Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, December 8, 2014

"Love is what binds us in brotherhood, blinds us from hate, and makes us soar with desire.” - Feast of Fates (Four Feasts Till Darkness #1) by Christian A. Brown

Published: September 9th, 2014


"Love is what binds us in brotherhood, blinds us from hate, and makes us soar with desire.”

Morigan lives a quiet life as the handmaiden to a fatherly old sorcerer named Thackery. But when she crosses paths with Caenith, a not wholly mortal man, her world changes forever. Their meeting sparks long buried magical powers deep within Morigan. As she attempts to understand her newfound abilities, unbidden visions begin to plague her--visions that show a devastating madness descending on one of the Immortal Kings who rules the land.

With Morigan growing more powerful each day, the leaders of the realm soon realize that this young woman could hold the key to their destruction. Suddenly, Morigan finds herself beset by enemies, and she must master her mysterious gifts if she is to survive.

Creating Compelling Irresistible Characters 

Artists are the soul of our society. The ones that influence as well as reflect — in language or other mediums — the morality, beauty and ugliness of our world. Writers, specifically, hold great power. Look to Stalin, Steinem, Nietzsche, Woolf and countless other literary exemplars to see that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Writers hold influence, whether we accept this responsibility or not. Now, assuming that we do embrace it, bearing in mind that not everyone needs to, we then need to look at the finer points, the invisible moral signals behind our writing. What messages do our characters convey? How are we influencing our readers? For better or for worse? Depending on your politics and beliefs, the answer to that question will vary. For the purpose of this dialog between you and me, let’s assume that you’re in my camp: valuing freedom above oppression, with a mix of liberal and conservative opinions. 

When I write heroines and heroes, I write them based on the role models that I’ve known in my life. Strong, but suffering moments of weakness. Brave, but not unflappable or made of iron. Smart, but not so smart that they’re annoying know-it-alls. You know, relatable, believable folks. Write a believable character, and you’ve won half the battle with getting people to like your book. These characters are the folk I’d like my children (whenever I’m blessed with having them) to hang out with. One of the reasons why I write such characters, and focus in particular on developing my female leads beyond stereotypes, is because I am quite tired of the tropes in current literature, especially young adult novels. I understand my influential role and I want to broadcast a different message. I think that there are better things to educate our youth on than love triangles and falling in lust with mysterious, broody, possibly vampiric strangers. In fact, those are probably two things that people can safely avoid until a few drunken nights in their early 20s — though that’s just my opinion and personal experience. 

Since I only have 750ish words, I best be gettin’ to some kind of a point. Points, rather. Here they are: 
  • I believe that we (writers) have influence — an extremely powerful form of it, since we actually get inside peoples’ heads. A bit scary when you think about it! A novelist creeping around in there! 
  • I believe that this — great — power should be used responsibly. As per Superman’s guidelines. 
  • If you want to write within the norm, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. People need simplicity and comfort; they do not always need challenge and change. If everyone were a revolutionary, we’d have no stability. All I would ask, writer to writer, is that you are aware of what you are writing, and to whom you are writing. 
  • If you, like me, aren’t a fan of the stereotypes being propagated in modern fiction: change the dialog. Blog about it. Write women (and men) whose lives you envy — not because of their fabulous Prada wardrobe, their Kardashian comeliness, or the dozen beaus chasing them — but because they are damn well fascinating people. For example, women working outside their prescribed skillset; explorers, warriors and scientists, who retain all the wonders and grace of their sex. 

Men and women are different, yes. Although beyond certain biological particulars, they aren’t as emotionally different as we railroad them into being. We all love, hurt and need. We all have the same emotions, and if we could somehow strip away the pretence, and the generations of enforced “masculinity” and “femininity”, we’d find a near perfect commonality. We’d find some really interesting people, which is what we want to write. That’s probably not going to happen anytime soon. Until that Star Trekian era, just write stronger leads: male, female, horse and circus monkey. Write heroes and friends for our children. The world has enough Mary Sues and Sir John the Knights. We know those roles, and many are sick of them, only we’re so inundated in stereotypes that we don’t realize this is the case. 

