Tosca Lee, on her new book, Iscariot.

Confession time:
When I was younger,  I’d occasionally imagine getting to ‘interview’ the authors of my favorite books.  How cool it would be to sit down over coffee maybe, and ask them any question I could think of about the book. And of course, they’d answer, and then I’d be on cloud nine because I knew something about the book that no one else did.
How ridiculously cool would that be?!
Now, here I am 15 years later, and guess what?  Thanks to a sweet gesture by one of my favorite authors,  I’m blessed enough to have that opportunity. Only, minus the coffee, but substitute a stellar internet connection. (And for the record? Still think it’s the coolest thing in the world. )
Tosca Lee is an author that I’ve gotten interested in fairly recently, discovering her when Ted Dekker announced they were going to work together on the Books of Mortals trilogy.  (Which, so far  is amazing. Just saying. And I doubt the final book will be anything less than stellar..)
The first book I read anything about while looking her up,  was called Iscariot.
Which of course, did nothing but intrigue, and confuse me a little.  Iscariot?!  As in.…. Judas, Iscariot?
Yup. The one and only!
How intriguing.  I was drawn instantly. Loved the idea.. but I couldn’t help but be a little confused. Why would a Christian writer devote an entire book to Judas? He’s essentially the guy who killed Christ. I can’t imagine that being a subject most would want to dwell on for an entire book.  Regardless, I had to read it.  It sounded beyond interesting. Controversial, if nothing else.  And let’s face it, controversial, is always fun, right?
Unfortunately for me, the book wasn’t out yet.  According to her website and some notes on Facebook, it was already delayed, for one reason or the other.
 Naturally.
Flash forward a few years , and here we are! Not only is there a concrete release date (February 5th!), but there are interviews all over the place, and a very thought-provoking trailer, which I’m more than  happy to share with you all.
  Crazy, huh?
The sheer fact alone, that she’s not painting Judas as this horrible, one-dimensional, evil character who betrayed Christ is fascinating.  It’s probably off-putting to some, as well.  I know a few of my Christian friends I’ve mentioned it to have seemed very wary. I can’t say that I blame them, it’s a bit of a radical idea. Especially in a largely conservative Christian mindset.
Lucky for me, I’m not easily scared away. 🙂  Reading interviews about the book made me even more fascinated with it.  How on earth was she going to do this? How do you take arguably the most hated person in the bible, base an entire book around them, NOT make them an evil character, and not alienate readers?? (Or, publishers, for that matter!)
So, when Tosca offered the opportunity to do interviews with different blogs, I jumped on it.  It didn’t matter that I’m not a “blogger.”  I don’t have a popular blog, or get a ton of traffic, or have followers who hang on my every word….
But I had to.  I can’t help it. There’s something about this book that just draws me in. I don’t know if it’s strictly the fact that it’s so controversial… I don’t know if maybe I’m relating with the main character a bit too much,  or if it’s just my wanting to see the author do well.  I couldn’t tell you why..  But I’m here, and will be morbidly fascinated with the book until I’m able to read it.  (And after that, I’ll be a lost cause.  I’m apologizing in advance, you poor things will probably hear all about it.)
Sadly, I wasn’t one of the lucky few to have read the book in advance, it’s safely pre-ordered, and will be in my clutches the first week of February. Until then, here is what Tosca had to share with me about the book.
tosca

On Iscariot,did any one person’s reaction surprise you? 

One of the reactions was a review I read on Goodreads, where someone wrote that if you don’t understand Judas in context (I assume, meaning the Jewish Everyman of the time and the paradox, danger and questions all 12 disciples must have struggled with in following Jesus) that you don’t fully understand Jesus in context. And I thought that was very succinctly said. Because our reactions to Jesus as modern Americans (or modern any nationality) looking back 2000 years through the lens of church history is vastly different than the perspective on the ground at the time.

As an author, what are you wanting people to take away from Iscariot? There’s obviously the overarching concept of, “Would I really have done any different?” But, what would thrill you to hear from someone at one of your book tour stops this year?

I am thrilled every time a reader writes or says to me, “I understand Jesus so much better now! I understand the context of what he was saying in a way I didn’t before.” Because ultimately, this book is really a story about Jesus. Judas is simply acting as the lens.

 Iscariot is a look at Judas’ life, but in the end, it’s a fictional account. Not that any of us can actually know the answer in this life, but, in your opinion, do you think the book is close to being historically accurate? Or, is it more of a ‘what if’ story?

It was very important to me to get the historical setting and context as accurate as possible. I spent a year and a half doing diligence on that–which informed the plausibility of character actions  and motivations for me. Ultimately, what a character like Judas might have thought and what would have motivated him is conjecture, but it was very important to me to make sure they were plausible in context. And it’s the context that is mostly lost on us as modern, free readers today.

Between Demon , Iscariot, and the Books of Mortals, you’ve written plenty of villain-esque characters. Which are more fun to write: Heroes or villains?

Villains who are heroic… and heroes with a dark side. 🙂

If you could talk face to face with Judas, what would you ask him?

I’d love to hear from him in his own words why he did it.

And finally…more of a bonus question. Inquiring minds really must know. Is there any bacon concoction you’ve discovered so far, that you haven’t been excited to try? 🙂

Yes! Bacon ice cream. I mean, ewww??!
Tosca Lee is a New York Times Bestselling author.  She can be found on Facebook and at her own corner of the web.  (Interesting fact for anyone who teaches school, or Sunday school – there are discussion guides for both of her solo books on her website!)
What do you think? Will you be reading Iscariot when it comes out?   Why, or why not?

