Writing: Story Sprints #2

Story Sprint


LOVED

Autumn sunlight held Aubrey in it’s arms and staved off the chill of the brisk air. Small, golden leaves blew down from the white birch in front of the house and onto  the porch swing where Aubrey sat.

Aubrey breathed in a deep, drawing breath as she picked up one of the leaves that had fallen on her blanketed lap. The action tired her weak arms out more than it should have. How long would it be before the cancer took all the strength that she had left?

Aubrey turned to look at the beautiful hills below her home. The greens of summer had changed to the splendid ochers of fall. The world was so beautiful that it seemed to pain her soul. The golden sunlight, crisp air, and the dancing leaves seemed almost to taunt her with their beauty. Mocking her. Mocking what she would soon lose.

Aubrey squeezed her eyes shut and two large tears streaked down her face and dripped onto her lap. Would she miss it? This beauty. Would she remember it ever even existed? Would she…

“Aubrey.” A whispered Voice broke through her thoughts and a warm Presence encased her.

Aubrey’s eyelids popped open and she looked around, surprised when she saw no one. Had she merely imagined it? Aubrey swept her eyes about her property and the surrounding hills one last time before shutting her eyes again.

“Aubrey.” The Voice spoke again. Aubrey opened her eyes, searching. Still, no one appeared. Aubrey rubbed her eyes and squeezed them shut. Perhaps she was just tired. Maybe it was just…

“Aubrey!” This time, the Voice called her with such a strong certainty that she couldn’t deny that It was real.

Aubrey opened her eyes. Sitting on the porch swing next to her was a tall Man.

His presence was all encompassing, awing her with His mightiness. From head to toe, He exuded light. His entire countenance glowed in a beautiful, unearthly way.

Suddenly, Aubrey felt exposed. It was as if every sin she had ever committed was written on her forehead. Her ugly body seemed to scream of her unworthiness before this beauty.

Aubrey yelped and fell off of the swing and onto her knees. Pain jarred her bones and though her weak body protested,  she managed to scramble several feet away from the swing.

The Man had stood the moment she had fallen. He had reached out as if to catch her, but drawn His hand back seeing that she didn’t want to be near Him. Now, He crouched near where she cowered on the porch.

“Aubrey.” His eyes were gentle. “Do not fear. I won’t hurt you.”

“How…how do you know my name?” Aubrey gasped out scratchily, holding a hand up to her eyes to shield herself from the glowing Presence. He was so beautiful that her weak, damaged body felt like some alien deformity in that holy, glowing Presence.  

“I have known you since before you were born, beloved, should I not know your name? Be at peace, I am here to help you.”

Aubrey scooted back a few inches further from the glorious figure before her, a small glimmer of sadness seemed to gleam deep in His eyes. Was He sad she was pulling away from Him?

“Why? Why do you want to help me?” Her voice held disbelief, fear, and some other indistinguishable sentiment.

How she had even dared to speak in His Presence, she didn’t know. Every new second she sat near Him, she felt more and more like something so mean and unworthy that she didn’t even belong in the same place as this Man.

“Because I love you, Aubrey.” The Man’s voice was earnest, passionate, loving.

Through her shame and fear of this glorious Man, a glimmer of longing pulled in Aubrey’s heart. The love in His voice was strong, caressing her name when He spoke it.

“I…I am not worthy of your love. I have been selfish my whole life…I’m getting my reward now.” Aubrey looked down at her weak body, shame filling her and smothering the faint longing in her heart.

“You are right. You are not worthy on your own.”

Aubrey looked up suddenly. She had known this, but His confirmation stabbed deep at her heart. She dropped her eyes from His again, tears beginning to well up.

“But,” the Man spoke suddenly. The hope filling His voice drew her eyes to His almost against her will. “That doesn’t matter, Aubrey. My love overcomes all. Nothing you have done or ever will do can be larger than my love for you.”

A sob rose in Aubrey’s throat. How she wished that was true. How she wished she could reach out and take the love, how she wished…

“You can, Aubrey! You can have it!”

Aubrey gasped as the Man answered the very thoughts she was thinking.

“How…how can I have it?” Hope tinged her voice.

