New Lou Berney Novel: Dark Ride

“When people say they want to read a really good novel, the kind you can’t put down, this is the kind of book they mean. Exceptional.” – Stephen King on November Road

If you’re looking for good books to read between now and the appearance of Running Grave, the novels of Lou Berney come highly recommended, as you can see in the video above or at Berney’s website about his two best known works, Long and Faraway Gone and November Road. Berney was my primary adviser in my MFA studies and almost all of our conversations (and my consequent papers) were about story structure; Long and Faraway Gone has the most intricate scaffolding of any book I’ve read (and mapped and enjoyed) with the exception of Troubled Blood, and, like Strike5, the structure complements and advances reader experience of the novel’s meaning. The Dante echoes in November Road will engage any serious reader of Robert Galbraith (and of Rowling’s Christmas Pig).

The good news today for his legion of fans is that Berney’s new book, Dark Ride, has been given a publication date. I have pre-ordered my hardcover and Audible copy, as well as marked 23 September on my calendar. I will be contacting him, in addition, in the hope that he will agree to be interviewed here about Dark Ride or his previous books.

Again, if you’re in need of a break from yet another read of Ink Black Heart or Aurora Leigh, please give November Road or Long and Faraway Gone a try — and let me know in the comment boxes if you’re interested in discussing either or both here at HogwartsProfessor. I expect that, if you do read either or both of those novels, you will be nearly as excited as I am about Dark Ride‘s publication.

From the book’s Amazon page: [Read more…]

Rowling Twitter Themes: Women in Iran, Trans Violence, and Government Idiocy

When a feminist in New Zealand is attacked by trans activists, what is the headline in The Daily Mail the next day?

JK Rowling blasts ‘repellent’ New Zealand ‘mob’ after British trans critic Kellie-Jay Keen is doused in tomato sauce and evacuated by police before she can speak at rally

  • ‘Transphobe’ Kellie-Jay Keen hit with tomato juice and may not continue her tour 
  • JK Rowling has since hit out at trans rights protesters in New Zealand and the UK

As disturbing as the attack of Gender Theory Extremists was, I’m skeptical that the story would have merited a mention by Fleet Street if the world’s most famous author hadn’t flagged it with a series of tweets on her twitter platform to her 14 million followers. Many of those followers are journalists who recognize that Rowling’s name in a headline is click-bait gold.

Rowling-Murray clearly understands this as well and uses her unique second-job as online-influencer to highlight transgender violence and attacks on freedom of speech (not to say ‘reason’), to keep the world’s attention on the plight of women in Iran, and to call out government officials for their efforts to reduce women’s rights in the UK.

Join me after the jump for examples of all three themes on Rowling’s twitter feed. [Read more…]

Is There New Hope for Fantastic Beasts? Ezra Miller Proves Me Wrong, Again

I’ve predicted that Ezra Miller was down for the count (and with him, The Flash film franchise) in almost every report in the last several years of his arrests, confinements, apologies, and theatrics. You can search the site for those statements of surety that this troubled young man could not possibly climb out of the hole he had dug for himself this time.

The Flash premieres in theaters nationwide on 16 June. Except for my weather predictions for the opening of Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, I think this means that my batting average for pre-event speculations is an almost perfect .000. My hat is tipped to the Warner Brothers wizards, their lawyers, media masseurs, and psychologists, for pulling off what I thought was impossible: the redemption of Ezra.

Does this mean that the Fantastic Beasts franchise might be saved — and Aurelius Dumbledore survive to see Beasts5 and the battle between Albus and Gellert? I’d tell you what I think is going to happen, but then you’d know what was really in the cards by playing the percentages.

A Series of Talks in April for Christian Writers: Psychomachia, Alchemy, Rings

I am in conversation with a local group of Christian Fiction writers about my giving a series of talks about Rowling’s tool-kit and what they can take-away from it for their own stories.  No contract yet, but I’m very hopeful (I’ve spoken to the group before and they are a speaker’s dream audience). The leader of the group wrote to me with this charge:

The theme for the year for my group is how Christians write the best fiction, because we have direct access to the Greatest Story that is written on the hearts of all people.
I will begin the year discussing Campbell’s Hero’s Journey – bringing it back as an echo of the Gospel. I hope to have your talk as a deep dive into how one of the most successful modern authors did so through the Harry Potter series.  I will have speakers later in the year discuss the works of Tolkien and Lewis, and how they imbedded Christianity into their works.  I hope this context can aid you in formulating your talk.

It has! I have the whole day, a Saturday, to deliver eight hours of lectures. For our sanity, I will break up the eight hours into four talks. If you’re interested in learning more about them, join me after the jump! [Read more…]

Ten Post Projects: Vote Your Preference

I have been working on thesis tasks the last six months but that effort is finally at the stage of awaiting judgment from the external and internal readers. My  unforced sabbatical from posting at HogwartsProfessor did not mean that I wasn’t thinking about articles I would be working on except for the need to review and revise work I had already written.

Today I sketched out the ideas that have most been haunting me and tried to figure out where to begin; my preference is with the Troubled Blood subjects but a writer is obliged to think of his audience. Hence the question of this post: What do you want to read?

Let me know by email, contact page, or in the comment boxes below which posts from the following list or about which topics of your own interest you would most be interested in reading. I’ll consider your votes, believe me, as I try to catch up from half a year of neglected posting. [Read more…]