Book Review – Tosca Lee – Demon: A Memoir

 “My story is very closely connected to yours. My story is ultimately about you. ” 
Two lines of text had never had such an impact on me before. So much foreshadowing… not only for the characters in the book, but for you and I, as well.
And I almost completely missed it.
Demon: A Memoir was the first solo book I’d read by Tosca Lee.  I’d read Forbidden and Mortal, part of the trilogy she co-penned with Ted Dekker. I enjoyed the collaboration so much, my husband immediately ordered both Demon and Havah for me. I was so excited to dive into Tosca’s work, I could hardly wait. Especially after meeting her!
However, if we’re being completely honest,  I was considerably more excited for Demon. It seemed a much more complex, possibly controversial story. I love things like that.
Essentially, the book is about Clay, a writer who is visited by Lucian, a demon who wants him to write his story.   I don’t want to give too much away, but that much you get off of the back of the book, so I don’t feel like I’m keeping you from discovering anything.
 
Going into the book, I had very high expectations.  I’m a diehard Dekker fan, and the suspense and twists in his books have become a staple for me.  The Books of Mortals series that he and Tosca wrote together, were no different.  That, combined with the promise of reading a story that would reveal the inner workings of a demon’s mind, had me practically clawing the cover off the book.  I couldn’t start the book fast enough.
 However, it ended up being a touch problematic. While the prose was beautiful –practically lyrical in style, there really wasn’t anything dramatic, or action packed. At least not in the manner I was expecting.
Tosca made it very easy to see the events of the book happening in your mind’s eye. From the mundane, simple scenes, to a few key, breathtaking scenes, (trust me, you’ll know them when you read them!)  I felt like I was physically in the book. I had no trouble visualizing anything. There weren’t parts I couldn’t understand. None of the prose felt jarring or unsettling.  Really, the book was amazing.
But, then the end came. The crucial moment I had felt slowly building through the whole book. I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for this huge revelation. Some explosive conflict. A giant confrontation that just couldn’t end well.
And then, it just ended.   I mean, it was a definitive end. It fit the story, and fit the book.  Nothing was left open-ended.
I stopped, and shut the book.   I opened it again, and reread the end pages, and shut the book.
Really? REALLY?!  I wasn’t buying it.
Flipping a few pages, I read some of the author’s notes, looking for a reason that it ended the way that it did.
It snuck up on me! I didn’t have any warning! It just happened! I was so involved in what was going on, I didn’t see it until it was done! I had all these expectations… all these things I wanted to know…… and then, it was just over.
And then, the lightbulb clicked.
I can’t tell you much more, without ruining the book.  But, really, that’s the eeriest aspect of the book. In so many ways, my reaction to it, was EXACTLY like Clay’s. It didn’t help matters that I was criticizing Clay’s actions as I read the book…. in the end, I reacted the very same way that he did.  In a way, it’s ironic – quite amusing.  But on the other hand, it’s alarming.
All too often, the true dangers in life don’t come with any warnings. No literary monologues to let us know to watch out, and keep us in suspense.  Something seemingly innocent can creep into our lives, and quietly lodge itself into our hearts and our souls. For better or worse.
I’ve retyped the past few paragraphs more times than I can count.  I’m bouncing in my seat, I REALLY want to tell you what happened. It’ll make so much more sense if I do.
But I can’t. I won’t. I don’t want to ruin it for you. And I want to know your opinion.
All I guess I can really do, is give you the same advice we see Clay give someone else in the end of the book.
 Read his story.  Pay close attention – don’t miss out, the way that we did…

Have you read the book? Let me know what you think!  Also, have you seen the trailer for Tosca’s new book coming out?!  I’m beyond excited. Watch it, let me know what you think!   

Are you an Outlaw?

No, not the Robin Hood type… or the Bonnie and Clyde type, but… we’ll get there later.

 

This past Friday , I was lucky enough to get to meet my favorite author, Ted Dekker, for the second time. He came to Mardel here in Tulsa, to do a book signing for his latest book, Sanctuary. (For anyone wanting to read it – it’s a sort of sequel to Priest’s Graveyard, and I haven’t finished it yet – so there won’t be any spoilers here. Promise.)

I was absolutely elated to hear he was coming to town. If you remember, I blogged on here before about going to Oklahoma City to meet Ted & another author, Tosca Lee. ( here & here) That was a wonderful experience – we made an entire day out of it, we spent $75 dollars on new books…. really, it was a banner day.

But, here we are – and I had a second opportunity to meet my favorite author.  Not many people are fortunate enough to say that, I realize. I couldn’t have been more happy!  Topping things off, Matt said he was going to ask Ted a question, but wouldn’t tell me what it was.

As nosy as I am – THAT went over well. I tried for a day or two to figure it out, then gave up . Mostly.  He wasn’t budging on that.  Otherwise, things were good to go. 🙂

Well, minus a few bumps in the road. The main one, my sister was out-of-town. Meaning, I was staying with my mother this weekend to take care of her.

Mom, however much she loves me, wasn’t convinced she wanted to spend hours waiting in line to meet his guy, regardless of literary talent. I can’t say that I blamed her.

So, after weeks of scheming, we figured it out. Mom would be fine for a few hours on her own, and with any luck at all, we’d be near enough to the front of the line, that I’d be a minimal wait to meet him, get the books signed, and rush home. Simple enough, right?

Ha. Then, you don’t know me very well. Simple is a rarity around here.  Anyway… here’s how it went.

Friday rolled around, and of course, obstacle one came into play first thing in the morning.  I get to Mom’s, and get ready to make breakfast, only to find out that her stomach is upset.

Like, making sporadic trips to the bathroom, upset.

Meaning, if it was still upset at 5 in the afternoon, there wouldn’t be any running off for a few hours to a book signing.  That had real potential to end disastrously. Big flashing neon “BAD IDEA” signs.

So, after some frantic texting with Matt, and all the bland food we could handle, she seemed to be feeling better. I’ll admit, I did a little happy dance around the house that I was happy no one else was there to see.

