Welcome to the blog of author Sharon Hinck!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bonus Scene 8 - The Restorer

After Chapter 26

(Just for fun - the perspective of a young councilmember as she experiences the most startling Council gathering ever.)

Rokkel, a first-year Council delegate of Rendor:

“Blessed first light.” A common greeting, but the guard at the entrance of the Council tower said it with a smirk.

I blushed. Was my eagerness that apparent? Sure, I’d arrived at the tower only moments after the darkness had lifted, but I’d worked hard for my shoulder emblems, and I was one of the youngest women to serve Rendor in the Council. So why did my fight to earn respect feel never-ending?

I gave a quick nod and hurried along the curving hall to the Rendor office. No one else had arrived yet, and some of my excitement deflated. I’d hoped for a few moments with Jorgen—a chance to impress him with my dedication. Perhaps then he’d invite me to sit in on more of the Council sessions. While some councilmembers found the procedures tedious, I enjoyed the subtle jockeying for power, the veiled double meanings, the skill needed to sway decisions. One day soon, Jorgen might even allow me to speak for our clan.

When he did sweep into the room, it was with a crowd of staff and apprentices. So much for my chance to impress. He clapped my shoulder and offered a hearty, “Well met,” as he moved across the room, but he was deep in a conversation with an older councilmember.

I waited, uncertain, at the fringes of the group. Fragments of conversation rose and fell about the Records, and some meetings held the day before. Meetings that I hadn’t been included in. Again. Would I never move out of my junior role? I needed to find a way to contribute, to show my worth. I edged closer to Jorgen.

Before I could jump into the conversation, the doors opened again. A woman I’d never seen before approached Jorgen as if he were an old friend. She was almost old enough to be my mother, so her words came as an extra shock. “I am grateful for your sponsorship and am happy to serve you as an apprentice councilmember.”

I gasped. A new apprentice? Now? Why? Had Jorgen lost trust in his other apprentice councilmembers? Bewildered, I backed away and bumped into a young, blond woman who had entered with them.

She smiled. “Well met. I’m Linette from Braide Wood. Wade and I are giving testimony today.”
Braide Wood? Why were they waiting in our Rendor office? I’d ask someone, but I didn’t want to appear uncertain. Jorgen taught that confidence was an important quality in a councilmember. Of course it would help if I had the sort of brilliant mind, strength of character, and leadership skills that he had.

The signaler sounded, and we filed in. At least the newcomers sat in the back row. My hard-won place wasn’t being usurped. Yet. Now if only the strange woman behind me would stop whispering. If she understood so little about how the council worked, why had Jorgen allowed her the honor of attending? I’d studied for six seasons before I was allowed to enter this hall.

A sad case brought by a widow drew my attention back to the floor. She accused a guardian of murdering her husband. My stomach soured. Could it be true? Not just any guardian, either, but Tristan of Braide Wood.

A blur of movement interrupted the compelling testimony. The new apprentice. She pushed her way to the railing and shouted, “Wait! You don’t have all the information.”

Over the uproar throughout the Council chamber, Landon demanded her identity.

“I’m Susan of Braide Wood,” she answered with surprising spirit.

Why was she speaking from our Rendor clan balcony? Shock held me immobile. Jorgen would be furious.

For some inexplicable reason, Chief Councilmember Cameron invited her to the floor. So much for the value of procedure and decorum. She was making a mockery of our ancient and beautiful system of law.

The widow was speaking again, and my brain felt foggy, thoughts moving through sludge. What was wrong with me? I needed to concentrate. Jorgen often questioned us during breaks about the proceedings and our analysis. What if he asked me about this case? I had to be ready. But I couldn’t follow the words flying around the hall.

Then Susan asked us to recite the Verses. How could anyone from the clans not know our basic truth? By habit, the words passed from my lips. Jorgen pressed his fists into the rail before him and began to sing in true, sonorous tones. My mind cleared. New strength and resolve swelled in my chest.

