Easter – April 16

Julian Froment's Blog

I just thought that I would begin preparing early for Easter this year and wanted to share this book and these few thoughts with everyone.

easter 1

So what do we think about when we think of Easter, religious connotations aside?

I guess the big one is the chocolate eggs that have been out on display in stores since the day after Christmas. How could we have missed them? They come in all manner of shapes, sizes and flavours. They fill entire aisles and carry a price tag, at least the brand name ones do, that would necessitate the taking out of a significant loan. In fact, I am pretty sure that I have even seen stands set up with all the requisite application forms next to the eggs at some stores. Come on! These are chocolate eggs, and I am pretty sure they were not designed by Faberge himself. Neither, I…

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From The Psycho to the Killer: Should I Take a Break?

I have this song stuck in my head, which I brought on myself.  Bought ‘Moana’ for the kid and he said he loved it . . . Then only watched it once.  Finally got him to watch it again today only to learn he was scared of the part where the father is angry.  He’s had issues with angry characters since he was little because he doesn’t like loud noises.  Oddly ironic considering his past tantrums that left my ears ringing.  Things did get easier 3 years ago when he took a liking to Hulk.  Maui being big and smiling helps him out too because the trifecta to set my son off is still: Big, Angry, and Loud.

This week had a few mild detours like colds, errands, taxes, and my getting very little sleep one night.  That always throws me off until I can recover during the weekend . . . Well, that’s bound to happen one day.  Not this or the next weekend, but I’ll get into that in a little bit. Actually, the weekend after next won’t work either.  Shouldn’t get my hopes up for . . . May!  I swear, I’ll take a nap in May.  This is really explaining why Dawn Addison is becoming a little more erratic and random in her newest book.

In other news, Raven’s Dawn has only 5 sections left to go before it’s done and left sitting for October.  13 Chapters with 31 sections just like Raven’s Game.  If I ever decide to publish the set as a collection then I’ll have to go back to Raven’s Hold to add two more sections and check the chapter amount.  I like the trend of 13/31.  Honestly, I don’t think I can write her beyond next year if I make it that far.  This story is going to end with a set up for a grand finale.  It’s been tough too because I put in more characters than the previous ones.  So set up and development might be minimal.  For some reason, I don’t feel like flushing out anyone other than Dawn, her main target, and maybe one or two other is worth it.  It also doesn’t help that she’s kind of . . . just read the last section of Raven’s Game.

I did make a few characters for Protecting Bedlam.  How’s that title for the blog only one?  Some of the villains are being dropped and others are being heavily altered from their source material.  There will be hints, but I tried watching a lot of news to get an idea of where to go with some of them.  It make me sad and I also realized that I might not have it in me to create a horribly stupid villain.  At least not more than 3-4 in one book because then you just wonder how they even got into power.  So, we’ll see where things go with that one and I might start writing it up in two weeks to give me a little extra time.  I really need to edit the last two Windemere books back-to-back since they happen at the same time.  That will be my summer project.

Oh, I’m still hoping to release Legends of Windemere: Ritual of the Lost Lamb around April 9th, but it might not happen.  I’ll be posting a volunteer request on Thursday since I’m running out of time.  One reason for the uncertainty is because life is about to get really chaotic.  You might be wondering: You’ve been saying it’s chaotic for a while, so why would you say this?  Well, I’ll try to say it as best I can since I don’t really know if I can mention details.

The big family event happens next weekend, which means this week is where all the last minute things are coming into play.  People are stressed and easily set off while claiming they aren’t stressed and easily set off.  I’m involved, but still trying to keep my head down because I know how my family gets when these things are getting close.  Never take our pulses when events are coming.  Now, this also means I’ll be a rarity next weekend and probably only doing social media stuff in the morning and at night.  This is one of those things where me whipping out my phone will get me yelled at by everyone.  I’ll schedule a Saturday and Sunday post, but I can’t make any promises about quick responses.  I was thinking of figuring out a way to promote while gone, but I won’t be able to set anything up in time.  Sucks because I really would have liked Legends of Windemere: The Spirit Well to get a little boost.

