A Journey for a Book

I went on an interesting journey last night.

It started because of my father. He just got a Kindle and is having way too much fun with it. He said he was looking for some books from the past and was interested to hear which authors and books I remembered reading when I was in high school — my prime reading time — so he could look at getting them.

Well, it sent me back. Back to a time when I would hardly look at a book if it wasn’t fantasy and was less than 300 pages in paperback. This was my time of Lord of the Rings and Dune, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books and David Eddings’ Belgariad) and Malloreon series. Piers Anthony and Mercedes Lackey took me into the worlds of Xanth and Valdemar and I was loathe for any book to end because that meant I had to leave such fantastic, marvelous worlds. Melanie Rawn blew my mind with the Dragon Prince series and I have never been the same since.

So, as I’m strolling down memory lane, I remember this one book. I remember loving it because it was so different. It was sort of sci-fi because it took place on a different planet but it was much more fantasy because of an element of the planet made “magic” possible. Wasn’t magic in the true sense but it was close enough. One of the main characters was simply enchanting. He was a bad man, nearly evil incarnate. But he was likable. He actually became one of the heros of the story. Sort of. He was absolutely enthralling and he’s one of the key characters I remember each time I craft a true villian. He was the best lesson for me that the villian considers himself to be the hero of his own story.

Okay, cool. But I couldn’t remember the title. I couldn’t remember the author’s name. If I’d been in a bookstore, I could have found it. I know this because I’ve seen it a few times in the last ten or fifteen years. I was reasonably certain that the author’s last name started with a “C”, or at least there was a capital C in there somewhere and I was pretty sure the publisher was either DAW or Del Rey (because those were pretty much the only publishers I bought from at the time and I made note of them because I wanted to write for them someday). But I didn’t have enough information to go on for an Amazon search.

I should have given up. I intended to give up. But the more I thought of the book, the more obsessed I became. It was nonsensical to me that I couldn’t think of the title of one of my very favorite books. Also, I reasoned, that I should buy the damn thing if it was available for Kindle so I could read it again sometime. I now know a lot more about Amazon’s advanced search options.

I finally found it. Black Sun Rising by CS Friedman.

So, anyone else have books that shaped their world?

33 thoughts on “A Journey for a Book”

  1. Hey Ilana! I totally get it. I hate non resolved or unhappy endings. I can handle characters dying (though I cry) and the normal dramas, but i hate it when the ending itself is not somewhat uplifting. LOL I have been known to throw a book or two across the room… In my younger years of course…. right. ;P

  2. Hi Ana, I know what are you talking about. My first book in English was Zelazny’s Courts of Chaos. In high school we have read an article where writer compared reading prose to walking on solid ground and reading poetry to jumping from ice float to ice float. I remembered this while following Corwn’s adventures. My next project were Dune series, straiting with the first one (which I have already read in Hebrew – and it’s not much help, ’cause my original language is Russian and in *that* time it was still my first language of choice for speaking & reading ). Then I got to the last one existing at that time (Chapter House, I think) and last page opened a whole new can of worms. I got angry and refused to touch the series again. So in real life stories does not end pat (sp), so what? When I want to read real-life stories, I take a biography from the shelf! When I read fiction – I want to believe that good has power over evil and that there is a chance for the happy ending. And that there is a closure! (this is , probably, the reason why I prefer CSI series to something like Dark Blue or 24 – power to science geeks! )

  3. Growing up both my mom and my grandma read every free second they had. I, of course, have followed in their foot steps. The main books that come to mind are the Sword of Shannara collections by Terry Brooks. One day I had decided that I was going to read books in English (Spanish is my first language), and i got hooked on these. It makes me laugh because at fourteen it took me forever to get through them. This makes me want to read them again now, because I’m sure that I did not get the full stories at that time. Good memories. As for Black Sun Rising, I new exactly what you were talking about as soon as I read it. That character is awesome!! I think I boycotted that author cause the ending got me upset… can’t quite remember why though… Ooh, another favorite of mine was the Dark Queen series by Anne Bishop. It was so different to anything I had read at that time. I still love her. Thanks for the walk down memory lane and for increasing my list of To be Read books.

  4. BYO, your lost book sounds familiar and when I think of authors it may be Janny Wurts, or more in the depths of the the mind a author by the surname of Cooper, cannot remember their first name – maybe had initials.

    In regards to the books I read as a kid, and my true love, is fantasy genre, most of them already said, Lackey, Pierce, L’engles, McCaffrey, and the staple of Eddings. But I also remember reading Isobelle Carmody’s obernewton series which i can still re read, lois bujold mcmarsters, CJ Cherryh and my First vamp book were by Freda Warrington and Anne Rice.

