Any of you that read any of my original postings at the beginning of my column on Geek Like Me should be aware of my adopting of the Found Movie Rule and the Zombie Joe Insomnia Movie Rule. Throw into the mix the rules that were given to us OCD style from Zombieland and we have the most current incarnation of the Zombie Joe Rule System. Today’s entry into the that particular mantra of rules is the Local Author Rule.
Over the past year I made a bet with myself, this led me to taking a more active roll in researching authors and genres. Also, we moved from our 4 bedroom house with 2.5 car garage with an upstairs to a 2 bedroom condo with a den and underground parking/storage. In short, I had to trim down my library. My criteria for keeping a book went in order of; collectible, personalized, autographed, local author, good story behind it. Anything not fitting that criteria was the first to go.
Let me explain something before going any further. I was raised to be driven on community. My father is one of those people who is active in a majority of the aspects of the local community. When I was looking for a local charity to donate to from a fundraiser I was organizing, he was the man I went to. I have directed much of my life around that idea of community (even if I do still get Starbucks when available). When given the choice of saving money on a Dungeons and Dragons book through Amazon and paying a couple extra bucks to get it from the local store that I play cards and such at – I give my money to Misty Mountain Games. How does that account for the Local Author Rule?
Same principle, different application. When I attended the Write by the Lake retreat on the UW Madison campus last summer, I picked up a couple of the books my sections professor wrote. I also found through that retreat and the use of social networking other local authors. In fact one of them – Lori Devoti – is even teaching a section at Write by the Lake this year. If the story takes place in Madison or Milwaukee, that brings me in even more so. Like Amazon Ink by Lori Devoti – which is set on Monroe Street, a street I walk every day.
So upon finishing Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland (review coming soon) on New Years Eve, I set my reading resolution for the year. I am going to shoot for 50 books this year. In addition, I am going to shoot for half of them being Wisconsin-based authors. In the efforts of finding enough to read within those parameters I am including writers such as Marjorie M Liu as a local author. She did undergrad in Wisconsin and Law School and the UW, so she is a cheesehead even if she is not in Wisconsin any longer.
This month I am completing book two of that challenge. Book One was Sword Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe. I have been hanging onto this one for a while now, and after meeting Alex for coffee in Mt. Horeb on New Years Day, it was on my mind when I went home and said, “What new book shall I read now?” I will write something up on it later, but it is a wonderfully unique book with a lot of Wisconsin inspired names in it.
Book Two is another local author; Doomsday Can Wait by Lori Handeland. This is book two in the Phoenix Chronicles series. It is also the series that made a friend say she hated me for getting her hooked because she gave up series because of ones like this. Basically series that were well-written and draw you in – then leave you waiting until the next one releases. I don’t think she was serious about hating me. I think.
To give you an example of why I am hooked on the series, let’s look at the opening of the book. One of the things we worked on in the retreat I mentioned above was opening lines. There were several examples given of wonderful opening lines, and this would have been one of mine.
“A month ago I put a stake through the heart of the only man I’ve ever loved. Luckily, or not, depending on the day and my mood, that wasn’t enough to kill him.”
Tell me that doesn’t want to make you read on. Even had I not already read Any Given Doomsday I would still be interested in reading further in this book. It is no wonder that Lori Handeland was nominated for a Career Achievement Award by Romantic Times.
So my current list of locals to read includes:
- Alex Beldsoe (Burn Me Deadly, The Girls with Games of Blood)
- Lori Handeland (Apocalypse Happens)
- Marshall Cook (Murder Over Easy, Walking Wounded: A Wartime Love Story)
- Kevin Hughes (Dogging Truth, Casualty Crossing)
- Lori Devoti (Amazon Queen)
- Marjorie M Liu (The Iron Hunt, Darkness Calls)
That gives me a dozen books. I am hoping to flesh this out a bit so that I do not have to dip into anthologies complied and edited by Wisconsin people. Although that would put Killer Bunnies and Zombie Raccoons at the top of my list. Do you have any good Wisconsin authors or books to suggest? Drop them in a comment below.
Fair Warning: I read most fantasy, urban fantasy, horror and mystery.