Writer’s Challenge: Create Your Inner Sanctuary

Maybe you’ve just started writing. Maybe you’ve been writing for forever and need a new tactic. With this challenge, you’ll explore what you really want as a writer – from the inside out.

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I dare you to take two hours or more this month and create your own inner writing sanctuary. Make it as simple or elaborate as you want. Examples: a writing cave, a mountain chalet, a castle in the clouds, a dragon’s lair. Choose one that suits you and your writing style. Keep in mind you’re going to level up in skill – and so will your sanctuary.

Need inspiration? Check out my post Sanctuary on Chris Weigand’s site, Faith, Inspiration, and a Cup of Tea.

Write on.

Darlene

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An Inner Sanctuary

 

Today I’d like to share with you a guest blog on Chris Weigand’s site, Faith, Inspiration, and a Cup of Tea. In this article, I talk about how to build a sanctuary in your mind. Writers, this will be a helpful tool for you to take your work to the next level! One of the things I do in my retreat is work through scenes. My challenge to you: create a place in your mind where you can explore! You can make it as simple or as elaborate as you want to!

For more details, check out my guest blog here: Sanctuary.

Write on! Darlene

 

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Star Hero Review

Star Hero Review

 

Genre: Science Fiction Romance

Author: Susan Grant

Title: Star Hero

Series: Star Series

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Star Hero, a Star Series Novella, in exchange for a fair review. When authors send me a book, they know that I will take my time getting through it and will look at the pros and cons before rating the book. That said, I’m human and try to be impartial, but I try. As a Book Dragon, I claim responsibility for this review. May the powers of the Book Dragons be with you. For more Book Dragon info, check out my post How to Read Like a Book Dragon.

 

Photo courtesy Susan Grant http://www.susangrant.com/books/star-series/star-hero/

About the book: This is a novella – officially book 4.6 of the Star Series. It has a sexy Marine, a scrappy K-9 dog, and an awesome Starpilot. Both Bang-Bang, the K-9, and Lukas are orphans who found a home with the Marines. Now they’ve met Starpilot Carlynn, their world has changed. Carylnn goes missing on a mission and search and rescue is necessary. Will the Marine and his K-9 find their Starpilot?

Oh, and this isn’t the first Grant book I’ve read – let’s be honest, I’ve read the whole series and loved it. I recommend starting with Star King.

 

About the author: Susan Grant is a fantastic Science Fiction Romance Writer. She won the RITA award for Contact. When not writing award-winning books, she flies commercially and was an Air Force pilot.

 

The blurb:

A Marine serving in the galactic frontier, Lieutenant Lukas Frank has a lot in common with a street dog named Bang-Bang; they both started off as scrappy orphans fighting to survive–and beat the odds. Things change when Bang-Bang leads Lukas to starpilot Captain Carlynn Riga. The tough war hero learns what it means to surrender–his heart. Lukas’s struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, threaten to tear the three of them apart, but nothing threatens them more than when Carlynn goes missing in action. Now the rugged, emotionally scarred Marine and his K-9 partner must find Carlynn and bring her home, or risk losing everything he has finally found worth fighting for.

– Susan Grant, Star Hero

 

Breakdown:

The first go through, I read books for fun. Then in the second dive, I go into details. My first run through happened in one night. The deep-dive took a few days.

 

Pros:

You know that anytime I read a book with a dog as a main character, I’m going to love it. And he is and he’s adorable and I felt for the scrappy puppy and was happy with his story and growth. The main characters – Carlynn and Lukas are developed characters with backgrounds: Carlynn is from a huge Italian family, and Lukas is an orphan. Grant did a cool thing by echoing Lukas’s upbringing as an orphan through the eyes of Bang-Bang, his K-9 and best friend.

The line that moved me: “For the first time since he found himself alone, he fell asleep without feeling afraid to wake up.”

My favorite line from Bang-Bang’s perspective: “His Tall One had wounds, old wounds, that were on the inside, where Bang-Bang was not able to lick them. But he could protect his Lukas, a d look out for him, which he did every waking moment of every day since they first found each other.”

