Monday, December 1, 2014

Manifestation: Wandering Stars Volume Two - Now Available

It has been an amazing experience jumping back into the prehistoric world of the Wandering Stars. Though it involves the same underlying concepts as The Awakened, this series is closer in historical proximity to the events that launched this whole epic saga. So in that sense, it's a more direct application of the subject matter. If you can imagine The Awakened series as a tree, the Wandering Stars would be the soil beneath it.

As the author, I already had a firm grasp on this "back story" before I even wrote the first line of Awaken His Eyes. But knowing something at a conceptual level and fleshing it out on a computer screen are two very different experiences. The process of building cultures and tearing them down again, creating characters and pitting them against each other, adds a richness and depth to the story that I hadn't even felt before. It's been enlightening to get my hands dirty with the origins of my own characters and the larger plot.

My hope for you, the reader, is that you'll thoroughly enjoy submerging yourself in this fictional past while keeping one eye on the future. Like reading the scene in The Hobbit where Bilbo finds the Ring, I hope you'll enjoy this story not only for what it is but also for where it is going. 

A few other things worth mentioning ...

If you've found yourself finishing my other novels too quickly, you'll be happy to learn that Manifestation is about 40% longer than my previous novels. But if I've done my job correctly, this one will still end sooner than you want it to.

Most of this book, like my other novels, would be rated PG-13 if it were a movie. However, there are a few scenes that are not suitable for younger readers and would be rated R. These scenes are critical to the overall story, so I had to include them. But I wanted to mention it so it doesn't come as a shock later on.

OK. Enough of that. Let's get on with the show! Scroll down to check out the cover art and read the description. Then visit the Amazon page and download your Kindle copy.

As I've said before, writing for a living is a dream come true. And I couldn't do it without your amazing support! Thanks for reading my stories. I hope you enjoy this one.

- Jason Tesar

P.S. If you don't own a Kindle, you can either download the Kindle reading app for your device or wait for the other versions coming soon.


Captivity has left its wounds, and the peace that Sariel fought to obtain is slipping from his grasp. To answer the questions plaguing his mind, he must seek out his former allies. But what he discovers is a task left undone, a coalition standing in his way, and revenge far beyond his new limitations.

The gods are dividing the earth into kingdoms. As they build an alliance upon a foundation of shared resources, a new evil is manifesting—rising from the aftermath of their rebellion. It has the power to upset this fragile equilibrium and cover the earth in darkness. With enemies on every side, Sariel must weigh the cost of a promise against the value of his own life, leading him to an unthinkable decision.

The battle for independence from the Eternal Realm may be over, but the war for the Temporal Realm has just begun.

In volume two of the Wandering Stars series, Jason Tesar’s fantasy epic spreads across a prehistoric landscape in a clash of civilizations that will alter the course of human history and give rise to mankind’s oldest legends.



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Awaken His Eyes - Audiobook Release and Interview with the Narrator


Get your copy today from Audible, iTunes, or Amazon

The collaborative process of creating an audiobook was both fun and enlightening. While I knew there was more to it than just reading aloud, I learned that translating a written work into another medium requires a whole new approach … and a different skill set! Fortunately, I teamed up with a talented professional who is passionate about what he does. It has made all the difference. My first piece of fiction has been in good hands, and the result is something I'm now proud to offer to audio listeners. 

So, to celebrate the release of my first audiobook, I did a short Q&A session with the narrator, James Norwood, so you could get to know a little bit about him. Enjoy!

—Jason Tesar


How did you get into the profession of audiobook narration?

I have a background in theatre as a former drama major, high school drama director, and community theatre actor. As an English teacher I LOVED reading aloud to my students, and as a father I read every night to my children. I was an educational technology entrepreneur and started an internet-based training company that went on to be very successful. One of the things I did in my company was narrate several thousand video software training tutorials. So, I have a background and interest in recording technology as a communications teacher, entrepreneur, and as a would-be musician. Mix everything up for years and years  sell my company  and one day a light bulb turns on and I think, “I bet I could take a stab at narrating books.”

