Category Archives: Business and Publishing

Struggle Spotlight: Christina Pinckard

In all the struggles that I see around me, sometimes I feel the pressing need to share them with others. This week, I am presenting a “spotlight” of a family who I have watched struggle through trials that would bring down lesser mortals. Thanks to Christina for providing the information and her permission for producing this. If you feel so moved, please consider donating to help her and her husband with their rising medical costs.

 

Life has a way of bringing out the worst all at once. “Oh, one struggle isn’t enough? Here, have some more!” Is there ever a point when enough is enough? Not for most, and certainly not for one family from Bossier City, Louisiana. In 2007, Christina Pinckard’s life changed dramatically when doctors discovered a grapefruit-sized tumor in her husband’s leg. But that was only the latest in a series of blows this family would receive – and the battle wasn’t done yet.

Life was never easy for Christina. Growing up, she lived under slurs like dumb, retarded, and stupid. And with no reason not to, she couldn’t help but agree with them. Depression set in from an early age, and she had trouble finding worth in herself. An autism diagnosis as an adult helped her receive some validation, giving her the tools necessary to combat the voices she heard.

Christina has two boys, ages 13 and 19. When they were three and five years old, respectively, both boys were diagnosed with autism. The older child is more high-functioning, but both have their specific class of special needs. The older boy, Michael, can help out around the house and moderately care for himself, but the youngest is not fully potty trained – a common struggle in autistic households. Matthew has frequent meltdowns, not understanding why he is sometimes treated the way he is. Most of it is a lack of understanding, but Matthew sees it as everyone hating him for the way he is.

As if autism struggles weren’t bad enough (and anyone who’s dealt with it can tell you it’s a load all on its own!), the cancer diagnosis only added to it. The tumor turned out to be a Myxoid Lyposarcoma, a rare and aggressive soft-tissue cancer. A surgery removed the tumor, along with about 90% of the hamstring that the tumor had attached itself to. However, in 2009, the tumor made its reappearance – and four more times after that. The last three jumped the hamstring ship and appeared in the spinal cord, making them even more difficult to remove.

The tumor’s growth impaired his ability to walk or stand. His wife, not more than 130lbs, couldn’t lift him, and after he fell three separate times in a single week, he made the necessary but wrenching decision to check into a nursing home, where he hopes to be able to continue to fight his cancer and heal so he can rejoin his family.

Despite all this, and even in spite of her depression, Christina fights to keep her optimism high. She pours her vivid imagination into the books she writes, creating a world of fantasy and color. With the impending loss of her husband’s income, she took up crafting, putting together gorgeous trinkets and pieces of jewelry that she sells on Etsy. She has been exceptionally helpful in creating “swag” for other authors, in the form of key chains and other pieces that depict promotional material. Her pride and joy, however, are the fantasy pieces she creates, ones that reflect the world that spills over into her books. Dragons are especially prominent. She can also be found on Fiverr.

In every setback, Christina finds herself with a choice: to give up, or to pursue forward. In the end, fighting both depression and opposition from those around her, she presses on, refusing to give up on either herself or her family. Her material accomplishments are nothing compared to the battles she’s faced and the progress she’s made not only for herself, but also for those she loves.

Review: Devil’s Pathway by Vicki Lucas

“Vampires are overrated and hugely overdone, there just isn’t anything new about them anymore. And there’s definitely nothing at all Christian about them.”

And Vicki Lucas said: “Challenge accepted.” And then came through with flying colors, as I’ve come to expect from her work (check out my review of Toxic!). She spends the next 110,000 words of Devil’s Pathway dismantling every objection brought up, in the process weaving a story so in-depth you forget those objections were even there in the first place.

Nic has always known he was a little different from the rest. He sees things, things that he knows no human should ever have to see. And he feels it inside of him, as well. But when he moves from the big city to rural Idaho, life become much more escalated. Nic finds himself the focal point of an ancient war, and both sides are urging him to join their cause. All he’s ever wanted was peace, but they are all running out of time.