[I love that!]

This book tackles PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, which impacts not only soldiers, but their loved ones as well. It’s an important topic that needs to be discussed more in fiction – and Grant does a good job of showing the effect of PTSD not only on a character, but on the character’s relationships.

When I go through a book, I process the pros in yellow, things I loved in pink, and questionable things in orange. Looking through my notes, there are tons of yellow and pinks.

As a writer, I would turn to this book to learn the elements of fast-paced romance. It’s a great example of how to create a page-turning novella.

 

Cons:

No books are perfect. The action scenes were effective, but I hoped for more of them – yes, this is a novella, but I was hoping for at least one more scene where they could engage the enemy. The pacing was efficient – it felt like there was one beat that needed a bit more. Oh, and I’m not giving spoilers, but I was able to guess the ending…

 

Overall:

My rating: 4 stars

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Would I read it again? I did – I read it twice…and will read it again!

Link: Star Hero

 

A note to Science Fiction Romance Writers: More pets, please! You know I love them!

 

 

 

 

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The Power Within

The Power Within

The Power Within: A Poem for Humanity

Darlene Reilley

 

You speak of equality.

You speak of generalities.

But you only see

The pigment on me.

 

I stand here to say

I am more than the color of my skin.

I am more than you think I am.

 

But there’s something else.

So. Are. You.

 

You are more than the color of your skin.

You are light eternal.

The spark itself that creates existence

All you see, touch, hear, and taste.

You are more than history.

You are more than present.

You are greater than the sum of all ages.

You are the sum of over 200,000 years of evolution.

You are the height of knowledge.

You are the sum of all your ancestors.

Millions have died so that you may live.

 

Generations have fought and bled and wept

So that you may have the present

in it’s imperfect state.

 

You, my darling, are

the reason

the meaning

the hope

and the being.

 

So when you’re

Texting

Poking

Snapchatting

Facebooking

Twittering

Bickering

Ignoring

Hating

 

Please keep in mind

We all are the same

Beneath the skin.

 

I speak to you of anthropology,

A big word that encompasses all of humanity

And with this, I’d like to share

A glimmer of knowledge.

 

This is the call of my people

The call of those who stay up all night

Trying to perfect art

The workers in the coal mines just trying to get by,

The street cleaners

The day laborers

The muscles

The artists

and the brains.

 

Without each and every one of you,

This world is not the same.

 

So when you’re going about your day,

Please keep in mind

That today is the last day for some

And speak with love in mind.

 

Please fill your dance card

With love and light and sounds

That make you happy and keep your inner spark

From burning out.

 

Only you can prevent depression.

Only you can help a stranger in need.

Only you can make this life worth living.

Only you must believe

 

That while we vary slightly from sea to shining sea,

Beneath the hair,

Beneath the freckles,

Beneath the skin,

We are all humanity.

 

Go with the day and celebrate

Your call to shining arms

Because you are

The sun amidst the stars.

That spark of life that made us all

Is deep inside of you.

Please, my friend, be gentle,

And be honest, and be true.

Remember you are larger than what you think you are

You are the inside of a shining star.

 

 

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Write from the Heart

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Logo by Turtledesk

Write from the Heart

 

Hey, writers. A lot has happened since my last post. One of the things I am most proud of in this writing life came to a close…but it opened a new chapter in my writing.

Life’s like that.

You see, in 2010, I started a freelance writing business called Reilley Writes. From then until this last week, I wrote articles, copy, resumes…pretty much anything that would earn a wage. I saw it as a way to put my education to work for me…and to stretch my knowledge. With each project, I leveled up in skill and content.

And then last week after a heart-to-heart with my mentor, she suggested I close down the freelance side of business so I could focus on what I needed…my writing. And after hours of soul searching, deliberation, and a very long pro-con list, I made the leap – to write what I really want.

To write from my heart.

One of the things that triggered this change was a post I wrote in July 2010 – I found it while going through the DarWrites Vault for this week. We all change. The cool thing is, no matter what, your writing will always be there for you, just waiting for you to finish it.

