Jun 23 2012

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Bruce Blake, an author from Vancouver Island, Canada,

my guest this week on the TTC Virtual Blog Tour, is like

most readers, he usually has more than one book on the

go at the same time. See what you think of his current

selections. Over to you Bruce.


I am a notoriously slow reader. In fact, it’s so bad; I wrote a whole post about it for my own blog. There are a few reasons for this—one of which is the usual excuse of not having enough time—but the other reason is I usually have a number of books on the go, lengthening the time it takes to read each one.

I’m also easily distracted, which contributes to this habit that even I find annoying. Thank God for e-books so I don’t have to worry about leaving books lying all over the house.

I can think of seven books I’ve started reading in the past few months, all of which are still unfinished. I’m sure more than one of them will remain that way, but there are three I continue to read, so I’ll deal only with them for the purposes of keeping my post under novella length.

On A Pale Horse by Piers Anthony

I started reading this at the suggestion of Lorin Oberweger, who edited my novel On Unfaithful Wings. Mr. Anthony’s book deals with similar subject matter to mine, so Lorin thought I might find it an interesting read. I’d read his Apprentice Adept series in my youth and enjoyed it, so I went in with high expectations. But I have to admit, I’m struggling a little with this one. The storyline is interesting—a man kills the grim reaper and has to take over the job—I have no problem with that, it’s the style in which the book is written that gives me pause. The point of view is too detached for my liking (and way too many exclamation points!!!).

“That was the crux of it! Angelica—slated for him but squandered away. In retrospect he found himself  scrambling into love with her, his emotion based on wrong-headed hopes and wishes—and knew she was the type who only loved once, and that her gift had been bestowed irrevocably on another man.”

I simply find it difficult to read. It doesn’t flow for me. I like books written in fairly straight-forward prose, like I’m part of a conversation. I’m determined to finish this book because I want to see where the story goes, but it might be a struggle.

 Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

This one I picked up simply because his is a name that comes up time and time again, especially on other writers’ favourites list. If you’ve read any of his books, you know why; if you haven’t, it will take less than a page to understand.

“Railways trace urban anatomy like protruding veins. Red brick and dark walls, squat churches like troglodytic things, ragged awnings flickering, cobbled mazes in the old town, culs-de-sac, sewers riddling the earth like secular sepulchres, a new landscape of wasteground, crushed stones, libraries fat with forgotten volumes, old hospitals, towerblocks, ships and metal claws pull that lift cargoes from the water.”

Wow. Mr. Mieville’s prose is astounding and very literary. The first pages of this novel are a description of the city, New Crobuzon, seen from the point of view of a creature who hasn’t been there before and comparing it to a rather unpleasant beast and that beast becomes as important as any character in the story. The detail of the setting and imagination shown in developing the social, political and physical aspects of the different races in the story are awe-inspiring. The snooty writer side of me wishes I could write like this, but I also know that it’s not me. I rarely indulge the snooty writer; he’s a bit of an ass.

 My Temporary Life by Martin Crosbie

Martin is an independent author from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada—which is not far from where I live in Victoria—who’s success story with My Temporary Life (over 120000 downloads in five months, last I heard) has become a beacon of hope for all independent authors. In addition to his success, he’s also someone who supports his fellow authors and, though I’ve never met Martin in person, I’d call him a friend, as would many other writers chasing the self-publishing dream.

“That when I realized that with forgiveness comes freedom, and I somehow managed to let go.”

“Nothing in my life has been forever anyways. Everything is always just temporary, always temporary.”

“We tried to see something in each other that wasn’t there, tried to fill in the blanks instead of dealing with reality.”

 Martin says his novel is difficult to categorize, and I’d have to say that is the best way to categorize it. Part romance, part thriller, part coming-of-age story, My Temporary Life surprises at every turn. Just when you think you know what the story is about…it’s not. I’m almost finished and I’m half-expecting someone to turn out to be an alien, since sci-fi is one of the few genres he hasn’t fitted in so far. The writing is smooth and thoughtful and there’s never a moment to give you pause, unless it’s to think about what you’ve read.

“Maybes make the world go round, Malcolm. Maybes give us hope. They tuck us into bed at night, and they wake us up in the morning. Maybes help us navigate our way through just about anything.”

 This is a wonderful first novel deserving of all the success it’s had.

Now, what about you, dear reader?

What are you reading now?

Do you like it? Why?

If you begin a book, and it doesn’t grab you, do you finish it anyway, or are you like me and it leaves a dent in the wall? If you don’t finish it, how long does it take for you to decide it’s not worth finishing?

Thanks for taking the time to read me. Perhaps we’ll meet again.

Who is Bruce Blake?

  Bruce Blake lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. When pressing issues like shovelling snow and building igloos don’t take up his spare time, Bruce can be found taking the dog sled to the nearest coffee shop to work on his short stories and novels.

Actually, Victoria, B.C. is only a couple hours north of Seattle, Wash., where more rain is seen than snow. Since snow isn’t really a pressing issue, Bruce spends more time trying to remember to leave the “u” out of words like “colour” and “neighbour” then he does shovelling. The father of two, Bruce is also the trophy husband of burlesque diva Miss Rosie Bitts.

He has been writing since grade school but it wasn’t until five years ago he set his sights on becoming a full-time writer. Since then, his first short story, “Another Man’s Shoes” was published in the Winter 2008 edition of Cemetery Moon, another short, “Yardwork”, was made into a podcast in Oct., 2011 by Pseudopod and his first Icarus Fell novel, “On Unfaithful Wings”, was published to Kindle in Dec., 2011. The second Icarus Fell novel, “All Who Wander Are Lost”, is scheduled for release in July, 2012, with the first book in the four-part “Khirro’s Journey” epic fantasy coming soon after. He has plans for at least three more Icarus novels, several stand-alones and a possible YA fantasy co-written with his eleven-year-old daughter.

On Unfaithful Wings

 I was alive, then I was dead, now I’m stuck somewhere in between.

My name is Icarus Fell. I am a harvester.

The archangel Michael brought me back to collect souls and help them on their way to Heaven–that’s what a harvester does. If I get enough of them before the bad guys do–if I do a good job–I can have my life back. Now people I knew in life are dying, killed by a murderer’s knife, their bodies defiled, and the cops think I’m the killer.

I’m not, but I think I know who is.

But how does a dead man, a man who no longer exists, stop a psycho? I’m not sure, but I’m going to stop him before everyone I know is dead.

I have to stop him before he gets to my son.


Guild of Dreams


Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/bruce.blake.585

Twitter: @bruceablake




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