A Visual Tour of “Forging the Blade”

Missed the visual tour for the first book? Check it out here!

The-blade2

Having successfully evaded the colony’s underworld and corrupt police, Joshua receives a job offer he can’t refuse. But there’s a risk…

…he remained frozen in a crouch, fingertips pressing into the rough woven canvas. His sigh of relief hitched to a stop. Some   thing’s   not   right…      Ever    so    slowly, Joshua rotated his eyes up and looked straight across toward the office roof. There was something wrong about one of the shadows…    the hairs on the back of his neck rose to a stiff bristle.

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Two reflective green spots floated within the darkness, growing larger, and brighter, moving towards him across the roof of the office, until a feline face eased forward past the edge of shadow, intense emerald eyes fixed on Joshua. The psytiger’s ears pressed down further against its broad, flat skull, its upper lip peeling up to release the gleam of its five-inch fangs.

Joshua was rocked by a brief, full-bodied shiver. He whispered, “I    I found the cat.”

“Where is it?”

“Looking right at me.”

“Throw the capsule!”

“Can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Left it on the roof.”

A stunned silence hung in the earbud.

The cat flowed forward to the edge of the office roof. Its flexing paws forcing long needle-sharp claws to twitch in and out as wide shoulders rocked side to side and the massive head dipped even lower.

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Just when he thought he’d found a sanctuary—a place to call home—and someone willing to help him…

Betrayal…

[The man’s] face filled Joshua’s field of vision,     his expression intent,    earnest,    compelling Joshua to understand, “I know this does not matter to you at this moment, Joshua, but    this is always the hardest part for me.”

Driven-to-the-hilt-the-hardest-part

There was a prick on Joshua’s neck and his vision began to narrow. He waged a desperate fight to stay alert and in the moment,    trying to grasp onto his anger    to rage at the man who had betrayed him,    but he sank into a strange resignation, a seeping apathy…

No    NO!    I  am   RESOLUTE!!

Joshua desperately fought against the blackness that was closing in all around him,      pushing,      striving,      to hold it back,

he         could                 not.

A single thought formed as the darkness pulled him down

Mom?            

Joshua awakens… trapped alone in a sterile white room…

The voice took on a firmer tone. ‘Joshua, if you refuse to cooperate, you will only be making things unnecessarily unpleasant.’

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When Joshua did not respond, the floor became firmer and the light green shifted to a dark blue glow. Both the floor and the air around him became cooler. Joshua did not move. Before long, he began to shiver. He remembered his mother having read him a story about a dog race in a place called Alaska on Earth prime. It was particularly memorable because the very idea of snow had been difficult to grasp. Still is

‘Please answer the questions so that I can get you something to eat. You would like that, wouldn’t you?’

“You could get me something to eat now if you wanted to.”

‘No.’ Her response was heavy with sadness. ‘I wish I could. You were such a polite boy at first. But to give you something when you refuse to answer simple questions would be against the rules.’

“How am I supposed to know the RULES!” Joshua shouted back, “I just woke up here!”

‘You know, Joshua. I politely ask questions and you politely answer them. That is the only rule right now. If you do that, then I can give you things.’

Joshua snorted in defiance and was startled by the puff of fog that came out. The floor had become so cold that the muscles in contact with it started to ache. Although nights in the winter could get quite chilly on Cypress Grove, Joshua had never been this cold…

So Joshua just focused on walking around the cubicle…

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< Is this about…our boy? …There must be enough heat to make the steel malleable, to forge the blade. >

< True…it just occurred to me that I may have some good news relative to putting a lasting edge on our blade… His escalation in training will put him into contact with, how should I say, a catalyst that should bring him to a white-hot readiness. >

< That sounds quite promising, but it won’t precipitate a meltdown, I trust? >

< There is always such a risk when forging an instrument to possess a true potential for destruction, is there not? >

< There is indeed. But hopefully, you can hold the heat within the forging range and avoid spikes into the meltdown level. >

< I’ll do my best. >

Driven-to-theHilt-forging-the-blade-Joshua

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forging-the-blade-coverAn inscrutable stranger offers him a deal that seems too good to be true. And it is. Joshua soon faces new challenges to survive in a place he had not believed was even real.

Having successfully evaded the colony’s underworld and corrupt police, Joshua finds himself trapped alone in a sterile white room. But it is no ordinary room, changing and shifting in response to his reactions and behaviors. Ultimately, he will have to make a choice… one that will forever change the direction of his life.

