Sunday, October 30, 2011

Epitaphs and Etiquette

Each year, the young women and young men (ages 12 to 18) in our church congregation have an "etiquette dinner". They learn about proper ways to behave on a date.

This year's dinner was close to Halloween, so my wife asked me to come up with some epitaphs for those that didn't follow the rules.

These will mean more if you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but even if you aren't, keep in mind that some of these guidelines may seem old fashioned today. For example, waiting until 16 to date, when slow dancing, making sure there is space between the couples and such.

Without further ado, here are some of the epitaphs:

The life of Riley
Is now at an end
Asking the question,
"Can't we just be friends?"

Rest now peace
Our noble Aaron
Asked out Haley
In front of Darrin

Struck down by lightening
Were Maddie and Norman
The space between dancing
Just one Book of Mormon

Dear McKay was quite wise
He was never home late
But foolish in taking
Two girls on the same date

Please rest in peace
Our sweetest Kelley
She choked on butterflies
From inside her belly

No longer on this Earth
Is the unwise young Tom
When he told Carla
You remind me of Mom

Deep in this grave
Is our dear Nate
He tried to kiss
His very first date

At the zoo died Dallin
Dating a girl that he dug
Took too literally
Request for a bear hug

Dear Julia is gone
Not high, low or in-between
'Cos she went on a date
Before she was sixteen

Madsen is quite dead
It's hard to believe
From trying to wipe
His mouth on his sleeve

Here lies the very young Alex
He felt like such a dork
Died from embarrassment
From using the wrong fork

The far too young Morgan
Buried there in the sands
On a date with Derrick
Tried to drive and hold hands

Passed away is Daniel
On a date was this dude
Ate with his mouth open
Misunderstood "sea food"

Gone away is Brycen
Accidently mistook
While picking up his date
Beautiful Blair for Brook

David didn't have much
Between his two ears
Asking twenty-six girls
To wait for two years

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book review of "The Hidden Sun" by Angie Lofthouse

This review has special insight since Angie Lofthouse read both the first and second editions. Her blog can be found here.

Here is what she had to say:

"The Hidden Sun by J. Lloyd Morgan, 2nd edition is a fun medieval adventure, with plenty of intrigue, action, secrets, heroes and romance. This is actually my second time to read and review this book. I reviewed the first edition a little over a year ago. Since then, The Hidden Sun was picked up by my publisher, Walnut Springs, and issued in a shiny new edition, newly edited, with a new cover.

So, what do I think of the second edition? Same great story, wonderful new package! In my first review, my main complaint was a large number of typos that I found distracted me from the story. That issue has been resolved, and without those distractions, I found the story even more fun to read this time around.

I love the way Morgan uses symbolism in the book. His characters are well-developed and easy to love and root for. I found I really cared about what happened to them and to their beloved kingdom of Bariwon. But the story itself is not the only thing to love about this book. I had fun noticing (on my second time through), Morgan's skillful naming of characters and places. Can you guess the secret of Bariwon and it's seven districts (Erd, Grenoa, Lewyol, Regne, Lebu, Donigi, and Teviol)? Not to mention such events as the Mortentaun and Shoginoc.

The Hidden Sun is full of surprises. It's also a good, clean read with no objectionable content. Just the sort of thing I'm looking for!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book review of "The Hidden Sun" by Kaitlyn Kline

Kaitlyn Kline has posted her review of The Hidden Sun on her blog "Kaitlyn in Bookland". I'll have to admit, my heart sunk when I read one of the lines. It said, "I wasn’t really sure what to expect from The Hidden Sun, but it sucked. . ." It wasn't until I read the next line when I started breathing again. It continued, ". . . me in from the very beginning."

Ah, good thing I'm not running for office. I'm sure that is something my opponent would use out of context.

Here is her full review:

This cover is totally worthy of a fantasy novel. There’s the castle and surrounding grounds, plus gold font. It really works.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from The Hidden Sun, but it sucked me in from the very beginning. Like with any fantasy, the names take a bit of getting used to, but there was a nice pronunciation guide in the front of the book. After about 30 pages, I didn’t even stumble over the names anymore.

