I’m happy to be able to share this 5 star rated book today! It’s called Sentinels and it’s book #1 in The One True Child series by L.C. Conn.
Today I have a guest post from the authour and a chance to win the digital box set of The One True Child series.
Sentinels (Publication Date: February 14th, 2018)
Publisher: Between the Lines
The world is new, created from a great explosion caused by Chaos in a childish rage. Order is born from the intense light of the explosion, sent as a balance to the Dark One. As the world is created around It, Order realises that It cannot stand alone and creates the Sentinels. Extreme beings with amazing powers, they shape and mould the world, creating creatures and plants to inhabit it. A world of light and love.
Chaos cannot understand why these beings will not bend to his will and worship him. He tries to destroy their work and riles against them. In answer, Order forms a plan. A being; born of two of the Sentinels, with abilities stronger than their own. A child in human form, who must be raised by The People in order to understand their race. The One True Child.
Carling is that child. Raised in the sacred valley in secret, along with her four brothers. Raised by Tarl’a, the Keeper of the Stones and her husband, Mailcon. Her life is quiet and uneventful, until she turns thirteen. It is then she learns of her true identity and purpose on earth. Now she must come to terms with this great change and prospect of finally being able to leave the valley to be taught her skills by the Sentinels. She must do this before Chaos can find her and attack before she is ready.
This is a story of learning and growing, of making mistakes and building on them. It is good vs evil, light vs dark and love vs hate. Carling’s very life depends on the love of her family and her soul-mate. It is also a story about how the world will only survive if we can control hatred and learn to love.
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As I sit at my desk on the day of my birthday, I am reflecting over the whole of my forty-eight years on this world. I can’t believe how completely lucky I am to be doing what I love full-time, and how incredibly long it took me to have the courage to do it. I have often come across those little posts on Facebook and Twitter asking: ‘what would you tell your younger self’, and my answer has always been the same. Do what you love sooner.
I grew up one of four children, and the only girl. From early on I remember playing imaginary games; or “what-if” games as our mother called them. We would spend hours rearranging the living room; declaring the floor was the sea or lava (way before it became a viral thing). Our games had us riding tall, ferocious seas, fighting off man-eating sharks and pirates. They also had us climbing mountains spewing lava and fighting through jungles. I look back on those times of our great imagings with enormous fondness and I hope that I have passed that passion for play and make-believe on to my children.
My childhood also afforded me the freedom to roam. Long days on a bicycle going from one end of the valley to the other, and back again, swimming in the river without supervision. All those things that kids these days are told they cannot do, for fear they may hurt themselves. We fell out of trees and climbed the hill behind us, raced our home-made carts down the steepest roads we could find, and stayed out in the sun all summer long. We would leave shortly after breakfast during the summer holidays, and only wandered home for lunch when we got hungry. Then straight back out until the sun went down and the streetlights came on. It was idyllic, and we were so lucky.
Life moves on and school always seemed to get in the way of the imaginary games. I will put up my hand and say, yes, sometimes I let my imagination get away with me at school and may have exaggerated things a little. I look back at those times and realise that it was my creativity trying to find a release. It wasn’t until I was eight that I realised that I could make up stories and not get into trouble for it. That was when I discovered my love of writing. It was thanks to an English test on grammar, that required me to write a story. Oh, what a story. I still remember it, even though I think the paper it was written on has long since disintegrated. A simple story about a hermit crab trying to find a new home by climbing into all sorts of things it found on the sea floor. I remember not finishing that story and the comments from my teacher after she had marked it. She wanted to know how the story ended.
Writing was always something that I did in secret. I never really told anyone and if I did, would often come against laughter and ridicule. It was not something my friends understood. But I persisted. I wrote small pieces and I still have some of them. I refuse to look at them, for fear of cringing at how innocent and unformed they are. I would have dreams that were so vivid, and when I woke, I had the urge to write them down. I have a whole notebook filled with these dreams, which I use as a reference and inspiration now to give me ideas when I am having trouble writing. For years I have done this and then one year it changed.
On 10 December 2006 I lost my mother to cancer, after a very long and hard battle against breast cancer. This insidious disease, spread to her bones, liver and eventually her brain. I was with her when she passed and mourned her greatly along with my brothers and father. She left a large hole in our lives. She had been there for us every day and passed on her great love of reading and stories to me. Her passing had a strange affect on me personally. For a week after her death I had very vivid dreams, and they all seemed to be connected as I wrote them down. After the last one I kept writing. It was the first time I had written a completed long story. It seemed to pour from me. It was not the kind of story I normally wrote, it was a romance/thriller, just what my mother loved to read.
It was also the first time that I let someone else read something I had written, and the response I received was not what I was expecting. It was positive. The friend I finally entrusted this book to read encouraged me to work on it, and to ultimately submit it to a publisher. I did work on it, but I have never sent this one out. It just seems too personal to send somehow, and I think it is too clumsy to be accepted.
