Jason Tesar's Blog

December 1, 2014

It has been an amazing experience jumping back into the prehistoric world of the Wandering Stars. Though it involves the same underlying concepts as The Awakened, this series is closer in historical proximity to the events that launched this whole epic saga. So in that sense, it's a more direct application of the subject matter. If you can imagine The Awakened series as a tree, the Wandering Stars would be the soil beneath it.
As the author, I already had a firm grasp on this "back story" before I even wrote the first line of Awaken His Eyes. But knowing something at a conceptual level and fleshing it out on a computer screen are two very different experiences. The process of building cultures and tearing them down again, creating characters and pitting them against each other, adds a richness and depth to the story that I hadn't even felt before. It's been enlightening to get my hands dirty with the origins of my own characters and the larger plot.
My hope for you, the reader, is that you'll thoroughly enjoy submerging yourself in this fictional past while keeping one eye on the future. Like reading the scene in The Hobbit where Bilbo finds the Ring, I hope you'll enjoy this story not only for what it is but also for where it is going. 
A few other things worth mentioning ...
If you've found yourself finishing my other novels too quickly, you'll be happy to learn that Manifestation is about 40% longer than my previous novels. But if I've done my job correctly, this one will still end sooner than you want it to.
Most of this book, like my other novels, would be rated PG-13 if it were a movie. However, there are a few scenes that are not suitable for younger readers and would be rated R. These scenes are critical to the overall story, so I had to include them. But I wanted to mention it so it doesn't come as a shock later on.
OK. Enough of that. Let's get on with the show! Scroll down to check out the cover art and read the description. Then visit the Amazon page and download your Kindle copy.
As I've said before, writing for a living is a dream come true. And I couldn't do it without your amazing support! Thanks for reading my stories. I hope you enjoy this one.
- Jason Tesar

P.S. If you don't own a Kindle, you can either download the Kindle reading app for your device or wait for the other versions coming soon.


Captivity has left its wounds, and the peace that Sariel fought to obtain is slipping from his grasp. To answer the questions plaguing his mind, he must seek out his former allies. But what he discovers is a task left undone, a coalition standing in his way, and revenge far beyond his new limitations.
The gods are dividing the earth into kingdoms. As they build an alliance upon a foundation of shared resources, a new evil is manifesting—rising from the aftermath of their rebellion. It has the power to upset this fragile equilibrium and cover the earth in darkness. With enemies on every side, Sariel must weigh the cost of a promise against the value of his own life, leading him to an unthinkable decision.
The battle for independence from the Eternal Realm may be over, but the war for the Temporal Realm has just begun.
In volume two of the Wandering Stars series, Jason Tesar’s fantasy epic spreads across a prehistoric landscape in a clash of civilizations that will alter the course of human history and give rise to mankind’s oldest legends.
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Published on December 01, 2014 07:40 • 15 views

November 12, 2014


Get your copy today from Audible, iTunes, or Amazon
The collaborative process of creating an audiobook was both fun and enlightening. While I knew there was more to it than just reading aloud, I learned that translating a written work into another medium requires a whole new approach … and a different skill set! Fortunately, I teamed up with a talented professional who is passionate about what he does. It has made all the difference. My first piece of fiction has been in good hands, and the result is something I'm now proud to offer to audio listeners. 
So, to celebrate the release of my first audiobook, I did a short Q&A session with the narrator, James Norwood, so you could get to know a little bit about him. Enjoy!
—Jason Tesar

How did you get into the profession of audiobook narration?
I have a background in theatre as a former drama major, high school drama director, and community theatre actor. As an English teacher I LOVED reading aloud to my students, and as a father I read every night to my children. I was an educational technology entrepreneur and started an internet-based training company that went on to be very successful. One of the things I did in my company was narrate several thousand video software training tutorials. So, I have a background and interest in recording technology as a communications teacher, entrepreneur, and as a would-be musician. Mix everything up for years and years … sell my company … and one day a light bulb turns on and I think, “I bet I could take a stab at narrating books.”
In what ways does your previous experience affect how you approach fiction?

As a former English teacher and a frustrated novelist, I’ve spent a lot of time studying and teaching character development. I think I have a pretty good understanding of the roles that various characters are playing in a story. I look for “archetypes.” The actor and director in me wants to take a stab at bringing characters to “life.” I have a shelf of books about how to write books, so I’m very envious of people who can actually put it all together. In that light, I just have to speak the words “trippingly on the tongue.” To interpret. I already know what I’m supposed to say.
Do you use professional recording equipment (hardware and software)?

It is hard to say anymore what “professional” recording equipment is, since the level of what would have once been “amateur” equipment has been elevated quite a bit. I use a combination of commercial and open-source software for recording, editing, and mastering. I try to find tools that are intuitive and comfortable to work with. I use a MacBook Pro as a recording station, a decent USB microphone (shock mounted), and recently purchased a portable sound booth, so that I can pretty much set up anywhere. Software tools like “Audacity” are invaluable for mastering, but it really takes a chain of several programs to record, edit, master, and prepare the final files.
How extensive is the process of getting to know the story? Did you read the whole book first, or take it one scene at a time?

