Sunday, February 5, 2017

Superstars Writing Seminars 2017

Chris Mandeville (and many others on the Superstars Writing Seminars facebook group) said I’d feel a part of a tribe if I attended the #SuperstarsWritingSeminars (#SSWS2017). I was skeptical, but everything they promised and more happened during these past four days. I left Saturday afternoon with a larger heart, full of inspiration and dazzling memories I get to keep forever. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the founders, faculty, instructors, panelists and those hardworking souls behind-the-scenes who made this extraordinary event possible. I especially want to thank all of my fellow writers with whom I connected, reading 1st pages on Wednesday, playing cards on game night, swapping fledgling chapters in the lobby, stealing time in the hallway to blend our writer’s lives. James signs his books “Remember magic is real…and worth looking for!” Well, if you’re looking for magic, you can find it right here at SSWS.

For those of you who lunched with me, talked with me, stole time with me, you know I collect quotes. In parting, I would like to share the memorable moments that struck me during SSWS. Some are straight-up words to live by. One will be marked anonymous to protect the innocent (devilish) soul who made me laugh.

"I'm a big fan of trusting my instincts."
-Jim Butcher

"What I'm giving you here is the ingredients to make a loaf of bread. Once you have that, it's up to you to decide what kind of bread you want to make."
-Jim Butcher

“When you're writing, keep writing. Tear into it. Go forward. Finish it.”
-Jody Lynn Nye

“A prologue is like a heart transplant. You should never have one unless you really really really need it.”
-Jody Lynn Nye

"The best marketing you can have is writing the best book you can write."
-Jim Butcher

"Be nice to your fans. It's the right thing to do, but it also makes money."
-Jim Butcher

"Know your market. Don't submit something that isn't appropriate (for your chosen publishing house)."
-Claire Eddy

"Make sure your manuscript is REALLY ready for an agent or editor to see."
-Kristin Nelson

"The things that are inconsistent about your (writing) voice get hammered out over time as you write."
-James A. Owen

"Facebook. It's the app where you go to be disappointed in humanity."
-Jim Butcher

"When you're posting, don't be trying to sell your book. What you should be doing is making yourself interesting."
-Kevin J. Anderson

"With your closest fans, you shouldn't be selling to them, you should be giving to them."
-Mark Lefebvre

"The people who really love your work are, generally speaking, people you would get along with."
-Jim Butcher

"Your books are your product. Your brand is you."
-Alexi Vandenberg

"You are performers. Your customers are your audience."
-James A. Owen

“For your fans, their interaction with you may be the only interaction they ever have. The impression you make could be the only impression you ever get to make with them. Make sure it's a positive one.”
-(Paraphrased from James A. Owen)

"You might be having a bad day. But you're on stage. You don't get to have a bad day."
-Kevin J. Anderson

"I am a merchant prince in training to become a philosopher king."
-James A Owen

“(Building your brand) is all an act. It is not a false act, but it is a performance."
-Alexi Vandenberg

"I would just like to point out that: No one is boring. No matter how boring you think you are, you have an interest that will engage someone else."
-Alexi Vandenberg

"On the traditional publishing side, discoverability is about getting those librarians and booksellers on your side."
-Kristin Nelson

"The defining characteristic of a fan is enthusiasm. Focus on the fans. The fans will get you new readers."
-Jim Butcher

"You build your audience one person at a time. Sometimes you're not there for that building; it's just your written word. But when you are, make the most of it. Invest your attention in people."
-Jim Butcher

"Do special things for your uber-fans."
-Kristin Nelson

"When I reject a manuscript but I can see there potential in the author, I ask: What else do you have? That response is miles down the road from a straight rejection. Always have that 'what else' ready."
-Lisa Mangum

"The last thing you want is to invite someone who is toxic into your business."
-Claire Eddy

"What editors are looking for are authors who can teach us how to sell their book to everybody else."
-Lisa Mangum

(In response to the question: What are the top 3 tips for writers to succeed?) “First, write It. Second, write it. Third, write it. Persistence is what will really pay off."
-Todd McCaffrey

