The War Among the Shadows has begun. Are you ready to enter the fray? Will you stand with the Watchers against the Darkness? Six will face the creatures lost to myth and legend. Will you join them? Among the Shadows Kindle edition is now $2.99 for a limited time. Step through the veil before it’s too late!
This extended excerpt from Among the Shadows is from a chapter that serves as an interlude in the story. In the midst of the dire situation Milena found herself in, this was an opportunity to see more into her mind and her husband’s, and explore deeper themes relevant to all of us. Enjoy…
So many people get lulled into a day-to-day existence of hitting their marks, getting stuff done, running place to place — to do it all again the next day. And the next.
Every so often there are tuggings on our minds, glimpses and reminders, that we are meant for more than just staring into televisions, playing with our phones and letting society tell us who we are and what we should be.
For brief moments we realize that we are part of an epic tale. All is not what it seems to be. A war rages in us, around us. A question demands an answer: What is your part in the story? Will you embrace it or walk away into a bottomless abyss of whatever others have decided for you?
Milena chose to step through the veil. Ethan conquered the Darkness and embraced his strength. Kane stopped fearing what he was. Duncan would find his place among those like him. Kyra made the shadows flee from her. They all stood together against the impossible.
Among the Shadows not only tells their stories, but of what simmers in us all.
After seeing this video on judging people equally, I was reminded of this famous quote from George Orwell’s classic, Animal Farm:
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
Animal Farm, both allegory and satire, was published in 1945 as a commentary on the totalitarian communist regime of Stalin. Yet it is still very much relevant today in that people seem to unwittingly allow ideas of inequality and fake tolerance into their thinking. We tolerate unless it offends us. We are inclusive if we agree with the included. We preach equality, but judge differently.
It is easy to caught up in causes, movements and emotion. These are the times we should be most on guard, for this is when others can take advantage of us. When we aren’t thinking clearly, and chaos is around us, we should stop and clear our mind. As Orwell wrote:
In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
And so is defending truth.
In Waking the Dead, John Eldredge writes:
Little Red Riding Hood is attacked by a wolf. Dorothy must face and bring down the Wicked Witch of the est…Frodo is hunted by the Black Riders…Beowulf kills the monster Grendel…Saint George kills the Dragon. The children who stumbled into Narnia are called upon by Aslan to battle the White Witch and her armies…
So why does every story have a villain?
“…Because yours does.”
What are the villains in your life, your Story? Addictions, vices, work, bad habits, crazy people… As Eldredge writes, we are “born into a world at war.” He is coming from the perspective of Evil that was long ago unleashed in the world and seeks to undermine all that is good.
Our stories have villains because our stories are inspired by life. Fiction is only fact in different clothes.
Always on the lookout for a new fantasy series, I ran across Dragonlance a few weeks ago. It turns out the series isn’t new, but began way back in 1984 with Dragons of Autumn Twilight. This would spawn nearly 200 books in a shared universe. In the book world, a “shared universe” is a series of books written by multiple authors.
Dragonlance is set in the mythical land of Krynn. Like many “classic” fantasy tales, it is populated with races of humans and other creatures, battles between good and evil, and those who must rise up and decide the fate of the world. I know there are some who look down upon such stories as a “trope” — and I’m sure whatever they are reading is high-level, amazing literature — but the rise of heroes to battle evil is a timeless theme that crosses genres and speaks to our own existence.
What often makes or breaks a story is its characters. Dragons of Autumn Twilight introduces readers to Kyrnn’s most memorable band of friends, whom have already been trough much together before we drop in their world, only to be faced with far greater threats. Book 1 finds the heroes in one dangerous encounter after another — probably reflective of the authors being involved in creating Dungeons & Dragons games. As the series progresses, the epic scope expands across Krynn. Continue reading
No class or book on writing ever skips the quintessential topic of beginnings. Few other things do writers lose as much sleep over. There are endless lists on how to start a story and how not to start a story. Yet, as with everything, this process becomes easier the more it is put into practice.
In Among the Shadows, the Prologue was rewritten three times — with the first two being recycled back into the book elsewhere. With Book 2, Awakening, the Prologue has come together much quicker and appears more set in stone. Of course, this doesn’t mean it won’t change as the book progresses. In any case, I will share it here, to give a taste of what is to come. This isn’t a final draft and more refinement of detail, pace and tone is in order.
This is also a good exercise in finding the right balance in detail. This Prologue is, to a large extent, pulled from history (some of the queen’s words verbatim). Enough detail to paint a picture in the reader’s mind of the scene and time, but not so much that it sounds like a history lesson. Sure, an Egyptologist might want more or quibble with changes, but most readers want a living scene in their mind.
So here is a little preview of the continuing War Among the Shadows:
Black Friday Special! Among the Shadows $2.99 on Kindle. Join the War Among the Shadows.
Since I was born, I could feel it. There, just out of reach, the pull reached through the veil. Our souls straddle the planes of existence and to be bound by this one was maddening. Most have learned to bury these cries emerging from our very essence.
Then, one day, I broke free.
While the world slept blissfully unaware, I walked among the shadows. Merging into the darkness, but not taken by it, I brought the Light that forced Malice to flee. In distant, forgotten lands, I brought justice to the wielders of hate.
Then I left, we both did, and we knew there was more. Our Story had not ended.
A different Darkness has now crept out of the abyss. Watchers of old had once driven it back. Now we must fight again or allow the world to crumble into ruin.
I am Ethan, the terrors from myth and legend wish to destroy me, but they fear destruction by the power that surges inside me.
They will wage their war and it will be their last.
Among the Shadows: Watchers of the Light Book 1 now available!
[Photo used under license from Shutterstock.com.]
I have finally finished my review of the old-fashioned adventures of Lin Carter. First was the Conan-inspired Thongor. Then we flew to the Green Star, where a man trapped by his circumstances on Earth, founds himself in endless adventure in a distant star system. Now, in the Jandar of Callisto series, we follow Johnathan Dark to the moon of Jupiter, where rapid-fire, breathless adventures await.
This is one of Carter’s best, on par with Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars and Carson Napier of Venus epics. Escapist like the rest, but why do so many seek to escape into such books? Are the unhappy with reality? Perhaps, but some do so for fun or to relax. It’s no different then sports or television, though certainly more engaging then the latter. For others, it is more deeper (and maybe they don’t even realize this).
Maybe society, or jobs, or other people, have defined their lives or killed their souls. Carter’s books, and others like it, often start with some disaffected earthman being swept away to another world. There he finds his true self, his purpose, his Story.
Carter continues this thread in his Zanthodon books — his answer to Burroughs’ Pellucidar. In some ways, Carter’s is better — not as drawn out and more focused. The hero, Eric Carstairs finds himself in a lost world underneath the Sahara. There he also finds the beautiful Darya, woman of the bronze age. Darya is realized as a strong female character that stands above the stereotype of pulp fiction. Even she, though, is painted as a contrast to the controlling society miles above — free from what shifting winds there try to define women as.
So take the leap, fly to another world, or go deep below, and perhaps you’ll find that ember inside waiting to burst into fire and flame.