Faith has never meant much to Nic – if anything, it’s always let him down. But the spiritual realm is about to open up on his doorstep. And this time, it’s not just his family that’s in danger. It’s the whole town.

Faith is challenged in a way unlike anything else in this book of spiritual warfare and growing up. Nic has spent his life running, but there’s not much room left. Soon, he will be forced to make a choice – or the choice will be made for him.

The reader has no problem feeling bad for Nic as they learn more of his experiences. Sympathy comes easy as we learn more of what he’s had to endure. Yet, this is no time to hide in pity as the action heats up. The reader almost feels sorry for Nic – “can’t he just get a break?” Ah, but if he were to get a break, there’d be no story.

And then there’s that little issue with his blood – what’s that about, anyway? Ms. Lucas does an excellent job of revealing information piecemeal, just enough to keep the reader on their toes. The continued mystery keeps the reader turning pages, just as much as the action does!

This book is an intense read, with plenty of soul-searching and lessons on redemption, God’s love, and much more. It doesn’t really answer that age-old question of why bad things happen, but I love what it did instead – showed how God is still there even in the midst of all the bad, even when we can’t see Him. Sometimes, we don’t need to know why – we just need to know that God is there.

That ending, though! If I wasn’t reading on my tablet (and if I didn’t treasure books so much), I probably would have thrown it. The author gives just enough answers to keep the reader going, but the ending leaves you hanging, gasping for more. It’s the first of a series, and I’m already anxious to see what happens next.

The book is marketed for YA (young adult readers), but the story is intense enough even for adults to enjoy. I would also note that it may be too intense for some younger readers (such as preteens), but for middle-older teens, it’s a great read, and very thought-provoking!

New Release! Right Angles – a Woman’s Devotional

The 4-week Bible Study/Devotional, Right Angles, is going live!

Oftentimes in life, our biggest problem comes from the angle we’re looking at things. When we straighten out the perspectives, in our own minds, we might just see the solution readily available. That’s why our perspective should always be guided by the Bible. God’s Holy Word is the only straight angle that will keep us in the proper perspective.

 

This 4-week devotional for women offers a unique perspective from the daily life of a mom of six, a full-time caregiver, and a crazy cat lady all rolled up into one person.

Dealing with topics such as: getting lost in an elevator, everybody’s got baggage, following your heart, and loving what God loves, Right Angles: A Women’s Devotional looks at things we women deal with on a daily basis.

This devotional will be on sale for 0.99 cents from July 25 – July 27, 2015. Available on Amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B011BJEK4K

You can also find more from Sherry Chamblee at www.sherrychamblee.weebly.com or her Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/authorsherrychamblee

 

Review – Miracles in Disguise

Typically, I’m not a huge fan of romance. It’s too – too romantic. I’m an action-movie kinda girl. Some of my favorite actors are Bruce Willis and Jason Statham – two actors who really know how to blow up a set. Not to mention that the latter looks good without his shirt (or with it, for that matter!), but hey, that’s beside the point, right? 😉

miracles-print5

Anyway – “Miracles in Disguise” by Michelle Brown is nothing like the cheesy romances you’re used to. She pulls no punches in the hard lives her characters are given.

You can run, but you can’t hide in this hard-hitting romance. The past is always waiting right around the corner.Kristina Talbot is on the road to a new life when she runs into her first obstacle, brought upon her by a broken-down vehicle. Nathan wants to be her knight in shining armor, but he doesn’t know just how much her dreams have been tainted. Before there can be a future for the two of them, they must first confront her dark past.

Come along with Kristina as she learns trust. Not every man is a bad guy; in fact, there is one man who very much wants to treat her like the princess he believes she is.

This is a wonderful story for anyone struggling to recover from a dark past. The characters are in-depth and accurately depict the face of abuse and how it affects victims. Kristina finds herself bound by what she has experience. And as much as he’d like to be, Nathan is no knight in shining armor. He faces frustration, annoyance, and confusion as he determines to understand her struggles. The characters are very human as they face an evil that has afflicted too many.

