Episode 42
Thorns of Glory Massive, Unrestrained Reveal!
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Thorns of Glory Massive, Unrestrained Reveal!

 Episode 42  Comments  Stop Play

Chapter 1 narration from the forthcoming Tennis Shoes Adventure: Featuring Apollus and Meagan.

Greetings listeners! So glad that you’re here. Welcome to ForeverLDS. And Merry Christmas! Unless yer listening to this show in March, which is certainly possible, in which case, Merry Christmas anyway!

I know what yer thinkin’. Last episode he promised to read Chapter 1 of Tennis Shoes Adventure Series, Volume 13: Thorns of Glory. Is he really gonna do it? You gotta ask yerself a question. Do ya feel lucky?

I used to do a comedy bit where I cast Jimmy Stewart in the role of Dirty Harry. “I-I-I know what y-yer thinkin’. Did I fire five shots er-er did I fire six shots? Well, I don’t really remember. So yer-yer-yer gonna have to ask yerself a question. D-d-do-do—” But nobody knows who Jimmy Stewart is anymore. Or even heard of the movie Dirty Harry. I need to update that. Maybe Mr. Crabs. “I know what yer thinkin’. You be down there wonderin’ if I fired five shots er six. Ain’t that right, Spongebob? Truth is, I don’t really remember. So I got me a feelin’ yer gonna have to ask yerself a question. Do ya feel lucky? Well do ya? ‘O ‘course you do!” Or Yoda. “Know what you’re thinking, I do. Wondering if I fired five shots or six shots, you are. Ask yourself a question, you must. Feel lucky, do you?” My son forces me to impersonate all the characters on Minecraft Storymode, but I’ll spare you those. Shoulda spared you these!

Really, I’m just stalling because . . . it won’t help. It’s not going to satisfy Tennis Shoes fans, readers, and aficionados in any way. Sneak peeks are probably more irritating than anything else. Just finish the doggone book, Brother H! Not a day goes by that I don’t receive an email or Facebook message asking for a release date. I often say, the only thing worse would be if nobody was asking. If nobody cared! Thank you, thank you, thank you, those who care. I’m quite certain that my failure to complete these volumes at a faster pace has caused many to stop caring. And finally finishing the series, well, to those who have moved on, it isn’t gonna make much difference. Nobody is more aware than I am how the passage of time is not helpful to selling more books, earning a living, or breathing new life into a story universe.

So why don’t you finish it?! I’m trying to. Why are you even wasting time doing this silly podcast or making motion pictures or whatever else that gets you all distracted and discombobulated? Just a snapshot—if I could just give you a snapshot of my life—That’s really no excuse. Everybody has “stuff.” Watch the movie Genius sometime with Jude Law and Colin Firth. It’s about American author Thomas Wolff, and no, I am not a genius and I’m not even comparing myself to what the movie says about the writer Thomas Wolff. Ah, but the writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, played by Guy Pearce—he makes a cameo in the movie. No, I can’t remotely compare my talents with Fitzgerald, who wrote The Great Gatsby, but in that movie, there, with what’s going on with that character, that does set off a few familiar echoes. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

The fact is, I am making progress. Nearly 200,000 words. For those who may not know, my objective was/is to finish volumes 13 and 14 simultaneously and turn them in to my publisher on the same day, ‘cause I wasn’t sure my readers could tolerate another potential stretch of multiple years before finally drawing to a close the story arc that began with 5 books ago with Warriors of Cumorah. Measuring by word count Volume 13 is already done. I just haven’t really identified a logical break point between 13 and 14. I’d have to move some stuff around. Could I do that? Yeah, I probably could. Do you want me to do that or would you rather I just get the thing done and turn it all in at once so that readers can know with certainty that the final volume will appear on shelves within 3 months, 6 months—at most a year—after Volume 13, which I’d just call Thorns of Glory, Part 1, and Volume 14, Thorns of Glory Part 2, like the Feathered Serpent books?

Question is, do I have the discipline to do that? I don’t know! Fact is, I’d love to publish a book. I need to publish a book. I could use the income. Book sales are not what they once were. Royalties aren’t structured quite the same as when I began this novel-writing thing. I know you got your own problems and you don’t need to hear about mine. So yeah. It’s tempting to just put out a book. My fear is that if I only released one volume, readers just couldn’t take another long-range cliffhanger. They wouldn’t even bother to tar and feather me. They’d just . . . forget that I exist. If they haven’t already.

If only this podcast made money. No such luck. It loses money.

And that brings us to a very brief digression. Let me tell you a snippet about our new podcast platform: Anchor. Anchor is a one-stop shop for recording, hosting, and distributing, your podcast. Best of all it’s 100% free, and ridiculously easy to use. See, here’s the idea. Beyond its other benefits, Anchor now has a capability to match your podcast with great sponsors. Finally, you can get paid a modicum of chedder, aka mullah, for podcasting your show about the things you care about most.