“Accept it. That’s all you have to do.” The Man’s rich, brown eyes pulled her in, glimmering with love. Love she could have.

A wave of doubt filled her. She was unworthy! She was dirty and…

“Please, Aubrey, let me love you!”

The Man’s voice broke through the doubt she was drowning in and offered her a safe escape.

“I accept!” The cry broke from Aubrey’s lips.

The split second she spoke, everything changed.

The fear, doubt, and shame was blasted away with such an overcoming wave of peace and love that Aubrey shut her eyes in it’s surging strength. A groan came from somewhere deep within Aubrey, pain and sorrow seeping out with it.

Aubrey felt the Man’s arms about her. He lifted her to her feet. Aubrey gasped as she opened her eyes, it was as if a lense had been taken away from her eyes.

She thought the Man magnificent before, but now, the true depth of His love, power, and beauty was unveiled before her and it took her breath away. Awe filled Aubrey’s heart. She couldn’t even begin to comprehend the love before her.

Tears spilled over Aubrey’s cheeks and she was unable to speak. The Man pulled her into a deep embrace. The warmth of His touch healed long broken places in her heart. Aubrey sobbed as the pain of her life was washed away.

Aubrey’s vision began to darken and the Man grew further away, but she was not frightened. A soft voice, the Man’s, whispered in her ear.

“You are loved…”

Time stilled and all grew dark.

Aubrey opened her eyes, feeling as though she had been asleep a long time. She sat on the porch swing, her blanket still tucked comfortably about her legs. The leaves still blew softly, the sun shone goldenly, and the air blew crisply as it had before. Nothing appeared to have changed.

But, Aubrey was not as she had been before.

Aubrey glanced to the side of the porch swing where the Man had first appeared. A large, leather book sat on the swing, it’s gilded pages glowing in the autumnal sunlight.  

Aubrey picked the book up and leafed through it’s pages. It was enormous and seemed to have many books in one. Closer to the end, Aubrey paused as something caught her eye. A small cross was marked next to two passages. The cross flickered for a moment, then disappeared.

Aubrey’s eyes crossed over the passages that had been marked by the cross.

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

The word soaked into Aubrey’s soul and testified their truth.

A small smile flickered along Aubrey’s lips as she continued to read, feeling stronger than she had in years.

She was loved.


 

I hope you all enjoyed this latest story! Comment below and tell me what you think! Would you like to see more story sprints from me? What was your favorite aspect of LOVED?

Advertisements

Book Review: Kristian’s War

Kris Anders, a dirt-poor farmer, lives in a land where evil forces take the form of men. The sins of his past weigh heavily on his mind. When a stranger directs him to take a new path, Kris begins the journey of a lifetime towards a distant King who is rumored to solve all problems. But then a ruthless soldier is dispatched by the ruler of the dark land to capture or kill Kris. Everything leads to one final fight, where Kris must defeat the demons of his past or die.

Marine Corps veteran Peter Wisan delivers a gripping, tactical take on the spiritual journey in a blend of heart-stopping action and heart-rending loss. Order a copy now…if you have what it takes to join, KRISTIAN’S WAR.

 


 

Overall Impression

Kristian’s War is, I believe, a modern retelling of Pilgrims Progress. And, just as a disclaimer, I have never fully read Pilgrims Progress, but as a child I used to look through an illustrated version often so I remember many aspects of the original story.

This was powerful. The power of this story isn’t in the characters or writing, it’s in magnificent truth of the story. The allegorical content is excellent and the story reflects the mighty truths of our God’s lovingkindness, grace, and strength. It’s excellent!

I would recommend to families  (With some caution, see ‘Warnings’) and single readers 14+.

 

Characters:

The characters in Kristian’s War have the same essence as the characters in Pilgrim’s ProgressIn many ways, the style of writing left me feeling distanced from the characters. However, I understand this to be greatly due to the fact that with the way the story and characters are SUPPOSED to be written, you do end up feeling a bit more disconnected. 

Kristian was a good lead. Most of us would prefer to think of ourselves as more like Jack Consistence, who seems so steadfast in the faith. But, the truth is, many of us are Kristian. Kristian who fears, doubts, grows despondent and lax in his efforts. He struggles with lust, self-condemnation, and fear. He is HUMAN. 

