The Promised One – Finalist: Religious Fiction

American Book Fest: Best Book Awards 2018

I am so honored and excited to share that The Promised One (The Chalam Færytales, Book I) was a finalist in the American Book Fest Best Book Awards for 2018! Nominated in the religious fiction category, to be among the finalists is an honor! You can see a full listing of the finalists and winner here. And you can read the full press release from the American Book Fest here.

Hi friends! Today I am sharing a guest post from the blog, The Arrow and the Song, which just so happens to be the blog of my editor, Arielle Bailey.

This was one of my favorite interviews ever, simply because the questions are so good. I think you’ll agree. Arielle is quite imaginative (part of why I love working with her). And yes, dinosaurs are really dragons. Dragons are dinosaurs. Whatever. You know I’m right.

Check out the interview below!

From The Arrow and the Song:

I had the privilege of editing this book and helping Morgan polish it for release.  If you like prophecies, realistic love stories, fantasy wars and politics, and a good villain against which the heroes can fight, you should check out The Chalam Faerytales!

Welcome Morgan!

Describe your book’s aesthetic in three words and/or a graphic.
Poetic Epic Færytale

What was the very first spark for this story?
Wow. That’s a difficult question… If I’m being completely honest, I think the book sparked in me when I was a kid. I remember from the time I was tiny, I would lay outside in my backyard, looking up at the sky and wondering if God had made other worlds. And if he had, if he would give them a similar story to ours. Would he redeem them the way he was redeeming us? Even as a kid, I figured the answer was probably yes. And from then on, I have had stories floating in my mind—stories of other worlds and other people. The funny thing is, I didn’t realize that I was a storyteller until well into adulthood. I just thought that if anyone knew the things floating around in my mind, they’d call me insane. Turns out I am insane—I’m a writer! Ha!


If you could invent a sub-genre to classify this book, what would you call it?
Hmmmm…. It’s probably Spiritual Romantic Epic Classic. Yeah. I like that.

What music did you listen to while writing it?  Are there any songs that go to particular chapters or characters?
As a singer/songwriter myself, I have a soft spot for the genre. So I listen to a lot of folksy, ethereal, under-produced artists who write their own stuff. They get bonus points if they play the piano. My favorite right now is RHODES. He’s a British singer/songwriter with a voice like butter. I think I took to him because he sort of reminds me of Ferryl. His music is deeply romantic but clever and thoughtful. It’s ethereal in all the right ways. He has quite a few songs that inspired a lot of scenes in my books, but ones that come to mind first are ‘Wishes’, ‘The Lakes’, ‘What If Love’, and ‘Crash’.

Do you have a favorite character, and if so, why?
Can I have more than one? *wink* I think my favorites are a tie between Titus, Michael, and a character you haven’t met yet named Hania. (You’ll meet her in the next book but sufficient to say, they call her a lioness for a reason. And I LOVE her.) Titus is my favorite because he’s so conflicted. He doesn’t know who he is yet. But he knows he’s not who he should be. I love his journey. And, having the privilege of knowing what’s going to happen to him (#AuthorPrivileges), his story is one of my favorites.

But Michael is another favorite. And I think it’s because he’s so nauseatingly selfless. He reminds me of my husband in that regard. He’s one of those people that would give you the shirt off of his back. But he’s flawed, too. And he’s got scars he hasn’t worked through yet. If I’m being honest, I think both of them are in my top favorites because I hadn’t planned on any of them. This story was birthed through Ferryl’s and Elizabeth’s eyes, so the secondary characters that became central characters were a surprise to me. I think that is honestly one of the most rewarding things about being a storyteller—the characters can really surprise you. And they feel like your own children in some ways.

Which character do you identify with the most?
This is a tough one for me, because I think there is probably a little bit of me in each of the characters. If there is a character I’d hang out with on weekends, it’s probably Hania (again, you haven’t met her yet but she’s just…. GREAT). If there’s a character I feel like I’d go to for advice, it’s Elizabeth, hands down. If there is a character that I would be thrilled to have show up slightly intoxicated at family parties so that he can say highly inappropriate things at all the wrong times, it’s Derwin. And if there is a character that I would hate but also be slightly jealous of her style and personality, it’s Meria. (Yes, I love the villain. She’s delightfully horrible.)