First go to anchor.fm/start to join ForeverLDS and a diverse, growing community of podcasters already using Anchor.

Ta da! That was our first official advertisement. Of course, right on the ForeverLDS website there’s also a place for donations, but those seem to be as rare as mermaid sightings, because who isn’t asking for donations? I had about 25 messages yesterday on Facebook, all asking me to open my wallet. ‘Tis the season, I know! Still, I have to wonder why have a Facebook account! I spend more time dodging promotions and solicitations than talking to anyone. There seem to be as many good causes and GoFundMes as people on the planet.

Now, I’m not saying don’t donate to ForeverLDS, because attempting to reach a listener’s spiritual core is a great cause, but will it pay any bills? Not very likely!

Back on point. Did I mention I have ADHD? Back on point. The podcast takes time. But I love it. And listeners seem to like it, although every episode whereby listeners are invited to post comments, half of them merely ask when I’m gonna finish the next Tennis Shoes book. Not sure they even listened to the episode. Just found a handy place to ask me this question. I don’t post those, ‘cause they wouldn’t make sense alongside the topic. But as I say, having folks constantly ask, is far preferable to the alternative where no one asks, and I am a mere figment in the collective Latter-day memory.

So this is for you. I’m reading this first chapter for the “askers”. Especially those who have asked, “What in tarnation is gonna happen to Apollus and Meagan stranded on that cliff in the middle of the Jurassic or Triassic era being attacked by giant, flying, dinosaur/Pterasaur like monsters?”

You know, it occurs to me that some ForeverLDS listeners may have never read the Tennis Shoes series. Just heard rumors that it was about modern characters going back to Book of Mormon times. What do flying dinosaurs in the Triassic have to do with—? Boy, that would take a while…. Even those who do know what’s happen, maybe you should first go back and read that scene from Book 12: Drums of Desolation. For those who have no idea what the Tennis Shoes Series even is, lemme bring you up to speed:

Embark on an incredible journey in history and time—a time when your favorite heroes from the scriptures are more than just names on a page. Heroes like Mormon, Captain Moroni, Teancum, Abraham—even though Abraham isn’t in the series until Book 9, and he’s just a baby. You get the point. They’re all there. Feel the heat of battle, revel in the glory of adventure and suspense, romance and Romans. How Romans get in there takes a while to explain too. Never mind. Keep reading. Immerse yourself and soon it will all make sense. Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites by Chris Heimerdinger. No, that’s not a pseudonym. That’s his real name. Who in their right mind would make up that name? Order it today. Directly from the Author. And he'll sign each book. Ask nicely, he'll sign it twice. Order it for Christmas. Sure that's just a few days away. You never heard of Priority Mail? Or so it's a few days late. Big deal. You never get a Christmas present late? Makes it Christmas all over again. So do it. The Tennis Shoes Adventure Series. An adventure for the ages. Also available in audio. All volumes sold separately. Warning: Not responsible for convoluted plot twists, unpronounceable characters, enmity toward the author, or irritating cliffhangers. Choking hazard if swallowed.   


Okay. In this case, of course, I’m about to reopen the scene from the midst of a literal cliffhanger. The characters really are practically hanging from a cliff! Keep in mind, this is a rough draft. Dustin Randall will certainly tell me if there are any plot conflicts. Will those of you who have asked about the situation with Meagan and Apollus be glad after I read this chapter? I, uh—Can I take the 5th on that? Does it matter? Has a snippet of the book ever been particularly satisfying? But it’s cool. I’ll admit. A lot of stuff in this book is really, totally cool. Stuff you would have never—

Okay, that’s enough. At last . . . without further adieu—

Wait a sec.

Sorry had to douse a house fire, take out a terrorist, and defuse a nuclear bomb.

Barring any further interruptions . . . Here we go. Thorns of Glory, Chapter 1. From the point of view of Apollus:


Gripping my gladius in one hand and Megan's wrist in the other, I half-pulled, half-dragged her toward the opposite edge of the precipice—that edge furthest away from the dinosaur-like bird soaring forward to snatch us from the summit of this pillar of stone. Meagan breathed in rasping, terrified gasps.

Only a moment earlier we'd been surrounded by suffocating blackness. Meagan’s sightless eyes had perceived the silhouettes of numerous demon-like wraiths that we called Gadianton Ghosts. We'd been carried—“transported”—to this mysterious location, a place where massive towers jutted from a roiling ocean illuminated by a fast-setting sun. After our conveyance, Meagan was again blind. She could not see the brightly-feathered dragon’s descent, it's jaw, or "beak", prepared to pluck one of us by the arm or neck, perhaps carry us out over the sea. It might then drop us hundreds of feet, swooping down to retrieve our floating carcasses. Or it might shake us until it heard the snap of our necks, afterwards swallowing us in a single gulp.

Meagan and I had been sent to this desolate cliff by a power we could not fathom—a witchcraft known only to Ghosts of Teotihuacán. As a youth in Rome foreigners from distant lands had regaled us with stories of isles and vales inhabited by similar creatures. In Meagan’s century I’d attended a cinema play that dramatized similar monsters—ravenous beasts believed to have once roamed the earth. Was it possible that we’d been transported here on the "secret winds" (a term used by the Ghosts) to an epoch prior to the “dawn of man?” The phrase itself tasted peculiar on Roman lips. Jurassic period? Triassic period? My memory of these epochal names was vague, but I'd gleaned that scholars of science in Meagan’s century believed these behemoths were commonplace. The Ghosts had apparently exiled us to this prehistoric periphery to face certain death.

A ragged squawk cleaved the air behind us. I thrust Megan behind a rocky outcrop, shoving beside her as a dark shroud passed overhead. The dragon's jaws snapped above my ear. Its orange and emerald plumage glinted in the rays of the dying sun. The beast veered right and tilted its head to appraise our position before making a second attempt. The spikes of its reptilian/avian head, fore and aft, were on full display, crown topped by a scythe-like sail, the color of vermillion. I distinguished the glassy pupil of its piercing eye as it flapped to a higher altitude.

Meagan clutched my arm like a child. "I felt a gust!” she said breathlessly. “What happened?"

"It's coming back!" I roared above the single, sonorous note of the wind. "We’re moving around to the other side!"

Another shriek rent the air. Not the monster, but a scream from Meagan. I latched onto her waist as she was nearly hoisted away from me. A second dinosaur-bird had lighted on the opposite side of the outcropping. It had siezed Meagan, but not with its jaws. Its gnarled appendage, or claws, at the tip of its right wing grasped a tangle of Meagan's hair. Its left wing thrashed wildly as it fought to yank her off her feet. I was dragged several yards over sharp rocks, but I maintained my grip. 

As her crimson locks slipped through the dragon's talons, my ears vibrated as another cry rumbled from its lungs. I watched the beak draw back to pluck at us again, like grubs. Still embracing Meagan, I rolled to the left, onto my back, and looked past her shoulder into its pinkish, multi-ribbed throat, fetid with the stench of fish, glinting with hundreds of silvery, serrated teeth.

The jaws snapped, and her hip was nudged, but its reward was a mouthful of rock. In that split second I found the hilt of my gladius and thrust it clumsily forward toward the creature’s eye. Steel penetrated the scales just over its eye, perforating its vermilion sail and sending multiple feathers fluttering about. As it jerked upward, I was was hurled outward, flipping once more, and carrying Meagan with me as my left arm stayed enwrapped on her waist. Its tail whipped as it pivoted and stumbled somewhere toward the left. I raised my eyes and spotted the first dragon, determinedly gliding in, wingspan magnifying in size, eager to compete for the meal that the other dinosaur failed to obtain.

"Stay with me!" I cried at Meagan.

I don’t know how much she helped, reeling from the pain of having her scalp nearly torn from her skull, but somehow we crawled toward a cleft at the edge of the precipice. The crevice was shallow—a few yards deep at most—but we pressed inside as the beast again passed overhead. My own hair felt a nip as it flecked at the back of my head. It might have drawn blood, but I did not reach up to verify it. The creature would not fly over us a third time. It would light on the rocks and methodically pluck us out of the crevice just as a bird would draw a pair of worms from a hole. My mind was flustered, devoid of new ideas to save our lives.

It was Meagan who rasped, "Keep crawling!"

The notion was irrational. Our protection was little more than a shaft in the rock, cut by wind and rain. Crawling forward meant crawling downward and inevitably plunging over the edge. Yet I’d learned that with Meagan no notion was irrational. To ignore her "second sight" in these circumstances would be at my own peril, so I lead the way forward into the steep crevice. As expected, the little canyon dropped into nothing. I heard the surf crashing below.

Unexpectedly, a narrow pathway opened. This ledge descended toward a cave just below the lip of the cliff. A genuine place of refuge! Buffeted by wind, we shimmied down the perilous incline on our bellies. If we failed to pull ourselves into the ingress with precise timing, we'd plummet over the ledge.

The return of our adversary gave us plenty of incentive hoist ourselves the last few feet. The wind became our ally as its massive wings made it unadept. It settled for perching on the ledge above us.

"Move!" shouted Meagan, as if I wasn’t already squirming expeditiously.

She practically crawled over the top of me, causing my feet to kick her perpetually in the chest and chin. Despite the awkwardness, we slipped together into the cavity's aperture. Dust and pebbles sprayed our backs as the dragon's twin tripods of talons clutched at the ledge, flapping furiously to claim an ideal foothold that would allow it to finish us.

