Books

Patrick: Son of Ireland

Slave, soldier, lover, hero, saint,—his life mirrored the cataclysmic world into which he was born. His memory will outlast the ages.

St. Patrick’s Day comes and goes every year with its parties and parades, yet very few spend any time getting to know the holiday’s namesake. Why is one man, centuries later, so remembered?

This is where Stephen Lawhead’s novel, Patrick: Son of Ireland, paints a vivid picture of Patrick’s world long lost to us. It is true what little we know of Patrick comes from a few surviving writings by his hand, and from others passing down traditions. Lawhead uses this framework to fill in the details of Patrick’s slavery in Ireland which shapes his life to come. We also witness his escape back to Britain, and in Lawhead’s version, travels to Rome. Everything in Lawhead’s vision of Patrick’s life is detailed and plausible, transporting readers to these ancient eras. You will travel the stark contrasts of Celtic Ireland to the fading glory of late imperial Rome. We don’t get to see Patrick’s triumphant transformation of Ireland — we know that part of the story. This is the origin story on how he became that saint, that legend.

Categories: Books, Fiction | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Want a Free Book?

This is the first in a series on marketing.

That got your attention. Everyone likes free stuff, but authors hate giving away their work. I saw one writer get visibly upset when she saw me give away a book. I get it. Writing is hard work and most authors want to make a living telling stories. However, when you are just starting out, you need to invest in marketing your book.

Giving away free stuff is Marketing 101.

How many times has a retailer lured you in with BOGO offers or deeply discounted products (“loss leaders”)? They do it all the time, every day. It’s hard to see your book as a product, but you’re on the hunt for readers, right? Readers are your customer, and your book is your product.

I’m not saying you should give away all your books for free all the time. It should be part of an overall marketing plan. Free book contests. Donate them to local libraries. Have you ever see those little community book exchanges in parks and other locations? Keep copies in your car. You never know when the opportunity may arrive to give out your book, free or otherwise.

Running sales, just as all other businesses do, should also be part of your plans. Once you have multiple books published, deeply discounting the first — or making it free — gives a no-risk invitation to new readers.

Giving away your books shouldn’t be the only freebie in your arsenal. Think about what other free content you can give out such as excerpts of your books, or short stories set in the same storyverse. Consider putting these together in a low cost book format (paper or electronic) and give them out at events or on-line even to those who haven’t bought your book (especially to people who haven’t bought your book).

As authors, we don’t see ourselves merely as a business, or our readers as customers. We are looking for a deeper connection (and we will get into all that in future posts). Ultimately, getting your book out there requires a business mindset.

Most importantly, keep telling stories. Don’t stop until you Find Your Purpose, Find Your Story.

Contact and connect with Darrick here. Watch for newsletter sign-up coming soon. Get your copy of Among the Shadows and choose a side. Will it be on the side of Light? Or Darkness?

Categories: Books, Writing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

You Have Been Warned

Totalitarian Fiction. Only one of these I haven’t read, the rest multiple times. A few hundred pages can get you quite an education.

Categories: Books, Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Many Times Must We Fight the Book Banners?

A school district in California has banned To Kill a Mockingbird, The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnOf Mice and Men, among others. How many times must we fight this battle?

Each of the books in question deal with difficult subject matter from our country’s complicated and painful history, including systemic racism. Blocking engagement with these important books is also avoiding the important role that schools can and should play in providing context for why these books inspire and challenge us still today. – Tom Ciccotta

And over at Penguin Random House, employees try to get Jordan Peterson’s new book banned — based on lies about the author. In fact, grown adults were crying that the book is being published. Johnathan Kay writes:

People are dying from Covid, losing their businesses, and these spoiled brats transform into babies because their employer is publishing a book they don’t like.

Indeed, the fact such people work at a publisher — supposed protectors of the freedom of speech — is disturbing.

Categories: Books | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

12 Rules to End Chaos in Your Life…and the World

{Part 1 of a series of posts reviewing Jordan Peterson‘s book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.}

Jordan Peterson‘s bestselling book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, challenges people to get their own lives under control before trying to change the world. No, this isn’t just another book about steps to success or happiness. This isn’t some fad book-of-the-week that are no different than the previous twenty forgettable books. Peterson asks readers to reach deep intellectually. Drawing on ancient history and science, and critical thinking, this clearly isn’t just some fuzzy book on “self care” or quick fixes.

Norman Doidge sets the stage in the forward writing:

…without rules we quickly become slaves to our passions — and there’s nothing freeing about that…Ideologues are people who pretend they know how to ‘make the world a better place’ before they’ve taken care of their own chaos within…Ideologies are substitutes for true knowledge, and ideologues are always dangerous when they come to power, because a simple-minded I-know-it-all approach is no match for the complexity of existence.

And in no time in recent memory are people in need of clear thinking in the face of ideologues and extremists. Peterson was attacked for his defense of free speech and academic freedom by those who claimed to be “open-minded” or “progressive.” Doidge notes, whether they realize it or not:

…millennials are living through a unique historical situation. They [have been]..thoroughly taught two seemingly contradictory ideas about morality…[leaving them] disoriented and uncertain…tragically deprived of riches they don’t even know exist.

