Friday, October 31, 2014
It sits still,
Waiting for that moment
When the shell bursts
Unravelling the horror within!
It knows your weaknesses,
Your dreams and your desires.
For that moment
To shine like a black smoke
On a beautifully calm morning.
It creeps to your mind and heart,
Both at once
Enveloping them in a shadow of fury.
As silent as a snake,
It knows where to hide
And when to strike!
Fear itself fears it.
Hot like iron coming from the furnace,
It is loud and angry,
Like adrenaline rushing through your body,
It knows no end.
Like black magic.
It inflicts the powerful
More than the weak,
For it seeks those with the most to lose.
It is unresting,
When it strikes,
It is intelligent,
It knows you.
When it possesses you,
You cannot control the urge,
The need, the desire…
You let it rule you.
Like a Vampire,
It lusts for blood.
Like an angry boulder,
It desires utter destruction.
Can you hear it?
It's like furious hooves
Trampling a colourful flower bed.
It is pure
- Note: I was planning on a book review for a scary short story collection for Halloween but stuff happened so I figured why not post a scary poem instead.
Comments are highly appreciated on this one.
Monday, October 27, 2014
'Paulie' is a short story by M. A. Myers. I'm not sure when and where I got hold of a copy of this, but I've had it for a while and what better time to read a short horror story than in the spooky month of October!
'Paulie' opens with Alice, a mother of three, who recently moved from the city to a farmhouse. She is preparing dinner and waiting for her husband to return. Soon after everything is set, a most awkward and terrifying announcement is made on television and everyone is advised to stay indoors. The news anchor says that some sort of disease or symptom is affecting people and turning them into killers.
The short story is about 14 or 15 pages long on PDF. It starts at a fairly slow pace but following the announcement, the pace picks up immensely.
Paulie is the name of one of the characters in the story, and what I like about this story is the constant sense of mystery in what is going to happen and what is happening.
Myers gives vivid description of every character and detail in his story, so there is nothing lacking in that area; the reader can easily picture everything.
I liked how Alice is portrayed as a very strong character. In spite of pain, both physical and emotional, she struggles to go on and save whatever is left of her family.
What I did not like about the short story was the very long paragraphs used and the occasional repetition of words used to describe the horrors Alice comes up against, but otherwise 'Paulie' is an enjoyable read.
I was also curious, why this disease as I call it does not affect her of all people.
Note: Glad I finally got to read it – if I had received it as a free copy for a review, my apologies for taking so much time.
Friday, October 24, 2014
Earlier in October, I reviewed A Fistful of Evil by Rebecca Chastain. Check out my five-star review here.
Today, I'm interviewing the author, so without further ado, please join me in welcoming Rebecca Chastain on Nadaness In Motion.
A bit about Rebecca:
Q: What is your favourite food?
Q: You favourite colour(s)? RC: Green, specifically a bright new-growth green
Q: Are you a full-time writer now? Or do you have a job alongside your writing?
RC: I’m working toward full-time status and saving up to make the leap, but right now I have a day job as a freelance editor. If I can’t be a full-time author, this is the perfect job combo: I work from home and can squeeze in extra writing time between projects. Not to mention it keeps my copyediting and proofreading skills sharp.
Q: What countries do you hope to visit in the future? (Any chance Egypt would be in the list? J)
RC: I’d love to visit Egypt! I’ve been doing a lot of research about the Aztec and have added Mexico City and Teotihuacan to my travel plans. I dream of taking a month tour through Europe, too. The last time I went without my husband (it was before we met, so I didn’t ditch him), and I really want to see it with him.
Q: Will you be taking part in NaNoWriMo this November? (If yes, what's the title you're working on or what should the story be about?)
RC: I won’t be officially taking on the challenge, but I am in the middle of writing the Aztec story, and on good days (non-work days), I’m averaging 4,000 words a day, so I might succeed by default.
On A Fistful of Evil:
Q: What are your favourite and least favourite aspects about your lead character?
