Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New Cover for The Chronicles of Soone: The Rise of Lucin*

Well, as promised, this is the new cover for The Chronicles of Soone: The Rise of Lucin, which is scheduled to be released by Breakneck Books in November 2007.

I hope everyone caught the awesome interview with Christian fantasy author, Wayne Batson! If you didn't then your in luck...just scroll down and check it out.

The Rise of Lucin will be a darker chapter in the Chronicles trilogy. Think Star Wars episode III. The bad guys spend a lot of time with the upper hand and by the end of the book, several major characters die. But I think anyone who has enjoyed the first book, Heir to the King, will definitely enjoy this one and hopefully will be on the edge of their seats for the third book when the time comes.

Updates on my writing: PERDITIONS GATE: Escape from New Eden, my new futuristic action thriller, is a few chapters away from completion and I'm already beginning to send out query letters and such to agents. Also things are looking good for my new young adult fantasy series, A World Within. The short story anthology version is complete and will hopefully appear in an upcoming fantasy anthology this summer...I'll keep you updated. And of course, this story is going to be my next full length novel too. So, alot is going on this year...


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wayne Batson Interview--Day 3

The Final Storm by Wayne Thomas Batson is the featured book for DAY 3 of our interview with Mr. Batson. Don't forget to visit Wayne's website www.thedoorwithin.com and his blog www.enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com
Now for our final section of the interview! And stay tuned for the "special unveiling" of the new Chronicles of Soone cover : The Rise of Lucin, coming tomorrow!
12.) How do you see "Magic" fitting into Christian fantasy? A good thing or bad?
With all due respect to my Christian family members who feel strongly that we ought not to read or write about magic, I don’t have a problem with it if it is handled properly. If good characters, protagonists start invoking the names of demons to cast spells, well, that’s not good, is it? But when you create an imaginary world, it operates necessarily by the rules the author creates. Why couldn’t magic be a part of this world? Readers are shrewd enough to know that the magic used by the characters in the story is no more likely to be something real in our world than dragons or monsters.

13.) What is your favorite fiction novel?
The Lord of the Rings. Hands down. I’ve read The Trilogy fourteen times and counting. Tolkien’s books are what drew me into fantasy fiction.

14.) What or who do you feel has most inspired the direction of your writing?
Tolkien’s books, as said above, took me to places that amazed and inspired me. Aside from that, teachers and students are the ones who helped me to see I could actually write a good story. Thank you Mrs. Mangum and Mr. Spero!

15.) What one lesson do you hope readers will take away from The Door Within trilogy?
There is hope. Even in the bleakest moments of life, there is a plan for you, a loving father listening for your call, waiting for you to turn to Him. Never alone!

16.) What can we look forward to seeing in the future from Wayne Thomas Batson?
Isle of Swords is next, a high seas pirate adventure! In it, a lad with no memory comes between two of the Caribbean’s most notorious pirates and their quest for the greatest treasure the world has ever known!

After Isle, I have a HUGE, MONSTER, EPIC fantasy tale I want to begin. It’s been buzzing around in my mind insistently for well over a year. I’ve got a dozen word files with bits and pieces of plot, neat characters, wild locales. I can’t wait!

Thanks, James! Great talking with you.

-Wayne Thomas Batson
STAY TUNED TOMORROW FOR THE UNVEILING OF THE NEW COVER FOR "The Chronicles of Soone: The Rise of Lucin" coming in November 2007!

Wayne Batson Interview--Day 2

The Rise of the Wyrm Lord by Wayne Thomas Batson is the book featured on DAY 2 of our interview with Mr. Batson.
Don't forget to visit Waynes website, www.thedoorwithin.com and his blog at www.enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com
Now on to the second part of our interview!
7.) Have you found the process of "getting published" to be difficult and do you think that it's getting harder to break into the industry as a Christian fiction writer?
Getting published IS hard, and is probably getting harder. But, here’s the thing: if you write a great book, you will get published—but only if you persist. It’s daunting to pile up rejections. But you’ve got to work at your craft all the time, making your product harder and harder to resist. Timing is important also. Pay attention to where the entertainment market is going, not just books, but all media. If you know that winter 2008 Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit will come out, you may have a better chance selling a fantasy title. The Door Within took 13 years to get published, and I needed every one of them. God put me through the fire, taught me to write all over again, and allowed me to learn about the business side of publishing. Now, I’m better prepared than I ever would have been years back.

8.) Christian fiction is such a new genre, what do you predict might happen for it; growth or do you see it struggling for acceptance?
I’m an eternal optimist. That said, I see Christian Fiction having HUGE growth over the next 5-10 years. We’re starting to see Hollywood make more “family friendly” or “wholesome” movies, and I think the reason is that the heartland of America still yearns for that which is noble and good. And I think we will see more and more Christian publishers sign and promote more “crossover” titles—books with Christian themes versus preachy tomes. Our society seems to be welcoming to crossover titles so long as they don’t hit people over the head with the Jesus Stick. I’m a firm believer in the gradual evangelism approach. You write a story that makes the reader ask questions that ONLY Jesus can answer.

