Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Contest Results

'Ello ladys and gentlemen, can't imagine what your here for, it couldn't be the contest results could it? ;) First I would like to thank the few people that entered this month for taking the time, in one of the busiest times of the year, to do this. It was a pleasure! And I am very proud to present the winner of Kaycee Browning's Ember Flame:

 Gloria Newton!!! 
Congratulations Gloria! We hope you enjoy Ember Flame! 
Here is Gloria's entry:

        This was not as easy as it looked. I trekked through the snowy mountainside, struggling to see through the howling storm. From the base of the mountain, where I grew up, the journey didn't look dangerous or even very imposing. Now I knew how hard it was to climb uphill and down, in the biting cold, and in a storm, no less. Of course there were plenty of snow storms, when I was younger, but there was also a nice, warm fire. Here it was a whole different story.  It was  helpful to have three of my best friends with me, but after two days of hard traveling, I was almost ready to give up.

Second place goes to.... Ruth! Thank you for entering Ruth!

This was not as easy as it looked. I'm not normally one to be pessimistic, but this was getting to be too much. The concept of farming was not too hard to grasp, but slaving in the sun, from morning till night was going too far. The governor told us that we were being assigned these jobs to prepare, supposedly for the impending invasion. I don't think that's true. I think they're trying to distract us from what is really going to happen. I don't know what it's going to be, but I do know one thing. This attack won't come from a foreign power, but from one within...

Third place goes to... Nathanael!!! Thank you so much Nathanael! 

 This wasn't as easy as it looked. Drina and I were surrounded by at least 13 Blackfire warriors in the Blackfire jail.
  "Do you have a plan?" Drina asked desperately, gripping his sword.
  "Working on it. Anyway I broke you out of jail didn't I?" I replied.
  "Lord, help me." i closed my eyes, concentrating,
  "Now do you have a plan?" Drina asked desparately,
  "Shut up, and drop your weapons." The warriors growled.
  "The grate under us leads to the sewer, that's our ticket out." I whispered.
  "Get ready."

Thank you all for entering this month, please join us next month for another contest! 
-Mikayla and Ysa-

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Reveiw: Ember Flame

Kaycee Browning: Ember Flame

    'For centuries, the Leverage Children have kept the world of Holdinus safe from wars and evil....traveling back and forth across the countries restoring peace to all. Whether it be a trivial fight between neighbors or a diplomatic solution between countries on the brink of battle, the Leverage would restore security. But when the dark lord Sicreet and his Pull dictatorship takes over, the Leverage are scattered and forced into hiding. Some of them turned to evil. Others strive to destroy the Pull. But the most powerful Leverage was lost and knows nothing of her ancient heritage and her duty to the world, which is near total destruction now... Les Bough grew up in the dense forest of Grel, raised by common woodcutters. Until tragedy strikes, and Les is forced to discover her place in the world as Ember Flame, one of the six Leverage, and the only one, who can overthrow the grip Lord Sicreet has over Holdinus.'

    Ember Flame is a well written, action packed, fantasy-fiction book.  The story is set in... fantasy land! I don't really know when it would be set in our world; I guess you have to figure that out for yourself.

   Ember thought she was an orphan, and then all of the sudden she finds her brother and the fact that she is part of a group known as the Leverage. As she travels through Holdinus, she discovers secrets about herself and about others. Ember meets many different people along the way, and she also learns to believe and trust in Elathor (God).

    This was an incredible book.

   The plot was well thought up. There were so many unexpected twists and turns! Every chapter ended in  a cliff hanger of some sort, encouraging me to keep reading. It was so suspenseful; I found it hard to sit still. In the story, new characters show up over and over again, some good, and most of them bad. It was really hard to guess who was good and who was actually bad.  I liked how descriptive Kaycee was. I could easily picture each and every place the characters were. I also had a pretty good idea of what each character looked like.

   It was hard to find anything to critique about this book; however, one thing that I could say wasn't awesome about this book  is that I noticed a few grammar mistakes. They were all simple things, like a forgotten apostrophe, a misused comma, and such. However, other than that, the story is extremely well told, and the characters are awesome.

   I hope to be purchasing my own copy of this book soon, and I would encourage you to do the same!
   You can buy a copy here.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Interview with Kaycee Browning

Hello everyone! I am very proud to present an interview with Kaycee Browning author of Ember Flame!

Displaying DSC_0023-Edit.jpg

Hello and welcome to Future Homeschool Authors Kaycee! Thank you for stopping by today!

Thanks for having me!

First, could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

Sure! I'm a sixteen year old homeschooled teen living in North Carolina. I started writing when I was twelve years old and have since written three novels. I'm writing the fourth novel currently. Other than writing, my favorite hobbies include reading, blogging, skeet shooting, hanging out with friends, and going on adventures. Most importantly, I'm a Christian and I strive to make my novels, and everything I do, glorify God.

