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Viewing Blog: The Last Crusaders' Blog, Most Recent at Top
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Exploring the wondrous world of V.L.Hoyt's The Last Crusaders
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1. A New Generation of Fans!!

One of V.L. Hoyt’s readers sent along the picture above with the following note:  “A new generation of Fans!! Logan is now in 5th grade – the perfect age for TLC – and up @ 6 am reading on a Sunday morning!”  Six AM on a Sunday morning??  Thank you so much Logan!  And thank your mom for the pic.  Go Crusaders!

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2. “I CROCIATI ULTIMI”: The Last Crusaders in Italy

“Questa mese abbiamo sentito parlare gli ammiratori di V.L. Hoyt – anch’io sono una sua ammiratrice.”  I know.  My Italian could not be worse (even with Babel Fish).  What I meant to say was, “We have heard from admirers of V.L. Hoyt this month – I am also an admirer of V.L. Hoyt.”  And the author did hear from many enthusiastic fans of late (in both English and Italian).  A few weeks ago, V.L. Hoyt flew to Foligno, Italy, and presented The Last Crusaders to a crowd of enthusiastic fans.  A very lively discussion of the book was followed with Virginia’s insights about being an author.  Some of the young female attendees were the most inquisitive, begging details of the impending second installment in the ‘Crusader’ series. 

The presentation and book-signing were at the invitation of Paola Battoni of Il Salvalibro, a wondrous bookstore very near the heart of this ancient town.  Foligno is nestled in the province of Perugia and the region Umbria.  It was founded about the 8th Century BC (Imagine trying to restore an apartment’s original hardware!).  The town is named after an ancient goddess, Fulginia.  It has a wondrous town square, from which the Il Salvalibro bookstore is only a short walk, near the Fiume Topino (the river passing through Foligno).  By the way, the printing shop in town was the first to print a book in Italy and in the Italian language (it was Dante‘s Divine Comedy printed by Johann Neumeister, a former pupil of Gutenberg, in 1472, 20 years before ‘Columbus sailed the ocean blue’).  Proof of the Umbrian resilience is how gloriously they have rebounded from major earthquakes in 1997 (which you might recall) and 1832 (which you probably don’t). 

The attendees were delighted to discuss the book.  Virginia seemed just as interested in hearing her fans’ comments and questions.  Though the crowd was predominantly ex-pats, there was an contingent of locals, eager to attend the bookstore’s first book-signing, and by an author from Santa Monica.  The adolescents in attendance all seemed to be writers themselves, breathless with dreams and concerns about their writing.  The author’s glee could not be contained.  But, after an hour or so, the discussion slipped effortlessly into a catered party in the balmy courtyard of the bookstore.  The signing had happily coincided with Notte Rosa, a vast street fair throughout the city.  The author made her way through the delirious crowds to a fiftieth birthday party of a local Count’s son.  Yes, a Count!  I know!  The only count I’ve ever known was pushing chocolate cereal.

But the long day was soon too much for not only the author, but also her husband and friends.  They took one last stroll through the ebullient crowds (determined to party into t

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3. V.L. Hoyt’s ‘The Last Crusaders’ Book Trailers featured on Book-Trailers.net

The book trailers for V.L. Hoyt’s The Last Crusaders are going to be available on the Book-Trailers website.  The above graphic of the book’s cover will be used by the site as well.  We’re very excited about the opportunity, more so for additional exposure for the book.  The growing number of readers means more Crusaders!  So, look for the trailers, both ‘Forces of Light’ and ‘Forces of Darkness,’ here: http://www.book-trailers.net/

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4. VL Hoyt’s The Last Crusaders on YouTube

The Last Crusaders now has a video presence on YouTube

We’ve created two videos based, in part,on Tom Pomatti’s mysterious illustrations from the book.  One video is dedicated to the book’s ’Dark Forces’; the other, to the ‘Forces of Light.’ 

Some of the Crusaders rings’ history is also alluded to.  And the videos are linked by the moment when [Spoiler Alert] Merlin creates the Crusaders’ rings.  In the light version, we see Merlin’s triumph in the gathering of the Crusaders and those few knights whose lineage and rings have descended into present day.  The Light version can be seen here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amU_KSBv7jU

In the dark version, Merlin is deceived, transformed into a tree and made wait until the arrival of the Last Crusaders.  But that’s only part of the perils awaiting our Last Crusaders.  The Dark version can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-Tok6NIz4A 

The experience of creating the videos has been absolutely wondrous.  Just trying to envision visuals as memorable as VL Hoyt’s characters was challenge enough!  But we hope you enjoy the finished products enough to comment on them (‘Like’ them, perhaps) and tell your friends.  Maybe they too will Join the Crusaders and Join the Crusade!

