Authors I Love – Brandon Sanderson

All right, so, I’m starting a new thing which is just what it says on the tin: authors I love.

These aren’t just authors that I read; these are authors I follow, whose books I buy as soon as I get a chance. These are the authors for whom I’ll read everything they write just because they’re the ones writing it

First up? Brandon Sanderson.

mistbornWhat does he write?
Epic fantasy.

How did you first hear about him?
In a news story linked from Fark.com, when it was announced he would be finishing off the Wheel of Time series after Robert Jordan’s death. A lot of people were really excited and couldn’t stop talking about Mistborn, pointing to it as an example that Sanderson would do a good job of completing the WoT books.

What was the first book of his you read?
Mistborn.
I loved the premise, got hooked in the first couple of pages, and then stayed up until 1:30 a.m. finishing it because I literally could not put it down for the last 150 pages.

Of course, then November started and I couldn’t read anymore of his stuff until NaNoWriMo was over.

How many of his books have you read?
Six of them. I’ve read:
Mistborn
The Well of Ascension
The Hero of Ages
The Alloy of Law
Elantris
Warbreaker

I also own The Way of Kings and The Rithmatist, thought I haven’t had a chance to read them yet.

Why do you like his work so much?
One major reason is his worldbuilding, specifically in regards to magic systems (a strength he’s well aware of, because if you listen to the Writing Excuses podcast, Sanderson regularly refers to himself as “the magic system guy”). All of his magic systems are fascinating and I love the way they tie into his worlds. In some cases, they actually help drive the plot (as with Elantris).

In addition, he’s very good with relationships—friendships, family relationships, and romantic relationships. He does a fantastic job of building the relationships realistically, and since I’m such a hardcore romance reader, I love to see that done well in epic fantasy.

Not only does he do epic well, but he also writes an amazingly fun adventure story. I intended to just start The Alloy of Law and read for about an hour, and then I ended up reading the entire book in a day.

What’s your favorite book of his?
Mistborn
. A high fantasy heist/con story? BE STILL MY HEART. It was fabulous, and the whole series was one of the best fantasy trilogies I’ve read in years.

What’s your least favorite book of his?
I would have to say Warbreaker, and that’s simply because I didn’t like the magic system in that one as much as I did in Elantris and the Mistborn world, and the ending fell a little flat for me. Other than that, it’s still a very good story with some great twists and two of my favorite character arcs ever.

Where should a new reader start?
The two best places to start, in my opinion, are either Mistborn or Elantris. Obviously I’m partial to Mistborn, for reasons, but it is the first book of a trilogy, and Elantris is a standalone novel. So if you’re not quite willing to hop all the way into a trilogy, then Elantris would be the better place to start.

The Critic Is Liebsterified – Another Blog Award

A couple of weeks ago, the lovely Jennings nominated me for a blog award!

Liebster Blog Award - Oooh shiny!

You like me, you really like me!

Thank you, thank you!

Now there are eleven questions I have to answer and eleven people I have to tag. Considering the last time I got an award and actually tagged people, I got in trouble, I’m just going to refrain from tagging anybody, okay? Call it self-preservation.

If you want to answer the questions below on your own blog (or heck, in the comments), consider yourself tagged. If you’d rather not, then congratulations, you’re safe…FOR NOW.

1. Name a book you would read over and over again?

Every time I pick up one of Courtney Milan’s books, I end up reading the whole damn thing. Same with Loretta Chase, particularly Lord of Scoundrels. If you see me using those as examples of good things to do with writing romance, it’s because I’ve read them so many times I have them memorized.

Once I get through my current stack of unread books, I’d like to go back and read the Mistborn trilogy again. Because it’s awesome.

2. If you could have 3 wishes granted, what would they be?

Wish one would be to have my house completely paid for. (NO MORTGAGE WOO!)

Wish two would be to spend some quality time with these fine gentlemen:

Wish Number 2

Wish three would be for three more wishes.

3. Who was your favorite teacher and why?

I was fortunate to have a lot of cool teachers in school. Mrs. Taylor in fifth grade and Mrs. Britt for sixth-grade history probably made the biggest impressions during my formative years. Writing-wise, I learned a TON during the professional writing program at OU, mostly thanks to Professor Chester.

4. Where is your favorite vacation spot?

It would be a toss-up between Hawaii and Kea, which was a lovely little island off the coast of Greece. What can I say? I like beaches.

5. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Dusting. Farking dusting. I can count on one hands the number of times I’ve done it since moving into this house 18 months ago.

6. What is your favorite dessert?

Probably creme brulee. NOM.

7. What is your least favorite mode of transportation?

I once took a bus to New York. I would not want to repeat that trip.

8. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

In no particular order: Lawyer, teacher, illustrator, author, spaceship architect.

9. If money were no object, where would you live and why?

I would live right where I am. I really love Tulsa, and all my friends are either here or within easy driving distance.

I would totally keep vacation houses in Seattle and Hawaii, though.

10. What is your dream career?

Pretty close to what I’m doing right now, actually. If I could bump it so that I was doing webdev part-time and writing the rest of the time, I would be a happy camper.

11. What movie do you flat-out refuse to watch, no matter how good people say it is?

Just about anything that could qualify as a horror movie/slasher flick. I’ve never seen The Exorcist, Scream, or anything involving Freddy and Jason. I hate scary movies.

Want to answer the questions? Feel free!

The Critic Gets Kreativ (Again), and #WriteMotivation Updates

I’ve been awarded! Twice!

Kreative Blogger Award

Shiny!

Both Valerie and Becca put me on their lists for the Kreativ* Blogger award. As part of the award, I’m supposed to thank the lovely people who gave it to me, give you seven facts about me, and then pass it on to seven other people.

I will give a big shout-out and thank you to Valerie and Becca, and say if you aren’t reading their blogs, you ought to check them out.

(Also, Becca has an AWESOME picture of the Tenth Doctor in that post I linked. If you can’t like somebody who posts pictures of the Tenth Doctor, then we’re not going to be very good friends.)

As I’ve already been tagged as a Kreativ Blogger before, I won’t give you seven more facts about me. (If you want to read what I wrote before, go here.) Instead, I’ll share a little story.

As you may have guessed, I’m a pretty big fan of Brandon Sanderson, and I absolutely love the Mistborn series, which is why you see the book over my face in every single picture I have on various social sites.

The most recent book in the series, The Alloy of Law, came out during November, so of course I couldn’t touch it until NaNoWriMo was over.

About halfway through November, I got a package from a friend of mine who lives in Boston, with strict instructions NOT to open the blue box inside until November was over. (Apparently it was to be my “Congratulations for surviving NaNo!” present.)

To keep temptation away, I shoved the package to the corner of my room and steadfastly ignored it for the next two weeks. You should be proud.

At about 11 p.m. on December 1, after a full day of work and final NaNo prep for the TGIO, I promptly tore it open.

This is what I found inside:

The Alloy of Law - autographed!

Michelle,

Keep up the great work encouraging writers to chase their dreams. Best of luck to you, too, as you chase your own!

When your first book is published, I hope it will be my turn to receive a signed copy!

Best,
Brandon

You cannot imagine the fangirl squeal that emanated through our house when I read that. Fortunately, I didn’t wake up my roommates.

Yes, I have the best friends ever.

Finally, I’m sure just about everybody I would tag for the Kreativ Blogger has already been tagged. However, here are some of the writers I’ve been reading over this past month, in addition to the lovely people who tagged me:

Black and Dark Night
Quid for a Quill
KT Hanna
ZM Wilmot
Jessica Therrien
WriteBackwards

And now, a #WriteMotivation update!

Because I got this up late the past two weeks, it’s up early tonight!

1. Upload at least 2 months of “The Barenaked Archive” posts.

2. Add at least 4 new reviews (movie, book, and TV).

Number three will be out tomorrow morning!

3. Edit 5 chapters in my 2006 NaNo novel, and outline the damn thing.

It’s outlined. Completely. And my God, I wish I’d done that sooner. Those little note cards have helped me so much with the problem areas of the story that it’s not even funny. Yes, it kicked me back about four chapters, but I’d really rather this draft be my LAST significant rewrite pass through the story.

I’m also through editing two chapters, with three to go. Woohoo!

4. Write another 10,000 words on my 2011 NaNo novel.

I’m thinking this one might get put off until next month. As I said last week, I’m really feeling the ’06 novel, and now that I’ve gotten it outlined, writing/editing is going so much more smoothly.

That’s all for this evening! Hope your #writemotivation goals are going swimmingly!

*God help me, it KILLS me to spell it that way.