What was your favorite part to write and why?
I’m going to answer this the only way I can: by saying what has been my favorite to write of what you’ve read so far because… if I said what has been my favorite to write of the series so far, there would be major spoilers. (Again, #AuthorPrivileges) So, of books one and two, my favorite scene to write was Ferryl on the mountain. Largely inspired by Moses’ encounter with the burning bush in the book of Exodus, this scene gave me chills as I wrote it. I loved the challenge of trying to explain immortal, divine Light. I loved the challenge of giving God a personality. And I loved seeing it all through Ferryl’s eyes. For me personally, I think God is all of the things Ferryl encountered and more: light, music, fire, eternity, galaxies, heat, joy. I think creation is a shadow and portrait of the Creator. So to try to convey that magnitude with letters and words and phrases… it was daunting. But it was also quite cathartic and romantic for me. I’ve had a lot of readers tell me that was their favorite scene, too.

Did you have a LEAST favorite part to write, and if so, what?
I did NOT like writing any scene where Ferryl and Elizabeth fought. It was difficult to give them problems because I wanted to cradle them in my arms and keep them safe from all harm. (Again, they feel like my kids in a lot of ways.) But it has been a central tenet of these books to write love for what it really is—the valleys and the mountaintops. The highs and the lows. So I didn’t want to portray one of those we-never-have-problems-because-we’re-in-love couples. So I let them fail. I let them get nasty with one another. I let them say things they regretted. And I hated every minute of it.

What scene/s did you love writing that DIDN’T make it into the final draft?
Hahahaha, okay, you’re going to hate me for this, but when I wrote the first draft of The Purloined Prophecy, Lord Adam was originally intended to be a new love interest for Elizabeth. I thought it might be fun to give Ferryl a little challenge. I eventually changed that thread because of who Lord Adam became, and because of what I knew he would have to do in the rest of the books. But originally, there was a scene were he kissed Elizabeth. It was my subtle little nod to George Lucas and Star Wars because (SPOILER AHEAD….) of them being family. I thought it would be a funny little nugget to have for Derwin to make fun of Elizabeth for unknowingly making out with her cousin. BUT…. I ended up changing Lord Adam’s entire persona from being someone Elizabeth might be attracted to, to someone Elizabeth knew was up to no good. Because that will become tantamount in later books. So the kissing scene got nixed. (Plus I realized that even if she couldn’t be with Ferryl, it would take Elizabeth a lot longer than a few days or weeks to move on to another man.)

Will you share three of your favorite quotes from the book?
Ooooooh, YES. Gladly!

“I know who holds your leash, Prince Derwin.” smirked King Aaron, sipping again of his wine. “Just as I know you happen to like it that way.”
– Chapter 48, The Purloined Prophecy (I love this because I love Derwin. He’s a grumpy cuss and there is only one person in the world who has his number. And he happens to be married to her.)

“Providence was… He was…
Beyond.
Beyond anything Ferryl could put into words. His light. His color. The radiant glory and power emanating from him like a tangible wave of heat and power and infinity. Eternity. Future and past. The book and the pen that wrote it. The song and the notes that composed it. The canvas and the brush that painted it. Fury. Splendor. Fire. Wonder.”
– Chapter 49, The Purloined Prophecy (I love this quote because of what I mentioned before: the challenge of trying to convey who Providence is in mere words.)