The corrupt leaders had me fuming throughout the book. This is a novel that really evokes some emotion from the reader. There are so many twists and turns, that I thought I had things figured out, only to be told something else. It was amazing.

J. Lloyd Morgan does not hold anything back in this fantasy novel. You will read about death, love, politics...everything. Even when I wasn’t reading this book, I was thinking about it. I wanted to solve all of the mysteries throughout the book and see the fates of my favorite characters.

I *think* this novel was billed as young adult, but I think it could really work for adults as well.

I am so excited for the sequel, The Waxing Moon. It should be available sometime next year.

Monday, October 24, 2011

There are no absolutes (not even that one)

One of the most frustrating classes I took in college was media ethics. The name in itself almost seems to be an oxymoron. Consider this: I went to school at what could be considered one of the most conservative universities in the nation. It had a highly regarded Television program, and was fairly competitive. From those looking from afar, they might wonder why a school like BYU would spend so much time and money on a program designed to put people in the media workforce. My take on is that media in and of itself isn't bad, just like the internet or the printing press aren't bad. However, there are those that can, and do, use it for purposes that are less than noble. The goal from the school's point of view was to get people into the media that would use it for good.

In this media ethics class, we discussed all sorts of different situations and what we would do. For example, the question was brought up, "Would you publish, or announce, the name of someone who was raped?" My gut feeling was "no". This person had been through enough without having their name put out there for everyone to know. However, there were arguments for it. Granted, at this moment I don't recall what they were, because my answer would still be "no".

The teacher of the class was a master in the art of debating. He would ask a question to the class, expect people to voice their opinion, and then he would take on the other side and tear them to shreds. Hence, the reason it was very frustrating.

It didn't take long for me to pick up on one of his tricks. Whenever someone would state their opinion in the form of a generality, for example, "people should always wear seat belts", he would counter it with a specific, "I know of a friend who wasn't wearing a seat belt, and in an accident, he was thrown from the car. If he had his seatbelt on, he would have been crushed to death."

He would also do the opposite. If you stated your opinion as a specific, for example, "My wife got married when she was 19, and we've been happily married for 20 years", he would counter with a generality, "89% of women who get married at 19 end up divorced". (I'm just making up that stat—I have no idea what the actual number is, nor do I care)

So how do you argue with someone who has spent a good chunk of his life debating ethical issues? For me, the answer is you don't. In other words, I have strong core beliefs that guide my actions on a moment by moment basis. I've developed these beliefs over the course of my life. I try to keep an open mind about certain things and I go by the principle of "live and let live". If someone is going to try to convince me to change a core belief, they will have a difficult time doing so.

At the end of this media ethics class, the teacher said he wanted us to see that things were never black or white. There were all sorts of shades of gray in everything. His final statement was, "There are no absolutes"—to which I responded, "Not even that one?"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book review of "The Hidden Sun" by Erika Stroop

Erika Stroop has reviewed The Hidden Sun on her blog Moonlight Book Reviews.

Without futher ado. . .

"Let me start off by stating that the cover fits in perfectly to the setting of the novel and what I imagine places in it to look like. I bet all of you are thinking, "Whats the twist in the story Erika? Are they vampires, werewolves, witches"? The quick answer is no and I know you guys are all shocked. Morgan doesn't add that element to the novel and I am perfectly fine with that. The lush landscapes that were created held my attention fully.

Eliana was the perfect character in this tale. I would have thought and done many of the things she did in the situations she was placed. Rinian was amazing and I want him all for myself. I mean what is not to like about a hot guardian? Well nothing in Rinians case. The complex relationships and tangled web of politics was incredible. I fully understood their situation, but yet wanted to find some sort of loophole for them.

The Hidden Sun is a gem of a novel that will captivate readers from any age. Morgan adds incredible detail that will transport you to a time long and far from the computer screen you are staring at right now. I can not wait for the next novel which is due out in 2012."

Thank you Erika for the review!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Book review of "The Hidden Sun" by Retribution's Blade

This review is a bit different from the other ones I've posted. The reviewers are some wonderful folks who run a "guild" on an online game called Everquest 2. Since the setting for The Hidden Sun is similar to elements found in the game, I thought they would be able to have a unique insight on the book.

And did they ever!