Somehow Meagan, eyes still bandaged, flopped ahead of me. She seized my collar and hoisting me deeper into the cavity. We scrabbled on our backs like crabs toward the rear of the cave. Did it qualify to be called a cave? More like an overhang where an osprey might build a nest. I couldn't turn my body or crane my neck to apprehend how deep we were or how safe from the dragon's serrated teeth. Meagan also tried to turn and look, though it was a mystery to me what she was seeing. Habit, I decided. Her eyes—or ears—naturally inclined toward danger.

"Are we safe?" She was demanding that I validate her inspiration that had led us here. "Is it a suitable sanctuary?"

The dragon was again airborne, directly beyond the cavity, bobbing and hovering at the entryway, crushing any inclination we might have to flee.

I vacillated answering, awed by her supernatural gifts. How did she know that such a cavern, however shallow, awaited us past that cleft? Moreover, she'd saved my Roman hide in the nick of time from the creature's snapping jaws. Sightless, perhaps, but she’d saved my life. I felt I was the one with a debilitating handicap, not Meagan.

I surveyed the cavity fore and aft, still pondering how to answer her question.

Excitedly, she pressed again, "It's a cave! Am I right? Have I found a route of escape?"

The dragon commenced tearing away relentlessly at loose shale and gravel around the opening, intent upon working in its head far enough inside to bite an idly placed hand or snag a fold of clothing—anything to drag us out. Each scratch of its talons allowed it to thrust its pick-shaped head a few inches deeper. Its brightest plumage was on its the sail of its crown and underside of its neck. The cavity filled with dust, as well as swirling orange, emerald, and vermilion feathers. I sniffed a particle in one nostril. As I replied to Meagan, I sneezed tenaciously to dislodge it.

"I—don't see—a way—out—" My chin snapped forward as the fleck expelled.

She rejected my appraisal. "No. There's a way! Look again! Look harder!"

The shale was more fragile than it appeared. Debris flew around us like shrapnel from an onager. Its beak was like an iron bludgeon, gnashing and smashing the outer edges, ever widening the gap. Fishy breath stank up the cavity. Was food so scarce that it felt it must batter its head so masochistically for such a paltry meal? Or did another force compel it? Was the creature vexed by a Gadianton spell? Not only this dragon. A third reptilian bird arose behind the first, intent to drive off its competitor and lay claim to the meal. The first dragon, superior in size, fiercly defended its territory, driving away the newcomer by slashing its talons to gouge at the third dragon's eyes.

During the distraction I scooted deeper into the niche, searching with my feet for an unseen corridor. Meagan seemed certain it existed; it must have been true! She attempted a similar maneuver, crawling backward and kicking at the stones, confident a hidden tunnel would miraculously appear. We might have squeezed in another yard or two, but no escape materialized.

"I don't understand!" she wailed, as if offended by her own spiritual premonitions. "It should be here! It must be here!"

Her confidence was mesmerizing. I rolled onto my back and scraped at loose shale, expecting a dark ingress to a wider channel to suddenly appear. In spite of Meagan's intransigence, the cave was a dead-end. There was no hidden escape. Its snout lunged deeper and deeper, tenaciousness only seeming to escalate.

Humbly, I said, "There’s no tunnel, my love. We're trapped. Unless—until—the beast departs."

"It won't depart," she insisted. "Don't you understand? They control it, Apollus! It will dig and dig! They sent us here to die, wherever 'here' is."

I responded curtly. "You said yourself: they are not infallible. Not all-powerful! You declared it to their faces and I felt them shudder. There is a way to escape!"

She snapped at me bitterly, "Then you tell me!"

I did not take her tone personally. She was frustrated. I knew I she was right, but by all the gods I could not deduce a solution.

The creature had managed to insert the front and rear prong of its head into the gap, scraping and hammering like the horns of an aurochs, increasingly widening the gap. It pulled back as if to assess its progress, appraising us for a single instant with those malevolent sapphire eyes. It jaws gaped wide and roared its dragon roar. Was it challenging us or merely laughing at our predicament, and its inevitable conclusion? At their widest expanse, I could have leapt into those jaws, bypassing the teeth, right into its throat, letting it swallow me whole.

Meagan could not see any of this. Yet her fingernails pierced tightly into my bicep. "That's it." Her voice was a whisper, then it amplified. "That's it!"


"Don't you see? The rift! It's right there! Right in front of us!"

"Rift?" I was perplexed.

She pointed into the dragon's gaping jaws. "There. I should have realized. It's a matter of faith. Safety is in the jaws of the 'Great Maw.' Do you see? Do you get it? Our obvious escape is the direction of obvious death."

I gaped at her, blinking, praying I'd misunderstood. "What are you—? Do you mean we—?"

"We charge it. Run straight at the Pterodactyl. Or whatever it is. If it moves, so be it. We leap into open space, out and away from the cliff."

I continued to gape, thunderstruck. She was serious. The creature thrust in and snapped several more times to see if it could finally find a purchase. I yanked down Meagan's wrist, denying it a target. Its ostensibly steel-plated head continued smashing shale. Comparatively puny appendages, like the gnarled claws of a bat, scraped out loose stones. This was not the first time it had nabbed prey using this method. It was confident of inevitable success.

