CSFF Blog Tour – Fearless, Day 1


I realize why I typically don’t post my book review for the blog tours on Monday. Generally, because of my post over at Speculative Faith, I’m already posting here later than I like. Consequently, I don’t want to take the time a good review deserves.

I’m sorely tempted to break from that pattern, simply because I think my review of Fearless by Robin Parrish might be … different from the majority of reviews given by the other CSFF Blog Tour participants.

Lest I give you the wrong impression, Robin’s work, second in his Dominion Trilogy, is imaginative and innovative. He has seized on the opportunity to create a story with movie and comic book tie-ins. In fact, part of the promotion for Fearless is the launch of Guardian, available as a PDF file from Robin‘s Web site.

    Guardian comic book

One thing I particularly like about Fearless is that it is not a stand-alone. This may be a surprise to some, but I have long declared that readers are no different from television viewers who are willing to wait from one season to the next when their favorite series ends with a cliff-hanger. In fact, an ending leaving the protagonist in dire straits often drives the enthusiasm—the buzz, the hype—for the new season.

Books can be the same way. (Anyone doubting this must have been somewhere else this past weekend when all the Harry Potter parties accompanied the two-year wait for book 7 of Rowling’s popular series.)

All this, Robin understands. In case you missed what he said regarding the subject, here’s his comment a week ago to ACWoF’s July 11 post:

Personally, I love serialized stories. Don’t intend to use it as a story device every time I write (in fact, now that this behemoth is rounding the bend, I find myself longing for a strong, self-contained novel to write), but I do love it as a plot device for the very reason that Becky cited: it fills the mind with endless possibilities of wonder, of excitement, of “what if!?” It’s the ‘Lost’ conundrum, faced regularly by the writers of that series. Do we, the viewers (or readers, as the case may be) really want all the answers? Or do we want to savor that feeling of mystery?

Don’t get me wrong on this. I ABSOLUTELY think it’s all for naught if you ask questions forever and don’t have the compelling answers to back them up. And especially in serialized storytelling, I think it’s crucial for the reader to know that there IS a planned ending, when all the questions will be answered, all the mysteries will be revealed, and all of the plot points will be wrapped up. Otherwise you feel like you’re being strung along meaninglessly, and that’s DEATH to any story. That’s exactly what happened to ‘The X-Files’. There was never any pay-off.

If it helps anyone in particular to know… And I still have to keep my cards close to the vest here, because the biggest and best stuff is still to come… But The Dominion Trilogy will wrap up completely in Book 3. The ending was planned from the start; every unanswered question has an answer that’s worth waiting for; and Book 3 is the Main Event. It’s all the stuff you’ve been waiting for, and I think it’s really going to shock people when they get all the biggest answers.

After the last words of Book 3 are written, there will be no more of this story left to tell.

I for one am happy another author has embraced this method of storytelling. There are others, and with the success of these, publishers are bound to embrace the freshness of the approach and give it the recognition it is due, playing to it as a strength, not dodging it as a weakness.

But I’ll elaborate on that a bit more when I do my review.

In the meantime, you may wish to visit other bloggers discussing Fearless. Two did not appear on the original list which other bloggers will post. I’ve indicated those in bold type. We also seem to have a German blog which has jumped in and joined the tour. I don’t read German, but the format leads me to believe Travelstream is featuring Fearless along with these other bloggers:

Published in: on July 23, 2007 at 12:08 pm  Comments (8)  

Much Ado, Then the Tour


So much going on, and it’s summer, with people off on vacations or Fourth of July celebrations. Be that as it may, I have a few things—good things, really, not snags (I just liked the way “Much Ado” sounds)—I want to bring to your attention before we move on to the tour. Tour? Yes, the CSFF Special Blog Tour in support of the Fantasy Fiction Tour. But these items first.