In what ways does your previous experience affect how you approach fiction?

As a former English teacher and a frustrated novelist, I’ve spent a lot of time studying and teaching character development. I think I have a pretty good understanding of the roles that various characters are playing in a story. I look for “archetypes.” The actor and director in me wants to take a stab at bringing characters to “life.” I have a shelf of books about how to write books, so I’m very envious of people who can actually put it all together. In that light, I just have to speak the words “trippingly on the tongue.” To interpret. I already know what I’m supposed to say.

Do you use professional recording equipment (hardware and software)?

It is hard to say anymore what “professional” recording equipment is, since the level of what would have once been “amateur” equipment has been elevated quite a bit. I use a combination of commercial and open-source software for recording, editing, and mastering. I try to find tools that are intuitive and comfortable to work with. I use a MacBook Pro as a recording station, a decent USB microphone (shock mounted), and recently purchased a portable sound booth, so that I can pretty much set up anywhere. Software tools like “Audacity” are invaluable for mastering, but it really takes a chain of several programs to record, edit, master, and prepare the final files.

How extensive is the process of getting to know the story? Did you read the whole book first, or take it one scene at a time?

I don’t necessarily read the entire book before I begin narrating. I’m not sure if that will change over time  there is something to be said for knowing everything. From a practical standpoint, I like to read far enough ahead to have a good sense of where the story is in its development, but I like the “freshness” of not really knowing everything that is going to happen. It keeps me on my toes. As a reader, I love falling in love with certain characters, learning to hate others, and honestly being curious about how it is all going to turn out. So  at any given point I’m well ahead of where the listener is, but I may be as mystified as anyone about how it is all going to end. When it all balances out, it is a delicious experience.

What is your method for creating a unique sound for each character? And how do you keep track of them all?

I’m still working on figuring that all out! Actually, from a creation standpoint I spend a lot of time driving around in my truck talking to myself. I have a habit of trying to duplicate whomever is speaking on the public radio station. Sometimes I try to think of a famous actor or character, and use their performance as a mental shorthand to bring a voice to mind. I keep track of characters by cutting and pasting snippets of speech into individual character files on my computer. If I haven’t voiced a character for a while, I pull up the sound file for him or her and give it a listen to put myself back in that mind space. I get to know primary characters fairly quickly, but I admit I have to watch for “character creep,” where a character’s voice begins to migrate over time and becomes something different.

Were you nervous about giving a “voice” to characters that fans had already come to know?

To this point, I’ve been a little ignorant of what people already expect a character to sound like, other than to say that the author is the best guide. If the author hears a character as “kind of like so-and-so in that movie,” then I’d probably better capture some of that essence. I’m here to serve the author, and the author is there to serve the fans. So, “nervous” wouldn’t really capture the feeling. It is more a sense of respecting and honoring the author’s intent. I haven’t had to voice a character that has already been voiced in audio or video. THAT would be intimidating!

You’ve only read the first book of The Awakened series at this point. Do you have any favorite characters already? If so, which ones … and why do they appeal to you?

I love Saba. I’m not sure I’ve really captured him to my satisfaction, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the wise old sage! I like when I get to hear him speak with others. Gursha was fun. At the other end of the spectrum, I like voicing Ukiru, even though I don’t actually “like” him. But there are times where his voice comes very easily and I can actually see him.

In reality, you’ve translated a novel into a different medium. What unique contributions have you brought to this fictional universe?

I like the idea of making movies for the mind. I guess I bring an honest love of stories. I’ve devoured quite a bit of science fiction and fantasy in my life, and studied Joseph Campbell’s works about character archetypes. I have a fair bit of experience as an actor and narrator. I have a knowledge of the technical side of things. I think that “teacher-actor-technician-fan” is a pretty strong combination for this kind of work, and fairly unique.

Overall, how would you describe this experience?

