Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Chat with Abby Ryan

Do you love stories brimming with action and romance? Do you enjoy battles that pit good against evil? Do you fawn over complex characters whose gut-wrenching decisions could affect the lives of everyone in the realm? If so, pull up a chair and meet Abby Ryan, author of the YA fantasy series The Light and Dark Chronicles, which starts off with Orphan of the Shadows and continues with The Black Trinity, which releases February 5. The series chronicles the lives of the citizens of Aleunna, the most prominent of whom are Elon, the heir to the Aleunna throne; her adoptive siblings Zedikajah and Gwenhafar; and a trio of unsavory characters named Sheva, Albree, and Tarrek (the "Black Trinity") whose father is king of the dark land of Jasikx. 

First of all, tell us about your new novel The Black Trinity. 

The Black Trinity is sequel to my first novel Orphan of the Shadows and is full of danger, adventure, hope, music, and discovery.

The best way to describe it without giving it away is to just give you the backmatter: 

He could feel violence take control of his arms and legs. He felt his fingers brush the hilt of his dagger, but it wasn’t him touching it. He wasn’t telling his body to move. If anything, he was telling it to run.

All of a sudden, Tarrek felt a surge of evil wash over him. Darkness more powerful than any he had ever felt ran through his limbs. He couldn’t help but feel that something vital had changed in the realm, something between the balance of Light and Dark. If he’d known what Sheva and the others had just achieved, he would have known he was right… 

It’s been four months since Elon said her goodbyes to the streets and has taken up a life of never ending prosperity. Even though she is now an envy of others, her life is still not free of trouble. Enemies lurk at every turn, but not just during her waking hours. Every night now Elon is haunted by nightmares—awful visions of the future that may or may not come true.

In an effort to try and grant her peace, Elon’s adoptive brother, Zedikajah, soon convinces her to attend a summer program. It is at an art school in Hûloden Kingdom where summer romance is brewing and creativity runs deep. Sadly, even there it is not safe.

Darkness is plotting to take over the kingdom in a wave of terror and imminent death. However, they are also facing threats of their own. With a new enemy pursuing them, the Black Trinity may have more than the Light to fear. When even the hunter is being hunted, the chance of victory for Light and Dark is teetering briskly in all directions. 

What inspired you to start writing The Light and Dark Chronicles? 

God did. When I was little God gave me visions. He showed me the books I would write, and he filled me with a passion to do so. Now I am just so very connected with all the characters and the world itself. It’s all so real to me. I believe it’s that connection that keeps me writing. 

If you could have one character on your side during a battle, who would it be? 

AKANE! Everybody may think Kaj is the best fighter, but dude, it was Akane who made him that way. She’s very strong and intelligent, and she’s fast in the heat of battle. I would trust my life to her any day because of how strong her determination and sense of loyalty is. 

The world of Bratched has an intricate history, a variety of languages and cultures, and a belief system that mirrors Christianity. How long did it take for you to develop this world? What was the first thing you knew about Bratched? 

You forgot to say that the world has a plethora of intricate governments. Oh, I guess that’s because I haven’t really written about them. I just know the build of the government in Alëunná and Zégurkö and the Elves and the faeries and… yeah, stuff you probably don’t need to know, but me as the author just was curious enough to discover.

Okay, so how long did it take me to develop this world? Well I’ve been working on it for nearly 14 years now, and I’m still discovering new things about it! Like the tribes in Èlena that were inspired by our African tribes and the jungle in North Lèmuel that was inspired by my recent fascination with elephants and jaguars... Every time I write something new comes forth.

Let’s see, the first thing I knew about Bratched… I knew that it had a realm named Alëunná which had a kingdom named Ridgámá with a capital named Ridge Court. The very first story I ever started to write for the Light and Dark Chronicles took place in Ridge Court. If you’ve read the books now, though, I’m sure you’d notice we haven’t even been to Ridge Court. Honestly, I don’t know if we ever will go there anymore… It was just a part of the developing process for me. 

Do you have any writing quirks? 

I usually have to write in silence in a closed in space where no one can bug me.... And people better not disturb me for as long as I write or they may just get the evil eye... 

What are you working on now? 

I’m working on 0.2 A Twist on Reality. It is the second book in the prequel to Orphan of the Shadows in the Light and Dark Chronicles. It’s got about 3 chapters yet before it’s finished, but I haven’t been writing in general for about 3 months now. I’m actually focusing more on my singing and drawing/ painting abilities. I figured it was okay to take a break from writing since I had done it nearly nonstop since I was in junior high. (I’m 2 years out of high school now.)

When I do finish ATR, I want to finish Mistaken Identity, which is the sequel to The Black Trinity. I have about 6 chapters left on that. 

Do you have any events lined up where people can meet you and purchase your books? 

Not yet. Like I said, I’ve been taking a much-needed break from all this book stuff. But events will be trickling in soon. People can find updates about them on my website under the events page.

Sounds great, Abby! Thank you for taking the time to stop on by!

The Black Trinity may be ordered from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Parable Christian Stores.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Chat with Tosca Lee

Good afternoon, denizens of the Internet! With us today is special guest Tosca Lee, critically-acclaimed author of Demon: A Memoir and Havah: The Story of Eve and coauthor (with novelist Ted Dekker) of The Books of Mortals trilogy. Lee's upcoming novel, Iscariot, delves into the life of Judas, the betrayer of Christ, and will be released on February 5, 2013.