    Thank goodness for the surge on paranormal/fantasy in the last few years and authors such as Hamilton, Nalini Singh, Christine Feehan, Sherilyn Kenyon, Kylie Chan, Kelly Armstrong, Anne bishop, Curt Benjamin, Jacqueline Carey, Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, Jim Butcher, WM Mark Simmons, Wen Spencer and I have to say my favorite author at the moment, and I highly recommended her, is Lorna Freeman. I also love the new erotica by, of course, Jet Mykles :), Lora Leigh, JL Langley, Amber Kell and Stormy Glenn.

    As you can see I am a voracious reader and will leave it there for now but as soon as I post this a gazillion great authors will pop in my head lol.


    1. *sigh* I’ve got to get back to writing fantasy. All this talk about fantasy books has made me feel a little homesick. I started with fantasy with the Dark Elves. I really do need to get back to it.

      thanks all for checking in on this. it’s be fascinating!

  5. A Wrinkle in Time is the book that sparked the transition form had to read (for book reports at school) to addicted to reading. I remember going form that to Dune (only the first book too) to Eddings, and McGaffrey, King and V. C. Andrews. The first Romance adult romance was Forever by Judy Blume. (I smuggled it home from the library when i was in sixth grade) and Reading has been a life long passion. I thank you cause now i have some new authors to check out too

    1. Therese: OMG, Forever! I got in so much trouble for reading that. My copy had gotten passed around to a bunch of girls in my class and one of them got caught reading it one morning in class. So, in front of everyone, she pointed at me and said it was MY book. Our teacher went ballistic and told us it was a “dirty” book (like we didn’t know. Why did she think we were passing it around?) She made me go home and tell my mom about it. Well, I did. Wasn’t a big deal for my mom. She bought the damn thing for me LOL

      Dawn: The first 3 Pern books were awesome. **** Pern spoiler **** I read some others but she lost me when the computer came in. I liked the prequel with the landing and all, but bringing the everlasting computer in modern day kind of ruined it for me.

      Byo: Wish I could help you with the missing title. Sounds like a good book.

      ilana: Oh man, how fascinating. So cool that you were able to read the classics though. I missed a lot of those, tbh, because I was reading modern stuff. I kind of wish I’d taken time to read more classics.

      nadya: You must try Mercedes Lackey! At least the Valdemar books. So good! And I am honored to be your first erotic fantasy 😀

  6. The Pern and Crystal Singer series definitely shaped what I love to write, especially the White Dragon and Killashandra. Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce, Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon, and the 50 billion romance novels my grandmother and I inhaled every summer for the first 22 years of my life (she would send me all of her books when she was done with them).

    The Dark Sun caught my interest but the first dark paranormal I remember reading was Dance of the Dead by Christie Golden. It was a Ravencroft book. Chilling in so many ways. I saw the first taste of dark characters, a great story, and winning the day with terrible consequences.

  7. I personally second Nadya’s The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

    also in the same stlye i recomend “Shadow” and “Dagger’s Point” (yes i know this is the last book in the series but its still not a bad place to start) by Anne Logston.

    As for books that I truely treasured, I read “By the Sword” by Mercedes Lackey when i was thirteen and it was new out. it was the perfect book at the perfect time for me. Gave me a believable female rolemodel in a book that had a great deal more depth than many.

    Others that stick out to me are Tanya Huff both the wizard books and the blood series.

    A newer series (slightly) is the Miles Vorkorsigan series by Luis McMaster Bujold. I loved this book because it was a space opera where the focus was the CHARACTERS not the lasers or whatever war was going on.

    *sigh* and now its my turn to not be able to remember a book. It was a fantasy book where the world was being destroyed by good. all of the evil doers had been captured and brainwashed and now the world was so good there were hardly even any shadows at it was heading for some kind of appocalypse. The book was about a small band of evil doers a thief, an assasin, a dark knight, an evil sorcerer (also not human), and a druid trying to put the world back in order. I loved this book because it was the first one I had read where the evil people were the heros.

    I must admit I am kind of jelous of all of the kids now who have a giant genera of young adult fiction that didnt exsist when I was younger. I went straight from goosebumps to Steven king in elementary school cause I loved horror and drama at the time.