"Meagan—" I tried to muster every ounce of reason. "—how do you know there is a rift?" A part of me felt ashamed to ask, like a skeptical disciple questioning a seasoned master.

"Because I see it!" she insisted. "I mean, I see . . . " She sighed in aggravation. "It's there, Apollus!"

"Even if there is a rift, those teeth could clamp down, spill our entrails before we can pass through. We’ll reach our destination looking like gristle."

She gripped my shoulders amidst the whirl of dust and feathers. "And there's the faith."

She spoke the word as if neither of us fully understood it, had never truly exercised it.

I swallowed and requested final clarification. "You're suggesting we lunge forward, into the dragon's gullet and . . .  this will allow us to pass through the rift?"

Her face flashed doubt, but it faded instantly, replaced by a nod of full vigor and enthusiasm. "Yes, Apollus!" She spoke loudly, though her voice was barely audible over the monster’s latest, ear-piercing shriek. "That's exactly what I'm suggesting!"


The end . . . of Chapter One. I’m serious. That’s where Chapter One ends. I told you you’d just hate me more! I tried, I tried, I tried to tell you . . .

In all seriousness—as if I’m capable of that in this episode—I do hope that you enjoyed what you heard. I just wanted to give you a taste. Very small taste. What’s the point of Chris Heimerdinger having a podcast if he didn’t have fun with the Tennis Shoes Series from time to time?

Now, for all those who just wanna go to the comments section of the website and urge me to hurry up and finish the series, I promise, I’ve already got the message. If it wasn’t so late at night as I finish recording this, I’d dive back into it right now. If you wanna express your thoughts, tell me if you’d like to read another volume in 2019. Reinforce this to me. You realize 2019 is the 30-year anniversary of Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites? Kinda cool, and embarrassing at the same time. My publisher is really pushing me to turn in a manuscript. Some kind of manuscript. So the marathon is on. I got till spring to finish this thing up. It would then come out in the fall. So like a locomotive, the wheel are fully engaged and churning. Best of all, considering the myriad of characters, plot fragments, and loose ends that I need to tie up, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know where to go. I got this.

All that’s left is to say, “Thank you.” Thank you readers. There is no greater honor for any storyteller than to think that, perhaps, his stories might—might—increase the readers’ knowledge or understanding of sacred things and bring people closer to Christ. At least that was my intent. Whether I succeeded or failed, that’s still up in the air. But it’s a noble quest, and for 30 years it’s helped to feed my family. So those who feel they’ve gotten something worthwhile out these stories, you owe me nothing. I owe you everything. And I owe my Father in Heaven far more than that.

Who’d have thought a 5-minute dream—I mean, I don’t know exactly how long it was, but—a 5-minute dream while serving a mission in Florida would lead to this? A time-travel epic celebrating the Book of Mormon. Just don’t ever tell me that somehow these adventures took the place of actually reading the holy scriptures in your life. If so, I should have never written them. By comparison my books are just a silly little diversion. Amusing, but eminently forgettable.

Their purpose, from the beginning, has been to bear testimony of something so much greater—the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ in the latter days, and the existence of a sacred record that bears testimony of the Lord’s great atoning sacrifice and His eternal love for His children on every continent of the earth.

I love this Church. I’m an empty shell without it.

If you don’t feel as close to the Lord today as you did yesterday, who moved? I’ve certainly moved at times, and I’m constantly striving to move back, to let Him take me by hand, and lead me further and higher—to a celestial place beyond the very limited scope of my imagination.

Thank you for joining me today. Thank you for being here. This is Chris Heimerdinger. And this is ForeverLDS.



  • Shall I

    Dec 18, 2018 4:25 pm

    Thank you Chris for reading chapter one of Thorns and Glory, Part 1. I have always loved your narration and storytelling ability. I was 1st introduced to your books and 2002 in Portland, Oregon. They have friend who wanted me to have something to listen to on the long trip to Salt Lake on a Greyhound bus with 3 little kids lol and I have been hooked ever since. Prayer, yes, I would love to read a new book in 2019. Thanks again for sharing your talent with us.

  • Elvira Poole

    Dec 18, 2018 5:15 pm

    Your Books have brought the Book of Mormon to life for me. I used to only read the Scriptures once in a while, next year I will be starting the 4 th year of reading them every day. I read the Book of Mormon and at the same time as the Old Testament, The BOM because the Prophet told us to and the Old Testament because the Lord told me to in a Blessing. I have only missed 4 days in those years because I forgot. Your Books, even though they are made up, make the Scriptures come alive. Thank you for doing this, for writing them, and giving us a little taste. I will not ask you to hurry up, good things take time, oh and my thoughts on how they get out was wrong. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • Derek Dooley

    Dec 18, 2018 7:11 pm

    Thank you for providing this reading. This is the best Christmas gift I’m getting this year. I’m really looking forward to reading the whole volume as well as volume 19. Keep up the great work.

