Long, slow month. Is it only the tenth? All this waiting I'm doing in my day life makes the days feel sluggish. Not that I'm normally at a decent pace . . .
I was surprised by the results of July 1 Battle of the Bands results: Lee Greenwood 26, Beyonce 6. I was sure Beyonce would steal the show. Go figure!
I'm not sure I will be posting anything on the 15th; might be out of town for the week and I don't like using my cell phone for blogging. If I don't go - its been my experience that if you lay out money for a possible job you usually end up just losing your money - I will likely chain my ass to a chair and try to make headway on that new story idea. It may end up being left as unfinished as the rest of the ideas, but at least I will have something written. Regardless, I have an itch to write, or edit.
During this latest sluggish period I read two books, and finished reading one more. I'm hoping to complete James Garcia's DANCE ON FIRE over the weekend.
First completed book is the short story anthology THE DRAGON CHRONICLES, compiled and published by Samuel Peralta. From his author page at Amazon: Samuel Peralta is a physicist and story teller. As well as his own work, he is known as the creator and driving force behind the Chronicles short story anthologies - including the Future Chronicles - whose titles hit as high as #6 on the Amazon Top 10 Bestsellers list. Recognized in Best American Science Fiction, he has ranked as one of Amazon's Top 5 SF Authors, Top 40 Authors in e-books, and Top 100 Authors overall.
If you are a fan of Dragons you'll love this anthology. The stories range from YA to adult in fantasy, sci fi, urban fantasy. The personalities include teaching Dragons, fierce dragons, changelings, young martyr's, to wise old philosophers. Dragons are magical in all their forms with abilities that range from time travel, fire breathing, precognition, and a twisted form of addiction when eaten. This anthology was an adventurous read, reminding me of earlier stories by authors such as Anne McCaffrey, Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman, Robert Jordan. The human heroes were every bit as engaging as the Dragons they fight or partner with.
Some of the submissions appeared to be segments of larger works, and others were companion short stories that explore certain characters. All stories worked well as shorts, however, and I did like reading the author bio's and how the stories came into being. Several of the author's intrigued me enough to want to read more of their writings. Let me repeat: if you love Dragons and adventure, you'll want to add this anthology to your well read list.
ASCENSION (formerly titled Vampire Ascending. From her Amazon author page: Lorelei has always rooted for Dracula/vampires to be the romantic hero in books and movies before it was "cool". Now an Indie, Author of the Sabrina Strong (Urban fantasy) series, Zofia Trickenbod (fantasy) series, and an assortment of short stories available, Lorelei has been writing for over 40 years and is looking forward to her retirement years so that she can devote more time to it. Baby Boomer, avid bird watcher, naturalist, and member of Writers of Mass Distraction, lives on a prairie reserve in the Midwest with husband of 26 years and three feral cats.
Sabrina Strong is a 22 year old touch clairvoyant who answers an ad for an employer looking for a clairvoyant. She can tell over the phone the employer is a vampire, but this does not scare her off. Being essentially jobless and penniless, she is desperate enough to suspend disbelief that her skills could actually earn her a living. She is bitten by a werewolf as she arrives at the interview, and her potential vampire employer arrives at her rescue and sucks out most of the werewolf venom. The experience leaves her fainting into the arms of the most handsome male she could ever dream of meeting, and of course he and his minions are smitten by her sweetly tasty blood and alluring aura. She wakes in her vampire rescuer's bedroom, although he has not acted upon his desires as he needs permission from his vampire master to make her his. As the story progresses, Sabrina is consistently the target of lust from each alpha she meets (vampires, shifters, were's, but not the Fae) and each is more gorgeous and powerful than the last.
This is a simple urban fantasy, populated by all manner of paranormal creatures. Sabrina is a poor, young, innocent girl, thrust into the clutches of the billionaire vampire leader Bjorn Tremayne to solve the mystery of who murdered his life-mate by using her previously untested clairvoyant powers. She is offered a sign on bonus too large to refuse, a yearly salary bigger than she could make working part time for her sister in law's thrift store, and perks such as a car and cell phone of her very own. Plus, every hot guy in the Tremayne Towers lusting after her blood, both for eating and sex.
For me, this story was a combination of Fifty Shades and Charlain Harris' Dead And . . series. Lorelei is skilled at crafting a mystery and leaving subtle clues to point the reader to the obvious conclusion, and the development of the world and its rules was well paced and at times unique. Her characters were engaging with interesting back stories and continuing character plots. The novel stands alone, but leaves a number of unanswered questions for sequels to fill in.
While the story concept itself was interesting, and the writing style easy to read; the story was over written, sometimes repeating information (and mystery clues) as much as four times as the main character Sabrina, frequently forgot details and had to be reminded by other characters; and the step-by-step mannerisms and descriptions used a lot of unnecessary word count. There were also an extreme amount of misspelled and misused words, and prolific and inappropriate use of commas that consistently pulled me out of the story; even during the most action and sexual scenes. The ending rushed through a summation of events after the climax, leaving an unfinished vibe to the characters.
This genre is not my normal reading - I won the book in a giveaway - but I would recommend this book, and the series, to anyone who adores HOT, alpha vampires and shifters, a sexy female protagonist, and billionaire play boys.
Finally, I finished reading George RR Martin's GAME OF THRONES, A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE book 1. It has taken me about two months to read the entire book of 807 pages, but not because the story was uninteresting or too long. My son gave me the complete set of five books for Mother's Day after I watched a marathon of the HBO seasons 1-4, and the HBO episodes follow the book quite closely, so when I put down the book to do other things it did not feel as if I was missing out on reading the next event. But of course, the book is much much better than the TV!
Most of the male actors tend to look alike in the show (beards, armor, and lots of attitude) and it was hard for me to keep track of which house the fighters belonged to in the first few episodes. Reading the book, with its maps and appendix (which I studied before reading the first pages) allowed me to fully immerse in the world. Mr. Martin does not need my review, so all I'll say is FABULOUS.
The story itself is inventive, unique, well told; the characters well developed and engaging. The thing I like most about Martin's writing though is his excellent use of voice. The voice of each perspective character is so unique that even without the heading, I know who's perspective I'm in as the story progresses. This is a valuable writing lesson for me, as I struggle with creating a unique voice for my characters in my own writing. Probably why I use only a single perspective, but I do need to stretch my writing ability and learn to successfully write multiples.
It may take me most of this year, but I am looking forward to reading the other four novels. Does anyone else speculate that Jon Snow is not Eddard Stark's bastard; but is actually Lyanna's son, the product of being raped by Rhaegar Targaryen?
Well, I'm off to start reading Dance On Fire; my Kindle will appreciate me actually reading on it instead of just charging and letting the battery slowly die with disuse. I hope ya'll have a great weekend. And if I don't see ya for a week or so, wish me luck in getting some writing done.