Nov 4, 2010

Voyage

     What pictures, thoughts, or memories come to your mind when you hear this song?

     I found this beautiful song yesterday for free at http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/freemusic.php . Been listening to it all day. Enjoy!

Post Tenebras Lux!

-ST

Aug 22, 2010

Square One… Again

     ArtandCraftCover See this book? It is The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke. I love this book. And I hate this book.
     I love this book as in - if you write Christian fiction, you have to go and buy yourself a copy! Right now! Here is the link: CLICK HERE! Go now, then come back and finish reading this. I don’t care if your summer job didn’t work out and you don't have any money, go and buy this book!!!
     I hate this book as in – it completely destroyed my story. Demolished. Foom, gone. Bye-bye.
     When a friend of mine gave me this book, I never would have guessed it was so destructive. But I read it, and it’s too late now. See, Jeff Gerke showed me that my story is nowhere near finished. Turns out that my plot needs to be re-thought and, more importantly, my characters need to be fleshed out.
     Here I am, thinking my story is as good as I can possibly make it, sending it to authors and looking for agents, when suddenly – WHAM! – I’m nuked by a ferocious, yellow-covered, 300+ page paperback that saves me years of learning lessons the hard way.
     What does that leave me with? Pretty much nuthin’. I have a junk finished-manuscript-turned-rough-draft, a bunch of characters who are little more than display mannequins from a mall, a plot riddled with unoriginal material, and lots of prayers for creativity.
     So, it’s back to square one… again. Back to the majority of dreamers without a completed work. It’s all rather discouraging when I think about it.
     All that said, I am looking forward to seeing what God will do with my story now. I have no doubt that I was supposed to read Jeff Gerke’s book, that it was God’s plan for me to read it at this time. I’m wondering if He will allow me to create another, better, story out of the old ashes, or if He’s preparing me for something else. I’m going to work on it as much as I can this year, but it’s been hard to find time to think much about it. God has given me some good ideas, I just need to talk to Him about it in earnest and figure it out. And then I need to write it.
     Post Tenebras Lux!
-ST
     (Oh, and I don’t really hate the book; it’s amazing. And you still need to buy it.)

May 29, 2010

God's Timing

    

     Sometimes God's watch does not run at the speed we want it to. Sometimes we think we know the best way and time for something to happen, but God knows otherwise. Sometimes His will is clear to us, but more often we cannot see the path our story is taking.

     This is where I am right now. I know God has a plan for me, but I do not have a clue what it is.

     For the past few weeks, I have not been actively pursuing an agent. (Maybe you have noticed that my last update was in the beginning of April?) The reason for that is I have been waiting and preparing for something.

     In the second post on this blog, way back in September, I said, "I am going to keep pursuing getting this book published unless God tells me to knock it off." Well, God has told me ( not suddenly, but quite decidedly) that I need to stop looking to be published at this point in time.

     No, I did not hear His audible voice; I know He wants me to pause in my journey simply by how my circumstances are.

     When I first began searching for an agent, I thought my book would have a contract by the end of 2010. At least, I strongly hoped it. The way things were going seemed like perfect timing back then. But my life story is taking a different turn, and I have to trust that God's timing is perfect. I am confident that what is happening in my life will accomplish His good purpose.

     Basically, there are some things I have to do before I can resume my search for an agent and/or publisher. It will take me at least a year and a half (and that would drive me insane if I didn't believe this is the way God wants it to be). I am not even sure that is a good time line, because I have discovered my book could use some major rewriting. So that will also have to happen before I can think about publishing again.

      I hope to be able to post here still, but it won't be as often as I have been. Please keep me in your prayers. Let us continue to walk the narrow road that leads to Christ.

     Post Tenebras Lux. After Darkness Light.
-ST

May 20, 2010

Facebook Page

     
     The Storyteller Support team has been published to Facebook! As you can see from the sidebar, Picture Four, the brown background, was the one most voted for. Thanks for your help, everyone!
     The Support Team has been up since yesterday morning and already 13 people have joined. Yipee!!!
     Here is the link, FBers: Storyteller Support Team.Feel free to join. (That's nice talk for "Please, please, please JOIN!!!")
     Now if only Mr. Smiley would stop bugging me to make a page for him....
   
