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Stack of Books

I find it interesting as I talk with various writers of fiction – published and unpublished – that opinions vary as to just how many words should go into a novel of any kind. And I’ve found that a lot of it seems to depend on opinions based on whether or not you’re a first time writer, or sending it to a big publisher versus a small press, does the novel really need so many words, or can they be trimmed down a considerable bit, and the list goes on and on.

Nevertheless, there are always the novels that come out fairly regularly by different authors that easily have 150,000 to 200,000 words or more in them, with others that push it even further. And there are the authors that not only put these novels out regularly “on time” but put out a few of them each year too. Personally, I have always liked a big meaty book that I can spend many nights and days in going through whatever adventure or drama is being played out. Over the years as I find books getting bigger and bigger I’ve had equal feelings of excitement and being overwhelmed with what’s out there to read. There’s quite a few I still haven’t read that I certainly want to, and the ones I have read I have greatly enjoyed.

Let’s look at a few of them, shall we?

Big Book

One of the biggest series of books that have consistently been “BIG” books of increasing size and scope, and the one that sort of brought attention to this phenomenon in the Speculative Fiction world of publishing is Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series.

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

This series refreshed everyone on what a fantasy adventure is all about and even after the author’s passing away, the story is being completed. Now that’s a powerful story! Yet many readers of it have said that although he got off to a great start and seemed to be leading to a great conclusion, somewhere in the middle he got real draggy. Could it be that he was putting too many words in when fewer would suffice? Or could it be that readers are just unaware of how he wanted to conclude the story, so those extra things were more necessary than people at first realized? If the current writer Brandon Sanderson does a good enough job off of the notes Robert Jordan left behind, and if the notes were detailed enough to account for this, then we shall see if earlier concerns were justified or not. Of course, I’m still not into those “middle” books yet, and I’ve talked earlier about how my goal this year is to have every book in this series read before the last one comes out. You can keep track of my progress in my own ongoing journey through The Wheel Of Time series here. Each time I finish one I’ll be leaving a comment telling you it’s been completed.

Or how about Kevin J. Anderson? He pumps out books like it’s going out of style, yet he consistently delivers on story, action, intrigue, and vast scope, plus he has a way of creating characters that remain with you long after their part of the story is complete.

Hidden Empire by Kevin J Anderson

Hidden Empire by Kevin J Anderson

Ten years ago he began a seven book series set in outer space called The Saga of the Seven Suns starting with Hidden Empire. Each year he had a book out at right about the same time and since then he’s done a fantasy trilogy with the third book coming out this year. In the meantime, he’s written books set in the DC Comics universe, edited various anthologies, kept up with his ongoing collaborations with Brian Herbert including the first book of the Hellhole trilogy which just came out, and did other various projects.

I personally still haven’t read Saga of the Seven Suns, but I’ve seen the books in the bookstore. (Yes, there is still such a thing) They aren’t thin novels by any stretch even if they aren’t the biggest ones on the shelf either. But if they are anything like the fantasy trilogy he’s been doing since then and the other books I’ve read by him over the years, I know that I’ll be enjoying it and meeting a lot of characters that will stay with me.

Speaking of books not read yet, I’ve noticed another author by the name of Patrick Rothfuss. I read a recent mutual interview that he and Brandon Sanderson did with each other and people have been recommending his books to me. I’d highly recommend reading that mutual interview as it’s between two authors that have been successful in writing big books and they talk about it from several angles. It’s both a humorous and informative article.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind seems to be a pretty big book too. Maybe once I’ve gone through the books I’m reading this year I’ll pick this up and read it too. Anyone else out there read Rothfuss yet? Opinions? Is he too wordy, or are the words fitting what’s going on?

And as I pointed out, Brandon Sanderson is the heir to Robert Jordan’s legacy to finish The Wheel of Time series, but he now has his own massive multi-book (ten projected) series called The Stormlight Archive. Book One is The Way of Kings.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

The hardback is on my shelf right now and it’s MASSIVE. Just over 1,000 pages. Not a quick read for sure, and one that I am definitely looking forward to getting into later on this year. I’ve been going through the PDF download of Warbreaker on my computer whenever I’m not busy with something else. It’s been a really great read so far, so if this first book of this new series of his is anywhere near as enjoyable as that one – and many have told me that this is his best work to date – then I know I’ll have a good read ahead for me.

