A Guest Blog From “Cast of Stones” Author Patrick W. Carr
Top Ten Reasons This Book (and Series) is a Must Read
Okay. This is really tough. Most writers by nature are pretty solitary (i.e. private) folk and tooting our own horn is difficult. So, in order to make out this list, I chose to repeat what others have told me about my book, plus a couple that I added myself. So, let’s begin.
1. It’s fun! Yes, it has a lot of fighting and serious moments, but the tone of the book is warm and there are some laugh-out-loud moments. One of my favorite characters is Cruk. He has a very no-nonsense view of life, but a wit that’s as dry as the Sahara.
2. It’s fantasy! Think about it. The most fun we have at the movies is when we take something totally improbable and bring it to life. Think “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” If that’s not your style, then go with “The Avengers.” Fantasy means fun.
3. It’s principled without being preachy! There are themes within the book that everyone will love, because they are so universal. How many of us have ever felt judged prematurely, or perhaps we’ve felt worthless because we lacked a skill that others esteemed. “A Cast of Stones” will speak to all of us.
4. It can be read more than once! I used a lot of allegorical and symbolic references in putting together the world of “A Cast of Stones.” Many of the names and places have meaning if you have the curiosity to seek them out. The second time you read the book, you will notice things you didn’t see before, some serious, some funny.
5. It has something for everyone! There’s action, adventure, fantasy, romance, you name it. That’s the wonderful thing about fantasy; you can cover so many bases at once. Sorry, no vampires though.
6. It’s briskly paced! This tidbit came from publisher’s weekly. If you love to read fantasy, but have a hard time wading through the description, you’re in luck. My editors, rightly, forbade me to go over 135,000 words (think somewhere between “The Prisoner of Azkaban” and “The Goblet of Fire” if you’re a Potter fan). The upside is, this is a fast-paced book, especially for an epic fantasy.
7. It has characters that stay with you! When I wrote “A Cast of Stones” I put a note on my wall and in my computer. The note said “Everyone has secrets.” I wanted to create characters that were identifiable and memorable. So far, everyone has told me it worked and not everyone has the same favorite.
8. It will make the 2nd book much easier to understand! This is probably me being a bit compulsive, but I hate picking up a series in the middle. I’m always frustrated by what I think I’m missing. Hey, I’m just trying to help out.
9. You can be the one to recommend it to your friends (instead of the other way around)! Yes, here’s your chance to be a trend-setter. In all seriousness, I hope you’ll like it well enough to recommend it, but if you don’t, I’d like to know why. Shoot me a message and let me know what I could have done better.
10. There’s a mystery there! I’m kind of cheating on this one, because to unravel the mystery you’ll have to read all three books. There’s something interesting hidden in the structure. If you uncover it without anyone giving it away, it will be a rewarding experience.
A Cast of Stones
An Epic Medieval Saga Fantasy Readers Will Love
In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone’s search for a drink is interrupted by a church messenger who arrives with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Desperate for coin, Errol volunteers to deliver them but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he’s joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.
Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom’s dynasty is near an end and a new king must be selected. As tension and danger mount, Errol must leave behind his drunkenness and grief, learn to fight, and come to know his God in order to survive a journey to discover his destiny.
Errol swam until spots danced in his vision, his body begging for air. With a pair of strokes he surfaced like a fish breaking water, darted a glance behind before sucking air into his tortured lungs and diving again, away from the figure in black.
The sounds of his efforts and splashing filled his ears, prevented him from hearing the scream of an arrow. He forced his trembling arms forward, jerked them back to his sides. Only the movement of water against his face told him he advanced. The far bank was still thirty feet away. Violent chills rippled the water as his body fought to stay warm. His shaking limbs lurched into a parody of his usual stroke. Bolts of pain shot through his calves and thighs. His legs refused to move. They hung from his torso, dragged him down. He reached out, struck mud. One shaking hand at a time, he pulled himself forward.
At last he broke the surface. His hands clawed forward until they brushed against rough bark. They clutched the thin trunk, locking around it as if it were his last hope. Water drained from his ears and he listened for his attacker. Nothing.
Errol’s body convulsed with cold and he clutched at the sapling, straining to move, turn his head, anything. His muscles refused to obey. His hands clenched the tree, refused to let go.
Above and behind him the wail of an arrow began. He willed himself to let go, roll over, but spasms pinned him to the spot, left him helpless. The arrow’s scream grew, its pitch rising until its keening filled his hearing.
Errol sobbed, tried once more to move and failed.
He clenched his eyes against the blow.
Patrick W. Carr
Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.
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