Fantasy Friday – Christmas Recommendations


I know, I know. I hate how Christmas encroaches on Thanksgiving, too. But reality is, if I don’t post now about books that would make good Christmas presents, I could easily miss a lot of people.

So without further hullabaloo, fantasies you might consider for Christmas presents.

Recent Releases (books I haven’t read yet):

Picture Books (Young readers)


The Dragon and the Turtle by Donita Paul & Evangeline Denmark (WaterBrook)

Friends come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Sometimes they’re
even dragons.

Roger loves adventure. Today he’s playing pirate, sailing the high seas, dancing to the hornpipe, and catching fish. But the wind’s blown him off course and he’s . . . well . . . lost.

When Padraig, a kitten-sized, bug-eating dragon, encounters the lost turtle, he offers to help Roger find his way home. Roger’s directions take some time to follow—his house looks brown, sounds like singing, smells like baking, feels like sand, and tastes like strawberries—and along the way, Roger and Padraig become friends. And friendship always yields unexpected rewards. Like cookies.

Young Adult

The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers (WaterBrook)

As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has tramped from village to village in the company of a huckster named Floyd. With his adolescent accomplice, Floyd perpetrates a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of the Corenwald frontier, such as the Ugliest Boy in the World act.

It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see young Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? Nobody believes in feechies anymore.

When Floyd stages an elaborate plot to revive Corenwalders’ belief in the mythical swamp-dwellers known as the feechiefolk, he overshoots the mark. Floyd’s Great Feechie Scare becomes widespread panic. Eager audiences become angry mobs, and in the ensuing chaos, the Charlatan’s Boy discovers the truth that has evaded him all his life—and will change his path forever.

Dragons of the Valley, second in the Chiril Chronicles by Donita Paul (WaterBrook)

War threatens the peaceful land of Chiril… can one painter-turned-reluctant-swordsman really help?

With an invasion of her country imminent, Tipper Schope is drawn into a mission to keep three important statues from falling into the enemy’s clutches. Her friend, the artist Bealomondore, helps her execute the plan, and along the way he learns to brandish a sword rather than a paintbrush.

As odd disappearances and a rash of volatile behavior sweep Chiril, no one is safe. A terrible danger has made his vicious presence known: The Grawl, a hunter unlike any creature encountered before.

To restore their country, Tipper, Bealomondore, and their party must hide the statues in the Valley of the Dragons and find a way to defeat the invading army. When it falls to the artistic Bealomondore to wield his sword as powerfully and naturally as a paintbrush, will he answer Wulder’s call for a champion?

Adult

The Wolf of Tebron by C. S. Lakin (AMG)

A young blacksmith must undertake a perilous journey to the four ends of the world to rescue his wife, who is held captive by the Moon. Along the way, he befriends a powerful wolf who encourages, protects, and ultimately sacrifices his life to save his human friend. A stirring allegory of God’s love in classic fairy tale tradition.

To Darkness Fled, second in the Blood of Kings series by Christy Award winner Jill Williamson (Marcher Lord Press)

They have no choice. Chased by an evil prince, Achan, Vrell, and the Kingsguard knights flee into Darkness. They head north, for Tsaftown and Ice Island, where they must free an army that can help them fight for Er’Rets.

Darkness sickens Vrell. How long can she keep her secret without being caught? Achan already suspects her of lying. If she is not careful, he will suspect her of treason as well. She hopes he will let his suspicions go until they reach her home.

Achan wanted freedom, but this new journey has bound him more than ever. Sir Gavin’s claims are so far fetched. First, that there might only be one God, and second, that this God chose Achan to push back Darkness, the magnificent curse of Er’Rets. Him. Achan. Barely a man himself.

Each setback Darkness brings seems minor compared to the one choice only Achan can make. What will he choose?

Enough for today. Another time I’ll mention some of the books I have read and some of the series you may wish to consider. In the meantime, happy browsing. 😀

CSFF Blog Tour – Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter, Day 2


Commercials first, or if you’d rather, announcements:

  • To find a list of other bloggers participating in the CSFF Tour for R. J. Anderson’s Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter, see yesterday’s Day 1 post.
  • If you haven’t voted in the Titles—Which Captures Your Attention? poll yet, please click on the link and take a minute to give your opinion. Thanks. 😀
  • And now back to our regularly scheduled blog post—more discussion about Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter—well, to be accurate, discussion about the author of Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter, R. J. Anderson.

