Thursday, June 27, 2013

N: Notes

“Notes” is the title of chapter eight, the first chapter about Hanna Straite. Notes are also what gets Hanna involved in the story. She finds several unfinished notes written by Prince Jorrid, and from them, speculates that there is an evil plot afoot. These notes are rather central to Hanna’s story, despite the fact that she cannot read them herself.

In the paperback edition of Across the Stars, I have included illustrations. The figures in the illustrations were sculpted by my sister Rebekah, and photographed by my sister Addyson. For one picture of Hanna, Prince Jorrid’s notes are scattered all over the floor. I made these by tearing paper into little pieces and crumpling them up. So the all-important notes even made it into the illustrations.

What is in the notes? Well, that’s a secret…one that is revealed in chapters 8 and 15 of Across the Stars.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

M: Marian Walker

Marian Walker is Felix’s mother, and Andrew Walker’s wife. She is a good, Christian woman, and the reason Felix turned out so well. Her marriage was not happy; Andrew was a cruel man, who married her only because she had a large dowry. Marian led a miserable life for four years, until Felix was born, but she was a faithful wife, and constantly endeavored to share the Gospel with Andrew. Marian was a good mother, teaching Felix about God and the Bible, something which aggravated Andrew and King Jorrid. Though Andrew was cruel to her, Marian truly loved her husband. It was her greatest desire to see him accept Jesus as his savior.

Marian is not in the Watson narrative, for the simple reason that she died ten years earlier. (This is not really a spoiler because one of the first statements Felix makes mentions that his mother is dead.) She is, however, very important to Felix’s story. There wasn’t really much involved in developing her character. Felix needed a mother who would teach him the things he needed to know, and so that was what Marian became. Her backstory, what little I know of it, rather intrigues me, though. Perhaps someday I’ll write about it.

Marian’s story is rather a hard luck story, but I’m sure she would not want to be pitied. She was not that kind of person. To find out more about Marian, read Across the Stars.

Monday, June 24, 2013

L: Liza

Liza is JudyAnne’s daughter and Anthony’s older sister. She is kind and optimistic, quite the opposite of her little brother. Liza is always able to bring out the best in people, a quality which causes Anthony to reflect, “Maybe she should talk to Prince Jorrid.”

Unfortunately, Liza only appears in one chapter, “The Passing of the King.” However, Anthony does visit her in later chapters and is convinced by her to apologize for his wrongdoing. Even though she is hardly in the story, I really like Liza. She is a great big sister, and I’m sure she is also a wonderful wife (in “The Passing of the King” it is mentioned that she recently got married).

I originally planned a tragic end for Liza and her husband Jason, but when it came to the point, I just didn’t have the heart to do it. Liza is a wonderful young woman, and a very important influence for good in Anthony’s life.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The paperback of Across the Stars is now available!

The paperback of Across the Stars is now available through the CreateSpace store. It should be available through Amazon within 5-7 business days.

K: King Jorrid

King Jorrid was a spoiled brat, a cruel man, and a wicked tyrant. The people of Emarot had always dreaded his rise to the throne, however, it was inevitable that one day he should be king. Jorrid’s father, Horrid, was a kind man who loved his people and always tried to help the less fortunate. Jorrid, however, did what benefitted him, even if it meant killing those opposed to him.

In the original draft of Across the Stars, Jorrid didn’t appear in person until near the end. He was often mentioned, but he was only actually in one scene. In the final version, he still only appears once in the Watson narrative, but appears multiple times in the parts about Anthony, Felix, and Hanna. Hanna and Felix have more direct contact with Jorrid than Anthony. Hanna cleaned his room when he was still a prince, and had several confrontations with him. Felix was brought by his father to see King Jorrid weekly, and also ended up having several confrontations.

What to do to King Jorrid posed a problem when I was writing Across the Stars. I wasn’t sure whether to kill him, lock him up, or exile him on some deserted planet. What actually happened to him, you will have to find out from the book.

I can’t say I like Jorrid, but he fills an important role in the story. After all, without him there would be no story.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

J: JudyAnne Williamson

JudyAnne Williamson is the first Emarotian the Watsons meet, the first Emarotian readers meet, and the first Emarotian I met when I made up Across the Stars. That’s a fact.

 JudyAnne is described as a short, plump, motherly-looking woman when she is first introduced into the story. She is Anthony’s mother and a first cousin of Felix’s mother. She is a friendly, hospitable, motherly woman with an annoying habit of constantly saying “That’s a fact.”

