Today it's my stop on the Cast of Stones blog tour! Sit back, relax, and enjoy!
A Cast of Stones
An Epic Medieval Saga Fantasy Readers Will Love
In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone's search for a drink is interrupted by a church messenger who arrives with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Desperate for coin, Errol volunteers to deliver them but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he's joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.
Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom's dynasty is near an end and a new king must be selected. As tension and danger mount, Errol must leave behind his drunkenness and grief, learn to fight, and come to know his God in order to survive a journey to discover his destiny.
Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.
“What’s your name?”
The lieutenant nodded. “An orphan. Well, we’ve more than a couple of those in the watch. Why are you here, Errol?”
He looked over at Knarl. “I have a friend here in the watch. This man’s captain wouldn’t send for him, told me the only way I might get to see him was to challenge. So I did.”
Even before he’d finished, the lieutenant was shaking his head. “So you don’t want to be in the watch.”
“No, not really.”
The lieutenant’s face darkened. “Soldier, take this man and escort him firmly out of the barracks.”
Errol broke Knarl’s grip and stepped away. “I came here to see my friend.”
“I don’t care why you’re here,” the lieutenant said. “I don’t have time to spend on some peasant boy who wants to gad about the imperial grounds.” He turned pointing. “You see these men? They’ve taken the black as a pledge to give their lives to protect the king.”
“I know the story of the watch,” Errol said, “but I need to see my friend.”
The lieutenant’s eyes narrowed. “You want to see him? All you have to do is follow through on your challenge. You’ll face five men of the watch. To join our ranks, you have to defeat three of them. If you manage to beat even one of them, boy, I’ll go fetch your friend myself.”
Errol’s heart skipped a pair of beats. The best swordsmen in the kingdom came to the watch.
One of the things I love doing is hiking. I don’t do it nearly often enough, but whenever I do, my mind explodes with scenes and stories whether I’m in the woods, at the beach, or at the desert. There’s something about being out in it that makes the story come alive.
Anyone who reads the first fifteen pages of “A Cast of Stones” will come across a description of a favorite place of mine. I live in Nashville, TN, which in itself is a treat because of the lush vegetation and hills that we have. About two hours’ drive to the east is Rock Island State Park. It’s not very well known, but my wife’s family gathers together there almost every summer for a reunion.
The park is situated on a small river that’s been dammed to provide electricity. There’s a section where you can go rock hopping, but you have to be careful because the rocks are pitted and covered with slippery green moss. It’s easy to fall and get cut. Thus, The Cripples from my book were born. If you hike far enough you come to the “ice hole,” as the locals call it. It’s a big circular pool filled with water released from the dam, but here’s the catch. The water is let go from the base, so even in summer, it’s not just cool, it’s freezing.
Around the edge of the hole is a cliff that’s anywhere from 30-40 feet high. If you have the stomach for it, you can jump in from there because the water is quite deep. I’ve done it. It’s quite a thrill. Whenever I teach algebra (I teach math at a local high school) I have my students calculate the time to impact. It’s about one and a half seconds. You wouldn’t believe how long that feels when you’re falling toward the water.This is a picture taken from the highest point and is pretty much what I had in my head when Errol had to make his leap in the first chapter. It may not look like much but if you look closely at the right middle portion you can see two people standing at the base of the waterfall. The look tiny, but they’re both about six feet tall.
I’ve heard a lot about writer’s block and even suffered from it on occasion. My most immediate cure is to close up the laptop and write by hand on a legal pad, but if I ever need something more drastic, inspiration is only a hike away.
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