Welcome to my blog...

Here's where you will find the latest on what's going on with my books and the movie. It's also a great place to ask questions, where I recommend other books, and post different things bouncing around in my head. Look me up on Facebook and if you want to buy, signed, discounted, copies of my books, head over to http://www.ryannwattersbooks.com/.

Monday, November 24, 2008


It was truly a joy having Donita on the Motiv8 Fantasy Fiction Tour. Donita's quick wit and insights always seemed to arrive at the most appropriate times. In addition, her spontaneous action to jump into any situation, especially when it was directed at young children, was a sight to behold (see pics below of our visit to the Central California Children's Hospital and the Fresno Inner-City Reading Program).

Make sure you check out Donita's website and blogs, but for now as you enjoy your Thanksgiving week, here are some tidbits about our favorite Dragon Writer that you might not know!

Ten Things:
Ten things Donita K. Paul is thankful for:

1. Jesus (of course!)
2. Family and Friends
3. Church
4. Business Associates—the WaterBrook Staff, the Alive Communications staff, especially my editors and my agent
5. American Christian Fiction Writers
6. The Internet social networks—Shoutlife, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkdIn
7. The Internet Read groups—GoodReads and Shelfari (Anytime I think everyone is watching Netflix and playing video games, I visit these reader spots and breathe a sigh of relief)
8. Living in USA
9. Finding my niche, professionally
10. The knowledge God has provided and still encourages me to pursue

Ten authors Donita K. Paul enjoys:
1. Patricia Veryan
2. Max Lucado
3. Edward Eager
4. E. Nesbitt
5. Jane Austin
6. Charles Dickens
7. A. A. Milnes
8. Beatrix Potter
9. L.M. Montgomery
10. Too many Christian authors to list them all

Ten movies Donita K. Paul enjoyed:
1. Arsenic and Old Lace
2. Bringing up Baby
3. Secondhand Lions
4. Enchanted
5. Stardust
6. Mary Poppins
7. The King and I
8. Sense and Sensibility
9. Scrooge
10. Pride and Prejudice

TV Shows Donita K. Paul watched as a kid:
1. Roy Rogers
2. Man from U.N.C.L.E.
3. Gunsmoke
4. Alfred Hitchcock
5. Twilight Zone
6. Bonanza
7. Disney’s Wonderful World of Color
8. Ed Sullivan Show
9. Wyatt Earp
10. Dick Van Dyke

Ten foods Donita K. Paul likes:
1. Steak, medium rare
2. Soup, not creamy
3. Salads, the more varied the veggies, the better
4. Pumpkin pie, cookies, cake, and bread
5. Brownies, gooey is best but any brownie is acceptable. (I wonder why it is brownie and not browny.
6. Rotisserie chicken
7. Pizza, lots of toppings
8. Marinated artichokes
9. Mushrooms
10. Turkey

Ten foods Donita K. Paul does not like
1. Macaroni and cheese
2. Rice pudding
3. Rye bread
4. Curry
5. Coconut
6. Greasy fried food
7. Menudo
8. Haggis
9. Fruitcake
10. Turnips and rutabagas

Favorite type of jewelry: ear rings
Hobbies: beading, knitting, stamping
Game: Uno
Holiday: Christmas
Restaurant: Texas Roadhouse
Beverage: Coffee, Pepsi
Fast Food: Taco Bell
Collections: Children’s Books, dragons, statues and pictures of animals reading books
Flower: Pansy
Song: Tomorrow from Annie

Seasonal activities:
1. Spring—smell flowers
2. Summer—listen to kids in the neighborhood squeal
3. Autumn—watch leaves fall or blow down the street
4. Winter—curl up with a good book
How to shop, mall or online? ONLINE
How to communicate, telephone or email? EMAIL
Transportation for long distance? CAR with someone else driving.
Gathering, with kids or no kids? WITH KIDS

Ten places Donita K. Paul would like to go:
1. Hawaii
2. Disney World/Epcot Center
3. Carribean
4. New York-Upper state
5. Heaven
6. Ireland
7. Scotland
8. England
9. Washington State
10. Minnesota

Colors in order of preference
1. Yellow
2. Red
3. Orange
4. Purple
5. Blue

What Donita K. Paul wants people to say when they remember her: She was nice.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

From now until shortly before Christmas, the authors involved in the Fantasy Fiction Tour '08 will be collaborating on a joint blog tour. We'll be focusing each Monday - or thereabouts - on a different author each week. Our hope is to encourage readers who have experienced one or two of us and our work, to get a better idea of other Christian writers that they might be interested in.