“Maybe I need you, yes. But maybe… Maybe you need me, too.
“Because the truth, Elizabeth, sometimes it’s black and white—as black and white as the halls of Benalle Palace.
“But sometimes, Elizabeth… Sometimes the truth is as nuanced, as colorful as the glittering halls of Chesedelle. And it requires something more of us. Something beyond logic, beyond reason. Sometimes the truth requires…”
“Faith,” she interrupted softly, tears lining her eyes.
“Yes,” he nodded. “Faith. And I think the fact that it requires both faith and logic is what makes it truth at all. I think the fact that it’s both unchanging and depthless is what makes it formidable, eternal.”
– Chapter 52, The Purloined Prophecy (This. This sums up the mystery of my faith. It’s both black & white and as nuanced as a glittering crystal. It is the enigmatic marriage of tangible and intangible. And I think love was given to us to help us understand that, even if only just a little.)

Are there any hidden easter eggs in your book that we should look out for?
Only about a million. Every prophecy, of course. They will all matter. And some of them… well, some of them will be left for you to decide how they will work. The moths. Oh, I can’t wait for you to learn about the moths. And well, I cannot give all of them away because where would the fun be in that? But sufficient to say that there is a LOT more to Michael’s story. And you already know it, you just don’t realize it yet.

How did writing this book help you grow as an author?
I think looking at the world through the eyes of so many different characters has made me a better person. So often in real life I will interact with someone who reminds me of one of my characters. And so I take a moment to listen longer. I make a point to absorb and retain. I think I’ve become a better listener and a better friend. And perhaps those reasons began as selfish character research. But it has taught me to slow down, to soak in, and to appreciate human nature in all its varied forms.

What’s your favorite book?  Did it influence this story in any way?
That’s like asking me what is my favorite star in the sky. GEEZ. Okay, I have several go-tos that I read over and over. I absolutely LOVE Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I make a point to read that one about once a year. I also LOVE The Princess Bride by William Goldman and the entire Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. Of course these books influenced mine. Of course! How could they not? I think all art influences art. I think all life influences art. But in particular, I love how the story of Christ is represented in such a tangible way in Redeeming Love. I love that, again as I said before, a love story teaches us about the Creator’s own heart. Yes, that book is beautiful.

And as for The Princess Bride? The book is witty and clever and quick and yet still sweet and poignant and deeply romantic. I think that had to have influenced me in some ways. I did not set out to write a particular genre. I set out to try to be authentic and write authentic people, with a healthy sprinkling of magic. People who are deep and broken and scarred, but are still funny and clever and witty. People who have many layers, like we do. So of course The Princess Bride influenced that. It’s a masterpiece of light-hearted fairy tale meets profound peek into human nature. I love every morsel of it.

What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m deep in the throes of writing this series. As of now, I have written the first five books of the series and have started writing the sixth. I have eight planned out so far. But I have a sneaking suspicion that there may be more in there. Only time will tell. I haven’t allowed myself to think past this series yet because I’m a bit of a *squirrel* kind of person when it comes to creativity.

BUT… as I write these books, I am also simultaneously working on writing, composing and recording a companion soundtrack, with both songs and scores influenced by the story and characters. I don’t have a definitive release date set for it yet, but you can at least get a sneak peek of one of the songs on the trailer for The Promised One here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MwIK5WvoME (I wrote, arranged, and performed the music for this, and the piece is lovingly called Ferryl’s Song.)


Do you have a favorite dinosaur?  If so, what?
Bahahahahahaaha #NonSequiturAlert
Okay ummmm, peg me as one of those people who firmly believes dragons are dinosaurs. Fight me. I don’t really care about real-life dinosaurs, except perhaps Littlefoot (color me a kid of the ’80s). But give me dragons all day. So yes, my favorite dinosaur is a dragon. Elliott, to be precise. Pete’s dragon. He’s perfect. You’re welcome. And while we’re on this dragon vein, I also happen to love Abraxos, Manon’s mount in the Throne of Glass series, though technically he’s a wyvern, which is an armless dragon. Which is really a dinosaur. #Science

Thank you for stopping by, Morgan!  It was delightful to hear about behind the scenes of this book and series.

My friends, I am so excited to share this with you. It’s a LOST NOVEL in The Chalam Færytales.

If you’ve read the first two books, then you know… there’s something up with those moths. Want to know what they are?

