Today's blog tour is for Faith Blum, a very talented, Christian Western author whom I met on an awesome writing forum called Holy Worlds (someplace that I need/want to visit and spend more time on!). An avid reader, Faith started writing at an early age. Whether it was a story about the camping trip that summer or a more creative story about fictional characters, she has always enjoyed writing. When not writing, Miss Blum enjoys reading, crafting, playing piano, moderating on the Holy Worlds Historical Fiction Forum and playing games with her family (canasta, anyone?). As a history enthusiast who has been fascinated for years with the Old West, Faith has endeavored to create a clean, fun, and challenging Western story. Faith lives with her family on a hobby farm in the Northern Midwest, where she enjoys the many cats they have. You can find Faith on her Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
For this tour, I got to ask Faith two questions! Yay!
Faith, if you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Faith - Can I choose two? Both of them have affected me and helped me in different ways. Aubrey Hansen helped me a lot when I had questions about self-publishing and she formatted my first book for me. Jaye L. Knight was kind enough to beta-read Be Thou My Vision and gave me lots of good suggestions that I am super grateful for. She also wrote a book about self-publishing under a different pen name (Molly Evangeline) that helped me a lot.
And what book are you reading now?
Faith - Calming the Storm by Melanie Snitker. It’s a contemporary romance book about a young woman who has had nothing go right for her and a professor who finally found out what God wanted him to do. It’s awesome so far!
"The church was empty when I dragged myself out of the pew and headed out the door. As I opened the door, the corner of my eye caught a flicker of movement which I chose to ignore. I walked down the steps and was nearly bowled over by two wild boys. With arms grown strong and quick from man-handling two brothers growing up, I grabbed the two boys before they had a chance to escape me."
Oh, and by the way. Did I mention that today is also Faith's birthday??
Happy Birthday Faith!
The DRAGONS IN OUR MIDST series is, by far, one of my most favorite. It seriously ranks up there by Lord or the Rings. Bryan Davis, the author, awes me with his talent in making a labyrinth out of his plots while inputting a deep spiritual message throughout the story. One review has already voiced my thoughts perfectly: "... a contemporary fantasy story that inspires young people to dig deep within to find their God-given strengths and use them to overcome any obstacle. It’s a perfect blend of fantasy and science fiction with a Christian message."
These books are clean, intense, and fast paced, and the plot is brilliant! I would recommend these books to anyone - Christians and secular people alike.
There are four books in the series: RAISING DRAGONS, THE CANDLESTONE, CIRCLES OF SEVEN, and TEARS OF A DRAGON. They are available in paperback, kindle, or audiobook. They are excellent in any format. Just pick one and get involved!
This is an Amazon Affiliate Link.
“No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to his heart and eye the morning can be.” Jonathan Harker ~ Dracula
I read my first Gothic Horror novel: “Dracula” by Bram Stoker.
I personally am not into vampires. I don’t like them; they have gone from creepy and disgusting to just plain annoying in today’s world! So, when my mother suggested I read the old classic “Dracula” I was naturally leery. However, Dracula is now on my “Favorites” shelf and I think that it throws any other vampire stories I have read so far “into the mud”. I also think it was one of the most Christian books I have ever read, next to anything written by Frank Peretti. It surprised me that Bram Stoker actually depicted the vampires as demons, with no heart or mercy or pure thought, inhabiting a human’s body. Try to find that in today’s vampire stories!
However, before I would recommend Dracula for reading I would give a warning: it is a horror genre novel. It has some very gruesome, morbid parts and it does suggest some very mild sensuality in some parts that would be somewhat disturbing to a few readers that I know. But, if you can handle watching the news on TV or if you have read any of Frank Peretti’s books, I can guarantee you will be able to handle Dracula.
So now that I have that said and done, shall we move on?