DG Lamb creates a dynamic world full of new challenges and lessons for an endearing young hero. Lamb’s extensive experience as a clinical neuropsychologist and his understanding of posttraumatic stress symptoms injects psychological authenticity and complexity into Joshua and a host of engaging new characters.

About the first book:

Driven-to-the-Hilt-press-release-book-only

Already a social outcast because of his father’s alleged betrayal, young Joshua finds himself trapped outside the mining colony on the planet of Cypress Grove. He faces a murky rainforest infested with a creature so deadly, it has kept all humans confined inside their only settlement for decades. If he can manage to escape these alien wilds, he must then brave the even darker dangers of the colony’s underworld.

It is a tale of survival, a premature coming of age in an environment demanding resiliency, inventiveness, and self-reliance. But when teetering on the sharp edge of stark choices, decisions of life or death, can Joshua afford to consider questions of right and wrong, or does expediency rule the day?

About the Author

AuthorDGLamb

Debut author D G Lamb, a clinical neuropsychologist, uses his understanding of posttraumatic stress symptoms to inject psychological authenticity and complexity into Joshua’s personality, creating a wounded, but endearing central character.

What fans are saying…

“…a debut novel that brilliantly introduces a series with huge promise of entertainment.” – R Oserio (Readers Favorite)

“…one of the most original and well-told stories I’ve ever read.” – S Cahan

“Author D.G. Lamb navigates Joshua’s trauma with a sense of surrealism that’s both poignant and true to life.” – CL Farley (Readers Favorite)

“It is emotionally intense and it is hard not to feel for the protagonist …watching him grow through the challenges is delightful.” – R Oserio

“Lamb does an outstanding job of displaying Joshua’s evolving worldliness while still maintaining a childlike sense of innocence about the character.” – CL Farley

“First-time author D.G. Lamb has established himself as a new talent in young adult novels with this first effort…” – S Cahan

“This book is not what I expected, but wow.” – Lara Storm Hitchcock | Article 1: Characterization | Article 2: Setting

On Amazon: Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 Preorder and cover reveal coming soon!

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About Mythic Orbits

You might be wondering what in the world “Mythic Orbits ” refers to. I’m not sure if it will help reassure you to tell you the name Mythic Orbits was simply intended to suggest both science fiction and fantasy and to identify these books in a distinctive way, along with any that follow after in the series.

 Just as these anthologies represent a wide variety of genres, there is no common theme to these tales, though the subject of empathy or lack thereof does come up in them repeatedly. This is most definitely not an anthology about orbits which are somehow mystical.

 These anthologies are a showcase for the best stories submitted in the general field of speculative fiction by Christian authors. They represent a wide variety of genres, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal.

 The main goal of these anthologies was to demonstrate that Christian authors can write speculative fiction well. Stories with a wide range of appeal are included here, mostly serious, some with humor, some with “happy endings” and others clearly not so happy. All of them worth reading.

Some of these stories feature Christian characters in speculative fiction worlds, some make use of Christian themes either subtly or overtly, while some have no discernible connection to Christianity at all. Christian authors are featured in this collection rather than specifically Christian-themed stories.Mythic Orbits

So, is it widely-known all over the world that Christians write speculative fiction?

Well, clearly Christians who themselves are speculative fiction writers know what they write. But does everybody else?

Especially when we’re talking about theologically conservative Christians, Evangelicals of some sort, professed Bible-believing Christians, do people know about their works? Is it legitimate for people to wonder if writers with personal convictions along these lines produce speculative fiction, that is, science fiction and fantasy and related genres like LitRPG, paranormal, and horror?

These books provide an answer: Not only do Christian writers produce speculative fiction stories, they write some great ones.

Enjoy these examples!

Travis Perry (Editor and Publisher) Travissbigidea.blogspot.com

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http://bearpublications.com/

 

Mythic Orbits 2016

MO 2016 coverAmazon link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1635358884/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

Fourteen of the best speculative fiction stories by Christian authors, spinning science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal genres into worlds of intrigue and delight.

Featuring Graxin by Kerry Nietz, author of Amish Vampires in Space and A Star Curiously Singing, Mythic Orbits 2016 has something for every speculative fiction fan.