Now, the chaos doesn’t end with the event, which turns out to be beginning of the madness.  I might have a book release in the middle of what I’m about to list too.  I go from the event to a short week that leads into my birthday weekend.  The day after my birthday is Passover (glorified crackers . . . sarcastic whoopie) and the beginning of my son’s week and a half Spring Break.  This covers Easter too.  April 19th is the first day I’ll be able to breathe.  My hope is to start the blog-only Bedlam story after the event and then get a section done every Spring Break night.  That should get me ahead enough that I can finish it in early May and start posting it in . . . Was I doing June or July with 3x a week?  I think Protecting Bedlam was July and Ichabod was June.  Need to contact a cover artist during that break week too since this one is OUT!  Anyway, that’s the life I’m looking at for now.

What to do this week?

  1. Retain scraps of sanity.
  2. Cook dinners that won’t be used as an excuse for family members not getting enough of the event food.
  3. Finish writing Raven’s Dawn.
  4. Make final characters for Protecting Bedlam.
  5. Choose music videos for a music post next Sunday.  Thinking of going with AMV’s that I’ve been listening too.  Except for the Keijo ones.  Enjoyed the songs, but that is one messed up anime.  Maybe one from each anime?  I’ll post about it tomorrow.
  6. Think about what I’m going to work on after my obvious attempts at distracting myself from depression and possible failure are done.  I’ll probably be hitting the summer when those are done, so maybe the Legends of Windemere spinoff, Derailing Bedlam, and I’ll start War of Nightfall in September.
  7. Wow.  Word count is higher than I realized.  Have a lot on my mind and plate.  Hate to admit that it’s making me indecisive.  I just don’t know what to do now that my first series is coming to an end and people are pushing for me to end the dream with Book 15.  Makes it hard to start writing a new series when it feels like you’re about to get curb stomped back to square one.  Yes, I know the whole ‘don’t listen to other people’ thing, but it isn’t as easy as people realize.
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Book Spotlight – The Carnelian Throne – Science Fiction/Spec Fic/Fantasy

Library of Erana

Layout 1Title: The Carnelian Throne

Author: Janet Morris

Genre: allegorical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, political fiction

Main character description (short).

In a far and dystopian future, three rulers seeking to make truth of prophecy explore the “shores of which none are empowered to speak,” a forbidden continent where humanity no longer rules.

Synopsis:

Brief Excerpt 250 words:

“Gate!” he bellowed over the storm, his dripping lips at my ear. The deluge had made us sparing of words. Under leathers soaked to thrice their weight, I shivered in spasms. Arms clutched to my sides, I stared into the rain. The driven sheets slashed me for my audacity. Lightning flared, illuminating the riverbank white. A moment later, the bright noise cracked through my head. The hillock trembled.

Over the gate danced the lightning. Its crackling fingers quested down thick-crossed slabs of iron, seared flesh. Emblazoned as they tumbled were those six-legged…

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When the Villains Are Acting Like Villains

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Well, this has been a rough week since the previous posts were about spoilers and a series have a book of darkness.  Why not end it on the same note?  After all, a big reason I’m anxious is because there are several scenes that involve . . . torture.  I’ve hinted a lot that something like this is in the book, but I figure I should say it out loud:

The Baron is torturing one of the champions.

These scenes are rough and painful and not like anything that came before it.  Remember when the Lich had captured Nyx and was trying to experiment on her?  That was child’s play considering the Baron has had centuries to practice and create new methods to dole out pain.  All of this is to bring a hero to the breaking point before the final battle, which is a very evil thing to do.  I mean, what bad guy wouldn’t try to do something like this if the opportunity came up?  That’s kind of their thing as long as they have the mentality to go that far.

