Elevator Pitch

Photo by Charlotte May on Pexels.com
A summary of my first novel that can be told during an elevator ride.

What if, at the tender age of sixteen, you suddenly found yourself responsible for the government of an entire realm? And what if your innate magical abilities surfaced at the same time? Welcome to the world of Enoch Northward, an orphan boy whose secure and predictable life has just been turned upside-down.

Enoch returns home from the Resurrection Festival to discover that his beloved guardian, the Baron-Knight of the Northern Marches, has passed away. Enoch must now act as Baron-Knight in his stead. Lacking confidence in his ability to lead others, Enoch neither expected nor desired this heavy responsibility to be placed upon his shoulders.

Enoch trespasses into the forbidden Darkenwood Forest and uses his emerging wyldling powers to unlock a mysterious portal that connects Tehara to Earth, thus forging a fraternal bond between him and a girl named Annabelle. Grieving and desperate for a family, Enoch wants Annabelle in his life and is tempted to take risks and break the rules to bring her to Tehara. However, time is running out, because the dreaded Commander Storm –- the superior officer of all baron-knights and Enoch’s mentor — is on his way to supervise Enoch in his new position. To make matters worse, one of the men under Enoch’s command is a murderer who is scheming with a sorcerer to ensnare the youth.

Enoch is presented with two choices: heed his elders’ warning or follow his heart.

The first installment of a fantasy series with a strong Christian theme, Wyldling Snare is a novel that teens and young adults will enjoy. Set in a world where magic is possible, dangerous beasts roam the wilderness, and filled with fully developed, quirky characters, Wyldling Snare is the adventure of a youth’s struggle to follow in the footsteps of his late guardian while enemies plot to destroy everything he holds dear.

It still needs work, but you can’t fix an empty page, right?

Fun with Character Art

My day has…simply slipped away.

Now that I have figured out how to use the Artbreeder website (more or less, LOL), I have spent way too much time trying to design the characters in Wyldling Snare. It can be frustrating and fun, in equal measure. Sometimes you create a masterpiece. Other times, you are rewarded with a hysterical horror-show.

It tends to be more frustrating when you want to breed a character with animalistic features. All I can say is, thank God for the existence of MS Paint. This archaic app is very helpful when you want your white-furred wolf-like male character to have red hair but not look effeminate. Surprise, surprise: the more humanoid “furry” characters on Artbreeder tend to be female. Fortunately, my point-of-view characters are either human or human-looking.

Without further ado, I present here the fruits of my labor.

Meet Enoch Northward, the sixteen-year-old protagonist of Wyldling Snare. He enjoys long hikes through the woods and dining al fresco with friends in forest glades beneath the shadow of the Wall. His hobbies include traveling through magical portals to other planets, hunting down murderous renegades, and mastering his Wyldling abilities so that he can learn to fly. Enoch is not a fan of his new position as the Baron-Knight of the Northern Marches, but he is determined to give it his very best effort.

Here is the apprentice sorcerer, William Dulciber, in all of his sullen glory. Also sixteen years of age, he is happiest when studying physics and advanced mathematics — disciplines of which his master does not approve. Squeamish in the face of suffering and bloodshed, William dreams of the day when he advances to full Arkhabast like his master and is free to practice sorcery in a manner that works best for him. However, his master has given him a very important task: capture the young Baron-Knight for their mysterious employer, the Dreadlord.

Resident of Earth, Annabelle Leigh Wells wants more than anything to escape the dreariness of a Wisconsin winter and experience the types of adventures she’s read about in fantasy novels. When a boy from the planet Tehara contacts her through a wormhole, she believes that her dreams have finally come true. Little does she realize that she is about to get more adventure than she bargained for!

I will save the rest of the images I created for the next time. Stay tuned for my next enthralling blog entry. Feel free to comment.

Have a great day, everyone!

Gollum asks me an important question

“What has she gots on her bookshelveses?”

