Imaginative Christian Apologetics: Faith Edifying ‘Letters’ Coming from Rev. Sam Schuldheisz

sschuldheiszGrail Quest Books is very excited to announce that next summer we will release our first Christian spirituality non-fiction book. The book will be authored by Rev. Sam Schuldheisz (Redeemer Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach CA), and will be drawn from his sermons and other writings, which are saturated with Christ crucified for sinners, the sacraments, the theology of the cross, and eschatology.

Rev. Schuldheisz is also an aficionado of stories, and a champion of what is known as ‘imaginative apologetics’; these themes come through naturally in his work and thus will be part of the book. He recently wrote, explaining this, “Imaginative apologetics is a vital part of making a defense for the reason for the hope that is within us. Not everyone resonates with a tough-minded defense of the faith. Thankfully the Christian faith reaches both our intellect and our imagination.”

The still untitled book will present the Christian faith in the style of letters, as from a traveler writing to a friend (the reader) from various locations, collecting accounts about that Place which C.S. Lewis described as “a country we have never yet visited”.

Rev. Schuldheisz’s “letters” will be complemented by thumbnail pencil sketches of landscapes or symbols of the Church by Kasandra Radke.

Between now and release date of the book, folks are invited to read Rev. Schuldheisz’s sermons and other writings at his blog, E-nklings, as well as at 1517: The Legacy Project. You can also learn about the latest updates about this new book project via Grail Quest Book’s Facebook page.

Kelly Schumacher: Illustrator Joins The Creation, The Fall & The Promise Children’s Book Project

KellySchumacherGrail Quest Books is very excited to announce that Kelly Schumacher will be creating the illustrations for The Creation, The Fall, and The Promise! This book is the first in a planned series of children’s books presenting the rich Truth of God’s Word. Of special focus in these books based on Old Testament accounts will be the profound presence of Christ, the Gospel, and the means of grace in the Sacraments. The manuscript is complete and production on the artwork is expected to begin later this Spring.

Ms. Schumacher works out of her studio, Agnus Dei Liturgical Arts​, making unique works of art that first glorify God and secondly minister to the needs of the church. Each piece is individually made using time honored techniques and materials. The end result is to create objects of beauty, craft, and detail that will serve generations as well as bear the message of forgiveness of sins and hope of eternal life.

You can learn more about Ms. Schumacher’s work via her Facebook page and website.

You can also purchase products featuring some of her art at Ad Crucem​.

GQB feels so blessed to work with such a gifted Christian artist: we cannot wait for folks to see the final book!

Grail Quest Books Welcomes Eric Postma

eric-pGrail Quest Books is excited to welcome Eric Postma into the GQB family! Eric will be taking on the roles of GQB’s Public Relations Manager and also a junior publisher.

In public relations, Eric will primarily be helping GQB with its internet presence through such mediums as live chat and Google+ events, representing GQB in fan communities, providing coverage of GQB’s library and authors to websites; he will also be attending regional conventions when his schedule and resources provide the opportunity.

As a junior publisher, Eric will continue to assist co-founders Josh and Kasandra Radke with all of their publishing projects by way of story development and review of content, with the likelihood of him eventually receiving his own projects to manage as Publisher. Josh notes, “While assisting us for nearly two years, Eric has demonstrated a remarkable aptitude for what qualifies as ‘good storytelling’. He is a prolific reader and film/TV viewer. After so many years of this practice he has honed his understanding of Story. Moreover, he appreciates arch-types, research, continuity, integrity, and virtue as vital characteristics of a successful story, which are also hallmarks of GQB’s books and authors. He has all the makings of being a fantastic Publisher in this industry; he is and has been a blessing.”

Also known by his nickname ‘The Viking’, Eric is co-host of Legendarium’s ‘Random Fandom’ video podcast as well as a staff contributor to the website.

“I’ve greatly enjoyed working with the fine folks at GQB in a provisional capacity as a proof reader over the last couple of years.  Now, coming more fully into the fold, I looking forward to even more opportunities to work with new and interesting authors to create original, entertaining and meaningful stories.”

Humanity Faces Challenges in a New Galactic Frontier in ‘The Ryus Conflict’

RyusPresser1Grail Quest Books is pleased to present The Ryus Conflict, a series of three space opera novellas by Mark Gann, Brian Hickey and Mike Marisco.

In the series, the human race have spread from their homeworld of Akeiron at the edge of the galaxy, expanding slowly, with great effort and cost, to occupy five different star systems. Each time they have sought to grow they have had to gradually and painstakingly tame the planets and moons of the systems that they have managed to reach.

The most recent colony, Ryus, is still largely rough and inchoate, inhabited only by corporate mining operations and gritty, hard-working pioneers prospecting for a new life in a new solar system. The system has a wealth of resources on which interstellar drives depend, amongst other minerals and potential riches. It promises much.