My enjoyment of narrating has exceeded my expectations. I worried that it might become rote or boring to get through an entire book, but in truth every day is different, and that is interesting. There are elements that are just plain work: remastering or quality checking an 8 hour book is going to take  guess what  more than 8 hours. The complexity of what you have built up over time sneaks up on you. But, overall, it is very satisfying and enjoyable. It’s also great for starting conversations in social situations. “So, what have you been up to lately?” “Me? I tell stories.” “Really? Tell me about that 

What’s your next project?

I’ve been lucky enough to create relationships with two authors who both have a fan base, and a series of books to narrate! So, I’m starting on Book 2 of the Awakened series (Paths of Destruction), and I’m well into the first book of the “Abercrombie Trail” series (four books so far) by Minnesota author Candace Simar. It is a series of historical fiction works that involve Norwegian immigrants to Minnesota at the time the Civil War breaks out, and the “Sioux uprising” that occurred in and around Minnesota. I live and work from Minnesota, so I have a natural interest in those stories. Jason and Candace are very different in age, subject matter, and approach to writing, but both with stories that are fun to read and a challenge to bring to life as a narrator! (Just try voicing half a dozen male Norwegian immigrants speaking together in a single chapter!) How lucky am I that I get to live in both of these fictional worlds for a while longer  I’m far enough into Paths of Destruction that I REALLY want to know where it goes: I’d better do some recording so I can read the rest! Delicious.

__________

Get your audio copy of Awaken His Eyes today from AudibleiTunes, or Amazon

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Languages - Excerpt from The Making of Incarnation

This is an excerpt from The Making of Incarnation: A Reader's Companion, available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Smashwords.



In the years before I started writing the first book of The Awakened series, I spent many hours imagining the backstory. Inspired by the methodology of J.R.R. Tolkien, who created entire cultures starting with their languages, I imagined the angelic realms and what the lives of these mysterious creatures might be like. I thought about sound waves being transmitted through different environments and whether language meant the same to them as it does to us. By the time I started planning Incarnation these imaginings had grown into a full-blown desire to create my own languages for all of the angelic and human races. Here is something I wrote in a notebook during that time:
Spoken Language: The language of the angels is a complex arrangement of sounds emitted both in series (melody) and in parallel (harmony). Different orders of angels are given different physical and mental capacity to perceive and create sound, such that lower orders can only understand and speak a fraction of the language. Because the language requires the simultaneous creation of more than one sound/note, it is physically impossible for humans to speak it. Thus, the angelic language became known as the unspeakable language.
Just as our ears can only hear a range of frequencies, and our vocal chords can only create a range of frequencies, so also it is among the orders of angels. The fallen angels turned from their original purpose. As such, they adopted dissonance as their language.
Written Language: The language of the angels can be expressed through written form due to the absence of physical restrictions (many characters making up one word). Therefore, the written language of the fallen angels is based on eastern musical scales (having a dissonant sound), while the original language is based on western scales (having a harmonic sound).
I even began scribbling the origins of what I hoped would become the written angelic language. Here are a few of those doodles:




Even though these ideas captured my imagination, the practical side of me argued that I could spend years learning how to create a language, and still many more years implementing it. This wouldn’t have left much time for writing. And very few people would have appreciated that level of world-building anyway. This led me to the decision of basing my languages on those already present in this world, which freed me up to concentrate on the story itself.
As an American, the Scandinavian languages have always seemed otherworldly to me. So I based the written angelic language on a mixture of Old Norse, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Finnish (with a little Hebrew thrown in for good measure).
For the human languages, I still wanted something quite far from my own English language. These were prehistoric cultures after all. With two primary lines of descent, I also wanted two languages that came from the same part of the world but were distinct from each other. For the Shayetham and the Chatsiyram, I chose Hebrew. For the Kahyin, I chose Arabic. I maintained an English sentence structure, and then chose each word based on how well it seemed to fit into the culture I had created. Where certain words seemed an awkward fit, I broke down the pieces and reassembled my own. In the end, I was able to present something that most readers wouldn’t recognize—though one or two people have—and didn’t take half my lifetime to create from scratch.
__________

This is an excerpt from The Making of Incarnation: A Reader's Companion, available now from AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, and Smashwords.