The widow’s demeanor shifted. Rage contorted her face. She ran toward Susan, and a dagger caught an edge of light as the widow plunged the blade downward into Susan’s unprotected heart.

Chaos broke out in each balcony, and we all ushered out to our Rendor office. The sacred Council had been desecrated before my eyes.

I hugged the wall, watching as Markkel guarded his wife’s body. I wanted to cry, but shock held me in a cold paralysis. Not even a tear could break free.

A hand touched my shoulder firmly. “Rokkel, we continue. We always continue.” Jorgen’s deep voice shook me loose, and I managed a wobbly nod. He hardened his jaw. “Now, more than ever, there are decisions to make.”

He led our councilmembers back into the hall. For once, my feet dragged. Would our Council ever feel like a sacred space again? I barely listened as representatives debated the Rhusican presence among the clans. My mind strayed to the new apprentice who now lay dead in the outer office. Dead. Killed here, in the Council chamber before my eyes. I struggled to keep my face stern, serene, the face of a councilmember, but inside I screamed.

How could they continue yammering after what they’d just seen? How could Jorgen seem confident that the Council could still reach wise decisions? Why had the One allowed such a horrible event in our sacred Council? Nothing would ever be the same again.

At long last, Landon called for a break. I bolted through the door, and my eyes slid to the place on the floor where I expected to see Susan’s corpse. Instead, she was standing. Pale, but very much alive.

Alive!

Of all the shocks of the day, this one was the greatest of all. After so many seasons of watching and waiting, the One had sent a new Restorer!

A quiet joy built behind my ribs. Disillusionment fell off my shoulders. The next session was going to be history-making. And I would be there to see it all.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rain


"Rain. The rain didn’t change. Each afternoon water stippled against rock outside my window, splashed into puddles, and then dwindled to gentle drips. Cleansing, soothing. I always welcomed the sound." (Linette in The Deliverer by Sharon Hinck)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Mountain of Mist

One night I was driving to a meeting. On the horizon, I saw mountain peaks.

In my rather muddled state, I wondered when a mountain range had developed to the north of Minneapolis.

Minnesota is a beautiful state, but we don't have towering mountains. Yet as I gazed down a street purple mountain's majesty rose in the distance.

When my brain caught up with my senses, I figured out that I was looking at a thick bank of clouds, in the triangular shape of mountains - dark enough to contrast with the dusky sky and create the illusion of the Rockies transplanted to my neighborhood.

It made me wonder about how many of the mountains that seem to bar my way are mere mist. From the distance they look sturdy, powerful, daunting. But if I wait awhile, a strong wind will blow them away.

Maybe I'd have more faith to move mountains if my vision were clearer and I saw some of those mountains for what they really are.

Lord, open our eyes.

Blessings,
Sharon Hinck

Monday, May 18, 2015

Interview with Cameron Banks - Composer

Today I'm welcoming Cameron Banks to my blog, a talented young composer who created the music for the back-of-the-book extras in The Deliverer.

Cameron will also be one of the judges in the "Song of Lyric Contest" and will compose the music for the winner.

Cameron, I was blown away by your powerful choral arrangement of the song for The Deliverer. Could you let the readers know how it came about that you wrote this?

Late in the Fall of 2012, I had received the poem, "Day of the One," and I was hooked to the words. They flowed like lyrics to me from the very first time I read this poem. I began to try many different melodic lines to fit the pictures the poem created. All in all, it took many hours to compile the endless ideas and bits of music when I realized that I had been approaching this poem from the wrong perspective. I had been too focused on the picturesque lyrics of animals and mentions of landscapes when this poem was meant to focus on our Deliverer, Christ Jesus. I sat down for a few minutes to regain composure, and I began to write. Instead of limiting myself to one or two melodic lines, I wrote the piece of what I heard in mind when I read it.