This week it is my pleasure to introduce you to Christopher Hopper, in the event you are not already familiar with him or his work. There are very few people that I feel like I connect with the first time I meet them. Through our conference calls and e-mails in preparation for the Fantasy Fiction Tour, I felt that Christoper might be one of them. In this case, my sense was correct and we hit it off from day one.

Christopher brought many talents to the tour. Despite being the youngest both in age and heart (some might debate that based upon the maturity exhibited by the other authors), CH brought the techinical skills to set up our webcam TV, his oratory skills to lead all of our sessions, his writing skills as an author, his zany humor and most importantly his wife Jenni. In addition, both of them displayed their talents as musicians and I would be remiss to not mention checking both of them out on iTunes!

Swordplay is also one of CH's gifts, well... maybe one that is still being honed, as he did manage to cut Wayne's finger during one of the sword duels at an event! He has written an excellent series with book 3 in the trilogy going to the editor soon, which will be released in 2009. With the premise of a people group living in a Garden of Eden type setting and the idea that "what if the people hadn't sinned... the first time around?" Christopher lays out an exciting story of the second visit by Satan.

Instead of doing an interview this month, I'll give you two fun videos to watch. The first is an interview that was conducted by KSEE Channel 24 NBC in Fresno, CA (Wayne Thomas Batson is also in the interview) and the second is a video book-trailer for his series.

The Lion Vrie Book TRailer

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fantasy Fiction Tour '08 - Blog Tour

From now until shortly before Christmas, the authors involved in the Fantasy Fiction Tour '08 will be collaborating on a joint blog tour. We'll be focusing each Monday - or thereabouts - on a different author each week. Our hope is to encourage readers who have experienced one or two of us and our work, to get a better idea of other Christian writers that they might be interested in.


This week, I'm highlighting Sharon, who added such warm and caring heart to the book tour. Sharon's books appeal to a wide age range... especially teen girls and all the way through mothers and even grandmothers who are intrigued by the idea of a young mother pulled into another world for a fantasy adventure.

Here is some interesting background on Sharon:
Sharon is a wife and mom who has had many adventures, though none have involved an alternate universe (thus far). She has an M.A. in communication and has spent her life working in the arts (music, theatre, dance, and writing). Her other novels include The Secret Life of Becky Miller (Bethany House, 2006), Renovating Becky Miller (Bethany House, 2007), The Restorer (NavPress, 2007 – Christy Finalist), The Restorer’s Son (NavPress, 2007 – ACFW Book of the Year Winner), The Restorer’s Journey (NavPress, 2008), Symphony of Secrets (Bethany House, 2008), Stepping Into Sunlight (Bethany House, 2008).

And some background on The Restorer series:

Susan, a modern-day soccer mom, is pulled through a portal into another world, where a nation grappling for its soul waits for a promised Restorer to save their people. Can she fill that role? While she struggles to adapt to a foreign culture, she tackles an enemy that is poisoning the minds of the people, uncovers a corrupt ruling Council, and learns that God can use even her floundering attempts at service in surprising ways.

Link to amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1600061311/

Now... how about some questions for Sharon!

Q. What was the inspiration for The Restorer? A. I’ve always been fascinated by the story of Deborah in the book of Judges, and wondered what a modern woman would look like in that role. The fantasy genre provides a powerful way to look at a familiar story in a new way. I loved the challenge of creating a completely relatable character, and then inviting the reader to follow her into an imaginative journey.
Q. What kind of reader did you have in mind as you wrote the book?

A. I wrote this story for my friends – ordinary women who are sometimes called on to fill extraordinary roles that they don’t feel prepared for. We may not be literally yanked into an alternate universe, but the idea of being pulled into an unexpected challenge is very real to most of the people I know. I wrote this book for my friends who receive a diagnosis of cancer, or the news that their child has a learning disability, or their parent is battling Alzheimers, or their spouse has lost their job. They suddenly find themselves in a foreign world, facing new rules, and being asked to fill a role they don’t feel ready for. My prayer is that as well as being entertaining, this novel can inspire courage and determination for those facing daily battles.