I think the best thing any writer, or person for that matter, can do is do whatever is in their heart with all the love and passion and talent they have. I think if you follow that nugget and write what you know and love, you’ll be in a good place. So that’s what I’m going to do. I hope you do too.

For your reading pleasure, a copy of “Write What You Love and the Rest Will Follow” from DarWrites Vault.

 

 

From the Vault

July 27, 2010 at 3:23 am

Write What you Love and the Rest Will Follow

 

“Do everything you can to secure your dreams. Take the basketball to the basket. Take a chance and go for the layup. Believe your dreams are worth it.” Darlene Reilley

They tell you to write what you know. They tell you to write what you love. And then they tell you to find a market if you want to be a professional about it and sell your work there.

You want me to send the manuscript I’ve toiled over, lost sleep over, ached and broken nails over to a stranger? And you expect me to trust this human? To know what it needs to live happily out among strangers for the rest of its life?

Call me silly, but my manuscripts are kind of like my children. I want to make sure they are handled with tender loving care and by the best out there. So you plot and toil and hope that everything will come out right. You hope that there is a hero out there to defend and protect your manuscript. And hope that you are tough enough to handle anything that the world throws at it.

“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve

Write what you know. I’ve made lists of things that I know and I’ve made lists of things that I am interested in. The latter outweighs the first. Mainly because when I learn something I’ve already exhausted my thinking on the subject, at least for now.

Life is a process unfolding before me and I want to write about what’s coming next. So I write about what I love. What I am passionate about. Starting with the things that you know is great, and if you find a market that allows you to share the knowledge with others that is great. Terrific. Amazing. But sometimes you just have to follow your heart and hope it leads you where you are meant to go.

Link of the day: Don’t Pet Me, I’m Writing. This blog is funny and informative. About wine and writing.

So I’m taking the advice of the author I read this morning. I am going to follow my heart and let it lead me where I should go. I am going to tread my own path and find my way through the jungle. Because in the end you have to follow your dreams.

So follow that voice inside your head and let it takes you where it thinks you should go. Trust your gut and know that it’s right.

Til next time.
Write on.
Darlene

Written by darreilley

 

 

 

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The Space Between Words by Heather Sargent

Hey, writers! Please welcome hybrid writer Heather Sargent to DarWrites! Heather specializes in weaving poetry and prose – her work is really cool and I think you’ll like her advice on “The Space Between Words!” Take it away, Heather!

The Space Between Words by Heather Sargent

The Space Between Words by Heather Sargent

I’ve been thinking lately about how words matter. Or should it be how much words matter? Not just words in general, but the choice of words and the order in which they are arranged. Lately, it seems, people hang on every word, analyzing it for its truest meaning. As writers, especially poets, this is a familiar struggle. Every word has a job, every syllable must work for its space. Today, I want to talk about words, the arrangement of letters and spaces that create a structure to frame our thoughts and in so doing, create a way for us to communicate them to others.

I am reminded of two books I read last year for grad school. The first is For Want and Sound, by Melissa Buzzeo. Without going into the purpose of the book, because that is not the point here, I want to talk about how she questions the sentence. In the introduction, Rob Halpern asks an important question: “How is one to communicate a sentence whose subject wants more than grammar allows?” I thought about this while reading Buzzeo’s book and found myself wrestling with questions of my own and wrote an annotation that was essentially my questions in a poetic structure – which is absent here.

I am haunted. Undone. But I don’t know why. Can a sentence hold a story? Does it have its own agenda? Is it not still bound by rule, contained within some structure? The story follows a breeze. Or is it a storm? How do you hold the wind? the story? How do I tell you? the meaning? the measure to which the poetry has entered me? It has changed me. Can you see? Within these lines, these sentences.

Is it there?

Or is it like a deconstruction of post-structuralism? Within which there still lie rules. Say the same sentence, in a different language and the sound separates. Say the same sentence, by different people even the same person on another day and the inflections separate. We bring in our own emotions of the day, that moment, different from every other day. The sentence can only be the same once.

