Showing posts from April, 2016

Time flies like an arrow perhaps?

It's one of those favorite remembered misunderstandings--the child who stares at flies, watch in one hand and plastic-tipped arrow in the other, obeying an edict that was meant to be an observation: Time flies like an arrow. But this week time has truly flown. I had great plans of books to read, and instead I filled the hours with efforts to fulfill the promise of good news. Good news number one was an email asking for copies of Dribble-IT . Currently only available from Lulu, the price is fine for purchasing online, but I'm not sure what price I can afford to sell it at. I'd long intended to add the book to Createspace, so now, at last, I did it--well, I nearly did it; watch this space and I'll give you the link when the files are finally done. Good news number two was an email from my publisher with a tentative cover image and interior files for my next novel: Infinite Sum. So hours were spent re-reading the interior file, checking for errors of writing or forma

What Happens When Characters Die?

Death scenes are strange--in fiction I mean. We authors choreograph the steps of a fight, as if the characters are puppets compelled to their fatal dance by our tune. Or else we stand aside and watch, trying to make sense of what we see in our minds, drawing those steps so others might see them too. Or else we wait for the conclusion and weep. But characters die, and we who made them are compelled to see their demise. Like them or hate them, the characters we've made all belong to our minds, and we bear that strange responsibility for death or life. I've seen a few strange characters lose their lives in books recently. So pull up a chair, pour some coffee, and see which books and deaths most appeal to you. Because, I guess, the reader who chooses to imbibe the book's strange brew must bear some responsibility too. First in my list today is One False Move by David Callinan . Protagonist Delaney is a trained assassin who has made a vow to kill no more. Graphic well-staged

When Is A Story A Soundtrack?

There's music in movie soundtracks, of course. But there's music too in words, easy to hear if the words are poetry, and still there in sentences and stories; in the flow, internal rhyme, the lilting rhythm and cadences of speech; and old-fashioned storytelling around the fire. Those first storytellers, memorizing their lines, must surely have heard them to music in their minds--that's why they turned so many tales into song. But what about the written word? I wonder sometimes if those first storytellers didn't argue that pen and ink might spoil their craft. When printing came, surely all the uniqueness of sound would be lost to identical shapes on identical page. And then the internet... But there's music in words, and the best of stories still sing their songs to us, subliminally or deliberately sliding sound into our minds as the words reach our eyes. It's not a music that depends on a sound recording--it's the storyteller's song. I love to read a

Are there Heat Ratings for Faith in Fiction?

They have heat ratings for romance novels. Since I sometimes review romances I've been trying to work them out so I'll use the right words. To the best of my knowledge: Burning means vividly graphic detail in sexuality and vocabulary. These ones probably go further than I'd choose to read. Hot means detailed sex scenes with plenty of body parts. They're not my scene either, but I'm happy to read and review them once in a while. Moderate might be moderately explicit, but spares the reader's worst blushes. More about feelings than body parts. More euphemisms rather than intricate detail. Warm emphasizes the feelings even more, letting the action slide under the bedsheets. Subtle stays above the belt (a euphemism I learned at a Christian writers' conference). Soothing closes doors. And cool keeps sensuality on the backburner in favor of unencumbered emotion. (Okay, I like sevens. I had to have seven ratings in my list!) But what about ratings for fa

How Will You Tell Your Future History?

Great futuristic fiction demands great future history to make it real. But the balance between showing and telling in a novel can make it hard to provide all that backstory to the reader. The question, of course, besides making it all make sense (or seem to make sense), is how much does a reader need to know? When it comes to describing the carpets and curtains in a room, the reader should see what the protagonist will notice, then ignore the rest. Seeing through a protagonist's eyes can help the author avoid excessive description, and make for a good read. Meanwhile, of course, many readers will become convinced they know exactly what the fair Maid Marian looks like, without ever being told, only to be disappointed when the movie comes out, but that's a different issue. It's good, surely, to let readers use their imaginations. After all, isn't reading meant to inspire? But what about those things the protagonist knows, or needs to know, using memory rather than sen

When impeccable character meets insoluble crime

Today I'm delighted to introduce a fictional guest, Sadagopan, from the new novel, Surpanakha by Hariharan Iyer. Read this character sketch, and imagine the kind of man who will investigate a massacre... But first, please enjoy the slide show - keep your eye out for Sadogapan himself. Then read on, and don't forget to read to the end, where you'll find a cool giveaway. Enjoy! SO... WHO IS SADAGOPAN? A 1972 IPS cadre officer. A person of upright character. Impeccable track record in Tamil Nadu police for 38 years. Precisely the reasons for which Madras High Court appoints him as a special investigator to go into the role of Sesha in the massacre of 73 Kannadigas. Sadagopan looks more like a mathematics professor than an ace cop. Though the world has moved towards progressive lenses, he still uses a pair of bifocal spectacles, which adds respectability to his personality. Post-retirement indulgence in tasty food has left him with a small paunch, which looks mor

How do you make manna? An interview with Eric Lotke

Today, I'm delighted to welcome Eric Lotke, author of the novel,   Making Manna , to my blog. We're going to sit down and drink coffee while we talk, so grab yourself a mug too while I introduce the book. Making Manna  has a strong theme of renewal - perfect for the Easter season. It tells the story of Libby Thompson, who is just fourteen years old when she flees her abusive home with her newborn son, Angel. Now they must build a life for themselves on hard work and low wages, dealing with police who are sometimes helpful-but not always-and a drug dealer who is full of surprises. As Angel gets older, he begins asking questions about his family, and Libby's tenuous peace threatens to crumble. Can a son without a father and a young woman without a past make something beautiful out of a lifetime of secrets? Making Manna explores the depths of betrayal, and the human capacity to love, flourish, and forgive in the face of heartbreaking odds. This book will appeal to fic