But then things begin to go wrong…

“The frontier, just-scraping-by feel of the Ryus background owes a lot to the Battlestar Galactica series,” Brian explains, concerning the inspiration for the trilogy, “as well as to the likes of television shows like Deadwood. That mentality of absolute self-dependence is balanced, and in conflict with, the powerful but heavy-handed corporate aspects of the social and industrial background. While the feel of their role in Ryus society is similar to the robber barons of the American west in mid-1800s, it’s fed with a much more industrial and modern corporate attitude.”

Part One, ‘Ryus: Lost’, available now, finds the colonists suddenly cut off. As communications break down, first starships, then outlying installations fall silent. Amidst the confusion tensions mount between competing corporations and pirate attacks throughout the system increase. Pioneer Neb Oro and his crew strike out into the darkness to investigate the problems. As the colony begins to tear itself apart, what they find will mean the community of Ryus must unite or be lost forever.

Kylie Leane’s, ‘Key’, Sets Out From GQB November 5!

In two weeks, Grail Quest Books is excited to present the international debut of Key, the opening novel in Kylie Leane’s the epic fantasy series Chronicles of the Children.

Livila is a world distraught in its anguish, slowly being torn apart, through an unknown, unnatural force. The aboriginal races of the lands dwell in ignorant bliss of the destruction of their home. In one of those lands – Pennadot – a once great monarchy of Starborns has dwindled to but one line of royalty. After an Uprising tips the balance of power towards Zilon, Steward to the Throne and Overlord of the Dragon, Daniel becomes the last of the Starborn Princes. The Overlord desires to bring the Dragon into physical existence so that the ancient beast can take control of the lands. The Prince’s twin brother, David, managed to foil this once; the chance of foiling it again is slim.

“I started working on the series Chronicles of the Children when I was around ten,” Leane recalls. “It is a vivid memory in my mind, travelling in the family van on a six hour trip with my word processer in my lap–before laptops. I happened to ask my siblings what names I could use for characters in a book. My elder brother replied simply with ‘Zinkx and Zilon’ and in those six hours I built an entire story around these two opposing characters.”

Although she feels the initial developments were “awful”, readers should understand that Leane had a more challenging path to Storyteller than most. “I had no manner in which to express this imagination until I started to teach myself to type, as I am dyslexic and once could not tell a B from a D. Slowly, I taught myself how to spell, to read, and to form sentences.  Suddenly, I had a way to share my adventures, not just live them myself, because for me, these worlds were a real and vibrant as the dimension we live in.”

The Child takes place some ten years after the Uprising. Messenger, Zinkx Ma’to, and his Mentor, Denvy Maz, travel home to Pennadot, in search of the Key that the Messengers believe will aid in their unending war against the Dragon’s rising armies. However the Key is not an object but a child: Semyueru Mi Runnaway (or “Sam”), the last of his alien kind – the Zaprexs – who is on a search of his own to find pieces of a Map that will tell him the truth behind his people’s disappearance, and why their magnificent Tower Machines have been erased from history.

Thus begins an adventure across Pennadot’s vastness to unravel deep mysteries and keep alive the torch of hope, while protecting Sam from both sides of the war between the Messengers and the Dragon. A tale of perseverance through all adversity, even when it is all but final that your side will lose.

“Sam is small and tiny, indicating that even the smallest glimmer of hope in terrible dark times can cause a ripple of strength to begin to stir,” Leane says. “There is woven throughout the story the concept of commitment to a cause, and of racial acceptance. Love is triumphant above all.”

Such a story fits well with those of deep friendship and the importance of small persons in a vast world as penned by one of Leane’s most important influences: J.R.R. Tolkien. “Here was a man who built an entire world on top of a world, a sub-creation, a history, infused with his own languages. This was what I wanted to do. Without a doubt, I had found my hero in Tolkien. Someone to aspire to, and that only fuelled my dreams to create my own realistic worlds.” Tolkien’s good friend, C.S. Lewis, also played an integral role Leane explains: “He undoubtedly influenced my concepts of heroism, the sacrificial love that fantasy seems to lack these-days. Through Narnia grew my love of having children as central characters, because they always seemed to see the beauty in a dark world. Narnia taught me wonder, the excitement of discovery – both are in my own novels. C.S Lewis was childhood story-telling at its best, showing that you need only hint at concepts and a child’s imagination will do the rest!”

Children, Book 1Key is Australian author Kylie Leane’s first full-length novel. It is Book One in her Chronicles of the Children series, which you can pre-order at a special price for a very limited time. Be sure to connect with Kylie on the Middle-earth Network and follow her blog and deviantART site too!