    Yesterday, in her tour post, Donita Paul said, “I have got to meet the lady who wrote this book.” That made me think, I bet a lot of our participants would like to know more about R. J. (Rebecca—cool name, don’t you think? 😉 ) Anderson.

    The sad thing was, when I approached her about availability to do interviews, she had to decline because she’s on deadline. I certainly understand, but it is our loss. R. J. is an intelligent, thoughtful writer; an interesting person; and a committed Christian.

    I’ll just mention here in passing how much I love the first part of the Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter dedication: “To my father, the voice of Aslan.” Is that perfect for a Christian writing fantasy, or what!

    Prompted by Donita’s comment, I did a little research to see if I could learn more about R. J. Happily, there are several interviews online, and each one has a different slant. In the first, I learned some fun facts.

    Which of the following, would you guess, influenced R. J. in writing Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter: J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, the X-Men, the Flower Fairies books? If you said, All of These, you’d be right!

    And how long do you think it took this book (titled Knife in the UK where it first came out) from inception to publication: 2 years, 8 years, 10 years, 15 years? Not, All of These, you goofs. 😆 But the book was 15 years in the making.

    If you’d like to read the interview for yourself, you can learn more.

    Of course you can also visit R. J.’s blog at LiveJournal or you can follow her on Twitter. (I think we’ll have to see what we can do about getting her on Facebook too).

    HarperCollins has a great author interview posted as well. In it, R. J. answers the “why fantasy” question, something I’m sure CSFF’ers and other fantasy fans would be interested in:

    I’m always fascinated by questions of “What if?” It interests me to play around with possibilities and new ideas, and I’m also interested in the meaning behind those ideas. To me, fantasy and SF offer a chance to explore emotional, philosophical, and moral issues in a fresh and interesting way. You can talk about good and evil in a fantasy context, for instance, in a way that it’s difficult to do believably in other genres. And besides, it’s fun. I love seeing the ingenuity of other authors who invent new worlds and new magical systems for their stories—building a really believable and consistent fantasy world is one of the purest expressions of creativity I know.

    Another interview taking a “behind the scenes” approach, with this teaser:

    But as far as the story itself goes, I think I’m most pleased with the way that certain themes and… I hesitate to say “morals” because that makes it sound preachy, so maybe “ideals” is a better word… came out naturally in the course of revising the manuscript. I didn’t want to force anything in there, but on the other hand, I didn’t just want to write an exciting story with no depth or substance to it, so it was a relief when I realized that there actually was more going on than just “tough faery action heroine kicks crow butt, saves world, details at eleven”.

    One more centered more on the writing process. Here’s the teaser:

    The book changed a lot between the draft that sold and the final published version. The basic framework of the story was the same, the order of the main events and so on, but my editor challenged me to make sure everything was tight and consistent and that I’d thought through every aspect of the plot and how it affected the characters, which resulted in a much more layered and nuanced story. I was just feeling all proud of myself after taking the book to pieces and rebuilding it from the ground up, and then she said gently, “Well, we’re about half done. But what about this and this and this? Let’s do it again.” It was definitely a rethinking-and-rewriting process, rather than just tweaking bits here and there. But it was so worth it, and I learned a great deal from the process.

    Enjoy getting to know R. J. Anderson. She’s an author I think we’ll be hearing about for a long time.

    Special thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of the book.

    Fantasy Friday – You Might Like to Know …


    Lots going on in the world of fantasy.

    First, Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper are running a couple interesting promotional events in preparation for the release of their co-authored book, Curse of the Spider King, book 1 of their series The Berinfell Prophecies (Thomas Nelson).

    First is a campaign to blitz Amazon on October 7 with pre-orders. This is particularly aimed at readers who are already planning to purchase the book, but I suspect new readers will also be welcome. 😉

    Before this first, they launched a forum to discuss the books in this new series — The Underground.

