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Memorable Books

I was going to post the book review for C.L. Polk’s debut novella, Witchmark, but then I remembered that it first has to appear in our next issue of Gamecca Magazine first which means it will have to wait until next month. It’s a contract thing. Anyway while I’m still working through Robert W. Chambers’ The King In Yellow for the next review (I’m halfway through don’t worry), I thought perhaps I should talk about books for today.


There’s this part of me that wishes I had impeccable memory and can recall the contents of a book thoroughly enough to sound… well like a scholar. I know it sounds pretentious but have you heard people talk about books like they were literally living in them? Character names. Places. Events. Linking scenes and quotes between books to draw revelations I would have otherwise completely missed. I want that ha ha. Although in my defense, I spent way too much of my youth reading Stephen King so I could probably do that with a couple of his books (looks at the collection of The Dark Tower novels).

Memorable Books

While I may lack that ability to fully recount a book’s contents, here are some memorable books I’ve read over the years that I remember well and still think of to this day. Some I can draw correlations across other books while others just changed my worldview:

1. The Program – Gregg Hurwitz

The Program Gregg Hurwitz

2. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

3. Kill Baxter – Charlie Human

4. Once – James Herbert

5. Endgame – James Frey, Nils Johnson-Shelton

6. The Bachman Books – Stephen King as Richard Bachman

7. Books of Blood – Clive Barker

8. Beyond the Pale – Mark Anthony

9. Three – Ted Dekker

10. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline


Do you have any books that have stuck in your mind or you still recall to this day? Perhaps any book that changed your mind, thoughts, world view?

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House #Recommendation

A mind-bending supernatural thriller from the creators of This Present Darkness and Saint.

Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker — two of the most acclaimed writers of supernatural thrillers — have joined forces for the first time to craft a story unlike any you’ve ever read. Enter House — where you’ll find yourself thrown into a killer’s deadly game in which the only way to win is to lose… and the only way out is in.

The stakes of the game become clear when a tin can is tossed into the house with rules scrawled on it. Rules that only a madman—or worse—could have written. Rules that make no sense yet must be followed.

One game. Seven players. Three rules. Game ends at dawn.


Ted Dekker is one of those authors whose books can be action packed and fast paced, and sometimes slow and drawn-out. I’ve liked 2 out of 3 of his books I read. This one sounds like a good read too. I haven’t heard anything about Frank Peretti though so I cannot offer any insights on that regard.

The Writing Process

A guide to Pantsing_Edited

The last two days have been quite interesting, between reading Thr3e and recovering from sickness, I was also suffering a sort of writer’s block. You’d think coming up with ten horror stories would be easy but it’s not. Limiting my short stories to 3000 words is also an issue, either there’s too many words and the story is short, or there’s not enough words and I have to cut the story short by removing “unnecessary” sections. It’s actually quite frustrating.

The Processor

So how do I come up with stories? Well first I have to find a topic that scares me and guess what? I have plenty. Spiders spilling out of a spider bite in my arm and crawling over my skin. *shivers* Waking up to find a faceless figure staring down at me then proceeding to erase my features while they slowly appear on his own face. Playfully checking under the bed for monsters and actually find one. The shadow on the wall starts to move.

shadow

I take these and, as an author, have to draw up the scenarios that would make them plausible. I process the idea and it’s facets to gain a clearer picture of the story I’m trying to tell. The spider bite is plausible on it’s own so what’s the story behind the bite, how did it happen, what was I doing while it festered etc etc. Maybe the horror is not in the fact that spiders are spilling down my arm but that I let them fester in the first place for some nefarious reason.

A faceless man? Why is he faceless? Why is he trying to steal my face? Did someone steal his face or is it actually revenge as I had stolen his face initially? The zombie apocalypse erased people’s faces? It’s a government experiment to infiltrate secure locations gone wrong and their rogue Experiment X is stealing faces? What is the story?!