Here is their review:

"We’ve had the wonderful opportunity of sharing J. Lloyd Morgan’s first novel The Hidden Sun. If we were asked to describe this book in one word we would have to say a breathless “Wow”. His eloquent writing method using multiple character relationships interwoven with riveting action scenes give this novel a unique “one of a kind“ style compared with some of the books being released today. It’s an invigorating change to the “one hero, one villain, one story approach and one we thoroughly enjoyed.

The Hidden Sun subtly grabbed us in what could only be accurately described as a “great big warm bear hug” and enveloped us into a vast array of twists and turns always leaving us suspecting but not quite sure, only to be pleasantly surprised as each relationship unfolded.

And what relationships they are! Portrayed in the “Middle Ages”, we find ourselves taken back to our youth when imaginations ran vivid and wild with visions of “Robin Hood and Maid Marian”. We find ourselves rooting for almost all the characters. Almost you might ask? Well there’s no shortage of “lower morality” incorrigible types who brought out the “revenge is sweet” emotion in us. In the end we found ourselves smiling and crying, laughing and shouting, demanding justice, and dreading the moment when the pages would end as we knew the story would unfortunately come to a close.

We made a pleasant discovery however, by being curious enough to read the prologue to The Waxing Moon. We found that the story from The Hidden Sun seems to continue, to our immense satisfaction, but now we find ourselves in a greater quandary being hopelessly hooked and impatiently awaiting what we are confident will be Mr. Morgan’s next great novel.

Thank you, J. Lloyd Morgan for allowing us to share such a wonderful story. We strongly recommend that everyone add this book to their “must read” list and rush out to get this book. It’s one fantastic read."

Their review can be found here.

The website for their guild can be found here.

I'd like to thank them again for their thoughtful review!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book review of "The Hidden Sun" by Aislynn Thompson

I'm pleased to have Aislynn Thompson post a review for The Hidden Sun on her blog "Stitch - Read - Cook".

Here is what she had to say:

"Have you ever had one of those books that you picked up and couldn't put down? Where you were so engrossed in the book that you stayed up all night to read the book in just one sitting? For me, this was that book. It was such an incredible story, that I stayed up until 3am so I could find out what happened!

Eliana, the daughter of the current leader of Bariwon is coming of age where she must marry and must produce and heir. Unfortunately for Eliana, she's fallen in love with her royal guardian Rinan. Breaking every law, these two try and find a way to be together. Sadly, nothing ever goes the way they planned.

J. Lloyd Morgan has written such amazing characters!! They draw you into the story and keep you wanting more. This story has so many ups, and downs, and twists, and turns that it keeps you on your toes right up until the very last page. I don't want to give away any details on the story, there are so many small events that are tied that could spoil the whole story for someone.

I can't wait for the next book by this author: The Waxing Moon. This author has definitely been added to my auto buy list and will have a permanent home on my book shelf! I highly recommend this book, and think that almost anyone who enjoys romance, fantasy and a bit of mystery will love this book."

I dare say that's one of the best reviews of The Hidden Sun. Thank you again to Aislynn Thompson!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review of "The Hidden Sun" by Valerie Ipson

Valerie Ipson's blog "Of Writerly Things" had this to say about The Hidden Sun:

A faraway kingdom.

A beautiful princess.

A courageous hero.

A ruthless villain.

An impossible choice.

You can see Author J. Lloyd has all the elements for your typical epic novel of true love and political intrigue, but you must read it for all its hooks, twists, turns, and surprises. All I can say is my 17 year old son has been staying up late into the night reading it.

You can access her full blog by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Review of "The Hidden Sun" by Bonnie Lynn Wagner

I'm very pleased to share this review from Bonnie Lynn Wagner from her "A Backwards Story" blog.

It not only includes a review, but also some insight on my upcoming projects.

"THE HIDDEN SUN is deceptive both in terms of its cover and its content. The cover is pretty typical fare for a fantasy novel involving knights and kingdoms. The book’s synopsis, on the other hand, outlines a story that seems much simpler than it actually is. I was expecting a fantasy novel full of heroes and royalty, a sweeping epic romance set among the background of political intrigue. THE HIDDEN SUN had all that…but it was also so much more. [Authors note: this was intentional. I feel that too often the cover and synopsis give too much of the story away] Author J. Lloyd Morgan twists and turns the plot in so many directions that nothing is ever expected as he takes us on an adventure that reminds me of all the reasons I love this genre best.

