Saturday, December 27, 2014
In the height of the plague, religious fervor, and feudal lords, two men born of one womb make their ways separately through life, only to meet on the verge of one's death. One twin left on the steps of a church, one a desperate mother tried to hold on to - the two brothers both end up as orphans and walk very different paths. When they do meet, they have the span of one night to know the joys and sorrows each has borne.
The Execution is a full of sensory descriptions that bring the story to life and it was the sensation that I was hearing the thoughts of D'ata the priest, that I was a fly sitting on his shoulder as he whispered into the night, that really drew me in. The story is written in more of a literary style and I appreciated the depth that this allowed us to get into each character.
One thing I didn't especially care for was the shifting to other characters outside of D'ata and Ravan. It was mildly interesting, but a bit disrupting for my tastes. Ravan's character was my favorite. I would have liked to see more of the ending of his story than we did. D'ata's story ended the way you felt it was destined to.
Overall, a very satisfying read. if you like your stories well told and your characters deep, this is your book.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
It's been fifteen years since he changed his name and left Salem. Cooper had never intended to return, but the editor of the travel magazine he writes for had other ideas. It seems the last witch of Salem, Crazy Maggie Shaw, has died and Bill wants his best writer on the story.
Cooper objects, loses, and finds himself once again in the town he grew up in, his personal past more confusing now as an adult than it had been as a child. How does one write an objective story about their own mother, the last person Cooper wanted to spend a month thinking about?
And more importantly, can he get in and out of Salem without being recognized?
There are several things I liked about this story. It's a story about magic that is low key, similar to Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic. It's from a male perspective, a person who had become about as much of a non-believer as you can get as Cooper distances himself from a childhood he's forgotten more of than he comes to realize.
It's a tale of truths and perspectives, of mistakes and bad choices, and ultimately love.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Thanksgiving was wonderful. I'm back home after a week of no writing, no internet, no marketing, plotting, editing, and definitely no blogging. For a little while I wasn't sure I was going to make it. Not just the no writing part, but in general. My life flashed before my eyes, probably because I couldn't see anything else.
I was hauling down I-5 in the early pre-dawn hours thinking to get out of the densely populated part of the state before traffic got absolutely nuts after the holiday. It was raining. I mean pouring sheets of water. My windshield wipers were working as fast as the little flippers would go - and then they quit flipping.
That fast I couldn't see a damn thing.
This was a far more literal flying blind than I was okay with. I wiggled the controls. Nothing. I panicked and as if by magic the wiper blades moved again. I had enough to time to catch my breath before they froze again, straight across my line of vision. They were the only thing I could see. I threw my hazard lights on to a chorus of blaring horns and pulled off to the side of the freeway.
I sat there for a little while watching the wipers work as they should, speed up, and stop, only to start the process all over again. I'm not overly familiar with this side of the state. Do I call AAA? Do I limp up to the next town or is waiting out the rain an option? I sat until I couldn't take it anymore and backtracked to option two. I limped into the next town, stopped at a gas station, and asked for the name of a good garage. It wasn't open until eight. At least they were opening.
Unfortunately, they weren't sure what the problem was, but, "There's a Nissan dealership twenty miles on up the interstate." They coated my windshield with Rainex and wished me luck. It wasn't pouring rain anymore, which made the twenty to thirty second intervals of non-functioning windshield wipers do-able as long as I hung my head out the window.
I looked like a freaking Witch Hazel cartoon pulling up into the Nissan dealership one town over, which I suppose is preferable to what I'd look like if I'd been hit by a passing semi. It was only ten thirty in the morning and I was sure the potential for chaos in my day had already peaked. I was hoping it had.
That's when the guy behind the counter told me their maintenance schedules were booked for the day. Would I like to schedule an appointment for tomorrow, he asked with one of those customer service smiles.
"No, I want to hang my head out the truck window for another two hundred miles while traversing a mountain pass."
I didn't actually say that, but the words came so close to leaving my lips that I realized I needed to get the hell out of there before I said something that would get me thrown out. I was dangerously low on polite, headed directly for snarky bitch in about two shakes and I still needed a garage, one that understood Nissan wiring and had parts.
I set up at the Holiday Inn to wait the day out. Driving was off my list of things to do, so I walked a couple blocks, bought a notebook and a set of pens, because nothing says reward like a new set of pens, and returned to the hotel room to write. I wasn't supposed to write this week, but the situation had already devolved from the original plan and my other option was the hotel bar. No good would come from that.