    More recently they revealed a huge, giganto, fun, exciting contest they’re running to help get the word out about the book. They’re calling it, Build Your Tribe, Begin Your Quest. Sounds cool! 😎 And one of the prizes? A personal book signing party with lots of freebies for the winner!

    And finally, they’re holding several extravaganza-type launch events. In Maryland, they’re speaking, signing, and performing at various places on October 16 and 17. In New York, they’ll be doing the same October 30 and 31.

    By the way, the CSFF blog tour will be featuring Curse of the Spider King in November. I’m looking forward to reading this YA fantasy.

    Speaking of tours and contests, Donita Paul has announced the closing date of her library contest for The Vanishing Sculptor. From her newsletter:

    Library Contest
    The library contest finally has an end date:
    November 20, 2009

    Why November 20? Because it is Mrs. Paul’s birthday, and we think it would be fun to give something away on her birthday. 😀

    The Contest Image Gallery is almost complete, but we need more pictures of YOU (and your librarians)!

    Remember your camera (or use your camera phone) next time you go to the library and get a picture of you with Mrs. Paul’s books on the shelves. Be creative! We want to see your faces!

    NEW CONTEST RULE: You will be entered up to two times for each picture of faces you submit to webmaster@dragonkeeper.us.

    If you have already submitted pictures or screenshots–thank you! They have likely been received. Our webmaster is working hard at getting them entered into the gallery, so your patience will soon be rewarded.

    What else? There’s a new Christian fantasy forum called Holy Worlds.

    Rachel Star Thomson won the September CSFF Top Blogger Award. Congratulations, Rachel!

    Marcher Lord Press announced their new line of books/authors with special pricing if you purchase a number together.

    Starlighter, first in the Dragons of Starlight series by Bryan Davis (Zondervan), can now be pre-ordered. Here’s the blurb from Bryan’s newsletter:

    Jason Masters has heard his older brother Adrian’s tales about dragons kidnapping humans. Supposedly, almost one hundred years ago, a dragon stole away several humans and enslaved them on its own planet. These Lost Ones, as Adrian called them, live terrible lives as cattle. Yet, the Underground Gateway, the portal to the dragon planet, still exists somewhere, and a secret society of the same name has long tried to find it so they can rescue the Lost Ones.

    When Adrian leaves to find the portal, Jason takes his place as the Governor’s bodyguard. Although the government has tried to cover up the evidence, he learns that the legends are true, and after being accused of murder and learning that Adrian’s life is in danger, he has to conduct his own search for the portal, a journey filled with danger and intrigue.

    Aided by a gifted young lady named Elyssa and an eccentric escapee from the dungeon named Tibalt, Jason ventures into the wilderness to locate Adrian and the Lost Ones. Yet, what he finds on the dragon planet proves to the biggest surprise of all. Koren, a lonely slave girl, is a powerful being called a Starlighter, the slaves’ only hope for survival and rescue, though most refuse to believe that their ancestors ever came from another planet.

    D. Barkley Briggs, author of The Book of Names, announced good news about his second (and, sadly, orphaned) book (NavPress is no longer publishing fiction):

    UPDATE: I am securing all rights back from Navpress as we speak. Once the paper work is finalized, I hope to locate another publisher soon. How soon? Don’t know, but I’ve had a couple of random inquiries with no real effort on my part, so I’m hopeful. Please be patient. My personal schedule is tied up until at least the first of October. The good news in all of this is that Books 1-3 are complete! They just need a home.

    I suspect there is more news in fantasy, but that should do it for today.

    CSFF Tour Wrap – The Vanishing Sculptor


    Another tour over. The Vanishing Sculptor was definitely a fun one, with author Donita Paul commenting on a number of blogs. There were interviews, reviews, summaries, bios, discussions about humor in fantasy, themes, and characters. There was even a quiz. A total of 35 blogs participated, with 56 posts.

    Unless I’ve overlooked someone, the participants’ list is now updated and accurate, so if you haven’t had a chance to read all the articles you’d like to, take some time this week and check out the thoughts of others about this more-complex-than-meets-the-eye story.