Well worth the read! (BONUS: This book is the first in a series, and it’s FREE!!)

Summer Reading List

School’s out! *cue groan* Just kidding. I love summer. Well, and my daughter’s a little too young yet to worry about school schedules anyway, so it’s just another day for me. 😉

Even so, I thought it would be fun to compile a reading list for the summer. Seems like it’s the common trend, right? Parents want their kids to keep up on reading, adults want to have a book at hand for the long road trips or lazy days out in the sun (wait, what’s that, right??). Well if you’re looking for your next summer read and you need some recommendations, check out this list! I’ve compiled my own reading list for the summer, pulling from various genres. There’s something for everyone here!

The Land of Flames, by Cynthia P. Willow (Website – Under the Willow Tree)

Book One in The Karini and Lamek Chronicles, this book is a must for every kid and young at heart. It presents as a light-hearted fantasy, while still focusing on emphasizing core values like family, love, and friendship. It even highlights the importance of looking beyond the appearance, with one of the main characters showing up as some strange (some call it grotesque; the poor guy gets teased horribly) unnatural creature. Despite his odd looks, he is one of the most lovable characters in the entire series. I recently finished the second book and will be moving on to the third shortly. This series is simple and easy for kids, with no alarming scenes for parents to worry about – in fact, the author notes that her main motivation for writing it was to give her kids a clean fantasy that they could enjoy, one that she didn’t have to worry about what appeared between the pages! The writing style is simple and easy to follow, perfect for young readers. My kid sister, who is an avid reader, literally read the book in just one day!

 

Scandalous, by Emily Dixon (Website – Misdirected Musings)

Here’s one for you adults. It’s marketed for women, but any man who has daughters or a wife or really, any female in his life, will do well to read it. The author pulls no punches here – she gets straight to the point in talking about sex, modesty (hint: it’s not a dress code), relationships, pornography, and pretty much anything else Christian women ought to know. It’s the kind of thing our parents should have brought up, but were too shy to mention. Emily Dixon certainly doesn’t get any points for being discreet here – but it’s all in a good, matter-of-fact, sit-down-and-talk with you sort of way. She’s open and frank, and some parts may even make you blush, but she does it in a way that makes you feel comfortable. None of it is for shock value, even if some parts do contain a significant shock factor. The information she discusses is gleaned from years of research, study, and even experience. It’s the kind of information she wishes someone had had the nerve to discuss with her years ago, before she found out on her own. I’m only partway through, but I’m already loving what she has to say.

 

Rancid, by Vicki Lucas (Website – Fiction on Fire)

This one is actually a sequel, but I’ve already read it, so this one’s next on my list. Check out my review for Toxic, the first book in this series. The series is fantasy, but where Cynthia Willow’s is about fairies and dragons, this one involves magic and sword fights. It’s also meant for an older audience – around adolescent age. Still definitely clean, but with deeper themes and mature concepts. It also delves into questions of faith, trust, growing up, loss, and friendship even with those who are different from you. I enjoyed the first book and look forward to getting this next one.

 

Sons of Earth, by Geralyn Wichers (Website – Children of the Words)

Technically, I’ve already read this one. But even so, it deserves mentioning. In this dystopian world, science has advanced enough to manufacture fully functional persons – clones, of sorts. They are the “grunts” of society – not even human. They are the servants, the disposable soldiers, the emotional robots of the human world. It’s a perfect system – until one escapes, and lives to challenge it. But, as the book blurb itself questions – “How can he take a stand against an industry that denies his personhood when he himself doubts his humanity?” This book closely examines humanity at its core, at what makes a person – what makes them unique, real. Someone with a soul. Are these “manufactured persons” really any different from the rest of humanity?

I’ll probably be adding to this list as the summer goes on, but with as little time as I have to read these days, this list will keep me busy for a while! Grab some lemonade (or iced coffee!), stretch out while the kids are busy running through the sprinkler, and try out some of these awesome reads!