Q. How much of The Restorer is drawn from your own life?

A. Susan’s spiritual journey – her desire to follow God and her confusion when the road is much harder than she expected—is very parallel to my own. I’ve never carried a sword into battle, but I’ve faced the challenge of surrendering more deeply to God’ s purposes when they didn’t make sense to me.

What some are saying about the series!

The Restorer is a great book for the hero – or heroine – in all of us. Sharon Hinck gives us a beautifully-realized world that demands the best that an everyday, run-of-the-mill Mom doesn’t even know she has. Hinck’s prose engages us in every moment of the struggle as the strength of the One drives the battle of the faithful against unimaginable odds, Excellent characters and an intriguing plot provide readers with great entertainment along with spiritual inspiration and enlightenment. I simply loved this book, hated for it to end, and am grateful that there’s another in the Sword of Lyric series coming soon.
~ Kathryn Mackel, author of Outriders and Trackers

“A compelling adventure, an engaging heroine, a unique and fascinating other world The Restorer satisfies on many levels. Skillfully incorporating themes of faith, sacrifice and the power of words to deceive or deliver, Sharon Hinck has crafted a tale that resonates in both soul and spirit. A welcome addition to the expanding genre of Christian fantasy. Don’t miss it!”
~ Karen Hancock, author of the Christy Award-winning Legends of the Guardian-King series.

I knew that Sharon Hinck was a gifted writer, and I knew that her ability to write details was impeccable. What The Restorer showed me is just how big her imagination is! She's taken two concepts that have no right to work in the same story -- a harried housewife and a sprawling fantasy world with its own science, culture, and rules -- and smashed the two together into something altogether fresh and compelling -- even for a red-blooded, testosterone-driven guy like me. She zigged every time I expected her to zag, and the world she created is full of mystery and suspense and the awe of discovery. But it's the characters, especially her soccer-mom-come-prophesied-hero, who keep you coming back for more.
~ Robin Parrish, author of Relentless; creator of Infuzemag.com

"Sharon Hinck has done a remarkable job in writing a fantasy for people who don't normally read fantasies. A soccer mom finds herself in an alternate universe where she has to save her adopted people from vastly more powerful enemies. Loved the swordplay. Loved the spiritual insights. Most of all, loved the main character, Susan Mitchell, a compelling mix of Everymom and Wonder Woman."
~ Randy Ingermanson, award-winning author of Retribution

Lastly, here's a cool video if you want to know more!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fantasy Fiction Tour '08 - Blog Tour


This week I am highlighting L.B Graham, who is the author of The Binding of the Blade, a five book epic fantasy series with P&R Publishing that began in 2004 and just recently culminated with the publication of All My Holy Mountain in 2008. The first book of the series, Beyond the Summerland, was a 2005 Christy finalist in the “Visionary” category.

L.B. was born in Baltimore, Maryland and grew up there before heading to Wheaton College outside Chicago in Wheaton, Illinois. From there he went to St. Louis to attend Covenant Seminary. Since 1996 he’s been teaching in St. Louis, the last 9 years at Westminster Christian Academy where he also serves as the Bible Department Chair.

L.B. was a hoot on tour and added quite a bit to our van escapades as we "rocked the suburbs!" Well... now let's get into a little Q & A with this accomplished author!

Q. The fifth and final novel of “The Binding of the Blade” (BOTB) just came out. How does it feel to be finished?
A. Actually, I was finished writing All My Holy Mountain, the last book in the series, in 2006, and it did feel a little surreal. BOTB runs about 2500 pages all told, and it is essentially one big story rather than five individual ones... though I guess the first book could be seen as a sort of prologue to the other four... At any rate, it was a pretty sizable undertaking and it felt almost odd to be finished.

Q. It sounds sizable. When did you start?
A. Well, I would say that I started working on the series, and by that I mean seriously working on the world-building and story-building, in the summer of 2000. But, that being said, the first seeds for the idea were sown long before that, in the summer of ‘92.