And so a generation has been raised untutored in what was called, aptly, ‘practical wisdom,’ which guided previous generations…[suffering] a form of serious intellectual and moral neglect. The relativists…chose to devalue thousands of years of human knowledge about how to acquire virtue…

..made worse by this moral relativism; [people] cannot live without a moral compass, without an ideal at which to aim in their lives…So, right alongside relativism, we find the spread of nihilism and despair, and also the opposite of moral relativism: the blind certainty offered by ideologies that claim to have an answer for everything…Sometimes it seems the only people willing to give advice in a relativistic society are those with the least to offer.

Whereas many, in their hubris, think the past as nothing to offer, our ancestors knew differently:

For the ancients, the discovery that different people have different ideas about how, practically, to live, did not paralyze them; it deepened their understanding of humanity and led to some of the most satisfying conversations human beings ever had, about how life might be lived.

Then Peterson begins:

Through the elevation and development of the individual, and through the willingness of everyone to shoulder the burden of Being and to take the heroic path. We must each adopt as much responsibility as possible for individual life, society and the world…the alternative — the horror of authoritarian belief, the chaos of the collapsed state, the tragic catastrophe of the unbridled natural world, the existential angst and weakness of the purposeless individual — is clearly worse.

{In part 2 of this review, we will look at Peterson’s first three rules.}

Categories: Books, education | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Tolkien’s Unfinished Sequel to LOTR

When Sauron was destroyed at the end of the Third Age, was that the end of evil? No, as Tolkien knew, evil would try to creep across the land again. He had began to outline what would unfold in the generations after The Lord of the Rings, prefaced on the nature of evil:

If evil is not faced up to and confronted, it will spread…the Dark Tree, the concept of growing evil…a dark tree whose roots can never be fully destroyed so that evil will once again arise if the tree is left untended or unwatched. When we do not actively keep watch for evil, it will return…Sometimes in order to preserve the good in the world, we need to step put of the Shire with hope in our hearts, and journey to the darkest places whatever the cost. – “In Deep Geek”

The sequel was never completed, but Tolkien’s vision and warnings about evil live on. Learn more about J.R.R. Tolkien’s unfinished sequel to The Lord of the Rings here.

Categories: Books, fantasy, Fiction | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Destroy Cities, Destroy Hope

After famed Minneapolis science fiction and fantasy bookstore Uncle Hugo’s and its sister store, Uncle Edgar’s, were destroyed by rioters, Tony Daniel had this to say:

…a city is not like a statue. It is an unplanned web, a crazy network of individuals doing productive, artistic, crazy, and interesting things, all at once. It pulsates with life and change in some areas, accretes tradition or staleness, or both, in others.

It’s never the same. The hustle and bustle of the street, the shops and restaurants and churches and halfway houses and all the rest engender this…when a cultural institution…is burned, the damage goes beyond the physical. It is not really possible to merely clean up and rebuild, as you might a Target or a police station. The bustle of the street, the fabric of the city itself, is damaged.

The destruction…hurts people’s souls, even if they don’t realize this. When you burn such places down…you are not clearing for renewal. You are destroying the very possibility for growth and change in a community.

You are killing hope.

Categories: Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Beware of the Book Burners

Jarrett Stepman writes:

A well-educated person should read deeply and broadly…Reading authors with opinions both contemporary and ancient can be a profoundly illuminating experience. It becomes quite clear that the advancement of time has led to many positive changes—and more than a few bad ones as well…’Decolonizing’ bookshelves represents a further closing of the American mind, but now intellectual shallowness is being paired with self-righteous zealotry. It’s a frightful combination.

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” ― Ray Bradbury

Categories: Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Christopher Tolkien, Architect of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, 1924-2020

Christopher Tolkien, son of J.R.R. Tolkien, and the person in charge of his father’s literary estate, passed away at the age of 95 on the 16th of January. After his father passed away in 1973, Christopher began a massive, decades-long project of publishing his father’s unfinished Middle-Earth histories:

In 1977, he collected and published The Silmarillion, a work that Tolkien had intended to publish, which explored the origins of Middle-earth and set up the conflict that he explored in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

In the years that followed, he continued to produce new volumes of Tolkien’s unpublished writings, releasing Unfinished Tales in 1980, the 12-volume History of Middle-earth between 1982 and 1996, and edited and completed a number of longer narratives and translations of epic poems, including The Children of Húrin (2007), The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún (2009), The Fall of Arthur (2013), Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary, (2014), Beren and Lúthien (2017), and The Fall of Gondolin (2018).

As Gandalf said,

…the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it. White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

Categories: Books, fantasy, Fiction | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

2020: What did Sci-Fi predict?

Not a lot of good things, so apparently we are far better off than they thought, and our ever present doomsayers claim. Some disappointments as well, like not being on Mars yet. Check out Travis Perry’s article reviewing what film and books thought we would wake up to in 2020.

Categories: Books | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: