't wearing little shorts, but were in fact just wearing their thick skin (and battle gear when appropriate).

To know Donita is to love her, because she loves openly and widely. And that warmth comes across through her characters and her writing style.

Dragonknight, is the best book yet in this series. Following Bardon's "sabatical" as he tries to decide if he truly wants to be one of Paladin's knights. The book starts off with Bardon saying, "People. Always too many people." and that sets the mood for this book perfectly. The wide and varied cast of characters that fall into Bardon's life will charm your socks off. But most of all, seeing Bardon growing and realizing where Paladin and Wulder are calling him, and how he responds, is what it is all about.

The Dragonkeeper chronicles are all about journeys and quests, but the outer ones are simply there to highlight the true quests within these books. The inner quests that each character must go on as they continually discover that what Wulder has planned is far more than they ever would have done on their own.

So be sure to check out the beautiful and wild world of Amara, where dragons fly, and wizards dwell, and where the impossilbe happens every day.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Wandering Quest...

Dragonquest once more follows the adventures of Kale, a young Orant girl who has discovered that she is the dragon keeper.

Kale has finally reached Paladin's academy in Vendala and has been doing her best to stay out of trouble. But all too soon she finds herself appointed guardian of an irrepressable doneel child, attacked by deadly spiders, and sent on a quest with the stoic Bardon. And most incredible of all, Kale finds herself raising the Meech dragon, Regidor, who hatched from the egg she rescued in Dragonspell.

Donita K. Paul's characters once again rise to the fore in this novel. I especially loved the new male characters, Bardon and Regidor. The quest does wander all over the land of Amara, and the tension is kept light for the most part, and it can be hard to feel any urgency to what the characters are doing. Thankfully the wonderful characters make the journey an enjoyable one.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Fantasy Tour focusing on Donita K. Paul's Dragon Keeper Chronicles. You can find links to the participants here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Humble Beginning...

Kale grew up as a village slave, with no grand future ahead of her. But that all changed the day she found the egg. And just like that her world was turned upside down and she found herself on the way to the city of Vendela to become Paladin's servant and train in his academy. But just when her destination is within sight, Kale finds herself propelled on a much longer, more perilous journey than she ever imagined.

In Dragonspell, Donita K. Paul introduces her readers to the fantastical world of Amara, where the noble Paladin rules and dragons of all shapes and sizes roam the skies. Filled with colorful characters, exotic locations, and a scheming villain, Dragonspell weaves together a delightful adventure as Kale, with the help of her newfound comrades must learn to accept her destiny as Dragonkeeper.

What I especially love about Donita's world are her characters. They are all so unique, colorful, and real, you feel connected with them almost immediately upon them appearing on screen, especially the main characters such as Dar, Kale and Leetu Bends. You truly begin to care about each of them and seeing them grow is part of the thrill.

Learn more about the Dragonkeeper Chronicles at:

Friday, June 16, 2006

Soon There Be Dragons

Next week is the big fantasy tour focus on the wonderful Donita K. Paul and her Dragonkeeper Chronicles. The official dates are the 20th - 22nd.

I'll be reviewing the books as well as talking a little bit about how Donita has helped engage readers in the world beyond just the books.

Here's a list of those who will be participating:

Sally Apokedak
Valerie Comer
Johne Cook
Janey DeMeo
Beth Goddard
Rebecca Grabill
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Marcia Laycock
Shannon McNear
Matt Mikalatos
Mirtika Schultz
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Steve Trower

Cya next week!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Scenes & Beans Bloggers Announced

A few months ago suspense author, Brandilyn Collins, announced that as part of her promotion for her new Kanner Lake series she would be starting a new blog that would feature posts from characters in her books.

Naturally those characters can't post for themselves, so Brandilyn opened up auditions for readers to have a chance to audition for those parts themselves. She got over fifty audition posts back in response and has finally announced those who will be writing for these characters over the first year.

So head over to her blog and find out who will be writing which character: Forensics & Faith: The SBGs (Scenes and Beans Bloggers)!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Intentional Themeing

So, yesterday I did mention that there was an intentional sub-theme that I wanted to work into Starfire.

