Inside Out & Back Again

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My wife suggested I give this sweet, lovely book a try. It’s different from anything that I usually read since it is essentially a story written in blank verse. I read it over a period of a week – five minutes here, 10 minutes there.

The book is an quick, easy read, but by easy I don’t mean simple. It was a poignant, bittersweet walk down memory lane, especially for those of us who are immigrants to America. So many of Ha’s experiences and impressions resonated with those from my own childhood. The simultaneous alienation and hopeful desire to be a part of America – all of it  struck a chord.

The writing is crisp-no wasted words-and with a few pithy sentences Lai was able to create a multitude of characters and breathe life into them; everyone from the cowboy to Missss Wasshington. It’s a lesson for all of us who write.

If I have a criticism it’s that the story  ended too quickly. I want to know what else happens to Ha and her family. Hopefully, the author will let us know in later volumes.

 

Winters

Winters in NC tend to be short and mild, and this year was no exception. We got a few cold spells and some snow, but overall, it’s been pretty nice. It’s certainly a lot better than where I grew up in Cincinnati, OH, where they’ve been stuck in some polar vortex for the past month with a snowstorm every week. That’s bad enough, but what I always hated about winters in the Midwest was the clouds. It seemed like from November to April, the skies were an unrelenting, dismal gray.

In NC, our winters tend to be sunny, and we usually get a break from the cold every few weeks with temperatures in the 50s (that’s in the 10s for those who use Celsius). It makes winters far more tolerable and not so depressing.

All that said, I’m looking forward to leaves on the trees.

1000 Sales!

Sometime yesterday, the 1000th copy of A Warrior’s Path was purchased. A HUGE thank you to everyone who’s taken a chance on a no-name, first time author and bought my book!

For me, one thousand sales represents something more than just a number. It’s a North Star. It’s more a goal and a guide. It means that something  I’ve written has gone out into the world and is resonating. It’s a surreal feeling.

Again, thank you to everyone who’s bought the book!

No plugging today

I know I’m supposed to build a readership and all that by pimping the bejeezus outta my book. There’s supposed to be non-stop posts about ‘Buy my book. Buy my book.  Buy my book’ (forgot to insert the exclamation points after each sentence) but you know, I’m just not in the mood for it. I’d rather write about the stuff I like or whatever happens to  Wonders Me (my youngest son’s phraseology).

Not that I won’t be trying to raise awareness of my book, but that won’t be until the start of my Goodreads giveaway. Then I guess I’ll be all over Facebook telling people about it.

But for now, this is my mood.

Gold onthe ceiling

Love the static guitar.

 

Goodreads giveaway

Starting on Feb. 12th, I’ll be offering 3 signed copies of A Warrior’s Path through Goodreads. The print version is the size of a trade paperback, which is about the size of a hardback and features a gorgeous wraparound cover. Take a look:

RamaCoverPrint copy

 

The contest runs until Feb. 25th, so sign up. Here’s the link:

Goodreads giveaway

The Red Wolf Conspiracy – couldn’t get rid of my review, could I?

US (Del Rey) Mass Market Paperback

 

 

I picked up The Red Wolf Conspiracy in a used bookstore in Asheville, NC because of nothing more than guilt. My wife and I had spent so much time – almost an hour – browsing the store’s collection that I felt bad for the owner that we weren’t buying anything. The only reason I chose Red Wolf was because a few readers I knew liked it so well, but at the time, I had minimal hopes for the book. A talking rat?  A young boy called a ‘tarboy’?  Sounded silly and unappealing.

 

The reason I remember the circumstances so well is because of how wrong I turned out to be (it is known to happen on occasion 😉 ). The Red Wolf Conspiracy turned out to be the first book of a series that didn’t get nearly enough acclaim when it was first published.

 

I thought this entire series was terrific. Is it YA?  Sure, if you want to categorize is it as such, but that doesn’t mean it lacks depth, either emotionally or in terms of the world building. It certainly isn’t grimdark, but that doesn’t mean the characters are all white hats. In fact, I found the characters to be the best part of the novel. They were vivid and real with great flaws but greater strengths. They were so interesting, and many had a fascinating weirdness about them. Some reminded of Stark from Farscape: an absolute loon, who was nevertheless strong and fearless at times and cowardly in a humorous way at others. What really struck me about the books, though, was how fun they were to read.  I can’t put my finger on exactly why I felt that way. Perhaps it was because the characters were young and fearless, always running from one end of the vast ship to the other, and always on the brink of disaster  Sometimes they even fell into the hot mess, but they never let their setbacks get them down, at least not for long. Their tragedies didn’t end up defining them.  At least in the first book.

Here’s an excellent synopsis and review of the book at SFFWorld.

Farscape and Firefly

When not studying, I’ve been detoxing with Farscape.  Almost done with season 3.  It’s my second go-round with the show.  I didn’t see it when it was first aired, just like I never saw Firefly until AFTER I saw Serenity in the theater.

Firefly and Farscape.  Two great shows that should have had longer runs.

My first fan mail – or why I’m like my mom and hoard anything that might bring me luck

I got my first fan ‘letter’ the other day, and it’s from South Africa of all places.  It was posted on my Facebook page, and reading it put – and kept – a huge smile on my face.  Learning that people are liking my book is one of the finest compliments I’ve ever received.

Of course, the Facebook post did raise another question: how did my book somehow land in the hands of someone on the other side of the world?  I have no idea, but I love how connected our world is becoming.