THE HIDDEN SUN takes place over a longer period of time than I originally anticipated it would and only the first third of the book goes the way I think it will. Morgan’s characters are endearing from the start. I loved seeing Princess Eliana as a girl with her own phrases and habit of doodling in her books. The opening scene really humanized her and I immediately began to care, even more so as she develops feelings for Rinan, her personal royal guardian. Following the fashion of all forbidden romances, there’s seemingly no way for the two to be together. Eliana will soon be queen of Bariwon and must marry whoever wins the Shoginoc. On top of that, royal guardians aren’t allowed to marry until after they’ve retired. The two hatch a dangerous plan in order to be together, one that will wreak havoc not only in their own lives, but throw the kingdom they’ve sworn to protect in mortal peril.

Morgan has created yet another novel that’s hard for me to talk about without giving away major plot points and spoilers. Bariwon is a kingdom that reminds me of other beloved fantasy realms such as Tamora Pierce’s world of Tortall. I love books and movies featuring knights and kingdoms and competitions of skill. To have all of those things bound up in one novel was a pleasure and I blew right through this novel, never wanting to put it down. There’s so much meaning behind the title alone, more than I initially thought after reading the first couple of chapters. By the novel’s end, I understood it on a deeper level and appreciated it all the more. With the exception of guessing two character-related events, THE HIDDEN SUN kept me guessing, never sure quite what to expect next. I can’t wait to journey back to Bariwon in the future.


As a blog tour participant for THE HIDDEN SUN, Morgan has shared some secrets about what’s ahead regarding Bariwon’s future.

He states that while THE HIDDEN SUN was created as a stand-alone, he got an idea that brought him back to Bariwon. He’ll be releasing a companion novel entitled THE WAXING MOON in 2012. The summary is up on Goodreads now. He’s working on the third companion novel, THE ZEALOUS STAR, now. While each book can be read on its own, THE WAXING MOON takes place four years after THE HIDDEN SUN and revolves around a minor character from that title. The second novel will also set up the events that will occur during THE ZEALOUS STAR. This is similar to the way Shannon Hale’s Bayern novels or Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters series are stand-alones focusing on fellow family members or descendants from previous books. THE WAXING MOON will reveal things like why things happened at the end of THE HIDDEN SUN in quite the way they did and continue on into Bariwon’s future.

Morgan will also be releasing a stand-alone novel entitled THE MIRROR OF THE SOUL sometime in 2012.

Finally, once you’ve finished reading THE HIDDEN SUN, Morgan has set up a page on his web site where he reveals writing secrets. How did he come up with names and certain plot points? The page is spoilery, so it’s not recommended for reading before finishing the novel."

Thank you for the wonderful review, Bonnie Lynn Wagner! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Interview posted on YA Booklover Blog

I had the chance to be interviewed by for the YA Booklover Blog.

Here's how it went:

The Interview

1. Okay, I ask this question every time. I am a huge name fanatic, and I just have to know - how did you come up with the names for your characters?

For the vast majority of my characters, the meaning of their names relates to them as a character in some way. For example, Rinan means "rain". One definition of Eliana refers to the "sun". Abrecan means "storm". This takes some research on my behalf, but I think it adds a layer of depth to the story.

2. When you were younger did you like writing? Or did it come over time?

My first short story was written in 4th grade. It became one of a series of short stories called "The Chronicles of Space Adventure". Catchy title, eh? I have dyslexia, so spelling has been something of a mystery to me. It wasn't until word processor software came out that I felt like I could write without having to look up every other word on how to spell it. Like anything, you get better at it over time.

3. How did you come up with the title for your book?

The title, The Hidden Sun, came to me very late in the writing process. I had no idea what I was going to name my novel for the longest time. There is a lot of symbolism in the book dealing with the sun and rain. And without giving anything away, the name holds a double meaning. Once I decided on The Hidden Sun, it just felt right. From there, it inspired me to come up with the names of the next two books: The Waxing Moon and The Zealous Star.