What's your favorite book? 

'Lord of the Rings' by J.R.R. Tolkien is my absolute favorite book. Tolkien's diction and description are breathtaking, and the story itself is inspiring and thrilling.

Who's your favorite Author?

Tolkien probably, but I also enjoy Alexandre Dumas, Brandon Sanderson, and Wayne Thomas Batson.

If you could meet one person who would it be? 

Hmm... contemporary or historical? How about both? Both is good. I would love to meet Peter Jackson, director of the 'Lord of the Rings' films. We'd sit down, have some 'taters and mushrooms, and just geek out over Middle-Earth. Historically, I would have loved to meet the Apostle Paul. His faith in Jesus Christ was astounding and I think it would be super cool to have heard a sermon from him. Maybe I will someday in heaven! Probably not a sermon, but at least I could chat with him for a bit, right? :)

Can you tell us anything about the book you're working on right now?

I'm currently writing 'Flake Frost' which is the final book in the trilogy that 'Ember Flame' begins. It follows Flake, a friend of Ember's, on some of her crazy adventures.

How did you begin writing? 

When I was twelve, my parents bought me an amazing writing curriculum. The last assignment in the curriculum was to invent a knight for King Arthur's round table and write a short story about him. That did not sound hard, so I invented a knight named Javen and began to type. I suddenly realized that I had no control over the crazy twists and adventures Javen found himself on. 23,000 words later, I had finished his story and conquered my fear of novel writing. The next year, I wrote my first novel using the 'One Year Adventure Novel' curriculum.

What inspired you to write 'Ember Flame'?

My best friend and I were at a Christian overnight camp. The morning's discussion had been about the Book of Judges. My friend and I were chatting about how strangely God works. In Judges, God repeatedly chooses men and women with major flaws to lead His people back to Him. The Judges aren't necessarily any better or worse than you or I, they were simply flawed human beings whom God used to further His kingdom. For some reason, this incredible concept resounded with me. I chattered about it excitedly with my friend and then randomly blurted, "Someone ought to write a fantasy novel about this!" My friend gave me an eyebrow-raised smirk as if to say 'you write it' and then 'Ember Flame' was born!

What is 'Ember Flame' about? 

This is the synopsis on the back cover of the novel:

Orphan outcast Les has longed to discover her true self outside of the dense forest of Grel. However, her own insecurity keeps her permanently trapped ... until soldiers incinerate the forest and slaughter the other woodcutters. Vowing revenge, Les is forced to escape the forest and enter Holdinus- a world plagued with an all-powerful dictatorship, a tyrannical lord, and scattered children with dangerous powers known as the Leverage. Les must accept her place in the world as Ember Flame, one of the six Leverage. If she cannot find her destiny and the other Leverage, the souls of the people will perish. Will she sacrifice her desires for a world that has been nothing but cruel to her? Or will she succumb to the wills of a tyrant and live a life of numbness?

Why do you write fantasy?

Personally, I find truths and themes easier to grasp if they are demonstrated in an abstract way. Jesus taught using parables, and I believe fantasy can be used in much the same way. We live in reality and see it every day. The incredible beauty of God's world is lost in a sea of the mundane because we are used to it. Likewise, we also become numb to the terrible aspects of this world because they are so common. If written well, an abstract world-a fantasy- can help readers "see" reality clearer. For example, the character Gollum from 'Lord of the Rings' helped me see how dangerous a temptation truly can be. Gollum is constantly warring with himself, trying to decide if he should help Frodo, or kill Frodo and take the Ring. Gollum eventually makes the wrong choice, and the consequences are terrible. Now, there are no 'Gollums' in this world, but the complete strangeness of the creature caused me to understand that entertaining temptation is no trifling matter. 'Ember Flame' tries to do the same thing. I want readers to walk away from my book, completely astounded at how God can take flawed, broken humans and heal them in His love and mercy.

Do you do any research for you books? If you do what are your main sources? 

Fantasy is fun because you don't have to research, but the research that you do is a lot of fun! For my fantasies, I pick a 'culture' and base the world on it. 'Ember Flame' is a combination of modern American culture with some Medieval flare thrown into the mix. I did basic Internet searches on castles, swords, fencing, etc., but nothing super in-depth. Pinterest is an incredibly resource for the casual researcher. There are tons of incredible pictures and info-graphs to look through! 

What piece of advice would you give to writers of fantasy? 

Don't become disillusioned to the power than fantasy holds. Don't justify a character's, especially the hero's, wrong choices because it's 'just a fantasy.' I'm not saying to make the hero perfect, but the wrong decisions need to have consequences that show them as wrong. If your hero decides to lie repeatedly to his parents, make sure there are consequences. The same goes for your villains. The villains can get away with a lot, but in the end, their actions need to be shown as wrong.

What do you like most about writing? 