Yesterday, Karen Ball, acquisitions editor at B & H Publishing, graciously left a comment reporting on the ABA trade show she’d asked prayer for. In case you missed it, here’s what she said:

Hey, all. Just stopping in to say thanks for the prayers for BEA in New York. The show was great, and we had a HUGE group for our panel on Christian fiction. Lots of good questions and some thought-provoking dialog. I thought everyone on the panel did well, and folks stuck around afterward to talk and thank us for helping them better understand this segment of publishing.

Now I’m getting ready to head to Atlanta (HOT!) for ICRS, the International Christian Retail Show. Your continued prayers for all of those in publishing would be much appreciated. This is a stressful week for all concerned, and one that can leave everyone–from publishers to authors to marketers to retailers–feeling depressed. I know, seems odd, but there can be such a spirit of competition there, and way too many folks fall into the trap of believing their own press. We need to remember this isn’t our party, but God’s, and we’re blessed to be invited.

Anyhoo, thanks again for the prayers. Blessings to you all today.

Karen Ball

So now we have more to pray about in conjunction with the Fantasy Fiction Tour.

One more item before we get to Bryan Davis.

Author and frequent visitor here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction, Nicole Petrino-Salter, has started an interesting thing at her blog. Every Saturday she is featuring a writing sample of an unpublished author. Recently she asked me to participate. (How cool is that! 😀 ) Since I have Chapter I of Return to Efrathah, first book in The Lore of Efrathah trilogy, posted here, I sent her the first few pages of Chapter II. She’ll put that up this Saturday, 07/07/07. (Also VERY cool! 😀 ). I invite you to stop by her blog this week, especially those of you who have read Chapter I.

And now, Bryan Davis

    Bryan Davis in SoCal

Anything look familiar here? (That’s just a little test question.)

I had the privilege of meeting Bryan long after I knew him. As happens in the virtual community, Bryan and I first communicated via an email group we both belonged to. It was about six months before Raising Dragons, first of the Dragons in Our Midst series, was to release, as I recall.

When I discovered that he also was a fantasy writer, we began exchanging emails. I don’t remember just what triggered the exchange. Perhaps he was looking for someone to give feedback on his work. Whether or not that was the initial issue, that’s what ended up taking place. One thing led to another, and eventually I ended up doing freelance editing for AMG Publishing, for the next four fantasies Bryan wrote.

I look at Bryan as one of the authors who God is using to break down the barriers constructed against Christian fantasy. Granted, others came before, but Bryan has been one of the most outspoken, proactive proponents of his books and of the genre.

On his brief West Coast trip back in December 2005 (extending from Washington to San Diego in something like ten days!), I finally had the opportunity to meet him and to hear him speak. The response was very positive, but most clearly so in one school where the teacher had read the first book to her class.

Bryan’s stories are action-packed, unique blends of science, fantasy, contemporary, and the supernatural. Kids love them because they finally have Christian books that are exciting and do not talk down to them. Parents love them because they challenge kids to be heroic, Godly, and pure.

As you might know, Bryan recently signed a contract with Zondervan for another fantasy series. Seems it might have something to do with time travel, but I suspect it will have the same kind of surprising genre blend and fast pace as his previous books.

I understand Bryan will be doing the driving on the Fantasy Fiction Tour, so he especially needs prayer. I’m not being silly here. Despite what he said, he did a remarkable job navigating the freeways in SoCal, but the truth is, God is the One who keeps us safe.

Last add. Have you checked out the Fantasy Fiction Tour contest? If you like costumes, photography, and author autographed posters, this one is for you! It should be lots of fun, for participant and spectator alike.

Published in: on July 3, 2007 at 11:18 am  Comments (18)  

And Our Winners Are …


The winners of the Blog Party Door-Prize Drawing here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction are

Dannye
Jen
suiz

With a bonus winner because I messed up the first drawing:

Deena

Now all I need is to hear which book each one wishes to select—first come, first serve on book choice. You can leave a comment here or respond to the email you’ll receive.

