FanX 2019

This weekend from Sept 5-7 is FanX, Utah’s biggest fan experience. People from all over the world come to share their love of comics, superheroes, fantasy novels, TV series, and movies. Cosplayers wander the halls, New York Times bestselling authors hang out playing DnD, celebrities come for signings, photo ops, and to be interviewed on the main stage.

And I’m there too.

Thanks to the friendship and support of some truly amazing individuals, I was able to connect with the event organizers and join the brave pack of panelists who share their expertise on everything from costume building tricks and hints to the finer points of novel writing.

On the panel: Robert J. Defendi, M.K. Hutchins, Tom Durham, yours truly, and Corey Moss

The first panel I was part of talked in depth about literally everything hobbit. We covered where they come from, how they influenced the storytelling in Lord of the Rings, which Hobbit was our favorite, and on and on. There was a bit of a love fest about the Silmarillion, which strangely doesn’t really discuss hobbits more than a few mentions.

My favorite hobbit – Samwise Gamgee’s father, often referred to as the old Gaffer. Why? Everyone says Sam is their favorite character because he’s the true hero in Lord of the Rings. Frodo couldn’t complete the task of destroying the ring on his own and would have failed without Sam. Throughout the books, Sam relies on lessons learned from his father to get him through tough times. So I would argue that without the influence of the old Gaffer, Sam wouldn’t have been able to be the hero he needed to be.

On the panel: DJ Butler, Eric Swedin, Mark Avo, me, Cody Goodfellow, and Johnny Worthen

My other panel focused on the American Apocalypse and we discussed everything from religious belief in the end of the world to the nature of the word “apocalypse” which literally means revelation, not destruction as most would assume. We debated on what the real apocalypse might be and where the idea that this would make good fiction stems from.

The strongest argument of what’s going to end it all for us currently is either the AI apocalypse or something horribly bacterial. Although, the supervolcano hiding under Yellowstone was a strong contender.

Come for the free bookmarks! Stay to chat about anything from writing to awesome cosplay.

As part of being a special guest author, I get to do two official signings. One was yesterday night, and the next Saturday at 11. If you’ve been dying to get your hands on a signed copy of Stonebearer’s Betrayal, I’d love to see you!

This year I’m not cosplaying as anything, it would have been one more thing to worry about and I’m supposed to be playing the part of a professional author. But … I saw some amazing clothing items I might have to get …


Don’t forget! The Labor Day sale of Stonebearer’s Betrayal ends this Saturday. You can grab the ebook for FREE over on Amazon this week only!

Here’s a handy link!


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Book Review: Book Thief, by Marcus Zuzak

Asking an author which book is their favorite is a complicated question. There are books that keep us on the edge of our seats, or tease us with amazingly constructed story lines. There are those that fill us with a sense of wonder and those that light a creative spark. There are those which are tender and beautiful and make us cry.

Then, there are those books that have such a uniqueness to them they don’t quite fit anywhere else. That’s where the Book Thief falls for me. It balances tender with tension and beautiful prose with a touch of snark.

And it ranks in the top five books I’ve ever read.

About the story:

This is a holocaust book. But – don’t despair. The purpose of the book isn’t to showcase the horrors of that time period, but rather to give voice to a girl who lived it and how the books she stole made it possible to survive. What’s interesting and makes this book very different is that it’s told through the eyes of a rather unusual narrator – death.

Liesel Meminger steals her first book at the graveside service for her brother and carries it with her to her new home and foster parents, the Hubermann’s. Death has been watching her, as he does all people he finds interesting, and chooses to share the different scenes he’s witnessed of her life through the eternal lens of his own experience. The book is what seals her love for her foster father, Hans, as he uses it to help her cope with the nightmares that haunt her and teaches her from it.

It is this book and these late night teaching sessions that starts the embers glowing of what will turn into a fire within Liesel for the written word. All the while, World War II is tearing the country apart. The Hubermann’s must protect the son of a family friend by hiding him in their basement at great personal risk.

Liesel takes special interest in him and shares the one thing she has, her love of words. First, by sharing with him what the day is like outside, then by sneaking him newspapers, then by reading and writing their own books together.

I won’t ruin the ending for you by telling what happens, suffice it to say that it is a survival story, and Liesel survives.

Recommendations:

I recommend this book to anyone who loves expert level wordsmithing. The lyric nature of the prose is gorgeous and surprising in all the right ways. Also, it’s a strong historical fiction as well and portrays Nazi Germany in a very realistic and unsensational manner. Because of it’s unique narrator and style, it should also appeal to those who appreciate non conventional stories.

I would not recommend this for people who prefer clear and direct language in their stories. This book borders on poetry at times and often veils the truth with metaphor, or pulls back into the point of view of death and away from Liesel’s experience. It’s also a long book, so it might be harder work to get through because of how language is used.

I give Marcus Zuzak’s The Book Thief 5 stars.


Psst! Jodi here. Did you enjoy today’s review? Did it help you decide if this book was for you? Cool, eh?

Guess what? You can do the same for me. If you’ve read Stonebearer’s Betrayal, head on over to AmazonGoodreads, or the book site of your choice and leave me a review.

It doesn’t have to be big and long like this one – a few sentences is perfect! Thanks in advance!


Free? Did someone say free? For this week only (Sept 3-7, 2019) you can grab the ebook of Stonebearer’s Betrayal for FREE in preparation for the release of the second book in the series coming in the next 6 months. Squee!

Here’s a handy link!


Holy Smokes, FanX is this week! If you are coming to the the conference, come find me at the following panels on Thursday: