Saturday, January 19, 2013

Interview, Review, Giveaway - A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr

A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword, #1)
A Cast of Stones
The Staff & the Sword
by Patrick W Carr
Paperback, 400 pages
Expected Publication: February 1st 2013 by Bethany House Publishers


In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone's search for a drink is interrupted by a church messenger who arrives with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Desperate for coin, Errol volunteers to deliver them but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he's joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom. 

Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom's dynasty is near an end and a new king must be selected. As tension and danger mount, Errol must leave behind his drunkenness and grief, learn to fight, and come to know his God in order to survive a journey to discover his destiny.

Available for Pre-Order at:

My Review:

On occasion I have the urge to gush over-much. On this particular occasion, I'm nervous of throwing so much confetti about this book that it looks promotional instead of critical. I shall attempt to sound dignified, but really... when I happen upon a book like this, it's like discovering a stash of chocolate. There's some sqee-ing.


I like the writing style. There's no extra words. There's just the exact amount of words necessary to portray the landscape as touchable and the characters... as full of hidden layers. (Lots of secret, malicious, creepy layers.) No more.

The world is so believable, I feel like archaeologists will explain how they know this kingdom existed this way. The people Errol sees represent different parts of the world by their hair color or accent or something, giving me this grand scope of the old-style world. Errol is from a tiny village, though, so he sees details as if he's used to knowing every branch and rock and notes the differences in his travels.

Errol is cool. He doesn't seem very cool on the first page and I loved all the surprises as he changes and grows... so I don't want to give anything away... except... This book - I don't care if there are 400 pages - is not big enough to give me enough of Errol. Nope. He learns a lot. DO NOT SPOIL THIS BOOK by peaking ahead at everything he learns in this story!!  Just say "no" to spoilers!!  It's best to experience it all with him, from his intelligent, humble point of view.

The spiritual side of things feels just right, some kind of old-school religious structure that was good when it was first created, but it being corrupted at the time of this story. As priests, it's extra deceptive because it feels like they should be trustworthy. Some are. There's a dark side, too... the malas are downright freaky. Spiritual things willing to take over someone's body upon request. *shudder* There's things with teeth, too.

The danger is very real and this book is more of an introduction to a very big picture than any resolution. Although, the story is complete in itself, for the most part. It left me feeling rather desperate for the next book in the series and wondering just how many there are? 'Cause the scope is definitely (trilogy) epic.


The Hero's Lot
Expected July 2013

I found five aspects I wanted to know more about... the clergy, the readers, the watchmen, the world & the herbwomen. For Prism Book Tours launching another tour on 1/23, we'll uncover a little more about these in mini-themes. *waggles eyebrows* It's gonna be good. So for my interview today... I asked about those perfectly round stones, the lots. Please welcome Patrick Carr to Colorimetry: 

How did you get the idea for the stones? 

When I came up with the idea of casting lots I went through quite a few ideas of what they would be before settling on the featureless spheres people see in the book. The stones actually flowed from the mythos that I built around readers and their ability to cast a question. I realized that in order for the book to work I was going to have to build in some type of limitation on their power or the whole story was going to devolve into a bunch of super-powerful wizards running around. Plus, I wanted to show that casting lots was more than an effortless process. I dabble a bit in wood-working and the idea struck me to have my readers either carve lots from wood or chisel them from stone, with the harder, more difficult material yielding better results.
What kind of research did you do for them? 

Some of my mistakes in wood-working became fodder for the book. I remember building this beautiful coffee table out of white oak and black walnut for my sister. It was a big square top and I banded the oak top all the way around with black walnut and then again with more white oak. Everything was great until it got really warm in her bonus room. White oak is not what you would call “stable” under big temperature differences. The banding expanded and literally ripped the top in two.
For the stones, I went back to some of my materials courses in college. I always enjoyed looking at the charts of different rocks in school and comparing how hard they were. When I started putting Errol’s lessons with Quinn together, I went back to that. It was a lot of fun.
What are you writing now? 

Ooh, I am so close to finishing the final draft of the last book in the “Staff and the Sword” trilogy (“A Cast of Stones” is the first). Once I’m done, completely done, I’m giving serious thought to a detective series. I’m trying to rustle up the courage to write it in first person.

About the Author:

Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.

Awards: ACFW Genesis Competition 2010 Finalist for “A Cast of Stones” in Speculative Fiction.

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Blog Tour Giveaway

$10 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 1/31/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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