It took about three chapters of for the story to really get rolling, but I must give the author some leeway because “Dracula” was written in the late 1800’s and does not follow the guidelines of today’s modern fiction: begin with a KAPOW that grips your readers on the very first page! Dracula actually eases mysteriously into the story, which was a nice change from today’s fiction.
Once I got past the first couple of pages, the story became very intriguing. I was amazed at how well the author tinged the story with deep mystery, really arousing my curiosity in the plot. This kept me turning the pages through the first part of the book.
The book is written completely in first person, being a collection of diaries and memoirs from each character involved in the story. I was certain that the first person narrative was going to drive me crazy, as it did in Mobey Dick, but it flowed smoothly in this book and made the characters VERY realistic. Again I was amazed at the author’s skill as he was able to craft each of the characters with such different personalities! I generally pride myself in staying detached from fictional characters in a story, but Bram Stoker’s skill in the first person narrative made it impossible for me to remain indifferent to these characters. In other words, I became attached to the characters of the story very quickly.
One of my favorite characters was Abraham Van Helsing. Caring, gentle, intelligent, crafty, and humorous, Van Helsing has a right to be one of the main heroes in “Dracula”. He is a brilliant Dutch doctor who is in England, trying to help his friends smoke out and destroy Count Dracula. Because he is a Dutchman in England this causes some humor throughout the book as his English is sometimes a little shaky and he gets things a little mixed up.
Midway through the story it became practically impossible to set the book down! The plot grew intense as the characters started making discoveries and finding out their foe, and the story started to roll very quickly as Count Dracula tried to destroy them and they quickly learned how to fight the demon back.
The ending seemed a bit rushed to me, but it ended better than I thought it would. I expected everyone to die and the bad guy to live on, as in many horror novels, but it was not the case and all the mystery and puzzles presented throughout the book were wrapped up very well in the end.
All in all, it was a very good book that I would recommend to most people, and I like it much, much better than any other vampire literature I have come across. Thumbs up for Bram Stoker’s Dracula!
“I saw the Count lying within the box upon the earth, some of which the rude falling from the cart had scattered over him. He was deathly pale, just like a waxen image, and the red eyes glared with the horrible vindictive look which I knew so well.” Mina Harker - Dracula
As I prepared to launch my book in March 2014, I received several questions regarding my book and some suspicion from Christian and secular readers alike.
The skeptical Christians were asking:
Is it written from a Biblical worldview?
Is there anything that makes it distinctly Christian?
Is there anything in it that would offend Christians?
Is it consistent with Philippians 4:8?
And secular minded people were asking:
Why did you put Christian stuff in it?
Do you do a lot of preaching in it?
Is there anything in it that would offend someone who wasn't a Christian?
Allow me to answer these questions with a few questions of my own:
Have ye skeptical Christians ever read ye ol Bible from cover to cover? How about Deuteronomy? What about Genesis or Judges? What about Isiah, Jeremiah, or Daniel? Is there anything in those books that would offend Christians? Is all of it consistent with Philippians 4:8? Is there some fantastic creatures mentioned in those books?
The answers to the last three questions is: Oh yeah, not really, and definitely.
But I can guarantee that my book is not nearly as "bad" as those books in the Bible.
My book does not have any cussing, sex, incest, or rape like most of the Old Testament tales are full of.
What my book DOES have is:
-Dragons (Job 41:1-34, Job 40:15-20, Isaiah 34:13, Psalms 91:13)
-Violence (Aside from the fact that the Bible is FULL of violence, from Cain killing his brother to God wiping out the cities of Sodom and Gamorah, just the simple fact that Jesus was "as a lamb to the slaughter" suggests violence)
-Monsters & Strange Creatures (Isaiah 6:2, Ezekiel 1:4 - chapter 2, Daniel 7:7, Job 40:15-24, Job 41)
-A bad witch who uses magic (1Samuel 28, 2 Kings 9:22, Exodus 22:18)
Why did you make a Christian fantasy book?
