Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
There are two main characters, Dylan Runs Ahead, a recent veteran of the war in Afghanistan, who was wounded at the same time his friend was killed. He is also an American Indian, but left the reservation to join the Army after his sister Joni disappeared. He felt the blame for her disappearance since he was late picking her up.
The other main character is Quinn Simmons, who was fifteen years old when her mentally ill mother disappeared from the homeless shelter where they were staying, leaving Quinn to manage on her own. She became a member of the Falling Away to rid the earth of evil, sometime through prayer and sometimes through more extreme means. Her job in the book was to keep Dylan from being taken over by the demon Li, who ran the HIVE, a cult communal farm.
This is a book best read all the way through without stopping. Not because it's hard to read, but because it's hard to put it down after you start reading it.
I made the mistake of starting it one night after I climbed into bed hoping to get sleepy quickly and, like I usually do, drop the book where it falls as I reach up to turn off the lamp.
That didn't happen with The Falling Away.
I stayed engaged with the story straight through to the end. The author did an excellent job of quickly getting into the action while slowly, unobtrusively, inserting back story about Dylan and Quinn. However, by the time I finished the book, I knew it was not the story of God's love that I thought it would be. It reminded me of Rosemary's Baby in a way. I'm not against the use of symbolism, but I didn't find the redeeming factors I need to make the story useful and fulfilling.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com
Monday, October 18, 2010
The two stories seemed unconnected at first, but the reader knew something would bring them together somehow. And it did. The young Jewish girl searches for safety and for her family. Julia searches for happiness, and eventually, she searches for the girl who would be in her seventies.
When the stories cross each other, the story of the little girl stops. The reader is left wondering what happened to her. As a Kindle reader, I can tell you this happened at the 57 percent read mark.
It is a work of fiction, but the events that happened in France during the 1942 time are based on facts. While this roundup of Jewish people by French police is described, it does not turn the book into a documentary. It remains an interesting story about the people affected by the event.
There is much more I would like to tell you about the story, but I don't want you to miss out on the surprises to come.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Well, guess what.
No, I wasn't asked to speak at the Texas Book Festival or to read from my book. My name's not on the list of authors for the event. However, I'll be there showing off my latest (i.e. first) novel, Where Love Once Lived.
I won the lottery!
Actually, me and nine other members of the Writers' League of Texas. We each won a two-hour slot at the League's booth. I'll be in t he shadow of the State Capitol at booths 122 or 123 in the exhibits tent on Colorado between 12th and 13th streets Sunday, October 17, 2010 between 2 and 4.
Come see me!
You can read more about it here: http://www.writersleague.org/events/10-book-festival.htm
Monday, October 11, 2010
No Other, set in post World War II time, is the story of Jakob, the son of Americans of German ancestry who were detained in Port Delamar, a fictional town based on Baytown, just east of Houston, and Meri, the daughter of the mayor.
Meri had been brought up by a mother and father who were more interested in outer appearances than true beliefs. They joined the church only because it would look good and get the mayor more votes, not because they believed in God.
Jakob, on the other hand, had reason to be bitter since his parents had lost their home and been imprisoned during the war because of their German heritage. Still, Jakob's strong spirituality gave him strength. Even so, it took time for him to forgive.
I love this book, but to be honest, I'm not sure why. Is it because it is about real people who, even though they strive to live wholesome lives, still fall short like so many of us do?
Probably. But then there's the setting. At first I couldn't see why the author decided to put the characters in post World War II time. But it was fascinating. What got my attention was that the internment of German Americans took place so close to where I live. This wasn't taught in my history classes.
