Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Austin Boyd - Down to Earth

I'm mixing it up a bit this week. Four book blog tours. Oh my. But based on the two I've read and already posted, you shouldn't have any trouble finding a good book to read should you be looking for one.

Austin Boyd - i.e. techie-genius sci-fi guy, dropped in with some answers to some of the standard Scrambled Dreg questionis. (that's Latin, I think : ) or maybe Italian. )

If you were assured of writing a best-seller, what genre would it be? Give us a sliver of information, a characteristic or glimpse of a scene.

Fiction, literary novel. A boy and his dog:

Troy found Scooter fifteen years ago, the puppy’s leg broken by an impact with a passing car. The little guy was a mutt, his mother and father connecting just long enough to make him, and neither around when he needed nurturing. That is, until Troy showed up, a curious boy, age 8.

Scooter learned the neighborhood chasing Troy’s bike, learned about girls when Troy missed filling the feed bowl, learned about college when Troy left for months, and Scooter learned about age as his best friend discovered marriage. Best friends for life, Scooter had little life left in him as Troy ascended the last mile of the trail up Maine’s Mount Khatadin.

2000 miles and fourteen years ago, they began this trail together in Georgia, a boy and his young dog, and a wild cub scout troop, climbing a bug-infested Springer Mountain in the sweltering heat of July. Every year they conquered hills together, found water, ran off snakes in summer, or curled together against the freezing rain of a spring weekend storm. This last summit, their last mile, was all that remained in this life of adventures as Scooter rode to the top on the back of his lifelong buddy. A cold October wind whipping against his face, Scooter buried his nose against the warmth of the nape of Troy’s neck… one last time. The great adventure was at a close. This was as far as he would go.

Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?

Most identify with: The Scarecrow in Wizard of Oz. He wants a brain, and I find myself asking for wisdom and creativity often. He gets the stuffin’s knocked out of him and pastes on a smile, then comes back slugging. You can’t get the guy down. He’s the ingenious one, a 1950’s McGyver, who always figures a way out of a jam. I love the guy.

Most like to be: Tarzan or Spider-Man. They were my childhood heroes and still are. Larger than life, making a difference, conquering foes and both with great loves in their lives who are confident women conquering their own challenges.

If you could ask any person, living or dead, a random question -- what question would you ask of whom?

Easy question. I ask it all the time. Jesus, what’s your will for my life? OK… that’s pretty heavy… but it’s the truth. I might also ask Him where the woman came from that Cain married. God doesn’t always give us all the answers… and that’s part of what makes faith so invigorating.

Some out there in writing land have strange rituals. Share yours.

I get up at 4 or 4:30 AM to write, stopping around 6:30 to take my daughter to school. I write in the AM so that I can be a Dad in the PM. I do an extensive outline before every novel so that I can refer to it each morning when I get up to write… in a sleepy fog, I can go right to the scene that I’m supposed to do next, and off we go!

What crayon in the box describes you on a good day? Bad day? Which one do you aspire to be?

Ever sniff a box of new Crayolas? I love that smell. Good day, blue or green. Bad day, one of those stupid colors in the middle between blue and green that aren’t one or the other. I aspire to be the green. Good solid bright green. Verdant.

What makes you feel alive?

Exercising and praying at the same time. I’m the old guy in spandex on a blue bike talking out loud as I zip down the road. Neighbors think I’m nuts, but God knows I’m communing with Him.

Where would you most like to travel ----- moon, north pole, deep seas, deserted island, the holy land or back to a place from your childhood, somewhere else? – and why.

The Holy Land, right now. So much of history, and current events, seems to be wrapped up in that area. I want to see it before I pass on.

Favorite season and why?

Fall. The colors, the smells of the forest behind our house, the hunting season (bow) and the cold air. Pumpkins, corn stalks, leafy trails on the mountain, deer moving and squirrels burying nuts. Cross country season and Thanksgiving. School starts. Birthday in October.

Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?

“I couldn’t put it down and got no sleep last night.” I write suspense and techno-thrillers. If she can’t put the book down, then the reader has invested herself in the storyline and is living it. That’s the best compliment for a writer. The worst is, “I couldn’t get into it. I put it down after 2 or 3 chapters.”

What would you do today if you knew you had only a week to live?

No changes, except I probably wouldn’t be in the office. I’d be in the woods walking with my daughter, riding the bike, and working in the yard with Cindy. No focus on the end, but enjoying every bit of living. No special trips. I’m very happy where I am.

Favorite chore

Gardening with my wife. We love to work in the yard together, whether it’s cutting the grass, pulling weeds, or planting a new garden. Outside work is fun. I also love to clean a kitchen. Cannot stand to cook… won’t even boil water… but give me the ugliest yuckiest kitchen after a big dinner party, a rag, a bottle of dish soap, and turn me loose. Love it.

Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.

Use of the word ‘which’ . Somehow people stick it into sentences in the most egregious ways when they are talking.

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

Not washing hands in the bathroom. Why is it that most of the architects in the world are clueless and design bathrooms so that you have to pull the door open from the inside?

Thanks, Austin. Okay, people come back tomorrow for Boo Humbug. A frightfully/lovely twisted Christmas Carol.

Serials and Scenarios - Demon: A Memoir

Click on the cover to read more about Demon.

Go here to read the first chapter.

Tosca Lee's site and an article written by her for Halloween 2007

My Review:

A couple of months ago I read the first chapter of Demon. It intrigued me and I put the book on my must read list. Then I had the opportunity to join a blog tour. The book arrived in the mail and I had to squeeze it into an already stretched reading schedule.

Upon opening it, I was pulled in and not let go until the last page, and now, I still mull over the details of this story.

There are so many wows that I can’t even begin to go into them, but I’ll try.

First, this story is fascinating. We all have spiritual awareness and curiosity. Look at what we read and watch. Even if we don’t or won’t admit that there is more to this life than birth, taxes and death, we know, deep within while wrestling with haunted thoughts at two a.m. that life is bigger than us. The premise of Demon is an angel who slipped up during worship, took his eyes off God and is forever damned. Only to witness the creation of pathetic creatures of clay who are given mercy and forgiveness and dare they accept God fully, a seed of God Himself, and his struggle with these mud creature and the God who created them.

Secondly, Tosca Lee is a talented writer. I’m amazed that Demon is a debut novel. Her descriptions, dialogue, characterization and level of tension are top notch. I will reread Demon when I have time to read at a pace where I can slow down and savor the rich sensory details.

Thirdly, Demon is haunting. I will ponder the spiritual implications of this story for a long time. If there is even a hint of truth within this story, a chance that some of what is shared about the clay beings importance to God, then maybe I need to live my life differently. Maybe I should be a person whose prayers and walk of faith make the demons uneasy.

Demon does not carry horrific or gory images, but it’s unsettling. Easily ruffled feathers might want to use caution. Otherwise, I can’t imagine someone who shouldn’t read this fascinating account of God’s story through the eyes of one of His enemies.