The Proving – Chapter 1

The reread has begun! And I’ve already cheated.

Well, it may not really be cheating. I did a ton of work to improve Chapter 1 of The Proving a month or two ago as part of super-agent Lesley Sabga’s ultra-secret project about the book. So my eyes were not *really* fresh as I dove in again. But still, it’s been a while. And my gut reactions were kind of surprising! Here is the very first usage of a fun chapter analysis framework – Liked-Loved-What-Why.

Chapter 1 – “Stay In Rhythm”


I really like how FAST this story moves! My goodness, I’d forgotten just how much the reader is thrown (literally) into the action and into the thick of main character Kir’Ana’s thoughts and experiences. No time is wasted here. Page one of the book and the whole main threat to the country of Touran – and the entire Land of Pasaron – is unmistakably in your face. That’s super cool.


I really love the mystery that shrouds the whole chapter. One of the hallmarks of fantasies that I’ve loved over the years is the presence of lots of stuff that is NOT explained, not spoon-fed to the reader… and possibly downright not guessable! Nothing draws me into a story more.


Ah, the perils of first person. What does Kir’Ana look like? I’m super-visual when I read, and that just sticks in my craw as the chapter draws to a close. I get two tidbits. Long brown curls and brown skin. Okay, I guess that’s something. But what I wouldn’t give for a stereotypical mirror shot here where she describes what she sees! Also, what is Jerine’s story? Clearly she will be important given her introduction.


Lots and lots of why questions came to mind. Why is there a veriant problem in this place, and why is it apparently only teens who are turning violent? Why did Kir’Ana plan to run away on her own and not confide in her apparent best friend (the answer is hinted at, but still). And maybe the most pressing of all, why was Kir’Ana in that extremely unusual situation in the chapter’s first paragraph?! The craziness of where she finds herself and how she apparently got there is just moved past. Not without reason, but OMG why was she there? Interestingly, the answer is never given in this book. At all. This author is crazy! But I think I’ll keep reading since the massive cliffhanger at chapter’s end is just over-the-top cool.

That’s it for now! See you for chapter 2 soon.



The Return to Touran

Yes, it’s been a while. I’m sure there are other authors who have lost track of their word-focused pursuits and inadvertently pressed pause during this most unusual of years, so I am trying to give myself grace. But enough is enough! It’s time to return to the many stories, written and unwritten, that fill my mind day and night.

On Twitter yesterday I announced my Return to Touran – a complete re-read of my first completed manuscript “The Proving” with the advantage of having not read it cover to cover in many, many months. I am absolutely excited and thoroughly terrified at the prospect. What will I discover as I revisit my old friends and enemies in the Touran Protectorates, nearby MasMindon, and distant countries in other lands? I promised myself that I would not edit AT ALL as I conduct this re-read. Just thinking about that hurts! But to enforce discipline on myself, I’m going to read it as a PDF. No edits, just a reading.

So join me! If you’re curious about or interested in young adult fantasy in general or a diverse action-packed sword-and-magic epic-scale twist-filled fantasy adventure in particular, there are two ways you can play along:

  1. I will post a chapter-by-chapter summary of my thoughts, impressions, and takeaways here in the blog. Imagine that, regular new blog posts! Feel free to read and comment as the read-through progresses.
  2. Read with me! If you’d like to join me, just reply to this post or shoot me an email at I will send you your own PDF of “The Proving” that you can read on your smartphone, tablet, or computer (or print it if you’re just wired that way!). We can discuss as a group, making our way through the text over this next several weeks.

Thanks all!