     Post Tenebras Lux!
-ST

May 19, 2010

Writing Rants

     
     Why do writers begin to write?
     I think most writers, especially those who start young, begin writing simply because they want to. It's fun to create characters, places, and plots. We enjoy writing.
     But the complex web of publishing and marketing tries to conform us to its whims. Not everyone wants to read the type of material we write, so publishers and agents look for certain kinds of writers. I've been searching for an agent for over half a year now, and I've found that most Christian agents just will not accept the genres I write!
     That's sad.
     When art becomes business, it is more difficult to enjoy. That's what I think. Alas, alas, that the world provides only one way to tell the stories burning within us! You really can't avoid business of some type if you want to be well known.
     Think about it. The writer writes for enjoyment. The publisher publishes for money. Somehow, those two don't connect very well in my mind.
     I'm sorry to say I don't have a solution for this unavoidable problem. I think money and business are direct results of the Curse. I really do!
     Are you depressed yet? I don't like leaving people depressed. There is only one happy way to end this.
     I believe that everything good is from Jehovah, but we, being stupid humans, have completely messed everything up (money and business included). Because God is abounding in love and grace, Christians have hope that, through Jesus, everything will be good again, as it once was. What does that mean for you as a writer? If you are a believer in Christ, then you can expect that nothing will be futile in Heaven. Everything you will do will never have a bad side. I don't know if we'll write in Heaven, but I'm sure that whatever happens there will be much better than the best things that happen here. "And that is an encouraging thought," to quote a wise, old wizard.
     There is not much of a point to this post. More like a bunch of points rolled into one. Sorry about that.

     Post Tenebras Lux!
-ST

May 7, 2010

Vote Verdicts!


For the past several months, I have been putting up various polls asking about different types of characters and books. I think the results are interesting; maybe even helpful for writers to see which characters people like to read about (not to say the polls were perfect!). Here are some of the polls and their verdicts:

Best Villain 
The Joker - 29%
Count Olaf - 17%
Marsuvees Black - 17%
Darth Vader - 17%
Gollum - 17%

Favorite Damsel
Antoinette Reed - 50%
Lucy Pevensie - 25%
Arwen - 25%
Buttercup - 0%
Princess Leia - 0%

Best Kind of Hero
Swift and Cunning - 45%
The Underdog - 35%
Kingly, Noble, Mighty - 15%
Strong and Muscular - 5%

Favorite Antihero
Boromir - 54%
Dustfinger - 16%
Ruscuro the Rat - 12%
Captain Nemo - 8%
Boojum - 8%
Glew - 0%

Favorite Quotable Quote
 "I would cut off your head, Dwarf, if it stood but a bit higher from the ground." - 34%
"Mawage. Mawage is what bwings us togethah today." - 31%
"For Narnia and for Alsan!" - 22%
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" - 8%
"May the Force be with you." - 2%

Favorite Fiction Genre
Fantasy - 93%
Science Fiction - 43%
Mystery - 40%
Historical - 25%
Horror - 12%
Romance - 6%

Best Series
The Door Within - 37%
The Lord of the Rings - 25%
The Chronicles of Narnia - 25%
Dragons in our Midst - 7%
Harry Potter - 3%
Twilight Saga - 0%

     And don't forget to vote on the most recent poll! See post "Your Vote Needed!" for details.

     Post Tenebras Lux!
-ST

Apr 30, 2010

Your Vote Needed!

     I have been sucked into the wild world of Twitter!
     According to Michael Hyatt, this is a good thing (see his article, "12 Reasons to Start Twittering"). And I have to admit, it's been really fun! I am admittedly still trying to figure it all out, but thanks to Brayden Hirsch, I think I am getting the hang of it. Come check it out! http://twitter.com/StorytellerSL

     Along with getting a Twitter, I have been contemplating a Facebook page. I wanted to create something that will grab people's attention, something they will hopefully want to join. Making a fan page for myself feels awkward, so I am doing a "Support Team" page. Encouragement is a big help to me, so a support team seems perfect. My hope is that it will "broaden my online platform," as well as enable me to connect with other fellow writers and readers. The page is all set and ready to go, but every good page needs a good picture.

     I've taken several different pictures in different settings, but I can't decide which one is the best. So I need your opinion! Ask yourself which one would grab your attention, and then vote for that picture on the sidebar poll!


PICTURE ONE

PICTURE TWO

PICTURE THREE

PICTURE FOUR

     Thanks so much for your help!

     Post Tenebras Lux!
-ST

Apr 25, 2010

.The Battle Surrendered - Part Eight.

