Dragged Into The 21st Century

Did you wake up this morning the proud/confused/intimidated owner of something small, electrical, and vaguely rectangular? Did you smile meekly last night while your loved ones looked on with bated breath as you apprehensively ripped open the packaging and did they cheer and clap their hands welcoming you into the technological age?

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And did they notice when you reached for that glass of single malt and took a gulp instead of a sip? Thousands of years in the future, archeologists will discover that man had a propensity to collect random items and leave them in their boxes. Often, they will propose theories to skeptical crowds, these gifts ran off of some obtuse energy source which was, no doubt very rare, since these gadgets seem to be hardly used.

Furthermore, they will note, primitive humans had a propensity to acquire the same gadget with slightly better features despite barely understanding the gadget’s predecessor.

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Have another sip of scotch. Oh, I forgot it is the morning after. Well you can always lace your cereal if you do it discreetly.

We are all entering the technological age, whether through brave adventurism, or without choice. You might as well take a deep breath and plunge in. Who knows, you might actually enjoy it.

Such things as cell phones and iPods seem to be accepted by all but a brazen few, even if the desire for the latest phone has nothing to do with actually making a call. The battle, for now, is over the tablet. The world (at least those of us who don’t need to worry about the little things like a roof over our heads, food at our next meal, or what’s in the water supply) is divided into three groups.

1. Embracing the technology. These people don’t just read on their iPad, Kindle or Nook, they embrace it, often with an annoying missionary zest. They don’t take it out of their bag at the coffee shop or on the bus, they brandish it, like a mighty sword from days long past.

They are liable to chastise you, often in a smug, sympathetic way, as you balance your hardcover on your lap. “Oh,” they whine in true Bob Dylan style, “How many trees does a Luddite reader fell…” When dealing with these people, it can be advantageous to note that the hefty hardcover has a distinct advantage over the light, sleek screen – it is far more effective when you take a swing at aforementioned pretentious individual.

2. Luddite Conviction. No way! We are already spending too much time on screens. A book is more than just words on paper. You can smell it, feel the page crackle as you move through the novel, feel the weight of the author’s perseverance as you hold his/her masterpiece in your hand… And then the classic, yet oft-doomed line: It will never catch on.

3. Dithering in the Middle. There is some middle ground. I have to admit that I love my Kindle. It is light, convenient, and I get a kick about the environmental aspects. However, I do also miss the feel and smell of the book. I love the art of a well thought out book cover, and I also love reading while soaking in a hot bath. My bookshelves are an important part of my identity in our house and I hope sets a certain tone with my family.

So, some Advice for The Morning After:

Firstly: Don’t Panic! Take a deep breath, slowly unwrap the gadget and take it out of its box.

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Then: Go on your computer and find either the website for the company or go to You Tube. There are some really good, simple, step-by-step videos for people like us. I know, half of my readers are men and we read instruction manuals like we ask people for directions (btw – you might have a GPS navigator on your tablet).

Finally: Have another whisky. It is the holiday season after all. And take note: if you are reading this blog, then you have already embraced the blogosphere: the cutting edge of the Internet. You are already firmly in the 21st century, dude. YOU CAN DO THIS!

Oh, and if you did receive a Kindle, iPad, or whatever, this might be a good first book to read on your gadget (couldn’t resist!). In fact, how else can you stack up with an award-winning epic fantasy trilogy for just $9….Just saying!

Happy Hols’

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Alon Shalev is the author of the 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner, At The Walls of Galbrieth, The First Decree, and Ashbar – Wycaan Master Book 3 – all released by Tourmaline Books. Shalev is also the author of three social justice-themed novels including Unwanted Heroes. He swears there is a connection. More at http://www.alonshalev.com and on Twitter (@elfwriter). Hang out with Alon on Google+

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Guest Post – Author Lisa Fender

My guest today is author Lisa Fender. She has co-written the fantasy novel, Fable – Book 1 of The Lorn Prophecy with her sister which is, in itself an amazing story. Author, J.E Rogers described Fable “as a wonderful book that combines, fantasy, with young adult romance. Lisa Fender, and Toni Burns, have deftly created a new world, another dimension. This well written fantasy will take its readers on an exhilarating ride to this other dimension. It is another world that young people will easily identify with, and enjoy.”

Lisa exudes a love for everything epic fantasy, so I was not surprised when she chose to write about why she finds it so enthralling.

