So, I look back at the last four Mondays, wondering how the guest blogs went and what do I see? Nothing? What happened to those big stars who promised to blog? Stephenie? Stephen? Dan? John? You all bailed on me? That's it, you’ll just have to find a way to make vampires smooching, horror, conspiracies, and lawyers successful on your own.
That's right, Mr. King, laugh it up. Until you see how your next book sells without the power of the frog behind you!
Actually, I do apologize for being missing in action the last few weeks. I’ve been pushing hard to finish Land Keep
in time for a September release. The good news is that it is done. Hurray! And I really think this may be the best book I have ever written. Here’s a quote from someone who just finished it. “Seriously that was amazing such a cool battle. although part of me wonders how the next book can be better :) It really so much better than the first book and the first book was great.”
So yay! Now I can finish the next Shandra book (which is very nearly done), a couple of other projects, and get back to reading as well. Speaking of reading, I had the chance recently to read Bone Warriors
, a fantasy debut by Bron Bahlmann an author and friend I met for the first time several years ago.
I have to admit that when I agreed to read Bone Warriors
, I did it for two reasons. One was that his mother, Shirley Bahlmann, is a good friend and wonderful author. The second reason was that I wanted to see what a fifteen-year-old could pull off. Let me clarify, this is not an author who started writing the story when he was fifteen, this is an author who is fifteen, right now, with his first published book in hand. He started writing the story when he was eleven.
Do you remember what your writing was like when you were eleven? Was it even remotely publishable? Mine was not. So I went into the story with both curiosity and trepidation. What I found was writing like this:
Two huge figures lumbered out from a copse of dark trees. Each walked into the meadow on two thin legs beneath bodies that were twice as tall as a man and three times as broad. The bone men appeared to be scarlet lacework gone horribly wrong, with wide spaces between woven sections. Wobbling skulls sat on top of the bone skeletons and turned with quick jerks to find bodies to stack in their giant arms like sodden firewood. Only when the sun buried itself beneath the horizon did the monstrous bodies gleam sickly white in the moonlight. The bone golems’ jerky movements came from a random attachment of bones. Never stopping, they used their strangely fitted joints to silently carry out the grisly task until not a single body was left in the trampled meadow. Then the golems deserted the bloody battlefield, disappearing beneath the dark trees with their grisly burdens.
Cool stuff, huh? I finished Bone Warriors
in a day, and really enjoyed it. It’s an exciting read that fantasy lovers young and old will enjoy. It is creepy enough to raise shivers and exciting enough to keep you reading late into the night. I completely enjoyed the characters and have passed it on to my sons to read.
It’s not perfect. There are mistakes. But they are very small things like word usage or things that an editor should catch—many long paragraphs that should be broken, starting too many paragraphs in a row with the name of the protagonist (Derik did this, Derik did that), using the same word too close together, etc.
But the story itself is outstanding enough that you quickly stop noticing any errors. Great characters, lots of action, plenty of intrigue. The ultimate complement an author can receive is that the reader forgets who the author is and gets lost in the story. This was absolutely the case here. Bron writes a great tale, that I thoughly enjoyed reading and I suspect there are many more to come from him.
So I asked him if we could do a little Q&A. Here are his answers.
1) How old are you really? You know you can’t be fifteen and publishing your first book, because that’s just not fare. So fess up.
Okay, you all caught on, so I'll confess, I'm actually 15 1/2 years old. Sorry for misleading you.
2) Give us the background on how this book came to be.
The book came to be when I mixed one dream with 3 years of hard work and a coating of imagination. (I had the dream when I was 11, and finished the book at 14.)
3) Why fantasy?
I've always loved fantasy because it lets me make the story any way I want and lets me share my dreams with others.
4) Exact moment you found out your book had been accepted. How? Reaction? Celebration?
It was honestly one of the happiest moments in my life. My grandma and two aunts and several cousins brought over pizza and a cake that read, "Congratulations!" and we had a surprise party. I felt excited and relieved. (When the books came out, I gave them each one for free. I mean, it was worth it for pizza and cake!) I also felt a new urge and power to finish the rest of my books.
5) How have your friends at school reacted to you being a published author?
There have been a lot of different reactions. Most people start with a disbelieving reaction. "Really?" and "You're kidding!" are among the most popular. After they realize it's true, they move on to a type of greed mixed with envy and excitement. It's then that they ask how much money I make. They are lowered back down to disbelief when I tell them I only make about 45 cents per book. My best friends are very supportive, though.
6) Do you find beautiful women, other than your mom, following you around asking for an autograph or phone number?
Only a couple so far, but I'm actually hoping the number of girls stays minimal. (I don't like the smell of ammonia, which is what it takes to bring them around.)
7) What’s next?
Next is to work as hard as I can plus a little more to finish my next book and still keep my grades up!
Thanks, Bron! Can't wait to read the next one.
It is available in many bookstores and on-line from Amazon