Well here is your chance! The Lost Novel Chapter One releases TODAY, but only on Patreon. And only if you’re a VIP. And only if you join at The Prophets level.

Join us and let’s have some fun!

Why become a VIP?

Well, it’s simple, really. You’re helping get my art into the world. Your support means more books. More art. More music. To more people. So join the fun and become a VIP today!

Hi my friends! You have no idea how excited I am that you are a part of this journey. By becoming a VIP and joining my Lair, you are helping me in a very real way. Your support means more books, more music, and more art, to more people! I cannot thank you enough for joining me in this labor of love!

So let’s have a little fun, shall we?

Below, you will find the first chapter of what I lovingly call the Lost Novel of The Chalam Færytales series. To give a little backstory, somewhere in the midst of writing what I thought was the last novel of the series (because what was originally 3 books is now 8, but I digress), I knew that I needed to tell the story of those pesky moths. Because after all, WHAT THE HECK ARE THEY? *grins*

As the book unfolded, I knew that their story was more than a few chapters could convey. And sure enough, that story birthed into its own book in my mind. So I started writing. What I thought would be a novella—a tidy little companion story—ended up being a full-blown novel all about those moths. I couldn’t believe it! And funny enough, it turned out to be one of my favorite storylines in the series (so far).

So let me introduce you to Meren, Fa, Asher, and the gang. I hope you love them as much as I do. And I hope you enjoy this journey into a tiny world.

Also, please keep in mind that because you are a VIP, you are reading a raw manuscript. It has NOT been professionally edited yet. That means I want your input. Tell me your thoughts. Tell me ideas you have. Tell me glaring errors you can’t ignore (hahah). I want your feedback and I want YOU to help me write this book!

And one more thing: even though this is a WIP (work in progress), it is still protected by intellectual property rights. Any unauthorized duplication of any part of this work is a violation of applicable laws. (This includes screen shots, copy/pasting, or re-typing. Don’t share this folks. I will find you….)

Anyhoo…. Let the fun begin!

The Perdurables

Copyright Morgan G Farris, 2019. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Chapter One

The attacks—they always happened in the open air—the wind in her face, the skies clear and cool, and she a target, a beacon. A fool. She banked hard left, dodging a branch as she made for the cover under the canopy.

The attacks always happen in open air, she scolded to herself. This one would be no exception.

She flew as hard as her wings could carry her, not daring to risk the time it might cost her just to look over her shoulder, to see how close they were. The forest stretched before her—a maze of shadow and moonlight, flora and rot. She could not fly hard enough, her own breath shards of ice in her lungs.

She didn’t need to look to know how close they were. She could practically taste the foul air around them as she sped through the night, cutting through the air, around trees like a human weapon—a blade, honed for killing. Four. There were four of them this time, damn it!

Maybe they were the murderers, but she was no blade. And she was certainly no human.

But tonight… maybe tonight she was a shooting star, outrunning the darkness that chased her.

The darkness that had chased her for as long as she could remember.

She picked up speed, a streak of lightning through the damning darkness.

~

“Holy Eloah, Meren, you look like shit!”

“Thanks, Ash,” she said, brushing past her friend. She plopped down on her dandelion fluff cushion, helping herself to a huge cup of water before so much as taking a breath.

Asher stood in the doorway with his arms crossed, furrowing his brow. No, not furrowing his brow. His brow was in a constant state of furrowed. Because he was always miffed with her for one reason or another. Like the brother she never had. Or wanted. She rolled her eyes, keeping her attention on her glorious cup of water, kissed with just the perfect amount of honeysuckle nectar, ignoring the ache in her back.

Fast. She had had to fly fast this time. Too fast. Her wings seemed to scream in protest.

She picked broken leaves from her thatch of curly hair. One of these days, those bastards were going to catch up with her.

“What happened?” Asher scowled, his legs spread shoulder-width apart, his face set in a determined grimace.