Sign up for my email list to be notified when I release the next volume of the Wandering Stars series.

Read another excerpt - Deleted Scene from Incarnation
Read another excerpt - The History of the Realms

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Realism and Fiction

As a reader of fiction, I enjoy being immersed in imaginary environments—going places and doing things that would be impossible in real life. But as counter-intuitive as it may sound, the ability of a story to carry me away depends heavily on how realistic it is. The best stories are the ones that build their imaginary structures upon foundations of realism.

As an author of fiction, I strive to provide that immersive experience for my readers by balancing the fantastic with the realistic. These two seemingly-opposite elements feed off of one another. The realism is kept from becoming boring by the fantasy, and the fantasy becomes real when it’s based in reality. That’s why research is such an important starting point for my imagination.

Many readers have asked about how I come up with my stories. My imagination is a difficult thing to explain. The research, on the other hand, is much easier. If you haven’t visited my Pinterest page yet, I wanted to direct your attention to one of my boards, entitled The Awakened Research. As you can see, I didn't put my creative energy into coming up with a snappy title, but it’s a great place to get some behind-the-scenes knowledge about the cultures and technology of The Awakened series. Have a look, and feel free to send me your questions if your curiosity isn't satisfied. I'll continue to pin interesting stuff to this board as I write new novels and publish reader's guides for the novels already written. So check back periodically to see the progress.

And make sure to sign up for my email list so you don’t miss out on promotions, book releases, free stuff, and more.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sidekicks - Guest Post by S. J. Abraham

Today's guest post is from S.J. Abraham, a fellow fantasy writer and self-proclaimed geek. It's a short concept piece that he's currently expanding into a full-length novel. Hope you enjoy it!

-Jason Tesar

__________

Sidekicks


The flat, cracked table of the desert stretched endlessly out before him. On the horizon a massive sprawling anvil of red clouds spread impossibly tall and wide. Lightning flickered.
“One heck of a storm coming,” the boy said to no one in particular. He was alone. The Cowboy was dead. The Gambler was dead. The Ranger lost. The Witch… he shuddered. No one should ever die the way the Witch had. Even the Ranger’s wolf was dead, which just left him and the ghost girl who'd haunted him. They were the side characters, the people who were supposed to have helped the Cowboy when a particular difficulty arose but who died in the end to show how serious things were. Everything had gone wrong.
“What am I gunna do?”
“’bout what?” the ghost girl asked as she drifted insubstantially next to him, in her tattered Sunday dress and bonnet. “The storm or the quest?”
“Both.”
He looked around. For miles there was nothing but the baked salt flats. Not a tree, not a rock, not a stick of shelter. In minutes when the storm hit, he’d be knee deep in alkali rich mud that would turn his already plodding progress to a crawl. He hefted the Cowboy’s gun belt. He’d managed to save that. The heavy enchanted Colt 45 and its rune encrusted cartridges seemed to weigh a ton resting on the boy’s narrow shoulder.
“Don’t see as there’s much you c’n do one way t’or the other,” the ghost said. White dust bloomed around the boy’s boots with each of his slow steps. A hot dry smell rose up as the storm rushed towards him. The wind sighed. Thunder grumbled. “You’re gunna git wet, and the quest has failed. That’s the long ‘n short of it.”
“Quest ain’t failed yet,” he said even though he knew it was. The hero was dead and not one of those maybe-he-was-maybe-he-wasn’t deads like in books. Have a big enough chunk shot out of your head and you’ll die, hero or not. It had been a mighty big chunk blasted from the Cowboy’s skull.
“Oh, and who’s gunna complete it? You?”
“Maybe.”
The ghost girl laughed. “You ain’t in the prophecy, remember? It says in the end there’ll be either the Dark Rider or the Cowboy. Cowboy’s dead. Didn’t even hang around as a ghost. I checked. That’s how finished his business is. So that leaves the Rider. The end.”
The wind gusted, throwing grit into the air. The boy could hear the distant thrum of falling rain.
“Maybe I’ll take his place.”
“Was you born under a sickle moon on St. Alnoth’s day? Was your family killed by the Rider? Was you raised by the Sky People and taught to shoot afore you could stand?”
“You know I weren’t.” The rain came in a curtain of pummeling drops, big as silver dollars, warm as sweat. The desert seemed to seethe and jitter under their fall. The boy kept walking, instantly soaked. The ghost girl floated un-phased beside him.
“So how are you gunna stop the Rider then?”
“Don’t know,” the boy shouted. The mud was already sucking at his boots. “But I aim to try.”