Tell us a little bit about your background as a musician:

Ever since I was young boy, I was fond of music. How pieces of brass, wood, and plastics could make pleasant, beautiful sounds really interested me. I took piano lessons for a few years until I began band. By the time I was in high school, I loved learning new instruments. Before and after school, I would sneak into the music room and try out all different kinds of instruments. I began to read books and look up how to repair instruments. I grew fond of composing once I started singing in the choir my senior year of high school. I had already known the beauty of the different colorful chords that instruments could make but I had no idea that the human voice could do that as well.

While performing at Concordia University in the top college Wind Symphony and a semester with the Kapelle choir, I began learning about the complexities of music theory, counterpoint, and how to compose music from the basic level. I grew fond of composing music early on and even began "breaking certain rules" since I thought,  "Hey, the greatest composers got to so why couldn't we?" Not too many of my professors were always fond of me breaking the rules, but hey, it was the best defense I had and I still laugh about it. Today, I still compose both choral and instrumental music but nowadays, I am fond of teaching music and providing my students opportunities to show off their love and appreciation using music to glorify God.

When you compose music, does it flood you in a delirious wave (like Handel’s experience in writing The Messiah), or do you battle for each deliberate note? What is the creative process like for you?

If I had to choose, I would say music comes to me like a flood than a battle. Not to sound vain but I feel that composing music comes to me naturally. I don't really spend too much time "battling" each note except for maybe when I'm putting the final touches on my music. If I'm working on chord structure to create a harmonious picture of what I'm writing about, then I would be a little bit more deliberate in my note choice.

In the creative process,  I always begin with the ending. In order to begin a piece, you must know two things: 1) How the music ends, and 2) Where the destination from the beginning notes will take you. Excluding multiple movement works, music must have an ending but also must create the desire for wanting more of the music. In a culture where we live in always desiring more than what we want, the only thing I embrace in this ideology is the want for music. There's so much creativity in all of us and I know that God has given us the ability to be people of individual creativity that unites us as inspirational, intuitive beings. In my life, music is that creative focal point. Music composition and performance are my creative outlet.

How does your faith inform your art? Any advice for artists, writers, and composers?

Faith informs my music through the simple fact that God has blessed us with individualized talents. These talents cannot be replicated exactly as another's, and music is God's way of providing us His message with and even without words. It stands to say that God does things that we cannot comprehend sometimes, and His reason and our reason are different. Most of the music I have written can and should be considered sacred music because I feel that there is a deeper message than us as imperfect, incompetent beings.

I also feel the need to include Matthew 28:19-20, the "Great Commission," in composing music because aren't we His chosen people to be missionaries of His Word? He has instructed us through the teachings in the Word and now has blessed us with the promise of eternal life. As the great J.S. Bach wrote, "He who relies on Jesus Christ, Heaven shall be his most surely." Thus, my purpose for composing music is to be informed through Christ, the anointed one, and until the Day of the One has come, we will continue our praises in heaven ours most surely.

My advice for artists, writers, and composers is to never give up on an unfinished project. No composer, artist, or writer has ever been satisfied with even close to 100% of their original works, personal transcriptions or adaptations, or even their commissioned pieces. It is easier to give up than strive towards the obtainable goal. Always set yourself reasonable goals and expectations. Inspiration and innovation takes time and a lot of small, well-detailed and planned goals. I also say to never settle for acceptable but don't make perfectionism take over your happiness and joy of creating. Each and every day is a new opportunity to learn, to be inspired, and to focus on how God has blessed your life even in the smallest ways. This little lesson can be used for life-living as well.

Thanks so much, Cameron! It's a joy visiting with you.
His,
Sharon Hinck

Friday, May 15, 2015

Bonus Scene 7 - The Restorer

After Chapter 24

Cameron:

Below my window, bedraggled people from a variety of clans made their way toward the tower. Drumbeats carried from the end of the street. I would normally put in my appearance along with other prominent leaders. But everyone’s preoccupation with the gathering provided a perfect time to begin my greatest project—transforming the records.