Evan, or Evangelist, serves the mentor purpose quite well. He is a great picture of an ardent Christian with their heart set towards the Lord. 

Jack Consistence was my favorite. Just so steady. Lol, I suppose the name gives that away, though, doesn’t it! 

Christi is a great picture of self-wallowing hate, hurt, and sorrow! I look forward to seeing what Peter does with her character. 

Shame, Condemnation, Influence, Past and all the others were good allegorical baddies. They were so evil. It was portrayed quite well! 

 

Plot:

The plot of this story is pretty much just Pilgrim’s Progress (from what I remember, that is!) but with many more details, motivations, and truths fleshed out. 

Kristian’s War is a long journey, constantly going from hardship and victory to hardship and victory. Such is the way of life! 

There are many places where Mr. Wisan’s writing could be improved, but it didn’t stop the power of the story. He conveyed it so well!

Also, I loved all the technical terms Mr. Wisan included in this book. I will never forget what a ‘mike’ is or a ‘bc’. They greatly enhanced the story without making it unintelligible to the typical non-military/marine person! 

 

Wrap Up:

In conclusion, this was powerful story. Poignant messages, strong truths, and magnificent allegories. While I do believe Mr. Wisan has room to grow in his writing skills, he has written an amazing book that reflects the Lord quite well.

I greatly look forward to seeing what becomes of the other characters in The Searchers Series!

 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: There are quite a few fire fights in this book and quite a bit of violence. Someone has their eyes gouged out, you hear about executions and beheadings, people are shot point-blank in the skull. I was fine with it all, but I would advise caution with parents of children under 14

Sex/Nudity: A married main character is seduced by several females who represent, lust, porn, and cheating. (The aforementioned is not just sensational there is a very good purpose for it. And it’s non-graphic.) There is mention of reproductive system in a non-gross, non-sensational way. 

Other: A character has an abortion. It is considered a bad thing. 

While I would not advise handing this book over to a kid who hasn’t had the facts of life presented to them yet, or is very uncomfortable with violence, nothing in this is unnecessary or majorly graphic. It all serves a purpose. 

 

“I received this book free from the author for promotional purposes. No reviews, positive or otherwise, were required. All opinions expressed are purely my own.”

Writing: Story Sprints #1

Story Sprint


Hey, y’all! I am trying something new this week. I am hopefully gonna be releasing short ‘story sprints’ either every week (HOPEFULLY! IF I UTTERLY FAIL I NEVER, EVER SAID THIS!) or every two weeks.

To start off my story sprints is a fun bit of fantasy entitled, Endure! Enjoy, guys!


ENDURE

Darkness settled over the East. Heavy, roiling clouds rolled westward. Menacing yellow lightning fingered it’s way across the black sky.

“They have come.” Markian’s voice came from over Nikaia’s shoulder. A shudder coursed along Nikaia’s spine both from the reality of  her brother’s words and the icy winds that blew from the East.

“So they have…” Nikaia’s voice was soft, ending in a trembling whisper.

There was no evading the Order now. They had found them. Two, warm tears dribbled down Nikaia’s face as  deep fear and defeat filled her heart. Their doom had come. Every moment the clouds moved closer so did the cruel deaths that awaited them. Markian must have perceived her thoughts for he placed a strong on her cold shoulder.

“Nikaia.” His voice kept Nikaia from drowning in the helplessness and fear that clawed at her heart. Nikaia turned but stared at the ground. She didn’t want to look her brother in the eyes, to see the certainty of death that she felt reflected in his face.

Markian placed his warm hands on Nikaia’s face and gently tilted her head upwards so that their eyes met. Markian’s eyes practically glowed with intensity and strength.   

“I will protect you. We will not die today, my sister.” Markian’s voice grew low and passionate. “We shall endure this day as we have endured the days and the Order before. Have hope, dear one!”

“How do we endure?” Nikaia practically screamed, a sob catching her voice at the end. “How do I have hope when there is none left inside me?”

Markian’s brows furrowed and his eyes pierced Nikaia to her very soul. “Because, my sister, there is else left for us! There is only hope.”

Nikaia’s lip trembled and she looked again to the ground.