Thanks to each of you who left a comment over this past week! 🙂

Becky

Published in: on March 10, 2007 at 9:36 am  Comments (2)  

Making Readers


I’ve been a reader most of my life. I remember as a 4-year-old, the youngest of three, I could hardly wait to be able to read. For one thing, when my parents spelled something, I knew it was ME they didn’t want to know what it was they were talking about. For another, on Sunday mornings, when my brother and sister read the Sunday Funnies, they could get the jokes. By looking at the pictures only … I was missing something.

Besides feeling left out in a reading family, I loved stories. My parents read to us—my dad really doing it up with different voices and inflection.

I don’t actually remember the process of learning to read, but I know books became a part of my everyday life as they are today.

I’ve thought about this some this week because I’ve visited a number of new (to me) sites for the Blog Party. These are primarily moms, and of course part of what they write about is kids and schooling.

Having been an English teacher and now a writer, I have considerable interest in kids and schooling, particularly reading.

It dawned on me as I read at one site that I take for granted some of the things I experienced growing up, which contributed to my becoming a reader. It’s like I thought these things were common knowledge and that everyone already is doing these simple things. Not so. I’ve read posts that make this clear.

So what are the things I’m talking about? (Not spelling words so you child feels left out! 😛 ) Really only two. First, read to them, and don’t stop when they turn 12. Even big kids need to be read to and that gives a very unthreatening interaction with a parent. It’s OK to have the kids read to the adult also, but that should not replace the adult reading to the kids. Hearing written language teaches a lot about the rhythm of writing, sentence structure, sentence variation—all subconsciously, the same way we learned to speak.

Second, model reading. When I was small—again, under the age of five—I used to follow my mom around with a toy broom, “helping her” as she cleaned. This from someone who now HATES to clean. (What a waste of time—it all just gets dirty again. 😀 ) Why? Because I wanted to be like my mom. That innate something that makes a child imitate the important adults is the best teacher, if the modeling is good. Kids will do what adults do more than what we say.

So for your kids to read, you be a reader. You read to them. It’s not an automatic, but it’s a good foundation.

Of course, if you are at a loss as to WHAT to read, leave a comment here—today is the last day—so you’ll be entered in the ACWoF Blog Party door-prize drawing for one of the books (your choice) I’m giving away. Your choices again include the following:

  • Bottom Line by Kimberly Stuart
  • Harsh Pink by Melody Carlson
  • The Wedding Caper by Janice A. Thompson
  • In Sheep’s Clothing by Susan May Warren
  • Sands of Time by Susan May Warren
  • Julia’s Hope by Leisha Kelly
  • Squat by Taylor Field
  • Violette Between by Alison Strobel Morrow
  • Seventy Times Seven by Brandt Dodson
  • Blind Dates Can Be Murder by Mindy Starns Clark
  • The Last Ten Percent by Michelle McKinney Hammond
  • Demon, A Memoir by Tosca Lee
  • I’ll do the drawing and announce the winners tomorrow (no later than 6:00 P. M. PST, and probably earlier). And even if you don’t win, why not give some of these authors a try? Or some of those I’ve reviewed or listed as “best books.” Or ask a friend.

    Then when you find books you like, be sure YOU tell a friend, blog about the ones you especially like, and rush to the bookstore to buy another. 😉

    Published in: on March 9, 2007 at 11:56 am  Comments (11)  

    Another Invitation


    It’s great to have Blog Party guests dropping by. Be sure to leave a comment so you’ll be eligible for one of the A Christian Worldview of Fiction “door” prizes. Books the three winners may choose from are the following:

