9/13/10

"Opur's Blade" By James Ross - Book review and giveaway!


About the Book - 
A night of teenage passion leads to an unplanned pregnancy followed by a lower-middle-class struggle to make ends meet. Like most mothers, Rayelene Purler envisions great things for her child. In an attempt to introduce her son to a slice of life the family can ill afford, she arranges for the stuttering Owen, Jr. to get free instructional lessons at Prairie Winds Golf Course on the east side of St. Louis.
After the first ball is struck on the driving range, head pro J Dub Schroeder senses a child prodigy in his midst. The lad becomes known as Opur for his propensity to sink putts with an old, worn-out putter that was gathering dust in the lost-and-found barrel.
Tragedy at home, a future without aim, and a sudden love interest color Opur’s journey. J Dub mentors the young man and shows him how the principles of golf can be applied to everyday life.


 About the Author -
Known best for living life to the fullest James Ross decided early on that he was going to work to live, rather than live to work. 

 He took up the game of golf at the age of twelve when the family moved to a golf course development in the western suburbs of St. Louis. Ross was a three-sport athlete in high school and accepted an athletic scholarship to go to college.  After one year of that he transferred to the University of Missouri in Columbia.  There he was a member and social chairman of Beta Theta Pi fraternity until he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with emphasis on real estate and finance in 1974.
After turning fifty he decided to get in touch with the creative side of his mind and sat down to write.  Three years later his first novel, "Lifetime Loser", was published.
Upon completion the writing bug had consumed him.  Before his first novel was finished he had begun the second book.  "Finish Line" is a continuation of the happenings in and around the fictitious setting of Prairie Winds Golf Course on the East Side of St. Louis.  Drawing inspiration from his characters, the third book, "Tuey’s Course", was released in January of 2009.  "Opur’s Blade", his forth novel was released in the fourth quarter of 2009.

My review -
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I am not a big fan of golf (except for the movie - Tin Cup) but this book is about more than just golf. It is about relationships, coming of age, and never giving up.

We all have dreams and the main character in this story knew what he wanted and went after it. Opur's Blade was full of surprises, highs and lows, funny parts and at times was very sad.

I thought the character development was very good. I absolutely despised Opur's father, Owen. What a jerk, but at the same he was hilarious! I found myself laughing out loud at his antics. Although I couldn't help but scream at Rayelene (his wife) to just dump the loser. She was no great catch herself though. You find your self falling for Opur right away.  He is an incredible young man. 

The last half of the book is about one of America's greatest golfing events - "The Classic" which you would think would be boring, but it is so not! Ross includes the drama of the spectators, the golfers, as well as the commentators. I was very interested in the play-by-play action and was rooting for Opur all the way.

Without revealing more of the plot I'll simply say that Opur's Blade was an absolutely delightful book! This was my first exposure to this relatively new author and I think I will be reading more from James Ross.


I was lucky enough to meet James through "Shelfari" and talked to him through emails. He is a very nice guy, very friendly and excited about his writing. He has definitely created characters that all readers, male and female should enjoy.Visit James at his website- www.authorjamesross.com
We agreed that he would provide a signed book for me to read and give away.
 

James also agreed to do an interview with me which I hope you enjoy-

How did you come to writing books?
It took me many years of living to have a story. The characters, twist and turns, setting and message always seemed to swirl in my head. Then one day I told a good friend that today was the day. I went to the blank piece of paper and put the first sentence on it. That became a part of the first paragraph which then became the first page and ultimately the first chapter. Eight months later the first manuscript was finished.

Is this something you have always wanted to do?
I think that everyone at some time wants to write a book. From there a person has to find the time and discipline to pull it off. It also helps to have a fairly good understanding of the English language. That part comes naturally to me.

How hard was it getting your first book published?
In reality the only avenues that are available to authors right now are the self-publishing houses unless all the stars are aligned properly for a dose of good luck. Agents and large publishing houses want to know who will read the material and how an author expects to sell it. Since that carries a lot of uncertainty few are willing to gamble on new authors.

What did you do to celebrate?
More than anything else the feeling that you get is one of private satisfaction. Most would say that writing a book is a labor of love. Don't expect a mass readership at first or any book to be a commercial success. Just be proud of the achievement.

Who has inspired you, other golfers, writers?
People in general have inspired me. The characters and stories are around us if we choose to pay attention. I think that I wanted to deliver social commentary about life in America. My characters discuss the same problems and concerns that our population faces. The difference is that I decided that they would bring the story lines to the readers from a golf setting so that it would be easier to develop a readership following.

You have some very interesting characters in your book,
Are they  based on people you knew or totally out of you head?
As an observer of life the fictitious characters are probably a concoction of everyone in society mixed with my mind.

Do you plan on venturing out of the golf course in future books?
That is my comfort zone. When writer's block sets in I can always come back to something that is familiar to me. The first four books are all totally different. Those that have read them soon realize that golf plays a minor role in the stories. However I try to take the qualities of the game such as integrity, honesty, respect and perseverance and apply them to the message that I want to deliver.

Do you have any quirky habits that help you write?
I've learned to immediately jot something down or else it is gone. When the mood hits a writer puts it on paper and that can come in the middle of the night or driving down the highway or working out.

What are your 3 favorite books?
I won't mention any specific ones. The books that have memorable characters remain with me for a long time.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.
I'm a sports fan and tend to migrate to the golf course to enjoy life with my golfing buddies. I believe that all of us should live life along the way and never turn down opportunities for different experiences. I like variety and try to work out regularly. A healthy body is the temple for a healthy mind. Try to smile and keep laughter in your daily life.


What good things can we see in the future for you?

We're going to try a marketing tool very soon. We've designated 10/10/10 as the day for fans to purchase Opur's Blade on Amazon. If we can get organized participation maybe we can get on some best seller lists. Please tell readers to mark October 10, 2010 on the calendar. That's the day we'd like everyone to get a copy of Opur's Blade from Amazon.

Currently I'm working on Pabby's Score for a 2011 release. That should be a mixture of civil justice, Internet dating, autism and dementia. Of course, my reoccurring characters along with a few new friends will be delivering the story from Prairie Winds Golf Course high atop the Mississippi river bluffs just east of St. Louis.


Giveaway -
I have one signed copy of James book to giveaway!
To enter to win - 
  • Please comment to this post or email me  (forevereading at gmail dot com)
  • Please Canada and US residents only
  • Please include your email add. so I can contact you.
  • If you are new to my blog, please tell me where you found out about this giveaway and I invite you to become a follower. 
  • A winner will be announced on Sept. 23rd.

9 comments:

  1. ooh ooh.. please sign me up..

    superfriek2002 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome post and review!
    I love being surprised by books.
    (not an entry)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just read about your giveaway via Goodreads. Will I relate to this book? I grew up in the Midwest (an hour from St. Louis). My dad was an avid golfer and I'm a speech language pathologist (SLP) . . . Opus stutters. I'm hooked. Sign me up for your great giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great review.
    Please sign me up.
    RJB
    loki304[at]tds[dot]net

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the giveaway!
    iii.141592653589793238462643383[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sounds interesting,thanks for the chance to win!

    readingatthebeach(@)gmail(.)com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'd love to enter!

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'd love to be entered in your draw. Thanks. I can't honestly remember how I first found out about your blog but I've had it bookmarked for a long time.
    wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  9. i'm interested in reading this book...thanks for the chance :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete