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Posts Tagged ‘JRR Tolkien’

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” — Woodrow T. Wilson

Friends are on my mind today. Two of my good friends, Karen and Wendy, have birthdays this week. Just last week, I had the opportunity to spend several hours (including lunch) with Patti, a friend who I haven’t had a chance to visit with in-person for two years. I chatted with dear friend Kelly on the phone just the other day. And I’m looking forward to spending time with more friends this summer.

Besides family, I think friends and their friendship are the most important thing holding my world together–which is why friendship often plays such an important role in my stories and books.

BeyondSheercliffs_Balticon Like the unlikely group pulled together in JRR Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring, sometimes the friendships we forge because of a common goal turn out to be the most meaningful. At their core, Star Wars and Star Trek, are also about unlikely friendships. As is JK Rowling’s Harry Potter. For “Things are never quite as scary when you’ve got a best friend.” [Bill Watterson].

The concept of friendship growing from a common goal (and enemy) led me to cobble together several groups of seemingly dissimilar individuals in my epic fantasy novel, The Enchanted Dagger (Book 1 of The Chronicles of Lifthrasir). And the idea of friendship is also playing an important role in my current work-in-progress novel, Beyond the Sheercliffs (Book 1.5 of The Chronicles of Lifthrasir). 

The fight against evil; the quest for an item or person of great value; shared hunger, thirst, and danger; a common goal; and unexpected circumstances that link characters together are all wonderful devices in storytelling that can be the seeds of friendship. And best of all, readers understand friendship. It is something we all have in common.

A great majority of us desire strong friendships. We all have known the pain of a friendship that has ended. Many of us have watched a friend grown apart from us or change in a way that makes them a different person–and one which we no longer want to be friends with. Most of us remember the joyful feelings of realizing someone has moved from friendly acquaintance to friend. And we embrace the truth of Helen Keller’s sentiment: “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”

And so, as I shape and polish the various friendships in Beyond the Sheercliffs, I urge you to reach out to your friends. Take the time to phone, message, or better yet, visit with your friends. Or maybe, make the effort to develop a friendly acquaintance into a friend. Because “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out” [Walter Winchell], and we could all use more of those sorts of people in our lives.

 

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IMG_2395 Only 2 weeks until Halloween and 6 days until HallowRead. So I decided to share with you one of my favorite readings of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, The Raven. Actor Christopher Lee is the reader.

A bit of background: Christopher Lee began his film career in 1947 in the Gothic romance, Corridor of Mirrors. Lee co-stared in classic Hollywood horror films with Peter Cushing, Boris Karloff, and other well-known horror actors. He also played Sherlock Holmes in several movies. Star Wars fans will recognize him as the villainous Count Dooku.  Fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies will remember him as the wizard, Saruman, Interestingly, he was the only member of the casts to have actually met JRR Tolkien. Other recent films he appeared in include: Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, and Dark Shadows.

The Raven is a long poem, so be prepared to lean back, relax (if you dare), and listen to a marvelous Raven recitation by British actor, Christopher Lee.

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After skimming this article, I discovered I hadn’t read all of the books mentioned, so I’ve added a few novels to my “To Read” list. Most of the books on the list I’ve read. I agree with the article’s authors – The Lord of the Rings, War of the Worlds, Dune, A Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, Foundation, The Martian Chronicles, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, etc. have changed science fiction and fantasy, and added to the genre.

There are other authors who’ve changed my perception of Science Fiction and Fantasy, but the writings of JRR Tolkien, Jules Verne, HG Wells, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, George RR Martin, Suzanne Collins, JK Rowling, Frank Herbert, Ursula K. LeGuin, Douglas Adams, and the other authors listed in this aricle stand out.

By the way, the artwork featured in the post is nice, too.

What do you think of 21 Books That Changed Science Fiction and Fantasy Forever? Were your favorites named?

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Thanks to the Baltimore Science Fiction Society for the link to this article on a Prehistoric Crocodile named after a JRR Tolkien creature. The reptile weighs in at over 900 pounds, so it’s no wonder the beast has been named after The Lord of the Ring’s Balrog which dwelt in the deep, dark Middle-Earth mines of Moria. 

Yes, Tolkien fan that I am, I can always find a way to celebrate one of my favorite authors!  Here’s the link.

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tolkien On the pending publication of Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien said: “I am dreading the publication, for it will be impossible not to mind what is said. I have exposed my heart to be shot at.”

As a fan of LotR, The Hobbit, and other works by Tolkien, I can’t imagine him doubting the merit of this trilogy. Yet, I know as a writer when a book (or even a story, poem, or non-fiction piece) of mine is published, there is both joy at seeing the completion of a work and a sense of dread anticipating the less than positive comments and inevitable bad reviews.

Even those best books don’t please everyone, so I know there will be those readers who think my child (my book) is ugly or stupid. And though I steel myself for those critical comments and reviews, I know, I, too, have exposed my heart to be shot at.

I wonder if reviewers and readers who post reviews to Amazon, Goodreads, and elsewhere know how their words effect the author? Do you try to make your comments constructive criticism when you don’t care for a book? Or not?

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In my internet travels, I discovered this Tolkien-themed blog, A Tolkienist Perspective. This blog contains lots of information on JRR Tolkien, his books, the films, and his mythical worlds. And if you’ve always wondered about the Nazgul, here’s the link to an interesting essay on the subject.

Tolkien fans, do you agree with the essay?

I hope you’re enjoying my blog posts and links. Want to show some love? Visit my Amazon page and consider buying a book. 🙂

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Happy Star Wars Day and May the Fourth be with you! Here’s a link for a brief history of how this holiday began.

May is a special month in the Star Wars world – not only was George Lucas born in May, but most of the live-action Star Wars movies debuted in May, including Episode IV – the movie that began not only the Star Wars franchise, but was a major leap in film and special effects. And I think my birthday being in May is no coincidence!

Star Wars had a profound effect on my creative life. Since childhood, I’d been a watcher of Star Trek and other science fiction (and fantasy) television shows. When I got the chance to go to the movie theater, I usually chose to see speculative films. Many of the books I borrowed from the library or had on my bookshelves were adventure tales, fantasy, and science fiction. But I hadn’t yet embraced sf/f/h as my creative niche.

After Star Wars, I realized I belonged as an artist and writer in the fantastical worlds of fantasy and science fiction. I wanted to write about heroes (both male and female), sidekicks, magical creatures, faraway galaxies, and strange worlds. I wanted to paint the landscape and inhabitants of those imagined lands (or seas or starships or mysterious places).

When asked to list my creative influences, JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, and Arthur Rackham always make the cut – but in truth, George Lucas should be mentioned, too!

Here’s NASA’s May 4th greeting for your viewing pleasure.

Here’s a short video with a May 4th wish delivered by R2D2.

And finally, a link to a fun and geeky Star Wars website. Enjoy!

(And by the way, my new book, Owl Light, has several science fiction stories in it for SF readers.)

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