The Pantser

Most of the time, a word or phrase or image catches my attention and I’m flying through the story without processing anything. It’s a convoluted mess and sometimes I actually step outside for a breath of fresh air and to think through the story. Instead I just stare into the sun, blink haphazardly and go back without any processing or insight to the story I’m writing because my brain is just buzz, buzz, buzzing. Characters, scenarios and all the horrors just sweeping in on a magic carpet like,

*Sings

“I can show you your mind. Shining, shimmering, scarrrry!”

top_5_disney_songs_-_a_whole_new_world

I don’t have the depth that Ted Dekker has when he writes his books. I mean, wow, after reading Thr3e for my Wednesday Book Review, I’m starting to wonder if I’m just a shallow writer missing the profundity that sets Ted Dekker apart from many other authors. I mean, sure, you can write a book with a great story and fantastic characters and people are all la di da about it, but I think my goal is make people pull their hair out, write journals and life-long blog entries deciphering the twisted, mindblowing story I have written. Not because they are confused, but because the story was nothing they were expecting – it was just that amazing. I can dream though.


 

Wednesday Book Review: Thr3e

ted-dekker-three

Title: Thr3e

Author: Ted Dekker

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

Book procurement: Bought at a little secondhand book store in Melville.

Release Date: December 10, 2006.

Synopsis:

Enter a world where nothing is what it seems. Where your closest friend could be your greatest enemy.

Kevin Parson is alone in his car when his cell phone rings. A man calling himself Slater offers a deadly ultimatum: You have exactly three minutes to confess your sin to the world. Refuse, and the car you’re driving will blow sky high. Then the phone goes dead.

Kevin panics. Who would make such a demand? What sin? Yet not sure what else to do, Kevin swerves into a parking lot and runs from his car. Just in case.

Precisely three minutes later, a massive explosion sets his world on a collision course with madness. And that’s only the first move in this deadly game

Review:

A friend of mine introduced me to Ted Dekker ages ago where I procured The Circle, which didn’t appeal to me much. So I tried Heavens Wager and that was a great book. Thr3e was in the backseat of my car for some weird reason, probably didn’t take it out since I bought it 6 months ago, and I decided I might as well read it. I’m so glad I did.

It begins with quite a philosophical question regarding the nature of man/humans/people. Is man good or evil? Does our capacity to do evil make us inherently evil? How do we deal with our inner duality of good and evil? In the bible sin is sin (sin is overstepping the boundaries set by God), which leads to asking if someone who gossips is as bad as someone who murders since both have overstepped the boundary – committed a sin.

Kevin Parson is a seminary student who poses this question to his professor. Almost as though to immediately lead him towards the answer, he receives a call from a man called Slater.  Solve this riddle and confess your sin, or you die. What follows is an explosive action packed adventure with Kevin Parson revisiting his childhood, solving riddles posed and trying to figure out who Slater is.

The writing is fluid. It moves along at a fantastic pace almost as though I’m watching a movie and everything is unraveling splendidly. So refreshing to enjoy a book that keeps me turning the pages and shouting out in agony as I try to figure out who Slater is. As much as Ted Dekker falls into Christian thrillers, it’s not a book trying to convert you into Christianity. There’s hardly any reference to it and when there is, it’s linked to Kevin, Slater and the ongoing battle between them. Expertly handled from beginning to end.

Let’s not forget that amazingly mind-blowing hair-tearing-from-suspense conclusion that had me talking to myself in traffic and uttering profound praise to Ted Dekker for messing with my mind!! Whoa. Loved it.

Rating: A MINDBLOWING 5 out of 5. (edited)


ted-dekker

Ted Dekker is known for novels that combine adrenaline-laced stories with unexpected plot twists, unforgettable characters, and incredible confrontations between good and evil. Ted lives in Austin with his wife LeeAnn and their four children.


If you didn’t know, now you know, I’ve started a bookstagram!

@ascribe_bookstagram

ascribe_bookstagram_thr3e

Three by Ted Dekker + Bookstagram

ted-dekker-three

Enter a world where nothing is what it seems. Where your closest friend could be your greatest enemy.

Kevin Parson is alone in his car when his cell phone rings. A man calling himself Slater offers a deadly ultimatum: You have exactly three minutes to confess your sin to the world. Refuse, and the car you’re driving will blow sky high. Then the phone goes dead.