After this one was finished I had more vivid dreams and did start another story, but I felt it was too hard to carry on passed the few chapters I started. Ten years would pass before I would write anything really seriously again. And that was only after my own brush with cancer.
In 2014 I had my annual mammogram. I had been having them regularly for the previous four years after moving to Australia. Given my family history, my doctor thought it was a good idea to put me in the programme. Thank you so much for that. I never thought anything of it and carried on with my life for the next few days. Until I received a letter in the mail. An appointment had been made for me at Sir Charles Gardner Hospital’s Breast Clinic as an anomaly had been found. My heart sank. I knew what that meant.
I was scared—that was a given—but the ladies who saw me were lovely. They spoke softly and with great care, they explained what was going to happen and what could happen, and they took great care of us ladies who were all in the same boat. My mammogram showed there was something and a biopsy was ordered for that same day. It came back positive. I was alone. My husband worked away, a FIFO worker out in the oil and gas field at that time. He rang just after I received the news that I had breast cancer, while I was still with the doctor and councillor. There was nothing he could do from so far away, accept listen to me cry. It was hard. I still had the long drive home to pick up my two children from soccer practice.
With my tears dried, and my big-girl panties pulled up, I got on with my life while I waited for surgery and the future ahead. That was the only time I cried about the fact I had got this horrible disease. From the moment I saw my children that afternoon walking towards me—with big smiles, laughing and joking together—I decided I was going to be positive about this thing that had invaded my body. I put a smile on my face and went to meet them and explained there and then what had happened and what was likely to happen. Their reaction remains with me today. “You got this Mum, you can beat it.”
I spent the rest of that year going through surgery (lumpectomy, no mastectomy), chemo and radiation. I got through my bad days watching Mrs. Brown’s Boys and laughing. I slept a great deal but looked after my family. I took myself to my appointments and got on with my life. I know not everyone who has breast cancer reacts the same way, but it was they only way I knew how to get through it. I had my mother as an amazing example.
For my first-year clear diagnosis I went out and celebrated with a tattoo. A black a grey piece which is on my left ankle, the side of my cancer. It is of a dragon rising from smoke and symbolises new life. That is what I felt I had been given. It was not long after that that I finished the first in a series of seven books. I didn’t have a name for it, I didn’t even know it was going to be a series. But I was proud of it, and again it came from a dream. I had dreamt I was running away from someone, down a busy street, through traffic and ending up in an abandoned theatre. Of a tall man standing over me dressed in a long overcoat, saying “Come on, Kid; we don’t have all night.” It still amazes me that from that one simple dream a whole series was born.
I sent it to my best friend to read. She loved it and wanted to know what happened next. So, you can blame her for the series really. As I wrote I gained more confidence and allowed others to read it. With their encouragement I started to submit to publishers in all my innocence of how these things work. My naivety was laughable. I had no idea of what I was doing, and I look back now and shake my head at my actions. After connecting with others online, who were either streaks ahead or just starting out like me, I learned a lot and began to self-publish with a little success. My knowledge grew and so did my writing style. I had finished the series bar one, when an online friend suggested I submit to a little publishing company, I did and was greatly surprised when they took me on. Thank you, Cherie, for having such faith in me and my work and to Tamara for polishing my raw material.
I couldn’t have got to where I am today without the love and support of my family and friends. Without those moments in time where my life changed dramatically. And as I look back on my forty-eight years, I realise something. I shouldn’t tell my younger self to start doing what you love sooner. I was already doing it. I just had to wait and be patient for the life experiences to give me the material I needed to get it done. Without the loss of my mother and my own battle I would never have thought up the theory of Order vs Chaos. Of the embodiment of Chaos as cancer and my heroine, Carling, as me facing that odious creature.
I have been blessed. With an amazingly supportive husband; two wonderful, beautiful and caring children; a wider family who I am so proud to be a part of. Blessed also with friends who encourage and build me up. I have been blessed with a new life and enough energy to tackle it. I have been blessed with a creative imagination that seems to be endless.
So, to any aspiring writers and especially to my younger self, I say;
Just be yourself, keep experiencing life and keep writing.
About the Author
L.C. Conn grew up on the outskirts of Upper Hutt, New Zealand. Her backyard encompassed the surrounding farmland, river, hills and mountains which she wandered with her brothers and fed her imagination. After discovering a love for writing in English class at the age of eight, she continued to write in secret. It was not until much later in life that L.C. turned what she thought was a hobby and something fun to do, into her first completed novel. Now married, L.C. moved from New Zealand to Perth, Western Australia, and became a stay at home mum. While caring for her family and after battling breast cancer, a story was born from the kernel of a dream. The first book of The One True Child Series was begun, and just kept blooming into seven completed stories.
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