    You might want to start with those eligible for the September CSFF Top Blogger Award (and then vote – 😀 ):

    Published in: on September 24, 2009 at 1:39 pm  Comments Off on CSFF Tour Wrap – The Vanishing Sculptor  
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    Covers and Contest – CSFF Blog Tour, The Vanishing Sculptor, Day 2


    The CSFF Blog tour for Donita Paul‘s The Vanishing Sculptor has me thinking about book covers, but I also want to tell you about a contest, so here we go.

    Cover Design/Illustration: Mark D. Ford

    Cover Design/Illustration: Mark D. Ford

    I am about the worst person in the world when it comes to noticing book covers. I don’t understand this because I consider myself more strongly a visual learner, so why don’t the visuals of a book immediately attract me? They don’t. Neither do titles.

    Case in point, our current feature, The Vanishing Sculptor. Do you have any idea how long it took me just to remember the title? I kept thinking The Vanishing Sepulcher for some reason. Not until I started typing the title out did it really stick.

    And then there’s the cover. Today—yes, TODAY—I read a comment over at Rachel Starr Thomson’s blog that mentioned the dragon on the cover, and I thought, Huh? What dragon? If you’d asked me what was on the cover, I’d have said something in greens and burgundy. 😳

    But now, as I look at the cover, really look, I see how cute and completely right it is for the story. There’s a promise of fun and adventure and imagination—just what the book delivers.

    So my question. How important are covers to you when you’re considering a book to read or buy? And are we going to lose the enticement of covers as books move to the electronic media, or will the enticement of video trailers replace what covers once did (for some people 😛 )?

    On to the contest (and there is no connection between covers and contest except for the alliteration and cool sound of the two said together 😀 ).

    Now as I look at the details, I’m wondering if the contest has ended. I’m referring to Donita Paul’s The Vanishing Sculptor’s Library Proofs Contest, Summer 2009.

    It’s a great marketing idea. Those wishing to participate simply had to provide proof that their local library has a copy of The Vanishing Sculptor or that the participant made a request for the library to acquire the book.

    I was going to suggest fans take this challenge to heart … except, today is the official beginning of autumn, so I’m wondering if the contest is over.

    Even if it is, I think it’s a worthy endeavor to suggest books to librarians. And I don’t think we should stop at public libraries. Talk to school librarians and church librarians.

    OK, to wrap up today’s tour post, let me suggest a few others you may want to check out.

    Karina Fabian has an interview with Donita Paul
    Jill Williamson has a DragonKeeper Chronicles quiz you can take.
    Emmalyn Edwards takes a close look at the characters.
    Fred Warren posted a great review, dealing especially with a principal theme of the book.
    Wayne Thomas Batson posts Donita’s testimony and gives a personal anecdote from the West Coast Fantasy Tour a year ago.

    You can see all the participants listed with links to their articles in the Day 1 post.

    Published in: on September 22, 2009 at 11:06 am  Comments (7)  
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    CSFF Blog Tour – The Vanishing Sculptor, Day 1


    Announcements. Lots going on, so lest I forget, I want to take care of business before moving onto Donita Paul and her latest release, The Vanishing Sculptor (WaterBrook).

    First, I’m still looking for help with a book title. If you haven’t given feedback yet and would like to, you’ll find the poll at Fantasy Friday – I Need Your Help. The poll will be open through this week.

    Also we’re accepting nominations for the 2009 Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction. The developing list is posted here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction and also at the Award site.

    Third, the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) held their awards ceremony this past weekend. Congratulations to Sharon Hinck, winner of the Book of the Year Award – Speculative, for The Restorer’s Journey, and to David Fry, winner of the Genesis Contest – SciFi/Allegory/Fantasy, for Lies to See. Great accomplishments! 😀

    There is one other award I want to mention in particular, but I’ll get to that.

    The Tour. As I’ve stated from time to time, the CSFF Blog Tour got it’s start when Donita Paul took a chance on us, sending a group of 17 bloggers copies of DragonKnight, book 3 in her DragonKeeper Chronicles series. Actually, that tour was our second, the first featuring Tim Frankovich’s excellent site Christian Fiction Review with his “Focus on Fantasy” section. But with Donita’s tour, word seemed to spread like wildfire, and today CSFF has nearly 150 members, and monthly 35 or more participating blogs.