"A great movie is never done, it's just abandoned."
-Hollywood aphorism

"Any force that brings the reader and writer together is going to succeed. The future of publishing will be more collaborative."
-Mark Lefebvre

"I define success by the next summit ahead of me."
-Kevin J. Anderson

"If you're not actively developing your platform, you are shrinking your platform."
-David Farland

"Keep making the right choices, even if everyone else thinks you're a little nuts."
-James A. Owen

“When you really know what you need to do, and people see that in your eyes, they will find ways to help you.”
-James A. Owen

"Never sacrifice what you want the most for what you want the most at that moment."
-James A. Owen

"The hardest part is saying no to the deal that doesn't take your career where you want to go."
-James A. Owen

"When you do what you believe in, the Universe opens itself up to you and shows you what is possible."
-James A. Owen

"I don't pay attention trends. I take on books that I love, and I hope that other people will love them, too."
-Kristin Nelson

"Whatever the trends are right now, this is still a long game. Think of your career in those terms."
-James A. Owen

"It's not enough to succeed, you also have to make sure your best friend fails."
-Hollywood Aphorism (via Jim Butcher)

"At the end of the day, you're the one signing the contracted, so you better read it."
-Jim Butcher

"Half of what binds us is our ability to tease Kev."
-James A. Owen

"If you can't talk politics, you might as well talk porn."
-(you know who you are)

"The man with the sign says we're done. So we're all done."
-Lisa Mangum

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Time Capsule

This is the first day of my post-Follow Your Heart Day road trip. I visited The Colorado College and met up with my friend Megan. We ate at Wooglins Deli. A sandwich there is $7. Colorado College tuition has gone up 500% in twenty-two years, but the price of a sandwich is about the same. We wandered the campus and saw the destruction of the recent winds, giant trees knocked over, trunks snapped in half or roots pulled out of the ground. We stopped at what was once Benjamin’s (they don’t sell food at all hours now; it’s more like a cafeteria than a café), looked around Worner Center, went down to the soccer/lacrosse field, Cutler Hall and finally stopped at Shove Chapel, where at least four of our CC Clan group were married, including Megan and her husband Langdon. When we walked in, there was a young man playing the piano, and he was amazing. The music was transcendent. Not only was his playing pure, passionate and, from what I could tell, flawless, but he played everything from Mozart to jazz with no sheet music. We sat and listened to him for thirty minutes as he went from song to song. After we left him, still playing, we talked with one of the Shove staff, and she said he’d been playing for hours already. It amazed me that he was so lost in his music that he could go on and on like that, and that he could keep all of that gorgeous music in his head.

Megan and I reminisced about the days when the Clan would sneak into the catacombs under Shove and hold “Mostly Dead Poets Society” meetings. We sometimes called ourselves the “Stunned Poets Society,” unable to choose which homage we wanted to tack onto the Dead Poets Society movie: The Princess Bride (“He’s only MOSTLY dead”) or Monty Python (“He’s STUNNED. You stunned him!”). We would gather with candles and read poetry to each other, some classics, some original pieces. We wrote notes to future generations of catacomb crawlers in soot on the ceiling of those subterranean concrete rooms. What an amazing, special thing. It is like our own time capsule. The Mostly Dead Poets Society was only one of many remarkable things the CC Clan did, but unlike all the rest, it is immortalized. Somewhere, down there, our markings are waiting and probably won’t disappear until they raze Shove to the ground.

I remembered feeling sure of myself back then, like I knew exactly what was important and that I was going to go get it, even if I didn’t know how. I wanted a whole heck of a lot, but I didn’t expect anything. I actually assumed I’d be dead by age 25, from some crazy-ass stunt or another. I was open to the world, eyes wide and senses alert to each moment because I didn’t have any assumption about what I would get.

Friday, December 16, 2016


Hope-alyptic. It’s the opposite of apocalyptic, a word I came up with when thinking about The Wishing World. It means looking at the bright side, searching for the good. These days, hope-alism in short supply. We feel hope because it is still out there, floating about, but then spend our time spitting vitriol –or listening to it– on social media or mainstream media. We talk darkly about the future.

