Pawn, A Greypine Novel, Chapter 17

Pawn, A Greypine Novel by Steven Beadle

Pawn

A week or two ago I had the opportunity to read a partial manuscript for what promises to be an interesting book.  The book is Pawn, A Greypine Novel, by Steven Beadle.  This story kicks off a chain of 3 books taking place in the Greypine setting. I [pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”40%”]Pawn has been released!  You can get it on Amazon.

Pawn: A Greypine Novel
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only had access to the first chapter of the book, but that was enough to pull me into this fantasy world that exudes realism.  The brief introduction to the main characters provides a lush field for story hooks and character development without hampering the flow of the narrative.  The pacing made me feel like I was strolling along with the characters through the windswept fields and watching their interactions from a few steps behind.

Setting

The story setting appears similar to the beginning of the Wheel of Time series.  Everything seems very normal and ordinary, but there’s an undercurrent of power and mystery. The main character in this excerpt is intriguing. Like all great first chapters this story hints at everything and reveals very little.  So far the book has provoked some excellent ideas, but confirmed nothing. The author’s descriptions provide enough to give the reader’s imagination a colorful picture of the world without bogging down the action. The glimpses into the minds of the characters are brief and informative. The picture below is a painting done by the author to illustrate the 17th chapter of the book.

Pawn, A Greypine Novel, Chapter 17

 

Release

The book will be published on Kindle on June 28, 2013.  In the meantime, check out the Author’s new blog here and join me in following him for updates to the series. I’m really exited to get to hear the rest of the story. The first chapter is quite tantalizing.

The Author

Pawn is the first published work of Steven Beadle, my cousin. While I may be biased because of my family relation to him, I honestly would not be promoting this book if I didn’t think it has excellent potential. I’ve grown up reading his short stories and experiencing his storytelling ability first hand. He has a potent ability to take events and experiences from the real world and create compelling and entertaining stories from them.

From the Back Cover

The Moine Empire spans a vast tract of land, zigzagging between two mountain chains and an ocean, but in the distant northern plains things are brewing that could spell trouble. The residents of some of the farming towns are starting to come under the influence of a strange new religious order, and The Covenant has in fact, apparently brought peace and prosperity with it.

But maybe not all is as it appears on the surface. One resident of the northernmost outpost of the empire has questions; those unacceptable doubts will lead her farther afield than she ever thought to go, and grant her some of her most unexpected dreams… for a price.

At the far end of the Heartland she will find that friends, religion, and politics, are a dangerous combination. As rulers are toppled, nobles vie for power, and unseen forces play a deadly game, observers are left to wonder who is the player, and who is the… Pawn

Scarlet White

Scarlet White

I don’t often get excited about a band, but one group is a big exception. Scarlet White is a Christian hard rock band from my adopted home town of Three Rivers, MI. While their reach may be regional, I won’t call these passionate musicians a local band. These guys are taking their music everywhere, guaranteed.

Scarlet White

The Music

Before you read any further use the links on the side of this page to listen to their music. Scarlet White reminds me of the group Red in their rhythms. The music feels good, it sounds good, and the message is good.

The Band

I’ve known band vocalist, Spencer Minor, for a few years now. He’s a great guy with a great family. His passion exudes from the music and energizes the lyrics. These guys are fun to follow on social media. They stay connected to their fans with frequent updates and take time to interact with their followers. It’s exciting to see how much Scarlet White has grown in just a few short years.

The Mission

The next step is to raise funds for their new album. Right now they’ve launched a campaign on Kickstarter to raise the $700 they need to get their new music out. I’ve pledged my support and I’m urging you guys to do the same. The great thing about Kickstarter is it allows the band to offer incentives for backers. For example, a $5 backing gets your name in the “Thank You” list on the album, while donating $25 gets you the album when it’s released, a guitar pick, and a band sticker. If you’re feeling particularly generous, you get to have dinner with the band! The catch with Kickstarter is that they have to raise all the money by the deadline, which is less than a week away or else the band doesn’t get the money (and the backers don’t get charged).

The Challenge

You’ve heard the music, you know these guys are awesome. You can be a real influence on the success of these committed musicians. Watch the video above and click the picture below to see their Kickstarter project and give a few bucks to get their music going!

The images in this post are the property of Scarlet White and are used with permission.
bryanforesterCorwyn

Teachings From My Son

A Bedtime Story

A faint knock and a yellowish light dimly register as my consciousness slowly drags itself out of its dormant, sleeping state. “What do they want? They were just here a minute ago…” The squeak of a heavy wheeled object simultaneously pierces through the comforting drone of a small plastic fan and the hazy fog of sleep. The squeaking stops at the foot of my wife’s hospital bed and I pick out a new noise. The noise is a recent addition to my list of important sounds. My son, born earlier that day (or is it yesterday at this point?) is exercising his lungs, clearly announcing his need for food. Apparently this means that 3 hours have passed since this routine last happened, but that doesn’t line up in my mind. The exhausted sleep I fell into couldn’t have lasted that long. “This might be tougher than I expected.”