    I think, in part, the growth was due to Donita’s gracious participation in the tour, beyond providing books. She conducted interviews, too, and stopped by our blogs to comment. As I look at it, she set the gold standard for author involvement in blog tours. For example, she left comments on each of my tour posts, and came back to answer questions others left her.

    Here’s her initial comment to the Day 1 post:

    Becky, this is such a great idea! I had a hard time envisioning just what-all a blog tour encompassed. I was just talking to a sales rep from WaterBrook and told him what a fantastic job you all are doing on the grassroots level. Believe me, the grassroots level is what starts the fires that spread from reader to reader.

    The encouragement was great, the review copies of the book were great, the interaction with a published author was great.

    So, bringing us back to the present, it was no surprise to me to learn that the ACFW Mentor of the Year award went to Donita Paul! Sky-writing sized congratulations!

    I hope visitors here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction learn a lot about Donita and her writing during these next three days. If you haven’t read any of her books yet, The Vanishing Sculptor might be the perfect one to start with. It’s the beginning of a new series and a sort of prequel to the DragonKeeper Chronicles. But I’ll get into book specifics another day.

    For now, take some time to visit other blogs participating in the tour:

    http://anewnovelistsjourney.blogspot.com/2009/09/csff-blog-tour-vanishing-sculptor-by.html

    Published in: on September 21, 2009 at 11:58 am  Comments (15)  
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    Fantasy Fiction Tour, the Third Part


    Here is a picture of Sharon Hinck and me at the Calvary Church Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour event in Huntington Beach last Friday, thanks to Bryan Davis who sent it.

    I have just a few more thoughts about the recent West Coast tour these authors just finished, and I think this actually relates to writing, maybe to life, in general. Actually it came to me first as I was posting on the tour last week. Here’s the line:

    But promoting the genre with feet on the ground are our heroic eight authors—Wayne Thomas Batson, Bryan Davis, Sharon Hinck, Christopher Hopper, L.B. Graham, Donita Paul, Eric Reinhold, and Jonathan Rogers.

    Every endeavor needs its pioneers—people willing to step into the unknown and make a dream work. The United States is largely a result of pioneers. Space exploration is still in it’s pioneering infancy. The personal computer needed pioneers who envisioned something others pooh-poohed.

    And Christian fantasy, once thought to be unsaleable in Christian bookstores and unwanted in the general market, has begun to catch on because pioneers in the book publishing industry forged the way.

    Including Christian fantasy writers in with those who explored the Northwest Territory or landed on the moon or invented the Apple may seem like I’m stretching the value of fantasy, but I don’t think so. Fantasy, remember, relates a good versus evil story—the eternal story, really—and nothing has more significance.

    From where I sit, the key Christian fantasy pioneer is Karen Hancock. Undoubtedly others would suggest that Frank Peretti or even Ted Dekker holds that place. I consider their works to be supernatural suspense and not precisely fantasy. Speculative, certainly, but not other-world fantasy. Of course there were earlier writers. Stephen Lawhead wrote fantasy, as did a few others. But this was pre-resurgance.

    After Karen Hancock, who then? L. B. Graham was next, I think. I remember reading a Christianity Today review of Beyond Summerland, first in the Binding of the Blade series, in which the reviewer said all manner of positives, including the statement that the work was Tolkienesque. I can’t tell you how happy that made me.

    Following close behind was Donita Paul and Bryan Davis. Their first fantasies came out the same year and maybe even the same month, both dragon series, but very different from each other. Donita’s books come close to classic fantasy whereas Bryan’s might be some mix between fantasy, science fiction, and supernatural suspense—not classic, but innovative.

    A cluster of other authors followed, but the industry has yet to embrace Christian fantasy wholeheartedly. Hence, the authors who had stepped out into this lonely, unmapped world did so again, this time with the intent to promote their own work at their own expense.

    Last year that turned into the Fantasy Four Fiction Tour up the East Coast, and this year it grew to become the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour down the West Coast.