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5. Finding The Last Crusaders’ Blog

Okay, this is one of those ‘Google games’ people play: seeing how well you rank in the results of search engines.  Don’t you want to know where you rank?  Well, when we search for ‘Last Crusaders,’ all kinds of stuff comes up.  But the Facebook page for the novel (http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Last-Crusaders/383521025798) comes up 8th.  Pretty good ranking.  So potential readers are finding it.  Yahoo!  Speaking of that search engine, on Yahoo, this blog shows up 8th (yeah) and the Facebook site shows up 10th, when just typing in ‘Last Crusaders.’  Much better.  Searching for the ‘Last Crusader’s blog’ or the author’s name on Yahoo is a wonderful thing for a blogger to see, with each topping the list.  But let’s get back to Google and the results for ‘Last Crusaders.’  The official page for the novel (http://www.hoytbooks.com/ )comes in 18th on Google.  This blog didn’t even appear (well, after 10 pages of results, we stopped looking). In Google, the author’s name brings up Amazon.com’s sales of the book and the author’s twitter account first.  That’s good.  Oh, and also a map of Hoyt, Kansas.  Tiny town, looks nice.  Typing in ‘Last Crusaders’ Blog’  has the Blog and the Facebook page for the book right up at the top.  Ahh, better.  So what does all this mean?  Well, trying to be analytical about how the engines produce these results just leads nowhere.  But, this does mean that people can find this blog, the twitter account and, especially, this wonderful book, if they so choose.  So, Yahoo!

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At the forefront of V. L. Hoyt’s The Last Crusaders, four teenagers from around the globe have their incredible ancestries revealed to them, the deaths of their fathers exposing bloodlines back to the Knights of the Round Table and a singular quest for them to save mankind.  But these four teens are just the beginning of the world revealed.  The novel is populated with wonderful roles any actor would love to sink their teeth into.  From cat burglar ‘The Mink’s’ fateful pilfering in a Buddhist Temple to the morbid appetites of the maleficent Mordred, the book is brimming with unforgettable characters.  Henchmen and helpful strangers abound!  And no one who has read the book (that I know) can resist suggesting whom they would like to see in the lead roles.  So, (in no particular order) here we go!

PROFESSOR MORGAN DUNMOORE (DUNMOORE):  ‘Ruggedly handsome,’ ‘Fit and muscular beneath his clothes (flannel slacks and khaki raincoat),’ and ‘Dark brown hair, graying at the temples’ conjure up just the kind of professor that Colin Firth might play.  Yes, it seems like he’s in everything these days.  But he’s also good in everything and perfect for the role.





SANDRA MORENO:  Beautiful and strong, even after the death of her husband and near-death of her son, Sandra Moreno must have presence.  Though she is not featured in much of the book’s middle, Sandra’s presence is obvious in the love missing as her son Lucas ventures on his quest.  We say Selma Hayek.





MERLIN: Though little more than an apparition, Merlin is the spiritual father of the now-fatherless Crusaders and the springboard for their quest.  He is the depository of reclaimed icons.  He is safe harbor for The Last Crusaders.  Kenneth Branagh would make the perfect Merlin.  He is one of only a few actors that could easily take on an iconic role like this.





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7. TLC for Free!

If you haven’t picked up a copy of The Last Crusaders and need any convincing whatsoever, take heart and take note!  TLC can be read for free!!!  Well, if not all of it, much of it, anyway.  Amazon.com’s Breakthrough Novel Awards has posted excerpts from all the semi-finalists winners’ works.  To get your fix of free TLC, go to the following link:  http://www.amazon.com/Last-Crusaders-excerpt-Breakthrough-ebook/dp/B004TETCLQ/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1302542989&sr=1-2  Yes, it’s absolutely free, with free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet.  Enjoy!  And Join the Crusade!

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8. The Last Crusaders chosen for the Amazon.com’s 2011 Breakthrough Novel Awards

Exciting news!  Amazon.com just announced the Quarter-Finalists for their Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.  We congratulate V.L. Hoyt’s The Last Crusaders, which moves on with other Semi-Finalists to the next round of the competition.  The Last Crusaders joins 250 other winners in the best Young Adult Fiction category.  The panelists judging the contest include Gayle Forman (author of Sisters in Sanity and Where I Stay), Jennifer Besser (publisher of Penguin Book imprint G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers) and Julie Just (of the Janklow & Nesbit literary agency).

The Semi-Finalists will be announced on April 26, 2011.  The grand prize winner will be awarded a publishing contract with Penguin Group USA and includes a $15,000 advance.

