Friday, August 1, 2014

New Christian Historical Fiction

A friend of mine just released a new book. Since I beta read for her, I wanted to share the news right away.

A Different Kind of Courage

A well researched novel set at the dawn of the American Revolution, A Different Kind of Courage follows the struggles of a young man reluctant to take sides in the conflict. Returning to Boston after a long time away, William Landor arrives just before the closing of the harbor. William desires the approval of his Tory father, but also sympathizes with his friend, Dr. Joseph Warren on the other side of the argument. I enjoyed sharing in William's journey from confusion to resolution. The highlight of the book for me, however, was being introduced to Dr. Joseph Warren and his depth of character. I will definitely be looking into him more closely in future reading.

It is definitely worth a read. :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Annual Table at the Taste of Enfield

I was at the Taste of Enfield this weekend. An annual town celebration in July, it is a festival of vendors, fireworks, face painting, music, and more.

Sunday was warm and humid, but the storm clouds remained at bay. We had plenty of breezy gusts which kept us hopping picking up signs and reassembling book displays. However, on the whole it was a pleasant experience meeting new readers and spending time with friends that I rarely see.

I am sorry I didn't spread the word sooner this year. Next year, however, I will try to spread the word, just in case some of you are in CT. :)

- Rachel Rossano

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour - Round Two

Yes, I know I answered these questions a bit ago, but another writing friend asked me to give it another go so I am going to talk about a different project.

What am I working on at the moment?

Along with my previously mentioned WIP, the next book in the Novels of Rhynan series, I am working on finishing an old project. Zezilia Ilar's story, currently titled Living Sacrifice, is a contemporary of Wren in my writing journey. Begun as an attempt to write something that a traditional Christian publishing house would be interested in publishing, I quickly discovered that I had yet again wandered outside traditional expectations.

In a world where those who manipulate thoughts and matter with only the mind and the seventh born son is the strongest talent of all, Zezilia is her father's ultimate disappointment. Born seventh, the first girl after six sons, she has spent her whole young life seeking to earn her father's love. Now about to begin her fifteenth year, she has reached the age of marriage. If she can make a politically profitable match, perhaps her father would overlook her gender and approve of her at least a bit.

Hadrian Aleron was born a seventh son of a seventh son. As the strongest Talent in fourteen generations, he appears destined to claim the second most powerful position in the land of Pratinus, Sept Son. As overseer of the Talented citizens, he would be molding the next generations and influencing the direction of the country. The only obstacle to this grand and glorious future comes from within. Hadrian professes to follow the Almighty, an unpopular deity in a country devoted to worshiping a goddess. 

Prompted by the sudden manifestation of talent in Zezilia, Hadrian's old training master insists that Hadrian do something about training Zezilia. Confronted by her obvious potential, Hadrian agrees. Zezilia is thrust into a world unlike she has never know, learning how to use her new found talent and discovering the truth about the Almighty God her training master serves. Hadrian meanwhile takes up the mantle of Sept Son and faces the greatest battle of his life, living a public life in a spiritual battlefield. Each struggles toward a unseen goal. Only the Almighty knows the purpose as they learn how to become a Living Sacrifice.

At over 140,000 words in I need to finish the book soon so I can publish it. Zez and Hadrian's stories need to be read.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Written in alternating first person with mental "sent" conversations interspersed with normal spoken conversations, the book doesn't seem like anything I have read to date.

I was inspired a bit by the Firebird Saga, but did not try to replicate the world. Pratinus is a colony on another world that has gone through a time of chaos and rejection of technology. The world displays Roman influences in their words, names, architecture, and some of their fashions, but it is not ancient Rome. Only the remaining genetic modifications (Talents) remain to indicate that they had once been technologically advanced.

Why do I write what I do?

Because it interests me. In this case, I feel I need to finish what I started. Perhaps the Lord has a purpose for prodding me to finish it now. I don't know. I just know I can't get Zez's story out of my head.

How does my writing process work?

In this case, the process has been mostly finished. I was inspired to write something about a science fiction future, ended up with more of a regressive-science-fiction story line. Once the passage in Romans appeared as a theme, I had more direction and focus, but I am still not completely sure how this story is going to end, except that the two main characters will get together in the end. Almost everything I write ends up with a bit of romance in it. ;)

So, does it sound interesting?

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Struggle to Write Again

Every time I pause writing to edit or publish or just survive life, I struggle when it comes time to start up again. It isn't that I don't love writing, I do. The flow of words, the creation of a world and people to populate it, the process delights and fascinates me, which is the whole reason I write. But, the process sometimes requires a grunt phase.