  8. growing up in Soviet Union, most books of my childhood *are* different, however there were plenty of translations andit is strange to me that some of them less popular in English speaking countries than they were in SU – Gianni Rodari, Donald Bisset (I still tell people storie about a guy with a monkey on his shoulder or the one abot policman Arthur and his horse), Astrid Lindgren, adventures of Baron Munhausen, Gerald Durell, Jules Vern, Mine Read, Fenimor Cooper, Jack London, Jerom K. Jerom, O. Henry. The first romance that I have read is “Scarlet Sails” by Alexander Grin. You can find it in English on-line, it is very sweet.
    http://www.sennaya.com/alye_parusa_eng.html My family left SU in ’73 when I was 13 years old. Sadly – most of my books were left there :-(. I love Ann Maccaffrey books (and Crystal Singer my favorites) and Laurell Hamilton is fun, I started reading in English with Zelazny’s Courts of Chaos (’cause I *had* to know what’s going on and no Russian neither Hebrew translation existed yet), but here some of my favorites that nobody mentioned – for SF&F – Ray Bradbury with his stories that take place on Mars, Spider Robinson – Callahan’s series, Charles de Lint – I fall in love from “Dreams Underfoot”, Terry Windling and Bordertown series, Marion Zimmer Bradley (most of male characters belong in the cell with padded walls, but otherwise…), Tanya Huff Blood series and Elrod Vampire Files. And something that is simply fun? MaryJanice Davidson’s Betsy the Vampire queen (undead series) and Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum series.

  9. The only one you mentioned that I did not read was the series by Mercedes Lackey, so I will have to look those up. I personally went into mourning when I found out David Eddings had died.

    My first foray into reading “real” books, rather than short stories or childrens books, was ‘The Blue Sword’ by Robin McKinley. From there I went to the ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ by CS Lewis and then ‘The Chronicles of Prydain’ by Lloyd Alexander. Susan Coopers ‘The Dark is Rising’ series is still one of my faves. However my first romance, historical of course, was Jude Deveraux’s “The Black Lyon”. My first love, when it comes to books, will probably always be the fantasies. Be they elves, shapeshifters, vampires, other worlds, or the unseen of our own world, I am totally there and ready to be immersed in it.

    There is so much more that can be said by anyone that is a true reader so I will stop while ahead and leave off with that my first erotic fantasy book… ? “Dark Elves I: Taken” by Jet Mykles. Thank you for opening this new reading avenue to me.

  10. Have you read the Black Jewels by Ann Bishop? I started out with LOTR and Eddings (all of Eddings :-)) and I love them still
    but I think maybe the Jewels books were such a lovely surprise and so unexpected that I have added them to my yearly reads.
    I quite enjoy Nalini Singhs books both the Psy-Changeling series and the Angels as well.. and of course Patricia Briggs.. love the Mercy books!!

    1. Suzy: Wow, I’ve never read most of those writers you mentioned. Thanks! I’ll have to check them out sometime.

      Dee: I have read Ann Bishop’s Black jewels. Awesome! Haven’t read for awhile but I do remember being impressed. Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews are recent finds for me and I’m loving them. A few friends who I trust have recommended Nalini Singh. I’ve got one of her books on my Kindle in my virtual TBR pile. I can also recommend Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series. Pretty damn cool. Her Rogue Mage series and I didn’t hit it off, but Jane Yellowrock is lots of fun and it’s set in New Orleans.

  11. I was so in love with all of these writers. I loved fantasy and romance but my dad got me into hardcore SF too. I love David Weber’s Honor Harrington series, John Ringo, Heinlein, some Asimov, John Steakley’s Armor sticks in my mind too. There are some really good stories being put out there for kids right now: John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice is fantastic no matter your age or another called Vampirates. These are for age range 8-12. These are a great change of pace when I have read a really erotic book and need to cool off lol! Judith Tarr is another great writer that does some fantastic world building and has been doing so for years. I love her Avaryan Rising series and the Hound and the Falcon.

    A warning about Ringo, if you read his Ghost series I wouldn’t hand these to your kids until they are over 16 or mentally old enough. They are a great read and the readers that post here can definitely handle them *weg*, but I can’t hand them to my father. Nuff said.

  12. Hey Jet,

    Loved the theme of this post… so I had to reply. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series blew my mind. I wanted to BE Menolly!! But I remember the first book that really opened my mind to a whole new world was A Wrinkle In Time. I couldn’t put it down, it was the first time I stayed up all night to finish a book. That later lead me to Tamora Pierce, Phillip Pullman, The Wizard of Earthsea books, and one of my all time Favorites The Blue Sword by Robin McKinnley. And then on in to Mercedes Lackey and Anne McCaffrey. These authors def. helped me to escape in my more awkward moments of adolescence and I can’t wait to share them with my daughter one day!