I love the moments when the characters and plot simply sweep me away. The moments when even I don't know what will happen next. Writing the rough draft has many moments like this, so it is probably my favorite aspect of writing.

Any final thoughts? 

I know there are many who have qualms concerning fantasy, and rightfully so. It's sad how dark and dreary the genre has come to be in recent years. However, I don't believe the solution is giving up-but fighting harder! If more authors and publishers would focus on hitting the market with good, wholesome fantasies, perhaps the macabre and horror aspects would fade and disappear. I'm simply asking all Christian to not give up on fantasy, but to at least encourage the authors and publishers who are trying to return the genre to the original depth and light that Tolkien and C.S. Lewis popularized.

Thank you so much for joining us Kaycee! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Contest for December

Hello, I hope your having a very good December. Please forgive the late posts this month, we've all had a lot going and with the lack of a reviewer its been hard to pull the load around here. But onto what you really came to see. The Contest. 

This month Kaycee Browning has offered a paperback copy of her book Ember Flame!!!

I'm going to give you the opening line and your going write a 100 words to start off a book, you can go five or ten words over or under, don't worry.  The opening line dose not count towards the word count. In honor of Ember Flame we're going to write Fantasy, it can be as light or heavy as you want but no witchs and please remember the younger aduiance here because if you win it will be posted on the blog. Once your done writing just send your entry to Futurehomeschoolauthors@gmail.com The contest ends December 24'th and the results will be posted on the 31'st.

This is the same as most moths. First Prize gets the book and gets there work posted on the blog. Second and Third place get there work posted on the blog. 

Here is your opening line: 

This was not as easy as it looked.

Happy writing everyone! 
-Mikayla & Ysa-

Monday, December 9, 2013

Writing advice with Kaycee Browning

Today I am very excited and pleased to share writing advice from Kaycee Browning, author of Ember Flame! :o ) 

Thanks for sharing this with us, Kaycee! 

Me: What is your favorite part about writing? Why?

Kaycee: I love nearly everything when it comes to writing, but I especially enjoy building characters-whether it be filling out pre-writing character sheets or watching as they come to life through words on a page. Some say that there are only two types of authors: character authors who propel their stories by exciting and complex characters, and plot authors who drive their stories by creative and unique plots. I don't know if that's true or not, but if it is true, I think I'm a character author. I enjoy studying the nuances and complexities of humans. God made us so very different from anything else in this world. We're confusing and intense and there is always another layer to a human. It's fun studying that anomaly and trying to copy it on paper. 

Me: Who helped you the most while you were beginning to write?

Kaycee: I've been blessed with many encouraging friends and family members, but my parents definitely win the "Most Helpful" award. Even though neither one of them are writers, they saw that I enjoyed writing so they bought me a curriculum called the "One Year Adventure Novel." Like the name implies, it taught me how to write an adventure novel in a year. They constantly encouraged me and helped me find the time and perseverance to write my first novel. I'm writing my fourth novel now, and their encouragement and support had never stopped. I'm so thankful for them!

Me: What first gave you the idea for Ember Flame?

Kaycee: I was at a Christian overnight camp several years ago. Towards the middle of the week, my best friend and I were discussing that morning's Bible study, which had been on the book of Judges in the Old Testament. Judges is a book that chronicles the time in Israel before they had a King. God constantly had to pick new leaders for His people because they kept turning away from him. The leaders, or judges, were regular human beings. They had doubts, struggles, and weaknesses, yet God used them to further His kingdom. My best friend and I were talking about this strange and awesome concept, and I suddenly blurted, "Someone should write a fantasy based on this!" My best friend gave me an 'are you serious? You write it!' look and 'Ember Flame' was born!

Me: Do you have any more projects in the works? (Is that a nonsense question? :o P)

Kaycee: Haha, not to use a cliche (shudder) but there's no such thing as a stupid question! :) I'm currently writing my fourth novel through National Novel Writing Month. It is the third book in the trilogy that 'Ember Flame' begins. I've written a bit of fan fiction and I've written a few short film scripts. I have an idea for a completely new fantasy novel that I'll hopefully begin writing in April. I guess I'll see where God leads me!

Me: What is the most valuable writing advice you can give to other young writers?

Kaycee: The best advice I can give is to let yourself be vulnerable. Let your emotions shine through your writing, write what you are passionate about, write like nobody will ever read your novel. And then, after you do that, do not edit your emotions away. The reason people pick up a fiction book is because they want to feel emotion. In real life, people wear masks. You never really can know someone as well as you can know a fictional character. And that’s okay. That’s how life is. But as a writer, you don’t have the stability of wearing a mask in your writing. You must be brutally honest. You must tell the truth. You can’t be afraid of someone not liking your work. You can’t be embarrassed of people reading, what feels like, your heart. Sure, it'll feel awkward at first, but your reader will thank you for your honesty. 

Thanks again, Kaycee, for the advice and encouragement! :o )