  

Mythic Orbits Vol. 2

 MO Vol.2 coverAmazon link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1643706683/ref=ox_c_act_title_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

In a series praised by both Tosca Lee, Kathy Tyers, and Kerry Nietz, this anthology of eleven speculative fiction stories by Christian authors shines in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and LitRPG genres. Featuring Kat Heckenbach’s “Mark the Days,” this collection has something for every speculative fiction fan.

 

Featured Authors & Links:

 Mark Venturini (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Venturini/e/B00G14LU1W

Jill Domschot (Mythic Orbits 2016) http://jilldomschot.com/

Richard New ( Mythic Orbits 2016) http://www.richardnewauthor.com/

Kirk Outerbridge (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://www.amazon.com/Kirk-Outerbridge/e/B002RXBRUK

Cindy Emmet Smith (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://www.amazon.com/Cindy-Emmet-Smith/e/B00GFY8IF4

Lisa Gefrides (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://www.lisagodfrees.com/

L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright (Mythic Orbits 2016) http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/

Joshua M. Young (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://www.amazon.com/Joshua-M.-Young/e/B00OM8RLJE

Matthew Sketchley (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15611197.Matthew_Sketchley

R. V. Saunders ( Mythic Orbits 2016) http://bearpublications.com/our-authors/

Sherry Rossman (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://sherryrossman.com/

Kerry Nietz (Mythic Orbits 2016) https://www.nietz.com/

Linda Burklin (Mythic Orbits 2016 & Vol. 2) https://steadfastscribe.wordpress.com/

Kat Heckenbach (Mythic Orbits 2016 & Vol. 2) http://www.katheckenbach.com/

Steve Rzasa (Mythic Orbits 2) https://www.steverzasa.com/

Donald Crankshaw (Mythic Orbits 2) www.donaldscrankshaw.com

CW Briar (Mythic Orbits 2) http://www.cwbriar.com/

Cindy Koepp (Mythic Orbits 2) https://ckoepp.com/

C. O. Bonham (Mythic Orbits 2) http://www.cobonham.com

Kristin Janz (Mythic Orbits 2) http://www.kristinjanz.com

William Bontrager (Mythic Orbits 2) https://soundcloud.com/william-bontrager

A. K. Meek (Mythic Orbits 2) http://www.akmeek.com/

Keturah Lamb (Mythic Orbits 2) http://keturahskorner.blogspot.com

 

 

 

The Spiritual Power of Our Words

The other day, God taught me a very important lesson—a jumble of lessons, really, about faith and fear, idolatry, the power of words, and more. However, the real story begins a few month back, amidst my ongoing struggles with anxiety and depression, mostly rooted in my failure as a writer.

You see, throughout the course of my writing journey, I frequently wore labels like “inadequate” and “hopeless.” I rarely experienced God’s joy or peace in my life. If I did experience happiness, it was always a product of fleeting circumstances. For a long season, Scriptures and sermons either fell flat or filled me with self-condemnation. I was trapped in an endless cycle of situational moods—happy when I did well and miserable when I failed.

In short, my emotions were torturing me—and it felt like Hell.

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Let’s be clear here… Everyone struggles with their emotions from time to time. Everyone deals with frustration. That’s not what I’m talking about… Anxiety and depression—that suffocating joy-sucking black hole in a person’s chest and the bee-hive explosion of buzzing angst that hijacks all hope until the victim is desperate for unconsciousness—those emotions are often beyond our power to control.

I had begun taking steps to get free—steps as slippery as walking through quicksand. I was trapped in a pit only God could lift me out of… I just had to reach out and take His hand.

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If that makes it sound too easy, well…it was. That’s because after all my efforts and struggles, I didn’t do it—God did.

It really was a miracle… I’d come to the end of myself, anxiety attacks slamming me one after the next. I was fighting to keep my head above water, but—ultimately—I was drowning. Though God had given me a few passing words of inspiration, I wasn’t expecting much. I was simply desperate for relief.front-black

That was when God led me to a devotional book composed by another writer of fiction: Ted Dekker. Within days of beginning the meditations in his book, “The Forgotten Way,” the anxiety and depression were gone. In vague whispers of emotion, I remember the transition… one day, feeling like the world was caving in… the next, drinking full breaths of glorious freedom, each one sweetened with a joy and peace that seemed to have been hidden all my life—but not by God.

God wasn’t hiding Himself, you see? My skewed perceptions—the same ones that turned God’s word against me—they were the culprit. The truth is, our reality is shaped by what we truly believe, which means some of us are living in Hell even while the kingdom of Heaven looms near.