Amazon.com has a discussion board on which readers can join in discussions with both new and returning writers.  To download a complete list of the 250 Young Adult Fiction winners, just click the link in this sentence.

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9. Proust Questionnaire: V.L. Hoyt

Following the recent publication The Last Crusaders, the first volume of the Crusaders’ trilogy, the novel’s author V.L. Hoyt sits down with The Last Crusader’s Blog to discuss heroes, fears and perfect happiness.

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?  My husband, Tom.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? A sense of self.

What is the quality you most like in a man? A sense of humor.

What is your greatest extravagance? Art.

On what occasion do you lie? Many times (she laughs). But I lie for good, not evil.

When and where were you happiest? It’s hard to say. Back in time, returning to places, means regaining lost friends but losing others I love in my life now. (After a moment’s pause) My years with Tom! Really, it’s true.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Fear.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Duplicity.

What historical figure do you most identify with? I don’t really ‘identify’ with any.  But I greatly admire Gandhi.

What is your greatest fear? Spiders. Not snakes, spiders.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? I don’t think anyone wants only happiness. How would you know when you’ve achieved it? You need a little bit of sadness to comprehend happiness. How about bringing friends on a private jet to a house in Italy, hanging out, laughing? That’s close enough.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? To be non-judgmental, because it only holds you back.

What is your favorite occupation? Writing. It’s my love, my passion. Guess I’m ahead of the game.

Where would you like to live? I love Hawaii. I love Italy. I like it here (in Santa Monica). Heck (she confesses), a house on the beach is the dream.

Who are your heroes in real life? Soldiers in combat for all of us. Firemen, policemen, they’re all the same thing, really. I haven’t risked my life for someone else and really appreciate those who do.

Who are your favorite writers? From Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland) to ‘Carolyn Keene‘ (Nancy Drew) and Madine L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time), C.S. Lewis (Narnia) and J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) and Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson). But then there was Anne Rice, Dean Koontz and Stephen King, Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and J.R.R. Tolkien. Tales of horror, haunted houses. I love getting scared to death.  And I love fantasy.

What is your motto? Thoreau: “Go confidently in the direction of your drea

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10. All I Want for Christmas is The Last Crusaders

The Holidays are upon us.   Joy all around.  What better time to battle the Dark Forces than during the Season of Light?  If an insatiable imagination lingers on your gift list, get them The Last Crusaders!  Perhaps you’d like to savor the adventure and suspense yourself.  Well, curl up in a comfy corner, crack open V.L. Hoyt’s wonderful new book, and Join the Crusade!  You’ll be so glad you did.

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11. After Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, what to read?

After finishing up the Potter or Jackson series, readers are often at a loss of what to devour next.  Whether you’re that voracious reader or have one near and dear to you, check out The Last Crusaders, the first book in an epic tale.  You can find out more about the book here: http://www.hoytbooks.com/  There are new quests and friends, heros and villians to be found within Crusaders pages.  If you’ve recently finished the Harry Potter Series or the Percy Jackson books, pick up The Last Crusaders.  We think you’re going to love it!

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12. While Waiting for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows…

Faithful fans of the Harry Potter books and films were introduced to The Last Crusaders series this past Thursday, November 18th.  While waiting in line for the penultimate Harry Potter film, excited fans at the Grove (Los Angeles) were given glossy postcards announcing The Last Crusaders and its associated websites.  Reaction was quite positive and very enthusiastic.  Some of the faithful were also given complimentary copies of The Last Crusaders, signed by the author.

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13. Crusaders speak!

Please tell us what you think about The Last Crusaders.  Add your reviews of the book in the comments box below.  And thank you for Joining the Crusade!

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14. Join the Crusade!


Modern Teenagers Embark on Ancient Crusade in The Last Crusaders:  

Four unlikely modern teenagers and an Oxford professor must defeat the ancient Dark Powers by locating the legendary wizard, Merlin, and finishing a quest begun by their Camelot forefathers…all over the course of a one-week Spring Break in the first book of V.L. Hoyt’s Crusader trilogy, The Last Crusaders.  Lucas Moreno, a typical video-gaming 15-year-old from San Antonio, joins up with three other teens – Des Moboto from Morocco, Maya Hosokawa from Japan, and Ryan Casey from Ireland.  Only two things bind them: the inheritance of medieval rings forged by Merlin, and the murders of their fathers.  The rings set the Crusaders on a path where they must battle savage humans, fantastical creatures, and their own emotions to save the world.  And each other.  It could be right out of one of Lucas’s video games.  Only this one’s for real!

V.L Hoyt is a writer and moonl

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