The cover art is by Ben Wootten, a freelance designer and Illustrator living in New Zealand. Wootten worked in the film industry as a designer for Weta Workshop for 10 yrs before going freelance 5 years ago. He has worked on The Lord of the Rings, King Kong and the Narnia films as a designer, and was head of the design dept for the last 2 years he was working at Weta.

Enter the World of Knights with Jim Perry’s ‘Bladewielders’

“The saga of the Bladewielders came about during a time when I was reading George R.R. Martin’s A Feast for Crows, and I happened to watch The Last Samurai and 3:10 to Yuma back to back,” Jim Perry tells Grail Quest Books about the latest series of stories that will be coming to readers before the snow melts next March.

At the core of the story is Arius, a beleaguered lawman who encounters the encroachment of evil upon his protectorate. As First Knight, Arius is the head of an order of Knights, governed by a code of honor, in a society slowly losing the significance of their legendary warriors.  The story is an exploration of what makes a people truly noble and honorable, and how the wrong choices can have a ripple effect on everyone in a community.

“I love the premise of exploring the meaning of ‘nobility’ in society very much,” Josh Radke, co-founder of GQB says, “also the homage to the Western, which is so often the vehicle of excellent multi-faceted storytelling that allows the reader to discover additional value against the setting. And above all, I love stories about knights–historical or mythopoeic; Arthurian literature and other popular stories of those who chose to operate within the code of chivalry are among the primary reasons I wanted to be a storyteller at such a young age. Prince Caspian’s duel with Miraz in the C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian from the The Chronicles of Narnia is still one of my very favorite scenes, and A Knight’s Tale might be my favorite ‘knight’ film ever. To say I am excited about Jim’s series would be an understatement.”

The Bladewielders series will be offering a different take on the Fantasy genre than what most fans are used to as it will have more of a historical fiction narrative setting that is entirely fictional, but not too unlike Europe’s medieval past.

“This is not a magical or supernatural story,” Perry explains “It is intended to be a gritty human drama, but not without tenderness or optimism. It is my hope that the stories inspire readers to choose to be noble, to sacrifice, and to be better than what we are. The Bladewielders is perhaps my vain attempt to blend the heroic Knight tale with the Samurai and the American Western.  It’s Martin meets Kurosawa meets John Ford, if you will; a gunfighter story with swords.”

Jim Perry is also the author of two ‘Mavericks’ stories from the first two volumes of WARS: The Battle of Phobos. The first story, “Firefight at Overwatch Command” is available for Kindle, in WARS: The Battle of Phobos – Volume 1, Preludes (which also includes two other novellas from that sci-fantasy universe), and will soon be available as an illustrated novella with art by Brian Hickey; the second story is due out for Kindle this month.

GQB Questcast 06 – Who Owns a Story Pt. II

Josh, Kas, Tony and  Andrew wrap up the topic started last week on Questcast, discussing story ownership, focusing especially on the second point:

Is a story crafted by an Author the definitive way to tell a story, or should others be free (presuming rights have been acquired legally) to tell that same story via a different form (e.g. book, film, stage, comic book)?

For instance, an new adaptation of a classic work…

Questcast is a weekly podcast, every Wednesday at 8 pm EST on the Middle-earth Network Radio. Josh and Kas are the Founders of Grail Quest Books, and work as the publishing arm of the Network in conjunction with Oloris Publishing. We welcome all sorts of questions about the publishing industry from people who are able to join us in the Questcast Chatroom during the show. Looking forward to seeing you there!

[audio:http://ia600800.us.archive.org/3/items/QuestcastEpisode6-WhoOwnsAStoryPt.Ii/Questcast_5022012_web.mp3%5D

GQB Questcast 05 – Major GQB Updates, Who Owns a Story Pt. I

 

Ken is still on vacation, but the rest of the team: Josh & Kas (co-founders of Grail Quest Books), Tony and Andrew ares here and ready to go after a two week break!

The big topic for tonight’s episode is a two-parter:

1) Who owns a story: the Author? or the Audience?

2) Is a story crafted by an Author the definitive way to tell a story, or should others be free (presuming rights have been acquired legally) to tell that same story via a different form (e.g. book, film, stage, comic book)?

The show will also be updating on the release of Nathan P. Butler’s Greater Good, WARS: The Battle of Phobos, Mavericks #2, and we announce The Child cover artist, Paul Allan Ballard (Star Wars: The Jedi Path, Star Wars: The Book of Sith), an incredible illustrator whom we are very excited to have the opportunity to work with!

 

Questcast is a weekly podcast, every Wednesday at 8 pm EST on the Middle-earth Network Radio. Josh and Kas are the Founders of Grail Quest Books, and work as the publishing arm of the Network in conjunction with Oloris Publishing. We welcome all sorts of questions about the publishing industry from people who are able to join us in the Questcast Chatroom during the show. Looking forward to seeing you there!