As I enter into the grunt phase right now, I have hit the "Am I writing the right novel?" question. Between the next Novel of Rhynan, Faith, and an old almost finished epic novel, Living Sacrifice, I am torn as to which to write/finish first. While I feel the pressure of wanting to get past the halfway mark in the Novels of Rhynan series, I am also feeling very burdened to finish Zezilia and Hadrian's story so I can get it "out the door" sooner. I feel like the Living Sacrifice story is intended for someone and I need to finish it and publish it so that person can read it.

So, I am planning on working on both. We shall see which pulls ahead first. Either way, I need to press on through the grunt phase where the words come awkwardly and the story comes in bits and frayed pieces that require more finagling than usual to get them to fit together smoothly. I will let you know how it goes. :)

-Rachel Rossano

Interview with Alicia A. Willis

I would like to welcome Alicia A. Willis to my blog today. She and I share a love of history, writing, and glorifying our Savior and King. With her new release From the Dawn to the Dark: A Tale of Ancient Rome, she is venturing even farther into the challenging territory of independent publishing.

After publishing with a small press, what are your impressions of publishing independently?
My impression is that I was slightly spoiled by my hybrid publisher CrossBooks! My PSA and Design Team do so much for me. Publishing independently is so much more work than sitting back and watching my team do it for me!

Do you plan on publishing on your own again?
Yes, I think so. I like having two publishers. I intend on allowing the Lord to lead with my books, whether that means hybrid, traditional, or self publishing.

You have mentioned to me that you have a different approach to your heroic leads. Each of them is modeled after a real person. How do you do this?
Well, they are only modeled after real people in my novellas. J It is a fun approach. I first scouted around for people I thought would make interesting book characters. Interestingly enough, both young men I have used were in the same family – Nicholas and Silas Blodgett. Both times, I studied their characters and personality traits from afar before I informed them that they would be in the book. That way, I had a good feel for their true, unaffected dispositions. Then I continued to observe them as I wrote. In the case of Remembering the Alamo, I interviewed Silas on two or three occasions to ensure scenes portrayed him correctly.

Have you had one of your character models disagree with you on what the character would do in a given situation? If so, who had the final say?
Surprisingly, I’ve never had a disagreement! Every time I wrote a scene and questioned the character model afterwards, he and I agreed that I had portrayed him correctly. J If we had disagreed, however, I would have given the final say to him.

You seem more comfortable writing male characters. Why do you think that is?
I think I understand male characters better. And, historically speaking, women didn’t do that much that was exciting enough for a book (at least in the eras I have written about). I like swordfights, castle sieges, chariot races, and Alamo battles – all of which involved men. To ensure my books are both accurate and exciting, I like to center around male characters.

I think my readers would enjoy knowing more about you. How would you describe yourself?
I’m a coffee-drinking, history-loving, card-making, crocheting, chocolate eater. J I love ministering in my church, playing volleyball, hanging out with my doggies, and being with friends and family.

What first sparked your interest in writing historical fiction?
I have always loved history and writing. So what is better than merging the two? I don’t know that there was ever a set time when I first knew I wanted to write it – I just always knew!

We would love to hear more about your book. Could you give us a summary?
Here is my synopsis!

Decadent Rome, 61 Anno Domini. The masters of the universe have crushed the Iceni rebellion with an iron hand, slaughtering and enslaving her people.

For Philip, his existence as a captive means living to hatred. He despises his rich, young master, resenting his life of servitude and the wrestling feats Marcus forces him to perform. Bitterness engulfs his soul until he only lives for the day when he will crush the might of Rome.

Then Christianity enters the picture. Taught by a Jewish breadmaker to know the man called Christus, Philip begins the struggle to forgive and honor his master. But forgiveness is not easy towards one who lives for himself.

Marcus Virginius knows nothing but power and pleasure. Destined to a successful career serving Nero in the Praetorian Guard, he wants no part of Christianity. And he is determined to crush Philip’s newfound faith – no matter what it takes.

Join Philip and Marcus in their journey of redemption, faith, and forgiveness. Is love enough to conquer hate? And will the light of the gospel ever surmount the darkness of Rome? 

Persecution abounds – will the two young men survive its terrors and live to experience the bright hope of a new dawn?

I am excited to read From the Dawn to the Dark: A Tale of Ancient Rome. Best wishes on your new release. I hope you will be back with us again soon with your next book.
Thank you for having me!

Alicia A. Willis is a homeschool graduate and avid historian. From an early age, she has had the desire to write family-friendly, accurate books about the past. When not writing or doing endless historical research, she enjoys singing, being a church pianist, and teaching music. She and her family live in New Mexico.

Alicia also writes medieval novels, which is one more of our shared interests. Be sure to check them out.