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Writing for a Cause

Writers are a passionate bunch. We spend years of our lives dedicated to writing, re-writing, editing, re-editing, and marketing our stories, with little expectation of a significant financial return. We love it, even though at the end of the day most of us are probably making about two cents per hour! We write because we just can’t contain our imaginations, and the worlds and characters welling up inside us need a place to go. It gets unbearably crowded in there otherwise. Sometimes writing is our best form of self-expression, too, and through our stories we learn how to deal with our own internal conflicts.

There are also times when we write for a greater cause—a meaning that extends beyond our creative passions and into the real world. For the past year, 10 writers have been working hard to put together a fantasy book called The Realms Beyond, hoping their stories will help raise money for the June E. Nylen Cancer Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

The project was envisioned by a young, upcoming author, KJ Hawkins, who had just lost her grandmother to pancreatic cancer. When I asked her how the idea for the book came together, she replied, “In many ways I felt like I needed to do this to help with my grief, but realized that my grammy would have wanted me to use what I was good at to leave a mark on the world. And I couldn't think of anything better than to help those families fighting for their loved ones by putting together a book with the sole purpose of bringing them aid.”

When KJ Hawkins asked me if I’d be interested in participating, I was happy to say yes. My own grandfather died of pancreatic cancer, and other members of my family have been cancer survivors. I can imagine that all the participating authors share this connection in one way or another, and that many of the readers will too. Today pre-orders for the book have started, with the official release date scheduled for April 2017. It’s a project I’m thrilled to be a part of, and I hope that through it many lives will be touched in a positive way, readers and beneficiaries alike. Ten of us have come together to write for a cause—you can help too by reading for a cause. All of the proceeds from the book will go to the June E. Nylen Cancer Center.

Participating Authors and Included Works/Sub-Genres:
Allison D. Reid -- Into the Shadow Wood (Christian Fantasy)
Ali Cross -- Blood Crown (Sci-fi/New Adult)
Artemis Crow -- Leona's Descent (Fantasy)
D.B. Mauldin -- The Chosen One (Young Adult/Fantasy)
Fiona Skye -- Tools of the Dragon (High Fantasy)
KJ Hawkins -- Half-Blood Academy Short Story Collection (Young Adult/Fantasy)
Melissa Barker-Simpson -- Badge of Honor (Adventure/Fantasy)
Renee Scattergood -- Makari's Mission (Dark Fantasy)
Samantha Bryant -- The Good Will Tour (Superhero/Fantasy)
V.L. Holt -- 97 (Young Adult/Paranormal)

Tired of the same old fantasy creatures? Medieval legend is full of bizarre beasts that can make for great inspiration for your fantasy story.
The parandrus (or tarandos) was a beast the size of an ox, with long, dark hair, and the antlers of a stag. It was able to hide itself by changing its appearance to blend in with its surroundings. It is unclear if this creature was supposed to pose any threat, or if its exotic nature and abilities were merely a curiosity. How would you portray something like the parandrus in your stories?
Cancer devastates not only those who are diagnosed with it, but their families and friends as well.

With so many people touched by this disease, ten fantasy authors came together to create The Realms Beyond. Their works of inspiration will benefit those facing the hardest battle of their lives.

Enjoy exciting works of fantasy in a variety of sub-genres while supporting an important cause.

All proceeds go directly to the June E. Nylen Cancer Center.
Pre-Order your copy today!

One of the reasons we have such difficulty self-editing is that our brains tend to auto-fix our mistakes, showing us what should be there rather than what is. Here's some confirmation that it's true! Can you read this?

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Our brains really can do amazing things! Check out the full post on my blog, shared from Chris the Story Reading Ape.

Get inspired by Fantasy Art Wednesday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing!

In my book series there are monks who have hidden themselves in secret underground libraries. They are preserving the ancient spiritual and historical texts of their world, studying them, copying them, memorizing them. They are desperately searching for answers that will help humanity fight against an enemy that seeks to destroy and enslave every living thing. Some of these monks have not emerged from hiding for many years. They are safer that way. The enemy would love nothing more than to destroy them and the knowledge they keep. For these monks, the outside world represents both danger and a distraction from their unique role in history. They have gladly given up any claim to a normal life, even a typical monastic one, in exchange for something far greater.

This image took me deep into one such hidden library, where in a dimly lit room, a monk eagerly reads sacred texts by a stump of candle. Day and night have no meaning. Neither does time. Has it been months, or years? And does it really matter, so long as the work continues? There is only here, and now; a single flame for light, and the smell of parchment and old leather bindings.

With the absence of all other distractions, nothing exists but the contents of each tome as its words come to life behind the reader's gaze. Descriptions of verdant forests, fragrant fields, and rushing water become all the more vivid, leaping from the page with a life of their own. Here in the dark, they become more real than the living world far above. The monk can feel a fresh breeze against his skin, even though the stale air around him is motionless. The spray from a waterfall leaves beads of water on his worn woolen robe, and the candle's flame burns his eyes like the blazing sun. He shields them protectively and continues on his journey, slipping into another place, another time, as easily as if his hand was the one that had scribed the words on the page before him. He can bear this life of isolation because the trueness of his vision has the power to sustain him. Through the tomes, he sees the world, not through the eyes of a mortal man, but through those of the Creator who brought it into being. Not as it is now, but as it was meant to be from the beginning. After such an experience, nothing else compares...and nothing else will satisfy.

What about you? What visions come to you as you gaze upon these pages, lit up by nothing but a small stump of candle? What world are you transported to, and what will you find once you get there?

Artwork: “Lost in a Story” by Glenn Porter

Learn More About the Weekly Fantasy Fix Authors!
Joshua Robertson is a dark fantasy author who enjoys challenging the concept of good and evil.

His bestselling novel, Melkorka, is one of three books currently available in the Thrice Nine Legends saga. 

Click to learn more about Joshua...
Allison D. Reid is a Christian Fantasy author with a fondness for Medieval history.  Her first published series, the Wind Rider Chronicles, embraces traditional fantasy elements but is also infused with deeper spiritual themes. The first book, Journey to Aviad, is now free in ebook format everywhere.

Listen to a live interview with Allison!
Renee Scattergood writes Dark fantasy and is currently publishing a serial called, Shadow Stalker. She is also working on the first novel in her series, A God's Deception. The first novel in the series is due out late 2016 or early 2017.

Read more about Renee.
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