Blog Tour: In the Light of the Eclipse by Bryan Caron ~ Spotlight ~ Excerpt ~ Guest Post ~ Giveaway!!!

In the Light of the Eclipse by Bryan Caron 

Virtual Tour Dates: 12/2/13 – 12/16/13
Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance

Where God so loved the world, Heather (or as few have dared to dub her “the goddess of condemnation”) holds a much crueler hand over her inhabitants. Every seventeen years, under her ever-watchful eye, an eclipse renders her land dark, taking the soul of everyone over the age of seventeen to the land of the unknown nothing. In its wake, Heather bestows the gift of a child upon the land. Some believe this child has special powers; others believe she inhabits the souls taken by the eclipse. But no matter the belief, one thing is certain—without the child, the land would crumble.

Most accept the eclipse and live every breath with a love unmatched by any other. This is especially true of Zoe, whose seventeenth year of breath nears ever so close. Born under the eclipse, Zoe understands her life is a gift and that she will return that gift in kind—whenever that day may be (that is until she falls in love and discovers the dark secrets hidden in the heart of Heather).

Still others yearn for a longer life and curse Heather’s name. One such person was branded the name Kayla on her day of breath eighteen years ago. Unable to comprehend the meaning of such viciousness, Kayla believes such a sacrifice is unnecessary, even for the worst of mankind. Little does she know that a mysterious traveler may hold the key to ending the eclipse forever.

Zoe and Kayla are best friends.

This is their story.

Excerpt from In the Light of the Eclipse
From Chapter Two – A Secret Morning Swim

On the morning that marked the beginning of Kayla’s eighteenth year of breath, Zoe got up an hour before the rooster’s crow and headed into Industry Quarters. She had never walked the streets at night before so it was a bit scary, but also quite amazing. The smell of baking bread was at its strongest and the bright glow of the full moon turned the artwork all around her into a fluorescent wonderland. It made it all the more brilliant to lie back in the shadows and watch a couple of kids turn paint into such beautiful pictures. She almost wanted to join them in taking brush in hand but she had something much more pressing to do, and time was of the essence.
Zoe inched her way through the slightly wilted bushes surrounding Kayla’s house and pressed her hands firmly on the glass of her bedroom window. Kayla never locked her window so it was quite easy to open and crawl in without rousing her, though she hoped the change in noise level from the roar of the machines didn’t do it for her. Thankfully, Kayla was still asleep when the room returned to silence. Zoe snuck up to Kayla’s bureau and shoveled her swimming suit, towel and a change of clothes into her pack, a task that took longer than expected (it couldn’t just be any old clothes; it had to at least look good together). When she was happy with what she had chosen, Zoe tiptoed back to Kayla’s bed and kissed her cheek.
“Wake up, sleepy,” she whispered into Kayla’s ear.
Kayla groaned and rolled over. “Go away.”
“Kayla, wake up,” Zoe said, shaking her shoulder.
When Kayla finally realized who it was, she sat up quickly and looked around as if her caretakers were hiding in the walls, waiting for just the right reason to take her to Quorum Circle for punishment. “Zoe,” she whispered. “What in Heather’s name are you doing here? What time is it?”
“It’s time to give you my gift.”
Each year, to mark the day of a person’s first breath, caretakers and friends would do something special for that person, from taking over that day’s chores to whisking them off to Serenity Lake for a grand snorkel, so long as it was something that was unique to the presenter of the gift. For this, the last gift Zoe would ever give Kayla, she wanted to do something more amazing than life. She pulled Kayla out of bed.
“What are you doing?”
“It’s a secret. Come on.”
Kayla felt a little blushed walking the streets of Industry Quarters in her sleeping gown, especially when they passed Henry (who had a not-so-secret crush on Kayla) sweeping flour out of his caretaker’s factory.
“Where are you two lovely ladies headed off to so early?” Henry said.
“No time to chat,” Zoe said, keeping from making eye contact. If she had, she would have felt obligated to stop, and Zoe was in far too much a hurry to do that. Henry did it for her.
“Just wait, I’ll come with.” Henry set the broom against the inside of the door and jogged after them. “Wait up.”
Now Zoe had to stop. “You can’t come, Henry.” Her hand was outstretched, keeping him from coming any closer. Kayla was pulled in behind her.
“Why? What’s the big deal?”
“I’m giving Kayla her gift. This is for her and I alone. So if you don’t mind…”
“Her gift? What could you possibly be giving her this early?”
“None of your business,” Kayla interjected. She stepped around Zoe, who felt a little honored and shocked (though she didn’t know why). “Now be a good little boy and get back to work. Go on.” She waved her hand. How Kayla could get away with that was beyond Zoe, even if Henry was a year younger than her (and no more than a couple of months older than Zoe, for that matter). Maybe she was using his infatuation against him.
Then again, maybe not.
“No. I want to see what this is.”
“We aren’t moving until you leave,” Kayla said.
“That’s fine. I have all day.”
“We don’t,” Zoe whispered to Kayla. She acknowledged her, but with only the slightest turn of her head so that Henry might not notice.
“I don’t want to have to get physical,” Kayla said. Her voice was strong, commanding. “But I will if I have to.”
“Do you promise?” Henry said, which disgusted Kayla to no end.
“Just leave us alone.”
“Tell me where you’re off to and maybe I will.”
Henry shrugged. Zoe grew ever more irritated. The sun would be up soon; once it was, her gift would be ruined. If she weren’t such a lady (or had been taught to be such by her caretakers), she probably would have popped him one (or urged Kayla to, in the very least) just to make her point. Luckily, she didn’t have to.