Why do you have finger nails and hair? Because it is a part of you. My love for God and His Son, Jesus, and my love for the Bible is the reason I wrote a Christian fantasy book. They are a part of me. I am not putting that aside because it makes YOU feel uncomfortable.
Is there anything in it that would offend someone, Christian or otherwise?
When I was a little girl, I tried to please my friends AND my parents and quickly learned that I could not. I cannot make everyone happy - it is completely impossible - and so I do not try to make everyone happy. There are some people who my book would offend for the simple fact that I wrote it (purely personal). I do not try to purposely offend anyone at all, but if something offends you in my book, I'm sorry. Here's a tip: if you think it might offend you, DON'T READ IT. Go read something soft and squishy, like a romance novel.
Is there anything in it that makes it distinctly Christian?
I think there is: the constant mention of Dayspring (God), bad guys being bad vs. good guys being good (the clear line between good and evil is a constant in the Bible, after all).
Is it consistent with Philippians 4:8?
Okay. I'm going to be a bit sarcastic: (Mom: you had better close your eyes.) Are YOU consistent with Philippians 4:8?
I always try to keep Philippians 4:8 in mind as I write, because Philippians 4:8 was written as a basic guideline of how Christians should speak, think, and act.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
We all interpret Philippians 4:8 differently, I am sure. But, when I write, I try to write what is true, my characters and I try to be honest and just, I try to keep my story pure, my good guys lovely. My story will have a "good report" as far as content, and I and my good characters endeavor to be virtuous. Even my bad guys are clean cut.
Yes. There is evil in my stories. Yes. There is death in my stories. Yes. There are dragons in my stories. But if you have read the Bible from cover to cover, then you must have run across talking snakes and donkeys, dragons, unicorns, seraphim, giants, witches, sorcery, ghosts, miracles, a thousand wars, and even naked people. I seriously doubt my book can be much worse.
If it would make you feel better, I could write a book about my family history... but in the end I think you would rather read The Dragons Son, because my family kinda has an R rated history. No lie.
I was invited to join a “Meet a Character” blog tour by Faith Blum, an author of Christian Western Fiction, and F.P. Spirit, author of Medieval Fantasy. (Gee! I got two invites. Ain't I special? *wink, wink*)
Faith's book, A Mighty Fortress, primarily follows Joshua, his sister Ruth, and Jed, an outlaw. Jed wants out of the lawless life he has sunk into, but he wonders if he is in too deep to be able to escape now. Joshua and his sister Ruth are traveling by Stagecoach to join their parents in Montana, that is, until Jed and a gang of outlaws attack the stagecoach and send Joshua and Ruth fleeing for their lives into the wild Wyoming and Montana territory. All three are running -- the hunter and the hunted. What will happen when they meet?
Although Western fiction doesn't really turn my crank, I found this book to be a powerful Christian story right from the very first chapter! If you like Western books, and want a heart pounding story with Christian values, then look no further - this is the book for you. And guess what? It's the first of a series. *yay!*
Please check out Faith’s book and website!:
Website/blog: http://HymnsoftheWest.tk and www.faithblum.wordpress.com
Her book - A Mighty Fortress on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GPDQVC2
The Heroes of Ravenford is a brand new start to a brand new fantasy series, one of which I am very excited about!
It follows Glolindir, a young elf of a diminishing race, and his struggle to find his purpose in his world. I won't say too much myself, because I *Plan* (note, I said PLAN) to post my review of it very soon. So, I will just give you the synopsis for now:
"Magic is Easy or so Glolindir thought, until he came face to face with his first live monster. Casting spells was not so simple with death breathing down his neck. His story might have ended there if not for three gifted youths: Seth, the mysterious halfling with the moves of an assassin; Lloyd, the spiritblade whose fiery swords are whirlwind-fast; and Aksel, the gnome whose very touch can heal.