Lisa and Toni: sisters in creative collusion

Lisa: I have been a fantasy freak for as long as I can remember. Ah, to be taken away to another world where dragons roam and Dryads peek at you from behind (or within) the trees. And, when I am immersed in a fantasy world and I read the last book in the trilogy, quadrilogy, or even twelve-part series, and the story(ies) end…argh! Agony!

I live and breathe fantasy fiction and when I decided it was time for me to write the story dancing around in my head, it had to be in the genre of…epic fantasy, of course! But, the question was: How to make mine different? To achieve this, I looked to my personal passions.

My inherent love for our planet and wildlife, and concern over how our species seems bent on destroying both, gave me my inspiration. This in turn, gave rise to the idea of the Djen.

Djen are my take-off of the Genie. Don’t think of a genie in a bottle, or “I Dream of Jeannie”.  Instead my Djen are a race of beings in a parallel dimension. They have but one purpose: watch over the planet and keep nature in balance. Of course, perfection cannot come without conflict, in the form of a faction who creates turmoil for the Djen and the series’ main character, Stevie Barrett.

Fable Book Cover

I started putting pen to paper back in 2009. After a couple of years—not simply writing, but additionally educating myself in the craft—I asked my sister, Toni, to with help me with revisions. At the time I had hired a writing coach and we discovered that my sister’s experience with journalistic and business-style writing was not the same as creative writing. The two of us began to learn the craft together. 

After a short while, Toni started to offer suggestions and became my sounding board to bounce off ideas. This led to our coming up with scenarios and directions for the book and characters that neither one of us had considered. Together we made the story more intriguing and exciting. She too, fell in love with the characters and the Djen world. I finally decided to ask her to be my co-writer and I haven’t looked back. We are ecstatic about publishing our first book in the series, Fable, and look forward to continuing our partnership.

Writing the series together has truly brought us closer. Sure we fight once in a while, all sisters do, but not about the stories or the way we write together. We have a system and even though some have said to me that I’m giving away my power, I disagree. I love writing together.

Most of the basic story is written by me, and then the two of us go over each line and clean it up. We discuss ideas together and decide which way we want the story to go. We complement each other’s writing strengths and skills. It works well.

Fable, Book 1 of the Lorn Prophecy has been in print since spring of this year, and we have completed a side book/compendium novel: Fated, Book 1 of the Djenrye Chronicles. We are now working on the second book in the Lorn Prophecy series: Lore. In essence, I have gone from being immersed in the fantasy worlds of other writers to creating one of my own!

What books and worlds do you like get lost in?

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I have the complete joy of living in Golden, Colorado with my husband, Rick, and our yellow lab mix, Branch. I love hiking, camping and enjoying the mountains and wildlife which provides so much of my inspiration. I don’t have some fabulous degree or a plethora of literary courses behind me, I am literally the waitress that wanted to write a book.

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Thank you, Alon, for having me as a guest on your blog! It is truly an honor.  I do so share your love for the classic fantasy fictions—J.R.R. Tolkien, George R. R. Martin—as well as J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter – and your finding your inspiration in the world around you.

Want to know more about Lisa and her work? Here are her social media links:

Fable – Book 1 of The Lorn Prophecy 

Fated – Book 1 of The Djenrye Chronicles 

Lisa’s Blog

Fanpage

Twitter

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Alon Shalev is the author of the 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner, At The Walls of Galbrieth, The First Decree, and Ashbar – Wycaan Master Book 3 – all released by Tourmaline Books. Shalev is also the author of three social justice-themed novels including Unwanted Heroes. He swears there is a connection. More at http://www.alonshalev.com, on Twitter (@elfwriter) and on Google+.

My First You Tube Book Video

Thank you so much to the folks at Slashed Reads and, in particular, Robin Austin, for taking the time to generously produce this 90 second You Tube video. Please take a moment to visit their website and check out the other featured authors.

Let me know what you think of it in the comments below.

We are a week away from the epic fantasy celebration at Games of Berkeley – next Sunday at 3pm. I really hope you can come and we will try to show it on a Google+ Hangout.

If you have any questions that you would like answered at the event, please take a moment to write them in the comments and I will pass them on to the facilitator, Joanna Phoenix.  For details of the event, please click here and let me know if you have any questions.

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Alon Shalev is the author of the 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner, At The Walls of GalbriethThe First Decree, and Ashbar – Wycaan Master Book 3 – all released by Tourmaline Books. Shalev is also the author of three social justice-themed novels including Unwanted Heroes. He swears there is a connection. More at http://www.alonshalev.com and on Twitter (@elfwriter). Hang out with Alon on Google+