A family trip abroad, a foreign deck of cards and the arduous search for acceptance led Ahwatukee native, Daniel Mefford, to write and self-publish his very own fantasy book.

Mefford’s idea to create this fantastical world came to him while on a family trip to Paris in 2010. The old architectural beauty of the church, Notre Dame, especially grabbed his fascination and immersed him into a land of unchartered imagination. The story idea faded over time, but was soon revived through a poker game with a foreign deck of cards from Finland with his dad.

After about four months, Mefford completed a rough draft of his book. With positive feedback and encouragement from his family and friends, Mefford decided to go forward with publishing.

The finished product, “Outcasts and the Guild of Orbs,” engrosses readers into a world of exciting adventure as the four main characters seek a far away haven of unconditional acceptance.

Mefford sent his book to a number of publishers, including London, New York and even Canada. Mefford decided self-publishing would be a better fit for his book after discovering the complicated process and up-front payments the publishing companies had to offer. After some online research, lots of hard work and positive feedback, Mefford managed to self-publish his very own book.

“I want people to know that you don’t have to go through someone big to be noticed,” Mefford said.

Each of the four characters represents Mefford from a certain time of his life. The character that sets forth encouragement for the four protagonists is modeled after a close friend of Mefford, Julius Walter Amsiejus.

Mefford cared for Amsiejus as a Certified Nursing Assistant for three years. He has struggled with acceptance from others in the past and found Amsiejus to be nothing short of an exemplary figure to portray the message of not only the importance of accepting others, but also the importance of one’s own self-acceptance.

Mefford plans to continue the exciting adventures found in “Outcasts and the Guild of Orbs” by creating an eight book series and is currently working on the second book.

Mefford’s fantasy book can be purchased on Amazon.com via kindle or paperback for $16.99 and can be purchased at a discounted price of $10 at a Phoenix Pride booth Mefford will be at on April 5 and 6 from noon to 7 p.m. Mefford will also be at Half Priced Books on April 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the store located at 2102 E. Camelback Road.

For more information, visit www.outcastsbookseries.com.

• Danielle Quijada is a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She is interning this semester for the AFN.

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