IT’S HERE! The Prequel: “The Walls in the Middle of Idumea.” (And it’s a great place to start reading the series.)

The prequel I’ve been promising is now on Amazon! (There’s no greater feeling than waking up in the morning and seeing emails from Kindle Direct that begin with “Congratulations!”)

This shorter book (180 pages) is a great place to start reading the series. It works as both background and teaser, giving insights to characters you already know (if you’ve read the series) or will encounter later if this is your first introduction into the Forest at the Edge series.

Since it’s a smaller book, the paperback is only $6.50 and the digital download is only $.99. I’ve also committed to always providing my books for free here on my website. Click here for the .pdf version of the entire book. It’s copyrighted and to be used only for your reading pleasure, but you may share it as you wish.

I realized earlier this spring that Pere Shin’s story about the servants in the king’s mansion needed to be told, especially now when we have so many people ignorant of what’s really happening around them. The servants were naive; but today, too many people willfully don’t care to know what’s going on. That only enslaves them, not frees them.

From the back cover:

 Newly appointed as High General over the Army of Idumea, 40-year-old Pere Shin knows he’s only a figurehead. He’s hardly the typical officer: he’s cheerful, overweight, and bribes his favorite enlisted men with sweets. The army only expects him to sit quietly out of its way.

But Pere Shin has other ideas. There are secret groups to be exposed, and wrongs to be righted–he just has to find out who, and what, and where they are. As he does, he discovers more problems than he anticipates. So when his teenage son Relf offers to help, Pere decides that now may be a good time to give Relf some early command school training. That’s not the first decision he’s going to regret.

Taking place four decades before Book 1 of the Forest at the Edge series, this prequel tells the story that later inspires Pere’s grandson, Perrin, to go beyond the barriers that hold him back to expose what’s really goes on behind the walls in the middle of Idumea.

Walls BOOK RELEASE1

Peregrines and Perrin Shin

I’ve always been fascinated by peregrine falcons, especially those that made a home for themselves on a high-rise in the middle of downtown Salt Lake City.

I was a teenager when they first arrived nearly 30 years ago, making a nest on an unlikely ledge overlooking the busiest traffic area. When their chicks first fledged, wildlife resources closed down the street to make sure the chicks didn’t end up as road kill. I was amazed and tickled that the preservation of these beautiful birds was important enough that traffic could be diverted for a while.

peregrine box

I love how she’s winking at me. I had no idea their eggs are PINK! (These photos are screen shots I took from the live cam.)

Since then, the building the falcons first nested on (Hotel Utah) has been remodeled (now the Joseph Smith Memorial Building), and during those construction years the peregrines made nests on a cliffside at a nearby quarry. But when the building was completed a few years later, the falcons returned! The LDS Church, who owns the building, has since put up a nesting box and allowed cameras to be installed (click here to watch them) to keep an eye on Salt Lake City’s most unlikely residents, whose main diet is, unsurprisingly, pigeons.

peregrine head cock

Love her little head cock at me. (Naturally, she can hear me through the computer screen saying, “Sweety! Look up here!”

I love the idea of survival in any circumstance, of adapting one’s expectations to what’s available, yet still being true to one’s self.

When I started this book series, and I’d drafted over one hundred pages, I still didn’t have a name for one of my main characters (his name was, if I remember correctly, 989). I took a step back and looked at the whole of the Forest at the Edge series. I realized what it was about: Making your life work, even when everything’s seemingly against you.

The peregrines wouldn’t leave my mind, and I eventually realized 989 needed to became Perrin Shin. (Couldn’t name him Perrin Grin[e], however, because–as I’ve written on my characters page–Captain Grin is the most ridiculous name ever. Can you just picture him as a superhero? Talk about nauseatingly cheesy.)

However, Perrin Shin still harks back to peregrines–the fastest animal in the world, the most adaptable bird of prey (found on every continent except the Antarctic) and a  . . .

SOMETHING AMAZING JUST HAPPENED!

As I was writing this post, I kept checking back on the falcon cam. I heard the female squawking loudly, then I saw . . . a SECOND EGG! Yes, while I was writing this, she laid another incredible pink egg.

second egg

Less than three minutes’ old second egg! (Not to be confused with a three-minute egg.)

For a moment I felt badly for her that no one was there to witness this. Then I realized females are always alone in the wild laying eggs, and no one’s there cheering or patting her forehead with a damp washcloth.

And then I realized–I’m here, cheering! And likely so are many other falcon-enthusiasts, all over the state and country (world?) that happened to be watching.

And she has no idea that the little camera in her box is showing her hardest and greatest moments.

I think that’s why I love to write this series, why I’m obsessed with exploring the ups and downs and progress and set-backs of the Shins: I get to cheer for them, weep for them, and occasionally sit back astounded at what they overcome and how they persevere.

I’m hoping they will keep giving me hope, just as these amazing peregrines each year remind me life can happen just about anywhere.

falcon and two eggs

Take a nap, sweety–you deserve it. (Since this is the female, perhaps it’s actually Mahrree? With a Jaytsy egg and a Peto egg?)

sleeping falcon

Have a good nap, Mahrree . . .