Sunday, August 26, 2012

Terry Brooks Comes to Town!

Yesterday was a great day for several reasons, one of which being that Nadine and I attended an event at the Carmel Barnes and Noble bookstore featuring NY Times Best Selling author Terry Brooks.  Terry Brooks put epic fantasy on the literary map with his 1977 publication of The Sword of Shanarra.  It stayed on the list for five months.  He has written twenty-two additional novels.

Terry spent the first hour talking to us about the writing process (see video) and then read from an upcoming novel.  He also took questions from the crowd of nearly 100 people.  We stood in line for another hour for him to sign six of his books from my library.  As he did so, we talked about writing.  I told him that I had been writing fantasy and science fiction since 1984 and that his style of bringing different plot lines together with cliffhanger chapter endings helped me in structuring both novels I have self-published.  He nodded and said, "You need to write what you like to read.  That's why you won't find any Tom Bombadils [e.g.J.R.R. Tolkien] in my stories."  Then we stood together for a picture.

Terry has created two fantasy universes: Shanarra and Landover.  He said that he is giving ten more years to finish what he wants to say.  With plans for two movies in the works (Magic Kingdom of Landover and Elfstones of Shanarra) the next ten years might be the best yet!

Check out his website:

 Terry having fun with his audience
 Making a point
 Making another point
 Getting ready to read from Bloodline Quest (out March 2013)
 Signing my copy of Ilse Witch
 I ask an interesting (or stupid) question!
I amaze Terry Brooks with an insightful comment
 Terry's glad to be finished signing books for me


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Book of LiesThe Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first read of a Meltzer book.  Not a long book and fast paced.  Read 100 pages before I had to turn in.  Finished it the next day.

Book of Lies is a well-researched novel that touches on so many inter-related human themes: religion, father and sons, grief, justice, pop culture, history, politics, war.  The moment I felt loaded up in one area, Meltzer shifted to a different focus while moving the plot along well.  The violence, while shocking because I came to care for just about every character in the story, was not gruesome.

It worked for me on a lot of levels, such as helping me understand and even empathize (a little) with the bad guy(s).  Now I have a deeper take on Cain (see Genesis), of how God responds to sin, and one aspect of the immortal life that God wants for us all.

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River of HeavenRiver of Heaven by Lee  Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I heard Lee Martin at the Midwest Writers' Workshop in Muncie, IN this July and knew I wanted to get into his writing.  This is not the kind of book that I normally read, but after reading it I wonder why I wouldn't.  I quickly cared about the characters and the small town setting he created.  I also came to care about my own life in a deeper and more hopeful way.  I saw it as a great treatment of how one's spirituality develops and deforms in relationship with other people.

Martin's writing style is so moving and colorful.  Here are some examples:

"I wondered what it would be like to be so in love with your life that you could reach out to strangers that way." (108)

"This is the home of a man who has lost faith and has decided that the world can go on without him." (113)

"One we know the hidden life, the secrets someone carries, how can it not be ours?  How can it not be something we live? . . .My life used to be so simple . . .Now here are all these people.  Now I have all their stories." (133)

"It's enough to make me glad for all the days and months and years that have added up to this." (147)

"It takes just the nearness of people to make you feel there may be a good reason for all we suffer." (198)

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