Ted Dekker said it like this:

“Everything we say, do and think aligns us with darkness or light, love or grievance. Thus, everything is a spiritual practice, whether we are aware of it or not. We are constantly, in every moment, aligning with one way of being or another. The choice is ours to make each moment of each day.”

lick-the-lemons-logoIn the days that followed my newfound freedom, I experienced frustrations—normal highs and lows—but nothing like before. I wasn’t happy; I was joyous. I wasn’t perfect; but neither was I condemned. I was able to love my daughter more. She hadn’t changed at all, mind you—but I had. Through “The Forgotten Way Meditations” God renewed my mind and transformed my life.

He saved me from the emotional Hell I’d been living in.

God taught me so many lessons through that entire experience…

Yesterday, I had the exam.

It began with a post I saw on Facebook, one person’s expression of gratitude for a wonderful friend in their life. This is what it said:

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Instantly the self-pity flared. I knew I shouldn’t write what I wanted to write, but in that moment, I just wanted to be visible. I wanted human understanding. So I did it anyway. Here’s what I wrote:

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The moment the words were out, and especially as the human sympathy rolled in, the emotions behind my words became more real. Suddenly, they had power. Before voicing my fears, all I had was a little niggling doubt—something entirely manageable. But after?

I’d opened the floodgates to the enemy. The anxiety struck anew—and it wasn’t pretty. It bowled me over with unstoppable power, reminding me of the greater Power that had rooted it out of me to begin with. I was like Adam and Eve, longing for the very fruit that would made me sick.

Take a moment to ponder what actually happened here… I aligned myself with the enemy rather than God. I expressed faith in satan’s intentions instead of God’s. I denied all the work my sweet Savior had already worked in my life. Because, you see:

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Here’s the thing: We can either have our self-pity or we can have God. Our minds can’t hold onto both at once because they’re polar opposites. Self-pity can’t survive even a tiny drop of God’s love. The One who knows all, saw our predicament before the foundation of the world and planned His own death in accordance by creating the tree He would die on. The longer we gaze at God, the smaller our problems become.

Which means…

If we’re seeing our self-pity, we’re not wholly seeing God… We’re in danger of stumbling… And so, in those lucid moments, you have a choice just as I had a choice. A choice to magnify our view of God or to allow our self-pity to drag us down.

It wasn’t a difficult choice, really. I just didn’t realize the power of my own words. I didn’t take my idolatry seriously.

Idolatry-quote-Elyse-Fitzpatrick

Besides that, I’ve learned that renewing the mind is an ongoing battle. The freedom God won for me doesn’t give me a free pass for the rest of my life. Now, instead of enjoying God’s peace, I’m battling an anxiety hangover. It feels like exhaustion and heartburn all mashed up inside. I know it’ll pass; I don’t regret the lessons I learned; but all this unpleasantness could’ve been avoided.

In retrospect, I feel a bit like Peter asserting he would never deny Christ—only to suggest through my words that God’s work in my life somehow wasn’t enough. That’s one new lesson I believe God wants me to absorb more deeply: He’s the Source. He alone is enough. Absolutely nothing else—and no one else—can satisfy.

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It was a hard lesson to experience—like the wake-up call Adam and Eve had, no doubt, after eating the accursed fruit. To have experienced the sweet communion of Christ, the joy and peace of living free of my emotional shackles, experiencing Heaven on earth—only to fall back into the grips of Hell.

Yes, it was hard, but this, too, is God’s grace in action. I’d forgotten how awful the anxiety felt. I was in danger of forgetting all His benefits, He “who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name!

Now, to my very core, I am convicted of the Scriptural truths found in Psalm 73, verses 25 and 26:

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Be blessed, my friends… God loves you.

And if you’d like to learn more about mental illness in the church, I just learned about a new book coming out soon: Whispers in the Pews by Chris Morris.

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Self Care with Less Self: Advice for writers & other CREATIVE Planet Earth inhabitants

Have you ever noticed how we human beings are generally our most miserable when we’re focused on ourselves? My wants, my needs, my pains, my problems… For beings so dedicated to the pursuit of happiness, you’d think we might recognize the link between joy and self-forgetfulness…but no.

Plus: Easier said than done, right?

