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.
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.
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.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish