Saturday, September 18, 2010

Win a Signed Copy of Opur's Blade

Opur’s Blade is about a child prodigy, Owen Purler, Jr., who is raised under modest means. The preteen struggles with self-esteem and confidence due in part to a domineering protective mother and absent father that travels over the road. His mother Rayelene takes him to the Prairie Winds Golf Course to take advantage of free summer lessons. After only a few minutes of hitting balls with old clubs found in storage, club pro J Dub Schroeder realizes that Owen, whose names are combined by the regulars in the clubhouse to form the nickname Opur, has an amazing talent for the game. The head pro serves as a mentor and the regulars invite him into their close circle of friendship. Ultimately Opur’s talent takes him all the way to the biggest stage in golf--The Classic. Will this underdog shock the sports world? How do the relationships shaped in his early years mold his character? What role does his family play in his journey?

The reception received for Opur's Blade since its release two months ago has been wonderful. Here is what some reviewers have been writing:

"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 am a fan of James Ross. I have read and enjoyed all four of his books and look forward to more! These books revolve around Prairie Winds Golf Course with a cast of characters that are truly real. I feel like I know the men and women of this club intimately. The compassion and love these people have for each other is wonderful."

"His choice of characters is fascinating and you can be assured that after reading Mr. Ross' story, the game will never seem the same again."

Do you want a chance to discover what everyone is talking about? I am giving away a signed copy of Opur's Blade.

How do you win? Leave a comment on this blog post or e-mail me ( Make sure you provide your e-mail address and please let me know how you discovered this blog or my books. A winner will be selected randomly and notified on October 11!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Review for My New Release, Opur's Blade

A review of my new release, Opur's Blade, was featured today on the writing and publishing blog connected with Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services.

Here's an excerpt:

I believe that this may be Ross’ most compelling and focused work yet in terms of its character development and richness in exploring human relationships. As I progressed through Opur’s Blade, I found myself rooting for Opur as he struggled to overcome a troubled and lonely childhood and eventually find his way onto the biggest stage in golf. James Ross offers the relationship I formed with Opur to all of his readers by creating a young man who is determined, optimistic, but also, like the rest of us, flawed in character. We all have been the underdog at some point in our lives, and it is wonderful to read such a touching story about someone who succeeds in spite of having the odds stacked against him.

The entire review can be read here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Are There Benefits to Being the Underdog?

For decades, the New Orleans Saints were a perennial underdog in the National Football League. Opposing teams would automatically count the "W" when the Saints appeared on their schedule. Loyal fans continued to attend the games at the Louisiana Superdome, but would wear bags over their heads as an outward sign of their embarrassment over the poor performance of their team.

Things started to change for the Saints several years ago when Coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees took over at the helm of the organization. And now, the team that was once a laughing stock holds claim to the title of current World Champions.

When the Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl at the end of the 2009 season, they earned millions of new fans across the country who were thrilled to see some opportunity for celebration and happiness to a city that had known so much recent pain. But, the Saints also changed their definition as a team. If you want to cheer for the underdog, you now need to look somewhere other than the New Orleans Saints.

In my new release, Opur's Blade, Opur is a young man with many reasons to be the underdog in his life. Raised by a single mom who struggled financially and who shied away from others due to a speech impediment, Opur had the odds stacked against him. But, it just took one person to believe in him and take an interest and Opur's fate suddenly shifted. Like the Saints, Opur may discover that his underdog days are over.

What happens to individuals or members of a team when they go from being the underdogs to being the champions? How does this affect their attitudes? Their relationships with others? Is there something to be said for maintaining that underdog status?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Natural Disasters Can Change Lives in an Instant

While the 2010 hurricane season has been relatively quiet so far, there is now a fierce storm that is threatening to hit the East Coast tonight around North Carolina's Outer Banks and then move its destruction up towards New England. Earl is a Category 3 storm that is larger than the state of California! Many residents along North Carolina's beaches, even those who are experienced with the severe weather that can affect these coastal regions, are packing up and heading away from the water.

Hurricane Earl is coming to the shores of the United States just after we finished our national remembrance of Hurricane Katrina, a storm that devastated the Gulf region five years ago and claimed 1800 lives. New Orleans in particular continues to receive attention for the rebuilding efforts that are still underway in that city. Scars from Katrina are still apparent in many parts of New Orleans and some of its residents left five years ago and never returned.

In my second novel, Finish Line, readers are introduced to a character who fled New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Once a famous blues musician whose records were adored by many, the disaster victim now earns a living shining shoes at the Prairie Winds Golf Course. He continues to play sporadic gigs on the nightclub circuit and fulfills his passion for music as a featured performer on one of the many showboats that are docked on the Mississippi River. While his life is fictional, he represents the thousands of lives that were turned upside down by a natural disaster.

While no one anticipates that Hurricane Earl will cause the same level of destruction that we saw from Katrina in 2005, the residents of the coastal areas in Earl's path certainly will be in our thoughts as the storm charges forward.