The Battle Surrendered
Part Eight
Storyteller SilverLoom



     This was a battle I could never win.
     With the last strength I had, I made my choice. Covering my eyes with my hands, I cried, “Jesus, help me! I can’t do it without You!”
     Not even one second passed before He came. I sensed Him standing in front of me, and I looked into His face. The creatures were behind Him, but they were no longer docile. Furious at His interference, they launched themselves onto His back, trying to tear at Him with their nails and teeth. He remained unscathed by their livid strikes and ignored them completely.
     The shadow creature’s false light still shown, but my mind was clear. Though their deceptive fingers had released me to attack Jesus, I was too shocked to stand.  
     Jesus simply stood, watching me with a smile tugging at the corner of His mouth. I noticed His strong sword still hung in its sheath at His side.
     He saw my glance and shook His head. “You still don’t understand. Dear heart, they have already been defeated.” He reached down toward me, the scars made by the cross clearly visible. Grasping my hands in both of His, He pulled me to my feet. “You cannot defeat them. You cannot even resist them, except through Me. Use My strength; don’t depend on yours. I am faithful. I will provide a way out so that you can stand up under them.”
     It was so easy, and yet so difficult. I suddenly felt like I wanted to cry, now that I was beginning to understand. “So,” I asked past the lump in my throat, “all I have to do is…?”
     “Hold on to Me.”
     Gripping His hands tighter, I said, “Ok. I trust You.”
     The smile that burst upon His face was the grandest I had ever seen.
     Soon after, some of the shadow creatures tried to bring me back under their power. They whispered in my ears and pulled at my arms, but I kept a firm clasp on Jesus’s hands and never looked away from His face. It was almost funny, actually; what chance did the shadow creatures think they had while I was holding onto my Savior?
     Eventually, the shadow creatures tired of their fruitless efforts. Their light faded, and their masks of white skin disappeared with it. They slid, one by one, into the forest.
     “We’ve arrived,” said Jesus. He turned me around.
     Between two trees, like two door posts, I could see my bedroom.
     “I’ll always be with you. Always use My strength. Don’t forget.”
     “I won’t.” I spun back and threw my arms around Him. “I love You.”
     “I love you so much, dear heart.”
     I didn’t let go.
     After a minute, He laughed. “Go on. You know this won’t be the last time you see Me!”
     I nodded and pulled away. “I know. Ok. Bye.”
     “Bye? Didn’t I just say I will always be with you?”
     “Oh, yeah.” I laughed along with Him and walked toward my bedroom.
     Though I was coming out of late afternoon, the first rays of dawn greeted me through the windows of my bedroom, chasing away the night’s darkness.

"Our temptation is to face adversaries from the standpoint of our own common sense. But a saint can “be of good cheer” [John 16:33] even when seemingly defeated by adversaries, because victory is absurdly impossible to everyone, except God."

-Oswald Chambers, “My Utmost for His Highest”


~The End~

Apr 24, 2010

'The Battle Surrendered - Part Seven'

The Battle Surrendered
Part Seven
Storyteller SilverLoom



     He looked me in the eyes before responding gently, “Dear heart, I am training you not to fight.”
     “What? I don’t get it. You’re training me not to fight the shadow creatures? But they’ll keep bringing me back to that tower!” I was beginning to go into hyper-panic mode.
     Jesus placed His hands on my shoulders. “Dear heart, this is what I’ve been trying to teach you. I want you to surrender. Listen to Me.” He continued slowly and deliberately, “You will never be able to defeat the enemy. They are far too cunning…. But I can defeat them for you.”
     At last, His point was starting to click inside my thick head.
     He went on, “You have to let Me do it. Dear heart, I want so badly to help you. Surrender to Me.”
     “But…,” I attempted an excuse and failed. There was nothing to say. His words went against every instinct in me, but He had to be right because He was Jesus.
     Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement among the trees. By the time I turned to look, they were just a few feet away.
     I screamed and fled, pulling away from Jesus as I ran, but the shadow creatures moved faster than I did. They were on me in a moment, their icy hands pulling me down.
     And then I did the dumbest thing. I fought the shadow creatures. I tried to claw at them and bite their hands. I pushed and squirmed and screamed, but they held on.
     The now familiar light suddenly bathed me in its unnatural beams. My head lolled and I felt my muscles slow. Thoroughly groggy, I couldn’t keep up the fight.
     Something brushed my ear. “Follow meee…,” the creature whispered.
     No, I couldn’t. Why not? I didn’t know why not. The light made me so dizzy….
     A sliver of sanity crossed my mind, telling me to surrender. Surrender to Him.
     No, I could fight! I had to fight! I could do this!
     The shadow creatures’ fingers felt so soft and smooth. The light made me so sleepy….
     Surrender to Him.
     This was a battle I could never win.

