Like a lot of other fantasy writers, I chose to use prophecy as a plot device to help drive my story, in my aptly named series, The Soulstone Prophecies.

There are many great sources to pull from. I don’t want to detail them, but if your interested, here is a well written article by fantasy writer, Thomas M. D. Brooke, who gives some insight on the benefits and challenges of using prophecy in a story and shares some great examples from stories like George R R Martin’s Game of Thrones and Robert Jordan’s epic, Wheel of Time.  Great Fantasy Prophecies.

When I think of Prophecy as a plot device it reminds me of what I was taught in my military days concerning giving a briefing. “Tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them.” But unlike a briefing, where you don’t want any ambiguity, with prophecy, you strive for it.

In book one of The Soulstone Prophecy, Cradle of the Gods, prophecy is first introduced near the end of the book. Here is some details from the series explaining where the prophecy I created came from.

Hjurl was the first dwarf created by Daomur, one of the Primordials. The Primordials are the children of the All Mother, Allwyn, creator of the world in which my story takes place. Daomur chiseled Hjurl from stone and then took a small piece of himself and placed it into Hjurl’s chest. He then breathed over Hjurl, which gave him life.

Hjurl spent many years with Daomur discussing philosophy, life and existence. Like the stone he came from, Hjurl was strong and steadfast. He was also stubborn to a fault. Daomur liked his creation and wanted it to multiply as many of Allwyn’s creations did. So, Daomur created another being, who he called Hafu.

Over time, Hjurl engraved what he wanted his progeny to know into stone tablets, which later became the Book of Hjurl.

When Hjurl was much older and too feeble to hold the hammer and chisel, he sons carved his words. Near the end of his life, his ramblings became prophetic and he spoke of dark things. This portion of the Book of Hjurl is known as The Prophecies. Twenty-seven tablets were engraved with the “Prophecies of Hjurl”.  Nine of those tablets detail the “Prophecy of the Vessels”, that portion of The Prophecies that spoke of a mad primordial (Haurtu), his progeny (humans), his imprisonment, and eventual escape. It was this prophecy that drove most of the conflict in my stories.

But, prophecy needs to make enough sense to drive the story, but not so much that the reader knows what is going to happen. If done correctly, there should be an “aha!” moment where things fall into place.

These verses where shared in book one.

Now marked, his chosen must gather,

Where once his progeny thrived.

His hunger compels them to journey,

In his cities they survive.

It was interpreted, at the time, to mean the stonechosen would gather in the now ancient cities of the humans and thrive there. While that was somewhat true, a second meaning for the final line, “In his cities they survice” was introduced in book two, Time of the Stonechosen.

In book three, Tomb of the Fallen, which I’m working on now, another verse is shared.

Torn asunder, his chosen will free him.

Where he fell, once again he shall rise.

In shadows they meet to conceive him

Now mark the stone children’s demise

Hopefully, the complete meaning of these verses will not make sense until more of the story unfolds. This is not only true for the reader, but also for characters, themselves, who look to the Prophecies as an indicator for the direction they should take, both in trying to complete the prophecy and prevent it.

When to “Use the Force” and when to “Let it Go”.

I am one of those writers who gets so caught up in trying to focus on writing that I neglect all the other things I’m suppose to be doing to help promote said writing. One of those things is letting people know what I’m up to.

What I’ve been up to is trying to finish book three, Tomb of the Fallen, of my Soulstone Prophecy Series. It is all plotted out and rough drafted, now I’m going through the process of rewriting each chapter, or as I like to refer to it, writing up hill.

For me, rough drafting is like running down hill. You just need to keep your feet beneath you and let gravity do the rest. When I write like that, I am often surprised by what I find on the paper when I return to it later. It also keeps me away from those fearful words, writer’s block.

I’m not so lucky when I return to those pages and start rewriting (The going up hill part). I sometimes run into a chapter that is really hard to rewrite. I don’t know if it is what other writers experience when they say they are suffering from writer’s block, but it is the closest thing I have come to my understanding of it.

This is where the choice of “Using the Force” and just powering through the chapter, writing until reaching the end or just accepting that the chapter is difficult to write because it isn’t right and admitting it. That is my “Let it Go” approach. I am on one of those chapters now in Tomb of the Fallen and it is what resulted in me taking a break from the chapter and writing my thoughts on the matter this post.

It is a chapter where the Lord Knight Justice Gyldoon is trying to force the Judges Council of Daomount to accept that the Time of the Stonechosen has indeed come and enact the law that turns leadership over to the Temple of Justice (him) during that time. It seemed simple enough when I rough drafted it. I knew I needed to show things from the dwarf perspective, do a little foreshadowing for some upcoming events, share the bureaucracy permeating dwarven government (world building), and close the reader/writer contract concerning Gyldoon.