Q. 1992 is a long time ago - what happened that summer, or what were the ’seeds’ that were sown that summer?
A. I was a senior at Wheaton College, studying literature in England on a summer program, and two things collided to create the basic idea for the story. The first was, of all things, a footnote - I know, no one reads footnotes, but I actually do read them, at least sometimes. The footnote was in a poetry anthology of W.B. Yeats. The note was about archetypes... not very exciting to some, but to me, really interesting. Basically, for readers who don’t know what archetypes are, it is the idea that there are universal ideas or images or themes or symbols that carry with them, if you will, deeper meaning that add layers of richness to stories, movies, poems, etc…

Q. Like the ‘archetypal hero’ or ‘archetypal villain,’ that kind of thing, right?
A. Exactly. To use a familiar example, Gandalf is an archetypal “wisdom figure” and Frodo an archetypal “underdog” on the archetypal “quest” with Sam, the archetypal “sidekick” facing long odds against Sauron, the archetypal “villain” and so forth.

Anyway, this particular footnote was about geography. The idea was that geographical regions have archetypal connections in a lot of mythology and stories. For example, “the east” is often associated with spring, with morning, with new growth, with birth, with themes of things rising. “The south” is often associated with summer, with midday, with things in fullness and maturity, with romance, with themes of things having reached their full strength or potential. “The west” is often associated with autumn, with twilight, with things fading, with tragedy and themes of things declining, and “the north” is often associated with winter, with darkness and night, with sorrow and desolation, with themes of things lost.

The other seed that collided with this first one was much simpler. It was the famous image from Isaiah 2:4 among other places of swords and spears being broken down and remade into plowshares and pruning hooks. I would call this image, perhaps the archetypal image of peace, of our great hope for restoration.
Q. Those things don’t seem to be connected. How did you put them together?
A. It didn’t come together all at once, but what I conceived of was a story about a world where the making of weapons essentially represented ‘the Fall,’ or the loss of that world’s innocence and descent into sin and misery. And, on the other hand, the unmaking of weapons was the clearest picture for that world of peace, of things being made new. In short, the symbolic picture from Isaiah of our future restoration became a literal picture in my fantasy world, the picture of their great hope.

So, the Isaiah image became the thematic core of BOTB. The geography archetypes gave the story shape. I decided to structure the series geographically, matching tone and mood and theme and plot elements according to the pattern I outlined above.
Thus Beyond the Summerland took place in the south, was a story of romance and summer and things generally going well. The cover shows this summery feel. The story moved in Bringer of Storms to the west, in autumn, as things begin to fall apart pretty substantially, and as the world fades quickly into darkness. The stormy motif is portrayed pretty well here in that cover.
The story then cycles in the next two books through the north and into the east, each representing those archetypes in turn - darkness, night & desolation in winter followed by the slight glimmer of hope that comes with morning, sunrise, spring and things new. The covers for books 3 and 4 below show those seasons too. And then the last book returns to summer, though a different kind of summer, but I’ll leave it at that.

Q. So, those things help to explain some of the specifics of your series, but why fantasy? Did you know even back then in 1992 that you wanted to write Christian fantasy?
A. Actually, I would just say fantasy. I wouldn’t use the term Christian fantasy.

Q. Why not?
A. Well, the short version is that I think the adjective “Christian” is one that is properly applied to people, not things like “music” or “fiction” or in this case, “fantasy.” I know what people mean with labels like “Christian fantasy,” I just dislike the implication that Christian fantasy is good, and other fantasy is bad. I think that view is simplistic. Music, stories, movies and other artwork that conveys a message isn’t really divided into two piles - the good and bad. Rather I see them in a continuum. Some stories have lots of truth or good in them, others some, others not so much, and just because the author is a Christian doesn’t mean I’m going to agree with what he or she says or like the story. Likewise, I’ve read some great books by non-believers, who despite their unbelief are people made in the image of God and have created powerful stories.

Q. But isn’t there always something missing in those books, in those stories? Aren’t they always incomplete?
A. All stories written by finite, sinful human beings will be imperfect, if that is the question. However, just because there are certain things a writer can’t write about well or truthfully because he or she doesn’t believe those things, doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of other things they can and do write about well and truthfully. Stories from nonbelievers can contain beauty and power and truth, and I wouldn’t simply dismiss them out of hand because they come from non-Christians.