Apr 23, 2010

*The Battle Surrendered - Part Six*

The Battle Surrendered
Part Six
Storyteller SilverLoom




     I cried myself to sleep.
     A gentle touch pulled me from my slumber. I looked up. It was Him.
     As fresh tears cascaded down my face, He pulled me into His arms. “I’m sorry,” I sobbed out.
     “Dear heart,” He said tenderly. “I forgive you.”
     He held me until my wails evolved into hiccupping spasms. Then He helped me stand. “Come on,” He said. “You can’t stay here.” Taking that small gold key from his pocket again, He unbound my chained hands and feet.
     I followed Him to the rope dangling into my prison through the crack in the wall. He gestured at our escape route and said, “Ladies first.”
     I tried to pull myself up the rope, but the sides of my prison had somehow become smoother than last time, and my feet couldn’t find a good hold. If I hadn’t been so weak from days without eating, I may have been able to climb it, but I’m not sure.
     After a few tries, I turned to Jesus. “I can’t do it. I can’t climb up.”
     He nodded. “It’s always harder to escape the second time.”
     “So, we’re stuck in here?!” I panicked aloud.
     He waited.
     I remembered Who I was talking to. Not even a sealed tomb could keep Him in, much less my prison. “Can You help me get out? Please?”
     With an ear-to-ear smile, He replied, “I was hoping you would ask.”
     He climbed the rope as easily as a fish swims; the slick wall could not hinder Him. When He was safely above ground, He told me to hang onto the rope. I obeyed, and He slowly drew me up. We were both under the blue sky in a matter of minutes.
     Jesus untied the rope from the tree He had secured it to. As He began coiling the rope, a thought suddenly hit me, but I hesitated to voice it. He stopped His work and looked at me. “Go ahead,” He said.
     “Jesus,” I began, “I know my capture was my own fault; I shouldn’t have given into the shadow creatures. But… why didn’t You help me? Didn’t You… I mean, You must have known what was happening. Didn’t You wake up?”
     His eyes grew deeply sad. “Yes, dear heart, I knew what was happening. I was watching.” His voice cracked just a bit. “But,” He added, “you didn’t ask Me to help. You were too busy trying to fight them on your own.”
     “I have to ask for Your help?” How could He have just stood there and let me be dragged off? I was incredulous.
     He was patient. “You have to want my help. I never force it on anyone; I will only help you if you want Me to. My way is the perfect way, but I gave you a free will to accept or decline My help.”
     So it was still all my fault.
     We started walking through the forest, covering the same ground we had covered before. The sun moved across the sky slowly, but I kept a close eye on it. When it was past noon, I spoke up, “Hey, um, Jesus. Do You think now would be a good time to start my training? Because, those shadow creatures might come back for me tonight and I want to be prepared.”
     “Your training has already begun.”
     “What?” I cried. “But all I’ve done is get captured! You haven’t even given me the smallest bit of advice on how to wield a sword!”
     He stopped and turned to look at me. “Did I ever say your training would involve weapons?”
     “Um, well, not exactly….”
     “I never hinted at anything of the sort.”
     “But that’s what training is!” I protested.
     Shaking His head, He explained, “You train to become better at something, and it doesn’t have to be with weapons. Athletes train to race better. Warriors train to fight better.”
     “But I thought You were going to train me to be a warrior to fight the shadow creatures!”
     He looked me in the eyes before responding gently, “Dear heart, I am training you not to fight.”

Apr 22, 2010

~The Battle Surrendered - Part Five~

The Battle Surrendered
Part Five
Storyteller SilverLoom



     The shadow creatures were back.
     Again they pulled at me with their freezing hands. I cried out, “No!” and tried to stand, but they kept me firmly fixed to the ground. I looked around for Jesus, but the shadow creatures surrounded me and blocked my view of Him.
      Suddenly, there was that same dizzying light. The same feeling of stupor. The same urge to give in.
     No! I willed myself to fight back. I felt that I couldn’t fail again. I couldn’t let myself give in.
     But the shadow creatures did not let me go, and I couldn’t tear myself from them. I wondered if I really wanted to. Was that prison so bad? Were the chains so heavy? And Jesus would rescue me as soon as I asked Him to. He was nice like that.
     The intoxicating aura of false peace washed over me, irresistible. The creature leaned over and whispered, “Follow meee….
     I don’t even remember the first step this time. All I know is that I found myself starting awake, once again, in the prison tower with the vague recollection that I had chained myself there.
     I had never thought I would fall into the same trap. If it had been horrible the first time I failed, it was double the horror now.
     And then I thought of Him. I’d let Him down. And that was the greatest heartbreak of all. How could I have ever thought He would rescue me again? And even if He did, how could I face Him?
     My shame overwhelmed me. My guilt was heavier than my shackles. I mourned and moaned in the tower for days. No one came, which only made my sorrow deepen, until it was so deep I felt like I could drown in it.
     I was hungry, thirsty, tired, and cold. It was the closest to death I had ever been.
     Finally, just when I thought I would burst from the pain, I did the only thing left to be done. I cried out for help.
     “God,” I whispered, “I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry. Please… help me. I’ll die without You.”
     I cried myself to sleep.

