The Auralia Thread Blog
Buy a book from The Auralia Thread from your local bookstore, and I’ll send you another book from the series free of charge!
Here’s how this deal works… (more…)
Where have you discovered The Auralia Thread lately?
How about Live at the Hollywood Bowl?
I had the privilege of playing with the LA Phil at the Hollywood Bowl tonight and I had The Ale Boy’s Feast with me. Here are some pictures from on stage. Sorry for my phone’s photo quality… I think you’ll still get the idea.
Wow. It’s the next best thing to being there!
That’s only one of this two big surprises. Here’s the other one… (more…)
Despite my best efforts to remain unnoticed, it seems another reader has somehow found his way to a copy of Auralia’s Colors.
My thanks to my friend Mary McCleary, who alerted me to a new review… (more…)
Terrence Malick’s new film The Tree of Life played at Cannes this week, and there are suddenly dozens and dozens of reviews all over the Internet. The differences in viewers’ reactions are striking, sometimes even confounding. And many of their responses read more like reactions than reviews.
But some reviewers have taken the time to think deeply about the film, about what it might mean, about the risky decisions that the director made in juxtaposing scenes about the origins of the cosmos and scenes about a family in Smithville, Texas in the early 1950s.
I wonder if Malick pays any attention to reviews. I doubt that he does. He seems to be focused on the work.
Me? I do read reviews of my work, partly because I love those moments when readers discover ideas in the stories that didn’t occur to me as I was writing. I also learn from those reviews… sometimes… (more…)
Many bookstores around the country have been supportive of my four-book series The Auralia Thread.
But Barnes and Noble has been especially helpful… (more…)
I’m giving away a strange assortment of stuff from my desk:
A signed copy of The Ale Boy’s Feast, Auralia bookmarks, a map of the Expanse signed by artist Rachel Beatty, posters for True Grit and The Adjustment Bureau, and two issues of Response magazine.
Want to have your name in the drawing?
As a reader in a community of readers, I know that all of us have unique responses to the books we read.
My opinion of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone or No Country for Old Men or Never Let Me Go will be different from yours, even if we both give them a thumbs’ up or a thumbs’ down.
As a reviewer, I know that there is a huge difference between a review — a thoughtful examination of plot, style, character development, point of view, etc. — and a reaction. (A reaction is something along the lines of “I liked it” or “It sucked” or “It inspired me” or “It made me feel sick”.) After all, a review requires that we attend to much more than the immediate emotional response that we experience when we look at someone’s work.
As a storyteller, I am thus prepared to encounter many different responses from readers of my own novels. I have no doubt that what delights some will disgust others.
It’s not my job as a writer to worry about what you like or what you don’t like. It’s my job to bring my subject to life and engage it in the best way I know how.
The Ale Boy’s Feast has arrived in stores, and I’ve already seen many different opinions. Other writers have told me that it’s bad manners for a writer to respond when readers have negative reactions. I don’t intend to respond to negative reactions. I fully anticipated that I’d experience those. The Ale Boy’s Feast wasn’t written to make people happy; it was written as an invitation to a difficult, but hopefully rewarding, journey.
But I do feel that I need to address a different kind of dichotomy in some of the reviews and reactions that I’ve seen on various blogs.
I’m not talking about the difference between “I liked it” or “I didn’t like it.”
Here’s what I mean: Some reviewers are taking the time to share thoughtful opinions, positive or negative, about this fantasy novel. Others are just raving (positive) or ranting (negative) without much evidence that they’ve thought about what they encountered. In fact, it seems that some of them didn’t even understand what kind of book they’d been served.
It’s like this: Imagine I’m a cook and I offer a full chicken dinner to some food critics to consider. Some of those critics discuss the chicken dinner — its strengths and its weaknesses, its ratio of meat and potatoes, the quality of its ingredients. Some will be pleased, some won’t. That’s as it should be.
But some of them… let’s call them the Pastry Chefs… jump to conclusions and judge the meal as if it’s just a kind of pastry. They don’t take time to investigate what it is that they’ve been served. To them, everything is a pastry, and thus they only apply pastry standards to what they’ve been served.
Wouldn’t it seem strange to you if I served a chicken dinner and the diners responded, “As donuts go, this is very unsatisfying,” or “This is a first-rate donut!”
I welcome all kinds of opinions on my book as long as they examine it with the standards suitable for examining Epic Fantasy. But if a reader responds by judging the book as a Sunday School Lesson, a Religious Allegory, a Children’s Book, or a Formulaic “Happy Ever After” fairy tale… well, that reader should have read the label before he responded.
So, if you’re bothering to read the reviews of The Ale Boy’s Feast or any of the other books in The Auralia Thread series, here are a seven points to help you understand what the Food Critics have been served. Then you can decide if they’re giving it the right kind of attention, or if they’re judging a chicken dinner by how it fulfills the purposes of a donut.
Here are the details… (more…)