Our American forefathers blazed a trail of dare and courage. Who would have contested the throne of England in those days?
To my fellow American citizens, celebrate this day with pride. Teach your children the value of responsible freedom because that’s what our country was founded on.
Responsible. Not fanatical, nor self-serving. Not out of rage or absent of thought. Freedom comes with responsibility to do the right and honorable and just thing. It is good to stand up for yourself, for your family and for your nation. But we must always be sure of the stand we’re taking. We must heed wisdom.
“all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security”. -The Declaration of Independence
Recently excited about the latest editorial review. The thing about editorial reviews is that they are written by people in the industry. Their critique and praise are both helpful and sought after. They gain a place where people will listen and consider.
The wide-ranging scale of D.L. Gardner’s Ian’s Realm Saga, encompassing three books, pays tribute to Gardner’s imaginative powers and ambition. Though devotees of epic fantasy will recognize a number of familiar genre elements built into the plot, Gardner succeeds in distinguishing her tale from past offerings in this vein thanks to the emotion she’s able to elicit from readers and the fully realized clarity of her fictional world. She labels the three books as “parts” in this collection – the first, Deception Peak, the second Dragon Shield, and the concluding third part Rubies and Robbers. One of the many strengths of the book lies in the coherence of its construction – Gardner’s aptitude for cinematic grandeur in a literary vein and understanding what makes epic fantasy work is unquestionable.
Some will notice overwrought prose scattered throughout Ian’s Realm Saga, but it isn’t the result of an amateurish approach to writing. Instead, I read these moments as manifestations of Gardner’s passion for the work. She sometimes tries too hard to ratchet up the intensity rather than trusting in her tale, but her wont to do so works in favor at some points. Some will fault her for relying too often on overworked dialogue tags. These are far from fatal flaws however and, moreover, often staples of the genre in the case of the last point regarding dialogue tags. She manages a large cast of characters and imbues an impressive number of them with three dimensional attributes rather than reducing the minor participants into cardboard glorified plot devices.
The narrative spends some time alternating between our modern world and Gardner’s fictional creation. Gardner excels balancing two different landscapes where other writers might fall short. The titular figure Ian is, in my estimation, the most successful character in a book full of such achievements. He fulfills many, if not all, of our expectations for such a work – Ian begins the book grieving, but he evolves and changes throughout the course of the three books and ends the work transformed by his experiences.
She imbues the tale with a real sense of adventure and her aforementioned imaginative powers make fictional landscapes leap out from the text. She shows a sure hand with the story’s action sequences as well. There are many fine examples of her talent with this, but my favorite comes in the final part with the chapter entitled “The Battle of Eastern Ridge”. It is a success due to many factors, but above all others is how her descriptive powers bring the scene into focus for readers. It makes for gripping reading.
The use of artwork throughout the book, including the map before the story begins, brings a welcome added dimension to Ian’s Realm. The digital copy I read is professionally assembled and never a chore to follow. I feel satisfied with the story’s inevitable conclusion and it, once again, demonstrates her innate understanding of what makes epic fantasy work for readers. The genre has abiding appeal, evidenced in recent years by the popularity of such fare like HBO’s Game of Thrones, and any lover of the style will find much to admire and enjoy in D.L. Gardner’s work.
Welcome to Making Believe, the blog of fantasy author D.L. Gardner! I hope you are enjoying the blog hop scavenger hunt, and that you’ll come back and visit again!
My novel Ian’s Realm Saga is one of the prizes for this contest. It’s three books in one, and tells the tale of a reckless teen who enters a portal to another world, is thrust into a conflict with dragon worshipers — and an epic battle between good and evil… A magical fantasy collection which we are in the process of filming! Take a look at Ian’s Realm film page when you have a chance.
And now for the scavenger hunt!
FSF Readers Lounge Presents its first ever Solstice Scavenger Hunt. Running from June 16th to June 29th – 19 authors joined forces to offer readers a chance at $75 cash via PayPal and 19 eBooks as a Grand Prize! 38 secondary prizes (an eBook from one of our participating authors) will be given to randomly chosen participants with the correct answer.
To play for a chance to win you must go to each of the authors sites listed below, collect the “hidden” word(s), unscramble them, and then enter to win! Enter Here
Entering does not enter you into anything! You have the option to choose who to subscribe to and who to follow – the only requirements are 1- you must follow the Facebook page for the Readers Lounge in order to get the winners announcement and -2- use the link to enter the giveaway, but I hope you choose to follow the wonderful authors participating in this hunt!
$75 Cash via PayPal
eBooks up for prizes:
A Bit of Magic
Curse Breaker: Enchanted
Forever People Ian’s Realm Saga
The Fox and The Hunter
The Glass Gargoyle
The Hand of Atua
This Cursed Flame
Witch’s Moonstone Locket
Make sure to visit all the sites to gather all your words! Happing Hunting!
It’s here. I cannot tell you how wonderful Jeff Stillwell has done with the character of Dylan. His performance actually brought tears to my eyes! If you have ever known someone with special abilities, you will love this story. I wrote it in honor of all the wonderful people I had the privilege of serving when I drove ACCESS for Kitsap Transit. Dylan is a combination of many of the personalities I met, and his story is not uncommon. Yes he has magic, but the magic is his treasure, that which makes him special, and which he learns to develop as he ought. Thank you Jeff for doing a wonderful job narrating this tale. The screenplay adaption is running the film festival circuit and has won 2 Best Screenplays awards already. Please check it out!
Through the years I have had relations with different members of various historical and reenactment groups. Had I known about such societies when I was younger, and the great advantage of being associated with them, I would have pursued the opportunity diligently.
I cannot praise these people and their organizataions enough. Just this weekend I had the privilege of being a merchant at an SCA Faire. What a wonderful, kind and caring group of people!