5 came and went, Matt picked me up from the shop, and we made a coffee run.

Whoops, there was a line. Naturally.  Then, the owner of the coffee shop (my boss,) asked us to run a quick errand – deliver some cinnamon rolls to a lady at the tag agency.

Okay, not ideal, but no worries.  Not a problem. Quick , is quick.

Well, quick isn’t so quick when the tag agency is closed.  Quick also isn’t quick when the lady doesn’t remember what she owes, and then has to call the coffee shop to ask. (In reality, Misty told her she’d get the money from her later…. so it turned out to be irrelevant.)

Finally, we get on the highway, headed for Mardel.

Surprisingly, the place wasn’t too crowded. Yet, anyway.

We hopped in line, (13th in line, Matt counted later. Not bad!) quite happy with our spots.   An employee handed us all sticky notes so we could jot down whatever we wanted Ted to write in our books.  To, you know, make the process go as smooth as possible.   I scribbled my name down, but since they didn’t really use the sticky notes at the last signing I went to, I didn’t figure they would this time around, either. (I was right. Well, for us anyway. Maybe later down the line…)

For a while, I tried to read Sanctuary. We had an hour and a half to kill.  I was tired, hungry, had a coffee buzz going, and was trying to think of something with substance to say when we met him — unlike at the previous signing, where I think “Hi” was all I was able to muster on my own.

That didn’t last for long. I made it a few chapters in , but kept getting distracted. The place was filling up quick!  I don’t know how many were there…. but previous stops had around 300+ people show.

Finally, at a few minutes after 7, Ted  and his manager Kevin Kaiser showed up.  Someone in the crowd started applause, and after a slightly awkward pause, everyone joined in.

The first thing he asks – is how to get everyone where he can see them. He wanted to talk to us.

There was a little bit of a discussion between him and the employees, but it was soon decided – he needed a ladder.

And a ladder, he got! Then, he motioned for us all to come forward. To leave our spot in line , come gather round, then go back to the same spot.

If it had been any other event, I would have laughed out loud. There was no WAY this would end well.  Of course, after the fact, I was proven wrong. It seemed like everyone got back in nearly the exact place in line. Won’t lie, it made my heart happy. I expected chaos.

Giggling a bit, we raced forward, (only to be told to get closer still, and waited.

He didn’t speak long, maybe ten or fifteen minutes? But what he said in that short amount of time really stuck with me. At the time, I decided to not take any pictures or video – I just wanted to enjoy it. (Especially since we were in the very front, I almost thought it’d come off a little disrespectful, but I digress.)

Looking back, I really wish I’d recorded it. I did manage to find, with Matt’s help (amazing YouTube skills!), a video someone took of the Georgia tour stop. It’s mostly the same, it varies a little bit, but, he wasn’t using a script, and to me, that’s a good thing. 🙂

Rather than explain it, I’ll let you hear it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

It was really neat. Aside from the occasional “amen”, our group was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

Well, except for when the Minions theme blasted through the crowd.

Yup. Of course, my cell phone rings. Over Ted Dekker, the Minions sang about bananas. In the front row.

I’ve never shut off a phone so quickly in my life.

Oh, but wait. Who was calling me?  Oh, no.

Yup. It was my mom. Who, was at home, alone…. and had an upset stomach all that day.

Not good.  I kept an eye on the phone, seeing if she called back.  While listening to Ted, my mind was racing . How far back were we in line? How long would it take to get in and out? We still had to get gas , we were on E! No, no, no! We were almost there – we COULDN’T leave now! 

He finished speaking, and sent us back to our spots in line. I called Mom back, still plotting in my head how this would go.

Thankfully, she was fine. Just wanted to know how it had gone.

Relieved, I told her it was just starting, and was about to explain what he’d been talking about, when I heard an announcement over the intercom.

Correction. I heard my name, over the intercom.

My full name, over the intercom.

I said a quick-not-really-a-goodbye to my mother, hung up the phone, and listened. I suppose it’s ingrained somewhere in everyone’s childhood – when the full name comes out – you’re in trouble. Everyone knows it.

Blessedly, I wasn’t in suspense too long.  I had dropped my driver’s license.

I intended to walk calmly back to the back of the room and claim it. Really, I did. But a little over halfway there, I was in full sprint mode. And I don’t run. I’m sure I looked like a cracked out duck or something… but I just wanted to get it, get back in line, and hope too many people weren’t staring at me. Though, I’m sure they were focused on the author, and not the spastic girl running after a driver’s license. 🙂

While we waited, we started a conversation with Kevin Kaiser. He seems really nice, though I haven’t talked to him much – once or twice on Twitter, and a bit at the last signing. We asked him about the book he just finished co writing with someone – he’d said on Twitter it was a secret project – and I was curious!

I won’t put it here… but Matt and I …from what we could tell, guessed the project correctly.  He didn’t outright tell us we were right, but seemed to indicate so. 🙂  I’m excited.  He wrote part of the Blood Book, so I’m anxious to read more of his writing.

Also, he recognized us from Oklahoma City ! Which is nuts, since we didn’t say much to him.  It was good to talk to him. He seems funny, he’s very animated when he talks. After we got home, I sent him an email, I think I’d like to get him involved with the video project I’m doing. (click here. ) I’ll report back if anything comes of that…

Finally, we make it to the front and meet Ted.  Almost immediately, he goes for my arm, commenting on my tattoo. Asked if I designed it myself – which made me laugh.  I wish I was half that talented! But we chatted a bit, I told him I’d gotten Matt into reading Black after the last signing, which says a lot – Matt doesn’t read fiction books, he usually sticks to biographical.