9.) Your Door Within trilogy has been compared to C.S. Lewis' Narnia. Do you find this sort of "profiling" to be a good thing or are writers being expected to fill shoes they never intended to fill?
To have my name in the same sentence as C.S. Lewis is humbling to say the least. I don’t really see it so much as profiling as it is a way for people to get a handle on the type of tale I tell. Readers do it all the time when they shop for a new book. “I’ve read all Tom Clancy’s work. You have anything like it?” The Door Within Trilogy certainly has some similarities to Lewis’s work, but there are enough HUGE differences. It’s not derivative. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve still never read The Chronicles of Narnia all the way through.

10.) Which of your trilogy books has been the most popular and why do you suppose that is?
A little hard to say at this point because all three titles have not had the same time on the market, but The Final Storm took off the fastest. I think the reason for this is that it’s the series finale, and uh, well…I left readers with an evil cliffhanger in The Rise of the Wyrm Lord. ;-)

11.) As a Christian, have you found it more difficult to write in the realm of fantasy and stay true to your faith?
Not really. Criticisms of my work have been about minor things, but not my theology. I think the fantasy genre, by its very nature, allows a writer to explore unique ways of expressing your faith.

Wayne Batson Interview--Day 1

The Door Within by Wayne Thomas Batson is our featured book for day one of our interview with Mr. Batson. I'm personally reading this book and have been enjoying it very much. Mr. Batson the physical and spiritual conflicts of the Christian life into a wonderous allegorical fantasy world that never ceases to thrill.
Don't forget to visit Wayne's website at www.thedoorwithin.com and his blog at www.enterthedoorwithin.blogspot.com and now onto our interview with Mr. Batson!
1.)How long have you been writing and is the Door Within the first novel you tried to have published?
I’ve been writing since the 6th grade. Seriously, when I won a short story contest, and they gave me chocolate—I was hooked. The Door Within is the first novel I tried to get published. Initially though, I was very naïve about the business. I submitted my manuscript to dozens of publishing houses, before the story was really “there,” and I didn’t use an agent. So, I piled up the rejections.

Do you have a favorite scene in the trilogy? If so, what is it?
There are big action scenes or wild twists that gave me chills when I wrote them. Falon’s surprise in the Labyrinth or Captain Valithor’s return in The Door Within. The discovery of The Sepulcher and the epic battle in the Blackwood from Wyrm Lord. The fireworks display over the Blue Mountains and the huge battle in The Final Storm—they all mean a lot to me. But my favorite scene is a smaller, tenderer moment. It’s when Aidan, Antoinette and Robby find themselves locked away in the dungeon at the end of Final Storm. It is here that Aidan announces that if he must die, then so be it. He would rather die with the praises of his King on his lips, than to live while denying Him.

Why do you write for young readers in particular and do you find them to be more enthusiastic fans?
I’ve been a middle school reading/English teacher for sixteen years, so I’ve always loved the tween audience. Truthfully, there wouldn’t be a Door Within series if it wasn’t for my students. And they are enthusiastic. They are such a wonderful mix of cleverness, curiosity, and creativity—fantasy just works for them, perhaps more than any other age group.

What is your favorite fan comment or experience?
A young lady emailed me after she finished the Door Within Trilogy and had this to say, “I truly cried during this book. It all touched my heart so strongly! I couldn't stop crying. My sister asked me if I was upset. I answered her: "No, Maggie. No, far from it!" I knew in my head, I was certain at that point, and still so certain, that I loved God. I love God!!! And I know that he loves me. I am certain for the first real time in my whole life.

And that is what I have to thank you for. You brought me, not back to God, but fully to God. You are doing wonderful work by spreading God's messages, and I'm sure I'm not the only one that thinks that. You set such an amazing role model to young Christians of what a child of God looks like. I would hug you now, if I could!”

I’m still astonished when I read it. God gets all the credit, but to be along for the ride is…well, a dream come true.

Have you done many book signings and were you surprised by the turnout one way or another?
There’s a Barnes and Nobles near the school where I teach. I did a signing there for The Door Within, and in about ten minutes into the event, the place was PACKED!! I signed 200 copies of The Door Within that night. Another special signing was at a local HisWay Christian Books. A wonderful young lady who works there, hand-painted four shields (four foot shields) based on The Door Within books. She had them arranged in the store for the signing, complete with broadswords, helms, and a rather interesting battle axe. How cool is that?