    Message from Chris: Volume 19??

  • Michelle

    Dec 18, 2018 7:17 pm

    You made me cry. Awesome!


    Dec 19, 2018 1:56 am

    How.much does the audio series cost?

    Message from Chris: Depends how you purchase it. Individually or in sets. Call at 801-870-2070.
  • Spencer

    Dec 19, 2018 8:11 am

    Yea, 2019!!!! Been listening to the audiobooks for years, our family is so excited for volume 13 and 14. What will you do after that? Guess we’ll be hoping for a tennis shoes movie…?

    Message from Chris: Anything I want. The goal is just to end the story arc. I could always do another Tennis Shoes book. But I'll likely dabble in some other things.

  • Becky

    Dec 19, 2018 11:11 pm

    I am so excited to read the next book.. I have a son who is disabled, and everytime he gets sick, I wonder if this will be the time that takes him.. And my main thought? He never got to hear the last book (S). So needless to say, I’m very excited for this book to come out. Please let it be soon! I really want him to hear the end of these cliff hangers!!!! And I want to read them also!!

  • Brenda

    Dec 26, 2018 1:28 am

    I’ve been hooked since almost the beginning (I own Gadiantons and the Silver Sword in hardback), along with my mom and five children. When we read the scriptures as a family, we always make comments about what real and fictional “Tennis Shoes” characters would be doing at certain parts. It’s so fun to speculate and share the inside joke — the guy that saves Helaman from Kishkumen or laughing out loud about Stephanie when we read Pagag’s name in Ether. What a fun ride.

  • Heather

    Jan 2, 2019 10:31 pm

    Your book series has actually made me desire to know the scriptures better. Years ago when I started reading Tennis Shoes, I remember you would reference things and I would check everything with the Scriptures and sure enough it was there! I appreciate all the time you have taken to Use actual names and stories from the scriptures. I’m a huge fan and will buy Thorns of Glory the minute it’s out! Keep moving forward-you got this!!!

  • Mike

    Jan 3, 2019 8:55 pm

    Hey Chris. Thanks for this. Looking forward to the next stuff. Been with ya for 30 years. It was good seeing you at the post office.

    Comment from Chris: That was YOU! Unfortunately that person wasn't me. I send out an android surrogate to perform all menial tasks.
  • J Nelson

    Jan 7, 2019 9:46 pm

    Wonderful podcast and reading! You are a great entertainer, and though we have never met, I consider you a friend for all the smiles that come to my face as I enjoy your work. Keep it up! I would love to read the next book in 2019.

  • Nancy

    Jan 7, 2019 9:59 pm

    Thank you so much for your testimony and your amazing storytelling gift that you so kindly share with us. I love this series and am so beyond excited for another volume!

    I have been touched and lifted, brought to tears and laughter as I read. I can’t thank you enough. May Father bless your efforts and your family!!

  • Heidi

    Jan 18, 2019 12:11 am

    Chris I loved it!!! It was as wonderful as I had hoped it would be! We’ve always listened to the books on car rides and we have ALOT of rides. Your books have always been favorites. I can’t wait for the chance to get these next two books!!!

  • Julia

    Jan 28, 2019 8:46 am

    My cousin and I read the whole series together three years ago and LOVED it so much! We can’t wait for the next book!!!

  • Hillary

    Feb 5, 2019 2:33 pm

    I grew up with your tennis shoes novels. It started with my mom reading the novels aloud as we went on road trips, and then cassette tapes, and then the CDs. I have fallen in love with the characters and now that I’m an adult I see too many similarities between teen me and book 1 Jim Hawkins. I distinctly remember being a tween and reading in the Book of Mormon for personal study and I read Captain Teancum’s name and was amazed. Yes, I understood that your books are fiction but it was the first time I realized that some of those characters I loved were real people. Sure you may have embellished stories but it brought and continues to bring the Book of Mormon to life for me. I am excited to share the series with my boys. So is it true that the tennis shoes saga will be over with book 13 and 14?

  • Victoria Gledhill

    Feb 25, 2019 2:28 pm

    Awesome! I just came upon this website and I’m so glad I have! NO I didn’t listen (or read) to cahper 1 of vol. 13… Like you’ve said it, it just bring more pain than relief… And don’t wanna die of a heart attack at 30!

  • Makayla

    Mar 4, 2019 2:07 pm

    Yes, It is true me and Julia have been waiting quite a while for the next book. We have both read the series at least 10 times now…. But its all good. I mean, the longer it takes, the better it will be right? Anyway thank you so much Chris your books have been so helpful in making the scriptures come alive for me. I really do appreciate that. Tho I really can’t wait for the next books!!