Speaking of, Matt’s question? He asked Ted which ended to Green he preferred – the original ending, or the alternate ending that took place AFTER the loop. His answer was that, even though he always intended for things to happen different the second time, that he preferred the first ending.  He never intended to write the second ending, but fans were upset that it seemed like God was sending Thomas through an indefinite loop – they wanted to know what happened the second time around. So he wrote it.  (How about that – an author that listens to his fans? I love it.)

He signed the books, and complimented Matt on his hair. Actually, he then complimented his Bizarro logo shirt, and really his entire look. That was unexpected! Matt loved it, especially since I don’t always care for how he does his hair. I promise you, I won’t  be hearing the end of that one.

We also took a picture. Which, came out a touch awkward, seeing as how they weren’t having people walk around the table, but leaning over, to save time. Makes sense, but the resulting picture, is me looking like I’m crawling on the table…

Ah well, I’ve taken worse pictures. Not the end of the world. 🙂

 

After that, we got gas, and headed back to Mom’s with dinner. Nothing too exciting. Baja Jacks, the usual fare around here.

But, I’ve been thinking. Rolling what he said in his speech around my head.

It’s really easy to get caught up in the moment of things.  The emotion and excitement that comes  with meeting someone you look up to can be very infectious. It’s easy  to be all for an idea while riding that wave of emotion. I loved hearing him talk about how we’re perfect just how we are, and we need to break out of our “prisons”, of thinking that we aren’t. That there’s so much wrong with us that we need to change.

But, after that initial buzz wears off… and the famous author isn’t there anymore…  it’s a little hard to keep that mindset.  I could look in the mirror and count off … well, more things wrong with me that I feel comfortable putting a number to.  There are so many things I’d change about myself if I could.

I like the thought of being an “outlaw,” and not feeling the need to change anything. I think it’s a wonderful concept. I’m not entirely sure it’s something I’ll be able to achieve… it’s definitely going to take some prayer, and maybe thinking it, even when I don’t fully believe it…. but I think I’m going to give it a shot. Knowing me, I can’t guarantee anything, but at the very least, I’ll end up with a better outlook on myself, and a slightly better self-esteem. I certainly can’t lose anything by trying, can I?

What about you guys?  Anyone else have thoughts on the subject?

Ted Dekker/ Tosca Lee – Books of Mortals. Review…. kinda…

So, as many of you know who follow this blog – not long ago I got the second book of the Books of Mortals trilogy, Mortals. The first book was titled Forbidden, and I was lucky enough to have both of them signed, when I met the authors not long ago.

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Since then, I’ve been wanting to come on here and type up a book review. I’ve just been either too lazy, or couldn’t find the right words, or typing up something fangirly for tumblr…  Not that those are good reasons, but still! 

And even now-  now that I have the time, have time on the laptop, and have had plenty of time to think about what I want to say – I’m coming up dry.

Which, I mean, works for me. I’d much rather you go read the books without any of my opinions rubbing off on you. 🙂

However, there is an undertone to the books – whether intentional or not — that I just have to rave about. (And, with it being Hydrocephalus Awareness month, it seems quite fitting,)  It’s such a cool thing, and it didn’t sink in with me much until I was in the middle of reading the second book…

The books take place in a sort of post apocalyptical society – and without revealing too much, the government has found certain ways to control the population. For their safety, of course.   One of the many new rules or doctrines in their “religion”, is that no one can enter “Bliss” with any sort of defect, disability, scar, or handicap.

If they  have such a thing, they have to report to this, jail, of sorts, where they are held for a year, and then put to sleep.  They aren’t fit for this society’s version of Heaven.   Of course, me with my hydrocephalus, I was absolutely incensed.  How can they say that?!

To make matters worse, one of the main protagonists has something wrong with them. One of these “blemishes” that would prevent this person from entering Bliss. It terrifies her, she wants nothing more than to enter Bliss and be happy. But – nope. No confessions, no Hail Marys, nothing can help her. She can’t win.

As the book progresses , you learn of a sort of savior character.  This character, it’s prophesied, is somehow  going to save mankind, and the world. No, I won’t ruin it and tell you why. Sorry.

There’s only one problem.

He was born with a major birth defect/disability. If he even DOES exist, he’d have been killed shortly after birth.

Well, isn’t that fantastic.

Time goes on, and you find out that nope, he’s indeed alive. Handicapped, but alive.

When the two characters with the handicaps/blemishes meet… there’s this beautiful moment where the savior character says something to her about how one day, no one will see or remember that.  She’ll only be remembered for who she is, and the amazing things she’s done.

I don’t want to get too much into it – but it really resonated with me.

This entire society… the entire trilogy is based around the world being saved by a person, who if he lived by the rules of the society, would have been killed years before he could ever save anyone.

I wish I knew if the writers had some sort of personal reason for writing this – maybe a friend or a family member with a disability, or some sort of challenge in their life… or if it was just a plot device that popped into one of their heads.

Either way, it’s brilliant. Not in a it-jumped-off-the-page-and-grabbed-me-by-the-throat manner… but much more like a small seed of an idea, that bloomed into this wonderful realization while I was reading and reflecting on the book.  I think the message is so uplifting, and says so much… really, about even our society today.   Just because someone is “disabled” or “handicapped” doesn’t mean that they are limited in what they can accomplish – by any stretch of the imagination.

As if I wasn’t a big enough fan before, both writers have that much more of my respect and admiration. It was tastefully and subtly done, so much so I can’t be entirely sure it was done on purpose – but it’s a thought I can’t get out of my head while reading the books, now.

Also, I’m grinning like an idiot as I type this, because it’s only four months too late, I finally know what I should have asked them or said at the book signing!

Looks like I have a jump on the signing for Sovereign….

Books, diamonds… Same difference.

I know, I am lame with the titles. Whatever. Someday, I’ll get more creative, and I’ll have good ones for you.  Until then… bear with me?