New Changes

The first day with my son was quite certainly the most emotional day of my life. So much hope, so much worry, so much joy, so much helplessness, so much excitement, so much exhaustion, and that was just me! I’ve never been more proud of my wife. Anybody who has had a child knows it’s impossible to express the experience adequately. Words can’t capture it, photos can’t capture it, and video can’t capture it. It is, in every way, a life altering experience. If it’s impossible to express, what am I trying to do here? First of all, I want to brag on my wife, but I also want to reflect on a few of the measurable changes that have happened in my life since my son joined our family.

Selfishness

I’ve always been terrible at focusing on things other than myself. Maybe that’s why I have a personal blog? In this area of my life, having a kid was much like getting married. It required that my focus move away from myself and onto another person. That’s really an understatement. My wife is fully capable of taking care of herself. That’s not a huge required shift. After I married I could still do some things with a self-focused or selfish attitude while still having a positive affect on our marriage because our needs and goals often line up and we operate at the same level of function. If we both need food, we figure out where our desires meet and plan a time and meal. With my son things are different. He understands nothing that doesn’t fulfill his needs. When he wants to eat, he fusses, or cries, or gives you heart breaking whimpers until you address his need. Our desires don’t fit well into that framework. We can’t explain to him that we’re on a road trip and he’s going to have to wait for a rest area or even the next exit to get some food, or that we’re out of clean bottles and need to wash one and thaw the milk before we can feed him. This requires a focus shift at a greater level. I’m now responsible for the basic daily needs of someone else, and there’s not much room for selfishness. Am I still selfish? Absolutely, just ask my wife, but having a child has at least given me an area of my life where my focus is not and cannot be on myself. If I can take what I learn from this area of my life and apply it to others, I’ll be a better and more mature person.

Thoughtfulness

Life fills up with activities that exercise our critical thinking skills: formulating the contents of the diaper bag, planning trips around feeding times, projecting optimal child happiness for social events. This provides me with an opportunity to be intentional with time, take a look at what I’m doing and what I need to do. This is generally an area of my life that I do well with, but without time constraints. Quite often the diaper bag needs to be rearranged in the next half hour while the baby is unhappy and my wife is getting herself ready. This is the kind of thoughtfulness I need to work on. The under pressure thinking on your feet kind of forward planning. Certainly it’s a skill I learned and honed in the military, but like many skills, it is perishable. I’m very happy to have a reason to work on my real-time thoughtfulness.

Gaming

I’ve played PC games since the mid 80’s. I learned to spell and type with “Kings Quest” and “Space Quest“. Gaming sucked me in even more with “Lode Runner”, the Gold Box D&D games by SSI and classics like “Civilization” and “Wing Commander“. I’ve spent a lifetime in front of a screen and have enjoyed it immensely. It led me down my career path as a software developer which has helped me provide for my family. When our son was born I took a few weeks off from gaming. Mostly because I was completely exhausted, but also because I want my kid to grow up away from the flickering lights of easy entertainment. Obviously this is a personal choice, but I want my kid to understand that life can be experienced “first-person” not just through a console or PC. The point is, if he enjoys football, I want him to reach for a football, not “Madden”. If he enjoys music, I want him to pick up a guitar, not “Guitar Hero”. If he does enjoy games, like I do, then I have no problem with him playing them, but I want him to understand first that life can be experienced without a controller or a keyboard.

Legacy

From the time I heard his heartbeat at the doctor’s office I was smitten. It’s amazing to watch an amazingly engineered process take its course guiding a child through the stages of its prenatal development. At first I experienced utter, complete, and giddy amazement which eventually was tinged by a pressing, heavy weight as the realization of the implications of being responsible for a child took hold. This kid will primarily develop their knowledge from us. We’re responsible for making sure he knows right from wrong, good from bad, and giving a good example to him. We have to show him what love is, what fidelity is, what responsibility is, what compassion is, what generosity is, and show him how to think critically. That’s a heavy load. I remember as a kid seeing my parents live out these things. Especially imprinted in my mind is my dad reading his Bible and spending time on his knees praying in the morning. All of the men of supreme character I have known, to include my grandfather, Curtis Dowd, my father, Lawrence Forester, and my step-father Les Heeringa, and my father-in-law Tim Sneller, have been men who have made time to live their convictions and have taken the time to share them with their family. I want my child to know the benefits of good character and see them in me.

Change

There are so many more ways that my son has changed me in the first two months of his life. I can’t list them all in a post, but these are a few that stand out to me. The key here is that while I’ve been changed, these are also areas that will continue to change. I can’t take a naïve approach that says I have changed, I must keep in mind that these are ongoing changes. Ongoing changes are the toughest since they require maintenance and continued action.