But even before Robert Jordan, and even outside of regularly accepted Speculative Fiction, there were people that wrote the occasional massive book.

Let’s look at the one by L. Ron Hubbard that has had a lot of praise over the years.

Battlefield Earth by L Ron Hubbard

Battlefield Earth by L Ron Hubbard

Battlefield Earth is a massive volume that tells a complete story in and of itself. This I’ve been told by those who have read and enjoyed it. It’s a book I intend to read one day. For a long time there I didn’t want to read it because I had seen the movie and didn’t care for it, but people that have both read the book and seen the movie have assured me that the movie is a terrible adaptation and to not judge the book by that. Considering other movie adaptations of books I’ve seen over the years, I’m willing to give it a go one of these days.

But what about Tom Clancy? From the beginning with The Hunt For Red October he has consistently written big books and it just seemed for a good long while there that each book would just get bigger and bigger. When Executive Orders came out, it was dubbed “A Collosal Read” by the Los Angeles Times. The paperback version on my shelf is at 1,358 pages in length. With such a massive volume, I figured that would be his last novel. I mean, honestly, I was wondering how he could write anything bigger?

Executive Orders by Tom Clancy

Executive Orders by Tom Clancy

Fortunately, he did write more even if none have exceeded that one in size, although, the one he just put out has had mixed reviews and the one right before that was terribly thin for him. I’ve been reading Tom Clancy for over a decade now with a break that’s lasted for a couple of years or so. I’m just two books away from reading Executive Orders. I think it’s the biggest book page-wise that I have on my bookshelves. I think it even tops the master for the length of a novel.

Yep, the master.

How could I write about massive books without mentioning my all time favorite author?

Quite a few of you that know me well enough should know who I’m talking about without having to scroll much further.

But I’ll go ahead and say it.

Stephen King.

Stephen King Motivational

This man was, and still is, a writing machine. He is the only author that I’ve seen that can consistently pump out massive volumes of text and keep the reader coming back for more each and every time. And he has proven over and over again that he can write about anything. And he has written some massive tomes for sure. And his average is certainly more than “one” book per year too.

The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand by Stephen King

When the mini-series of The Stand came on ABC in the nineties, I had no idea what I was going to watch. Most of my friends had read the book, but for me, it was all fresh. A few years later I read the complete and uncut version of the book, and honestly, I can’t imagine what the cut version must have been like. At this point, I don’t even want to know. These are some of the greatest characters that I’ve ever read, and there are times I swear (can I do that?) that I’ve had dreams about some of the minor characters and have even heard names mentioned and thought I knew someone just because of that book. The Stand is the biggest book he’s ever written, but it’s not the only one that’s big. No, there’s yet another that’s almost as big as The Stand, and if you’re wondering what it is, this would be:

It by Stephen King

It by Stephen King

I got through this one about a year or so after I finished The Stand. As a person that was also at the time reading through his Dark Tower novels (and boy do THEY get big near the end too) I was beginning to see some connections with his “regular” novels and The Dark Tower. That’s another blog post, but as I began to see these connections, I began to have an even greater respect for the man as an author. Wow!

But now he’s gone and done it again a little over a year ago.

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Under the Dome by Stephen King

I’m not even sure when I’ll be reading this one. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it though, and once I’ve finished some of the other books by him that I need to read first, I know that when I do read this one, I’ll be having another many days and hours of enjoyment.

Well, those are some of the books that I’ve either read or want to read that are huge in size. I prefer those kind myself. What kind do you prefer, and are you more into series or stand alone novels?

Feel free to leave comments below. Thanks for reading what I had to say about these books. 😀

The Path Of Daggers

The Path Of Daggers

I remember when I first saw The Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan. It was about ten years ago when The Path Of Daggers had already come out in paperback. I have no idea how I had missed this series, but I remember looking at this turnstile in this grocery store and seeing all the paperbacks that were available. It was one of the many series coming out at the time that felt they needed as many pages in each volume as the Bible itself, but this one actually was attractive to me.