Anyway.  Shortly after our trip to OKC to meet Ted Dekker… Matt and I sat down one night, to discuss finances.

Most of you who know me, or read this blog, know that Matt is a musician/sound engineer. And a comic geek, which, has unfortunately rubbed off on me.  Keeping that in mind, we have some interesting financial discussions. We make a lot of purchases “normal” people wouldn’t make….. and spend outlandish amounts of money on silly things like cords, comic book boxes, and random other things.

This being the case, it didn’t faze me at all when Matt told me he needed a new cord for the studio.  I smiled, nodded, and waited to hear the rest of the details.

I forget what kinda of cable it was he said he needed – but it was somewhere in between 100-200 dollars, I think.

And… for this —  I really think I should get bonus wife points or something —  I barely batted an eye.  I agreed, said we’d make it work out, and that was (basically) that. We didn’t talk a lot about it… I put the money in the bank, he ordered it. (it came out of our washer/dryer fund , really. No huge hardship.)

Then, a few days later, I get this text.

A text I really wish I had saved, if only to share it now.

He told me he’d ordered me the new 4 in 1 Ted Dekker Circle Series book.  With the alternate ending to Green.

Which. made me very happy. I’m excited for that – and if you haven’t read the books, you probably won’t know why. But in essence, someone travels back in time at the end of the last book. Which, implies that nothing changes, and he’s in an endless loop. So this slightly different ending, I’m happy about.  I have yet to read it though.

Then, in the next text he tells me he also rebought  me the Lost Books, a series of books also by Dekker, in the same universe.  I’m all giggly, and excited at this point.

But… the texts keep coming.

He’s also bought both of Tosca Lee’s books, Havah, and Demon.

He ordered House – (a signed special edition), and Blink.

Another text- he’d ordered me Boneman’s Daughters and the Priest’s Graveyard, by Ted.

Also…oh hey, another text.  The Martyr’s Song Series, and the Caleb books. Also by Dekker.

And then, he got the two small Christmas books, The Promise, and the Drummer Boy.

So… aside from the two non-fiction books, and a handful of unpublished books, we now own all of Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee’s books.

OH. OH. Right… and, there’s a cable.

A 5 dollar  USB cable, that Matt needed for the studio.

He’d totally duped me!

I’d never, EVER been so happy that I hadn’t argued over a musician purchase. I mean, can you imagine if I’d have fought him on this one!?

It seems silly… but I couldn’t have been more excited if he’d told me we were going to Disney. Or if we’d bought the Swarovski Stitch from the mall.  Even for diamonds, if you’d believe it. I’m easy to please.  One of my twitter friends, commented on my happy tweets about all the books, stating how lucky Matt was that I’m easy to please. 😉 Which, I am! No problems admitting that. I’m not much of a jewelry girl… Books work fine, thank you much.  (Actually, my husband and I had a disagreement the other day, we were all grumpy, and he brought me flowers. What did he say when he gave me them?  “I’m sorry, here. I’m out of books to get you – will flowers do?! )

It was just such a sweet notion… and to actually be able to say I have all the books by X author.. I don’t know. I’m a dork, but I love it.

Also — major dork moment…..there’s this book, and it’s present or mentioned in several of Dekker’s books, called the Blood Book.  Well, it wasn’t published or sold, but Dekker  did write one.

He gave it away to people who bought a certain amount of one of his books, for a promo.  He’s given away a few copies here and there, both physical and PDF.

Needless to say, it’s fairly rare. I’ve wanted one since I’ve heard of it… have tried to win one a few times, with no luck.   I think I’m finally reconciled the the idea that it’s just something I’ll never have….

I’ve caught Matt a couple times on the Ted Dekker tag on Tumblr, and he’s told me he looks on Ebay a few times a week, to see fi someone’s selling theirs. It’s so sweet, but again, I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon.

So one day, he tells me that he was perusing these forums….. and he found a girl who had a PDF copy. Who — agreed to send it to him!

And, above that — he found a place online that will print out anything you send them, and bind it into a book!

So now, I still haven’t completely wrapped my head around that thought…. but I have my own Blood Book!  It’s so sweet, and really cool. I would still love an “official” copy, and will for sure buy one in the unlikely event that Ted ever decides to put them on sale…….

And- the last thing (yes, this mushy sappy post will eventually end. Promise.) I finally convinced Matt to start reading the Circle Series.  He’s not finished with Black yet — but he really seems to enjoy it. Which, makes me happy to no end.   More often than not, he’s the one getting me into things. Comics, movies he likes, music he likes, etc etc.  I mean, there have been a few things or habits of mine that have rubbed off on him, ( coffee addiction, Disney..) but this is a little different. I’m loving the fact that I’ll have someone else to discuss the books with, but that I’m able to introduce something that means a lot to me — to someone so special to me. It’s just really neat, and I don’t know if I’m happy or sad that my inner book nerd is finally coming out again. 🙂

I think it’s a good thing…. but combined with Matt’s blu ray habit….. it could end badly.

Dekker Disney Dinner Date – part 2.

… what?  The alliteration worked the first time, why mess with it??

So, anyway. Where were we?

Oh, right. We left off with us just getting back to the LifeWay store.

Two hours early.

Terribly exciting stuff, I know. But we knew how the crowds had been last time, so we didn’t want to take a chance of being at the end, missing out, et cetera (though, I really don’t think they would have left without signing everyone’s books. But.)

We walked around the store for a bit, made a last ditch effort to find either of Tosca’s books, (no luck,) and said hi to some employees we had talked with earlier.  Someone, who I assumed to be the manager, was setting up a snack table in the back.

