Friday, December 6, 2013

EotT Blog Tour: Final Day


 
 
A big thanks to everyone who made this tour as big as it was!
..............................................................................................................
The Masquerade Crew
Team Nerd Reviews
Mia Darien
Tamar Hela
Clancy Tucker
Indie Book Blog
Debra Martin
..............................................................................................................

Now, on to the final quest posts.

Marian Allen
Aliens Get Bullied Too

The Masquerade Crew
 
 
The Indie Book Blog
 ..............................................................................................................

Don't forget to take a shot at winning a free copy of Prossia if you're on Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Prossia by Raphyel M. Jordan

Prossia

by Raphyel M. Jordan

Giveaway ends December 31, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Evaluations of the Tribe Book Trailer

The EotT Blog Tour is coming to an end, as I prepare for my last batch of posts today. You know what that means, right? Yep. On to my next writing project! Be on the lookout. There be Pirates and Bees in the water. >.>

I have to give another big thanks to my blogger friends who came through for promoting these posts. This tour wouldn't have been anything without you. Now, enough of the reading. DOWNLOAD the book and watch the trailer. Enjoy ^_^

EotT Blog Tour: Day 3


Moving right along with the guest posts, here's Day 3.

Mia Darian - Boom Baby Reviews
Interview

The Masquerade Crew
 ..............................................................................................................

Don't forget to take a shot at winning a free copy of Prossia if you're on Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Prossia by Raphyel M. Jordan

Prossia

by Raphyel M. Jordan

Giveaway ends December 31, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Thursday, December 5, 2013

EotT Blog Tour: Day 2


                                             
                                           Here's the next lists of blogs where I had guest posts:

                                                    Annabell & Bridget - Team Nerd Reviews:
                                                       We're More Alike Than You Think 

                                                                Mia Darien - Mia's Desk 
                                                     A Shared Realm On A Galactic Level

                                                                The Masquerade Crew
                                                        We're More Alike Than You Think



                         Don't forget to take a shot at winning a free copy of Prossia if you're on Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Prossia by Raphyel M. Jordan

Prossia

by Raphyel M. Jordan

Giveaway ends December 31, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

EotT Blog Tour: Aliens Get Bullied Too



Aly’s a seventeen-year-old Goolian who can charge into the street, exposing herself to enemy fire, because she’s a good soldier. She’s willing to do what needs done for the greater good, and I must say, she looks pretty epic when she does it too! She’ll keep an entire platoon of enemy soldiers at bay on her own if she has to, only with the aid of two Goolian blades and an alien blaster. Yes, as the novel, “Prossia” says, “Aly is a sight to behold.”

So, it might come as a bit of a surprise to know that Aly used to walk to school, eyeing the ground, being too nervous to look anyone else in the eye. At one point in her life, she would hunch over a little, so she could appear as short as the other girls in her class and village. Why, she even had a stuttering complex whenever people spoke to her! That was Aly, not long before the events in “Prossia” took place, when her main concern was proving her worth so she wouldn’t be bullied anymore in “Evaluations of the Tribe.”

In this story, we don’t see an Aly who’ll put a guy in his place, if he crosses his boundaries. Instead, we see an insecure, low-self esteemed, severely troubled young girl who wants nothing more than the kids in her class to leave her alone. It’s not like she ever did anything to them. Still, Aly finds herself facing that ultimate adversary many children – and even adults – must face on a day-to-day basis. She knows all too well what the grounds to being bullied are:

·         Not having anyone to stand up for you
·         Having parents or guardians who can’t seem to help
·         Having parents or guardians who only make matters worse when they try to help
·         Wondering what you possibly did to deserve being born different, the reason to your harassment
·         Wishing that you were either dead, or better yet, had never been born at all
·         Hating yourself along with those who make your existence miserable
·         Dreading every morning you wake up, knowing “that person” or “those people” are just waiting on you, and you can’t do anything about it

Regardless of the circumstances, having to deal with the constant harassment, both verbal and physical, of the people you must mingle with is not acceptable. Like Aly, you do not have to simply “cope” with it. If you do, you might break, just the way she did one day in “Evaluations.” Still, there is hope. I know it’s hard to believe, but it does get better. Take it from someone who’s gone through the trenches, himself.