RC: I love Madison’s perpetual ability to bounce back to optimism and fool herself into thinking she’s got a handle on situations that are well beyond her expertise. It gets her into lots of trouble, which is fun for me. It’s hard to say I have a least favourite aspect of her. The novel I finished before A Fistful of Evil had a main character who spent far too much time in her head, which was annoying, so I was very intentional in creating a character I loved to write when I sat down to create Madison. But Madison’s tendency to jump before looking would drive me nuts if she were my friend.
Q: Apart from the second book in the series, are there any other projects you're working on?
RC: Yes! I have a couple of books in the works, including a magical realism romance called Tiny Glitches set in present-day Los Angeles that involves a woman whose very presence destroys electricity and her quest to hide/save a kidnapped baby elephant. That book is currently in edits. Right now I’m writing an alternate history fantasy novella set in the Aztec empire, with a main character who is half Aztec, a quarter Romani (Gypsy), a quarter Fae, and who could whip Madison’s region into shape with both hands tied behind her back (but this isn’t a competition of who is tougher, right?).
Q: How many parts are you planning for the series?
RC: There will be at least three books in the Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer series, and hopefully many more beyond that. I have a handful of ideas bubbling around in the back of my imagination, and I’m sure Madison will be getting into trouble that will have ongoing repercussions into future novels, novellas, or short stories.
Q: Have you finished your first draft for the second novel? Have you settled on a title?
RC: I finished a draft of the second novel. At one point, I thought it was the final draft. I wrote A Fistful of Evil years ago (7 or 8, I can’t remember now) for [National Novel Writing Month] NaNoWriMo, and then the sequel the following year, also for NaNoWriMo. I read back through book 2 recently, and what I wrote was a great rough draft/outline that needs a lot of polish and additional writing. I’m really looking forward to diving back into Madison’s world! I don’t have a title for the second book. Titles are hard for me. I filled out four pages of titles ideas (most absolutely atrocious, like IMPS, VERVET, AND DEMONS, OH MY! and FOX ON THE RUN) before finally getting to A Fistful of Evil.
Moving on to some book/writing/publishing-related questions:
Q: How did you design the cover of your book? Some writers say they use Pinterest, others go through Google Images; how was the A Fistful of Evil cover formed?
RC: I have zero design skills, and very little patience with Photoshop, so I knew I wasn’t going to attempt a cover on my own. I hired Damonza for the cover, and they wisely ask for examples of covers you like. For that, I took a trip to my local bookstore and cruised around online bookstores to find good examples. Then Damonza sent me two examples. I think they nailed it!
Q: What, in your opinion, is the hardest part about writing a novel?
RC: I’m an extreme outliner. I’ve learned by trial and a lot of errors that making an incredibly detailed outline can save me months of headaches in edits and rewrites. But it’s really hard once an idea starts to come together to not jump in and start writing too soon. I actually have created a checklist that the outline and all the characters and scenes have to pass before I begin writing. Getting the outline just right is the second-hardest part, because it means recognizing the flaws in my own stories. Sometimes I’m so close to the story and so in love with particular pieces that it’s hard to separate out what is going to make a good novel from what would be fun to write.
Q: Can we get a sneak peak about the second novel or the synopsis?
RC: I can’t provide a synopsis yet, but I can tell you that we’ll get to meet more enforcers as well as Madison’s family. Also, Madison’s not just fighting evil in book 2; she’s doing so in the middle of Black Friday. At a mall. (That just gave me chills. I really feel for the torture I put Madison through in this next book! J)
About Chastain's novella Magic of the Gargoyles:
Q: Is the novella Magic of the Gargoyles a standalone piece or are you planning a series for it?
RC: I wrote Magic of the Gargoyles with the idea that it would be a short story. I’d heard of other author writing a sort of palate-cleanser short story between novels, and that seemed like a great idea. Then Magic of the Gargoyles ballooned well past the 12 pages I’d originally planned, and the world became so much more than I first sat down to write. Long answer short: It’s a standalone story, but at some point, I’ll like to give the main character’s best friend an adventure of her own. I just don’t know when that would be.