Later, this had pop on it as well.  It also had oreo style cookies. :) They also had pop out later, but we were happy with water.  I thought it was really cool that they had something like that set up. I mean, I’d expect them to provide the authors snacks, but didn’t expect them for us..

Hardly anyone took them up on it, though. They announced it a lot, and I didn’t see may people taking advantage of the fact that it was there though…

Finally, we walked over  to get in line. There was already a couple there, sitting against the audio cds, across from where the table was.  They didn’t look super talkative — in fact, they were both reading Dekker books, so we sat down next to them without saying anything.

Our view. For two hours. Not, our smartest idea ever. But!

Truth be told, reading sounded like a fantastic idea. I tried to read some of Mortal, (the book the signing was for) but couldn’t concentrate enough to make it past the first chapter or so.   Just too much going on – and I didn’t want to miss anything.

More and more people started filing in, and eventually, getting in line behind us.

Though, instead of going the common sense route, and snaking the line through the bookshelves behind us, where there would be ample room….. they veered the line off into this room LifeWay had for church supplies.

Right.  THAT is the smart thing to do.

Which, I might add — and this cracks me up —  almost every person who got in line, remarked that that wasn’t very smart. Or saying Lifeway should have set the line up different.  Or that it was stupid that the line curved that way. But yet, no one did anything about it. I found that hilarious.

But anyway. I digress.

I really enjoyed that there were a vast array of people out to the signing. Older people, children, teenagers, people my age… boys, girls…. It was nice to see that it wasn’t all one demographic. 🙂 Though, there were some colorful people….

The people who were immediately behind us had a STACK of books . We chatted with them a little, they seemed nice.

Made me feel so much better about our 72 dollar  literary binge earlier in the day, (though, I found out later, Matt saw several Dekker books from OKC sellers on Ebay for 70+ dollars. Really?? Really, guys? I hope Marsuvees gets his hands on you… how tacky can you get???)

Further  down the line, there were a few people who looked to be late teens, early twenties – a boy and a girl, and the girls friend, I think.  Not that I was eavesdropping or anything…. but I was bored. I had time to kill. So.. really, yes. Yes, I was eavesdropping. But, in my defense, they had started chatting about Dekker books.

 (What are his fans called? Mortals? Dekkies, maybe? Ugh. I’ll stick with the term the website uses, the Underground)

I listened pretty intently for a bit, almost getting up to join in a few times.  I don’t have many friends who read Ted’s books, so my discussion is internet limited. In other words, sparing to nonexistant. God help the few friends I DO discover that have rad the book. I tend to explode with questions, wanting to chat about all the connections, and whatever else I can think of.

For that very reason, Matt kept encouraging me to go over there, and when they started talking about the Blood Book ,  I almost did. I want that book more than I can find the words to explain. (Long story short, it’s one of the unpublished books, goes along with the Books of History Chronicles…. only gave a few out on special occasions…. ) But, right before I was going to go join in,  I started to get a weird vibe.

Their conversation was quickly taking a turn down, “I’m a better fan than you” road.  If I wasn’t concerned about mixed company reading this blog, I’d compare to a you-know-what measuring contest.

They were talking about how many times they’d been to what events…how many unpublished books they had… Ted knew them on a first name basis…. how many this, did you know that, etc etc.

I could have been totally wrong.. it could have been genuine conversation….. but that’s just the vibe I got. So, I stayed put. I just had this feeling if I joined in, I’d be voted off the island for not having any unpublished books, let alone, not having all of the normal books. As  I’m not crazy about being ostracized by people I’ve never met before… I didn’t chance it.

The entire time we were there, people would come up, and stand right next to the couple in front of us in line, and just stop. They’d stand there for a bit, and they’d stare.  On occasion they’d speak up, but more often than not they’d just stand, and look at the line. Maybe tap their foot, or fiddle with their cell phones.

Each time, after a sufficiently awkward about of time had passed…. one of the two would speak up, and ask them  if they were looking for the line. When the person inevitably said yes, (and sometimes ask if this was the end,)  they’d explain that this was the line, and no, we were the front, and the line went on from there.

You won’t believe me… but that kept happening, literally , until Ted and Tosca walked in the door.

It’s crazy.

Even crazier…. 75% of these people, made a comment about how they were sure that we were the end of the line.

….

Right by the table and the banner?  The END of the line!?

Yes , folks. They’re doing a backwards signing today. I’d continue the snarky comment… but I can’t even think of how I could word it to remotely make sense.

Anyway. Whatever.

After the first few times this happened, Matt and I started talking a little bit with the couple. I did the awkward small talk, “Where are you from, how long have you been here, can you believe these people, etc) and then we started chatting.

They were so nice!  Really makes me wish I’d sucked it up and said hello earlier. They introduced themselves as Jordan and Melissa, and they were super sarcastic.  Melissa pointed out that sarcastic people are just naturally drawn to each other.  Probably very true.  I was so glad we were by them, instead of some of the other people there…

They , not unlike the know-it-all crew, seemed to have a vast Dekker collection. They’d been to a couple of other signings and even a Gathering before.

Wonder of wonders, they told us all this, without any of the ego vibe I got from the younger kids down the line.(Thank GOD,) 

That, in itself, made me extraordinarily happy.  We spent a good amount of time chatting with them. It definitely made the two hour wait go by faster. They also… told me the Blood Book ties ADAM into the Books of History Chronicles – how the crap does that work?! My brain is fried just thinking about it.  

At one point, they decided to do a trivia contest. For a $5 Panera card. Keep that in mind. Not a huge prize, by any stretch of the imagination….

The way they set it up, was if you knew the answer, you  were to get out of line, and come to the front , and answer. You were guaranteed your spot back, so there wasn’t any worries about that. The first one to answer correctly, got the gift card.

Of course, before they even asked the first question, a certain group of people who will not be named got out of line, and headed to the front of the store.