Review: Toxic

Toxic, by Vicki Lucas

Genre: Faith-based fantasy

Toxic tells the story of three young people who are randomly (it would seem) chosen to save the world. None are warriors, or anything else you’d pick for a warrior. They were chosen of God, but all three question the faith – and in fact, one is even a sworn devotee of his goddess!

How these three quarrelsome people, who come from vastly different walks of life, learn to work together and cope with each other is as much a story as the story itself. The author does a masterful job of balancing their strengths and weaknesses. They argue constantly, but in between are spotlights of laughter and budding friendship. As they grow, they learn to question everything they know about both themselves and the world.

The three are in a race against time (and the evil Chancellor) to try and stop the poison that is slowly infecting the river and with it, the world. The reader is constantly pointed to God, so there is the reassurance that God is somehow in control in this mess, but there is enough setbacks and confusion that it keeps you guessing. Yes, the world will survive, but will the heroes survive? Yes, good will triumph, but how much will evil take down with it?

The story kept me guessing all the way through, even until the end. “Toxic” is faith-based fantasy, but it is very minor on the fantasy part. The story focuses more on the development of the characters, and how they manage to find the faith they never had.

There were a few editing errors I noticed, but not enough to damage the story in any way. I also felt that there were some loose ends that needed to be addressed, several unanswered questions when the book ended, but the author promises a sequel, so we’ll see how well that answers them!

When I looked through the book before reading it, I was greatly impressed by the formatting and design – something you’d see more from a publisher, rather than a self-published book. That’s a compliment! The cover design is impressive and striking, and the table of contents is, to say the least, unique – quite a feat of design!

If you’re in the market for an easy read, for a book that draws you in and makes you forget anything else, this is it.

For more from Vicki Lucas, check out her website!

The Liebster Awards!

Fellow blogger and writer Bethany Jennings kindly nominated me for this award!  Thank you, friend!!  Bethany blogs entertaining (and encouraging!!) thoughts about fantasy, faith, and her writing. She also partakes in a storytelling adventure known as the Hot Potato Story.

She explains the Liebster Award thusly:

“A Liebster is a ‘pay it forward’ sort of blogging chain mail. Liebster is German for some lovely traits such as endearing, welcoming, and valued. Those are kind compliments to pay via this nomination! It is also to encourage readers to discover new blogs.”

Here are the rules I am asked to post:

– Answer the 11 interview questions
– In that post, link back to the person who awarded you.
– Choose 11 other bloggers to award, focusing on those with 200 followers or below.
– Link to those bloggers in your post, then go and leave them comments to share the good news!
– Be sure to ask them 11 original questions.

So, here are the 11 questions Bethany asked me and her other nominees!  At the bottom I’ll tag some blogs and ask their bloggers 11 questions of my own. :)

The Questions

 

What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written?

That’s a hard one, I’ve done a few good ones. I think my favorite blog post might be this one about an autistic meltdown.

What makes your heart sing about your current WIP or creative endeavor?

I have a few in the works, and honestly it’s a toss-up on which one to pick. But since I’m not ready to publicly reveal my favorite, and the other one is giving me fits, I’ll pick out the other one – a project that tells the stories of kids with major medical difficulties, but in a creative way. More on that when I’m ready to make the announcement. But this endeavor is awesome, because it allows me to share these wonderful stories that I’ve gotten to know personally through my own daughter’s battle with cancer.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Ooh, that’s a hard one, there’s so many. I think I’d like telekinesis, or an elemental power like fire or water.

Where’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to, and why?

Hard choice. The ocean has always been my favorite, but I did just get back from a cross-country road trip that included both Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. I’d say Arizona, including the Grand Canyon and other amazing (but lesser-known) sites, probably tops my list.

Speaking of travel, what’s your favorite mode of transportation?

I like to think it would be a horse, something that I can just sit back and watch the world around me, not having to watch where I’m going. But since I’ve never actually ridden a horse, I think a boat would be my next choice.