[audio:http://ia701203.us.archive.org/27/items/QuestcastEpisode5-MajorGqbUodatesWhoOwnsAStoryPt.I/Questcast_4252012_web.mp3%5D

New Edition of Nathan P. Butler’s Greater Good Has Arrived!

Grail Quest Books is excited to add Greater Good by Nathan P. Butler (WARS: The Battle of Phobos, Star Wars Tales) to its expanding library in 2012. Greater Good is a time travel tale with a twist: telepathy and telekinetics, and that’s just the start.

When an alleged terrorist from 2265 travels back to the present on a killing spree, seeking to wipe out the hemisphere-spanning America of the future, it falls to a law enforcement officer from the future to stop him before he kills again…and again…and again. Together with an FBI agent unknowingly drawn into a conflict two centuries from her time, Cray Ellis will have to use all of his skills to protect the future he knows.

“I have always been a fan of time travel stories,” says Butler, “probably going as far back for me as Back to the Future when I was still in elementary school. Between that and Quantum Leap, I was drawn into the genre and eventually followed a number of time travel stories, such as those in the Star Trek universe, the Terminator franchise, and the like. I had wanted to tell a story using telepaths and/or telekinetics for a long time, and I’d also wanted to do a time travel story. It was only around 2007 or so that it finally dawned on me that the two could work together as one new story.”

The connection between the metahuman abilities and time travel also allowed Butler to develop a new take on time travel that blends in enough elements of the paranormal and familiar takes on time travel to feel like something science fiction fans can embrace and “believe”, but without being a carbon copy of something seen before.

Butler continues, “As a history teacher who has also taught topics like constitutional law, I also found that Greater Good (as its title implies, perhaps) was fertile ground for touching on different historical parallels and social issues in a fictional way, while presenting such parallels in a different light.”

The story focuses on three main characters: a time traveling serial killer who, if he succeeds, will be committing a sort of temporal version of ethnic cleansing; a fellow time traveler who intends to stop him and preserve the society that both time travelers have left behind; and a modern FBI agent, who is caught in the middle and forced throughout the story to act in
accordance with the ethics of her time while attempting to determine what really is the “greater good” and best path forward.

The result is a complex science fiction thriller, posing tough questions about what it means to be a hero, what makes a villain, and what, if anything, is truly the “greater good.”

“Overall, I wanted Greater Good to be thought-provoking; a good thriller with plenty of twists, turns, and action; and present a unique blend of time travel and telepathic/telekinetic concepts that any science fiction reader could pick up and enjoy without having to adhere to some preexisting saga out there. Don’t get me wrong,” Butler quickly adds, “writing WARS and briefly for Star Wars were great experiences, but there’s nothing quite like crafting your own new ‘universe’ to really give an author a chance to wow an audience. I’m hopeful that this new edition of Greater Good will do just that.”

Greater Good is author Nathan P. Butler’s first full-length novel, originally self-published in 2009 and now presented in a new, updated edition with several minor additions and a brand new Afterword that examines the creative process behind developing the time travel mechanics and characterizations of the Greater Good universe.

GQB is putting together a “blog tour” here on the Middle-earth Network in May. Anyone who has an active MyMiddle-earth blog is invited to be a part of the “tour”!

Butler is a huge Star Wars fan and contributor–also one half of “Star Wars: Beyond the Films”, the official Expanded Universe podcast of “The Star Wars Report” here on the Middle-earth Network’s Star Wars radio lineup; he loves sci-fi in general, law/crime TV shows, and is also a highly advanced console video gamer (especially PlayStation). Questions could range from his many and varied Star Wars contributions to his vast podcasting experience to his gaming to questions about his storytelling.

All blogs will be linked to on a special “tour” page here at GrailQuestBooks.com. If you’re interested, please post a comment and perhaps also add what one specific topic you would be interested in asking him about. (Feel free to list 2 or 3 in order of preference if you like.)

GQB Questcast 04 – Announcing Kylie Leane’s ‘The Child’, Agents, Networking

This week we officially welcomed GQB’s newest authour to our publishign family, and then we dive into the ever-controversial topic about agents, before ending with some thoughts about the importance of networking.

Questcast is a weekly podcast, every Wednesday at 8 pm EST on the Middle-earth Network Radio. Josh and Kas are the Founders of Grail Quest Books, and work as the publishing arm of the Network in conjunction with Oloris Publishing. We welcome all sorts of questions about the publishing industry from people who are able to join us in the Questcast Chatroom during the show. Looking forward to seeing you there!

[audio:http://ia600809.us.archive.org/26/items/QuestcastEpisode4-AnnouncingKylieLeanestheChildAgentsNetworking/Questcast_3282012_web.mp3%5D