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Guest Post: The Evolution of a Story

You may have heard from various writers that a book is a living, breathing entity. That might seem weird if you’re not a writer, but for those who are probably understand what I’m talking about.

A finished novel is almost always nowhere near the same as when it was a simple outline in the writer’s mind. That’s because most writers choose to let the characters take over the narrative, allowing them to guide the writer in new, fresh and unexpected directions. (I say ‘almost always’ because I’m sure there are some writers out there whose books are exactly as they intended them to be, and I’m not sure what the evolution of a non-fiction book is, as I’ve never written one before.)

For me, I’m not happy unless I’m being led, as that is when I know I’m going in the right direction. Without the characters telling me where they want to go, I would simply be forcing my way through the narrative instead of allowing it to organically grow into what it’s meant to be.

In fact, I haven’t written a book yet that hasn’t been completely altered from my original notes, which consist mostly of main character descriptions, their overall journey, what they’re going to learn throughout the story and maybe a few notes here and there about subplots, research and the like. Sometimes it’s a little more vague, sometimes a bit more detailed, but no matter what, I always look forward to the moment that I can throw all of it out the window because the characters have taken me down a completely different and exciting new yellow brick road.

One novel that I wrote, for example, took me on a much longer journey than I was expecting. I mean, the characters wouldn’t shut up. At times, as the book continued to grow and morph into a much richer vision than I had originally imagined, I tried to make them stop. But if I had done that, I would have lost the depth that they were creating. So I held on for the ride and let them carry the story to its natural conclusion. (Hopefully, this book will be published near the end of 2014. Time will tell.)

By now, I know you probably think I’m a crazy, ranting lunatic, especially if you’re not a writer and haven’t had that feeling of losing control of a manuscript. But it is true, and to explain it a bit further, I’d like to relay an example from my new young adult novel, In the Light of the Eclipse.

(If you’ve read the book, great, this will hopefully give you some insight into the writing process. If you haven’t, don’t worry—this won’t spoil anything.)

When I first wrote out my notes (as with almost anything I’ve ever written), there were several characters that I hadn’t even conceived of yet, but knew I would be creating in order to keep the narrative flowing and add conflict. One of these characters, though, was originally written only in passing— a throwaway afterthought; a detail thrown out for the sole purpose of developing Kayla’s backstory, never to be heard from again. His name: Henry.

Halfway through the third chapter (well, actually the fourth chapter at the time, as the majority of the first chapter eventually hit the cutting room floor), I found myself writing him into a major subplot. From then on, I could no longer ignore him; Henry was screaming to become a major role in the events that took place.

Throughout the rest of the book, his character grew exponentially, slowly evolving into the main villain of the story. It turns out that without him, a lot of what happens would never have taken place. He became such a major force that I had to go back in subsequent drafts and focus a little more on him to beef his part up. In fact, I blame Henry for changing so much of the book… but in a good way.

This is, of course, just one example of how In the Light of the Eclipse evolved from the idea stage (originally titled, “Darkness in Heather”) to the finished product. I could go on for pages and pages about other aspects of the story, characters and themes that changed as I got to know Zoe and Kayla a lot better, and where they dictated the story to go, but I’m sure Katie and Satarupa would frown at such a long post, so let’s just say that events I originally had planned were scrapped and new ones were born because it was more to my character’s liking.

When all is said and done, a writer is nothing more than a tool the characters use to tell their story.

About the Author:

Bryan Caron is a multi-talented, award-winning artist with works in several mediums, including print, film and design. After acquiring a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and an associate’s degree in computer graphic design, Bryan studied filmmaking and film editing while working at a performing arts studio in San Diego, California. He took this knowledge to write, direct and edit films under his banner, Divine Trinity Films. Soon after, he would team up with the Fallbrook Film Factory, a non-profit film consortium, to continue his growth in the areas of writing, directing and editing, all the while fleshing out his talents in fiction writing (publishing Year of the Songbird and Jaxxa Rakala: The Search in 2013), working as a graphic designer, and beginning his first blog: Chaos breeds Chaos.
His works as writer and director include the short films My Necklace, Myself (Best Screenplay, Short Film, 2009 Treasure Coast International Film Festival) and 12, the feature film Secrets of the Desert Nymph, and the commercial Charlie’s Ticket, which ran on dozens of television stations and in movie theaters in San Diego County to advertise the Fallbrook International Film Festival. Works as editor include the short film Puzzle Box and No Books, the first of several episodes he has edited for the online sketch-series, Treelore Theatre.
Bryan currently resides in Riverside County.

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Bryan is giving away 3 signed copies of his book. USA only. Enter through Goodreads!