And in this same fashion, even as it is written here, it is different than I wrote it then. It was poetry then, separated by lines where something breaks, as Jenny Boully notes in her book, The Body: An Essay. The purpose was different then too, I wrote it then as I pondered what a sentence can contain. I reshape it now for you, so you may consider the same but not get caught up in where the line breaks for me. We each have our own ways of making meaning and I want to open a door for you to explore a room as you see it, not one of my construction. This thought brings me to Boully’s book, the second book I was reminded of, which I mentioned just a moment ago.

This curious little book is all about a body with no text. The whole thing is written in footnotes and negative space. The top of each page has varying amounts of negative space which became very loud as I read. What started as a curiosity turned into near obsession as I pondered what was in this space. There was nothing there. Or nothingness. Or maybe nothing was there. Do you see how each of these sentences invoke a bit of a different meaning?

As writers, we might ask what is Boully’s point here? We deal in the realm of bodies of work. Why would she leave this space blank? Is it a placeholder for the body? What is she saying by leaving it out? Is the body not important? Perhaps what really matters is the annotation of the body, which is essentially her work in this book. Or maybe the point is that there can be nothing without the body. Perhaps it matters what is in this space, perhaps it doesn’t, but one thing becomes clear: it forces the focus elsewhere.

What if Boully’s work is a code to better understand the body, but only with the body. Perhaps without the body the work is meaningless, or perhaps meaning less. Out of all the slivers of brilliance in Boully’s work, my favorite remains: “I know now why the line breaks: it is because something dies, and elsewhere, is born again …” Perhaps when the body dies, it can be reborn in the annotations left behind.

When you write, think about your words, your sentences, your body. Consider each of these alone and in relation to each other. Are you stuck in a particular spot? What would happen if you drew a line in the space that stops you and moved on outside of that space? Come back to it later and see if you have answers for what belongs there. Depending on what you write, maybe the answers are not yours to find. Let the work breathe, especially when it steps outside of a traditional genre or grammatical rule. It doesn’t mean it must stay that way. It also doesn’t mean it must conform. Play around with these elements and see what else is there, in the spaces left behind.

 

Heather Sargent is a freelance writer and mother who believes in the motivating power of coffee and deadlines. Her work has been published in the Sasquatch Review and more recently in The Pitkin Review. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College where she was also an Associate Editor for The Pitkin Review. You can find her at: Heather Sargent.

 

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From the DarWrites Vault: Center of the Storm – You and Writing v.s. anxiety

From the DarWrites Vault: Center of the Storm - You and Writing v.s. anxiety

Today, I need a kick in the pants to write. I’m sitting at a laundry facility, wishing I was down in the pool, waiting for words to come. And of course, when you set aside specific time to write, the words should come, right?

Yeah, they aren’t coming.

You ever notice how sometimes it’s like pulling teeth?

I mean you’re going about your day, and then the time comes that you allotted for writing and you’re so excited because it’s writing time and you planned it – down to the coke zero and beef jerky.

And then your time to write comes and you’re here – you’ve been thinking about it all day – and nothing comes.

What do you do?

 

For me, I turned to 2010 Darlene’s advice and found this nugget in the DarWrites Vault. I’m sharing it for you, but for me too because today, I need inspiration. I hope it inspires you [2017 Darlene is going to read this and go write. I suggest you do too].

 

From the DarWrites Vault: Center of the Storm – You and Writing v.s. anxiety

 

 

“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.” ~ E.L. Doctorow

Writing is difficult under regular schedule. My anxiety level was moving along at a happy green level, and it moved through blue to yellow and on to orange before I knew what happened.

It wasn’t the writing itself that made me fuzzy. It’s that plus the freelance, the job hunt, the write-ins (love em), the chores, the bathroom that still needs to be cleaned…the list goes on and on.

I guess you could say my procrastinator came out in full force this morning. She saw the schedule for the college and ran away screaming, locked herself in the closet and I’ve had a hard time getting her out.

So what to do when you’re full of anxiety and everyone and everything wants a piece of your time?

Take a breath. And focus.