Are there are truly more horrible things going on now than in the past? Is our future brighter or darker? I think about the theme of the movie Tomorrowland. The climax reveals that the world is self-destructing because negative images, angry speeches, and a sense of doom is being projected at the Earth, amplified a thousand-fold, intended to escalate conflict in the hopes that the Earth will destroy itself. Writer/director Brad Bird touched on something very real with his theme: the amplification of horror in our modern world. Through media. Through social media. Through, oftentimes, the best of intentions: to identify the culprit and stop them.

With all of this doomsaying, it seems like things are getting worse, that we’re galloping toward an undefined cliff. But is this truly reality, or just the reality that we’re making, like the self-fulfilling prophecy of Tomorrowland?

A video called The Fallen of World War II catalogues the deaths (70 million) of the war and points out that more people died fighting in World War II than in all the wars since. In 1989 the span between the end of WWII and the present was called The Long Peace and has continued, relatively speaking, to this day. But this doesn’t make headlines. The narrator said:

“We give such importance to the word “peace,” but we don’t tend to notice it when it occurs.”

It’s not that horrible things aren’t happening. They are. But what is the best way to fight them? Does constantly dwelling on the horrors of the world diminish them or empower them?

Imagination lifts people to create wonders. Goodwill begets goodwill, but media shines the light on the “train wrecks” of our society because that’s what we, as viewers, just can’t turn away from. Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man notes that what one searches for is what one tends to find. If we look for hate and horror and point it out everywhere, what else do we expect to see?

I don’t hear anyone talking about The Long Peace. Shouldn’t we? If we want to point ourselves at a bright future, shouldn’t we look at the light?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Bag of Roses

I have a bag of roses, a cup full of M&Ms, and a dark office. The roses were given to each of the Rose Community Foundation family to wear at Sheila’s funeral today. The M&Ms were Sheila’s favorite candy. The dark office is because she is gone now.

Those who know her best are at the cemetery, lowering her body into the ground. I am here in this office where she lived her dream of helping others, where she gave direction, inspiration and the whole of her being for the last eighteen years. I am here, writing down what Sheila meant to me.

Two years ago at my interview, I came in with a spring in my step. I had a purpose, and I had come to Rose as a part of that. I had been told that as a leader, Sheila was “the real deal,” and after the first minute of talking with her, I knew it was true. She had too many talents to catalogue: her keen mind, her ceaseless curiosity, her drive for excellence, her attention to detail and so many more. But her real magic was how she could make a person feel known and cared for. In that interview, I mentioned my love of science fiction and fantasy, both in books and movies. She mentioned that she had a Star Wars poster from her son’s childhood, and that she thought she still had it lying around her house somewhere, and that she would bring it in for me. With her keen insight, she spotted the parts about me that I liked the most, and let me know that those things were important to her. She had the power to make a person feel relevant, important, empowered.

As I worked with her, I saw her use this magic on Trustees, staff, and community leaders every day. She lived to serve, and her service took the form of enabling others to do good works. She made them feel larger in the exact ways they wanted to feel larger, then set them free to do large things in the world. She has given so much to so many, has stewarded the interests of the community with an open heart and wise counsel, but her greatest gift is in how she made others feel.

You will be missed, Sheila. I don’t know what the Foundation will look like without you, but I know that because of you, I will always think of how I can best serve others. I will think how I can make others comfortable, help them feel inspired about those aspects of themselves that they hold most dear.

I have a bag of roses, an empty cup of M&Ms, and a dark office. Rest in peace, Sheila. Thank you so much. Thank you for everything.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

-Maya Angelou

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Granny's Quilting

Last night I went to sleep exhausted in a quiet house. This morning, I awoke to my wife sobbing again. She crawled in next to me and whispered. “It doesn’t get easier.”

All I could say was, “No. It doesn’t.”

