ETJ Writes

Indian Echo Caverns November 2018

Hello Friends!

indian echo with books

Many thanks to the lovely ladies at Indian Echo Caverns for inviting my wonderful mother and I to their homeschool day at the caverns alongside CHAP: Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania. (Find Marann Jones’ book on the joys of Christian home education here: Four Jewels in My Crown).

We couldn’t have asked for better weather, and the caverns were a delight to explore. I could just see all the scenes from “Tedenbarr of Have Lath” coming to life:

The convoy rounded a corner and Tedenbarr caught his breath. Unlike the dim, sombre chamber the Alliance had first passed through, torches flung their light from every corner of the enormous cavern the longboats had just entered.
_

An ancient stone city was carved into the rock of the cavern, its grandeur like something out of the old tales. Free standing houses sat along the canal’s walkways, and some of the windows had curtains hung from them that glowed from the presence of light within. Lar Jahaal let go of his oar to gesture to the broken yet magnificent city that stretched out before Tedenbarr.
_

“Welcome to old A’an.”


Meeting all the homeschool families was really fantastic, and thanks to all who bought books – your support is much appreciated.

Looking forward to seeing everybody at the next book signing – until then, happy reading!

ETJ

7 Swashbuckling Tales Celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Yo, ho, ho, me hearties!

In honour of β€œInternational Talk Like A Pirate Day” below be ye finding a treasure filled list of me favourite pirate tales for me second lot of themed book recommendations. Plunder yer local library or bookstore for 1, 2 or all of these outrageous yarns, an’ be swept away on the tides of adventure!

ARRR!


The Pirate Meets the QueenThe Pirate Meets the Queen by Matt Faulkner | All ages
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This exciting tale tells the story of the real life Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley who was a feared corsair all her life and respected by everyone she met – even Queen Elizabeth!

Born in Ireland in the 1500’s, Grace quickly carved out a reputation for herself that was unmatched in that part of the world for centuries. Readers will delight in the captivating true story paired with stunning illustrations that bring to life the seas of 16th century Ireland in vivid detail.


Peter PanPeter Pan by J.M. Barrie | 3-4th Grade+
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Everyone remembers the fearsome Captain Hook from this timeless tale. Without his relentless pursuit of Peter the fantastical world of Never-Never Land wouldn’t be half so captivating.

A menace to Lost boys, Indian girls, and his own crew alike, the only two inhabitants not afraid of Hook are Peter…and the hungry crocodile.


The Legend of LukeThe Legend of Luke by Brian Jacques | Ages 10+
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Beloved children’s author Brian Jacques delivers a superb tale of mystery and heartbreak told through the eyes of Luke, the father of the Infamous Martin the Warrior of Redwall Abbey.

After losing his tribe to a vicious Pirate Captain, Luke makes it his life’s mission to right the wrongs done against him and gathers many steadfast companions along the way.

(A great many of the Redwall tales also feature pirates – “Mariel of Redwall”, “Triss”, and “The Pearls of Lutra” are 3 notable stories in the series.)


Treasure IslandTreasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson | Ages 10+
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The quintessential pirate tale, this epic classic has it all: mystery, intrigue, double crossing, pirates, a long forgotten secret, swashbuckling action, and most important of all – buried treasure!

Join young Jim as the ransacking of his mother’s inn plunges him headfirst into a dangerous and thrilling world that he must navigate expertly – or perish.


Tedenbarr of Have LathTedenbarr of Have Lath by Esther T. Jones | Grades 6+
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Tedenbarr might have journeyed safely to the Eastern Kingdom and back, missing out on the adventure of a lifetime if the Black Sailed Pirates – absent for 15 years and suddenly returned, hadn’t attacked and sunk the cargo ship he was on.

As he makes his way home after his narrow escape from their deathly clutches, Tedenbarr hopes to stay clear of their destructive path – but no one can outrun the Fraecana forever…


One PieceOne Piece by Eiichiro Oda | Ages 12+
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A charming & hilarious – often brash, sometimes heartbreaking, but always dramatic – saga, this manga hailing from Japan tells the story of Luffy, a pirate boy with a stretchy rubber body, whose aim is to enter the Grand Line, reclaim Gold Roger’s hidden treasure known as One Piece, and become king of the pirates.

Along the way, Luffy collects a staunch cohort of friends and allies who never fail to fight by his side against the corrupt navy and the evil pirates of the high seas.