I don’t necessarily read the entire book before I begin narrating. I’m not sure if that will change over time … there is something to be said for knowing everything. From a practical standpoint, I like to read far enough ahead to have a good sense of where the story is in its development, but I like the “freshness” of not really knowing everything that is going to happen. It keeps me on my toes. As a reader, I love falling in love with certain characters, learning to hate others, and honestly being curious about how it is all going to turn out. So … at any given point I’m well ahead of where the listener is, but I may be as mystified as anyone about how it is all going to end. When it all balances out, it is a delicious experience.
What is your method for creating a unique sound for each character? And how do you keep track of them all?

I’m still working on figuring that all out! Actually, from a creation standpoint I spend a lot of time driving around in my truck talking to myself. I have a habit of trying to duplicate whomever is speaking on the public radio station. Sometimes I try to think of a famous actor or character, and use their performance as a mental shorthand to bring a voice to mind. I keep track of characters by cutting and pasting snippets of speech into individual character files on my computer. If I haven’t voiced a character for a while, I pull up the sound file for him or her and give it a listen to put myself back in that mind space. I get to know primary characters fairly quickly, but I admit I have to watch for “character creep,” where a character’s voice begins to migrate over time and becomes something different.
Were you nervous about giving a “voice” to characters that fans had already come to know?

To this point, I’ve been a little ignorant of what people already expect a character to sound like, other than to say that the author is the best guide. If the author hears a character as “kind of like so-and-so in that movie,” then I’d probably better capture some of that essence. I’m here to serve the author, and the author is there to serve the fans. So, “nervous” wouldn’t really capture the feeling. It is more a sense of respecting and honoring the author’s intent. I haven’t had to voice a character that has already been voiced in audio or video. THAT would be intimidating!
You’ve only read the first book of The Awakened series at this point. Do you have any favorite characters already? If so, which ones … and why do they appeal to you?

I love Saba. I’m not sure I’ve really captured him to my satisfaction, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the wise old sage! I like when I get to hear him speak with others. Gursha was fun. At the other end of the spectrum, I like voicing Ukiru, even though I don’t actually “like” him. But there are times where his voice comes very easily and I can actually see him.
In reality, you’ve translated a novel into a different medium. What unique contributions have you brought to this fictional universe?

I like the idea of making movies for the mind. I guess I bring an honest love of stories. I’ve devoured quite a bit of science fiction and fantasy in my life, and studied Joseph Campbell’s works about character archetypes. I have a fair bit of experience as an actor and narrator. I have a knowledge of the technical side of things. I think that “teacher-actor-technician-fan” is a pretty strong combination for this kind of work, and fairly unique.
Overall, how would you describe this experience?

My enjoyment of narrating has exceeded my expectations. I worried that it might become rote or boring to get through an entire book, but in truth every day is different, and that is interesting. There are elements that are just plain work: remastering or quality checking an 8 hour book is going to take … guess what … more than 8 hours. The complexity of what you have built up over time sneaks up on you. But, overall, it is very satisfying and enjoyable. It’s also great for starting conversations in social situations. “So, what have you been up to lately?” “Me? I tell stories.” “Really? Tell me about that …”
What’s your next project?

I’ve been lucky enough to create relationships with two authors who both have a fan base, and a series of books to narrate! So, I’m starting on Book 2 of the Awakened series (Paths of Destruction), and I’m well into the first book of the “Abercrombie Trail” series (four books so far) by Minnesota author Candace Simar. It is a series of historical fiction works that involve Norwegian immigrants to Minnesota at the time the Civil War breaks out, and the “Sioux uprising” that occurred in and around Minnesota. I live and work from Minnesota, so I have a natural interest in those stories. Jason and Candace are very different in age, subject matter, and approach to writing, but both with stories that are fun to read and a challenge to bring to life as a narrator! (Just try voicing half a dozen male Norwegian immigrants speaking together in a single chapter!) How lucky am I that I get to live in both of these fictional worlds for a while longer … I’m far enough into Paths of Destruction that I REALLY want to know where it goes: I’d better do some recording so I can read the rest! Delicious.
__________
Get your audio copy of Awaken His Eyes today from AudibleiTunes, or Amazon
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Published on November 12, 2014 07:17 • 15 views

August 14, 2014

This is an excerpt from The Making of Incarnation: A Reader's Companion, available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Smashwords.