By the time I finished reading the book, I knew No Other wouldn't have worked in a different time period. Still, I wondered why the author, Shawna K. Williams, decided to write it this way. Here is her response:
Sidney, it was because of a dream. I know that sounds weird, but the whole premise of the story started with a dream. I hadn't even wanted to be a writer, but the parts that I knew from the dream were likes parts to a puzzle and I had to figure out how it all fit together. In the dream, I knew the general era, but the year got pinpointed to 1947 as my research pegged other details. I knew Jakob was a little younger, and that Meri was somehow his teacher, but they were both adults. The details of that were settled through research too. I also knew his family had faced discrimination, but it was a documentary on Japanese internment that prompted me to research whether this had happened to other ethnic groups.
This book is unlike any Christian fiction I've read, and I'm sure you'll agree, it is worth the read.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Please go to her blog today, read the article, and add a comment.
This is called a virtual tour and I am planning to do more in the future. Although I met Carol through the ACFW bookclub, I have a list of bloggers who are interested in Christian fiction. I've sent review copies to several of them and will contact others. One turned me down for an interview because her calendar for the year is full. She said for me to check back in December to get scheduled for 2011. That seemed so far away when I first read her email, but now it is just around the corner.
Speaking of schedules, I have a book signing scheduled for December 5 at my church. The plan is to have a book sale day for members and others to buy Christian books for Christmas gifts. In addition to having my book there, I've been asked to be there to sign the books.
And, you most likely know I have a book signing scheduled for January 15, 2011 at BookPeople in Austin. I don't know what to expect there, but before the date of the signing, I'll contact my Austin friends and encourage them to stop by. Some of them probably don't know about the book.
I'm looking for other ways to publicize the book and would appreciate your comments. But, today, please check the interview here: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/2010/10/please-welcome-new-friend-frost-how.html.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
It took longer than I thought it would. Since I already had a Kindle version, I figured it would be a simple job to repackage it according to the epub rules. It wasn't.
But, now that I know how to do it, the next time I do it should be faster. I lost track of time and don't know how many hours I spent building the file. And, by file I mean a zip folder with three subfolders and more than 20 files. All I know is that I used most of my free time Sunday and Monday working on it.
When Celeste came in from shopping today, I checked the clock and it was 1:30 and I realized I hadn't had lunch yet. I remembered she had planned to eat out with Sally, so as soon as they came in I knew I'd been at the computer way too long.
But, still, I couldn't stop. I had just reduced the number of errors from the ePub validating procedure from several hundred to four. I was close to being finished and couldn't stop. Then it was down to one error and I couldn't see it. My eyes hurt from staring at the xml tags so I decided to take a lunch break.
I warmed up some excellent leftovers and sat down in front of the monitor while I ate hoping something would make sense. And then I saw it. The last error. The last hurdle between having a bunch of meaningless bits and having an eBook.
I had left out the extension for one of the files.
I didn't stop eating. I just smiled. I had the answer. Now I could take my time and enjoy the food.
Monday, October 4, 2010
So, yesterday, being Sunday, I surprised myself by working on the computer after church. After lunch, Celeste watched football and then played golf until dark. All the while I worked on creating an eBook version of Where Love Once Lived that would work on eReaders other than Kindle.
Perhaps surprise is not the right word for how I felt. At first it was guilt. But I quickly came up with a rationalization for working on Sunday. It was okay because I had worked all day Friday for the church. Now, that makes sense, right? Friday, a day I would normally write, was taken up with creating the PowerPoint slides for the church. It took longer than usual because it was World Communion Day and we had a more traditional service.
So, instead of relaxing or meditating Sunday afternoon, I struggled with learning how to build an epub file. Even with my training as a web developer, I had trouble grasping the concept. Finally, I found an example to study. I found it in a book called ePub Publishing Guide by Nicholas Pang. I'll do a formal review of the book later, after I actually create an error-free epub file based on what I've learned.
But, the day ran out before I was successful, and not completing the project yesterday made me feel even worse for working on Sunday.
Was the whole effort wasted? No, I still learned a lot about the process even if I don't have the final product yet.
Would I have been more successful had I waited until today to work on it? Probably. I needed rest. I needed exercise. I needed to get away from the computer.
What do you do on Sundays?