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Monthly Archives: February 2014

One Realm Beyond — Again

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Yesterday, I missed the second day of the CSFF Blog Tour —  my fault — but worked for filthy lucre instead. (Hey, life, y’know!)

This month’s tour features Donita K. Paul‘s new fantasy novel, One Realm Beyond, first in the Realm Walkers series.

Truth: I’ve been recommending Paul’s books to young people for a few years now, and have heard good things from those readers, but until now haven’t myself read more than a few passages here-and-there. Should have read a complete book earlier.

This one is full of humor and appealing characters, journeys and talking dragons, a jailbreak (of a kind), pencil practice and archery, and Bridger the dragon’s various forms. (He remains my favorite character in the story.)

There is also peril and friendship, and the book ends in a place of loss and hope. I look forward to reading the rest of our young realm walkers’ adventures.

I recommend One Realm Beyond, especially to teen or middle-grade readers. The book is not necessarily aimed at a middle-grade audience, but I read all sorts of things when I was a child, without taking int account the age I was supposed to be in order to read particular books. As a student in a writing course in my twenties, I was told that the age of the main characters in children’s stories determines the age group of the target audience, because readers like to see themselves as the heroes.

Eh. I understand what the instructors were saying, but, well, how many times have I, as a grownup, read children’s stories? Granted, I was choosing books to read to my nieces or to the children I worked with at the youth center, but the point is this: I chose them, I read them, I enjoyed them.

And how many times did the elementary school or junior high me read stories intended for grownups?  I devoured classics and mysteries, fantasy and science fiction, Shakespeare and similar literature in my youth. If it appealed to me, it was read, without much (if any) thought to how old the characters were.

So read on, I say!

And thank you, Donita K. Paul, for your excellent work.

For more reviews of One Realm Beyond, visit these stops on the tour:

Julie Bihn
Beckie Burnham
Mike Coville
Pauline Creeden
Vicky DealSharingAunt
Carol Gehringer
Rebekah Gyger
Janeen Ippolito
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Emileigh Latham
Jennette Mbewe
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Melanie @ Christian Bookshelf Reviews
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
Donita K. Paul
Audrey Sauble
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Jojo Sutis
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Shane Werlinger
Jill Williamson
Deborah Wilson

And now for the legal language: In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

 **     **     **

Note to self: Write faster.

Otherwise, ideas are written about by others.

We know there are no new stories in the world, just different ways of telling them. Authors I’ve never met, whose stories are entirely new to me, have employed ideas similar to mine. Not, perhaps, in quite the same way as I do, but similar enough to make me mark them.

I won’t point out a similarity in One Realm Beyond. That would serve no purpose. A couple other books that share ideas I jotted down many years before those books were published: Merlin’s Blade by Robert Treskillard, and Eragon by Christopher Paolini. Again, I’m not going to list the similarities. They simply spur me on to get the darn book published before I stumble upon other ideas and folks start to think my novel is derivative.

 

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One Realm Beyond

onerealmbeyondcover-2Returning to the CSFF Blog Tour after a few months’ absence, I forgot that 1) having a book in the stack doesn’t mean one can take one’s sweet time before reading it, and 2) one might want to finish the book before the tour begins.

So, here I am, still reading.

The book is One Realm Beyond, first in the Realm Walkers series by Donita K. Paul. (If you’re looking for books that young folks and adults alike will enjoy, read her stuff.)

I’m gonna try to cram in a long reading session before tomorrow, but can confidently say that my favorite characters are the shape-shifting dragons.

Tom is a dog (sometimes), and Nahzy can become an owl. Bridger is a haystack or a horse, depending on the moment. He also has a pet cat, but that’s a matter of debate. After all, neither owns the other, but travel together by choice.

A newly-initiated realm walker, Cantor needs to find a dragon, his constant who will accompany him throughout his life and adventures. Problem is, Bridger doesn’t fit the image Cantor has of how a proper dragon should be. His dragon would never disguise himself as a haystack or prop his chin on Cantor’s head.

But Cantor meets people, too, whose ways and laws are different from those of his realm. In Effram, he must beware the King’s Guard. He’s not the only one–

But that’s telling. (wink and a smile)

More tomorrow. Meantime, interested in more in-depth reviews of One Realm Beyond? Visit these stops on the tour and read what others are saying:

Julie Bihn
Beckie Burnham
Mike Coville
Pauline Creeden
Vicky DealSharingAunt
Carol Gehringer
Rebekah Gyger
Janeen Ippolito
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Emileigh Latham
Jennette Mbewe
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Melanie @ Christian Bookshelf Reviews
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa
Donita K. Paul
Audrey Sauble
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Jojo Sutis
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Shane Werlinger
Jill Williamson
Deborah Wilson

And now for the legal language: In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. (Do folks even care how one received a copy of the book, as long as the review is honest?)

 

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Rising From the Dust Bin: the Resurrection of a Story

A few weeks back, I abandoned a novel I’d lived with for almost two decades.

Tuesday, I resurrected it.

Last year, I agreed to help some friends independently publish a book. My research and practice has been sporadic, and I’m a notorious procrastinator. Knowing I’d dragged my feet long enough, and needing a test document to help me learn to format a paperback, I figured I’d give ol’ dusty a chance. I opened the document, renamed it as my practice copy, and started fiddling with the layout.

Hours later, my brother and I had a brief conversation about his original concept for the cover art, something he dreamed up during his time in Germany. We realized we’d had different visions all these years: He’d always seen the image as being shrouded in night, and I’d envisioned it as a menacing, shadowy ruin in the light of day. No worries. Different perspectives can yield interesting, unexpected results.

I’m excited about the story again.

It still needs finishing. There are notes and highlighted text, such as “more background material here” or “insert word that means fire.” I’ll cross those bridges when I come to them. However, after choosing the right font and seeing a rough mock-up of the pages, I realize, “Y’know, this looks downright cool.”

Which reminds me of an epic poem, written to be part of the oral history of the land. Early in the poem, a search is conducted for a legendary ancestral sword that had been lost as the generations forgot their heritage. The sword is found “buried long ‘neath dust and midden.”

Where this story has been.

Maybe it still has something to teach me, more than the countless hours and many revisions by which I learned how to create characters and construct dialogue. Now, perhaps, as I stumble my way through formatting the interior of a paperback book, the story will remind me why I loved it and felt compelled to write it.

I have no illusions that it is great literature. Someone else might take the same characters and plot points and create something amazing. But this is the first book I finished. The first of a stack of half-starts and scribbled notes that actually became a novel.

Time to set it free.

 

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