Yet that was just the beginning of their adventures, for dark shadows loom over the little town of Ravenford. The townsfolk quickly turn to these newcomers, who may indeed be their only hope. From the old ruined keep southwest of town to hidden caves in the western hills, through dark tunnels, secret passages, concealed rooms and magical mirrors, they must face mythical monsters, evil creatures, and dark wizards, each more perilous than the last. Can they rise to the challenge and become the Heroes that the people of Ravenford so sorely need?"
Please check out Spirit’s book and website!:
His book: The Ruins on Stone Hill (Heroes of Ravenford Book 1)
Read his "Meet a Character" blog post: http://fpspirit.com/2014/06/23/meet-my-character-blog-tour/
MEET A CHARACTER
1) What is the name of your character? Is he fictional or a historic person?
Keegan is his name, and fiction is his game (though, I might add, he is quite real to me)! He is a Wovlen, a very old, diminishing race of people known for their hardiness, confidence, brutality, and skilled dragon slayers.
2) When and where is the story set?
In a world, not our own. Most of the story takes place in three different places in my "make-believe-world": 1) A city called Elinralis, capitol of the country Anuran, 2) A place in the wild called The Dragon's Plains, 3) And the adjoining forest to the plains called The Dragon's Forest.
3) What should we know about him?
Keegan was orphaned at the age of twelve. However, what is truly special about Keegan is that he was adopted right after the death of his family by Pharrgon, a golden dragon. Yes. His adopted father is a dragon. For 13 years following his family's demise, he was raised and trained by Pharrgon to survive in the wilderness and to become a formidable warrior.
4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?
Though Keegan's story started long, long before his time when the Wovlen kingdom fell to an evil red dragon, it really took a tailspin when Keegan's family and village was massacred. Keegan witnessed the brutal death of his father at the hands of a "scarred man". The survivors of the village were scattered, and Keegan fled into the dreaded Dragon's Forest where he met Pharrgon and thus, his destiny.
5) What is the personal goal of the character?
Since the massacre and witnessing the death of his father, Keegan has only had two goals: find his missing friends and family and avenge the death of his village. In book 1, The Dragon's Son, Keegan's first goal was met. However, his second goal is about to take a drastic turn in the 2nd book when he finds out that the person responsible for the death of his father and mother goes far beyond the "scarred man" (the man who killed his father and lead the attack on his village). Finding out the deeper truth widens his perspective and raises his goal to new heights. But Pharrgon warns him that vengeance is not his to take. Vengeance belongs to another. So, what has his goal become? What is he supposed to do? Needless to say, the 2nd book has Keegan pretty confused through most of it.
6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
Yes. The 2nd title is "The Dragon's Due".
Would you like a snippet from The Dragon's Due? Of course. I thought you would. Here ya go (note: none of this has seen an editor yet, so please forgive the rough-ness of it):
A light mist rose up from the ground in a perfectly green forest. The green grass was cool and soft under Keegan’s bare feet, and the smell of fresh moisture in the air was cool and inviting. Silence reined throughout the green forest, perfect silence assured Keegan everything was peaceful there. None of his troubles followed him to this place. None of his worries or fears haunted him. Perfect peace and silence wrapped their gentle arms around him in this forest and set his mind to rest.
From the corner of his eye, Keegan saw movement in the trees. He turned and watched as a feminine figure quietly walked through the trees, touching each of the trunks, looking all around herself searchingly. Her golden head and dark blue dress stood out against the green of the forest, and her glowing pale skin shown brightly, but her sparkling, emerald green eyes matched the surrounding forest exactly.
“Erewhon,” Keegan sighed as he spoke her name as he walked toward her.
She paused and looked at him, her eyes growing wide “Keegan! Oh, I am so glad you are here!” she opened her arms and meant to rush to him, but suddenly stopped “But it is only a dream. You are only a dream. You aren’t real!” her face changed from joy to despair instantly as tears filled her eyes.