In the years before I started writing the first book of The Awakened series, I spent many hours imagining the backstory. Inspired by the methodology of J.R.R. Tolkien, who created entire cultures starting with their languages, I imagined the angelic realms and what the lives of these mysterious creatures might be like. I thought about sound waves being transmitted through different environments and whether language meant the same to them as it does to us. By the time I started planning Incarnation these imaginings had grown into a full-blown desire to create my own languages for all of the angelic and human races. Here is something I wrote in a notebook during that time:Spoken Language: The language of the angels is a complex arrangement of sounds emitted both in series (melody) and in parallel (harmony). Different orders of angels are given different physical and mental capacity to perceive and create sound, such that lower orders can only understand and speak a fraction of the language. Because the language requires the simultaneous creation of more than one sound/note, it is physically impossible for humans to speak it. Thus, the angelic language became known as the unspeakable language.Just as our ears can only hear a range of frequencies, and our vocal chords can only create a range of frequencies, so also it is among the orders of angels. The fallen angels turned from their original purpose. As such, they adopted dissonance as their language.Written Language: The language of the angels can be expressed through written form due to the absence of physical restrictions (many characters making up one word). Therefore, the written language of the fallen angels is based on eastern musical scales (having a dissonant sound), while the original language is based on western scales (having a harmonic sound).I even began scribbling the origins of what I hoped would become the written angelic language. Here are a few of those doodles:



Even though these ideas captured my imagination, the practical side of me argued that I could spend years learning how to create a language, and still many more years implementing it. This wouldn’t have left much time for writing. And very few people would have appreciated that level of world-building anyway. This led me to the decision of basing my languages on those already present in this world, which freed me up to concentrate on the story itself.As an American, the Scandinavian languages have always seemed otherworldly to me. So I based the written angelic language on a mixture of Old Norse, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Finnish (with a little Hebrew thrown in for good measure).For the human languages, I still wanted something quite far from my own English language. These were prehistoric cultures after all. With two primary lines of descent, I also wanted two languages that came from the same part of the world but were distinct from each other. For the Shayetham and the Chatsiyram, I chose Hebrew. For the Kahyin, I chose Arabic. I maintained an English sentence structure, and then chose each word based on how well it seemed to fit into the culture I had created. Where certain words seemed an awkward fit, I broke down the pieces and reassembled my own. In the end, I was able to present something that most readers wouldn’t recognize—though one or two people have—and didn’t take half my lifetime to create from scratch.__________
This is an excerpt from The Making of Incarnation: A Reader's Companion, available now from AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, and Smashwords.

Sign up for my email list to be notified when I release the next volume of the Wandering Stars series.

Read another excerpt - Deleted Scene from Incarnation
Read another excerpt - The History of the Realms
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Published on August 14, 2014 05:35 • 21 views

August 7, 2014

As a reader of fiction, I enjoy being immersed in imaginary environments—going places and doing things that would be impossible in real life. But as counter-intuitive as it may sound, the ability of a story to carry me away depends heavily on how realistic it is. The best stories are the ones that build their imaginary structures upon foundations of realism.
As an author of fiction, I strive to provide that immersive experience for my readers by balancing the fantastic with the realistic. These two seemingly-opposite elements feed off of one another. The realism is kept from becoming boring by the fantasy, and the fantasy becomes real when it’s based in reality. That’s why research is such an important starting point for my imagination.
Many readers have asked about how I come up with my stories. My imagination is a difficult thing to explain. The research, on the other hand, is much easier. If you haven’t visited my Pinterest page yet, I wanted to direct your attention to one of my boards, entitled The Awakened Research. As you can see, I didn't put my creative energy into coming up with a snappy title, but it’s a great place to get some behind-the-scenes knowledge about the cultures and technology of The Awakened series. Have a look, and feel free to send me your questions if your curiosity isn't satisfied. I'll continue to pin interesting stuff to this board as I write new novels and publish reader's guides for the novels already written. So check back periodically to see the progress.
And make sure to sign up for my email list so you don’t miss out on promotions, book releases, free stuff, and more.
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Published on August 07, 2014 05:42 • 17 views

July 22, 2014

Today's guest post is from S.J. Abraham, a fellow fantasy writer and self-proclaimed geek. It's a short concept piece that he's currently expanding into a full-length novel. Hope you enjoy it!
-Jason Tesar
__________
Sidekicks