What is your ideal dinner/supper?

Depends on the mood. I’m a total foody, so it can be anything from comfort food to our movie night special, or even an all-out meal of steak marinated in a wine sauce and a homemade pasta on the side.

What was the first story you ever wrote?

Oh geez, I’m supposed to remember? It’s been years. The first major story I wrote is a fantasy which has yet to see the light of day – and at the rate it’s going, it possibly never will. It’s that classic “wrote it when I was a teenager” kind of story.

Do you like poetry? If so, what kind?

I do, I enjoy both reading and writing it. My favorites are the ones that use contrasts and paradoxes, ones that seem to present one picture that actually turns out to be something completely different.

Tell me about a treasured childhood memory.

I’m not at all sure if it would be my mother’s favorite, lol, but there was one year it snowed just before Christmas. I lived in the Pacific Northwest, so this was a rare occurrence. Our apartments were fronted by a huge, flat hill – a kid’s dream. Especially when it snowed, and you could sled down the hill… using your coats… coats that were brand-new. We got ripped up and down for destroying our jackets, but I’ll never forget the amazing fun I had with my siblings.

Now tell me about a moment in your life that changed you forever.

The day a certain man came into my life, and later when he told me he loved me. He’s my husband now, and has changed my life in so many amazing and wonderful ways.

If you could become an expert in anything overnight, what would you choose?

Oh, I have so many interests, I’m not at all sure what to pick. It’s been my running goal to literally know everything there is to know in this world – a hobby that will keep me busy for a lifetime, I’m sure! But if I had to choose something, I think I’d go for health, fitness, and medical, because there’s so much to know that could be applied to our daily lives.

Now, here’s my questions for you!

1. How did you get started in writing?

2. How many books have you written?

3. If you could build a home anywhere in the universe, where would it be? (Whether just a regular suburb house, or assuming you could own a home under the ocean or on Pluto)

4. What is your favorite genre to read and/or write?

5. Who is one person who has influenced your writing more than any other? (Living or dead, fiction, historical, or someone you know, etc)

6. Who is your greatest supporter?

7. Favorite superhero group? (i.e., Avengers, Justice League, etc)

8. If you could own any invention out of all of history, what would it be?

9. Speaking of inventions, what would be one that you would like to own, assuming that anything is possible? (meaning that warp drives and light sabers and the Tardis can all be included!)

10. What is your favorite hobby? (Other than writing!)

The Nominees

I am passing this award on to these 10 fun bloggers!  Please feel free to pass it on and/or do the post or not, friends, however you feel inclined!

Cynthia Willow

Alana Terry

Mary Findley

Christina Simpson

Does it HAVE to be eleven? I’ll admit, I don’t follow many bloggers… already running out of options, lol.

Emily Dixon

Vicki Lucas

Rikki Strong

Geralyn Wichers

Annie Douglass Lima

Okay, that’s it. I’m out, lol. I know there’s more I could probably come up with, but it’s getting close to break time and my brain knows it – I’m fried. So, I’ll stick with that. Nine. I got nine. So, work with what you got, right? Now it’s your turn!

Rheban’s Entrance – Chapter 7 of the Chadwick Chronicles!

See CHAPTER SIX of the Chadwick Chronicles on Parker’s blog!

To start at the beginning, check out the character profile, where you’ll find links to the rest of the story.

Thrush was left with a choice. Take what he wanted now, or wait it out. That pesky gnome complicated things. She would make it difficult to get away. Rheban would certainly come and settle things, and in the chaos he could probably get what he needed and get away without too much trouble – IF that dragon let him.

And hey, it was possible, wasn’t it? The dragon wasn’t like other dragons, so he wouldn’t feel threatened by Thrush’s aims. He might even support it.

Might.

And that was the kicker. Which was the bigger threat – Bea, or the self-righteous dragon? Neither was an opponent to be underestimated.

Either way, things were going to get hot very quickly, in more ways than one, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to be around to face it. He liked his beard the way it was, thank you – that is, attached to his head, and not singed off by a dragon flame gone awry.