    Great Discussion! Brings back good memories. I used to drive my parents crazy begging to go to the book store and the library b/c I read books so fast!

    1. Erin: Oh man, you know I know I read and loved A Wrinkle In Time but these days I cannot for the life of me remember the story. So strange.

      I hear you on getting through adolescence. So nice to have wonderful places to go to when things in the real world just seemed awful. Heck, I still do that today!

  13. I’ve been through about half a library of kid, teen, and now adult, books… and I have to say only a few really… stuck.
    Terry Truman, though that was more because he made me cry like a baby and GO BACK FOR MORE that evil, evil man. Laura K Hamiltion, who you already mentioned, for having main characters that I felt really ‘got me’, and not the other way around. Lisa Marie Rice, for somehow writing the same two characters over and over and yet having it be new, different, lovable and HOT all over again… and again. I’m a big fan of Dr. S as well, that kid Unicorn series (can’t remember the name for the life of me!), Shel Silverstein, and Goodnight Moon.
    I keep feeling like there should be more, but anytime I think of one I’d want to mention I have to smack myself on the forehead when I realize they’re ones -I- want to write. lol

    1. hayley: I haven’t read a lot of Heinlein. Not sure why. I’m pretty sure I liked what I read. But I’m reading BSR again now and loving it all over again!

      Ariel: Shel Silverstein!! Omg, I love Shel. I had Where the Sidewalk Ends memorized by 3rd grade! lol oh man, forgot all about that 🙂

  14. Love, love, love the Black Sun Trilogy. It was actually Heinlein that got me started on my love of sf/f. Guess that shows how odd I’ve always been. LOL The supposed “books that boys love” that he wrote in the beginning got me hooked and then the Lazarus Long books just built on it. Of course I believe that’s where my love of erotica and acceptance of different definitions of sexuality came from.

  15. Boy Jet you just named every book I ever read or had readed to me. My thing was growing up my bother and I would always fight in the back sit all the time. It wouldn’t matter were we where going we just fought. So my mom one day said “If you guys will sit still and listen I’ll read you this book.” One the front of the book was a picture of a flight of dragons. So at the age of 8 years old I first heard the story of Ann McCaffery’s “Dragonriders of Pern”. (Now let me tell you something important. I’m Dislexic. I can read or write very will.) So here is was listening to what be comes my favorite series. 8 years later I deside to pick up the books my mother read to me and read them myself. I was 16 at the time and couldn’t get though the first paragrah. That was when I finally deside to got my blank together and forced/taught myself how to cop with Dislexia. So Ann McCaffary and her “Dragonrider’s of Pern” are my book of couse.

  16. I walked around in the world of Dune for days, weeks maybe. I could barely focus on the outside world at all. I was living in a giant worm. The spice, yes, the spice. I read most all of Pern and liked the Harpers best (of course). Did you ever read Theodore Sturgeon? He managed to bring the sweetness of fantasy into scifi. E Pluribus Unicorn. Have to read that for the name alone. And, of course, my true initiation into erotic romance and m/m was … well, i already told that story. : )

    1. H: After all this talk, I think I might have to go back and actually read BSR again. I think I’d have a whole new appreciation of Tarrant (wasn’t that his name?)

      Jamie: I just recently re-read the Sleeping Beauty series. Not quite as powerful as the first time I read it, but then how could it be. My, uh, horizons are much broader now than when I last read them lol

      Tara: Never read Theodore Sturgeon. Sounds pretty cool. I do love unicorns 🙂 And Dune, oh yeah. So fascinating. I so wish the other books were as good as the first. Did you ever read the prequel series? Not bad. Not as good as Dune, but not bad.

      CarolineGa: Good for you! So awesome to hear that the desire to encounter a fictional world helped you. And that’s a great series to get into.

  17. It wasn’t until I was older (mid to late 20s and then when I went back to college at 33) that I started paying attention to what I was reading. Mercedes Lackey Valdemar series and Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty series took me places I hadn’t been with the standard Harlequins or historical romances I was used to reading. In college I discovered that I really like the works of Ovid, Homer and others of the Classical period. I have also always been a big fan of Shakespeare and Poe. But once I found your website, the Heaven Sent boys, Bishonen Works, and lots of others I found the world where all of the worlds I love meld together. It has been quite an adventure and I hope it continues.