I recognize that my problems, when compared to others’, really aren’t so bad. Even so, whenever I dwell on my concerns, I can easily end up having a “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”

Or maybe it’s that the bad days encourage me to focus on myself (and my problems). Regardless, whether life’s circumstances force the issue—drawing my focus to the negative—or whether my downward-spiraling thoughts suction my day down the proverbial drain, I’ve come to believe that Self is at the root of all my problems.

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Don’t believe me? Take a moment to think about it.

Wouldn’t you be happier some days if you lived with emotional amnesia? If—instead of hashing and rehashing and worrying and wondering and fearing and desperately wishing for change—you could press the pause on all your stressful thinking?

What if (for example)—instead of wondering how you’re going to solve all those plot problems and become the successful author you one day hope to be—you simply forget yourself, your expectations, and relish in the enjoyment of writing… One day at a time…Knowing that no accomplishment worth pursuing is achieved in a single day anyway. Realizing that stress only serves to steal your creativity. What if?

At this point, you may be thinking,“But if I relax too much—if I don’t push myself onward—I’ll never make it to the end.”

Complacency is certainly a dangerous enemy. But consider the following quotes:

“When you’re cranky, so is your novel. When you shine, your novel does, too. So why not let yourself shine, both in life and on the page?” From The Emotional Craft of Fiction, by Donald Maass

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While it’s true that negative emotions can be harnessed as a fuel for creativity, stress—more often than not—serves only to stifle our innovation. According to Dr. Shelley Carson, author of, Your Creative Brain:

“When mood is more negative, attention becomes more focused so that we can concentrate on addressing stressors that are impacting our well-being.” In contrast, “When mood is elevated, attention becomes somewhat defocused so that we can take in more information in search of novel opportunities.”

And those novel opportunities for writers are often novel ideas for our faltering plot!

As a case in point, I spent several hours yesterday trying to solve a single plot problem (without success). As I worked on brainstorming ideas, I began to feel—not energized, as I often am when I brainstorm—but as if I’d been banging my head against a wall. Repeatedly.

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I was putting so much pressure on myself to solve THIS ONE PROBLEM, that I blocked out all other avenues of creativity… All because of the pressure I was putting on my SELF.

I need to solve this plot problem or *I* will never be published. If I can’t solve this plot problem, *I’m* a failure. It didn’t help that, a few days prior, I’d thought I’d found a plot solution—a solution I was now second guessing.

Why? I was judging myself, my work, my adequacy. My idea isn’t good enough. Im not good enough. Self, self, SELF!

(Never mind that I was also idolizing my success.)

So, what can we creative types do when our SELF is thwarting our creative progress?

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Practical ideas for forgetting yourself

It’s all good and well to say don’t think about yourself, but it’s often better to change the “thou shalt nots” into more practical “to dos.” For example:

(1) Think Positive.

If you can’t NOT think about yourself, can you at least balance out the negative with a little positive thinking? For me, this approach would sound something like this: “I may not be published yet, but I’ve learned so much about writing since I began.” Or, “I may not have made the progress I’d hoped for today, but I have been making progress.”

When we choose to focus on how much we’ve accomplished rather than how far we have to go, we’re more likely to remain positive. And, as Dr. Shelley Carson says in Your Creative Brain:

There is “actual scientific evidence that indicates you’re more likely to generate a large number of ideas and to make unusual associations when you receive an unexpected reward or when you’re in a good mood.

(2) Enjoy a little Nature.

Too much time at the screen can be bad. So why not take a break to bask in the beauty and magnitude of nature. To reconnect with the wonder of your inner child… Marvel at the texture of a rock, the colors of a feather, the sheer grandeur of the rugged mountains, and the play of glimmering light and shifting shadows.

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After all, tuning in to nature (that is, to the sensory details our brains typically filter out) is yet another way to jumpstart our creativity. Don’t you feel your mood improving already?

(3) Exercise.

Yeah, yeah, yeah—I know. You’re either already in the habit of being active or you don’t wanna hear about it. That was true for me as well (the latter, I’m sorry to say) until I learned about the link between exercise and creativity, again from Your Creative Brain:

“Research indicates that during the two-hour period following aerobic exercise, alpha and theta wave activity [which increase creative potential] are increased in the prefrontal cortex.”

(Note: Besides the few quotes I’ve already shared, there are loads more treasures to be unearthed from Dr. Shelley Carson’s book, including brain exercises to help improve your creativity. Read more about it here: http://www.shelleycarson.com/your-creative-brain).