This is where the strangeness comes into my thought process.  Like most people, I’m against torture in real life.  It’s a horrible act that strips the humanity from both people involved.  One becomes a broken human and the other becomes a monster.  This holds in fiction, but that’s also where you can show the terrible act.  You can reveal what it does to the torturer and the scars it leaves behind on the victim.  Perhaps you can show how a person can move on from such an act to live a normal act, which goes more for the victim than the torturer.  I guess you could do the latter if you want them to work toward redemption.  Wouldn’t be surprised if people who did horrible things during a time of war spent the rest of their lives trying to help others.  Pretty sure I’ve heard a few stories about that.  Anyway, fiction is where such acts should stay if an author decides to go this way with their villains.

I worry that people will read this and think I’m all about torture.  These days, it feels like people don’t always separate the artist from the art.  I write about an evil man torturing a beloved hero, so I think it’s okay?  That’s not how it works.  Villains have to be villains and giving all of them the same limits will harm their development if the direction they take is down into darkness.  It’s hard enough when heroes do something wrong or take a moral stumble, which can toss people off a series.  After all, those are the ones that are supposed to be perfect and flawless and nothing like real people who falter from time to time.  To do this to villains makes it difficult to turn them into true threats.  The Baron and his newest agent needed to surpass Stephen in terms of sadism.  Otherwise, the champions wouldn’t be as scared.  Why be afraid of a man who has ethical limits when you already the survived the one who has none?

Not sure if it helps my case, but it was tough to write the torture scenes.  In fact, I’ve been told by a few people who read it early that the parts weren’t as bad as I thought.  So it could be worse for me because I’m doing it to characters that are like my children.  That doesn’t make it sound any better.  After every part, I had to take an hour break and focus on something positive.  Will any of this come across in the book?  Will readers know that I’m not celebrating the flaying, breaking, and agony of my character?

Should I even be concerning myself with this?  I mean, this whole thing sounds like I’m defending myself, which does denote some guilt.  I do have some guilt since I put my characters through this.  Tried to write the book without the darkness, but then it didn’t work out right.  The Baron came off as weak, the final book had no twists, and the whole thing seemed too easy.  Incarceration didn’t hit the right notes, which I can’t really explain without revealing too much.  That spoiler thing rears its head again.  All I can say is that the champions need to enter the final battle with wounds.  The Baron is the type of villain who would make sure of this as a precaution even though he wants a great battle to honor his return.  As much as he wants to play with his food, he doesn’t want to leave too much to chance.  That’s just what some villains do.

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Opening Scene: Ichabod Brooks & the Starwind Egg

Ichabod Brooks

(As stated, I’m going to publish the first part of each of the new Ichabod stories.  Hope everyone enjoys the teasers.  I only have the one Ichabod picture to work with too until I get cover art.)

Ichabod Brooks takes another sip of whiskey as the cluster of oxen and carts come into view. The small collection sits a quarter mile away from the base of Galaces Mountain, an enchanted rope preventing them from getting any closer. The blue-eyed adventurer adjusts the dark red cloak to make his ebony longbow more accessible, but he knows the weapon will be covered again before he needs it. Ichabod does not have to wonder why he is getting nervous even though it will be his fourth time up the mountain. While not the longest climb, Galaces is infamous for its unique creatures, shifting winds, and what many believe to be a primal intelligence deep within the very stone. There are usually only two reasons to challenge the mountain, which are poaching and to say you reached the cloud-covered peak. In his youth, Ichabod made the climb simply to see if he could do it, but every other time, including today, has been for a very special job.