Kevin panics. Who would make such a demand? What sin? Yet not sure what else to do, Kevin swerves into a parking lot and runs from his car. Just in case.

Precisely three minutes later, a massive explosion sets his world on a collision course with madness. And that’s only the first move in this deadly game.


I am currently reading this book and will probably review it for my Wednesday Book Review.This is the third Ted Dekker book I’ve read. The first was Heaven’s Wager, which was also a great book. I couldn’t get into The Circle series though. Don’t know why. Anyway this book is also the first to feature in my new Bookstagram!
ascribe_bookstagram-ted-dekker-three I decided to separate my personal Instagram from my books and writing and started a dedicated bookstagram account. I won’t lie, it requires quite a bit of creativity (and someone else to actually hold the camera haha) so it may be slow starting off. I only have one picture right now but I have an idea I just have to execute.

Please follow my bookstagram. I promise it will pick up. 🙂

@ascribe_bookstagram


ted-dekker

Ted Dekker is known for novels that combine adrenaline-laced stories with unexpected plot twists, unforgettable characters, and incredible confrontations between good and evil. Ted lives in Austin with his wife LeeAnn and their four children.

Readers Block: Discovering the joy of reading

What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without reading a book (since learning how to read, of course)? Which book was it that helped break the dry spell?

Reading_by_talewhisper

One of the greatest tools that a writer has available, always, is books written by others. The wealth of knowledge, writing styles, ideas, concepts etc is available via leatherbound,  hard covered, soft covered or even electronic novels, waiting to be enjoyed and explored. I myself, have benefited greatly from reading and in fact the act of reading opened the world of writing to me. The idea that even my story could be told and others could enjoy reading it just as much as I enjoyed writing it, was enough to get me to put pen to paper.

However, there was a point where the very idea of reading was such a drag that I just didn’t pick up a single book for 3-4 years. Yes I bought books with the intention of reading them and I’d edge through the first page or so and then I’d put it down and never read it again. I have no idea why, it was just not as exhilarating as I’d enjoyed them to be.

I figured that some good fiction would break the spell and so I went out and bought a book by Ted Dekker – The Circle. Its the complete collection of his series Black, Red, White and Green which a friend of mine had suggested I look in to a year or so ago.

Unfortunately that  didn’t digest so well. I read a page in but just couldn’t wrap my mind around it.

I started downloading eBooks after that, quick easy shorts that I could dig in to without too much commitment and not so much carrying to do and the eBook I got that really pushed me towards reading again was a book about writing by Arnold Bennett – The Authors Craft.

The English was difficult, the exhortation inspirational and the advice beneficial. I mowed through that book and was ready to apply this new found knowledge.

CircleCover

authorscraft

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the same time, plans to jettison off into a different continent where in tow and it was while I sat on the comfortable couches of a family friend’s aunt on the other side of the world that I finished The Authors Craft on my phone and settled in to another fascinating book I found at a Thrift store. The book? The Program by Gregg Hurwitz.

GreggHurwitzTheProgram

This book was so different to what I normally read and it was written so well that I swallowed it all up. This is a synopsis of the book,

Called back into the fold of the U.S. Marshals Service, Tim Rackley is tasked with retrieving Leah Henning, the daughter of a powerful Hollywood producer, from a mind control cult. As Tim winds his way deep undercover inside an insidious operation called The Program, he confronts a brand of mind-warping manipulation beyond his worst expectations.

Becoming enmeshed with a diverse band of characters – from the charismatic, messianic leader T.D. Betters, to a cult reject burnout, to the intelligent yet highly vulnerable Leah herself – Tim finds himself caught in a shadowy landscape of lies, manipulation, and terror. At stake, innocent minds – maybe even his own.

When I picked this book up, there was no synopsis or book cover or anything, just the name of the book. I literally turned to a random page in the book and started reading. I was hooked, so much so I decided I had to read more. Thus “The Program” broke my Readers Block.

Right now I’m delving into a series of books and short stories. I’ve hit two book stores already and have eight or so books on my list to read, some classic Stephen King, some James Herbert and some David Balducci and look forward to my growing library.

So, here’s to reading! May it live long and prosper!

___________________

In response to:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/readers-block/

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