JudyAnne is introduced in chapter three, which was the last chapter I made up before deciding to write Across the Stars down. JudyAnne likely had something to do with that decision. From the moment she appeared in the story, she had a very distinct personality. She is really nice, and is a person Felix can come to when his life gets too difficult to bear. She has had to deal with great hardship, but still manages to be cheerful. She is a strong Christian, and it is this faith that has helped her through the difficult times.

JudyAnne and her home are rather an anchor for the story. Without her, the history of Emoria would not have been told, and Across the Stars would be missing something that only she can bring. That’s a fact.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I: Independence

Independence is a major theme in Across the Stars. After all, the whole point of the story is to gain independence from tyranny.

American independence is often referred to throughout the story. The characters use the American Declaration of Independence as a model for the Emarotian Declaration of Independence. They often draw parallels to and gain inspiration and insight from America’s struggle for independence.

The Emarotians’ plan is very similar to that of the American colonies. They are attempting to separate from the capitol and establish their own nation, free, and independent of the Emorian crown. Whether they succeed or not will have to be discovered from the book itself.

Liberty is something that is lacking today. As the federal government gains more and more power, they restrict our rights and take away our liberties. By bringing the history of American independence into Across the Stars, I am attempting to remind Americans of this nation’s heritage, and inspire them to fight to regain the rights that God gave to us. This nation needs to be reminded of liberty, to know what our founders did that we might be free, to fight for freedom so that America can be a shining light for the world once more. Maybe Emoria’s struggle for independence can help to do that.

Monday, June 17, 2013

H: Hanna Straite

Hanna Straite is a character who was entirely unforeseen at the start of Across the Stars. When I wrote the part about Anthony Williamson, I opened up the possibility that King Jorrid murdered his father. I didn’t really give it much thought…until after I finished writing Felix’s part. Then I remembered the hint about King Jorrid, and Hanna’s story was born.

Hanna Straite is an orphan who works as a maid for King Horrid, Jorrid’s father. She is rather rash and reckless, and she really doesn’t care if she dies trying to save the king. Her friend Sam Hawling, however, would do anything to save Hanna’s life. Hanna has a very distinct personality, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized what made her the way she is. Suffice it to say that she has had a very difficult life. This is not brought to light in Across the Stars (since I didn’t know about Hanna’s past until after I finished writing it), but if I write a sequel about her, which I hope someday to do, it will be explained.

Hanna is far from perfect, but she is very entertaining and I love her dearly.

Every Tear Review

Aside from the nagging and sometimes troubling memories and questions of his past, life for Will over the last year has been truly blessed. His relationship with Skye grows daily as he plans and prepares a future life for them. However, all he has envisioned is endangered by an unexpected stranger with a shocking identity. Suddenly, Will learns more about his past than he thought he'd ever know, but it comes at a steep price when he and everyone closest to him are thrown into the middle of a dangerous plot that threatens all their lives.  
Every Tear, the moving sequel to The Pirate Daughter's Promise, is an example of how God never leaves our side, even in our most troubling and sorrowful moments, taking every tear into account.
--From Molly Evangeline's Website


Every Tear is, in my opinion, even better than The Pirate Daughter's Promise. The plot is more complex, the adventure is more intense, and the ending even more satisfying.

I loved getting to spend more time with old friends...Will and Skye, Daniel, Matthew, John, Kate...and the new characters are great. I love the James family, particularly Emma. Another thing I loved about Every Tear is how it reveals Will's history. I love backstories, so I really liked learning Will's.

The plot is so complex and exciting there is hardly any downtime. There is practically always something happening. The emotions are intense, and I have to say, the bad guys make me really mad (that's a good thing). Throughout the whole book, even and especially at the worst times, the characters always turn to God.

Molly Evangeline weaves faith, romance, and adventure together into an amazing story for all ages. If you liked The Pirate Daughter's Promise, you will love Every Tear.

Friday, June 14, 2013

G: General Andrew Walker

To be honest, I don’t like General Andrew Walker. I would never want to meet him, and I’m certainly glad I’m not his wife or son. That being said, I’m glad he’s part of the story. He is the father of Felix Walker, King Jorrid’s right hand man, and a necessary antagonist.

Andrew Walker is a rather shallow man, caring only for things of this world, such as power and money. He is cruel, being the sort of man who enjoys locking people in the dungeon, and regularly rages at his son Felix. He married Felix’s mother only because she had a large dowry, and even so, resented his wife’s kind, Christian nature. I’m sure you can see by now why I don’t like him.

In the original draft, Andrew, like the king, wasn’t present until almost the end. When I wrote about Felix’s life, I was able to give more depth to his character. I’m not really sure why Andrew is the way he is, but I do know that Felix overcame insurmountable odds in becoming the good, Christian young man that he is. Despite my dislike of the character, General Andrew Walker adds something necessary to Across the wouldn’t be complete without him.

