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Robin L. Sanders: Guest Post and Book Feature!

Friday, December 14, 2012

When a Social Studies teacher assigns a special project to six high school students, (Richard, Shelly, Nathan, Charles, Morgan and Britt) they receive a lesson that may indeed change lives of many worlds. As they work on the problems set before them they come to realize that the typical real world issues that each student had been dealing with doesn’t look all that bad. As the unlikely group of misfits explores the project, they discover strengths that they were completely unaware they had.

For seven whole days they stay in a mysterious book unlocking puzzles, fighting demon-possessed statues, creating bonds with a memorable cast of characters and fighting a villain who controls the powers of the heavens. Mr. Hutchenson, a professor of social studies at St. Cardinals, is a man who plays a large part within this story, but just as the kids have to discover that, so does the reader. These six kids work on finding that strength by not only fighting the enemy, but the enemy within.

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Genre – Young Adult / Fantasy

Rating – PG13

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A Reader or a writer, which would you rather be?

by Robin L. Sanders

When I was twenty-two years old, it was my last year at a community college studying graphic design before I transferred to a four-year university.  Whenever I finished my scheduled classes and boring lectures for the day, I’d work at the school’s library as a receptionist.  As I recall, the school’s library wasn’t exciting at all; I’d sit down for hours tapping my pen on the counter of the welcome center daydreaming about a co-ed crush while trying to stay awake.  There was never a day when I haven’t cursed time for taking so damn long hence the phrase “time flies when having fun”.  My interest in literature started to change when I read my very first set of encyclopedias that told the history of the ancient world.  The detailed records of epic ancient battles between the Persian Empire and the Greeks to the Carthaginians against the Republic of Rome were some of the many historical facts that I’d often read.  There were times that I would read the same story over and over again, still feeling the sense of excitement that flowed through my veins following a series of electrical sparks through my brainwaves, giving birth to new ideas.

There were times when I lose sleep thinking of an epic battle that occurred long ago.  Although my love for reading history books inspired me to think of original stories, I still had no clue of how to begin writing one.  In my opinion, any experienced writer can write a column or a short story but an epic novel with over a hundred thousand word count could be even more difficult and also a great amount of time.

I was never a fantasy novel fan since I figured that many of the books that I read were too traditional or just typically ordinary.  There’s always this young hero who, of course, is handsome like the traditional knight whom destined to be something or the muscle-bearing barbarian.  There’s always a sidekick who somewhat handsome (or hot, if female) possess equal strength, a wise magician with a dark past, a thief who brings comic relief, an elf (who is either male or female) that shoots arrows and on rare occasion a dwarf with a grouchy attitude.  Usually in a group of five or six-ish and would possess four males and two females or four females with two males.  As usual the entire epic cultural setting would be inspired by European eras such as the Late Antiquity to the Medieval and High Gothic.  Its many races consist of humans, elves, hobbits, dwarves, fairies, goblins, ogres, trolls, orcs and sea dwellers.  All of which speak within a short list of languages such as Gaelic, Norwegian, Goidelic, and of course Old English.  There’s probably one ethnic guy, who’s either Black or Asian wearing overly long Middle Eastern garments and a turban.  I think I left out the runaway princess turned badass femme fatale…all of which consist within massive role-playing universes.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love fantasy and many authors who’ve written many stories worked hard on imagining fictional characters and new ideas.  However I feel that there are always new ideas to bring to the fantasy table and reading historical documents of epic battles between countries that are worlds apart can be fascinating on all aspects.  It wasn’t just the battles that intrigued me but the clash of cultural differences such as customs, religion, idealism and language.  Most countries have their own style, strategy and military background as well as weaponry and knowledge of countering their adversaries.  Battles between the Spanish Conquistadors and the Mayan’s were a classic example of both cultures being worlds apart.  This is something that I always wanted to read in a novel but failed doing so on finding anything like it.  “If you want the job done right, sometimes you have to do it yourself.” Was a slogan that I always followed and in order for me to get what I wanted I had to stop complaining to other authors about they’re work and write something myself.

Am I a reader or a writer?  Well if it wasn’t for me reading something that sparked my interest and weighing the difference between those that don’t, I wouldn’t have been able to have the imagination to write something that I love.  So in actuality, I’m a little of both and I love it.