“You know what happened, Ash,” she said, not bothering to look at him. But that midnight hair of his, that skin rich and dark, those thick arms peeking out from under his sleeveless oak leaf tunic—he was hard to ignore for long. There weren’t any of the legendary warrior færies left—all of them either murdered or tortured decades ago. But Asher with his human-like weapons he had fashioned himself out of bone and stone, Asher with his short temper and feral need to prove himself—he was as close as it came. One of those weapons—a bone blade so jagged she doubted it left much that was recognizable when he was done with it—hung menacingly from his belt.

“Tell me anyway,” he said, glaring at her from across the odd-shaped room.

She picked at the vines growing around her cushion, silently reminding herself to prune soon lest her little nook in the chalam tree become overrun with the nuisance growth, still not bothering to meet his pointed stare, uninterested in another one of his lectures. When he let the silence grow long and damning between them, she finally sighed through her nose, taking another long drink before she said, “I don’t know how they always find me.”

“I do.”

“Here it comes,” she said, but he ignored her, pushing off of the jamb.

“You’re too brazen, Meren. You take too many risks.” He crossed the room, one step at a time. Asher always opted to walk instead of fly when he was frustrated. She lifted her gaze to his, but showed no remorse, no apology. “It’s not safe for you out there.”

“We can’t hole ourselves up in this coven forever, Asher. Jotham is wrong. We can’t keep pretending like nothing is going on. There are more of us, I know it.”

“We’re not pretending like nothing is going on.” Another step. Another. Closing the gap between them. Towering over her like he was…

“Stop acting like you’re my father, Ash.”

That comment—he didn’t like that comment one bit. He knelt before her, gripping her chin a little too firmly, his face—his entire countenance shifting to something… Something she wasn’t sure she liked.

“I’m not your father,” he said, his tone menacing, reprimanding. “But you’ll forgive me if you scare the shit out of me too often.”

She breathed a laugh, unable to move her face for his fingers still firm on her chin. But the way he was looking at her…

“Stop,” she said, jerking her chin from his grip.

She could feel his searing gaze on her for a long moment before he finally sighed, pushing on his knees as he stood again.

“You can’t keep hoping you’ll be fast enough to outfly them, Mer,” he said, taking to her hearth, stoking the flames to life.

“I’ve outflown them every time,” she said, watching him as he gathered a loaf of bread that was probably too hard to eat.

His back was still to her as he said, “That is beside the point.”

“I’m faster than you, Asher. And I’m faster than they are. They’re not going to catch me.”

He turned to face her, the knife in his hand like an extension of his arm. “And what happens when they do?”

It was the concern in his eyes—sincere and suffocating—that kept her from exploding into a fit of frustration. It had been that genuine concern that had kept her from killing him most of the time.

She stood to her feet and padded across the shiny wooden floor, putting a hand on his shoulder.

Friends, that’s what they were. What they had always been. What they would always be.

“I’ll be all right, Ash,” she said as kindly as she could.

To her surprise, he seized the moment to close the remaining distance between them, to set down the knife he was using to slice the stony loaf and put his warm hands on either side of her face. “I worry about you, Mer.”

“I know,” she said, brushing him off. “It’s annoying.”

He breathed a laugh through his nose, the small gesture changing his whole demeanor. “When are you going to let me take care of you?”

She nodded to the loaf of bread. “What do you call that?”

“Sustenance,” he said. “You seem incapable of so much as boiling water.”

“I am not,” she protested.

He laughed and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into a bone-crushing hug. His fiery wings flickered softly—a cat swishing its tail as it lazed in the sun.

She absently watched those wings over his shoulder before she pushed out of his arms, pressing a smacking kiss to his cheek and then trodding to her bed, plopping down on the fluffy feathered mattress.

He turned back to bread and set about buttering a slice.

“I’ll be much more impressed when you learn to make me toadstool soup,” she quipped.

He kept his back to her. “That will never happen.”

“Why?” she protested.

He looked over his shoulder, a sly grin on his mouth. “Because it’s disgusting.”

“It is not!” she barked, incensed. It was, in fact, her favorite. And had been since she was a youngling.

