Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Jade Owl Legacy Series "a True Winner"

On October 28th, the first book of The Jade Owl Legacy Series was published and has been received by readers intently. In fact, one review from Rainbow Reviews states:

"The Jade Owl is a nonstop, don't miss page turner and only the first in a quintology, The Jade Owl Legacy series. Readers, run, do not walk to your nearest book outlet and grab this intriguing gay mystery with its fully realized characters, gay and straight and bi, roller-coaster plotting, and paranormal fantasy elements. The Jade Owl is a true winner."

The series consists of five books, all about 600-700 pages in length, the second book (The Third Peregrination) due for release in mid-February 2009. The third book (The Dragon's Pool) will hit the boards in late Spring 2009. The last two works will be released in 2010-11 (The People's Treasure and In the Shadow of Her Hem). The sweep of the work embeds a modern adventure story in the mystical aspects of China's five major religions - Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Naturalism and Legalism. Step that up with a Tolkienesque fantasy tale and old Chinese legends, then add a dash of modern societal issues and a host of sizzling characters, and you get an eclectic ride down Mount T'ai.

As a Sinologist (a specialist in Chinese History and Culture), I have attempted to engrave China's deeper cultural trends with easy and enjoyable access for my readers. In addition to the five book series, another two book series will be released in 2009 — the fictionalized biography of a 12th Century scholar-official during a period of social and political upheaval. The series is called Southern Swallow. The first book, The Academician, will be available in late January 2009. The second book, Swan Cloud should be available mid-Summer 2009. This series parallels The Jade Owl legend, but from a purely Chinese point of view. In fact, I utilize many traditional Chinese novel techniques. Taken together, the two series covers a universe that should not disappoint.

I'll keep my readers updated on the progress of each book. I know of one "reader discussion forum" forming for The Jade Owl . There's a great deal to discuss in this series and it's my great joy to fire up my reader's imagination in a world that has been with me for over three decades.

Edward C. Patterson

Friday, November 7, 2008

Picking at an Old Chestnut – Moby Dick Lives

Ever since I picked up Herman Melville’s tale of the Whale, that great leviathan of beauty and destruction, I have been struck by the sheer poetry of Moby Dick. It teams with detail, buoyed up by a natural elegance that truly makes it a literary treasure. In my novel, Turning Idolater, the title of which comes from Melville’s work and intones the ability (or inability) to compromise, I blend unlikely elements using Melville’s basic theme that each life is a journey that needs to come to terms with earth’s organic unity. The sea is prominent in the work, but instead of Melvillian detail — nine hundred shades of white and every knot that can be tied for any reason, I developed the characters along a different course – a Dickens course. Smashing Dickensian characters into Melvillian amplitude gives the work a unique feel. Add to that the juxtaposition of romance and mystery, a good, old fashion whodunit (here a herring, there a herring – mostly red, but some a shade of pink), and the reader is provided with a memorable experience. The dichotomies are further maintained by placing the sleazy world of Internet porn beside the hoity-toity universe of literary circles.

Finding the balance between many diverse elements is the shell surrounding this nut, but at its heart is Melville and the sea. Young Philip Flaxen’s voyage across an uncharted ocean in a vessel that leaks like the Dickens and flags in bad weather provides the reader with a hero’s journey. Philip is taxed by the many anomalies that he cannot digest, yet somehow he remains afloat. In hindsight, I have achieved what I wanted to achieve. Besides my usual attention to the reader’s needs, I sought in Turning Idolater to fire up old Melville, who is sometimes more admired than read — to reach down and scrape off the Pequod’s barnacles — bring it ashore for a modern day inspection. I am happiest when a reader tells me, as they have, "Now that I have read about Philip and Tdye and Sprakie and Old Charlotte, I think I’ll pick up Moby Dick again and give it another try." For every chapter in Melville that drones on about the nine hundred shade of the color white, there are others that sing:

"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can."

It’s a fine clear day, mateys, and the dolphins are calling, the gulls leading the way. You only need to be Turning Idolater to see your way clear through this damp, drizzly November.

Edward C. Patterson
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1440422109 (Paperback)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001FWZ92Q (Kindle)