So tell us a bit about Iscariot. What was it like writing it?

It took a long time--about a year and a half to research and another year and a half to write and edit. By the time the books releases in just over ten days, it will have been nearly five years since my last solo release. I did write the Books of Mortals series during the last two years of that time, but overall, Iscariot was quite an undertaking. There was a lot of hair-pulling going on at my desk. :)

Your solo novels center around "maligned" characters from Biblical history. What draws you to these characters and makes you decide to tell their stories?

We're so fast to extoll the virtues of "good" characters in the Bible (while neglecting many of their shortcomings) and to condemn the actions of the maligned characters--without seeing our own foibles in them. All of these characters are important--they inform our redemptive history and reflect facets of ourselves. We might have been as brave as Abraham (and, at times, as foolish). We might have been as short-sighted as Eve (and as long-suffering). And we might have made the same decision as Judas.

Why is your prose so doggone beautiful?

LOL! You're so sweet. I love the rhythm of language. But trust me, it doesn't always come out that way on the first go. Every now and then I luck out. The rest of the time I work at it.

Many of your fans are aware of your passionate love affair with bacon. What would you do if all bacon suddenly vanished from the face of the earth?

<blink> Wonder if I'd been left behind.

If you could go back in time and meet yourself at a younger age, what one piece of advice would you give yourself in regards to writing or life in general?

I'd tell myself to keep writing. There were long lulls where I didn't write (other than random snippets, sketches, or notes for future stories). To not take things too personally or look to others for fulfillment, and not drink so much coffee.

Do you have any writing quirks?

I can't work if my kitchen is dirty or my counters are smudged. I feel better if my house is clean, my laundry is done, and the mail is sorted. This is all massive procrastination, though--there comes a point where order falls completely by the wayside and I'm just obsessed, running for the finish line. Maybe that's why every time I finish a project, I clean out all my closets, cupboards and drawers. Or it could be the OCD.

We know you're currently working on another project. Are you allowed to tell us about it yet, or would you have to kill us if you did?

I'm returning to the old Testament, to the feminine voice, and the City of David. Hints are on my Pinterest board. ;)

Ooh, sounds exciting! :) Anyway, thanks for dropping by to chat!

Tosca Lee can be found lurking at and Iscariot can be preordered here.

In Jesus, Judas believes he has found the One – the promised Messiah and future king of the Jews, destined to overthrow Roman rule. Galvanized, he joins the Nazarene’s followers; ready to enact the change he has waited for all his life. But soon Judas’ vision of a nation free from Rome is crushed by the inexplicable actions of the Nazarene himself, who will not bow to social or religious convention – who seems, in the end, to even turn against his own people. At last, Judas must confront the fact that the master he loves is not the liberator he hoped for, but a man bent on a drastically different agenda.

Iscariot is the story of Judas, from this tumultuous childhood to his emergence as the man known to the world as the betrayer of Jesus. But even more, it’s a singular and surprising view into the life of Jesus that forces us to reexamine everything we thought we knew about the most famous – and infamous – religious icons in history.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tell No One

I can tell no one who I am. What I am. Without being attacked by the wolves that surround me. I walk a fine line in the middle. I try not to stray. I am of one side, yet also the other, and neither group can understand, for I disagree with both as well.

Stop the name-calling. Stop the hurting. A house divided against itself cannot stand. "We are not of the same house," the wolves say, though they are.

Or aren't they?

Oh, it hurts. To see such division. To hear such hatred coming from those who claim to profess love. "Burn in hell, heathens!" both sides cry out, unwilling to look into the mirror of their own souls. And yet I wonder: if both are heathens, then what am I?

I am nobody. I am all and I am nothing. I am something. But no one will ever know, because I can step away from the line and blend into either crowd, walking silently, unnoticed, because I do not speak and they cannot hear that I am different.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Two years ago this February, I set up the page Because authors are supposed to have Facebook pages, right? I wasn't sure what would happen. I think that in the beginning I assumed that thousands of people would be clambering to "like" this page despite the fact that I was a new author whom no one had ever heard of.

But it wasn't like that at all. The first people to join me here were friends and family. People whom I know personally. But then something began to happen. Slowly, over time, new people began showing up. Some of them were bloggers. Some of them were other authors. Some of them were people who enjoyed their "journey" through the portal so much that they wanted to drop on by to see what else I might have in store for them.

Now there are 424 of us here. I've gotten to know some of you personally, and it's been great having your support in my own "journey" of writing. You all are wonderful people, and I thank you for being here.

When we reach Lucky Number 500, I would like to show my appreciation for you all by giving away a copy of both The Land Beyond the Portal and Vapors, my two published works. But ONLY when we reach 500. Do you know what this means? It means I am putting you to work. That's right. In order to get to 500, I need YOU to share this page ( with your fellow bookworms encouraging them to join. Share it on Facebook. Share it on Twitter, Goodreads, and Blogger. You can even share it in your company break room. Think you can do it? (It might help to remind your fellow bookworms that liking the page will vastly increase their odds of winning said books.)