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Awards, Moving, and a Review of "Sound of Freedom"

Greetings, fellow adventurers! This may be my last blog for at least a month as I'm just weeks away from moving and I really need to focus on packing. Still, if something important comes up I'll be sure to let everyone know.

First, I received word from the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards ( about my entries for both The Wayward Mage and The Forbearing Mage. While I didn't win, I at least received Honorable Mentions for them both in the two categories I submitted: General and Young Adult Fiction. I recognize that my books don't fit into the Young Adult motif with an older protagonist. But I will say for anyone who needs to hear this, that my books are teen safe. Give them a read.

I mentioned before that I am moving. So, production on my upcoming books has slowed to a crawl. I only have the brief window on my lunch breaks now to write anything or work on marketing and the like. Right now I'm working on book 4 (which has surpassed 161,000 words today) trying, TRYING!, to finish it. Chances are I won't before the move. Hopefully I'll be able to get back into full production mode again come September.

And, to finish, my wife and I went and saw the movie "Sound of Freedom" last week. Two things before I give my thoughts. I've known about Tim Ballard and his group Operation Underground Railroad for nearly a decade. I've been donating to them for nearly as long. Part is that in my own adventures overseas I've seen impoverished regions and witnessed first hand what happens to kids in those areas, chiefly how they have to work to help their families survive. This makes them easy targets for kidnappers and the like. So, O.U.R.'s work in helping free children that get preyed upon is something I whole heartedly support. The other thing is that I'm not going to make this political. I've actually fought with people online on both sides of the political spectrum over this movie and it galls me that people are trying to politicize the core message of "Sound of Freedom."

So, how was the movie?

In a word, heavy. This is not a feel-good, action-packed thriller. This is a somber, mostly quiet, retelling of Tim's story in leaving his career bagging pedophiles at DHS to go rescue the child victims of these crimes. The scenes depicting kidnapping or the abuse the kids suffer will break any parent's heart. Thankfully, nothing explicit is ever shown, but even then just the lead up to what you know is going to happen or what is happening offscreen to these children is gut-wrenching. As a father of a young toddler, there were times I felt what the fathers in the movie were going through. This message was made all the more real by the award-deserving performances of Jim Caviezel and the two children who played the siblings at the heart of the movie. This may have been a low-budget film but it felt like a movie that cost ten times more.

Ultimately, I do recommend this movie. Just be prepared with some Kleenexes because this movie does not shy away from the ugly truth. I would put this movie in the same category as films such as Amistad and Schindler's List. Yes, I know that because this is a movie some details from the real-life story are left out or compressed for time. However, from everything I've read or seen in interviews about the true story, this movie captures I would say about 80-90% of it accurately. And for that, it deserves to be recognized as one of the most important movies and messages of our era. There are many sorrowful parts in the film, but it is ultimately a hopeful message that these children can be rescued.

Support this movie and groups like Operation Underground Railroad that help these unfortunate children escape the modern-day slave trade. As the movie says, "God's children are not for sale!"

Until next time!

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