And what about those of us who now get to watch the travesty from the sideline? It is in our power to act and stand up for those who cannot defend themselves, much the way Aly’s best friend, Catty, does for her in the story. That means you’ll have to go out of your comfort zone. It means everyone around you will look at you, as if you’ve lost your mind. It means, at times, you might lose the support of some friends, and yes, even family.

Thing is, we’re all stuck on this tiny blue dot in the vast universe, so it’s way past time we start standing up for ourselves, and those around us. No, it doesn’t mean you have to do something as epic as a March On Washington every single day. But maybe we can learn a thing or two from Catty, who took the time to help Aly pick up her things when someone knocked her down. Who knows how that small gesture will come back in good favor. You might just save a world, at least for a day. One down. Over 7 billion to go. Good thing there’s a bunch of us around ready to do our part, eh? ;)

………………………………………….

Amazon   Smashwords(free)   Nook   Kobo(free)


Goodreads Prossia Giveaway



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Prossia by Raphyel M. Jordan

Prossia

by Raphyel M. Jordan

Giveaway ends December 31, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

EotT Blog Tour: A Shared Realm On A Galactic Level


What would a childhood be like, if everyone around you could fire balls of plasma from their hands? What if your race never had to deal with some certain social biases, like sexism, the way we have? What would boys and girls be like if they were both expected and encouraged to play both childhood games of House and War? What if your gym class consisted of you sparring to the point that you went home with bloody noses and bruises, but that was the norm? What would your imagination consist of if you went to class and studied the cultures of thriving alien civilizations throughout the galaxy; civilizations that possess technology thousands of years ahead of yours? That’s the universe I created in “Evaluations of the Tribe.” That’s the norm for a girl named Alytchai (Aly).

In case you can’t tell by the pictures, Aly (the one with the blue tentacles) and her people aren’t  human beings. No, she’s a Goolian from Planet Gooliun, a world readers were able to venture to after I published my first novel, “Prossia.” On Gooliun, the natives know that they aren’t alone in the galaxy, but they can’t do much about it beyond tending to their daily routines. “Why,” you ask? Goolians haven’t even invented the light bulb yet! As a matter of fact, they haven’t even bothered with learning how to make the equivalent to gun powder. To be fair, why would they? They can create nuclear fusion right between their palms!

In spite of the many differences these “greenies” have, however, they’re not much different from us. Sure, the illustrations you’ll see indicate that Aly and her people would be considered humanoid – sharing physical traits that we humans have. Just don’t ask them to help you get a fruit from a tree, because they’ll either freak you out after they leapt two stories up to grab it, or after they used a very long purple tongue to snatch it for you. :P

Still, in spite of these differences, Aly and her people are just that; people. And like most of us good ole’ fashioned Earthlings here on Planet Earth, she’ll grow up feeling out of place and different from others. Like us, Aly will find herself envying those around her, who seem to be a natural at a certain task, while she struggles to do the same thing. She’ll watch one of her classmates walk by, and wish that she was perhaps shorter, skinnier, more defined; prettier. Like so many of us, Aly will cry alone in her bed, hiding the fact that the children at school pushed her, called her weird, or even ugly. Some things, like growing up – even in another galaxy – are universal.

The good thing, however, is the fact that Aly lives in a world that offers the chance to overcome such obstacles, just like ours. She’ll realize there are multiple methods to do it, but the end results are still the same. She can win. It won’t be easy, though. It’s not like she should expect the people who’ve wronged her are going to break down in tears, begging for forgiveness, one day. More so, she may not even end up being the better athlete, the smartest student, or the prettiest girl in class. No, Aly’s win will be hard. It’s the sort that may take months and years to obtain. Either way, once she earns that victory, no one, not even her worst enemy, will be able to take it away from her.

Why don’t you grab yourself a copy of “Evaluations of the Tribe” to see how Aly seizes the day in the end? After all, growing up is a universal thing.
………………………………………….