Why, thank you, Gollum, for showing an interest. Rather than simply listing off the books I currently possess, permit me a measure of self-indulgence in first explaining how my reading habits evolved and how it influenced my writing.

I have always been a voracious reader so it should come as no surprise that many authors have influenced my writing over the years. There is no way I can remember everything I’ve ever read, so I’ll just cover the highlights. From what I recall, during my earliest years I stuck primarily to nonfiction – particularly informational books about the systems of the human body and health, natural history books about animals but mainly books about dinosaurs, with which I was obsessed all through elementary school. The first “novel” that I ever wrote – and finished – was about a sibling trio of young orphaned dinosaurs trying to survive on their own in a dangerous world ruled by a “tyrannical” Tyrannosaurus Rex. Heh heh. That was in fifth or sixth grade and I think it was for a special school project. This book was most likely strongly influenced by A Land Before Time, since the movie came out in 1988 and I’m pretty sure I saw it in the theater. Too bad I can’t find that book anywhere now; I think I gave the only copy to the school librarian.

Foolish child that I was.

By the time I left elementary school, I had read every book in the school library by Dr. Suess, Bill Peet, Jean Craighead George, Jim Kjielgaard and any number of fiction books that were from an animal’s point of view, as well as Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Pippi Longstocking series. Those were my favorites, but I also read the Sleepover Friends series and the Trixie Belden series, from which I moved on to the mystery/thriller genre in middle school. I also read a lot of Stephen King and Dean Koontz because my mom owns practically every book by them. My favorite Koontz novel is a tie between The Watchers and Lightning. I love The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King (of course, what else?) above and beyond anything else that he’s written, and I think most of his work is excellent.

Middle school was also the time period in which I finally read The Hobbit in its entirety and understood it. My life was never the same again. From then on, I was hooked on Fantasy and Science Fiction. This is not to say that I never read other genres, only that I had found my favorite genre. I adore various classic literature (especially Jane Austen) and I’ve plowed through all the gothic romances by Victoria Holt and many by Joan Aiken. I also enjoy reading Daniel Silva novels every now and then, primarily those featuring Gabriel Allon. I tend to pull in elements from these other genres when I write, however fantasy is the framework on which I have chosen I hang my stories.

From The Hobbit I naturally moved on to the Lord of the Rings and everything else by J.R.R. Tolkien, William Sleator, Madeleine L’Engle, David Eddings, Piers Anthony, C.S. Lewis, Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, as well as many novels set in the Star Wars universe by various authors (we have several bookcase shelves full of these in paperback). & etc. & etc.

A sampling of the books in our household.

I could probably argue that I am fairly wide read in the Fantasy genre. I tend to pick an author and – if I enjoy their style and the sort of tale they weave – read everything by them that I can find in the public library. And if I really like them, I actually purchase the books. For example, we have an entire bookshelf dedicated to Jim Butcher (just about everything he has published so far), and another for the complete Wheel of Time series in hardcover. All seven Harry Potter books (also in hardcover) share a shelf with my growing collection of Usagi Yojimbo graphic novels. Sara Douglass, Michael Moorcock, Terry Goodkind, Simon R. Green, Kate Elliott, Elizabeth Hadyn and Jane Lindskold are also pretty well represented as well.

For awhile space was a real concern. Our house is rather small and there are only so many walls that we can line with bookshelves. However – now that such things as Kindle exist – I don’t have to worry so much about buying more bookshelves. Of course, all else being equal I still prefer to read a paper copy of a novel. Who doesn’t?

You’ve probably noticed that I didn’t mention the Bible in the litany above. This is not because I don’t consider the Bible an influence over my writing – it very much is a strong influence! – but because I thought it should go without saying that I incorporate God’s Word in my Teharan Cycle novels.

More on that later.

Now that I’ve shared my reading preferences with you, what sort of authors and titles tend to dominate your bookshelves? What do you read for fun?