Are you a disciplined writer, utilizing rigid outlines or do you write when the mood hits and create as you go?
Definitely an outliner. But my outlines are fluid. I spend as much as a month outlining the story, and that’s where a lot of the coolest ideas hit me. Then, pounding the keyboard for the manuscript is much easier.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Chronicles of Soone 2 Update*

LOOOK! It's a bird...It's a plane...it's Super...uhm, well, yeah, it is a plane. Sorry.

If you're just standing around waiting for the next Chronicles of Soone novel to come out later this year, then I have good news!

The awesome new cover is nearly complete for The Chronicles of Soone: The Rise of Lucin. The book is going into the editing phase as we speak and we'll be having an advance showing of the new book cover here on the blog, very soon. Now, the new cover will be slightly incomplete as it will be finalized with some author reviews and blurbs that will grace it by the time of press, but you will get the ARC (advance reader copy) view and man does it look good so far.

Authors who have already laid claim to an ARC of "The Rise of Lucin" for review and cover blurb purposes are: Wayne Thomas Batson (The Door Within trilogy), R.W. Ridley (The Oz Chronicles series), Sarah Onderdonk (Little Sins, Big Problems), and our good friend Jeremy Robinson (Raising the Past & The Didymus Contingency).

The Christian Science Fiction Fantasy blog tour is coming up on January 22nd, for Wayne Thomas Batson's Door Within trilogy and we'll be having a three part - three day interview with Mr. Batson during the tour. The next post after the last portion of Wayne Batson's interview will reveal the new Chronicles of Soone cover.

I hope you will all join us for the blog tour and Wayne Batson's interview and then be sure to check back the next day for the unveiling of the cover for, The Chronicles of Soone: The Rise of Lucin.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Arms of Deliverance, by Tricia Goyer
Tricia Goyer is the author of five novels, two non-fictionbooks, and one children's book. Tricia was named Mount HermonChristian Writers Conference "Writer of the Year" in 2003. In 2005,her book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion.Also in 2005, her novel Night Song won ACFW's Book of the Year forLong Historical Romance. In 2006, her novel Dawn of a ThousandNights also won Book of the Year for Long Historical. She's writtenover 250 articles for national publications and hundreds of BibleStudy notes for the Women of Faith Study Bible. Tricia lives inMontana with her husband and three kids where she homeschools,leads children's church, and mentors teenage mothers.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Interview: Raising the Past author, Jeremy Robinson

Raising the Past, by Jeremy Robinson, was an exhilarating page turner for me. being a fellow author with Jeremy as Breakneck Books, I had been eager to read the novel and wasn't disappointed. I had previously read his first bestselling fiction novel, The Didymus Contingency, and had enjoyed the unique time travel story which involved a return to the time of Jesus Christ's earthly ministry, but I have to say, as good as that one was, I really enjoyed Raising the Past even more. The book is blur of action from cover to cover and anyone who's read my work knows that's what I really enjoy.
I contacted Mr. Robinson about sharing a little with us and he was glad to do so. The following is a short interview Jeremy did for us and gives us a bit of insight into the views and experiences of this up and coming novelist.

1.) Having self published your first fiction novel, The Didymus Contingency, in 2005, do you think you've benefited from the experience? If yes, in what way?

Absolutely. Publishing The Didymus Contingency myself was the best thing I’ve ever done for my career. It has sold and is still selling thousands of copies. I signed two foreign translation deals for the book ( Romania and Bulgaria ). I landed a top literary agent. And it provided me with thousands of loyal fans who are gobbling up my second novel, Raising the Past.

2.) I've noticed you're quite diverse, being both a published fiction and non-fiction writer. Which area do you feel most holds your heart and why?

My heart is with fiction. While non-fiction is good for the money aspect, it’s not nearly as satisfying for me personally. The Screenplay Workbook evolved from worksheets my friend and I were making for our personal use...and making a whole book just seemed like the next logical step. That we put it together in a month and sold it the next is a bit amazing. It was my first published book though, and in that way opened up a lot of doors. The second non-fiction book, POD People, was written out of necessity. I receive e-mails almost everyday (three so far today, two yesterday, etc, etc) asking for advice on marketing Print-On-Demand books. I like to respond to all of these e-mails, but it was eating up time that I’d rather spend writing. So I put the book together and now when I receive those e-mails, I just point people to the book.

While those projects are great fun, they do little to satiate my desire to tell stories and entertain people through words. Thus, my heart is with fiction.

3.) Having read Raising the Past myself, I can honestly say that it was an excellent sci-fi thriller and had me furiously turning pages. Tell us the one thing that most excites you about the story, perhaps your favorite scene in Raising the Past, and why?