Across the Stars is available on Amazon Kindle for $1.99 and should be available as a paperback for $9.99 sometime next week.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

F: Felix Walker

Felix Walker is one of my favorite characters in Across the Stars and one who really taught me that I cannot make up my characters’ personalities before I write about them. Felix is a wonderful young man whose life is followed from birth through age 16 in the story. He is brave and kind and chivalrous, an amazing swordsman and a strong Christian. Again, one of my favorite characters.

However, learning his personality was not so easy. I knew I wanted to introduce him in chapter five (originally chapter four) “The People’s Treasury of Arms.” That chapter has probably had more versions than any other chapter, though most of them never made it down on paper. And Felix was giving me problems. I tried to come up with the perfect personality for him. I remember standing on our driveway, coming up with endless possibilities for his character, possibilities which I discarded as soon as I thought of them. One, I remember, was that Felix was a really nice guy, but not a Christian. I know now that Felix’s Christian faith is fundamental to his character. Finally I just gave up and wrote. Felix emerged as himself, a kind, chivalrous young swordsman, with no mother, a cruel father, and strong faith in God, which is what sustains him throughout the difficulties he faces in life. Not what I had thought at first, but now I can’t imagine him as being anything else.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

E: Emoria

Emoria is the planet where the majority of Across the Stars takes place. It is in the galaxy of Stappenhance, which is located about two galaxies away from the Milky Way. Stappenhance became inhabited not long after the creation of the world (at the time of Cain and Abel), when several families were somehow transported there. The planet Emoria was colonized later, the people settling in the area known as Theotocop. Theotocop quickly became populated, so much so that some left to colonize the territory of Emarot, on the other side of the Emaria River.

Originally, the planet Emoria was called Emarot. My sister Rebekah came up with the name, though she insists I spelled it wrong. After the first draft, Across the Stars underwent some significant reconstructions. One was the clarification of the history, geography and government of Emoria. It was then that I changed the name of the planet to Emoria and wrote its history. This history can be found in chapter three, related by JudyAnne Williamson.

Something I love about Emoria is the historical lifestyle of the people. Despite living in a galaxy filled with space travel and advanced technology, they live simple lives that are a mixture of medieval times and American pioneers. I loved how, by creating Emoria, I was able to put space travel and swordfights, foreign galaxies and dungeons into one story. As one of my readers said, “It was a fantasy story with a science fiction backdrop.” And all because of Emoria.

Monday, June 10, 2013

D: Dungeon

I love dungeon scenes. I know, it’s strange. I trace my love of dungeon scenes back to Kate DiCamillo’s The Tale of Despereaux, one of my childhood favorites. There’s just something so wonderfully terrible about dungeons. So naturally, I couldn’t resist putting my characters into one. In each narrative, there is at least one dungeon scene, (though Felix’s and Anthony’s are somewhat combined). I really enjoyed creating the dungeon. I could almost see it, feel the terror of the character going into it.

The dungeon beneath the castle in Theotocop is completely dark, filled with rats, reeking refuse, and moaning prisoners. I wouldn’t want to go there myself, but to send my characters there…well, that’s the stuff stories are made of. I can’t say that the dungeon scenes in the book are as good as they were in my mind (certainly the one containing the characters Hanna and Sam isn’t), but still they convey the horror and utter despair contained in the dungeon beneath the castle.

You can read more about the dungeon in Across the Stars, now available on Amazon Kindle. The print version should be ready soon, as well.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Across the Stars is now available!

It's a really exciting day for me! Across the Stars is now available on Amazon Kindle! For only $1.99, you can read Across the Stars on any Kindle or on a device with a Kindle app. Once you finish, I would really appreciate it if you would write a review. I would love to have your feedback!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

C: City of Theotocop

The city of Theotocop is the capital of Emoria, the planet upon which the majority of Across the Stars takes place. It is approximately in the center of the province  Theotocop, and is the location of King Jorrid’s castle.

Theotocop is the center of  all the business activity on Emoria, and the only place on the planet that  boasts a spaceport. Despite the spaceport, Theotocop functions more like a  medieval town, with little technology of any kind.

The castle is at the north end of the city, surrounded by a high wall, but without a moat. In the days of good King Horrid, it was easily accessible to all inhabitants of Emoria, but not so open in the days of his son, Jorrid.