Apr 21, 2010

"The Battle Surrendered - Part Four"

The Battle Surrendered
Part Four
Storyteller SilverLoom




     He shouldered the coiled rope and strode into the forest.
     I scurried after Him, calling, “Wait! Where are we going?”
     “Follow me.”
     I halted. “Did You just quote Yourself?”
     Thankfully, He understood my sense of humor and laughed. “Yes, I tend to do that. It makes it easier for people to see things the way I do.”
     “And that’s supposed to mean…?” I asked as I again hurried to keep up with Him.
     “That I never change. I am the same at this moment as I was two-thousand years ago, and as I was at the creation of the universe. Today, tomorrow, and yesterday, I remain the same. And so I can quote Myself in everything.”
     We continued walking. And walking. And… walking. The forest floor was uncommonly free of debris, and a soft carpet of moss covered the earth, much to the glee of my bare feet. But after several hours of walking, and walking, and… walking, I finally said, “Ok, don’t get me wrong. I want to follow You wherever You go. But can You give me some clue as to where we’re headed? Please?”
     “We are going home,” Jesus replied.
     I gasped audibly, feeling both excitement and fear. He took one look at my face and cracked up. “No, dear heart! I mean your house. It’s not your time yet.”
     “Oh,” I said. Then I saw the funny side of it and laughed along with Him. After a few minutes, it finally occurred to me what He had said. “Hey! Why are You taking me back home? You said You were going to train me!” I cried.
     “No worries,” He replied. “We won’t arrive until you’re trained.”
     It took me a while to try to sort that out. “So… You’ll be training me on the way?”
     “Yes. We won’t get there until you’re trained.”
     “Oh, ok. Gotcha.” Little did I suspect that I had no clue what He meant.
     We walked some more. And walked. And… well, you know. But it wasn’t as boring as it sounded. The forest was beautiful and peaceful, and I was walking beside the Prince of Peace.
     Presently, Jesus remarked, “We’ll stop here and make camp. We’ll continue your training in the morning.”
     I can’t deny that I gave Him a funny glance. Continue? I wasn’t aware that we had started. I hadn’t even touched a sword or a bow yet!
     He stripped the lower branches off some nearby trees and soon had a small fire going. We ate bread and drank water that came from the pack He carried on His back.
     We slept on the soft moss under some light blankets from Jesus’s pack. The weather was perfect. I didn’t feel cold until early in the morning.
     Shivering, I pulled the blanket more tightly around me. My eyelids fluttered for just a second, but what I saw in that moment made me sit up and scream.
     The shadow creatures were back.