There is a lot I like about Raising the Past. It’s a blend of so many genres I love and its pace was as fun to write as I hope it is to read. But I really enjoy the twist at the end and the way the book tosses around the idea of free will. The novel is based on a screenplay I wrote years before and the screenplay, being limited by 120 pages, lacked the interesting ending and in depth theme. So those elements that make the story something special are what excites me most, because as it was in screenplay format, they didn’t exist.

4.) When you're writing do you find yourself to be an outliner and a disciplined schedule setter or are you more of a "when-the-mood-strikes" kind of a writer?

I'm very disciplined when it comes to sitting down and writing. Once I get into a novel I try to write at the same time everyday for the same amount of hours, usually from 1pm to 5pm. This only changes when I approach the end of the book, then I’ll write in the morning and late into the night as well.

As for outlines, I start by laying out key scenes—things I know will be in the book, and then I come up with an ending—where I know I’m going to end up. As for a detailed outline, I create several “where I’ve been and where I’m going” outlines along the way, plotting out all the minor scenes from one key scene to the next. I do this perhaps four times throughout the writing process, mostly as a guide to keep me from forgetting anything important and to help continuity. They aren’t rigid though. I like the story to lead where it may and don’t bind myself to any outlines. This is how the cool new ending in Raising the Past came about. It sort of developed on its own.

5.) What one thing do you believe has most inspired you to be a novelist?

I can’t say I was inspired to be a novelist at all. I have always been inspired to tell stories. It’s been an innate passion of mine my whole life. First I started with art. This stayed true through college where I was an illustration major. I moved on to comic book illustration and ended up writing a few issues. From there I took up screenwriting and then moved on to novel writing. The move to novel writing (at first) was more of an odds choice. There are 300 movies made every year and something like 40,000 screenplays written every year. Those are bad odds, especially in an industry where who you know is more important than how good your story is. With books, the odds are better and I took a stab at it with The Didymus Contingency. I was pretty surprised that after spending so much time on art and screenwriting (not the most literary of writing) that I had a knack for novel writing. The Didymus Contingency was the first prose fiction I’d ever written. It shows (a little) but I’ve tirelessly dedicated myself to improving as a writer. Raising the Past was my second novel and the growth is evident, just as it is between Raising the Past and my recently finished fifth novel, Kronos.

6.) Having written both Christian fiction and secular fiction novels, briefly explain why you have chosen to write in both areas when most authors stick to either religious fiction or non-religious fiction?

I’m a Christian. It’s who I am, so it sneaks into my books, sometimes more blatantly than others. But I’m not a “Christian author” like Jerry Jenkins, Frank Peretti or Ted Dekker. I write mainstream books for a mainstream audience (Christian, non-Christian, etc) and sometimes they have Christian or Biblical themes / plot devices. Sometimes they don’t.

7.) As a consumer, what do you find to be the top three selling points for a fiction novel?

When I go to the book store there are actually three things I do to make a decision about buying a book. It’s pretty simple. 1. The cover. The book has to draw my attention...and then it has to hold it. If the cover gives me enough information about the story and it looks good, I’ll pick the book up and read the back cover. If that's good, then I move on to step two. 2. The author. I always read dedications and acknowledgements. I don’t think many people do this when considering a book, but I always do. They tell me what kind of person the author is. Most authors are nice and very gracious in their acknowledgements, but a few aren’t and I’m less likely to buy a book from an author who seems...unfriendly. 3. I read the first sentence. If it grabs me, I read the first page. If I find myself turning the first page to read the second, I’ll probably buy the book. I was a reader at a literary agency and this sort of became a habit, judging a book by the first few pages, but I’ve never disliked a book I’ve bought, so it seems to work for me.

8.) What is your favorite "fan" comment or experience?

My favorite fan letters have been from non-Christian fans of The Didymus Contingency who recognize the book as being a positive portrayal of Jesus Christ, but who aren’t put off by it. So far I’ve received fan letters from Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, atheists, agnostics and good old “I don’t believe in anything” types. All enjoyed the book regardless of their different beliefs, and that’s really what I wanted the book to be. It’s nice that people can appreciate my Christianity without feeling assaulted by it.

9.) Is there any area of your writing that you hope to improve upon?

I sometimes notice that in my haste to write action I sometimes forget details, things that make the story more tangible. I go back and add where it’s missing, but I’d like to get it on the first time through. Also, something I’ve worked on for a long time is my “cheesiness factor”. This is a hold over from my days writing comic books (and reading comics for years) and involves corny jokes and melodrama. It’s pretty much out of my system now, but I still have to watch out for it.

10.) What can we all look forward to, in the future, from Jeremy Robinson?

There is a lot on the table right now and I don’t have any specifics, but I’m expecting at least one 2007 release, perhaps two. I’m not going to speculate as to which of my novels these will be (though I have an idea). I’ll be writing my sixth novel this winter and spring and my seventh this summer and next winter....I hope. I’m researching both now and will decide which to go forward with in the next week.