I was completely enthralled by the cover of The Path Of Daggers. This image of some crusader like army marching with this “king” of sorts with a sword before him and the two flags with one being the yin-yang symbol – yet not being one as the dots weren’t there to make it a true yin-yang – and all the armor and other details of just the painting and the title of the series “The Wheel of Time” which seemed to give credence to why there would be an almost yin-yang symbol…..well all of that just captivated me so much that I just wanted to take that book right then and there and start reading it.

But I didn’t.

I’m just too much of a person that if something is in a series I know that I’m going to start at the beginning. And you want to know the weird thing? None of the other covers of the books that came before quite captivated me like that one did. The others were nice enough, but none seemed to capture for me what seemed to be the essence of “The Wheel Of Time” with this menagerie of images that seemed to be gathered from various spots in time and Earth’s history and various locations to be collected in one cover of one book, and here I am standing in the grocery store holding the book I’d never looked at before then, and I’m making this judgment of what is the “essence” of this series – and I hadn’t even read one word of it yet.

I really, really, oh for Jesus’ sake, you just don’t know how much I really wanted to pick up that book The Path of Daggers, but I knew that if I did, I’d need the other ones, and I just didn’t have enough money to get them all, and I didn’t want to get the first one and not be able to later on get the rest leading up to (what I erroneously thought of at the time) the “last” novel that I was so interested in reading. Heck, I’d seen enough fantasy and sci-fi series come and go, I wasn’t in the mood to start yet something else only to have it ruined because I couldn’t finish it. Same reason I didn’t start the Dune novels until Frank Herbert’s son Brian and his co-author Kevin J. Anderson picked it up and wrote the prequels and then the finale a few years back based on Frank’s detailed notes.

And you want to know something else that sort of contributed to me not picking up the first book? As I mentioned, and most of you should know, this was one of those series where each volume seemed to want to rival the Bible in page numbers, and here I’m looking at not just one book, but eight books I would have to read of fairly equal length, and here I was at the time still trying to work my way through The Stand – The Complete and Uncut Version by Stephen King and had been working on that one on and off for a couple of years. So yeah, even though I was deeply attracted to and captivated by the cover of The Path Of Daggers, I was equally overwhelmed by so much to have to read just to get to the one book I was wanting to read.

So then I wind up back in Florida (I had stayed there for a year a few years before then), and over the time of another couple of years, I see the books of The Wheel of Time series added to, and I get a chance to talk with some people who are reading them. The opinions varied from “too confusing” to “can’t get enough”. All I knew was that I was still interested in this series and wanted to know why the items portrayed on the cover of The Path Of Daggers were the way they were. So I finally broke down and in 2003 I bought the first two books in paperback even though I wasn’t able to buy all of them. I started reading the first book, and admittedly, I had a bit of trouble getting through the beginning. It was so much deeper and richer than even Tolkien right from the first few pages. I was overwhelmed again.

After stopping it and starting it a couple of times, I finally got past Chapter 3 and really got into the novel. This all happened during a nine month lease I had at this apartment complex. By the time my lease was up, I was about half way through the first novel and feeling pretty durn good about myself with it.

Then events changed, and for the next three years I was unable to pick up that copy of the novel because it was not near me. Later, things came back to where I could have it again (the same copy I had originally purchased mind you, even though it wasn’t near me didn’t mean it wasn’t in my “possession”), and a friend of mine that was needing something good to read and didn’t have any books and didn’t have money or transportation seemed like he was in greater need than I, so I told him a bit about this book I had began some time back but hadn’t had a chance to pick up in some time, and when he liked the sound of it, I gave him both of the books I had purchased three years before and he later told me how much he was enjoying reading them. That made me happy. I figured I’d always get the paperbacks again one day since by that time I had already long figured out that it didn’t seem to be one of those fly by night series that I had initially been worried about when I first noticed it.