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
RC: Thank you for the fun interview. Talking about my future projects has re-energized me to get back to the desk and write some more!
I'll be reviewing Magic of the Gargoyles soon, so stay tuned!
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
The wizard's apprentice scratched his head, staring at the beetle in consternation. It was greatly deformed as though it were mocking him. Its body was flipped over with its head at an impossible and queer angle and its arms and legs were up in the air.
It looked disgusting.
He thought it had a sarcastic and proud air about it; but it was a beetle and it couldn't possibly have such an air to it, he noted to himself.
The apprentice went by the name 'Nozo' owing to his massive nose which he never forgave his parents for and which his friends or rather apprentice mates and rivals said that he looked like a human being sprouting out of a nose.
The beetle was not meant to look like that. The high Wizard had given him the task of performing a spell-and-potion combination, the highest level of magic but things didn't seem to be going very well.
The experiment did not seem to be going as planned in fact the whole room did not seem to be going as planned. Everything was in shambles. Some of the books and stools were on the floor, all the open books lying about were not of any help and Nozo was now more lost and nervous than when the High Wizard had called his name earlier.
Performing tasks for the High Wizard was an honour; an honour he seemed to have greatly dishonoured.
He wasn't sure where he had gone wrong but he was a fair bit sure that the spell went something like:
"Tiny Beetle Betty
turn into cake and confetti!"
- Or wasn't it?
He couldn't be sure and with the little time he had left, he was beginning to consider turning himself into a beetle and suffer being accidentally squashed in the near future. Especially since he was going to get figuratively squashed by his rivals in the nearer future.
Nozo inhaled deeply through his massive nose. He looked down at the beetle again and felt his inhumanely-sized nose was getting in his way.
"OK beetle! Here's the deal. You need to become a form of food and as much as I would have liked to transform you, I have failed. And as much as I would have liked to cook food in the kitchen, I would fail beyond anything you and I can imagine. So here's the deal: You need to impress the High Wizard. I don't care what you do, just do it or die trying!" Nozo held his wand and instructed the poor creature lying on its back.
It didn't respond – as though he thought it would.
At that moment, the door opened and the High Wizard entered, his blue-and-purple robes flowing behind him.
He looked at the room. It was a mess – as he had expected. But so were all the other apprentices' work rooms.
There was however a strange and almost desperate look on the High Wizard's face.
"I'm working as fast as I can, your grace!" Nozo mouthed quickly.
"Work all you want Nozo. I know failure when I see it." The Wizard said sadly.
"But… Why? I did everything by the book – I think," Nozo started mumbling.
"I can see that. You did, however, miss one valuable point," the Wizard said and sighed.
Nozo looked at his teacher questioningly.
"The beetle is a male. You needed a female beetle for the spell to work! Bozo!"
Friday, October 17, 2014
Abigail is nineteen. Her job, she hunts demons.
Her life so far has been tough. Having witnessed her family’s death and her mother’s suicide, she’s been taken in by a priest, who believes her when she says that she sees ghosts. Father Peter trains her as a demon hunter with three other members, one being Daniel, who isn’t what he seems.
But when a possession goes wrong, and ghosts start to attack Abigail, the tight rope she has on her emotions soon starts to loosen. Abigail draws the unwanted attention of the Reote, and she finds out a lot more than she was willing to learn.
Knowledge is power, but for Abigail, it’s her undoing, and the only thing keeping her together is Daniel.
"Ghosts, angels, and demons exist. They are not the things from movies. They are so much worse." (p. 43)
Hunters is the first instalment in The Demon Series by Aoife Marie Sheridan.
I enjoyed the novel, loved the characters but the protagonist, Abigail, I hated her!
It’s the first time for me to dislike a central character so much.
Abigail Thornton is a nineteen-year-old vodka-aholic demon hunter. But instead of demon hunting, it seems she has a knack for attracting demons – for reasons unknown to her or the reader.
In the first demon-hunting encounter the reader comes across, the demon recognises Abigail and calls her by her name. The situation is unheard-of, even for a hunter.
I particularly like how every character is a mystery, not just the central character or Daniel, who is always by her side and is like every girl's dream, but also Cathy, Nicholas, Father Peter, even Simon, to a small extent.
Abigail has had a rough childhood. Her mother, as she remembers her, suffered from depression and was rarely herself. Her father was never around and her childhood was spent playing with her brother Sam. Abigail came across her mother's body after she had committed suicide. But that wasn't the worst thing eleven-year-old Abigail saw that night, there was someone else in the bathroom, a dark figure, whose face she had never seen before.
Abigail and I can agree that some characters are just down-right obnoxious like Steven and Cathy, though the latter can be good at times.
There is a thin line of romance in the novel, between the often unfeeling Abigail and Daniel. The love is not unrequited, it's a mystery of its own. However, one often gets the urge to want to smack Abigail on the face, like when Cathy does, but for different reasons.
Sheridan lays out several mysterious threads throughout the novel, a sort of large setting for the parts to come. Some threads are answered, others are not. As the saying goes "The more you know, the less you know." (No idea who said it), but that's the situation with Abigail. She has so many questions about herself, her parents, her life, Daniel. But as she begins to ask questions, she begins to fear the answers that she will hear. Worse, answers come to questions she never even thought of; they begin to surface, particularly those of her birth.
Hunters is narrated in the first person perspective, mostly from Abigail's point of view, though occasionally from Daniel's. Abigail might be a sad and angry teen most of the time, but she is highly sarcastic, giving some dark humour to the already dark story.
I look forward to reading the coming instalments in the series and to see how these threads of mystery will come to light. I hope more questions will be answered rather than asked.
About the Author:
Aoife Marie Sheridan has loved reading from a very young age, starting off with mills and boon's books, given to by her grandmother her love for romances grew, by the age of 14 she had read hundreds of them.
Aoife had a passion for writing poetry or in her eyes her journal entries. Aoife won first place for two of her poems and had them published at the young age of nineteen. Realising she needed to get a real job (What writing isn't) she studied accountancy and qualified working in that field for many years, until her passion for reading returned.
Aoife's first book Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy) came to be after a dream of a man and woman on a black horse jumping through a wall of fire and the idea of Saskia was born. Now with her first novel published and taking first place for Eden Forest with Writers Got Talent 2013, Aoife continues to write tales of fantasy and is currently working on her third book for the Saskia Trilogy amongst other new works.
Also, check out my five-star book review of Eden Forest here.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Lost Haven by Sabrina Fish is the seventh part in William Bernhardt's Shine Series. Each part is a standalone novella but related to the whole bunch.
Lost Haven opens with Camille trying to escape her ex-fiancé at a fair. During a confrontation, she wishes he were blind and her wish comes true or so we are led to believe.
Camille is a Shine, a person born with a special ability. There are other Shine people all over the world, but they are constantly accused of causing many catastrophes and acts of terrorism, especially by the media, and are therefore hunted down by individuals and governments and the church.
Camille is torn between being forced to sell her family's property and keeping it, but being unable to maintain it. Selling the property is not an easy task, especially for a Shine. Camille also suspects their neighbour, Mr. Walker senior, who has had his eye on their land for ages, of being behind her family's deaths.
Lost Haven is quick-paced young adult novella, so the reader quickly learns about Camille, the mystery of her parents' deaths, her life, friends, and her ability, though the truth about what she can really do is nicely stretched throughout the novella.
Lost Haven is action, sci-fi, romance and suspense masterfully woven in a novella that has all the characteristics of a full-length novel.
Author Sabrina Fish said she plans to contribute one or two more parts in The Shine Series to expound the characters, give them more depth and allow Jeremy to redeem himself.