~SJA

__________

S.J. Abraham is a writer working towards publication. He's a geek to the core and seeks to write stories that will inspire younger geeks to embrace their nerdy side and never look back. In addition to his novels, he writes fiction for his blog GeekyWriting.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The History of the Realms - Excerpt from The Making of Incarnation

This is an excerpt from The Making of Incarnation: A Reader's Companion, available now from AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, and Smashwords.


If there is one concept that is the most critical to understanding the setting for both The Awakened and Wandering Stars series, it is that of different realms of existence. In the first paragraph of Incarnation, you’re introduced to the concept of creation’s spectrum. And the following scenes take place in both the Temporal (Tima) and Eternal (Eili) realms. Though a full understanding of these realms is not impossible to piece together from the scenes of the novel, it is much easier to comprehend when walking through it chronologically. So, I’ll start with the cosmology of my fictional universe.
Creation and Rebellion
The Holy One (Saerin) originally created everything as a single, cohesive, and complex realm. All manner of living beings, as well as other non-living matter, shared the same dimension and were only separated by physical distance. The passage of time was nearly irrelevant within this realm as all things were intended to exist permanently.

One of the living beings, an angel, became discontented with his status and, in his pride, formed a rebellion to overthrow the Creator. The rebellion polarized the angelic host, and by necessity, began changing its function. The Evil One (Malrah), as he later became known, deceived a third of his kind into following him and went to war against the Holy One.
The Casting Out
The attack was repelled, and the Evil One and his followers were cast out of the presence of the Holy One. This defensive act occurred with such force that it stretched the realm, thereby revealing the intricacy of its design. The single, complex system that used to exist was pulled apart into stratified layers of existence. These layers, though still occupying the same physical space as before, were nevertheless separated by a different type of distance—dimensions of which most beings are not even aware. A vast ocean of liquid in one dimension might be solid in another, and an empty vacuum of nothingness in yet another. This is what would later be called the spectrum of creation.


Multiple Existences
As all of creation was pulled apart, objects of similar natures came to rest in groups along the spectrum. It was at this point when the three parts of a being’s existence became evident:
1) The body occupied only one location along the spectrum—the environment where it was most suited to exist.
2) Within the container of the body, the soul or consciousness experienced life at the outer limit of where it came to rest during the casting out of the Evil One.
3) The spirit—containing both the body and consciousness—extended from that point, all the way back to the Holy One at the far end of the spectrum. In this way, the spirit became like a bridge that spanned a range of creation’s spectrum.


The Great Turning-Away
Prior to being cast out, the Evil One and his angels came between the Holy One and his most cherished creation—humans. The Unfaithful (Marotru) began their assault from this position, and when they were expelled, humans and their environment ended up at the far end of the spectrum, opposite from the Holy One. It was a casualty of war that placed humans as far as possible from their creator, with enemies in between.