    The point is this. These authors spent time away from their families, their homes, their writing, some entirely at their own expense. They traveled hundreds and hundreds of miles in less than first class conditions, slept in less than first class accommodations, ate fast food and on the move, got up at hours far earlier than a body should be required, for what? A fan here, a sale there, and lots of free bookmarks and posters.

    Seeds. For the most part, the Motiv8 authors sowed seeds that may or may not take root and turn into increased book sales. That’s what pioneers do. There are no guarantees given to pioneers. They may or may not find what they expect. (No, Mr. Columbus, this is not India. 😉 )

    But one thing I learned by listening to these Motiv8 authors—they love stories and they love God. For each of them, those two loves come together in the Christian fantasy they write. That makes me want to cheer. They are my feet-on-the-ground heroes.

    Fantasy Fiction Tour, continued


    Bryan Davis sent me this picture today of us talking at the close of the Calvary Chapel Huntington Beach Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour event hosted by Merrie Destefano. In the background you can see Jonathan Rogers,, one of the writers I had not met in real life before. In the reflection of the door, you can just make out Eric Reinhold if you know to look.

    Honestly, in spite of how tired I felt sure the Motiv8 writers must be, I thought they did an outstanding job. This was not your typical book signing. Rather it was a cross between the events they put on for schools and what you might expect them to share in a testimony time in church.

    One thing that turned out kinda unplanned cool was that people started arriving as the authors were getting set up and organized just off the sanctuary. But Merrie had all the books set up and displayed on tables out in the front, so people had time to look at the books and even to make some purchases before the program.

    Christopher Hopper and his wife Jennifer started things off by singing several worship songs. I thought the music put a different spin on the event from the beginning. This was not just a sales pitch, not just promotion. This was ministry, too.

    Sharon Hinck spoke next about God using cracked clay pots, about how He is the real hero in our stories. Eric Reinhold followed her with a segment about God’s timing. He shared how he started writing his first Ryann Watters tale but had serious health issues that led to open heart surgery. Seven years later he returned to the story and finished it, even as God brought into his life a publisher who ended up printing the book.

    Next was L.B. Graham. He talked a little about fantasy and his Binding of the Blade series. Wayne Thomas Batson followed with a reading from The Door Within, and Bryan Davis closed this segment with an impassioned defense of fantasy as a means to communicate spiritual reality.

    Already the evening was well worth while, but my favorite part was yet to come. For a half hour or more, all eight authors fielded questions from the audience. A lot of credit has to go to the people asking the questions. They were thoughtful, probing questions—no fluff. Many of the times, all the authors gave an answer, passing the mic from person to person. Sometimes several answered and the rest seemed to agree. For the Q&A session alone, this event would be worth your time watching from the archives over at the Motiv8 site.

    The thing was, hearing the authors side-by-side like that was really, really interesting for another writer, especially one who has read their work. Which one is an outliner, who writes as a seat-of-the-pantser? Who sold right away, who suffered the greatest pile of rejections? Who focuses on plot more, who on character? Who writes full time, who still maintains a day job? What prompted different ones to start writing in the first place? It was just a lot of fun and I was sorry when they had to cut the questions off.

    But after all, there was still the signing part of the event. Lots of people bought new books. Some brought the ones they had from home. They got pictures of the authors, talked about the books, and of course had the personalized signatures included. I saw Jonathan Rogers more than once add a sketch of an alligator beneath his John Hancock. What better way for the author of The Bark of the Bog Owl to finish off an autograph! 😀

    Well, I’m far over my word count and didn’t yet say what I most wanted to say about the event/tour. Just maybe, I’ll have to address this one more time.

    Fantasy Fiction Tour


    This is one of those posts where I just have too much to say.

    I attended two events, one an elementary school and one a church event promoted in part as a fantasy writing event. Right off, my camera failed to work—low batteries, it said, though I’d put in new batteries before I left home. Thankfully Christopher Hopper snagged a picture of the two of us and emailed it to me on the spot.

    He served as the moderator of the school event and did a wonderful job keeping a room of 200 or more kids attentive. He introduced other members of the tour for their parts, then engaged in a sword fight with Sir Wayne Thomas Batson. All very entertaining.

    After the presentation, kids flocked to the stage or to the book tables where they had the authors sign posters or bookmarks and where they bought books they then had autographed. A few children brought in their parents, which I was happy to see.