A long time ago in another time and place I read something that stuck with me my entire life. I don’t know where it came from or who said it, but the image it evoked stayed with me the entire time. This is how I remember it.

Take a breath. Focus on your breath, hands on your stomach. Focus on your breathing, and realize that you are one person with only one person’s dreams and hopes. You are one person versus the world. And you need to be the center of the storm. Picture yourself in the eye of a tornado, everyone and everything is whirling around you at speeds out of control. Everything on your to-do list, your calendar, and your cell phone are out there.

You are the eye of the storm and choose what to do. You choose what to bring into your life. It’s okay to say no.

Now open your eyes and realize that you, too, are the center of the storm. Now go sit at your computer and write 1000 words.

Write on,

Darlene

The Drabble Files

From the Vault

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Review of Stephen Zimmer’s Thunder Horizon

Review of Stephen Zimmer's Thunder Horizon

Genre: Fantasy

Author: Stephen Zimmer

Title: Thunder Horizon

Series: Dark Sun Dawn Series

Thunder Horizon by Stephen Zimmer

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Thunder Horizon in exchange for a fair review. When authors send me a book, they know that I will take my time getting through it and will look at the pros and cons before rating the book. That said, I’m human and try to be impartial, but I try. As a Book Dragon, I claim responsibility for this review. May the powers of the Book Dragons be with you. For more Book Dragon info, check out my post How to Read Like a Book Dragon. Oh, and this isn’t the first Zimmer book I’ve read – I read Exodus Gate, Crown of Vengeance, and Heart of a Lion.

 

About the book: This is the second book in the Dark Sun Dawn Series, published in 2017 by Seventh Star Press. Rayden Valkyrie is a warrior from a Northern tribe who fights for her code of honor. Rayden leads warriors through wit and experience. She makes friends and enemies along the way.

 

About the author: Stephen Zimmer is a fantasy writer who wields a pen like a sword. He is a filmmaker and author. He wrote the Fires in Eden series, the Harvey and Solomon tales, the Hellscapes collections, and the Rising Dawn saga.

 

Novel Breakdown

Rayden Valkyrie returned to the Gessa after years fighting enemies only to find more trying to kill the tribe that took her in when she was a child. She takes on mortal and supernatural antagonists while standing by her code and her friends.

 

Pros

With each stage of the book, the enemies got eviler and stakes mounted.

I got to see Hamicar again – I love that character.

Blood, death, and gore! I love the fight scenes. Each time I read them, I learn a bit more about grueling death scenes. Also, the characters in the book follow consistent logic – and when what’s happening is questionable, they explain why it’s that way – this is good because it separates this world from our own – not all animals will act the same, and if spooked by an enemy, will go closer to settlements and not the enemy it’s most afraid of.

“Rayden’s axe opening a growing cavity in the beast’s back, blood, bits of flesh, and fur flew.” Stephen Zimmer, Thunder Horizon

There is a unifying theme of the book – we’re in a fight for all humankind, not just one tribe. Eigon said, “Sometimes being a human is a greater bond than the tribe one is a part of.” Solid quote – and so true.

My favorite line: “The blood is not so different as you may think.” Eigon, Thunder Horizon by Stephen Zimmer

Okay, I’m adding a character to the pros – Manak of the Varganir was interesting. I also liked the differentiation of the Varganir’s speech patterns – it set the species apart from the humankind. I do want to know where Manak learned the human language, but that’s a story for another day.

 

Cons

It was difficult for me to remember which species was which – mostly because the names were similar, but after a while it worked it’s way out. I was hoping for new fantasy creatures as antagonists, but the Arguntier were possessed animals – that was interesting, but I was hoping for darker original enemies.

No spoilers because I don’t do them, but one of my favorite characters was killed off – okay, that’s not necessarily a con, but I liked the character…and it was necessary to the plot. Okay, I just wanted him to live for forever in the halls of wherever they go after death…

There was one point where I think it was just violence for violence sake – the death was drawn out and could have been quicker.

 

Overall

Bad guys in the shadows, rising tension, blades, axes, friends, and enemies…this is a book to read when you want big action and characters who get into hot water and somehow try to wriggle out of it. Rayden Valkyrie is a solid character who fights both supernatural and mortal enemies. I want to know what happens next.