Shortly after that, I became a part of a book club and when I found out I was able to order hardback copies (which I had seen hardbacks in the store but didn’t think I could get them) and just pay it back upon receipt, and when I saw what a good deal I was getting by getting all of the series that was available at the time, well, you know I ordered them. It seemed that good favor had come on me by giving away the two books I originally had in paperback and now I had all up to The Path Of Daggers and beyond. 😉

R.I.P. Robert Jordan

R.I.P. Robert Jordan

So, I got started reading again, and was in the middle of my second book when I heard the news of Robert Jordan’s passing. It was then that I discovered that Robert Jordan was but a pen name for James Oliver Rigney Jr. and I was completely blown away by how this impacted me. I mean, first I was wondering what kind of family the man may have left behind – if any – that he felt the need to write such a vast and complex series (just within the relatively little that I had read at that point) under a pen name. I wondered if there might be a son that would later come along and take over like Brian Herbert had done for his dad, or Christopher Tolkien had been doing for a long time for his dad, or even how it already seemed that Todd McCaffrey is already doing for his mother as she gets older. I figured if this was the case it would occur much later on like at least a decade or so later. I knew I’d wind up reading the rest of the series just because I had already read too much to not do so, but I was sooo disappointed that this would be yet another series I’d probably never see the end of, and I had no idea if there was an heir or not.

Then, not very long at all after the news of his death, I hear news that I most certainly didn’t expect to hear so soon, that another author would continue and finish the series.

What? Really? So soon? Wow.

I figured that maybe Jordan had picked someone before he died, but later I found out his widow had picked this author, and I had never heard of this fellow before, a guy named Brandon Sanderson. I was quite surprised that an author was on the scene so quickly for this series. But Jordan’s widow had picked him, and it seemed she was very invested in her late husband’s work, so I figured she would be the best to pick a successor if anyone was. So, with the hope renewed that I would indeed see the end of this series, I shrugged my shoulders and began reading again, here and there, as I went on to find other books and new series to explore in the meantime.

I’ve now witnessed two new books hit the store shelves with the names of Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson on them, and I have been reading Sanderson’s blog for several months now keeping track of things there too, and I even downloaded his free novel that he has on his site to try him out. (Sanderson’s blog is one of the Top 10 Blogs that I’m following this year that you can see the complete list of here) And that brings me up to this year where I have now decided that I am going to finish through all of the original Jordan novels (and thus finally reach that book that still captivates me so much with its cover painting), and see if I can also get through the two Sanderson co-authored entries before the last one hits the store shelves by the end of the year.

Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson

Not only that, but I have Sanderson’s Jordan-inspired The Way of Kings on my shelf waiting to be read so that I can start yet another long series of books with each volume seemingly trying to outdo the Bible in number of pages. 😉

And indeed, Jordan’s expansive story is very inspiring and I’ve recently started having some ideas of a huge sci-fi epic with many books that are so thick, but it’s such a small germ of an idea at this point that I will most certainly have to work on it in order to bring it up anywhere close to the standard set by someone like Jordan. And of course, to really see how encompassing his overall story is, I must finish the series that he started and that I’ve heard good things of how Brandon Sanderson seems to be finishing so well. And my goal is to do that this year.

And the books by Jordan and Sanderson aren’t the only ones I have scheduled to read this year. I’m right now in the middle of an ARC of Hellhole – the first of an original trilogy by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson that in March will be available in stores – and the third and final book of Kevin J. Anderson’s Terra Incognita trilogy will be out this summer, and with both April and October there will be about six more Marcher Lord Press novels to read, not to mention however many various surprises Grace Bridges will bring us from Splashdown Books, and both Mike Duran and Greg Mitchell each have debut novels out next month, and who knows what else just might come along that will catch my attention? Not to mention that I still need to finish reading the complete Dune saga and do some more re-reads after that for the extensive overall review and individual reviews that I intend to do about that series.

So it’s quite clear that I have a lot of reading to do this year.

Hope I can get it all done. Time will tell as the Wheel turns. 😉

Today’s my birthday! I’m 34 yrs. old.

I like to keep things simple and typically don’t advertise to everyone about my birthday and whatnot. I’m an attention getter that doesn’t care for it on my birthday.