Thrush was drawn out of his musings when Chad leaped forward at Y’manya. The princess dodged, flipping backward to give herself room. She landed in a crouch several feet away, eyes focused warily on the hapless knight.

Thrush’s eyebrows raised. This was interesting. A knight versus a princess dragon guardian? He took a sip of his ale, brows knitting thoughtfully. He’d decided. He would sit back and wait, observing carefully to see what went on. It wasn’t his nature to jump into an open fight anyway, unless he had to.

The knight hesitated, as if unsure what to do. Thrush guessed that the boy was too much of a gentleman to take a swing at a woman, whoever she might be.

“Chaddie!” The sprightly gnome squealed from behind the boy, wringing her hands. “You need to break the curse!”

The knight – Chaddie – stiffened. Thrush shifted, curious. Whatever this curse was, it appeared to be giving this boy of a knight some guts.

“Princess, please…”

Thrush started, realizing that it was the first time he’d heard the knight speak.

Y’manya tensed as Chad stepped forward. “I don’t want to hurt you. You’re not in your right mind, Princess.”

Thrush rolled his eyes. Anybody could see that the woman was very much in control of herself. This boy was a greenie, all right. He would be easy to dismiss. But Y’manya – with the way she flipped over those tables a moment ago, she was no amateur. She moved like a woman who was her own weapon. She was well-trained, that was for sure.

His necklaces jangled as he reached up to toy with his beard. A dragon guardian who knew how to fight… and whatever did the dragons need her for, anyway? Dragon guardians were something of a tradition, but for what reason, Thrush could never guess. Anyone knew that unattended dragon eggs weren’t to be messed with – that is, if someone could even get near them, find a way around the stench.

His musings, and the tension simmering between the young knight and his princess, were both interrupted by a startling crash from outside. The other patrons of the tavern screamed and jumped out of the way of falling debris. A hint of smoke filled the air.

Thrush tense. He wasn’t expecting him so soon. He was hoping to be gone by then…

A scaly hand pushed aside the rest of what used to be the west wall of the tavern. The creature bent down, revealing deadly-looking horns, yellow eyes, and a long gray snout. “Bea Brightbolt!”

Out of the corner of his eye, Thrush noted as the spry gnome made a dash for a darkened corner of the tavern, just managing to slip out of sight before the dragon crouched down.

Rheban had arrived…

Then Entered Thrush – Chapter 3 of the Chadwick Chronicles!

Here’s our next installment for the Hot Potato Story – the Chadwick Chronicles! Follow the story of the hapless young knight, Chadwick, as he is sent on a mission to retrieve the troubled princess. If you’re new to the story, you can start with the character introductions here. Follow the links through to read the full story!

The previous chapter can be found on Parker’s blog.

Chapter Three – Thrush

The cup sloshed its contents as Thrush clunked it down on the table. “Cheap southern ale,” he grumbled. “From Gyrusk, no doubt.” He glowered in the direction of the barkeep, who had insisted that the drink had come from the “finest brewers of Hydan.”

Thrush took another drink and grimaced. This ale was definitely not from Hydan. The fine people of Aryx knew how to stiffen up a good brew.

Oh well. At least it was wet. It would do until he could get back near Hydan-town again.

The front door swung open and a young couple walked in. They were a rather mismatched pair, him in his sturdy leather armor and she dressed in the garb of the hills people. Except… except that the dark-skinned woman wore an intricately decorated sash around her waist. It seemed a little out of place from her homespun garments.

She stopped near the door to adjust something on her belt, while the young man continued on ahead. Thrush heard the bartender ask the knight his order. The young man simply opened his mouth and shut it again, gesturing helplessly.

Thrush chuckled, raising his cup to his lips. The “knight” was little more than just a boy, still fresh.

His attention was distracted when a sprightly little creature clambered up into the stool next to him. He studied her with uncloaked curiosity while she flagged the bartender and ordered her drink, a mellow mulled wine.