The flat, cracked table of the desert stretched endlessly out before him. On the horizon a massive sprawling anvil of red clouds spread impossibly tall and wide. Lightning flickered. “One heck of a storm coming,” the boy said to no one in particular. He was alone. The Cowboy was dead. The Gambler was dead. The Ranger lost. The Witch… he shuddered. No one should ever die the way the Witch had. Even the Ranger’s wolf was dead, which just left him and the ghost girl who'd haunted him. They were the side characters, the people who were supposed to have helped the Cowboy when a particular difficulty arose but who died in the end to show how serious things were. Everything had gone wrong.“What am I gunna do?”“’bout what?” the ghost girl asked as she drifted insubstantially next to him, in her tattered Sunday dress and bonnet. “The storm or the quest?”“Both.”He looked around. For miles there was nothing but the baked salt flats. Not a tree, not a rock, not a stick of shelter. In minutes when the storm hit, he’d be knee deep in alkali rich mud that would turn his already plodding progress to a crawl. He hefted the Cowboy’s gun belt. He’d managed to save that. The heavy enchanted Colt 45 and its rune encrusted cartridges seemed to weigh a ton resting on the boy’s narrow shoulder.“Don’t see as there’s much you c’n do one way t’or the other,” the ghost said. White dust bloomed around the boy’s boots with each of his slow steps. A hot dry smell rose up as the storm rushed towards him. The wind sighed. Thunder grumbled. “You’re gunna git wet, and the quest has failed. That’s the long ‘n short of it.”“Quest ain’t failed yet,” he said even though he knew it was. The hero was dead and not one of those maybe-he-was-maybe-he-wasn’t deads like in books. Have a big enough chunk shot out of your head and you’ll die, hero or not. It had been a mighty big chunk blasted from the Cowboy’s skull.“Oh, and who’s gunna complete it? You?” “Maybe.”The ghost girl laughed. “You ain’t in the prophecy, remember? It says in the end there’ll be either the Dark Rider or the Cowboy. Cowboy’s dead. Didn’t even hang around as a ghost. I checked. That’s how finished his business is. So that leaves the Rider. The end.”The wind gusted, throwing grit into the air. The boy could hear the distant thrum of falling rain.“Maybe I’ll take his place.”“Was you born under a sickle moon on St. Alnoth’s day? Was your family killed by the Rider? Was you raised by the Sky People and taught to shoot afore you could stand?” “You know I weren’t.” The rain came in a curtain of pummeling drops, big as silver dollars, warm as sweat. The desert seemed to seethe and jitter under their fall. The boy kept walking, instantly soaked. The ghost girl floated un-phased beside him.“So how are you gunna stop the Rider then?”“Don’t know,” the boy shouted. The mud was already sucking at his boots. “But I aim to try.”
~SJA

__________
S.J. Abraham is a writer working towards publication. He's a geek to the core and seeks to write stories that will inspire younger geeks to embrace their nerdy side and never look back. In addition to his novels, he writes fiction for his blog GeekyWriting.
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Published on July 22, 2014 07:09 • 13 views

July 17, 2014

This is an excerpt from The Making of Incarnation: A Reader's Companion, available now from AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, and Smashwords.

If there is one concept that is the most critical to understanding the setting for both  The Awakened and Wandering Stars series, it is that of different realms of existence. In the first paragraph of Incarnation , you’re introduced to the concept of creation’s spectrum. And the following scenes take place in both the Temporal (Tima) and Eternal (Eili) realms. Though a full understanding of these realms is not impossible to piece together from the scenes of the novel, it is much easier to comprehend when walking through it chronologically. So, I’ll start with the cosmology of my fictional universe.Creation and RebellionThe Holy One (Saerin) originally created everything as a single, cohesive, and complex realm. All manner of living beings, as well as other non-living matter, shared the same dimension and were only separated by physical distance. The passage of time was nearly irrelevant within this realm as all things were intended to exist permanently.
One of the living beings, an angel, became discontented with his status and, in his pride, formed a rebellion to overthrow the Creator. The rebellion polarized the angelic host, and by necessity, began changing its function. The Evil One (Malrah), as he later became known, deceived a third of his kind into following him and went to war against the Holy One.The Casting OutThe attack was repelled, and the Evil One and his followers were cast out of the presence of the Holy One. This defensive act occurred with such force that it stretched the realm, thereby revealing the intricacy of its design. The single, complex system that used to exist was pulled apart into stratified layers of existence. These layers, though still occupying the same physical space as before, were nevertheless separated by a different type of distance—dimensions of which most beings are not even aware. A vast ocean of liquid in one dimension might be solid in another, and an empty vacuum of nothingness in yet another. This is what would later be called the spectrum of creation.
Multiple ExistencesAs all of creation was pulled apart, objects of similar natures came to rest in groups along the spectrum. It was at this point when the three parts of a being’s existence became evident:1) The bodyoccupied only one location along the spectrum—the environment where it was most suited to exist.2) Within the container of the body, the soul or consciousness experienced life at the outer limit of where it came to rest during the casting out of the Evil One.3) The spirit—containing both the body and consciousness—extended from that point, all the way back to the Holy One at the far end of the spectrum. In this way, the spirit became like a bridge that spanned a range of creation’s spectrum.
The Great Turning-AwayPrior to being cast out, the Evil One and his angels came between the Holy One and his most cherished creation—humans. The Unfaithful (Marotru) began their assault from this position, and when they were expelled, humans and their environment ended up at the far end of the spectrum, opposite from the Holy One. It was a casualty of war that placed humans as far as possible from their creator, with enemies in between.