Amazon   Smashwords(free)   Nook   Kobo(free)


Prossia Goodreads Giveaway



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Prossia by Raphyel M. Jordan

Prossia

by Raphyel M. Jordan

Giveaway ends December 31, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Monday, December 2, 2013

EotT Blog Tour: Day 1


Hey there! The Evaluations of the Tribe's Blog Tour has officially started ^_^! Be sure to check out my guest posts along with other articles from these amazing bloggers:

Debra L. Martin - Two Ends of a Pen Blog
 
Tamar Hela - Artist, Writer, Dreamer
 
 ..............................................................................................................

Don't forget to take a shot at winning a free copy of Prossia if you're on Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Prossia by Raphyel M. Jordan

Prossia

by Raphyel M. Jordan

Giveaway ends December 31, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

EotT Blog Tour: We're More Alike Than You Think


Do you remember what your childhood was like? Can you recall that sense of wonder you had around every turn of the corner? Or how about when everything could be made okay at the end of the day if Mom and Dad took you out for ice-cream? Wouldn’t it be cool if other sentient beings from a different planet had fund memories like that as well? When I wrote my very first novel, “Prossia”, I introduced readers to a seventeen-year-old alien girl named Aly, who was just drafted into a galactic war. Beyond having to cope with leaving her home, meeting different races and species, and trying to stay alive on the battlefield, she seemed ready to take the call to arms, no matter what the cost would be. So, here was the question many probably asked after reading the novel: Just what sort of upbringing shapes a person, like this alien, to face such situations?

“Evaluations of the Tribe” was written to answer that. Throughout the original “Prossia” novel, Aly and her best friend, Catty, made numerous references about their childhood, from that one time Aly struck Catty in the face with a Goolian dankerball, to the moment when Catty was finally told about Aly’s special “condition.” Readers of “Evaluations” will be able to go into further detail about such events and more as we unravel the world that shaped these two dynamic characters into the teenage soldiers that can handle themselves during wartimes.
And here’s the great thing about the prequel; you can pick it up at whatever stage you’re at with the Prossia series. Have you not read “Prossia” yet? Then, here’s a book you can check out that will lead you right into the original! Did you read “Prossia” first? Why not dwell a little into some exciting backstory that will make the original book even more rewarding to read? I mean, what’ll it cost you? The prequel IS free, after all. :)

“Evaluations of the Tribe” is a celebration of that stubborn unwillingness youth seem to have when it comes to giving up, much the way its predecessor, “Prossia,” is. Let’s travel to a place untouched by human beings, where the people of the planet are green, agile, and capable of firing plasma from their hands. Does it sound out of this world? You bet! Still, the creatures on this planet aren’t much different from us. They want to be held in the arms of the ones they love. They want their children to return home, safe and sound, as they watch them head off to school. They hope they’ll be accepted by those in their inner circle. Oh yeah, and of course, they love dessert. :P
………………………………………….
Amazon   Smashwords(free)   Nook   Kobo(free)
 
Goodreads Prossia Giveaway



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Prossia by Raphyel M. Jordan

Prossia

by Raphyel M. Jordan

Giveaway ends December 31, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Sunday, December 1, 2013

1 More Day Until Tour Time

BLOG-TOUR-AD
We’re one day away from celebrating the launch of my second novel, Evaluations of the Tribe. several bloggers from the web will be taking part in the 5-day-long event, where I’ll be talking about the latest addition to the Prossia family. On top of articles, there’s a Prossia Novel Giveaway coinciding with the celebration, leading all the way into the end of the year.
Hmmm. I think I’m forgetting something, though. Did somebody say something about an Evaluations trailer???
Nahhhh…. ^_^
Be sure to follow the blog tour and its articles either here or on my official site. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

New Prossia Cover Reveal: the Moment

Redoing Prossia's cover was a metaphor for what this entire project has meant to me; it's a new start, a chance to right the wrongs that I didn't even know I was originally doing. Like the cover, I made sure to go through the proper channels when it came to republishing Prossia, seeking the right advice, laying out a solid plan, and executing to the best of my abilities. It's funny. At times I wonder if the 1st edition of the novel should even count, given how "amateur" I was about handling it. But then I stop and realize I didn't know how much I loved being a writer until I took that first shot at publishing.
Sure, it wasn't the best attempt, but I'm realizing any attempt is an accomplishment in its own right. Better to try than not try at all. That's why the number one advice professional authors give aspiring ones sounds so obvious, but is still so vital.