My rating: 4 stars

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Kindle Version

Print Version

Barnes and Noble

 

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Heart of a Lion Book Review

Heart of a Lion Review

Genre: Fantasy

Author: Stephen Zimmer

Title: Heart of a Lion

Series: Dark Sun Dawn Series

Heart of a Lion by Stephen Zimmer

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Heart of a Lion in exchange for a fair review. When authors send me a book, they know that I will take my time getting through it and will look at the pros and cons before rating the book. That said, I’m human and try to be impartial, but I try. As a Book Dragon, I claim responsibility for this review. May the powers of the Book Dragons be with you. For more Book Dragon info, check out my post How to Read Like a Book Dragon.

 

About the book: This is the first book in the Dark Sun awn Series, published in 2015 by Seventh Star Press. Rayden Valkyrie is a warrior from a Northern tribe who fights for her code of honor. On the journey home from the South after long years of battle, she fights for those who can’t fight for themselves. On the way North, she fights beasts and men. Rayden leads warriors through wit and experience. She makes friends and enemies along the way. Oh, and this isn’t the first Zimmer book I’ve read – I read Exodus Gate and Crown of Vengeance [reviews on those to come].

StephenZImmer_AuthorPhoto

Stephen Zimmer

About the author: Stephen Zimmer is a fantasy writer who wields a pen like a sword. He is a filmmaker and author. He wrote the Fires in Eden series, the Harvey and Solomon tales, the Hellscapes collections, and the Rising Dawn saga.

 

Breakdown:

The first go through, I read books for fun. Then in the second dive, I go into details. I scheduled a few days for the fun read, and then ended up staying up all night reading it in one go. It was engrossing and pulled me in. You know the moments when you get sucked in and the rest of the world disappears? It happened here.

 

Pros:

The characters – Rayden is unique – she’s the kind of warrior you want to have dinner and a drink with and listen to her stories. She has a personal code and sticks to it – she fights for those who can’t fight for themselves and lives by the warrior code which is similar to the code of the Knights.

She’s not the only unique character either – there are other developed characters like Hamilcar, a boy Rayden saves from being sacrificed to his people’s gods.

The action moves across the world of the story from southern city, across a desert, over water, and through war-filed lands.

My favorite line:

“No day spent in this world is safe or promised. I can only travel my world as best I can.” – Rayden Valkyrie

When I go through a book, I process the pros in yellow, things I loved in pink, and questionable things in orange. Looking through my notes, there are tons of yellow and pinks.

As a writer, I would turn to this book to learn the elements of Epic Fantasy, description, and action scenes. I’d focus on the last as there are several good battle scenes that translated well from reading to visualizing it in the mind.

 

Cons:

No books are perfect. It might have been the anthropologist in me, but I wanted more cultural links. Also, I had questions when Rayden interfered with another culture’s religious practices. From her perspective, she had reasons which were explained. I don’t know – that would require further exploration [note: I’m not condoning the religious people actions – but the idea of a character interfering in another culture’s religious practice is where I have reservations. Another person could read it and be fine. I’m not sure what I would have done in her shoes.]

There were a few moments where the “ew” factor of gore was so descriptive, I was uncomfortable. This happens when I read this type of books, so it could be just me.

I wondered why other characters didn’t have as much agency. Yes, they were background characters, but some of them were there to drive Rayden’s story, and didn’t feel as if they had stories of their own. Example: a character I loved at the start of the story faded away twenty percent in…and I wanted more of him. I kept hoping they would meet up later.

 

Overall: A good fantasy story! Readers who love to dive into story will enjoy reading it. Writers who want to work on their action and cinematic skills will find this helpful.

My rating: 4 stars

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Would I read it again? I read it twice…and will read it again!