The basic elements needed to weave this theme into the story were already present when it struck me. The events and characters naturally lended themselves toward this. And in fact this is a theme I intend to look at throughout the entire trilogy.

You see, I wanted to explore the relationships between Christians and Non-Christians as well as the dynamics of sharing faith and how the way we live our lives impacts our witness and how others view Christianity.

Much of this idea was sparked by my reading of Permission Evangelism by Michael Simpson.

This book discusses much of how the world already has a pre-made mindset of just what it means to be a Christian, and what people will immediately assume when they hear that term.

I wanted to explore that through the relationships between three of my main characters (Rathe, Struth, and Goshren) in Starfire. To look at how our typical "Christianese" and comman language can affect someone coming from a totally different worldview.

We're living in a culture that no longer accepts that there is an Absolute Truth out there. And that views Christians most often as angry, close minded, bigots. Or just simple minded fools.

Yet, even when I was in college, we were taught ways of evangelising that didn't take this into account.

Now you won't find Earthling/American Christianese in Starfire, but a reader familiar with the common platitudes and sayings within the Church will probably be able to pick out some of the Saurian equivalents.

I guess this would be my "preaching to the choir" theme. Where I try and show that we as Christians need to remember that we need to be sensitive to not only the message that we speak, but the message that we live.

Monday, June 05, 2006

You Can't Handle The Truth

Thanks for your comments Camy & Gina. Indeed, making sure that the framework of the story and the foundation of the spirituality mesh is always a tricky procedure.

Which is one reason why I took the time to make sure that the “Christianity” of Sauria was firmly enmeshed with the world and its history. In doing so, it let spiritual aspects arise not only from characters but from world history and events itself.

By the time I began work on Starfire I already knew most of the basics about how their version of Christianity had come about. The choosing of the “chosen people”, some of the major world changing events, and the current air of religious tolerance within the regions affected by the story.

And so I didn’t think about it much when actually forming the plot for Starfire since so much of what the book’s plot dealt with would actually bi-sect with the spiritual events of the past, present and future, even if the main characters had little to no clue about exactly how or even that it was happening.

Starfire, when first began was simply the telling of a young soldier, caught up into world events he wasn’t equipped to understand. You see, Rathe is destined to fulfill a prophecy that was made. But unlike most characters in Sci-fi or Fantasy tales who are destined to fulfill a prophecy, he knows nothing about it.

Rathe has gone through his life with only one purpose, to rise out of the social status he was hatched into. No mysterious mentor appeared to guide him to the truth. Most believers of the time aren’t even all that familiar with the prophecy. And even those who are in the know can’t operate with total impunity due to their persecuted status within the Karn Empire.

And of course the forces of darkness aren’t just lying still and keeping quiet during this time. But they aren’t totally obvious about their influence either (unless you know what to look for).

But all of this is going on in the background. Coming at this story from Rathe’s point of view, all you see is his quest to save his Empire, and his slow realization that there may be more to his eventual choice than it seems.

Out of this plotline the basic theme emerged, spurred on by the interaction of the characters. The basic theme (that I see in it) that materialized?

How can one do right if they do not know what is true?


No matter how noble your intentions, if you reject the truth, you can do no good.
Or if you want to go to Scripture:

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Prov. 14:12

How well does this theme come across? Dunno yet. Haven’t heard much feedback on it yet. ;)

There is a secondary theme within the story though that I did place on purpose.

We’ll talk about that one next time.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

From Firm Foundation to Fertile Soil

OK back some 15 days or so ago before I vanished, I talked about how I set about putting down a firm foundation for my stories taking place in my Saurian mythos by determining the salvation method.

What this did for me was give me a good idea what the rest of the spirituality of my characters would look like as they experienced their "Christianity". Due to the fact that I settled on a method of salvation that as basically the same as on earth it enabled me to make the "Chritianity" of Sauria recognizable.

This left the ability for a Christian Theme to rise naturally out of the simple interaction between the "Christian" characters and the world around them. Simply due to the fact that the world was centered on a Christian foundation.

Did it work? Good question. I'll begin outlining the thought processes I went through while writing Starfire and looking at how the Christian foundation of the world influenced the story and the characters and brought the theme to light, in the next post.
Site Meter