Markian’s voice rose in intensity and volume. “Nikaia! They…” he pointed to the darkened East. “They have taken everything from us! Do you now let them take your hope as well? Will you let them steal the last vestige of value from your life?”

Nikaia swallowed and turned to look at the eastern sky. Menacing. Dark. Overshadowing. The Order had taken everything from her and Markian. Their family, their home, and now…her hope? Would they have her hope, too?

Nikaia squeezed her eyes shut and clenched her jaw. She felt Markian’s eyes watching her as the battle raged inside. She could only hope she was strong enough to win it.

Will they have my hope too? The question came in her head again. Thoughts of despair, helplessness, and fear fought for her attention at every side. But, amidst the clamoring of the despair, a small answer was spoken in her spirit.

No. No, they will not.

Nikaia opened her eyes and looked again on the ever nearing darkness, a flare of hope lighting in her soul.

“No!” Nikaia voiced, strength mounting at the word. She looked to Markian. “They shall not have our hope!”

Markian’s eyes glowed with passion, love, and…pride. Taking his sister’s hand he gave it a squeeze. “No, dear one, never shall they have it!”

Together, Markian and Nikaia turned to watch the approaching darkness and the Order that followed it. They would endure.


 

I hope you all enjoyed, comment below and tell me what you think! Would you like to see story sprints from me? What was your favorite aspect of Endure?

Book Review: The Green Ember

Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world.

Kings fall and kingdoms totter. Tyrants ascend and terrors threaten. Betrayal beckons, and loyalty is a broken road with peril around every bend.

Where will Heather and Picket land? How will they make their stand?

 

 


 

Overall Impression: 

Okay, guys, from reading several of my Goodreads friends reviews I knew this book was gonna be great. I have wanted to read it for quite a while now, so I was uber excited when I purchased it on kindle this last Friday night. I read a lot over the weekend and finished today. 

The Green Ember is a story that pulls you in and won’t let go until you have finished it, and even then, you are want, need, the next book! The story was incredible, the characters deep and involving, and the plot superb!

Another thing I greatly appreciated about this book was the fact that it was one hundred percent acceptable for children AND one hundred percent a legit story! So many books written for children are either dumbed down, as if the authors think that kids can’t understand anything that isn’t simple, or they hold waaaay to many grown up ideals/aspects. To find a series that is a rollicking adventure full of deep story that is as clean as a baby’s behind is awesome! 

I recommend this story to all readers! Families, kids, teens, and adults will all enjoy this fun adventure! It has great depth, story, and characters! I hope that this book becomes as famed as it deserves to be! It is an epic story worth the read!

 

Characters:

Heather was such a great, strong character! I can’t wait to see what becomes of her in Ember Falls. What made Heather so amazing was that she wasn’t trying to be awesome! She wasn’t one of those I-can-kick-rear, I-am-strong-and-independent, don’t-touch-me-I’m-tough, types. Her character was one of was warmth, love, and self-sacrifice. She was brave, kind-hearted, and a warrior when it came to her family. Her moments of absolute epicness came from her just doing the right thing! She wasn’t showing off, she wasn’t out to prove something, she was protecting those she cared about and doing a dang good job!

Picket was a bit more difficult in some parts than Heather. He was out to prove something. His character motivations were written very well. And while sometimes he could be a pain in the neck it didn’t stop his true self from shining through to the reader. He is a fighter! A fighter who is overcoming his fears and will do anything to protect those he cares about! His absolute awesomeness in the end was great! I loved the redemption he brought to his family name! 

Uncle Wilfred and Smalls were great characters! Their interaction was written so well! It speaks of a deep love and history beyond what we have seen! I loved these characters, Mr. S. D. Smith did a wonderful job!

Helmer was an absolute jerk! But I loved the parts of the story with him in it! I foresee great things and redemption for his character! He has far to go but has also come far!

Emma, Kyle, Gort, Lord Rake, Maggie, and all the other background/secondary characters were done profoundly well too! I really enjoyed the development and history of these characters and this story!

 

Plot:

The Green Ember starts off showing the soft pace of life which Heather and Picket live in. It’s beautiful, simple, and happy. It brings to mind several scenes from the Shire in Lord of the Rings. But, quickly, the plot takes off with unexpected events. Heather and Picket are tossed into a world of violence, intrigue, and secrets! 