A faint sparkle catches the veteran’s attention and he carefully reaches into a thorn bush to claim the dark purple object. Ichabod winces at the pokes to his knuckles as he gently frees the beautiful feather. It is as long as his hand and wider than two fingers, telling him that it came from an adolescent Starwind Eagle. It has been a decade since his last trip to Galaces and he was unable to see the magnificent birds due to a storm. He had hoped to gather enough feathers to make a cloak for his wife, but nature had foiled his anniversary plans and forced him to return to her empty-handed. Letting the mesmerizing plumage float back into the bush, Ichabod decides that he will not settle for anything less than the feather of an adult. He refuses to return home in failure, especially since it is for his son and he has already spent the last month telling the child bedtime stories about the Starwind Eagles.

The twang of a lute string snaps the dark-skinned man out of his thoughts and he scowls at his unwanted companion. He considers breaking the bard’s lute, but knows it would only lead to the Elven woman warbling an ear-wrenching tune. Ichabod chuckles when he remembers his wife saying that elves are natural singers. For a brief moment, he considers bringing his tagalong home after he conquers Galaces Mountain again. He shudders since he would not put it past his wife to invite the white-haired bard to stay for a few days and then have to leave on a sudden job. It would not be the first time she has turned one of his playful pranks against him, which is one of the reasons they are still happily married. The glimmer of a smile sprouts on Ichabod’s face, which the bard mistakes as approval and causes her to add her voice to the song. It is a horrific noise that the leather armored adventurer is sure would be considered a war crime if ever used on a battlefield.

“Is this any way to greet an old friend?” a dwarf in dark gray chainmail asks before plugging his ears with his dark red beard. Wanting the bard to stop, the mountaineer marches over and puts a hand over the young woman’s mouth. “Are you supposed to use her as bait? I did hear there’s a hobgoblin pack that moved in a few months ago. You know how those drooling scavengers love elf flesh.”

“Sorry about that, Dex. She latched on at my last stop and I haven’t been able to shake her off,” Ichabod replies, shaking his guide’s hand. He rubs his own black and white beard at the sight of how his friend shows no sign of graying. “I have to give this one credit for tenacity, but this is where we part ways. Galaces Mountain is not a place to go unless you have experience, an excellent guide, and common sense. So far, I don’t see you having any of those things and I’m not going to babysit.”

“I must go. That’s the only way I can write about your newest adventure,” the bard insists, unwittingly proving Ichabod right. She crosses her arms and meets the icy stare of the dwarf, who she considers leaving out of her tale. “Being the first to speak of your climb will help my reputation. I promise not to cause any trouble and pull my own weight. Elves are graceful and agile, which makes us perfect companions for whatever it is you’re doing. Besides, Galaces Mountain doesn’t look like that bad a climb. The stories must be nothing more than colorful exaggerations.”

Ichabod puts on a pair of white-palmed gloves and slips a blue band on his finger, a charge going through his body to enhance his lungs. “I suddenly relate very well to this mountain. Take a look at the empty space between us and Galaces. You’ll see why this place has earned a reputation.”

The bard puts her lute over her shoulder and walks to the yellow rope, which sparks with a mild magic. At first, she is unsure of what she is supposed to pay attention to among the shrubs and fallen rocks. It takes the elf a few minutes to recognize weather worn bones sticking out from under a boulder. The limbs are splayed since the climber plummeted with the rough stone pressed against his back and the landing embedded him in the ground. Knowing what to look for, the bard realizes that there are at least ten old corpses hidden by the mountain’s litter. The bard spots the fresh body of a yellow-skinned creature sitting behind a shrub, the armored creature crumpled from landing butt first after its fall. She is about to ask a question when a small pain runs up her arm and she collapses into a magical slumber.

“Guess that’s more humane than knocking her on the head,” Dex mentions while Ichabod carries the young woman to the dwarf’s cart. He shields his eyes as he stares at the churning clouds that have been trapped around the peak. “Looks like the eagles captured a storm beneath their nest this year. Means the winds are going to be brutal and the tunnels are infested with horned spiders and revelers. Not going to be an easy trip. Sure, you don’t want someone else to take this contract?”