About The Shine Series:
Shine is a multi-author series in which you want to read each author's work together. William Bernhardt wrote Shine 1-5, with his own story line and characters set in this world. It's set in the Shine world so that is similar to the other authors, but that's about it. And so on with Tamara Grantham's Shine stories, etc. It's called episodic fiction. One could read Tamara's work before Bill's and be fine, or Sabrina Fish's novellas before Tamara's and the reader would not feel lost.
Should one choose to go back and read them all, they'll learn more about the overall Shine world and be better for the experience, but one can read Lost Haven and feel like its a stand alone with an upcoming sequel as Ms. Fish has left it open to that. It has an ending, but one knows it continues.
Its sequel, Road to Nowhere is finished and was published on 11 October 2014.
Connect with Sabrina Fish via Twitter.
Connect with Sabrina Fish via Twitter.
Friday, October 10, 2014
The Colour of Dishonour by Rayne Hall is a collection of six short stories inspired the setting of Hall's epic dark fantasy Storm Dancer. What I love about this collection is that not only are all the stories well crafted, but they also all have a moral in them.
The collection opens with 'Kin', a highly ironic and moral story. Leha has three daughters, Mahlega, Gonil and Komal. She is proud of the first two but has disowned the third after having a child born out of wedlock. Their land is struck by their gods and by starvation. So, Leha seeks her daughters for food and shelter.
"The Seventh Scroll of Wisdom says that kin need to stick to kin like skin to flesh." This can neither be said for Leha nor her two eldest daughters. It is a very striking line at the beginning of the story. Leha believes she is following the rules to the letter and justifies disowning Komal. She believes she will be repaid for all she has done to her eldest daughters.
The reader meets Leha's first daughter Mahlega and her family, who are very selfish and insensitive. All they care about are their needs, like the child who wants new clothes while people are starving and dying. Moreover, All Mahlega cares about is the roofing and how she doesn't like dates and says they are for animals and beggars. Certainly not 'kin' a mother can be proud of.
When Leha proposes to live with Mahlega because of the famine, "They looked at her aghast.
"Out of the question," her son-in-law said. "I can't have you live here, with six people in two rooms already."
The husband is rude and utterly disgusting but nonetheless very realistic as we see this type of person in real life.
Mahlega gives her mother exactly what Leha had given her third daughter when she cast her out. It's highly ironic but sort of like divine repayment for casting out Komal.
"Mighty Ones, let these people taste the fruit of bitterness. Turn their own children against them, let them feel what it means to be cast aside." These are Leha's thoughts after being kicked out by Mahlega and her family. They are highly ironic and Leha cannot realise that she has done the same to her daughter before.
After being turned out by one, Leha goes to seek warmth and a place to stay from her second and so-called loving daughter, Gonila, who is far from being such a daughter. Later we see Gonila eyeing her mother's gold earrings. Not only is she heartless, but also greedy. Her mother shows up at her doorstep, cold and without a place to stay, and all she cares about is getting 'financial' support from a homeless woman, her homeless mother, who sold her house to pay for her daughter's, Gonila's, education!
After being turned out twice by the two daughters she did everything for, Leha still would not go to her third daughter, whom the reader knows will not be like her sisters.
'Kin' resembles William Shakespeare's King Lear. Even the name Gonila resembles Gonoril. It is a very powerful story about family, love, kindness, selfishness, cruelty and forgiveness. 'Kin' is a short story with the weight of a novel.
'Greywalker' is the second story in the collection. The Grey Walker is a zombie-like creature, and the story parallels that the exchange made by Dr. Faustus. It also has many stunning images. It is a carefully-crafted story that I have enjoyed reading over and over. I’m not a fan of zombies, but this story was different for me and I loved every bit of it. Few would find a beautiful image such as this in a zombie-like tale: “But his actions had not been waterdrops that evaporated in the sun without leaving a trace. They had been cruel flames, scorching deep holes into Laina's defenceless heart.”