Keegan’s face grew somber “Princess Erewhon, what is the matter?” he asked.
“It is no use to tell a phantom in a dream.” Erewhon said sadly, hiding her face in her hands “Oh Dayspring have mercy! I shall be lost forever!”
Keegan stepped up to her and placed a hand on her shoulder before reaching up with his other hand and gently pulling hers away from her face so he could see her clearly “I am here, my lady. I am no phantom.” he grew puzzled as he witnessed overwhelming despair written across Erewhon’s face “Why are you afraid and so sad? This is a peaceful place. Can’t you feel the relief it brings?”
Erewhon’s lip trembled as she looked into Keegan’s eyes “I have felt it, and it has brought me comfort, but I know I cannot stay.” she took Keegan’s hand tightly in hers “Keegan, I have been captured and carried away from Elinralis. I don’t know where I am at, but shadow men are holding me captive.”
Suddenly the forest shook and rippled, liked still water when a stone has been dropped into it, and the trees and light began to disappear.
Keegan grabbed Erewhon’s hands tightly as the green forest changed to a late night scene with the two moons almost midsky, shining their pale light across a yellow plain Keegan knew all too well: the Dragon Plains.
Erewhon shuddered “This is where I am being held captive!” she gasped “But I won’t be for long. The moons are almost high.” she looked up at the sky.
“Who is holding you captive? What for? Where are they taking you?” Keegan asked.
Erewhon began sobbing and trembling “I don’t know! Men or shadows, they call themselves wraiths, are taking me to a person they call the crystal queen. Keegan, I am so scared!”
Suddenly, a transparent shadow in the shape of a man appeared next to Keegan and Erewhon, filtering out the moon light and casting a shadow over the two of them. Chilling whispers in an ancient language began to echo all around. The scene of the Dragon Plains seemed to bend and then tear, like someone cutting through a painted canvas. With an unearthly scream, a large, black gloved hand appeared through the tear.
“I told you there would be consequences for trying to escape!” a voice roared before the hand grabbed Erewhon by the throat and yanked her through the hole “I also meant it for dreams, princess!”
“Keegan!” Erewhon screamed in terror as she disappeared.
Keegan yelled in anger as Erewhon’s trembling hands were yanked from his, then everything, the moon light, the Dragon Plains, even the very air around him completely disappeared. Keegan began to gasp for air as he was left in a black void filled with eerie whispers chanted in an unfamiliar language. He fell to his knees, holding his hands up to his neck, trying to find a way to breathe. Before he passed out, a dragon roar echoed in his ears and shook the ground under him.
7) When can we expect the book to be published?
My goal is to have it done by November/December 2014. However, this is ME we are talking about. My hopes, goals and plans don't always go according to my plans, so.... we shall see how this works out. *fingers crossed*
Now, as part of the tour, I need to tag a couple of other authors!
Thanks for reading and, please, check these other authors out!
Sherrilyn Polf is an Christian author of Historical Fiction and Children's Books. Currently, she has 4 books in a WWII series called "The Engineers of Flight", with a 6th one on the way. They are "a side of WWII that has not been presented before...".
Her Website: http://sherrilynpolf.weebly.com/
Her books: On Amazon in Kindle and Paperback
Elaine Littau is another author of fiction, working with romance and western mainly. She has a very large selection of books to choose from! All of her books are very powerful testimonies of God's strength which can pull us through any storm and get us through any crisis. I would not recommend them for young readers, as the contents can be somewhat traumatic. However, if you like Frank Peretti and Western fiction, then I can only assume that you will really like her books!
Her Website: http://www.elainelittau.com/
Her Books: on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback
Author of the fantasy series, Tales of the Wovlen, Kathryn spends a great deal of time in the world of her imagination, having tea with fire breathing dragons, writing books on flying space ships, and practicing her mad scientist laugh with gusto. However, on occasion,she returns to this world just to play with her dog and blog about her fun.
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