Well this time I’m making an exception because I have a goal. My goal is to get a Kindle from Amazon. I don’t expect people to just send me money or go buy me a Kindle. I’d feel like that was begging, plus who knows how much would suddenly come my way? I’d have several Kindles lying around I wouldn’t need. Hah-hah!  😉

No, for the people I’m telling about my birthday (which includes you reading this), all I’m asking is that you go to my online store at Beyond the Charts and see what’s available and purchase a couple of items or so. That would get you something good, plus help me toward my goal of getting a Kindle. Oh, and if there’s anything you don’t see on there that I’d carry, just let me know and I’ll see what I can find for you.

I’ve posted this info a few times recently in different places and I’m really kinda’ embarrassed about it, like I said, if in the past I were to have told you, it would have been privately, so you would have been a rare individual. I usually wouldn’t tell people until the day arrived. People would get upset with me sometimes, but I just don’t like advertising my birthday for some reason. My recent postings of this includes one memorable moment where I had first gotten Tweetdeck and thought I was only posting on Twitter and all my posts were showing up in duplicate on Facebook because I had linked my Twitter and Facebook accounts to where everything on Twitter showed up on Facebook, plus Tweetdeck was posting on Facebook. Got a couple of complaints on that one. Sorry if you are Friends with me on there and that aggravated you that day.  😉

And also, you may be aware by now that I’ve got a message board of my own for Beyond the Charts called The Wasteland, and I’d love to interact with you on there some today, so feel free to go ahead and register and introduce yourself in the Welcome area. Oh, and by the way, I’ve got a similar message to this over there too, so don’t be surprised if you see it.

Okay, so there you have it. It’s my birthday and that’s the only thing I’m asking of anyone is to help me get a Kindle by supporting my online store. Even with my wife, she bought me some spiritual books that came in the other day, but other than those I haven’t made any requests of her.

I hope you have a good one today yourself as you enjoy the knowledge that it’s the birthday of someone you know!  😀

Be encouraged,

David

Okay, okay, okay!!

So we got a unique situation with this blog entry here. It’s being posted in more than one location. For over a year now I’ve taken the time to get used to MySpace and had been using the blog I have with MySpace to promote Beyond the Charts. The entries have at times been regular, while other times have been sporadic. Lately, there haven’t been any. Now this blog entry appears there, and in two other locations.

I’m doing it this way to introduce myself and my two new blog areas to everyone whether they are seeing this for the first time on MySpace or one of the two WordPress blogs I’m posting this on.

See, there are some changes happening with Beyond the Charts and its founder David James and you need to be aware of them and you need to know where to go for specific information as not just one place will always do anymore.

So for starters, let’s talk about these three different blog pages:

There’s the classic MySpace blog for Beyond the Charts, there’s the new The Lost Journeyman blog, and then there’s the New Authors’ Fellowship blog I have been invited to.

So what do all these blogs mean?

It means that things are going to be a little more organized for me as I move forward with things and that some information I used to share all in one blog will now be separated so you can keep up with just what you want to keep up with, or you can still keep up with it all by looking at all three.

So how is this divided up now?

Okay, here’s what’s going on:

As a person, I’ve got several projects going on, and the ones I keep talking about are the most active. There’s Beyond the Charts, there’s my involvement with The Trump Network, and there’s the novel I’m working on. Each of these blogs will now take over one of those aspects of myself.

Which ones will cover which?

The new official blog of all things pertaining to the growth of Beyond the Charts can be found here – https://beyondthecharts.wordpress.com/

That means the old one on MySpace will be taken over primarily by another topic – in this case financial and business information – even though it is still a Beyond the Charts location, and will be the main blog I use to promote my part of The Trump Network until I set up a different one and you can find it here – http://www.myspace.com/beyondthecharts

Finally, if you want to keep up on my journey as a writer to see how I’m doing with that and what happens when I eventually finish my novel, then keep up with me and some other authors here – http://newauthors.wordpress.com/

On each of these, the main focus will be what I’ve listed as being discussed, although my own personal viewpoints and what’s going on with me personally with each category will come into play sometimes as well – more on the writer blog than either of the others.