Under the Jolly RogerUnder the Jolly Roger by L. A. Meyer | Ages 12+
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The third in a meaty 12-book series, Under the Jolly Roger follows Mary β€œJacky” Faber’s adventures as she is dubbed a pirate, loses the love of her life to another, classier girl, and becomes captain of her own ship before half the book is through.

Leaving her past behind won’t be easy, but Jacky must do it if she is to embrace her destiny, and truly become the woman she is meant to be.

(A note to parents – although the publisher’s suggested audience is middle school ongoing, the themes and subject matter of the series might best be suited to 10th – 12th readers and up.)

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5 Great Thought Provoking Books About Freedom

Hello Friends!

Welcome to the first in a series of theme based reading recommendations. Whether you’re reminiscing over old favourites, or looking for something new to add to you or your family/friend’s bookshelves, the books mentioned below are sure to delight and entertain.


Twice FreedTwice Freed by Patricia St John | Grades 3+
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A captivating tale that follows Onesimus, the unrepentant slave of Philemon, who doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about this β€œgospel” that’s come from Israel. Afterall, if his master is a new, better person now, shouldn’t he free Onesimus?

A wonderful story based around real biblical figures, “Twice Freed” should be on every child’s bookshelf.


Molly BannakyMolly Bannaky by Alice McGill | All ages
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Set in the early days of Colonial America, this beautifully illustrated children’s storybook explores the past of indentured servitude that brought Molly (the grandmother of the renowned Benjamin Banneker) to America where she met the kidnapped African prince who became her husband.


The circle of shadowsThe Circle of Shadows by Jenny Robertson | Ages 8+
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A masterfully written story, short yet breathtaking in theme, scope, and prose, “The Circle of Shadows” is about a young Gaelic boy captured by the Romans and thereby brought into the hearing of the truth of the gospel.

Although he never forgets his homeland, Dercc comes to realise that the dark arts practiced by the druids are the true chains binding his people, and the freedom he so desires is not physical but spiritual.


Tedenbarr of Have LathTedenbarr of Have Lath by Esther T. Jones | Grades 6+
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Tedenbarr has been a slave all his life, but when the opportunity unexpectedly arises for him to seize his freedom, Tedenbarr finds himself caught between the taste of a life he’s never had, and the friends he will have to leave behind if he pursues this sudden turn of good fortune.

As he wrestles with this dilemma, Tedenbarr finds himself on the adventure of a lifetime, new adversaries and allies alike appearing at every turn.


Ben-Hur: A Tale of the ChristBen-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace | Grades 7+
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This list wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t include the classic, β€œBen Hur.” Revolving around Judah, a young Jewish man living during the time of the new testament, the story takes us on a fantastic journey of love, betrayal, and redemption.

(More interesting still is that the author starting working on the book almost as a mental exercise, and ended up professing faith during the writing of it). The galley scene aboard the roman ship was masterfully depicted on film in the 1950’s, and serves as a powerful reminder of both the cruelty and kindness of men.

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2018 CHAP Convention

Hello Friends!

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending my first CHAP convention from the perspective of a vendor (as a home educated graduate, I have been many times in the past with my mother to review and obtain high quality curricula and materials). I was mostly attending the June 1st & 2nd convention to assist my wonderful mom as she displayed her recently published work Four Jewels in My Crown, a part-memoir, part-instructive narrative that is a lovely tribute to biblical focused home education and an encouragement for other homeschooling moms – new, current or veterans thereof.

In the process I was also granted the opportunity to be able to present my debut novel Tedenbarr of Have Lath, and I must say that the event was absolutely wonderful. We conversed with attendees and other vendors alike, enjoying so many meaningful interactions with homeschooling families of all ages and size. The staff and volunteers could not have been any more helpful or welcoming, and were a huge part of making our first CHAP vendor experience such a positive one.

Lord willing, I hope to be able to return in the years following and continue to be encouraged and encourage others in the home education community, and to keep supporting excellence in literacy in readers both beginning and advanced alike.

Happy Reading!

ETJ

Moodboard for Tedenbarr of Have Lath

Hello Friends!

Below is a copy of a post I made to my tumblr blog, which you all might enjoy reading as well:

Tedenbarr of Have Lath


Hello Writeblr Community! I guess I’ve never really introduced myself or my writing, so here we go!

I’m Esther T. Jones, I’m in my mid-20’s, I love cosplay, gardening, and music, (I studied classical & jazz flute and piano in college) and I’ve written a novel! (I’ve also got a WIP that I sometimes tweet about and that I will be mentioning on here in detail at some point.)

The novel is called β€œTedenbarr of Have Lath,” is aimed at Upper Middle Grade/Young Adult Readers, and has all the classic elements from a medieval adventure story. (Official Summary.)

You want swordfights? Got β€˜em. Bandits? Got those too. Knights? Yep! Pirates? A driving force. Kings and nobles, and common folk and slaves? Castles and Dungeons? Secrets and Betrayal? PLOT TWISTS!? All. Right. Here. And of course, horses. All the horses!

Let me tell you about some of the characters:

  • Tedenbarr (Teddy) – the titular hero. Blond, blue eyed, 20 years old at the start of our story. He lives on an island of slaves named Have Lath, and is desperately in love with a free woman. Despite having reached almost to adulthood, he can be painfully naΓ―ve and tends to live in the epic poetic saga of his world that he has memorised line for line. He also loves animals.
  • Keira (Pronounced Kay-ee-rah) – Curly red hair, green eyes, speaks in a rich brogue. Tedenbarr’s fiancΓ©e; secretly of course, her aunt would never approve of her marrying a slave boy. About 19. Her father disappeared on one of his travels and never returned. When Tedenbarr also disappears during a routine voyage, amidst rumours that the Black Sailed Pirates have returned to the Sheana Sea, she fears the worst.
  • Lach – A boy of about 15/16, he is Tedenbarr’s best friend on β€œThe Sailing Prison.” Together they work to escape the pirates boarding the ship, but get separated, and Tedenbarr alone makes it to the shores of the Eastern Kingdom. His face, along with all those who went down with the ship, plagues Tedenbarr at night.
  • Black Crow – Leader of the notorious bandit group living in the Linkwood Forest. Tedenbarr encounters his second in command, and right hand man – Light-Fingers (also known as Amiri of Caro) – in a series of events that take place before our story starts (detailed in chapter five in a flashback).
  • Shai Ten – Leader of the Resistance in the capital city of Aistes. He hails from one of the desert tribes in the Eastern Kingdom. After his cousin sold herself into slavery to buy them food for a year, and subsequently died an untimely death, he threw himself into the makings of an uprising to try and better the lives of the citizens of Aistes.
  • King Elymas Oglath – Feared by many, hated by most, loved by none. The sole remaining member of the Oglath family after the deaths of his brother and nephew, he rules with an iron fist. His most recent headache is the return of the Black Sailed Pirates, thirsty for revenge because he drove them out of the Sheana Sea 15 years ago on charges that they murdered his nephew.
  • The Pirates – a terrifying menace, no ship in the King’s Navy can outrun them, and they aim to sail up and down the coastlines of the Sheana sea, leaving destruction and ruin wherever they go. Their ace in the hole is their ability to set the sea on fire, hence the burning cutlasses emblazoned on their black flags and sails. Their ship is named Fraecana, after the spectral goddess of the underworld that many people in Tedenbarr’s world believe in.

There are many more characters, but those are the figures that are a constant during Tedenbarr’s travels, either at the forefront as he interacts with people, or in his thoughts, or as a looming presence in the background.

Tedenbarr’s world is filled with people who believe that there are greater forces at work, and though Tedenbarr himself doesn’t put too much stock in the fables and legends that he can recite by heart, here is a little bit of what people believe:

The goddess Myrna rules the sea, Fraecana the underworld. Ferra is a demigod, a trickster and fleet of foot, always getting himself and mortals into trouble. The clashes between himself and Agon – the heroic human king at the centre of the Agon cycle – are legendary. Β Shirye is the patron god of forests and hunters.

Shrines exist all across the Kingdom of the West. They are dark, unpleasant places, thick with incense, and attended by greedy cultists who delight in swindling poor superstitious people out of what little money they have. Lach’s mother fell victim to one such scheme.


Let’s talk places!

  • Aistes – Capital city of the Kingdom of the West. Currently hiding a long forgotten secret, and the centre of what promises to be a bloody civil war between rich free-folk and poor slaves/servants.
  • Cal-Cah Mountains – an imposing mountain range in the Kingdom of the East that is very dangerous to navigate due to the bandits that often waylay merchant caravans and lone travellers.
  • Dirca Desert – a hot, dry expanse that marks the borders between the Kingdoms of East and West. Also inhabited by bandits, and very easy to get lost in.
  • Dolphin Bay – a secluded little retreat close to the major villages of Slern and Bajai. It’s also the first place that Tedenbarr dares to think he could be more than a slave.
  • Have Lath – Tedenbarr’s home. Only outcasts, soldiers and their families, and slaves live here. The island helps protect the mainland from the savage storms of the North Seas.
  • Linkwood Forest – the domain of yet another band of outlaws, wanted throughout the Western kingdom for crimes against the House of Jor, and against the Monarchy. Not even travelling along the King’s Highway is safe anymore with those rapscallions lurking behind every tree and shrub.
  • Old A’an – a fabled, long abandoned underground city where an ancient civilization used to live. Tedenbarr has always dreamed of visiting, but no one he knows has an inkling of where Old A’an might be located.
  • Sarenji – a major port town, and one the Black Sailed Pirates have their eye on after attacking Tedenbarr’s cargo ship.
  • Slvyn Reigh – a minor point of interest in the middle of the Sheana Sea. Legend has it that Agon once went head-to-head with the sea goddess Myrna in a fierce but good spirited competition atop a small, stony island, and the peculiar rock formation is all that now remains.

Whew! That was a lot! Please enjoy perusing the moodboard (which also contains some out of context spoilers – I’ll leave it to you to figure out what they are). Let me know if you would like to see a more detailed breakdown of some of the main characters, as well as the many secondary and even minor characters that I didn’t mention here.

Tedenbarr of Have Lath is available from Amazon in both paperback and ebook form (do you have Kindle Unlimited? Congrats, Tedenbarr of Have Lath is now yours, free!) and I’d be more than thrilled to answer any questions you want to shoot my way! This story is my baby, and I love talking to readers about it!

Happy reading!
ETJ

(Free stock images sourced legally from Pexels & Unsplash)

New Quill Pen

Hello Friends!

In my quest to better my craft (and since I enjoy writing by hand) I have recently acquired a beautiful ostrich feather quill pen from Nostalgic Impressions. There’s been a bit of a learning curve, but I’m enjoying every moment.

Books, Books, Books!

Hello Friends!

Reading from Tedenbarr of Have Lath in the Children's LibraryThanks so much to all who came out to the Coyle Free Library’s Grand Reopening to hear me read excerpts from Tedenbarr of Have Lath, and who bought copies for themselves or friends and family. I enjoyed hearing all the fascinating stories that everybody had to share, and it was absolutely wonderful to meet so many different people all brought together by the love of books and joy of reading!

Many thanks also to Sarah, the children’s librarian, who couldn’t have been more helpful in coordinating the event, and also to the other brilliant and talented writers at the event. I shared a cosy, sun-filled room with Sherri Maret, Jennie K. Brown, and Rachael T. Reiton, who were three of the most genial and welcoming ladies I have ever met. It really was a joy getting to know each author and watching kids’ faces light up with each new story they discovered.

I look forward to returning to the Coyle Free Library for future events, and to enjoy all the features the newly refreshed library has to offer.


Additional photos can be found at Instagram and Facebook, and don’t forget to join the mailing list and follow me on your preferred social media to receive notifications for future events, and keep up-to-date on the latest news from me.

Happy Reading!

ETJ

Tedenbarr of Have Lath: Kindle Edition!

For all you digital book lovers, Tedenbarr of Have Lath is available as a Kindle eBook!

I’ve recently slashed the price in half (though a little birdy told me that it’s free with Kindle Unlimited, shh), and the digital version comes with a full colour map!

And yep, you can Look Inside all the way up to chapter 2!

Happy Reading,

ETJ

Coffee and Books!

Hello Friends!

I was so thrilled to meet those of you who were able to come out to Friday’s book signing. The gathering was small but cosy, and I really got to know each person. I loved hearing all your thoughtful questions, as well as your own experiences with writing and I do hope you will continue your creative endeavours.

For those of you who missed the event, I do have additional pictures posted both on Instagram and Facebook, and please keep scrolling to view a 2-part video of the event featuring the entire reading session, and part of the Q&A (unfortunately the camera did cut out here and there, so part 2 is edited together as best as possible).

Thanks to everybody who graciously allowed me to post pictures of them online, and thanks to my wonderful mother who kindly filmed the event and took many of the photographs.

Don’t forget to join the mailing list to receive notifications for future events, and please follow me on your preferred social media if you would like to stay up-to-date on the latest news from me.

Happy Reading!

ETJ



New Contact Form/Follow Button

Hello Friends!

I have just changed the way I deliver updates from ETJ Writes to readers. There is now a “follow” button on the side of this site, just under the “books” tab, and the process is now easier than ever, no comments required!

Of course I would love to hear from each and every one of you, so please feel free to leave your thoughts on my newly revamped Contact page, and stay up-to-date by checking out my various social media hangouts.

Thanks for all your support!

Happy reading!

ETJ

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