I turned to Medea. “Wait here.”

She nodded vacantly, tracing her hands along the smooth limestone wall of my office, staring at something I couldn’t see. Had she heard me? Lately, I was often uncertain. While she possessed the power and brilliance of a hundred magchips, she was also as unreliable as a shorting connection.

Rationality flickered on and off and in her, but that only added to my fascination. Besides, my plans relied on her help, and her abilities were breathtaking to watch.

I shook my head and hurried down to the lower levels. All the more reason to make the changes to the records. That alone would finally free me to pursue my agenda to strengthen the clans.
Our clans were stuck—trapped—by extreme adherence to the outdated Records that kept us from competing with the nations around us in weapons’ progress. If those stubborn old songkeepers were more willing to compromise, I wouldn’t have had to take such drastic steps.

Surely the One who watched our clans also understood my choices. After all, He had appointed the Council to protect the people, and that’s exactly what I was doing.

My heart pounded against my temples as I made my way down the dark hall to the hiding place. So close at last. Seasons of planning and effort, and finally my greatest achievement as Chief Councilmember was within my grasp.

I paused to be sure no footsteps echoed on the stairs behind me. No one was following. I brought up the lightwall and stepped toward the alcove.

Empty. The Records I'd collected and hidden had disappeared.

Fear wrapped insidiously into my thoughts. Could the old stories be true? Were the Records really linked to the One’s tangible presence in some way? Had He taken back the Records I’d so carefully collected?

I choked back a laugh. Ridiculous. I forced my pulse to slow to match the throbbing drums that murmured in the distance. There was only one explanation, and it wasn’t a supernatural one. Tristan.

He’d been in Braide Wood when my men had arrived to take the records. He would have understood the implications. But would he have dared to disobey the Council’s orders for him to report to the River Border? Angry as I was at the missing Records, grim satisfaction built in my chest. Tristan didn’t deserve to be a guardian. I’d tried to prove that to the Council, but each effort had failed. But if he’d ignored their direct orders, I’d finally have what I needed to destroy him. Especially when combined with the evidence that addle-witted Susan had provided.

I took the stairs two at a time and rushed back into my office.

Medea spun slowly in the center of the room, her chin tilting up and hair spilling down her back. Her skirt flared around her ankles as she turned again and again.

“We have a problem,” I said.

She kept spinning, but a smile lit her face. “Oh, good. Puzzles are lovely.”

I touched her shoulder, and she slowed, finishing her turn to face me. “The Records are gone,” I said.
 “But we can use this. I’ll need your help at the Council meeting. Are you ready?”

She pulled a dagger from her boot sheath and smiled. “I’m very ready.”

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Yield

I don't always like the concept of yielding when I'm driving.
I don't like it in life, either.

God and I have had long talks about my problem with yielding to Him.

As a writer, I've discovered areas of the work where I have no control: the decision by a publisher to offer a contract, the number of copies that sell, and the opinions of others about the book.

Yield.

God whispers it to me.

Let go of your need to convince everyone to like you. Stand strong in my pronouncement that you are my beloved child. Stop believing you will shatter and die when someone is unhappy, disappointed, or angry with you.

Yield control of something you really never had control over in the first place.

My heart answers, "Yes."

Is God whispering to you to merge more deeply into Him? Does it require yielding . . . a giving way?

Lord, give all of us the courage today to yield to your grace and tender love for us. Help us give way where you are nudging certain attitudes and actions out of our lives.
Amen.

Sharon Hinck

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Song of First Light






Just a reminder - if you're planning on submitting lyrics for the "Song of Lyric" contest, send them soon so there is time to post them to my blog in May. The entries will be sent to the judging panel on May 31st.

While you wait, you can listen to the music for Song of First Light from The Restorer.

Just visit my multi-media page, scroll down, and find the button for the song.

Enjoy! And whether or not you write songs, I pray you'll make music in your heart today.

Blessings,
Sharon Hinck