Hey folks! Today I’m happy to introduce you to Jay Swanson and his story Shadows of the Highridge!
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Jay Swanson is the creator of Into the Nanten, the world’s first real-time fantasy blog. He is also author of a spin-off novel, Shadows of the Highridge, the standalone short novel Dark Horse, and the Vitalis Chronicles trilogy. Jay grew up in Washington State, and has lived all over the world since then. Jay served for three years with Mercy Ships, a medical charity that runs the world’s largest private hospital ship, the Africa Mercy. In each country they visit, Mercy Ships donates free surgeries to the world’s forgotten poor, alleviating the suffering that so often accompanies a lack of access to medical care. He started in IT, then worked as the editor for their international Creative Pool, and finished as the on board Media Liason.
Paris will always have a place in Jay’s heart; he lived in France for two years, but he’s currently working in the US as a consultant on electronic medical records. Basically, he lives on planes.
Jay has a background in design and video production which have been instrumental in his self-publishing endeavors. Jay was telling stories from an early age, and latched on to video as soon as he discovered he could borrow people’s cameras. The stories that would one day become the Vitalis Chronicles began to take form in Jay’s head as movie ideas while he was still in college, and he began writing them down when he realized that they might make good books as well as films (and that if he died in Africa, there would be nothing left to prove they ever existed). He started writing White Shores in May of 2010 and finished on Christmas day of that year in Applesbosch, South Africa.
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~ * ~ TOPIC du JOUR ~ * ~
I asked Jay Swanson, “What is the best and most rewarding thing you find about being a writer?” and here is the response.
The most rewarding thing about writing for me is growth in the face of a ceiling that never ceases to rise above me. This can sound frustrating, it is frustrating, but it’s precisely what makes writing such an attractive pursuit as a creative.
Whether in voice, pacing, structure, grammar, or word-smith creativity, there is always an area in which one can grow as a writer. I will never perfect my craft, I will never fully master any aspect of it, and any time I stop and think “I’ve done it, I’ve finally done it,” I know I have even farther to go.
This thrills me.
Can you imagine a world in which no frontier could ever be fully known? Where a new mountain, an undiscovered valley, an uncrossed river could always be around the next corner? Where everything you build is more beautiful than the last, and yet that very beauty drives you back to building?
That’s writing for me. That is the craft.
I work, I improve, I revise, I grow. Satisfaction abounds in this process, in growth. The day you stop growing is the day you start dying – if this is true then I never want to stop finding new avenues to follow and oceans to sail. I never want my map filled up and without nook or cranny in which to sketch.
I want to work on my writing until the day I die.
I definitely need to. But perhaps that’s where we find the greatest satisfaction: measuring our growth. Looking back on earlier books I can see just how far I’ve come; I can see just how much I’ve grown. It’s exhilarating (if not embarrassing), and it presses me on because I know in another couple of books I’ll look back on what I have now and experience the same sense of accomplishment.
The most rewarding part of writing is in improving – it just takes some time to see it.
~ * ~ BLURB ~ * ~
Moving along the soil is the quickest way to die; for Tolly to survive she must learn to stay silent. Life on farms like hers was difficult enough in the face of plague and a decade of drought, but something worse has come to the foothills under the Highridge Mountains. Something that will destroy everything she loves.
Mere miles away, Vanig’s search for water to revive his farm is cut short when soldiers arrive bearing dark news of disaster striking farms throughout the region – and they suspect he is the root cause of it all. Those suspicions spike when a disheveled warrior appears hundreds of miles from home and takes Vanig hostage.
Death looms in the shadows of the Highridge.
~ * ~ EXCERPT ~ * ~
Tolly had never run so hard. The house was so far off. How could she make it?
The certainty grew within her: Time was short. Why was she so sure? She could feel the panic rise.
“Tolly!” Nym was chasing her. “Come back!”
No, she thought. Bring them this way! But her lungs were already burning. She couldn’t yell any more. All she could do was run. Please, Nym, just listen.
“Little sister!” A Truan hand heard the commotion and came running from the other side of the house. “Little sister, stop! Kanda says it is not safe!”
Get out of my way, she wanted to yell. Run with me. But all of her air was spent on sprinting. The man was closing on her. She would have to dodge him somehow. She couldn’t let him stop her. He was ten feet away. Then the ground exploded beneath him.
Tolly fell, skidding to a halt as her skirts flew up around her. Scrapes burned along her thighs and up her backside. She heard screams behind her. The dust obscured her view. And then, through falling earth, she saw half of the Truan’s body thrown into the air by a tower of dirt.
No, not dirt, it was living. A snake. A worm. The monster was thicker than ten men standing together and jutted out of the ground twice as high. Three massive jawbones worked separately to hold the torso of the Truan in place. Whatever was happening within the mouth, Tolly didn’t want to see it.
~ * ~ BUY ~ * ~
~ * ~ GIVEAWAY ~ * ~
Jay Swanson will be awarding print copies of Into the Nanten to two randomly drawn winners (international giveaway) and a print of the original artwork created for his series Into the Nanten (international giveaway) to two other randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. CLICK HERE to enter to win – a Rafflecopter giveaway! Readers, follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates and places can be found here: Tour Schedule
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Jay Swanson, thank you for stopping by today!
Love & blessings to all! ❤