Grand ambitions? Empty bluster? I know that I’ve thrown my feet—and ideals—to the fire of my readers. I’ll let them decide. 

Morigan took the bracelet.

“I accept your offering.” The Wolf’s face lit and she thought that he would leap at her. “Yet first, I have a request.”

“Anything, my Fawn.”

“I would like to see…what you are. The second body that shares your soul. Show me your fangs and claws,” she commanded.

Perhaps it was the steadiness of her voice, how she ordered him to bare himself as if he belonged to her that made the Wolf’s heart roar to comply. He did not shed his skin but for the whitest moons of the year, and even then, so far from the city and never in front of another. In a sense, he was as much a virgin as she. With an unaccustomed shyness, he found himself undressing before the Fawn, confused for a speck as to who was the hunter. The flare of her nostrils, the intensity of her stare that ate at him for once.

I have chosen well for a mate. She is as much a Wolf as I, he thought, kicking off his boots and then shimmying his pants down to join the rest of his clothing. No bashful maiden was Morigan, and she did not look away from his nakedness, but appreciated what she saw: every rough, hairy, huge bit of him.

He howled and fell to all fours. Bones shifted and snapped, rearranging under his skin like skeletal gears. From his head, chest and loins, the soft black hair thickened and spread over his twisting flesh. His heaving became guttural and sloppy, and when he tossed his head up in a throe of agony or pleasure, his beard had coated his face, and she noticed nothing but white daggers of teeth. Wondrously Morigan witnessed the transformation, watched him swell with twice the muscle he had possessed as a man, saw his hands and feet shag over with fur and split the soil with black claws. Another howl and a final gristle-crunching shudder (his hindquarters snapping into place, she thought) signified the end of the change.

Her dreams did not do Caenith justice. Here was a beast twice the size of a mare with jaws that could swallow her to the waist. Here was a monster that had stalked and ruled the Untamed. A lord of fang and claw. The birds and weaker animals vanished, knowing a deadly might was near. Around her, the Wolf paced; making the ground tremble with power; ravishing her with his cold gray gaze; huffing and blasting her with his forceful breaths. While the scent of his musk was choking, it was undeniably Caenith’s, if rawer and unwashed.

Morigan was not afraid, and was flushed with heat and shaking as she slipped the bracelet on and knelt. She did not flinch as the Wolf lay behind and about her like a great snuffling rug and placed his boulder of a head in her lap. No, she stroked his long ears and his wrinkled snout. A maiden and her Wolf. Soon the birds returned, sensing this peace and chirping in praise of it. And neither Morigan nor the Wolf could recall a time—if ever there was one—where they had felt so complete.

About the author:
Christian A. Brown has written creatively since the age of six. After spending most of his career in the health and fitness industry, Brown quit his job to care for his mother when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2010. 

Having dabbled with the novel that would eventually become Feast of Fates for over a decade, Brown was finally able to finish the project. His mother, who was able to read a beginning version of the novel before she passed away, has since imbued the story with deeper sentiments of loss, love, and meaning. He is proud to now share the finished product with the world. 


Unknown said...

The cover is beautiful and the book sounds wonderful. Would love to read this. Thanks for the chance.

Heather said...

I love the excerpt, hope to read.

Unknown said...

This book sounds really good:)

smiles said...

The book stuff is all great, but what I really like in this post is the guest post. It's true that authors have a pretty powerful job, creating books that get into people's heads. Books are a great way to push the changes you'd like to see in our society out into the world. If a person reads enough content like it, there's a chance you're tweaking their personal thoughts on the matter. I like it :)

Unknown said...

I would really love to read this book. My kindle broke so I am sooo glad it is an actual book. Thanks for the chance!