Write.

If you want to be an author, then be an author. In the same manner, if you want to be an artist, then be an artist. If you want to be a leader, then be a leader. If you want to be about something, then get up and do something.

I know; that's easier said than done. No one ever likes to talk about what that requires most of the time. Nobody wants to know that Kevin J. Anderson, a multi-international bestselling author, was rejected by literary agents over 80 times before he finally got his first novel published. No one likes to hear how J.K Rowling wrote out her ideas for Harry Potter on napkins because she was cleaning up her last table for the night. No one wants to know about Stephanie Myer spending a great deal of her time at Critique Circle, a social network for writers so they can get their works critique. Oh no. Who wants to hear about that? 

These people are overnight success stories, right?
No, these people knew what it took to be something. They took a step, even when it didn't lead them anywhere. And then they took another one, and another one, and then another one. And before they knew it, when they turned around, they had an wave of people, like me, asking them how they managed to get so far ahead.

Just take that one step, and you'll have no idea where it takes you. You might find yourself speaking to a classroom of kids, who gaze astonished at your  illustrations. You may have a book signing, and take a picture with a young lady who thinks you're a superstar. You might lead a peace demonstration in your local community, urging your peers to stand up and encourage one another. Or, who knows? Maybe you'll travel with a seventeen-year-old alien girl, eyes brighter than a full moon, who found herself on another world when confronted that first big life question: Where Were You When You Had To Grow Up? Hey, you have to start somewhere.
Think big on a galactic level, and you'll never know where it takes you. Welcome to the relaunch of Prossia.

-Raphyel M. Jordan
See the New Prossia Cover

Thursday, October 24, 2013

New Prossia Cover Reveal: The Final Stretch

New-Prossia-Book-1-Cover-5

Once my poll for the new Prossia cover ran its course, Cover#5 ended up blowing the rest of the competition out of the water. So, what gave me the idea to the winning comp? This particular one went all the way back to James A. Owen suggestion about the original cover being too dark. While I tried to brighten up the covers as much as possible, however, I really wanted to show the cosmos in my cover. Only one problem: space is black. Still, if I needed to brighten things up, I might as well go as bright as possible!  :P

I took the Aly picture done in  Cover #4 and simplified it, wanting to give this cover an edgier vibe. The blue was just a natural fit as well.

Now that I had a solid direction to go, it was now time to get some insight from some more professional eyes. So, in came my fellow Superstar Writing Seminar attendees. I had noticed many authors had submitted potential covers to the group before and got some great feedback. I was hoping I could get the same treatment, and goodness me, I wasn't disappointed. :) While the monochromatic scheme was cool, many felt the cover was still missing a bit of a punch. On top of that, the font I used for the title was nice, but lacking in originality. It was also a hard one to read from a distance.

Once I got all of the feedback it seemed I would get, I ended up putting the cover on the backburner for a while, given I had prequels and republishing manuscripts poking the brain ;). Even so, I messed around with it as much as I could, whenever I got the chance to do so. In the meantime, I had also called up one of my old college buddies, Brianna Higgins. I had my hands tied with wanting to meet deadlines, doing commissions on the side, and trying to find one of those fancy "day jobs" that offer health benefits. In short, I was in need of desperate help, wherever I could find it. Higgins was an illustrator and graphic designer, like me, but she had a special knack for typography. So, I showed her my Prossia logo and asked if she could make up a font based around it. Long story short, you've more than likely seen the font already, if you've seen my ads. ;)

Good art can take time, in some instances. You think it's done and then you smack yourself in the head when you realize you didn't notice the obvious. Once I finished the new manuscript, I found myself spending minutes to hours working on the final cover, changing the contrast, moving the text a bit to the left, adding a little more white in the corner after if became too busy, and then, as many images do, due date arrives and you have to call it a wrap. In that instant, I got out of my chair, stepped back from my monitor to get a good look at it from a distance. I wish I could say I had something profound to say. Nah, I just went "Wow..."

Days later, I received a box in the mail. When I opened it up, a brand new novel with the title "Prossia" was staring right back at me. I sent the printing house the okay for the book and started going to the proper channels to put my book back on the market. Mission accomplished. Prossia was getting republished...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Prossia Cover Reveal: Hit the Breaks

New-Book-Covers
Superstars Writing Seminar

Prossia had been out for a year and some months when 2012 rolled around, and I was sitting back, relaxing, and just waiting to see if it was going to take off. Yeah, I know -_-. If you’re a fellow author, you’re probably hollering “Nooooooo!” right about now. Up to this point, this was one of many numerous mistakes that I had committed throughout my first months as an author. Fortunately for me, I managed to do one right thing later on that year, and that was attending the Superstars Writing Seminar in Las Vegas.

While there, an arsenal of professional writers like Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Eric Flint, David Farland, Dave Wesley Smith, and James Artimus Owen, taught me the ins and outs of what they were doing to make their passion into a successful occupation. I was given numerous opportunities to sit down and chat it up with these amazing authors, and boy, did I learn a lot! However, one of the most inspiring lessons came from James A. Owen. See, he was an illustrator who loved to do his own book covers as well, like me! So, I took him over to the side one time during the seminar, and asked him what he thought about my current cover for Prossia.

He actually liked it, for the most part (I, of course, geeked out over that  :P). He felt I definitely had the skills to design my own covers along with drawing some illustrations in the interior. However, there was one main issue he had with the current looks of my book. It was way too dark. People wouldn’t be able to read the title of my book from a distance or really see much of the illustration. If that was the case, it wouldn’t stand out that much if it was placed in a group of other novels.

After the seminar was over, I went home and checked out other popular YA sci-fi novel covers. I quickly realized they had a certain “liberty” about them, compared to other books. They were vibrant, energetic, exciting, much like the persona of a teenager! So, after putting my research and advice together, it was back to the drawing board! By the time I had finished, I had seven comps for Prossia’s new cover. I did have a personal favorite, but I wanted to make sure I picked the BEST one and not make my decision merely based on a matter of personal preferences. So, I placed the images in a poll and asked people which one they thought was the best. The results, to my pleasant surprise, were quite staggering, with half of the voters voting for one particular pic. So, I had the layout for my next cover…

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New Prossia Cover Reveal: the Original

Prossia

Ah, yes. The original. After learning a few Photoshop tricks here and there, thanks to numerous DeviantArt tutorials, I did a newer version of "A Soldier's Burden," months before I was ready to publish Prossia for the first time. I always knew I wanted to return to that subject and use it as the "gateway" to the book, but I had a few items I wanted to change from the original.
For one, Aly's eyes were constantly mentioned in the novel, and I felt it would be a little unfair not to let the viewers have a real look at them. The one word which was constantly used to describe their brilliance was "piercing," so, in that regard, I wanted to make sure they were the focal point of the cover.

The next item I wanted to address was the planet at the bottom. I did a teaser trailer not long after "A Soldier's Burden" with Aly overlooking a planet, as if she was keeping watch over it. I wanted to give a similar sort of vibe on the cover. I only had one little problem, though. I'd never illustrated a planet before, and I couldn't stand doing backgrounds at the time! Now, here's something many people may not know about us, artists. We have various strengths and weaknesses. Some might be good at character design but struggle with backgrounds. Others may be great with color but lack in executing proper value and contrast. The list goes on and on. In my case, I've always liked drawing characters first and foremost, even when I was a kid, not giving the background or secondary items any other thought. Well, decades later, that practice tends to bite me in the butt a lot. LOL!

Because of this, I now tend to start my illustrations by focusing on the background first, because, if my least interesting subjects are lacking, then my entire composition is weak. Again, this is just me. Some artists don't have a problem with background, middle ground, foreground, the subject matter, or any part of an illustration at all! Anyway, long story short, I had to spend about as much time on illustrating the planet, which is Argustas (where the majority of the book takes place), as I did on Aly.
And last but not least, the expression. In the original "A Soldier's Burden," Aly looked weighed down, tired, but there was still something, hmm, bold about her; strong. I didn't want that to be shown on the cover. No, I wanted the viewer to see a girl, dressed in armor, placed behind this world she's expected to defend, asking, "What in the world am I doing here, because I don't want to be here at all!" She's terrified, something I really wanted to drive home in the novel. Yeah, while Aly's alien capabilities are phenomenal to read throughout the story, I didn't want the people to forget that she's this: just a girl trying to do whatever she could to survive the horrors of the battlefield.  Prossia isn't Star Wars. There isn't a theme song that gets you excited as the story rolls up the screen. No, this is war, civilization's ultimate tragedy.

So, here it was. The cover for my first novel. The illustration that would find itself on web ads, flyers, postcards, you name it. Talk about a proud moment! Years went by, and Prossia still held its place on the online bookshelf, as I honed my skills at writing and learning the quirks of the business. I couldn't have been more grateful for those years that followed Prossia's release...especially since they taught me all of the numerous mistakes I did the first time I launched the book, the cover being one of them. Why don't we save that story for next time? ;)

Monday, October 21, 2013

New Prossia Cover Reveal: Cover Origins

alykneeling51709

As we near the reveal to Prossia's new cover, why don't we take a look down memory lane? I figured we could start with the image that inspired the original one. :)

So, here I was, months away from graduation, with a manuscript to this sci-fi novel I wanted to publish. I don't think the word, "busy" could describe the numerous undergoings I had back in '09. Still, it's a pretty common tale for most authors. When it comes to this line of work, if one isn't hunkered down with something, he/she probably isn't trying hard enough.

Up to this point, I hadn't told a single soul about my future writing goals after I graduated. I guess I didn't want to have people coming back to me and pointing out my failure if I didn't publish. Then I realized accountability might very well be the best thing for me. So, I decided to announce Prossia at my senior show. I mean hey, if you tell over a hundred people that you're going to have a book out within such and such, I don't think I'll have much  of a choice beyond following through!

The first draft of Prossia had been on my numerous backup files for a while by this point, so I had plenty of time to reminisce on the feelings and emotions I hoped this coming-of-age story. I wanted to present those feelings when I presented the upcoming book to my family, friends, classmates, and other guests at the show. I also found my tagline for the book, the very one you'll see at the header of the new cover: where were you when you had to grow up?

An eerie picture displaying what appears to be a young humanoid creature looking down at a sword, with that question being asked over her head, probably raised a lot of questions. What type of creature is that? Why does she look so sad? Did she just kill someone with that weapon? Is that how she grew up?

I called the title to this early illustration of Aly "A Soldier's Burden." When I finished it, I felt that the simplicity of the image bore a lot of weight. When I approached the subject matter again, I'd come back with some more confidence when it came to drawing on the computer, as this was the foundation to Prossia's first book cover.

Friday, September 27, 2013

What About That Cover?

Cover Reveal Approaching

The final touches on Prossia are underway, so it's only a matter of putting everything together. One of the final items to be covered is the cover, which was finished this past week. Be on the lookout for the reveal to the new and improved version of my first novel. Now, if I could just get to that prequel...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Let’s Talk About the Prequel


Oi. With all this talk about republishing Prossia, it's probably easy to forget that a prequel will be coming right off its shoulders. Operation: Sand Gnat (I love my code names for things :P) will be available this November in digital format for free. Yep. You heard me. Free FREE FREE. I've explained before that readers shouldn't have to wait 3 years for an author to produce another book. So, here's my way of saying, "My bad!"

So, what can one expect from a Prossia prequel? Well, there'll be plenty of action, of course, but I always like to have some sort of underlying message. Sand Gnat will bring readers twelve years back before Alytchai, Catty, and the rest of Gooliun learned about the galactic war with the Cyogen. You'll see them at the ripe age of five, and follow them all the way up to their adolescent years as they prepare for a local rite of passage of sorts. The pressure is being put on them more than the classes before them for numerous reasons, and Aly and Catty in particular both have extra standards to live up to. Aly's father, Shanvi, was the famous sparring instructor for her entire village, whereas Catty was born into nobility, since she's the daughter to the village's field lord, Quongun.

Thing is, it's not the village the two are worried about getting approval from. It's their peers. Aly can't seem to muster up the ability to make pure energy from her hands the way everyone else can, while Catty is scuffed at for being too good at the act, being hailed as a child prodigy from the grownups. Friendships will be challenged and priorities will change as we watch these two young people grow into the soldiers they'll later become.

Be on the lookout for more Sand Gnat info in the not-so-fat-off future. ^_^