Saturday, February 15, 2014

Librarians do it Between the Covers!

Hello, gentle readers, I don't know about you, but I love printed books far more than ebooks. Yes, it's convenient and space-saving to have one hand held device that carries countless volumes of literature. However, there's something magical about holding a bound book in one's hands and watching the pages fly by as you read. I'm also a sucker for the smell of books. Paper and ink are two of my most favorite things! Needless to say I also love Libraries! I adore being in a room full of books. There's an excitement in the air that makes me almost giddy, wondering what beautiful words or vast worlds I might discover next!

Naturally when I was publishing my book "The Forsaken" (Children of Cain - book one) I dreamed of someday seeing my book not only on bookstore shelves but on Library shelves as well. However, neither is easily done when your self-published. I do currently have my book in one store, and am constantly looking for more possible markets. "The Forsaken" at present is only available at the Spanish Fork Library in Utah. This is because some friends of mine requested it. Another friend saw it on the book shelf recently and told me it looked well-read. This tickles me pink, because my book is available for more readers to discover it. This got me thinking though. Wouldn't it be great if my book was available everywhere? Yes, yes, it would be awesome! But, I can't go to every library in the state of Utah and request my own book, let alone the entire country or world (although that would make for one heck of a road trip)! ;-) 

Why can't I just do this in my own state you might ask? Mainly because you have to have a library card for each library to be able to do this. Also libraries tend to want proof that you live in the area before they give you access to their collection, let alone start requesting new books on your behalf. So then I got thinking some more (a dangerous past time, I know) and decided I could always ask my friends, family, and fans to go out and do the requesting for me. So I'm putting it out there. Who wants to help a new author get their book in libraries across the United States? Who wants to help get "The Forsaken" on shelves in libraries all around the globe? If you said "I do" or "Me" then great! If you haven't read my book yet and were planning to this helps you in that you can do so without purchasing it. This helps me because the library does purchase it from me, and also having it on their shelves gives other avid readers the opportunity to experience my dream world as well. 

So the next time you make a trip to your local library don't forget to ask the Librarian how you can request a book, and help me get "The Forsaken" on the shelf and ultimately into the hands of more readers like yourself. If you do you'll be doing me a huge favor, and I will be eternally in your debt. :-) 

Now go forth, visit your local libraries and remember to request "The Forsaken" by R.J. Craddock (Children of Cain series - book one). Also, keep checking back here for more info on book two "The Offspring" which comes out in April! Till next time.

R.J. Craddock

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Religion, Mythology and Fiction.

For some, Religion, Mythology, and Fiction all mean the same thing. Many find profound truths in Religion, deep moral lessons in Mythology, and just plain good entertainment in Fiction. However, every once in a while a book intermingles the three into one tale. Such is the case with my novel "The Forsaken" (Children of Cain - book one). I have to admit that I was heavily influenced by my own religious beliefs when it came time to come up with my own mythology for Gwenevere's story. My fantasy world is after all spawned from one of the oldest stories ever told, the creation. However, mine starts with Adam and his first wife Lilith.

Now some of you just scratched your head and asked yourselves, "Who is Lilith?" Well, Lilith is sort of a cross between a redundancy in the Bible and an ancient myth. The creation story is told twice in the Bible. First in Genesis 1:1-2 and secondly in Genesis 2:4-25. In the first scripture man and woman are created at the same time, however, neither of them is ever named. And, in the second telling of the creation, man was created first, then the animals and then woman. The man’s name isn't mentioned for a few scriptures but he is introduced as Adam. Only after she has eaten from the tree of good and evil and persuaded Adam to eat as well does the woman get a name. Adam calls her Eve because she will be the mother of all living now that they are being cast out of the Garden of Eden and she now must bear children. Add this to the fact that other stories emerged over the years, naturally this got me speculating. What if there were two women created in the garden of Eden? What if Eve was actually the second woman to be created on the Earth, and not Adam's first wife? Some mythologies suggest that this was the case. See the link below for more details: 

Growing up in a Christian home reading the Bible and being fascinated by different religious beliefs, I was aware of the notion of a first wife prior to Eve in the Garden of Eden and always thought the idea was fascinating. What might have really happened to make this first wife fall? Now do I believe that Lilith really existed? No. However, the idea of such a person got my wheels turning and before I knew it I had created my own version of the creation story with Lilith as the original wife of Adam and her eventual fall from grace. This leads to her becoming the mother of all mythical beings and myths we've all grown up with. You might know them as Witches, Elves, Vampires, Werewolves, Fairies, Giants, Dwarfs, Mermaids and such but in my mythology they are all known as The Forsaken. 

A while back I met a fellow author, C. David Belt, who had a series with a very similar name to mine, “The Children of Lilith Trilogy”. I even wrote a blog about this meeting, read it here. Since both our stories deal with Lilith in their mythologies we started talking about the possibility that such a person might have existed. "The idea of Lilith as Adam's first wife supposes that God makes mistakes, and God does not make mistakes." C. David Belt reasoned. And I have to say that I disagree. If God gave us free agency to choose as we wish so that we might learn for ourselves right from wrong then any choice made by us would be no one’s fault but our own, for we are solely accountable, not God. So I reason that such a person could have existed and not threaten the belief that God knows all, as the master planner. 

To write this story I had to delve into a lot mythology and fairy tales as well as learn a lot about Wicca and Witchcraft in general. As a born and breed Christian, do I believe in any of these things? No. Does writing about them contradict my real life faith and values? No. In writing this book I seek only to entertain and to teach a moral about the true importance of one’s character and the choices we make throughout our lives. I believe in God and Jesus Christ. I believe there is a heaven and hell. But any speculations about these places in my books are merely mythology, intertwined with religion for entertainment.

For my character I built a world in which she is doomed no matter what she does because of what she was born, a Witch, one of The Forsaken. My purpose in creating this world and writing this story is to answer a few questions. "What would you do if you were damned no matter how good or bad you were? Would you still choose to do the right thing? Would you be a good person if there was no reward waiting for you in heaven, or would you just indulged yourself and do whatever you liked? A lot of religions teach that if you're faithful you'll receive blessings in heaven and a mansion on high, and thus the motivation for some to do good. But shouldn't we do good and be righteous and selfless, giving to others just because it is righteous and not just because we want a reward for our good deeds? These questions and more I strive to answer in the Children of Cain series. I invite you all to read the series and find out what Gwenevere does when faced with these questions, and find out where her decisions lead her. 

"The Forsaken" is currently out and can be purchased at Links to my book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble can be found there or at the top menu of this blog. "The Offspring" book two of the six-part series comes out in April 2014.

Now go forth and pick up "The Forsaken" and may it inspire you to make righteous decisions and have strength to overcome even when in the face of true evil. Till next time. 

R.J. Craddock