I believe that the three virtues I titled this blog: Honor, Courage, and Integrity are not something that simply shows up in your life. I believe these virtues come from long hours of development much as one would develop muscle tone through exercise. There’s a line I wrote for Aren in Ian’s Realm a few years back. “Integrity isn’t something you do. Integrity is who you are.”
Sadly I am only an outsider looking in. What I see takes my breath away. I see people studying history. I see them taking cultures and daily life hundreds of years ago and relearning lost arts. I see them not only learning how our ancestors lived, but the heart of what once was.
Our souls develop when we work with our hands, and not just work with them but create objects with love and care and tenderness. Have you ever been in awe at buildings that were created hundreds of years ago? Were you ever amazed at the clothing women wore in the 16th and 17th century when they not only sewed their clothing by hand, but raised the sheep, spun the wool, and wove the material to make them, and then added lace and hundreds of buttons and fine woven gold threads, and patterns we rely on machines to create today? Have you ever wondered about the hammered steel or leather armor that men wore to protect themselves, gathering from raw resources.
How about the beautiful tents that people used? How sufficient they were. How unworthy my little modern day pop up tent is compared to the tents that these people construct with their hands. Do you ever wonder about the process. The meditation and creative energy necessary to build something like that?
Society for Creative Anachronism is a society that demands that its people do the research, find the roots of what they do and remake what once was. Oh that I had started years ago to join them.
You see, it’s not just about the art. That in itself is honorable, but there’s more. What mankind has lost is the art of pouring oneself into not just his survival, but his survival with a high quality of life – Not a vegetable relying on a machine to feed and clothe it which is nothing more than a shallow existence generating all sorts of mental and physical problems.
I give these people all my respect. They find the worth in touching the elements, in living life to its fullest. In using every thread and every hour to its utmost potential. And from this wholesome way of life come some of the deepest, sincere, courageous and honorable people I have ever met.
Don’t forget to give Ian’s Realm on Indie Short Fest a thumbs up! The film is making the circuit, gathering fans like a snowman so we can film the feature film titled Deception Peak…and then go on to do Dragon Shield and Rubies and Robbers…and then Layla…oh yes! Please like, share on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks!
As some of you may have heard the screenplay I wrote adapted from my novel concerning a young autistic man who has magical abilities just won two “Best Screenplay” awards in two separate film festivals. I’m thrilled, of course. I have to admit I don’t post the festivals which reject the screenplay. I like to focus on my successes, but I do take into account where I can do better and one such festival offered an extensive critique on the story.
I’ve had others critique the story as well and I have made changes, of course. Editing is a continual process and where my work is weak I want very much to make it stronger. But we must always consider the critique, and use our own judgment sometimes. That’s why I’m writing in defense of Dylan.
For those of you who have read the story, thank you. For those who haven’t there might be a few spoilers here for you, but I don’t think it will ruin the story. This will be more of a character analysis self-review.
Most of the criticism I’ve had concerns the antagonists in the story. Aunt Agnes, and Dylan’s mother Emma. I did not ‘stereotype’ these people. Dylan is a young man whose character I modeled after many passengers I drove while working for our local ACCESS bus service. I purposefully set Dylan in a hostile family environment. Why? The reason is part of the story’s message.
We, as a passionate people, would like to think that the entire world is sympathetic to autistic children. That is a misnomer. As far advanced as our society has come, and as aware as counselors, schools, teachers, and parents have become, there are still children and adults that are mistreated for their weaknesses. I have seen it with my own eyes, and have written this problem into the novel. I was quite conscious of how my passengers were treated at home, and the way they responded. Those from good homes were well cared for, working, and functioning as well, or better than many people who don’t have challenges. But the people who are not in healthy homes, who are institutionalized, are mistreated, had fears, anxieties, and outbreaks unaddressed.
Dylan borders the two. He lived until 12 years old with his mother in an abusive environment until the social workers discovered him, took him away and his loving uncle (brother to Dylan’s mother) adopted him. Those 12 years gave him enough trauma that kept him from functioning as he could have. While living with his kindly Uncle Jim, Dylan was able to come out of his shell somewhat, finish school, help his wheelchair-bound uncle, and learn how to cope with daily life.
Aunt Agnes tries to be kind, but she’s overloaded with responsibilities taking care of her drug addicted sister, her spoiled daughter, and then her brother’s death slaps the responsibility of Dylan in her lap. She’s not ready for it and so she looks for an easy answer. A boarding home. It’s an adult boarding home because Dylan is an adult. There is nothing legally binding Dylan to this home. His aunt pays rent, that’s the only thing keeping him there.
Dylan’s mother, on the other hand, is angry, bitter and a meth addict. She may look like the worse villain any story could have, but I have lived around meth addicts. What she does is nothing out of the ordinary for someone whose mind is imprisoned by street drugs.
There are many issues I wanted to address in this story, and for those who understand I think I’ve succeeded. I inserted magic, because it’s the magic that Dylan hangs on to in order to stay sane, until Liona comes into his life.
Thanks for bearing with me. I’m thrilled about the awards and I’m equally thrilled about the audio that talented Jeff Stillwell is making for me. Take a peek at this little sample I made up. It takes place when Dylan is at his wits end, missing his beach home with Uncle Jim where he used to take solace in nature. You can pre order the audio here.
For those who have read my other works, you’ll know I always have characters that are flawed. I don’t care if they are supposed to be a role model. Ian’s dad in Ian’s Realm is one character some people disliked, and disliked the story because of him. But not all people are perfect and not all parents are perfect parents. I refuse to paint a golden picture to boys whose fathers skipped out on them because those boys won’t believe a word I say if I do.