*FYI - At the bottom is an opportunity to get Jonathan's story now.*
Jonathan, my hero in CHASING THE LION, deserves his own post. I'm guilty of forgetting sometimes how truly compelling a character he is. After all, I've lived with him from the moment he was born as a note in a spiral notebook at a hole in the wall cafe on my lunch hour until now. Last night I finally saw the movie Breaking Dawn Part I, based on the final book in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series. As I sat through a ridiculous amount of ads (since when do we have ads now, in addition to trailers anyway?) I thought about Harry Potter, Edward Cullen, Mr. Darcy and the like, including my own favorite heroes: Michael Hosea in Francine Rivers' REDEEMING LOVE, Levi Grant in Karen Witemeyer's TO WIN HER HEART, Marcus Valerian and Atretes from Francine Rivers' MARK OF THE LION series, David from Sandi Rog's THE MASTER'S WALL, Shane from Jack Schaefer's novel of the same name, and Xeo from Steven Pressfield's GATES OF FIRE.
Then somewhere in the middle of the first movie trailer with popcorn halfway to my mouth, a profound revelation hit me. I'll never experience Jonathan, Drusus or Russell (the heroes in my works in process) or any of my own characters the way I do those in other books. And I was sad. Sad because in that moment, I understood what someone meant when they told me after reading Chasing the Lion they felt cheated because they know the author and instead of wondering about something, talking to other readers about it and any speculative discussion, they can just ask me. Questions like what happened to make Caius Pullus so evil, or how did Caelina become a prostitute in the first place?
The only comfort I can take in the aftermath of this comes from the fact that while I'll never have the pleasure of an authentic reader experience with my own characters, I do share an intimacy with them only an author can ever know. Those moments when they tell you you're 'wrong' and they fight you for an outcome, a bit of dialogue, a kiss that never should have happened, hate they won't let go of, or something far more simple like you got their name or their ethnicity wrong (that happened a few times in Chasing the Lion.) Memories of being driven out of bed in the middle of the night to the computer because you're scared you'll forget what they just showed you or said that you couldn't get right four hours ago when the cursor just blinked at you and the keyboard sat silent.
All the critique partners and the initial readers who have already helped to refine Jonathan's story, and the right agent and editor who pick his story up continue to make it the best reader experience possible, I owe you a debt of gratitude. And for those of you who are still waiting patiently to take it from the shelf or click "Buy it now" on Amazon, and maybe less patient now that I've let you "see" Jonathan, hehe (He is a handsome green-eyed warrior, isn't he?) all I ask is you hang in there. As the astounding feedback builds and the contest wins hopefully continue to add up, and I learn how to write a better proposal, I know we're getting closer.
Now, here's your chance to get to know Jonathan.
I have the privilege of being part of the fundraising effort for author Sandi Rog's cancer treatment. You may have already noticed the GiveForward widget in the top right with all the info about Sandi's condition or the amazing raffle organized by Alison Strobel Morrow (Link is HERE) and if you haven't yet donated, also known as buying a raffle ticket, this is the last incentive I can give you.
Step 1. Go to Sandi's GiveForward page (HERE) and click Give Now to donate $5.00 You can use Anonymous, your screen name here, or your real name, just be sure you save your e-mailed donation receipt.
Step 2. Leave at the end of your donor comment, or somewhere in it "Friend of Jonathan"
Step 3. Leave a comment here on the blog you contributed to Sandi's fundraiser and include your e-mail or a link back for me to reach you before Midnight (CST) Dec. 3rd and I'll randomly draw a winner next Sunday the 4th for a copy of the full manuscript to CHASING THE LION.
Step 4. Go spend your raffle ticket on any of the remaining prize packages (Some of which include tons of books, and some amazing writer packages with critiques, editing, craft books, etc.) and have a chance to win there too!
Take ten minutes to do this. Donate $5 (or more if you want more raffle tickets), get a chance to win an amazing prize package of your choice, the complete manuscript of Chasing the Lion and experience the power of Jonathan's story without having to wait for it any longer, AND feel really good about contributing to a great cause. Yes, it's a little more work than dropping a five spot in the red kettle for the bell ringers, or saying 'yes' at the checkout or drive through when they ask if you want to donate a dollar to charity, but the return will be insanely more rewarding, I promise. So does Jonathan. And to show you how serious I am about this, when I say I'll send the winner Chasing the Lion, I mean a printed, bound copy with that gorgeous picture up there on the cover. ;-)