Within an hour the morning was forgotten. Writing takes me to my happy place faster than anything. I lost myself in that problem middle section of Deciding Lies until I fell asleep, amazed that the muscles of my hand didn't cramp after eight hours of uncustomary activity. I type. I don't typically write with a pen and paper. I watched the Lego movie. I can't believe I watched the Lego movie.
The next morning I got out of bed full of confidence. I got dressed, went for breakfast, and made my way back to the dealership knowing that life was returning to normal. I opened the notebook and mapped out the beginning of an outline for the sequel to Girl Found. Four and a half hours later my truck was ready.
"We figured out what the problem was. We can have the part in by Tuesday if you want to come back."
What! A instant wave of panic swept through me. Was this for real? Switches aren't even half the size of a credit card. How is there not a drawer of the things somewhere in the building? It's not like wipers are optional equipment. "I don't live anywhere near here," I told the man. "Is there another garage that has one?"
"No, this isn't a part we stock. It's rare they go out. At least the wipers work most of the time," he said encouragingly, like that mattered. "I'll give you the part number and you can get a local garage to order it for you."
How are partially functional wipers viewed as nothing more than an inconvenience, like the seat warmer going out? There was just going to be a little extra water to look through, what was my problem? Not for the first time I wondered if I shouldn't rent a car and come back for the truck Tuesday. I was still in the same position I'd been in yesterday, except now it was a day later. I'd watched the weather. All I had to do was get east of the interstate and I'd be out of the rain pattern. I crossed my fingers and left the garage.
It sprinkled on me intermittently before I drove out of the rain system, but sprinkles were manageable. Those sprinkles turned to spitting snow when I hit the pass, but that was okay too, and there wasn't as much snow as there obviously had been the day before, which made me wonder. As crazy as the previous day had been, would it have been worse if I'd taken the pass yesterday? I'll never know, and I think I'm okay with that.
Tomorrow I will contact the garage in the next town over to have the part ordered. I'm crossing my fingers it doesn't rain the day it comes in.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Title: City of Secrets (Saskia Trilogy, #2)
Author: Aoife Marie Sheridan
Publisher: Synerg e-books
SaraJane finds herself in the middle of a war...a war over her. While in the City of Secrets, she must learn to use her powers that God gave her to defeat a fallen angel, who wants nothing more than to walk on earth. But will she stop Lucian, the fallen angel in time...even with Tristan and Carew at her side?
A war awaits her arrival,
A warrant for her arrest.
She must rise as a princess,
And Darkness shall fall.
But will their love survive this battle?
For Tristan and Sarajane.
Step back into Saskia.
About the Author
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I thought I knew who the villain of this story was. Halfway through this draft I shifted a plot element and being an element, the shift rippled through the story. It didn't create an overwhelming wave, but it did force me to make a decision about the MC's mother. Upon reflection I made the wrong one.
I stretched the believability of the Mother's actions and roles too far.
What if she's the true villain?
Developing that story angle will take some pretty fancy dance steps. It requires the MC to be a bit obtuse and wrapped up in herself. I'm not sure that's going to work any more successfully than killing Mom off because the whole plot revolves around the MC being older than her years. A little bit of an old soul, if you will. Maybe Mom should be the one out to lunch.
I've heard about writers who develop an outline and follow it. No matter what, the story follows that outline. I have no clue how they manage that. Any outline I may develop is more of an operational suggestion with plenty of room for possibilities. At some point most of it will be thrown out the window.
It's not until I'm in the final editing stage, after I've got the story nailed down, that any structured plan is followed. That often takes at least four drafts. Before that anything goes. Well, almost anything. It looks like Mom is going to have to come back from the dead. She's just got a new lease on life. Wonder what she's going to do with it?
I'll have to get back to you on that.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Within days the huntsmen are out of jail and catch up. Senna is untrained in defense, but learns quickly, gets lucky, and has the help of a network that supported the light witches.
I liked the story. It’s YA, and don’t ask me how I keep ending up with young adult books - I’m not crazy about them. This book reminds me of a story, or perhaps several and I found that distracting in the beginning, as I kept trying to place the déjà vu and couldn’t. Pogg reminds me of Gollom from the Hobbit - not sure why. He’s a fish-person who helps Senna and introduces her to the creatures of the sea.
