Saturday, August 17, 2013

Guest post by Cas Peace: What's in a Theme

I'm excited to share this guest post by Cas Peace, author of King's Envoy and King's Champion, on themes in novels. Enjoy!

It wasn’t until long after I had finished writing my triple-trilogy Artesans of Albia fantasy series that I realized there were several themes running throughout the novels. I didn’t set out to deliberately explore these topics – they appeared naturally as part of each character’s life. I guess there are themes in every fiction novel, otherwise there would be no plot, but I confess that mine snuck up on me.
Having realized this, and then taken a good look at my writing with the aim of spotting them, it became clear that the main subjects were personal development, humility, and the potential consequences of personal power.
At the start of Book One, King’s Envoy, Taran Elijah is a despondent and desperate man, struggling with a deep, yet unfulfilled desire to learn the control of his power. Taran’s yearning has been frustrated by the death of his mentor (who also happened to be his father), and the fact that the Artesan power is in serious decline in the realm of Albia.
The concept of “what lengths might a person go to in order to achieve their potential” had been on my mind for many years, planted by a seemingly-insignificant scene from a 70s children’s TV show. Little did I realize then that it would be the catalyst that kick-started my entire Artesan series. Only now was I discovering just how fundamental to the series this question had become.
Although Taran is not the central character, the story follows him through several stages of his life. By the end of Book Three, King’s Artesan, he has made significant progress. In many ways he alters beyond all comprehension, yet in one major factor his nature remains unchanged. I didn’t plan this, and it fascinates me. With no conscious help from me, Taran took control of his destiny and his nature developed at its own pace.
He is also not the only character to have his mettle exposed and tested to the extreme. Humility in power is another strong premise running throughout the series, and two other characters demonstrate completely different sides to this fundamental topic. As I don’t want to give too much away, you’ll just have to read the books to find out who they are and what effect this conflict has on the plot!

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Cas Peace
Author of the fantasy novels
King's Envoy and
King's Champion
and the non-fiction book
For the Love of Daisy
Watch the King's Envoy book trailer:
Find me on Facebook:!/cas.peace

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dawn of the Apocolypse Book Blitz

Dawn of the Apocalypse
by E.S.P. 
Release Date: 08/09/13

Summary from Goodreads:
January 1, 2000.
May 21, 2011.
December 21, 2012

These are just a few of the days humans prophesied as bringing catastrophic events that would end the world. We predicted nuclear warfare. Drastic climate change. A call from God.

We were wrong.

Cue the gargoyle invasion—laboratory bred mutants designed to slaughter humans. When the government goes AWOL and gargoyles are swarming by the hundreds, it's up to the citizens of the United States to regroup and save themselves.

Meet Cliff Matthews, a teenage boy separated from his entire family with the exception of his younger sister, whom he is desperate to keep alive. Along the quest to save their lives, he encounters people who aren't all that they seem. Everyday's a battle, but if he can't trust his own species, where does that leave his family?

And we can't forget the man who may be willing to sacrifice Cliff's life, if it means world domination.

In terms of doomsday, no one could've seen this coming. The dawn of the apocalypse…

About the Author
Being the daughter of an accomplished author, E.S.P. grew up listening to stories and telling her own to classmates. After writing for several years and even publishing some short works, she finally decided to take the plunge to write (plus finish!)a full length novel. Thus, Dawn of the Apocalypse was born. When she's not writing, she's either reading books, blogging at, or watching eighties movies.

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E-book copy of Dawn of the Apocalypse and $10 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
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Book Blitz hosted by:

Angel’s chest was rising and falling rapidly as the gargoyles circled them silently. Hunter had never wanted something more in her entire life than  to live for another day. She couldn’t even entertain the idea of little Angel being gobbled up by the big bad gargoyle…
She squeezed her eyes shut. Please, please, please, she chanted silently over and over. 
She knew the type of wound a scratch had given Cliff. What type of pain would they concur on her entire body? Would they eat her right away or save her for dinner? Would they pluck out her limbs and eat them one by one?
Time stopped as the door creaked open. The gargoyles soundlessly cloaked themselves back in the shadows. The stairs groaned as someone walked down the stairs without a care in the world. Hunter could practically hear the gargoyles lick their lips. 
She wanted to cry out and warn the person. But it was beyond her control. 
That’s what you get for walking down the stairs so loudly. That’s what you get for walking in the dark during a damn invasion, she reasoned. But her heart was saying something else.
The person reached the bottom of the stairs. The gargoyles uniformly shifted through the shadows. “Hey…” he said suspiciously. 
He had realized his danger a second too late. He broke into a run, but the gargoyles would be on him in a second. And he’d be dead.
“C’mon, sweetie.” Hunter whispered to Angel, crawling out from under the stairs. Ignoring the cries of agony, pain, and sorrow, she raced up the stairs. The wood banged against her ankles, but she didn’t stop. There was the cruel sound of cracking. Hunter shielded Angel’s eyes from the scene and dared to look behind her. 
The gargoyles were circled around the man. The predominantly bigger gargoyle bit his neck. A gush of blood spewed across its face. The man’s eyes still stared at her, his mouth formed in an O, as if he was trying to speak to her. 
“I’m so sorry.” She choked.
She hurried up the steps, slamming her body into the door. The light washed over her body, as did her relief. But her nerves did not settle. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Open Book Surgery

I'm smack dab in the middle of some massive revisions on my WIP (which I thought was about done until some recent critiques). I need to pick up the pacing in the beginning, revamp the plot, and develop my main character more. (Is that all? Yep.) So I'm shifting things around, bringing events that happen later into the forefront, cutting unnecessary scenes, figuring out and honing in on my character's motivations and desires. Basically, I'm doing open book surgery.

But wait. First, rather than jumping in and cutting and pasting away, I'm vegging, giving it time and thought, doing some character sketches for each character, and reworking my outline. For example, I've decided to have my main character start with one main goal at the beginning of the story (to sell the cabin she inherited from her father who she never knew and use the money for music school) and have that shift as she sorts through her father's belongings and learns more about him. Then she becomes obsessed with solving the mystery of his strange disappearance.

I'm moving some of those clues to his disappearance up front and adding some more in to beef up the tension in the early stages. My character needs to be more proactive in looking for clues earlier on, too, instead of merely stumbling across them time and time again. Really? Can't everything just happen by chance? No! There has to be a reason for everything she does and at least two purposes for each scene, ie: develop character and find another clue. Each chapter needs to build on the last and reveal new information.

I've got my work cut out for me. It's a process and that will take time, effort, and self restraint to plan and prepare, clear my head, clean my writing instruments before I begin to revise. I even ordered a new workbook on plotting called Ready Set, Novel, and am asking those writers I know who are good at plotting and character development for ideas on how they do it. Once I'm done I hope to have a new and much improved version of my story that's ready to send out to agents!

*Good news: my voice and descriptions of my character's emotions are good, two things I've struggled with in the past. (Hurray!) I can do this. Time to put on my gloves and scrubs and get to work. Ready, set, go!