 

 

 

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Rayden Valkyrie: Behind the Scenes by Stephen Zimmer

Hey, writers! Hope the writing is going well! This week we’ve got a special surprise – the awesome Stephen Zimmer is visiting DarWrites! Stephen is a fantasy writer of Rayden Valkyrie Stories, The Rising Dawn Saga, The Fires in Eden Series, Hellscapes, The Chronicles of Ave, and Harvey and Solomon Stories. He is also a screenwriter who just finished a pilot episode for The Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart. Rayden is a tough warrior who fights for what she believes in. I wouldn’t mind going for a drink with her and her compatriots and picking their brains about fight scenes! Thanks for visiting, Stephen, and for giving us a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to shoot a TV pilot! Take it away!

Behind the Scenes by Stephen Zimmer

Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart Trailer

The Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot production was both challenging and exciting.  Taking on a genre like fantasy, on a small budget at an independent level, is never going to be an easy road, but with extensive planning and the involvement of a great many volunteers and in-kind support, we were able to achieve a production environment that could match up well with productions supported by much larger budgets.

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We were very careful with our location selections, eventually finding a mixture of both private and public-owned sites that matched well with what we could do in terms of transportation, distance from the main hotel site where cast and crew from out of the area were staying, and catering needs.  Some locations used are very celebrated sites in Kentucky, such as Cove Spring Park, near Frankfort, and Cumberland Falls, the site of the only remaining moonbow in the world!

The needs of many scenes were met on a sizable farm property that had a lot of wooded acreage with varying terrain, creeks, and other natural elements.  The center of this property had a large cleared area from which trails radiated to other parts of the property.

 

It was ideal for a base camp, which we setup with RV’s, tents, trailers, porta potties, and other elements.  It was less than a mile away from a house we were given access to for our caterer’s needs and our costuming/makup departments.  Together, the two sites served to support the entire production, even when away from these sites.  Wardrobe and props could be stored and secured, our caterer had a solid base to work from, and other advantages.

 

The weather was hot in June, which meant countless bottles of water had to be purchased and kept at the ready for cast and crew, and the outdoor, woodland setting of the shoot also meant a need for bug spray and the like, but at least the rains stayed away with the exception of one cloudburst near the end of one shooting day.  Fortunately, we were able to catch back up later in the schedule to get what we missed that particular day.

 

We had one interior setting involving a cave and a few night shoots that brought in some variety with additional challenges and needs (such as more lighting, and powering those lights), but these were scheduled deeper into the shoot and by then everyone was working together very well.

 

As with all levels of production, everyone came together to meet all of the challenges of an independent production on location.  The production was completed on schedule, and while heat and bugs made some days more difficult than others, the settings looked fantastic on screen.

 

Behind the scenes it was very active, and involved loads of planning and support elements, but a true indie production spirit prevailed in meeting every twist and turn head on!  Lots of smiles and laughs, blood, sweat, and tears too, but a really special production was achieved; one that I believe has a very solid chance of growing into much more in the future!

 

StephenZImmer_AuthorPhoto.jpgStephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), and the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk).

Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.

Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.

Twitter:  @SGZimmer

Facebook: www.facebook.com/stephenzimmer7

Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

Website: www.stephenzimmer.com

 

Want more? Check out Stephen’s novels! [Darlene is reading … and will review on Thursday and Friday! Teaser: I read the first book in one sitting…overnight…with coffee and it kept me turning the pages!]

 

Heart of a Lion

Rayden Valkyrie. She walks alone, serving no king, emperor, or master. Forged in the fires of tragedy, she has no place she truly calls home.

A deadly warrior wielding both blade and axe, Rayden is the bane of the wicked and corrupt. To many others, she is the most loyal and dedicated of friends, an ally who is unyielding in the most dangerous of circumstances.

The people of the far southern lands she has just aided claim that she has the heart of a lion. For Rayden, a long journey to the lands of the far northern tribes who adopted her as a child beckons, with an ocean lying in between.

Her path will lead her once more into the center of a maelstrom, one involving a rising empire that is said to be making use of the darkest kinds of sorcery to grow its power. Making new friends and discoveries amid tremendous peril, Rayden makes her way to the north.