The story was well done and flowed nicely. The sea creatures are a nice touch you don’t see (at least I haven’t) in fantasy stories often. For my tastes this story didn’t delve deeply into the character. It does read like young adult, and is appropriate for that category. I was in the mood for a gritty story I could sink my teeth into and this wasn’t that. It is a good read.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
It all started when I got part way through the first edit phase of Crane's War, a space opera I'm working on. I hate the first edit phase. It's my least favorite part of writing. If I didn't absolutely love the other parts, I know I'd never finish a manuscript. First edit phase is when the story comes back from the editor and all the observations are collected and organized and the story is reworked taking all those comments into mind. It's torture.
In true procrastinator fashion, I switched WIPs. I went as far from space opera as I could get and began the second draft work on a contemporary drama, Deciding Lies. It might turn out to be Romantic Suspense by the time I'm done, you never know. It has completely absorbed me this week. I'm at fifty eight thousand words. I have an ending in mind and I'm excited to get there. Kate and Brian are behaving badly and I'm totally loving it. They are imperfect, throwing caution and common sense to the wind as they let their passions take control. The theme, the destructive nature of lies, is coming together without a hitch. I have a cover in mind that doesn't feature a half naked man. I almost have a blurb. It's a little frightening how this project is coming together.
So I haven't finished reading a single thing but my own project. Thanks to the end of the year coming just around the corner and a Goodreads reading goal that I'm behind on, there will be a week that has three or four reviews in it. I'll be reading a book extolling the dangers of caffeine as I mainline coffee to stay awake into the wee hours, as if I were cramming for a college exam. I didn't even drink coffee back then. I had a well of natural energy that I've apparently used up.
I'm going to be looking for beta readers soon. If you read my previous post, you'll know what I look for in a beta reader, should that appeal to you. If not, that's fine. Hang around, I'll get a project finished that you can sink your teeth into, whether it be the space opera or the drama. I'm impressed that I came up with a story that lacked paranormal abilities and aliens. There isn't a single witch in sight in Deciding Lies, and part of it is set in Ireland.
And that's no tall tale.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Welcome to the Author's Cave
Halloween Blog Train
1. Include a picture or video of yourself in a Halloween costume.
I do not have a picture of myself in a costume. If I were going to come up with a costume, it would look something like this.
2. What's your favorite scary movie?
Ringu. It's scary and it has a plot with a bit of mystery that goes beyond 'people died'.
3. What scene from a book or movie scared you more than any other?
I don’t actually have any specific scenes that stick with me that way. The most scared I’ve been because of a movie was after the very first slasher film I saw. I grew up fifty miles from the town where the murders that inspired Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” happened. I can’t remember the name of the movie, but when I got home from my date, the house was dead quiet. My parents never go anywhere, especially when I’m out with a guy and there’s a curfew to be observed. Freaked me out. I made it as far as the dining room with a butcher knife before I bolted and drove myself into town.
4. If all of Stephen King's bad guys were after other, who would win and why?
I'm not a huge Stephen King fan. I would have to go with Christine because it's one of the few I've read, it features a cool car that regenerates, and since it is metal, it feels no pain. She's just going to run you over to a worthy ballad like a bad girl should.
5. Give a Treat!
p.s. If you enjoyed this post, please click the g+1 button below here or reshare so that others may enjoy it too. Authors' Cave celebrates Halloween for the commercial spirit and there is no relation with beliefs or non-beliefs about any pagan or other traditions.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Jack Schmidt, blogger and self-professed atheist drops a twenty onto a random bum, and gets a note in return. A note addressed specifically to him. A note that invites him to mass on Saturday.
Sonea is stunned. She doesn't understand what happened, why her rock got through the barrier. She's not a magician. There are no magicians that come from the lower classes. The magicians are stunned too and she's been noticed. As one of the magicians points at her, several magicians incinerate a boy standing next to her. Sonea runs, returning to the streets below the slums, and her old friends, for safety as the Magicians Guild searches for her.
Sonea hides from the guild with the thieves, the same thieves who are hiding a rogue magician. Do they take her to him immediately for help to train her to control her growing power? No. And by the time they do take her, she’s becomes dangerous, too dangerous for him to be of any help. He doesn’t explain anything to her. I don’t know why he was even mentioned.