  • Bottom Line by Kimberly Stuart
  • Harsh Pink by Melody Carlson
  • The Wedding Caper by Janice A. Thompson
  • In Sheep’s Clothing by Susan May Warren
  • Sands of Time by Susan May Warren
  • Julia’s Hope by Leisha Kelly
  • Squat by Taylor Field
  • Violette Between by Alison Strobel Morrow
  • Seventy Times Seven by Brandt Dodson
  • Blind Dates Can Be Murder by Mindy Starns Clark
  • The Last Ten Percent by Michelle McKinney Hammond
  • Demon, A Memoir by Tosca Lee
  • And now for the invitation. If you love books, this is for YOU. 😀

    Want to read some great books? Talk over the stories with friends? Chat with the authors? I have just the place for you—the American Christian Fiction Writers’ (ACFW) Book Club. The ACFW Book Club gives fans of Christian fiction the opportunity to communicate with each other, chat with ACFW authors, and discuss books.

    Book Club participants join an e-mail group set up to facilitate announcements and host discussions about the current reading selection. Members will be eligible for monthly free book drawings. To join, send a blank e-mail to acfwbookclub-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or visit ACFW Book Club and click “join this group.” You will receive a confirmation e-mail after joining. Follow the instructions given in the e-mail to complete your subscription to this e-mail list.

    Each month, club members have an opportunity to participate in an on-line chat with an ACFW published author. Chats will be announced in advance so Club members have the opportunity to read the featured book. Book Club chats will be held on the ACFW website in the chat room at 7:00 p.m. CST on the first Monday of the month following the month the book is read.

    Currently, the club is talking about Rachel Hauck’s Lost in NashVegas. And then it’s on to Mary Connealy’s Petticoat Ranch before tackling a sci-fi/fantasy (we’re currently voting on which book to discuss). Previous authors have included: Robin Lee Hatcher, Tracey Bateman, Colleen Coble and Liz Curtis Higgs.

    So how about it? Why not join the fun?

    Published in: on March 7, 2007 at 12:29 pm  Comments (5)  

    More Fantasy Coming


    In keeping with the party decorations, I thought I’d show you some more book covers, starting with The Legend of the Firefish by George Bryan Polivka (Harvest House).

      The Legend of the Firefish

    This is simply one of the finest Christian fantasy’s you’re likely to read this year and there are some good ones coming. The link above will take you to the Harvest House page with information about the book, including an excerpt. I think you’ll become as excited as I am about this book. And the best news, this book is now available! 😀

    My suggestion is to make a trip to your favorite bookstore and buy a copy as soon as possible. If it isn’t on the shelf, by all means, ask them to order it. Then tell your friends.

    On the other side of the spectrum—a book you’ll have to wait for, one that is fourth in a series, not first—is Donita K. Paul’s DragonFire (WaterBrook), due out in July. My guess is, it will be well worth the wait. Check out this eye-catching cover!

      DragonFire

    The good thing about this book coming out in July is, those of you who haven’t yet started the series have a time to catch up between now and then.

    We are on the crest of LOTS of good Christian fantasy. Doesn’t get much better! 😉

    Published in: on March 5, 2007 at 12:33 pm  Comments (5)  

    A Party Special


    Those of you who hang around ACWoF regularly know I generally don’t write blog posts on the weekend, except for the occasional “Not a post” posts. 😉 In the spirit of Blog Party, however, I thought I’d put up something today, mostly to look at.

    There are several outstanding Christian fantasy novels soon to be released, and their covers make for very nice blog decoration.

    In May NavPress is due to release the first of Sharon Hinck‘s fantasy trilogy, Restorer.

      Restorer

    Next month Bethany Publishing House will launch four-time Christy Award winner Karen Hancock‘s novel The Return of the Guardian-King.

      Return of the Guardian-King

    My suggestion is to preorder these books—they are ones you won’t want to miss! 😀

    Before you move on to your busy weekend, a reminder that leaving a comment will make you eligible for our little win-a-book-book drawing here at ACWoF (think of it as a door prize). You have from now until March 9.

    Published in: on March 3, 2007 at 7:18 am  Comments (4)  
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