With humankind now vulnerable, the Evil One sought to exploit this weakness. Though unable to reach them physically, he devised a way to free his consciousness from the limits of his body. Traveling along the bridge of his spirit, he could see the spirits of all other creatures stretching back to the Holy One—pathways into other physical existences. But the spirits of the humans were not viable paths to follow; the souls who lived at the other end of those spirits were independent wills, too strong to be overpowered. Instead, the Evil One chose the wisest of all creatures lower than humans, one with the capacity for speech and just barely capable of containing his consciousness. Using this creature’s spirit as if it were a road, he traveled to the end of the spectrum and overpowered its will, stealing its physical existence for his own. This was the first instance of possession.From one end of the spectrum to the other, only two created objects remained constant—common threads woven through each layer of existence. Two massive trees, one dark and the other light, were entwined with one another, embodying the fullness of creation in concentrated forms.

The Evil One deceived the first humans into eating fruit from the dark tree. When they did what had been forbidden, the effectiveness of the Evil One’s strategy was revealed. The humans, as well as their environment, began separating from the rest of the spectrum.Death had entered into creation, and like a festering wound, the sickness began to spread. As this new realm drifted from the presence of the Holy One and His life-giving Spirit, its eternal nature drained away until all that was left was a place of temporary existence. On both sides of the wound (The Void), the spectrum bore the signs of a violent separation.On the Eternal side, the environment had lost much of its form and structure. Unlike the rest of the spectrum, the Borderland,as it became known, was a place of lights and shadows, of lingering sounds and echoes.In contrast, the Temporal realm retained all of its form and structure but had lost most of the radiance of eternity. What little was left clung to it like a desperate child. From that moment on the Temporal realm was but a dull reflection of what it had once been.

With the first humans cut off from the rest of the spectrum, and dying as a result, the Evil One proceeded to wage war against the Holy One and his angels, and the next stage of history was born.The ReshapingAs the angelic forces of the Holy One fought against the demonic armies of the Evil One, the Borderlands became a theater of war. Territories developed like a patchwork quilt, places of light and life bordering areas of death and desolation.With the Evil One’s attention focused on the war, the Holy One set into motion a plan to redeem the humans and their world. To the race of the Myndarym—angels who were capable of shifting their bodies and consciousnesses to anywhere along the spectrum—he taught the Songs of Creation. Armed with the melodies and harmonies that were integral to every part of the spectrum, the Myndarym shifted into the Temporal realm and began to change it, altering its forms and functions so that it could sustain itself and thereby survive. By the time the task was completed, some of the Myndarym had become so intimately involved and highly invested in the Temporal realm that they had begun to see it as their own creation. When the Myndarym were finally called back to the Eternal realm, some did not heed the call. They lingered, wandering within their new home, continuing to shape it as they saw fit.Thus, the two realms were born and the stage set for the tale of the Wandering Stars.If you have read any of The Awakened books, you know that the Temporal realm eventually ends up as three parallel worlds. I’m sure you’re wondering how that happens, but I plan to dive into that topic in subsequent novels, so I can’t discuss the details just yet.
__________
This is an excerpt from The Making of Incarnation: A Reader's Companion, available now from AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, and Smashwords.
Sign up for my email list to be notified when I release the next volume of the Wandering Stars series.

Read another excerpt - Deleted Scene from Incarnation
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Published on July 17, 2014 06:57 • 8 views

July 10, 2014


Have you heard of the Ask The Author program on Goodreads?

It’s a great new way for readers to interact with their favorite authors and get more information about the things they’re interested in. I just enabled this feature on my Goodreads profile, and I wanted to invite you to participate.

If you have questions about any of my stories, characters, or my writing process, click here and start typing. I’ll answer it when I’m able, and when I do, both the question and answer will appear on my Goodreads profile and in the newsfeeds of my followers. You’ll also be notified on your Goodreads homepage and by email. If you don’t have any questions of your own, you can always visit the page and browse other readers’ questions and my answers.

I look forward to hearing from you,

-Jason

If you'd like to be notified when my next book is released, sign up for my email list here.
If you'd like more information on the Ask The Author program, you can find that here.

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Published on July 10, 2014 12:44 • 10 views

July 3, 2014

This is an excerpt from The Making of Incarnation: A Reader's Companion, available now from AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, and Smashwords.