Monstrous beasts, supernatural powers, and the bloody specter of war have been a part of her world for a long time and this journey will be no different. Rayden chooses the battles that she will fight, whether she takes up the cause of one individual or an entire people.

Both friends and enemies alike will swiftly learn that the people of the far southern lands spoke truly. Rayden Valkyrie has the heart of a lion.

Heart of a Lion is Book One of the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.

Kindle Version: https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Lion-Dark-Dawn-Book-ebook/dp/B00T44R6LE/

Print Version: https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Lion-Stephen-Zimmer/dp/1941706215/

 Barnes and Noble Link for  Heart of a Lion: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/heart-of-a-lion-stephen-zimmer/1121113044?ean=9781941706213

 

 

Thunder Horizon

A deadly menace stalks the shadows of the lands to the north, stirring the winds of war. Farther south, the power of the Teveren Empire spreads with every passing day, empowered by dark sorcery. Formidable legions bent on conquest are on the march, slavery and subjugation following in their wake.

Within the rising maelstrom, Rayden Valkyrie has returned to the Gessa, to stand with the tribe that once took her into their care as a child. No amount of jewels or coin can sway her, nor can the great power of her adversaries intimidate her.

With a sword blade in her right hand and axe in her left, Rayden confronts foes both supernatural and of flesh and blood. Horrific revelations and tremendous risks loom; some that will see Rayden’s survival in the gravest of peril.

Even if Rayden and the Gessa survive the trials plaguing their lands, the thunder of an even darker storm booms across the far horizon.

Thunder Horizon is the second book in the Dark Sun Dawn Trilogy.

Kindle Version: https://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Horizon-Dark-Dawn-Book-ebook/dp/B06ZZ7JT56/

Print Version: https://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Horizon-Dark-Dawn-Trilogy/dp/1941706576/

Barnes and Noble Link for Thunder Horizon: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thunder-horizon-stephen-zimmer/1126268394?ean=9781941706572

 

 

Want more?

Tour Schedule and Activities

8/16     The Temple of the Exploding Head  Guest Post

8/16     The Page Turner     Guest Post

8/16     BOOKS TO CURL UP WITH   Author Interview

8/16     Bookishly me  Author Interview

8/16     DarWrites     Guest Post

8/16     Sheila’s Guests and Reviews    Guest Post

8/16     Sapphyria’s Books    Guest Post

8/16     Deal Sharing Aunt   Top Ten’s List

8/17     DarWrites    Review

8/17     Bookin Around Town    Author Interview/Podcast

8/17     Full Moon Bites      Character Interview

8/18     BOOKS TO CURL UP WITH     Review

8/18     The Sinister Scribblings of Sarah E. Glenn  Top Ten’s List

8/18     I Smell Sheep     Guest Post

8/19     Paranormal Pleasures    Review

8/19     The Page Turner     Review

8/19     Bella’s Book Reviews   Review

8/19     Jeni’s Bookshelf   Guest Post

8/20     3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! Guest Post

8/20     The Seventh Star Blog  Guest Post

8/20     Stuart Thaman Books  Guest Post

8/21     MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape  Author Interview

8/21     SpecMusicMuse   Author Interview

8/21     Jordan Hirsch    Review

8/22     Beauty in Ruins   Guest Post

8/22     Discover New Authors   Author Interview

8/22     Butterfly’s Booknerdia Blog   Review

8/23     The Occult Detective   Review

8/23     Bookishly me  Review

8/23     Jeni’s Bookshelf  Review

8/23    Jorie Loves a Story   Interview

8/23     Readers Life With Trisha Ratliff   Review

Tour Page URL:  http://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/stephen-zimmers-rayden-valkyrie-celebration-blog-tour/

 

RagnarStormbringer_BrockOHurn_PhotoCredit_SilvioWolfBusch

Ragnar Stormbringer, played by Brock O’Hurn, photo by Silvio Wolf Busch

RaydenValkyrie_SolGeirsdottir_PhotoCreditSilvioWolfBusch

Rayden Valkyrie, played by Sol Geirsdottir, photo by Silvio Wolf Busch

 

RaydenValkyrieTourGraphic.jpg

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