  18. I loved Black Sun Rising – I have never been so shoved around by a character – from disgust and loathing, to hope, then dismay, triumph and all the way back again. 🙂
    Seriously slashy tone to the series, too! Of course, being older than you, I was in my my thirties when I read them.

    As a teenager, I sobbed my way through The Book Of The Isle trilogy by Nancy Springer and adored Darkchild and Bluesong by Sydney J Van Scyoc (I still have the books and have never dared re-read them).

    I read The Hobbit when I was eight and LOTR when I was 14 … I think my love of SF/SFF/Paranormals was set when I read The Moomin family stories by Tove Jansen and Maren’s Little Owl by Finn Havrevold. Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain books, Mary Poppins, the Uncle books and The Water Babies need to be on the list, too!.

    Cheers, Jet – thank you for the reminder that if I just turn my computer chair around, there are shelves of memories on display (and more if I go into my son’s old bedroom – some my old books, others re-bought for him ).

  19. Instead of going for the Nora Roberts Titles, go for the JD Robb. The future scape is fun, and you’ll love Eve and Roarke.

    But yes, I’m right there with you on the adolescence spent in fantastic worlds and places(And a bunch of bodice rippers Lindsey, early Deveraux, Jennifer Blake, etc….)

    I still remember reading Dragonflight, but as much as I enjoyed the Pern books the Killashandra series is my favorite of hers. I am unpacking the Valdemar books, and my signed (don’t hate me!) David Eddings :> Dune was a revelation, I’d only wished the sequels lived up to the original.

    Did you read Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber? Awesome stuff.

    Robin McKinley’s original Beauty and her Outlaws of Sherwood still have points I pull out and apply on a regular basis.

    Neuromancer rocked my world, as did Snow Crash.

    The list goes on and on…Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

    1. JD Robb. Gotcha.

      OMG Amber! I forgot all about Amber. I loved that world! I remember being disappointed on how the stories went but the world and the magic were awesome.

      I forgot Jennifer Roberson and her Cheysuli(sp?). And Robin Hobb’s ships.

      Yeah, good stuff.

  20. This is one more reason to add to the long list of why you’re one of my favorite authors. I’ve read some of Piers Anthony and Mercedes Lackey, though not all. I’ve read almost all of the Pern books and I actually had a dream recently where I just hung out with Masterharper Robinton. Did not want to wake up from that one, let me tell you. My brother and I often credit David Eddings for having a heavy hand with who we are today. From middle school on, the Belgariad and Malloreon were yearly reads. We tacked on the Elenium, the Tamuli and Redemption of Althalus a few years later.

    I moved on to romance my senior year and read about 98% of Nora Robert’s collection. I became an avid user of her fan message board and through it I discovered m/m.

    1. Ah yes, you and I have much the same taste in fantasy.
      I must be the only person I know who reads romance who hasn’t read Nora Roberts *wince* I really need to rectify that. It’s not because I don’t like her. I honestly just haven’t picked up any of her books.

  21. Johanna Lindsey’s Fires of Winter. The first “adult” romance that I ever read. I always loved history and then to throw really great romance in it with a feisty leading lady….Pow! I was hooked.

  22. Tons and tons yep lol. The first books I remember loving were Dr Seuss. I wore out Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat. I was a library junkie. Then when I was 13 or 14 my mom bought a box of books at a garage sale that was full of old Harlequins and Silhouettes. For me it was romance that got me through the teen years. In high school though we had to read The Pigman, 1984, The Scarlet Letter and Childhood’s End. All of those left me with life lessons and helped me decide who I wanted to be. As an adult, I kept reading romance but wasn’t always thrilled with it. Then I found Angela Knight and Sherrilyn Kenyon and found what I’d been missing. Erotic romance really did it for me, and the paranormal elements really grabbed me. Then I read Lost Star by Morgan Hawke and became hooked on menage romance. That was my first exposure to male/male interaction and the sci fi part just blew me away. Then I found you and the Heaven Sent boys led me to love books that didn’t always have a female love interest. That has really broadened my horizons and led me to being even more open minded. Books are awesome!

    1. Susan: I LOVE Green Eggs and Ham. Best damn book he wrote, imho. I had to laugh when you mentioned a box of books from a garage sale. I had something similar. When I was 15, I got a box for about 5 bucks at a garage sale. It, too, was full of romance books. My first thick bodice rippers. Okay, not all of them were bodice rippers but they were pretty damn close. They taught me about alpha males and how they’re sometimes awesome but they often make my teeth itch lol

      Suzy: haven’t read that one but I get the feeling. It’s great when you read something that really clicks with you. LKH’s Anita Blake was that for me.

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