What was she doing here? The gnome was after some object to add to her collection, no doubt. Gnomes were always sneaky, had their own agendas. One could never trust a gnome.

The gnome suddenly turned to face him fully, her pigtails whipping her head. She regarded him openly, studying him up and down. Then, “My, you are a strong-looking fellow.”

He couldn’t help but chuckle. She kicked her short legs, scooting closer so she could place a hand on his arms. He looked down at her hand, so tiny against his thick build.

The gnome continued. “Let me introduce myself, good sir. I’m-”

He waved his hand. “I know who you are. Bea Brightbolt. The question is, what would the most sneaky gnome want with a mere dwarf?”

Bea’s hand darted back to her side as she huffed, pouting. He’d spoiled her fun, no doubt.

Finally, she recovered enough to point across the room, directly at the couple he’d noticed earlier. He smirked. “Ah, got yourself in a bit of a pickle, have you?”

The gnome glowered. It was almost comical, this child-sized creature giving him a death stare. “She wasn’t supposed to go with him! Not like that, anyway. He was supposed to be the knight rescuing her – and she was supposed to fight it! Not – not this happy little party!”

He guffawed, nearly spilling his drink. “So you need me to intervene?”

Her glower deepened. “She’s a dragon guardian.”

He straightened, all humor fleeing. A dragon… now that made things interesting! Suddenly, the belt made sense.

He ginned. “All right, you got me. But I’ll do it on my own terms, in my own time.”

He didn’t know what the gnome wanted with that woman, or what her agenda was, but it didn’t matter to him. He had only one goal in mind, and it didn’t involve that young couple.

 

Read the next installment (Chapter 4) of The Chadwick Chronicles

Introducing: Hot Potato!

What is a Hot Potato Story? It is a story that gets tossed from writer to writer before it gets too hot, so every week it will be tossed between myself and two other writers over our blogs. You can follow along here and be on the watch for hashtags #chroniclesofchadwick and #hotpotatostory on Twitter.

This week we are just introducing the main players. Each of us is in charge of one, and each of our characters has their own secret, their own ulterior motives. And guess what? We’re keeping secrets so none of us know what the others are up to. Mu ha ha ha!

So as writers we will be improvising, winging it, perhaps even trying to trip each other up with plot twists. It should get interesting for us. Does it sound interesting to you? You can check out the posts introducing the other characters from their virtual “homes.”

—  Bea Brightbolt  —  Y’manya  —  Rheban  —

Thrush Vonsel is a rakish sort of fellow, fairly traditional as dwarves go. All but for one aspect – unlike most of his kind, he doesn’t stick close to home. He hitched a ride on a gypsy cart as a tween and has been on the road since, but he still manages to maintain good connections with his family. However, no one quite knows what it is that he does.

He is average height for a dwarf, coming to exactly four and a half feet tall. His active lifestyle and constant travels keep him somewhat trim, but no amount of skipping meals can help his thick hands or wide shoulders – almost twice as wide as an average man. He wears loose leggings cinched around the waist with a braided leather girdle of his own design and a v-neck tunic, with the V cut halfway down his chest, which is covered with an odd collection of necklaces of various styles. His entire personal belongs are stored in a pack over his back, or in pouches attached to his belt. His hair and beard are thick but close-cropped and out of the way. He is handy with his hands and can wield most weapons, but his preferred weapons are a curved sword and a short dirk.

He hails from the region of Tairant, an open country of meadows, rolling hills, and jagged cliffs. The dwarves claim it as their own, but barrow-wights make their own claim, resulting in considerable clashes and tension between the two races. Contrary to popular belief, dwarves do not live deep underground or in mountains. Rather, they make a point of stating that they build the ground over their houses – something like a hobbit hole. They do, however, mine the hills around them. They are generally a close-abiding people, preferring not to travel too far from home.

And then one day, his travels take him across the path of a certain young man… Chadwick.

To continue, hop over to Heidi’s blog and read Chapter One!