Kinda killed the spirit of things, but eh.  I guess a $5 Panera card, and the knowledge that you do, in fact, know the name of Ted Dekker’s first book, is really very important. The trivia questions weren’t even that good. But, whatever. 

Just before 5 o clock, the manager came over the intercom saying that Tosca’s luggage had gone missing – and that they’d be a little late.

I guess, from what I hear, and see on Facebook, Tosca Lee is all about shoes.  That had to be devastating.  I was sure they, or at least she, would be in a sour mood when they showed up….

So, we waited some more.  By this time, I was pretty fidgety.

Had to move a couple times for people who wanted to look at the music CDs, but it wasn’t a huge deal.

By this time, I think the store had sold out of every Dekker book they had. They came and took the books off of the signing table…. moved the now empty display out of the way of the table…. I think they were surprised at such a turnout!

Finally, I got impatient. Kept looking outside, to see if I saw anyone.

Lo and behold, eventually they showed up.  I like to think I had something to do with it, I’m just amazingly talented like that.

I feel like a terrible person…. but.. aside from my initial feeling of excitement ohmygodwhatdoisay?! , all I could think was “Oh. Hey. He’s …. short. Cool. ” And Tosca, was absolutely gorgeous. Very exciting to see them in person!

What they did first was really unique (I thought). They started at the back of the line, and walked the line, saying hi to everyone, waving, and just being awesome in general.

That, was cool. Made me smile- things were starting off on a good note.

Then, as soon as they sat down at the table, I mean, everyone and their dog took pictures. Some from the line, others walked up in front of the table, and took pictures.

Finally, everyone settled down, and the hunt for sharpies began.

The manager brought them Sharpies, but they were the thicker kind, and wouldn’t work well.

At this point, people in the line wer offering up their Sharpies.  I forget whose they ended up using, but eventually, Sharpies were found.

Then, the signing started.

The couple in front of us went, and — this was so neat — they had brought them peanuts and bacon! I guess it’s advertised on Facebook that Ted is obsessed with peanuts, and they had found out her vice was bacon… so they brought some with them.

Which, delighted the authors to no end.  I took a few pictures for them. Such a cool thing…

Then, entirely too soon, it was our my turn.

I walked up, and all of a sudden – my mind went completely blank. I forgot I was holding my purse… both the books, a water bottle… It was bad. I mean, you know those awkward moments you relive for days? Like when your favorite author asks your name, and you hesitate just a little too long before answering?! 

Yeah, that was me. Also, every single intelligent thing I wanted to say ?  Flew out the window. I wish I was kidding, but… I’m not.

While they were signing, Ted asked who Matt was , and added “Is he your silent stalker?”

Which, if you know Matt at all, you know that he got a kick out of it, and elected to keep silent. Later, he said that since Ted was an author, he was going to just let him draw his own conclusion.

At first, they weren’t going to have me tell them who he was, they were just going to guess.  Then, Ted gave up, pointing out that guessing never ends well. Someone is almost always offended.

So I introduced him, they all said hello, and before I could ask for a picture, he was waving me behind the table to take one with them.

We took the pictures, shook hands again , and entirely too quick for my taste, it was over.

I didn’t want to leave!

Not, that by staying I could covertly hop in line and talk some more, but… do you know what I mean? Moments like that, and the highs that come with them…. once you leave, they tend to fade away.

It was such an exciting experience. Nothing ground breaking or earth shattering.. but it’s definitely something that will stick with me for a while. They were so sweet to everyone, and like I said in the other blog about this – it really isn’t often that you get to meet someone whose work has had such an impact on you.

Oy, my word count for this entry is 2215. And I really have only blogged about half a day. There’s so much more I want to say, but it’s really more concerning their books in general, so, I’ll be saving that for another post. 🙂  The long and the short of it, is meeting them, seem to intrigue Matt, to a point. Now, finally, years after I tried to coerce him into it… he’s finally diving into the Circle Series.

It delights me to no end. I can’t wait to hear what he thinks… and it’s extremely difficult to keep my mouth shut about what happens to which characters!

Anyway. I have dinner waiting, and a very impatient husband waiting to read this blog, so, until next time…. Elyon’s strength. Dive deep. Wanna trip, baby? 

 

Disney-Dekker-Dinner-Date. Part 1….

Yes, it’s cheesy.

But it’s been a very long day, I’m exhausted , with no creativity.

Alliteration is all I have right now.

I don’t even have a coffee. That’s depressing……  I had one, but I drank it.

But! I digress.

Anyway. What I was getting on here to blog about – was our mini road trip we took this past weekend!

For anyone who hasn’t seen me spazzing all over Tumblr and Facebook…. we went to Oklahoma City, for a book signing by Ted Dekker, and Tosca Lee.  Ted is my absolute favorite author right now…. and Tosca is great – though I haven’t read much by her, yet!

Nevertheless, I was ridiculously excited.

Not only had I spent all week trying to figure out what I was going to say (you would have thought it was a first date the way I was carrying on! ) but it had changed no less than 3859408 times.

Really.

You think I’m kidding?

The spectrum started at “Hi” , and went from there to …. well..seriously. They changed every few minutes it seemed like.

Which, to me, it’s really hard to pin down. Meeting a celebrity, or an actor, singer, whatever… doesn’t seem like it’d be too difficult.

But… meeting an author. Especially a favorite author. This is a person who literally takes a pen to paper (or computer, but the word picture isn’t as pretty) and creates worlds. In this case, multiple words that connect together, some by heavy plot lines, others by the slight appearance of a character or a reference you may have ignored completely otherwise. Worlds that it’s very easy to enter, and lose hours, even days – depending on the book.

