Sunday, December 30, 2012
Well, the Mayan Apocalypse was a bust, but 2013 is shaping up to be a great year! I have a number of fantastic projects in the works. Let me provide you with a few teasers, shall I?
The Harvesting Series
The Shadow Aspect, Volume II of The Harvesting Series, is still slated for Spring 2013 publication. I have spent the last week talking to the cover artist and looking at mock-ups. The cover for The Shadow Aspect is beautiful, and I can't wait for you to see it.
The Harvesting Series Volume III is slated for late summer publication, and I am still on target to make that date. The working title for that book is The Meek, but I am not sure if that is going to stick or not. We'll see if I get a last minute inspiration for the title of that work.
I have two new projects in the works. One is a novel I have been hammering away at for the last couple of years. It is a beautiful work of fiction about ancient Slavic magic. That work will actually introduce you to Layla's ancestors and has some tie-in, while loose, to The Harvesting Series works.
Steampunk, baby. I hope to traditionally publish an amazing steampunk work this year. It is my best and most creative piece of writing yet. I am super excited for you to meet my protagonist in that piece. We'll celebrate the move from zombies to Steampunk in a big way. Stay tuned!
Check back in for more updates about upcoming works! Now if I can just make it to summer break . . .
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Well friends, I am taking a little detour this week from my usual gooey delights to review the work of a very amazing writer named Jana Richman. Jana, whose blog can be found here, writes modern westerns. This work is a raw and emotional tale about one family. If you're looking for a break from the undead, clockwork, or other things that go bump in the night, check out her work. Here is my review:
Jana Richman’s “The Ordinary Truth” is a raw, compassionate portrayal of the experiences of four women from one Nevada ranch family. The plot line is tension-filled, the work is beautifully descripted, and the message makes for a poignant read. I often felt the novel had me by the “emotional guts,” and I found myself holding my breath—much, I suspect, like the characters—until I reached the end of the novel.
In its chapter by chapter construction, the novel centers around four characters: Nell, Ona, Kate, and Cassie. It is Nell, however, who steals the show. Nell, a hardened rancher, is so realistically described that I likened her to many of the matriarchs in my own family: stubborn, bossy, and narcissistic. Nell is in the golden years, and her self-centeredness seems childish at times, but in Nell, Richman draws a character who is real—real is not always nice. Ona, soft-hearted and compassionate, is the observer of the novel. It is through Ona’s eyes that we can see, understand, and often fairly judge the difficulties many of the characters face. Kate, Nell’s daughter, is a remarkably modern mess. Haunted by the loss of her father, Kate’s stiffness paired with fragility hits home. Losing a parent early and traumatically often rocks a child, and Richman portrays Kate’s struggle with deftness. Cassie, Kate’s daughter, devises a plan to crack open the secrets that have lain buried in the family for years. Her determination, though somewhat misguided, is admirable.
“The Ordinary Truth” provides for a rich read. While the family struggles are the most important plot element, the backdrop alludes to the ecocritical theme of the growing rarity of water in the west. A Floridian, I have no experience with and limited knowledge of struggles over water scarcity. Richman brings the problem to the reader’s attention as part of the plot but is not overly “preachy” about the issue. In fact, a deeper look at the work suggests that the struggle over life-giving water, and whether or not drilling a pipeline under ranch land to redistribute water, serves as a metaphor for the experiences of the characters: what happens when the essential elements of life are rerouted, misused, or sucked dry? Perhaps Richman is alluding to something more than water here.
Richman has a number of great lines in the book that provide criticism of modern life. Kate remarks on the cult of busyness in stating that we are all in “the perpetual quest for keeping oneself occupied, entertained, and important—which burns at the edge of addiction.” Her daughter Cassie later remarks that in its most bureaucratic incarnations, Kate’s generation “goes right on fucking everybody over and apologizing along the way. Your apologies are meaningless, insulting.” I have to agree on both counts.
If you are looking for a masterfully written modern western, Richman’s work is sure to please.
Ready . . . Set . . . Tour!
With the assistance of the Zombie Queen at The Bookish Brunette, "The Harvesting" will go on tour this January! Check below for a link of the book blog tour stops. There will be great giveaways attached to the tour. Be sure to check out the amazing blogs hosting the tour for "The Harvesting!" Yippee. I'm super excited . . . can you tell?