4. What do you think about the cover of your book? Did you have any say in it?

I love the cover. It think it stands out from many of the covers that are "in vogue" right now. I had given my publisher some basic ideas I had for the cover, and they took it from there. Overall, the response has been very positive for the cover.

5. What is your favourite part of being an author?

I'll have to say it's a tie between two things. First, I love the creative aspect of it. When I'm in full writing mode, the world around me disappears. I become part of the story--and I try to imagine how my characters are feelings when they dealing with whatever situation I've put them in. Second, it's rewarding to see comments from readers that I was able to cause an emotional reaction in my writing. I've had people tell me how much they hate the villain. I've had people tell me how much they love the hero. I've had people tell me they've stayed up late to finish the book because they had to see how things ended. Most of all, I enjoy when people "get" the message I'm trying to tell.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Review of "The Hidden Sun" from Michael Araujo

The Hidden Sun was reviewed on Michael Araujo's blog called "The Subtle Chronicler".

Here is what what Michael thought of it:

"If I ever pick up a book that involves royalty, it always involves fantasy as well. Any sort of element from fantasy and I’ll be good. But this time the one I picked up was just royalty and politics. And oddly enough, I really enjoyed it. Getting straight to the point here, The Hidden Sun is a story that shows how challenges are met.

The reason I’m getting straight to the point is because it’s what the novel does itself. It gives us these breaks every few paragraphs skipping from one scene to another, reminding me of a television show. [Author's note: perhaps my writing is influnenced from my TV directing skills?]

The characters were brilliantly written out. They brought out real emotions and care which as a reader I was happy about. His writing was also pretty good. It was easy to read and the way he played with words made it bearable.

Overall the whole book itself was epic and kept me interested enough to want to read what comes next. But I was also surprised at the fact that I fell for this story pretty hard. Not only did I enjoy it like I said above, I wanted more by the end. I wanted to know what happens next with all of the characters. I know that their stories haven’t ended and that there’s so many things that can go wrong. And even though it didn’t have any magic or dragons or wizards or whatever, it still had that magical spark to it. It was magical without the magic."

Thank you very much Michael for writing such an insightful review.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Review of "The Hidden Sun" by Katelyn Torrey

This review comes from Katelyn Torrey. She had some wonderful things to say about The Hidden Sun.

"This story came as such a wonderful surprise to me. I am fascinated with stories of far away kingdoms, princesses, and knights (or in the case of this book, guardians). Every author who writes about these far away places seems to bring something new to the table and that is most certainly true with J. Lloyd Morgan!

The characters in this book were rich, vibrant, and so full of life. There are so many characters that you are introduced to in a short amount of time but J. Lloyd Morgan does a phenomenal job introducing us to each and every one. With quirky names to match their quirky personality traits, I seemed to recognize every character with ease. I knew Rinan was a strong, protective, kind man. I knew Eliana was vibrant and full of life. I could tell from the very beginning just how sinister Abrecan could be. I was able to understand where all the characters were coming from and that made this super interesting. The awkward characters like Bertram made me laugh quite frequently. The evil characters like Abrecan, easily made my skin crawl. And then there are the lovely characters of Eliana, Rinan, Rayne, and Sunshine. They were such a joy to learn about, I loved meeting each and every one of them.

The story held my interest the whole entire time which is a huge plus! There were action scenes, mystery and romance, basically everything I need in a good book. The author keeps us on top of our toes by switching from character to character. Just when something big and epic is about to be revealed, J. Lloyd Morgan will flip to a different scene. While this would annoy me in many other stories, I found it added so much to The Hidden Sun!

On top of great characters and an interesting plot line, J. Lloyd Morgan did a PHENOMENAL job with his attention to detail. I could picture the characters in my mind. I could see the grand halls and tapestries of the castle. I could imagine the competitions playing out in my head. J. Lloyd Morgan did so well describing everything in his story that it was almost like a mental movie in my head while reading it!

In the end, I am so happy that I was able to read this book. At a first glance, I thought it was something I’d enjoy but I never would have guessed I’d love it this much.Beautiful, enchanting characters, a twisting plot-line and vivid visuals, what is not to love?