Lara’s mother, Sharon, died in her sleep on Friday morning. She was 74. She was hiking on Thursday, out in the Santa Fe nature she dearly loved. She had been bothered by a headache for weeks. But that was nothing new. Those of us who knew Sharon knew she had been bothered by headaches off and on for the last twenty years. It did not indicate anything out-of-the-ordinary. It did not give us any warning. Sharon went to bed on Thursday night and didn’t wake up.

When I was young, I was certain of many things. I knew about living and dying. I knew who I loved and who I didn’t. I knew where I was going and how I wanted to get there.

Now I’m 45, and I know much less than I used to. I thought that was bad enough, that my experience stripped me of my absolute certainties. But this morning I’m scared that you cannot count on anything to be certain, ever.

I was certain that Sharon, who our children exclusively called Granny, would be here for Thanksgiving, for Christmas. I was certain she would be a proud grandparent at my children’s high school and college graduations. I was sure I would see the beautiful new quilts she made for each of them, sewn with Granny’s artistry, to usher in the next stages of their lives.

But I’ll never see Granny again. Her majestic quilts marked my wedding to her daughter, the births of my children, their growth from babies to young people, and now these are the last quilts we will have from her. She was making quilted wall hangings for our family that marked the 12 months of the year, each exquisitely done, each seasonally themed: Halloween in October. Christmas in December. A sere snow scape for January. We have 10 of the 12. Two are missing.  I can’t help but think of Granny’s life as those 12 wall hangings, with two more expected that will never come.

All I can do now is think of the “10 months” of memories we still have and cling to them. I think of Sharon’s unerring compass of social justice. She didn’t preach it. She lived it. She took care of people she didn’t have to because she saw it as her obligation as a human being.

I remember Granny’s “basic diet”, a healthy helping of natural foods and the basics of the human condition: Arts. Literature. Our connection to nature. She loved museums, especially out-of-the-way and out-of-doors museums, curiosities like Tiny Town and the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum that showcased the subtle accomplishments of every-day people. She took my children to these every chance she got. And she took them to nature’s own museums as well, hiking the trails of Santa Fe, the arroyo behind their house, or white-water river rafting.

Above all, I remember her investment in our children. In the raising of them, in exposing them to wholesome aspects of life. She longed to visit them. She sent them packages nearly every week, of newspaper clippings or the funnies from the paper that she knew Dash loved, post cards from places they’d been or of scenic moments in Santa Fe. Of all the things I will miss about Granny, I will miss this the most. I lament that she will no longer be here to guide my children, to teach them the best things about grandparents: That they care about you and are interested in your growth. That they want to expand you with their many years of experience, let you see through eyes that have lived in a time you did not. Granny loved my children so much. She gave the very best parts of herself to them in every moment she was with them.

Over the past years, I have watched Lara begin her own quilting. A little bit to start, back when we were first married, then more and more. And now Lara has begun to make quilts for new babies just as Granny did. This, and so many other things, are part of Granny Sharon’s legacy, and I hope that Lara continues to quilt. I know, for my part, I will quilt with Granny in my own way. I will try to look with her vision when I watch other people, to carry her care for them in my heart. I will remember that dignity is the right of every person, and that we have an obligation to help them find that dignity, especially when it is the most difficult. I intend to stitch that piece into my own life and the lives of my children for as long as I am here.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Fairmist Reviews #26 through #45

Fairmist Book Launch Day! I'm so giddy I can't stop grinning. And I have a headache (I never get headaches). Is there such thing as a happy headache? That's what I have.

Holy sheep dip! I am buried under the reviews (what a great feeling!), so I'm going to post every single review I have so far today. A big thank you to all of my advance readers. You all took this story and you ran with it. Wow!

Mary Ann Littler, Review #26
Loved it, it held my interest and I can’t wait for the sequel!!
Long live Grei!!