Unfortunately, the chapter, as written, was resisting me sentence by sentence. Nothing was flowing and I found I was spending way more time on this one chapters than any three others combined. That is when I realized it was one of “those” chapters and I had to “Let it Go”. So, I did. I stepped back, and started over by asking myself what my point of view (POV) character was thinking and trying to accomplish in the first place.

That change of perspective was all I needed to open the creative flood gates. So, I’m back on track and another chapter closer to finishing book three.

Back to writing….

It’s NaNoWriMo Time!

crest-05e1a637392425b4d5225780797e5a76It’s the end of October and for some of us who write that can only mean one thing, NaNoWriMo!

National Novel Writers Month, for me, is a fun, seat-of-your-pants time to get those creative writing juices flowing. The goal is to get 50,000 words down on paper in just 30 days. I try to participate every year, and I’ve succeeded at it twice. Hopefully, this will be my third time!

Some writers start completely new projects and see where the muse takes them. For me, it is a time to shed my inner editor and get words on paper for the story I’m currently working on. So, this year, I’m rough drafting chapters for Tomb of the Fallen, the third book in my Soulstone Prophecy series. I find after a few days of this type of writing, some really interesting ideas appear and find their way onto paper. I’m looking forward to seeing what the characters do with this month of freedom.

Though I know where my stories start and have a rough outline of where the story needs to go and where it will eventually end up, I try and leave it up to the characters on how they get there. I also say it is writing that reminds me of running downhill. Editing is put off for the slow walk back up. Wish me luck and if you’re participating this year, then good luck to you, as well!

Book Review of “Canyon Echoes” by Miranda Nading

51g8g4frpelI found “Canyon Echoes” to be an exciting and suspenseful page turner that I strongly recommend.  What stood out most for me was the vivid setting of Yellowstone. There was no question Miranda Nading has an intimate knowledge of the park and its inner workings. I found the detailed descriptions of the park as interesting as the sinister events that befall the characters who call it home. I also really enjoyed the “voice” of each of those characters. There was never any doubt whose head I was in and why, which really brought the characters to life. All in all, a great read!

Book Review of Call of the Goddess by Elizabeth N. Love

My book review of Call of the Goddess (Stormflies Book 1) by Elizabeth N. Love51z2b20gyv6l

Call of the Goddess is a mix of science fiction, romance, and mystery. The story centers on the life of a woman, Axandra, whose lineage is entrusted with a burden of carrying a Goddess within them.

I particularly enjoyed the setting, a new utopia created on the distant planet of Bona Dea, by the descendants of interstellar refugees from a desolated earth. Through the entire story, the author does a superb job revealing the alien planet, Bona Dea, from its new constellations to its strange, yet familiar, flora and fauna. The author further defines the setting through the population and its new system of governance, created by a people who do not want to repeat the mistakes of their ancestors. Bona Dea, along with its new inhabitants, and their way of life is well developed and described throughout the story. Axandra, in particular, is well fleshed out and explored.

Unfortunately, I found the pace of the story too slow for my tastes. It did pick up near the very end, but by then it was such a drastic change from the rest of the story as to be jarring and, to me, rushed.

There was romance in the story and the author handled Axandra’s feelings and introspection with care and finesse, but I was disappointed in her partners. Her first relationship with Jon ended abruptly and the reasons for his sudden change in feelings was never thoroughly explained. In the second relationship, I found Quinn to be so love stricken from the offset as to be unbelievable.

Call of the Goddess was okay. It was science fiction, mystery, and romance all brought together and even though it had all these elements mixed in, they just never truly blended into one cohesive whole for me.

Book Review for God’s Hammer (Hakon’s Saga, #1) by Eric Schumacher

19183470Here is my book review for Eric Schumacher’s first book in the Hakon’s Saga, God’s Hammer.

History, legend, and fiction blend together with an expert hand in “God’s Hammer”, a gripping historical fiction novel by Eric Schumacher.
The novel covers Hakon Haraldsson early life in the court of King Athelstan of England, his foster father, and Hakon’s eventual return to Norway to face his murderous brother, Erik Bloodaxe, in a battle to seize the throne.
I really enjoyed the action and adventure and was quickly drawn in with the great descriptive writing and well developed characters. I especially liked the way historical information was presented in a way that added to the depth of the story and didn’t feel like it was just stuffed in around the edges (like some other historical fiction novels I’ve read). I look forward to reading the next installment of Hakon’s journey and can’t recommend this novel enough.

Excerpt from book three, Tomb of the Fallen

I’ve been receiving a lot (I mean a lot) of requests for book three, Tomb of the Fallen. What a wonderful problem to have, huh? It’s still in progress, but coming along. I wish I had one of those spiffy tracking bars on my website to show progress, but I’m not there yet. Maybe one day when I quit my day job. In the meantime, here is a link to an excerpt from the book for those who need a nibble of what is to come.