If you've read some of my blog posts, you already know that my planning process for writing a book is fairly extensive, which means that I don’t generally write something unless it’s needed. More often, I end up adding a few scenes after the initial editing stage. Incarnation had two exceptions, so I thought I’d share those with you here.
Some readers have said that the first scene of Incarnation is overwhelming from the standpoint of being presented with so many names, terms, and unusual environments. Originally, it was an even longer battle-scene with more of this type of information, which I chose to break up and modify for the purpose of developing Sariel’s motivation. Removing some of the battle action also helped the pacing of the book. Here is the unedited portion that I ended up cutting out. It picks up just as Sariel and his Iryllurym fly into the ranks of the Marotru.
Sariel’s arms shook as his vaepkir hacked through the ranks of the enemy. As heads, limbs, and torsos flew by, the weapons threatened to rip from his hands as they sliced cleanly through the flesh of the fallen. Hundreds of Marotru perished in a matter of seconds, disappearing into brilliant flashes of light.As Sariel’s speed decreased, he pumped his wings and rose above the heads of the enemy, leaving behind a wake of destruction. Banking into a turn, he looked back and slowed, waiting for the rest of his team to gather for the next strike. But they were nowhere to be found.Suddenly, something powerful slammed into his leg and sent him spinning through the air. The sight of the battlefield instantly twisted into meaninglessness as he struggled to find his bearings. Something wrenched his left wing and he felt a pop, followed by the impact of his body hitting the ground.For a moment, there was only silence. The earth felt cool beneath the skin of his face. He coughed, sending the disembodied colors of the dirt swirling into the air. Then, as if from somewhere far away, a deep sound could be felt in his chest. It rose slowly in volume until it began to shake the earth. The rumble signaled the start of a coordinated counter-attack by the Marotru.Nedaret!This realization cut through Sariel’s disoriented mind in an instant.It’s an ambush!Pushing himself up onto weakened legs, he gained an unsteady footing and surveyed the battlefield. His vaepkir were gone. His soldiers were gone. His left forewing hung uselessly from his back. And all around him, the ground began to break apart as the Nedaret came to the surface. Talons as long as an Iryllur’s arm broke through the ground, followed by the snakelike appendages of their lower bodies. Several had already broken free and were moving across the surface, their pale flesh rippling with a sickening motion. Their dark and dead eyes were nearly useless to them as they used their limbs to feel the ground for the vibrations of their prey. The gaping holes on the sides of their heads could also detect vibrations in the air. No doubt, it was one of these hideous creatures that had knocked him from the sky.Sariel dodged to the left and jumped over a growing chasm in the earth. Slowly at first, he gained speed and began to run as his legs recovered their strength. All around him, the enemy ground forces began to move in on him. The nearest enemies approached at a run, coming at him with blind rage. They were mere beasts, unintelligent animals bred to attack on command. They moved across the earth on four legs and, like most of the Marotru, with an unnatural gait. Indeed their forms had long ago been altered to serve the purposes of their master, who took pleasure in perverting the original design of anything he could. Their fanged mouths opened wide as they lunged.Sariel grabbed his left forewing and tucked it behind him. Now at a full run, he crouched and brought his right forewing quickly forward, crushing the bodies of the animals in rapid succession with the hard joint bone of his wing. Continuing to charge forward, he used his wing as a shield to deflect the next line of attackers and broke through their ranks into an open pocket.Nearby, three Anduarym were fighting back to back and he moved toward them. Lacking the massive wings of the Iryllurym, they were impressive nonetheless. Their taller, stout bodies and long, muscled limbs gave them an advantage in ground combat. Two of the soldiers hefted shields of light, pressing into the next line of the enemy ranks, stabbing periodically with their spears. The third was without a shield, grasping his vandrekt in two hands, trying desperately to deflect the serrated blades of the surrounding enemies.When they caught sight of Sariel, they quickly altered their course to protect him. Sariel did likewise, spreading his good wing in front of the third soldier.“We have to get out here now!” one of the Anduarym yelled.Based on what he had seen from above, Sariel figured they were somewhere toward the back of the enemy line. If they could just press forward through the enemy’s ranks, they might be able to break through to the relative safety of the territory already captured by the Marotru.“Forward!” Sariel yelled above the deafening sound of the marching army. “…through their rear guard.”The small band of soldiers spun around and charged into a line of two legged creatures that looked like smaller versions of the Anduarym, with dark skin and sharp claws on the ends of their fingers. The two with shields pushed and stabbed their way through as Sariel and the other worked together, guarding their backs with wing and spear. They managed to advance about twenty yards before one of the Anduarym fell, a great streak of nothingness dissolving across his midsection. He knew it was a fatal wound and quickly offered up his vandrekt to Sariel, who took it with regret. As they left him behind, the brave soldier cast his shield into the mass of dark flesh, killing two more before the crowds fell on him.Sariel charged ahead in anger, swinging his right forewing from side to side, battering the enemy backward. One creature ducked under the wing and lunged toward his unprotected right side. Sariel quickly reached out and caught the demon’s arm, stopping its talons only inches away from his ribcage. Using his superior strength, he pulled and twisted the demon’s arm until the bones snapped. Its body submitted to the pain and moved a few steps to the left, where Sariel ran it through with his spear.Another wave of demons came at them. Sariel pulled his wing in around his body for protection as they pressed in on all sides. He could do nothing except lean into the wave of darkness. His spear was useless in the confined space and he let it drop to the ground. Using both arms and one wing, he pushed back against the crowd, his legs struggling to keep his body upright. Suddenly, his back exploded in pain and he knew that he’d been stabbed.