Themes of hope, despair, and treachery are all mixed into this fun adventure. The Green Ember has the history and feeling of a fantasy epic. The stories of the great King Jupiter, Captain Blackstar, and Whitson Mariner all develop the world and give it a feeling of reality. 

The setting of most of the book is very unique and exciting.  I won’t spoil it by telling you all about it, but it’s pretty epic.

Some of the plot ideas are at first appearance akin to Redwall. However, I find The Green Ember much more enjoyable than Redwall. It’s characters are far more relatable, the story much deeper, and the world of Natalia so much more real! 

 

Wrap Up:

To reiterate all I’ve already said, the characters were superb and plot amazing! I loved this story and greatly hope that someday when I have this thing called money, (:D) I will be able to buy all the books, both paperback and audio, as well as fan apparel! I love this story and cannot wait to go and read Ember Falls. Well done, Mr. S. D. Smith! I applaud you! 

 

Warnings:

Language/Profanity: None

Violence/Frightening Scenes/Gore: Some mild descriptions of injuries. A lot of fighting, family of MC’s are taken by evil characters, torture alluded to, death talked about, rabbits die, some scary scenes where MC’s are pursued by bad characters. Would recommend for ages 4+.

Sex/Nudity: None

Blog Tour! Spotlight on Heirs of Tirragyl

Hi guys! Join me today to see a special spotlight on Joan Campbell’s newest fantasy novel, Heirs of Tirragyl! Make sure to go all the way to the bottom to find info on a giveaway and Facebook party!


About Heirs of Tirragyl35644582

Love live the queen . . . ?

Since birth, Nyla has shared everything with her twin brother–royal tutors, the right to the throne of Tirragyl… even their soul. Many believe it wholly belongs to Alexor and should be returned to him regardless of the sacrifice–Nyla’s death. However, her future isn’t the only one in question.

A threat looms over the kingdom. The influential Lord Lucian intends to seize the Grotto, an underworld settlement known for harboring fugitives. And if legend is to be believed, it is also the hiding place of the most powerful of objects, the Guardian Rock. As Nyla fights for her life, she realizes she’s not only a soul heir but also the sole hope for the kingdom’s survival.


About the Author

Joan Campbell is notoriously bad at finishing things but, ever since she found the key to the portal, she’s been escaping into worlds far more intriguing than her own. In her word-spun worlds, magic can be harnessed, kings and queens rule supreme and ancient books contain coveted secrets. Her characters face division, danger, their own fallible natures and—ultimately—grace. While her husband and two daughters have learned to fend for themselves, a hungry whine or meow inevitably breaks the spell and brings Joan back to her everyday life in Johannesburg, South Africa. Here Joan wields a tennis racket instead of a longbow and trains writers instead of warriors, knowing full well that the pen is mightier than the sword. Chains of Gwyndorr was a gold medallist in the 2017 Illumination Book Awards.joan-campbell.jpg

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Amazon Author Page //


Where you can find Heirs of Tirragyl

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Kobo // iBooks // Goodreads


Now onto the fun stuff! 🙂 Giveaway and Facebook party! *woot woot*

Giveaway!

Want to dive into a new world of fantasy? Enter to win an e-copy of Joan Campbell’s Heirs of Tirragyl!

Find the entry page here!

(Open Internationally!)

 

Facebook Party!

Calling all book readers! Join us as we celebrate Joan Campbell’s release of HEIRS OF TIRRAGYL, book two in The Poison Tree Path Chronicles, on October 14th from 10AM to 12PM EST (4PM South Africa Time, 9AM CDT, and 6AM PST).

Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with the author, games, and giveaways.

Special guests Morgan Busse and Jill Williamson will also be sharing their books and joining in the fun. 

You can find the Facebook party here!


 

And, last of all, make sure to check out the other awesome posts by my fellow blog tour-er’s! 😉 

Have a blessed day, y’all!

 

Monday, October 9th 

Tuesday, October 10th

Wednesday, October 11th

Thursday, October 12th

Friday, October 13th

Saturday, October 14th