(4) Worship God.

If you’re not a religious person, feel free to disregard this last point. However, personally, nothing helps me get my mind off myself like the wonder of God. After all, none of us are adequate in ourselves… But He is. None of us quite knows where our lives will lead… But He does.

So, from my point of view, God’s omnipotent omniscient sufficiency and love is the answer to all life’s uncertainties. More than that, true worship helps us forget ourselves by shifting the focus from our deficiencies to the perfect sufficiency of the One—and not only His sufficiency, but also His love.

True-worship-sufficiency-of-the-One

Maybe, like me, you need an identity crisis to remind you who you really are, as the son or daughter of God. When I remember I’m not the only one who cares about my journey, it’s easier to let go and relax when I hit a roadblock.

How about you? Do you ever get lost in your problems and need a break from your SELF? What is your mind on really when you find yourself immersed in a creative project? Do you agree that the SELF is more often an obstacle than an aid in your creative journey? Share your thoughts below.

AND if I get more than twenty comments below or more than twenty Facebook shares in one week’s time, I’ll contribute a copy of Your Creative Brain to one lucky winner! (US residents only)

A Visual-Emotional Tour of “Driven to the Hilt”

Loss…

Driven-to-the-Hilt-dad-honor-doubt-all-words-sml

Beauty…

driven-to-the-hilt-sunshine-fog-alone

Fear…

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Guilt…

Driven-to-the-Hilt-tough-choices-nothing-will-ever-be-the-same

Abandonment… Loneliness… DETERMINATION.

Driven-to-the-Hilt-Abandoned-Again-rain-in-eyes


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About this book:

Driven-to-the-Hilt-press-release-book-only

Already a social outcast because of his father’s alleged betrayal, young Joshua finds himself trapped outside the mining colony on the planet of Cypress Grove. He faces a murky rainforest infested with a creature so deadly, it has kept all humans confined inside their only settlement for decades. If he can manage to escape these alien wilds, he must then brave the even darker dangers of the colony’s underworld.

It is a tale of survival, a premature coming of age in an environment demanding resiliency, inventiveness, and self-reliance. But when teetering on the sharp edge of stark choices, decisions of life or death, can Joshua afford to consider questions of right and wrong, or does expediency rule the day?

About the Author

AuthorDGLamb

Debut author D G Lamb, a clinical neuropsychologist, uses his understanding of posttraumatic stress symptoms to inject psychological authenticity and complexity into Joshua’s personality, creating a wounded, but endearing central character.

What fans are saying…

“…a debut novel that brilliantly introduces a series with huge promise of entertainment.” – R Oserio (Readers Favorite)

“…one of the most original and well-told stories I’ve ever read.” – S Cahan

“Author D.G. Lamb navigates Joshua’s trauma with a sense of surrealism that’s both poignant and true to life.” – CL Farley (Readers Favorite)

“It is emotionally intense and it is hard not to feel for the protagonist …watching him grow through the challenges is delightful.” – R Oserio

“Lamb does an outstanding job of displaying Joshua’s evolving worldliness while still maintaining a childlike sense of innocence about the character.” – CL Farley

“First-time author D.G. Lamb has established himself as a new talent in young adult novels with this first effort…” – S Cahan

“This book is not what I expected, but wow.” – Lara Storm Hitchcock | Article 1: Characterization | Article 2: Setting

On Amazon: Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 cover reveal here. Preorder coming soon!

Author Website: https://www.driventothehilt.com/

 

“Driven to the Hilt I” : A Review

In honor of the release of book III (cover reveal here), I’m posting my review of the first book in this intriguing sci-fi series (with a few points of clarification).

Goodreads Review

Driven to the Hilt: The Deepest CutDriven to the Hilt: The Deepest Cut by D.G. Lamb

StoryStormBlogs-Review-4-5-stars

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This book is not what I expected, but wow. The back cover blurb, which I remembered only vaguely when I started reading the novel is accurate, but the sword on the cover threw my expectations: In the back of my mind, I was thinking, “this is a fantasy.” Truth be told, this book is unlike any I’ve ever read. Although hints of off-world happenings are mentioned (with futuristic technology suggesting sci-fi), the story takes place entirely on the planet Cypress Grove, in and around a settlement enclosed in a lethal jungle. The world building, particularly the descriptions of flora and fauna, proved to be one of my favorite aspects of the book: Far from being superfluous, those details proved to be integral. The author does an amazing job of setting up the “The Swamp’s” threat and even turns ordinary trips through New Cincinnati into suspenseful ventures.