Now that you know all of that concerning the blogs, let’s do a general update that introduces all three businesses to you so that everyone is aware of everything going on with each item I do, and then from this post on, you decide where and how many places you want to follow me at.

First up, Beyond the Charts.

Beyond the Charts – http://www.beyondthecharts.com – is a mainstream online store that focuses on Speculative Fiction in many forms as well as Hardcore Music of varying kinds. As of now the store only sells Movies and Music but will soon have some Novels and eventually Comicbooks and Games.

You can keep up with Beyond the Charts several ways:

You can visit the new official blog The Lost Journeyman – https://beyondthecharts.wordpress.com

You can go to MySpace at – http://www.myspace.com/beyondthecharts

You can go to Facebook at – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clarkesville-GA/Beyond-the-Charts/94716168345

You can go to Twitter at – http://www.twitter.com/beyondthecharts

You can go to the all new Message Board called The Wasteland at – http://beyondthecharts.proboards.com/index.cgi

So there are several ways to keep up with Beyond the Charts. And that last one, The Wasteland, is really new too, only a couple of weeks in existence. So feel free to go there and register and post about the different topics available.

Beyond the Charts is growing in sites in order to make sure you have a place for all your Speculative and Hardcore needs, not only just getting the product, but staying informed and having a place to socialize with like-minded individuals. I hope to fill an order from you soon and chat with you on the board!

My work with The Trump Network is relatively new.

Basically, it’s something that came about one day while online in December. I had already been with another well-known Network Marketing company for many years and didn’t like my lack of the success I should have had. Then I saw Trump was doing this and I had to switch. I failed to renew at the end of the year and I joined with The Trump Network – that just launched in November – in the middle of January.

One of the things that I’m really impressed with about this opportunity is that I don’t have to go around bothering total strangers and bugging my friends and family about it. The vast majority of the marketing is done online, and I love the leads I’m generating that way. Indeed, my sponsor is helping me tremendously and I’m already signing up people.

To find out more information, just go here and see a clip of Donald Trump and then click over to the next page so you can see some more of what it’s about – http://www.marketingmentorsusa.com/davidjames.html

And finally, but not least, my life as a writer.

I don’t have any novels finished, although I do have some short stories that are finished and I might look into getting some of those published while I’m working on finishing a novel. I recently sent a short story to a fantastic editor named Jeff Gerke – http://www.wherethemapends.com/writerstools/writers_tools_pages/editorial_services.htm – and what he sent back to me was very informative and gave me a lot to think about to improve it. Soon I will be jumping on that short story and implementing some changes. Of course, I’ll send it back to him and see what he thinks and do anything else he suggests from there.

As far as the novel that I feel should be finished first?

I haven’t touched it in a long time, but soon I will be taking a couple of hours out each evening and adding to that story. It already needs the prologue changed to the first chapter and a new prologue that’s much shorter to replace it. It also needs to have some adjusting in how the supporting characters are seeing the main character. The main character might need some adjusting too.

People say “When I have time to write, I will.” I used to be one of those. Now when I’m not writing, I take responsibility and when I say something, I say, “Now where can I take some time from to put toward writing?”

This very blog entry is a perfect example of that. I was both looking forward to it because I wanted to get going with things and letting everyone know the different things I’m doing and where all to keep track of that, but at the same time I was dreading it, because I knew it would take a lot out of me. I finally just buckled down late at night/early one morning and spent an hour or so typing this so that it could be ready to post on all three of my blogs as a way of introducing me and my projects to new people while reintroducing and updating things with others who have kept up with me for some time.

I suppose this is enough to say for now so I’ll draw it to a close. Ultimately, I have a lot on my plate, and I stay rather busy. But I’m never afraid to address concerns, so if you have any questions or comments about any of the things I’ve shared today, please shoot me an e-mail at dj@beyondthecharts.com and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

Be encouraged,

David James
Writer
Founder – Beyond the Charts, LLC
http://www.beyondthecharts.com
Independent Marketer
The Trump Network
http://www.marketingmentorsusa.com/davidjames.html