I would love to thank J. Lloyd Morgan for allowing me to be a part of his blog tour! This book turned out to be a wonderful read and I can’t wait to see what is next from him!"

No, thank YOU Katelyn for taking the time to read and review my book. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

For more on her blog, click here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Review of "Fall" by Jennifer Hurst

Julia D. Halstead (primarily known as JD) is something of a paradox. She's a project manager for a construction company, yet she wears high heels and carries a zebra striped purse. She shows the ability of commanding a room full of contractors bidding for a project, while at the same time finds herself turning to jelly when one of the well built, young and handsome contractors smiles at her. While she has never had any use for religion, things from the spiritual world have use for her.

Fall tells of JD's first solo assignment--renovating an old school house in the small town of Torrey, Utah into a bed and breakfast. The project will take several months. JD finds life in the small town a far cry from life in LA. Soon, construction is underway, and despite her better judgment, she becomes romantically involved with Matthew, one of her contractors. Little does she know that Matthew's interest in her isn't just romantic, but he needs her to carry out his devious plans.

I was delighted when I was asked to review this book. I met Jennifer at the August Authorama where she was enlisted to do facing painting. I was blown away by her talent, and even let her work her magic on my cheek! Here's a picture of her in action painting my daughter's face:

Imagine my surprise when I was told she was a writer as well. It's not fair for someone to be that talented!

Despite my previous experience with Jennifer, I wanted to make sure to write an honest review of her book. I'm happy to say that she has decided to update the cover from the copy that I got. The first cover wasn't bad, it just doesn't have the impact of the new cover.
One of the first things I noticed was the details of what a construction project manager does on a day to day basis. I was impressed because it added a level of credibility to the story and the main character. It wasn't until I finished the book that I learned that Jennifer once worked in the construction industry. So I applaud her with using the experience from her life in the book.

JD, as a character, is hard not to like. At 21 years old, she is trying to prove herself in what is primarily a man's world. But at the same time, she is also a woman who finds herself attracted to one of her contractors--something which is a bit of a no-no.

I didn't look at the back blurb of the book before I started reading. It's something of a habit of mine. Too often, I feel, the blurbs give too much away. While I don't think that is the case with Fall, I went into the book not knowing what to expect. For the beginning part of the book, it started to feel like a romance. There are a lot of descriptions of how JD feels about Matthew and the conflicting emotions that come from following her heart and trying to show her Grandpa (the owner of the company) that she is able to handle a project on her own.

The story then takes a left turn and introduces that things aren't what they appear. And no, I'm not going to spoil it for you. Suffice it to say, JD is given much more to handle than a construction project.

I honestly enjoyed reading Fall. I thought the characters were well defined and interesting. The chapters were short, and the story was limited to very few points of few which helped it move along well. Even being a man, I felt what JD was feeling--which isn't easy for an author to get me to do.

The story delves into some pretty dark places at times--not graphic in nature, but there were times where things became downright spooky and creepy. At the same time, there are heroic characters who give you someone to cheer for and bring hope to the events that surround JD.

Who would enjoy this book? I'd say its geared for more of a mature audience--not really for tweens. There isn't any bad language, nor are there graphic scenes of sex or violence, yet the emotions and events may be too much for younger readers.

Overall, I would like to congratulate Jennifer Hurst on a wonderful book. I wish you the best of success and I look forward to reading more of your work!

Here is something Jennifer Hurst is doing to encourage you to read the book (though this review should be encouragement enough. Ha!) She is holding a contest. Basically, you need to answer three questions.

These questions are:

1. Which Holiday did JD celebrate with Liu?

2. What was the name of the truck driver's wife?

3. Who was the police officer that pulled over Matthew and JD?

For complete rules, go to this link.

For more on the author, click here.

To order the book, click here.

