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TOP 5 PLACES TO READ
by C. J. Perry
- In bed: I like to read to go to sleep. It’s a good way to relax in bed and let the stresses of the day vanish between the pages of a good book. Of course, sometimes that works against me. There are nights where I say, “Let me just read a chapter or two before bed.” Then I look up half-a-book later and realize I only have three hours before the alarm goes off. That’s okay, sleep is the cousin of death, why sleep when you can live?
- During class: Sure, it’s bad advice, but it’s how I read most of my favorite books in my teenage years. You’re sure to miss test questions and do worse in that particular class, but who uses the quadratic equation anywhere other than a classroom? (Not this guy.) It’s great for tuning out an annoying teacher (until you get caught) who is droning on about the importance of some nuance of mathematics, history, or something else you need to graduate college/high school.
- The toilet: Because what else are you really doing in there (aside from the obvious)? Depending on what lunch was, entire chapters can be read in this private throne in an enclosed room. Of course, there is the danger of numb legs and questions from your spouse/children/parents of “You Okay in there?” Just tell them, “Ayla is leading her people to freedom! I dont have time for your incessant badgering!”
- The Doctors office: Because their magazines are usually a year old and smell like someone else’s bathroom. If I read one more edition of Golf Digest or Psychology Today that smells like potpourri I think I will lose my mind. (Can you tell what kind of doctor I go to?) So instead of being subjected to your Doctor’s hobbies and pop-research, read Dark Communion on your Kindle App. You’ll thank me.
- On the way to work: No, I dont mean prop up your Kindle on the dash and rear-end a schoolbus. I mean an audiobook. Dont get me wrong, I love some of my morning talk radio. But when jokes about people from Florida and what’s trending on twitter get old, try an audiobook. (Like mine) I guess it’s not technically reading, but it’s as close as I can get at sixty miles an hour. You can listen to the first chapter of the Audiobook for Dark Communion on my Kickstarter page. (Just scroll to the bottom) http://kck.st/2cIkQQO
by CJ Perry
GENRE: epic fantasy
The minotaurs have kept Ayla and Deetra’s people in chains for 200 years. With nothing left to live for, and a death sentence in her womb, Ayla trades her soul for a chance to break the curse which holds her people in slavery. Armed only with her faith, she and Deetra start a revolution, and bring about the return of the Goddess of Darkness.
The woman’s lips curved up in a smile but no lines formed in her cheeks. She looked like a living statue, and not one bit like her mother.
“Who are you?” Ayla asked.
The stranger leaned over Ayla, resting her palms on the altar. Her voice took on a hollow yet resonant quality. Her breath suffused the air with a heady fragrance like scented oils.
“I am the dark corner that hides those in need. The eternal ruler of the Abyss.”
“You’re a God?”
“I was once their Queen.”
“Am I dead?”
The Goddess kissed Ayla on the forehead with cold lips. “You are at His doorstep.”
“Where’s my mom?”
“The dead cannot hear your pleas. I have come in her stead, my child.”
Ayla never believed in the Gods. And if they did exist, she wanted nothing to do with any who would leave their people in chains.
“I’m not your child.”
The woman grabbed Ayla under the jaw, fingers digging into her cheeks. Her icy eyes remained impassive but her voice lowered threateningly.
“You are the daughter of Steelhorn, the grandson of Tor, who is my son. I am not just your mother, but the mother of every woman born from a breeding cabin.” The Night Goddess let go of Ayla’s jaw. The closest brazier’s flame shone blue in the Her black tresses. “I have waded through the River of Dreams to answer your call, and this is how you thank me?”
“I’m dreaming?” Ayla asked.
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My deep and abiding love of fantasy began when I was six when I first saw the 1981 film Dragonslayer on VHS with my father. He loved fantasy movies too, but didn’t have the courage to be a dork about it like I did. That movie was a gateway drug that led me straight to the hard stuff – CS Lewis. I was far too young for such potency but by the time I was ten I had read the whole series. That’s when I found my first Dungeons and Dragons group. When I started playing, my friends and I used pre-made campaign settings and published adventures, but I quickly grew restless with their limitations and trite story lines. I needed my own persistent world: something adaptable to my whim and that no one else owned.
Back in my day, there was no internet, so I took out every book about castles and medieval history from the school library and read them in Math class (I’m still terrible at math as a result). I came up with an entire world and brand new history. I read books on cartography and hand drew maps of my new world. I created a cosmology, a hierarchy of gods, and the tenets of their religions. I read the Dungeon Master’s guide a dozen times, and every fantasy novel I could get my hands on.
Then, one day, I sat down and told my friends, “Hey guys, wanna try my story instead?”
Even 15 years after the original D&D campaigns ended, former players tell me that they share our incredible stories with their children. I’m honored to say that most of those players still have their original character sheets 16-20 years later, and a couple have even named their children after them.
Now, I’m 39 years old and a loving father of 2 girls, and I still play those games on occasion. My passion has evolved into putting those ideas and amazing stories on paper for the whole world to enjoy. My first novel took me and co-author DC Fergerson 10 years to write and topped out at 180,000 words. Being too long and too complex, I finally ended the project and took its lessons to heart.
I learned that Dungeons & Dragons did not translate well into a novel. D&D made for great times, but also for some meandering plot lines, pointless encounters, and poor character motivations. No matter how memorable some of the moments were, if I wanted anyone to read my story, I needed to learn a lot more about writing.
I threw myself into being a full time student of novel crafting. I read every book on writing by Dwight Swain I could find. I paid Chuck Sambuchino (Editor for Writer’s Digest) to critique and edit my older work. I took James Patterson’s Masterclass, went to college, and joined online writing communities. All the while, I read my favorite fantasy novels again, only this time with a mental highlighter. I reworked my stories, outlined them, and decided to start from the beginning.
Many, many years later, I am in the final edit and proofreading stage of Dark Communion, the first installment of the Shadowalker Chronicles. My role as a father of two girls heavily influenced the characters I’d known for over 20 years, shaping them into women that my own daughters could respect. My characters took on a depth and quality that brings them off the page and into the minds of readers, because they have become all too real. I was privileged enough to work on two careers at the same time to accomplish this feat – a fun-loving and involved stay-at-home dad, and a full time writer.