With humankind now vulnerable, the Evil One sought to exploit this weakness. Though unable to reach them physically, he devised a way to free his consciousness from the limits of his body. Traveling along the bridge of his spirit, he could see the spirits of all other creatures stretching back to the Holy One—pathways into other physical existences. But the spirits of the humans were not viable paths to follow; the souls who lived at the other end of those spirits were independent wills, too strong to be overpowered. Instead, the Evil One chose the wisest of all creatures lower than humans, one with the capacity for speech and just barely capable of containing his consciousness. Using this creature’s spirit as if it were a road, he traveled to the end of the spectrum and overpowered its will, stealing its physical existence for his own. This was the first instance of possession.
From one end of the spectrum to the other, only two created objects remained constant—common threads woven through each layer of existence. Two massive trees, one dark and the other light, were entwined with one another, embodying the fullness of creation in concentrated forms.


The Evil One deceived the first humans into eating fruit from the dark tree. When they did what had been forbidden, the effectiveness of the Evil One’s strategy was revealed. The humans, as well as their environment, began separating from the rest of the spectrum.
Death had entered into creation, and like a festering wound, the sickness began to spread. As this new realm drifted from the presence of the Holy One and His life-giving Spirit, its eternal nature drained away until all that was left was a place of temporary existence. On both sides of the wound (The Void), the spectrum bore the signs of a violent separation.
On the Eternal side, the environment had lost much of its form and structure. Unlike the rest of the spectrum, the Borderland, as it became known, was a place of lights and shadows, of lingering sounds and echoes.
In contrast, the Temporal realm retained all of its form and structure but had lost most of the radiance of eternity. What little was left clung to it like a desperate child. From that moment on the Temporal realm was but a dull reflection of what it had once been.


With the first humans cut off from the rest of the spectrum, and dying as a result, the Evil One proceeded to wage war against the Holy One and his angels, and the next stage of history was born.
The Reshaping
As the angelic forces of the Holy One fought against the demonic armies of the Evil One, the Borderlands became a theater of war. Territories developed like a patchwork quilt, places of light and life bordering areas of death and desolation.
With the Evil One’s attention focused on the war, the Holy One set into motion a plan to redeem the humans and their world. To the race of the Myndarym—angels who were capable of shifting their bodies and consciousnesses to anywhere along the spectrum—he taught the Songs of Creation. Armed with the melodies and harmonies that were integral to every part of the spectrum, the Myndarym shifted into the Temporal realm and began to change it, altering its forms and functions so that it could sustain itself and thereby survive. By the time the task was completed, some of the Myndarym had become so intimately involved and highly invested in the Temporal realm that they had begun to see it as their own creation. When the Myndarym were finally called back to the Eternal realm, some did not heed the call. They lingered, wandering within their new home, continuing to shape it as they saw fit.
Thus, the two realms were born and the stage set for the tale of the Wandering Stars. If you have read any of The Awakened books, you know that the Temporal realm eventually ends up as three parallel worlds. I’m sure you’re wondering how that happens, but I plan to dive into that topic in subsequent novels, so I can’t discuss the details just yet.

__________

This is an excerpt from The Making of Incarnation: A Reader's Companion, available now from AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, and Smashwords.

Sign up for my email list to be notified when I release the next volume of the Wandering Stars series.

Read another excerpt - Deleted Scene from Incarnation
Read another excerpt - Languages

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Send Me Your Questions


Have you heard of the Ask The Author program on Goodreads?

It’s a great new way for readers to interact with their favorite authors and get more information about the things they’re interested in. I just enabled this feature on my Goodreads profile, and I wanted to invite you to participate.

If you have questions about any of my stories, characters, or my writing process, click here and start typing. I’ll answer it when I’m able, and when I do, both the question and answer will appear on my Goodreads profile and in the newsfeeds of my followers. You’ll also be notified on your Goodreads homepage and by email. If you don’t have any questions of your own, you can always visit the page and browse other readers’ questions and my answers.

I look forward to hearing from you,

-Jason

If you'd like to be notified when my next book is released, sign up for my email list here.
If you'd like more information on the Ask The Author program, you can find that here.