Q. Are you working on anything new, now that BOTB is finished?
A. Yes. I wrote a crime novel last year. It is a stand alone book, but I have ideas for 2 sequels right now. Currently, I’m also writing a nonfiction book and the first novel of a new series as well. None of these projects are under contract at the moment, though, so I couldn’t say what my next publication will be.

Q. Is the new series you mentioned also fantasy?
A. Yes, though I think of it as a fantasy/sci fi hybrid. I’ve posted a bit about that on my blog, but I won’t get into that here, since it is a bit complicated.

Q. Before wrapping up, what would you say to readers who haven’t heard of you or your books and may be wondering if The Binding of the Blade is for them?
A. It’s a fair question, as my books certainly aren’t for everyone. My publisher categorized them as ‘young adult’ fantasy, but I don’t think of them that way. Certainly younger readers who are good readers can read them, as many have, but I think of them as a bit older than that.
I guess what I would say is that there seems to be a lot more true YA fantasy stories than fantasy for older kids or adults out there in CBA, the “Christian” publishing world (there I go, doing what I don’t like doing, but I’m not sure how else to describe CBA!) As readers of those stories get older, they often become interested in stories that are geared a little older. Not that they necessarily outgrow the YA ones, but as they become ready for older ones too, then I’d encourage them to pick up Beyond the Summerland and see if they like it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fantasy Fiction Tour 2008 - Video Recap

You don't want to miss these great videos. Each day, Christopher and Jenni Hopper, captured the essence of the day through video of each of our events, meals, the van ride and more. If you ever wanted to see what it's like to travel with authors who write for kids then you'll enjoy these! (Hint: the authors act the age of those they write for). Eric

The tour kicks off at an amazing event in Abbotsford, BC.

The authors storm Seattle, WA signing books, swinging swords, and even causing a car accident!

Interview with NBC KSEE 24 in Fresno, CA

The authors start off with a rainy, impromptu gathering under a gazebo in Portland and finish with a bang at Medford's mall. A huge crowd gathered for the signing put on by Evangel Family Bookstore and were treated to, among other things, a reading by Jonathan Rogers and a humorous dual between Christopher Hopper & Wayne Thomas Batson.

(The fun and funky Portuguese/Brazilian music is in honor of Nathan Reimer).

MOTIV8 Fantasy Fiction Tour: Day 3 - Sacramento, CA

MOTIV8 Fantasy Fiction Tour: Day Three finds the authors crossing over into California and the question is: "Is California ready?" Stops include Trinity Christian School and Barnes & Noble in Sacramento.

Day Four is too jam-packed for just one Video Journal, starting off with a bang at NBC, two charity events, and finishes at a Berean Bookstore.

Day Four, part two, focuses on a special charity event done in partnership with Character 4 Kids and READ Fresno.


MOTIV8 Fantasy Fiction Tour: Day 4.3 - Fresno, CA

SPECIAL : Meet The Authors - Day Four ends at the Berean Bookstore in Fresno where the authors take a few moments for a run-down on each of their books.

Reedley, CA
MOTIV8 Fantasy Fiction Tour: Day Five is all about Reedley, CA! From Hotel Burgess to G Street, the authors are kept on their toes and given a special dinner that will make you drool...

MOTIV8 Fantasy Fiction Tour: Day 6 - LA, CA

Day Six starts off at 4:00am! St. Genevieve's welcomes the authors on one of the favorite stops of the tour, then on to Bethany Christian and a final bookstore appearance in Van Nuys.

Los Angeles, CA
MOTIV8 Fantasy Fiction Tour: Day Seven keeps our authors in LA for a second day, making two appearances at Christian schools and then a grand reception at Calvary Chapel Refuge in Huntington Beach.

MOTIV8 Fantasy Fiction Tour: Day 8 - San Diego, CA

Day Eight is the big send off! The authors make their final stop in southern California and then head home. Thanks to all those who made this tour a marvelous and memorable success.

High School student, Jason Derfuss films a summary video of book 1