Brett Spencer, Review #27
I read novels for the immersive world I get to explore.  The wondrous strangeness, the thought-provoking nuances, the creatures and places I’d never even find in my dreams.  Fairmist unfolds a richly-nuanced world that delights my senses, feeds my daydreams and upends my disbelief.  And it does so in such a heartfelt and charming way that I feel right at home amidst the raindrops that hang suspended in midair while flying hares circle above - just your average Faiaday on Clapwood Street in the sacred and seedy town of Fairmist.

And the story of young Grei who may not know where he’s going, but, by the Faia, he knows what’s right!  There is much to be learned from this young man who stands on his convictions in the face of his society’s constant and brutal disapproval, in the face of a secret society bent on determining his destiny and even even in the face of the madness that consumes all who dare to question the Debt of the Blessed. And Grei is just one of the inspiring, dastardly, heart-wrenching characters you’ll come to love in Fairmist.

This story entranced me and I’m itching to get my hands on the next one to unlock more of its secrets!

JP Fagan, Review #28
Up front, I will say that fantasy is not my favorite genre of books—there are generally too many strange names that you are never sure you are really pronouncing correctly. It sometimes is difficult to connect with characters that are too strange—you just don’t get them or their motivations. Fairmist has none of that, and, as a result, is very enjoyable to read. It is easy to dive right in and get caught up in the story.

Fairmist is a world that is unusual, but not incomprehensible. Todd describes this world so colorfully that I could smell the forest floor of the Wet Woods, see the unique stone bridges in the town, feel the dampness in the air during the Harvesthome masquerade balls, and hear the commotion inside The Floating Stone. Every place in the story feels real. Like Middle Earth, I wish that I could go and see the place for myself.

Much more importantly, however, Fairmist is populated with characters that are so human, and so believable, that you want to discover their stories. I frequently found myself nodding (or shaking) my head, because I was able to understand the characters and what drove them. It was easy to get behind Grei in his quest to seek answers and fix what is wrong, especially when you know right from the prologue just how wrong things truly are. I was able to feel the sorrow in Adora as she veers back and forth between happiness and duty. I could identify with Blevins who has done his duty and now tries to live with the consequences. I even felt sympathy for a villain who does not appear to be so far gone as to be wholly incurable.

There is only one problem with the book—I want more now and I can’t have it. I will have to be patient and wait for Todd to create the next installment. I eagerly look forward to finding out what happens next.

Bridget Lovett, Review #29
Finally. A novel with female characters that kick-ass while demonstrating grace, intelligence and the power of their sexuality. As they guide a fallible yet truly heroic Grei through the adventures of Fairmist, I couldn't help but be captivated. Todd Fahnestock is one of the best of our time.  I cannot wait for the next!

Bill Moraja, Review #30
Fahnestock's first solo work is very good. His writing is crisp and tight. His story-telling is fast-moving and exciting. He creates characters that are deep, compelling and evolving throughout the story as the action unfolds. No character knows who anyone else really is, and some don't even realize who they are or what they can be. The world of The Whisper Prince is fascinating and makes for irresistible reading.

These reasons alone would be enough to earn Fairmist a high recommendation, but fortunately there is more.

Fahnestock digs deep into the very best tradition of the speculative fiction genre and asks elemental, human questions: What are we prepared to do to survive? Are we willing to live our lives cowering in fear? Dedicate our entire lives to a desperate cause? Are we willing to sacrifice the lives of others? Are we prepared to sacrifice our own life, or the lives of our own children? These are engaging questions wrapped up tightly in a fast-paced adventure. I enthusiastically give Fairmist a five star recommendation.

AJ Johnson, Review #31
Fairmist, Book one of The Whisper Prince, is the first book of the fantasy genre that I had read in a long time. I read the prologue and the first several chapters in fits and starts, but by the time I made it into the third or fourth chapter, I was sucked in, and began to find myself carrying it around the house with me, spending a few minutes reading while I brushed my teeth, while waiting in the car line to pick my kids up from school, and staying up much later than I should as the characters and events flew by and through me.