**Disclaimer: while I did receive a copy of this book to review for free, it in no way, shape or form influenced my opinion.**

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The formula and stepping on toes

Let me apologize up front if I step on anyone's toes with this blog. As with all my blogs that I write, what's written here is my opinion. I've become more involved in the writing community since the release of The Hidden Sun. I've made some excellent new friends and I've learned so much. There are all sorts of resources out there for authors. In fact, I've never met a bunch of people so willing to help each other.
               What people enjoy reading is highly subjective. Some people enjoy reading books that are very descriptive about the setting. Others enjoy character driven stories, while others focus on the plot. And then there are those who read a book as if it were an essay submitting to a college professor for grading. That's all good, and I'm not going to judge anyone for what they enjoy reading.
                To that end, a lot of advice given from fellow authors focuses around some or all of the different aspects I noted above. Based on the reviews of The Hidden Sun, and including my own preferences in what I read and write, I'd say my style is more character and plot driven. Setting is in the background--admittedly, perhaps too much at times. Technically speaking, that is my weakest area. Thank goodness for excellent editors!

               And now where I step on some toes. Over the last few weeks, I've run across a few articles and books outlining how a novel should be written for it to be successful. By this, I mean, these reference materials breakdown at what point during the book should you do this or that. (Examples: introducing a conflict, adding a twist, introducing a new character, and so forth.) In one case, the writer of the article actually referred to it as a "formula".
                When I was learning to become a TV newscast director at BYU, we would have guest speakers from various fields to talk to us. I recall one news director of a local TV station relate this story:        
                "When I took over as the news director, our station was last place in ratings. I asked the people who worked there why they thought that was the case. They didn't know. One person spoke up and said, 'I don't understand it. We watch other newscasts and we're doing everything they are doing.' You see, that was the problem. It's not enough to do what everyone else is doing. You need to do something different to stand out and be successful."
                A comment I hear over and over about The Hidden Sun is that is it different from what people expected, and that it doesn't seem to follow "the formula". My response? GOOD! I wrote it knowing it was different. In the end, the reviews have been very positive.
                So, as a fellow author who is still learning his craft, may I humbly suggest that you learn all you can from other authors, but in the end, write your own story. Don't follow a "formula", don't be predictable, do the unexpected. Only then, will you truly stand out among your peers.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review of "The Hidden Sun" by Chioma Nwuzi

This review comes from Chioma Nwuzi on her blog Black and Blue Ink reviews.

Here are some of Chioma's comments:

"Definitely the epitome of fairy tales of the modern time. J. Lloyd Morgan weaves together a intrigue filled plot with enough twists, characters, and romance to keep you engaged until the very last page.

This book right from the beginning reminded me of a modern fairytale. All the little quirks and schemes presented in true fairytale fashion and I definitely love the fact that the story was one that could bring back the classics of a fairytale, yet keep its own original plot to it. The way I read it from the synopsis on various websites and on the back of the book, I thought I had a pretty good idea of how the story was going to begin, and I was ready to let the plot run its course. But that really is not how it went at all.

The romance plays a big role in this book especially since there is more than one romantic intermingling going on. I adore the fact the book actually went against the typical "princesses and princes fall in love" romantic theme and made it a little more...forbidden. I mean really, who can resist forbidden romance.

Those who were fans of the fairytales of back in the and of course all out there who just can't resists a forbidden romance, The Hidden Sun is the one to read!"

Thank you for taking the time to read and review the book Chioma Nwuzi.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Review of "The Hidden Sun" by Rachel Hoyt

Rachel Hoyt has posted a review for The Hidden Sun on her blog cuts-of-paper. What did she think of the book? Well, she gave it 4.5 stars (out of 5) so, I'm very pleased she enjoyed it.

Here are some of her comments:

"There are so many things I loved about the book. First, the plot. Oh, the plot the plot the plot. I wanted to die. There were lots of twists and turns, and things just kept happening that I didn't expect.

And the characters! Our villain, Abrecan, is just purely and insanely evil and power hungry. You will love to hate him. Eliana and Rinan are utterly adorable, but I especially loved Rayne. A girl can't help but swoon over such a guy. He stands up for the innocent and endangered, helps old women, and can fight to boot. Governor Nash was a fun character to read, always with a quip flouncing authority.

The Hidden Sun is a classic tale of good and evil. There is no magic afoot or dragons smoldering, just good ole human nature. This is the first book in a trilogy, with the second novel, The Waxing Moon, coming out next year.

The Hidden Sun is a hidden revelation; a chivalric novel well worth your time."

The full review can be found here.

Thank you Rachel!