  • Sherie Holmes

    Mar 27, 2019 2:23 pm

    Hey Chris! I love these series…they have brought me close to the Lord many, many times! I started reading these as a very young child 20 years ago and I am SOOOOO excited to hear how close you are to finishing! HOORAY for the 30 year Anniversary! I do believe I’ll re-read the series for the umpteenth time in celebration! Lol. And do please keep going; we are here and waiting in anticipation! :) Thought the cliffhangers are KILLER.
    I do have a question for clarification reasons…is the “Dragon” that you have described in Chapter One a Quetzalcoatlus? I tried my best to find something that resembles your descriptions + the image you provided and the Quetzalcoatlus came the closest!
    Anyway! Thank you so very much for all of your hard work; it’s appreciated and valued! This year will be AMAZING!!

    Response from Chris: That species works. :) Thanks for you comments.
  • Apr 19, 2019 4:46 am

    They way you turn a phrase in your writing has me mystified. I love it. Each of your books that I have read has expanded my vocabulary as did this reading. This podcast episode satisfied me to move from the precipice in Book 12 to the maw of the dragon. Now I know there is something waiting that does not seem as alien as did that ending segment. Now, more than ever, FINISH the BOOK! Please.

  • Ammon Creager

    May 1, 2019 7:16 pm

    Why does every book end in a cliffhanger?

    Reply from Chris: I guess when I started doing that to my readers, it was less "in-vogue". NOW it's standard fare in storytelling for books, movies, TV series, dramatic podcasts...You name it. Some never DO get around to finishing the story they started. I think you can at least feel confident that will not happen. If you haven't noticed, I often end chapters in cliffhangers that may seem equally annoying. I suppose I do this because if a reader says to me they stayed up all night reading...I consider it a kind of compliment.
  • Kirstie

    May 2, 2019 8:47 pm

    Hello Brother Heimerdinger, I started listening to your books as a child on my way to my grandparents house in the mid 90s and I’ve always loved them. My soon to be baptized 8 year old, finished listening to Drums of Desolation tonight. He exclaimed, “What? That’s it! He can’t end it there! The war is starting.” I lovingly told him that I’ve been waiting for over four years to find out what happens next, and I’m so glad that now he can share my pain! Thanks for posting an update on how the last installment of the series is coming along. We will be so excited to read what else is in store for the Hawkins family.

  • Ammon creager

    Jun 18, 2019 4:25 pm

    Just give us a few(or the entire book) juicy details.

  • Azazel Darkhart

    Jun 25, 2019 9:31 pm

    I’m not in any religon, but I really enjoy the book series. It is just fascinating to read. I’m excited for when Thorns of Glory come out. When I see the pre order, I’m ordering it right away.

  • Joylyn

    Jul 8, 2019 9:35 pm

    Wow, what a year for me take up this epic journey again listening to the entire series start to finish! Granted I thought the series was finished, or I might not have started listening to them again. But I have thoroughly enjoyed the adventure. It was a family favorite on our road trips many years ago and I was not disappointed this time through. Actually I need to thank you for writing them. During the last few books where Jim was back in time with the Savior I ended up searching the scriptures for the things you referenced. This search lead to many interesting and testimony building experiences. So thank you. And best of luck in finishing the series.

  • Julie Ervin

    Jul 16, 2019 12:26 pm

    My 10 year old son just finished book 12 audio and is excited for the next story! My husband and I are on book 10 audio, but we love them just as much. We drive a lot and love to listen.
    When the next book is done, will the audio also be available? Or will it take longer for the audio to come out?
    Thanks for all you have put into this!

  • Susi

    Jul 29, 2019 9:53 pm

    I HAVE been given a greater insight into the scriptures through your wonderful books. I have felt the spirit so strongly at times while reading them. It is truly a blessing to have these open the eyes of my understanding to a greater degree. I will be so excited to get the next one!

  • Carol Hansen

    Aug 7, 2019 1:13 pm

    Chris I am getting to old to keep waiting for the entire book to come out. I am excited to find out what is happening to everyone. How are they ever all going to get together again? I am getting ready to reread all the books from the beginning. Do you have a date yet for the final edition?

    REPLY FROM CHRIS: I'm getting old too. No release date yet. That's ultimately decided by the publisher, but I do expect to finish soon, at least with volume 13, shortly followed by 14.
  • M. Sue Adams

    Sep 2, 2019 11:52 am

    Chris, I adore your Tennis Shoes Series and your writing talent in producing it. THANK YOU for awaking my sense of wonder 30 years ago with book 1. I have spiritually grown thro the years as I have read the Book of Mormon constantly. I have enjoyed ALL your books and am grateful for your persistance in continuing to try to ‘wrap-up’ this final episode for I am now 65 and pray to have many more years to grow and enjoy re-reading your work as well as ALL the revealed scriptures to date. May God continue to bless you in this magnificent mission you are on.—MSA

    MESSAGE FROM CHRIS: What a nice thing to say. Makes me want to work faster on the next volume.