I love the story elements Fahnestock used to create this world and make it real. A tribute that keeps an uneasy and unpleasant peace in the land. The all-female government special-ops force that holds the society together. An idealistic but slightly ignorant chosen one. A buddhist-like enlightenment that allows one to become a part of every nearby element, experience every emotion and control the physical state of one's surroundings. And the Faia, the fabric that hold together the world of Fairmist.

Surprise plot twists allow you to open yourself up to whatever may come next, and as the book finally came to a climactic close I felt like I was finishing a harried, exciting and emotional rollercoaster. Like Space Mountain, I'm excited to go on it again, and to see what kind of a ride the author will take us on next.

Diana Horowitz, Review #32
As a reluctant fantasy novel reader (whose last attempt was Mists of Avalon over 20 years ago), I found Fairmist to be a fascinating and compelling world to explore. The complexity yet clarity of characters, concepts and storyline quickly cast their spell over me, and left me wanting more. At one point, I was even moved to tears. By Blevin’s Belly, I’m a Fairmist / Fahnestock Fan!

Tiffanny Hale, Review #33
Classic fantasy characters in a great story – I did not want to put it down!

Fairmist is a exciting fantasy novel with some great twists and loveable  characters. After spending much of his life questioning the barbaric practices that keep everyone “safe”, Grei decides he’s done questioning and he’s going to DO something.  Without knowing that he’s the savior of a little known prophecy, he embraces the changes thrusts upon him and manages to outguess those that attempt to manipulate him.  He wins loyalty and inspires trust and he has help from some intriguing side characters. This was an excellent story and I found myself thinking of it throughout the day, anxious to get home to read some more. I did not want to put it down!

Aaron Brown, Review #34
Fairmist presents a decadently fabulous world filled with sideways floating houses and sinister, skulking slinks. Fahnestock's details and dialogue crackle with vigor and wit, but what I liked best is that the story goes far deeper than its alluring, mythical surface. Fahnestock's hero Grei is driven to right a deep wrong and has to cut through veils upon veils of illusions to do so. The spirit Grei brings to the task, not to mention the passion from his friends and allies, seem utterly necessary for his world as well as our own. 

Alicia Jiron, Review #35
A good book makes you think, and a day after reading Todd Fahnestock’s Fairmist, I am still pondering the parables in this engaging story. The characters are the kind you miss when the story ends, the curve-ball plot causes you to question who is on the right side of good and the fantastical settings become pictures in your mind’s eye. Read this book.

Amy Fahnestock, Review #36
Fairmist is captivating and a must read. From the first word to the last you are constantly yearning for the next page, the next twist in the story. Each chapter takes you on an ever changing adventure that challenges your mind, questions you moral line, and teases your every sense. Fairmist has rich and intricate characters that are woven from many types of characteristics that are intriguing and shocking. Powerful women, noble men, misunderstood villains and spiritual undertones of fantasy, nature and the unknown all wrapped into a story line that is unforgettable. The prolog is the rubber band of a slingshot stretched back to catapult you into a mesmerizing adventure of love, pride, betrayal and moral measurement. You will find a love for each character individually on merit but Blevins is by far my favorite throughout the entire book. His character has such clarity and depth. 

Tish Gonzales, Review #37
Fairmist was such a fun and sometimes intense read.  It introduced me to a new genre, fantasy novels.  I enjoyed the character development and rich imagery.   I was pulled into the character’s lives and  found myself immersed in their trials.  Overall I enjoyed Fairmist very much and look forward to the next installment.   Thank you for sharing Todd.

Chris Connor, Review #38
Epic fantasy brings you into its world, immerses you in the characters, draws you into the story and leaves you itching for more. The Whisper Prince is a rich quest filled with deception, romance and destruction.  I can't wait for the sequel.

Bailey Fahnestock, Review #39
Todd Fahnestock’s Fairmist pulls you in from the first paragraph and you never want to leave this amazing world he’s created. He makes you so attached to every character that you almost feel their pain, their desires, and their fears as if they were your own. Along the way, you start to wonder whose side you’re on. This story shows us that sacrifices must be made and we do what we must be done to survive but it also raises the question, do we follow our hearts or focus on our duties? It’s so captivating, you’ll be sad after that last chapter is over and you have to leave this world. A truly wonderful read!

