My friend LT Getty has challenged me to do a 777 on one of my books. The idea is to go to page 7 (or 77) of a work-in-progress, go down 7 lines, and copy the next 7 sentences. Below is what I came up with. If you, too, are an author, please try the challenge yourself and send me a link to read it!

777 Challenge – The Guardians


They were different, and therefore disliked, even despised. And because they couldn’t disguise their dangerous natures, no matter how well they behaved they were instinctively feared, which strengthened the animosity toward them. Even the name “Guardian” was unknown; among the ordinary citizens of Talvadda they were called The Crows, a nickname taken from their black cloaks.

They were more often in Ambertree than any other town because in Ambertree was The Dancing Bear, the one place where they could find any kind of a welcome. Lar Iskop was the owner of the Bear, an inn which boasted the biggest tavern and best beer and ale in the region. He had no reason to fear any falling off of custom by befriending the Guardians, and, an amazingly discreet man, he was among the very few who knew their mission, so they always had a place to stay, to eat and drink and sleep, when they came so far south.

Cloud turned the horse up a street a block from The Dancing Bear and approached the inn from the rear.


1: What is the working title of your book(s)?
“The Guardians”, but that is definitely just a working title. Also, thanks to George R. R. Martin, I’m going to have to change the name of my little group from The Crows to something else!

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
Parts came from a movie and a book, and the rest out of the soup of my subconscious, which is probably full of other movies and books. The specific movie that jogged me into beginning the story was “King Arthur” (the Clive Owen one), and the book was “The Lord of the Rings”. I’ve always had a fascination with the Dunedain and their long struggle to protect Middle Earth, so this story is a direct homage to them, but it took the movie to make the spark that began to put words to paper.

3: What genre does your book come under?

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I very often use actors as a springboard for characters, but I don’t tell people who I had in mind. As I write, the characters take on differences from their real-life inspirations, not just in personality, but even in appearance. Besides, I don’t want someone reading about my character and picturing anyone but their own image of the character.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A group of rangers led by a charismatic captain are betrayed by the monarch who was supposed to guide them, and their struggle to maintain their honor is reluctantly led by the second-in-command.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
It will most likely be published by the ebook publisher who has put out all my books so far, including my Regency romances.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I’m still writing it, after nearly a year. It’s sputtering. Most of what I have is from the 30 days of Nano 2012.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I couldn’t even begin to list them. There are a LOT of fantasy writers out there doing this kind of thing. I can’t say Tolkien, because I don’t write epic stuff. This is a small scale story about ordinary soldiers, no heroes or anything. I guess I’m closest to Barbara Hambly’s early books, particularly her Sun Wolf/Starhawk stories.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
It takes very little to inspire me to write fantasy! As I said above, a movie and a book got me started. Most of all was my feeling that the Dunedain of “The Lord of the Rings” are a fascinating tribe who give honor and self-sacrifice a whole new standard, and I wanted to write a little homage to them in my small way. Also, I was inspired by a particular role for a particular actor, who ended up being the charismatic leader I mention above.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
My little group of rangers is a disparate one, each of them in the group for a different reason. One has a bad case of hero-worship for the leader, one’s a secret drug addict, one talks to animals (sort of), one’s a bit crazy, one will betray the group, and so on. Also, while writing, I’m finding a fascination with my bad guys. So I’m hoping that the characters will be interesting enough to keep my readers entertained.



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