Apr 20, 2010

The Battle Surrendered - Part Three

     The Battle Surrendered 
Part Three
Storyteller SilverLoom 



     I lifted my shackled wrists up and said wistfully, “I’m chained. I don’t know where the key is.”
     He reached into a pocket on his tunic and took out a tiny gold object. “You mean this key?” Grinning at my surprise, he quickly bent to unlock the chains on my wrists and ankles.
     “How did you know I was here?” I inquired as he unbound me.
     “Well,” he replied, “I’m here to train you. And I can’t train you if you’re locked up like this.”
     I decided not to push the question he had obviously avoided and let the conversation carry on. “Train me? Why?” I had read many stories of kids who were sucked into fantasy worlds and trained to be warriors for special missions. The thought that I could be like them filled me with jittery excitement.
     “‘Why?’” he repeated, letting my final shackle fall to the floor. “You think you don’t need training?”
     “No, no! It’s just that… why me? Why was I chosen to be trained? Why were those creatures after me?”
     He looked me in the eye. “They are after all of you, dear heart.” With that, he turned back toward the rope, leaving me to follow and wonder what he had against direct answers.
     It was fairly easy to climb out of the dungeon with my feet braced on the wall and my rescuer beneath me to give me a lift if I needed it. Soon, he and I were treading the green grass outside my prison. I shaded my eyes from the sun as I turned to look at the dreadful place. It was a single, tall tower without any doors or windows that I could see from this side. No banner flew from the top of this lonely turret, so I had no emblem to associate with the enemy who had captured me. The tower was set in the middle of a forest.
     “Um, so, Sir…?” I let my sentence trail off and turned to look at my rescuer, who was busy coiling the rope. “Sorry. I didn’t get your name?”
     “Jesus,” was the calm reply.
     I balked. His grin returned as He added, “You wanted directness.”
     Now I had to decide if it was a complete miracle or complete lunacy. The fact that He could read my mind pretty much ruled out insanity, but could it really be Him?
     Before I could say anything, He stretched out His hand toward me. One look at the ugly scar marring His skin was enough to convince me. My mind spun.
     He pulled me out of my circling thoughts by pointing out, “You were about to ask Me something?”
     “Uh, yeah. When do we start… um, that is, when are You…?”
     “When does your training begin?” He prompted.
     I nodded, still dumbfounded.
     “When you are ready,” He said.
     I managed to squeak out, “Am I ready now?” 
     He smiled. “You tell Me. Are you?”
     “I think so.”
     He waited.
     “Yes. I’m ready.”
     “Good. Then let’s get to work.” He shouldered the coiled rope and strode into the forest. 


Apr 19, 2010

TBS - Part 2!

The Battle Surrendered    Part Two     Storyteller SilverLoom   
    The next thing I knew, I was blinking as if I had just woken up and saw that I was no longer in my bedroom.
     The eerie light was gone. The shadow creatures were gone. I was completely alone in a dark, damp prison. The only light in the place filtered in from a crack far above me. Someone had chained my ankles and wrists to the stone floor of the dungeon. I had a vague memory of the creatures telling me to chain myself up.
     Now I realized just how dumb I had been to follow the shadow creatures. “Hello?” I called. No answer except for the constant dripping of water from a corner of my prison. “Hey! Let me go! Get me out of here!” I yelled. Was it my imagination, or did I hear malicious laughter coming from the darker parts of the dungeon?
     My heart pounded with fear. I had never thought something like this could happen to me. This sort of thing only happened to people in books. It wasn’t supposed to happen in real life.
     A scream welled up inside of me and I let it go, along with a torrent of tears. The worst part of it was that I knew I had put myself in this place; that I hadn’t fought hard enough.
     I curled up on the cold stone floor and sobbed. Then I called for the only One who could hear me. “God, please… please help me! I don’t know where I am! I shouldn’t have given in. Please! Help me!”
     As my tears fell afresh, the light from the crack in the wall suddenly disappeared. I stopped mid-sob and froze. I even held my breath.
     A voice reverberated off the solid walls of my prison. “Hello, down there!”
     I looked up at the crack. The face of a man stared back at me, his head almost completely covering the crack. He had the widest smile I had ever seen. “Not the most comfortable place to live, I’d say,” he remarked in a friendly manner.
     I wiped my teary eyes with my pajama sleeve. “Can… can you get me out?” I stammered. I felt reluctant to trust this guy, afraid this was another trap.
     His smile grew even larger. “That’s what I came here to do; to help you out." His face drew back from the hole as he stood.
     I waited while he hacked away at the stone, making the crack large enough for him to crawl through. It was a few minutes before I realized that he was using his sword to send the bricks of my prison tumbling down. That was one strong blade.
     Finally, he secured a rope outside the dungeon and used it to climb down through the gap he had made. He looked like a prince out of a fairy tale; dressed from head to toe in white stitched with gold thread, a voluminous cape thrown over his shoulders.
     When he stood in front of me, I lifted my shackled wrists up and said wistfully, “I’m chained. I don’t know where the key is.”

Apr 17, 2010

TBS - Part One


    In a previous post, Tell Me a Story, I gave you the first paragraph of a short story I was writing and asked you to create your own version while I created mine. The stories you all wrote were great and I really enjoyed reading and discussing them.

     My short story is finally finished, standing at about seven pages. Yeah, I really took the idea and ran with it. Apparently, it is nearly impossible for me to write a story shorter than a page.

     Needless to say, I will not be posting the whole thing all at once. The story will appear, bit by bit, over the next few days... or week... or so... Anyway, I will try to keep the parts short and sweet for easy reading. Hope you enjoy it!