  • Marianne Cosper

    Sep 16, 2019 9:35 pm

    I know you’re working as fast as you can, but hurry up! ????
    I’m dying for the rest of the story.
    If you need anyone to help proofread I am VERY willing and able. I really, really, really am. ????????????????????????????????????????????????
    You’re awesome. Keep going. ????

  • Ethan Smith

    Nov 14, 2019 10:17 pm

    I have been waiting on Thorns of Glory for years. I’ve been a fan of your books since I was in middle school. I remember getting a couple of your books for each Christmas and birthday for a while (my copy of Sorcerers and Seers is signed by you!!!!). And now I’m waiting on Number 13.

    BTW, one thing you may appreciate is that I am a user on the official Villains Wiki, and I have been contributing pages that describe villains from your books. I’ve written pages for Amalickiah, Todd Finlay, Jacob Moon, Simon Magus, Lamanai, Epigonus, and quite a few more! I’m still working on some of them, but when the next book arrives, I WILL read it and update the existing pages!

  • Derek

    Nov 21, 2019 5:35 am

    Thanks for responding to my email

  • Gail T Beu

    Feb 11, 2020 3:56 pm

    How do we get a copy of Book #13 -“Thorns of Glory” – I have listened to the 12 previous ones on Deseret Bookshelf but can’t find #13 – any help would be appreciated. Thanks – Gail

    Reply from Chris: It's done, at the publishers. They are aiming for September. As soon as I know the price, I'll offer it for pre-sale.

  • John Pack Lambert

    Mar 9, 2020 12:39 pm

    I read the whole thing of chapter 1. I found a few typos, so hope you have a good editor. I have done too much editing of Wikipedia and too much beta reading of Lois and Clark fanfic to not find an issue.

    I actually was just thinking how I never quite got done with Drums of Desolation. Knwoing that it did not resolve the issues made getting done with it not a high priority.

    I started this search hoping to find a clear date for Vol. 13 coming out. I at least now have hope that Vol. 14 will be not too long after Vol. 13. You are over 19 years for this sub-series, so it is really time for the next book.

  • Jennifer Rand

    May 1, 2020 4:48 pm

    I just finished the series for the second time! Just today! And I absolutely love them in every way! Of course I want to ask when the rest will come out, even though you’ve heard it a million times!! I feel like I know these characters and I’m concerned about their well being ???? I read the whole series in a two month span of time (perfect quarantine activity!)
    Anyway, thank you for all of your hard work!!


  • Carol

    May 20, 2020 10:56 pm

    Hurry up September!!!

  • Lindsey Vest

    Jun 14, 2020 3:31 pm

    I am on pins and needles. I have read this series three times now and want that 13th book asap! Haha I love all these characters and have followed you and you’re stories since the beginning. I actually just started reading them to my kids. Please let us know for sure when the last books will be out! You are amazing!

  • Noah Wood

    Jun 27, 2020 10:45 am

    Please please PLEASE finish the book!! I’m dying here, man!

  • Rosina Bean

    Jun 29, 2020 11:18 am

    I have just finished this series for the third time and can’t wait for the last two books to come out! These are one of not my favorite series and I love how the characters really come to life. I get so attached and I just want to thank you for all of your hard work!


  • Ryan Burton

    Jun 29, 2020 5:53 pm

    Hi, I know that youv’e heard this a lot, but when is the book coming out? I absolutely LOVE your books!!! I feel like I’ve met all the characters, and I can’t stop worrying about them. THANK YOU!!!

    Message from Chris: October
  • Patricia Wilson

    Jun 30, 2020 2:50 pm

    September 2020?? For real? I’m so excited!! Thank you :)

  • Penelope Pickle-radish

    Jul 2, 2020 10:25 am

    I love your Tennis Shoes series so much because they are thoroughly entertaining, but that is not all…I love them because they peak my interest in the scriptures. I’m constantly going back to my scriptures to read the accounts of events that happened in ancient times.
    I now pour over my scriptures every single day because I need to know every detail. I haven’t missed a day in over 4 years! Thank you so much for the inspiration.

  • Ann Mussetter

    Sep 26, 2020 11:38 am

    Hello Chris, I am almost 80 and have been reading your books since they first came out in 1989. Many times some scene and or comment one of your characters makes propels me into deeper appreciation of what the real people had to experience or endure. At your description of the Savior’s visit to the Nephites well let me just say as I placed myself there with them the feelings were so overwhelmingly wonderful that the depth of my appreciation for that was done for me/you drings thoughts that will take many years to explore and continue to deepen my love and wonder for my Savior. Just know I simply say thank you Chris.

  • Torri Sanders

    Oct 15, 2020 10:12 am

    Chris! Whoohoo! I was just talking about you yesterday and today I find out you are putting out a new book! How do I purchase it directly from you? Torri

    MESSAGE FROM CHRIS: I have a website now that customers can directly order autographed books and other autographed items: www.shop.foreverlds.com. THANKS!
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