    Afterward, I asked the people from Barnes and Noble, who partnered with the school and sold the books, if they did many of these kinds of events and how this one did in comparison to others. It turns out, they do so many, one of the women I was talking to was in charge of community outreach. And they said they thought this event did better than most. Said they sold 25 percent of the inventory they brought. If they hadn’t already said this was better than most, I wouldn’t have thought that was so good, but of course, I also didn’t know how much inventory they brought. They also said they would keep it in the store until Christmas (that sounded good), and that most likely it would sell (that sounded even better). That made sense to me, since a lot of the kids didn’t have money themselves to buy the books, but they had those autographed bookmarks and posters to show their parents exactly what they wanted. Interestingly, Jonathan Rogers did a reading from The Bark of the Bog Owl, and his book sold out.

    This school, by the way, hosted Bryan Davis two or three years ago when he came out west. One of the teachers read his book to her class, and when he came, he sold a hundred copies. I bring that up to make this point—readers need, more than anything, an introduction to these books. The stories, the writing, the characters can then take over.

    I’ve got much more to say about the second event and already I’m pushing my self-imposted word count limit. Rather than hurry, I’ll save my remarks for tomorrow. In the meantime, you can read more and see many more pictures at Merrie Destefano‘s site (she hosted the second event and did a terrific job) and Eric Reinhold‘s blog. In fact, Eric has blogged about the entire tour, and it’s great reading.

    One more thing. I should give the answers to my Wednesday contest. We have five winners, two with perfect six for six answers. I’ll be contacting our winners to make arrangements to send them their autographed books.

    The authors of the excerpts I posted are as follows:
    #1 Jonathan Rogers (The Bark of the Bog Owl)

    #2 Donita Paul (DragonLight)

    #3 Wayne Thomas Batson (The Isle of Swords)

    #4 Sharon Hinck (The Restorer’s Journey)

    #5 Bryan Davis (Beyond the Reflection’s Edge)

    #6 Eric Reinhold (Ryann Watters and the King’s Sword)

    You See It Here, You See It There—Christian Fantasy Everywhere


    With all the attention on the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour, I don’t want to neglect the other ground breaking fantasy event that took place last week. Marcher Lord Press released its first books.

    In one forum, I learned that there was a midnight lineup of fans trying to be the first to order. It turns out that over a hundred people had the same idea. I wonder if there’s ever been an online rush to buy books before.

    Without a doubt, MLP has focused the spotlight roundly on fantasy and other speculative genres written from a Christian worldview. One bit of evidence is the fact that oft-declared non-fantasy reader Nicole Petrino-Salter conducted an interview with MLP founder, Jeff Gerke, which she posted last Tuesday.

    Earlier this year Jeff taught on speculative fiction at the Oregon Christian Writers’ Conference. Here’s a man who has seized an opportunity. Not only does he recognize the ongoing popularity of speculative fiction, he’s paying attention to the development of new technology. The Marcher Lord Press model of publishing just might revolutionize the industry.

    But promoting the genre with feet on the ground are our heroic eight authors—Wayne Thomas Batson, Bryan Davis, Sharon Hinck, Christopher Hopper, L.B. Graham, Donita Paul, Eric Reinhold, and Jonathan Rogers. Their tour is quickly coming to an end, and I can’t wait to hear in person their stories of the many encounters with fans, new and old.

    Report after report mentions the fun, the crowds, the enthusiasm. The video journal has clips of happy readers walking out with stacks of books. One comment begged the writers to tour the heartland next. Others suggested the entire US. 😀 Personally, I’d like to see them return to the West Coast and stay right here in SoCal. I know of a dozen places that would love to have them.

    Regardless, there are two days remaining, and you can enjoy the events live or by rerun simply by clicking over to the Motiv8 Web site.

    By the way, did you discover who the mystery guests were at the beginning of the tour? Authors of the brand new, very eye-catching middle grade fantasies—the Hunter Brown series—brothers, Christopher and Allan Miller.

    Who knows? The fantasy tour might grow by half next year and there will be a group of twelve. Sounds very biblical! 😉

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