To learn more about Theotocop and Emoria, read Across the Stars. The Kindle version should be available June 7th or 8th. I will announce the release on my website and on my Facebook page. Meanwhile, you can read the first three chapters for free. Just go to “My Books” and click on the cover image for Across the Stars.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

B: Battles

There are several battles in Across the Stars. Honestly, before I wrote the first written battle, "The Battle of Feliho Forest," I was worried. I had never written a battle before, and I wasn't sure if I could do it. I remember looking at every written battle I could think of, but it didn't really help. Finally, I just wrote. "The Battle of Feliho Forest" was one of the most exciting writing experiences I have ever had. There was no effort involved. The words just came. "The Battle of Feliho Forest" has experienced a few revisions, but essentially it is the same.

"The Battle of Feliho Forest" is the first battle the Watsons were involved in. It was planned by Charles Watson, and executed by their band of farmers and children. And the odds weren't very good. How it turned out...well, you'll have to read that for yourself.

One of the other battles, "The Battle of Theotocop," involves Anthony Williamson, and shows him the consequences of his rash behavior.

The last battle in the book also takes place in the city of Theotocop. The Watsons take "A Desperate Measure" and attack the king at his castle. I had no idea how the attack would go when I started writing it. The battle plan was Charles's, not mine. The circumstances resulting from the battle were ones I was not sure how to get my characters out of, but eventually I did. To find out how you'll have to read the book to find out.

Look for the Kindle version of Across the Stars. I hope to have it up by the end of the week. You can read the first three chapters for free. Just go to "My Books" and click on Across the Stars.

Proof Copy

I just ordered the proof copy of Across the Stars today. I can't wait to see how it turns out. Once I approve the proof it will be available for sale on Amazon.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Pirate Daughter's Promise Review

Orphaned at a young age, Skylar McHenry grew up as little more than a servant and shunned by everyone around her because of her reputation as a pirate's daughter. Each day Skye faces is marked by some new struggle. Her only hope is to rely on her heavenly Father's care and comfort and the solace of her best friend, Will, who has become more than dear to her.

Just when an unexpected encounter gives Skye a small glimmer of hope that things might change in her favor, her world is shattered. She is awakened in the night by cannon blasts. Pirates storm the orphanage, drag her away, and force her aboard their ship. The cruel captain's intentions are clear. He will extract from her, through any means necessary, the location of the treasure hidden by her father. For Skye to divulge the location would mean breaking the last promise she made to him. She's certain she never will, but what happens when the lives of those dearest to her are at stake?
--From Molly Evangeline's website


I loved this book! In fact, though a few months ago I didn't even know Molly Evangeline existed, I have not only read all her books, I have read The Pirate Daughter's Promise twice.

Molly is really good at creating likeable characters. She really gets you to care about what happens to them. I love the characters in Pirates and Faith. Skye is very brave and adventurous, but very feminine as well. Will is very chivalrous, something I really loved about him (and also something missing from our culture). I also liked how Molly was able to create an exciting pirate story without making the pirates the good guys. Pirates are bad, and they are portrayed as such. The message was a wonderful one, that God always has a reason for things, whether we know what it is or not.

I don't really have any criticisms to make, except maybe that there are only four books in the series (I wish there were many more). The Pirate Daughter's Promise has definitely made me into a Molly Evangeline fan and  I strongly recommend it for everyone.

A: Anthony Williamson

As I prepare to release Across the Stars, I have decided to promote it by posting A-Z posts about the characters, places, and events involved in the story. It will also provide a way for me to share information about the writing of this book.

Anthony Williamson is one of my three secondary main characters. When I wrote Across the Stars, it was a single narrative about the Watson children, who I will write about later. After my mom read it, I added three sub stories which helped to fill out the story and explain the history of the planet.

Anthony is twelve at the beginning of his part of the story, but rapidly grows up throughout the chapters he is featured in. He is rather rash and at times disrespectful to his parents, but he has an older sister, Liza, who is always pointing him back to the right path. Unfortunately, Liza cannot always save him from consequences and he eventually learns the hard way what problems his rashness can cause.

Anthony's part of the story was originally going to be about his mother JudyAnne, but as soon as he entered into the story, I knew it had to be about him instead of his mother. I'm not particularly fond of the name Anthony, but it was the first one I thought of when I was naming JudyAnne's son, and it stuck. Anthony's story highlights the tyranny King Jorrid exercises over the territory of Emarot. When I wrote Anthony's story, I actually went through the American Declaration of Independence, picked out the grievances I wanted to apply to Emoria, and wrote about them happening from Anthony's point of view. Not all the grievances I chose ended up being incorporated, but many of them were.

Anthony Williamson is a very flawed character, but one I love nevertheless, and one I can't wait to share.