                                                                                    

The Battle Surrendered  
Part One  
Storyteller SilverLoom

     They came at night. Like gliding shadows, they moved soundlessly across my bedroom. I had no idea they were coming for me. There was no time to prepare for their attack.
     I woke just in time to see them reaching toward me. It was too late. Their fingers were like ice; black icicles circling around my arms, my neck, and my head.
     Screaming in terror, I pulled back, trying to roll over, trying to get away from the shadow creatures. Still they clutched at me.
     All at once, a dim light dawned over me and my assailants. But instead of clarifying, this light seemed to make everything blurry. It illuminated the shadow creatures, but they did not disappear like shadows; instead, they seemed to grow more solid, and their skin turned white, soft, and pleasantly warm. Their eyes were dark, but gentle. The light seemed to emanate from someplace unseen behind the creatures.
     A strange feeling invaded my body and mind, similar to the one you get when you have a fever and take a sedative cold medicine. I could feel my eyelids droop under the unnatural disorientation, and I began to wonder why I was fighting. I reasoned that I was not being hurt, so why bother to struggle? It was too much work to try to get away.
     The creatures pulled me into a standing position beside my bed. I didn’t resist. One of the creatures twittered in my ear, its voice soothing, “Follow meee….”
     I didn’t ask where it wanted me to follow it to. I would see when I got there. It would take too much effort to talk.
     I remember taking the first step to follow the creature. Something nagged within me, telling me that what I was doing was stupid and wrong, but I buried the feeling and stepped forward. The next thing I knew, I was blinking as if I had just woken up and saw that I was no longer in my bedroom.

Apr 9, 2010

A Bunch of Randomness

     Greetings, dear readers! Just a quick update to let you know what is going on.
     
     1: I am still agent hunting. Or, better said, agent researching. Some authors, publishers, and even agents I  emailed for information haven't responded. I emailed them all several weeks ago, so I think it's time to buckle down and decide if I want to spend the energy on the agents, even though I don't know much about them.

     Another reason I haven't been vigorously pursuing agents lately is because I have been thinking about the alternate ways of publication. Two publishers in particular have caught my eye: Creation House and Marcher Lord Press. I am thinking I should email some of the authors that have worked with these publishers and ask for their opinions. What do you think about small publishers like these?

     2: I asked several other authors to read my manuscript, and a few of them agreed! Whoopee! I do not have permission to release their names, and it may be a while before they are finished reading it, but I am praising God for these opportunities! (Writers, if you are looking for endorsements, see my post "How to Get a Book Endorsement.")

     3: I've been tagged by Madeline at The Stuff I Throw Under My Bed. The rule of the tag is to list eight books you would like to live in for a week, then tag eight people. So, here goes:

     Book 1: The Magician's Nephew (C. S. Lewis). I would love to watch the world of Narnia come into being. And talking to Aslan wouldn't be so bad, either (hee hee).

     Book 2: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Jules Verne). Hey, Captain Nemo, can I please drive your ship? Just once?

     Book 3: DragonQuest (Donita K. Paul). Minor dragons rule.

     Book 4: The Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien). By the time one week was over in this book, I would have enough of walking and battles to last me for... oh, about forever.

     Book 5: The Black Cauldron (Lloyd Alexander). Never, ever judge a book by its movie. Ever.

     Book 6: Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (L. Frank Baum). Oz is one step above Wonderland in insanity, admittedly, but I think I could survive it for a week. 

     Book 7: Tears of a Dragon (Bryan Davis). Let's skip chapter 19, shall we?

     Book 8: North! Or Be Eaten (Andrew Peterson). Beware the nameless evil named Gnag!

     Now to tag eight people. I will comment on your blogs to let you know if you are tagged.

     Seth, The Narrowing Road

     Squeaks, Hidden Doorways

     Araken, Writer's Passion

     Macey, A Girl's Journey
 
     Izori, Evening Stars

     Jessica, safirewriter

     Silver Angel, Silver Angel's Musings

     Galadriel, The Wordsmith's Shelf

     Alright, well, if you've made it this far, you have more patience than I have. So much for a "quick update." lol

     Post Tenebras Lux!
-ST

  

Apr 7, 2010

Interview with New Author, Jacob Parker!

     They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but if the cover art of Jacob Parker's new fantasy is any indication of how great the story is, it must be a fantastic read. 
     Expected to release in September, Kestrel's Midnight Song will be one of the newest members in the Christian fantasy genre. Its creator is, likewise, a brand new author.
     I had the honor of being able to interview Jacob Parker. Enjoy the story of the Yodeling Dwarf:

     What first inspired you to write Kestrel's Midnight Song?