I found the plot to be steady. Slow—not in the sense that I ever grew bored, but—in the overall feel. Though there were certainly moments of more intense action, what riveted me to the page was curiosity, emotion, and the steady DRIZZLE of suspenseful expectation. I loved that Joshua was proactive—resolute. I loved that his brilliant plans to fix things sometimes mired him in a worse situation. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him discover his new world, learning new tasks until he emerged a helpless boy no longer, but self-sufficient.

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Though the close camera feel (deep POV) and the style (thoughts inserted without punctuation into narrative, strings of hyphens among ellipses, etc) were at times confusing (kindle edition, note below: *), the entirety was overall effective and unbelievably engrossing. At first, some of the syntax—even the emotional responses (like the out of body experiences)—was a touch confusing, but like any good story I was mostly able to slip right in.

The descriptions were vivid and sensory—not so gruesome as to bridge into horror, but a few rare visuals earned a cringe. (That being said, I don’t know if I could tolerate this story in film version. Alien is one thing… Arachnophobia quite another.) On a similar note, I have two mild cautions for any sensitive readers: (1) There are occasional scattered curse words (no f-bombs). If a novel indulges gratuitous swearing, I usually abandon it. That wasn’t necessary here. (2) Also, there was a stretch of suggestive dialogue which, though relatively brief, made me uncomfortable. It gave me the sense that…(view spoiler on Goodreads). However what I feared having to read about never transpired… So, in that sense, it turned out (for me) to be a non-issue. 

Others have said (and I agree) the author’s knowledge of psychological issues has produced a compelling hero. The emotion is rich but not oppressive (for this reader, though hero Joshua might disagree). How could anyone “watch” an 11-year-old boy go through all that—in the end defeating the odds—and not reach the satisfying yet bittersweet finish line without a “RESOLUTE” cheer? I rooted for Joshua, felt for him, and now with great anticipation look forward to his next adventure.

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And can I just say…?
I…want…to…learn…more…about…slow time! Why does Joshua have this ability? How will it come into play later in the series? This is yet one more fascinating detail from the author’s boundless creativity. Luke Skywalker has the force—er, uh—midichlori-whatevers; Paul Atreides has special Bene Gesserit abilities; and Joshua Vernon has slow time. Loved. It.

But… Mind your edition*: Regarding the punctuation and formatting, there’s a special note from the author at the beginning of the kindle version. If you’re picky about that kind of thing, be sure to read the note before you decide to purchase the e-version. Personally, I was able to work with it; the story was too engaging to deter me, but other readers might feel differently…in which case, get a physical copy.

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INTERESTING FACT: Another reader expressed how, in the kindle translation of text-to-voice, the strange formatting translated into an impressive mimicry of normal speech/speed variations.

I can’t say I’m naturally drawn to survival stories. It takes talent to keep interest high when the hero spends a fair amount of time on his own, but in my view, this author succeeded. So…even if it’s not your usual fare, consider giving this novel a try. I can’t wait for the next installment in the series!


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About “The Deepest Cut”:

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Already a social outcast because of his father’s alleged betrayal, young Joshua finds himself trapped outside the mining colony on the planet of Cypress Grove. He faces a murky rainforest infested with a creature so deadly, it has kept all humans confined inside their only settlement for decades. If he can manage to escape these alien wilds, he must then brave the even darker dangers of the colony’s underworld.

It is a tale of survival, a premature coming of age in an environment demanding resiliency, inventiveness, and self-reliance. But when teetering on the sharp edge of stark choices, decisions of life or death, can Joshua afford to consider questions of right and wrong, or does expediency rule the day?

About the Author

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Debut author D G Lamb, a clinical neuropsychologist, uses his understanding of posttraumatic stress symptoms to inject psychological authenticity and complexity into Joshua’s personality, creating a wounded, but endearing central character.