What do you say to someone whose books you’ve read , analyzed, discussed online, related to characters, become distraught at the unforseen twist that basically condemns the character you’ve bonded with during the last two books…

I mean , there’s major emotional investment here. And that’s just on my side! He created these characters, these worlds….and he isn’t done creating them yet.  so I’d imagine anything that I — or anyone else — has to say about them, will have an impact.  Maybe not on the story necessarily… but wow. This is someone’s art, their creation, their passion we’re talking about here!

So… no pressure, right? 😉

I finally decide that I’m going to say something simple, like thank you. I used to be absolutely incessant when reading. In elementary and middle school, I would literally be reading a different book every day.

Which, I got in trouble for a couple of times.

And out of trouble once, because the teacher asked why I changed books each day. When I said it was because I finished the other one, he identified with it, said he used to be the same way….. and just told me to put the book up for now. Laughing, mind you.

Lately.. I haven’t read as much. There have been a few series here and there…. but nothing major. Honestly, I’m disappointed in myself. The two things my house was always going to have (in my eyes, when I was younger) was a music room, and a library like Belle’s.

Well, I have the music room…. Just not the type I envisioned. 😉

The library… well, it’s a work in progress. Stick with me, this may be a long blog….

So, long story short (too late), to me, his books are the ones that really got me back into reading a lot. Sure, I like other books and other series, but he’s the first author (of more than one series) that’s gotten me excited about reading in a while.

I also checked out Frank Peretti and Tosca Lee because of him… and just.. I’m feeling more of that insatiable urge to read something again.

Which I  LOVE.   I’m sure our budget won’t love it… but it’ll just have to be accommodating….

Anyway.  This blog will never be finished if I keep derailing it, will it?

So, we decide we’re going to leave Owasso around 9. and head for OKC, stopping for lunch in Arcadia.

Per usual, we left a little late. It was only because I wanted to actually put makeup on. And it was only half an hour late. I actually worked out… showered… and put minimal makeup on. It was a good morning for me! 

First things first….coffee. 🙂 We went by the Misty Brew, got our crack espresso, and we were off!

The ride down was entirely too much fun, due to the fact that Matt had made me two new cds.

Two new Disney CDs.

<3<3

We’re talking DuckTales, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast , Cinderella, Nightmare before Christmas, etc….

Perfection on a disc.

Needless to say, it seemed like we made it to Arcadia a lot quicker than we actually did.  Our directions had us exiting the highway a lot sooner than we thought. It ended up working out on the end, and was easier than driving basically to OKC, backtracking to Arcadia, then back to OKC.

In Arcadia, we stopped to eat at a place called Pops. If you haven’t been there/heard of it…. go check it out sometime.   It’s a gas station, restaurant, and a convenience store.

They also have, a million different kinds of soda. And it’s the craziest building…. I seriously felt like I could be in Epcot in Disney World. Such a cool design. 🙂 The sodas line the walls on the inside… but that’s just for display. You actually buy them out of the coolers.

Dublin Dr. Pepper @ Pops!

Matt @ Pops!

We sat outside, thank GOD. The place was so cramped.  Which, I mean, there’s so much going on, it’s a hot tourist spot… not surprising.

Outside was great. The menu, not too stellar. Burgers, sandwiches, wraps.  It was good though!  Probably not worth the drive just for the food… but if we were in the area again, we’d totally go.

Walked around inside… picked up some soda for my niece and nephew…. Ramune for her, and naturally, he had seen some weird soda when they went, and he’d ask me to grab it.

What soda did my lovely, sweet nephew want?

Fukola Cola. 

Classy right?  Turns out it’s not bad. It’s a borderline energy drink, I think. Not a bad taste. 

After lunch, (and an embarrassing moment when I was going through a pallet of sodas at the check out….. that belonged to the lady behind us in line — boy was she getting mad. I’ve never left a place so quickly!) we drove the rest of the way to OKC.

It didn’t take long at all to find the LifeWay Store — thank you, Matt’s iPhone!

We decided we’d run in really quick, to see what the store looked like, how it was set up , what books they had…. 

They had the signing area all set up, a few tables with Dekker books all over them… it was like an instant high. I went all giddy -fan-girl — my poor, poor husband. 😦

I made a beeline for the tables, checking to see if they had any books I was missing.   An employee started talking to me, and asked if I knew about the signing.  I tried to contain myself, but ended up explaining that yes — yes we knew, and it was the entire reason we drove down. 🙂

Chatted with her for a moment, then it was back to perusing the shelves.

I found lots.

So did Matt.

It was horrible. I’d pick up a book to look at it — it would never get put back on the shelf.

We got the new book, Mortal. We got the Boneman’s Daughter. The Priests Graveyard. We got two Frank Peretti books, Omen and Monster.

The funny thing is… Matt budget $75 for books.

I argued with him. I told him we wouldn’t need that much. I wasn’t going to buy THAT many books. Really. It was silly. Ludicrous. We could use the money for groceries. Running money. Gas. Blu Rays. Anything.

And you know what?  I was right.

We did not spend $75 on books.

We spent $72.50 on books. 

Matt was laughing the entire time we were checking out, just shaking his head at me.  He made sure he reminded me of the fact that I had protested about the $75 budget a LOT. All I could do was laugh, though rather than admit defeat, I pointed out that I was right.

We had 2.50 left! 😛

After that, we drove around OKC for a while, just looking. We went by Paseo Underground, where The Secret Post played a show, drove around downtown — there is a jail in the middle of downtown?! What is up with that?!!  — and drove past a coffee shop we planned to try later, but were too full.

Around 3, we headed back towards LifeWay.

The last signing,  had 200 people there… so we (I) wanted to make sure we got in line early.

And…. since it’s past my bedtime, I’ll stop here, and entertain you lovely people with part 2, sometime tomorrow!

If I can put down Mortal long enough to type it……..