The 'Greywalker' ends at a climactic point. We finally know why the witch never mentioned a payment at the beginning. Turgan is not mindless, nor is he innately evil but he ends up being a Greywalker and understands his purpose.
The 'Greywalker' is a 10-star story.
'The Water of Truth' is an excellent story about business and greed. However, it seems the so-called educated Yarkoud remains unaware of his greed and will continue repeating his mistakes. His sister, the one he calls 'uneducated' and is ashamed of her, is not bedazzled by money and wealth, and stands in strong contrast to her 'educated' brother.
'Each Stone, a Life' is a story of puns and nerve-wrecking. It was not my favourite but that is my personal opinion, although I felt as nerves as the protagonist of the story. It is very well written and plays on emotions well.
'The Colour of Dishonour' is a story with layers and layers of puns and irony.
“I have blood on my hands”, a recurring line of irony. Also, the use of the colours white and red and the contrast between them is used wittingly in this story.. It is a brilliant 10-star piece. I wish I can quote it whole – but will refrain from that.
'A Horse for a Hero' is the last piece in this collection and focuses on a winged horse named Pagos and his journey towards maturity. At the beginning Pagos dreams of a sort of knight or warrior in shining armour. It seems it is not only princesses who picture such dreams.
"How dreadful he had been to the nomads, who admired him because they were poor! How nasty he had been to that boy, who was merely immature and spoilt!"
I love how Hall ties the beginning and ending of this story together.
Overall The Colour of Dishonour collection is a weighty but highly enjoyable set of short stories. I enjoyed them all and I loved how they all had a moral to them. It is not often you find the 'literature with a moral or purpose' these days, so this collection was by all means spectacular for me.
A must read to all and definitely stories I would go back to over and over.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Writing About Magic by Rayne Hall is a concise guide for writers who seek to incorporate magic in their writing. The book is divided into 15 chapters including: Magic Systems, Training and Initiation, Correspondences, Magical Weapons and Warfare, just to name a few.
Originally a series of lectures given by Ms. Hall, the book is written in short paragraphs and bullet points.
It is a quick and helpful read, particularly for those who want to write about magic in the 21st century.
Several chapters include the "blunders to avoid". Here are a couple:
- "Avoid giving [your magician] too much talent. A character who excels at both magic and psychic gifts can solve too many problems too easily, which would make the story boring." This is quite true, and as writers we will probably find it difficult not to give our characters too much especially if the magician is the lead character – that, at least, is my problem in life.
- Day job – most magicians can't make their living from their magic. Most have day jobs.
Hall notes, more than once, that magicians tend to work in healing and science-related fields like medicine, aromatherapy, massage therapy…etc.
Although there is a bit of added focus on Wicca and modern witchcraft, there was no mention of Druids.
Each chapter ends with a couple of questions as food for thought as well as a writing exercise.
There are also notes on word choice and collocation. For example "In Wiccan Witchcraft [the spirits] are 'invoked' or 'invited'."
Choosing the correct names and profession for your character is important, Hall notes, highlighting that "if your character is clearly a shaman, a necromancer or a witch, use to that term."
There are also references to medieval and pre-literate periods and how to incorporate magic within those periods.
Most of the chapters are dedicated to magic that involves spell-casting rather than magic the character might be born with or elemental magic – at least that was one of things I was looking for. I also wish the chapter on costuming and equipment were longer.
It was also fun to trace how previous reads and popular writers incorporated aspects mentioned in this book in their own works. I found myself scribbling Harry Potter here and Lording of the Rings there among others as I have read.
|Old cover for Writing About Magic|
Used by Goodreads
The book also contains Hall's short story "By Your Own Free Will" as an application of several of the characteristics and techniques mentioned in the book, such as: love spells, correspondences, and magic and free will.
Writing About Magic is an excellent, well-ordered reference for new and modern writers. It is a light, easy to navigate and enjoyable read.
I'm also keeping this book in the easy-to-access pile to keep my mind fresh with ideas and to remind me not to give my character "too much talent".
Other books about writing by Rayne Hall