“You have terrible taste, Mer,” he said, still buttering the slices. She stuck out her tongue at his back and those formidable amber wings of his, lined in black, sliced with patterns of gold and crimson.

By no means a cook, Asher was, at least, somewhat aware of her needs. She was starving, after all. Which was why, she supposed, that she let him come in here, let him act like this was his home, his things. Let him feed her like she was a helpless færyling.

Just as he had always treated her like a helpless færyling.

She rolled her eyes and flopped onto her belly, turning the giant page of a book she had found on one of her ventures—a mortal story. Of prophecies, and kings, and wars, and epic love.

“I still can’t believe you made me lug that stupid thing in here,” he said over his shoulder.

It was true. The book was not færy-sized. No, it was a human book she had found. Found and then sweet-talked Asher into helping her heave it up the side of the tree and into her little home. Which, consequently, was hardly large enough for the book. She had turned it into a platform, a dais of sorts, on which she sat as she read it. Asher had suggested she throw a cushion on top and call it a bed. She had merely rolled her eyes and set about reading it.

And it had fascinated her. Page by page, she hadn’t been able to put it down.

“Why do the humans call these stories færytales?” she asked absently as Asher drizzled honey from the comb on a slice of the crusty bread. “They don’t even believe in færies anymore. They think we’re butterflies or moths or something.”

“Eloah knows,” he said. “Humans are strange.”

Strange, perhaps. But intriguing. And as Meren read more of her book, she couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to meet a human. To help them as the færies once had.

To be a true færy of the Light.

He turned to face her at last, bringing her a slice of honeyed bread, biting into one of his own. “Jotham wants us to meet tomorrow,” he said around the unnecessarily large bite in his mouth.

She ignored the sight of him chewing the food and took a bite of her own. She swallowed before she said, “Why? So that he can tell us to keep hiding? Keep pretending like they won’t find us as long as we stick together?” She savagely ripped another bite, frustration mounting as she chewed on the tough bread. The butter and honey did little to hide the fact that it was as hard as a rock.

“It’s a good plan, Mer.”

“It’s a coward’s plan,” she quipped.

“I suppose you have a better one,” he said, but she didn’t answer. “That’s why you went out there tonight, isn’t it?” When she still didn’t answer, he sighed. “Meren, what is it that you think you’re going to find?”

“More of us, Ash. I know there are more of us.”

“There aren’t,” he said, standing to his feet. “They’re all dead. Just like you will be if you keep going out there.”

“So this is it?” she barked, standing to her feet. “This is our life forever? Hiding here, hoping we won’t be found?”

“It’s better than dying, isn’t it?” he yelled.

“Hardly!”

“Meren—“

“Ash, I’m tired of this! I’m tired of hiding away like a coward. I’m going to do something. I have to do something!”

He crossed the space between them, gripping her shoulders in his calloused hands. “You are one færy, Meren. One. What exactly do you think you will do?”

“Whatever it takes,” she said, and pushed out of his grip.

So there it is! The first chapter of The Perdurables! Tell me what you think in the comments, or hop on over to the Facebook group to discuss! (You must be a Patron at The Lair in order to join.)

Want to read the rest of the novel?

Join us at The Lair @ Patreon today!

 

 

Have you seen the latest art from The Chalam Færytales? Inspired by some of my favorite færytales, I drew this image of Eagle in the Wild Wood—the place where she might have come from, if those other winged horses are any indication…

Know what? This art is available as a non-watermarked high resolution printable to my VIPs who join The Lair @ Patreon at the White Wolves level.

You should join in on the fun!

Today we’re announcing something HUGE! You can read a LOST NOVEL in The Chalam Færytales series! How, you ask? By joining the VIP Lair at Patreon!

What is Patreon?

It’s a way for curators and fans to help artists share their art with the world. For you, it’s a place to connect with me (Morgan), get exclusive access to stuff not released anywhere else, and help get my art to the world in a very real way. You can join for as little as $1 per month, so what are you waiting for?

Become a VIP and join The Lair today!