“Ahhhhh,” he yelled, pushing with all his might against the mountain of dark flesh that threatened to trample the life from his body. The light that typically emanated from his skin flared to a white heat and he felt the collective strength of the enemy lessen. With one last push, he broke through their ranks and found himself standing alone.In the mad rush to further their territory, the enemy continued their march toward the west, leaving Sariel behind. In their wake, the other two Anduarym had been trampled. Their dim bodies now crushed and twisted, lay on the ground. Fragile by comparison to the Anduarym, Sariel wondered how he managed to survive.Breathless and severely wounded, he looked to the east and his last shred of hope vanished. A hundred yards away, and moving quickly, a massive Nedaret surged toward him. At twice his height, it moved in an upright position on four powerful limbs which undulated across the ground. It talons dug into the earth as it moved. As it came forward, its wide mouth opened, revealing a snarl of fanged teeth.Sariel quickly looked around and noticed a battered Anduar shield lying nearby. He barely had time to grab it before one of the demon’s talons sliced through the air where his head had been. He rolled to the side and started to run as soon as his feet touched the ground. From the corner of his vision, he saw a glow on the ground and changed direction. At a full run, he reached down and grabbed the skoldur from the dirt, just as something clamped down on his broken wing.Instantly, he was pulled off his feet and thrown in the opposite direction. Landing painfully on his back, he rolled over his left shoulder and onto his feet, now holding a spear and shield.The demon turned to face him, his own blood dripping from one of its talons.Sariel burst into motion as fast as his legs could move.The demon lunged forward and lowered its head.With a downward thrust of his good wing, Sariel jumped into the air.The demon jerked its head upward snapped its jaws instinctively.With a simultaneous backhand block and forehand strike, Sariel crashed the shield into its mouth and thrust the spear into its ear hole.The demon howled in pain as it thrashed its head to the side, casting Sariel aside as if he weighed no more than the shield he barely managed to grasp.Struggling to lift himself from the dirt, Sariel was struck in the face by a glancing blow from one of the creatures powerful limbs. As his face exploded in pain, the battered soldier pulled his feet underneath him and barely managed to bring his shield up before it struck again. This time the talon penetrated the shield and jolted him backward, but he maintained his footing and retreated a few steps out of its range.The two stared at each other for a moment, and Sariel wondered how much reasoning ability the demon still had. Originally descended from the Vidir, its form and purpose had been altered from a soldier of the seas to a monster who tunneled through the earth. It was studying him now, reconsidering its strategy while the spear remained lodged in its skull. It clearly had intelligence beyond his original estimation.The demon slowly began to move again, circling around Sariel. Its dead eyes looked in his direction, then downward as it used its four snake-like tendrils to simultaneously move and sense his location. It was seeking vulnerability in its enemy.Sariel pivoted, keeping his shield between him and the creature. Though he wondered if the demon could even see this far, it must have been obvious that he now had no offensive weapon. However, the shield was standard issue for the Anduarym, and shared something in common with all armor, weapons, and uniforms worn by the Myndarym fighting with the forces of light—its existence could be relocated by those who understood shifting.For a Myndar, altering the form of their bodies took as little effort as walking. It was their purpose from the beginning to sustain all created things, to shift their body and consciousness to any point along the continuum of existence, and to change shape as needed to accomplish this task. But the beginning was so long ago and everything was different now. Many of the Myndar had joined with the Amatru and adapted their abilities for the purposes of war.Sariel raised his head to see the demon circling, studying him. Then he watched the expression on the demon’s face change from hatred to confusion as he shifted his existence slowly toward the eternal end of the spectrum. The further he went, the less he saw of the demon’s shape. Its pale flesh, usually projecting an absence of light, gave way to an ethereal shadow, unbound by the restrictions of form. Shifting further still, the blood-red fire at the core of the twisted being was all that remained, a darkened soul that would exist for eternity.Sariel moved now toward this glowing cauldron, sensing his surroundings not with eyes, ears, or body, but with something less restrictive—a unified understanding of existence that exceeded sight, sound, or touch. And as he moved, the shield moved with him, its form changing shape as he willed it. It expanded, and thinned, stretching into a sphere as he used it to surround the demon’s core. When the shield was in place, Sariel quickly shifted back toward the temporal end of existence just in time to see the demon stumble and fall forward to the ground. The shield, once a robust armored plate of opaque light, was now a translucent globe that had somehow merged itself with the demon’s abdomen, strangling the body from its own vital organs.Sariel breathed a sigh of relief. Looking around, the battlefield was nearly deserted, but for the bodies of demons and angels alike, strewn across the valley. The battle was over. He was the only survivor. Only now did he feel the extent of his wounds. His arms and legs were covered in lacerations. The Holy One’s sustaining presence bled from the injuries as liquid light. His left wing was broken, but surprisingly overshadowed by the pain from the stab wound in his back. His nose was broken as well, and he realized now that his vision was somewhat blurred in his left eye.Looking down to the dry, dead earth beneath his feet, he shook his head. The Nin-Myndarym had left behind a barren landscape. Trees, grass, and all other forms of life had evaporated when their bond to the realm of Tima had been severed. Without the structure of that realm, the ethereal substances evaporated from Eili. All that remained now were dirt and rocks, and these only vague representations of what they once were. No doubt, things looked just as barren on the other side of the void.Looking quickly to the west, Sariel could no longer see the enemy army. Neither would he be able to locate the bodies of his fallen soldiers. Without the luminescence they normally exuded, their bodies had become one with the darkness that now seemed to stretch from horizon to horizon.What a waste, he thought to himself. After all these ages, after all the countless missions they had shared together, doing things that others weren’t capable of and would never know about, to have them meet an end here. In this desolate place.And for what? What did we accomplish?As his gaze wandered to the west, Sariel suddenly felt very alone. His soldiers were the last thing in this realm that mattered to him. Long ago, he’d lost the zeal that used to sustain him. And once that was gone, his mind was left to drift between thoughts of purposelessness and subordinate curiosity. Lately, he’d been spending more and more time thinking about what the Amatru were doing, wondering if all the sacrifice was worth it and whether or not they were accomplishing anything of value. Slowly, he realized that there was nothing left in the realm of Eili for him. Nothing to hold on to. Nothing to give him purpose. And in the chaos of these thoughts, a beacon of light emerged. A realization that the realm of Tima held something of value to him, something of great value. His hopelessness quickly faded, replaced by a fierce determination to grab hold of the one thing that still held value in this existence.Lurching across the battlefield, Sariel set his eyes on the western horizon. He willed his exhausted body to move, desperate for the one thing that now consumed his mind.__________
Although these corrections were small, I think the end result was a more interesting pattern to the developing story. I do my best to plan what needs to be written so I don’t waste any creative energy on things that will get cut out. But if it happens, this is certainly a fun way for me to share that part of my process with you.
This is an excerpt from The Making of Incarnation: A Reader's Companion, available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Smashwords.
Sign up for my email list to be notified when I release the next volume of the Wandering Stars series.
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Published on July 03, 2014 05:50 • 8 views

