Thursday, May 3, 2012

18,000 words and horror too !

Love on a Transfer Part II is now 18,000 words long, and no, it hasn't morphed into a horror story, though navigating the vagaries of British English vs American English might give poor Tom some horror stories to tell when he gets back home. I'm trusting my writing won't be horrible either, and I'm still in awe that Willow Moon have trusted me to complete the story this way.

There's no horror in the romance novella I reviewed recently for Nights and Weekends either, but you can find my review of Lullaby in Lone Creek in today's edition, and my review of Lost in Lone Creek in the archives. I'm reading another Mary Manners novella now and hope to send my next review to them soon.

However, I have read three horror novels this week, hence the headline for this post. If horror's what takes your fancy, grab some 5-star strong dark coffee and browse my reviews on Gather.com.

Wickflicker, by Teric Darken, was Monday's book. In the style of old-fashioned Christian horror, it tells the first-person account of a college freshman tempted by sex, drugs and alcohol, and eager to make his own way in the world beyond his father's shadow. In the shadows of a dark and haunted basement he's offered the chance to pass his hand through flickering flame and take the coin but he refuses while his friend accepts. Will Caleb escape? Will Gat be damned? There's a really neat sting in the tail...

I read Vampire Pond, by Peter Joseph Swanson, on Tuesday. A dark and muddy tale with the author's trademark narrative dialog and twisted humor, this one blends myths from around the world with hilarious misunderstandings and, once you get to the midpoint of the novel, some delightfully scary scenes, all set in a damp soggy village of ancient Britain.

And yesterday, Wednesday, I read N.J. Burns' Moment of Kairos. This one was heading fast for a rare 5-star review from me till it suddenly ended with an epilogue and the promise of a sequel. No!!!!! The author weaves four fascinating stories of critical moments together with a well-timed, untold fifth, and the pages fly by under that constant quest to see how it fits together. There's futuristic apocalypse, present-day horror, middle-ages secret rites and ancient precognition--a truly fascinating read; I just wish it didn't end so abruptly.

Which leaves me wondering, given how many books I review turn out to parts of series, what is it makes some of them work so much better than others? I didn't mind part 6 of Harry Potter feeling incomplete, but that's probably because I already trusted the author and knew part 7 would be good. I don't mind that the Harry Dresden novels are becoming more geared towards the larger, incomplete, story arc, but again, I've already become hooked and I trust the author. Danika Dinsmore's Brigitta of the White Forest was just part 1 of a series, but the story finished, even if it's part of a greater whole. And J.A. Clement's On Dark Shores 2 was much more satisfying than On Dark Shores 1 because there was more of a sense of completion to the change in her main character.

Maybe I'm just too slow to trust the authors. I need to know not just that they write well, but also that they're going to complete the project. Otherwise an incomplete story arc leaves me wondering and wary. Perhaps I'll have to bear this in mind when I go back to writing Hemlock--still only two books and two halves into the set, still in search of a willing publisher and reading willing to give me their trust.

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