      I've always had an overactive imagination. And I've always loved reading. By 4th grade I had combined these passions and decided I would be a novelist. Not when I grew up... then and there. Several failed attempts and 2 years later, I gave up. My stories, though filled with action, wandered aimlessly over the course of tens of thousands of words until my characters had adventured into a rut I couldn't get them out of. Then, in seventh grade, I wrote a short story for a school assignment. My teacher sought me out at lunch time, and told me how impressed she was and said, "If you wrote a book, I would buy it." That might not seem very significant, but it reignited my desire to write a novel. So that summer, somewhere around my 15th birthday, I started. The original inspiration was a picture of rolling green hills against a blue sky. I imagined a shepherd journeying across those hills, and thus began The Shepherd, later retitled Kestrel's Midnight Song. This time, I wrote out an outline beforehand, and though it hardly resembles the story that has finally emerged, it helped keep me focused.


      How long did it take to complete the book?

     I wrote it mostly over the course of two summers, and some in my spare time during the school year, for a total of two and a half years.


     Tell us the story of your publication. How did it come about?

     My plan for attaining publication should never have worked, but it did. I started a blog, and my intent was to comment on the blogs of publishing professionals and authors, hoping they would click on my name and follow it to my blog, where I'd posted the first chapter of my story. Then, they would read my chapter, fall in love with it, and email me a request for the full thing. One of the blogs I commented on was Scott Appleton's. He followed my link back, read the first chapter and was "most intrigued." So he sent me an invitation to submit my manuscript for publication consideration under Flaming Pen Press... roughly two weeks after I'd started my blog. Please note that, in reality, it doesn't work like that. Publishing professionals and authors are too strapped for time to follow links. (usually) The author has to go out on a limb and make the initial inquiry. However, a blog with a strong following can be a very beneficial thing to put in a query letter.


     Do you have any plans to write future books?

     Yes, definitely. Kestrel's Midnight Song started as a standalone novel. But now it's a prequel. I'm very excited to begin the series ahead.


     Tell us how you came to know Christ as Savior.

     I grew up going to Church. But I honestly never fully understood what it was all about until years of Church attendance had passed. I thought of Jesus as God who came down to teach. His death didn't make sense until I was in seventh grade. In a conversation with my grandpa, it all clicked. The rest is... the future!


      What do you hope readers will take away with them after reading Kestrel's Midnight Song?

     The best I can hope for on a consistent basis is that it was a riveting story that pulled the reader into an engaging world for a time. But I think the most rewarding reaction would be that they were changed for the better. Kestrel's Midnight Song has definite Christian themes, and if even one person emails me stating that the book aided them in their walk with Christ, that would make all the struggles and trials of writing and publishing a book worth it, instantly.

     
     To find out more about Jacob Parker and Kestrel's Midnight Song, visit http://yodelingdwarf.blogspot.com/

     Post Tenebras Lux!
-ST  

Mar 31, 2010

Tell Me a Story


     I simply cannot stop writing. If an idea springs up, I just have to grab it and write it down. To me, it does not really matter if the story isn't finished right then, as long as there is enough of it to remind me of my idea later.

     Do you ever feel this way? I bet some, if not most, of you do. And that is excellent, because I am counting on you to write... right now. Even if you have never experienced the irresistible urge to set your thoughts on paper, you can still help me out.

     You see, I got one of those ideas today. And so now I am writing a short story. I have written the first paragraph and I want YOU to tell me what you would write next. I already know what is going to happen, but because the plot is going to be a little different than "most stories" (I hope), I want to see what you guys come up with. Consider yourself my test lab guinea pig. (Brahahaha!)

     Here is the opening paragraph:

     They came at night. Like gliding shadows, they slipped through the cracks in my windows and door and entered my bedroom. They moved soundlessly, and I had no idea they were coming for me. There was no time to prepare for their attack.

      So, if you care to, comment and tell me what you would write next. What will the main character do as he or she is being assailed by these strange enemies?  I promise not to steal your ideas (as long as your ideas don't unintentionally coincide with my preconceived ones).   ;)

     Once I am done writing the short story, I will post it here... if I ever finish it. There is no promise it will not be forgotten for a year or so, but I will try to finish.

     Come on; tell me your version of the story!

     Post Tenebras Lux!
-ST

P. S. If you are having an imagination cramp (wonder if Barney the dinosaur ever had those?) then you might try writing what you would do if you were in the character's situation.