What fans are saying…

“…a debut novel that brilliantly introduces a series with huge promise of entertainment.” – R Oserio (Readers Favorite)

“…one of the most original and well-told stories I’ve ever read.” – S Cahan

“Author D.G. Lamb navigates Joshua’s trauma with a sense of surrealism that’s both poignant and true to life.” – CL Farley (Readers Favorite)

“It is emotionally intense and it is hard not to feel for the protagonist …watching him grow through the challenges is delightful.” – R Oserio

“Lamb does an outstanding job of displaying Joshua’s evolving worldliness while still maintaining a childlike sense of innocence about the character.” – CL Farley

“First-time author D.G. Lamb has established himself as a new talent in young adult novels with this first effort…” – S Cahan

“This book is not what I expected, but wow.” – Lara Storm Hitchcock | Article 1: Characterization | Article 2: Setting

On Amazon: Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3

Author Website: https://www.driventothehilt.com/

J Andersen’s “Destiny of Design” Series

The third book in J. Andersen’s “Destiny of Design” series releases today! Missed the first two books and the prequel? Peruse the pictures and descriptions below to learn more:

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Reckless Destiny (Prequel Novella)
It’s one thing to use scientific experimentation for the good of the people; it’s another to be the experiment. 

During a routine doctor’s visit, Emma Bolding finds herself at the center of The Institute’s latest step in the journey toward genetic perfection, a place that’s not only dangerous, but unethical. Maybe she should have looked the other way, but The Institute chose to cross the line and make it personal.

Fighting back was never Emma’s thing, but she soon discovers she’s not the person she once was. Perhaps she’s destined for greater things. 

Available here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTGSRN6/

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The Breeding Tree:  (Book 1) Destiny by Design

When Katherine Dennard is selected to become a “Creation Specialist” in Sector 4, the opportunity sounds like a dream come true. But Kate soon discovers the darker side of her profession – the disposal of fetal organs and destruction of human life. It makes sense, really. In a society where disease and malformations don’t exist, human perfection demands that no genetic “mutants” be allowed to live. For Sector 4, “survival of the fittest” is not just a theory – it’s The Institute’s main mission.

When Kate discovers that The Institute is using her DNA to create new life, her work gets personal. In order to save her unviable son, she’ll have to trust Micah and his band of underground Natural Born Rebels. The problem is, if The Institute discovers her betrayal, the next body tossed in the trash could be hers.

“This is a powerful story about the meaning and value of life–we don’t have enough of those.” ~ Terry Trueman, Printz Honor author, Stuck in Neutral

Available here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XVT6ZP5/

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The Gene Rift: (Book 2) Destiny by Design

Seventeen-year-old Katherine Dennard will risk the freedom she fought so hard to gain to rescue the man she loves, even if it means making an unthinkable deal with Saul, a high-ranking military officer determined to capture her and destroy all Natural-Born rebels. But the arrangement may forever strip her of the quiet life she desires with Micah and her newborn son and thrust her back into the dangerous world of The Institute — where only perfect, genetically-modified babies are allowed to survive.

Natural-Born rebel, Micah Pennington, will die in prison before he gives up information that would put Kate and her child in danger or reveal the secrets of the Hidden City. And if by some miracle he does escape, he must find a way to obliterate The Institute and their genetic engineering practices once and for all.

Saul Goodman fosters trust with the rebels in order to infiltrate their society, reveal intel, and devise a way to eliminate them. Kate holds the key to the downfall of The Institute, and Saul will use her baby against her, stopping at nothing to protect The Institute’s future.

Will Kate choose to save Micah even if it means placing the life of her baby in Saul’s hands?

Available here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07553H11Q

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Legacy’s Impact: (Book 3) Destiny by Design- Release date: Sept 20

Kate’s genes say she’s a rebel; will her heart tell her the same?

Katherine Dennard was supposed to go back to a perfect life in The Institute with her fiancé, Saul Goodman, but her amnesia is making that wonderful life harder than she hoped. When that crazy guy, Micah Pennington shows up and tells her everything she knows is a lie, she doesn’t know who to trust, but one thing’s for sure: it isn’t Micah. The thing is, Micah might be crazy, but Saul is definitely hiding something.

Kate must sift through the mysteries of her past to uncover who she is, but unraveling the truth unearths secrets that threaten to destroy the only life she can remember. If Kate can’t remember who she was, how can she figure out who she’s supposed to be?

Available here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GPXQ2FV/

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J. Andersen likes to write books, but doing so means slaying the dragons of procrastination while trudging through piles of laundry to make it to the computer. This small town, stay at home mom and former English teacher may be a world builder by day and a superhero by night, but that doesn’t mean she can ignore making dinner or driving the kids to music lessons. She also works as the Director of Author Services for Brimstone Fiction and is the Author Care Manager for Burnett Young Books.

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