An Overview of Candace Sams’ Novels: The Tales of the Order
By Candace Sams
After she left her career as a police officer with the San Diego County Sherriff’s Department Child Safety program, Candace Sams embarked on a writing career that would bring her national acclaim and success. Candace Sams has written more than 40 novels, some under her pen name C.S. Chatterly, and I will discuss some of those stories in this article.
1. Gryphon’s Quest. The first novel in Candace Sams’ Tale of the Order series, this book chronicles a Druid warrior’s journey to recover three rune stones that were stolen from a burial site. This book won the Road to Romance Readers’ Choice Award for Best Paranormal Book.
2. The Gazing Globe. Released in 2007, The Gazing Globe follows the life of a farmer from Maine who realizes he is actually half Fairy and half Druid. In this Tale of the Order novel, the ruling Sorceress sends an apprentice to help keep the farmer alive in the face of mortal danger.
3. Stone Heart. The third part of this series, Stone Heart records the activities that happen after an evil Druid warrior is set free after spending three centuries as a cemetery statue because of a curse put into play by the Sorceress.
4. Goblin Moon. Available in ebook and print formats, this book tells the tale of Goblin Tearach Bruce. This goblin must follow orders to kidnap Kathy Parker, a human, and mate with her to reproduce, which is unimaginable for Tearach, who remembers the shocking acts humankind imposed on the goblin race.
5. The Craftsman. In The Craftsman, an artist named Gawain O’Malley lives with his guilt after an accidental fire costs him the lives of many of his friends as well as his right hand.
6. Satyr. While this book is sixth in the Tale of the Order series, it can also be read as a stand-alone novel. The plot follows Soland Leigh, the leader of the Satyrs, and Kyndall Taylor, who is charged with taking care of Mr. Leigh’s daughter as he works, and they discover a mutual attraction.
7. Keeper of the Loch. The most recent Tale of the Order release, this book chronicles the mission of Rogan MacClean, a marine biologist who travels to the Loch to retrieve the belongings of his parents, who died studying the myths about the area. Rogan finds much more than he bargained for once he reaches the Loch.
self-determination and craft vs. art
In his/her economist piece, A.C.S.’ argument involves a contradiction that speaks to an interesting point that Richard Sennett makes in his “The Craftsman.” The contradiction speaks to the intricacies of the distinction between craftsmen and artists and this distinction’s relationship to Self-Determination Theory. Ultimately, I agree that the emergence of a post/con-corporate middle-class of craftsmen is plausible, especially in locales that are hyper-connected through online communities. That said, bearing Sennett’s historically-driven arguments in mind, I think that the individuals in this class must ascribe to a value system that motivates the craftsman, a value system that involves conformity and rigid structure, a value system that is toxic to self-anointed artists. A.C.S. cannot expect artists driven by a need to create original work to take pride in and derive identity from the utilitarian creations of craftsmen. A.C.S. could, however, note that some of his 20somethings in question may themselves be confusing their desire for autonomy, competence and relatedness (the fundamental motivators of a healthy identity for Self-Determination Theory) with a calling to create art. Does art deserve to be exalted over work if work, craftwork in particular, better fulfills basic human desire? Is our generation so wrapped up in how special and talented we are that we’ve lost touch with the work we actually need to satisfy our talents?
A.C.S.’ article suggests that a new a shift in the labor market is occurring, a shift from firm-specific capital to individual capital. This basically means that middle-class individuals will ultimately profit more from honing particular, “artisinal” skills that they can apply to freelance labor that people need than they will from ingraining themselves in specific firms’ cultures in hopes of staying with those firms (and their benefits) forever. A.C.S.’ contradiction lies in his/her explanation of how the egoism of modern day 20somethings will help or hurt them. Towards the beginning of the article, A.C.S. writes “…in order to build your human capital and be that modern, competitive worker it seems you must believe you’re a little special. The company man was content to be a cog in the machine, the modern worker must take pride in his talents,” arguing that “milennials” should not get grief for being self-involved because it is this entitlement that will drive them to build human, individual capital. A.C.S. later concludes: “In response to the tough labour market, according to Miss Malone [the author of a New York Magazine piece about lazy but smart 20somethings,] her friends figure they will not derive their personal identity or satisfaction from their work. That’s too bad because that is the opposite of how the modern worker needs to feel about his work.” A.C.S. makes his/her point clear—that the new middle-class should take pride in the work it does like artisans (a term whose intricacies as laid forth by Sennett he/she does not seem to observe) did in the past (what past?) because people who are good at stuff get work, simply. I don’t think A.C.S. understands the profile of his modern day 20something or what motivates him, as these contradictory quotations suggest that this representative 20something thinks he is special and good at stuff (which is good) but doesn’t actually apply that egoism to doing stuff (which is bad.) What is holding him (our generation) back from deriving healthy identity from applying his special skills to relevant work?
The distinction that A.C.S. does not make, and which ultimately renders his assessment of apathetic youth simplistic, is between art and craft and what motivates us to create either. Sennett draws really interesting observations from analyzing this distinction, observations that ultimately sound a lot like Self Determination Theory (SDT.)
I first learned about SDT when I read Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus. One point Shirky argues is that we tend to overestimate and historicize differences between generations. In reality, human nature is fairly unchanging, but it is given different opportunities and technologies to fulfill and express its desires over time, thus making it look in retrospect like its desires themselves changed. Shirky suggests and supports by analyzing common voluntary behavior of online communities that our main desires are for autonomy, competence and purpose/social engagement (relatedness,) as is argued by SDT. Shirky discusses how the theory of SDT emerged through behavioral experiments in the 1970s, and he ultimately agrees with this theory and suggests that certain online community outlets give these fundamental desires greater fulfillment than ever.
Sennett’s ideas invoke SDT because of how he ultimately defines his craftsman as distinct from an artist. In the first chapter of Craftsman, Sennett defines the craftsman as “dedicated to good work for its own sake,” representative of “the special human condition of being engaged,” and he suggests that “craft and community [are] indissociable” (20-22). Sennett later notes that the artist seems to share similar qualities, but he argues that when we ask “what is art?” we are really trying to figure out what autonomy means, how we can satisfy our drive to work by and for ourselves. Sennett suggests that the ultimate distinction between art and craft is that art is “original,” “whereas craft names a more anonymous, collective and continued practice” (66). Ultimately, because originality leads to dependence on patrons (no one needs your original work, they must want it) autonomy for the artist is a nearly impossible goal. Thus, craftsman and aritsts are “distinguished by autonomy, but surprisingly so: the long, original artist may have had less autonomy, be more dependent on un-comprehending or willful power, and so be more vulnerable, than [are] the body of craftsmen” (73). The idea that artists are ultimately less autonomous and socially-networked than craftspeople is compelling, and it could help A.C.S. make sense of the particularly gifted 20something’s inability to associate identity with work—artists would sooner sacrifice autonomy than be unoriginal. To me, the idea that art is somehow elevated above work is dangerous to the morale and sustainability of our and future generations—identity derived from a job well done is probably a healthy identity since it satisfies a basic need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
I understand and empathize with a particularly relevant and overwhelming desire for autonomy, competence and relatedness in a moment of extreme practical and intellectual retaliation against the subordinating, patronizing, isolating menace of corporate culture. Still, I am struck by Sennett’s understanding of the artist as subordinated and isolated in a different way, and his argument gives historically-supported credence to my feeling that “artist” has become a dangerously accessible and desired label. As Shirky argues, new tools allow us to engage in arts and activities and communities that we did not have time or access to before the community-based internet’s democratization of culture. A.C.S.’ 20somethings should use their liberal arts educations and senses of entitlement to forge careers that allow them to take advantage of this access and take pride in what they do—the artisan class wont emerge if they do not choose and work to. They just need to figure out who they are, and who among them actually wants/needs to sacrifice self-determination and suffer for originality.
“Motivation matters more than talent, and for a particular reason. The craftsman's desire for quality poses a motivational danger: the obsession with getting things perfectly right may deform the work itself. We are more likely to fail as craftsmen, I argue, due to our inability to organize obsession than because of our lack of ability. ”—The Craftsman by Richard Sennett
I might have lied when I said I didn’t have any insider information. The last book that Sennett wrote was called “The Craftsman,” and he started to use the language of craft and craftspeople at the end of this chapter. I think it’s going somewhere. First, he talks about the workshop very reverentially—it provides for “continuity across generations,” it “spawned an idea of justice,” and so on. And in a few pages he lists not only its virtues but also that those virtues persisted across multiple continents and time periods, from Plato’s time to today. So I’m assuming that because of this, he’s going to hold out workshopping (?) and workshops as a model for working together that everyone should embrace.
Date Night: The Craftsman
Encinitas, San Diego, CA
Classifying this place: A “New American [Carnivore] Tavern” & a good one.
- Duck Fat Fries w/ black garlic aioli, ketchup
- Chicken-Fried Sweetbreads w/ white cheddar grits, okra vinaigrette, green tomato chutney
- Roasted Bone Marrow w/ caper-currant agrodolce, lemon vinaigrette
- Crispy Duck Confit w/ butternut squash risotto, winter kale, pomegranate jus
- Wash it all down w/ a couple of the many, fine craft brews they got on tap
“There were many a raised eyebrow when former Blanca chef Wade Hageman ditched the glitz of fine dining — a nether-region in which he excelled — to open a mild-mannered pizza joint. Few could foresee then what an immensely successful operation his Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria would become. Aptly named, it’s won the hearts of North County coastalites. Enough so that, just two years since its debut, Hageman’s on to chapter two: applying top-level technique to everyman fare presented simply yet flavorfully via the gastropub model…”
- via Ranch & Coast
“Legendary chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Thomas Keller is a culinary idol of Chef Hageman, and the man himself stopped into Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria for a meal while here on a vacation and declared that if he lived in San Diego, he’d eat there once a week.”
- via San Diego Magazine
[Just wanted to share these b/c Thomas Keller is a hero of mine & that I have mad respect for what Chef Wade Hageman is doing.]
Another cold & rainy night in SD, blasting M83 on the drive up the I-5, a wood & brick eatery w/ a sweet pork-cut-chart piece of wall art, surrounded by young couples w/ & without tats, business dudes, surfers, smiles, the loudness of laughter & music. My significant better & I might have just found our new fave north county San Diego eatery…sorry Solace & the Moonlight Lounge, this food was ridiculous. Flavor #BOOM! Topics of Convo: Encinitas is the clean Ocean Beach, rainy winters, the relief that we no longer have to “date” like single people [what a hassle], autism, skateboarding, radness of 80’s music, my need to start painting again, wife can’t stand the Lord of the Rings trilogy more than I do, mental illness needs to be addressed more heavily & guns are bad. Feel for those parents of the kids from the Newtown tragedy.
When you’re as lucky as we are to spend plenty of time w/ each other [like our Friday night date nights or Sunday night dinners w/ my In-Laws] cherish it, because evil can take it away just like that without hesitation. This world needs the Batman.
12.14.12 #DateNight soundtrack: “Reunion” - M83