Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Scoring Points


Fall is a busy time—back to school and all that. For me autumn has always been the season when my books came out and I started new projects. This year I’m way behind.

I’m in the middle of one novel that I never intended to write that is going great but keeping me from starting a trilogy that I told myself I would begin last week. At present, however, I can’t do either because I’m working on edits for two other novels I wrote last year and writing a short story already overdue for an anthology.

My wife has suggested that I just write 24/7, but I actually do need sleep.

This blog falls into the something’s-gotta-give category. Still I have to relate something that recently occurred…

When it comes to reading, my son is worse than my daughter ever was. He hates reading, always has. At sixteen, he’d only read what he was forced to at school. At seventeen I managed to get him into the Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief, and he read the whole series. Score one for me and Rick.

I never even tried to get him to read my books.

For his birthday recently, we got him a Nexus 7 in the hopes of using gadgetry to spur reading. I told him he could buy any books he wanted using my account and I’d pay for them.  This was all wishful thinking on my part. I knew he’d use the new device to play games, or for email.

But then something surprising happened.

A few years ago I drove my son and friends to a movie and learned one of the boys—one of my sons friends—had read my books and loved them. He was giddy to meet me, he was also clearly ostracized by the others for his geekish behavior. As my son has gotten older his circle of friends has begun to include girls. Young women have started visiting the house along with his old boy’s network. And then it happened. While on our summer vacation I noticed my son was spending a lot of time on his new Nexus 7. I asked what he was doing with it, and he replied… “Reading.”

I was shocked.

“What are you reading.”

“Theft of Swords.”

I was confused to the point of almost mentioning what a coincidence that was given I wrote a book by the same title. Then I realized—he was reading my book. Like a perfectly built card-house I backed away slowly so as not to disturb anything.

Not long after he came to my wife to ask if he could get the second book on the Nexus 7. I found this funny as all get out, since our house is packed with copies of my books in every form and language imaginable. You can’t walk into any room and not find ten or twenty on shelves, in boxes, or on tables. But he wanted it on his new device, so sure, why not—anything to get him to read. And he was reading my books!

So I had to admit I was proud that my writing had managed to penetrate that resistance to reading that my son had so carefully constructed. After so long, the series that I created to help interest my daughter in a love of words, but came too late to help her, had done the trick with my even more stubborn son. It only took six years, over 200,000 sales, releases in 14 different languages, and a Nexus 7 to get him to read them, but I wasn’t going to complain. I had achieved the impossible. I had gotten my son to like books.

Then I discovered the real reason.

Okay maybe it isn’t the real reason, maybe I’m wrong, this is only speculation after all. Still I found it suspicious when I recently discovered the two new inductees into the old boy friend’s network, the young ladies, were also fans of my books. When, as a teenager, a friend likes your dad’s novels, he’s a geek. When a girl likes them…that’s a whole different argument.

I’m still marking this as a point for Royce and Hadrian.


  1. I find this funny because it reminds me of me! I managed to make it through elementary school, middle school, high school, and college without having ever read an entire book. In fact, I didn't read an entire book until I was 21, when I started working in extremely remote locations (Deadhorse, Alaska). The first book I read was "The Gunslinger" by Stephen King. Six years later, I've read 120 books.

    Anyway, back to this Nexus 7. How is it? I have a regular kindle, but I want a new device. I'm torn between the Nexus 7 and the new Kindle Fire HD. I hear the Nexus 7 can get slow once the storage gets full. But I also read today that the new kindle fire hd is like a glorified shopping bag.

  2. Leave it to the opposite sex to make you do things you'd never do otherwise. Glad to hear such a positive outcome!

  3. As a grades 7-12 teacher, this was a funny and sweet blog post. One of the main reasons I self-published was to have my books available for students who were curious.

  4. It is amazing what some motivation from peers will do to a teenager.So congrats on that huge hurdle!

    Honestly, I have many many books in hard copy running around the house...but what it comes down to is having the portability. I read (no lie) most of my books on my Droid X via the kindle app. I am never without my phone and therefore never without a book. This is how I fell in love with Royce and Hadrian the first time and all over again the second time through when I purchased the books under Orbits publishing. This does mean however I often end up paying for a book I truly love twice. But hey, a good story is worth paying for three times over.

  5. Hadrian and Royce always wondered about their future professions....

    ...who'd have though match making would've been on the cards?!?!?

  6. As you know, girls can make boys do almost anything. We rock that way!

    My husband is dyslexic and I introduced him to the world of audio books a few years ago. He has listened to a few, but none with the interest and excitement that he has shown for Royce and Hadrian's adventures. We are just finishing the "Heir of Novron", a mere 6 hrs left, and I know he is looking forward to taking our daughter to school this morning, just so he can listen to it uninterrupted. For this, I thank you.

  7. I've just finished Theft of Swords & must admit - it was very, very enjoyable -

    I fell in love with reading at thirteen; my Dad offered to give me $50 if I could read the first chapter of the first Sword of Truth novel (Wizards First Rule) and stop. I failed (I think I still got the cash :) to stop reading & I can honestly say that had it been a Theft of Swords, I'd still not have stopped at the end of the first chapter :)


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