June 26, 2014

When you read fiction, do you visualize the scene in your mind? Can you hear the voices of the characters? Feel their emotions? If you're anything like me, reading can still be a multi-sensory experience even though the sensations are imagined. And if The Awakened novels provided any of those experiences for you then I could really use your help.
Last month, I began accepting narrator auditions for the audiobook version of The Awakened series. With careful consideration, I've narrowed the choices down to three talented candidates. Each has a unique style and would bring a different set of strengths to this project. Now, I could just pick one and move ahead, but then I'd miss this opportunity to get your input. You've read the novels. You've fought alongside these characters. You've suffered with them just as I have.
So I'd like know, which narrator best embodies the characters you've come to love (or hate, as in the case of the villains)? Which one seems capable of articulating your experience with this epic story?
I've put together an online survey where you can listen to the auditions and vote on your favorite. Click the link below to get started.
Listen and Vote!
P.S. Each audition is 10-12 minutes long. If you don't have enough time to listen to everything, skip around to ensure that you get a good sampling of each narrator before casting your vote.
Thanks so much for your help,
- Jason Tesar
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Published on June 26, 2014 14:13 • 8 views

June 23, 2014

Super Strength: Speed Reading (An Indie Author Facebook Event)

This Saturday, June 28th, I'll be participating in a Facebook event for indie authors and their readers. Each of the other fifteen authors will be discounting at least one of their books to $0.99 and will be chatting with readers throughout the day.

I'll be there from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm (MST), and I hope you'll stop by to say hello. In addition to dropping Paths of Destruction to $0.99 on Amazon, I'll also be giving it away for free through NoiseTrade (this link will be activated on Saturday).

Stop by the event page to RSVP. Then mark your calendar, invite your friends, and join us. I'd love to answer your questions and get to know you a little better. And maybe you'll discover some new authors and make a few friends along the way.  

Here are the other authors and books that will be featured:

1. Kelly Oram, Being Jamie Baker
2. Meg Collett, The Hunted One
3. Joshua Guess, Next
4. March McCarron, Division of the Marked
5. Cheree Alsop, Small Town Superhero
6. Colin Wright, Trialogue
7. Adam Moon, Apex
8. Michael Thomas, Legends of Orion
9. R S J Gregory, Cosmic Girl: Rising Up
10. Jason Cheek, Flight
11. P.S. Power, Proxy
12. Drew Hayes, Super Powereds: Year 1
13. Starla Huchton, Evolution: Angel
14. William Massa, Gargoyle Knight
15. Nick S. Thomas, Battle Earth

Please share this with anyone who would be interested!

See you there,

- Jason Tesar
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Published on June 23, 2014 11:00 • 12 views