“I’d love to hand this off to someone else, but Chef Zyrk always insists that I take the job. I have no injuries, diseases, or family events, so I’m here,” Ichabod replies, sheathing his sleep-inducing shortsword. As an afterthought, he grabs a horse blanket and tosses it over the bard to hide her from view. “The Starwind Eagles lay eggs every ten years and now is the time to get to them. Wait any longer and the mountain will be crawling with hunters. A youngster wouldn’t know that or have you as a guide.”

The dwarf grins as he lifts the rope and gestures for his friend to lead the way. “They also don’t have your wife making deals that you can’t say no to. She mentioned that you’re getting three times the usual pay because this baby is going to be prepared for Duke Solomon’s wedding. Personally, I’m looking forward to your wife’s cooking after this. Surprised your gut isn’t huge considering that woman can make a pot roast even the gods would praise. Did you happen to bring some of her dishes for the road?”

“I can cook too, you know.”

“You can bake, Ichabod. Not the same as cooking in my book.”

“So you don’t want the cookies I brought.”

“Oatmeal and cranberry?”

“With a touch of cinnamon.”

Dex wipes some drool from his mouth and pats his large belly, which is more muscle than fat. “This is why I love working you, old friend. Your wife packs our meals, you bring me treats, and I have a bottle of my family’s mead. Almost like a picnic, but with the prospect of suffering a horrible death. That was oddly poetic. Maybe I should stop climbing mountains and become a bard.”

Even knowing his grinning friend is joking, Ichabod scowls and shrugs his longbow off his shoulder. Whatever he is about to say is cut off by an echoing scream and the bouncing of a boulder. The pair look up to see if they are in danger, their legs already tense and ready to leap out of the way. A flailing body is heading for a spot to their right, so the adventurers move in the opposite direction to be safe. Having seen this happen before, neither man is disturbed by the sight of the boulder unnaturally ricocheting and hitting the terrified climber’s legs. The stone continues to spin until a few feet before impact when it drives its victim headfirst into the solid ground.

“Galaces seems temperamental today,” Ichabod mutters as he follows Dex to the opening of a rocky path. Looking at the roiling clouds, he tightens the clasp of his warming cloak and prepares himself for a trying climb. “I’m not happy to see you either, old girl. Let’s try to be a little nicer to each other this time.”

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Thursday – A Little Personal – #RRBC Spotlight Honors Interview with Lynn Miclea

Fiction Favorites

Spotlight Honors

Today I am interviewing  Lynn Miclea author of the book “Ruthie: A Family’s Struggle with ALS.” This book is a memoir written by Lynn in the hopes of helping other caregivers cope with the awesome responsibility and stress of caring for loved ones. The show is live beginning at 11:00 Central Time and here is a direct link.   If you miss the live show, an archived version will be available at this link after the show is over.

Here is the blurb for Lynn’s book.

A powerful and compassionate memoir about an intelligent and beautiful woman’s experience with ALS. Dramatic and heart-wrenching, the story takes the reader through various symptoms, multiple diagnoses, and progression of the disease, as the author’s mother loses her strength, independence, and ability to speak and eat. The story includes volatile family interactions as one person who is in denial attempts to block the woman…

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Dear Lisa Vol. 2, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Looking for a book promotion that’s fun and free?

Entertaining Stories

Lisa Burton

Hey, hipsters, Lisa Burton the robot girl here, and today we’re doing something fun. I don’t have a guest to interview, so we’re holding another episode of Dear Lisa. This is where I flip through some of the fan mail, and answer it on the air. Stick with me, it’ll be fun.

Our first letter comes from Long Island and wants to know what my first job was.

I try really hard to be just as human as everyone else, but admit that I’m a little different. I was created in a concept lab as both a promotional tool, and to demonstrate what the future of robotics could hold. Part of the bargain was to plant me into society and see how I adapt as a human. Some people are nervous nellies, and were terrified that I’d go all Skynet on them. That meant the police department was the…

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