Elliott Davis, Review #40
Fairmist is about the courage to do what you must when you harden your resolve but not your heart. And about crisis. Not the grand, mortal and obvious crisis typical of fantasy (slightly conflicted good vs. absolute evil). The people of Fairmist have compelling personal crises. They are real and relatable. Instead of immutable archetypes, whose point of view never so much as twitches from what you would expect, the characters in Fairmist appear to be doing their imperfect, human best as their perspective develops and their situations better or worsen. Or appear to better or worsen before, “Oops, I saw this playing out differently.” This I can relate to. I cherish Tolkien for the sweep of adventure, but as for character, Frodo lives a pass/fail life in which his only doubts are whether he can succeed, not the more humbling, anguishing challenge of trying to figure out what is right, making mistakes, course correcting, etc. that seems to describe my own life. So, while most fantasy gives me the pleasure of escapism, Fairmist gave me conflicts to sink my teeth into and ponder. Instead of “Could I be equally bold/strong/clever?" and "Zowie, I want super-cool magic powers, too!” I thought about “what the heck would I do here? Whom would I trust?”

And I liked that.

John Pennington, Review #41
Fairmist, first book of a series, is an action packed adventure set in an emotionally rich fantasy world where passion can be as deadly as a blade and actions have unseen consequences. The pace of the book is as tightly choreographed as any Ringblade dance, each part faster than the one before. The Ringblades are part sisterhood, part terror police who train through dance. This reader wanted more scenes involving them and by the end of the book you may feel as though you had been dancing with them - out of breath and already anticipating the next book.

Peter Fryer, Review #42
The world of Fairmist in all of its complexity unfolds with ease through Fahnestock's compelling world building - no easy feat. Taking a step back it becomes apparent how much thought and construction is required to build a simultaneously familiar and foreign world, such as the one in Fairmist. This world is fully inhabited by Fahnestock's characters who are compelling in their motives - whether they be fate or atonement for past misdeeds. The most refreshing aspect of Fairmist is Fahnestock's consistent willingness to have his characters deviate from the choices you would expect of them. On more than one occasion I found myself thinking, "Obviously she won't say anything to him about that" and then three paragraphs later the character would do just the opposite. While it exists firmly in the fantasy genre, these small details make Fairmist stand out. And, lest it go unmentioned, Fahnestock is an artist when it comes to writing action. Sometimes you really want an epic sword fight and some straight up magic. Fahnestock, as always, brings it, creating a novel that clips along with action, but never succumbs to its momentum, allowing time for us to understand both his characters and his fantastic world. Recommended.

Nick Alonzo, Review #43
Fairmist is a great read and it is nearly impossible to put down I look forward to seeing what the future brings for Grei and Adora.

Liz Imbler, Review #44
What a great book! Filled with adventure, deception, and romance, Fairmist transcends the limits of a fantasy novel and leaves the reader wanting more. After only a few chapters, I couldn’t put it down! Fahnestock’s complex characters are constantly evolving and the plot is ripe with excitement. But beyond that, Fairmist is a book to make you think. Intense sacrifice, complicated relationships, and a world that needs saving beg you to question your priorities, and implore you to blend the lines between right and wrong. You can expect a depth from this book that is too often missing in today’s literature. Overall, what a well-written and exciting book! The sequel can’t come soon enough!

Chris Guymon, Review #45
Fahnestock has created a richly textured world that rings true with the human condition despite the fantastical elements that make the setting so intriguing. All the characters are explored fully, and in turn, are not one-dimensional. What was so engaging for me was watching all of the characters struggle with the conflicting aspects of themselves. There are no perfect heroes, heroines, or villains in this story. All in all, an adventure that kept me turning pages and holding my breath--and also kept me continually surprised, right down to the last few words. This is a refreshing novel, and will delight fantasy aficionados and novices alike.

And those are all the reviews to date! Whew! Okay Fairmist...time to LAUNCH!